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Star Wars inspires new Mustang

How do you make an iconic product relevant to a new generation? Ford combined the Mustang with an icon of science-fiction, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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You can hear it coming long before you see it. But it is so visual, you also remember it long after it’s passed. However, that’s not enough for Ford and its iconic Mustang. First released in 1964, the ultimate muscle-car brand and its design are now 55 years old, posing a massive challenge to keep a positively ancient product up with the times.

The latest edition, released globally last year and launched in South Africa this month, achieved this with a twist that pays homage to another iconic brand in popular culture: Star Wars.

But not just any Star Wars image: they selected the meanest, most evil face of the epic tale: no less than the dark side of the universe, Darth Vader.

Said Ford Motor Company design manager Melvin Betancourt: “When we were designing the new 2018 Mustang, the team wanted to make the new model look more aggressive, and one place where we found inspiration was one of the most famous screenplay villains of all time.

“The angled nostrils and contours of Darth Vader’s mask became the inspiration for the Mustang’s new fog lamp scoops and front-end shape.”

Compare the faces of Vader and the new Mustang, and it’s not hard to spot the inspiration. It’s also not hard to decide with which one you’d prefer to share a ride.

It is quite appropriate that the new Ford Mustang takes its design inspiration from a futuristic franchise. The car has also been remodelled to take advantage of the latest technology available to cars, along with the kind of sleek design language that goes with more streamlined and aerodynamic vehicles.

Automated driver assistance may seem an offense to the sheer driving experience of a sports car that seems to pride itself on a harsh ride. Conversely, though, allowing the car to take greater control of safety also allows the driver to give more attention to the experience of driving.

Click here to read about the advanced features of the new Mustang.

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DStv Now adds free education to ‘lockdown channels’

In its response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, DStv is offering 16 free channels on its streaming app

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Two new channels have been added to a free service being provided on DStv Now, the online version of DStv. 

In response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, DStv owner MultiChoice worked with local and international news channels in mid-March to add 24-hour news coverage to the DStv Now free service.

The company says the intent was to help all South Africans stay up to date with announcements and developments, and the results so far are encouraging. Usage of the service has increased 20% since the lockdown began, and peak usage is up 80% compared to pre-crisis peaks. 

 Now, in another step to help families through the lockdown period, MultiChoice has added additional educational content to the free service with the Mindset PoP channel. This channel features educational programming covering the entire General Education and Training (GET) phase, including Early Childhood Development (ECD), as well as a key focus on the Grade 4 – 9 curriculum. 

The channel aims to prepare children for when schools reopen. Mindset PoP will deliver live lessons daily, with six fresh hours every day. A website is available for parents to download worksheets and information sheets to work through with expert teachers. Lessons are based on the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and are also aligned to the Cambridge curriculum.

“We’re extremely grateful to all of the channel providers for being so willing to work with us to help all South Africans through this unprecedented lockdown period,” said Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. 

“Thanks to their support we’re able to keep people informed, keep kids’ educations going, and keep people entertained.”

The full list of channels available to non-DStv customers on the DStv Now free service is:

100 – DStv

180 – People’s Weather

238 – SuperSport Play

313 – PBS Kids

317 – Mindset PoP

320 – Channel O

343 – TBN

400 – BBC World News

401 – CNN

402 – Sky News

403 – eNCA

404 – SABC News

405 – Newzroom Afrika

405 – AlJazeera

414 – Euronews Now

417 – africanews

To sign up for the DStv Now free service, go to http://now.dstv.com 

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FNB Connect cuts data price by 55%, offers 1GB free

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FNB Connect has reduce its data prices by up to 55%. It is also doubling customers’ data on Lifestyle plans without any price increase.

This weekend, FNB Connect will also give all its customers 1GB of free data during the national lockdown, with a validity period of 30 days. This lockdown data allocation is in addition to the Free Connect allocations that customers with qualifying transactional accounts receive monthly.

“This will enable our customers to save on telco spend, which is a regular feature in household budgets,” says Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail. “Access to affordable and free data goes a long way in assisting our customers navigate difficult times and is also aligned to our ethos of offering real help when it’s needed the most.”

Shadrack Palmer, FNB Connect product head, says: “In our efforts to provide our customers with more value for their money, we’ve reduced our mobile data prices and doubled the data bundles on most of our Lifestyle plans, to give our customers more reason to connect anywhere and anytime. This is needed now more than even, as South Africans are observing the 21-day national lockdown, with many strapped for cash during these challenging times.”

The new data prices and doubling of the Lifestyle plans are to be repriced as follows:

“Since the launch of our Free Connect offering in July 2019, we’ve tried to remain consistent to see how best we can incentivise our customers when they need it most,” says Palmer.  “As FNB Connect, we understand the pressures customers are facing financially and are committed to providing better value at every opportunity.”

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