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#BreakTheNet produces new YouTube star

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A series of seven videos by Graham “Dingo” Dinkelman has netted 65 000 views, making him the winner in the Cell C and Blink Pictures #BreakTheNet (#BTN) competition.

Along with the title of “South Africa’s next YouTube Sensation”, 36-year-old Graham, has won a trip to Hollywood and R250 000 in cash.

The Life and Investment broker and father of three from Hillcrest in Durban said he was delighted to have won. As a crusader for wildlife, it would help him get his conservation message out to a large audience.

The competition received 837 entries and saw #BTN register 63 000 users. 36 900 GB of data was redeemed by Cell C users during the competition, with the total YouTube views of all content appearing in the app reaching 477 000.

“South Africa has its own crop of social media celebs with a loyal local and international following,” said Doug Mattheus, executive head of marketing at Cell C. “From wildlife spectacles to rappers, South Africans have contributed a lot to the online sensation of YouTube. #BTN aims to change the face of reality shows, and ultimately bring South Africa to the forefront of social media enhancement.”

All Graham’s videos used wild animals and reptiles. He invited celebrities to star with the animals in his videos. In one of them, he persuaded Greg Minnaar, South African World Champion Mountain bike racer, to help him restrain a crocodile for a health check-up.

While he has been inspired by the late Australian wildlife personality Steve Irwin, his love of wildlife began early.

His father worked for nature conservation in Pietermaritzburg and, he says, from as young as 4, he used to catch water snakes and help relocate them with his dad. His passion for reptiles continues.

Having no YouTube channel has made no difference to Grahams video views. Viewers young and old have loved them.

Each week of the competition, Task Master Darren “Wackhead” Simpson gave the contestants a new task that had to be filmed.

Graham said his favourite week was filming the “cat” theme, in which he had to rescue a curious cat that happened upon a deadly black mamba in a horse stable.

“It was a difficult shoot because of the danger and the risks involved. But very worthwhile once it had been captured.”

He said it was a pleasure to work with his chosen celebrities, comedian Aaron McIlroy and Cell C Sharks rugby player Beast Mtawarira, who “were absolute troopers and got stuck into the task and the shoot”.

“The entire shoot with Aaron was a complete laugh from start to finish. He is, in my opinion, the funniest man in South Africa. For the rest, all the shoots – spitting Cobra, Black Mamba, Crocodiles – had moments that were pretty scary.”

Graham’s team is comprised of his wife Kirsty as the safety officer, Dusty Van Niekerk as first cameraman and editor, his wife Taniele as second cameraman, and Kevin Bender as still-shot photographer – all using iPhones to record.

His team extended to his network of friends and family who viewed and shared his videos.

On his award-winning trip to Hollywood in Los Angeles, Graham said he would like to meet directors whose specialty is the wildlife film industry. His R250 000 prize money will be spent, he says, “buying food for my snakes”.

Graham said he intended to expand on the exposure he has received from winning #BTN by launching a YouTube channel.

“I will continue to promote the message of conservation through my passion and love for animals,” he said. “We will continue to include celebrities in our videos as it has been incredible to watch them change their mindset about so-called dangerous animals. Because they have such a large audience, I hope that the celebrities will be able to help me get the message out to as wide an audience as possible.”

Other local celebrities used in videos across the competition included funny men Donovan Goliath and Joey Rasdien, local sports heroes Tera Mtembu from The Cell C Sharks and Wayne Parnell of the Proteas, as well as TV personalities Maps Maponyane and Pharoahfi.

One of the highlights of the Cell C #BTN weekly online show was the guest appearance of two inspiring young South African women who have made it in Hollywood.

Swimsuit model Genevieve Morton who, like the Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron, grew up in Benoni, has a massive social media profile with over 3-million Facebook “likes”.

Miss South Africa semi-finalist Cara Frew, from Johannesburg and now living in Los Angeles, is a singer who is making a name for herself in Hollywood, having signed to Sony Music Entertainment.

Both women attribute their success to the fact that they believed that anything was possible and that they could achieve their dreams if they put their minds to it.

* #BTN videos can be viewed via the Cell C Reality app and YouTube.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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