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Kirby coming to Wii U

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Nintendo Wii U owners will soon be able guide Kirby through his world of clay in the Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush title. The game will be released at the beginning of May and offers a multiplayer mode where up to three players can join in the fun.

Featuring a unique control method and a visually striking world inhabited by quirky characters made entirely out of clay, Kirby’s eagerly awaited first Wii U adventure, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, arrives in South Africa on the 8th of May. The game also includes multiplayer support whereby three friends can hop in and out at any time to assist Kirby, using Wii Remote controllers to play as Waddle Dees. Players can also use compatible amiibo figures once per day on every stage to power up Kirby with special abilities.

Kirby games have often experimented with inventive visual styles and unique gameplay twists, with past games having Kirby ride on hamsters and transforming into yarn. Kirby’s latest outing is no exception, taking place in a beautifully realised world of clay. Dream Land has been drained of all it’s colour and it’s down to Kirby to bring the colour back by traversing seven planets, defeating enemies and solving puzzles along the way.

In a control style moulded after the ground-breaking touch controls introduced in Kirby: Power Paintbrush for Nintendo DS, players guide and guard Kirby by drawing lines on the Wii U GamePad touch screen using the stylus. These lines become Rainbow Ropes that Kirby rolls along, navigating obstacles and defeating enemies. Drawing Rainbow Ropes in creative ways like a loop will give Kirby a quick speed boost and they can also be used to protect Kirby from enemies and hazards, as well as to solve puzzles. For instance, using a well-drawn rope can block a waterfall or uncover a hidden area. Re-modelling the traditional Kirby format further, Kirby’s transformations into a tank, submarine and rocket in this game all come with their own distinct twist on the touch screen controls.

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush can be enjoyed with friends or family members with support for up to three additional players to join the fun at any time. The player who controls Kirby draws Rainbow Ropes on the GamePad, while other players use Wii Remote controllers to play as friendly Waddle Dee characters to assist Kirby and help discover the game’s numerous collectibles. While ultimately everyone works together to reach the goal, each player’s collected stars will display at the end of each stage, encouraging a little friendly competition.

In terms of amiibo functionality, the Kirby, King Dedede and Meta Knight amiibo can each be used once a day, per stage, to power up Kirby with special abilities. By tapping a Kirby amiibo to the Wii U GamePad, players receive an unlimited Star Dash within a stage, which otherwise can only be activated by collecting 100 stars. A King Dedede amiibo outfits Kirby with a hat that grants him six health bars instead of the normal four, and the Meta Knight amiibo gives Kirby a mask that lets him use a fast dash that blasts right through weaker enemies.

Offering beautiful and unique visuals, innovative control mechanics, and a wide variety of gameplay challenges and playing styles for both single- and co-operative multiplayer fun, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush launches for Wii U on the 8th of May and will be available for purchase at retail and on Nintendo eShop for Wii U.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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