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Uber launches cash indicator

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Uber South Africa has introduced a new, pilot cash indicator feature. The cash indicator allows Uber driver-partners to choose whether they’d like to accept a cash trip request or not.

“We’ve received a lot of feedback from driver-partners expressing their need to be able to choose the kind of trips they want to accept,” says Jonathan Ayache, General Manager Uber South Africa. “This feedback came from our focus groups, comments at partner appreciation events and recent safety working groups. We’ve taken heed of this request and believe the new cash indicator pilot will address their needs.

“While some driver-partners have asked for the cash option to be removed, other driver-partners feel the cash option has opened them up to new riders and provides the consumer with more choice. Cash is a dominant payment method in Africa and many riders do not have cards to use on the app; cash removes the barrier for those without a card who want to use Uber.

“That’s why it’s not feasible to remove the cash option completely – we believe riders should have the freedom to pay for rides how they wish, but we also believe that driver-partners should have the freedom to accept cash trips or not.”

The cash indicator will only appear to driver-partners on cash trips – no indicator will pop up for card trips. The indicator will be clearly visible directly under ETA (estimated time of arrival) on the driver’s app. The dispatch process will not be impacted at all, should a driver choose to decline the request, the app will immediately alert another driver-partner. This also means that driver-partners who decline to accept a cash trip will not face any consequences – they will not be penalised for declining a cash trip, nor will they be deactivated for doing so.

“We are in the business of technology; we’ve introduced many key safety features that did not exist before the introduction of the Uber in South Africa,” says Ayache. “We remain committed to using and investing in technological solutions to any issues, safety included.

“Unfortunately, Uber’s technology cannot prevent crime, but with the introduction of core safety features such as GPS tracking, 24/7 support, an emergency number for drivers, as well as our partnership with multiple security companies, and now, the cash indicator, we are doing everything we can to prioritise the safety of those using the Uber app. We will regularly monitor the success of the pilot.”

Uber says it remains committed to working with the authorities, who it says have promised to prioritise the safety of Uber driver-partners in Gauteng and around the country.

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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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