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Something on the Side: Dyson’s vacuum really sucks – in a good way

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In this Something on the Side issue, SEAN BACHER reviews the Dyson V6 cordless vacuum, Guardian Eye Lite outdoor camera, Fitbit Charge HR, Seagate Seven 500GB external hard drive and the Amped Wireless AC1750 WiFi extender.

Dyson V6 cordless vacuum

Many cordless or handheld vacuums have been infamous for their lack of suction power. They are great for a few crumbs around the house, but that’s about it. However, this isn’t the case with the Dyson V6. The vacuum creates a cyclonic effect via a magnet that spins110 000 times per minute, generating enough suction to pick up dirt on just about any floor type. The battery will last up to 20 minutes, and there is even a boost mode for really stubborn dirt.

Expect to pay: R5100

Stockists: Visit www.dyson.co.za

Guardian Eye Lite outdoor camera

Once mounted and linked to a WiFi network, the Guardian Eye Lite outdoor camera can be accessed remotely via any smartphone, tablet or computer. It features three infra-red LEDs that display night-mode scenes with brilliant clarity. Features like motion-triggered alerts, an SD card slot and the transmission of audio make it an ideal home security accessory.

Expect to pay: R2549

Stockists: Visit www.voxtelecom.co.za

 

Fitbit Charge HR

The Fitbit Charge HR continually measures a user’s footsteps, distance walked, calories burned and heart rate. This data is then synchronised with a smartphone, giving the wearer an up-to-date overview of daily movements. The Charge HR also includes a silent alarm and displays the date and time. Sleep patterns and times are recorded but, unlike its predecessor, the Charge HR does not have to be manually put into sleep mode.

Expect to pay: R2499

Stockists: Visit www.zastore.co.za

 

Seagate Seven 500GB external hard drive

The Seagate Seven’s enclosure is made entirely of steel, which makes it thin and sturdy. It is compatible with most operating systems and connects via USB 3. In keeping with the drive’s style, Seagate has moved away from the standard USB cable and used a braided design, making it more flexible and easier to use in cramped situations. With its dimensions and weight closely resembling that of a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, the Seagate Seven is a great addition to a business traveler’s backpack.

Expect to pay: R1500

Stockists: Most reputable electronics retail outlets nationwide.

 

Amped Wireless AC1750 WiFi extender

Most users these days have numerous notebooks, TVs, smartphones and computers all connected to their home WiFi network. The problem is that many of these devices sometimes fall outside the range of the WiFi signal. To remedy this, manufacturers have been manufacturing WiFi extenders, but these are often cumbersome and difficult to install and setup. However, with the Amped Wireless AC1750 WiFi extender, users just need to find a suitably placed electrical outlet and plug in the extender. No setup or additional software installation is required and the WiFi coverage is extended by 10 000 square feet. A word of warning, though: before you plug in the extender, make sure your WiFi is properly secured with passwords.

Expect to pay: R2000

Stockists: Visit www.ampedwireless.com

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

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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