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iSmile – The Tech Report: 24-28 June

MONDAY (24 June)

Today I want to tell you about a piece of electronic junk – the sort of thing that usually piles up in garages around the neighbourhood.

But because it was designed by two college dropouts named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, it could be worth more than R5-million.

The Apple-1 from 1976 goes on the auction block at Christie’s today, with bidding starting at R3-million.

Only around 200 were made, with an estimated 40 or so still in existence. They came with eight kilobytes of memory – a million times less than the average computer today.

Wozniak is actually the man credited with having physically built the very first commercial viable personal computer – the forerunner to today’s MacBooks, IPads and IPhones.

The auction allows you to own a little piece of humanity collective history … and probably one which marks a point where we made the greatest leap forward. Because the future is a very different place.

And the lesson is – considering this week’s auction – don’t chuck it away once you’re done with it. In a few years’ time, your antique first edition iPad could be the only one left on the planet and someone might just be prepared to spend a lot of money on it.

TUESDAY (25 June)

Dr Dirk Taljaard from the Centre for HIV and Aids Prevention gets immediate attention, as he clearly understands what to focus on.

He is talking about the PrePex – a new device about to be piloted in South Africa, where annually dozens of boys are maimed or die from botched circumcision initiations.

When medical male circumcision was introduced in South Africa in 2010 as part of the HIV prevention package, government set itself a target of circumcising more than four million males by 2016. So far just over a million boys and men have been circumcised.

Beside this application, Taljaard says the PrePex could help push up the numbers and enable government to reach its target.

One week – versus the eight weeks it usually takes for a surgical circumcision wound to heal!

Plus it’s virtually painless! But most importantly, they hope that trained nurses, instead of doctors, will be licenses to perform this procedure, making it available more widely.

PrePex will be piloted in Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga in the next few months. The Centre for HIV and Aids Prevention hopes it will then be used a lot more widely.


Funny how just when you think the market for a certain product must surely be saturated, along comes a balsy company determined to force its brand right in there!

Take smart phones for example; can another company really come and compete with high-end rivals like Apple, HTC and Samsung?

China’s Huawei (WhaWay) thinks so!

So far, we have only really seen the name on a few select electronic items, such as 3G cards and routers. However, they ARE the world’s biggest telecoms company and they are determined to prove that outside their home-base of China. To this aim, they recently launched the Ascend P6 smart phone globally.

The WWW is littered with so-called selfies – pictures of slightly narcissistic internet junkies who snap themselves, sometimes in questionable poses.

Well, the problem with these selfies is that they are mostly grainy shots, taken with low-res front-facing cameras. This is where WhaWay plans to attract a loyal following almost immediately – by appealing to our vanity.

Very cool, but it looks like they’ve had to sacrifice quality on the rear-facing camera, which is a rather low 8 megapixel. Then of course, there’s the stigma of being “Made in China.”

Or is there…?

Well, the old adage of competition being a good thing, applies very aptly here. A well-priced smart phone with all the bells and whistles? Plus it makes you look good online! Sounds like a deal. At least until the next entrant comes along…

THURSDAY (27 June)

Its entrepreneur’s day Thursday … and today we are looking at the Technology Top 100 Awards.

Organisers say it may consider a special ceremony for the Western Cape this year, if entries keep increasing the way it has.

Now companies enter throughout the year, but organiser Diedre Marcus tells iSmile that officially entries for this year’s awards open next week, on the 1st of July.

In its 22nd year this year … TT100 is one of South Africa’s largest business awards programmes.

Never mind cash … one of the biggest prizes is the extensive media exposure the top entrants get in the awards’ media partner – this year it is a special supplement in the Sunday Times.

The unofficial call to entry starts on Monday with the cut-off at the end of October … and Diedre says they expect to have a few regular entries again this year.

Finals Awards event on the 28th of November. You can find out more on the website

FRIDAY (28 June)

Today’s iSmile is designed to make some of THE most hardened men go weak at the knees.

And that is achieved simply by saying … Aston Martin.

That is a huge compliment from a very fickle driving public that is given more and more choices every year.

The luxury British car maker turns 100 this year … and to celebrate, they have just unveiled their latest sports car – the Vanquish Volante – a drop top beauty that CAN just as easily play the role of THE BEAST.

This is gold-plated bells and whistles wrapped inside a full carbon-fibre body and V12 insanity producing 421kW at 6750rpm.

Turning 100 is a big deal … so Aston’s Vantage-S, has been confirmed as the brand s fastest accelerating production car to date with the exception of the One-77 hyper car.

But that one is even more limited. Plus it’s sold out. And that leaves us with the latest Vantage, which has a top speed of 330km/h.

Your order should set you back in the vicinity of R3-million. But this is not money down the drain. Astons are generally considered to be very good automotive investments from great resell value.

Most Aston fundis are going to be seething their sights on its successor, due on our shores by the end of the year. Aston says they already have a few orders in.

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