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Tech Outlet – Updates for Everything

Who would have thought that I would be getting a notification on my phone that my earphones need an update?

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EDWIN CHABUKA

Updates for Earphones

The current trend in personal audio right now is buds. I even got myself a pair because of the hype and all; they are your normal earphones, just without the wires. Truly wireless buds they are. Who would have thought that I would be getting a notification on my phone that my earphones need an update?

Air Pods

Well, that is where we are right now, but why don’t we wind the clock back a couple of decades.

History of Updates

Updates, back in the day, were restricted to computing devices that came with an operating system and a processor; and because the internet was still very young back in the 90s, companies that made computers sold software updates as physical floppy disks and compact disks or CD-ROMs. Imagine having to check with your tech shop every now and then for that new Windows update.

It was even more chaotic with smartphones. You had to get a CD with the update, load it up onto a computer, install a PC manager that links your phone to your computer, and then run the update. At times your data would be wiped during the update, so you needed to first run a backup before running an update.

CD Driver Pack

Now you can just click a button and the update will be downloaded and installed while you grab yourself a coffee. By the time you get back, everything will still be where it was, and maybe your device will have a pretty new look too.

Why updates are important?

What is the purpose of updates anyway? To understand updates, one needs to understand that the more complex something is, the more points of failure there are – but on the flip side, the more versatile that something is. Updates look at both these aspects.

Points of failure usually fail due to bugs in the system, which results in the software not producing an expected result. For example, you can click on the camera icon and the calendar opens instead. These are the bits that can be ironed out nicely with software updates. Some bug ‘fixes’ include making a device more efficient in terms of it being faster at executing tasks while using very little power.

Updates can also add new features to a device that may not have been there before. Your device can get a fresh new look with a User Interface redesign; it can get new camera software allowing it to take even more spectacular photos; it can get features allowing it to wirelessly connect to other devices, and also it allows you to enjoy the latest features in programs that will be installed in the device, for example some games will run on a computer if a software known as DirectX is updated to the latest version. Currently, the latest version is DirectX 12.

What can go wrong with updates?

As much as updates are recommended, there are times when things go wrong with updates. There is a Windows 10 update that was deleting files on people’s computers and most recently, iPhone users that have installed the iOS 14 update are experiencing overheating issues and their phones are noticeably slower too.

These are some of the risks involved with updates and it’s ironic how the only way of solving this is to run another update. This does eventually solve the issues, so it’s not that big of a deal but if it does turn into a big deal, then a repair center for the device can help solve it for you.

Crazy stuff that is now getting updates

Traditionally only computing devices were eligible for updates but tech has improved so much that even the most rudimentary devices are now becoming smarter. Speakers can now answer questions and tell you the weather; fridges can now browse the internet and your car can now talk with your house.

Smart Fridge

All these at some point will need to get software updates to improve their performance over time as well as to add more features to make them more useful. Devices, in general, can now do a lot more than they could just 10 years ago to the point where earphones also get software updates. What a time to be alive.

Weird stuff that will soon be getting updates

It does not seem like this craze will stop anytime soon. It’s very possible that in the future, items we considered dumb like laptop and smartphone chargers, will also be getting software updates.

The fight for one charger for your smartphone, laptop, tablet, portable gaming console, earphones, and smartwatch is on. This will mean that this charger needs to be smart enough to know how much power to supply whatever device that it’s connected to, and that’s going to be a smart charger.

The same goes for eyewear, backpacks, caps, and jackets. They will soon have smart features that will most likely demand some updates. Imagine that. A future where clothes are getting software updates. Both scary and exciting!

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Lifestyle

The Internet Doesn’t Forget

Before you try to impress friends, or even strangers online, think before you act, and protect yourself online.

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Image: Cyber Law

Hazel Lifa

We all have heard of that sad story about a boy or girl who posted or said something online and found themselves haunted by that moment for the rest of their lives. A bit extreme, or what some might call drama queen like, but true, take a look at the world today… The lack of laws regulating behaviour online has led to the development of cyber-crimes like revenge porn and harassment online that let perpetrators off scot-free. The trend has been on the rise for years, to the point that actual government authorities are taking a look into cyberspace. 

“That bold attitude one gets online has manifested to a lack of accountability for many who have misspoken and wrecked their or others’ lives online.”

Taking one of the first steps into cyber law is South Africa, which made waves at the beginning of December. The South African parliament passed a bill on the 2nd of December 2020 which regulates how users share nudes and intimate content on the instant messaging app, Whatsapp. 

The bill is designed to address the unaccountability of cyber activities. That bold attitude one gets online has manifested to a lack of accountability for many who have misspoken and wrecked their or others’ lives online.

Take a look at disgraced Miss South Africa 2020 hopeful, Bianca Schoombee, who ruined her chances at the crown inadvertently back in 2014. The model was a favourite for the crown, until racist tweets she sent out six years ago resurfaced. 

Image: One of Bianca Schoombee’s racist tweets

After reading these tweets, South Africa was appalled, and Schoombee withdrew from the competition. A classic case of self-inflicted wounds – even children need to learn to be responsible online. Just because you were a dumb and immature teenager doesn’t make anyone immune to the consequences.

Another shocking case of self-inflicted online suicide is the American nurse who wrecked her career, I repeat, career, on TikTok. This one I still can’t believe even after viewing the video myself. A whole certified oncology nurse from Salem Health in Oregon bragged on TikTok about ignoring all covid-19 pandemic regulations.

The video shows Ashley Grames in her scrubs pretending to scream with a caption that reads, “When my co-workers find out I still travel, don’t wear a mask when I am out, and let my kids have playdates”. 

Image: Ashley Grames

This one just blows my mind; in the times we live in, how can a health care professional be this careless? Were it anyone else it would be a, “Hmm. what can you do, people can be idiots online,” but for a person who is supposed to be in the business of health care, come on!

What makes it worse is that this woman has been fired, and I don’t know about you but what health care facility would hire someone who would say such? Now after the hard work and effort it takes to become an oncology nurse, this seemingly sane woman flushed all that work down the toilet. Ridiculous, but understandable; online activity is popular even with adults who are losing their sound judgement in search of likes and views. 

The UK is also cracking down on online behaviour by giving Ofcom the authority to block access to online services that are deemed to not be doing enough to protect children and other users. The proposed law would give Ofcom the power to fine big tech companies like Facebook, for failing to comply with its demands. 

Maybe with some shape of legislation in place, people will think twice before posting or mouthing off online. While I mainly highlighted what can be called silly self-imposed demise, there are some ugly cases that leave deeper scars, like the Cassidy Wolf saga of 2013.

The former Teen Miss USA along with dozens of other young women found themselves at the mercy of a hacker who hacked their webcams and took pictures and videos of them naked. While the hacker was found and brought to justice, he still managed to do some damage before being apprehended.   

Image: Cassidy Wolf

Moral of the story is that (in the words of Uncle Ben), “With great power comes great responsibility.” A stupid post or rant has the potential to haunt you for the rest of your life, and hinder you from opportunities and relationships. Why? Because the internet doesn’t forget!  Simple as that! So before you try to impress friends, or even strangers online, think before you act, and protect yourself online. 

Connect with Hazel:

Instagram: @word_smith96

LinkedIn: Hazel Lifa

Twitter: @Hazel_Lifa

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Lifestyle

Rolls Royce Wraith – The World’s Most Luxurious Coupé

A two-door monster, largely handmade, with the finest leather interior, wood, and polished metal that money can buy.

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The late Ginimbi and his Rolls Royce Wraith, 2016 Model

Car Torque with The Real KennyMas

Consciously thinking about ghosts is not exactly a comfortable thing if we are being honest; mostly because ghosts are associated with supernatural malevolence – unless of course you’re referring to the Holy Ghost – which is a different story altogether. However, when people do talk or think about ghosts, it’s normal from two extremes – from one end, is the cute, fluffy being we see in the form of Casper the Friendly Ghost, while the opposite extreme, is the dreaded apparitions we experience in the Paranormal Activity franchise. 

The Late Ginimbi’s Rolls Royce Wraith 2016 Model

In another parallel universe, one inhabited by a flock of strange creatures known as petrolheads, there is another extreme dimension of spectres that exists. This particular group of spooks hails from Goodwood, West Sussex, England. If you have not caught on by now, I’m referring to the non-SUV bevy of beauties made by the BMW owned English car-maker, Rolls Royce. The lineup contains cars with ghost themed names, like Wraith, Phantom, and one time they ran out of ghost names, they just called the car a Rolls Royce Ghost. 

Wraith ~ A ghost or ghostlike image of someone, especially one seen shortly before or after their death.

oxford languages

In today’s episode of ghostly cars, let’s shine the spotlight on the first Rolls to break the familiar luxury sedan mould with its two-door teardrop coupé style. It is the first Rolls to make a brief nod at sportiness. In short, it is the most dramatic car that the luxury automaker has made, and when you do get to look at it, you appreciate the risk appetite of the engineers and decision makers at Goodwood, and of course those in Munich, because, it has paid off… the wraith is nothing short of spectacular!

Rolls Royce Wraith

“A popular option by discerning customers is the star lit ceiling that can be customised to depict any actual constellation in the night sky.”

The Rolls Royce Wraith is the more energetic and agile of its siblings, and this is thanks to the BMW sourced 6.6 litre twin turbo 624 horsepower V-12 engine. The luxo-barge also boasts of stiffer suspension and better aerodynamics, which makes it very fast and nimble. The 0 – 100 kmh sprint is dispatched of in a brief 4.3 seconds. It will be a mistake to bundle up this car with exotic red or yellow raucous wedges from Maranello or Sant’Agata. This is not a supercar; it is a rapid luxury coupé. 

When you step inside, all you will see is the classic coachline building blend of leather, wood and polished metal. Do not be fooled though, the Wraith still has modern technology crammed in it. The most obvious being the infotainment screen that at first glance is tucked away behind a wooden panel, but can be revealed at the press of a button. The infotainment system is based off the latest BMW iDrive. The car boasts of both heated and cooled seats, self-cleaning ashtrays, as well as a bespoke RR umbrella tucked into the car. The most dramatic feature of the car are the doors which are rear hinged. Since closing the doors may result in the client having to exert themselves too much, both the driver and passenger doors can be closed at the touch of a button.  As you would expect, the Rolls Royce Wraith carries the family emblem – the spirit of ecstasy, which can be retracted to keep it safe from pickpockets.

Rolls Royce Wraith

The double-R Wraith is a two-door monster,  largely handmade, with the finest leather interior, wood, and polished metal that money can buy. A popular option by discerning customers is the star lit ceiling that can be customised to depict any actual constellation in the night sky – talk about excessive opulence! The Wraith’s grill is handmade, and there are no two alike! It takes about 45 kilograms of paint to apply five layers of paint for over seven days, to achieve the mirror-like finish on the car. I should also mention that the artists at Rolls Royce are able to paint your Wraith in any of the 44 000 colour shades they have in store, and if you don’t fancy any of those, they will be able to create for you any colour you like. The coachline that runs the whole length of the car is applied entirely by hand, and all of these are done by one man. While it takes less than twenty hours to manufacture the usual plebeian cars you see on the road, it takes a painstaking six months to build a Rolls Royce Wraith. 

The perfectionists at Rolls Royce make the handover of the Wraith such a special occasion; when it’s time to receive the car, the client is taken through a tour of the car which lasts over three hours, going into all the details of the car. The car is handed over to the owner with a special bespoke gift that is tailored to the car. So, if one is inspired to go and get themselves the most luxurious coupé in the world, what are they supposed to do? Well, first they need to have an extremely healthy bank account. A quick search on AutoTrader will reveal preowned versions north of R5 000 000.00, while a new Wraith will cost you a base price of R 6 400 000.00, and that is before the options have been added, which may take the price to an eye watering R9 000 000.00. Unless you are buying a preowned Wraith, you will need to travel to the Rolls-Royce Commissioning Suite where you will be able to customise every aspect of the car, from the usual two tone colour scheme, leather, coachline, and other personalisation touches such as family crests on headrests, ceiling constellation, et cetera. 

Still on the topic of bodachs, the Rolls Royce Wraith is one ghost that should be on top of everyone’s wish list, together with the gold at Fort Knox, as well as immortality. It’s a magnificent vehicle with which you can waft in luxury and opulence – but you may just need to rob the reserve bank first. 

2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith
2020 rolls royce wraith

Connect with Ken through Instagram on his handle @tharealkennymas.

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Careers

Women in STEM – Hlalani Samantha Mlilo

For the longest time I wanted to be a Medical Doctor because I thought that as a lady good in Science and Mathematics, that was all I could become.

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Hlalani Samantha Mlilo

Engineering has never looked more classier! This past August our cover feature was Hlalani Mlilo, an Industrial Engineer. August being Women’s month, we figured we would feature a strong, intelligent woman who exudes confidence, boldness and power. She currently works in a Supply Chain Department at an Electronics Manufacturing Company, managing their Logistics and Distribution network for the company headquarters in Johannesburg and remotely doing so for three other branches in Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Cape Town.

What/who inspired you to choose a career in STEM?

I come from a big family, full of engineers (males), including my late father and nurses (ladies). For the longest time I wanted to be a Medical Doctor because I thought that as a lady good in Science and Mathematics, that was all I could become, until I had a conversation with an older sister of mine who resided in South Africa, while I was doing my high school in Zimbabwe. She told me that she was seeing a breed of young women in Engineering in the mining town that she lived in and she thought it was something I would be interested in. I started reading about engineers and inclining more to my brothers and fathers for career advice. I watched my dad more closely. He was nicknamed “MacGyver” because he could literally fix and create anything. I knew then that if I ever got a chance to study and become like these men, I was going to make it.

What did you have to do to get to where you are now?

I was in the Sciences class in high school (Physical Sciences, Biology, Mathematics, and Integrated Science where all my strong points), but for my Ordinary level (O’ Level) in Zimbabwe, I wrote 11 subjects including Commerce, Religious Studies and History. I did not really want to limit myself in what I could do. In my Advanced Level (A’ Level), I added Business Management and Communication Skills.

My university modules included Mathematics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Digital Systems, and Software Design for my first qualification. My second qualification included Project Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Systems Design, Information Systems, Project Research, Quality Management and Logistics Engineering, which is currently my main focus at work.

Hlalani Samantha Mlilo

What challenges did you face at university as a woman in a male dominated faculty?

My first qualification was Electrical Engineering. A lot of wiring for practicals had to be done and help did not come by easy, I must say. Generally, boys play with hard toys and wires, climbing trees and other structures from a young age. We girls on the other hand may have the brain, but getting our hands to catch up with what our brain knows sometimes takes a little more effort, and guidance is required. Luckily, I was drawn to a group of friends which had a good mix of males and females, so we held each other up through the qualification. But the general vibe from the guys was, “You chose this course, so do all the work yourself!”

How did you overcome those challenges?

I had to constantly remind myself that everything that the University was asking of me at that point was all preparation for the real job which I would have to do for myself. So I had to step up to the plate and learn fast how to do everything for myself. It took a couple of sleepless nights and tired days. Weekends simply ceased to exist on my calendar. What also played a big role for me was that I had a supportive family structure behind me and a few individuals who were knowledgeable on my subject matters. So when I got stuck I knew who to call. I also had the privilege to do vacation work at one of the Anglo American coal Mines, and that hands-on experience boosted my theoretical knowledge, because when I went back to school after the holidays, I now had practical experience to refer to.

What is the biggest challenge that you face at work as a woman in a male dominated industry?

The discrimination against women exists, yet so subtle. Males believe that we belong behind the computer screen, typing reports from their field findings; yet we want to be on the field as well, doing the hard work, climbing the masts and fixing the world’s problems and coming up with life changing solutions. Women still need to work multiple times harder to be recognized or found worthy of doing certain tasks in the Engineering space. Lastly, no matter how hard women work, when promotion opportunities arise, it is mostly inclining the women to general management roles, and seldom is there a push for women into technical management roles.

What do you think can be done to address this and other challenges faced by women in your position?

As women, we have to be our own motivators and redefine our own narratives. Any woman can be absolutely anything they want to become. We just need to keep our focus on our goals. The appeals and social media drives are clearly not giving us the equality results we need. Study those science subjects, pass them well, go to university and apply yourself fully, graduate, nail the job interviews and get on the job and do it well. Let your results and job trail speak for you and qualify you where society generally says you cannot fit.

What are your biggest achievements so far?

Successfully completing two Engineering degrees, Electric and Industrial Engineering.

Hlalani Samantha Mlilo

What are your future career goals?

I’m aiming at bagging a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA), which will allow me to aim at more Strategic Management positions in my prospective employer’s organizations. My plan is very clear. My first qualification was a technical one. Allowing me to acquire hands on technical experience. My second qualification routed me into Operations Management, allowing me to have hands-on experience on how a company operates on a day to day basis. My next qualification should score me a seat at the table where strategic decisions are made. There is no limit to what one can do, if they set their mind to it.

Given an opportunity to start over, would you still choose a career in STEM and why?

Yes, I would choose a career in STEM because I’ve come to realise that there is no industry or economy not contributed to by science, technology, engineering or mathematics; from medical, farming, education, accounting to construction. You name it.

Hlalani Samantha Mlilo

How can you encourage younger girls to be more exposed and more interested in STEM?

I think MENTORSHIP is the biggest challenge. The fact that girls are discouraged or not encouraged in STEM fields very early in their education, means society is not breeding enough mentors for girls. It is always so much easier to look up to someone that you can relate to. When you look at another woman, you know that some of the challenges that you face, she will understand them because she has gone through similar phases, and when you see older women winning, then you know as a young girl, you can win too.

Although I still need mentoring myself, what I can do is give my time to share knowledge and guidance to girls through formal and informal mentorship, and maybe even start WOMEN in STEM clubs at schools, which can become as popular as Interact or Debate and Toast Mistresses Clubs in schools. This allows for platforms for girls in schools to also share their dreams and encourage each other and instill interest and competitiveness in STEM.

📷 IG @shotsbymrandmrs3

Interviewed by Gugu Mpofu

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