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Intelligence map reveals holes in local Internet

Oracle has launched an Internet Intelligence Map that delivers unique insights into the impact of Internet disruptions.

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Oracle recently made its Internet Intelligence Map available to provide users with a simple, graphical way to track the health of the internet and gain insight into the impact of events such as natural disasters or state-imposed interruptions. The map is part of Oracle’s Internet Intelligence initiative, which provides insight and analysis on the state of global internet infrastructure. 

“The internet is the backbone of modern business, but it has changed a lot over the last ten years; as more workloads move to the cloud, business infrastructure is growing in scale, complexity and volatility,” says Niral Patel, Managing Director and Technology Leader, Oracle South Africa. “Add to this the Internet of Things (IoT), where connected devices now outnumber humans, and you’ll understand why today’s IT leaders including DevOps, administrators and architects have to closely monitor the internet if they are to build and deploy the next generation of cloud. They will need to understand the volatility of the internet, in terms of availability, performance and security, if they are to provide a high quality service to users, and avoid leaving their company exposed.”

Oracle’s Internet Intelligence Map provides users with a free simple, graphical way to track the health of the internet and gain insight into the impact of events such as outages, natural disasters or state-imposed interruptions. The map is part of Oracle’s Internet Intelligence initiative, which provides insight and analysis on the state of global internet infrastructure. 

Patel points out that South Africa’s broadband internet is delivered via several undersea cables, such as Seacom on Africa’s eastern coastline, the Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) linking South Africa with Kenya and Sudan, and the West Africa Cable System (WACS) spanning the west coast of Africa. 

“Subsea cable outages occur from time to time, which means South African internet users can experience higher latencies with a degradation of service. Although traffic can in most cases be routed via another cable system, a repair vessel needs to be mobilised and it can take a couple of days for it to reach the fault location, with weather and sea conditions impacting the time it takes for the fault to be repaired. 

“Volatility is the internet’s biggest challenge. We forget about the risk and vulnerabilities of infrastructure itself – the actual infrastructure we rely on to run our businesses. If your business relies on internet connectivity to ensure delivery of your services, understanding the health of the internet is very important.”

He has a clear warning for local businesses to be vigilant not only for local conditions, but global events too: “Many businesses don’t realise quite how reliant they are in today’s cloud era. They need better visibility into the health of the global internet so that they can understand how external events prevent them from reaching web-based applications and services. It is only when you have this insight that you can work around those issues to improve availability and performance and deliver a better experience for customers.”

For more than a decade, members of Oracle’s Internet Intelligence team have broken some of the biggest stories about the internet. From BGP hijacks to submarine cable breaks, Oracle’s Internet Intelligence team frequently publishes objective data and analysis that informs public understanding of the technical underpinnings of the internet and its effects on topics like geopolitics and e-commerce. With today’s news, Oracle is now making core analytic capabilities available to everyone via the Internet Intelligence Map. Using one of the world’s most comprehensive internet performance data sets and backed by years of research and analytics, Oracle has developed the premier resource and authority for reliable information on the functioning of the internet.

“The internet is the world’s most important network, yet it is incredibly volatile. Disruptions on the internet can affect companies, governments, and network operators in profound ways,” says Kyle York, vice president of product strategy for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and the general manager for Oracle’s Dyn Global Business Unit. “As a result, all of these stakeholders need better visibility into the health of the global internet. With this offering, we are delivering on our commitment to making it a better, more stable experience for all who rely on it.”

The Internet Intelligence Map presents country-level connectivity statistics based on traceroutes, BGP, and DNS query volumes on a single dashboard. By presenting these three dimensions of internet connectivity side-by-side, users can investigate the impact of an issue on internet connectivity worldwide. 

“It’s important to have a global view of the internet in order to understand how external events prevent users from reaching your web-based applications and services. It is only when you have this insight that you can work around those issues to improve availability and performance,” says Jim Davis, Founder and Principal Analyst of Edge Research Group.

The Internet Intelligence Map is just one of many advanced awareness and visibility tools that help Oracle improve the experience of the cloud by making it better and more reliable every day. This offering is powered by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, which offers a set of core infrastructure services to provide customers the ability to run any workload in the cloud. Only Oracle Cloud Infrastructure provides the compute, storage, networking, and edge services necessary to deliver the end-to-end performance required of today’s modern enterprise.

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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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SA Start-up reinvents PABX

For any South African business, the idea of setting up or changing a telephonic switchboard system is the stuff of nightmares. Dealing with expensive hardware and hearing things like QSIG and VOIP is not what you’d call exciting.But now there is an app.

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Enter BuzzBox (www.buzzboxcloud.co.za), a web-based telephone switchboard that is aimed at small and medium sized businesses wanting to take the hassle and cost out of the company switchboard. Whether you are a small one-man operation or a larger organisation with staff working remotely, BuzzBox is the best switchboard solution.

What sets BuzzBox apart from anything else on the market is its easy-to-use dashboard. It puts you in control of everything from picking your phone number to setting up voice prompts and managing your business-hours schedule.

BuzzBox was developed when the startup behind it, Jini-Guru, needed such a service for its own use across multiple continents. “When we started Jini-Guru we could not find a seamless online process that would allow us to set up a full web-based switchboard, so we decided to build one for ourselves,” says Mike Smits, Director at Jini-Guru.

He says a lot of startups today are tech savvy and know how to use apps and the services that go with it. “It’s the uberisation of services and its driving demand for instant service activation.”

BuzzBox works as an app on both iOS and Android but users wanting a desk phone option can choose from a variety of devices on offer or use their existing VOIP phones.

Setting up a BuzzBox account takes 5 minutes. During registration your FICA documents are uploaded [ID and proof or residence] and you get to pick your phone number before the account is created. Companies that want to keep an existing number can do so too.

The real magic happens when you log on to the BuzzBox Dashboard. The main screen displays a summary of statistics for your account while the left-hand menu provides you quick access to various configuration settings and reports.

Setting up new extensions or external numbers is done with a few clicks and you can even set up various departments which is a great way to route a call to various people in a department, like sales or support.

The intuitive user interface also makes it easy to set up hold-music and voice prompts. You can add voice prompts by recording them straight to your phone, just make sure you use a clear voice with quiet surroundings for the best customer experience.

One of the main features of BuzzBox is its call recording feature that allows an organisation to record calls for legislative purposes, such as a lawyer, or for customer service purposes such as support. Recordings are stored securely online, and you have the ability to download recordings for playback. Companies can opt-in for this service and it’s free to use. Recordings are stored online and are fully encrypted so only you can listen to, or download them. Storage costs R1 for every 1000 minutes of stored recordings.

Other features include call forwarding and scheduling. The latter allows you to set office hours for your organisation which will divert calls to an after-hours messaging service. You also have the option to enable routing to an employee who is on call after hours.

BuzzBox also has a reseller program for companies wanting to offer this as a switchboard solution to their existing customers.

The costs for this service is R89 p/m for the first phone number which includes your first extension for free. Thereafter you’ll pay R89p/m per extension. Calls between extensions are free but you pay per second for all outgoing phone calls. More info on pricing can be found here: https://buzzboxcloud.co.za/pricing/

BuzzBox is offering a Launch promotion where they are offering the first line and extension free for 12 months. Only pay for calls. Use promo code “feoifyaa” during sign-up to apply your discount.

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