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AppDate: Better handsfree email with messageLOUD

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights messageLOUD, TakeAction, Folx 5 Mac download manager, Tetris Twist and Opera – now with ad blocking.|In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights messageLOUD, TakeAction, Folx 5 Mac download manager, Tetris Twist and Opera – now with ad blocking.

messageLOUD gets upgraded

messageLOUD has just been upgraded to read emails without the annoying signature detail thrown in. This is an eyes-free smartphone app that automatically reads your texts, WhatsApp messages and mails out loud, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. The beta version of the app was originally launched in January, but the final version is now available for download, says South African Garin Toren, Founder and CEO of messageLOUD. When activated, messageLOUD will tell users who is calling, read e-mails in their inbox and will pause music for calls or navigation directions. The app is designed to skip promotional e-mails and its new signature parsing algorithm means all the contact details at the end of a message won’t be read out either.

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store.



The TakeAction app is designed to help users log service delivery requests quickly and easily. It uses a smartphone’s GPS location and allows users to specify the problem – whether it be a pothole, accident, broken robot or emergency. All incidents reported in an area are grouped together and sent to the appropriate service provider for action.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.


Folx 5 Mac download manager

In addition to allowing Mac users to manage their downloads easily, Folx 5 also acts as a torrent client. The free version offers a very basic download and torrent option, whereas the pro version will let one split downloads into threads for quicker downloading. The pro version also offers a scheduler, speed control, iTunes integration, password manager and the ability to search torrents.

Platform: Mac OS 10 and above

Expect to pay: A free download with the pro version R280

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading instructions.


Tetris Twist

Tetris Twist is a new take on the iconic Tetris game. It is HTML 5 based and currently offers 100 levels of gameplay, including multiple levels that players can unlock. One is taken through various cities, including New York, Tokyo, London, Paris, and Amsterdam, with more to be added. Tetris Twist also features new mechanics, such as Gravity mode where Tetriminos rise “up” instead of falling down, Hourglass mode in which Tetriminos are mixed-up as you would see in an hour glass, and Score Cells mode where select cells in the Matrix must be filled with Tetriminos to receive extra bonus points.

Platform: Most computers and tablets with an up-to-date browser running HTML 5

Expect to pay: Free to play.



Opera – now with ad blocking

The latest Opera browser now incorporates an ad blocking feature, resulting in a dramatic decrease in web page loading times. The improved performance is possible because the filtering happens at the web-engine level – or before the page is downloaded to a computer –

where the browser can fully control the loading process of the page. This is something most extensions do only once the page has loaded. The feature can be switched off, and the ad-blocking feature comes with a benchmark so users can see how much ads and tracking software affect page-loading times.

Platform: Most computers running the latest Opera version.

Expect to pay: A free download.


* Sean Bacher is editor of Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher


Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

Leader in cloud-data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

In South Africa, Veeam expects similar growth. Speaking at the Cisco Connect conference in Sun City this week, country manager Kate Mollett told Gadget’s BRYAN TURNER that the company was doing exceptionally well in this market.

“In financial year 2018, we saw double-digit growth, which was really very encouraging if you consider the state of the economy, and not so much customer sentiment, but customers have been more cautious with how they spend their money. We’ve seen a fluctuation in the currency, so we see customers pausing with big decisions and hoping for a recovery in the Rand-Dollar. But despite all of the negatives, we have double digit growth which is really good. We continue to grow our team and hire.

“From a Veeam perspective, last year we were responsible for Veeam Africa South, which consisted of South Africa, SADC countries, and the Indian Ocean Islands. We’ve now been given the responsibility for the whole of Africa. This is really fantastic because we are now able to drive a single strategy for Africa from South Africa.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ funded

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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