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AppDate: 20 of the greatest Google Easter Eggs

In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights 20 of the greatest Easter Eggs hidden in Google, Facebook Watch, BBM Scratch2Win, the camera update to the latest Nokia phones, and Opera News for Africa.

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20 of the best Easter Eggs hidden in Google

Bored at work? Or looking for something fun  to take you mind off the mundane? The programmers over at Google have built a range of Easter Eggs or hidden programs into their search engine, accessible through the Google home page.

Here are the top 20:

– Typing “Google in 1998” into the search bar will take you on a trip down memory lane — the results page is formatted exactly the way Google appeared in 1998.  

 – Search “Build with chrome” and click “I’m feeling luckily” for a game of LEGO.

 – Type “play snake” into your search bar to play a round of your favourite Nokia 5110 game, albeit with sleeker interface and sound-effects.

 – Type “pacman” into your search bar to fire up a round of catch with your favourite gameboy critters.

 – Heads or Tails – making tough decisions remains just as easy as it was back in the day: Type “flip a coin” into your search bar and Google will do just that – flip a coin!

 – If the decision you need to make is a little bit more complicated you can always search “roll a die.”

 – Naughts & Crosses – search for “tic-tac-toe” to challenge your computer to a game.

 – Searching for “sonic the hedgehog” will call up an interactive Sonic logo complete with sound effect and iconic spin.

 – Search for “solitaire” to play a round against the computer.

 – Launch an image search of “Atari breakout” to play the game. 

 – Search for “zerg rush” to play a game and improve your mouse-eye coordination while you’re at it.

 – Search “I’m feeling curious” for a Chappies-esque fun fact.

 – Disable your internet connection, then go to your Chrome browser and hit the spacebar to call up a game of T-Rex Runner where you help the pixelated dinosaur navigate a cactus obstacle course.

 – Search “spinner” and you can toggle between a number spinning wheel and a fidget spinner.

 – Search “internet speed test” to check how fast your connection is running.

 – Search “breathing exercise” if you are feeling a bit stressed and just follow the instructions to calm yourself down.

 – Type “Google gravity” into search bar and click “I’m feeling lucky” and watch your browser succumb to the force.

 – Type “epic google” into the search bar and click “I’m feeling lucky” to see just how big Google can get.

 – Search “blink html” to see a canny demonstration of basic coding. 

 – Type “Google sphere” into the search bar and click “I’m feeling lucky” to orbital results.

 

Facebook Watch

A while ago Facebook unveiled its Watch application, and has recently made it available to users world-wide. And no, it’s not a wristwatch.

Facebook Watch allows users to find shows and video creators they like and start conversations with friends, other fans, and even the creators themselves. Since its launch Facebook has made the experience more social — such as making it easier to see which videos friends have liked or shared, creating shows that have audience participation at their core, and the ability to open Watch videos from Facebook pages.

Facebook Watch offers the following features:

 – A place to discover new videos: Find the latest videos spanning entertainment, sports, news, in a personalised Watch feed.

 – A way to catch up with creators and publishers: At the top of the Watch, a Watchlist shows a collection of recent videos from Pages being followed. Users can customise this section by following more Pages or removing Pages from their list.

 – An option to save for later viewing.

Platform: Any smartphone with or desktop with the latest version of Facebook.

Stockists: Visit www.facebook.com

Cost: Free to use.

 

BBM Scratch2Win

Available in the BBM Discover menu via the Scratch2Win icon, Scratch2Win requires users to register their profile the first time they access the service. They are then presented with a list of active mobile scratch card campaigns. Each campaign requires the user to answer a short survey or poll, which then generates a unique mobile scratch card, revealing instant rewards and prizes. Airtime and data prizes are topped up instantly to users’ mobile accounts, while digital coupons and vouchers are stored in prize wallets for redemption at participating brands and retailers. In addition to instant prizes, users can also win entries into grand prize draws.

Platform: A BlackBerry smartphone running the latest version of BBM.

Stockists: Visit the Scratch2Win option via BBM.

Cost: Free to use.

 

Camera update for the lates Nokia smartphones

HMD Global has added an update for Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 6.1 devices, focused on the imaging offering of the phones. It is now easier to switch between aspect ratios and shooting functions, as well as adjusting parameters within different camera modes, such as the intensity of effects like Bokeh and Beautify.

Google Lens has also been integrated directly into the viewfinder, using augmented reality to add additional information to each image as it is taken.

The update supports Google Motion, enabling short videos to be shared directly to messaging services and social media as GIFs. 

Platform: The Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 6.1 range of smartphones.

Stockists: Check for the updates under the setting menu of the phone.

Cost: A free download.

 

Opera News for Africa

Opera News for Africa is an  AI-powered app which allows people to access news articles and trending videos without high data use. It follows Opera’s recent announcement that its AI-powered news service inside Opera Mini grew to more than 100 million active users in less than a year.

The app runs off a “recommendation engine” designed to keep readers on top of their selected news, entertainment and video categories. The engine gets smarter the more it is used, as it is able to drill down and deliver even more personalised content based on a user’s likes and dislikes. Opera News is able to save up to 80% of mobile data use, thanks to its data-saving capabilities. 

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Cost: A free service.

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Netflix lifts lid on first Nigerian Original

The streaming giant is set to increase its investment in Nigerian and African entertainment

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Back row (From L-R): Banky W, Ted Sarandos (Netflix Chief Content Officer), Kate Henshaw, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Felipe Tewes (Netflix Italian & African Originals Director), Omoni Oboli, Ben Amadasun (Netflix Africa Licensing Director) and Akin Omotoso Front Row (L-R) Mo Abudu, Adesua Etomi, Dorothy Ghettuba (Netflix African Originals lead) , Kunle Afolayan, Kemi Adetiba and Ramsey Noah.

The working title is the “Akin Omotoso Project”, but the world will soon get to know it by a snappier title. It is the first African original scripted series from Nigeria commissioned by Netflix. To be directed by Akin Omotoso, with Daniel Oriahi and CJ Obasi, it is planned to be a six-part series.

Netflix this week announced that it will increase its investment in Nigeria’s creative community, starting with the Akin Omotoso Project,

The series will star Kate Henshaw and Ade Laoye in leading roles, alongside other Nollywood greats and fresh faces, such as Richard Mofe Damijo, Joke Silva, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Kehinde Bankole, Ayoola Ayolola, Toyin Oshinaike, Goodness Emmanuel, Ireti Doyle, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Bimbo Akintola, Tope Tedela and Ijeoma Grace Agu.

Set in modern-day Nigeria and shot in Lagos, this drama tells the story of Kemi, a goddess reincarnated as a human to avenge her sister’s death. But first, she must learn how to use and harness her superpowers to defeat her enemies and save her family from destruction. The series will be produced by Rififi Pictures.

Over the last year, Netflix has started to invest in the creative community – bringing Nigerian stories to audiences all around the world. These include: popular movies such as Merry Men, The Real Yoruba Demons, The Wedding Party 2, King of Boys; Nollywood classics like The CEO, October 1 and The Figurine; and films by renowned Nigerian director, Kunle Afolayan, such as Mokalik. These much loved Nigerian movies will join Nollywood favorites such as Chief Daddy, Lion Heart and box office hit, The Bling Lagosians.   

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer said: “Movies like King of Boys, Merry Men and The Bling Lagosian have shown how much our members love Nigerian movies. So we’re incredibly excited to be investing in Made in Nigeria stories – bringing them to audiences all around the world”. 

Dorothy Ghettuba, who leads African Originals at Netflix, said: “I’m excited that in the same week that we’re launching Queen Sono, we had the opportunity to be here in Lagos with Nigerian storytellers to share plans of our first Nigerian original production. Our continent has a wealth of diversity, multiplicity and beauty in stories that have yet to be told and we want to be top of mind for creators in Nigeria, especially when it comes to stories they haven’t had a chance to tell yet.” 

Last month, Netflix enabled Nigerian members to pay for its service in Naira – making it easier for subscribers to use Netflix. Members can enjoy a wide range of diverse, quality entertainment, including African Originals like Queen Sono, which launches this Friday, 28 February. Other African Originals launching this year include Blood & Water and Mama K’s Team 4. 

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Load-shedding generator could blow your insurance

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Load shedding is going to remain a reality in South Africa for at least the next 18 months as Eskom conducts maintenance on its ageing power plants – but don’t go rushing off to buy your own alternative power supply without first checking how it’ll affect your home insurance.

That’s the warning from King Price’s partner of client experience, Wynand van Vuuren, who says it’s vital that alternative power supplies like generators are installed and certified by accredited electricians. If these devices are installed or used incorrectly, you might not be covered for any damages that may result.

“There’s been a huge upsurge in the number of people using portable generators to keep a few basic essentials going when the power goes off,” says Van Vuuren. “But what most people don’t know is that you’ve got to have them installed professionally by an electrician. You can’t just stick your generator in the garage with an extension cord running through the window.”

Here are Van Vuuren’s top tips for staying covered and charged safely during load shedding.

Do your homework

Know what your alternative power options are, and the pros and cons of each.

An inverter changes DC power from a battery into AC power that you can use to operate all kinds of devices. Obviously, it needs a battery pack to be useful. These batteries are either charged by solar or from the grid while the power is on.

A portable generator is a little generator on wheels that you see people buying in their dozens at Makro and Builders Warehouse over the weekend. They’re relatively cheap and easy to operate, but can’t keep big appliances running.

Stationary generators are usually slightly bigger units that are installed permanently, and switch on automatically when the power goes off. They’re more expensive, but have greater capacity.

Stay safe – and covered

Apart from keeping your lights on, the different power options all have one thing in common: they must comply with safety guidelines, and be installed by a professional.

“I know of guys who take their portable generators to a different mate’s house every weekend so they can watch the rugby during load shedding,” says Van Vuuren. “It’s not as smart an idea as you think: not only is the generator not covered, but any possible damage caused by the generator won’t be covered either, because it’s not properly installed.”

It’s also essential that portable generators are operated in open areas with good air flow, to prevent carbon monoxide build-up, and that fuel is stored safely in an area with adequate ventilation.

Keep your bases covered

If you’re using a generator or an inverter, make sure they power your electric fence, gate and alarm as well, as burglars are all too quick to exploit opportunities caused by power outages. If you don’t have an alternative power supply, make sure your fence, gate and alarm have a battery back-up that’s sufficient to see you through your darkest moments.

Oh, and make sure your generator’s insured as well, in case it’s stolen or struck by lightning. You would typically insure a portable generator under your home. A stationary (standby) generator becomes a fixed fitting once installed and must, therefore, be added to your buildings cover.

Beat the downs with UPS

Another major headache for South Africans is the power surge that can happen when the power is switched back on after load shedding, with big-ticket appliances like dishwashers, televisions, fridges, coffee machines and sound systems all at risk.

“We’ve seen claims for ‘fried’ computer equipment, appliances and even distribution boards caused by power surges,” says Van Vuuren. “This can be avoided by installing a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) – which doesn’t come cheap – but is advisable to at least protect costly items, like TVs and sound systems, and items with intrinsic value, like laptops.

“The other alternative is to manually disconnect your more sensitive appliances from the power supply and reconnect them after the electricity is switched back on.”

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