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AppDate: Windows 10 devices get more social

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In this AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Facebook, Messenger and Instagram for Windows 10, Soundcloud Go for South Africa, Anti-Ad from Kaspersky Lab, Friendbase virtual chat and JustWatch streaming search engine.

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram for Windows 10

The new Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps for Windows 10 devices are designed to take advantage of the operating system’s Live Tiles. This means, that once a user pins an app to the Home screen, updates and news feeds are immediately available without having to open each app individually. In addition, the Instagram app now offers direct messaging, an updated search and explore function, and easy account switching.

Platform: Windows 10 phones and tablets

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Windows Store from a Windows 10 device.

 

Soundcloud Go in South Africa

As with many video and music on demand services, a lot of the content is not available in South Africa due to licensing issues – the latest being Soundcloud Go. The service offers an expanded musical catalogue due to licensing deals with Warner, Universal and Sony, as well as tracks from 20,000 independent labels – many of which are not available in South Africa. However, virtual private network provider (VPN) NordVPN now allows South Africans to access the songs by installing the VPN before signing up for the Soundcloud Go service. Incidentally, NordVPN also allows South Africans to access the full Netflix range of movies and series by performing a similar setup.

Platform: Most smartphones and tablets as well as desktop and laptops.

Expect to pay: NordVPN is a free download, but subscribing to Soundcloud Go will cost around R150 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device to download NordVPN and then sign up for Soundcloud Go.

 

Anti-Ad from Kaspersky Lab

Anti-Ad from Kaspersky Lab is a free extension for iPhone users for Safari. It automatically blocks the advertising banners, links and popup windows that infuriate most users . The extension can be customised to allow certain adverts to display and, if need be, the extension can be completely disabled should one want to see the entire page.

Platform: Most iOS device running iOS 9 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the App Store for downloading instructions.

 

Friendbase virtual chat

Friendbase virtual chat allows one to connect with friends and family around the world. Nothing new there, but it does make chatting a little more interesting as it allows users to customise their chat room’s look and feel. One can also add pets, and challenge friends to multiplayer games like tennis. The chat room can be navigated, meaning once an avatar has been chosen, it can be directed around the room.

Platform: Android, iOS and Facebook play.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

JustWatch streaming search engine

With all the VoD services currently available and new ones being added every day, it starts to become a little difficult to find certain shows. JustWatch makes things a little easier as it allows one to search across multiple VoD providers from a single search bar. JustWatch is able to search Netflix, Showmax, BoxOffice, iTunes and Mubi – with other providers like Google Play being added shortly.

Platform: Android and iOS.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Bring your network with you

At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.

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In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.

Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.

“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.

The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.

Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.

“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.

He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”

By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.

The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.

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Kaspersky moves to Switzerland

As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.

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This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.

Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world

The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.

Relocation of customer data storage and processing

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.

Relocation of software assembly

Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.

Establishment of the first Transparency Center

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.

Independent supervision and review

Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.

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