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Facebook for holidays

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Facebook has put together this detailed list of making the most of organising and remembering the holidays via its platforms.

The December holidays are around the corner, along with fun, sun, sea, sand and get-togethers with friends and family.

To help keep you organised while you travel to different beaches, Facebook is here with Events, Groups, and Photos, allowing you to connect and share with family and friends near and far.

Below are some great ways that Facebook can help you share summer with the people that matter to you.

Host an event with ease and grace!

  • Facebook Events makes it easy to plan parties ­without the hassle of an email thread. Personalise your event with details, location, even the weather forecast, and control who can see, and share your invitation with customised privacy settings.
  • Still need a plan for New Year’s Eve? Check out popular events nearby ­ join in and invite your friends!
  • Getting things done with the help of your friends people come to Facebook every day to connect and share experiences with friends and family. We share the great places we go and we ask our friends for advice when we need help getting things done. Facebook recently introduced a variety of new features that help you use those connections to discover new things in the world around you, decide what to do or where to go, and connect with local businesses in easier and faster ways, this initial experience has been rolled out in the US for now but over the coming months Facebook will be launching even more new features that will make it easier to get things done.

Bring friends and family together! 

  • Messenger is a great way to connect with friends on the go! You can share your precise location so friends can meet you exactly where you are on the beach or at a nearby restaurant. You can even take and share pictures and make a video call with the built-in camera so everyone knows how great the beach looks. Add stickers to a photo before you send to a friend using Stickered for Messenger.
  • Facebook Groups is your secret weapon for sharing tips with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Create groups focused on recipes or décor ideas. Still looking for more beach party ideas? Facebook will suggest groups for you based on your current membership or targeted groups within your area.

Celebrate the sunshine with sharing! 

  • With Facebook Photos, no one misses out on the fun. Use shared photo albums to swap photos of fun all summer long with select family or friends.
  • Want to show off your fam’s annual summer holiday? Facebook Photos allows you to easily share your photo with all your Facebook friends. If you’d prefer a private album, adjust the album’s features to share with select groups.

 

Creative Tools for Summer Fun

Summer is here, so many of us will be sharing our holiday snaps with our Friends on Facebook.

Facebook now offers more options to customise photos because we know people love being creative with their pics.

The features, now available for the majority of iPhone users and testing on Android, allow people to swipe between filters, overlay multiple lines of text in any colour, add their favourite emojis, and choose from a variety of stickers to create fully customised photos.

Tips for Editing Photos

  • To access all the photo editing tools, click the magic wand icon in the lower left hand corner of the photo you’re posting.
    • From there, you’ll see options for adding filters, stickers, or text to your photos, as well as other tools including cropping and tagging.
  • You can add different filters to your photo by tapping on the Filters icon. Different filters can have different effects depending on how your photo was taken, so try them all out and see which one you like best.
    • If you want to quickly add a filter without using any of the other tools, you can swipe left or right right after you select your photo. It’s an easy way to quickly scroll through the filters and see how each one makes your photo look.
    • Filters available include Auto, Vintage, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Snow.
  • You can start making your photos a lot more fun by adding stickers. Try out the Summer Vacation sticker pack to show your friends what you’re up to during the break. Or try on a new look with a crazy hairstyle and glasses from the Undercover pack. You can add stickers to your friends in your next group photo, but be careful, they might get you back next time.
    • Tap the Stickers icon to see the available stickers, and tap on the plus symbol to download new sticker packs, all of which are free.
    • When you’ve added a sticker, you can drag it around the photo, adjust the size by pinching, or rotate it. If you decide not to use the sticker, remove it by dragging it over the trash can icon.
  • You can also add text on top of your photos by clicking on the Text icon. Create a special message for your next Throwback Thursday photo or give your photo a funny title instead of writing a caption.
    • You can change the size, position and color of the text before a photo is posted, placing it anywhere over the picture.

Tell your story on Instagram
With Instagram Stories you can share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.

What’s great is that with Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting during the holidays. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.

In addition, stories are easy to share with just who you want (and hide from who you want).

 

Security Tips to Help Keep You Safe on Facebook

You might be preparing for a festive season break, but hackers, malware and the other nuisances of the digital age won’t be taking a holiday.

We have compiled some simple tips about keeping your Facebook account safe and secure.

Pick a unique, strong password.

Use combinations of at least 6 letters, numbers and punctuation marks and don’t use this password for any of your other accounts. You can also use a password safe like LastPassKeePass or 1Password to set and remember unique passwords for your account. Learn how to change your password.

Think before you click.

Never click suspicious links, even if they come from a friend or a company you know. This includes links sent on Facebook (for example: in a chat or story) or in emails. If one of your friends clicks a spam link, they could accidentally send you or tag you in spammy posts. If you see something suspicious on Facebook, report it. You also shouldn’t download things (for example: a .exe file) if you aren¹t sure what they are. Learn more about recognising suspicious emails.

Watch out for suspicious Pages and apps/games.

Be suspicious of Pages promoting offers that are too good to be true. If in doubt, check to see if a Page is verified. Also be mindful when you install new apps or games. Sometimes scammers use bad apps and games to gain access to your Facebook account.

·         Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Sometimes scammers will create fake accounts to friend people. Becoming friends with scammers allows them access to spam your Timeline, tag you in posts and send you malicious messages. Your real friends may also end up being targeted.

·         Never give out your login info (like your email address and password). Sometimes people or pages will promise you something (for example: free poker chips) if you share your login info with them. These types of deals are carried out by cybercriminals and violate the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If you’re ever asked to re-enter your password on Facebook (for example: you’re making changes to your account settings) check to make sure the address of the page still has facebook.com/ in the URL (web address).

·         Log in at www.facebook.com. Sometimes scammers will set up a fake page to look like a Facebook login page, hoping to get you to enter your email address and password. Make sure you check the page’s URL before you enter your login info. When in doubt, you can always type facebook.com into your browser to get back to the real Facebook.

Update your browser. 

The newest versions of internet browsers have built-in security protections. For example, they might be able to warn you if you’re about to go to a suspected phishing site. Facebook supports:

o   Mozilla Firefox

o    Safari

o   Google Chrome

o   Internet Explorer

Run anti-virus software.

To protect yourself from viruses and malware, scan your computer. You can learn more and download

this software for free:

o    For Windows

o    For Mac OS

Stay safe online.

Facebook recently launched its redesigned Facebook Safety Center, which is a free internet safety resources for teenagers, parents and educators. The new Safety Centre walks people through the tools Facebook offers to control their experience on Facebook, as well as numerous tips and resources for safe and secure sharing of information. It works well on mobile devices and includes step-by-step videos on a variety of useful safety topics. Check it out at: www.facebook.com/safety.

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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

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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SA Start-up reinvents PABX

For any South African business, the idea of setting up or changing a telephonic switchboard system is the stuff of nightmares. Dealing with expensive hardware and hearing things like QSIG and VOIP is not what you’d call exciting.But now there is an app.

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Enter BuzzBox (www.buzzboxcloud.co.za), a web-based telephone switchboard that is aimed at small and medium sized businesses wanting to take the hassle and cost out of the company switchboard. Whether you are a small one-man operation or a larger organisation with staff working remotely, BuzzBox is the best switchboard solution.

What sets BuzzBox apart from anything else on the market is its easy-to-use dashboard. It puts you in control of everything from picking your phone number to setting up voice prompts and managing your business-hours schedule.

BuzzBox was developed when the startup behind it, Jini-Guru, needed such a service for its own use across multiple continents. “When we started Jini-Guru we could not find a seamless online process that would allow us to set up a full web-based switchboard, so we decided to build one for ourselves,” says Mike Smits, Director at Jini-Guru.

He says a lot of startups today are tech savvy and know how to use apps and the services that go with it. “It’s the uberisation of services and its driving demand for instant service activation.”

BuzzBox works as an app on both iOS and Android but users wanting a desk phone option can choose from a variety of devices on offer or use their existing VOIP phones.

Setting up a BuzzBox account takes 5 minutes. During registration your FICA documents are uploaded [ID and proof or residence] and you get to pick your phone number before the account is created. Companies that want to keep an existing number can do so too.

The real magic happens when you log on to the BuzzBox Dashboard. The main screen displays a summary of statistics for your account while the left-hand menu provides you quick access to various configuration settings and reports.

Setting up new extensions or external numbers is done with a few clicks and you can even set up various departments which is a great way to route a call to various people in a department, like sales or support.

The intuitive user interface also makes it easy to set up hold-music and voice prompts. You can add voice prompts by recording them straight to your phone, just make sure you use a clear voice with quiet surroundings for the best customer experience.

One of the main features of BuzzBox is its call recording feature that allows an organisation to record calls for legislative purposes, such as a lawyer, or for customer service purposes such as support. Recordings are stored securely online, and you have the ability to download recordings for playback. Companies can opt-in for this service and it’s free to use. Recordings are stored online and are fully encrypted so only you can listen to, or download them. Storage costs R1 for every 1000 minutes of stored recordings.

Other features include call forwarding and scheduling. The latter allows you to set office hours for your organisation which will divert calls to an after-hours messaging service. You also have the option to enable routing to an employee who is on call after hours.

BuzzBox also has a reseller program for companies wanting to offer this as a switchboard solution to their existing customers.

The costs for this service is R89 p/m for the first phone number which includes your first extension for free. Thereafter you’ll pay R89p/m per extension. Calls between extensions are free but you pay per second for all outgoing phone calls. More info on pricing can be found here: https://buzzboxcloud.co.za/pricing/

BuzzBox is offering a Launch promotion where they are offering the first line and extension free for 12 months. Only pay for calls. Use promo code “feoifyaa” during sign-up to apply your discount.

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