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Weekly Tech Roundup

5 new Tesla vehicles coming by the end of the decade – Tesla has long been a 1-car company. From when it first started production of the Roadster in 2008 to the end of the program and the start of Model S production in 2012. [electrek]

The Fatal Mistake That Doomed Samsung’s Galaxy Note – After reports of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones catching fire spread in early September, Samsung Electronics Co. executives debated how to respond. Some were skeptical the incidents amounted to much, according to people familiar with the meetings, but others thought the company needed to act decisively. [wsj]

iFixit’s Pixel teardown shows us the innards of Google’s latest phone – Google started shipping its its Pixel and Pixel XL phones earlier this week, and the team at iFixit documented their teardown, showing off the insides of the company’s new device. [the verge]

7 drone-based business ideas for 2017 – Drones have arrived. We’ve seen a plethora of ideas springing up around drones and their potential uses for business – aerial surveying and reporting, real estate assessment, wedding photos, sports action photos, to name a few. [venture beat]

Flight of the Brexit Bankers – Where in Europe will they go? If London loses its luster, Dublin and Frankfurt look like winners, but places like Warsaw—yes, Warsaw—stand to gain, too. [bloomberg]

The iPod is now 15 years old – Fifteen years ago, on October 23, 2001, Apple cofounder and former chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the iPod, nine months after Apple introduced its iTunes music software. [venture beat]

Google quietly made a major privacy policy change — and barely anyone noticed – For almost 10 years, Google promised to protect users’ privacy from advertisers by keeping personally identifiable information about its users, gleaned from Gmail accounts and other Google services, separate from its subsidiary DoubleClick’s database of web-browsing records. [business insider]

Apple Adds ARM Support to macOS Sierra Kernel –  Apple has added support for an ARM chip to macOS Sierra 10.12, reports Techtastic. [iClarified]

Bill Gates: He eats Big Macs for lunch and schedules every minute of his day – meet the man worth $80 billion [telegraph]

How massive DDoS attacks are undermining the Internet – On Friday morning, I awoke to find that our company-wide single sign-on and cloud storage was disrupted due to the massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against domain host Dyn. [tech crunch]

The Weird Economics Of Ikea – Ikea is a behemoth. The home furnishing company uses 1 percent of the planet’s lumber, it says, and the 530 million cubic feet of wood used to make Ikea furniture each year pulls with its own kind of twisted gravity. [fivethirtyeight]

Siri compared to new Google Assistant in extensive video, holds her own – With the release of Google Assistant, supplanting Google Now on the new Pixel with Android 7.1, Google’s speech recognition/AI engine is supposed to be more personable and less robotic. [9to5mac]

Instagram appears to be testing live video – Facebook’s all-out embrace of live video appears to be heading to Instagram. A new report from a Russian news site shows live functionality embedded into Instagram stories. [the verge]

Pokémon Go made you walk 25 percent more than you used to – In a month, America walked an additional 144 billion steps, a new Stanford/Microsoft study says. [recode]

Full(er) House: Exposing high-end poker cheating devices – In 2015, I stumbled upon a post in an underground forum, discussing how someone was ripped off at a poker table by a very advanced poker cheating device. From what I understood at that time, the post being in Chinese, the device was able to remotely read card markings to inform the cheater who will win the next hand. [elie]

What Does Nevada’s $35 Billion Fund Manager Do All Day? Nothing – Steve Edmundson has no co-workers, rarely takes meetings and often eats leftovers at his desk. With that dynamic workday, the investment chief for the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System is out-earning pension funds that have hundreds on staff. [wsj]

Weekly Tech Roundup

I must apologise for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been very busy making an app called Hey Jude get up and running. Now, on to the tech news roundup.

Cell C offers the best Apple iPhone 7 deals in South Africa – Cellphone bill optimisation company Tariffic has released its list of the best iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus contract deals in South Africa. [mybroadband]

Samsung is adding some of the Note 7’s software features to the Galaxy S7 – Like it or not, the Galaxy Note 7 is gone for good. However, you’re getting a small treat if you switched from the Note 7 to another Samsung phone. [engadget]

Samsung expects to lose $3.1 billion in profits over Note 7 recall – Samsung has already revised its earnings forecast for the current quarter, estimating that it will lost $2.3 billion in profits over the discontinuation of the Note 7. [android central]

The iPhone 7’s missing headphone jack has turned out just fine – Remember when Apple’s decision to ship the iPhone 7 without a standard headphone jack was a big controversy? [recode]

It is now a federal crime to bring a Galaxy Note 7 onto an airplane – The Federal Aviation Administration officially banned Galaxy Note 7s from being brought onto airplanes earlier this week, and under a new Emergency Restriction / Prohibition Order, it’s now a federal crime to fly with the device. [the verge]

Uber’s Ad-Toting Drones Are Heckling Drivers Stuck in Traffic – Drivers stuck in traffic in Mexico City lately have found themselves being buzzed by a fleet of sign-toting drones. [mit technology review]

Instagram arrives on Windows 10 PCs and tablets, still not on iPad – Facebook is expanding the availability of its Instagram Windows 10 app to both PC and tablets. While Instagram first debuted on Windows 10 Mobile back in April, the app was restricted to Microsoft’s mobile phones. [the verge]

BMW’s motorcycle concept is so smart you won’t need a helmet to ride it – Motorcycles aren’t exactly safe, but BMW envisions a future where two-wheel vehicles have enough onboard intelligence to make it possible for drivers to use them without protective clothing. [tech crunch]

Here’s a first look at Microsoft’s new Paint app for Windows 10 – Microsoft is completely overhauling its Paint app, and the new version is designed to be a Universal Windows app with pen- and touch-friendly features. [the verge]

A new device approved by the FDA could radically change the lives of diabetics – The life of a type-1 diabetes patient is not easy. The disease affects every minute of your existence, and can reduce your life expectancy by as much as 15 years. [qz]

Ditching the office to work in paradise as a “digital nomad” has a hidden dark side – After launching NomadList and RemoteOk, Pieter Levels became something of a common name in the burgeoning digital nomad community. Online he could be seen posting photos from Hong Kong one day, and tweeting from Thailand the next. [qz]

Two Undiscovered Dark Moons Appear to Be Hiding Near Uranus – Best. Headline. Ever. [gizmodo]

Android Devices That Contain Foxconn Firmware May Have a Secret Backdoor – Some Android devices that contain firmware created by Foxconn may be vulnerable via a debugging feature left inside the OS bootloader, which acts as a backdoor and bypasses authentication procedures for any intruder with USB access to a vulnerable phone. [softpedia]

South African online shops on credit card skimming list – An investigation by Dutch developer Willem de Groot revealed that thousands of online stores, including numerous South African websites, have been compromised and are stealing users’ credit card details. [mybroadband]

The iPhone 7 is out in South Africa – here are every major network’s contract deals – Want an iPhone 7 with 150MB of data per month? Cell C has your back. [bwthblog]

2017 BMW 5 Series Sedan to be first car with wireless CarPlay built-in, coming in February – The 2017 BMW 5 Series Sedan will be the first car to hit market and support wireless CarPlay. [9to5mac]

How to watch porn on PlayStation VR [NSFW] – Playstation VR has finally arrived, and so of course you might be asking the important questions. Like whether it’s possible to access porn while using it. [vrheads]

Google Pixel: Why controlling both software and hardware matters – Cough, iPhone, Cough! [android central]

PSA: Testathon Coming to Cape Town (Win cool prizes)

Testathon is like a hackathon, but for testing. It was created by crowdsourced testing company Global App Testing.

Testathon recently got in contact with Tech Cape Town and invited us to their Cape Town event.

At their event (on the 24th of June 2016), they’ll (could be you’ll) be testing apps for Facebook, who they have partnered with.

The idea behind Testathon is that you sign up for their event, test the apps and then win prizes for finding different kinds of bugs. The kinds of prizes on offer are tablets, phones, and watches!

So if you consider yourself good at breaking things, looking to win cool prizes, or are just looking jump start your career as a QA, sign up for their event here.

Here is a video of what they got up to when doing testing for Spotify:

And the details about their Cape Town event, in their own words:

“A Testathon is like a hackathon but specifically for testers”, said Owais Peer, co-founder of Global App Testing. “A lot of our tester community have told us they don’t get invited to hackathons, despite it being such an important part of the developer community”.

The Testathon event aims to bring together the best testers in the world so they can learn from best practice, network and win prizes whilst trying to break real apps.

“We’ll have 50 testers from Cape Town all competing to find bugs in some great apps”, noted Owais. “We’ve organised events with Dropbox in San Francisco, Spotify in Stockholm and now it’s time for Facebook in Cape Town. The support from the testing community has been great”.

The best testers will be awarded prizes for a whole host of categories including ‘Best QA’ and ‘Best Quality Bug Report’.
After mixing with the best testers in the UK, US and Sweden the South African testing community is going to be put to the test. “It’ll be a big challenge to find great bugs on the day but when you put together the best testers in the world, you’re bound to find something”, said Owais.

Apply to South Africa’s first Testathon in Cape Town.

Cool Shit: Extreme-Smartphone 9500 V2

This post is a little different from other Cool Shit posts. The good folks at Extreme-Smartphone.com reached out to me and told me they were launching the second version of their X-Tel 9500 phone in South Africa.

Now, I’ll admit that name doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue. But it doesn’t really need to as this phone is more about getting things done than showing off.

Recently the likes of Sony and Samsung have been water and dust-proofing their phones. That’s cute if you accidentally drop your phone in a puddle. This phone wants to still be ready to go if a truck drives over it.

Extreme-Smartphone_V2_02

The company that makes this phone (X-Systems) makes everything from dump-phones to tablets, all ruggedised for the harshest conditions. They also have a focus on mobile security. That should make for a pretty good combo.

As for the X-Tel 9500 V2 we have some specs:

  • Gorilla Glass 3.0
  • IP68 Waterproof
  • Physical Answer + Reject buttons
  • Physical SOS side button
  • Removable 2800 mAh battery
  • Upgradeable battery (4500 mAh)
  • 4G, Dual Sim
  • Bluetooth LE
  • Range Sensor
  • Light Sensor
  • 8MP Sony Camera
  • 4″ FHD Screen
  • Quad-Core 1.4GHz CPU
  • Android 5.1
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB Storage

Now for the fun stuff: They claim this phone is “hexa-proof”, that means it is waterproof, dust-proof, shockproof, freeze-proof, tempe-proof, and oil-proof. That is a little bit more than the average smartphone will handle in its lifetime.

Local pricing is yet to be announced but in Europe it goes for 430EUR so it should be inline with similar spec Android smartphones.

It seems like there is quite a powerful phone hidden under that though exterior.

I’m waiting to get my hands on a review model and when I do, I’ll put this phone through its paces and see if it lives up to what it claims.

Misfit Flash Review: Can cheap also be good?

Currently there is an extremely fast growing market for fitness and sleep trackers. The leaders in the wearables industry are Jawbone and Fitbit, you have the premium options such as the Apple Watch, and there are entry-level contenders including from the likes of Misfit, in the form of the Flash. In our Misfit Flash Review, we aim to suss out whether this tracker can blur the lines between the terms ‘affordable’ and ‘quality’.

The Flash isn’t the newest contender to the market, it is just over a year old. It is the cut-price version of the Misfit Shine, which offers a more premium look and feel, but has the same features. As the focus is on price with the Flash, the hard plastic body isn’t much of a surprise, neither is the omission of a heart rate monitor or GPS.

Specifications

Misfit-Flash-Review1

 

The Flash runs off of a coin cell battery which gives it an impressive battery life of up to 6 months! This means it doesn’t matter if you forget to charge it; just pop in a new battery every 6 months. The advantage of this extended battery life means that you can actually use it to track your sleep. With other fitness trackers needing to be charged, sleep tracking often takes a back seat.

The Flash claims to be water resistant (rather than waterproof), however I had no troubles showering or swimming with it. The fact that it can track swimming may be very appealing to some. Not having to worry about it getting wet is a bonus.

As with most fitness trackers, the Flash connects to your smartphone with Bluetooth Low Energy. This is the technology that gives it that amazing battery life. It tracks movement with a 3-axis accelerometer. This enables it to measure steps, calories burned, distance, and sleep quality.

In the box, you’ll find the Flash, a sport band as well as a clasp to attach it to almost anything. It can be attached to your belt, collar, pocket, wrist, or even your shoe whilst running.

Misfit-Flash-Review3

 

An interesting addition and possible stand out feature allows you to use the single button on the Flash as a remote control. You can use it as a camera remote trigger, music remote, presentation clicker or even a light switch if you have a smart light bulb.

User Experience

Connecting it to the app was fast and simple. Once you set a goal – I chose moderate activity as I sit at a desk most of the day – you’re good to go. I started out wearing the Flash on my wrist with the sport band. It is extremely light at only six grams, so it is barely noticeable. The sport band is made of cheap plastic, similar to what you would expect to find on a child’s toy. It is fairly comfortable, but becomes less so when you sweat. This is a bit of a problem as it is an activity tracker.

I set the wearing position to my wrist and went about my day. A single press on the Flash’s button lights up LEDs on the face. These can be configured to show you your daily progress towards your goal, the time or both. It took a little while to get used to telling the time by flashing lights but once I got the hang of it, I found it to be quite useful. I reached my goal fairly easily on the first day. Once I synced it to the app, I could view how far I had walked, my step count, and how many calories I had burned.

During my time with the Misfit Flash, I found the Flash’s step and calorie count to be rather optimistic. It registered almost twice as many steps as my Apple Watch. The calorie count and distance walked were also considerably higher than the Apple Watch. Once I switched to wearing the Flash on my belt, the readings were more in line with the Apple Watch but were still higher. I suspect it may register normal movement as steps and this is exaggerated when on your wrist.

Misfit-Flash-Review2

 

The feature I was most excited about was the sleep tracking. It did a good job with this and I found it to be on par with the Sleep Cycle app I use on my phone. The biggest advantage I found to using the Flash over an app is that it can detect when you are sleeping so you don’t need to remember to enable it.

The companion apps for the iPhone were well made, user friendly and pretty much just worked. The fitness focused Misfit app integrates with Apple’s Health app so that you can have a central store of all your fitness data. Strangely Misfit offers an Apple Watch app.

Misfit-Flash-Review6

 

The Apple Watch app was rather disappointing as it only offers coaching for either a one, four of seven minute quick workout. I was hoping I would be able to view my daily progress on it when wearing the Flash on my belt. The Link app is used for the remote functionality. You choose what function you’d like the Flash’s button to perform, sync it, and it just works. My only complaint here is that you can’t save different presets, you have to run through the setup each time you want to change that functionality.

Over the course of a week during my Misfit Flash Review, I found that using the belt clip was the most comfortable. It was so light, I didn’t even notice it. Initially I was worried about losing it but the clip is very sturdy and this didn’t turn out to be a problem. I had very little use for the remote functions, but they could be quite a cool party trick.

Misfit-Flash-Review5

 

Conclusion

Overall, for an entry-level contender, the Misfit Flash isn’t bad. It doesn’t have a premium look or feel, but the build quality is good. The sport band is not great and if I wanted to wear this on my wrist for extended periods of time, I’d look at getting a better band for it.

The fact that it is missing a heart rate monitor or GPS doesn’t hurt it’s performance at all. The amazing battery life, and lower price, more than makes up for these omissions.

The biggest problem was the over-reporting of steps and calories I experienced in my Misfit Flash Review. This can be minimised by wearing position but is still a concern.

Misfit-Flash-Review4

 

The sleep tracking was difficult to fault, which was spot on. I really wish the companion app gave more insight into sleeping patterns. It shows you your highest, lowest and average amount of sleep for each week or month, but it omits sleep quality, and the times you went to bed and woke up.

Overall I found the Misfit Flash to be a good contender in the entry-level market. It is more versatile than some of its more expensive competitors. It has a few tricks up its sleeve, and works pretty much as advertised. For the price of R500 ZAR, it may be worth a shot if you’d like get into tracking your fitness or sleep, or even if you just want to use it as a PowerPoint remote.

Score: 5/10

 

This review was written as a guest post on Bandwidth Blog, please see the original article here: Misfit Flash Review

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