Exclusive | Minister questions suitability of Icasa council nominees

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Image: GCIS

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has thrown a spanner in the works over the appointment of six new councillors to Icasa at a critical juncture for the regulator as gears up to license new broadband spectrum.

The minister was meant to select six names from a short-list sent to her by parliament so that the positions at the communications regulator could be filled urgently. She has now asked parliament for permission to fill only four — for now.

Icasa’s powerful decision-making council is at risk of becoming inquorate if just one of the three remaining councillors becomes indisposed (through illness, for example).

Icasa’s powerful decision-making council is at risk of becoming inquorate if just one of the three remaining councillors becomes indisposed

This would mean it being unable to function properly at a time when the telecommunications industry is awaiting an invitation to apply (ITA) for spectrum suitable for rolling out 4G and next-generation 5G networks. The ITA, which had been expected at the end of June, has already been delayed.

The minister has written to parliament to raise her concerns over the short-listed candidates. Her letter to national assembly speaker Thandi Modise, which TechCentral has in its possession, raises questions about the suitability of the candidates drawn up by parliament’s portfolio committee on communications & digital technologies.

Standoff with MPs

Her letter, which is dated 30 June, comes after it emerged that a standoff was brewing between the minister and MPs over the appointment of the new councillors. This is after members of the portfolio committee took the unusual decision to rank the short-listed candidates based on MPs’ preferred names. Ndabeni-Abrahams, who recently returned from suspension for violating lockdown regulations, must appoint six names from 10 provided by the committee, including a new chair.

According to a report in City Press on 17 June, which cited people close to the process, the decision to rank candidates suggested that MPs wanted to “confine the minister to their top candidates and direct the choice of the new Icasa chair”.

Democratic Alliance MP and the party’s shadow communications minister, Phumzile Van Damme, said that although the committee created an order of preference of candidates, which is “not something we ordinarily do”, it is “neither here nor there because the minister can choose whoever she deems suitable”.

Parliament in Cape Town

Instead of selecting six names, Ndabeni-Abrahams has asked parliament to appoint four councillors in the interim and to recruit the remaining two candidates later.

“This I request because the term is a four-year term and if we fail to assist the authority with the basic requisite skills, we may have failed the entire country that relies on a capable and responsive regulator that must regulate the new technological environment we are in,” the minister

Samsung Galaxy Buds X pass through the FCC

The Samsung Galaxy Buds X TWS earphones have been certified by the FCC and not a moment too soon – the new true wireless set will allegedly be unveiled on July 22 (perhaps alongside another wearable, the Galaxy Watch3).

The Buds X will measure approximately 26 x 15 x 14 mm and will weigh about 5g. They have been dubbed the “beans” due to their shape – they are meant to go into your ear rather than stick out like the current Galaxy Buds+.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Bean

The Buds X are also expected to feature noise cancellation and reportedly target a price of $140 or so to undercut Apple’s AirPods Pro.

If the rumors of the July 22 unveiling prove to be false, you can expect the Galaxy Buds X to be part of the August 5 Unpacked event for the new Galaxy Note20, Fold 2 and Z Flip 5G.

Source | Via

Brazil’s President Bolsonaro loves hydroxychloroquine even more than Trump

Hydroxychloroquine is not a viable coronavirus treatment. That’s the general scientific consensus, but the anti-malaria drug has strong supporters nonetheless. President Jair Bolsonaro, who just tested positive for the novel coronavirus, told the media he started taking hydroxychloroquine as a treatment. Bolsonaro went above and beyond to promote hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure despite mounting evidence to the contrary. A report details the several steps that Bolsonaro took in the past few months to increase the supply and manufacturing of the anti-malarial drug, while removing any opposition that advocated the cautious use of hydroxychloroquine. All the while, Brazil’s COVID-19 caseload increased exponentially, and the country now has the second-largest number of cases after the US.

Historians will not be able to explain the world’s reaction to the novel coronavirus pandemic without dedicating a long chapter to the massive hydroxychloroquine controversy that’s still out of control. The drug that works against malaria and is safe to use against other ailments can’t save the lives of COVID-19 patients, and it can’t prevent an infection. Extensive studies have confirmed as much. But early research did a lot of harm when it said the drug could be used during the pandemic. President Trump quickly became a fervent supporter of the unproven drug, and he went as far as to inexplicably use it as a preventative measure after a couple of White House staffers contracted the illness.

That was back in May. Since then, a variety of studies proved that hydroxychloroquine can’t offer protection against infection, it can’t reduce mortality rates for COVID-19 patients, and it can cause significant side-effects that can even lead to death. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the drug’s emergency use authorization in June, and the World Health Organization (WHO) stopped its hydroxychloroquine clinical trial. More recently, an outlier study said hydroxychloroquine actually does help COVID-19 patients, but it was met with plenty of criticism for the methods it employed. Sadly, this was enough for Trump to start promoting it again. At the same time, there have been several reports of people dying of COVID-19 following improper treatment that included the use of hydroxychloroquine.

If you thought any of that was as bad as it gets, then you haven’t been paying attention to the world’s second-largest COVID-19 epicenter. With more than 1.7 million cases and nearly 68,000 deaths so far, Brazil is second only to America when it comes to its abysmal failure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Yet President Jair Bolsonaro has already surpassed Trump when it comes to the use of hydroxychloroquine as an official treatment for COVID-19.

Continue reading…

Today’s Top Deals

10 killer Amazon deals that are only for Prime subscribers You won’t believe all the Bose headphones and wireless speaker deals on Amazon right now Today’s best deals: AirPods at all-time low price, 10 Prime-exclusive deals, Fire TV blowout, $27 Wi-Fi extender, more

Trending Right Now:

Trump says new stimulus checks coming ‘soon’ – here’s

Dell's XPS Desktop fits NVIDIA and AMD graphics inside a smaller case

Sponsored Links

Dell

Over the past couple of years, Dell’s XPS laptop lineup has been the gold standard of Windows ultraportables. Dell is now trying to capture some of that same magic with the updated XPS Desktop. The new model affords the same amount of expandability and customization as the previous XPS Desktop but comes in a smaller, more attractive package. The redesigned enclosure features a 19L volume compared to the previous model’s 23.7L capacity. That puts the 14.45-inch tall chassis in near ITX case territory.

In designing the XPS Desktop, Dell says its goal was to maximize performance and airflow. The computer intakes air through the front and side of its enclosure before expelling it out the back. At no point does the case recirculate air, according to Dell. The chassis also features modern conveniences like tool-less entry, with two thumbscrews all that stand between you and the computer’s internals.

Dell

Inside, there’s support for Intel’s latest 10th-generation desktop processors, with Dell offering both the i9-10900K

True wireless earbuds with 28,000 5-star ratings and wireless charging are only $32 today

Apple’s popular AirPods Pro are on sale with a $15 discount and both of the company’s AirPods 2 with Wireless Charging Case are on sale at the lowest price ever, so it’s a great time to score new AirPods if you’ve been waiting for a deal. Before you spend $150 or more on Apple earphones, however, there’s another option you should consider. TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds offer good sound quality, solid battery life, and they even come in a wireless charging case — all for just $31.99.

If you’ve been waiting for decent discounts before picking up a pair of AirPods 2 or AirPods 2 with wireless charging, Amazon has both models on sale this week with price cuts up to $50 — with the latter model available right now at its lowest price ever. On top of those two deals, AirPods Pro are back in stock right now and they’re on sale with a $15 discount that means they’re priced back where they were last year on Black Friday. Those are all fantastic deals but before you buy any of them, there’s another deal you should check out that costs a fraction as much as AirPods, even while Apple’s headphones on sale with good discounts.

The TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds aren’t quite as popular or as recognizable as AirPods, but they do have more than 27,000 5-star ratings on Amazon and they even beat Apple’s AirPods 2 in one key area: they have silicone tips just like AirPods Pro, which means they isolate sound instead of leaking it all over the place. Also, they last for about 4 hours of playback per charge, just like Apple’s AirPods. With the included wireless charging case, you’ll get another 14 hours of music streaming.

AirPods are great and all, but if you care more about the listening experience than your image, it might not be a bad idea to pick up a pair of T10 earbuds instead. Clip the 20% coupon on the product page and you’ll get these great earbuds for only $31.99.

TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds with Wireless Charging Case IPX8 Waterproof TWS Stereo…: $31.99

Check out some more key info from Amazon’s product page:

[TWS & BLUETOOTH 5.0] – Adopt the most advanced Bluetooth 5.0 technology TOZO T10 Support HSP HFP A2DP AVRCP Provides in-call stereo sound Also own fast and stable transmission without tangling. [Hi-fi stereo sound quality] – TOZO T10 offers a truly authentic sound and powerful bass performance with an 8mm large speaker driver – the drive area is 1.77 times than the normal drive area. [One step pairing] – Pick up 2 headsets from the charging box They will connect each other automatically then only one step easily enter the mobile phone Bluetooth setting to pair the earbuds. [IPX8 waterproof]- Earbuds and charging case inner Nano-coating makes it possible to waterproof for 1 meter deep for 30 minutes. It is suitable for sports to prevent water. Ideal for sweating

Tetris is now a daily game show with cash prizes

Sponsored Links

N3TWORK

If you’ve ever dreamed of playing Tetris for cold, hard cash, you finally have an opportunity. Today, N3TWORK announced that it’s adding a live, game show feature to its Tetris mobile app. Players can now participate in Tetris Primetime, a nightly competition that will award more than $1 million in annual cash prizes.

Hosted by actor Millen Baird, Tetris Primetime will kick off every night at 7:30PM. It will be anchored in Auckland, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York City and Perth. Primetime is only available in select regions, but N3TWORK says it’s expanding into others.

N3TWORK is ready to unveil Tetris Royale, too. Players can now join the always-on, 100-player battle royale. In these matches, the last player standing wins, and players will compete for weekly dominance on city, country and global levels.

N3TWORK’s Tetris app is also adding a solo marathon mode, which can be played offline, and a new “together” mode, in which players can invite friends and

Why Senior Citizens Should Choose Online Banking

While citizens are encouraged to remain indoors and work from their homes as a result of COVID-19, research around the world also highlights that senior citizens are among the most vulnerable to the pandemic.

This is one of the compelling reasons for senior citizens to consider efficient ways of banking to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The adoption of digital banking channels over this period empowers consumers of all ages with tools to easily manage their money from anywhere and at any time; allowing them to protect their health at the same time.

“As a bank for all, we continue to scale our efforts in educating our customers on the ease and safety of using our digital platforms. To those customers over the age of 55, we want to emphasise the endless benefits such as cost-saving and convenience of digital banking channels,” says CEO of Premier Banking at FNB, Kamal Kalian.

To put customers fears at ease, the bank utilises a number of security features in order for customers to bank easily and securely online. These include monitoring the device being used to ensure that it is verified and if not, only limited services will be available. Customers transacting via online banking will also be required to authenticate the transaction on their banking App as an additional safety net.

“We strive to ensure that all our digital banking channels are secure. In addition, from a cost perspective, the FNB App is zero-rated across all major networks, you simply need an active Internet connection. Those who use our banking App no longer pay for data when accessing services,” he added.

Banking digitally is as easy as just logging onto the platform online or via App and carrying out the transaction using minimal steps. The bank was recently named South Africa’s Best Digital Bank by the SITEisfaction report, with security, user-friendliness and convenience citied as features that users appreciate the most across the bank’s digital channels.

“Our client’s safety and privacy are of paramount importance to us and we remain confident that the range of digital banking solutions and channels that we offer cater for every customer’s banking needs while ensuring that they are empowered to conveniently bank from anywhere and at any time,” concludes Kalian.

Edited by Jenna Delport

LG will update older flagships with the Velvet UI, starting with the LG V50 ThinQ

The LG Velvet represents not only a change in the company designs its hardware but also the software – LG announced that it will bring the Velvet UI to several of its older flagships. This decision was reached by surveying customer opinions through the Quick Help app.

The new UI is already rolling out to the LG V50 ThinQ as an over-the-air update (starting with units in South Korea). It changes the Volume control dialog and the In-call information window, it also allows you to customize the color of the notification bar.

Besides the V50, five other LG flagships will receive Velvet UI: LG V50S ThinQ, LG G8 ThinQ, LG V40 ThinQ, LG V35 ThinQ and the LG G7 ThinQ.

The company will step up its game when it comes to long-term support for its phones to inspire confidence in buyers (this is again the result of a Quick Help survey). It says it will continue providing OS updates and security patches, but didn’t give concrete time frames (the V35 and G7 are from mid-2018, so they are two years old at this point).

Source (in Korean)

The Paul Feig space comedy everybody missed will stream next month for free

Sponsored Links

Jerod Harris via Getty Images

You can be entirely forgiven for not knowing that Paul Feig made a sci-fi sitcom starring a murderer’s row of comic talent. After all, Other Space debuted on Yahoo Screen* as part of the platform’s failed attempt to become the next Hulu. Now, the show is back thanks to Dust, a niche sci-fi streaming service that is streaming the show’s eight episodes for free on August 1st.

Other Space is set on board a past-its-prime mapping vessel crewed by a bunch of under-qualified twenty-somethings. Each one got their job by luck, accident, nepotism or unwise flirting, and are all wholly unsuited to dealing with the reality of space travel. On their first mission, the UMP Cruiser is knocked into a wormhole, dropping them off on the far side of the universe.

The show’s cast includes Milana Vayntrub (AT&T), Karan Soni (Deadpool), Eugene Cordero (The Good Place), and Neil Casey (Ghostbusters). Of course, the show is notable for reuniting MST3k

Stock up on Amazon’s top 5 best-selling protein bars while you can

It’s the perfect time to stock up on Amazon’s best-selling protein bars because they are all back in stock right now for the first time in quite a while. Delicious Quest Nutrition Birthday Cake Protein Bars top the list right now as the #1 best-seller, as has been the case for months. Several other popular options are available as well, including RXBARs and Pure Protein Bar variety packs.

Anyone who has been following the BGR Deals team’s coverage for a while knows that there is one protein bar that we recommend above and beyond all others. That’s right, we’re talking about the Quest Hero bar, which is sweetened with allulose instead of regular sugar. It tastes exactly like sugar but the body doesn’t metabolize it the same way, so you don’t have to worry about all the calories and other problems associated with sugar. These delicious bars are back in stock right now after having been sold out for nearly a month, so it’s a great time to give them a try.

Now, despite how delicious they are, Hero bars actually aren’t among the best-selling protein bars on Amazon. Anyone who has ever tried one will be shocked to find that out, but there are other bars out there with just as much protein that are almost as delicious. Quest Nutrition Birthday Cake Protein Bars are at the top of the list right now, as they have been for a long time. RXBARs and Pure Protein Bar variety packs are also top-sellers.

Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we’re all cooped up in our homes far more than usual and we might not be getting as much nutrition as we should. Or, if you plan to exercise at home — and you definitely should — you’re obviously not going to be able to grab a protein bar or a shake on your way out of the gym. With that in mind, we dug through Amazon to find the five best-selling protein bars on the entire site, and you’ll find them all listed in order down below.

Quest Nutrition Birthday Cake Protein Bars (12 pack) EVERY DAY CAN BE YOUR SPECIAL DAY: The Quest Birthday Cake Protein Bar tastes like a slice of birthday cake you can enjoy every day. Celebrate with 21g protein 4g net carbs and less than 1g of sugar per bar. CELEBRATE COMPLETE PROTEINS: Quest Birthday Cake Protein Bars are made with complete, dairy-based proteins to provide your body with 9 essential amino acids. FIBER IS YOUR FRIEND: Each Quest Birthday Cake Protein Bar has 14g of fiber to provide your body with a more complete macro profile. SWEET WITHOUT ADDED SUGAR: Enjoy the rewarding taste without worrying about added sugars. The Quest Birthday Cake Protein Bar has no added sugars. TREATS THAT TRAVEL WITH YOU: Drop a Quest Birthday Cake Protein Bar with you in your backpack, purse, car console, cup holder, gym bag, or wherever your adventures take you.

Quest Nutrition Birthday Cake Protein Bar,

GoPro's app turns your Hero 8 Black into a wide-angle webcam

Sponsored Links

James Trew / Engadget

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, you may not have had the chance to use your fancy new GoPro Hero 8 Black as much as you had planned. The good news is that it can now double as webcam. Following its DSLR and mirrorless counterparts, GoPro has released beta software that allows its latest flagship action camera to function as a USB camera in MacOS. 

To connect the Hero 8 Black to your Mac, you’ll need to download the latest firmware for your camera and GoPro’s new Webcam desktop utility app. The software makes the action camera compatible with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Discord and Bluejeans. You can also use it in conjunction with Webex, Skype, Facebook Rooms, Messenger and Slack, provided you access those through Chrome. GoPro says Windows support is on the way. 

While you could use a GoPro as a webcam before, the process was significantly more involved than it is now with the new software. You won’t get the same

Here's 10 minutes of 'Paper Mario: The Origami King' gameplay

Sponsored Links

Paper Mario: The Origami King is quietly terrifying. Its story involves threats of grievous torture, a megalomaniacal dictator bent on ruination, and the murder of the soul. Thankfully though, everything and every character in the game is made out of paper, which makes all of this charming, rather than frightful. Classic Nintendo.

Paper Mario: The Origami King hits the Switch on July 17th. Until then, take a peek at 10 minutes of gameplay from the title’s early stages, including some of the position-based battle mechanics.

The Origami King is an RPG with large worlds to explore, and among the coin-collecting and puzzle-solving, battles commonly take place in an arena of concentric rings. Mario stands in the center while players rotate and slide the rings in order to line up the enemies for the most powerful attack. There’s a set number of ring moves players can make and a timer ticking down the entire strategizing session.

This is the sixth main entry in the

5 hidden iPhone features in iOS 14 that’ll blow you away

Apple’s iOS 14 beta is packed full of new iPhone features — in fact, there are hundreds of new features in iOS 14 and you can read about them all right here. While iOS 14 is indeed a huge upgrade, there are a few features such as widgets and Apple’s new Compact UI that are getting most of the attention right now. Here, we’ll cover 5 lesser-known new iPhone features you’re going to love that are hiding in iOS 14.

Apple’s new iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 software is packed full of new features. The company covered all the big ones when it unveiled its next-generation mobile platforms last month during its virtual WWDC 2020 keynote presentation, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. There are literally hundreds of new features and updates to old features in iOS 14, and it would take hours to read about them all. What’s more, Apple always holds a few special new features back until September in order to keep from giving away any new details pertaining to it’s next-generation iPhone lineup, which in this case is the upcoming iPhone 12 series.

iOS 14 is stuffed to the gills with new features galore — check out our list of every single new iOS 14 feature — but a select few marquee features have definitely stolen the spotlight. Home screen widget support is likely the most talked-about new detail, and Apple’s new Compact UI features that keep things like call notifications and Siri out of the way are also generating plenty of buzz. And let’s not forget all the new Messages features, Maps feature, App Library, Translate app, and more. But there’s a whole lot more to iOS 14 than the functionality that’s buzzing right now. In fact, some of the coolest and most useful new features are hiding just out of sight in iOS 14. Here, we’ll run through 5 particularly neat features that won’t be immediately obvious when you first fire up iOS 14 on your iPhone.

Continue reading…

Today’s Top Deals

10 killer Amazon deals that are only for Prime subscribers You won’t believe all the Bose headphones and wireless speaker deals on Amazon right now Today’s best deals: AirPods at all-time low price, 10 Prime-exclusive deals, Fire TV blowout, $27 Wi-Fi extender, more

Trending Right Now:

Trump says new stimulus checks coming ‘soon’ – here’s what you need to know There’s pink snow in the Alps that looks stunning, but it’s a very bad sign Apple’s latest iPhone software has a bug that’s driving people crazy

5 hidden iPhone features in iOS 14 that’ll blow you away originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 9 Jul 2020 at 08:38:46 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ specs revealed, 45W charging confirmed

Most of the specs and the design traits of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 lineup have just been revealed thanks to a new leak from a trusted source.

According to insiders close to SamMobile the Galaxy Tab S7+ will be running a Snapdragon 865+ SoC and the 5G-enabled version of the tablet will support sub-6GHz 5G networks. The 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display will carry a resolution of 2800 x 1752px and, of course, support S Pen functionality.

Qualcomm’s current fastest SoC will be paired with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM while storage will be 128GB and 256GB, respectively.

Earlier reports said that the tablet will be carrying a massive 10,090 mAh battery and we are happy to hear confirmation about that. Moreover, the Galaxy Tab S7+ will likely embrace Samsung’s 45W fast charging over the USB PD standard, at least according to Danish certification database, which mentions the Tab S7+’s model number.

Going by the renders from before and today’s report, the Galaxy Tab S7+ will have two cameras on its back – 13MP and 5MP, while the front will settle for an 8MP one. Samsung’s One UI 2.5 based on Android 10 will run out of the box.

Last, but not least, the report mentions an under-display fingerprint reader but we are not sure whether its an optical one or ultra-sonic solution like we saw on the Galaxy S and Note lineups.

Source 1Source 2

You won’t believe all the Bose headphones and wireless speaker deals on Amazon right now

The novel coronavirus pandemic is getting worse across most of the United States at this point, but at least things are finally getting back to normal at Amazon. Now that the nation’s top retailer is refocused on regular business, there are a whole bunch of great deals to be found. Bose products in particular are seeing a bunch of deep discounts right now, like a $50 discount on Bose QuietComfort 35 II ANC Headphones and the return of Black Friday pricing on the first and only Bose true wireless earbuds. There’s also one Bose deal that comes as a pleasant surprise: The top-of-the-line Bose 700 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones that rarely go on sale are currently available with a slight discount.

Our readers were pretty frustrated for a while there when it comes to the way Amazon handled the early days of the novel coronavirus pandemic. On one hand, you can hardly fault the company for focusing most of its resources on getting essential supplies delivered to hospitals and government agencies. But on the other hand, everyone was stuck at home and trying their hardest to avoid exposure to COVID-19, and that’s when we all needed online retailers like Amazon the most.

Regardless of where you stand on that debate, the important thing is that everything is pretty much back to normal now at Amazon. All the popular products you want are back in stock, and there are finally a bunch of great deals to be found. Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro are discounted and ready to ship right away, for example, and a ton of Amazon devices are discounted right now. But there’s another big sale right now on Amazon that you need to check out, and it covers some of the hottest personal audio products ever made.

Amazon is offering a bunch of great deals on popular Bose speakers and wireless headphones, and we dug through them all to pick out the five best bargains. Some of them are familiar deals that have returned somewhat unexpectedly considering Amazon’s current shift in focus away from nonessential products. Other deals are a bit more surprising, however, such as a deal no one saw coming that offers an extremely rare discount on the hot new Bose 700 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones.

Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700, with Alexa Voice Control, Black: $379.00

Those are Bose’s latest and greatest ANC headphones and they’re by far the best model that Bose has ever made. That said, they’re still a bit pricey even with a discount, so there are two other Bose headphones deals you should definitely consider. The wildly popular Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones get a $50 discount to $299, and Bose’s first and only true wireless earbuds, the Bose SoundSport Free, get a $50 discount as well. You can also pick up a pair of regular Bose SoundSport wireless earbuds for just $99.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise-Cancelling, with Alexa voice contr…: $299.00