Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival 2015 will feature the return of A MAZE./ Johannesburg, South Africa’s premier International Independent Games and Playful Media Festival. In its 4th year, A MAZE./ Johannesburg 2015 will bring digital and analog games, interactive arts, music, and all things playful to Braamfontein from the 9th to the 12th of September 2015. In an intensive three-day programme, it will include talks, workshops, panels, hyper-talks, screenings, artistic games, VR experiences, playful installations, concerts, AV performances and a party. “Video games are not just about a game or a product, it is a lifestyle. There is a distinct move away from mainstream gaming with new forms of presentations and platforms for a new generation of players emerging. It’s a growing community and it feels amazing to be back in Johannesburg to see the same movement growing here year after year,” Thorsten S. Wiedemann, founder and artistic director of A MAZE. The 2015 festival brings with it a plethora of international and African guests addressing topics ranging from creating alternative controllers to games focused on socio-political events. Visitors and participants will come from Kenya; Nigeria; Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire. Eight of the African game guests are being brought to participate in the festival by the Goethe-Institut South Africa. Dr. Norbert Spitz, Regional Director Goethe-Institut South Africa, says: ”We are proud to continue our partnership with the Fak’ugesi: African Digital Innovation Festival in 2015. In line with our goal to strengthen pan-African dialogue through the arts, we are once more inviting digital artists and game developers from all over the continent to the 4th AMAZE Games and Playful Media Festival in Johannesburg, which will also be part of Fak’ugesi Festival.” Prof Christo Doherty, co-founder and Director of the Fak’ugesi: African Digital Innovation Festival and Head of Digital Arts at Wits University says that an . . .
In an exciting initiative to encourage students to join the digital revolution by becoming innovators and entrepreneurs, Prof Barry Dwolatzky, Director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University has launched a campaign called DIZ Spark. Thousands of pizza boxes will be delivered to students on Wits campuses to entice them to participate in three weekends of exiting activities at Wits University’s newest venue in Braamfontein called The Digital Innovation Zone, or simply “The DIZ”. The first event, a weekend-long Learnathon, takes place on 8 and 9 August 2015. “The DIZ Spark Campaign aims to inspire and train young digital entrepreneurs. It will also introduce them to our new venue in Braamfontein,” says Prof Dwolatzky. Details of the Campaign and other useful information are packed into a pizza box. “We decided to try something different to create awareness of The DIZ and advertise the valuable free training sessions we are running this month. Although we didn’t provide a pizza, we are certainly offering our students something way more valuable.” Why pizza boxes? Dwolatzky explains “Many cities around the world now have digital innovation hubs, similar to The DIZ. Innovation in these hubs is driven by ample supplies of coffee, pizza and bandwidth. In this case we are hoping that the thought of pizza will attract our brightest innovators.” Microsoft South Africa has provided sponsorship for DIZ Spark and will provide expertise and support during the Learnathon. The Learnathon programme is aimed at students from all academic disciplines. Dwolatzky explains “There will be something for everyone. The schedule includes short talks on topics like cloud computing, intellectual property and finance for Startups. There will also be a wide range of topics covered in longer sessions. These include ‘How to develop an App’, ‘How to launch your own Startup’, ‘Print your ideas with a 3D-printer’, ‘Develop a digital game’, and many more. All . . .
In line with their commitment to delivering the finest products from around the world, Syntech is pleased to announce that they are now exclusive distributors for Giada - “A Mini PC that hides itself” As one of the world’s leading brands of mini PC’s, the Giada range is ideal for digital signage, industrial applications, and home automation. With stunning graphics capabilities, silent operation and ultra-low power consumption. Giada’s compact desktop PC’s offer an attractive option for users who want to save space without compromising on performance. Digital signage is a rapidly expanding and quickly evolving approach to communications technology. Implemented as an interactive platform for broadcasting information to targeted individuals in corporations, schools, museums, retailers, hospitals, hotels and airports, Giada offers a great product range and provides optimized performances for a wide variety of embedded, multimedia applications. Giada’s digital signage products have several market leading features which have ensured their dominance in the market. Their mini PC series for digital signage with optional mounting brackets are easy to deploy, maintain and update. They cater for all environments and are available with a variety of X86 and ARM processors, multiple display output for video walls, and they require less power than other solutions. In addition to the excellent build quality, innovative design and market leading specifications, Giada mini PCs incorporate JAHC (JEHE Active Hardware Control Technology), a “game changing technology” according to Craig Nowitz, MD at Syntech. This is an embedded hardware chip which allows the computer to be remotely controlled and wake up or shut down automatically. This plays an essential role in scheduling, remote maintenance and restoring services after load shedding interruptions. Syntech works closely with selected resellers to offer integrated hardware and software solutions that cater for the specific . . .
Johannesburg: On the 1st and 2nd of August, at their Midrand offices, Infoware Studios will conduct face-to-face interviews and technical assessments on graduates interested in taking up their 6-month internship programme in software development, Digital Geekaship. The internship programme starts on the 14th of September 2015. Driven by the passion to close the skills gap in the software development industry in South Africa, Infoware Studios CEO, Tania van Wyk de Vries had this to say, “we have realised over the years, that most companies hire developers soon after they graduate with the hope that they will bring to the table innovative ideas to better their products, only to realise that as confident as the graduates might be, they lack the training and experience to cope with the skills required by the corporate world. The employer feels robbed of their income and time because their employee doesn’t live up to their expectation. On the other hand, the employee feels they can’t do the job, feel unsupported and might end up leaving the industry all together.” “This is a sad reality that we would like to see changed. We have to close the skills gap urgently if we are to economically compete with the global world. We have to empower local talent to have the confidence to create solutions for African challenges, increase employment and ensure today’s youth contribute to the economic growth of this country,” van Wyk de Vries reiterated. Infoware Studios has tried and tested their internship programme, Digital Geekaship over the last 2 years, and they have seen it work in empowering graduates with both the technical and softer skills needed to thrive and contribute meaningfully in the modern work environment. Undergraduates and graduates can apply to be a part of Digital Geekaship on www.digitalgeekaship.co.za/apply by: i. Filling in the online application form and uploading their CV; ii. Booking a date and time for a face – to – face interview; and . . .
The hospitality industry has often suffered criticism for being slow on the technology uptake, especially when it comes to cloud technology. The Orion Hotel Group, who have fourteen hotels in Southern Africa, have recently taken a giant leap into the clouds, migrating their entire portfolio into protel by Ankerdata’s Multi-Property Edition cloud-based property management system. According to Ian Lumsden, general manager at protel by Ankerdata, the benefits of the MPE in the cloud are well worth the move. The initial attraction to the Orion Group was the cost-saving aspect to their IT infrastructure. Cloud- based technology does away with an on-site server and extensive hardware by using an internet connection that is hosted in the cloud. After a one-month test environment (this is a free trial month provided by protel), the Orion group on advice from the protel team will migrate their entire portfolio from Single Property Management Systems to the MPE over a period of 6 weeks. This “clean install” allows for a streamlined system to set up the databases correctly and improve the reporting, revenue reports, rate structures and reservation process. Interestingly, Orion have progressed from more than 50 negotiated corporate room rates to only four – much easier to manage. Cloud technology benefits developed by the protel system for the hospitality include the following: • There is no online inventory downtime, if your internet is down, or if you are suffering a power failure • It provides live inventory, availability and yield rates • Hotel owners have the mobility to log onto the MPE from anywhere in the world, via smartphones, tablets or laptops, as long as they have internet connection • Guest profiling is carried across all properties - so once the guest has been profiled at one of the group’s properties, every other hotel in the group has access to that profile, with all its information and preferences. • Revenue can be broken down by person, company, . . .
In line with their commitment to delivering the finest products from around the world, Syntech is pleased to announce that they are now exclusive distributors for Giada - “A Mini PC that hides itself” As one of the world’s leading brands of mini PC’s, the Giada range is ideal for digital signage, industrial applications and home automation. With stunning graphics capabilities, silent operation and ultra-low power consumption. Giada’s compact desktop PC’s offer an attractive option for users who want to save space without compromising on performance. Digital signage is a rapidly expanding and quickly evolving approach to communications technology. Implemented as an interactive platform for broadcasting information to targeted individuals in corporations, schools, museums, retailers, hospitals, hotels and airports, Giada offers a great product range and provides optimized performances for a wide variety of embedded, multimedia applications. Giada’s digital signage products have several market leading features which have ensured their dominance in the market. Their mini PC series for digital signage with optional mounting brackets are easy to deploy, maintain and update. They cater for all environments and are available with a variety of X86 and ARM processors, multiple display output for video walls, and they require less power than other solutions. In addition to the excellent build quality, innovative design and market leading specifications, Giada mini PCs incorporate JAHC (JEHE Active Hardware Control Technology), a “game changing technology” according to Craig Nowitz, MD at Syntech. This is an embedded hardware chip which allows the computer to be remotely controlled and wake up or shut down automatically. This plays an essential role in scheduling, remote maintenance and restoring services after load shedding interruptions. Syntech works closely with selected resellers to offer integrated hardware and software solutions that cater for the specific . . .
Samsung’s Level On Wireless and Level Link offer superior Audio experience JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – 19 July , 2015 – Samsung Electronics South Africa, announced two new additions to its Level series of smart Bluetooth audio products: Samsung Level On Wireless and Samsung Level Link. Designed for music lovers seeking to pair excellent audio quality with sleek design, Samsung Level On Wireless headphones incorporate the latest technology to offer top quality sound in an impeccable package. On the other hand, the Samsung Level Link seamlessly transforms traditional audio products into wireless solutions, using Bluetooth technology. These new devices will be available in South Africa at the end of May 2015 and offer easy access through a customisable mobile application. “With the Samsung Level series, we have combined our industry-leading technology and design expertise to offer users the best possible audio experience,” said Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “The Samsung Level On Wireless and Level Link is built on Samsung’s longstanding heritage of innovation and a dedication to expand our range of audio accessories that deliver organic sound quality, superior comfort, portability and style.” Level On Wireless Samsung Level On Wireless headphones feature circular ear pads producing a sleek, sophisticated look and feel. Equipped with six built-in microphones, the headphones feature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) to accurately map surrounding sounds for a clearer and uninterrupted audio experience. A dual-layered diaphragm system helps to suppress excessive vibration, reducing noise and enabling the headphones to reproduce rich, balanced sound across a wide range of frequencies. Level On Wireless supports an easy-to-use touch pad that allows users to activate and adjust a variety of features such as S Voice, volume, as well as play, pause or skip tracks – all without touching the controls of the . . .
The third annual Agile Africa will feature Facebook’s Kent Beck. Taking place at the Protea Hotel, Parktonian from 24 – 26 August 2015, this year’s line-up, according to hosts Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), includes some of the software industry’s brightest minds. “We are excited to have Kent Beck as one of our keynote speakers at this year’s Agile Africa. He is world renowned as a pioneer of Agile and the father of eXtreme Programming, or XP. We look forward to his address titled ‘Managing by the ‘Book: Ten Improbable Policies that Conquered the World’,” says Prof Barry Dwolatzky, JCSE Director. In his keynote, Beck will discuss how Facebook seized the social networking opportunity when others fumbled it. Having worked as a programmer for Facebook since 2011, Beck says that one of the many factors that had to go right was for the engineering to keep up with unprecedented, unpredictable, explosive growth of social media. The secret, according to him, is not so secret: “Everyone takes personal responsibility for the entire system and instead of making up for a lack of responsibility, Facebook’s engineering policies foster and exploit personal responsibility. My Agile Africa 2015 talk presents the thinking behind ten of these policies that contradict conventional wisdom,” explains Beck. Over the four years at Facebook, Beck has worked on privacy, messaging infrastructure and coaching for promising engineers. Before that he was a pioneer in patterns for software, Extreme Programming, Test-Driven Development, and the xUnit family of testing frameworks. His research includes syntax-tree-based development tools and the quantitative study of software design and software process. “This is by far our best Agile Africa line-up yet and we are looking forward to Kent’s keynote and his wisdom after 43 years of programming,” says Dwolatzky. Agile Africa 2015 will take place at The Parktonian Hotel and will yet again part of the Fak’ugesi Digital . . .
67minutes, a new online platform aimed at supporting the Mandela Day initiative, to easily connect charities and organisations with those who want to give help, has launched just in time for Mandela Day. 91 charities and organisations are already on board as participants including CHOC, Nkosi/s Haven, Life Line, Blind SA, Amnesty International SA, QuadPara Association and countless others. “Those who are looking to devote at least 67 minutes of their time on 18 July and are trying to find somewhere to go and/or something to do to live the legacy of Mandela’s birthday for charity can now do so easily with this app,” says Charles Burman, MD Digital Publications, the company that developed the free app. There are two components to the app, the first aimed at users and volunteers and the second aimed at charities, NGO’s and welfare organisations. “So whether you are a charity looking for support or you are an individual/organisation looking to help you can find it in one place,” Burman explains. “67Minutes has been developed in such a way, that should you have a type of event in mind; a specific budget, or if you're simply searching for ideas of how you can help based on your location, you can quickly and easily discover them.” There is no cost to users, or volunteers wanting to download or use the app and there is no cost to organisations to register and post projects. Any charity, NGO, organisation, non-profit or individual can register and post projects and events to the app. Organisations and projects can only be posted to the app through the 67Minutes website, www.67minutes.org.za. “There is no restriction on the type of projects that can be posted, however we would encourage organisations to post projects and events that require non-monetary contributions such as time, goods & services, or second-hand items,” Burman says. Anybody wanting to participate in an event or project can download the smartphone app from their appropriate app . . .
The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University is gearing up for its third annual Agile Africa conference on 24 to 26 August 2015. With headline speakers including renowned Agile expert, Kent Beck, ThoughtWorks Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Rebecca Parsons, and software gurus Aslam Khan, Paul E McMahon and Doug Bradbury. JCSE director, Professor Barry Dwolatzky says the 2015 line-up features the best of agile and will provide immense value to all those attending: “We have 25 talks and poster sessions ranging from adopting agile in corporate environments to dealing with conflict in agile teams, agile on steroids, real agile quality, agile analyst mind sets and more. Agile Africa 2015 is going to be the best yet and anyone who has an interest in agile needs to attend.” Dwolatzky says that there are also five workshops to choose from covering topics such as user-centred design, how to cope with agile and change, also an opportunity to discover the new Essence: A Thinking Framework To Power Software Development Team Performance by Paul E McMahon. A fun session for all coders is the Code Sparring Tournament where coders get to practice their skills by competing head-to-head with fellow coders in an ultimate test of programming and problem solving skills. “We are very lucky to have Doug Bradbury, Director of Software Services for 8th Light in Chicago host this tournament. Doug helped 8th Light develop and refine its modern apprenticeship program, and has mentored several apprentices into successful software careers,” says Dwolatzky. Agile Africa 2015 is a major highlight on the JCSE calendar. It aims to cover as many aspects of agile, while providing excellent networking sessions with some leading agile experts. Agile Africa also marks the beginning of the Fak’ugesi Festival, a 3-week programme of everything digital that takes place in and around Braamfontein. Register now at http://agileafrica.jcse.org.za/register or visit . . .