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AppDate: Get deleted files back

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In this AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Disk Drill, KaChing Cashless parking, Opera’s Rovio content offering, JustWatch, USB Network Gate, Bang & Olufsen’s BeoHome Design App, MyFord Mobile app, Rush courier and Office Lens.

Disk Drill

Although Apple computers are renowned for being reliable devices that need little to no maintenance, things can go wrong. Disk Drill by CleverFiles allows users to recover lost files from flash drives, memory cards and internal hard drives on a Mac. The program is even able to recover entire partitions that may have disappeared or have been inadvertently deleted. Disk Drill is easy to use: simply click the scan button and wait while it gathers all storage information on the computer. Once done, click on the recently deleted files and hit the recover button. A few minutes later, they will reappear on your computer in their original location.

Platform: Apple OS X and above

Expect to pay: Three versions are available, a free limited Basic version, the Pro version for one user and three Macs for R1 400, and the Enterprise version for an unlimited number of computers or users for R6 400.

Stockists:  www.cleverfiles.com

 

KaChing Cashless parking

Finding money for parking after a long day of shopping is the absolute pits; inevitably the change you need is nowhere to be found and the parking ticket has mysteriously disappeared. Finding it or finding change can add another 30 minutes before you can get out of the shopping mall. A newly-launched app called KaChing removes these hassles. Once the app is downloaded to a phone, input the car’s number plate along with a voucher or credit card details, and you are set to drive in and out without any queuing at the ticket or pay machine. Additional cameras are installed at shopping centre exits and entrances that scan the number plate and automatically debit the loaded credit card or voucher. At the moment the KaChing service is only available at a few shopping malls around South Africa, but the company has plans to roll out the service to more later in the year.

Platform: Most modern smartphones.

Expect to pay: A free app download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Rovio content through Opera Apps Club

Rovio, the creator of Angry Birds, has partnered with Opera to bring its family of games to the Opera Apps Club service. Opera Apps Club subscribers will have access to four of Rovio’s blockbuster titles, including Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Stella and Bad Piggies. Subscribers will also benefit from exclusive deals, promotions and bonuses. These offers are not available in the current free versions of the games and therefore are exclusive to Opera Apps Club subscribers.

Platform: Any device running the Opera Apps Club.

Expect to pay: Free to download but users must be a member of the Opera Apps Club.

Stockists: Access the titles through the Opera Apps Club.

 

JustWatch

With a range of Video on Demand streaming services available in South Africa, it has now become quite difficult to keep up with what content is available on what service. Now, however, there is an app that will help viewers keep track. JustWatch allows one to filter out newly added movies and shows, and search across the various services by genre, IMDB rating or release date. The app even lets a user search for a certain movie based on the cheapest price. The app itself is very easy to use, with a neatly laid out user interface, and is able to search across Netflix, ShowMax, BoxOffice, iTunes, and Mubi, with more providers being added in the future.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

USB Network Gate

The USB Network Gate allows a user to remotely connect USB devices to a computer over a network. Should all your computer’s USB ports be taken, you can still remotely connect to a flash disk or USB camera. According to the company, this can even be done from another country, making it easy to print confidential documents to a remote printer, or access files from an external hard drive without having to lug it around.

Platform: Windows, Linux and OS X

Expect to pay: R1 300

Stockists:  http://www.eltima.com

 

Bang & Olufsen BeoHome Design App

Before going out to spend a good few thousand on one of Bang & Olufsen’s wireless sound systems, it may be a good idea to see how the system will look and function in your lounge. The BeoHome Design app allows a user to virtually place the speakers and sound systems wherever an iPad’s camera is pointed. The user can then select the speaker colour that best suits its surroundings. The app also offers the ability to select the best-sized TV and speaker stands, and lets one move furniture around using augmented reality.

Platform: iPad Mini 2, iPad Air and the iPad Pro.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading instructions.

 

MyFord Mobile app

Although this isn’t exactly the app Pierce Brosnan was using to control his BMW 750iL from the backseat in Tomorrow Never Dies, it does offer some nifty features. The app is designed especially for Ford’s electric car range and can be used on most Android or Apple smartwatches. Once installed and connected to the car, users can view the current range and status of the car’s battery, remotely air condition the car’s cabin and remotely lock and unlock the car. The app will also display the vehicle’s mileage summary, display personal driving habits and even show the user where the car is parked with walking or driving directions to it. (A similar app is available for BMW electric cars)

Platform: Most Android or Apple smartwatches.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your watch.

 

Rush courier app

With Rush, South African consumers no longer need to stand in queues at the post office to get a parcel delivered. The app is installed on top of the WeChat platform and allows users to order a courier to their places of residence at the click of a button. Rush has partnered with Courier Guy, Courier IT, Skynet, RTT and Globeflight, and allows users to choose which company they want to use based on price, delivery time, speed or courier reputation. Rush also offers the choice to insure packages, with insurance underwritten by Hollard Insurance.

Platform: Most devices with WeChat pre-installed.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Office Lens

Office Lens is like having a scanner in your pocket as it makes pictures of whiteboards and docs readable, as well as trimming and enhancing them. It is then able to save them to OneNote, where they can be used as PDFs, Word and PowerPoint documents. The app includes OCR, so that written notes can be converted to characters and the text copied and embedded in documents.

Platform: Windows Phone 8 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Microsoft Windows Store.

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

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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