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Interview: Sophos's Paul Ducklin on WhatsApp security

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Paul Ducklin from British security company Sophos about the news that WhatsApp has been targeted by an advanced "cyber actor", who exploited the software’s voice calling feature.
The exploit allowed attackers to potentially install malicious code on targeted users' smartphones.
Ducklin explains what we know so far about the security exploit, who is behind it and how it's been used, and why users must urgently install the latest version of WhatsApp.
How concerned should ordinary users be about the exploit, how do they check if they've been compromised and should they be considering alternatives to the ubiquitous instant messaging platform?
Don't miss the discussion.

Interview: Axiz CTO Jacques Malherbe on the changing role of distribution

In this promoted episode of the TechCentral podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Axiz chief technology officer Jacques Malherbe on how the ICT distribution industry is changing significantly.
Driven by the growth of cloud computing, digital transformation and a less comprehensive role being played by original equipment manufacturers, the relationship between these vendors, their distributors and resellers is being shaken up radically.
In the podcast, Malherbe explains how all the big vendors globally are changing their business approach -- from one where there were “super active” in the entire value chain to one where they are shrinking into their core businesses, in the process moving a lot of their activities to distribution partners.
They are asking distribution to do market-making, to have enablement technical resources and provide other support services. At the same time, corporate customers are shrinking their IT departments.
All of this has a big impact on the profit margins for distributors, as vendors shed their service offerings. It also affects how and where distributors must invest. This has drastic implications not only for the IT distribution channel but for the broader IT ecosystem in South Africa.
In the South African context, government is shifting spend from the big systems integrators into the small, medium and micro enterprise segment, leading to a big shift in the sector. Malherbe explains how Axiz hopes to help SMMEs participate in the market more actively and meaningfully.

Interview: BBD director Gus Pringle on SA's IT skills crunch

In this promoted episode of the TechCentral podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews BBD director Gus Pringle about the IT skills challenge in South Africa and the work that the company is doing to try to mitigate the problem.
Pringle explains that no matter how many IT skills are developed, this is never enough to fill all the positions available – an unfortunate dichotomy in a country with a severe rate of unemployment.
In the podcast, Pringle talks about the work that BBD is doing to develop new skills, including its initiative with WeThinkCode. He explains where the demand for skills in coming from, the sort of talent needed by corporate South Africa and the skills mismatch in terms of what’s available and what employers are looking for.
BBD, whose employees typically work on bespoke and complex systems, says developer skills are in high demand, are easily able to job hop for higher pay or simply emigrate – the latter having become a major challenge, particularly in the past six months, with a spike in talented coders leaving the country.
Pringle expands on BBD’s initiatives to retain talent, including setting up operations in markets favoured by South African expatriates, and bemoans the difficulty involved in getting talent from overseas into the country.
The conversation then turns to what schools and universities are doing right – and wrong – in nurturing fresh talent for the sector. What should they be doing to encourage talented youngsters and prepare them for the world of work?
Finally, Pringle talks about the challenge of bringing more female skills into the IT industry and why it’s important that the sector becomes less male dominated.
It’s a great discussion – don’t miss it.

TalkCentral: Ep 257 - 'Breaking the Fold'

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod and Regardt van der Berg take to YouTube for their first-ever live video discussion to talk about Samsung's breaking Galaxy Fold smartphone.
What do Samsung's problems mean for the future of foldable phones - and will anyone buy a Fold in light of the problems experienced by early reviewers?
Also on the show this week, there's plenty of news in the world of consoles; BBM is dead; and Apple and Qualcomm smoke the peace pipe.
Listen to the show to find out who's been picked as winner and loser of the week.
Duncan's technology pick is the Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ear Bluetooth headphones, while Regardt doesn't have a pick this week.
WhatsApp the show on 0719991111 - voice notes may be used on air.
Apologies for the slightly poorer audio quality in this week's episode - it will be back to normal in our next show.

Interview: Seacom Business South Africa GM Grant Parker

In the third of a series of promoted podcasts with Seacom, TechCentral’s Duncan McLeod talks to Seacom Business South Africa GM Grant Parker about the “smoke and mirrors” of the country’s Internet market.
Parker kicks off the discussion with a look back at the development of the Internet industry in South Africa over the past 10 years, and the impact that Seacom has had in bringing meaningful competition to the sector.
It’s clear that the South African Internet market has come of age, and consumers -- especially business customers -- are benefiting from plummeting prices, increased speeds and a vast array of package choices.
But, as Parker explains in the podcast, not all offerings are created equal, and businesses need to do their research to ensure that what they’re getting what they pay for.
“This golden age of the Internet access has a dark underbelly, with many too-good-to-be-true promises proving to be just that,” Parker wrote in a recent column. “There are a lot of smoke and mirrors in the sector, with providers easily winning customers via impressive offers, and then disappointing when the actual experience falls short.”
He explained that in a cluttered and competitive sector, deciding on a broadband contract and Internet service provider can be “incredibly confusing”.
“When rival products look the same, it’s not uncommon for providers to promise the earth in terms of ‘speeds and feeds’ to win a sale -- only to hide behind the service-level description when the customer is dissatisfied. Service-level agreements, which may include penalties for early agreement terminations, also help more nefarious providers get away with providing an inferior service.”
Broken promises typically hinge on “breakage” models widely

Interview: Dominic Cull on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill

In this episode, TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod is joined by Regardt van der Berg for an interview with Dominic Cull on the contentious Films and Publications Amendment Bill, which may soon be signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Cull, who is a legal and regulatory expert with Ellipsis and regulatory advisor to the Internet Service Providers' Association, has been intimately involved in lobbying to have the bill extensively redrafted. However, it still contains serious flaws, Cull says, which could have a serious impact on content creators and ISPs in South Africa.
In the podcast, Cull explains the origins of the impending legislation and why the original Films and Publications Act had to be updated for the Internet age. While the amendment bill has some good aspects to it, he warns that the final version now awaiting the president's signature is badly drafted, is likely to face constitutional challenge if enacted and could prove harmful in several key respects.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the bill is that it fails to draw a clear line between commercial and non-commercial providers of content. It also places onerous conditions on ISPs and demands high fees from content distributors, which Cull says will hurt smaller players.
What are the biggest problems with the impending legislation? Is it simply a revenue-raising exercise for the Film and Publication Board (FPB)? How does it affect people posting content to the Web, including YouTube, which hasn't been classified by the FPB? Does the bill constitute legislative overreach? And will it ultimately have a chilling effect on free speech?
Cull answers these questions and more in the podcast. Don't miss this important discussion about a critical piece of legislation and what happens next.

Interview: Pinnacle Dell EMC brand manager Ricky Pereira

In this promoted episode of the podcast, TechCentral talks to Ricky Pereira, Dell EMC brand manager at Pinnacle, about how companies are using hyperconverged infrastructure to solve their complex IT challenges.
In the podcast, Pereira talks about Dell EMC’s VxRail appliance solution, which helps companies virtualise their IT infrastructure, in the process reducing complexity and making it easier to manage IT resources.
Pereira explains the concept of a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platform, and the benefits it offers to businesses trying to manage disparate legacy systems. As part of companies’ digital transformation journeys, he explains how VxRail can help them get ready for the era of cloud computing.
The interview touches on the impact that HCI can have on businesses’ IT costs, while delving into how it can make disaster recovery much more effortless.
Lastly, Pereira explains how Pinnacle works with Dell EMC and its channel partners to go to market with the solution.

Interview: Kwese Free TV's Zolile Ntukwana

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Econet Media group regulatory affairs executive Zolile Ntukwana about the new licensed free-to-air television provider Kwese Free TV, for which he is spokesman.
Kwese Free TV was awarded a licence from communications regulator Icasa last week to launch a free-to-air terrestrial service - the first such licence to be granted in South Africa since was licensed more than 20 years ago.
Econet Media owns 20% of Kwese Free TV, while Royal Bafokeng Metix and Mosong Capital own the remaining 80%.
In the podcast, Ntukwana explains why the consortium bid for the licence, its launch plans and the channels it intends offering.
Kwese Free TV has been given 55% of what is known as digital Mux 3 - a chunk of radio frequency spectrum that it plans to use to offer half a dozen channels, including a high-definition sports channel.
Ntukwana explains why Kwese believes there is room in the market for another terrestrial television player, what it still has to do before it's ready for launch and how consumers will be able to receive the broadcasts.
Don't miss this discussion.

Interview: Standard Bank Group CIO Alpheus Mangale

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod speaks to Standard Bank Group chief information officer Alpheus Mangale about its big announcement on Wednesday that it has selected Amazon Web Services as its preferred cloud provider.
Standard Bank plans to shift various production workloads, including its customer-facing platforms, to the cloud, it said.
The banking group will also move “strategic core banking applications” to AWS systems. It will “leverage AWS services, including data analytics and machine learning, to automate financial operations and enhance customer-facing Web and mobile applications”.
Mangale explains the reason for the decision, how its multibillion-rand investment in SAP's core banking software in South Africa in recent years has allowed it to do it and ultimately what it will mean for Standard Bank customers.
He talks about the regulatory implications, too, and what it will mean for the re-skilling of Standard Bank IT staff.
Read the full story about the partnership between Standard Bank and Amazon Web Services on TechCentral:

Interview: Seacom chief commercial officer Steve Briggs

In the second of a series of promoted podcasts with Seacom, TechCentral's Duncan McLeod talks to chief commercial officer Steve Briggs about how technology is reshaping society.
The conversation touches the digital divide - especially in the South African context - and what can be done to address it. This divide is not only about access to the Internet, but also to work opportunities and growth in an environment where technology skills are increasingly prized by business.
Automation and digital processes are transforming businesses, and Briggs believes this could ultimately have a very real social impact. Are we rushing blindly into this future without giving sufficient thought to the potential consequences?
Briggs talks about how the concept of work is changing, how new skills will be needed as business transforms for the digital era and the impact this will have on employment and employability.
The conversation touches on the concept of a universal basic income grant and whether it has to a role to play in avoiding social unrest and other problems that might emerge as the world moves to the so-called fourth Industrial Revolution.
Briggs talks about the impact of social media, why it's not necessarily a force for good, the impact on democracy and the role of government regulation. He explains why he believes it's ultimately up to ordinary citizens to escape the echo chambers that social media platforms tend to reinforce.

Interview: ZimboCash's Philip Haslam

In this episode of the TechCentral podcast, Duncan McLeod speaks to Philip Haslam, one of the people behind ZimboCash, a company that is building an alternative national currency for the troubled Zimbabwean economy.
Built on a blockchain, the idea behind the cryptocurrency is to help ordinary Zimbabweans escape the clutches of hyperinflation, which is once again menacing the country’s economy.
Haslam, who has co-authored a book on the Zimbabwean economic meltdown with economist Russell Lamberti called When Money Destroys Nations, speaks about why and how Zimbabwe got itself into trouble and the recent developments that once again threaten the impoverished Southern African nation.
How does ZimboCash work, how is the company working to ensure it become trusted and used by ordinary Zimbabweans, and what impact could it have on the country if it takes off as expected?
It’s a fascinating discussion about concepts such as quantitative easing, hyperinflation, money printing, blockchain, crypto and the future of money. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Ari Kahn speaks out on the 'please call me' saga

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod is joined by Ari Kahn, the former MTN contractor who invented and patented the "Callme" service while working at the mobile operator.
Kahn, who Vodacom recently admitted came up with the idea on which its own "please call me" service is based, provides an in-depth overview of how he conceived of and developed Callme, why and how he patented it, how MTN implemented it, and why Vodacom's rival "please call me" offering, launch soon after Callme, was basically a clone of the MTN service.
He sets out the timeline of events that led to the MTN launch and speculates about why the operator didn't enforce its patent after Vodacom's launch of "please call me". MTN eventually allowed the patent to lapse, which Kahn describes in the podcast as "shocking" and an "almost wilful destruction of property".
Kahn, who now lives in California, says the concept that former Vodacom employee Nkosana Makate came up with and presented to his bosses was very different to the MTN offering and not what Vodacom eventually implemented. He explains why he doesn't believe Makate is entitled to compensation for "please call me" and advises him to take Vodacom's "overwhelmingly generous" offer - said to be R49-million - because if he continues to pursue the case in the courts, he "stands to lose everything".

182 episodes

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