How to make your laptop boot faster

If your laptop takes its sweet time starting up, then here are some things you can do to put a little pep back in its startup step.

Get an SSD

You can breathe new life and faster boot times into an old laptop by replacing its spinning hard drive with a solid-state drive.

Without needing to physically spin a disk to locate the data you’ve requested, solid-state drives are substantially faster than traditional hard disk drives. After installing an SSD, the first time you’ll notice its speed improvement is when you boot up your laptop.

Although this move requires you to open your laptop and perform a bit of surgery, it’s a basic procedure. In a nutshell, you will need to gather a few tools, clone your hard drive to the new drive, open your laptop, remove its old hard drive and then add in an SSD in its place. Here’s how to upgrade your MacBook Pro with an SSD.

Note: be sure to check with your laptop vendor or in laptop forums to make sure the SSD you choose is compatible with your laptop model. You may sacrifice some storage capacity when you move to an SSD but prices have drop precipitously in recent years so you may be able to afford a larger SSD than you may think.

Reduce startup items

Sometimes the applications you install go ahead and include themselves among the applications that your laptop loads when it starts up. And the longer the list of applications your laptop has to load during startup, the longer it takes to start up. Thankfully, both Windows and OS X both let you choose which applications make this list.

If you are unwilling to purchase or install an SSD, then you’ll like this maneuver because its free and easy. And if your laptop already has an SSD, then you can further shorten its boot time.

On OS X El Capitan, open System Preferences and select Users & Groups. Click on your username in the left panel and then click the Login Items tab in the right panel. To remove a program from this list, click on it and the click the “-” button.

On Windows 10, search for Task Manager and open it. Click the Startup tab and you’ll see a list of programs that start automatically when Windows 10 boots. Look for programs you don’t need at startup, particularly if they are listed as having a High Startup impact in the right column. To stop a program from automatically running when you start Windows 10, right-click it and click Disable.

Windows: Fast startup

For Windows 10 laptop, there’s a setting called Fast Startup designed to get you up and running more quickly. Fast Startup cuts down on startup time by creating a state between shutdown and hibernation where your system state is saved as a hibernation file, which is then loaded when you start up your laptop again. It saves Windows the step of reloading the kernel, drivers, and your settings. Unlike hibernation mode, your open folders and applications are not saved with Fast startup.

Fast startup is enabled by default on Windows 10, but it’s worth checking to make sure that’s the case.

Go to Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Power Options.

Click Choose what the power buttons do from the left panel.

Click Change settings that are currently unavailable at the top of the window and scroll down to the bottom and make sure the box is checked for Turn on fast startup (recommended).

OS X: Automatic login

This last tip is for Mac owners who have more than one user account set up. With Automatic login, you bypass the login screen and log right into one of your accounts to speed the startup process along. Because this setting lets you log into OS X without needing to enter your password, Automatic login is not advisable if you carry your laptop with you everywhere you go and are prone to leaving it unattended in public places. If your laptop spends most of the time safely at home, here’s how to enable it.

Open System Preferences and click Users & Groups.

Click the lock button in the lower-left corner and enter your account password.

Click Login Options in the left panel.

Choose an account from from the Automatic login pull-down menu and enter the password for that account.

 

[Source:CNET]

Whatsapp and Twitter blocked in Ethopia

Messaging applications Twitter and Whatsapp haven’t worked for more than a month in parts of Ethiopia that include Oromia region, which recently suffered fatal protests, according to local users.

According to Fin24,smartphone owners haven’t been able to access services including Facebook Messenger and Twitter on the state-owned monopoly Ethio Telecom’s connection, Seyoum Teshome, a university lecturer, said by phone from Woliso, about 115 kilometers (71.5 miles) southwest of the capital, Addis Ababa.

“All are not working here for more than one month,” said Seyoum, who teaches at Ambo University’s Woliso campus.

“The blackout is targeted at mobile data connections.”

A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment on the issue when e-mailed by Bloomberg on Monday. Facebook, which bought WhatsApp in 2014, didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Protests that began in November in Oromia over perceived economic and political marginalisation of Ethiopia’s most populous ethnic group led to a crackdown in which security forces allegedly shot dead as many as 266 demonstrators, according to a March report by the Kenya-based Ethiopia Human Rights Project.

The government has said that many people died, including security officers, without giving a toll.

One social-media activist, US-based Jawar Mohammed, disseminated information and footage from protests to his more than 500 000 followers on Facebook.

No Explanation

Restricting access isn’t a policy and may be because of “erratic” connections, according to government spokesman Getachew Reda.

“We have not yet found any explanation,” he said by phone from Addis Ababa on Monday.

The government has the technology to “control” the messaging applications, the Addis Ababa-based Capital newspaper reported on April 10, citing Andualem Admassie, Ethio Telecom’s chief executive officer. Andualem didn’t answer two calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.

Hawassa city in Ethiopia’s southern region has suffered similar difficulties in accessing applications for more than a month, said Seyoum Hameso, an economics lecturer at the University of East London.

“We couldn’t communicate with relatives,” he said in an e-mailed response to questions on Monday.

[Bloomberg News]

Google to train one million people across Africa in digital skills

Internet search giant Google has teamed up with youth content agency Livity Africa to train one million people across the continent in digital skills.

According to Fin 24,Google and Livity Africa plan to run two training programmes dubbed ‘Digify Bytes’ and ‘Digify Pro’ over a 12 month period for free.

The ‘Bytes’ programme seeks to boost young people’s digital skills while the ‘Pro’ initiative involves three-month immersion training for digital specialists.

The report states that  the programmes are not teaching computer coding skills but rather soft skills such as social media and content creation. The two organisations are targeting training 100 000 people face-to-face and about 900 000 people online.

Meanwhile, Google and Livity Africa have also launched a data-light website called digifyafrica.com, an online-learning portal which is expected to grow from nine courses to 50 by July.

“All the courses that are put on here are easy to learn at your own pace,” said Google Africa spokesperson Mich Atagana at the search giant’s offices in Johannesburg, the publication quoted.

Country director for Google South Africa, Luke McKend, said on Tuesday that upskilling Africans is the “kind of problem Google was designed to solve.”

“We know that small businesses are more profitable when they’re online,” McKend told a media briefing.

To date, the Google and Livity training initiatives have kicked off in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

“The search giant has also promised to scale up the programmes over the next 12 months while 65 volunteers are helping the Livity team with content development, training trainers and even delivering training sessions,” a statement from the report.

 

 

[Source:Fin24]

The Ratchet and Clank Game: Review

Ratchet & Clank is proof there’s still a lot of mileage left in the 3D platformer genre. It’s less of a reboot and more of a return to form, revitalizing and updating the franchise while simultaneously keeping its use of inventive weapons, alien worlds, and quirky attitude intact. Resurrecting an older franchise can be a gamble, but here the payoff is plentiful.

Ratchet & Clank is a technically rejuvenated version of the PS2 classic. It returns to the same alien universe, taking both Ratchet and his robot friend Clank to multiple planets during their adventure. True to the series’ history, there’s a large arsenal of weapons to play with, many of which have multiple applications in combat. The Pixelizer is a powerful blaster converting enemies into their 8-bit forms, causing them to burst into a mess of colored squares when defeated. The bomb glove returns as a helpful grenade-tossing weapon capable of devastating large groups of enemies. The Groovitron kicks out a funky beat and distracts enemies from attacking by launching them into a dance frenzy. Each weapon is distinct, and all of them have robust upgrade trees to make them all the more effective against the many different enemy types.

There’s a generous offering of gadgets as well, including a modification that turns Clank into a jetpack and the Tresspasser device that grants Ratchet access to new areas through a hacking minigame. Items are arguably more important than the weapons, since a majority of each level is built to utilize different combinations of the items Ratchet has collected. In an effort to streamline the process, necessary items are automatically equipped to Ratchet via interaction points in each level, allowing you to focus on building up your weapon upgrades and tinkering with the guns that best suit your play style.

As a bonus, there are benefits to backtracking to older levels and using newfound items to gain access to previously unavailable areas. Although it maintains the same tight and restricted environments of its predecessors, there’s a great deal of verticality, hidden elements, and side objectives in each level to lend players more content to dig through.

Each environment features beautifully detailed worlds teeming with life.

A level’s objective flow sticks to its traditional format of visiting planets, defeating enemies, and moving on to save another planet in peril while continuing the story. While the objective rarely changes, however, the way things are accomplished do. One level may be a dogfight in the sky in which Ratchet has to take down enemy warships; another may be a smaller, more puzzle-focused challenge for Clank to resolve. They’re not as prevalent as the standard third-person shooter/platformer levels, but they do serve as a nice challenge in between.

Ratchet & Clank is delightfully self-aware. The story begins with an imprisoned Captain Qwark, the egomaniac leader of the Galactic Rangers with whom Ratchet has a somewhat colorful history. Throughout, Qwark narrates the story while telling a fellow inmate about how he first met Ratchet. Qwark is endearing for a narcissistic buffoon, and his narration is central to Ratchet & Clank’s charm. He’s sometimes unreliable, embellishing parts of the story to make it seem more grandiose and heroic. Other times, he comments on the player’s in-game actions with Ratchet, making small remarks about Ratchet’s lack of gadgets or movement, which is as entertaining as it is helpful.

He’s not the only standout performer, either. Virtually every character in the game has a generous amount of quirk poured into their personalities. After helping him repair his ship, one technician tells Ratchet he’ll see him in the next reboot. Another character is an aloof professional athlete with a demeanor not unlike competitors in the early years of the X-Games. And one of the main villains, Chairman Drek, is the wonderfully greedy and smarmy uber-executive he’s always been.

Ratchet celebrates accomplishing a lifelong dream.

The strength of each character is important, because the story itself is probably Ratchet & Clank’s weakest point. It’s a basic story about two hapless misfits who set out to achieve a dream and save the galaxy from catastrophe at the hands of greedy and mad antagonists. Other than a rushed and awkward ending, there’s nothing unforgivable about it. It just serves more as a vehicle for the characters who outshine everything else in the narrative.

Ratchet & Clank’s finest attribute is its visuals. Nearly everything about it is absolutely stunning, from the environmental design to the character animations. Each planet visited in-game looks different from any other, with brilliant color and texture popping on the screen. Characters’ distinct designs are borrowed from aspects of their personalities, from the goofy soul patch and sunglasses of Skid McMarx to the sickly pallor of the evil Chairman Drek.

The animations are beautiful, lending characters an elasticity in their movement, making them appear both cartoony and fluid. This, along with detailed particle effects and vibrant environments, make the game visually spectacular.

Ratchet & Clank is every bit as dynamic and fun as the 2002 original. It’s endearing and entertaining, a veritable power fantasy fueled by rockets and carried by specialty gadgets. Re-introducing a classic franchise to a new generation is a difficult task indeed, but Ratchet & Clank is a shining example of how it can be done.

 

 

Reviewed by:Cassidee Mosser

Nedbank introduces a service for businesses to register and open an account online

Nedbank, together with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), has introduced a fully automated service for business owners to register and open a bank account online. This is according to the ITweb.

According to the report, the ‘CIPC Online’ service will be available via nedbank.co.za. Both Nedbank and non-Nedbank clients starting a new company, wishing to formalise existing businesses or creating additional ones, can use the platform.

The ITweb states that,Nedbank is the fourth bank in the country to introduce the service. Trade and industry minister Rob Davies says now any South African citizen anywhere in the country can register online with any major bank.

Davies says the process of registering a business in this country has come a long way since he became minister. “It used to take 15 to 20 days and required people to stand in long queues to register manually at Cipro offices.”

He says the first big change came with the New Companies Act which said registering a business ought to be a seamless process and a simple form would suffice.

The minister notes that to achieve this, the department set about digitising the registration process, which had a lot of challenges but has finally come to fruition.

Davies says the first bank to start registering businesses online, First National Bank, is now registering up to 900 a month. Provided the future business owner has all the required documents and a good credit rating, the process of applying online could take as little as 20 minutes. The CIPC guarantees the complete process will not take more than three days.

Davies says the partnership extends the reach of government services to the most remote areas of the country, bridging the digital divide and making it easy to do business in South Africa.

A Nedbank group managing exec, Ciko Thomas, says: “Through our ongoing client engagements, we are cognisant that it has become increasingly difficult for start-ups to take off, particularly in their infancy when most businesses are more prone to fail.”

Typically, one of the first steps towards creating a small business is securing a company name, registering the company with the CIPC and obtaining a shareholder certificate. At this stage, a new business owner would also need to open a bank account to make and accept business-related payments and start building a credit record.

CIPC Online works for businesses with up to three directors, who are South African citizens.

The application fee for qualifying applicants is R175 (if there is no company name) to register a company. It will cost R125 without name registration.

Should an entrepreneur want to register a business with more directors, or if one of the directors is a foreign citizen, Nedbank will facilitate these registrations at the bank branches. Nedbank does not charge a facilitation fee for this service.-ITweb

Facebook Messenger updated with video chat and support for Drop box

Facebook has rolled out an update for its Messenger app. The social networking giant has introduced video chat heads and support for Dropbox to its Messenger app.Tech Times reports.

The reports states that,the video chat heads similar to the chat heads brings a floating on screen circle on the users’ device. This will enable the users to multi-task and also continue with the video chat at the same time. The user can place the floating circle anywhere on the screen by just holding and dropping it. The update is currently available only on Android, however, there is no word as to when the update will land on iOS platform.

According to the report,Facebook has also added Dropbox support to the Messenger, which will enable the users to directly share photos, videos and other files via the app. The users will now see a Dropbox icon, after clicking on the ‘More’ button in the Messenger app. With the Dropbox app installed on their smartphone, the user can share any file in their Dropbox without leaving the Messenger app. The users will now be able to share videos, images and even animated GIFs directly in their chats.

 

 

[Source:TechTimes]

How to send and receive money with Facebook Messenger money transfer

 

It’s true: You can use the Facebook Messenger app to send and receive money, PayPal-style.

Well, not quite — Messenger payments require a debit card on both ends of the transaction. But there’s no cost to use the service, which offers PIN-based protection and “industry-leading security,” according to Facebook.

Here’s how to get started:

Add a debit card to Facebook Messenger so you can send and receive money.

Step one: Add your debit card. In the Messenger app for Android, tap the Profile icon, then scroll down and tap Payments. In the iOS app, tap Settings, then Payments. Tap Add New Debit Card and complete that process.

Step two: Open a chat with the person you want to send money to or from whom you want to request money. Tap the little “more” icon in the toolbar; it’s the one with three dots in a rectangular box.

Step three: Tap Payments, then Next to bypass the info screen. By default, you’ll be in the Pay screen; enter an amount you want to pay that person and a note indicating what the payment is for. Then tap Pay and you’re done!

Step four: If you want to request money instead, tap Request at the top of the screen, enter the amount and reason, then tap the Request button to complete the process.

With either action, the transaction will appear as embedded item right inline with your existing chat. From there the recipient can either accept or deny just by tapping.

And that’s it! Assuming you and the people you know use debit cards, this is an awfully easy way to perform electronic transactions on the go. Awfully free, too.

 

[Source:CNET]

State of the Art Technology reveals a method to remove President Jacob Zuma from the internet

If you’d had enough of news about South African President Jacob Zuma, a new Chrome browser extension promises to provide some relief.

According to Fin24,digital artist Mitch Said has developed the ‘Fallen Zuma’ Google Chrome web browser extension that promises to remove all mentions of President Jacob Zuma from the internet.

“Corruption allegations, Constitutional Court rulings and popular outrage have all proved powerless – until now. Finally, state-of-the-art technology has revealed a method to remove President Zuma (from the internet),” says a description on the extension’s website.

“Add this Chrome extension for guaranteed Zuma-free browsing, and live in online world where Zuma has already fallen,” says the description.

Installing the extension results in the word Zuma falling and slipping away from the screen, only to be left by blank spaces.

Google Chrome is South Africa’s most popular web browser with a 48% market share according to figures from Statcounter.com.

The reports states that, the release of the web extension comes as Zuma has been on the receiving end of criticism following a recent Constitution Court ruling regarding his multi-million rand Nkandla homestead.

Calls have also been growing for Zuma to step down following a string of scandals.

 

 

http://www.fin24.com/

ANN7 employees may not get their salaries

There was fear and uncertainty among staff at Gupta-owned broadcaster ANN7 after they were told that they might not be getting their salaries. This is according to News24.

An employee at ANN7, who asked not named, said that staff were frightened and had been job hunting without any luck.

“Having ANN7 on our CV’s is a major blow because companies laugh when they call us for interviews,” she said.

“We were told by management at a meeting on Monday that we are getting our salaries at the end of the month. I think everyone is waiting for the 26th of this month to see if it actually happens.

“It’s like we went to school for nothing. Our journalistic integrity is … [done for],” she said.

In a letter to staff, Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa said the Gupta family had decided to step down from all executive and nonexecutive positions in the company following a period of “sustained political attack” on them and their businesses.

He said it was possible that salaries may not be paid, following the closing of bank accounts.

“The closure of our bank accounts has made it virtually impossible to continue to do business in South Africa,” Howa said in the letter.

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure this does not happen. We find it totally unacceptable that you, our employees, and your families, could potentially have to suffer as a result of the political campaign against us.”

According to the report, the letter was sent to News24 by an ANN7 staff member. It is believed the letter was sent to all staff working for companies under the Oakbay umbrella.

The letter followed an announcement by the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, that they were resigning from Oakbay Investments and Oakbay Resources and Energy.

Another staffer said that whoever was spreading rumours that ANN7 was going to close had no evidence of that. He said the Gupta brothers had only been friendly towards employees.

“Whenever I met Atul Gupta, he has only been nice to me. He calls me … [by] my first name, and that says a lot,” the staffer said.

On Sunday, City Press reported that Ajay and Atul Gupta, together with their wives and five of their assistants, had left South Africa for Dubai on Thursday evening. They were seen at Lanseria Airport “with a mountain of luggage”.

The family have recently been accused of influencing the appointment of ministers. Cabinet ministers are appointed by President Zuma, who is said to have close ties to the Gupta family.

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor claimed that the Guptas had offered her the position of public enterprises minister in 2010 while Zuma was in the other room at the family’s Saxonwold home.

Deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas has also claimed that the family offered him then-finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s job.

News24

DSTV adds 22 new channels

MultiChoice has added 22 new channels to DStv Now – bringing the total number of channels on the platform to 46, MyBroadBand reports.

“Since DStv Now launched, the number of channels available has been steadily expanding. Our customers expect to watch TV anywhere, anytime,” said DStv.

DStv Now can be accessed online or through its tablet and smartphone application. The app is free to download and is available to all DStv customers.

“Our live channels and Catch Up content is only available to DStv Premium customers with an active PVR.”

New channels on DStv Now

  • BBC Brit
  • BBC First
  • BBC Lifestyle
  • ITV Choice
  • Studio Universal
  • Universal
  • Africa Magic Family
  • Africa Magic Urban
  • Africa Magic Showcase
  • Africa Magic World
  • Lifetime
  • EVA
  • Telemundo
  • Zee World
  • History
  • BBC Earth
  • BBC World News
  • Nick Junior
  • Nick Toons
  • Cbeebies
  • Jim Jam
  • TRACE Urban