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Gorillaz and Jaguar Land Rover nab a code-cracker

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Jaguar Land Rover has hired the first of the next generation of electronics and software engineering geniuses, following the recent code-breaking recruitment challenge within the Gorillaz app.

Daniel Dunkley, a 23-year-old from Gloucester, UK, is the first successful code-breaker to join Jaguar Land Rover. Daniel left school at 16 and was working as a controls engineer at a local quarry. His coding and software skills are completely self-taught from an early interest in playing computer games at home with his older brother. He starts work on 2 October as a software engineer at Jaguar Land Rover in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

Gorillaz and Jaguar Land Rover will continue the search for world-class talent at Jaguar Land Rover’s inaugural Tech Fest event (#JLRTechFest), from 8-10 September at London’s Central Saint Martins art, design and technology college.

While the search continues at #JLRTechFest, potential geniuses from around the world – including South Africa – can still complete the coding challenge on the Gorillaz app. The code-breaking puzzle tests real-world skills the new generation of software and engineering talent must have. The challenge remains open.

Noodle, the virtual band’s guitarist and a Jaguar Land Rover ambassador, said: “Think big and do better, my motto. Stop putting those filters on your food and download this app immediately. The first hire has happened, so get involved and win!”

Daniel Dunkley said:

“I’m overwhelmed by how much has happened in the last two months. I read about the coding challenge set by Jaguar Land Rover and Gorillaz on BBC News and decided to have a go. We did the interview by Google Chat then I was invited to Gaydon to talk about my new job. It completely blew me away that I didn’t have to fill out any application forms.

“I was thrilled when they offered me a job! My dad drives a Land Rover Defender so I have always been a fan. I can’t believe I may now get to work on the next generation Defender!”

So far, almost 400,000 people have downloaded the Gorillaz app. Of the 41,000 who have taken the challenge, almost 500 cracked the code.

Alex Heslop, Head of Electrical Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, said:

“Daniel is exactly the kind of person we need. Technology companies like Jaguar Land Rover provide an exciting opportunity for the brightest and best. We want to attract top-notch talent in software, cyber systems, app development and graphics.

“We don’t do ordinary and that means hiring extraordinary people. Jaguar Land Rover makes some of the world’s most exciting cars and it needs brilliant people to create them.”

In the spirit of collaborative innovation, Jaguar Land Rover has invited an array of speakers to take part in a series of debates and talks throughout Tech Fest, which will be attended by an audience of global influencers and journalists from four continents. Topics will include the future of diesel, electrification, women in industry and robotics, debated by a range of global industry and consumer experts from around the world. To learn more and see the full speaker line-up, visit www.jaguarlandrover.com

The search for young talent goes on. Interested applicants can download the Gorillaz app now at the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

To find out more about Jaguar Land Rover recruitment, click here: www.jaguarlandrovercareers.com. For specific roles in electrification see:  www.jaguarlandrovercareers.com/jlr-roles/product-creation/electrification/

Traditional application methods remain open and CVs will be accepted, but Jaguar Land Rover invites potential applicants to download the app, break the codes and solve the problems to fast-track their way into employment.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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