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Samsung releases mid-range triple-camera smartphone

Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy A7, a mid-range smartphone with a powerful rear triple camera and sleek design, as part of its Galaxy A series family.

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“Samsung is committed to delivering meaningful innovation to all consumers across the Galaxy family, no matter who they are or where they are in the world,” said Justin Hume, Director: Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa. “That’s why we’re excited to introduce innovative new features to the A series with the Galaxy A7, a practical but powerful device that is built to help make your everyday both convenient and extraordinary.”

Samsung provided the following information:

·         Never miss a moment with the Galaxy A7’s 8MP 120° Ultra Wide Lens. With the same viewing angle as the human eye, the Galaxy A7 captures the world exactly as you see it for unrestricted wide-angle photos.

·         With the 24MP Lens and Depth Lens, the Galaxy A7’s Live Focus feature lets you control the depth of field by allowing you to adjust the bokeh effect to create stunning photos.

·         Get crisp clear photos in both bright and low light conditions. The Galaxy A7’s 24MP Lens automatically lets more light in by combining four pixels into one pixel in low light conditions.

·         The Galaxy A7 brings out the best in what it sees. Featuring Samsung’s intelligent Scene Optimizer, the Galaxy A7’s camera categorises your subject and adjusts the colour, contrast and brightness to instantly optimise image quality.

Snap bright, clear selfies any time of day and never worry about searching for the ideal lighting again, with the Galaxy A7’s 24MP front camera and adjustable LED flash. Take bokeh effect selfies with Selfie Focus, and mimic professional studio lighting with Pro Lighting Mode. Add a personal touch and express yourself with AR emoji, and flattering filters.

Featuring a premium 6.0-inch Super AMOLED display, the Galaxy A7 lets you experience and share the world as you see it. Adding on, Samsung’s signature Infinity Display makes the most of uninterrupted, immersive viewing. The Galaxy A7 also supports Dolby Atmos immersive sound technology, which brings entertainment to life through moving audio that flows all around you. When it comes to style, the Galaxy A7 does not compromise. Coming with a premium glass design, a side fingerprint sensor for greater convenience and smooth seamless curves, it’s both practical and comfortable in your hand. Available in four stylish colours to suit your personal style – blue, black, gold and pink – expressing yourself with the Galaxy A7 has never been easier.

Designed to make life more convenient, the Galaxy A7 comes with Bixby, Samsung Pay and Samsung Health. The Galaxy A7 will be available in South Africa in November at a recommended retail price of R8 499.

Have a look at the specs on the next page:

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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