IT Support Johannesburg

This Is A Fully Armed F-15SA, The Most Advanced Production Eagle Ever

The F-15SA is the most advanced production F-15 Eagle ever built. Saudi Arabia ordered 84 new build F-15SAs and close to 70 kits to upgrade their existing F-15S fleet to the SA configuration. Just one part of this upgrade is the activation of Eagle’s outboard wing stores stations, which will expand the jet’s already heavy combat punch.

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How to remove Delta-Homes from your PC

Few things are more frustrating than starting an Internet browser and finding it has been overtaken by an unwanted program.

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Google’s Dream Robot Is Running Wild Across the Internet

Remember a few weeks back, when we learned that Google’s artificial neural network was having creepy daydreams , turning buildings into acid trips and landscapes into Magic Eye pictures? Well, prepare to never sleep again, because last week, Google made its “inceptionism” algorithm available to the public, and the nightmarish images are cropping up everywhere.

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Best ADSL ISP in South Africa

The latest MyBroadband survey results reveal which ADSL service provider received the highest rating by South African IT professionals and techies.

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Capital Control Cuts Off Greek Access to iTunes, iCloud, and PayPal

Imagine trying to buy a song on iTunes, but finding your credit card payment blocked. You can’t pay your cloud storage subscription, either, even though you have the money. Apple just won’t accept your card, and you’re about to lose most of your files.

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The Pluto Probe Went Into Safe Mode, And We Don’t Know Why

The New Horizons spacecraft is rapidly soaring closer to Pluto for our first flyby of the distant almost-planet. But something went wrong on Saturday afternoon, knocking the probe out of communication for over an hour. Now we’re back in touch and trying to figure out what happened.

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Today’s Best Deals: Cheap Hot Tub, Pet Treats, Kitchen Scale, and More

Here are the best of today’s deals. Get every great deal every day on Kinja Deals, follow us onFacebook and Twitter to never miss a deal, join us on Kinja Gear to read about great products, and on Kinja Co-Op to help us find the best.

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This Montage of Video Game Explosions Will Cure Your July 4th Hangover

Just in case you didn’t get enough fireworks last night, you can watch this delightful compilation of video game explosions. Nothing says “Independence Day” quite like exploding tanks and crashing X-wings.

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That’s No Moon, It’s a Rock Band

Last week, classic rock band Styx met the man who named a moon after them – well, sort of. Pluto’s smallest moon, Styx, is really named after a mythological river, in keeping with International Astronomical Union naming conventions. But the SETI institute’s Mark Showalter, who discovered Styx (the moon) in 2012, says he’s been a fan of Styx (the band) for a long time.

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These are the Minerals That Give Fireworks Their Colors

If you want beautiful fireworks bursting in the sky, you’re going to need to mine the Earth first. Here’s the geology of the minerals that give fireworks their vibrant colours.

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Meet the 10 #HackJozi startups competing for a million rand prize

Next week Wednesday, one tech startup will emerge as the winner of the City of Joburg’s inaugural HackJozi Challenge.

Over 140 startups submitted their applications for the competition earlier this year. That number was narrowed down to 50 in March and the judges chose the top ten in April.

The finalists have been put through their paces over the last few months at the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering, taking part in a business training program and hackathon hosted by SEED Academy and working on developing their solutions.

The thing that makes HackJozi a particularly intriguing competition is that the its open to all comers – no matter nascent the idea or well developed the startup business or personal background- and there’s real cash on the table as a prize, backed by the City of Joburg. In addition incubation, marketing support, mentorship and a program of skills training, the most promising startup will get an R1m cash injection to spend on business development, and two others will also receive R350 000 apiece. The City takes no equity stake in contenders.

The winners will be announced next week by city mayor Parks Tau.

“We have witnessed great enhancements to ideas from the start of the business training through to final delivery of a minimum viable product,” says Zolani Matebes, head of broadband at the City of Joburg.

“Entrepreneurs need access to seed funding as well as access to industry contacts. We have helped to resolve these challenges,” Matebes continues, “We will be incubating the winning ideas by awarding membership in the Digital Innovation Zone in Braamfontein, which provides access to various resources such as mentors, advisors, investors, technical support and our strategic partners.”

htxt.africa got the chance to meet all the finalists (in addition to the two we already met in March). Here they are – and looking at the list below it’d be surprising if some of the companies which don’t win aren’t snapped up by local corporates looking for solutions to local problems. And if you didn’t enter this year, the plan at the moment is to make the competition annual – so watch this space.

ATINOV – Phathwa Senene

Phathwa Senene

Phathwa Senene is the founder of ATINOV and the creator of a solar-powered, 3D-printed community safety solution called the Scova Fire Reporting Device.

The Scova can be mounted on street light poles or any high, steady point and is designed to help informal settlement residents to quickly report a fire by hitting a panic button that’s attached to it and let emergency first responders get to affected areas quickly with the help of a camera located inside the device.

The Scova Fire Reporting Device

Diepsloot Kasi Hive

Diepsloot Kasi Hive is a shared workspace and skills training centre.

The Diepsloot Kasi Hive team have come up with a solution they hope will minimise long, agonising queues at government clinics that can unfortunately lead to patients waiting so long, they end up dying.

The Phila USSD booking system will allow patients to make bookings for a doctor’s appointment, check up or prescription pick up at a specified time most convenient for them.

Johannes Nkale, Hazel Mahlaba, Awelani Ligege, Helen Ramela, Lesiba Setumu, and Sipho Ngobeni, make up the entire team.

Ghost

Taolo Modisi, entrepreneur and former banker.

Taolo Modisi‘s app, Ghost, tackles the issues around royalties made by upcoming musicians trying to make a name for themselves in the music world.

Artists upload their profiles, videos and music for free onto the app and for every “like” their uploads get, the artists gets paid a certain amount of money and receive backing from various sponsors.

The current beta version of Ghost.

How2Get2

The How2Get2 team, Harold Mochesane, Kgalalelo Sehoho and Luvuyo Duma created the Vaya smartphone app and USSD service  to serve South Africa’s 15 million public transport users by providing them with detailed information on bus, train and taxi routes, fares, times, distances and so on.

Harold Mochesane, How2Get2 head of operations.

iTEA Business Solutions

(From left) Sikhumbuzo Nkosi, Mzwakhe Kubheka, Mthokozisi Gwebu and Mpho Moroa

Mzwakhe Kubheka, Mpho Moroa, Mthokozisi Gwebu and Sikhumbuzo Nkosi are looking to shake up township economies around South Africa with their Township Economy App.

The app lets small and micro business owners market themselves and attract more business. In their plan, Kiosks with free WiFi connectivity will be set up in various locations where customers can connect and view profiles of all the listed businesses and interact online with the business owners.

Lazy Lizzard

Niel Pieters of Lazy Lizard.

Like many, Niel Pieters believes in having an avid interest in your child’s school work, but with so many other responsibilities and commitments, it’s hard for parents to help their kids out with homework and know how they’re coping with school work.

This is what motivated Pieters to create the Teachinator education app for school kids and parents.

Parents can use the Teachinator website to configure different tasks and homework they would their children to complete. From here, they’ll be able to see what their children are working on in real time and track their progress on all the work.

The Teachinator App.

MoveThisStuff

The MoveThisStuff team

Anyone who has moved to a new house or office knows how tasking it can be to find a suitable, verified mover. MoveThisStuff seeks to remove this hassle by linking customers with good quality logistics movement service providers in a few easy steps.

Logistics companies sign up have their business listed on MoveThisStuff.

Customers can get quotes, choose what vehicle they need, and map their current and new location on a map on the site.

When a customer has listed all their requirements, movers will be able to see who has a requested a service and can offer theirs along with a quote. The customer will get feedback and then choose which company best suits their needs. All of this happens in real-time.

Pery Lawrence and Jim Makuwa make up the MoveThisStuff team.

moWallet

The PopApp coupon provider.

The moWallet team, Desmond Mongue, Thato Selau and Carol Dutton, created the PopApp USSD coupon service for township tuckshop customers and owners. Locals can redeem a coupon for a specific brand product at their nearest tuck shop and save on the sometimes high cost of food.

Desmond Mongue, founder of moWallet.

South African Trade Promotions

Stephen Oehley wants to get more startups at more events.

Stephen Oehley’s XtendEvent apps lets businesses participate in exhibitions online at a reasonable without having to pay the high costs normally required with setting up a stand at big exhibitions. Other businesses and consumers can also easily engage with exhibitors straight from the app.

Trisan Tech Solutions

We love digital democracy apps here at htxt.africa.

Trisan Tech Solutions developed the Municipal Communications app to assist residents with report service delivery issues in their community directly to their ward councillors.

Ward councillors, who also have the app, then forward these issues to the municpality to have them attended to. Residents can see once their requests have been taken up and will be notified when issues are resolved.

Trisan Tech Solutions is made up of three guys, Rendani Rammabulana, Nkanyiso Sibanda and Mandlenkosi Nhleko.

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Online censorship in South Africa – is it for the children?

Over the last century, as mass media expanded across the world and entered into most homes, many countries have used laws and regulation to limit children’s exposure to, for example, violence or sex.

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Forget going to the shops, buy everything through virtual reality

High street shops are well-established online these days and provide new opportunities for interaction between shop and shopper.

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As Greece Votes on its Financial Future, African Countries Should Take Note

I had a recent conversation with a senior risk professional at a global multi-national company. The company’s operations include at least eight African countries across north, east, and the southern African regions. My contact made a comment that surprised me, he said, “Africa is one of the most stable parts of the world for us right now. Right now, we are consumed with Greece, Argentina and Venezuela. When things calm down we can sit down, but right now I’m on 24 hours local Greece issues…”

For once, Africa is not the world’s biggest problem.

The most apparent thing to note is that African markets are not correlated to each other. In contrast to the Eurozone, African markets provide natural diversification of risk to participants with exposure across the continent. Africa also provides interesting opportunities for investors to allocate funds based on the relative economic attractiveness of one region or country over another. Investors can therefore isolate countries with an uncertain economic outlook with limited risk of contagion. In the first quarter of this year Market Atlas observed substantial investment outflows from Nigeria during the election period and oil price slump earlier this year. At the same time the Kenyan stock market experienced net inflows and rising valuations. In the second quarter, we observed a reversal of this trend as noted in an article written by Akin Sawyerr, Market Atlas’ Chief Strategy Officer. The conclusion of the Nigerian election and stabilization of oil prices eliminated some of the short-term uncertainty in the Nigerian economy.

While African countries are relatively stable in an otherwise cloudy world economy, Greece’s unfolding tragedy should be looked at with caution by African leaders. There are two key lessons that can be drawn from the Greek experience.

Unsustainable fiscal policies  are a red card

Greece has to choose between two difficult options. The first option is to stay within the Euro currency regime and continue a crippling reform program that has led to deep spending cuts in health and other social programs (malaria and HIV cases have risen since austerity measures were put in place). Option two is to exit the European monetary union and reintroduce Greece’s old currency, the Drachma.

Greece’s current problems stem from the 1999 introduction of the Euro common currency. Common currencies are beneficial because they reduce trade costs to member countries and support the increase of trade amongst members. On the other hand, currency unions often lead labor costs to rise for the smaller economies in the currency zone.   Rising labor costs in Greece made their exports increasingly more expensive causing budget deficits to rise to 15 percent of GDP in 2009 from 5 percent of GDP in 1999. To further complicate matters, reports of fiscal mismanagement, deception, and corruption in the Greek government also surfaced in 2009, further increasing Greece’s borrowing costs. Greece abdicated its ability to manage its own currency by joining the European Monetary Union which removed its ability to devalue its currency. A devaluation would have allowed Greece to increase demand for domestic goods, reduce its trade deficits, and grow its way out of its problems through increased foreign demand for its cheaper goods.

On the African continent one need not look any further than Ghana for a cautionary tale about a country that is walking down the path that Greece has taken. Ghana’s debt to GDP ratio increased dramatically to 68.41 percent in 2015 from 46.83 percent in 2012. The failure to curb spending on civil service salaries is one of the main contributing factors to the deterioration of fiscal situation. Ghana needs to take substantial measures to address its fiscal imbalances in order to avoid a Greek like situation in the future.

On the whole, African governments need to take a second look at their fiscal policies and make the necessary adjustments stay on sound economic footing. Additionally it is key to keep in mind that a number of African countries have gone to the Eurobond market to raise substantial amounts of capital. While this seems like a good idea, a number of the projects funded by some of these Eurobonds have not produced the expected economic results. Further the pricing of these bonds could be impacted by fluctuations in the value of the Euro after a Greek referendum. It is important for countries that have gone this Eurobond route keep a healthy level of reserves to cope with future economic headwinds.

GDP diversification is a necessity

While the politics of the austerity measures imposed by Greece’s creditors are up for debate, it is without question that Greece’s GDP is not adequately diversified. Tourism (a mainstay of the Greek economy) is a great industry, but a country needs more than one source of income. African countries that rely on one key export for a majority of their revenues are vulnerable to the same challenges facing Greece and are thus further susceptible to pressures from external debt holders.

Nigeria, with its reliance on oil revenues to generate foreign exchange and support the government budget, is a country that must be wary. Though Nigeria’s economy has significantly diversified, oil still forms over 80 percent of government revenue.  Over the past year, the country has experienced first-hand what a sharp drop in oil prices can do to its finances and its ability to provide basic services. African governments must identify secondary and tertiary sources of income outside of their primary revenue generating industries and focus on developing new sources of revenue for their economies to better weather cyclical downswings in primary industries.

But even more important is the social contract between the government and its citizens. Having a strong tax base and high compliance with tax collection helps keep elected officials accountable. Alternatively citizens who do not pay taxes tend to overlook government affairs which makes waste, abuse and corruption easier to get away with. When corruptive pressures win, the economic impact can be grave; from ballooning civil service payrolls, to a lack of capital investment in infrastructure and wasteful government policies that benefit the politely connected.

A number of African economies experienced crippling debt levels throughout the 1980s. The vast majority of these countries received debt relief from external debt holders that returned them to stronger fiscal standing. African countries will do well to avoid returning to the challenging economic environments that many experienced in fairly recent times. African countries must take heed not to kick the can down the road, and make difficult fiscal decisions while there is time to structurally adjust incrementally.

So what does the Greek crisis mean for African markets? Here too, we find two possible areas of impact on vulnerable economies.

CFA Franc countries could be adversely impacted

The Market Atlas Africa Currency Index has noted that the CFA Franc is overvalued by 15 percent compared to the U.S dollar. An overvalued exchange rate tends to depress domestic demand and encourage spending on imports. This can be particularly problematic during periods of sluggish growth.  The CFA Franc is pegged to the Euro and is directly exposed to any potential devaluation that may occur should Greece leave the Euro currency. Depending on the way Greece resolves this crisis, the Euro could stand to lose up to one third of its value.

Additionally, the U.S. Federal Reserve is sending signals that it is ready to begin raising interest rates. With European rates already at negative levels in real terms, a rise of US excess reserve deposit rates by 0.25 percent will widen the spread between US rates and Euro rates, resulting in a stronger dollar. When coupled with the fact that central banks in Europe and Asia are all in monetary easing mode, the dollar will have more room to appreciate on a global basis. This will put further downward pressure on the Euro that could be accentuated by a Greece exit. The knock on effect would be a negative impact on the economic competitiveness of the 14 countries that use the CFA Franc and the region’s ability to keep trade levels up while Europe is in recession.


Currency valuation relative to the US dollar — Source: Market Atlas

African markets will still be competitive for yield seekers

Greece will decide its destiny and the European Community will act accordingly after today’s referendum.  Global investors worried about the outcome can take solace in the fact that African markets will still offer competitive yields on a long-term basis. The Federal Reserve will gradually raise interest rates to avoid pushing the anemic US economy into recession and this will give long-term investors continued opportunity to remain exposed to African economies and benefit from higher yields, and portfolio diversification.

African markets are still  relatively attractive places to park capital, but African governments need to take a measured approach to ensuring their fiscal policies do not derail the economic growth story of the last 20 years. The alternative could be a path much worse than the drama playing out in Europe that would make the  current Greek nightmare look like a Mediterranean dream.

The post As Greece Votes on its Financial Future, African Countries Should Take Note appeared first on Ventures Africa.

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Why BT wants rid of its telephone network

As the UK’s telecommunications regulator Ofcom embarks on its next strategic review of the market, incumbent fixed-line operator BT – Britain’s equivalent of Telkom – has called for it to be allowed to close

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Farroukh ready to quit MTN: report

MTN South Africa CEO Ahmad Farroukh announced his intention to resign last month over his inability to end protracted strike action at the company, but this was not “officially accepted”. This is according to a

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MTN SA CEO ready to resign: report

MTN South Africa CEO Ahmad Farroukh is ready to resign amidst strike action at the company.

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Neotel deal lights fuse under SA telecoms

Perhaps the biggest surprise to come out of this week’s conditional approval by the Competition Commission of Vodacom’s R7bn acquisition of Neotel is not that the commission has attached stringent conditions to the

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Back to the Future Turns 30 Today

Back to the Future was released exactly 30 years ago today on July 3, 1985. What are you doing to celebrate?

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Awesome Apps To Pass Time With This Weekend

With practically every corner of the globe now benefiting from a high speed internet connection and with billions of people worldwide enjoying

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