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iSmile – The Tech Report: 19-23 August

MONDAY (19 August)

Google Chrome is about to celebrate its fifth birthday, five years in which it kicked Microsoft’s Internet Explorer off its perch as the world’s top browser.

According to the latest stats, Chrome is now the market leader, with 52% of all web surfers preferring the browser above others. And almost as a celebration, Google announced that it had paid out close to R20-Milllion in rewards to those who helped it resolve Chrome’s security bugs.

After it started the rewards programme, the company has repaired some 2 000+ bugs, helping to make Chrome the preferred browser with a focus on security, simplicity and performance.

Google has now increased the rewards, especially for bugs that might have an impact on user security. This is even more evidence that as we move more and more into a virtual world, internet security will become even more critical to our lives.

Back home … South Africa’s first cyber insurance company has just launched.

CyGeist is hoping to address a demand that may be created by new The Protection of Personal Information Bill (or POPI), which will require your service providers to take good care of information, like ID no’s and banking details.

MD of CyGeist Natalie van de Coolwijk says they will first be focussing on insuring companies that may suffer digital losses. Repairing the damage done by hackers or simply just equipment failure, can be an expensive business.

TUESDAY (20 August)

Today iSmile highlights yet another step closer to Frankenstein medicine!

But in a good way of course! Because this technology could eventually lead towards the manufacture transplant organs.

Scientists say they have been able to use stem cells to grow human heart tissue that contract spontaneously in a petri dish. The team from the University of Pittsburgh in the U.S used a particular type of stem cell harvesting called iPS from human skin cells to create the primitive heart cells. Being able to manufacture organs that can be easily transplanted without fear of rejection, is one of the holy grails of medical research.

Theoretically, stem cells can be programmed and prompted to develop into any kind of cell of the body. But making these cells perform replacement functions is where the innovative breakthrough comes in.

Researchers started the process by using tissue scaffold of sorts from a mouse heart. The new cells grew and developed into heart muscle, and after 20 days of blood supply the reconstructed heart “began contracting again at the rate of 40 to 50 beats per minute.

As an interesting aside … last month, scientists in Japan announced that they had grown functional human liver tissue from stem cells in a similar process. It may all sound unbelievably futuristic … but remember heart transplants were considered impossible less than half a century ago, until a young Capetonian upstart named Chris Barnard proved the world wrong.

WEDNESDAY (21 August)

BlackBerry and Samsung are jumping into bed together. Well at least their messenging services are!

The ever-popular free BlackBerry Messenger or BBM will soon be available on the Samsung Galaxy SmartPhones. Samsung’s equivelant ChatOn service is already available to BlackBerry users.

Samsung customers will now have access to the BBM social network, which includes BBM chats, multi-person chats and BBM Groups, as well as the ability to share photos and voice notes … for free!

BBM has around 50 million monthly active users who send about 10 billion messages per day. That number is due to multiply insanely once BBM goes fully Android in due course.

What this means is that while listening to Smile FM on your new 9720, you can share with your BBM friends the fact that we are being cool and that they should tune in. In my opinion, that’s reason enough to switch…

THURSDAY (22 August)

This year’s Entrepreneur of the Year competitions has finally been whittled down to the few finalists that will go through to the awards ceremony in two weeks’ time.

Nimo Naidoo is the project manager and says it wasn’t an easy task for the judges. He says this year’s entries came from a variety of sectors. But she says they were most impressed by how small business were combining profits with a social conscience that extends to their staff.

The Sanlam / Business Partners sponsored competition has some very attractive prizes for entrants, which includes R40 000 for each category winner and R100 000 for the overall winner.

This year’s entries highlighted that businesses within the critical manufacturing sector are thriving. Nimo says it is encouraging that South African entrepreneurs are not afraid to enter this vital job-creation sector, even in the tough current economic climate.

Entries for next year’s competition will open early in the year and they are looking forward to another round of high-quality entries.

FRIDAY (23 August)

This week we’ve got yet another contender for sexiest car on the road … the Peugeot 208 GTi.

Andrew Parker from Peugeot Tygervalley is careful to point out the French attention-to-detail, evident by a plush leather trim with splashes of a deep red in unexpected places, like under the gear lever grip. And there’s performance to accompany the looks, eager to go and show off the 147 Kw output.

The GTi aspect of the Peugeot is very apparently, especially in the lower gears, where merely touching the accelerator pushes you back into your seat.

Banish all preconceived ideas you may have had of Peugeot being typically French timid, more LOVER than fighter.

I can confidently say this Peugeot will give you enough of both.

And at a launch price of just under R260 000, you sure do get quite a bit for your money, including mutli-functional touch-screen operations.

Then there’s the fact that they’ve thrown in park assist, as in you press a few buttons, take your hands off the steering wheel and viola … she parks herself! Great for those who struggle with parallel parking, not so great for car guards.

Go to our Facebook page Smile 90.4FM to watch some video showing exactly how this baby parks herself.

For Smile 90.4 FM, I’m Bobby Brown with your iSmile.

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