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Fitbit enters wireless headphones market

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Fibit has entered the wireless headphones market with the Fitbit Flyer. The headphones, it says, combine powerful audio with a durable, sweatproof design and customisable fit to keep users motivated through tough workouts.

The Fitbit Flyer will be available in select South African stores in mid-October 2017, at R1,999. It is available in two colours, lunar gray or nightfall blue.

The first wireless headphones to incorporate cutting-edge technology from Waves MaxxAudio, Flyer delivers two sound profiles so users can personalise their listening experience. With seamless connectivity to Fitbit’s new Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, it allows users to listen to music or Audio Coaching sessions, through the new Fitbit Coach app, without a phone. Fitbit Coach and Audio Coaching sessions in the app will be available at launch. Audio Coaching sessions on Fitbit Ionic will be available in 2018.

“As we launch our first smartwatch with on-device music, providing quality wireless headphones to better help users reach their goals is a natural extension of our product offerings,” said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit. “Coupled with research that shows 64% of fitness tracker owners are interested in purchasing wireless headphones, it makes sense for us to bring our unparalleled health and fitness expertise to this space to deliver what our consumers are looking for most: great fit they can count on all day and for any workout, along with high quality sound to keep them motivated.”

Fitbit provided the following information:

Built with fitness in mind, Flyer’s durable design includes a hydrophobic nano-coating that is rain, splash and sweatproof. A series of interchangeable ear tips, wings and fins allow you to personalise the fit of your headphones to ensure comfort and a secure fit in your ear throughout any workout. With up to six hours of playtime, you will likely tire out before your headphones do. If you need some extra battery life, Flyer’s 15-minute quick charge provides an extra hour of playtime.

“I see the positive effect music has on my clients every day, giving them the added push to workout harder and longer,” said Harley Pasternak, Fitbit Ambassador. “With Fitbit Flyer, you get great looking, comfortable headphones that work perfectly with my new Fitbit smartwatch. Paired with great sound quality, it will help keep your focus where it belongs – on your next repetition or walk – instead of worrying about your headphones staying in your ears.”

High quality sound delivers workout motivation

Flyer has been precision engineered to offer high quality, clear audio with dynamic range, including features like AAC wireless codec and Passive Noise Isolation to improve sound quality and reduce the distraction of outside noises. With two different sound settings on-device – Signature and Power Boost – you can select the profile that’s right for you by using the control box right on your headphones. As the first headphones to incorporate Waves MaxxAudio technology, which is used for audio production in hit records, major motion pictures and video games, Flyer’s Power Boost setting amplifies bass for a high- fidelity sound experience.

Essential features for all-day listening

Flyer’s durable design and superior sound quality make these headphones perfect for everyday wear – beyond workouts. The 3-button control box lets you easily adjust sound, pause music and change songs on the go, while audio prompts keep you looped into incoming calls, battery life, song volume and more. With multi-device connectivity, you can simultaneously connect to two Bluetooth devices at once, making it easy to switch back and forth between listening to music on a computer or Fitbit Ionic to accepting a call on your phone, or even chatting with your digital assistant including Cortana, Google Assistant or Siri. The dual microphone enables high quality hands-free phone calls, reducing external noises, such as wind and crowd-noise to ensure voice clarity.

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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