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CodeBus arrives in SA

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Education and technology organisations from Finland and South Africa will come together in May to run creative coding workshops for local students in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Kimberley and Cape Town.

The collaboration is part of the CodeBus Africa project, a 100-day tour connecting Finnish and African innovators as part of Finland’s official 100th anniversary celebrations. The CodeBus Africa journey, which has been running since February of this year, will span ten countries in total – Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The South African tour of CodeBus Africa will be organised by Finland’s Aalto University and local tech start-up accelerator mLab, with the support of the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria. The project, which is sponsored by the Finnish global telecom leader Nokia, will place special emphasis on involving girls who remain underrepresented among the users and creators of technology.

With its focus firmly on the young, this innovative activity will consist of creative coding workshops, most of which will be run in township communities. Learners will pair up to produce their own song with the open-source programming platform Sonic Pi – a tried-and-true curriculum developed by a Finnish technology education company and project partner Mehackit. Peer support, creative self-expression and a tangible final product are all elements designed to make the learning experience positive and rewarding. The aim of the project is to boost grassroots level teaching of computer programming, and to contribute to long-term efforts to promote quality education, youth empowerment and employment. The South African tour will culminate with a celebration in Khayelitsha in Cape Town, hosted by Finnish DJ Emma Kemppainen, where the music developed by the young African coders will be showcased.

“I am pleased that we are able to bring CodeBus to South Africa as part of our anniversary celebrations,” commented Kari Alanko, Ambassador of Finland in South Africa. “The theme of Finland 100 is ‘together’, and I am confident that the CodeBus reflects our commitment to work together with South Africa to tackle challenges such as youth unemployment. We hope the workshops will help to promote inclusive innovation and inspire more girls and boys in South Africa to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, even as possible career choices. “

“The CodeBus is also an especially suitable way for us to celebrate Finland 100 in South Africa where we have for many years supported innovation through our development cooperation,” Ambassador Alanko says. “This is why the partnerships with Aalto University and mLab, also supported by Finland, make perfect sense.”

I am also delighted to see a strong Finnish company, Nokia, as a partner in this project. Nokia is a global leader in innovation and technology, that stresses the fact that Finland 100 is just as much about looking into the next centenary as celebrating the past one.”

“We are proud of every opportunity to show our capacity in shaping the future of technology, which transforms the human experience,” says Deon Geyser, Head of Sub-Region Southern Africa at Nokia.  “The CodeBus initiative is an occasion to witness leading African and Finnish innovators joining forces, empowering Africa’s youth, allowing them to explore and experience innovation transforming their lives.”

“The philosophy of CodeBus from the start has been to work with local partners such as tech and innovation hubs, community based organisations and employees in each country. As such, the project is training 50 new coding instructors from Finland and Africa,” he says.  The coding instructors come from Aalto University and the local partners in Africa. ” We hope that  by doing so, those trained locally will continue to replicate  the training workshops in other  cities, communities and schools, and also inspire young people across the continent to develop a passion for learning ICT skills in a fun and enjoyable way.”

“At Nokia, we are always exploring new and innovative ideas and projects that expand the human possibility of technology. Nokia is supporting several initiatives across the globe to connect the un-connected, support gender diversity, and save lives. We look forward to more engagements in Africa in the future,” Geyser says.

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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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Samsung unveils the quad-cam smartphone

Samsung recently unveiled its Galaxy A9, the world’s first smartphone with a rear quad camera.

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“As a global leader in smartphone innovation, we understand the demand for meaningful innovation in a fast-paced world driven by visual communication,” said Justin Hume, Director: Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa. “Building on our legacy in smartphone camera development we’re introducing next-generation technology across our entire Galaxy portfolio to give more consumers the opportunity to experience cutting-edge innovation. We’re excited to deliver on this promise and debut world leading smartphone camera technology with the Galaxy A9.”

Samsung provided the following information (including the adjectives):

The Galaxy A9 allows you to capture dynamic and beautiful photos effortlessly. With four lenses, experience even more ways to unleash your creativity and capture, create and share stunning images.

·         Get close without compromise with 2x Optical Zoom for incredible and detailed close-up shots even from far away.

·         Capture the world in its fullest and without limit, with the Ultra Wide Lens, and shoot like a pro with the Scene Optimizer. Thanks to AI Scene Recognition, your camera is now smarter, and able to identify the subject and adjust settings accordingly for the best photo, in an instant.

·         Express your creativity with the Depth Lens, giving you the freedom to manually manage the photos’ depth of field and focus on the subject for stunning, professional looking images.

·         Capture clear and bright images in both bright and low light conditions with Galaxy A9’s 24MP Main Lens, for gorgeous photos at any time of the day.

The reliable 3,800mAh battery life on the Galaxy A9 lets you live without limits and enjoy outstanding long-lasting performance. You can now capture everything, without restriction, store more and delete less with the Galaxy A9’s 128GB storage and up to 512GB of expandable memory.

Designed to make life more convenient, the Galaxy A9 features Bixby, Samsung Pay and Samsung Health and you can take advantage of the many multi-tasking benefits the Galaxy A9 offers, including App Pair.

First Class Design

Building on Samsung’s heritage in first-class design, the Galaxy A9 is styled in three unique colors; Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink with a sleek and ergonomic design, that fits in one hand with a 3D Glass curved back for a high-quality comfortable feel. The Galaxy A9 will be available in South Africa from December.

Check out the specs on the next page.

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