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Is it a chair? A table? ‘Smart space’ can transform lifestyle

Essential tips and tricks to help open your mind to closed spaces, by Michelle McGowan, product marketing manager at LG Electronics SA

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“Goodness gracious your apartment is spacious!”

Isn’t that exactly what you want to hear when you usher in a guest into your apartment for the first time?

Urban city living offers its own unique experiences and big advantages. It’s cheaper, more convenient and easier to freely indulge in that lock-up-and-go lifestyle that plays at the very heart of urban life. However, it does also offer smaller living spaces. But, if you’re smart about your space, you’ll be able to make the most of every square metre without having to compromise on any of life’s little luxuries.

Dual-purpose furniture

It’s a chair! It’s a table! It’s a kist! No! It’s all of those things. To really thrive in a small apartment or flat, you have to find intuitive ways of inventing storage space and then making it disappear into the background. There are plenty of ottomans and coffee tables that can provide extra storage space. Furniture retailers like Kist Company have many clever options when it comes to dual-purpose furniture that can stylishly fit into your living space.

Mount your TV on the wall

We all love a big screen TV, but at 40” and above they can become quite cumbersome. If you’re attached to your TV, then consider firmly attaching it to your wall with a proper mounting bracket. You can find these wherever TVs are sold. You will have to drill some holes in the wall so if you are concerned about the installation, there are plenty of professionals around to help with the installation. A simple visit to Takealot will reveal a wide range of TV brackets to fit your needs.

Don’t be a hoarder

When you’re living in a small space, life should be about experiences and memories. The more stuff you own, the more stuffy your apartment is going to feel. When you get right down to it, all of us are bogged down with useless clutter that doesn’t benefit our life. At least once a year, the best thing you can do is gather up what you can live without and donate to those in need. Best-selling author and organising guru, Marie Kondo, gives a fresh take on decluttering your space on her Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”.

Your kitchen deserves the right fridge

If there is one appliance that dominates the kitchen it is the fridge. If space is a challenge, you need to find a brand of fridge that perfectly balances style with function. A combined fridge and freezer is the way rather than having two separate coolers.

Electronics manufacturer LG Electronics has a range of bottom fridge freezers that offer the ideal solution for minimalist apartment kitchens. The LG V+ bottom fridge freezers offer style, convenience and efficiency in a neat package – just what you need in an apartment. The fridges have flexible, eye-level shelving and the freezer is spacious, helping keep food organised and fresh.

Mirrors are magic

The keys to more spacious living is the illusion of more space. Put a mirror on the wall or on a door and you will feel the room expand immediately. The trick is to angle your mirrors to give off the illusion of depth. Not only this, mirrors are good at reflecting both natural and artificial light, which will brighten up your apartment during the day.

Outsource your storage

As we grow in life, so do our possessions. Yes, there is a certain amount of culling you can do but eventually you end up with more things you cannot live without than you have space to store them. You may have noticed an upsurge in storage space companies popping up all over the place. This is because more and more people are living smaller, whether they want to or not. If that’s you, it’s not a bad idea to rent some storage space and keep your non-essentials hidden away out of sight, safe and secure in a storage locker.

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TikTok takes on COVID-19

The fastest growing social media platform in the world has also become an epicenter of public education about the coronavirus, attracting more than 30-billion views, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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The young have been getting a bad rap for wanting to party on while COVID-19 sends the world into lockdown. But a different movie is playing itself out on the social platform that is growing fastest among teenagers: TikTok.

Awareness campaigns by TikTok itself, collaboration with the International Red Cross, and spontaneous videos made by TikTok creators have combined into a barrage of information, education, awareness and social consciousness around the coronavirus.

Both globally and in South Africa, TikTok’s COVID-19 campaigns have gone viral.

The local #HayiCorona challenge, designed to remind people not to touch their face and wash hands regularly, has passed 1.5-million views. The TikTok collaboration with the International Red Cross, the #WashingHands challenge, has passed 12.6-million views.

One of the best-known participants in these challenges is the past year’s icon of South African talent, the Ndlovu Youth Choir, took up the global challenge with a 20-second hand-washing video. It put together a performance that brings tremendous energy to what can be a clichéd message, and ends with a punt for the Department of Health’s WhatsApp information service. The video can be viewed below.

@ndlovuyouthchoir

Our community has limited access to running water. Follow these instructions on how to safely wash your hands using a bucket. ##coronavirus##washinghands

♬ original sound – ndlovuyouthchoir

“On a global scale, TikTok also partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that, while creators are still having fun and expressing themselves on the platform, they stay informed with COVID-19 information coming from a reliable source,” a TikTok spokesperson told us. “Through the partnership, the WHO has created an informational page on TikTok that offers information to curb the spread of the coronavirus as well as dispelling myths.”

The page can be viewed at https://vm.tiktok.com/GHTEGf

TikTok has hosted a number of livestreams with WHO experts, attracting users from more than 70 countries, tuning in for live question and answer sessions. It has also introduced labels on coronavirus-related videos, to point users to trusted information. Resources are also offered directly in the app and in a dedicated COVID-19 section of TikTok’s Safety Center, at https://www.tiktok.com/safety/resources/covid-19.

If users simply want to explore videos on the topic, they can search via the #coronavirus hashtag, or click on https://vm.tiktok.com/swKbn4. The hashtag has had an astonishing 33.8-billion views, indicating the scale of activity and interest around the topic on the platform.

Read more on the next page about how South Africans have embraced the campaign.

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On World Backup Day: backup, backup, backup

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It was World Backup Day yesterday, 31 March, at a time when business continuity is threatened as never before. That makes calls for protecting email and defending against ransomware all the more urgent.

The global coronavirus pandemic has brought into stark relief many organisations’ lack of business continuity plans and policies. With more than two billion people around the globe in forced lockdown in wide-ranging government efforts to stem the tide of infections, an unprecedented number of employees are working remotely.

This interruption to the normal way of work is precisely what an effective and resilient business continuity strategy should plan for, says Heino Gevers, cybersecurity specialist at Mimecast

“Companies need uninterrupted access to critical business applications during times of disruption, including safe and secure web and email access for workers that are now operating outside the normal perimeters of the organisation,” he says. “In addition, comprehensive backup and archiving solutions should be ready to restore access to critical business applications should there be any unplanned downtime to ensure continuity until the crisis passes.”

According to Gevers, the current global crisis is likely to push business continuity up the list of priorities for many organisations that have been disrupted by the effects of the coronavirus.

“Organisations are facing new challenges to their productivity; for example in terms of technical support. If a remote user is infected with malware or ransomware, how does the IT team restore that device or do any remediation without being able to physically access it?”

Gevers advises that organisations implement tools that enhances the data protection capabilities of commonly-used tools such as Office365 and can leverage archived data to provide quick recovery of email data in the event of accidental loss, malicious attacks or technical failure. 

“As adoption of cloud-based business applications grow in the wake of forced lockdowns around the globe, companies need to ensure they have the tools to recover in any situation,” he says. “This includes a data management strategy that combines archiving, backup and data protection capabilities to allow for quick restoration of critical systems and applications in the event of disruption.”

Jasmit Sagoo, head of technology at Veritas for the United Kingdom and Ireland, warns that this is a golden age for cybercriminals looking for ransomware opportunities.

“As the global cost of ransomware continues to grow, this World Backup Day, Veritas is saying: ‘don’t pay up, back up!’,” he says. “Ransomware is said to generate an estimated annual revenue of $1 billion a year, and companies who are not consistent in backing up their data are allowing criminals to line their pockets.

“Ransomware attacks exist only because some businesses can’t survive unless the hackers give them back their data.  So, the key to survival is removing that reliance and being able to regain access to data, without engaging with the cybercriminals.  The best way to do that is with a sound backup strategy.

“Sagoo advises organisations to create isolated, offline backup copies of their data to keep it out of reach of any attackers.  They then need to proactively monitor and restrict backup credentials, while running backups frequently to shrink the risk of potential data loss. Businesses should also test and retest their ransomware defences regularly.

“Ransomware strikes without warning and it doesn’t discriminate between its targets – it can happen to any organisation, large or small. Despite their best efforts, most companies will fall to at least one attack. What distinguishes one victim from another is the ability to bounce back, which ultimately depends on its backup strategy.

“When ransomware hits, organisations that aren’t prepared often feel helpless to do anything other than to submit to their attacker’s demands.   That’s why we’re urging all businesses to use World Backup Day as a catalyst to get ahead of the situation and get their data protected.”

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