New Technology For A Better Life

I attended The Microsoft media event at their head offices on Friday the 24th of April, where I had my first hand experience on their latest devices and innovations.

Recent technology advances are aiming to improve customer’s health, lifestyle and experiences at both work and play.

Microsoft sees the need for increased productivity, accessibility and security innovation in the digital era that is constantly evolving, with the aim to provide more people than ever access to new tools.

Every day advances in technology are helping to improve people’s health, lifestyle, and experiences.

Microsoft has developed an array of hardware and software solutions, that seek to dramatically improve the lives of their customers.

One of my favorite innovations is the Maths Assist programme which helps students solve for X using their computer and for Xbox lovers, Microsoft has launched new controllers for people who are differently abled and enjoy gaming but find more traditional controllers prohibitive.

“We wanted to create more awareness of the advances we have made in computing, gaming and in ergonomic design as well as how they make our customers lives easier. We firmly believe that empowering every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more is more than just a mission statement; it defines how we design our products and how we approach innovation,” says Vithesh Reddy, Consumer and Device Sales Director at Microsoft South Africa.

We were given a first-hand experience of Microsoft’s latest devices and features, while also being exposed to advances in ergonomics for wellbeing in computing, and new computing capabilities designed to increase productivity and accessability for both work and play.

“Our productivity tools across Office and Windows allow for improved collaboration through file sharing, smarter research, task management, and synchronisation as well as increased comfort thanks to ergonomic design. We have upgraded safety through increased encryption and better levels of security on email and internet browsing. Finally, our inclusive design approach has helped us ensure that our products are more accessible, making gaming, Office and Windows functionality more accessible to many more people around the world,” says Vithesh Reddy.

Improved productivity for Office and Windows:

Some of the key advances in productivity include:
• QuickStarter: A research tool which helps you build PowerPoint presentations in minutes.
• Math Assist: A OneNote feature that allows you to solve complex mathematics equations quickly, and shows you step-by-step instructions that help you learn how – perfect for parents helping their kids with homework.
• Researcher: Helps you find and cite reliable sources for your research paper from within Word in just a few steps.
• Real-Time Co-Authoring: Allows you to collaborate online and in real time on Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, leading to increased productivity in the workplace.
• OneDrive Sharing: A productivity tool that allows you to store files, share them, give permission to view or edit them and work together on files at the same time.
• Timeline for Windows: Shows a history of activities you’ve performed over the last few weeks and synchronises your activities across your PCs allowing you to easily pick up a task where you left off.

Microsoft has also used the latest in ergonomics to develop the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop keyboard and mouse to eliminate strain on hands for those working long hours.

Vithesh Reddy highlighted the importance of using the correct hardware to optimise performance.

“Many PCs still use Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage which hinders performance. Customers who want to optimise the performance of their devices should consider Solid State Drive (SSD) storage, which speeds up performance, boot-ups, battery life, and also has higher longevity.”

Addressing data safety:

The safety of applications and devices is a key focus for Microsoft. OneDrive security has improved functions such as two-factor authentication and advanced virus protection which, when used in conjunction with Office 365 which gives its users 1TB of included storage, means improved security of your data on the cloud.

Improved email safety includes the new do not forward email and protected email encryption functionality. Family protection for Windows limits account access to certain websites and content helping families protect their children from viewing sensitive material and content online and Windows Defender protects users from malware and viruses.

Xbox has also implemented Family Safety which allows parents to filter-out age restricted games and content.

Accessibility for all:

Microsoft’s approach to design centres around being as inclusive as possible with the aim of providing everyone with access to technology.

Solutions such as Narrator, colour filters, Mono Audio options, speech interaction with Windows, and eye tracking make using Windows easier for people faced with various disabilities.

Xbox has also been made more accessible thanks to co-pilot, a solution which allows two controllers to act as one, meaning any two people can control the same character on-screen, as well as the adaptive controller, designed to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility.

In Office, dictation, which allows you type using your voice on Word, Touch input which allows for touchscreen inputting of information and ReadAloud, a speech to text app, are also helping to create accessibility.

Says Vithesh Reddy: “Microsoft will continue to look for new ways to improve our customer’s lives through innovation. We are determined to continuously develop inclusive technology that protects our customers’ sensitive information and empowers as many people as possible.”

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“Been At My Lowest But I Still Show Up”

Have you ever reached a point in your life where everything was happening at the same time, both the good and the bad but mostly the bad but you can’t afford to break down because you still have to show up for work, school or to your business? Well, at this very moment I am in that state.

A few days ago, I was telling one of my friends that I can’t believe that we’ve reached a stage in our lives where no matter what we are going through we have to ‘show up’. A lot of things happened in the past couple of months that have deeply hurt me and also changed the way I look at life. My brother’s sudden death being the worst of it all.

I always talk about the importance of taking care of ones mental health. It helps you deal with challenges that you face in life a bit better.

I took part in The Shield Roundtable event a few days after my brother’s passing, a lot of people wondered why I went because even the team at Shield would have understood if I didn’t show up. The one thing I learnt from being depressed as a teenager is that you have to be mentally strong as a person and not let grief consume or discourage you from the things you have to do.

You have to train your mind to focus. Grieving is hard because you have to deal with denial, anger, confusion and loss. I felt all these things at once but I knew Sanele would have wanted me to go there and represent a brand that does something that I have always done which is giving back to the community through Sports.

I have also learnt how to control my emotions. I breakdown if I have to but still get back up and finish whatever task I’m busy with. I have days where I don’t even leave the house let alone do anything for the whole day. There are also days where I feel like there’s a sharp pain in my heart but guess what? I still show up as the best version of myself and that on its own has kept me going.

If there is one thing that I can advice people to always do, is to ‘Get up, dress up and show up’ everything else will fall into place.

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When Life Gets Blurry Adjust Your Focus

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Last year in October I resigned from my previous job. It was both a professional and personal decision.

On a professional front I felt like I wasn’t growing and I needed more. I have always wanted to be a sports journalist but my job had nothing to do with sports or journalism.

I sat myself down and started thinking about what I wanted to be in the next two years. That’s when I realized that journalism was more than just a career for me, it’s my calling.

I was called into this world to change people’s lives whether through my writing or through sports and education.

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After resigning, I started freelancing as a Sports Journalist. Freelancing is no child’s play as you are never sure whether the client will pay on time or not. The last three months of 2018 were hell.

I decided to move back home in December. Not permanently but I needed to spend some time with my loved ones and reflect on what went wrong.

The energy at home is beautiful, so you kind of regain your strength. I convinced my big sister to start jogging with me since she was complaining about her weight gain but not doing anything about it.

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I then decided to start writing again. The first article I wrote was for Gareth Marshall’s website, where I was talking about how we need to adopt the mind of an athlete when it comes to business.

A few weeks after that I got a call from Shield South Africa and they wanted to partner with me for this year’s Shield Sibonis’ iDiski Campaign.

I did write about the campaign last year on my old website and promoted it on my social media pages for free. I did it pro bono because firstly football development is my passion. I also wanted to get to know more about Shield as a brand and how they work. Exposure is not so bad if you align yourself with the right brand. You always have to ask yourself if the Partnership between you and the brand will benefit either of you in the right way, it was easy for me to do it with Shield since they are about football development and fitness, which is basically what I am about as well.

I have also had two of my articles published by Kick Off Magazine on their website. The first one was with the former Banyana Banyana player Simphiwe Dludlu, who is now the National Under-17 women’s team coach and the second one was with the Banyana Banyana Head Coach, Desiree Ellis.

I did all this while working from my grandmother’s couch using my phone to write, do my research and send emails. I am not always inspired to write but I push myself to write almost everyday because I want to be one of the best sports journalists in the world. Do no wait for inspiration to hit you, do not wait for the right moment, don’t wait for circumstances to change. I achieved so much in “rock bottom” than I ever did in an air conditioned office with a Mac Book.

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Pictures were shot by: @bhekimthembu_

Makeup done by: @maxmnguni

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My Skin Care Journey With Skin Renewal

Happy Monday!

What an amazing weekend at home, I needed to take a break from the city and just relax with my loved ones. I got a lot of compliments back home regarding my skin. I have had acne for 10 years and last month I decided to take the first step and meet with Dr Mareen Allem at Skin Renewal in Morningside.

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She put me on two facial products and a night cream which I use everyday and has to stop 3 days before my treatment.

I went to the clinic last week on Thursday for my first treatment. I first did The Azelan Chemical peel which takes about 3 minutes. It helps the skin by lifting off dead cells. My skin was still peeling 4 days after the treatment but my therapist suggested that I don’t touch my face so that it will stop scaring.

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The second treatment was Carboxytherapy which is known as “Carboxy”. This is when they inject carbon Dioxide just underneath your skin which helps with stimulating circulation and collagen production which improves the appearance of your skin. Injecting Carbon Dioxide also makes your body think there oxygen deficit and it responds with increasing the blood flow. This treatment takes about 10 minutes.

The last procedure was The Laser Genesis which takes about 15 minutes. This procedure has been proven to produce new collagen. This procedure also helps with improving results for skin problems such as deep wrinkles, acne and superficial scarring.

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One thing I like about all these treatments/procedures is that they do not have any side effects. I just have to use a face balm for 5 days after the treatments and stop using my face products 3 days before my treatments. If you have noticed most of these procedures mostly help with producing new collagen. Collagen is found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. It’s helps give our skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells.

It also helps with improving the health of our skin and hair.

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Spring Shopping At Cotton On

Happy Monday! I don’t know about you but it seems like we have been waiting for Spring since forever. It’s finally here though which is good on our end.

With the flowers blossoming and the sun shining brightly, I thought it would be wise for me to join in on the fun and try to find something that will also make me shine! So what’s better than visiting the only people who know how to make people shine, and in the process I also found my new favourite colour.

I know, I know I am too old to be getting new favourite colours but I’m dark skinned so I never thought yellow will ever look good on me. Which is why I was also amazed it could look good on me, that of course was until about three weeks ago when I went to Cotton On in Rosebank and found the Soho T-shirt.

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Oh, another exciting thing about spring is that we get to wear our shorts again. I really fell in love with this high-waisted short also from Cotton On, I like the leopard print details on the sides. The checked shirt I got from the men’s section. I’m 100% sure that it doesn’t come as a surprise to most of you that I took a shirt from the men’s section since I’ve always been a Tom boy. The socks finish off the look nicely because of the yellow stripes as well.

Furthermore, on top of the great clothes that I always find at Cotton On, one thing that keeps me going back to their stores is the feeling I get whenever I walk through the door. It feels more like a homecoming in a way. Having spoken to some of the customers there, they pretty much feel the same too. It’s a place where people of all shapes and sizes, personalities and backgrounds are welcome.

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