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Will Netflix break your (data) bank?

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The arrival of Netflix in South Africa offers a viable solution to costly paid-for TV solution, but will our current Internet capacity be able to handle its demands? asks GREG WRIGHT, Product Owner at Webafrica.

The arrival of Netflix in South Africa promises an alternative to current and expensive TV services on offer – that of being able to stream hundreds of popular movies and TV shows in real time, on demand, whether it be from your smartphone, tablet or computer. While this is good news for our increasingly tech-savvy population, this new development also raises the question of what kind of Internet data and streaming capacity is necessary to make use of a service like Netflix – and whether it is an affordable alternative.

The Netflix revolution is good news for South Africans – among others, there is no more need to hide your location using VPN connections or sneak around with 3rd party apps. All you really need is a decent Internet connection, be it fibre, ADSL or mobile. If you are concerned with saving your data, there is added good news: with Netflix, you have the ability to actually set your bandwidth consumption within your Netflix account by setting the quality of your video.

Contrary to popular belief, a decent Internet connection that will allow you to use a streaming service like Netflix does not have to break the bank. In fact, it might be cost efficient in the long run.

Take fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), for example: FTTH allows users to stream footage on demand, without buffering. Unlike ADSL, with FTTH there is no requirement to couple Telkom voice lines with a fibre line. Saying goodbye to Telkom voice lines means a monthly saving of R186 per month. Due to its super-streaming abilities, there is also less of a need for expensive satellite TV subscriptions. Many fibre customers end up cancelling their satellite subscriptions, or at least downgrade them to a cheaper package. The cherry on top is that fibre is more affordable than people think. For example, there are packages where a 20/2Mbps fibre line with a 200GB data bundle and free router and setup retail for R769 per month.  A package like this should fulfil all the needs of an average-sized family. And if you have said goodbye to Telkom and satellite TV, it’s a win-win.

Currently, internet over fibre is only available in certain towns and suburbs where the cables have physically been laid. To see if it’s hit your neighbourhood yet, click here: http://bit.ly/1GpUGst

If the growing fibre network has not hit your neighbourhood just yet, your next best option for streaming Netflix movies and series is to get an ADSL package. There are various packages available – a capped account for streaming services is a good option as it is on a higher bandwidth priority. Again, this kind of bundle will not break the bank. For example, a 100GB capped package retails for R199 per month.

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Samsung unfolds the future

At the #Unpacked launch, Samsung delivered the world’s first foldable phone from a major brand. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK tried it out.

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Everything that could be known about the new Samsung Galaxy S10 range, launched on Wednesday in San Francisco, seems to have been known before the event.

Most predictions were spot-on, including those in Gadget (see our preview here), thanks to a series of leaks so large, they competed with the hole an iceberg made in the Titanic.

The big surprise was that there was a big surprise. While it was widely expected that Samsung would announce a foldable phone, few predicted what would emerge from that announcement. About the only thing that was guessed right was the name: Galaxy Fold.

The real surprise was the versatility of the foldable phone, and the fact that units were available at the launch. During the Johannesburg event, at which the San Francisco launch was streamed live, small groups of media took turns to enter a private Fold viewing area where photos were banned, personal phones had to be handed in, and the Fold could be tried out under close supervision.

The first impression is of a compact smartphone with a relatively small screen on the front – it measures 4.6-inches – and a second layer of phone at the back. With a click of a button, the phone folds out to reveal a 7.3-inch inside screen – the equivalent of a mini tablet.

The fold itself is based on a sophisticated hinge design that probably took more engineering than the foldable display. The result is a large screen with no visible seam.

The device introduces the concept of “app continuity”, which means an app can be opened on the front and, in mid-use, if the handset is folded open, continue on the inside from where the user left off on the front. The difference is that the app will the have far more space for viewing or other activity.

Click here to read about the app experience on the inside of the Fold.

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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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