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IFA: Segway goes self-balancing

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Segway has expanded its mini-series of self-balancing personal transporters with the introduction of the miniLITE and miniPLUS .

At IFA in Berlin this week, Segway announced two new self-balancing personal transporters to be added to their consumer product line. The Segway miniLITE and the miniPLUS, to form a new mini-series collection, along with its current product, the miniPRO.

“Our vision is to change the way people travel. We want to make travelling and personal mobility an enjoyable and unique experience as well as an environmentally friendly way to get from point A to B,” said Dennis Hardholt, President, Segway Europe. “By introducing our mini-series, we not only integrate connected transportation and technology into individuals lives, we now offer products for all the family to use on a daily base.”

Segway provided the following information:

miniLITE – The Segway miniLITE has a maximum speed of 16 km/h, with a range of approximately 18 km*, and can be precisely steered with the knee control bar. It features customisable LED lights and the knee control bar is doubling as a handle to easily lift the miniLITE, while the fool-proof rider detection prevents riders from falling. Wider and larger wheels have been designed to make this a comfortable yet sturdy product to travel over tougher terrains while maintaining balance. As a safer and fun alternative to the hoverboard, this is a great choice for children and teenagers during gift season.

miniPLUS – The Segway miniPLUS is the most exclusive of the mini-series. With special features including the Follow Me mode which can be enabled through the remote control, this product is designed not only as a vehicle but doubles as a travel companion. The self-balancing miniPLUS can reach up to 20km/h and travel up to 35km*. Additionally, like all the products in the mini-series, riders can personalise their ride with customisable LED lights.

Stay Smart and Up-to-date

Both additions to the mini-series can monitor your statistics and vehicle through the Ninebot by Segway app. The app makes it possible to check speed, mileage, battery status and enables users to be updated and connected with other users nearby. While the main model Ninebot by Segway miniPRO is already available in stores, the two additions Segway miniLITE and miniPLUS will be available in the course of Q4 2017. Specific pricing will be announced at that time. Learn more at www.segway.com

KickScooters

Recently, Segway also announced two new smart electric KickScooters with enhanced range and speed. The ES1 and ES2 are both lightweight, and feature a one touch folding system, allowing riders to practically commute or just ride for fun. The speed differs from 20 km/h for the ES1 to 25 km/h for the ES2 and can even be expanded to 30 km/h with the additional battery. The KickScooters offer a comfortable ride with features such as cruise control, anti-lock brake system and rear shock absorption. Learn more at www.segway.com

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Did an earthquake take out SA Internet?

Seabed avalanches caused by an earthquake could have cut several undersea cables, leading to one of South Africa’s biggest Internet outages yet, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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Picture by TooMuchCoffeeMan from pixabay.com

There is still no official explanation for freak breaks 11 days ago in two separate undersea cables that provide international access to South Africa’s Internet users. However, as reported in the Sunday Times yesterday, the most common causes of such breaks are damage by ship anchors and earthquakes at sea.

However, the freak occurrence of two separate cables being cut simultaneously far out at sea, as happened on the morning of 16 January, can only be explained by sea-bed activity.  One of the cables was cut in two places, and it is widely believed that a third major cable was also cut.

The cable damage mostly occurred in or near an area called the Congo Canyon, which starts inland and extends 220km into the sea. It is known for having the world’s strongest “turbidity currents”, underwater sediment avalanches over hundreds of kilometers, which are known to destroy undersea cables.

The most likely culprit is a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that struck the Atlantic Ocean near Ascension Island shortly before the cables were cut on the morning of 16 January. The earthquake occurred just before 8am South African time, and local ISPs reported losing international access from just before 10am. The epicentre of the earthquake was more than a thousand kilometres off the coast of Africa, but disturbances caused by seismic activity at sea become more powerful as they approach the coast. Combined with turbidity currents, this could well have taken out all cables in the area.

The West Africa Cable System (WACS) was cut in two places, and the South Atlantic 3 (SAT3) cable in one location. Industry insiders believe that the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) cable was also cut, but it has not been publicly confirmed.

South Africa is connected to the global Internet via seven such cables, with a total capacity of 42.3 terabits per second (tbps).  These cables, in turn, connect to additional cables connecting the West and East coasts of Africa, with a single cable running from Angola to Brazil providing another 40 tbps.

However, it emerged in the past week that smaller ISPs in South Africa had bought capacity on only one or two cables. In a freak occurrence, two of the most commonly used cables, the WACS and SAT 3 cables, were cut simultaneously, plunging millions of Internet users into data darkness.

Customers of the major mobile network operators – Vodacom and MTN – were largely unaffected, as these tend to have both part-ownership and access to most of the cables running up both the East and West coasts of Africa.

Visit the next page to read about how ISPs have battled to reroute access, how massive resources are needed to deal with these kinds of outages, and when the ship will reach the breakage points.

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Lenovo express-delivers new range from CES to SA

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Lenovo has unveiled its new range of ThinkBook laptops, barely two weeks after they were showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 

The company’s newest sub-brand, ThinkBook, is intended to meet the demand for more aesthetically pleasing, yet agile and powerful devices.

The new range is aimed at small and medium enterprises. According to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), there are more than 2-million SMEs in South Africa – although there are only 667,433 in the formal sector. This tallies with estimates in recent editions of SME Survey, produced by World Wide Worx, which suggest 650,000 active, formal businesses in South Africa. These SMEs employ about 14% of the South African workforce. 

Lenovo argues that access to affordable, yet efficient, technology is a crucial factor in aiding business success and contributing towards the success of the nation. The company has found, in its own research, that younger people prefer working, creating and communicating online “with stylish devices that make a statement”. This means they require streamlined laptops which can be used to collaborate from any remote location, to enhance productivity.

Lenovo said in a statement on Thursday night: “Backed by customer research, ThinkBook is specially designed for SMEs, who typically purchase consumer laptops for perceived design and price advantages but can no longer rationalise their lack of extended services and warranties – core needs of any business. ThinkBook allows growing firms to keep a competitive edge in attracting today’s young tech-savvy execs with trendy yet cost-effective devices. 

Thibault Dousson, general manager of  Lenovo for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said at the launch event: “With the capacity, SMEs have to grow and upskill the country’s workforce, they are perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between the public sector and large enterprise. Bearing in mind the demands of the digital economy, this sector needs skills and resources in order to compete, and that is where devices such as the ThinkBook come in.”

In South Africa, ThinkBook laptops are now available in 13-, 14- and 15-inch variants. The flagship ThinkBook 14 and ThinkBook 15 devices are powered by Windows 10 Pro and up to 10th Gen Intel Core processing, which Lenovo says combines high performance with intuitive, time-saving features. Options include Intel Optane memory, WiFi 6, and discrete graphics.

The ThinkBook 15 comes at just 18.9mm thin, while the ThinkBook 14 is a mere 17.9mm, both with FHD displays and two Dolby Audio speakers, dual-array, Skype certified microphones and a USB 3.1 (Gen2, Type-C) port.

Lenovo has also introduced the ThinkBook S series, including an elegant 13.3-inch ThinkBook 13s. The sleek and light device is constructed of a metallic finish on an all-aluminium chassis, alongside a narrow bezel display. As with the ThinkBook 14 and 15, the ThinkBook 13s also features advanced Intel processing and an FHD display, Dolby Vision and Harman speakers with Dolby Audio.

Visit the next page to read about the design and features of the new ThinkBook range.

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