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Thermal camera technology helps poaching Fight




Every day more than four rhino are killed in South Africa, an epidemic that is reducing the numbers of these majestic animals by over 1100 a year in this country alone

Driving the slaughter is a greed for horns that fetch upwards of $1-million per kilogram – higher than the price of gold – in turn attracting organised crime, international syndicates and impoverished foot soldiers willing to take a lot of risk. Rhino poachers have grown in force, using automatic weapons and high-powered rifles to target their prey.

Owners of these animals feel helpless in the onslaught, often financially unable to support the security demands of protecting one of Africa’s big five. To this end many have joined forces with Thaba Manzi Wildlife Services to create a rhino sanctuary in the Limpopo province. Home to dozens of rhino, either privately owned or orphaned by poaching attacks, the sanctuary is a beachhead against a war that threatens to rob the continent of an iconic animal.

It’s a fight that sits close to the principles of Axis Communications, an innovator for a smarter safer world. As such the company donated several thermal cameras to the value of R300 000 to the sanctuary. But these are not mere optical cameras wired to a central viewing station. The Axis Q1931-E is an evolution from military technology. It operates in thermal, which means anything hidden in dust, smoke and even total darkness cannot evade its notice. Specifically calibrated for certain heat signals, the Q1931-E hones in on humans in particular. It can also track heat signatures on the ground, so even if the person isn’t spotted, their footprints will be.

“This is a great opportunity and privilege,” said Roy Alves, regional business development manager of Axis Communications, at the handover ceremony. “If the rhino is gone, we’ll never have anything like it again. So Axis wanted to make a contribution that will help make a difference in the fight to protect them.”

Thermal cameras such as the Q1931-E already make it a lot harder for criminals to even approach their targets. But this camera is also engineered to operate intelligently. Thermal Network Cameras are a perfect tool for perimeter protection, offering highly performing video analytics. The cameras use thermal imaging, which allows users to detect people, objects and incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from pitch dark areas to a sunlit parking lot. This makes it possible to acknowledge suspect activity already before intrusion, and to visually verify what is going on before taking relevant action

“The element of surprise is always important,” said Carl Thornton, team leader of Pit-Track, a non-profit K9 security service that helps safeguard the sanctuary. He praised the cameras, adding that these will compliment his team’s ability to stop poachers before they can get close to the rhino.

The value of this can’t be understated. Poachers are audacious and often very organised. Pit-Track was recruited after the sanctuary, despite tight security, experienced several breaches. Now with smart thermal cameras to keep watch 24 hours a day, the advantage is being removed from criminals eager to destroy Africa’s heritage for some quick cash.

Some may be tempted to evade the thermal cameras, but will find the Q1931-E is also tamper-proof. Even if they stay out of its field of view, with the help of a motion sensor the camera knows if something is trying to approach its blindspots. It can also intelligently analyse sound, again alerting authorities if it hears something out of place. A collection of well-positioned Q1931-E cameras create a digital barrier that is significantly harder to avoid than any human observation.

“Thermal technology has become far more accessible to private and commercial security,” said Alves. “What once required an army of equipment and observation posts can now be handled by a handful of well-placed cameras.”

Axis also donated its time, technicians and training to help ensure the sanctuary and Pit-Track can easily operate the equipment. One very thankful rhino guardian was Dr. Jana Fourie, founder of the Rhino Pride Foundation, which supports the sanctuary:

“We have had a lot of incursion attempts before. It’s already an expensive and difficult challenge to help the rhino recuperate from attacks, so every effort helps – and these cameras will help a lot.”

Metrosmag,sa ( inspired by Mzansi Lifestyle ) Mzansi is rich in Lifestyle, a nation diverse in race and culture. Mzansi Magazine explores the rich heritage , versitile culture and the celebrations of Life in Mzansi. Metros Magazine, SA is South Africa's informative Metropolitan lifestlye magazine with all the fresh and important news in Mzansi.

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Excitement over the Samsung Galaxy S8 launch




The long wait is over, with the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ due to hit local stores, today, May 5.

The smooth, bezel-less Infinity Display of the new smartphone enables users to see and do more than ever before, while the smooth lines and ergonomic curvature of the device, ensures that the phone looks great and fits comfortably into your hand.

These latest designs are available with either a 5.8-inch or 6.2-inch display and come with an upgraded 8MP F1.7 front camera, complete with smart autofocus. In addition, there is a 12MP F1.7 Dual Pixel rear camera, delivering enhanced multi-frame image processing, for sharper photos, even in low-light environments.  “The phone is also water and dust resistant, making it ideal for South Africans, as we tend to spend a lot of time outdoors.

This means users have the freedom to explore, stay connected and capture their adventures,” says Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa. Security is of paramount importance and the Galaxy S8 and S8+ come with enhanced biometric capabilities, including an advanced iris scanner and facial recognition technology, as well as the advanced Samsung KNOX platform. The upgraded specs of the two phones offer both increased performance and efficiency thanks to the industry’s first 10nm processor, Gigabit LTE and Gigabit Wi-Fi compatibility and the first officially designated Mobile HDR Premium screen. Samsung’s key partnership with Google Play Music will continue with the launch of the Galaxy S8. Users will now have access to special features created specifically for Samsung customers. In order to qualify, purchase a Samsung tablet or smartphone from the 29th of March 2017 and it will come with a free three-month trial of Google Play Music. Consumers will also have double the storage in their Music Locker and can now store up to 100 000 songs, not mentioning the free storage space and easy access to all music.

“The launch of the Galaxy S8 is complimented by an expanded ecosystem that features impressive new services and devices, including: Bixby, the Galaxy S8’s intelligent new interface; Samsung DeX, which provides a desktop-like experience for the Galaxy S8; intuitive IoT device management via Samsung Connect; expanded healthcare solutions through Samsung Health; and so much more. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are designed to allow users to see and experience more than ever before and to do so safely and securely, while at the same time enabling consumers to project an image of stylish simplicity,” concludes Fleischer.Customers will be able to obtain their device in a range of rich colour palettes, including Midnight Black, Orchid Gray and Maple Gold. Several more colours are also due to be launched later in the year.

The Galaxy S8 will retail at a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of R15 499 and the Galaxy S8+ with a RRP of R17 499. Samsung Galaxy S8

Product Specifications:

  • Galaxy S8Galaxy S8+OSAndroid 7.0
  • NetworkLTE Cat. 16* *May differ by markets and mobile operators
  • Dimension148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm, 152g159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173g
  • APOcta core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10 nm process*May differ by markets and mobile operators
  • Memory4GB RAM (LPDDR4), 64GB (UFS 2.1)*May differ by markets and mobile operators
  • Display5.8” (146.5mm)1 Quad HD+ (2960×1440), (570ppi)6.2” (158.1mm)1 Quad HD+ (2960×1440), (529ppi)1 Screen measured diagonally as a full rectangle without accounting for the rounded corners
  • CameraRear: Dual Pixel 12MP OIS (F1.7), Front: 8MP AF (F1.7)
  • Battery3,000 mAh3,500 mAhFast Charging on wired and wirelessWireless Charging compatible with WPC and PMA
  • PaymentNFC, MST
  • ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM Bluetooth® v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC,Location (GPS, Galileo*, Glonass, BeiDou*) *Galileo and BeiDou coverage may be limited.
  • SensorsAccelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor
  • VideoMP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM


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Find where you parked your car with Google Maps’s latest update




The most recent update to Google maps has new features including an option that allows you to manually save your parking location.

While Google Now for Android has previously (2014) offered a “parking card” designed to help find your car, the service has been criticized for inaccuracy. Now, Google Maps is joining in on the hunt with a part of its latest update.

Despite no official announcement from Google at the time of writing, Androidpolice has noticed that users of the new Maps are now able to save their parking location, share it with another person, take pictures and write notes (meter expiry times for example) from within the Maps app. The tool can be accessed via tapping on the blue dot that indicates your location.

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Tech & Gadgets

WhatsApp takes Snapchat on with new feature




WhatsApp is making a radical update to its app, turning it for the first time into a platform for passively consuming content, similar to the way people scroll through their Facebook or Instagram newsfeeds – and it’s a move that could finally usher in a money-making system like advertising.

WhatsApp’s new Status feature, being rolled out on Monday, will let users share photos, GIFs or videos overlaid with drawings, emojis and a caption that will be visible to selected friends for 24 hours, before disappearing.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s exactly like Snapchat’s hugely successful Stories feature, launched three years ago, which lets users share similarly-ephemeral timelines.

The move probably shouldn’t be surprising. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, saw its other social media property Instagram roll out a clone of Stories last summer, also called “Stories.” A spokesperson for Snapchat could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

This represents a bigger shift for WhatsApp than it did for Instagram though, because it potentially heralds a very different way of using the app. Till now WhatsApp has been a utilitarian hub of activity: people go on there to simply type and read messages and type some more. Not scroll endlessly through streams of other people’s content.

Status will change that use case for the first time. It also potentially opens the door to messages from businesses, or rather, advertisers. WhatsApp said more than a year ago that it was looking at ways that businesses could send messages to its users in an unobtrusive and useful way.

That has always sounded like a tall order — businesses ultimately want to persuade people, not just inform them — and particularly difficult given the chatting system that’s at the centre of WhatApp itself.

Facebook has been able to rake billions in revenue each quarter from advertisers precisely because it can insert their videos and photos into its content-heavy Newsfeed.

So far, attempts on Facebook messenger and elsewhere to invite “bots” from advertisers to chat to people has fallen flat – any success there needs smarter artificial intelligence behind it and so is probably some ways off.

WhatsApp may have experimented with bots in the hope that it didn’t have to go down the tried-and-tested route of displaying content; Koum and his co-founder Brian Acton have been vehemently against advertising on their app since their early days, but monetizing their app in any other way does sound almost impossible.

“As a utility, we’re focused on building features that will be used around the world by our 1.2 billion users,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told FORBES. “Over time, we’ve seen a big uptick in users sharing rich content, such as photos, videos and GIFs on WhatsApp. We wanted to offer an simple, secure, and reliable way for people to share this type of content with all their contacts at once.”

Although Status is for all intents and purposes a copy of Snapchat’s Stories, the feature actually goes back to the roots of why WhatsApp was built in the first place.

In 2009, when Jan Koum started building what would become the most popular messaging app in the wold, he started off by building a status app.

“Jan was showing me his address book,” Koum’s friend and entrepreneur Alex Fishman told me for a profile on Koum in 2014. “His thinking was it would be really cool to have statuses next to individual names of the people.”

The idea was that if you were going to the gym, in a meeting, or had a low-battery, you could let people know the situation so they knew not to call you, or at least could know what was going on.

Hence the name, WhatsApp, or what’s up.

Koum got his friends to download the app and it basically worked, but it wasn’t getting much traction. Then Apple introduced push notifications, meaning that every time someone updated their status, everyone got “pinged.” So Koum’s friends started changing their status updates to things like “I’m on my way.”

Suddenly they weren’t just updating their friends, but sending a message. Rather accidentally, one of the most important pivots in Silicon Valley history – right up there with Uber introducing Uber X and blasting a hole in the taxi industry – happened almost overnight, and WhatsApp’s users quickly swelled beyond Koum’s circle of friends in San Jose, to 250,000.

Five years later, Facebook bought Koum’s former status-updating app for $19 billion, and the rest as they say, is history.

WhatsApp has always retained the original status update next to each user’s name, along with their profile photo. Today’s Status feature won’t replace that. It will be a new, separate tab with a + sign that takes users straight to the WhatsApp camera. Tap that button and you’ll also see updates from other friends and family – which is where the real behavioural change for WhatsApp users will come in.

Friends can reply to the new “status” by tapping the reply button, which will be sent as a new WhatsApp message.

WhatsApp said the feature would roll out to users from Monday 20 Feb., and would be “available soon around the world for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone users.”


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