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AppDate: Better handsfree email with messageLOUD

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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.

 

TakeAction

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.

Stockists: www.coolgames.com

 

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.

Stockists: www.opera.com

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

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Street art goes electric

Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.

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The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.

The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.

D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.

D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.

“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”

As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”

Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”

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