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Windows 10 updates creativity

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The third major Windows update – Windows Creators Update – has is currently being rolled out across the globe, offering a variety of new tools and functions including 3D support, mixed reality and enhanced security.

Microsoft believes that the Windows 10 Creators Update, the third major release for Windows 10, “will unveil a next wave of innovation on the world’s most widely used operating system for users”.

More than 400 million devices are running Windows 10. New features in the Windows 10 Creators Update, released last month, promise more tools for users to express their imagination.  These include 3D, mixed reality, enhanced apps, improved security, and 4K gaming.

“Whether you sculpt in 3D or code, design new worlds or buildings, compose symphonies of music or science, or create ideas or possibilities – we want to empower the creator in each of us,” says Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices Group, Microsoft. “We want Windows to be the place you love to create and play, with the tools to help you make your mark on the world.”

Microsoft provided the following information:

3D for everyone

With the Creators Update, millions of Windows 10 users can now print, create and share in 3D, as well as get up close and personal with mixed reality.

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The new Paint 3D app makes it simple to create 3D objects from scratch, easily changing colors, stamping textures, or turning a 2D picture into a 3D work of art.

In addition, the Remix3D.com community has also been busy connecting creators since October 2016, helping them find new ideas and providing instant access to a growing library of 3D objects to customize, edit, and share.

From 3D to mixed reality, the Windows 10 Creators Update will enable immersive experiences that blur the lines between physical and virtual worlds. Brands including HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS, and Acer will ship the first VR headsets capable of mixed reality with the Windows 10 Creators Update.  These headsets will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out, six-degrees of freedom, allowing for easy set up and free movement without the need for external markers or sensors in the wall. These devices will light up with new, immersive Windows Mixed Reality apps and experiences, which developers are creating on the recently available Windows Mixed Reality dev kits.

With these new 3D and VR capabilities, millions of Windows users around the world will be able to seamlessly create and consume 3D content like never before.

A faster, more secure way to browse

Since the launch of Microsoft Edge in Windows 10, users have spent more than 63 billion minutes on the browser.  In the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft Edge gets better at helping them do both with a completely new suite of tab management features, new extensions, as well as both a new bookstore and reading experience.

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According the NSS Labs 2016 Web Browser Security Comparative Reports, Microsoft Edge blocks 9% more phishing sites and 13% more malware than Chrome, helping to protect user identity and information. In addition, since the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft Edge is up to 24% – 43% more efficient than the competition for general purpose browsing, and lasts up to 23% – 69% longer when streaming videos.

The Creators Update will also bring more extensions to Microsoft Edge, letting users easily add new functionality to what their browser can do. We are excited to offer new extensions with this update such as Ebates, Intel TrueKey, Read & Write, Ghostery, RoboForm, among others. It is also the only browser that can play Netflix content in 4K Ultra HD resolution, bringing the crispest, sharpest entertainment for Windows 10 users.

Comprehensive security for everything you do

Windows 10 is the most secure version of Windows ever, and the Creators Update continues to broaden and deepen its security features.

The new Windows Defender Security Center, for example, combines security and health options in one place so that it is easier for people to see and control Windows 10 device security and health options.

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For enterprise customers, the Creators Update will continue to bring new tools and capabilities that help simplify IT – making it easier to better deploy, manage and support Windows 10 devices – and to help stomp security threats.

The best experience in 4K gaming and in-game broadcasting

Gaming is one of the most popular activities on Windows 10 today, comprising over 32.5 billion hours of gameplay on Windows 10 since launch.

The Windows 10 Creators Update makes it super easy for anyone to broadcast their gameplay on Windows 10 and Xbox One via the built-in Beam broadcasting technology. With Beam’s sub-second latency, new experiences are possible such as the ability for viewers to influence the gameplay or interact with the stream while it’s taking place.

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Also built into the Windows 10 Creators Update is Game Mode, a new platform feature that dedicates more graphics and processor resources to your PC games. It works with almost any game, and provides on average more sustainable framerates for gamers.

The Creators Update will also enable user-generated tournaments through Arena on Xbox Live, so gamers can define the rules of competition, invite friends and track tournament progress seamlessly across devices.

The Creators Update will be rolled out in a measured and deliberate manner; users can download and install it via Windows Update as soon as it is available.

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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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