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CES 2016: Agassi serves educational volley

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At CES this year, Square Panda announced a partnership with the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. It also launched a phonics play set, which it says will promote literacy among preschool children.

Square Panda, an education technology startup that designs connected learning toys and digital games to fuel the curiosity of early learners, has announced a partnership with the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and launched a phonics play-set to kick off the 2016 International CES. This is the first in Square Panda’s line of educational products aimed at promoting literacy among preschool children. Along with its debut, Square Panda is proud to announce the appointment of Andre Agassi as a board member. He is also a founder of the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund which was established to provide investors seeking both financial and societal returns access to the growth of America’s most innovative educational organizations.

Andre Agassi And Square Panda Launch Connected Phonics Playset At CES 2016

Andre Agassi And Square Panda Launch Connected Phonics Playset At CES 2016

“For over twenty years, Andre has made it his mission to bring quality education to every child in this country,” said Tom Boeckle, Founder and Chairman of Square Panda. “We look forward to working with both Andre and the Foundation to improve education for students across the country.”“Square Panda is unique and has the potential to create a generation of confident readers,” said Andre Agassi, Chairman and Founder of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. “I know one of the most important skills for a child to possess as they enter kindergarten is a basic understanding of phonics. If you can teach a child basic reading, then the child will begin their educational experience with self-confidence. We are excited to team up with Square Panda to launch this revolutionary new learning system.”

Designed to teach, engage, and entertain early learners (ages three and up), the phonics play-set uses connected letter toys and multi-sensory apps to explore early reading skills. Drawing from the latest research on phonics and multi-sensory instruction, Square Panda’s adaptive technology combines multi-sensory learning, humor, and exploratory play. Built upon proprietary hardware and software technology, its connected play-set adapts to recognize what a child is ready to learn and presents challenges to stretch growth and language skills. A video of the phonics play-set in action is available herehttp://bit.ly/squarepandanewsvideo.

“Square Panda Phonics Play-set is the first connected device for early learners that teaches phonics and print in a completely multi-sensory way,” said Andy Butler, CEO of Square Panda. “Square Panda is currently in pilot programs at various Head Start chapters, as well as day centers in the Las Vegas area. We are encouraged by the education community’s positive responses and look forward to continue working with parents and educators around the country to advance reading readiness skills for young children before they enter nursery school.”

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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