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4K shift comes to computers

Computer monitors have come a long way from the bulky CRT screens of the 1980s, from plasma screens and LCDs to LED and high definition displays, and now to 4K displays, writes BRUCE BYRNE.

The evolution of the computer screen has delivered ever-clearer picture quality in slimmer form factors with larger displays and more screen real estate. Ultra-HD represents the next step in this chain of evolution, and 4K monitors are now a reality, delivering four times the resolution with four times the detail and four times the picture quality. Available in sizes of up to 40-inches, these large format 4K monitors deliver more than 100cm of extreme viewing clarity, superior contrast ratio including colour replication, and an unprecedented viewing experience ideal for entertainment, business productivity and much more.

Ultra High Definition (UHD) displays, also known as 4K displays, offer screen resolution of 2160 pixels by 3840 pixels. This is four times the resolution of a standard 720 pixel by 1280 pixel HD monitor, which in turn translates into much higher clarity of images and extreme levels of detail never before seen in a computer display. Utilising white solid-state LEDs, 4K monitors enable better dimming control, resulting in a super high contrast ratio, and deliver superior colour reproduction with consistent brightness across the screen. Higher contrast and dynamic image configuration ensure optimal viewing in any conditions. Details are clearer, text is sharper, colours are more true to life, and image quality is more impressive than ever. A wider viewing angle of up to 176 degrees allows images on screen to be viewed accurately from anywhere in a room, and innovative technology even enables users to connect multiple devices side by side to a single monitor for advanced multitasking capability.

This lends 4K monitors perfectly to a wide range of different applications. At home, users can stream movies and view and edit photographs with more clarity and detail than ever. For gamers, these monitors provide a truly immersive experience, allowing the user to get deeper into the world of their games for enhanced play. Numerous connectivity options including USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort make it easy for users to connect a host of peripherals, including set top boxes and Blu-ray players, for ultimate streaming and centralised media access. In addition, Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL), a mobile audio/video interface for directly connecting mobile phones and other portable devices to high-definition displays, offers connectivity for the mobile world. With an optional MHL cable, users can connect MHL-capable devices to the display in seconds for UHD content sharing and simultaneous device charging.

For professional photographers and videographers, more detail is available for more accurate and seamless editing and viewing. In the business space, 4K monitors can help to improve productivity, with more screen space for key applications like spreadsheets and the ability to maintain multiple open windows on the same screen without losing detail and clarity. Specialised applications like scientific imaging can benefit from uncompromising clarity and the ability to view in granular detail, while Computer Aided Design (CAD) can leverage more space, more detail and improved responsiveness and multitasking ability.

In addition to lending itself to multiple applications, 4K monitor technology is also better for the environment and for users themselves. LEDs are free from mercury, making the displays more eco-friendly to manufacture and dispose of. Consistent images displays without screen flicker are better for the eyes, and additional screen space lets users zoom their displays to a level that is comfortable for their individual eyesight. With UHD set to become the next standard in broadcasting and display technology, 4K monitors allow users to benefit now while preparing for the future and protecting their investment.

* Bruce Byrne, Philips Product Specialist at Drive Control Corporation

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Mobile is the new branch

Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month

Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.

MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.

“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.

“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”

She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.

“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history. 

“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”

The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.

“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel. 

“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.   

From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”

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Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses

With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.

Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.

Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.

On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:

  • Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
  • Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
  • Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
  • Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.

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