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Gamers can command the keyboard

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Today’s games require dozens of keyboard shortcuts in order to be played correctly. But, the only problem is trying to remember all the key combinations. GARTH HOLDEN tries out the Razor Ananzi keyboard and finds it is a great device for the serious gamer.

Are you an MMORPG junkie? Do you spend as much time in Azeroth as you do at your day job? Maybe you know Tyria better than your own neighbourhood? If you spend a lot of time performing the same string of button presses, or know how horrible missing an ability or miss-pressing your keys can be, this keyboard could be your saving grace.

So you use 1-0 for your basic commands, with alt+1-0 for the next 10, right? What about alt+shift+1-0? Or alt+shift+ctrl+1-0? Unless you are a contortionist, or you play your MMOs without a mouse, this probably isn’t the most efficient key combination. What if you forget which does row two and which controls row four of your hotkeys? The Anansi has seven ‚”thumb modifier keys‚” situated just below the spacebar. If you don’t need that many rows of spells or abilities, the keyboard uses a piece of software to allow you to change what various key presses do. Thorny issues of whether you are breaking any ToS or EULA by using these features aside, you can teach your keyboard to use one button to enter in a series of key presses, complete with delays down to the millisecond. Personally I thought this would be great for say, popping a shield, drinking a healing pot and activating a trinket, but there seems to be some contention about the use of these features. Use your own discretion kids.

At this point I should point out that this keyboard isn’t really left-handed friendly, as the thumb keys sit exactly where you want to rest your wrist.

100+ programmable keys

Maybe you have a pile of programs that you keep running on your machine? Set M1 to open your e-mail, or the ever-handy calculator. The usefulness of the keyboard isn’t limited to MMORPGs. In Dota 2, I had a macro that made T7 activate Lifestealer’s Rage and Armlet of Mordiggian for six seconds, allowing for an intense burst of damage. You can also switch between profiles at the touch of a button, reducing the time you need to switch between your healing setup versus your DPS key presses.

Mood lighting, baby

Because this is a gaming keyboard, you can disable the pesky windows key by pressing the function button and F11, which puts your keyboard into gaming mode. Now if only it disabled work as well. Keeping with Razer aesthetics, the Anansi has a 16 million colour backlight, which can be set to either slowly move through a range of colours, or make it glow to suit your mood or the rest of your computer’s lighting scheme. For all this lighting power, the Anansi uses two USB ports, something to be kept in mind, depending on your peripheral count. The backlit keys shine through a custom font, adding that little extra of feeling of something unique.

Extra large, slightly alien

The Anansi feels massive. At 515mm wide by 190mm high, this keyboard is not built for sitting on a retractable keyboard tray. I found the footholds to not offer enough resistance on my wood desk, but it sticks in place on my glass desk. At a hefty 1020g, this isn’t really a problem unless you push weights as often as you grind dailies.

As with any slightly different layout or setup, allow time for acclimatisation. One thing I noticed, is that I reorient my hand by finding the left CTRL button, which is generally the key at the bottom left corner. Instead of pressing CTRL though, my hand would be resting over M5, which was one of my macro keys. Needless to say, this can lead to disasters in a dungeon, so get used to the keyboard in a safe environment before trying to main tank that new hard dungeon.

Get a keyboard that works as hard as you do. The Razer Anansi costs about R1000, and it will make you a much better gamer (maybe)!

* Article courtesy of Lazygamer.net.

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Google Home and Amazon Echo come to South Africa

The devices are directly imported from the USA by Cellucity, but are ICASA-approved and carry a local warranty

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The Cellucity retail chain has announced that it will bring a wide range of Google and Amazon gadgets into South Africa for the festive season. It will be launching the Google home range of smart speakers, as well as Google’s Chromecast smart TV device and a range of Amazon products.

The company said in a statement: “Smart home speakers are all the rage right now – not only fun and entertaining; they are also useful at helping you plan your day. Set the alarm – no problem, check the weather – no problem. Check the traffic; yes, you probably guessed it – no problem! And, with the festive period around the corner, they make the ideal gift whether you are tech-savvy or a newbie to the world of IoT.

“We are not ones to shy away from trends and are excited to be able to offer a range of smart speakers. For our Google lovers, we are happy to be launching the Google Home range.”

The Google Home Mini is a stylish compact speaker with all the functionality of Google Assistant. Users can ask it questions or give it commands, hands-free. Although the Google Mini offers exceptional clarity of sound, those looking for a bit of oomph will probably look to the Google Home Assistant Smart Speaker. As with the Google Mini, the Google Home offers Google Assistant but offers enhanced sound, bass and far-field voice recognition.

“If you are looking for more than just a smart speaker, check out the Smart Home Hub,” advises Cellucity. “With all the functionality of the Google Smart Mini and Home, the Home Hub doubles as a digital photo frame and offers the advantage of video playback. 

The following Google Home products can be purchased either upfront or added on to selected Vodacom contracts at Cellucity:

  • Google Home Mini at R899, or from R40 per month as an add-on to selected Vodacom contract packages.
  • Google Home Smart at R2499
  • Google Home Hub from R2499, or R90 per month as an add-on to selected Vodacom contract packages.

For TV viewers, Cellucity has launched Google Chromecast, which connects to any smart TV. It’s compact and mobile so can br taken with on holiday. The Chromecast, which is ideal for bringing Netflix or Showmax to a smart TV, will be available from R849.

For those looking to Amazon products, Cellucity is launching the Amazon Echo speakers 2nd and 3rd Gen at R999 and R1499 respectively. It is also offering the Amazon Firestick 4K, allowing users to stream shows and content in 4K. The Firestick will be available from R1299.

 All the Google Home and Amazon products are easy to pair with both Android and iOS. 

It is important to note that all features may not yet be available in South Africa, particularly with Amazon products, but Cellucity says it is working on it. The devices have been imported directly from the USA, but have been ICASA approved and will carry a local warranty. 

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Fitbit Pay moves into 7 transit systems globally

Wristband’s payments will now be accepted in New York, Chicago, Singapore, Sydney, and Taiwan.

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Fitbit has announced that Fitbit Pay is available for consumers to use at seven major transit systems around the world.

Fitbit also announced it will be part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) One Metro New York (OMNY) contactless fare payment pilot program. Any user in New York with Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition, Fitbit Versa Special Edition and Fitbit Ionic devices will be able to securely and easily tap and pay-per-ride directly from their wrist on select MTA busses and subway lines, providing the convenience to keep their smartphones and wallets tucked away.

Starting May 31, Fitbit users with Fitbit Pay-enabled smartwatches and trackers can tap and pay to board all Staten Island buses, and all stops on the 4, 5 and 6 subway lines between Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center. This pilot program marks the beginning of a long-term relationship with the MTA, with plans to extend the organization’s OMNY program to the entire subway and bus system by 2021.

“We’re excited to work with Fitbit and others to help us provide added value and everyday convenience to our customers,” said Al Putre, OMNY Executive Director at the MTA. “We are always looking for ways to enhance the transit experience and help New Yorkers and visitors alike get to their destination faster and make payment more convenient, and now they can do so with any Fitbit wearable that supports Fitbit Pay with a simple tap of the wrist.”

In addition to bringing Fitbit Pay to one of the largest and busiest public transit systems in the world with the MTA, Fitbit continues to expand its global transit system capabilities to serve commuters and travelers from all over. Fitbit Pay can now be used across seven open and closed loop transit systems, including Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA), Sydney transport for New South Wales (NSW) train, ferry and light rail services, Taiwan iPASS, TransLink in Vancouver and Transport for London (TfL), with plans to bring Fitbit Pay to more global transit systems in the future.

“In addition to helping our users get healthier and more active, we’re committed to delivering holistic experiences on our trackers and smartwatches that help keep our 27 million active users engaged,” said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit. “As we expand the use of Fitbit Pay to work with the MTA and other major transit systems around the globe, we are enabling our on-the-go customers to safely and easily pay for transit with devices that are broadly compatible and have long battery life – all making it easier to go about their day.”

In less than two years, Fitbit Pay is now available in 42 countries and supported by more than 300 of the world’s leading banks and credit unions through American Express,1Mastercard and Visa networks. Through a few quick and easy steps, Fitbit users can add up to six credit or debit cards to their Fitbit Wallet in the Fitbit app on Android or iOS mobile devices. Using the NFC chip built-into select Fitbit smartwatches and trackers, Fitbit Pay users can easily pay for items at millions of stores worldwide wherever contactless payments are accepted.

All Fitbit Pay transactions use an industry standard tokenization platform, ensuring users’ card information is never revealed or shared with merchants or Fitbit. For added security, a protected PIN is chosen by the user during device set-up. Users are also covered by their bank’s fraud protection and continue to enjoy the advantages conferred by their bank or credit card, including guarantees, insurance coverage, points and miles, without having to take out their wallets. For more information about Fitbit Pay, supported banks and transit systems, visit Fitbit.com/Fitbit-Pay.

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