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First for Facebook as it pushes for voter registration

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Ahead of the municipal elections this weekend, Facebook is running a voter registration campaign for the first time.

This weekend, the final weekend you can register to vote in South Africa’s 2016 municipal election, Facebook is running its first-ever voter registration campaign in Africa, in partnership with the South African Electoral Commission.

People over the age of 18 who log on to Facebook after noon on Saturday, 9 April, will see a message at the top of their newsfeed which reminds them to register to vote. By clicking a link in the message, people will be directed to the Electoral Commission website, which will give people information about how to register to vote. You’ll also be able to share with your friends that you’ve registered.

The message will be rolled out over a 24-hour period to encourage people to register ahead of the elections in August.

Past studies have found that voters who see more of their Facebook friends talking about voting are more likely to vote themselves. Rolling out the Voter Registration button is a small way that Facebook is helping to encourage people to take part in the democratic process.

Ebele Okobi – Head of Public Policy for Africa, Facebook, said:  “With more than 13 million people in South Africa using Facebook, our platform is where many South Africans discuss their hopes for South Africa’s future. We hope that through partnerships like this one with the Electoral Commission, we can make sure those conversations lead to higher turnout on 3 August when South Africa goes to the polls.”

She added: “Voter turnout is an important issue around the world and in South Africa, especially among younger people. The Voter Registration button will make it easy for voters to share that they are taking part in the election and act as a reminder to others to take part.”

Marco Granelli, the Electoral Commission’s senior manager for communications, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Facebook to reach those who will be eligible to vote on polling day. Our records show that about 80 percent of eligible voters who are not yet registered are under 30 years old. Facebook is a great way for us to be able to get a message directly to young people who may otherwise be hard to reach and to engage with young people around the importance of voting. We urge anyone who’s not yet registered to vote to sign up now to that they can have their say in August.”

This year for the first time the Electoral Commission’s Contact Centre is also responding to queries from voters posted on Facebook and other social media sites.

Similar ‘I’m a Voter’ and Voter Registration buttons have been used in the United States during the last three US elections, the UK election, for the EU parliamentary elections and in the world’s largest democracy, India – where the megaphone reached 31m people and 4.3m people shared that they’d voted.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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