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Socially conscious? Try these 5 apps

With so many apps available to us, MVELASE PEPPETTA rounds up the top five apps for the socially-conscious.

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Buy a t-shirt and you may be supporting sweatshop labour halfway around the world. Pick up some fresh fruit at the grocery store and you’re doing harm to the environment. In a world where every little decision seems to cause some or other social harm, it can be difficult to navigate life in a socially conscious way. But if you are a person interested in living that kind of life, living in an “apptastic” world, it’s hardly surprising there’s an app for that. To be exact there are many apps for that, so here’s a quick run through some of them that can help in pointing South Africans in the right direction when considering their socially-conscious app choices.

SASSI App

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, “catching fish is not inherently bad for the ocean, except for when vessels catch fish faster than stocks can replenish, something called overfishing”. Ensuring that the seafood industry is sustainable requires addressing the entire industry’s supply chain’s sustainability. That means, everything from the fisherman’s hook, via the seafood vendor, right through to what’s on the end of your fork. As a person, unless you’re going out to the sea and catching all the fish you eat, it’d be almost impossible to track all of that. Enter the SASSI (Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) app. The easy-to-use app allows you to check the sustainability of your seafood choice in real time. You can find out whether to tuck in, think twice or avoid altogether, thanks to the app categorising seafood species according to a ‘traffic light’ system of red, orange and green.

MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet App

MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fundraising programme is one of South Africa’s biggest community programmes generating funds for schools, charities and environmental organisations through a system that allows supporters to raise money for their beneficiary (school or charity) every time they shop at any of the more than 1600 partner stores across the country. The programme raises more than R6 million a month for the schools, charities, animal welfare and environmental organisations it and supporters assist. Though most think of the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme as working through a card, the 22-year-old programme has entered the digital age and now has a virtual card app that you can scan at till points to give back every time you shop.

TapOff
Although the fears of Day Zero may have passed, Cape Town still remains – and will always be – in a precarious position when it comes to water. Launched during the height of the Day Zero fears, TapOff lets users log their water use, inspiring people to take action to save more water. An experiment in gamification, TapOff encourage people to claim their position on a water-saving leader board, by suburb, and in turn encourage their friends and family to do the same, while also providing users water information such as dam levels, and rain levels.

Carbon Buddy
Of course the greatest threat facing the world right now is climate change. By now we all know that minimising our carbon footprint is key to fighting global warming and climate change. But how to do so is a far harder thing to do. This is where the Carbon Buddy app steps in. The Carbon Buddy app touts itself as providing the tools and services you need to start taking action. Put simply, the app allows you to measure your emissions, then provides you with information to understand your impact, and lastly it enables you to act by giving you tips on how you can reduce your emissions going forward.

SweepSouth
Due to South Africa’s history, the domestic work industry remains one of the country’s most fraught, rife with issues around pay and proper legal protection. Often described as an “Uber for domestic workers,” SweepSouth looks to alleviate this situation while providing users with the domestic workers they need to clean their homes or offices. To date, SweepSouth has created more than 10 000 employment opportunities for previously unemployed and underemployed domestic workers at rates higher than the national minimum wage for domestic workers. According to Fairwork, a collaboration between the universities of Cape Town, the Western Cape, Manchester, and Oxford that ranks working conditions and standards in the gig economy, SweepSouth is noted for the treatment of people finding work through its platform. In addition to receiving points for fair pay, management and contracts, Fairwork also noted SweepSouth actively improved working conditions by providing work-related insurance, as well as the facilitation of worker voice mechanisms on the platform.

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ASUS puts more screen into gaming

While others battle over the thinnest bezel for maximizing screen space, ASUS released a dual screen laptop that uses the space where one’s palms would usually rest, writes BRYAN TURNER

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When one imagines dual screen, it’s usually two screens side-by-side on a desk, providing a horizontally long desktop experience. There have been clunky dual screen laptops in the past, some that folded out horizontally, but these never really caught the attention of the consumer.  

Enter Asus with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the ROG Zephyrus Duo features two screens – the main screen on the top panel (as we’re all used to) and another screen just below that, where the top of the keyboard would usually be. The main difference is the secondary screen pops out at a 13-degree angle to bridge the gap between the two screens, and to give better viewing angles.  

That ZenBook Pro Duo is also a pretty good machine for gaming, because it features Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, but it doesn’t have the latest graphics. With the new machine, Asus is one of the first manufacturers to release a laptop featuring Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 Super Max Q GPU for mobile devices. This is a momentous feat, considering that not only are the external features  cutting edge, but also the internals. 

The main panel is configured to be either 4K 60Hz or 1080p 300Hz. The former is most likely going to be picked up by video editors and photoshop gurus, because it covers 100% of the Adobe RBG colour space, and the latter will appeal to gamers who want to see their high frame rates in action. Both panels are Pantone Colour Calibrated for high colour accuracy. 

The secondary panel features a 32:9 resolution, which is equal to putting two standard 16:9 widescreen panels together. The touchscreen panel outputs a 3840 x 1100 resolution at 60Hz.  

The combination of these panels will be ideal for portable gamers. The main game can be on the main panel, while Discord and game streaming software can be on the secondary panel, all at a glance. Not to mention the game developers that have support for two screens, where the second screen highlights stats and other components that had to be crammed into the main screen’s space.   

On the inside, the laptop features liquid metal cooling, which lowers the temperatures by 8°C and allows the computer to function with less fan noise. Asus has also slipped some very interesting cooling tech behind the secondary panel, when it pops open, to maximise airflow into the computer from both the bottom and the top of the device. 

The laptop features the biggest battery Asus has yet put in a computer, at 90Wh. This is incredibly close to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA’s) limit of 100Wh batteries being allowed on flights to the US. Fortunately, this computer can be taken around the world if necessary. 

These computers will come in two variants of 10th Generation Intel processors, namely the i9-10980HK or i7-10875H. They support up to 2 M.2 NVMe PCIE 3 slots for SSDs. 

The new ROG gaming range from Asus will be available later this year. The price of the computer has not yet been confirmed

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Vodacom, Discovery launch free virtual COVID-19 tests

Vodacom and Discovery have teamed up to launch free virtual COVID-19 testing for all South Africans – not only for their customers.

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Vodacom and Discovery have partnered to deliver a powerful online healthcare platform for the benefit of all South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform provides easy access to a COVID-19 risk tool for all South Africans, to help understand your personal risk for COVID-19. Where needed, it assists immediately to schedule virtual healthcare professional consultations and get advice.

Globally, telemedicine has proved to be vital in the management of this disease, with many governments and healthcare systems advocating for digital healthcare tools and virtual consults to be the first step and primary means of healthcare support during the COVID-19 outbreak. The risk assessment and virtual healthcare tools can help to identify people who need health professional engagement and a potential referral for testing or to a hospital.

The online healthcare platform therefore makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility.

This reduces overcrowding at clinics and doctors’ rooms where there is greater risk of the virus spreading. It also protects healthcare professionals from potential repeated exposure to COVID-19.

It is free to use and available on any web browser or mobile phone to facilitate a full consultation with a doctor, either through video calls, voice calls, or by text. The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.

Through a partnership with Vodacom, Discovery’s existing DrConnect platform, which was previously available only to Discovery clients, is now accessible to all South Africans. Vodacom and Discovery have also jointly created a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100,000 consultations, making them free to any South African.

There are seven easy steps to use an online doctor consultation:

  1. Start the process by visiting Discovery’s COVID-19 information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
  2. Utilise the COVID-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions.
  3. If you are confirmed as high risk of having COVID-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow.
  4. Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for COVID-19 testing.
  5. If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to you by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine.
  6. Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that you must visit.
  7. Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if you should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.

The Vodacom COVID-19 information hub contains other up-to-date information for consumers about COVID-19.

With virtual consultations, the location of the doctor or the location of the patient will not restrict access to fast and effective healthcare. All doctors can register to help.

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