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AppDate: DStv Now spreads its wings

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights three new versions of the DStv Now app, Moya Messenger, SANewsLIVE, WhatsApp’s Enterprise Solutions and MTN Asphalt Cup.

New DStv Now apps

MultiChoice has recently added three new versions of its streaming content app – DStv Now. The new apps can now be downloaded on selected Samsung TVs, Apple TV devices from 4th generation up and Google Certified media players running Android TV.

The DStv Now app service features live sports, live TV, shows and movies in the Catch Up library. It can, however, only be used by those who have a DStv subscription, as account details will need to be entered to activate it.

When originally launched in 2014, the idea behind the app was to give DStv subscribers a means to watch TV while not at home. However, it has also turned into a great method for allowing family members to watch their preferred shows on different devices at home. For instance, one person could be watching the Discovery Channel via the decoder while another could be watching Cartoon Network via the DStv Now app on a tablet or phone, or even on another TV in the house.

Although the DStv Now app is only available on certain devices, MulitChoice says it will soon be available for LG TVs, as well as a range of additional mobile devices.

Platform: Selected Samsung smart TVs, Apple TV devices, Google Certified media players

Cost: A free download – but a DStV subscription is needed.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Moya Messenger

The newly announced Moya Messenger was developed in South Africa and functions much the same as WhatsApp, but with one fundamental difference. It doesn’t need data to work. This is made possible by telco reverse bilging where biNu – the company that developed the app – pays for all messages that pass through Moya Messenger.

Moya Messenger offers unlimited texting, group chats, end-to-end security with automatic encryption of all messages, and automatic contact discovery that allows users to connect with others using the Moya app. Moya users are always logged on, so won’t miss a message, and all their messages are saved when their phones are switched off.

Although messages are free, sending video, images and other rich content does use airtime or data and users are warned when they will incur mobile data costs, or need to switch to Wi-Fi to send media files.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockist: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

SANewsLIVE,

Tiso Blackstar has launched SANewsLIVE, a mobile news-reading app that provides users with content from Tiso Blackstar’s existing websites without incurring data costs. The app has been developed for the cost-conscious consumer market or those who can’t afford large amounts of data each month, but still want to keep up to date with current news and events. SANewsLIVE delivers South African breaking news 24 hours a day and covers local, world, sports, entertainment, celebrity and business news produced round the clock by the Tiso Blackstar editorial team.

Unfortunately, in order to offset the cost of free news, users are inundated with 10 second videos, which they cannot opt out of, before they can read an article or access any video.

All major cellular networks support the SANewsLIVE service and users can download the app with a zero data balance.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download and service

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

WhatsApp’s Enterprise Solutions

Most companies still use SMS to communicate with their customers. However this is not an ideal means of communication anymore –  mainly due to the confines of the short message. A new message delivery service developed by Praekelt.org and WhatsApp now allows users to customise a delivery profile, when signing up with a company, that will enable the company to deliver WhatApp messages based on that profile. For instance, users can decide what language that want their messages to appear in and what time they should arrive. In addition, a WhatsApp message allows for the delivery of rich content, for example the inclusion of video and images, making the message more personal.

The Praekelt WhatsApp starter plan provides a single WhatsApp number, natural language support, quick replies, FAQ management and an API for 3rd party integrations.

The service is still in a Beta launch. Those interested can sign up here: www.praekelt.org/whatsapp/

 

MTN Asphalt Cup

MTN has modified the Asphalt Cup racing game to give it a local look and feel and has set up a tournament to run from 17 August to 2 September, with gamers competing to win up to R87500 in weekly prizes. Winners are entered into the leaderboard, with eight of them getting the chance to compete in the final at Comic Con Africa event from 14 to 16 September. The winner will take home R250 000.

To participate, download the game from mtnasphaltcup.mobi or dial *464*80#.

Platform: And Android smartphone.

Cost: A free download.

Stockist: Visit: mtnasphaltcup.mobi or dial *464*80#.

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Eugene Kaspersky posts from 2050

In his imagined blog entry from the year 2050, the Kaspersky Lab founder imagines an era of digital immunity

In recent years, digital systems have moved up to a whole new level. No longer assistants making life easier for us mere mortals, they’ve become the basis of civilisation — the very framework keeping the world functioning properly in 2050.

This quantum leap forward has generated new requirements for the reliability and stability of artificial intelligence. Although some cyberthreats still haven’t become extinct since the romantic era around the turn of the century, they’re now dangerous only to outliers who for some reason reject modern standards of digital immunity.

The situation in many ways resembles the fight against human diseases. Thanks to the success of vaccines, the terrible epidemics that once devastated entire cities in the twentieth century are a thing of the past.

However, that’s where the resemblance ends. For humans, diseases like the plague or smallpox have been replaced by new, highly resistant “post-vaccination” diseases; but for the machines, things have turned out much better. This is largely because the initial designers of digital immunity made all the right preparations for it in advance. In doing so, what helped them in particular was borrowing the systemic approaches of living systems and humans.

One of the pillars of cyber-immunity today is digital intuition, the ability of AI systems to make the right decisions in conditions where the source data are clearly insufficient to make a rational choice.

But there’s no mysticism here: Digital intuition is merely the logical continuation of the idea of machine learning. When the number and complexity of related self-learning systems exceeds a certain threshold, the quality of decision-making rises to a whole new level — a level that’s completely elusive to rational understanding. An “intuitive solution” results fromthe superimposition of the experience of a huge number of machine-learning models, much like the result of the calculations of a quantum computer.

So, as you can see, it has been digital intuition, with its ability to instantly, correctly respond to unknown challenges that has helped build the digital security standards of this new era.  

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M-Net to film Deon Meyer novel

A television adaptation of Deon Meyer’s crime novel Trackers is to be co-produced by M-Net, Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF, and HBO subsidiary Cinemax, which will also distribute the drama series worldwide. 

Trackers is an unprecedented scripted television venture and MultiChoice and M-Net are proud to chart out new territory … allowing local and international talent to combine their world-class story-telling and production skills,” says MultiChoice CEO of General Entertainment, Yolisa Phahle.

HBO, Cinemax, and M-Net also launched a Producers Apprenticeship programme last year when the Cinemax series Warrior, coming to M-Net in July, was filmed in South Africa. Some other Cinemax originals screened on M-Net include Banshee, The Knick and Strike Back. 

“Cinemax is delighted to partner with M-Net and ZDF in bringing Deon Meyer’s unforgettable characters and storytelling—all so richly rooted in the people and spectacular geography of South Africa—to screens around the world,” says Len Amato, President, HBO Films, Miniseries, and Cinemax.    

Filming for Trackers has already started in  locations across South Africa and the co-production partners have been working together on all aspects of production 

Deon Meyer, whose award-winning crime novels have been translated into more than 20 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide, serves as a supervising screenwriter and co-producer; British writer Robert Thorogood (Death in Paradise) is the showrunner. The team of South African writers on the project includes the Mitchell’s Plain playwright, screenwriter and director Amy Jephta (Die Ellen Pakkies Story) and local writer/directors Kelsey Egen and Jozua Malherbe. 

The cast for the six-part miniseries includes Ed Stoppard, Rolanda Marais, James Alexander and Thapelo Mokoena. 

Trackers will make its debut on M-Net 101 in October 2019 and will also be available on MultiChoice’s on-demand service, Showmax. The six-part drama series is produced by UK production company Three River Studios as well as South Africa’s Scene 23. 

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