Cape Town's best mix
of the 80's, 90's and now
Now Playing:



iSmile – The Tech Report: 20 -24 January 2014


Brace yourself for a brand new mobile operating system that could be the standard on some cell phones in a few short months’ time.

Excited geeks believe Tizen is going to rival Google’s Android and Apple’s IOS by being even more open than open source.

Stuart Thomas from adds that Tizen has got a long hard battle ahead, if it wants some of the OS action.

Of course there are other problems for new players – and that is uptake from a fickle market that are easily bored. Thomas says Tizen has its work cut out for it as it doesn’t have the same kind of luxuries that its older rivals had. But Tizen has many corporate giants interested in its success – American giant Intel, Japan’s Fujitsu, South Korea’s Samsung and LG, China’s Huawei, and European mobile carriers Vodafone and Orange.

Samsung is already very keen to go with Tizen on its phones and that may be an indication of how good it is or it’s potential.

And this may well be where the future of Tizen lies – in being THE operating system for coming household appliances and electronics.

The thinking is that a fridge could do all its processing and storage in the cloud; all it would need is a microchip and an internet connection.

And they could use that platform to iron out the kinks and then attack the mobile phone market.

What this all means is that we are on the precipice of an all-out Operating Systems’ War.

And unlike the Browser Wars of the late 1990s, this one is going to be a very messy, public affair with us users forced to pick sides and decide the ultimate outcome.


We all appreciate the advent of the smart phone for all the fun we can have, it is again about to prove its worth as a possible medical tool.

Enter the Vula APP, which is able to help diagnose a variety of eye problems and advise treatments.

It is the brainchild of Stellenbosch University’s Dr William Mapham. We caught up with William in between eye surgeries at Tygerberg Hospital and asked him to explain his APP in more detail. Previously iSmile featured a similar APP, designed by a British researcher and being trialled in Nigeria. William says Vula differs from the Portable Eye Examination Kit or PEEK in that it is a lot more basic and appropriate to our local conditions.

William says the APP is going to make a world of difference to the lives of thousands of people, who suffer alone and unaware of how treatable their conditions are.

And William has big plans for Vula going forward. William’s invention managed to secure a R1-million grant from SAB’s annual innovation competition, which he says is going to open many more doors for the Vula APP.

And of course we wish him every strength possible.


Earlier iSmile featured a new mobile phone operating system called Tizen that may be released later this year. I also eluded to a consequent OS War that will pit the newcomer against the established standards – Google’s Android and Apple’s IOS.

In my conversation with’s Stuart Thomas, we shot the breeze about this exciting pending battle of the tech giants. He says Tizen is not the only newbie in this arena.

With potential users that run into the billions, you can understand why this is such a coveted field.

So the big tech hitters are almost stupid to not at least look into designing an Operating System, if not aim to become the OS of choice.

And therein lies the dilemma. When it comes to tech though, the customers don’t always know what they want, so it’s up to visionary designers to blaze the trails for us.

And that appears to be emerging as the way forward so smart devices don’t become even more bulky and cumbersome than they already are.

The Apple business model of own software on own hardware and then let the processing happen in the cloud instead of on the device.

Stuart reckons this battle fought in glossy trenches with keyboards and algorithms as weapons, has already begun.

So the first shots of the OS war appears to have already been fired. And like in the Browser Wars, there will be several losers. And us users the ultimate winners left with a strong and varied product or two.


Last week we ushered in the New Year with some sage business advice from the executive director of Business Partners Limited.

Gerrie van Biljon spoke to us about using this relatively quiet time to re-assess your business and maybe even learn some new skills to maximise your business offering and understanding of your industry. And I promised that I would continue with even more of his very informed thoughts this week.

Last time Gerrie’s advice was very practical sort of changes which one could measure very directly with revenue increases for example.

This week, his advice deals with more abstract changes that are often overlooked, but which can make an enormous difference.

For example, Gerrie reminds us that in the past, dishing out flyers was all the advertising you needed to do. Of course this means that having a website is essential to the success of your business.

But Gerrie cautions that your fabulous business may be dragged down by a poor or mediocre website.

Moving away from online,Gerrie advises that you spend time on bringing your business into a strong cash position and then put good cash management processes in place.

Hy se dis die belangrikste stap om sukses te verseker.

And then lastly a part of self-employment that is often overlooked by small business people. And that is networking. Gerrie says for entrepreneurs networking is critical so it’s something you MUST learn to do regularly.


Jules Verne dreamt of it. The Jetsons did it. And so did Harry Potter and of course Marty McFly.

Back to the Future’s Doc Brown may have been onto something with that comment.

The flying car is no longer the sci-fi dreams of Tinsel town.

In fact, over the years, there have been about 20 attempts to put a flying car on the roads with varying degrees of success.

And it appears this year may bring all of that determination to fruition with at least three options expected to take to the skies – America’s Terrafugia and the PAL-V gyrocopter from The Netherlands.

But the industry seems to agree that the Aeromobil from Slovakia is THE prettiest and most elegant design, featuring wings that fold out of its back at the touch of a button.

It is the brainchild of designer engineer Stefan Klein, who speaks here through an interpreter.

Stefan drove the Aeromobil to a runway and took it on its first public flight in September showing off its versatility At 6m, it isn’t much longer than an ordinary car and can fit into a parking bay and a normal size garage. Stefan has been working on the design for the past 20 years.

But the 2-seater has a striking look that does remind one a little of a spaceship. So it is not inconspicuous.

Top speed en route to the airport, is around 160km/h. Once airborne though, it can reach a top speed of 200km/h and travel as far as 700km, consuming 15 litres of petrol per hour.

Stefan believes it will be able to be put to good use.

His team is currently working on the next generation of Aeromobil that he hopes will get certification from the Slovak aviation authorities.

Go have a look at the current prototype on YouTube. It is really worth your while.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+