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SA’s Home of Super-heroes back in town

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South Africa’s ultimate Geekfest convention, ICON, returns to Gallagher Estate on the Youth Day weekend.

The 25th edition of the ICON Comic and Games Convention (ICON CGC), dubbed “Home of the Super-Hero”, returns to Johannesburg’s Gallagher Convention Centre from 16 to 18 June 2017, over the Youth Day Long Weekend.

It is South Africa’s longest running and largest pop culture event – the prime destination for leading gaming and pop culture experts and anyone looking to celebrate their fantasy world while being immersed in a compelling and exciting storyline. This celebration of gaming, story-telling, role-playing and tech positions ICON CGC as the ideal introduction to gaming for people of all ages and interests.

SA’s most important gathering of geeks, it is seen by industry insiders as being on a par with the best hobby gaming conventions in the world.

There is a geek in all of us. Geeks set the stage for incredible story-telling, and thanks to this, we’re witness to it in mainstream life. Countless big budget sci-fi and fantasy television series and mass market blockbuster movies we see today are based on comics and games, previously seen as the purview of ‘geekdom’ alone. Conventions such as #ICON2017 facilitate a rapidly growing audience being able to join and learn from the geeks who created such entertainment masterpieces. Entertainment that is based on incredible story-telling.

This year ICON raises its ‘game’ substantially, showcasing international guests, local thought leaders, over 40 speaker panels, expert player showdowns, a comedy event and innovative activations including multinational tech giants such as Canon Gigabyte and MakerBot, amongst others. Media Partners, Student Brands and Nickelodeon will ensure that the best moments of this 25th Edition live on beyond the boundaries of the convention.

Whether you’re into card or table-top gaming, LARPing, tech-gaming or Cosplaying, an aspiring author or even a regular console fanatic, the highly acclaimed Convention will help define the how-to of the increasingly mainstream and sophisticated gaming industry. Fantasists, mythologists, tech heads, role-players and more come into an immersive world such as ICON to be inspired, learn, experiment, observe and compete in a celebration of fantasy worlds and story-telling.

“We’ve learnt from a quarter century convening ICON that geeks are no longer on the fringe,” says ICON director Les Allen. “Mainstream media exposure has made their expertise, enthusiasm and points of obsession with hobbies and intellectual pursuits accessible. Gaming and storytelling releases a part of everyone’s being, we just facilitate access to it in a myriad of ways.”

International Cosplay Guest of Honour for #ICON2017, Linda Le, aka “Vampy Bit Me”, is rated as one of the ten most popular cosplayers in the world. Gaming industry insider James Stutter, a published author and the co-creator of the fantasy Pathfinder’ Roleplaying Game and creative director of the new space version Starfinder, also joins the convention. Both will participate in the convention for all three days.

Those looking forward to the much anticipated movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets can win double passes to the film’s first screening in South Africa on 21 July by attending either of two Valerian panels at ICON2017. The panel titled “Create an Alien” will see James designing an alien species from the ground up, based on a world from the Valerian cosmos. Partnering James is Sean Izaakse, current artist on Marvel’s “Avengers” comic book – he’ll be drawing the monster as James designs it.

Local thought leaders in the line-up of panellists include tech analyst and commentator Arthur Goldstuck, and Nikki Bush, well know columnist and specialist in the field of “child play” and development matters.

Visitors to the convention have an opportunity to be real super heroes by visiting the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) drive and donate to help save lives. One lucky donor stands the chance of winning a 3D printed replica of themselves as a superhero – sponsored by MakerBot, the global leader in the 3D printing industry.

As with previous years, the Saturday (17 June) sees six of SA’s funniest comedians take to the stage at the ICON Comedy Evening to make light of geek culture.

EVENT DETAILS:

Venue:             Hall 2, Gallagher Convention Centre

Dates: Friday 16th June / Saturday 17th June / Sunday 18th June

Times:             Friday, Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm

Sunday, 9 am – 5 pm

TICKETING INFORMATION

Tickets are on sale now and start at R120 for a one day pass. Weekend passes and limited VIP tickets available.

Visit the ICON FB page http://www.facebook.com/ICONCGC or the www.iconcgc.co.za website to purchase tickets.

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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