16 July  2018

South Africans were well represented at the top echelons of world sports last weekend. At Sachsenring, Germany, former Moto 3 world champion Brad Binder was victorious for the first time in a Moto 2 race, just a day after having re-signed with KTM for the 2019 season. On Wimbledon Centre Court, Kevin Anderson  battled it out for the most prestigious tennis title in existence after having barged his way into the final through a gruelling quarterfinal and semi-final, the latter of which was the longest match ever on Wimbledon centre court. His energy had clearly been sapped by the elimination rounds, and he succumbed to Novak Djokovic, but he was a credit to his country nonetheless.

If you're a mobile phone launch junkie, keep an eye or two peeled for Xiaomi's upcoming event for the Mi Mix 3.  The new big 'un is set to be introduced to the adoring masses on 19 July, and it seems that it will, amongst others, sport some serious electrical whammy in the form of a 5 500 mAh battery. This one has all the potential of becoming another market favourite.
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There was a time when those that had a financial stake in BlackBerry were sorely motivated to head for the exits. The company did not sit down and mutely accept its fate, though. It installed a new CEO in the guise of John Chen, reimagineered their product offering, unearthed profit centres in software services and in-car systems, and gradually won the trust of the market again. All of this culminated in a low-key Mr Chen being able to confidently declare that the company has turned the corner, and is sitting pretty, with no major financial headaches, and north of $1 billion in the bank.
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You'd have to have been pretty well hidden under a rock or in a (non Thai) cave for the last few months to not be aware of the tariffs bluster and emerging trade wars fueled by His Hairiness.  China is being tariffed by US authorities, although the selfsame tyr .. we mean president is happy to tout the return of ZTE after having received a welcome $500m Chinese-funded cash injection in an Asian project of course -- but we digress. The question is how far a looming trade war will affect China or indeed be transferred to US consumers as what effectively becomes a tax. In the case of Apple, it seems, the Chinese manufacturing side won't be much affected. Alternet estimates that China makes less than $9.00 on the manufacture of an iPhone, which is pitifully low, considering the investment and work that goes into it. The great bulk of the profit, it seems, goes into having a partially-eaten fruit logo affixed to the thing.
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Remaining with pomaceous matters for a while, Apple of course does not only manufacture mobile phones.  In fact the company's heritage lies with products somewhat bigger, and computers still form a large part of their activities. The release of a new Macbook Pro invariably has the Applisti sporting satisfied grins, and the new 15 incher is sure to satisfy in the specification stakes, although the $6 699 price tag might induce some heartburn. So let's focus on the positive and mention the specs, shall we? A six core Intel i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and 4TB of SSD storage. Pretty butch. The wheeze-whirr-clank editorial machine will appear positively medieval in comparison.
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Locomotion is always part of our story, whether it be interesting cars (nowadays heading more and more into the electric and autonomous direction), motorcycles moving at speed, or, indeed, bicycles. One might think that whatever could have been invented bicycle-wise has already been done, but no, there will always be someone tinkering on the proverbial better mousetrap. This exciting development looks at replacing the venerable chain drive with an intricate-looking, but apparently very effective shaft drive system. The inventors claim that their system is lighter, more durable and more effective, translating more of the leg power into actual forward motion. It is a visual engineering delight, that much we can attest to.
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In the last two weeks we made mention twice of the amazing story of perseverance  and rescue unfolding in Thailand, and our Winner of the Week story features another dramatic tale of survival. For Andrea Hernandez, Friday the 13th proved to be very fortuitous indeed, for this is the day on which she was found by hikers at the bottom of a cliff. Her vehicle had plunged down the 200 foot drop a week before, and she miraculously survived the crash. She was injured, but stayed alive by drinking water from the vehicle's radiator. Fortunately, the story had a good outcome, and this is as good a way as any to start the week.
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