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Donald Trump blames D.C. government for parade delay

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President Donald Trump blamed the Washington, D.C., government Friday for his decision to cancel a proposed military parade – though many federal officials also raised concerns about the cost and logistics.

“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it,” Trump tweeted. “When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up!”

Trump also announced he would attend the smaller parade already scheduled for Joint Base Andrews, as well as Nov. 11 parade in Paris to mark 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

“Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN,” Trump tweeted. “Now we can buy some more jet fighters!”

Trump’s attendance at Paris military parade last year inspired him to call for an American version, now postponed because of ever-rising costs.

U.S. officials on Thursday put the potential cost at up to $92 million, some $80 million more than initially estimated – cited expenses for aircraft, equipment, personnel and security, not charges from the Washington, D.C., government as claimed by Trump.

In a statement, the Pentagon said “the Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I. We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”

Some military groups welcomed the decision.

“The parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veterans Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible,” the American Legion said.

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Adapt IT increases dividend by 25% on improved turnover

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JSE-listed software provider Adapt IT, on Thursday (16 August) reported its financial results for the year ended June 2018, showing a 36% turnover increase, to R1.35 billion with organic growth from continuing operations being 13% and acquisitive growth contributing 30%.

Headline earnings per share was up 14% to 66.97 cents, from 58.76 cents in 2017, with normalised HEPS up 11% to 87.59 cents per share.

Additionally, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 39% to R270 million, while profit before interest and tax (PBIT) grew 45% to R218 million.

Profit attributable to equity shareholders grew 38%, while the weighted average number of shares in issue grew 5% over the prior period.

The group declared a dividend per share of 17.10 cents, up 25% from 13.70 cents in 2017.

“Adapt IT’s diversified growth strategy has contributed positively to above-industry turnover growth during the reporting period,” said Adapt IT CEO, Sbu Shabalala.

“Our Pan-African market focus on software sales also assisted with the improvement in organic growth, while the company’s strategic entry into the hospitality sector, through acquisition, was additive.”

The acquisitive growth contribution of 30% comprised mainly of the Micros South Africa hospitality group acquisition, which was consolidated with effect from 1 July 2017.

Micros has a talented team of over 300 employees, providing world-class solutions for the hospitality industry. The hospitality division supports business-critical processes by providing best-of-breed software solutions to 4,200 hotel, retail and food and beverage outlets in 18 countries, Shabalala said.

He noted that Adapt IT initiated a share buyback programme to take advantage of the ADI share recently having been undervalued. Since 1 July 2017, Adapt IT repurchased 9.3 million shares or 5.8% of the issued shares, at a weighted average price of 784 cents per share, utilising cash of R73 million.

“Adapt IT is a well-diversified software business providing solutions that enable customers to achieve more. We aim to continue delivering growth and returns, which are above the sector average, in line with our 2020 annualised revenue target of R3 billion and beyond,” Shabalala said.

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Amazon vs Showmax vs Netflix – these are the streaming options top South African tech people are using

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Local research firm BMIT has released its Digital Lifestyle Measure (DLM) report, looking at the digital lifestyles of South Africans.

The DLM segmentation was created by BMIT in 2008 to classify consumers based on the extent of their digital lifestyles.

Consumers are scored by answering a list of questions about their personal digital activities, as well as the technologies within their household.

Each consumer then receives a total DLM score, which then indicates which of the 5 DLM segments they fall into. DLM 1 consumers are considered ‘low-tech’ consumers, while DLM 5 consumer are considered ‘high-tech’ consumers.

Over 1,500 interviews were conducted, with sample weighted against the urban population that have at least cellphone internet access.

Digital media usage

One of they key focuses of the survey was digital media usage in South Africa.

The survey found that the incidence of having DStv at home increases with DLM, from 44% of DLM 1 consumers having DStv at home, up to 63% of DLM 5 consumers having DStv at home.

In addition the type of DStv package a consumer is on is correlated with DLM, with higher DLM 5 consumers being most likely to be on Premium.

The survey found that awareness of digital streaming services also increases significantly with DLM.

While 45% of DLM 1 consumers are unaware of any digital streaming service, only 3% of DLM 5 consumers have not heard of any of them. 93% of DLM 5 are aware of Showmax, while 90% are aware of Netflix.

When comparing the usage of streaming services to DLM, the survey found that among DLM 5 consumers 62% have a Netflix subscription, while 51% have a Showmax subscription.

Upper DLM consumers were also much more likely to have all types of technology in their home, with 90% of DLM 5 consumers saying they have a home laptop, and 58% saying that they own a Smart TV.

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9 of the biggest new technologies and products from Google

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Google introduced new products and technology upgrades at its annual developer conference on Tuesday that showed the internet giant lagging behind Apple and Amazon.com in some areas – while driving home its superiority in artificial intelligence.

Robot Calling Human

The feature that got the most attention on the first day of the I/O developer show was called Duplex.

It’s part of the Google Assistant, a voice-controlled system that answers questions and performs an increasing array of tasks on command.

It competes with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. A demonstration on stage showed Google’s Assistant calling small businesses to book appointments.

A Google executive asked the system to make a restaurant reservation and when a human there picked up the phone, the software discussed different times, the number of seats and other details with the unsuspecting employee.

Duplex is launching as an experiment soon, the company said. Google Assistant also is getting some new voices, including musician John Legend’s.

Gmail Will Write Your Emails

Duplex relies on AI, a type of software that learns automatically from data, rather than having to be hand-coded.

Google has been developing machine learning, computer vision, natural language understanding and other forms of AI for at least a decade and is considered a leader in the field.

AI powers many of the other new products and features Google showed off on Tuesday, including Smart Compose for Gmail.

This technology predicts the next words or phrases as people type an email. It takes Gmail a step further beyond Smart Replies, a feature from a few years ago which suggests appropriate responses to emails.

A New AI Chip

Google introduced version 3.0 of its Tensor Processor Unit, a chipset designed in-house for handling all these data-heavy AI tasks.

The new version is eight times more powerful than last year’s and it is water-cooled rather than air-cooled. Older TPUs are available for outside companies to rent through Google’s cloud-computing business. But for now, only Google gets to use the latest version.

Maps Gets an AR Upgrade

The company introduced a Visual Positioning System, a new way for people to find their way around with Maps using their phone cameras and Google’s augmented-reality and computer-vision technology.

The feature tackles a common problem when using Google Maps for walking directions: It’s not always clear which way to walk initially. Now users will be able to raise their phones and see an image of the street with a large arrow pointing the correct way.

The Maps application also got some functionality similar to Apple Maps and Yelp to point users toward suggested places.

AI-Powered Pic Sharing

Google announced big upgrades to its Photos app, including the ability for AI algorithms to suggest who to share shots with based on who is in the picture. The system will also make editing suggestions and turn black and white photos to color.

A New News App

Google praised the importance of journalism and announced a new Google News app for Android devices, iPhones, and the web.

It comes with a built-in subscriptions tool making it easier for readers to pay for digital magazines and newspapers. It also has a tab for suggested news and can play video. Sound familiar?

It looks like the Google version of the Apple News service launched in 2015. Apple News is getting its own upgrade in the next year with a Netflix-style subscription service, Bloomberg News has reported.

Robot Manners

Google said it will begin encouraging children to say “please” to the Google Assistant, to encourage better manners. Amazon announced similar functionality for Alexa a few weeks ago.

Tackling Tech Addiction

Google also wants you to use your phone less. Many tech companies are looking to free people from their devices, but Google is one of the first to show off tools.

The company announced a new Dashboard tool for Android phones that lets users monitor how long they’re watching YouTube videos or using other apps.

Apple plans to show off similar functions when it announces a new version of its iOS mobile operating system next month, Bloomberg News has reported.

X-Like Gestures

The latest version of Google’s mobile software, called Android P, was announced a few months ago, but Google held back a big change for Tuesday: A revamped interface that looks like the iPhone X’s new gesture-based system.

It eschews a software navigation bar at the bottom of the display for more fluid interactions that take users between apps and back to the home screen.

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