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Ordinary heroes honoured

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Alongside the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft announced its Upgrade Your World initiative, a program where the company highlights and rewards educators for their work done in shaping the lives of South Africa’s future leaders.

Microsoft South Africa recently launched Windows 10 at a fan event held in Newtown, Johannesburg. Together with the launch of Windows 10, the company also encouraged those in attendance to support the year-long initiative, Upgrade Your World, a global initiative which celebrates people and organisations of action who are making a difference around the world.

The Upgrade Your World programme celebrates those who inspire and empower others, led by Microsoft’s vision to help people achieve more through technology and in celebration of the Windows 10 launch.

Microsoft is partnering with ten global NGOs including Keep a Child Alive and Special Olympics, as well as 100 national non-profits from around the world, as part of this year-long initiative to help them upgrade the world, with a total $10 million (around R125 million) cash investment being made in support of their missions and to promote awareness of their causes.

Highlighting the work done by committed teachers

In conjunction with the global initiative, Microsoft South Africa, Pinnacle Africa and Torque IT are joining forces to honour the work done by committed educators charged with the tremendous responsibility to prepare the next generation of business and political leaders, inventors and innovators.

“As Pinnacle Africa’s local brand, Proline is proud to be associated with Microsoft’s education initiatives in South Africa and our core values of ‘People, Product, Passion’ are reflected in the Windows 10 products we are demonstrating at the event,” said Rodger Green, Proline Brand Executive at Pinnacle Africa. “By being the first local vendor offering devices pre-installed with the Windows 10 operating system, Proline intends to continue empowering people to achieve more through technology and reach their potential,” Green added.

On 1 August 2015, Microsoft SA will launch a competition on the Microsoft SA Facebook page which aims to acknowledge and celebrate innovative teachers, who are integrating technology into the classroom to make the learning process more collaborative and memorable for learners. Schools and students are encouraged to nominate their teachers on the Microsoft SA Facebook page by commenting in 30 words what makes their teacher a potential Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. Ten teachers stand a chance to win some awesome prizes from Microsoft, Pinnacle Africa and Torque IT to keep them innovating in the classroom.

These include Windows 10 computer training courses from Torque IT, an Intel Classmate device sponsored by Pinnacle Africa, Lumia 430 smartphone from Microsoft SA, as well as admission to the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE) Programme, which was created to identify and assist global educator visionaries who are using technology to pave the way for their peers in terms of innovative teaching methods and the use of 21st Century skills. The competition closes on 21 August 2015 and winners will be announced on 10 September 2015.

“Our educators of today are responsible for developing the leaders of tomorrow, it is key that they are provided with the correct tools as well as shown how best to use them. The launch of Windows 10 and the Upgrade Your World campaign not only says thank you for their continuous efforts, but provides them with a Windows 10 device plus the skills to use the device, which will aid them greatly with their day-to-day tasks in their respective schools,” says Morne Hugo, Microsoft Business Unit Manager at TorqueIT.

How innovating educators are leading the way for peers

Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Expert programme enables teachers to become innovation thought leaders, who build educator capacity in their community through training and coaching their colleagues as well as speaking at conferences. Local MIE, Phuti Ragophala, who is the principal of Pula Madibogo Primary School in Limpopo has attended two Microsoft in Education Global Forums for instance, with the first of these occurring in Barcelona during 2014 and the second in Dubai this year.

MIE Experts also have the opportunity to try out new Microsoft products as these are released to see how best to integrate these into their lesson plans and collaborate with innovative educators across the globe, using Skype in the Classroom. Local MIE Karen Stadler, is an ICT integration teacher from Elkanah House in Cape Town, and she uses technology to make learners in over 100 classes across 55 countries aware of the plight of rhinos in South Africa. Through her ‘Save our rhinos’ project, Stadler aims to raise awareness of rhino extinction and to unite the voices of children around the world in support of rhino conservation.

“There are hundreds of committed teachers in South Africa doing their best for their students every single day,” says Anthony Doherty, Windows business group lead at Microsoft South Africa. “Thanks to the Upgrade Your World initiative and the launch of Windows 10, you have the chance to show your appreciation by upgrading their world.”

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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