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Samsung brings smart design and innovation together

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At last week’s AfricaForum, Samsung launched a variety of new products, ranging from new QLED TVs to windless air-condition systems. SEAN BACHER was there to get some first hand experience.

Samsung Electronics’ QLED TV range, launched at CES last month, has been unveiled in South Africa just a few weeks later.

The local unveiling came at last week’s AfricaForum in Cape Town, where Samsung launched a range of products for the home user. Their product announcements ranged from new TVs, fridges, freezers, washing machines and air-conditioning units.

The QLED TV was possibly the biggest announcement: Using quantum dot technology, the QLEDS are said to provide richer colours with an improved colour range, offering viewers a much more detailed viewing experience than those of the competition.

The QLED technology also means that the devices can display colours at just about any brightness setting, with peak luminance levels being between 1 500 and 2 000 nits.

The QLED TV range includes a Q7 flat panel 55-inch 4K QLED at a recommended retail price of R32 800, with a 75-inch version going for R78 800. Its Q8 range of curved panel 4K models are available from R46 000 for the 55-inch model to R59 000 for the 65-inch TV. Also on display was the mammoth 88-inch Q9 TV, but its price was not yet available.

To complement the QLED TVs, Samsung revealed its MS750 Soundbar. Making use of Samsung’s proprietary UHQ 32-bit Audio Technology and its own audio algorithms, the Soundbar is able to deliver loud sounds with little or no distortion.

The device is small enough to be mounted to most flat-panel TVs and is connected via a single cable. This is one step closer to clearing away the spider web of cables that sit behind home entertainment systems and the single connection means that both the Soundbar and TV can be switched on at the same time. Pricing was not yet available but the Soundbar will be available at Samsung branded stores and leading retailers in the next few months.

Next up was Samsung’s TMF (Top Mounted Freezer/Refrigerator). The company claims this is a first fridge/freezer combination to use Twin Cooling Plus technology, which uses independent cooling sources for the fridge and freezer. This design not only improves the efficiency of both the fridge and freezer but also prevents odours from the fridge penetrating the freezer and vice-versa.

The top of the range Samsung RT7000 fridge/freezer maintains an optimum humidity level of 70% in the fridge compartment, extending the life of fruit and vegetables – no matter where in the fridge these are stored. At the same time, it uses smart power technology for up to a 42% power saving and offers features like Power Freeze and Power Cool modes to make ice and chilled drinks faster than Samsung’s competitors.

The Twin Cooling feature also prevents the freezer from icing up and allows one to convert the freezer into a fridge. It also lets you turn the fridge off while the freezer is running. Perfect for when going on holiday.

The Samsung Top Mounted Freezer-refrigerator range is available at selected Samsung Brand Stores and leading retailers for the following recommended retail prices:

RT6000K: R12 999.00

RT7000K: R15 999.00

Also launched was the Samsung AR9500M air conditioner. It uses the company’s Wind-Free Cooling technology that enables users to obtain both a cooler indoor climate with optimal energy efficiency and without having to experience uncomfortable direct airflows.

The wall-mounted AR9500M does this through its 21 000 micro air holes and a two-step cooling system, which when first turned on starts in a ‘Fast Cooling Mode’, before automatically switching to ‘Wind-Free Cooling Mode’, which creates cool still air once the desired temperature is reached. This approach will also reduce energy consumption by up to 72%. In addition, the unit is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing users to control it through the Samsung Smart Home app on their tablet or smartphone.

Pricing was not available for the AR9500M but it will be available at Samsung branded stores in the next few months.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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