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AppDate: A Mac media makeover

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In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Elmedia Player for Mac, HelpOut, the Enhanced Harry Potter series, MSC Cruises, New Truedialer, Vodacom Video Play, Tag Me, Impossible Super Ninja, 360 Panorama for BlackBerry and WhatsApp Web.

Elmedia Player for Mac

Elmedia Player for Mac is a great application for playing just about any kind of video and media file on a Mac without first having to convert it. Users are able to either stream online movies, or can store them for later viewing. The free version offers standard streaming and viewing of movies, but the pro version lets users download from YouTube, tweak audio settings and take screenshots while videos are playing.

Platform: Apple Mac OS X and above.

Expect to pay: A free download, with the pro version costing around R275

Stockists: Visit mac.eltima.com

 

HelpOut App

The HelpOut App connects households with registered service companies like plumbers, electricians, and taxi drivers. Users don’t need to trawl the Internet or Yellow Pages to find a plumber or electrician as it is all done via the app by using the phone’s location. This also means that users don’t have to wait too long for someone to get to their place. When searching for a service, only authorised companies are listed, ensuring users get the best services.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Enhanced Harry Potter series

Enhanced editions of all seven books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series are now available on the iBooks Store for readers around the world to enjoy on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac. Customers can download individual books featuring full original text, interactive animations and  artwork bringing the stories to life. Harry Potter fans will also find annotations throughout their literary journey, written by the author herself.

Platform: iOS and Apple Mac OS X

Expect to pay: R137 per book.

Stockists: Visit the iBooks Store from an Apple device.

 

MSC Cruises app

The MSC Cruises app offers users features like itineraries, shore excursions and even virtual ship tours. Users can also the browse MSC Cruises’ range of holiday choices and gain insights into cruise destinations. The app also allows users to set push notifications to ensure that they remain updated with the latest news and special offers. Thanks to the global positioning feature, one can also track the MSC fleet across the oceans.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

New Truedialer app

The new Truedialer app includes a more intuitive app design, and a quicker, more convenient way to find contacts. Unlike other dialers, the app offers instant access to relevant information on someone a person is about to call, and fills in missing contact information. The dialer uses a simple and easy to use numeric pad to help find numbers within as well as outside of the device’s phonebook. It comes with Truecaller integration, which offers the ability to identify more than 1.7-billion registered Truecaller numbers.

Platform: Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8 and above, BlackBerry OS 10 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Vodacom Video Play

Video Play is an app that uses spare network capacity to download and cache selected video content at a reduced cost.  Users pre-select their content, which is then downloaded during low-demand periods (typically overnight). Instead of billing per unit of data, Video Play bills in minutes, not megabytes, allowing customers to control and manage their spend. At the moment, users can download content from local producers like eNCA, eTV, Urban Brew and MobiTV.

Platform: Android and Blackberry.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Tag Me

The Tag Me app allows selected friends to track each other in real-time by inviting a friend or group of friends to track them. It also has the ability to pin-point their location and raises the alarm if they go off-route or don’t reach their destination when expected. As a result of this functionality, this feature is also of great value-add for cyclists, hikers, runners and others, as it leaves a ‘bread crumb trail’ via blue dot navigation. The chosen rout is displayed and is updated every 10 seconds – showing total distance and time covered and indicates lost connectivity or stops longer than 10 minutes.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download, but with in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Impossible Super Ninja

In Impossible Super Ninja, players slip into the role of a Ninja. They have to clear towers filled with a range of traps and collect every diamond they find along their journey. They have to scale walls, jump and hop using an innovative one-touch control that is easy to pick up, yet rather hard to master. During the course of the game, users are able to unlock all the ninjas of their clan, which are illustrated in a 2D style.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download, but with loads of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

360 Panorama for BlackBerry

Even though the BlackBerry camera offers a range of great functions, including multiple modes, scenes and aspect ratios, there are still some things it can’t do. One of these is taking panoramic photos. 360 Panorama is an app that allows users to take great surround panorama shots. The app is also simple to use: one can save files or share them instantly.

Platform: BlackBerry OS 10 and above

Expect to pay: R50

Stockists: BlackBerry World.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is a fairly old app, very few people know about it and how helpful it can be. Go to WhatsApp.com, click on WhatApp Web and then scan the barcode displayed through the WhatsApp application on your smart device. Once properly scanned, all current conversations are displayed through your desktop’s browser, allowing you to quickly read and reply to messages without touching your phone.

Platform: Most Internet browsers on a Mac or PC.

Expect to pay: Free to use.

Stocksits: www.whatsapp.com

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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