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rAge: Choose the right headset

With the rAge geek expo kicking off in Johannesburg this Friday, ASUS offers a guide to its headsets for gamers.

Sound and Style: Choose the perfect headset for your gaming needs

The right headset can make all the difference, whether you’re a casual gamer, looking for that competitive edge, or a music lover looking to unwind. The more competitive gamers will tell you that a headset is one of the most important purchases as it can change many important aspects of the game, especially in a title such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

ASUS Republic of Gamers offers a wide range of headsets to meet your gaming needs, and as always there is something out there for everyone. Are you looking for style? Comfort? Can’t decide? Luckily these headphones offer the whole package.

ASUS Cerberus

The Cerberus is a versatile headset offering cross platform use for PC, console and mobile. With a 60mm neodymium driver, the Cerberus works packs enough punch for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 and mobile devices.

Never miss another important call out in-game with the Cerberus’ detachable microphone, offering a clear in-game chat and dual-microphone design. We all know there’s nothing worse than a player with a bad microphone, and luckily that won’t be you.

Comfort also plays a major part when partaking in those lengthy gaming marathons. The Cerberus offers a 100mm cushion padded ear cup with noise cancellation and only weighs in at 266 grams ensuring optimal comfort for hours of use. A great value for money headset with an RRP of R959.00

ASUS Echelon

Speaking of style, the Echelon comes in three variations: Forest, Navy and Black Camouflage. Do you fancy yourself a soldier? Or prefer the stealth approach with camouflage? Then the Echelon would be a perfect choice.

Make those winning calls with a retractable mic and adjust your volume in-game with the In-Line volume control. The Echelon offers the perfect combination of style and performance with a 50mm neodymium driver and effective 30 dB noise cancelling to ensure you do not miss a thing. Often a footstep can make all the difference when one is in that crucial clutch moment, and the Echelon offers clarity for hours and hours of endless gaming. The 100mm over-ear cushions aid the comfort of those length gaming marathons, a must have for the casual and competitive gamer alike. RRP at R1559.00

ASUS Strix 2.0

The Strix range of peripheral gear aches of competitive performance, and the Strix 2.0 is no exception. Encompassing the best of all worlds, the Strix 2.0 offers an intimidating design striking fear into the hearts of your opponents across all platforms as it features cross platform flexibility.

The Thunderous 60mm drivers offer precise audio across all platforms with the added benefit of clear callouts in every single match. Strix and eSports have become synonymous, and this is the headset to give you the competitive edge you need. Travelling from competition to competition? The Strix 2.0 offers a travel-friendly foldable ear-cup and detachable mic to ensure you never miss a gaming event and arrive in style. A great addition to the rest of your Strix arsenal at an RRP of R1679.00

Vulcan PRO

Have you ever gamed with Active Noise Cancellation? If not, you’ve missed out an entirely unique gaming experience. The Vulcan PRO is the world’s only ANC gaming headset, and the superior 7.1 virtual surround sound audio will have competitive and casual gamers immersed in audio heaven. As if that’s not enough punch it comes with a Spitfire USB headphone amplifier to bump it up even more.

The Vulcan PRO is the choice of one of South Africa’s top Multi-Gaming Organizations, White Rabbit Gaming, proving that style, performance, and comfort are crucial when competing at the highest level.

Like the Strix 2.0, the Vulcan PRO has a removable microphone and a travel-ready foldable design and carry-case to meet your travel needs. They’re comfortable, light, and will ensure you never miss a sound. RRP at R2099.00

For more information visit https://www.asus.com/za/ 

Products available for purchase at www.rebeltech.co.za 

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Time is running out for Microsoft SQL Server 2008

Companies are urged to update from the dated database management software as end-of-support looms, writes BRYAN TURNER.

The 11-year-old Microsoft SQL Server 2008 database management software is reaching the end of its support on 9 July. The applications that use databases running on this software will be at risk of security and stability issues.

On self-managed databases, upgrading to the latest database version comes with a lot of risks. Many IT departments within companies go by the motto: “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”.

Microsoft made it very clear that it would not be updating SQL Server 2005 after its extended support date and even left it vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown by not releasing patches for the dated version.

Updating SQL Server versions may seem daunting, but the benefits far outweigh the effort it takes for a migration. In the last major version update, SQL Server 2016 introduced simpler backup functionality, database stretching, and always-encrypted communications with the database, to name just three features.

While backing up the database may be the last thing on the typical database administrator’s mind, it’s become increasingly important to do so. In SQL Server 2008, it’s clunky and causes headaches for many admins. However, in SQL Server 2016, one can easily set up an automated backup to Azure storage and let it run on smart backup intervals. Backing up offsite also reduces the need for disaster recovery for onsite damage.

Database stretching allows admins to push less frequently accessed data to an Azure database, automatically decided by SQL Server 2016. This reduces the admin of manually looking through what must be kept and what must be shipped off or deleted. It also reduces the size of the database, which also increases the performance of the applications that access it. The best part of this functionality is it automatically retrieves the less accessed records from Azure when users request it, without the need for manual intervention.

Always-encrypted communications are becoming more and more relevant to many companies, especially those operating in European regions after the introduction of GDPR. Encryption keys were previously managed by the admin, but now encryption is always handled by the client. Furthermore, the keys to encrypt and decrypt data are stored outside of SQL Server altogether. This means data stored in the database is always encrypted, and no longer for the eyes of a curious database manager. 

The built-in reporting tools have also vastly improved with the addition of new reporting metrics and a modern look. It includes support for Excel reports for keeping documentation and Power BI for automated, drag-and-drop personalised reporting. Best of all, it removes the dreaded Active X controls, which made the reporting in a webpage feel very clumsy and bloated in previous versions.

A lot has changed in the past ten years in the world of SQL Server database management, and it’s not worth running into problems before Microsoft ends support for SQL Server 2008.

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Local apps to feature in Huawei’s App Gallery

Huawei’s mobile app store, the HUAWEI AppGallery, will soon feature a multitude of apps and designs by local developers. The company says this is part of its drive to promote South African digital talent and include more useful apps for Huawei smartphone users. HUAWEI AppGallery and HUAWEI Themes are pre-installed on all the latest Huawei and Honor devices.

“South African consumers are increasingly wanting more apps that are relevant to their unique circumstances, addressing issues they experience regularly – such as load shedding or safety concerns – but also apps that celebrate South Africa’s multitude of cultures and this vibrant country,” says Lu Geng, director of Huawei Consumer Cloud Service Southern Africa Region.

Akhram Mohamed, chief technology officer of Huawei Consumer Business Group South Africa, says: “Huawei is committed to catering to the needs of South African consumers, but we also know that we do not have all the answers. For this reason, we aim to work closely with South African developers so that we can give our users everything that they need and want from their devices. At the same time, we also hope to create an open ecosystem for local developers by offering a simple and secure environment for them to upload content.”

Huawei Mobile Services was launched in South Africa in June last year. Since then, both the HUAWEI AppGallery and HUAWEI Themes – which features tens of thousands of themes, fonts and wallpapers that personalise user’s handset – have become increasingly popular with the local market. Even though it is a relatively new division of Huawei, there has been a great increase in growth; at the end of 2018 Huawei Mobile Services had 500 million users globally, representing a 117% increase on the previous year.

Explaining what differentiates the HUAWEI AppGallery from other app stores, Mosa Matshediso Hlobelo, business developer for Consumer Cloud Service Southern Africa says: “We use the name ‘HUAWEI AppGallery’ because we have a dedicated team that curates all the apps in terms of relevance and ease of use and to ensure that there are no technical issues. Importantly, all apps are also security-checked for malware and privacy leaks before being uploaded on to the HUAWEI AppGallery.”

Huawei recently held a Developers’ Day where Huawei executives met with South African developers to discuss Huawei’s offering. 48 developers registered their apps on the day, and Huawei is currently in discussions with them with the eventual aim of featuring the best apps and designs on HUAWEI AppGallery or HUAWEI Themes. The Consumer Cloud Service Southern Africa Team at Huawei plans on making Developers’ Day a quarterly event and establishing a local providers’ hub, where developers can regularly meet with Huawei for training on updates to programmes and offerings.

“We have a very hands-on approach with our developers, and hope to expand that community so we can become an additional distribution channel for more developers and expose them to both a local and a global audience,” says Geng. “For example, we regularly feature apps and designs from local developers on our Huawei social media pages, and do competitions and promotions. We want to do everything we can to make our Huawei users aware of these local apps and upload them. This will encourage the growth of the developer community in South Africa by giving developers more opportunities to generate revenue from in-app purchases.”

* Developers who would like their apps featured on the HUAWEI App Gallery, or designs featured on HUAWEI Themes, should visit https://developer.huawei.com or email Huawei Mobile Services on sacloud@huawei.com.

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