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Star Wars Reads is back

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Star Wars Reads, now in its fifth year, is celebrating reading this October with Star Wars-themed events around the globe.|Star Wars Reads, now in its fifth year, is celebrating reading this October with Star Wars-themed events around the globe.

This month-long grassroots campaign includes regional and international storytelling events featuring exciting literary programming for Star Wars fans of all ages as their excitement builds for the theatrical release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16, 2016.

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Since the first Star Wars Reads event in 2012, fans have had the opportunity to take part in thousands of events and activities worldwide that encouraged reading through the Star Wars franchise. Top publishers participating in this year’s events include Disney Publishing Worldwide, DK Books, Scholastic, Abrams, Del Rey, Egmont, and many more. Fans can become reading Jedi by taking part in Star Wars-themed games and activities, various author-related signings, and meet and greets in bookstores, libraries, and schools.

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“Over the past five years, the Star Wars Reads campaign has organically grown into an annual event that celebrates reading through the new and familiar stories for families and fans of all ages,” said Jeanne Mosure, senior vice president and group publisher, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “We’re thrilled to continue the momentum in 2016 and invite parents to encourage reading while introducing kids to Star Wars through printed books, graphic novels, and digital stories.”

Star Wars Reads Day in South Africa

This year, South Africans young and old will be able to visit participating stores across the country on Saturday 15 October from 10:00 – 15:00 to experience Star Wars Reads. Fans are invited to dress up for a chance to win exclusive Star Wars hampers to the value of R2000.00, receive special gifts with every Star Wars purchase, take their photo in the special “SHELFIE box” and become reading Jedi with the various printed books, graphic novels and more.

The participating stores, Saturday 15 October from 10:00 – 15:00:

–      Exclusive Books, Shop L56, Sandton City, Sandton, Johannesburg

–      Skoobs Theatre of Books, Shop 74, Montecasino, Fourways, Johannesburg

–      Bargain Books, Shop 312, Woodlands Boulevard, Cnr Garsfontein & De Villiers Mareuil Dr, Pretoria

–      Exclusive Books, Shop LG157, Cavendish Square, Dreyer Street, Claremont, Cape Town

–      Bargain Books, Shop 629 UL, Canal Walk Shopping Centre, Century Boulevard, Century City, Cape Town

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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