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rAge gears up for geekery and great escapism

The really Awesome gaming expo (rAge) returns to Johannesburg on 7 to 9 October, offering visitors a range of competitions, eSports tournaments, exhibitions, industry guests, and panel discussions.

The really Awesome gaming expo (rAge) promises a “galaxy of everything that is geek” at the Ticketpro Dome in Northgate bear Johannesburg from 7 to 9 October. The expo has evolved over the years to become a spectacular event attended by tens of thousands of people who descend on the Dome for three days of gaming, technology, gadgets and geek lifestyle entertainment.

Returning for its fourteenth year, rAge Expo is SA’s biggest video game, technology and geek culture event. Suitable for the whole family, rAge offers visitors an unrivalled experience that includes competitions, eSports tournaments, exhibitions, industry guests, and panels. Celebrating gaming and popular culture, the expo caters for casual fans and dedicated gamers alike.

Tyhe organisers have provided the following overview of the highlights:

eSports

One of the main attractions at rAge this year is the three eSports tournaments. Visitors will be able to spectate all the matches daily as they will be taking place live on the main show floor.

·         Telkom DGL Masters [Dota 2 / Counter-Strike: Global Offensive] – Platform: PC / R1,000,000 prize pool

·         Call of Duty World League (CWL) Monster Astro Gaming (MAG) Cup [Call of Duty: Black Ops III] – Platform: PS4 / R120,000 prize pool

·         African Challenge Esport (ACE) gaming tournament [FIFA 17] – Platform: Xbox One/ R18,000 prize pool

The Telkom Digital Gaming Championship (DGC) will also be happening over the weekend, where 500 of the best competitors from seven online leagues have been invited to take part in the VIP LAN.

 

Computers, Hardware & Gadgets

·         Apex Interactive will reveal a new range of accessories and headsets, including the new NACON GC-400ES Alpha Pad – the most accurate eSports-focused PC controller ever.

·         Plantronics will be showcasing a new console headset lineup, featuring the RIG 800 series, the first wireless headset for console gaming with a 24-hour battery life.

·         NAG and MSI will be hosting overclocking workshops throughout the course of the weekend on stand 29.

 

Animation & Motion Suits

·         The Learn 3D Computer Animation School will be running competitions based on games that Learn 3D students have developed this year, as well as showcasing a new motion capture suit called the Perception Neuron.

 

Geek Culture & Lifestyle

·         Sera Blue will be launching their new book Relative Scale – an anthology written by Abi Godsell.

·         Cosplay workshops will be held on the cosplay stage during the course of the weekend. Topics include wig styling, a make-up panel and a Cosplay 101 Q&A.

·         Hot 91.9 FM will be broadcasting live from the expo. Visit their stand for old-school classic arcade games and Scalextric toys, as well as branded merchandise.

 

Virtual Reality

·         Blue Ocean VR will be showcasing both VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality).

·         The Virtual Space will be running VR demos on their stand. The demos will include 360-degree video, interactive games and educational apps.

 

Games

·         The following games will be showcased on the Megarom stand (stand 52):  For Honor, Steep, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Eagle Flight, Final Fantasy XV, Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration and Hitman.

·         The Megarom Demo Room at Castle Corner will be showcasing two titles from Ubisoft: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Watch Dogs 2.

·         Skylanders Imaginators will be on stand 48.

·         LEGO Dimensions (Year 1 + 2) unreleased content playable on the show floor at stand 49.

·         Dishonored 2 will be behind closed doors (invite-only) and no hands-on.

·         The Warner Bros. Games stand will feature Injustice 2 (behind closed doors, no hands-on) and Batman: Return to Arkham, which will be playable on stand 54.

·         Stand 27 is where you will find Xbox, 2K and EA with the following titles: FIFA 17, XCOM 2, Mafia III, NBA 2K17, BioShock: The Collection, Forza Horizon 3, Recall, We Happy Few, Everspace, Cuphead.

·         PlayStation VR will be at stand 31 with the following titles: Batman, Rigs, Rush of Blood and VR Worlds (Ocean Descent and The Getaway).

·         Also featured on the PlayStation stand will be GT Sport, Gravity Rush 2 and PES17.

·         At the Apex Interactive stand (stand 5) you can catch Warhammer: The End Times Vermintide, WRC 6 and Farming Simulator 17.

·         Echoplex, a psychological puzzle game that pits your wits against your past self, is one of many local games that will be showcased on the home_coded booth.

·         Among the Innocent: A Stricken Tale will also be on the home_coded booth. There will be a limited edition physical version of the game (i.e. a boxed copy with a game disc inside) for sale to visitors. It’s a first-person adventure game set on a remote farmstead in South Africa.

·         Cape Town developers Amplify Games will be launching the alpha version of their new video game, Polygod, at the home_coded booth.

 

Competitions & Giveaways

·         Matrix Warehouse Computers will be running three competitions at their stand, including a R50,000 Ultimate Gaming PC giveaway.

·         The Entelect Challenge finals and prize-giving will be hosted on the stage from 10-11am on Saturday.

·         The sixth annual rAge Cosplay Competition will be hosted on the cosplay stage on Sunday from 2-4pm.

·         Blue Ocean VR will be hosting an AR (Augmented Reality) treasure hunt at their stand and visitors can win awesome prizes.

·         The Call of Duty MAG Cup Celebrity Challenge starts at 1:30pm on Friday and will see two celebrity teams face each other in a battle for glory. Team Red will feature musician Jack Parow, comedian Jason Goliath and rugby player Rohan Janse van  Rensburg, with team captain Ismail “Jakez” Jacobs from eN_Astra. Team Blue will be led by Insane Gaming’s Kaelin “Tanker” Govender and will feature journalist Pippa Tshabalala, musician AKA and comedian Deep Fried Man.

 

rAge Expo is shaping up to be an unmissable event for geeks and gamers everywhere, with a long list of activities, AAA games and specialty stages to keep the whole family entertained. Tickets are still available, so make sure you book yours now!

 

For more information on rAge, please visit www.rageexpo.co.za.

 

Event Details:

Dates: 7 October – 9 October 2016
Show times: Friday: 10:00-18:00 | Saturday: 09:00-18:00 | Sunday: 10:00-16:00
Day ticket: R120 per person (Tickets available at the door or via Ticketpro outlets)
Weekend ticket: R300 per person (Tickets available at the door or via Ticketpro outlets)
Kids under 6: Free
Venue: Ticketpro Dome  | Cnr Olievenhout Avenue and Northumberland Road | Northriding, Johannesburg | GPS: 26 03’48.39”S / 27 56’35.54”E

 

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Cisco gives pre-owned tech a Refresh

In a market of constant upgrades, Cisco Refresh aims to keep quality product away from landfills, writes BRYAN TURNER.

When one gets a new smartphone upgrade, the old device may be used as a backup or can be used by someone else. In business environments, equipment upgrades may not be conducive to keeping old equipment around, which may send older, working equipment to landfills.

This is where Cisco’s Refresh initiative comes in. At Cisco Connect in Sun City this week, Ehrika Gladden, VP and general manager of Cisco Refresh, lifted the lid on a little-known aspect of the company’s strategy. 

“Refresh is Cisco’s global pre-owned equipment business unit,” said Gladden. “It is certified to meet the quality and engineering standards of Cisco. It is licensed for software and it’s also inclusive of a services warranty.

“Our responsibility in 80 countries around the world is tied to both the recovery of assets and the ability to leverage those assets at a lower price point. This ensures our sustainability and proper usage of the Earth’s resources while providing access to small and medium businesses. The products are typically in the range of 20-40% cheaper. The products represent the entire portfolio for Cisco in some part, the majority of that product set is 2+ years in terms of generation.”

Cisco’s Circular Economy initiative ensures a sustainable loop through businesses willing to pay a premium for the latest, cutting-edge solutions, while Cisco markets older, working equipment for resale to those who don’t require the latest solutions. This ensures far less new components need to be used in a product range.

“We are leveraging the model of remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and reusing,” said Gladden. “Depending on the product set, there is a certain set of product yield that we expect. They vary from product to product, but we do have a percentage that doesn’t make it through.

“Those are always reused, meaning we will look at those products and decide to use them completely differently, leveraging the components, remanufacturing back into the overall build process. If that can’t be done, we will go into a recycle process where we melt those products down to reuse them.”

Repairing and refurbishing older products isn’t just that. Cisco is creating repair centres that are owned by third-parties to uplift local ownership.

“The repair centres, as a global manufacturer, is Cisco’s entree into local ownership,” said Gladden. “I want to be precise about what I mean by local ownership. It’s critical for us to have a localised presence, but doing that through ownership. When you look at inclusive economies, those that are participative, to be sustainable – not in the product set, but generationally.

“The ability as a global manufacturer through a local ownership model  isto create a repair centre where a product can be returned, screened, tested, and repaired, leveraging the talent that the Networking Academy is creating.”

Cisco is working closely with local governments to understand where it operates and how to leverage the skills in the market.

Gladden said: “We are also super excited about the National Development Plan and African Union statements which with we align: eradication of poverty, job creation, ownership, healthcare, education, it all fits in the model. So we were very excited to have the opportunity to come to Africa first to announce this. Over the next twelve months, we want to establish our first repair centres, and in the next 3 to 5 years, build that vision into a reality.”

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Why Data Privacy has become a Pipe Dream

If you’re active on WhatsApp, Facebook or any other social platform, you’re not as safe as you thought, writes
AARON THORNTON, MD of Dial a Nerd

As you begin to read this, let’s perform a quick experiment! How many active conversations are you engaged in – right now – on WhatsApp? When was the last time you shared a picture or video on Instagram? Is Facebook currently open and active on one of your devices? And how many internet- connected devices are you using at this moment? Chances are, you have multiple devices running multiple applications most of the time. So what’s the problem, you ask? Since when did checking in with a high school buddy in Australia via Facebook become a dangerous act?  

In reply, we say, read on if you can stomach it!  

Nation-State Hacking & You  

It might seem like a laughably long shot to say that you are a key player in the increasingly sinister and sophisticated world of nation-state hacking. Well, you are. Given that individuals, businesses and governments are now constantly connected, round the clock, consumers and businesses have become fair game in cyber espionage. And as we create and share more and more data, both the value and accessibility of that data increases. According to a report by McAfee, IP theft now accounts for more than 25% of the estimated $600 billion cost of cybercrime to the world economy.    

With data having become the ‘new gold’, nation states are naturally pouring investment and key resources into building advanced cyber warfare tools. Indeed, entire divisions of armed forces as well as the upper echelons of corporate leadership are devising ways to harness data to gain economic, political and social power. At the highest level, tools and platforms are being developed with the specific aim of perpetrating cyber espionage and data theft. No surprise then, that the consumer and business environments are rife with increasingly advanced malware, ransomware and many other malicious hacking tools and methods.  

Still not convinced? Yes, we can smell the scepticism from here! So let’s take a moment to see how this has already played out, beneath our noses.  

Remember the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal of early 2018? For many, this was a watershed moment in the emerging war for consumer data – and the ensuing tensions between privacy, power and profit. Need a refresh? Well, in 2018, Facebook exposed data on up to 87 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump campaign. In essence, the data was harvested without user consent and used for political purposes.  

Another chilling but less direct example can be found in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. According to Politico, Russia launched a massive social media campaign to ‘sow discord’ leading up to the elections. The website reported that as early as 2014, an infamous Russian “troll farm” known as the Internet Research Agency – a company linked to Russian president Putin – developed a strategy using fraudulent bank accounts and other fake identity documents to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” 

When referring to the Russian hacks and their impact on election results, one U.S. Representative sagely noted: “They didn’t just steal data; they weaponized it.” 

Ignorance is not bliss 

Okay, so data is being ‘weaponized’, and ordinary people and businesses are being caught in the crosshairs of cyber warfare. A little bit frightening, but the good news is that savvy individuals like you can take steps to protect personal data and actively combat the creeping influence of juggernauts such as Facebook and Google.  

To begin with, awareness is key. As you engage with various platforms and applications at work and at home, take time to understand how your data is being used and what the terms of use are. Is your data being accessed and sold to advertisers? Have you consented to this? In addition to scrutinizing your consent, also pay close attention to how much data you share online – and the nature of the details you are divulging. Always keep in mind that hackers are employing smart social engineering tactics and using the details of your private life (birthdays, holidays, pet’s names, etc) to trick you into opening infected emails and clicking on malware. Whenever you are online, you are a target – and vigilance at all times is critical. Beyond that, it goes without saying that you must commit to following basic security protocols with your devices. So always keep software up to date and keep your data backed up so that you can reboot or wipe a device if needed.   

Now that we’ve left you sufficiently spooked, you can get back to those demanding WhatsApp/Facebook/Instagram notifications (same company, by the way)…albeit, we hope, with a slightly altered [cyber] worldview!  

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