The Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit has created an online tool allowing South Africans to determine their position on the country’s income distribution curve. Based in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town, SALDRU was founded in 1975, and is tasked with research relating to economic matters in South Africa.
About SALDRU’s income comparison tool
Speaking about the income comparison tool, SALDRU said that the tool “was designed to help people understand the nature and extent of South Africa’s inequality.”
It has been estimated that over 50% of South Africans are classified are chronically poor, while 20% belong to the stable middle class, and just 4% belong to the elite.
SALDRU’s tool will probably blow your mind, and chances are that you are much richer than you think you are in the bigger scheme of things.
To see where you lie on South Africa’s income distribution curve, visit SALDRU’s website and follow the prompts.
If you can afford to do so, please consider signing up and supporting a charitable organisation of your choice, or offer your time if your income doesn’t allow a monthly monetary contribution. Every bit of help and support makes a difference to the plight of those that do not have the means to help themselves.
- Published in Tips and Tricks
Smartphone usage among children has risen significantly across the world, and while the jury’s still out on when the best time is to allow your child to get a phone, parents should still monitor what their kids do with their phones.
In a recent discussion on 702, Rorke Wilson, an associate with the Digital Law Company recommended that parents be especially wary of certain apps, which may put their children in danger.
At first glance, this app might look like a normal calculator, but it is actually a secret photo vault where kids can store pictures they may not want you to see. The photos in the app do not show up in a user’s normal camera roll, and can only be accessed after entering a passcode.
Hot or Not
Similar to Tinder, this is a dating app that uses a person’s location to find potential matches. It also allows people to rate others based on how attractive they are.
Burnbook is a social media app where users can post rumours and gossip about other people in their vicinity. Posts made in the app can be read by everyone and the app has already caused some trouble in schools in the US.
This app allows users to pose questions to others both anonymously or under their name. Apps that allow users to post to one another in this way are often associated with online bullying.
This app lets users post secrets and confessions. The content on the app is often not suitable for children, and predators may take advantage of the trust children place in them when they confide that they may struggle with similar issues.
Kik is an instant messaging service similar to WhatsApp. Users can join chat rooms or chat one-on-one, and can also send pictures, games, videos and gifs to one another. On forums about sexting, Kik is often recommended.
Wishbone is a survey app that asks teens to choose between two things. While a lot of the content is seemingly innocent and harmless, users who follow each other can send private messages to one another, and as their interests are listed on their profile, this may be a way for predators to make contact with your child.
In the era of the internet, it is often difficult for parents to monitor exactly what their kids come across while online. As with anything, it is important that parents educate themselves about what is popular among children at a given time.
Having an open line of communication is paramount. Of course, parents still tell their children to avoid strangers in the real world, but having an honest conversation about encounters with strangers online should be something every parent does.
- Published in Tips and Tricks
A team of young South African computer gurus has taken third place at an international high-performance computing contest held in Germany. The team, comprising of students from the University of Limpopo and Wits, is made up of Meir Rosendorff, Joshua Bruton, Kimessha Paupamah, Katleho Mokoena, Nathan Michlo and Njabulo Sithole.
Team members were chosen following a stringent selection process at the Centre for High Performance Computing, and the team was also sent to the Texas Advanced Computing Centre in Austin in the United States to undergo further training and support.
The Centre for High Performance Computing is an initiative from the Department of Science and Technology, which is carried out through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The CHPC has played an integral part in supporting and training South Africa’s team.
The South Africans took part in the Student Cluster Competition and were the only African representatives at the competition. In an interview with News24, Happy Sithole of the CHPC expressed his delight at the South African team’s performance at the contest.
“This is a significant achievement from South Africa, as we bring a new team every year, while other teams repeat the students and even use postgraduates.”
“The significance for this is to ensure we can grow the numbers, and hence more students are trained. For the past six years, we have had 36 students who performed well at world stage,” said Sithole.
South Africa entered the Student Cluster Competition for the first time in 2013, and have consistently performed well, winning it in 2013, 2014, 2016, and coming second in 2015 and 2017.
Following a win in 2017, students from the Tsinghua University in China again took the top spot at this year’s competition.
- Published in News
In terms of South African tech entrepreneurs, we’ve heard of Mark Shuttleworth, Elon Musk and, more recently, 17-year-old Brandon Kynoch, the creator of the highly successful mobile game, Torus. But here’s another local name that you’re sure to hear much more about in the year to come.
Jesse Perez Casanova is a 25-year-old Vega School graduate and the founder of Omegah, a tech start-up that is the driving force behind a next-generation app that plans to take aim at the social media big guns.
In an interview with The Media Online, Casanova describes the app that Omegah is developing: “Imagine if Pokémon Go, Candy Crush, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Uber all had sex and had a baby, that’s the app that we are creating.”
“We are throwing the idea of how you share and explore content on its head… When people see this, they are going to hit themselves on the head and ask, ‘why hasn’t anyone does this before?’”
Earlier this year, Casanova sold 49% of Omegah in exchange for $2.8 million (or R44 million) in funding, after being part of the just 3% of South African start-ups to secure seed funding in the country.
Casanova is looking to find footing in China, and heads there in July to try and secure Series A funding, and to look at forming partnerships that will foster a space in the Chinese market.
Casanova is also in talks with Tencent, a large multinational investment holding conglomerate in which Naspers has a large stake. Because many social media apps are banned in China, there might well be a very large, ready-made market for the app that Omegah is developing, but there are also plans to release the app in the US, before introducing it to the global market early in 2019.
About the app
Exact details about the app are still shrouded in secrecy, but Casanova believes that the app will revolutionalise the way people share and explore content, while also allowing businesses to engage with their audiences in completely new and innovative ways. It differs from the most widely used social media apps because it doesn’t require algorithms for its operation or to tailor content to users.
How the app will perform among more established social media giants remains to be seen, but the buzz that this entrepreneur’s idea is creating seems to spell great things to come. Watch this space for the latest.
- Published in Technology
In mid-July, the instant messaging service WhatsApp announced that it would start labelling messages that have been forwarded, and if you’ve updated the app, you would have started noticing forwarded messages being labelled as such. However, WhatsApp has also announced that it is introducing measures that limit the amount of groups and contacts that messages can be forwarded to.
In a blog post on its website, WhatsApp said that this step was taken to curb the spread of false messages en masse. This follows a case in India where a false message about child abductors that was forwarded numerous times lead to mass beatings of over a dozen people. Some people died in the incident.
WhatsApp is testing a lower limit of five messages at once in India, and has also removed the quick-forward button next to media messages.
In the blog post in question, the company stated: “We built WhatsApp as a private messaging app – a simple, secure, and reliable way to communicate with friends and family.”
“As we’ve added new features, we’ve been careful to try and keep that feeling of intimacy, which people say they love.”
“We believe that these changes – which we’ll continue to evaluate – will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app.”
Together with the labelled forwarded messages, WhatsApp also announced that it was introducing an option where the admins of groups have the option of being the only people that are able to send messages to a group. This option can be found by opening Group Settings, then opening “Send Messages”, and enabling “Only Admins”.
WhatsApp believes that the admins of groups that are used for making important announcements and sharing information may benefit from this new setting.
- Published in News
They’ve been saying ‘the future is now’ for ages, but that has never rung as true as in the 21st century. The era of machine learning is upon us, and one South African start-up is hoping to be at the forefront of its application in South Africa.
DataProphet is a machine learning start-up based in Cape Town that specialises in creating machine learning algorithms that are tailor-made for businesses.
What is machine learning?
Machine learning is a branch of Artificial Intelligence that uses algorithms allowing software applications to make more accurate predictions of outcomes without being programmed to do so. In layman’s terms, that means that machine learning is an application of AI that aims to give machines access to data to let them think for themselves, and make predictions based on the data they have access to.
Machine learning has many practical applications for manufacturing, security and healthcare and many other fields, but you’ve probably come across it when you start typing a question into Google, and Google suggests the correct query, based on similar searches it has received before, or when Netflix makes a suggestion of shows you might like, based on shows you’ve previously watched on the streaming service.
DataProphet has developed an AI for the manufacturing industry, which aims to achieve zero defects in the manufacturing process. According to the DataProphet website, it uses advanced and predictive and prescriptive machine learning capabilities, as well as state-of-the-art computer vision to predict defects, faults and quality errors, and to prescribe the ideal process variables to shift processes to higher yields.
DataProphet doesn’t just focus on the manufacturing industry, but has also been involved in other machine learning projects, including natural language processing and emotion recognition. In March of this year, DataProphet was in the spotlight when it secured funding from the venture capital firm, Knife Capital.
To see how DataProphet’s machine learning solutions work, check out the video below.
Machines that think for themselves – what a time to be alive!
- Published in News
Is there anything more annoying than a smartphone with speed issues? Because, really, what is the use of a smartphone if it’s slow?
Older Android devices sometimes start slowing down after just a few months of use, leading to unfettered frustration from users.
Luckily, there are some ways to speed up your Android device without having to be a techie or mobile genius.
1. Remove or disable unused apps and bloatware
Many Android phones come pre-loaded with apps that you hardly use, but can’t delete from the device. Disabling these apps, and getting rid of other downloaded apps that you might not be using anymore is a sure-fire way to free up some space and speed up your smartphone.
- Go to “Settings” on your device.
- Tap on “Application Manager”.
- Swipe left or click on the menu at the top of the screen to switch the selection of apps so it shows all of the apps on your device.
- Tap on the application that you would like to remove or disable.
- Uncheck the box that says “Show notifications”. This will stop the app from updating.
- Confirm your selection by tapping “OK”.
- You will see an option to either disable or delete the selected app. Pre-installed apps sometimes can’t be deleted, but disabling them will render them unable to take up as much memory space.
- If you are asked if you would like to restore a specific app to factory settings, tap on “Yes”. Apps that are restored to factory settings are much smaller than apps that have been updated.
You will not be able to disable Android processing apps or utilities. As a rule of thumb, do not disable any apps that have the Android logo next to them. Take care not to remove or disable apps that you might not recognise, but which may be important for the running of your device. Before disabling any apps that you aren’t familiar with, search Google to find out what they do.
2. Clear cached data
If your phone is running low on storage space, clearing cached data (little bits of data that your phone stores) can make a big difference in its overall performance.
- Go to “Settings”.
- Tap on “Storage”.
- Tap on “Cached data”.
- Tap on “OK”.
3. Disable Bluetooth and WiFi
If you’re not using Bluetooth or WiFi at a given moment, disabling it can save some battery power and increase speed.
4. Optimise your Chrome browser
Chrome is the internet browser of choice for most Android users. Optimising it won’t just enhance the performance of your phone, but will also save data.
Select “Data Saver” in Chrome for Android to allow Google to compress the pages you are viewing. When using Data Saver, pages are compressed up to 30%, and videos up to 50%, which makes it easy to see how this can save data, and speed up your browsing experience.
5. Reduce the amount of widgets
While widgets are supposed to make it easier to navigate your phone quickly, they can slow older phones down. Reducing the amount of widgets you have running can speed up your device.
- Go to the widget you’d like to remove.
- Long-press on it.
- Drag the widget to remove it, and release.
If your frustration with your Android device has you vowing to shop for a new phone, or wanting to do a factory reset and sacrificing everything you have stored on your phone, give these easy methods a try first.
- Published in Tips and Tricks
If you’re a space buff and happen to be in Cape Town in 2020, you’ll be happy to hear that the Mother City has been announced as the host for the SpaceOps 2020 conference.
SpaceOps, or the International Committee on Technical Interchange for Space Mission Operations and Ground Data Systems, comprises of 13 international space agencies, and was formed in 1992 with the aim of promoting and maintaining an international community of space operations experts.
The biennial SpaceOps conferences have been held since 1990. According to its website, SpaceOps brings together technologists, scientists, managers from agencies, academic and research institutions, operators and industry, and fosters managerial and technical interchanges on all aspects of space mission operations.
Cape Town was named as the host city after the South African National Space Agency and the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau joined forces and submitted a bid.
More than 600 specialists in various fields relating to space travel, research and exploration are expected to congregate in Cape Town for the conference in 2020.
Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille, said in a statement following the announcement:
“Cape Town is the ideas capital of Africa. We are enormously proud to see an increasing number of innovative gatherings choosing Cape Town as a destination of choice. This is once again testament to the fact that Cape Town is the city where leaders from across the world will meet and discuss the future of our continent and the globe.”
SpaceOps 2020 will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
- Published in Technology
A new report on internet, smartphone and social media penetration was recently released by the American think tank, Pew Research. 40,448 respondents from 37 countries took part in a face-to-face survey over the course of a few months as a part of the study.
The report has made it clear that while the gap in internet usage between emerging and advanced economies has narrowed over the years, there are still many citizens in large parts of the world that do not use the internet.
The report has revealed that internet use is the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa, although figures in South Africa differ significantly from the rest of the region. South Africa has an internet penetration rate of 59%, making it the only country in the region where at least half of the population uses the internet.
The report showed that South Korea is the most connected country in the world, with 96% of respondents reporting that they use the internet. Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Israel, the US, the UK, Spain, France and Germany aren’t trailing far behind, with nine out of ten respondents reporting internet use.
South Africa has shown the most substantial increase in internet usage since 2015, matching Lebanon with a 17-percentage-point increase.
In terms of smartphone ownership, the data has shown that emerging and developing markets like South Africa tend to have many people going from not owning a phone at all, to owning a mobile device. This means that landline phones are very often skipped in favour of mobile devices.
In contrast with other developing countries like India, Indonesia and the rest of Africa, the study has shown that at least half of respondents in South Africa reported that they own a smartphone. This corresponds with global statistics on the matter, with 59% of respondents reporting that they own a smartphone, 31% reporting that they own a feature phone or flip phone, and 8% reporting that they do not own any mobile device.
- Published in News
Mobile technology has come such a long way that it has penetrated almost every fibre of society. With that being said, it often seems like people haven’t quite figured out how to be well-mannered when using these gadgets – being in the crowd at any concert or performance makes that crystal clear.
Luckily we’ve compiled a handy list of guidelines to ensure that you are a courteous cellphone user at all times. Use it, don’t use it – but don’t blame us if you get a dirty look after whipping out your cellphone at an inopportune time.
It’s fun to joke about people that speak louder when they’re on the phone, but the fact of the matter is that most people raise their voices a little when speaking to someone on their cell. Be mindful of the volume you speak at when you’re among other people, but it’s still best to have your cellular conversations where other people don’t have to hear what you’re saying.
If you can, keep your ringtone on silent while in meetings and social gatherings. Switch your phone to vibrate, or if you absolutely must have it ring, set it to a low volume.
Turn off keyboard clicks and other noises when you are among other people. Just like they don’t have to hear your conversation, other people certainly don’t have to hear you typing that novel to your friend on WhatsApp.
Do not use your cellphone in the following settings.
- In restaurants: Especially if it’s a business or formal dinner, phone usage is very rude. Casual meals with friends are obviously different, but it really taints the experience of togetherness when everyone is busy checking their social media feeds instead of catching up about things that happen in the real world.
- On public transport: Your fellow passengers don’t want to listen to your conversation, especially in a confined space from which they cannot escape. Keep calls short and promise to call back promptly.
- In movies, during concerts and performances and in theatres: Keep your phone on silent during any kind of live performance. A phone that rings and pings when an artist is practicing their art isn’t just distracting for both the artist and the audience, it’s also extremely impolite. Checking your phone in a movie theatre lights up the entire cinema and is very annoying. Fine, you are allowed to take a quick pic at that concert to show off on social media, but keeping your phone in the air for the duration of the show may obscure the view for the people behind you who paid just as much to come and see it – and they didn’t pay to see it from the screen of your phone.
- In the bathroom: Cellphones are cesspools of germs, and one of the main reasons for this is that people use them while they’re using the loo. Stay safe, keep your phone clean and read the magazines that have been gathering dust next to the toilet. And remember to wash your hands before picking up your phone again!
When to return a call or message
The golden rule is that calls and messages should be returned within 24 hours of receiving them. Especially because the sender can often see that you have read a message, the correct thing to do is to reply as promptly as you can. That’s not to say that you must reply to all messages immediately, but take a few minutes at the end of your workday to attend to all of the messages and calls you didn’t have time for during the day.
Also be cognizant of when you return calls and messages. Most people don’t appreciate a ping on their phones at 2am.
What common cellphone habits annoy you the most, and how can mobile users be more mindful when using their cellphones? Tell us in the comments below.
- Published in News