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Batman turns 1000

As Batman turns 80, a special 1000th edition of Detective Comics wows his followers.

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As fans across the globe celebrate Batman’s 80th birthday Saturday, March 30, the comic book series that first launched the crime fighting adventures of the world’s most popular super hero reached a milestone this week with the release of DC’s Detective Comics #1000. Pre-orders for the 96-page oversize collector’s edition have passed 600, 000. The issue features star writers and artists paying tribute to an iconic pop culture character, honoring Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27 on March 30, 1939.

The 1,000th issue of Detective Comics, the title from which the DC brand itself was born, celebrates Batman through a series of seven-to-nine-page standalone short stories. A highlight of the issue is an original story revealing a never-before-seen iteration of the Arkham Knight, written by New York Times best-selling author Peter J. Tomasi (Batman and Robin, Detective Comics, Batman: Arkham Knight) with artwork by Doug Mahnke (Batman: The Man Who Laughs, Blackest Night).

“Detective Comics #1000 is a remarkable milestone in Batman’s publishing history and he’s had a seismic cultural impact on fans for eight decades,” said DC publisher Dan DiDio. “As one of DC’s most iconic Super Heroes, Batman has inspired every writer and artist who contributed to this book, and we can’t wait for fans to connect with these new stories that celebrate the entire Bat-universe.”

This must-have collector’s item also features an all-star array of top writers and artists in Batman’s recent history, including Tom King, Tony S. Daniel, Joëlle Jones, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Warren Ellis, Becky Cloonan and more. Detective Comics #1000 is available now at comics retailers and digitally for $9.99.

The release of Detective Comics #1000 follows the spectacular oversize hardcover Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman The Deluxe Edition, also available now. From guest editor Paul Levitz, the hardcover volume is packed with classic reprints of the Caped Crusader’s most memorable adventures. Featuring an all-new cover by Jim Lee, several unpublished treasures and a foreword from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the celebratory book includes essays looking at Batman from extraordinary perspectives, including Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Glen David Gold, Denny O’Neil, former San Diego police chief Shelley Zimmerman and pulp historian Anthony Tollin.

This weekend, fans across the globe can celebrate Batman’s 80th birthday on Saturday, March 30 with the following festivities:

For those attending WonderCon in Anaheim, CA, there is a can’t-miss opportunity to join a collection of stars who have contributed to Batman’s legacy at a special “Happy Birthday Batman!” panel event at 3:30 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center (Room: North 200B). Featuring DC Publisher, Chief Creative Officer and Batman: Hush artist Jim Lee, as well as David Mazouz (Gotham), Lee Meriwether (Batman), Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: Arkham Asylum), Roger Craig Smith (Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman: Ninja), Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Grace Randolph (Beyond the Trailer), the ultimate celebration of Batman will honor the Super Hero’s legacy along with a slice of Bat-cake.

DC Universe will open its digital doors to Batman fans for a day of free live action and animated films, TV series and comics beginning at midnight EDT Saturday, March 30 until 11:59 p.m. EDT. From the Caped Crusader’s origin in Frank Miller’s landmark Batman: Year One to Tim Burton’s 1989 movie blockbuster to the epic Batman: The Animated Series, users will able to binge hundreds of the greatest superhero stories of all time, featuring the most iconic character in pop culture history. Plus, the first month of DC Universe will cost only $0.80 cents for new members who sign up between March 29, 2019, 12:01 EDT and April 4, 2019 11:59 p.m. EDT. The special offer is available in the U.S. at www.dcuniverse.com. After the first month at $0.80 the monthly subscription price will renew at the standard rate of $7.99 a month.

Bat-fans across the globe are welcome to join the stars of Gotham, Supergirl, Pennyworth and more to post special birthday shout-outs this Saturday to Batman with the hashtag #LongLiveTheBat.

A word of warning to would-be comics investors: this is not the one that will make you wealthy. The more copies that are printed, and the more people who keep it in pristine condition as a collector’s item, the less its value will increase.

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AppDate: uKheshe bring banking to the masses

In his apps roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights uKheshe, FNB’s banking app with its will feature, Split Payments, Momentum Safety Alert and Fleetonomy.

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uKheshe micro transaction platform

Financial inclusion took another step forward as local start-up, uKheshe, South Africa’s cheapest and most convenient QR cash card and micro transaction platform, won the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa competition. 

“The issue of financial inclusion is a global one and the more we can do to uplift the unbanked and under banked, the healthier their respective economies will become,” says Clayton Hayward, co-founder, uKheshe.

While 1.2 billion people have opened a financial account since 2011, there is still an estimated 1.7 billion adults worldwide (or 31% of adults) who don’t have a basic transaction account.  Globally, two-thirds of adults without an account cite a lack of money as a key reason, which implies that financial services aren’t yet affordable or designed to fit low-income users.

To find out more about uKheshe click here

FNB’s banking app with will feature

First National Bank now lets its customers draw up their own wills via the FNB Online Banking platform at no cost. To date, the bank has seen a significant increase in the number of clients who drafted their own wills online, with over 52 000 clients already accessing the functionality.

Approximately 80% of South Africans don’t have a valid will in place; and many people believe that it’s a need only when they get older, or later in life. 

“Whilst the digital process is simple and easy to use, the solution also helps with a dedicated client support centre should clients need further assistance or advice regarding the drafting of their wills,” says Johan Strydom, Growth Head, FNB Wealth and Investments. “The solution aims to simplify the process and allows customers to easily draft a will online anytime and at any place, at no cost. In addition, FNB will keep your original will in safe custody at no extra cost.”

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Available the FNB app which can be be downloaded here.

Split Payments

PayFast has launched Split Payments, a South African-first that instantly splits a portion of an online payment with a third party. The service is designed to facilitate fast, safe payments for platform-based businesses, including online marketplaces.

For those who run a marketplace that brings together multiple sellers or merchants looking for new sales channels, Split Payments addresses payment headaches with a simple API integration.

Consumers are used to engaging with large global transactional platforms such as AirBnB, Uber, and Amazon. The benefits and extended reach of these types of platforms are catching on locally, and organisations like estate agency groups and even community marketplaces are setting up digital trading platforms.

The app allows businesses to instantly split out commission, membership or listing fees, when a payment is made via one of its supported payment methods.

For each online payment received  the business can determine what the split is, either a fixed amount, a percentage, or a combination of both. Custom recurring payment integration, such as subscriptions payments, can also be split automatically.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download Split Payments here

Read more about Momentum’s new Safety Alert app and Fleetonomy.

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Why 4G is still a thing

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Even with the 5G era already upon us, investment in 4G/LTE networks is still vitally important for operators in sub-Saharan Africa and must remain a core focus of network construction for the immediate future. This is according to David Chen, Vice-President, Huawei Southern Africa. 

“Currently, the mobile broadband penetration rate in Africa is only 47%, while 4G penetration rate is merely 10%,” Chen said.

“Insufficient coverage causes LTE users to fall back to the 2G or 3G networks, resulting in significant decline in user experience. It also leads to congestion on the 2G and 3G networks and makes it difficult to release spectrum used by 2G and 3G.”

Chen said that LTE and 5G complement each other and are evolving in parallel. In the next few years, 5G will mainly be used in more industrial communications.

LTE will remain the primary choice for global mobile communications through 2025. It will form the basic layer of national networks, especially when it comes to the mobile broadband access.

“It will take a long time for 5G to provide nationwide continuous coverage. Before that, enhanced LTE networks can guarantee optimal user experience for 5G users, including services such as VR, AR, and cloud gaming,” said Chen.

He said that it is important for operators to invest in 4G to secure future growth, as it is estimated that there will be an additional 80 million LTE users in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

Driven by this growth, LTE traffic in sub-Saharan Africa will increase by a factor of 8.8. By 2025, about 80% of all data traffic in the region will be over an LTE network.

LTE will also be the main source of future revenue for operators.

“According to GSMA Intelligence, 2G and 3G users in sub-Saharan Africa will gradually migrate to 4G,” said Chen. “By 2025, the proportion of 2G users will drop from 46% to 12%.”

Part of the reason for the migration to 4G is because the ecosystem is mature.

“The price of feature phones supporting VoLTE in the sub-Saharan Africa market has been as low as $25,” Chen said.

Since 5G equipment is already available, there is an opportunity for operators to build out their 4G networks while ensuring that they can evolve to 5G in future.

Chen offered the following tips to operators to ensure they are ready for 5G:

  • All future equipment installations should be 5G ready, allowing easy upgrades to 5G through software updates.
  • Software should support multi-standard spectrum sharing to improve spectrum efficiency, and to allow the smooth migration of 2G and 3G users.
  • Networks must support 4G and 5G coordination, in terms of spectrum, operation and maintenance. This will ensure that users have a consistent experience as we enter the 5G era.
  • The value of existing ICT infrastructure, such as base station sites, must be maximised to avoid overlapping services and wasted resources. This would mean boosting the capacity and coverage of every station for optimum efficiency.
  • Carriers should explore the business case for all possible 5G innovations when building 4G networks, and not just embrace 5G for its own sake. This will mean building business models around IoT, video, live broadcast, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
  • It is important that operators build partnerships with providers that can support the ongoing spectrum evolution with fast site upgrades and large-capacity solutions. The idea is to maximise the value of 4G networks, and smoothly evolve to 5G without unnecessary infrastructure investment.

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