Author: Brett Venter

South Africa continues its contribution to the research of outer space. But BOOTES 6, the new robotic optical telescope set to go active sometime next month, isn’t hosted in the Karoo. Instead, the observation hardware lives just outside Bloemfontein. BOOTES 6 will go active at the University of Bloemfontein’s Boyen Observatory in mid-July. It forms part of a larger Burst Observer and Optical Transient Exploring System. There are five other locations around the world taking part in the project. Two are in Spain, with one facility each in China, Mexico, and New Zealand. South Africa is the next to go…

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If you’re not aware that Sonos makes some pretty good audio gear, what possessed you to start reading this review? If, on the other hand, you’re a little curious about how the new Sonos Ray compact soundbar performs, you’ve come to the right place. The Sonos Ray is the Sonos Beam’s little brother. By which we mean, it’s literally younger. And it’s smaller. And also, it’s somewhat underdeveloped. But that’s more or less fine because it’s also not as expensive as the full-on Beam or Beam 2. But is it worth your money? Ray of sunshine Sonos’ newest soundbar arrives…

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Suzuki and Toyota have a new hybrid vehicle destined for Africa shortly, as well as other locations around the world. The two Japanese automakers have confirmed that production will soon start on a new hybrid SUV. The vehicle will be made at one of Toyota’s plants in India, based on a design by Suzuki. Production will start in August this year. The vehicle will go on sale in India, as well as other export locations. Africa is one of those locations, but whether South Africa is part of that list isn’t known yet. Suzuki-Toyota? Toyuki? Suzota? For now, the focus…

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UPDATE: Well, that was quick. Load shedding Stage 4 kicks in from 11 AM this morning. It’ll continue until midnight this evening. Saturday and Sunday will see Stage 4 continue from 5 AM to midnight. Officially, Eskom is attempting to save fuel reserves in case of emergencies. But the strike is also having an effect, prompting the utility to warn that constrained electricity availability could continue for the next few weeks. Sounds like winter has finally arrived. #POWERALERT1 To conserve emergency generation reserves, loadshedding will be implemented to Stage 4 from 11:00 am until midnight tonight. pic.twitter.com/IHv6sLVuqt — Eskom Hld…

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All right, you horologists out there. Time for something a bit more expensive than usual. In a world where prices in excess of R200,000 are considered normal, the Diver x Skeleton Black is something special. It’s more than twice as expensive, for a start. Part of that has to do with the brand name — Ulysse Nardin. There are also 23 jewels in the blasted thing. The other bit has to do with scarcity. There are only 175 timepieces on offer worldwide. Which is a missed opportunity, in our books. Since the watch uses the company’s UN-372 Manufacture movement, which…

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Quite often you’ll order something from eBay at a hefty price, only to discover that you were sent a valueless box of crap. It kinda makes sense that the online auction house is pivoting to NFTs, then. And that’s official. eBay has bought established NFT marketplace KnownOrigin for an undisclosed sum. The point is to fold it into its existing business model. To “…remain a leading site as our community is increasingly adding digital collectibles,” according to eBay CEO Jamie Iannone. eBay learning the value of an NFT KnownOrigin has been around since 2018. In that time, it has done…

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MeerKAT, if you’ve been paying attention, is South Africa’s newest radio telescope array. Part of the ongoing Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, this bit is up and running earlier than its counterparts. As such, it’s already out there, doing science. MeerKAT’s most recent feat is combining multiple observational instruments into one. It’s done this before, of course. And the whole point of the SKA project is to do it much more often. It’ll eventually link with its Australian partner to monitor the skies more effectively. It’s already doing this, though, by combining 64 radio telescope dishes into a single unit.…

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More and more South Africans are considering solar power — for obvious reasons. The largest obstacle is the price. Well, what if you could get your solar power via an app. Sounds weird, right? Solar specialist WiSolar reckons it has the idea figured out, though. WiSolar has a plan to launch pre-paid solar power via an app, that will launch in SA in July. Much like a pre-paid electricity meter, it’ll allow users to purchase power by the kWh. But there are a few glaring questions — like where this solar power is going to come from. Plus, how much…

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Scarface is roaming South Africa, keeping an eye out for criminal activity. At least, that’s what its purveyors, the Bidvest Protea Coin group, claim its facial recognition system is being used for. The company has detailed how its Scarface artificial intelligence (AI) system works. It’s… possibly a little concerning, given the current attitude to facial recognition in countries that aren’t China. ‘Say hello to my little friend’ – Scarface, probably Scarface isn’t anything physical. It’s a software tool, designed to work in conjunction with cameras. If you live in SA’s major centres, you’ve likely seen surveillance cameras increasingly turning up.…

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So you had your week all figured out. Load shedding was going to come and go at predictable times, and you would manage to work around them. Well, guess what? That’s not the world you live in. That’s right, the prince of darkness has struck again. Stage 2 load shedding has been extended for South Africa for the rest of the week. It’ll kick off today from 10 AM, and continue through until midnight. Then, it’s back from 5 AM till midnight, all the way to Sunday. You’ve got time to replan those now useless plans, then. Load shedding returns…

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