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
Now download a bank account
Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.
This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.
“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.
“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”
The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:
- Download the Absa App
- Choose the account you would like to open
- Tell us who you are
- To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
- Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
- Tell us where you live
- Let us know what you do for a living and your income
- Click Apply.
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.
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.