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Sean Bacher

Something on the Side: Crisp sound from a beautiful docking station

In this week’s edition of Something on the Side, SEAN BACHER introduces the Marantz Consolette Premium Speaker Dock, a clock that is actually a safe, the Limited Edition Nike+ SportWatch GPS, the Gammatek BoostCase Hybrid and the FLD, a tablet carry bag that really does protect your tablet.

Marantz Consolette Premium Speaker Dock

The Marantz Consolette Premium Speaker Dock offers various networking options that allow for wireless streaming from just about any tablet, smartphone or computer. It also has a built-in iPod dock and USB and auxiliary line-in. The speaker offers 150 watts of sound, which is delivered through individual woofers, tweeters and mid-tone speakers. Six Internet radio presets allow you to listen to music even when you don’t have a music device present.

Expect to pay: R16 000 Stockists: Contact HFX Systems on 011 907 9092, who will put you in contact with your nearest dealer.

Clock Safe

Got something to hide? Consider this nifty location for your secret stash. The normal working clock face of this inconspicuous hideout conceals a generous hollow space in which to keep private or valuable belongings. Powered by 1 AA battery, the lightweight unit features 3 compartments in the camouflaged chamber and 3 peg holes at the rear for secure wall hanging.

Expect to pay: R360

Stockists: Order online from www.mantality.co.za

Limited Edition Nike+ SportWatch GPS

The Limited Edition Nike+ SportsWatch GPS uses a standard LCD display and TomTom GPS functionality to monitor your pace, time and location. It also tracks and records your heart rate and calories burned. These details can then be synchronised with an iPhone or iPad, where a detailed history is given and daily goals can be set. Logging onto the Nike+ website allows you to compare your statistics with friends and, if you really have to (but then you¡¯re a social spammer), you can post your daily data to Twitter or Facebook.

Expect to pay: R1 899, but can be bought with eBucks.

Stockists: Visit www.ebucks.co.za to place your order.

FLD 10¡± tablet carry bag

Using a sleeve for your tablet offers some protection against scratches and minor bumps. But what happens when the bundle slips out of your hand and crashes onto concrete? Chances are you will end up with a cracked screen. Bring on the FLD 10¡± tablet carry bag. The bag is made from water-resistant nylon, which is reinforced with a PVC backing, making it durable and able to protect your tablet when it hits the ground. The bag is also easy to carry as it has a handle and a detachable shoulder strap. Cables and chargers can also be stowed in the two separate compartments.

Expect to pay: R499 for the 10¡± tablet bag. Larger sizes are available for Ultrabooks and very small notebooks.

Stockists: Visit www.fldproducts.co.za to find a retailer closest to you.

Gammatek BoostCase Hybrid

Although the iPhone 4 is easy to use and looks great, it does have a flaw ¨C its battery life. Or should we say, lack thereof. Numerous third-party accessories are available to extend the iPhone¡¯s battery and, although they do a good job, they ruin the sexy iPhone looks. The BoostCase Hybrid from Gammatek increases battery life, protects the phone from everyday bumps and scratches, all the while still keeping the iPhone looking like an iPhone.

It is available in a range of colours and includes an extended 1 900mAh battery that charges the iPhone¡¯s battery when it starts running low. Admittedly, the iPhone will be slightly bulkier ¨C but it is a small price to pay for an iPhone with a battery that will last twice as long.

Expect to pay: R799. Different coloured cases retail for R149.

Availability: Visit www.gammatek.co.za for a stockist in your area

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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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