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Oracle promises lower costs for cloud

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Oracle has announced new programs that lower costs by delivering increased automation and flexibility, and enabling customers to get more value from their existing software investments.

The new Oracle Cloud programs, announced by Oracle executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison this week, include Bring Your Own License to PaaS and Universal Credits.

“We are completely transforming the way all companies buy and use cloud by providing flexibility and choice,” said Ellison. “Today, we combined the lowest prices with the highest performance and more automation to deliver a lower total cost of ownership for our customers.”

While organisations are eager to move to the cloud, many have not due to obstacles that have forced them to choose between flexibility and lower costs.  They have been challenged by the complexity of the cloud and the inability to rebalance spend across different services.

Organisations have also been constrained by limited visibility and control over cloud spend. Until now, they have been unable to fully leverage their on-premises software investments in the cloud, having been limited to IaaS services or sacrificing key database features at the PaaS layer.  Oracle’s new cloud programs address customers’ cloud adoption challenges by improving and simplifying the way they purchase and consume cloud services.

Oracle provided the following information
Currently, customers are able to bring their on-premises licenses to Oracle IaaS. Today, Oracle is expanding the offering by enabling customers to reuse their existing software licenses for Oracle PaaS, including Oracle Database, Oracle Middleware, Oracle Analytics, and others. Customers with existing on-premises licenses can leverage that investment to use Oracle Database Cloud at a fraction of the old PaaS price. Running Oracle Database on Oracle IaaS is faster and offers more features than Amazon, delivering the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership. Additionally, customers can further reduce management and operational costs required for on-premises maintenance by taking advantage of this PaaS automation.

Universal Credits: Flexible Buying and Consumption Choices for Oracle’s PaaS and IaaS Services

Oracle is introducing Universal Credits, the industry’s most flexible buying and consumption model for cloud services.  With Universal Credits, customers have one simple contract that provides unlimited access to all current and future Oracle PaaS and IaaS services, spanning Oracle Cloud and Oracle Cloud at Customer.  Customers gain on-demand access to all services plus the benefit of the lower cost of pre-paid services.  Additionally, they have the flexibility to upgrade, expand or move services across datacenters based on their requirements. With Universal Credits, customers gain the ability to switch the PaaS or IaaS services they are using without having to notify Oracle. Customers also benefit from using new services with their existing set of cloud credits when made available.

Oracle’s new Universal Credit and Bring Your Own License to PaaS will be available on September 25, 2017. These programs span Oracle Cloud and Oracle Cloud at Customer.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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