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iSmile – The Tech Report: 12-16 August

MONDAY (12 August)

It recently came to light that South Africa s internet users stand at nearly 14 million – that’s almost double what was originally thought.

The research was conducted by Echo Consulting and the Digital Media and Marketing Association, represented by Jared Cinman.

Prior to this, the genrally accepted number of local internet users was around eight million. Although South Africa s internet users has increased by two million in the past 12 months, Jared says the 14 million number doesn’t mean there’s been a sudden massive jump in the number of users.

With nearly 40% of South Africa’s adult population surfing online regularly, Jared says this means everyone selling a product or a service has to pay very close attention to their internet presence.

Last week iSmile investigated the reasons behind our frustratingly slow internet speed, despite the fact that we have the infrastructure standing at the ready, in the form of the Seacom cable.

Seacom explained that a combination of legislation and service provider tardiness could be behind this. Jared says the new user data could finally spur the big players into action to do something about our broadband speed and cost, which will result in even greater numbers joining the online surfing world.

TUESDAY (13 August)

Every now and again we learn about very exciting medical research that hold enormous promise to save or enhance lives.

And when such potential breakthroughs involve cancer research, it usually creates even greater excitement, for despite our endless ingenuity, cancer remains as dreaded as it’s ever been.

But while a cure remains as elusive as ever, what we do know is that regular screening and early detection can and does save lives. So any new developments in this area is an almost good enough consolation prize.

Enter man’s best friend with yet another role … that of early detection cancer sniffer. American researchers are confident that they can train dogs to sniff out early stage ovarian cancer in women. Crossing disciplines, including veterinary medicine at Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Centre, they are training a Labrador retriever named Ohlin, a Springer spaniel called MacBain and Tsunami, a German shepherd to identify the scent of growing cancer cells.

It certainly is the kind of research we at iSmile will be watching closely.

WEDNESDAY (14 August)

Just like any major shift in human history, the Electronic Age has come and revolutionised the way we do … just about everything.

And with this comes a steady change in our linguistic landscape.

Beside all the new words we have, we are in the double meaning phase of old words, which includes the likes of laptop, tablet, windows, bite and ram, to mention a few. One of the more recent additions is APP, short for application!

There’s a lot of talk about APPs and young geeks striking it rich by selling their clever apps. But what exactly is an APP and how does one go about building one anyway.

IT Engineer Matthew Vos says like anything else, learning to build APPs takes some determination. But for many, just using a computer can be daunting, so asking them to dabble in code and back-end programming could cause heart palpitations.

Most manufacturers have online guides or templates to make life a little easier for App engineers. So go Google this topic and you’ll be surprised how many tutorials exist online.

By the way, the most recent APPs to cause a bit of a stir are Leftover Swap and Glow. The former allows you to upload a picture of your home or restaurant left-overs for others to come collect or swap for their own left-overs. Glow lets women monitor their cycles to accurately determine the best time of the month to fall pregnant.

THURSDAY (15 August)

So Elon Musk has now revealed his much-hyped plan to introduce a 5th mode of transport to the world.

He made plans for the HyperLoop public online and says he wants others to improve on … and hopefully implement it. Essentially it is a low-friction tube in which solar-powered pods travel at the speed of sound between cities.

The South African-born visionary is one of the most celebrated entrepreneurs in the world, so it’s always interesting to hear his views on business. He recently joined fellow flamboyant tycoon Richard Branson in a Google Hangout to talk about their business principles.

The two men spent an hour online speaking live to eager entrepreneurs from around the world, including South Africa, all of whom hung on their every word. Musk says as an entrepreneur, you must be prepared to not just work extra hard, but the chance of failure remains an ever present incentive.

An encouraging Branson spent some of the time singing the praises of entrepreneurs and highlighting their importance for the health of the world’s economy.

FRIDAY (16 August)

Other than Toyota, Asian cars have not had an easy time prying us away from our long-standing preference for European and – to a lesser extent – American cars.

First off the mark has been Hyundai, which quickly got us use to value for money.

But the Korean brand also let us have some styling that turned heads, with its colourful Tiburon.

Now it’s got another eye catcher on the road … the Hyundai Veloster … with a roof that slants menacingly backwards into a semi-panoramic design. With its low slung stance, wide rims and comfy bucket seats, it’s definitely got some sports car ambitions. But with a1.6 motor producing 106Kw, the Veloster is more bark than bite! But it is a lovely bark, wrapped in a stunning design, reminiscent of 80s super car classics.

Unfortunately, the Veloster looks a whole lot better than it performs, but that doesn’t mean it falls short in the specs department, coming with just about everything you’d expect. If it’s speed or torque-on-tap you’re after, the Veloster is not for you. But for price-tag conscious South Africans who also want a bit of flair, this is a good spend.

The Hyundai Veloster is not meant to be the successor to the Tiberon, which was very popular here. I was once the proud owner of one of those lime green ones. Instead Hyundai’s new Genesis looks like it’s going to take over that mantle. It will only become available here in a few months’ time though.

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