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Power woes boost online search for surge protectors, UPS

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Rolling blackouts are becoming a reality. Fluctuations in power can wreak havoc on your appliances and cause permanent damage – that is often not covered by insurance.

According to Gumtree Marketing Manager, Estelle Nagel, searches for UPS devices and surge protectors have spiked. “Clearly customers have accepted that we’ll experience more load shedding in the weeks to come, and we should prepare for the “new normal”.”

When the power supply cuts out, electrical equipment turns off but many smart devices have micro-processors that require correct shut down (much like a PC). This could result in catastrophic internal hardware failures. There’s also the risk of a power spike or surge when power is restored that can damage electronics.  “If you own an expensive smart TV or fridge, the R250-R2000 investment you’ll make protecting that device is well worth it,” says Nagel.

Surge protectors

You can find surge protectors online or at any electronics store. These devices monitor the flow of electricity that reaches your appliances and can either link to a single appliance or connect to your main electrical panel at home. This acts as a buffer between the socket and the appliance that directs surges in power away from your electronics. “We don’t recommend buying these secondhand as they can only absorb so much damage before they need to be replaced. The lifespan of a surge protector is measured in joules – the more joules, the better.”

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

A UPS is a device with a battery back-up system that can supply power to your device for a matter of minutes or hours. Even if your UPS only keeps you running for a few minutes, it will buy you enough time to power down devices safely. “It’s a good idea to get a UPS for your router at the office – that way, if nothing else, you will still have Internet connectivity.”

Unplug your devices

If you are able to, keep your computer cables, telephone cables linked to modems and other sensitive equipment unplugged during load shedding.

Back-up batteries or solar power

Security systems are often compromised during load shedding. Opt for solar security lights or back-up battery systems for electric gates and fencing to make sure your home stays protected during black-outs.

“Load shedding is going to impact everyone – being prepared is key. There are plenty of cheap and effective measures you can take to minimise or prevent damage to your electronics,” says Nagel.

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Vodacom cuts cost of smallest bundle by 40%

The country’s largest mobile operator has kept to a promise made last month to slash the price of entry-level data packages

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Vodacom has cut the data price of its lowest-cost bundle by 40%, reducing the price of a 50MB 30-day bundle from R20 to to R12. This follows from the operator’s promise in March, when it announced a 33% cut in the cost of 1GB bundles, to reduce prices of all smaller bundles by up to 40%.

Vodacom’s various 30-day data bundle prices will be cut across all of its channels, with the new pricing as follows:

30-day bundle size New Price Reduction
50MB R12 40%
150MB R29 33%
325MB R55 33%
500MB R79 21%
1GB R99 34%
3GB R229 23%
5GB R349 14%
10GB R469 22%
20GB R699 31%

Vodacom confirmed it will provide free data to access essential services through Vodacom’s zero-rated platform ConnectU with immediate effect. The value of these initiatives, it says, is R2.7-billion over the next year.

“Vodacom can play a critical role in supporting society during this challenging time and we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help customers stay connected,” says Jorge Mendes, Chief Officer of Vodacom’s Consumer Business Unit. “Since we started our pricing transformation strategy three years ago, our customers have benefitted from significant reductions in data prices and the cost of voice calls. Over the same period, we invested over R26 billion in infrastructure and new technologies, so our customers enjoy wider 2G, 3G and 4G coverage and vastly increased data speeds.”

The latest data reductions will complement the discounted bundle offers that will also be made available to prepaid customers in more than 2,000 less affluent suburbs and villages around the country. For qualifying communities to access further discounted voice and data deals, they need to click on the scrolling ConnectU banner on the platform via connectu.vodacom.co.za

ConnectU – which is a zero-rated platform – also went live this week. It will provide content aimed at social development and offers a variety of essential services for free. Learners and students enrolled in schools and universities can access relevant information for free, with no data costs. The ConnectU portal includes a search engine linked to open sources such as Wikipedia and Wiktionary as well as free access to job portals; free educational content on the e-School platform; free health and wellness information and free access to Facebook Flex, the low data alternative to Facebook that enables customers to stay socially connected.

Vodacom’s popular Just4You platform has been a significant contributor to the approximately 50% reduction in effective data prices over the past two years. Substantial cuts in out-of-bundle tariffs and the introduction of hourly, daily and weekly bundles with much lower effective prices have also driven increased value and affordability, resulting in R2-billion in savings for customers in 2019.

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OneBlade shaves price of electric precision

Electric razors and their blades are usually quite expensive. But the Philips OneBlade shaves the cost, writes SEAN BACHER

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Electric razors come in all shapes and forms and their prices vary as well. When your nearest electronic retail outlet opens again, you will be able to pay a small fortune for a wet and dry razor that cleans itself, shows you when it needs to be recharged, and tells you to replace the cleaning solution – all via a little LCD panel in the handle.

But does everyone want that? Does everyone need that? Surely there must be customers who want an easy-to-use, no-mess, no-fuss razor that gets the job done just as well as a “smart razor”?

With this in mind, Philips has launched its OneBlade wet and dry electric razor. The razor is dead simple to use. It comes with three stubble combs – 1mm, 3mm and 5 mm –  which can be clicked onto the head much like one would with a hair shaver. Should you want a really close shave, simply the combs off. I found this to be the most effective as I don’t have a beard.

The razor’s blade is the size of the striking side of a matchbox and has 90-degree angles all round. This offers precise shaving and, because of its small size, it is able to get just about anywhere on a person’s face.

The blade has a usage indicator that shows when it is time to replace the blade – usually after four months – and an additional blade is included in the box.

The OneBlade’s battery takes up to eight hours to charge, and will give up to 45 minutes shaving time.

Overall, the Philips OneBlade will give a man a comfortable and precise shave. Its battery life, combined with its size, makes it a perfect travel companion as it is no bigger than an electric toothbrush. Its relatively low price compared to other electric razors also counts in its favour.

The One Blade can be bought from most electronic retailers or can be ordered online from websites like takealot.com. The razor retails for R650 and a set of two new blades will cost around R450.

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