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Device love: how gadgets get in couples’ way

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According to the latest Kaspersky Lab study, there are not only pros of “connected love” but also cons that should be taken into account.

In today’s digital world, it has become commonplace for couples to depend on devices to communicate and stay connected to each other. However, according to the latest Kaspersky Lab study, there are not only pros of “connected love” but also cons that should be taken into account. For example, 55% of couples globally have argued about device overuse, highlighting how although devices often help to bring couples closer together, they can also push them apart and potentially put relationships at risk.

Many people today depend on devices to stay connected with their friends and family, and the same is true for those in relationships. Indeed, couples today frequently use devices and online messaging services to strengthen their relationship: 8-in-10 people always stay in touch with their partner online when they are apart from each other and 62% of people agree that communicating through devices and the internet helps them feel closer to their partner, especially for people who are dating but do not live together (75%).

This digital devotion also extends to shared devices, as 53% of people say their relationship has improved since sharing their online activities, such as accounts and devices. Clearly, there are positives that come from using devices, but there are also some negatives that need to be considered.

The research found that device usage can also lead to arguments between loved ones about a range of device-related issues such as overuse and cybersecurity incidents.

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For example, 51% have argued about a device being used during a meal or face-to-face conversation. In addition, over half (55%) of people have argued with their partner due to too much time being spent on a device, which is higher (58%) for couples that live together, compared to 49% of those who are dating but live separately. This suggests that people don’t like feeling neglected and want their partner’s attention to be on them when they are together.

But excessive device usage isn’t the only thing that couples bicker about. Access to devices is also clearly a source of friction in relationships. A quarter (25%) have argued about whose turn it is to use the device, while forgetting to charge (45%) and losing (28%) devices are also causes of disagreements among couples.

Finally, there are cybersecurity issues to consider. Nearly a quarter (24%) of couples have argued after one person infected the device with malware and 19% have rowed after one partner lost money online by mistake or because of malware. As you would expect, couples that share devices are significantly more likely to argue about the issues mentioned above, highlighting how, when it comes to modern relationships, devices can be foes as well as friends.

“The capabilities of modern devices have created huge opportunities for couples, enabling them to constantly stay connected and build their relationship even when they are not together,” said Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab. “But, there are cons as well as pros to take into account. These same devices which help couples to secure their love when they are apart, can also cause arguments when they are used irresponsibly. By making a conscious effort to take care of their digital lives – including devices, accounts and online activities – and to not neglect their partners in the physical world, people can enjoy the many benefits that the digital world offers without upsetting their other half.”

With people today spending so much time online and cybersecurity risks continuing to become more prevalent, they need to make sure that they are protected from the latest cyberthreats. One way to do this is through tools such as Kaspersky Total Security, which is a multifunctional solution that can protect every part of people’s digital lives and secure several devices at once. This allows couples to communicate with each other without having to worry about being compromised by malware or having their personal data fall into the wrong hands.

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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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