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Sean Bacher

Something on the Side: A keyboard made of light

In this week’s issue of Something on the Side, SEAN BACHER features the Celluon Magic Cube virtual keyboard, a Star Trek Bat’leth Letter Opener, a Seal LED Dynamo flashlight, Epson’s LabelWorks portable label printer and Sony’s SmartWatch.

Celluon Magic Cube

The Culluon Magic Cube is a projection keyboard and multi-touch mouse. It connects to most Bluetooth devices like iPhones, iPads and Android devices. It also works with Windows and Mac computers via a USB connection. The cube projects a red, illuminated, full-sized QWERTY keyboard onto just about any flat surface, taking the frustration out of tapping out e-mails or tweets on miniature keyboards offered by many smartphones. No additional drivers need to be installed and, after it is paired with a device, it’s a matter of switching it on and typing away.

Expect to pay: R1 500

Stockists: www.kalahari.net

Star Trek Bat’leth Letter Opener

A full-sized Bat’leth is just too much weapon for ordinary Star Trek fans, but the Star Trek Bat’leth Letter Opener will still get the job done. Its job is opening letters, though, not hacking Federation officers to pieces. It is made from stainless steel, features an 8‚” blade and comes with a resin display stand.

Expect to pay: R230

Stockists: www.thinkgeek.com

The Seal LED Dynamo flashlight

The Seal LED Dynamo Flashlight works on the cranking-for-power principle. (You have to push a lever up and down to create power). The flashlight is waterproof for up to 10m and operates off a single switch that toggles between the three light settings of the LEDs. The Seal LED Dynamo flashlight is shock-resistant and can even be used to charge a mobile phone.

Expect to pay: R179.95

Stockists: Visit www.lightingwarehouse.co.za to find a store closest to you.

Epson LabelWorks LW-400 portable label printer

The LW-400 sports a backlit screen and is designed for printing labels on the move. It has an integrated keyboard for standalone operation and dedicated buttons for quick access to cutting and printing functions. The LW-400 boasts on-board storage that lets users store up to 50 label designs. Besides printing elegant labels, the LW-400 can also be used as a serious business tool, as it will print barcodes too.

Expect to pay: R780

Stockists: Availble from selected Matrix Warehouse and Office National outlets.

Sony SmartWatch

The Sony SmartWatch can be described as an extension of a smartphone. Users can read text messages, e-mails and social media updates, all on the multi-touch 1.3-inch OLED display. The SmartWatch operates on the Android operating system and, as with smartphones, a variety of apps are available for download from Google Play. The watch pairs with a Sony Android smartphone via Bluetooth, giving it an operating range of 10m. The rechargeable battery will power it for 3 to 4 days.

Expect to pay: R2500

Stockists: www.wantitall.co.za

* Follow Sean Bacher on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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AppDate: One to rule them all

In his apps roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights Google One, JET8’s latest partnership, Ourhood, the new Zulzi app and ES File Explorer.

Google One

There is OneDrive, DropBox, iCloud and Google Drive, to name a few cloud storage services. All of these come with their own advantages and disadvantages and every one has its own app. So remembering where you saved a document can turn out to be a nightmare – and then there is the password issue.

The Google One app aims to simplify this by allowing you to save everything in one place. Besides offering loads of storage space, Google One allows you to manage storage plans according to needs. For instance, Google Drive data, Gmail and original-quality photos and videos in Google Photos can all be accessed directly from the app. 

In addition, Google has a team of experts who can be accessed directly from the app and are ready to help with any of Google’s other services.

Once signed up as a Google One member, one can access benefits like Google Play credit and discounts on hotel pricing.

In addition, Google One can be shared with up to five friends, allowing them to access the storage at no extra cost.

Google One offers 100GB of storage for R28 per month, 200GB for R42 per month and 2TB for R141 per month.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: The app is a free download, but monthly billing depends on your storage needs

Stockists: Sign up for a Google One account here 

 

JET 8 partners with Soccer Laduma

 

JET8 has partnered with the biggest soccer publication in Africa, Soccer Laduma. The Soccer Laduma App runs off JET8’s Social Commerce Technology. Soccer Laduma readers will be able to create content and earn JETPoints when they share this content on social media platforms. They can use the JETPoints in the Soccer Laduma App’s shop to redeem products like Kick-Off and Soccer Laduma.

JET8’s user data exchange programme facilitates the transaction between a user and third parties where a user can opt-in if they want anyone to purchase their personal data directly from them.

As an added bonus, the Soccer Laduma app allows soccer fans to create branded content and customise their photos and videos with branded Geo-stickers and Geo-frames, and earn points (‘JETPoints’) for every in-app like, comment, and share, as well as for cross-posting onto external social networks.

Platform: Android or a computer with an up-to-date Internet browser

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Google play store here for downloading instructions

 

OurHood

Image result for ourhood app
OurHood
is an app that connects communities via real-time communication with verified neighbours. It is used not only to unite communities in their fight against crime but, thanks to its interactive interface inspired by common social media feeds, also eradicates reams of unnecessary WhatsApp chatter across community forum platforms. It offers features like Community Policing Forums and Home Owner Association material, minutes and updates, classified adverts for local services and recommendations – from lost pets to restaurant deals – and pertinent community-specific insights and education. All are offered users via both mobile and desktop-enabled applications. 

To date, the app connects over 1 300 neighbourhoods across the country and has attracted an equity investment from Lightswitch Solutions, a Cape Town based software development house. The investment from Lightswitch Solutions will ensure ongoing development, updates and improvements of the OurHood app. 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Google Play and the AppStore  for downloading instructions

 

Zulzi

 

Online shopping is nothing new. Thousands of apps let you buy anything from houses to alcohol. However, the newly relaunched Zulzi app allows you to get fresh local produce, organics, meat, dairy, eggs, drinks, snacks, bulk items, diapers, snacks, and fresh flowers – kind of like a supermarket shopping app.

Zulzi claims it is the largest on-demand delivery service in the country. However, that is rather hard to believe, considering it only delivers in Johannesburg and Cape Town and only to certain suburbs.

However, users are able to choose from over 150 retailers, including Woolworths, Spar, Pick n Pay, Dis-chem and Clicks.

Additional features include:

* Delivery in as little as 1 hour

* Reorder items from previous purchases

* Chat directly with your personal shopper

* Tag favourite items for easier shopping

 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit Zulzi website here for registration

ES File Explorer 

Image result for es file explorer 

ES File Explorer includes a space analyser that scans an Android device to help free up space. It does this by finding temporary Internet files, cookies and any other unnecessary files that get installed by apps. Don’t worry though, you have the option to manually go through the files and select the ones you want removed. But after using it for a few weeks I found that the “Delete All” option works best.

In addition, users can effortlessly share media over Wi-Fi. The app also includes an app manager that allows one to uninstall apps or backup any information stored by the apps before removing them. 

For the power user, ES File Explorer offers a Root Explorer feature that lets you get down into the nitty-gritty of the phone’s operating system. However, a word of warning: if you don’t know what you are doing, stay away from this feature, otherwise your phone may just become a very expensive paperweight.

One negative is that the app brings up adverts all the time, with some of them using up most of the screen space. 

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download the app here

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Appdate: Bolt speeds into food

In his app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights Bolt’s food delivery service and FNB’s in-app shopping

Bolt to deliver food

Bolt, the on-demand transport platform that connects passengers with drivers across South Africa, has announced plans to launch a food delivery service. 

The company recently underwent a global rebrand, including changing its name from Taxify to Bolt, aimed at bringing the brand identity in line with the company’s broader vision of transportation. Bolt’s services already include Ride-hailing with cars and motorbikes, as well as scooter sharing.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free app. 

Stockists: Visit Bolt’s website here to sign up.

FNB in-app shopping

FNB has aded functionality to its banking app that enables customers to shop directly from the app. The eBucks Shop, which was previously only accessible on the eBucks website, offers customers exclusive pricing for products ranging from tech and gaming to appliances and outdoor. 

According to Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail, its customers as well as customers from RMB Private Bank can expect to get up to 40% off on exclusive deals. They also have the ability to track their purchases and view their order history.

To access and start shopping on the app, customers must have an existing eBucks account and have the latest version of the FNB/RMB app.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit FNB here

B-BBEE Manager

Broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) is an aspect of business that has to be embraced by many businesses. However, many struggle with creating an integrated point of reference for their B-BBEE engagements.

Global Business Solutions has seen this challenge and developed the B-BBEE Manager. The web-based app gives companies the opportunity to capture their B-BBEE-related data and generate a scorecard based on their inputs. This app is particularly useful for small businesses who need to determine their B-BBEE status for tender work and who do not have the resources to verify this in the usual manner. 

When one logs into the B-BBEE Manager, the app will prompt them to enter details like:

  • B-BBEE Summary, Employment Equity, Management and Ownership Information,
  • The amount a company pays towards skills development, enterprise and supplier development,
  • The Total Measurable Procurement Spend as well as other details such as the amounts spent on preferential procurement and supplier development.

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet browser

Expect to pay: A free to use service

Stockists: To find out more about B-BBEE Manager visit the site here.  

WunderChild 

WunderChild is a platform that helps parents discover the natural talents of their kids from a preschool age. It does this by using a fun, interactive and very easy to use interface that asks a series of questions, guiding him or her to find out where their talents may or may not lie. Games, challenges as well as physical activities are offered, getting more and more difficult over time, allowing parents to judge how much talent their child has. 

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet explorer

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the WunderChild here to sign up.   

FreeMind Meditiations 

The FreeMind Meditations app includes music created by film composers and professional musicians to be enjoyed while meditating. This music includes trigger sounds that are designed to evoke specific states of mind and help one engage more deeply and easily with the meditations. Although I have tried it, I can’t say for certain how well it works in terms of meditation, but the music sure is very soothing. The paid for version includes more than 250 tracks, but only 14 are available on the free version. 

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: Free, but with limited songs. The full version costs around R185 per month – maybe cheaper to buy a few sleeping tablets.

Stockists: Visit the Google Play store here to download the app

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