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Oracle releases new MySQL

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Oracle has announced the general availability of MySQL 5.7, the latest version of what it claims is the world’s most popular open source database.

The new version delivers greater performance, scalability and manageability, plus enhanced NoSQL capabilities with JSON support and MySQL Router, which makes it easy to connect applications to multiple MySQL databases.

“MySQL 5.7 delivers a wide range of innovations allowing developers, database administrators and DevOps teams to build and manage next-generation Web and cloud-based applications capable of processing ever increasing volumes of data,” said Tomas Ulin, vice president, MySQL Engineering, Oracle.

“MySQL 5.7 builds upon Development Milestone Releases that have enabled users to preview, test and provide feedback during the development process – and as a result, this release has been a collaborative process involving many members of the MySQL community.”

“Booking.com’s initial testing of the Development Milestone Releases has shown promising improvements that will enable us to perform online configuration and schema changes with less downtime,” said Nicolai Plum, senior systems architect, Booking.com. “The multi-source and parallel replication improvements in MySQL 5.7 GA will help us to continue scaling our global e-commerce business with ease and we look forward to deploying it soon.”

Key enhancements in MySQL 5.7, which deliver greater performance and scalability, include:

·       Enhanced Speed: In benchmark tests using SysBench Read-only Point-Selects, at 1,024 connections, MySQL 5.7 delivered 1,600,000 queries per second (QPS) —  3x faster than MySQL 5.6.

·       Optimized InnoDB: New capabilities include increased performance and concurrency, enhanced on-line operations, spatial indexes, native partitioning and more.

·       More Robust Replication: Enhancements to MySQL’s replication features include multi-source replication, enhanced Global Transaction Identifiers (GTIDs), and improved multi-threaded slaves for better scalability and availability.

·       Enhanced Optimizer: A new MySQL optimizer dynamic cost model provides better query performance and greater user control.

Primary manageability enhancements within MySQL 5.7 include:

·       New Native JSON Data Type and JSON Functions: Allows for efficient and flexible storage, search and manipulation of schema-less data. Enhancements include a new internal binary format, support for easy integration within SQL, and index management on the JSON Documents using generated columns.

·       Performance Schema: Enables instrumentation for memory, transactions, stored routines, prepared statements, replication and locks.

·       MySQL SYS Schema: Provides helper objects that answer common performance, health, usage and monitoring questions.

·       Improved Security: Delivers easier and safer instance initialization, setup and management.

·       Expanded Geographic Information System (GIS) Support for Mobile Applications: Provides spatial index support in InnoDB, GeoJSON and GeoHash support.

Also now generally available is the new MySQL Router, which simplifies application development by intelligently routing queries to MySQL databases for increased performance and uptime. MySQL Router also provides cross-language support for MySQL Fabric, making it simpler to manage groups of MySQL databases and delivering both high availability and scalability through automated data sharding.

For early testing and feedback, MySQL Group Replication is available at http://labs.mysql.com. Group Replication delivers active/active write-anywhere replication clusters to MySQL, with support for automatic conflict detection and resolution.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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