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Solutions to back up your life

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With digital photos replacing photo albums and our ownership of books, music and the like becoming increasingly invisible, individuals and households are faced with the challenge of safeguarding their digital legacy for years to come. Here are some solutions.

They are in our pockets, in our bags, on our desks, on our kitchen worktops, on our bedside tables, in our cars, those hundreds of photos, videos, music that make up the sound track and the back drop of your life as you know it. As the amount of digital content that the average person carries around with them on laptops, smartphones and tablets continues to grow, so does the risk of losing it.

Storage leaders WD says that the democratisation of content creation tools such as digital cameras go hand in hand with our human inability to let go of the content that we create; in essence we just keep everything. But what’s your backup plan?

WD has put together its top four back up tips so consumers can put together their own backup plan:

1.       Don’t wait until it is too late – so if you like it, make a copy of it. A backup means having no less than two copies of any data you deem valuable and external hard drives are a great way to backup files. They offer great value for money, are fast, and offer larger storage capacity than USB sticks, CDs and DVDs.

2.       Automatic backup software to the rescue. Like a jet plane with more than one engine, you need a backup. If your files are backed up and an important file is lost, you can relax because you have a copy. Use automatic backup software like WD Backup to set a backup schedule that suits you. Automatic and continuous backup runs quietly in the background and back up your files every time you add or change and save a file. With scheduled backup, you choose the day, time and frequency of your backups.

3.       Keep your private stuff private. Just as your smartphone has a password, so should your hard drive. Feel secure from unauthorised access using WD Backup to add password protection and 256-bit hardware encryption for every photo, video, music and important file you save.

4.       Keep copies in different places: a backup of a backup of a backup. Make sure that you have at least two copies of your most important files. Several backups on different devices and in different locations reduces your risk of complete data loss. Remember that simply moving important files (i.e. maintaining only one copy of the data) from your computer to a hard drive is not backup but storage, so your files are still at risk of being lost should anything happen. WD software can also allow you to back up to your Dropbox account, providing you with another level of file protection for ultimate peace of mind.

“We urge consumers to backup all of their personal data, regardless of platform,” says Anamika Budree, Sales Manager, Branded Products at WD South Africa. “It’s more than just the purchase of a hard drive; we want to help consumers ensure that their content is safeguarded with the help of automatic backup software like WD Backup, which is an integral part of My Passport Ultra hard drives. We would like highlight this stark reminder of the value of personal content; priceless and irreplaceable memories that we’d hate to lose.”

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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