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AppDate: Bloodhound rockets onto smart devices

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In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Bloodhound Blast, CrashDetech, the latest GarageBand, Samsung’s free access to the Google Play Music store and Folx 5 download manager for Mac.

Bloodhound Blast

Want to know how fast the Bloodhound rocket car will go? How it works? Where it will be driven? Yes, in South Africa! But where, exactly? Sure, one can research all these details on the Internet, but there is also an app offering all this and more. The Bloodhound Blast app gets the user up-close with the car, the team and the technology behind the entire project. It includes great images with data on the cockpit, the propulsion system and the aerodynamics, as well as a quiz to see how much you know about Project Bloodhound.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists:  Visit the store linked to your device.

 

CrashDetech

CrashDetech is a smartphone application which, once set up, automatically detects a serious car crash, pinpoints the location and immediately dispatches the nearest ambulance and supplies paramedics with lifesaving information. The app will put you in touch with a trained paramedic to provide life-saving assistance like CPR until emergency services arrive on the scene. CrashDetech also enables users to manage their Road Accident Fund claim, should it apply.

Chivas Regal recently named Jaco Gerrits, founder and CEO of CrashDetech as the South African winner of their Social Entrepreneurship competition, The Venture. He is now one of 27 finalists competing for a share of US$1 000 000 in funding.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: Various subscription options depending on services needed.

Stockists: www.crashdetech.com

 

GarageBand update

The latest version of GarageBand is dedicated to the rich history of Chinese music. It includes a range of Chinese music and instruments, like the pipa and erhu, along with 300 Apple-created Chinese musical loops. Users will also get two new Chinese templates for Live Loops, and new sharing options for popular Chinese social networks.

Platform: iOS or Mac OS 10 and above.

Expect to pay: A free update.

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading information.

 

Free access to Google Play Music for Samsung S7 users

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge users now have free six month access to the Google Play Music store – with unlimited downloads. Customers will have access to over 35-million ad-free songs and can also stream radio stations. They also have the option to add up to 50 000 songs to their own music collection, which can be streamed from almost anywhere in the world.

Platform: Only Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge devices

Expect to pay: Free for the first six months.

Stockists: Access the Google Play Music store from an S7 device.

 

Folx 5 download manager for Mac

Downloading apps, games, music and movies can sometimes take ages – especially if the server one is connected to becomes overcrowded. However, with Folx 5, one can easily manage downloads by tagging and prioritising them. To speed things up, the app is able to split into two threads and then put it back together once it is completed. The app offers the same classic look and feel of the Mac operating system so getting used to it should take no time at all.

Platform: Mac OS 10 and above.

Expect to pay: Two versions are available, a free one with very basic functionality and the pro version with costs R300

Stockists: Visit www.mac.eltima.com

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

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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