Got a second to kill? Learn a new language with this MIT app (CNET)

MIT researchers design an app suite to help you learn Spanish or French while you’re waiting for your friends to get back to you on chat. Muy bueno!

If you work in a typical office, you likely spend a lot of time on chat applications (or chatting with friends to set up those after-work drinks, but no judgment here). How can you make productive use of the time while you’re waiting for a response? You don’t want to break away and do other things — there’s not enough time for that — so why not learn a new French word or two?

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Screenshot by Lisa Brackmann/CNET

A group of researchers at MIT wants to help you learn foreign languages during such “micro moments.”

They’ve come up with a series of apps called “WaitSuite” that help you build up your vocabulary during those idle moments throughout the day. Instead of being unproductive while waiting for someone to write you back, or for your phone to load or your Wi-Fi to connect, you can engage in “wait learning.”

WaitSuite apps are integrated right into what you’re already doing. For example, while you’re making those lunch plans with a co-worker on Gchat, “WaitChatter” will test you on your Spanish vocabulary. This actually improves productivity on your primary task, according to project team leader Carrie Cai, since you’re less likely to leave that app to kill time with a mobile game.

The concept has applications beyond language learning — it could also be used to learn medical or legal terms, for example.

I gave WaitChatter a try. It’s a Chrome extension that works with Gchat, so if you’re on Hangouts, you’ll need to switch back to use it. Right now, you can learn basic vocabulary in Spanish or French, with other languages potentially on the way. The app tracks your progress and tests you on unfamiliar words until you get them right. It’s a lot of fun.

I learned the Spanish words for “council” “fact” and “company,” and felt much less impatient while trying to arrange those all-important lunch plans.

African first: Nokia, Ooredoo Algeria achieve 1 Terabit-per-second (IT News Africa)

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Working in partnership, Ooredoo Algeria and Nokia have successfully achieved a ground-breaking transmission speed of 1.2 terabits per second over optical fibre in Africa’s first field trial of innovative optical communications technology.

By Staff writer @ IT News Africa

The trial was conducted between the cities of Algiers and Ain Defla over a distance exceeding 200 kilometers. Commercial deployment of the technology in the near future will allow Ooredoo Algeria to offer high capacity-based solutions to its subscribers. This will be one of the first commercial deployments of this innovative Nokia technology, which allows service providers to maximize the performance and flexibility of optical fibre.

Optical fibre, the way forward for mobile communication in Africa.

Nokia’s 1830 PSS Portfolio, which helps in optimizing optical networks to meet unpredictable traffic demands, was used for the trial. The optical transport network equipment specifically allows service providers like Ooredoo Algeria to offer more advanced services to their subscribers. The trial also utilized 1830 PSS 500G Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) Muxponder, which carries up to five 100G services per line card and helps service providers achieve superior capacity, reach and wavelength flexibility.

 

Mr Hendrik Kasteel, Ooredoo Algeria’s CEO said: “Ooredoo continues to be a major player in the mobile industry representing the cutting edge of innovation, conducting a winning partnership with Nokia in order to achieve ground-breaking transmission in Algeria and in Africa. It is critical for Ooredoo to increase the capacity, reach and flexibility of optical transmissions to offer high-capacity solutions and a superior customer experience. Nokia is our long-term partner and we are confident that their proven optical network technology will help us maintain our leadership position in offering the latest and best-in-class technology solutions to our customers.”

 

Pierre Chaume, head of North Africa Market Unit at Nokia said: “We are pleased to take our relationship with Ooredoo Algeria to the next phase. This trial is an important and critical step in helping Ooredoo Algeria increase capacity and add flexibility to its network. The deployment will also support the 4G deployment plans of the service provider.”

 

Thanks to this new performance, Ooredoo Algeria is updating its digital know-how by better understanding the needs of the telecommunication sector. Ooredoo’s core network is thus reinforced and able to integrate new technologies for better performance and optimum care of the increasing demand for mobile communications services.

Read more at IT News Africa 

Intel’s new mini desktop computer is priced to sell (CNET.com)

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A cheap, fully functional Windows 10 PC with a quad-core Apollo Lake Celeron processor for $230? Say hello to the Intel NUC6CAYS NUC.

Intel’s newest low-cost NUC is a cheap, fully functional Windows 10 PC with a quad-core Apollo Lake Celeron processor.

What’s an NUC? That stands for “next unit of computing,” which is Intel’s name for a line of mini desktop computers. Often, these are bare-bones systems that ship without an operating system or even all the required components, but the new NUC6CAYS model popping up in online stores now is a ready to run Windows 10 machine.

 

and for everything that the preconfigured Intel NUC6CAYS has (Intel will also release a bare-bones version), it’s an attractively affordable option. Intel’s recommended customer price is $215 (converts to AU$297 and £175), but right now you can find it online at Amazon and Newegg for around $230 (converts to AU$318 and £187).

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It has an HDMI port that supports 4K.

NUCs, around since 2012, are basically one step up from a Compute Stick. Though they’re usually pricier than similar mini PC counterparts made by other manufacturers, the NUC6CAYS bucks the trend with its low price and impressive specs.

Specs

  • 10W Apollo Lake 1.5GHz quad-core Celeron processor
  • HD Graphics 500
  • 2GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM (upgradable to 8GB)
  • 32GB eMMC flash drive (upgradable to 1TB)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • HDMI 2.0 with 4K at 60Hz
  • VGA port
  • Four USB 3.0 ports
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • Stereo microphone/headphone jack

Read more at CNET.com

Google’s latest video calling app launches globally (IT News Africa)

Google has unveiled its latest video calling app, which has been dubbed by the company as “Duo.” According to Google, the app has gone live globally and is available on either Android or iOS devices.

Google revealed that Duo works off your phone number and provides simple one to one video calling to bring you face to face with everyone you care about, without needing to sign up for a Google account.

By Staff Writer (IT News Africa)

Google’s latest video calling app launches globally.

The app’s Knock Knock feature gives a preview of incoming calls from your contacts, so you can see what’s up before you answer the call (this feature can be switched off, and only works on iOS if the app is already open on the user’s phone).

Duo works on wifi and cellular networks, and will hand over a call from one to the other – so if you’re on a call and move out of wifi range, it’ll move onto the cellular network, or vice versa, with no intervention from you, the company revealed.

According to Google it has optimised Duo to connect faster than other video apps, and to ensure it stays in sync, even on slower networks like 2G. All calls are encrypted end to end, making them secure from start to finish.

How to use Facebook Live to record events and share (https://live.fb.com)

We are received many requests regarding how to use Facebook Live to record events and share.

Below are step by step instructions and screenshots to help.

  • on your smart phone launch the Facebook app
  • from you main screen or at a page from where you can post
  • select post
  • you should a choice tilted ” Go Live” or an icon that will allow to you “Go Live”
  • click the choice ‘Go Live” or the Icon
  • in the right hand corner you can tap the icon to switch the camera to front or rear facing
  • You also type a description of your video (optional)
  • Select the “Go Live button” (Big Blue Button) and you are set
  • once you are done you can choose several option on how the video will remain posted
  • once posted, you can share with everyone you chose.

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other instructions

Going Live with Facebook

1. Tap “What’s on your mind” at the top of News Feed.

Image showing Facebook's composer input field

2. Select “Live Video” from the dropdown menu.

Image showing Live Icon

3. Add a description and choose your audience before hitting “Go Live.” You’ll see a three-second countdown before your broadcast begins!

 

 

How do I know if a video is live?

There will be a red icon at the top left-hand corner of the video indicating that it is a live video. The word “Live” is written next to the icon, along with the number of current viewers.

What happens to the Live video after the broadcast ends?

The video will be published to the Page or profile so that fans and friends who missed it can watch at a later time. The broadcaster can remove the video post at any time, just like any other post.

Oracle pledges $3 million to help girls learn science, math and tech (CNET.com)

The business-software maker worked with the White House to donate $200 million to support computer science education in the US. Now it’s adding even more to focus on women’s education.

 

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The White House and Oracle teamed up to empower women in computer science as more jobs require tech skills.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Silicon Valley is starting to put its money where its mouth is on

Silicon Valley is starting to put its money where its mouth is on women’s education.

The latest example: Oracle, a leading business software maker, teamed up with the White House back in April to donate money to support the Obama administration’sComputer Science for All initiative. The goal is to empower and engage student through various computer science programs in over 1,100 US institutions. They hope the money and attention will draw young people around the world into learning about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. At the time, the company committed $200 million to the cause.

On Tuesday, Oracle added another $3 million specifically to focus the program on girls and women worldwide.

The money will help to fund programs to send 55,000 young girls around the world to various summer computing camps, codefests, workshops and conferences. The company also expects to expand its computer science efforts in Egypt over the next four years, where it invested $1 million in educational resources and services.

Ultimately, the tech giant hopes these programs will funnel more people into tech careers.

“We want more girls focused on building upon science and math fundamentals and we want more women choosing the technical disciplines because they are both prepared to do so and because they believe it will advance their career opportunities,” Oracle’s (female) CEO, Safra Catz, said in a statement.

For the past couple years, the tech industry has been advocating on behalf of STEM education, encouraging schools and governments to invest heavily in these types of jobs and teach computer skills to children at younger ages. Of course, the more people who learn these skills, the more potential employees there could be working at Facebook, Apple and Google.

But there’s a murkier side to this too. Tech companies haveoften claimed too few women and minorities earn STEM degrees, a seeming excuse for employing mostly white men, particularly in leadership positions.

Oracle Academy, a computer science educational program, and Burning Glass Technology, an analytics company, recently did research and found that programming jobs grow 50 percent faster than the market average. As technology is increasingly present in people’s personal and professional lives, there is a need for computer science learning. According to a summary program report of the College Board’s AP program in 2015, only two percent of all participants took Computer Science and only 22 percent of the participants were female.

Read More at CNET.com

Should the world be following Africa’s mobile banking example? (IT News Africa)

Entersekt CEO, Schalk Nolte, looks at how African banks are responding to mobile security threats and points out that the rest of the world should be taking a page out of their book.

By Schalk Nolte, Entersekt CEO

Should the world should be following Africa’s mobile banking example?.(Image Source: http://dare2go.com/)

The growth of mobile banking has surged over the last two years. An October 2015 report from Juniper found that over a billion phone users would have used their device for banking by the end of last year, and expected this number to double by 2020. In fact, the uptake in emerging markets in particular required the company to revise its 2016 predictions to make allowance for the leap in users.

While international companies are certainly looking at the phenomenon and making sure that mobile forms part of their channel to market, many African companies are opting for a mobile-first approach, simply leapfrogging the traditional channel approach.

From a business perspective, banks understand the benefits of mobile banking and are actively driving its uptake. Mobile banking is ubiquitous, it’s self-service and low cost. Juniper has said that a mobile banking transaction costs a forty-third of what an in-branch transaction does, and we have heard some banks say that up to 60 percent of their operational costs go into providing for branch services.

What is interesting, though, is how African banks are placing security at the heart of their mobile strategy. They have good reason to do so. Security breaches threaten to build mistrust towards this innovative and low-cost channel, in turn slowing uptake and the ultimately impacting on the success of any mobile strategy.

According to Kaspersky Lab, the volume of malware targeting mobile users increased three-fold from 2014 to 2015. RSA Online Fraud Resource Center, meanwhile, has estimated that a phishing attack takes place every minute, with one in four of those attacks originating in the mobile channel.

The reality is that hacking has become a commodity. Malware is created and is then sold on the dark web. Attackers move from region to region until consumers catch on or until the market is saturated. Hacking as a Service is now a reality, with hackers even having service level agreements with their customers.

The technology companies that have the advantage are those with a global footprint. They are able to identify and counter threats in one region, and then apply it to all of their global clients, staying ahead of the curve as far as possible.

Security remains high on the global CIO agenda and C-level executives are finally recognising its importance – none more so than leaders of financial institutions in Africa. Securing the mobile channel is mission critical to client acquisition and retention. They understand that if a customer does not feel secure with an institution, they will either switch to another bank or stop using the service altogether.

It’s this understanding of the customer’s needs that really lies at the heart of the African banks’ strategies. If banks want to drive user uptake, nurturing trust must be a priority. If a potential or current user hears of a bad experience, not only are they less likely to try new services, but they may disengage from the banking platform altogether.

And it’s not only the African banks and mobile payments providers that are taking security seriously. African regulators are issuing directives to force banks to implement decent security. Regulators in Nigeria and Egypt are dictating to banks and ensuring that they use two-factor authentication with transaction signing and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

The attitude of the African regulators is correct. If criminals broke into a bank and forced a vault open, would the bank’s customers be expected to cover the loss? The same rationale should apply to mobile banking. Demanding a minimum level of security is what regulating for the consumer is all about.

There is no doubt that Africa has the right attitude when it comes to how seriously they take mobile security. All the numbers back up this business decision. Equity Bank is a case in point. Equity Bank’s mobile platform, Equitel, is showing significant growth. The Bank reported that the number of transactions on Equitel had increased from an average of two transactions per customer per month to 21 transactions by September 2015. Moreover, figures released in March this year showed mobile transactions had reached 151 million and that the total number of mobile loans accounted for 78 percent of all the loans disbursed during the year.

Internationally, businesses don’t yet understand the importance of Africa, and many of them wouldn’t even know who Equity Bank is. It’s arguably the biggest bank in one of the most mobile-centric and innovative markets, demonstrating some of the highest growth potential in the world. There is no doubt that international banks wishing to implement a successful mobile strategy would do well to take a lesson from our banks on the continent.

Read More at IT News Africa

Accra, Ghana becomes next smart African city to offer Uber (IT News Africa)

Accra has been named as the next city to join Uber’s network in Africa. The economically vibrant hub is the first city in Ghana to receive the service. With a thriving urban population, Accra’s 2.27 million people will have access to efficient transport through the ride-sharing platform.  Uber is excited to explore the potential of this dynamic city.

By Staff Writer (IT News Africa)

Alon Lits, General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa says, “Accra is bustling, connected city that Uber is proud to be launching in. It’s rapid growth and multiple ethnic communities make it an exciting place to introduce our service.”

“At Uber, we bring the world closer together by connecting global citizens to transport in a growing number of cities. We see Accra as a natural fit, because its people are willing to embrace innovation and technology and love products that are cool, exclusive and offer a new experience. We are able to deliver just that, safely, reliably and affordably.”

Uber recently launched it’s service in Uganda in the city of Kampala.

Read More at IT News Africa 

Dell, CSIR unveil ‘fastest supercomputer in Africa’ (WebAfrica)

South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has unveiled a petaflops (PFLOPs) machine which they claim is the fastest computer on the African continent due to its speed of roughly one petaflops (1000 teraflops). Flops are units for measuring of computer’s processing speed.

By Matshelane Mamabolo

“This is a supercomputer with processing speed capable of a thousand-trillion floating point operations per second. Floating point operations or flops are used in computing to calculate extremely large numbers,”revealed the CSIR in its presentation of the computer which features over 40 000 cores making it 15 times faster than the previous system.

The petaflops machine has been named Lengau which is a Setswana name for Cheetah.

Dr Thomas Auf der Heyde, Deputy Director-General: Research Development and Support at the Department of Science and Technology says high-performance computing plays an important role growing the economy.

“For our country to grow at the required rate, as set out in the National Development Plan, it needs to change gear by building capacity in the production and dissemination knowledge. The CHPC represents a deliberate move by this country to invest in modernising our research and development. High-performance computing and advanced data technologies are powerful tools in enhancing the competitiveness of regions and nations,”

The system used to in create the supercomputer has a smaller footprint than previous systems. The Dell HPC system is comprised of 1,039 Dell PowerEdge servers, based on Intel Xeon processors totalling 19 racks of compute nodes and storage. It has a total Dell Storage capacity of five petabytes, and uses Dell Networking ethernet switches and Mellanox EDR InfiniBand with a maximum interconnect speed of 56 GB/s.

Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager, Engineered Solutions, HPC and Cloud at Dell says they are proud to collaborate with South Africa’s CSIR to delivery the fastest HPC system in Africa.

“The Lengau system will provide access and open doors to help drive new research, new innovations and new national economic benefits. While Lengau benefits from the latest technology advancements, from performance to density to energy efficiency, the most important benefit is that Lengau will enable new opportunities and avenues in research, the ability to help spur private sector growth in South Africa and, ultimately, help enable human potential.”

Other advantages of Lengau, according to the CSIR, are that it will provide increased access to computer resources for users who previously had limited or no access to such resources, improve performance of large-scale simulations that were impossible in the past, opening completely new avenues of research, and providing greater capacity to build the private sector/non-academic user base of its CHPC (Centre for High Performance Computing) for improved national economic benefit.

Read More at Web Africa

LG helps India fight malaria with mosquito repelling TVs (CNET.com)

Mosquito-spread diseases such as malaria and dengue continue to affect hundreds of thousands of Indians each year.

by

Some people want 3D viewing experience in their next TV. Some want a 4K display. LG is hoping that many in India want their next TV to repel mosquitoes.

The company on Tuesday announced its Mosquito Away line of TVs for the country. The South Korean company says that its new TV comes equipped with an ultrasonic device which uses sound wave to keep mosquitoes at bay.

The cheapest model, sporting a 32-inch display, is priced at 26,900 rupees ($400, AU$550, £275), with the top-of-the-line 43-inch variant costing 47,500 rupees ($710, AU$950, £490).

The company says that it studied the Indian market and concluded there wasn’t any device of this kind that addressed the growing medical and hygienic issue of mosquitoes in the country.

Last year, India’s capital New Delhi alone had over 10,500 cases of dengue, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Meanwhile, only 11 percent of India’s population lives in Malaria free zones, according to the 2014 World Malaria Report, with over 850,000 cases being recorded in 2013.

The company assures that the Mosquito Away TV models don’t emit any harmful radiation, nor do they use chemicals. What’s more, there is no need to refill chemicals or worry about any other maintenance.

Read More at CNET.com