Drive Control Corporation is now stocking a new range of Western Digital My Passport external hard drives starting at a capacity of 500GB and topping out at 2TB.
Drive Control Corporation (DCC) is now stocking Western Digital’s (WD) refreshed range of My Passport external hard drives that are sleek, feature specially-engineered scratch and fingerprint resistant casings and most importantly, are now available in 500GB, 1TB and a whopping 2TB capacity. The My Passport external drives feature ultra-fast USB 3.0 connectivity: USB 2.0 compatibility: WD SmartWare continuous, automatic backup software and WD Security for password protection and hardware encryption.
Says Zandr√© Rudolph, Retail Business Unit Manager at DCC: ‚”The continuous creation of digital content is driving the need for more storage coupled with mobility and convenience. This has become apparent not just because of the amount of data, but also the increasing quality of data such as High Definition (HD) videos. The WD My Passport drive meets these digital demands of a content driven market with its high storage capacity and small and appealing form factor.‚”
The ultra portable My Passport drives afford consumers plenty of secure storage for all their photos, videos, music and other important files, in an amazing, pocket-sized enclosure. The included software offers the flexibility to customise the drive to a user’s storage preferences: installing all features: just the components needed: or using the drive without the software.
Adds Rudolph, ‚”The two year limited warranty on these units, together with their added security and flexibility features, is evidence of WD’s commitment to providing reliable, quality products. Consumers can confidently backup, store and carry their entire digital lives around in style: peace of mind for busy consumers on the go.‚”
The My Passport drives are available in black and silver at selected retailers for recommended retail prices of: 500GB- R999, 1TB R1299, 2TB-R2499. All prices are inclusive of V.A.T
SA chainsaw operators now train in VR
Developed by Forestry South Africa (FSA), the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M Seta) and industry partners, this solution trains chainsaw operators in a safe, simulated environment before they test their skills in this high-risk activity in timber plantations.
While the number of chainsaw operators employed in large commercial plantations has declined in recent years, the opposite is true in small-scale and community forestry, where suitably trained chainsaw operators need to be equipped with this scarce and critical skill.
Although forestry has used simulators over the past decade, their use in the training of chainsaw operators is an innovative development.
Mobile, cost-effective, learner-adaptable and injury-free
The cost of practical training has risen substantially. The sector sought a solution that would not only provide a cost-effective coaching medium with minimal risk, but a means whereby trainee operators could gain a feel for their equipment before taking their first steps into the field or forest.
Safety concerns have proved to be a limiting factor in the training of chainsaw operators. Other constraints include unwieldy class sizes and a limited number of trees available for practical instruction.
“Besides the obvious benefits that our industry stands to gain from this project, VR is the future of skills development and training. It transports learners into the environment for which they are being trained, promotes interactivity and improves the retention of information through experience,” says FSA business development director Norman Dlamini.
“I am holding the very first chainsaw in the world that has been wired with sensors and can transport a learner into a virtual timber plantation,” says Dlamini in a video developed to promote and demonstrate the application.
The solution is remarkably simple to operate and offers significant value for money. All that is needed is a dedicated computer, a VR headset, a specially adapted chainsaw with sensors and a customised mobile gazebo. The total cost of the hardware to run the app is approximately R35 000, while the software is available free of charge to FSA members.
The project has been substantially funded by the FP&M Seta. “It uses fourth industrial revolution technology to improve the quality of instruction. Excited by FSA’s proposal, FP&M Seta contributed to this initiative,” says FP&M Seta CEO Felleng Yende, who too believes that VR is the future of training and skills development.
FSA executive director Michael Peter explains that capacity building and development are vital to the sustainability of the industry and its future growth. “Our membership includes not only the country’s 11 major corporate forestry companies but 1 300 medium-scale plantation owners and around 20 000 small-scale operators. This development will benefit them by enhancing the quality of operator training,” he says.
Some FSA members have already committed to testing the technology at their in-house training departments and will be giving constant feedback to the development team to refine the design of the product prior to commercialisation.
Where to next?
According to Peter, the app will meet the need for better quality and safer training in the industry while standardising the level of training and assessment of trainees across the country.
Initial demonstrations have been well-received by the industry, with a Version 2.0 already in the making. “During consultation with user groups, we identified two important improvements to enhance the next generation of VR chainsaw training aids,” adds Dlamini.
These will incorporate the use of a wireless module to eliminate cables that interfere with the movement of the learner operator as well as VR gloves to improve haptic feedback from the chainsaw during operation. This will add realism to the experience, enabling trainees to sense vibrations and resistance as the chainsaw engages with the virtual tree or timber.
Learning from this development, FSA is investigating other VR-based training applications for similarly hazardous operations. One of these is firefighting. “Fire knows no sectorial borders, so we would seek multi-sector collaboration,” says Dlamini.
How to save cloud from complexity
By DOUG WOOLLEY, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa
Ten years ago, business technologies had saturated to breaking point. The potential they offered were diminished by their deployment and maintenance costs. Then virtualisation, cloud and similar technologies emerged to offer new capacities and optimisation. Companies were able to vastly simplify their technology stacks, as is evident by even large enterprises moving wholesale to service-centric models where you own less and get more.
But that pendulum was going to change direction eventually. The arrival of the cloud world wasn’t just about creating efficiencies. It introduced radical new ways of creating applications and deploying services. The initial gains in terms of efficiency were just the start – once the cloud engine started firing on more cylinders, its true potential came to light. Artificial intelligence, real-time data, IoT infrastructure and other cutting edge services became widely feasible and affordable.
The modern technology era is powerful because of its modularity, but this creates a new type of complexity headache. Several reports have highlighted concerns among modern CIOs that complexity is getting out of hand again. One study found that a single web transaction used to interact with around 22 technology systems a few years ago, whereas today the number is more than 35. That’s a 59 percent increase in complexity.
The major bite is coming from managing multi-cloud environments. Today’s organisation is spoilt for choice. It can juggle hyperscale environments, co-location arrangements, private clouds, application containers and straight service pipes to create the best combination of technologies that enable its desires. But the simple beauty of grabbing an iPad for a performance dashboard belies the agile and complex relationships making that happen behind the scenes.
I can tell you that Dell EMC has been mulling this long before it became a clear challenge. Even before the successful merger that created Dell Technologies, we already pursued ways to better manage the complexity created by cloud environments. I don’t say this to advertise our services, but to point out that we never bought into a blue-skies view of cloud. The complexity was bound to return. If it isn’t contained and disciplined, then the promise of cloud would soon devolve into the familiar muck everyone’s trying to break free from.
We’re not alone: the market has been reaching this conclusion as well. A recent VMWare survey found that 83 percent of cloud adopters are seeking consistent infrastructure and operations from the data centre to the cloud. In other words, they want as seamless an experience as possible between the various moving parts of their technology investments.
Digital maturity isn’t a single curve. It’s more akin to a radar chart, with different indicators spreading outwards to complete the picture. The ability to curtail multi-cloud complexity is increasingly a dominant indicator of digital proficiency. But the means to create that control will depend heavily on the partner of choice.
Reining in cloud isn’t just about a nice management suite. It has to cover a powerful integration of hardware, software, services and consumption options. It also can’t exist to try and cap your cloud capabilities for the sake of stability. Cloud management has to remain dynamic to allow for the agility, accelerated innovation, improved economics and reduced risk that are the promises of the cloud era.
This requires a multidisciplinary approach that no single vendor can comprehensively provide. It needs a stable of different capabilities, such as virtualisation, infrastructure management and mature business thinking. When a company wants to avoid or untangle the new complexities wrought by cloud, the solutions don’t lie in services but how rich the partner landscape is that provides the management services.
Multi-cloud environments are delivering both expected and unbelievable gains, often as smooth interactions for end-users. But the background complexity can diminish returns very quickly and erode digitisation gains. This is the technology conversation of the year and foreseeable future, so let’s start talking.
We will be hosting our Dell Technologies Forum on 27 June at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Register now (https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-za/events/forum2019/Johannesburg/index.htm) and take this opportunity to raise your feelings about complexity and how to keep the cloud in line with your business expectations.