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Lucky 13th for Nintendo fans

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This Friday the 13th, Nintendo is aiming on overturning the superstition and misfortune that comes with it by announcing a range of new hardware and software releases.

While Friday 13th is considered by many to be a day shrouded in superstition and misfortune, Nintendo is aiming to overturn this notion and bring good fortune to South Africa’s handheld gaming fans this coming Friday. It has named the day #Nintendo3DSDay, and is marking it with a slew of new hardware and software releases.

At a time when the Nintendo 3DS family of systems has now sold over 50 million hardware units globally, the latest additions to the family, New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL, make their South African debut on Friday 13th alongside two major software releases: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Capcom‘s Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Both titles are playable on all Nintendo 3DS systems, but feature added functionality when experienced on New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL, such as more stable 3D and enhanced camera controls using the C Stick. Two limited edition hardware bundles, New Nintendo 3DS XL Majora’s Mask 3D Edition and New Nintendo 3DS XL Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Edition will also launch on Friday to celebrate these highly-anticipated titles.

Meanwhile, exclusively on Nintendo eShop, IronFall: Invasion, an intense single-player and six-person local & online multiplayer action-shooter from three talented developers, launches alongside familiar faces in Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe. In addition, a free video-on-demand streaming service named Nintendo Anime Channel becomes available for download from Nintendo eShop, with anime series from the likes of Kirby, Pokémon, and Inazuma Eleven.

“We are delighted to be releasing such an extensive Nintendo 3DS hardware and software line-up, and hope this offering demonstrates our commitment to providing the best and most varied gameplay experiences possible for handheld gaming fans,” said Laurent Fischer, Managing Director, European Marketing & PR at Nintendo of Europe.

Nintendo’s releases for #Nintendo3DSDay, Friday 13th February, in full:

New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL: The latest additions to the Nintendo 3DS family feature new control options, face-tracking 3D technology, built-in amiibo functionality, and enhanced processing power. New Nintendo 3DS is compact and light, with a screen 1.2 times bigger than the original Nintendo 3DS and has the option of extra customisation using replaceable cover plates. New Nintendo 3DS XL boasts a luxury look and a 4.88 inch screen for even more dynamic and immersive gameplay. A free update will also be released on 10th February for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS  that will enable amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. Collection to be used with the new systems.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D: The handheld remake of the beloved, dark and twisted Nintendo 64 game launches exclusively for Nintendo 3DS family of systems.

New Nintendo 3DS XL Majora’s Mask 3D Edition: A limited edition hardware bundle that includes a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and a New Nintendo 3DS XL system covered in artwork inspired by the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D Special Edition:  A limited edition software offering which includes a copy of the game in its standalone packaging, a specially-designed SteelBook, a pin badge and a double-sided poster.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: As players explore the world of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, they will face off against many ferocious enemies with up to three other friends locally or, for the first time on Nintendo 3DS, online using a wireless broadband Internet connection. Ahead of launch day fans should check out Nintendo eShop and get their hands on the demo, to brush up their skills ready for the battle ahead.

New Nintendo 3DS XL Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Edition: A limited edition hardware bundle that includes a copy of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and a New Nintendo 3DS XL system with an iconic emblem from the game on its cover.

IronFall: Invasion: A three-year project by independent developers VD-DEV, IronFall: Invasion brings fast-paced single-player and six-person local & online multiplayer shooting action, with the gameplay perfectly suited for using the C Stick of New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL.

Kirby Fighters Deluxe: Based on the popular battle mode in Kirby: Triple Deluxe, this standalone 4-player battle action game contains expanded gameplay, new arenas and the ability to play as a team.

Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe: Bounce to the beat of catchy Kirby tunes playing as Kirby’s long-time rival King Dedede. This standalone rhythm action game includes content not found in Kirby: Triple Deluxe including all-new stages and new obstacles.

Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy +: Play as the legendary pilot Phoenix and control fighter jets that exist in real-life. The game includes compatibility with the New Nintendo 3DS system’s C Stick and ZR/ZL buttons for total control, while certain amiibo unlock aircraft skins themed after characters like Captain Falcon, Samus, Bowser and more.

Nintendo Anime Channel: A new video-on-demand service offering fans the chance to stream anime series from the likes of Pokémon, Kirby, and Inazuma Eleven, with new content being added regularly. Access to the service is granted simply by downloading a free application from Nintendo eShop.

New Themes for Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu: Fans looking to spruce up their HOME Menu with a new theme are in luck! New Basic and Simple Colour Set themes can be downloaded for free from the Theme Shop which can be accessed through the HOME Menu settings on your Nintendo 3DS system. Those purchasing either The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate or Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+  will receive a free bonus theme download if purchased from Nintendo eShop, with additional themes available for purchase.

The fun doesn’t end on when the sun sets on Friday 13th #Nintendo3DSDay though. More high-profile handheld games for Nintendo 3DS family of systems are scheduled for release in the coming weeks and months. These include: Pokémon Shuffle (launching in February), Cooking Mama: Bon Appétit! (6th March), Gardening Mama: Forest Friends(6th March), Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (20th March), Inazuma Eleven GO Chrono Stones: Wildfire and Inazuma Eleven GO Chrono Stones: Thunderflash, (27th March) Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, (2nd April) Code Name S.T.E.A.M. (15th May), and Puzzle & Dragons Z and Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition (May).

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Prepare your cam to capture the Blood Moon

On 27 July 2018, South Africans can witness a total lunar eclipse, as the earth’s shadow completely covers the moon.

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Also known as a blood or red moon, a total lunar eclipse is the most dramatic of all lunar eclipses and presents an exciting photographic opportunity for any aspiring photographer or would-be astronomers.

“A lunar eclipse is a rare cosmic sight. For centuries these events have inspired wonder, interest and sometimes fear amongst observers. Of course, if you are lucky to be around when one occurs, you would want to capture it all on camera,” says Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive at Canon South Africa.

Canon ambassador and acclaimed landscape photographer David Noton has provided his top tips to keep in mind when photographing this occasion.   In South Africa, the eclipse will be visible from about 19h14 on Friday, 27 July until 01h28 on the Saturday morning. The lunar eclipse will see the light from the sun blocked by the earth as it passes in front of the moon. The moon will turn red because of an effect known as Rayleigh Scattering, where bands of green and violet light become filtered through the atmosphere.

A partial eclipse will begin at 20h24 when the moon will start to turn red. The total eclipse begins at about 21h30 when the moon is completely red. The eclipse reaches its maximum at 22h21 when the moon is closest to the centre of the shadow.

David Noton advises:

  1. Download the right apps to be in-the-know

The sun’s position in the sky at any given time of day varies massively with latitude and season. That is not the case with the moon as its passage through the heavens is governed by its complex elliptical orbit of the earth. That orbit results in monthly, rather than seasonal variations, as the moon moves through its lunar cycle. The result is big differences in the timing of its appearance and its trajectory through the sky. Luckily, we no longer need to rely on weight tables to consult the behaviour of the moon, we can simply download an app on to our phone. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is useful for giving moonrise and moonset times, bearings and phases; while the Photopills app gives comprehensive information on the position of the moon in our sky.  Armed with these two apps, I’m planning to shoot the Blood Moon rising in Dorset, England. I’m aiming to capture the moon within the first fifteen minutes of moonrise so I can catch it low in the sky and juxtapose it against an object on the horizon line for scale – this could be as simple as a tree on a hill.

 

  1. Invest in a lens with optimal zoom  

On the 27th July, one of the key challenges we’ll face is shooting the moon large in the frame so we can see every crater on the asteroid pockmarked surface. It’s a task normally reserved for astronomers with super powerful telescopes, but if you’ve got a long telephoto lens on a full frame DSLR with around 600 mm of focal length, it can be done, depending on the composition. I will be using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Ext. 1.4 x lens.

  1. Use a tripod to capture the intimate details

As you frame up your shot, one thing will become immediately apparent; lunar tracking is incredibly challenging as the moon moves through the sky surprisingly quickly. As you’ll be using a long lens for this shoot, it’s important to invest in a sturdy tripod to help capture the best possible image. Although it will be tempting to take the shot by hand, it’s important to remember that your subject is over 384,000km away from you and even with a high shutter speed, the slightest of movements will become exaggerated.

  1. Integrate the moon into your landscape

Whilst images of the moon large in the frame can be beautifully detailed, they are essentially astronomical in their appeal. Personally, I’m far more drawn to using the lunar allure as an element in my landscapes, or using the moonlight as a light source. The latter is difficult, as the amount of light the moon reflects is tiny, whilst the lunar surface is so bright by comparison. Up to now, night photography meant long, long exposures but with cameras such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV now capable of astonishing low light performance, a whole new nocturnal world of opportunities has been opened to photographers.

  1. Master the shutter speed for your subject 

The most evocative and genuine use of the moon in landscape portraits results from situations when the light on the moon balances with the twilight in the surrounding sky. Such images have a subtle appeal, mood and believability.  By definition, any scene incorporating a medium or wide-angle view is going to render the moon as a tiny pin prick of light, but its presence will still be felt. Our eyes naturally gravitate to it, however insignificant it may seem. Of course, the issue of shutter speed is always there; too slow an exposure and all we’ll see is an unsightly lunar streak, even with a wide-angle lens.

 

On a clear night, mastering the shutter speed of your camera is integral to capturing the moon – exposing at 1/250 sec @ f8 ISO 100 (depending on focal length) is what you’ll need to stop the motion from blurring and if you are to get the technique right, with the high quality of cameras such as the Canon EOS 5DS R, you might even be able to see the twelve cameras that were left up there by NASA in the 60’s!

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How Africa can embrace AI

Currently, no African country is among the top 10 countries expected to benefit most from AI and automation. But, the continent has the potential to catch up with the rest of world if we act fast, says ZOAIB HOOSEN, Microsoft Managing Director.

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To play catch up, we must take advantage of our best and most powerful resource – our human capital. According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), more than 60 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 25.

These are the people who are poised to create a future where humans and AI can work together for the good of society. In fact, the most recent WEF Global Shapers survey found that almost 80 percent of youth believe technology like AI is creating jobs rather than destroying them.

Staying ahead of the trends to stay employed

AI developments are expected to impact existing jobs, as AI can replicate certain activities at greater speed and scale. In some areas, AI could learn faster than humans, if not yet as deeply.

According to Gartner, while AI will improve the productivity of many jobs and create millions more new positions, it could impact many others. The simpler and less creative the job, the earlier, a bot for example, could replace it.

It’s important to stay ahead of the trends and find opportunities to expand our knowledge and skills while learning how to work more closely and symbiotically with technology.

Another global study by Accenture, found that the adoption of AI will create several new job categories requiring important and yet surprising skills. These include trainers, who are tasked with teaching AI systems how to perform; explainers, who bridge the gap between technologist and business leader; and sustainers, who ensure that AI systems are operating as designed.

It’s clear that successfully integrating human intelligence with AI, so they co-exist in a two-way learning relationship, will become more critical than ever.

Combining STEM with the arts

Young people have a leg up on those already in the working world because they can easily develop the necessary skills for these new roles. It’s therefore essential that our education system constantly evolves to equip youth with the right skills and way of thinking to be successful in jobs that may not even exist yet.

As the division of tasks between man and machine changes, we must re-evaluate the type of knowledge and skills imparted to future generations.

For example, technical skills will be required to design and implement AI systems, but interpersonal skills, creativity and emotional intelligence will also become crucial in giving humans an advantage over machines.

“At one level, AI will require that even more people specialise in digital skills and data science. But skilling-up for an AI-powered world involves more than science, technology, engineering and math. As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.” This is according to Microsoft president, Brad Smith, and EVP of AI and research, Harry Shum, who recently authored the book “The Future Computed”, which primarily deals with AI and its role in society.

Interestingly, institutions like Stanford University are already implementing this forward-thinking approach. The university offers a programme called CS+X, which integrates its computer science degree with humanities degrees, resulting in a Bachelor of Arts and Science qualification.

Revisiting laws and regulation

For this type of evolution to happen, the onus is on policy makers to revisit current laws and even bring in new regulations. Policy makers need to identify the groups most at risk of losing their jobs and create strategies to reintegrate them into the economy.

Simultaneously, though AI could be hugely beneficial in areas such as curbing poor access to healthcare and improving diagnoses for example, physicians may avoid using this technology for fear of malpractice. To avoid this, we need regulation that closes the gap between the pace of technological change and that of regulatory response. It will also become essential to develop a code of ethics for this new ecosystem.

Preparing for the future

With the recent convergence of a transformative set of technologies, economies are entering a period in which AI has the potential overcome physical limitations and open up new sources of value and growth.

To avoid missing out on this opportunity, policy makers and business leaders must prepare for, and work toward, a future with AI. We must do so not with the idea that AI is simply another productivity enhancer. Rather, we must see AI as the tool that can transform our thinking about how growth is created.

It comes down to a choice of our people and economies being part of the technological disruption, or being left behind.

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