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Storage blues for smartphones

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A recent survey has revealed that storage is a problem for many smartphone users in SA, with 22 percent running out of space at least once a week and 56 percent running out of space every three months.

Storage appears to be a real problem for many smartphone users in South Africa, with 22 percent running out of space at least once a week and 56 percent running out of space at least every three months. This is according to a countrywide independent consumer research from SanDisk.

68 percent have also regretted deleting a precious photo or video to free up storage space. If they do have to delete files, 29 percent of South Africans would delete a photo of themselves before that of friends, pets or family.

The research, which looked at people’s experiences with storage on smartphones, also found that 38 per cent of people have to delete files or data from their main handsets in order to free up space at least once a week, while two thirds (66 percent) do this at least once a month.

Ghassan Azzi, Senior Sales Manager for Africa at Western Digital Corporation, said: “Our research really highlights the pressure that people are under to choose what they want to keep on mobile handsets. With the average person in South Africa taking 26 photos and eight videos a week on their smartphone, and the size of digital images and video increasing rapidly, devices soon fill up.”

In addition to the challenges around storage, the research also looked at security, with 56 percent of respondents being fairly worried or very worried that the files and data on their smartphone are at risk of theft or loss through product malfunction, and 68 percent said they had lost a precious photo or video from their smartphone as a result of files not being backed up.

Despite this, only 39 percent of South Africans manually back up their data and files from the main handset once a week, and nine percent never back up files at all, excluding automatic backups and data synchs.

Azzi added: “What many people don’t realise is that there are numerous ways to quickly and easily transfer and store data from phones – either by connecting a device to the handset or using Wi-Fi – so you don’t have to choose what you delete. In addition, backing up your smartphone remotely means that you keep precious files safe, should anything happen to the handset.”

SanDisk offers a range of mobile memory products that allow users to easily expand the space on their phones or offload files so they don’t have to worry about storage limits of the device. Options include:

·         SanDisk iXpand Base – designed to automatically back up your iPhone’s photos, videos, and contacts every time you charge.

·         SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive– offers an easy way to free up space on your iPhone, automatically backs up your camera roll, and even lets you watch popular-format videos straight from the drive.

·         SanDisk Dual Drive Type-C – lets you quickly and easily transfer files between smartphones, tablets and computers.

·         SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick – allows you to wirelessly access your media or transfer large files, stream HD videos and music, and save and share photos and videos to and from your mobile device.

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The myths of microwaves

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We all know microwaves make cooking a breeze and it helps save those minutes, we rarely have enough of these days. However, some people do have those lingering doubts about whether microwaving food destroys nutrients or that it emits harmful radiation. However, the truth is a lot more comforting and positive.

“The microwave makes life so much easier,” says Tracy Gordon, Head of Product – Home Appliances at Samsung South Africa. “It’s human-centred technology at its most helpful. The Samsung Hotblast for example, has revolutionary functions, which are tailor-made to create fast, tasty and healthy meals in minutes.”

A recent article by Harvard Health Publishingclaims stated that “microwave ovens cook food using waves of energy that are remarkably selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically asymmetrical. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up thermal (heat) energy.” The article debunks two common myths about microwaving food.

Myth 1: Microwaving kills nutrients

Whether in a microwave or a regular oven, some nutrients, including vitamin C, do break down when exposed to heat. However, the fact is, cooking with a microwave might be better when it comes to preserving nutrients because it takes a shorter time to cook. Additionally, as far as vegetables go, cooking them in water robs them of some of their nutritional value because the nutrients seep out into the cooking water,” states the report by Harvard Health Publishing. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), food cooked in a microwave oven is as safe and has the same nutrient value, as food cooked in a conventional oven.

Myth 2: Microwaving food can give you cancer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that microwaves do not make food radioactive. Microwaves heat food but they do not change the chemical or molecular structure of it. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence that microwaves pose a health risk to people when used appropriately, the organisation added.

With those myths well busted, it’s comforting to know one can make full use of the convenient kitchen appliance. And when the time comes to use a microwave to heat up a tasty meal in no time, one can trust the Samsung Hotblast to do the job. The HotBlast has multiple air holes blowing out powerful hot air, which reduces cooking time. Samsung claims the Slim Fry technology ensures that food is perfectly crisp on the outside and delicious and juicy on the inside. Additionally, this versatile microwave has a wider grill, making it easier to brown food fast and evenly. The turntable is wider, measuring 345mm, making it possible to prepare bigger portions of food. And with its Eco Mode power, it significantly reduces energy consumption with its low standby power. Its intelligent features and stylish design makes it very useful and as we now know – a safe, healthy way to enjoy a meal.

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New BMW 3-series ushers in autonomous future

The new BMW 3-series is not meant to be an autonomous car, but it is so close, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK discovers.

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It was not meant to be a test-drive of an autonomous vehicle. But the Driving Assist button on the steering wheel of the new BMW 330i was just too tempting. And there I found myself, on Sir Lowry’s Pass near Cape Town, “driving” with my arms folded while the vehicle negotiated curves on its own.

Every 10 seconds or so, yellow or red lights flashed to alert me to put my hands back on the wheel. The yellow lights meant the car wanted me to put my hands on the wheel, just to show that I was in control. The red lights meant that I had to take over control from the artificial intelligence built into the vehicle.

With co-driver Ernest Page, we negotiated a major highway, the bends of Sir Lowry’s pass, and the passes of Hell’s Heights (Hel se Hoogte) above the Cape Winelands.

As the above video of the experience reveals, it can be nerve-racking for someone who hasn’t experienced autonomous driving, or hasn’t been dreaming of testing it for many years. For this driver, it was exhilarating. Not because the car performed so magnificently, but because it tells us just how close true autonomous driving really is.

There was one nervous moment when the autonomous – or rather, Driving Assist – mode disengaged on Hell’s Heights, but fear not. A powerful sense of responsibility prevailed, and my hands hovered over the steering wheel as it took the curve. Assist disengaged, and the car began to veer towards the other side of the road. I quickly took over, and also sobered up from the giddiness of thinking I was already in the future.

In reality, Driving Assist is part of level 2 of driving autonomy, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. A presentation on the evening of the test drive, by Edward Makwana, manager of group product communications at BMW Group in South Africa, summed up the five stages as the driver having Feet Off, Hands Off, Eyes Off, Mind off, and finally, only being a Passenger.

However, the extent to which the hands-off mode of Driving Assist mimics self-driving, and easily shows the way to eyes-off and mind-off, is astonishing.

Click here to read about the components that make the Driving Assist work.

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