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SUSE manager boosts efficiency

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SUSE Manager 3 is now available to help customers reduce the complexities of managing their IT infrastructures, a key advantage as they look to cut costs and increase the responsiveness required to adopt DevOps and hybrid cloud solutions.

With 77 percent of enterprises adopting private clouds to increase agility and innovation, the corresponding rise in IT complexity requires the enhanced management, automation and monitoring of SUSE Manager.

SUSE Manager 3 is the latest Linux server management solution that provides comprehensive lifecycle management and monitoring for Linux servers across distributions, hardware architectures, virtual platforms and cloud environments. SUSE Manager 3 includes Salt automation software and features improved configuration management, easier subscription management and enhanced monitoring capabilities.

“SUSE Manager is built to improve IT responsiveness to changing business demands, enhancing configuration automation with the integration of Salt,” said Ralf Flaxa, president of engineering for SUSE. “SUSE Manager 3 is even more valuable to large and very complex data center environments where ease of management, scalability, performance and high availability are extremely important. Customers know manually updating, patching and configuring servers can be difficult and time consuming, but SUSE Manager solves that problem while reducing costs with automated, centralised management of their Linux systems.”

Mary Johnston Turner, research vice president for enterprise system management software at IDC, said, “SUSE Manager 3 represents an important extension of functionality that directly addresses the needs of today’s DevOps and hybrid cloud management teams. SUSE Manager’s new integration with Salt delivers customers a single integrated tool that moves beyond traditional Linux server provisioning and power management to enable much more automated and scalable configuration, provisioning, patch management, monitoring and reporting for mixed Linux platforms deployed in physical, virtual or cloud infrastructures.”

SUSE Manager 3 is the best open source IT management solution to manage multiple Linux distributions, hardware platforms including x86, IBM Power Systems and z Systems, as well as physical, virtual and cloud environments – all from a centralised console. Key new benefits include:

·         Increased IT efficiency with improved configuration management via Salt. Using Salt-based configuration management, customers can deploy tens of thousands of systems without compromising speed or security. With real-time configuration and monitoring, the time to patch hundreds or even thousands of servers in large environments is significantly reduced.

·         Optimised use and management of SUSE subscriptions. The new subscription management tool in SUSE Manager provides detailed insights into usage of SUSE products, identifying the over or under utilisation of subscriptions. This helps ensure customers pay only for subscriptions they need, when they need them.

·         Reduced IT complexity with enhanced monitoring capabilities using the Nagios-compatible Icinga monitoring server. Monitoring integration with Icinga enables additional reporting capabilities and provides easy-to-use monitoring solutions and flexibility to add-on management functions. Customers also have the flexibility to use existing in-house monitoring solutions with SUSE Manager, improving control and management of IT assets.

“SUSE’s use of Salt in SUSE Manager 3 enhances not only configuration management but also predictive orchestration needed for modern enterprise Linux environments,” said Mark Chenn, CEO of SaltStack. “With the highly scalable, flexible and real-time attributes of Salt automation software, SUSE customers will be able to more efficiently manage cloud, virtual and bare metal Linux infrastructure and application environments, resulting in reduced administrative effort, increased IT productivity and improved security and reliability.”

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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