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AppDate: Pay-it-forward with uKheshe

SEAN BACHER highlights uKheshe, BitterWorld, Stash, WPS Office and Yoosee in his application roundup.

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uKheshe

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uKheshe, a pay-it-forward type app developed by Jini Guru, allows users to tip car guards, pay gardeners or offer people small amounts of money when they don’t have any spare change lying around. The app works with a simple tap of a QR code. The person being tipped needs to have a uKheshe QR card that is linked to their cellphone and the person paying needs to have the app installed on their phone.

A unique feature of this service is that the recipient does not need a bank account. A simple cell phone capable of USSD will suffice.

The payer selects the amount they wish to pay, then scans the QR code. The recipient is able to check their balance and withdraw cash by using the USSD code *120*82274# following the instructions and visiting the nearest Pick n Pay store. App users can top up their uKheshe balance via credit or debit card.

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: A free download: 

Stockists: The app can be downloaded here and recipients can sign up for the card directly from the uKheshe website here.

BitterWorld

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Instead of expressing your frustrations with sub-quality services and products on Facebook, there is now an app that allows you to do it without clogging up friends’ timelines. The BitterWorld app is specifically designed for users to tag companies and connect with people who have had similar issues. The app includes a skull and crossbones rating system, and offers the ability to post images, videos and a store’s location.

According to the app developers, once you have shared your thoughts and feelings, you start to relax. Doubtful, but many people may “relax” once their rants are made public.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Download the iOS version here and the Android app here.

Stash 

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Stash, an app that invests small amounts of money in users banks accounts, has recently changed its policies in line with Google’s new privacy requirements. In the past, the app would use the bank’s transactional SMSs to detect every swipe of a debit, credit or cheque card. It would then collect spare change and invest it in a tax-free savings account.

Now users will have to manually select how much money they want to stash. The new “Daily Stashing” feature  allows users to stash from R5 a day to R100.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Liberty website here to download the app suited to your device.

WPS Office

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When you are on the move it is not always feasible to start up your notebook for one or two quick changes to Microsoft Office documents sent to you.

WPS is an Office Suite application that is fully compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The app also allows for the editing of PDFs, text documents and Google docs.

Users can also convert Office documents into PDFs and then share them with colleagues. Data encryption is offered and documents can be uploaded directly to the Cloud Drive.

The app’s user interface is clutter-free and very intuitive – allowing one to draw circles around errors and make changes directly from a mobile device.

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: The app can be downloaded from the Google Play store here.

Yoosee

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With Internet security cameras becoming as commonplace as fridges in homes, the market is flooded with imports that don’t come with their own monitoring systems. The Yoosee app is designed to bridge that gap by giving users the ability to connect almost any IP camera to their mobile phone and activate them when not at home. The app offers notifications when the camera senses motion and allows one to zoom and pan.

Once a camera has been activated users can take images and even record directly to their phone – although this will use quite a bit of data.

Yoosee also allows for multiple cameras to be connected and up to six users can be connected to each camera.

Platform: Android, iOS and Windows Phone

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Yoosee website here and download the app suited to your device.

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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