Techzim https://www.techzim.co.zw Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates Fri, 09 Dec 2022 18:40:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0 12207343 “I started my first job at NVIDIA without a degree!” – Marlene Mhangami https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/i-started-my-first-job-at-nvidia-without-a-degree-marlene-mhangami/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/i-started-my-first-job-at-nvidia-without-a-degree-marlene-mhangami/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2022 18:40:49 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198637

This is a guest post. Views and opinions contained in the content represent the views of the original creators and does not necessarily represent the views of Techzim. In the most recent episode of Story Untold ZW sat with Marlene Mhangami – a software engineer currently working in Developer Advocacy at Voltron Data. Marlene was […]

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This is a guest post. Views and opinions contained in the content represent the views of the original creators and does not necessarily represent the views of Techzim.

In the most recent episode of Story Untold ZW sat with Marlene Mhangami – a software engineer currently working in Developer Advocacy at Voltron Data.

Marlene was also chair of the first ever pan-African PyCon (Python Conference). She co-founded ZimboPy, a non-profit that empowers young women in Zimbabwe to pursue careers in technology. In the episode Marlene shared how she transitioned from molecular biology to software engineering, what her current work role looks like, her experience starting a foundation that teaches girls to code and more…


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Liquid Home gives WibroniX the USD treatment. Data for a dollar https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/liquid-home-gives-wibronix-the-usd-treatment-data-for-a-dollar/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/liquid-home-gives-wibronix-the-usd-treatment-data-for-a-dollar/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2022 08:57:38 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198661

Finally, the WibroniX customers are now getting the USD bundle treatment. Something that Liquid Home had reserved only for FibroniX customers. It’s all well and good up until you realize that the LIT USD promotion is ending on boxing day, 26 December 2022. So you better grab it whilst it’s still there. We heard the […]

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Finally, the WibroniX customers are now getting the USD bundle treatment. Something that Liquid Home had reserved only for FibroniX customers. It’s all well and good up until you realize that the LIT USD promotion is ending on boxing day, 26 December 2022. So you better grab it whilst it’s still there.

We heard the calls, and we listened!
Introducing more wibroniX USD Bundle packages. Click the following link to subscribe https://loom.ly/met8TGM or email us @ zw-usd-billing@liquid.tech.

Liquid Home Zimbabwe Tweet

WibroniX USD packages. A gig for a dollar

PackagePrice US$DataExtras
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
Lite
1500MB500MB
Night Owl
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
Basic
31.75GB1.75GB
Night Owl
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
Facebook & WhatsApp
45GB5GB
Facebook & WhatsApp only
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
Value
53.5GB3.5GB
Night Owl
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
Magnum
1010GB10GB
Night Owl
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
22.5GB
1122.5GB22.5GB
Anytime Data
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
Titanium
1520GB20GB
Night Owl
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
Basic Night Owl
3045GB45GB
Night Owl
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
Platinum
50100GB100GB
Night Owl
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
Netflix
60100GB100GB
Netflix only
WibroniX SpeeDPlus
YouTube
75150GB150GB
YouTube only

The entry point is very much appreciated looking at how you can get something for a dollar. In some emergency situations, you can buy just a bit of data for such a small amount. Some of the packages are definitely making me curious. When you look at the US$10 package and the US$11 package, the difference in data is over double (20GB vs 45GB).

Not only that but half the data on the US$10 can only be used in the witching hour whereas for just a dollar more you can use all your data any time of the day. I can bet the US$11 package will be the most popular one. Most of the packages (7/11) are under US$20 so they seem to want to target numbers with these LIT USD packages.

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Tecno Megabook S1, A flagship laptop with a heft of features. 120Hz, NFC, AI webcam https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/tecno-megabook-s1-a-flagship-laptop-with-a-heft-of-features-120hz-nfc-ai-webcam/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/tecno-megabook-s1-a-flagship-laptop-with-a-heft-of-features-120hz-nfc-ai-webcam/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2022 16:52:16 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198643

If you were not aware. Tecno makes laptops now. Beginning of this year they released the Megabook T1. It is essentially a mid-tier ultrabook powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU and boasting just over 17 hours of battery life (Perfect for Zimbabwe’s current power crisis). Yesterday they launched a more premium and […]

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If you were not aware. Tecno makes laptops now. Beginning of this year they released the Megabook T1. It is essentially a mid-tier ultrabook powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU and boasting just over 17 hours of battery life (Perfect for Zimbabwe’s current power crisis).

Yesterday they launched a more premium and more powerful version of this laptop alongside the Phantom X2. The Megabook S1. This one levels things up a bit with the 12th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, beefier cooling, and quite a number of interesting features.

Megabook T1 vs Megabook S1

Tecno Megabook T1Tecno Megabook S1
CPUIntel Core i5
10th Gen CPU
Intel Core i7
12th Gen CPU
GPUIntel intergrated GPUIntel intergrated GPU
RAM12/16GB16GB
Storage512GB/1TB m.2 NVMe SSD512GB/1TB m.2 NVMe SSD
DisplayFHD 1920x1080
60Hz
350nits brightness
sRGB 100%
15.6 inch
3.2K 16:10
120Hz
450 nits brightness
sRGB 100%
15.6 Inch
I/O Ports1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
1x HDMI 1.4
3x USB Type-A
2x USB Type-C (One for data only, another for charging)
1x MicroSD card reader
1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
1x HDMI 1.4
2x USB Type-A
2x USB Type-C
1x MicroSD card reader
Speakers2 speaker system
DTS-X support
AI-Noise cancelling
6 speaker system
DTS-X support
AI-Noise cancelling
KeyboardBacklit Chiclet KeyboardBacklit Chiclet Keyboard
WifiWifi 6 (802.11ax)Wifi 6 (802.11ax)
BluetoothBluetooth 5.1Bluetooth 5.1
Battery70WHr
17.5 hour battery life
(Manufacturer claim)
70WHr
Power Supply65W USB-C PowerDelivery65W USB-C PowerDelivery
WebcamYes 2MPYes 2MP
BiometricsWindows Hello fingerprint scannerWindows Hello fingerprint scanner
PriceUS$524 startingUS$1500 (512GB)
US$1600 (1TB)

We recently bid farewell to the CD-Drive on laptops. Now we are going a step further and slowly losing the ethernet port. Both these laptops are designed to be ultra portable meaning they are thin and light. Something that pushes them to lose the ethernet port and commit to wifi unless you are thinking of getting a USB-C hub which comes with such ports.

The Megabook S1 has a MUCH more polished design vs the Megabook T1 which is more targeted towards GenZ. Their words not mine. It’s also got a newer and more powerful processor than the T1 that is a 12th Gen i7 vs a 10th Gen i5. On the S1, the display is much sharper. 3.2k or almost 4K plus 120Hz refresh rate as compared to 1080p and 60Hz found on the T1. They both share the same colour accuracy of 100% sRGB however on the S1, the panel is brighter at 450 nits vs 350 nits on the T1.

It’s all fun and games up until you see they both have the exact same 70WHr battery. Because of the feature diet that the T1 went through, it can squeeze out a claimed 17.5 hours of battery life which the S1 obviously cannot match. There are no official battery life claims on the S1 but I would estimate that conservatively it can manage about 11 hours. A brighter display with over double the pixel count, higher screen refresh rate and more powerful processor paired with beefier cooling are all creature comforts that do nothing for battery life. Oh and did I mention that the S1 has fewer ports?

There is also a one touch NFC file sharing feature on the S1 they are calling OneLeap which allows you to quickly send files on your smartphone to your laptop. Which also coincidentally meant the brand new Tecno Phanom X2 is the first Tecno smartphone to support NFC! The feature can also be used to share your smartphone screen with your laptop and even drag and drop stuff between the 2 devices. Same thing that Huawei does with OneHop. A less fancy version of it is called Tecno Link that the T1 is using. It’s not a one touch solution but it pretty much supports everything else that OneLeap supports.

What they both share in common are a couple of interesting features. There is AI in the webcam that can detect a face peaking from behind you and automatically dim the display. This obviously means the camera is running in the background at all times which I feel is a bit creepy. Also not to mention how that must draw some significant power from the battery. I am sure it’s a feature you can choose to disable if you don’t need it but what a way to ensure you have eyes on the back of your head.

Pricing. It’s trouser troubling

With a starting price of US$1500, it’s one expensive laptop. This is now MacBook Pro and HP Spectre territory and these are ultrabook titans that have been in the game for a while now. Don’t get me wrong. On paper (Still waiting for review units) it looks like it went through the ultrabook checklist and ticked a lot of boxes.

  • Design – Clean, sleek, thin and light
  • Materials – Aluminium
  • Performance – Core i7 12th Gen
  • Pin sharp display – 3.2K + 120Hz refresh rate
  • Features – One touch NFC file sharing, Peek proof auto dimming, 6 DTS-X tuned speakers, Dual AI noise cancelling mics
  • USB-C charging – 65W GaN charger

It’s got the walk to back the talk on paper but I fear it’s coming in a bit too aggressively on price making it easy to ask if it’s worth the same money as the older and more established brands. What do you think about the Megabook S1?

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Tecno Phantom X2 has been launched complete with a retractable zoom lens https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/tecno-phantom-x2-has-been-launched-complete-with-a-retractable-zoom-lens/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/tecno-phantom-x2-has-been-launched-complete-with-a-retractable-zoom-lens/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2022 12:46:16 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198633

Tecno has released its flagship device, the Phantom X2 and it’s got a long list of updates. First on the list is the fact that Tecno last released 2 versions of a flagship on the Phantom 6 and is only bringing that trend back now with the Phantom X2 and Phantom X2 Pro. What is […]

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Tecno has released its flagship device, the Phantom X2 and it’s got a long list of updates. First on the list is the fact that Tecno last released 2 versions of a flagship on the Phantom 6 and is only bringing that trend back now with the Phantom X2 and Phantom X2 Pro. What is a pleasure to see is that both will use the same Mediatek Dimensity 9000 5G CPU so performance should be on par on both.

Phantom X2 vs Phantom X2 Pro

There are a couple of minor differences between the Phantom X2 and X2 Pro and Tecno again is just on a mission to make life hard when it comes to which is better. Just like they did with the Camon 19 series. The Phantom X2 has a different camera setup from the one on the Phantom X2 Pro. The first is that it only has 2 major cameras. A main 64MP sensor and a 13MP ultrawide. Which makes total sense, a lot more people will find a wider field of view more useful more times than a zoom lens would be.

In addition to that, the regular X2’s main camera has one glass lens and 6 plastic lenses with that 1 glass lens helping to gather more light for the 64MP sensor. Something that the more camera-focused X2 Pro does without. Why? Well, this is because the X2 Pro is using an improved 50MP sensor from the one that was in the overachieving Phantom X from last year. This Samsung-made ISOCELL 3.0 sensor is 100MP but uses 2-to-1 pixel binning to bring it down to 50MP and uses this binning tech to get more detail (2x) per pixel. It’s such a good sensor that it works fine without the help of a glass lens. And because it is an RGBW matrix sensor, what it may lose out to the regular X2 it will make up for with the extra White sub-pixel. It got really nerdy really quick. But there is more

Tecno Phantom X2 5GTecno Phantom X2 Pro 5G
OSAndroid 12
HiOS 12
Android 12
HiOS 12
CPUMediaTek Dimensity 9000 5G
Octa Core
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 5G
Octa Core
GPUMali-G710 MC10Mali-G710 MC10
Display6.8" 2400x1080 pixels
FHD+ OLED
90Hz
6.8" 2400x1080 pixels
FHD+ OLED
120Hz
Main Camera64MP primary
13MP ultrawide
4k video recording
50MP primary
50MP 2.5x telephoto+retractable lens
13MP ultrawide
4k video recording
Secondary Camera32MP primary
1080p video
32MP primary
1080p video
Storage4/8GB RAM
128/256GB Internal
No MicroSD slot
4/12GB RAM
64/128/256GB Internal
No MicroSD slot
ConnectivityDual Sim
2G, 3G, 4G, 5G
Bluetooth 5.3
Dual Sim
2G, 3G, 4G, 5G
Bluetooth 5.3
SensorsAccelerometer
Ambient light
Step counter
Accelerometer
Ambient light
Step counter
Battery5160mAh
45W fast charge
5160mAh
45W fast charge
PriceUS$720
Saudi Arabia Pricing
US$930
Saudi Arabia Pricing

The X2 Pro also uses a 50MP sensor for telephoto shots. But they are not aiming for crazy 100x zoom ranges as we find on smartphones with dedicated periscope zoom lenses. They went for a more modest 2.5x telephoto and fitted it with a very bright F1.5 aperture lens. (typically telephoto lenses have an F2.4 aperture and anything below F1.6 is usually reserved for the main camera). Tecno is claiming this is the brightest lens ever fitted to a telephoto camera on a smartphone. And the lens itself extends out of the phone to achieve the aperture and zoom without increasing the side of the camera bump.

Now not only is the telephoto camera really close to the quality of the main camera but also has a bright lens fitted to it. The thinking behind this and the unimpressive 2.5x telephoto zoom is that it was not designed to break records on how far it can see. It was designed to take some of the best portrait photos of any camera. And 2.5x is the sweet spot for portrait shots plus or minus a couple of steps. And instead of AI-infused background blur, the combination of the large sensor and bright lens means some amazing natural background blur. Oh, and it also has the same 13MP ultrawide that is on the regular X2.

All I am trying to say is that the Phantom X from 2021 was very impressive in the camera department. They made some big hardware changes to the Phantom X2 which feel like they will push Tecno very high up the ranks on camera quality. Probably to the level of flagship Sony, Huawei, Samsung, and Apple smartphones.

Everything else

The rest will definitely need to be experienced in the reviews. However, we have a slight bump in display size to 6.8 inches from 6.7. It’s also gotten taller with an aspect ratio of 20:9. Definitely a 2 handed use phone. We are also saying RIP to the MicroSD slot. Tecno will stop bringing these on the Phantom X2. And they did them well because they issued out triple slot trays that gracefully accommodated 2 sims and a microSD card. This will also be the first Tecno smartphone to support NFC, a feature they are using for instant file sharing (OneLeap) with their own laptops dubbed, Megabook S1 and Megabook T1. Something similar to Huawei’s OneHop tech.

They also look to come with a very flagship asking price. Saudi Arabia pricing sits at US$720 for the regular Phantom X2 5G and US$930 for the Phantom X2 Pro 5G. That is a dangerous place to play in because that’s where some smart compromises they may have made on their devices start hurting them against the might that is the established players. Now we wait for the actual phones to make their way to my hands for an in-depth review.

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WeCodeZW is offering a coding and robotics BootCamp for kids this holiday https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/wecodezw-is-offering-a-coding-and-robotics-bootcamp-for-kids-this-holiday/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/wecodezw-is-offering-a-coding-and-robotics-bootcamp-for-kids-this-holiday/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 07:55:35 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198628

The school holidays have arrived and usually come with less work and more play. Unless you are parents to a curious mind that so happens to like coding and robots. WeCodeZW is offering just that. A coding and robotics BootCamp which is a pretty interactive way of learning programming. You build a robot and then […]

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The school holidays have arrived and usually come with less work and more play. Unless you are parents to a curious mind that so happens to like coding and robots. WeCodeZW is offering just that. A coding and robotics BootCamp which is a pretty interactive way of learning programming. You build a robot and then use code to automate it and make it do stuff on its own.

It’s a 2-week-long boot camp starting the 12th of December 2022 and will run for 3 days per week. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The 2 weeks long BootCamp will attract a fee of US$50 for the entire duration. As for the venue, it will be at Batanai Gardens B2C Corner 1st and Jason Moyo Harare CBD. To register you can click here.

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Zimbabwe’s current load shedding explained https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/zimbabwes-current-load-shedding-explained/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/zimbabwes-current-load-shedding-explained/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2022 13:52:33 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198613

Some say ZESA is now working on the same off-peak hours as telecoms operators and their bonus data. It’s such a funny statement to lighten up an otherwise dark situation that Zimbabwe finds itself in. Pun intended. The lights are off and they are staying off for 18 hours or more. Why is it this […]

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Some say ZESA is now working on the same off-peak hours as telecoms operators and their bonus data. It’s such a funny statement to lighten up an otherwise dark situation that Zimbabwe finds itself in. Pun intended. The lights are off and they are staying off for 18 hours or more. Why is it this bad?

Demand vs Supply

Zimbabwe’s power demand sits at 2100MW and at the time I am writing this we are producing 501MW of power. Less than 25% of the national demand. Is it a case that we don’t have enough power-generating stations to meet this demand?

No. We have enough capacity, in fact, the total installed capacity for power generation in Zimbabwe is 2210MW. Enough to meet all our energy needs and have a little over as much as Munyati Power Station’s capacity to spare However, not all available power stations are operational and the operational ones are not operating at full capacity.

Of the installed capacity of 2210MW, only 1555MW of it is operational. When we say operational we are talking of power stations that are actually running and how much they can reliably produce. A figure that can be lower than the installed capacity. ZPC at the moment lists 5 power stations.

Power StationInstalled capacityCurrent output
Kariba South Power Station1050MW200MW
Hwange Power Station920MW301MW
Munyati Power Station100MW0MW
Bulawayo Power Station90MW0MW
Harare Power Station50MW0MW
Total2210MW501MW

So if everything was running in the most ideal scenario we would have a net positive electricity balance meaning no load shedding plus power exports. But looking at the best-case scenario only 76% of the national demand can be fulfilled by all the power stations combined in their current state. So if in our current state, we can fulfill 76% of the national demand, why is our best effort only getting us 25% of the national demand? The best way is to look at it at the power station level.

Kariba South Power Station – 200MW/1050MW

Kariba can supply half of Zimbabwe’s power demand on its own. It’s a big power station no doubt but right now it’s only producing 200MW and that is after our Minister of Energy had some talks with the Zambezi River Authority to keep the plant running. ZPC had been ordered to shut down operations at Kariba because the lake levels are now dangerously low for power production.

The way this works is this. There is the absolute water level of the lake and the maximum depth that is available for use for electricity generation. This maximum depth is less than the full depth of the lake. So we can run out of water to make electricity without running the lake completely dry to its bed. Live water is what they call the level of water available for power generation and dead water is the remaining water below this level that cannot be accessed for electricity production.

So we are fast running out of this live water which is why power production has been greatly reduced at Kariba from the 1050MW it is capable of producing to the 200MW it is producing now.

Reducing electricity production output also manages the lake’s inflows of water vs its outflows. Water is still flowing into the lake from the Zambezi river at a certain rate. If the rate of water flowing out of the lake via power generation is managed such that it’s less than water flowing into the lake then we can still produce some power and also raise levels of water in the lake. So the Kariba situation is one we can do nothing about till the rains come hopefully in mid-January.

Hwange Power Station – 301MW/920MW

It’s the second-largest power-generating facility in the country and has been undergoing maintenance and expansions. There are 6 units currently operational and capable of producing 920MW however we are only producing less than a 3rd of that. The two biggest reasons are breakdowns and an insufficient supply of fuel (coal) to fire it up to maximum capacity.

To alleviate coal supply challenges faced by thermal power stations, cabinet approved for a long term coal supply agreement which will see coal suppliers getting long term bank financing they need to expand on their production. 

ZPC Power Column Q2 2022

The period under review saw Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) experiencing depressed generation at the thermal stations due to numerous forced outages.

ZPC Power Column Q3 2022

Thermal power stations work the same way as your car. Fuel goes into an engine, gets burnt and produces energy that moves the car. In the case of Hwange Power Station the energy produced is used to turn a generator that produces electricity. The less fuel you feed it the less energy it produces and the less electricity that comes out of that.

Then when you are servicing elements of the power station, everything needs to be shut down and in such a case no power is being produced. This then becomes really confusing when ZPC also announces that it is expanding the power station and making it bigger. Unit 7 is expected to come online by the end of this year.

In August 2018, ZPC officially commenced expansion works at Hwange Power Station which will result in a third stage being added to the station with 2 x 300MW units being constructed. The expansion project will increase Hwange’s generation capacity from the current 920MW to 1520MW.

ZPC – Hwange Power Station

We are failing to deliver enough coal to fully make use of the available capacity at Hwange and we think making the power station bigger will solve the problem. Not really. But there are cases to be made in favor of this move.

New power-generating units are expected to be more efficient with the fuel they receive meaning that given the same amount of fuel used by older units, the newer ones will be capable of producing more electricity. Also, a new machine will break down less than an old one, and considering the Hwange power station is almost 40 years old, (the designed lifespan of a coal-fired power station), it might be more economical to build it anew than to run maintenance on it.

However, the coal supply issue needs to be looked into otherwise the 1520MW of installed capacity is going to be another nice-looking figure on paper but doing nothing towards lessening load shedding. And these new units are most likely going to be taking over from the old units that are too soon to be too expensive to repair so we may never hear news of Hwange Power Station producing that 1520MW of capacity. The best bet is 900MW if the stars align.

Munyati, Bulawayo & Harare Power Stations – 0MW/240MW

These ones are completely switched off for probably the same reasons as those of Hwange Power Station. Coal is in short supply and they are so old that they are constantly breaking down. Munyati Power station is about 76 years old, Bulawayo Power station is about 75 years old, and Harare Power Station is 67 years old, and this is against an expected life span of 39 years for coal-fired power stations.

We are almost getting to double the expected life expectancy of these power stations and really at this point they are virtually dangerous to operate beyond the point of them being very unreliable now. Harare and Bulawayo power stations were actually derated to try and improve reliability and buy some time but they have not been operational for a while now. ZPC had issued applications to refurbish and revive these 3 plants but progress on that is nowhere to be seen.

We just have to live with the load shedding

In December 2019 or 3 years ago, we were in exactly the same electricity jam, and watching the videos I made back then it’s wild that the situation is still exactly the same. Our electricity producing capacity is the same. Right now we are producing 501MW and in 2019 we were producing 589MW. The only difference is that back then solar backup systems were not as accessible as they are today.

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The Twitter account of Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has been hacked https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/the-twitter-account-of-zimbabwes-finance-minister-mtuli-ncube-has-been-hacked/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/the-twitter-account-of-zimbabwes-finance-minister-mtuli-ncube-has-been-hacked/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2022 09:19:41 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198607

Another one. Cyber security seems to be the arch-nemesis of Zimbabwe’s government institutions, and most recently, their personal accounts. Last week a group by the pseudo name Team Pachedu took the Justice Department to the cleaners exposing how easy it was to access their private servers and collect some private cases in their archives not […]

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Another one. Cyber security seems to be the arch-nemesis of Zimbabwe’s government institutions, and most recently, their personal accounts. Last week a group by the pseudo name Team Pachedu took the Justice Department to the cleaners exposing how easy it was to access their private servers and collect some private cases in their archives not meant to exist in the public domain. A couple of years ago, one of Zimbabwe’s most popular YouTube series, Wadiwa Wepamoyo, got its YouTube account compromised losing precious YouTube revenue and its following to hackers.

Now it seems our Minister of Finance has also suffered the same fate with his Twitter account. It no longer has a profile picture and is retweeting crypto content and whatever the account Cyber Kong posts. In fact, the last time the Finance Minister’s account tweeted Zimbabwean relevant content was on the 29th of November 2022.

The ABCs of cybersecurity

Let’s start off with personal social media accounts. You as the individual who creates the account are largely responsible for keeping it secure. There are elementary ways of doing it which we are all familiar with.

  • Secure it with a password
  • Ensure the password is a strong password and definitely not your name or birthday
  • Avoid sharing this password

The last point there is one that is very difficult for big public figures who usually do not manage their own social media accounts. They have a Public Relation team that handles their social media presence and this team shares credentials to this account. The more people that have these credentials the higher the risk of any one of them being the entry point to such hacks.

What could have made our Finance Minister’s account a lot more secure is Two Factor Authentication (2FA). It is an additional layer of protection on top of your strong password just in case anyone gets access to it. This second way of verification usually uses a completely different platform from the app you are trying to log into. These 2FA methods include:

  • verification code/link via the email used when signing up for the social media account
  • verification code sent via SMS
  • verification code randomly generated from a 3rd party authentication app

The first 2 options might not really be ideal because they involve the Finance minister sharing his email and access to his phone with a whole PR team. So option 3 then. A 3rd party authenticator app can be used to generate this code which is used as a requirement for one to log into the account, especially on a new device. Take this as a tip for everyone, not just the Finance Minister.

And for organizations like the Justice Department?

With such organizations there needs to be a competent IT and networking administrator who ensures that private servers are only accessible by authorized personnel only. This is usually done by setting up the right firewall policies for accessing these servers. On top of that, a private server should be set up in such a way that it is only accessible via an intranet that the organization manages and not on the internet.

The fact that Team Pachedu was able to easily access that server by just entering a URL in a browser shows that someone at the Justice Department made it accessible on the web with no form of authentication to protect it. Imagine if ongoing cases were to get exposed to the wrong side. Chaos!

Big organizations perform financial audits every year to secure what they value which is money. But remember information is probably more valuable than money. So their IT infrastructure requires that same level of auditing to ensure the competitive advantage that comes with that information held by the business or the integrity of the business in securing 3rd party confidential data is not lost to a hack that could have been avoided by something as simple as blocking internet access to a local server.

Most hacks in Zim are not even worth being called hacks

This is a testament to how poor Zimbabweans are with cybersecurity at an individual level. Just last month there was a report that a man had ‘hacked’ NMB and transferred over ZW$700 000 from NMB customer accounts to his own. This man was a former NMB employee who most likely was able to do this because he still possessed backend credentials to the NMB system allowing him to make the transfers.

These credentials worked because NMB might not have a security policy on how an employee’s user account to access the system is dealt with when the employee leaves the company.

With Team Pachedu they only did a smart search on Google. No fancy tools or tricks to crack some codes and whatnot. A Google search that anyone can do. They did not hack anything. What Team Pachedu did is the equivalent of saying someone robbed a house by picking the lock on the door when all they did was take the key from under the doormat.

This is all to say that the way a majority of user accounts and organization systems are getting compromised in Zimbabwe is at such an elementary level to the point of it being a disservice to the term ‘hacking’. We simply have extremely poor cybersecurity measures put in place as individuals which then feeds into the level of security we implement at an organizational level. Just as a starting point, let’s all enable 2FA on our personal accounts and stop the business of using our names and birthdays as passwords.

Also Read:


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New ZETDC system introduces USD payment options and promises better month-end uptime https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/new-zetdc-system-introduces-usd-payment-options-and-promises-better-month-end-uptime/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/new-zetdc-system-introduces-usd-payment-options-and-promises-better-month-end-uptime/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2022 11:02:21 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198597

ZETDC has announced a new PowerPlus prepaid electricity token purchase system. And it’s bringing some really interesting changes to the customer experience. They say the look and feel of it will remain as it was with a lot of the work done in the background. This could spell an end to those system crashes every […]

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ZETDC has announced a new PowerPlus prepaid electricity token purchase system. And it’s bringing some really interesting changes to the customer experience. They say the look and feel of it will remain as it was with a lot of the work done in the background. This could spell an end to those system crashes every month end from high transaction volumes (Hopefully) and the flexibility of USD payments.

WITH IMPROVED CAPACITY COMES BETTER PERFORMANCE
INTRODUCING THE NEW POWERPLUS PREPAID ELECTRICITY TOKEN PURCHASE SYSTEM

• Improved user interface (User Friendly)

• Improved performance, uptime, and reliability

• Flexibility for consumers to purchase in either USD or ZWL$.

NB: With effect from 30 November 2022, all new customers will be registered on the new platform, whilst transfer of all existing customers will be completed on or before 30th May 2023.

ZETDC Press Statement

List of new features to the system

  • No changes in the user interface for the customer.
  • Improved performance, uptime, and reliability
  • Flexibility to purchase in currency of own choice (USD and ZWL).
  • Certified by the Standard Transfer Specifications Association and complies with IEC, NRS, and ISO.
  • Compatible with future technologies and International systems (Standard Transfer Specification Association and Token Identifier rollover)
  • Easily interfaces with the existing systems and third-party prepaid electricity vending systems such as ICS.
  • High capacity to process a large number of transaction requests at ONE GO
  • Scalable to accommodate a high number of customers with the growing number of prepaid electricity connections.

The major changes are on the back end and they look to be focusing on the biggest pain point which was capacity and scalability. Something that could have been tested this month end. However, only new customers/connections will get to test run this new system starting 30 November 2022. A transfer exercise is also in place to get existing customers onto the new system which they expect will take till 30 May 2023.

Also Read:


Buy ZESA tokens

Zesa logo

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Tecno’s latest flagship, Phantom X2, is coming on December 7th https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/tecnos-latest-flagship-phantom-x2-is-coming-on-december-7th/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/tecnos-latest-flagship-phantom-x2-is-coming-on-december-7th/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2022 09:22:10 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198592

I have to admit, the Tecno Phantom X caught me off guard when I reviewed it last year. For the money which was US$450 at launch, the selection of what to include and what not to include was brilliant. Enough for me to say they had all the right boxes ticked. The build quality was […]

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I have to admit, the Tecno Phantom X caught me off guard when I reviewed it last year. For the money which was US$450 at launch, the selection of what to include and what not to include was brilliant. Enough for me to say they had all the right boxes ticked.

The build quality was flagship grade, performance was very sufficient and the camera quality was outstanding, especially in the dark. It was one solid package. This means the Phantom X2 has some very big shoes to fill.

Very few details are available for the Phantom X2 except for one. Which is that it will come with the beating heart of a Mediatek Dimensity 9000 Chipset which punches in the same class as the Snapdragon 8 Gen-1 chipset. Yes, it’s a bit old but it is still an almighty powerful chipset. This means that the Dimensity 9000 is going to give the Phantom X2 access to flagship-grade performance.

This flagship performance is tipped to be used to further improve the camera side of things on the Phantom X2. It’s more powerful overall with improved AI chops. This is good for enhanced night mode and the capacity to shoot HDR video from all 3 sensors simultaneously. If the camera performance of the Phantom X from 2021 is anything to go by then the Phantom X2 could perform as well as the big boys in the likes of Samsung, Apple, and Huawei.

Another Tecno laptop is on the way. Megabook S1

Yes, Tecno is now also making laptops and on paper, they seem pretty decent. The Megabook T1 is their current offering coming with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 12/16GB of RAM, and either 512GB or 1TB SSD. The design is very MacBook Air looking up until you close the lid and for your biometrics, the fingerprint scanner is integrated into the power button. But the kicker is Tecno claims a battery life of over 17 hours! As for the Megabook S1, there are no details of what it will look like or the specs.

Also Read:


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Zimsat-1 getting launched into orbit and going live tomorrow. Watch it here live! https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/zimsat-1-getting-launched-into-orbit-and-going-live-tomorrow-watch-it-here-live/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/zimsat-1-getting-launched-into-orbit-and-going-live-tomorrow-watch-it-here-live/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2022 10:00:12 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198583

In case you missed it, Zimbabwe has a satellite that got launched into space beginning of this month. Zimsat-1 was part of a payload of satellites and supplies destined for the International Space Station (ISS). The satellites were received by the Japanese KIBO module which will be responsible for launching the satellites into orbit. JAXA, […]

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In case you missed it, Zimbabwe has a satellite that got launched into space beginning of this month. Zimsat-1 was part of a payload of satellites and supplies destined for the International Space Station (ISS). The satellites were received by the Japanese KIBO module which will be responsible for launching the satellites into orbit.

JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency, announced that they will be launching Zimsat-1 as well as Uganda’s PearlAfricaSat-1 amongst other CubeSats. The launch will begin at 9.25 am Zimbabwean time on Friday 2 December 2022 and you can watch it by clicking here.

The satellites from Kyutech BIRDS-5 project, including first Uganda’s satellite PearlAfricaSat-1, and first Zimbabwe’s satellite ZIMSAT-1, Japanese satellite TAKA; and Kindai University’s first satellite, SpaceTuna1, will be deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo.” Watch this historical moment with us!

JAXA YouTube Channel

The great thing about this satellite is you can download an app and track how it moved as well as the vital data on its power and telemetry. You can download the Android app by clicking here.

Also Read:


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Apple’s iMessage not bothering with RCS. Android brings iMessage support to Google Messages instead. https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/apples-imessage-not-bothering-with-rcs-android-brings-imessage-support-to-google-messages-instead/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/12/apples-imessage-not-bothering-with-rcs-android-brings-imessage-support-to-google-messages-instead/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2022 08:30:53 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198519

“I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point,” Cook said when asked how Apple founder Steve Jobs would feel about using the RCS standard in iMessage during Vox Media’s Code 2022 event on Wednesday night. Instead, Cook said, “I would love to convert you […]

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“I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point,” Cook said when asked how Apple founder Steve Jobs would feel about using the RCS standard in iMessage during Vox Media’s Code 2022 event on Wednesday night. Instead, Cook said, “I would love to convert you to an iPhone.”

The Verge

The blue vs green chat bubble war rages on. Earlier this year on a VOX discussion panel, Tim Cook dismissed the idea of Apple’s iMessage adopting Rich Communication Sytems (RCS) stating that Apple users have not made any noise about it. Well, of course, they did not. iMessage IS RCS amongst iPhones.

And this is not the first time someone has asked about this. RCS support in iMessage has been asked for since the advent of RCS technology itself. Google has had enough and is tired of waiting. If the mountain won’t move to it then it will move to the mountain. Certain iMessage features are now being implemented into Google Messages through RCS.

What is RCS?

Remember MMS? Where you could send more in a text than just text? RCS builds on top of that and brings a majority of the features we are now used to having in chat apps like WhatsApp. GSMA states the following as the benefits of RCS to you and me:

Higher security level (compared to OTT apps)

In-app video and audio streaming

Attaching images of bigger size and better quality

Using emojis in conversation

Additional group chat features

Various in-call and post-call features for convenient and useful communication

Improved user interfacePowered by AI, the RCS solution interface studies user and community habits and introduces useful and needed features

Better user experience with fewer clicks to buy products or services. Via the native RCS messaging app, the full customer journey – browsing, placing orders, purchasing, delivery tracking – takes place seamlessly, accommodating the user’s every need

GSMA

So not only is it MMS on steroids but it’s basically almost everything that iMessage is right now. Just a lot more interactive form of texting. Texting in the age of the internet. And to be clear RCS has been there for a while. It was part of the package of technologies that came in with 4G including VoLTE. All that was left is for MNOs and SMS apps to support it.

Google’s iMessage support

Google messages had enough of Apple resisting playing ball with everyone else. They actually released the funniest blog post when they announced the new features added to Messages that are compatible with iMessage. It’s really good banter between these two.

When people with Android phones and iPhones message each other, not everything works the way it should. That’s because these conversations rely on SMS, an outdated messaging standard, instead of RCS, a modern, more secure industry standard Android uses that enables high-quality videos, emoji reactions, end-to-end encryption and more.

While our latest updates can’t fix everything about Android and iPhone conversations, here are a few ways we’re addressing some of the biggest issues we’ve heard from you.

Google Blog Post

So thanks to RCS it’s now possible for Android users to enjoy some iMessage-like features like interactive stickers, reactions to messages, and sharing high-quality videos. All in an SMS app. The kicker is that reactions applied to SMS messages sent from iPhones will show up in the sender’s iMessage chat and vice-versa. But if you thought this would also mean no more green vs blue message bubbles you are sadly mistaken. Apple still prefers showing you if the person on the other end stays inside the walled garden or out of it.

RCS made for businesses than for end users

RCS is essentially taking the benefits of the urgency of SMS and using it to the advantage of a business. The reaction time to hearing a chat app notification is longer than the reaction time to hearing an SMS. Especially if you are already expecting some critical news or money.

RCS business messaging is the future of texting. It offers a rich set of features that integrate seamlessly into the native SMS messaging app. The list includes payments, chatbots, HQ images and videos, group chats, and many popular features from WhatsApp and Telegram.

GSMA

So instead of businesses figuring out solutions to market, sell, and reach customers on a plethora of platforms, RCS aims to bring all these business features to SMS. And the laundry list of business features that RCS wants to enable over SMS includes:

  • making use of messaging apps that come on-device like Google’s Messages app
  • Enable all features and functions that already exist on OTT services like catalogs and chatbots found in apps like WhatsApp
  • take advantage of SMS urgency that sees 90% of messages being read within 3 minutes
  • enable businesses to customize the way they are experienced by a customer by customizing the chat to the brand colors of the business as well as the brand logo
  • Verification check marks for verified businesses
  • availability of analytics via SMS. Data that includes the time when the message was opened, response time and a person’s reaction to the message is now possibles
  • You can edit a sent SMS and do so in real-time
  • ability to send clickable buttons which can be customized for polls, sliders, or multiple-choice forms.

RCS support

RCS, just like VoLTE and iMessage is an internet-based service. All these fancy features will only work with an internet connection. It’s supported on 4G networks and up to MNOs to implement it and offer support for it to their subscribers. On 5G networks, it will be mandatory for MNOs to implement it.

In terms of devices, almost every smartphone supports RCS as long as there is an accompanying SMS app that is RCS capable. Speaking of SMS, an RCS-capable messaging app will be able to handle traditional SMS messages as well as RCS messages. However, feature phones will not be able to receive RCS messages.

And as for Apple and iMessage, their supporting RCS is wishful thinking for now. What we might see a lot of is messaging apps like Google Messages figuring out ways to take advantage of this RCS tech to reduce the difference in features between iOS and Android SMS to just the blue and green chat bubbles.

Also Read:


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Grade 7 results are out. Here is how to view them https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/grade-7-results-are-out-here-is-how-to-view-them/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/grade-7-results-are-out-here-is-how-to-view-them/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2022 19:42:26 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198576

Finally, the Grade 7 results are out and for this year it’s earlier than usual ever since the wake of the COVID pandemic. While the number of students that sat for the exams was higher than that of 2021, the pass rate did fall from 41.13% to 40.09%. To access the results, all you need […]

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Finally, the Grade 7 results are out and for this year it’s earlier than usual ever since the wake of the COVID pandemic. While the number of students that sat for the exams was higher than that of 2021, the pass rate did fall from 41.13% to 40.09%. To access the results, all you need to do is this.

  • Go to the Zimsec website www.zimsec.co.zw
  • Click on ‘View results’
  • Select the region with the school that the student registered and wrote in
  • Enter the login details.

If you do not have login details yet, you can create an account by clicking here or choosing the ‘Create account’ option on the Zimsec results login page. All the instructions on how to create an account are on the page.

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NRZ suspends train commuters stating ZUPCO owes the operator huge debts. Minibus associations mushroom https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/nrz-suspends-train-commuters-stating-zupco-owes-the-operator-huge-debts-minibus-associations-mushroom/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/nrz-suspends-train-commuters-stating-zupco-owes-the-operator-huge-debts-minibus-associations-mushroom/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2022 07:06:58 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198552

ZUPCO made a comeback in 2019 and it came in with a bang. A new fleet of buses and some of the lowest fares on the market. Also with the help of the SI 83 of 2020 to have all commuter operators either get registered with ZUPCO or get off the streets, it almost immediately […]

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ZUPCO made a comeback in 2019 and it came in with a bang. A new fleet of buses and some of the lowest fares on the market. Also with the help of the SI 83 of 2020 to have all commuter operators either get registered with ZUPCO or get off the streets, it almost immediately became the biggest transport company overnight.

Interesting tech was also introduced for payments with the ZUPCO tap card even though topping it up was a bit inconvenient requiring one to visit a ZUPCO kiosk to recharge. But its death was less to do with that and more with the fact that ZUPCO operators were not receptive to that payment system and ended up reverting back to cash if ever they implemented the tap card payment system in their vehicles in the first place.

ZUPCO minibusses and buses disappear from the streets

It was a slow process but little by little ZUPCO registered commuter omnibuses and buses disappeared from the streets. A number of them cited that the system was unsustainable for the operator with the fees being stipulated by ZUPCO.

Then we get to 2022 and these same private operators who once had been registered under ZUPCO start to form their own transport unions to compete with ZUPCO. In Harare, there are quite a number of these unions on the streets now with ZUPCO-branded vehicles almost gone extinct.

Now the latest casualty comes in the guise of the ZUPCO-NRZ partnership which NRZ terminated announcing that it is owed a substantial amount of money by ZUPCO and will only resume operation once they pay their dues. The statement reads:

PRESS STATEMENT
TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF COMMUTER TRAIN SERVICE

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) would like to advise the commuting public of a temporary suspension of the Urban Commuter Train Service with effect from Monday 28th November 2022.

The service was launched in partnership with ZUPCO last year to ease congestion in Bulawayo and Harare.
The suspension was occasioned by an unsustainable operating environment arising from huge debts owed to NRZ by ZUPCO. NRZ was therefore left with no option but to suspend commuter trains from 28 November due to capacity challenges.

Normal services will resume once ZUPCO fulfill its obligations as set in the agreement. Any inconvenience caused to our valued customers is sincerely regretted.

NRZ Press Statement

If ZUPCO is more affordable why is no one using it?

The pricing structure of ZUPCO made it really affordable. They were massively undercutting the competition and from experience even offering better quality transportation for the public. In this respect they seemed to have most of the ingredients to gain an advantage of the law of large numbers. So how did they become undesirable?

Time is money

The commuting public has a general preference for smaller vehicles like sedans and hatchbacks. The reason behind this is that they accommodate a small number of passengers which means they take less time to reach capacity and go. They are the least comfortable and the most expensive but the commuting public values time and are willing to endure more expensive fares and a less comfortable ride.

ZUPCO buses were absolutely terrible in this regard. The bus would not leave till it’s reached capacity which often took up to an hour. An hour of just sitting stationary in a but is an hour the commuting public just does not have. What was going to give ZUPCO rapor was them sticking religiously to a timetable and assuring the commuting public that it will always keep time.

Insufficient Fleet

ZUPCO states that is has 2000 buses and omnibuses registered under it and their own fleet consists of 273 buses and omnibuses. This pales into comparison with the 60 000 onmibuses and 20 000 buses that are operating under ZUDAC (Zimbabwe Union of Drivers And Conductors). And even with this, the combined effort of registered buses, omnibuses, unregistered operators (Mshikashika) and private vehicles all struggled to move commuters during peak hours. ZUPCO’s fleet alone is inconsequential to meeting the sheer volume of commuters during these peak times.

This meant they were not dependable. There was no guarantee that you can get one unless you wait in mile long queues for hours on end. This lack of reliability again made them undesirable. They were just an endangered species.

Convenience

If you have ever used public transport you will know that operators move leaps and bounds to find customers. Often at times they can willingly deviate from the normal route even for just one commuting person. It’s a sport for them. Same goes for dropping off commuters. If you ask nicely they can drop you off exactly where you need to be dropped off. Yes I know and you are right. For other motorists these drop off spots can cause unnecessary traffic jams and in some cases pose a danger for that same commuter getting dropped off in an undesignated spot.

Regarldess, the commuter sees it as a convenience. And it may be more of a case of poor public transport infrastructure but that’s a story for another day. ZUPCO just could not offer the same level of pick up and drop off convenience as other registered and unregistered operators. Beyond pick ups and drop offs, payment methods were and are still more flexible on non-ZUPCO operators. Whilst ZUPCO accepts payment in Zimbabwean dollars and US dollars but at the prevailing official rate, non-ZUPCO operators go further in accepting EcoCash or even the South African Rand.

Back to the drawing board

ZUPCO is a really nice idea but right now it cannot exist in isolation. For there to be a turn around in the public transport sector there needs to be a lot of work done in the supporting infrastructure. Maybe bus stops are not the solution but rather dedicated bus lanes. Maybe in the CBD Metro rail makes more sense than omnibuses for bus rank to bus rank transit. And for suburbs already serviced by rail maybe the solution is refurbishing that infrastructure. But the lowest hanging fruit is sticking to a strict time table otherwise the mshikashika will remain desirable.

Also read:


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Breaking into tech from a non-tech background. Some easy ways to get started. https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/breaking-into-tech-from-a-non-tech-background-some-easy-ways-to-get-started/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/breaking-into-tech-from-a-non-tech-background-some-easy-ways-to-get-started/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2022 06:00:00 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198554

So I get a lot of questions from people who ask me, Tari, where did you study Computer science? I always shrug and laugh at this question, because I have not or at least not yet done studies in Computer studies. This doesn’t mean I won’t register and do this at some point but this […]

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So I get a lot of questions from people who ask me, Tari, where did you study Computer science? I always shrug and laugh at this question, because I have not or at least not yet done studies in Computer studies. This doesn’t mean I won’t register and do this at some point but this has not stopped me from dabbling in tech.

My background is in HR with a focus on Data Engineering but I’ve always been fascinated by the tech field. As I built up my curiosity in tech, I drafted five steps to get you started in tech, specially crafted for non-tech people.

Be highly interested

Interest is very crucial when it comes to dipping your feet into the tech world, all things granted, tech is a wide enough space for everyone to play. So, if you don’t read and research how else will you know what could possibly interest you? Half the time people bump into their careers attributed to curiosity and the ability to have inquisitive minds. An example is tech giants like Mark Zuckerberg who created a Harvard dorm room dating application that evolved into Facebook generating billions per year in revenue.

Get involved

This step is all about getting your hands dirty, and actually committing time to learn be it from or online. Resource finding and shadowing. It’s making the commitment to start building a skill from scratch and learning. One author said, learning a new skill is one of the hardest things to do because you are starting from zero, and for the first time in a while, you don’t know anything.

Don’t be afraid to fail

Like anything new, you will fail and at times take longer than you would expect to grasp concepts or work your way around systems and applications. This is the point where most people give up and claim the famous “… it’s late for me …”  saying. Learning tech for non-tech people might feel like learning to ride a bicycle, in order to ride the bicycle, you have to get up and ride the bike no matter how much you fall.

Build something

This step is all about translating your hours of work into portfolios, don’t worry about the level of expertise or scale of projects, when you look back years from now, you will be grateful to have started building your work. If you have opportunities to get on tech-related stretch projects, if not then build your own work to demonstrate what you can do with your skill.

Own your domain knowledge

Coming from a non-tech field, when coupled with tech skills, is a strength that most people overlook. Whenever tech-related projects are done, subject matter experts are required to guide and add value to tech-related initiatives. Strengthen your non-tech areas and complement this with a tech skill such as coding or software testing and you have better chances of landing a job tech related.

About Author

This guest post was authored by Tariro Msindo, a Data Analyst with a background in HR, based in the UK


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POTRAZ invites your input on data protection regulations, you might want to participate https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/potraz-invites-input-on-data-protection-regulations-please-participate/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/potraz-invites-input-on-data-protection-regulations-please-participate/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2022 12:39:45 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198548

Earlier this year, the Cyber and Data Protection Act was gazetted. The main aim of the Act is to “provide for data protection with due regard to the Declaration of Rights under the Constitution and the public and national interest.” You should be familiar with it by now. However, if you’re not, the Media Institute […]

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Earlier this year, the Cyber and Data Protection Act was gazetted. The main aim of the Act is to “provide for data protection with due regard to the Declaration of Rights under the Constitution and the public and national interest.”

You should be familiar with it by now. However, if you’re not, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) released a citizen’s guide to it. We talked about that here.

The Act provided the framework, but work continues in the data protection race. There is a draft of cyber and data protection regulations and you can contribute to that effort. The specific regulations in question have to do with the licensing of data controllers and data protection officers.

If you haven’t had time to go through the Act or the citizen’s guide, here’s a checklist that should help you get a feel of what a data controller is and if you are one.

Checklist from Data Controller Self Assessment form in draft regulations.

You are a DATA Controller if :

  • You decide to collect or process the Personal Data.
  • You decide what the purpose or outcome of the Processing will be.
  • You decide what Personal Data should be collected.
  • You decide which individuals to collect Personal Data from.
  • You obtain a commercial gain or other benefit from the Processing of Personal Data
  • You are Processing the Personal Data because of a contract between you and the Data Subject.
  • The Data Subjects are your employees.
  • You make decisions about the individuals concerned as part of or because of the Processing.
  • You exercise professional judgement in the Processing of the Personal Data.
  • You have a direct relationship with the Data Subjects.
  • You have complete autonomy as to how the Personal Data is processed.
  • You have appointed the processors to process the Personal Data on your behalf.

Call for your input

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) released a circular calling for input from the public at large on the regulations.

DATA PROTECTION REGULATIONS

Notice To: All Stakeholders

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) wishes to advise the Public to provide input into and comments on the Cyber and Data Protections Regulations (Licensing of Data Controllers and Appointment of Data Protection Officer (DPOs) Regulations, 2022 (No….).

The Regulations are on the POTRAZ website and can be accessed on [this link]

The deadline for the comments and value additions is the 12th of December 2022. All comments and value additions shall be submitted on email to: the.regulator@potraz.gov.zw.

Your participation in this consultation, will be greatly appreciated.

POTRAZ Director General

I am not too worried about the email requirement as I believe it’s reasonable to expect those with suggestions on this topic to have access to email.

I know there are some among us who have ideas on how the regulations should look. Let us not be armchair critics, let us take advantage of opportunities like these and make our voices heard. The worst that can happen is your suggestion being ignored, but that’s not too bad as downsides go.

Below are the draft regulations.

Also read:

The RBZ invites dialogue on coming digital currency (CBDC), you have to be a part of this

Here’s your citizen’s guide to the Cyber Security & Data Protection Act


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Paynow, the B2B and B2C payments platform celebrating 8 years. Announces USSD code *828# https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/paynow-the-b2b-and-b2c-payments-platform-celebrating-8-years-announces-ussd-code-828/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/paynow-the-b2b-and-b2c-payments-platform-celebrating-8-years-announces-ussd-code-828/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2022 10:15:45 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198542

Paynow has been around for a while now and their business is all around facilitating payments. The service they offer came about to solve 2 big problems. Allowing small businesses to have access to one platform with as many payment options as possible. This then leads to solving the second payment problem on the customer […]

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Paynow has been around for a while now and their business is all around facilitating payments. The service they offer came about to solve 2 big problems. Allowing small businesses to have access to one platform with as many payment options as possible. This then leads to solving the second payment problem on the customer side which is being able to pay a business using the most convenient payment method they have available.

Essentially for the small business, Paynow will provide integration to as many payment methods as the business wishes to have which are mobile money and banks. Outside of making these payment integrations for small businesses, they also are an alternative platform to use to pay for airtime, wifi bundles, and utility bills like ZESA and council rates.

8 years later

On their 8th-year celebration, they also took the opportunity to launch a USSD service *828#. This is just an alternative platform to access their services. Also, a nice touch is how their homepage now splits B2C and B2B landing pages.

We perceive our job and our purpose to lubricate the system and remove friction for two of the most important stakeholders right at the end of the chain. The consumer and the merchant.

To this end, by being empathetic to the stakeholders at the very end of the chain, and promoting interoperability, we have now 40 000 e-commerce merchants from every sector of the economy who trust Paynow as their payments and e-commerce partner.

On the other end, we have over a million unique customers that have transacted on the Paynow platform from the time it started operating.

Vusi Ndebele – Paynow MD speech

Also Read:


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Liquid Home is facing challenges with its network with no resolution date yet https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/liquid-home-is-facing-challenges-with-its-network-with-no-resolution-date-yet/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/liquid-home-is-facing-challenges-with-its-network-with-no-resolution-date-yet/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2022 08:30:22 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198544

Liquid Home has been running maintenance after maintenance for the past month. On the 11th of November, they announced that maintenance would be going on for 5 days. That must have been one major maintenance. If you thought that was long, in the latest one the service disruption will go on indefinitely. 11 November 2022Dear […]

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Liquid Home has been running maintenance after maintenance for the past month. On the 11th of November, they announced that maintenance would be going on for 5 days. That must have been one major maintenance. If you thought that was long, in the latest one the service disruption will go on indefinitely.

11 November 2022
Dear customer. There will be maintenance affecting service from 15/11/22 20:00 hours to 20/11/22 04:00 hours. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

28 November 2022
IMPORTANT NOTICE: SERVICE DEGRADATION
Please note that we are currently experiencing degraded speeds on our network resulting in intermittent connectivity and in some cases, loss of service. Our engineers are working to resolve this in the shortest time possible.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Kindly bear with us.

Start time:11:29HRS CAT
Resolution time: TBA

Liquid Home Zimbabwe Twitter page

What’s the problem with their network?

Liquid Home states that they are experiencing degraded speeds on their network. Such technical problems are usually a result of changes in some network configurations or some core network elements that will be down forcing remaining network elements to pick up the load.

The issue at the moment seems to be isolated to certain areas and not a nationwide issue pointing to it most likely being a few network elements that are down in certain areas. What is worrying is the unspecified resolution time when we can expect the service to be back to normal. Whatever it is that is not working normally is probably not part of planned maintenance and may be a big fault seeing they are not sure when they can resolve it.

Also read:


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Intensive load shedding is imminent as Kariba lake levels are too low to generate electricity https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/intensive-load-shedding-is-imminent-as-kariba-lake-levels-are-too-low-to-generate-electricity/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/intensive-load-shedding-is-imminent-as-kariba-lake-levels-are-too-low-to-generate-electricity/#comments Sun, 27 Nov 2022 22:41:59 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198533

The water levels at Kariba lake have dropped to really low levels to the extent that by mid-December of 2022 there will be no more water to generate electricity. In fact, if we are to look at the Zambezi River Authority’s graphs, they show that the level has gone lower than the lowest point in […]

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The water levels at Kariba lake have dropped to really low levels to the extent that by mid-December of 2022 there will be no more water to generate electricity. In fact, if we are to look at the Zambezi River Authority’s graphs, they show that the level has gone lower than the lowest point in history which is the 1995/96 season.

The Lake level has been decreasing steadily on account of low inflows from the mainstream Zambezi River, closing the period under review at 476.31m (5.63% usable storage) on 21st November 2022, compared to 479.32m (26.88% usable storage) recorded on the same date last year.

Zambezi River Authority

Zimbabwe used too much water

For those that were not aware, Zimbabwe shares the lake with Zambia. Each country’s power utility is allocated a certain amount of the lake’s water for power generation. However, Zimbabwe consumed an excessive amount of water for power generation this season.

The hydro power station’s output for the quarter under review was 2.53% higher than the output in the same period last year. This was due to an increase in water allocation by Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) from 15 billion cubic meters in 2021 to 22.5 billion cubic meters in 2022. Kariba Power Station consumed 20.4Bm3 for power generation as of the end of Q3 2022, compared to a target of 17.4Bm3, leaving the station with 2.1Bm3 of generation capacity for the remainder of the year.

Zimbawe Power Company (ZPC)

What is more worrying is that at the moment Zimbabwe’s largest electricity-generating plant is the Kariba Dam Hydro power station. Currently, it is producing 598MW of electricity which is 65% of the total electricity production in Zimbabwe of 913MW. If it were to be shut down then the extent of power cuts and load shedding would be very intense.

ZPC asked to suspend power production at Kariba till Jan 2023

Because of such low levels of the Kariba dam and that our allocation was exceeded, ZPC has been asked by the Zambezi River Authority to stop consuming any more water to produce electricity.

Please be advised that as of 25th November 2022, Kariba South Bank Power Station
had utilised 23.89 Billion Cubic Meters (BCM) of water, accounting for 1.39 BCM (or 6.16%) above the 2022 water allocation of 22.50 BCM.
Given that the Kariba Reservoir usable storage currently stands at a paltry 2.98 BCM or 4.60% full, and that ZESCO Limited still has a positive balance of 2.44BCM (10.82%) as of 25th November 2022, ZPC/KHPC no longer has any usable water to continue undertaking power generation operations at Kariba South Bank Power Station.

…the Zambezi River Authority is left with no choice but to firmly guide that ZPC/KHPC immediately ensures that generation activities at the South Bank Power Station are wholly suspended henceforth, until January 2023…

Zimbabwe River Authority – Pindula

The irony of it is that ZPC also states in their Q3 report that the Zambezi River Authority did allocate ZPC the extra water for electricity generation. It might be a case of inaccurate projections of how fast a rate the lake’s capacity will fall over the dry season.

Let’s hope the Hwange expansion goes live on time

Hwange thermal power station has been getting some maintenance for a while now but it seems we are getting very close to completion. On the official opening of the Southern Africa Power Pool HQ, Hon. Soda Zhemu announced that Unit 7 of the Hwange power station will be online in December 2022 providing 300MW to the grid. If this claim comes true then we might just not spend Christmas in the dark.

Unit 8 is also expected to go live by the end of Q1 2023 adding an additional 300MW onto the grid. That’s a total of 600MW which is enough to fill the hole that Kariba would have left behind. The biggest plus though is that we can use a bit less of Kariba and also be affected less by Kariba water levels if alternatives for power generation are contributing to the grid. But until then it seems you might want to consider solar backup power for the holidays.

Also Read:


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60 minutes and 500MB FREE when you buy US$5 airtime on Telecel. https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/60-minutes-and-500mb-free-when-you-buy-us5-airtime-on-telecel/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/60-minutes-and-500mb-free-when-you-buy-us5-airtime-on-telecel/#comments Sun, 27 Nov 2022 19:13:35 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198525

It’s that time again to hunt for that Telecel line. They have announced the Free for Five promotion, rewarding their customers with free on-net minutes and data when they spend US$5, US$3, and US$2 in airtime. RTGS purchases also qualify because we have to be all-inclusive. This is what the rewards will look like. The […]

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It’s that time again to hunt for that Telecel line. They have announced the Free for Five promotion, rewarding their customers with free on-net minutes and data when they spend US$5, US$3, and US$2 in airtime. RTGS purchases also qualify because we have to be all-inclusive. This is what the rewards will look like.

US$ AirtimeRTGS AirtimeFree MinutesFree Data
21200 - 1799.9915 minutes Telecel - Telecel
3 minutes Telecel to other networks
-
31800 - 2999.9920 Minutes Telecel - Telecel
5 minutes Telecel to other networks
100MB
53000+50 minutes Telecel - Telecel
10 minutes Telece to other networks
500MB

The Christmas promotion will be running from 25 November 2022 till the end of February 2023.

We would like to reward our customers for being so loyal and true to us by giving them
something for free whenever they purchase airtime from us this festive season. We have
also extended the Christmas promotion to end of February because we understand that after
the festive season with schools opening everyone will be financially strained.

Telecel Zimbabwe press release

Won’t be enough to bring back, customers

Telecel’s market share has been shrinking rapidly regardless of them having the cheapest prices all round for their services. Their market share currently stands at 3.3% as of Q2 of 2022 and that number was 0.2% higher in Q1. Promotions and deals have been good and plenty at Telecel but how good are they when you can’t access the network?

A vast majority of the country is devoid of Telecel network coverage. Their total base station market share is 9.5%. That is 2G, 3G, and 4G. And it is evident also in the traffic on the network with a 0.5% internet and data traffic market share. That’s half a percent of all the mobile internet traffic in Zimbabwe.

It’s great and all for Telecel subscribers that still use the network. It’s cheaper internet and calls for them. The conundrum is they might not have extensive enough network coverage to enjoy such a promo. What works is if, at the very least, the network coverage improves to a point where Telecel can become a viable alternative to the competition. Instead of having a promotion-based customer retention strategy, they invest that promo money into network expansion.

Also read:


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Govt cuts tax on domestic forex transfers from 4 to 2%, too little too late? https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/govt-cuts-tax-on-domestic-forex-transfers-from-4-to-2-too-little-too-late/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/govt-cuts-tax-on-domestic-forex-transfers-from-4-to-2-too-little-too-late/#comments Fri, 25 Nov 2022 15:01:47 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198515

It is funny how often we, ordinary people, can clearly see the downsides to some of the decisions our highly educated leaders make. Some of the decisions they make are highly suspect, and no one can blame us for coming up with conspiracy theories in response. The government came up with their infamous 2% Intermediated […]

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It is funny how often we, ordinary people, can clearly see the downsides to some of the decisions our highly educated leaders make. Some of the decisions they make are highly suspect, and no one can blame us for coming up with conspiracy theories in response.

The government came up with their infamous 2% Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT) and hate it or love it, it allowed them to collect tax from the huge informal sector they otherwise would not have been able to reach.

We found out that IMTT collections reached just over ZW$100bn for the January to September 2022 period. That’s over US$150 million using the prevailing auction rate. 

That’s not chump change and so there is no chance the tax will be revisited anytime soon, except maybe to revise it upwards. Does IMTT mean double-taxing registered and honest businesses, leading to them factoring in that tax cost to consumers? Sure, but that’s an extra US$150m in 9 months and so it stays.

IMTT collections are now integral to the government’s revenue collection efforts. In the first 9 months of this year, IMTT collections were close to two-thirds of corporate tax collections. That is crazy.

As a result, the government has its eyes on you dear informal trader,

Government is modernising tax systems, broadening the tax bases as well as introducing more efficient ways of raising revenue from existing revenue measures as well as those targeted at the informal sector.

From 2023 National Budget Statement

So, expect more innovation when it comes to taxation.

4% IMTT on forex transactions

Earlier this year, the government got greedy and increased the IMTT on domestic forex transactions to 4%. Double what the tax is for local currency transactions. 

The govt said this was to discourage the use of the USD and promote ZW$ use. This made sense to the professors in government. However, the uneducated populace all saw the fatal flaw in that reasoning. 

The 4% tax would not discourage USD use, but rather just the use of electronic channels when it came to USD use. The govt was essentially pushing us to use cash when it came to USD. 

They had an opportunity to get a piece of the pie by directing the billions of US dollars circulating in the parallel market to official channels but they did not see it. Vakuru said ‘better late than never,’ it appears the govt has seen the error in their ways so that’s something, I guess.

It took half a year but the govt has seen the light,

…in order to promote usage of the local currency, Government increased Intermediate Money Transfer Tax (IMTT) on domestic foreign currency transfers from 2% to 4%.  

It has, however, been observed that some entities are now preferring to settle transactions in cash instead of electronic transfers. 

In order to promote use of the banking system, I propose to align the IMTT on foreign currency transactions to local currency transactions at a rate of 2%.

From 2023 National Budget Statement

This will take effect from 1 January 2023. 

Is it too late to save domestic forex transactions?

The sentiment on the streets is that sending forex domestically via InnBucks, EcoCash, Mukuru, and the other remittance solutions is expensive. It’s not really a sentiment though, it’s a fact, the 4% tax made those transactions expensive.

So, now that that tax will be slashed in half in 2023, will Zimbabweans give them another go or will they stick to whatever solutions they had come up with? I think people will only resort to such services when nothing else will do, just like they are doing right now. 

A few months ago the govt stopped collecting 4% tax at every step of the transaction process. Currently, most remittance service providers collect 4% for the govt and 3% for themselves, meaning the users pay 7% in charges.

With tax falling to 2%, and assuming operators don’t change their own charges, that would mean the total cost to send forex domestically would fall to 5%. A 7 to 5 drop doesn’t sound like much. It’s not quite enough to lead to any meaningful increase in electronic transactions in my opinion.

It is good to see though.

Also read:

It’s not Mukuru with high charges. All Domestic remittances are expensive and it’s by design

4% forex tax & withdrawal levy: Forever banishing the idea of banking USD

EcoCash FCA now cheaper to use, no more cash in/cash out taxes


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RBZ wants to make it easier to get a loan even if you are not a civil servant with the Collateral Registry https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/rbz-wants-to-make-it-easier-to-get-a-loan-even-if-you-are-not-a-civil-servant-with-the-collateral-registry/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/rbz-wants-to-make-it-easier-to-get-a-loan-even-if-you-are-not-a-civil-servant-with-the-collateral-registry/#comments Thu, 24 Nov 2022 07:44:03 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198500

The loan space in Zimbabwe has been pretty rough for the common man for a while now. Whilst bankers and formally employed individuals with healthy bank statements could have loans availed to them, it’s not the case with the majority of either self-employed or informally employed citizens. The RBZ wants to come in and change […]

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The loan space in Zimbabwe has been pretty rough for the common man for a while now. Whilst bankers and formally employed individuals with healthy bank statements could have loans availed to them, it’s not the case with the majority of either self-employed or informally employed citizens. The RBZ wants to come in and change that with Collateral Registry. Let’s get the Collateral side of things out of the way.

What is collateral?

something pledged as security for repayment of a loan, to be forfeited in the event of a default.

Oxford Languages Dictrionary

Whenever you wish to take a loan, the lender which is usually a financial institution like a bank will need a guarantee that they can recover their money back with the interest as per your agreement with it. This guarantee is usually in the form of immovable assets like a house, office, factory, school, etc.

But herein lies the problem. These are big assets that a majority of people do not have or own. However, there was still a way to get loans even if you didn’t have these assets. You had to be formally employed or a civil servant. That way, the bank can easily get its loan repayments via direct debits from your bank account whenever you get your salary.

For the rest of those informally employed it meant ensuring your bank account has a healthy cash flow statement. This is easy if you are dealing with electronic money but a number of SMEs are now cash businesses and rarely bank the cash. The RBZ feels this section of the population should not be left out. They can submit details of their assets to the Collateral Registry and be able to grab loans.

How does the RBZ Collateral Registry work?

It’s a database where movable assets are going to be listed for purposes of collateral. That said collateral will be used to work out the size of the loan you are eligible for. The general public can also access the registry to see if an asset they are about to purchase is not currently being used as collateral for a loan that’s being serviced.

The Collateral Registry is a publicly available database of interests in or ownership of movable assets tendered to secure loans. The Registry facilitates secured creditors or to lenders to register security interest in movable assets such as livestock, household goods, crops, business stock and accounts receivable while providing the public with a notice of the existence of such security interest.

RBZ Collateral Registry Pamflet

Some FAQs

  • Use of someone else’s assets as collateral for a loan is possible. There just had to be written and signed consent by the owner of the asset and the borrower to the lender of the arrangement.
  • Pooling of assets by multiple individuals is possible so as to obtain a higher-value loan. Again these assets can either be individually owned by each participating party or co-owned by multiple parties.

To be clear, it is not the RBZ that will be issuing out the loans. This will be the duty of the lending institution. The RBZ will only be managing aspects of the Collateral Registry. Terms of loans will be dictated by the lending institution which can be banking institutions, deposit-taking microfinance institutions, credit-only microfinance institutions, savings, and credit cooperative societies
and other secured creditors.

Who can have access to this registry?

Access to the Collateral registry is classified into 3 groups. The borrower, the lender, and the general public. And here are the available rights as stated by the RBZ. You can view the full document by clicking here.

The Borrower

  • Increased access to credit
  • Enable MSMEs to leverage their movable assets to obtain credit for growth.
  • Reduced cost of credit in the long run.
  • Legal protection on property accepted as collateral.
  • Continued use and employment of collateral to realise value.
  • Allows borrowers to prove their creditworthiness.
  • Springboard to move from informal to formal financing

The Lender

  • Remote access to the system
  • Reduced costs of loan administration.
  • Enhanced access to information on borrowers thereby reducing information asymmetry.
  • Reduced scope of over-borrowing by clients.
  • Enhanced lender confidence.
  • Diversification of lending portfolio.
  • Increased non-bank financial intermediation.
  • Clear rules of priority.
  • Promotes prudent lending and risk management.

The General Public

  • Can search the registry before buying goods to ensure that they are free from prior interests and are safe from being repossessed.
  • Development of industries.
  • Boost production and create employment: increased access to credit will increase productive capacity and generate employment.

Also read:


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Joina City working on being Zimbabwe’s first shopping mall to open 24 hours a day https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/joina-city-working-on-being-zimbabwes-first-shopping-mall-to-open-24-hours-a-day/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/joina-city-working-on-being-zimbabwes-first-shopping-mall-to-open-24-hours-a-day/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2022 19:45:57 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198496

The times are pretty convenient. We have the holiday season upon us and we always have last-minute shoppers so this could be that one place where you might be able to get a last-minute Christmas gift. This is of course subject to the retailers within the mall keeping their doors open. In their Facebook post, […]

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The times are pretty convenient. We have the holiday season upon us and we always have last-minute shoppers so this could be that one place where you might be able to get a last-minute Christmas gift. This is of course subject to the retailers within the mall keeping their doors open. In their Facebook post, they also hinted that from the 25th of November 2022 they would be open till 11 pm as a trial run to see the response. November 25th is also going to be black Friday and they anticipate that will bring extra business to the mall.

Please be advised:
To Our Valued Stakeholders

In a move to increase your sales, we would like to encourage all tenants to participate in
extended shopping hours for the mall. Our target is for Joina City to be the first 24-hour
operating mall in Zimbabwe. We currently have tenants who are operating through the night
in the Office Tower, and we would like our retail section to participate too.

For a start we will open the Mall until 2200hrs effective 25″ November 2022, and we are
ready to adjust the times as per your recommendations.

Should you have any suggestions kindly get in touch with Sharon on 0772 634 844 or Salome
on 0772 522 388.

JOINA CITY MANAGEMENT.

Joina City Facebook page

The night shift

Apart from us shoppers potentially benefiting from this, Joina City is not just merely a shopping mall. In fact, a big section of the building is dedicated to offices than it is to retail stores and restaurants. There are companies like Zimworks and YouPro that offer their services globally and with the issues of timezones, some shifts start late in the night and may last through till morning. Employees of such businesses can have some leeway to do a bit of shopping during these extended operating hours.

What I think will be curious to see is how many tenants on the mall end will stay open 24 hours or even till the 11pm trial run that will begin on Black Friday. Without these extending their operating hours the objective Joina wants to push may fall apart. The holiday season might make it work to a degree but beyond that, well, we shall see.

Also read:


Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

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TCL opens up shop in Zimbabwe ready to take on the biggest names in home appliances https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/tcl-opens-up-shop-in-zimbabwe-ready-to-take-on-the-biggest-names-in-home-appliances/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/tcl-opens-up-shop-in-zimbabwe-ready-to-take-on-the-biggest-names-in-home-appliances/#comments Tue, 22 Nov 2022 20:31:29 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198466

TCL is one of the biggest home appliance brands well known for making decent products at reasonable prices. A value-for-money brand against the likes of Samsung, Sony, and LG in the home appliances market. In 2021 TCL made inroads into South Africa and the reception was good enough for them to think about expanding to […]

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TCL is one of the biggest home appliance brands well known for making decent products at reasonable prices. A value-for-money brand against the likes of Samsung, Sony, and LG in the home appliances market.

In 2021 TCL made inroads into South Africa and the reception was good enough for them to think about expanding to Zimbabwe which becomes the second southern African country where they have an official presence. In Zimbabwe, they partnered up with WRS Switchgear as the local wholesale distributor.

TCL as a brand

TCL is one of those brands that do things under the radar. It’s either you know them very well or you do not know them at all. They have a presence in the smartphone space where they make their own TCL-branded smartphones. They also own the brand Alcatel and for a short stint, from 2016 to 2020, had the rights to produce Blackberry-branded smartphones. In fact, all Android-powered Blackberrys were made by TCL.

TCL is also one of the 3 television manufacturers that fabricate its own displays. The other 2 are Samsung and LG. On top of that, they were the first company in China to develop Quantum Dot TV, a technology that improves the image quality of LCD-based televisions. Improvements include deeper blacks, reduced light bleed, and improved vibrance of colors. It’s as close as you can get to OLED on an LCD panel

Globally TCL is ranked #2 in television sales only getting edged out by Samsung but getting the top spot when counting Android Smart TV market share.

They also produce a whole suite of home appliances. Soundbars, air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers. However, for the Zimbabwean market, we get TVs, soundbars, and air conditioners for now.

Distribution and backup

WRS Switchgear will be providing a 2-year warranty from the purchase date on TCL appliances. They also have access to TCL so they guarantee the availability of spares and parts. Which will be an incentive to choose them over other brands. The list of distribution partners is still not yet available but they did hint at major retailers so we can expect the following to possibly stock TCL consumer appliances.

  • Ok Mart
  • Mahomed Mussa
  • N Richards
  • Bon Marche

They highlighted that the South Africa launch was really positive and sales have been encouraging enough to branch out to Zimbabwe. It’s going to be interesting to see how they will entice Zimbabweans in this very price-sensitive market where iTel and Tecno are aggressively lowering the barrier to entry for appliances such as televisions. And the Premium TVs side of things is also giving them a full-court press with the likes of Sony and Samsung as well as Hisense wanting a piece of the pie.

Also Read:


Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

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Black Friday Tech deals in Zimbabwe! Up to 58% off https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/black-friday-tech-deals-in-zimbabwe/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/black-friday-tech-deals-in-zimbabwe/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2022 14:25:28 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198480

The week has arrived and banks left right and center are reminding us that they have Visa and Mastercards that can buy stuff online. Black Friday stuff. Well before you go on Amazon maybe you want to check out some deals available in Zimbabwe starting 25 November 2022. Up to 58% off on some products. […]

The post Black Friday Tech deals in Zimbabwe! Up to 58% off appeared first on Techzim.

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The week has arrived and banks left right and center are reminding us that they have Visa and Mastercards that can buy stuff online. Black Friday stuff. Well before you go on Amazon maybe you want to check out some deals available in Zimbabwe starting 25 November 2022. Up to 58% off on some products.

Disclaimer: The product descriptions are not our own but of the resellers. On products reviewed by us, you will see a note written ‘Click here to read the review‘. Click on the headings to view the retailer or the actual product. Discounts are subject to change without warning.

Cubed Electronics – Anker Products

Anker SoundCore 3 Bluetooth Speaker – US$60 (US$10 off)

  • Upgraded Driver Technology: Soundcore 3 Bluetooth speaker has dual drivers with 100% pure titanium diaphragms that extend treble up to 40kHz and minimize distortion.
  • Enhanced Bass: Dual passive radiators and upgraded BassUp technology work in tandem to pump up the bass in real-time—even at low volumes.
  • 16W Stereo Sound: Soundcore 3’s stereo sound makes your music sound more immersive and pumps up the atmosphere in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • 24-Hour Playtime: Soundcore 3 Bluetooth speaker is perfect for taking on days out or weekends away thanks to its ultra-long playtime that lets you listen to up to 480 songs on a single charge.
  • IPX7 Waterproof: Drench Soundcore 3 Bluetooth speaker in the shower, submerge it in the pool, or get it soaked on a rainy day—the IPX7 waterproof case will still protect all the important stuff inside.

Anker SoundCore Infini Pro Soundbar – US$340 (US$10 off)

  • Dolby AtmosⓇ: The world’s leading surround sound technology reproduces breathtaking, moving audio from all around you—even overhead.
  • Built-In Subwoofers: Infini Pro’s integrated 2.1 channel design pairs two front-facing 2.5-inch mid-range drivers and 1-inch tweeters with dual, up-facing 3-inch built-in subwoofers, symmetrical bass reflex ports, and exclusive BassUp technology for intense low frequencies and 105dB of room-filling sound.
  • Customized Sound Modes: Choose from Movie, Music, or Voice mode to enhance Infini Pro’s sound for the media you’re watching or listening to.
  • Versatile Input Options: Choose from HDMI, HDMI ARC, optical, or Bluetooth 5.0 connections. Also supports 4K HDR and Dolby Vision pass-through to 4K TVs.
  • Slim Design: Infini Pro’s low profile, streamlined body is 36 inches in length, and is wrapped in a discreet black fabric to allow it to blend in effortlessly with your interior.

Anker SoundCore life P2 Buds – US$60 (US$10 off)

  • Wider Soundstage
    Life P2’s graphene drivers oscillate with extreme precision to bring you sound with extraordinary accuracy and an ultra-realistic listening experience.
  • Incredible Call Quality
    Life P2 wireless earbuds have 4 microphones (2 per earbud) to enhance voice pick-up and remove background noises—making them ideal for home offices.
  • On-The-Go Listening
    Enjoy 7 hours of listening from a single charge, and extend it to 40 hours with the compact charging case. For a quick boost of power when you’re on the move, charge the earbuds for just 10 minutes and get 1 hour of listening.
  • Seriously Strong Connection
    Bluetooth 5.0 creates an unbreakable connection between your device and Life P2 wireless earbuds for skip-free audio even in busy spaces.
  • Simple Secure Fit
    Get a confident and satisfying fit in only 3 steps. For the best call quality, ensure the microphone is directed toward your mouth.
  • IPX7 Waterproof
    Life P2 wireless earbuds have IPX7-rated protection to resist liquids.

Anker Soundcore Motion+ Bluetooth Speaker – US$110 (US$10 off)

  • Hi-res Audio: motion+ is equipped with stunning Hi-Res Audio which is further enhanced by Qualcomm aptX for lossless music reproduction when streaming via Bluetooth.
  • Huge sound with intense bass: packed with two Ultra high-frequency tweeters, neodymium woofers, and passive radiators to fill every corner of your room with 30W of rich sound. Low frequencies are enhanced in real-time by our exclusive bass-up technology.
  • Exceptional depth and clarity: motion+’s Ultra-wide frequency range stretches from 50 Hz to 40 kHz and is paired with an advanced DSP to ensure all the details and idiosyncrasies of a song are faithfully reproduced.
  • IPX7 waterproof: fully-waterproof casing provides an impenetrable barrier against liquids.
  • 12-Hour playtime: motion+’s built-in 6, 700 mAh battery lets you effortlessly soundtrack wild weekends, cozy evenings, or long summer days outdoors.

Anker PowerConf Boardroom speaker – US$140 (US$10 off)

  • 360° Coverage: 6 microphones arranged in a 360° array pick up voices from all directions to instantly transform any space at home or the office into a meeting room.
  • Smart Voice Enhancement: PowerConf Bluetooth speakerphone utilizes a custom DSP algorithm to optimize your voice in real-time and effectively reduce background noises.
  • Optimized Clarity and Volume: Your voice is automatically balanced to make up for differences in volume and distance from the Bluetooth speakerphone.
  • Perfect For Home Offices: Connect to your phone via Bluetooth or to your computer with a USB-C cable—without needing to install drivers. PowerConf Bluetooth speakerphone is Zoom certified and is compatible with all popular online conferencing platforms.
  • 24 Hours of Call Time: A built-in 6,700mAh battery gives you the option to go wireless and hold meetings virtually anywhere. Integrated Anker PowerIQ technology allows you to charge other devices via PowerConf at optimized speeds.

Anker Soundcore Flare 2 Bluetooth speaker – US$80 (US$10 off)

  • 360° Immersive Sound: A portable Bluetooth speaker with Powerful 360°, bass-driven audio. Dual drivers and passive radiators combine with BassUp™ technology to generate a portable party with 20W of intense sound.
  • Beat-Driven Light Show: A totally reimagined rainbow light show that pulses, phases, and shines to the beat of your music. Double light rings simultaneously shine down onto the dancefloor and up into the atmosphere for pumping floor-to-ceiling illumination.
  • Pool Party Proof: No matter where the music needs to be, Flare 2 portable Bluetooth speaker is suited up and ready. Super-safe IPX7 waterproof protection effortlessly withstands spills, rain, and even complete submersion in water.
  • PartyCast Technology: Link 100+ Flare 2 portable Bluetooth speakers to party into the next dimension—sound and light synchronize across every speaker for a seamlessly electrifying experience.
  • Customize The Atmosphere: Enhance your audio with complete EQ control then tailor the light show to your mood with 6 mesmerizing lighting modes.

Anker Soundcore life Q10 Bluetooth headphones – US$50 (US$10 off)

  • Hi-res certified sound: The Hi-Res logo is of exceptional audio quality, awarded only to audio devices capable of producing the most accurate representation of what the artist intended. Unlike ordinary headphones, life Q10 delivers sound up to 40 kHz for the richest, most nuanced listening experience.
  • Bass up: our exclusive bass up technology analyzes your Audio’s low frequencies in real-time and instantly increases the Bass. Combined with oversized 40mm dynamic drivers, bass power is boosted up to 100%. a button on the right ear cup of the wireless over-ear headphones activates bass up.
  • 60-Hour playtime: an advanced Bluetooth chip with reduced power draw combines with Anker’s world-renowned power technology to offer enormous playtime, even for wireless over-ear headphones. Listen for 2 hours a day for an entire month.
  • Fast charging: in a rush? Charge life Q10 wireless over-ear headphones for 5 minutes and listen for up to 5 hours. With a USB-C charging port for charging convenience and expanded compatibility.

Anker SoundCore Life Q30 Noise Cancelling Bluetooth headphones – US$90 (US$10 off)

  • Upgraded Noise Cancellation with Multiple Modes
  • Hi-Res Certified Audio with Remarkable Clarity and Detail
  • Clear Calls via Built-In Microphones
  • Extended 40-Hour Playtime
  • 5-Minute Charge = 4-Hour Playtime
  • Lighter Build and More Comfortable Fit
  • Customizable EQ with Soundcore App
  • Transparency Mode

Anker SoundCore Liberty 3 Pro wireless buds – US$140 (US$10 off)

  • ACAA 2.0: Our exclusive coaxial dual driver technology delivers high and low-frequency sound directly to your ear without interference. Its wide soundstage is detailed and spacious, the bass has a deep punch, the mids are luscious, and the treble sparkles.
  • Personalized Noise Cancelling: Standard noise canceling only adjusts noise based on data. HearID ANC analyzes your ears and the level of in-ear pressure to create a tailored profile that optimizes noise reduction and reduces external sound to suit your ears.
  • Fusion Comfort Fit: Liberty 3 Pro’s earbuds have a triple-point ergonomic shape and built-in ear pressure relief for all-day comfort. 4 sizes of liquid silicone ear tips and flexible ear wings ensure you get a strong seal and secure grip.
  • Update Firmware: Before using Liberty 3 Pro for the first time, connect to the Soundcore app and update the earbuds’ firmware to the latest version.

Anker Eufy 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit – US$190 (US$10 off)

  • Easy Setup: Install in minutes all by yourself. The entry sensors attach to doors and windows, while the motion sensor and keypad can be secured to walls via the included mounts.
  • No Monthly Fees: Designed to protect your home, as well as your wallet, Eufy Security products, are one-time purchases that combine security with convenience.
  • Instant Alerts: Get notified as soon as a motion or a breach is detected with the Eufy Security app.
  • Security in Seconds: Arm and disarm in seconds by keying in your password or directly from your phone via the Eufy Security App.
  • What’s In The Box: HomeBase, keypad, motion sensor, 2 × entry sensors, owner’s manual, and Happy Card.

Mi Store Zimbabwe – Xiaomi & Redmi Products

Xiaomi Mi Watch – US$120 (US$15 off)

  • The Mi Watch Color has GPS
  • Multi-function NFC
  • Packs a 420mAh battery with up to 14 days on a single charge.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity.
  • 1.39” AMOLED display.
  • Support for over 110 different watch faces.
  • Step counter, exercise tracking, sleep tracking, and heart rate monitoring.

Xiaomi InFace 2in1 Hair Straightener & Curler – US$29 (US$6 off)

Click here to read the review

  • Suitable for both wet and dry hair.
  • The heatable plate is made of ceramic and does not directly touch the hair, thus preventing it from burning or weakening.
  • The ionic technology and fast and stable heat conduction.
  • The 5 levels of adjustment allow you to adapt it to a wide variety of hair types.
  • The cable can be rotated 360 degrees to make it easier to handle and prevent breakage.
  • Automatic switch-off 30 minutes after switching on, to make it easier to use and also prevent it from breaking

Xiaomi Smart Fan 1C – US$80 (US$10 off)

  • Simulate Real Natural Wind
  • Adjustable Height for Multiple use cases
  • Quiet Operation, as low as 37.2 dB(A)
  • 140° Wide Range Adjustment
  • 7 Custom Engineered Blades
  • 3 Airflow Settings
  • 15m Airflow Distance

Xiaomi Enchen Hair Straightener & Curler – US$23 (US$7 off)

  • Hair Curler + Hair Straightener two-in-one use
  • Ceramic glaze coating adopted on the surface will produce negative ions, good for hair caring
  • Anti-scald protection
  • 3 steady temperature settings: 160°C, 180°C, 200°C
  • 30 seconds of rapid heating
  • One-click locking
  • Swiveled power cord for easy hanging

Mi Smart Kettle – US$53 (US$7 off)

  • Perfect Temperature
  • Perfect Glass of Water
  • Intelligent Water Temperature Control
  • 304 Stainless Steel Liner
  • Fast Boiling
  • Connect to Mi Home App Via Bluetooth

Redmi Wireless TV Sound Bar – US$53 (US$7 off)

  • Stylish Bar Shaped Speaker
  • Wireless Home Theater Speaker
  • Wall-Mounting Compatible
  • Bluetooth: 5.0
  • 3.5mm Stereo, AUX Input, Coaxial Input
  • 30W Input Power
  • 80Hz ~ 20000Hz Acoustic Frequency Response Range
  • 4 ohms Rated Impedance

Redmi Watch 2 Lite – USD65 (US$5 off)

  • Display: 1.55″square thin-film transistor (TFT)screen
  • Resolution: 320*360
  • Sensors: Optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass
  • GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou

Xiaomi 16-in-1 Precision Ratchet Screwdriver Set – US$25 (US$5 off)

  • 16 precisely finished tips will allow you to repair most appliances and furniture.
  • Mi ratchet technology and excellent quality translate into a modern set you can rely on
  • Three-gear high-torque ratchet to improve work efficiency.
  • 45-tooth high-precision ratchet, smooth operation.
  • Detachable press magazine.
  • 16 kinds of bit models, detachable extension rods.
  • Faceted handle design, comfortable to hold.

Tecno – Smartphones

Tecno CAMON 17 Pro (256+8GB) – US$149 (US$205 off)

  • 48MP Ultra Clear Selfie Camera
  • 64MP Ultra Clear Quad Camera
  • Ultra Pro Video Camera
  • 6.8″Dot-in, 90Hz FHD+Display
  • 5000mAh, 25W Flash Charge
  • CPU Helio G95, 256+8GB Memory
  • Dual Speakers Surround Sound
  • Front Camera with Dual Flash, Rear Camera with Quad Flash
  • HiOS based on Android™ 11

Tecno POP 6 (16+1GB)- US$35 (US$36 off)

  • Android 11
  • 6.1 Inch
  • Mediatek MT6739WA
  • 1GB RAM
  • 32 GB
  • 5 Megapixels main camera

Gizmo The Tech Store – Smartphones and Smart wear

Samsung Galaxy Watch5 – US$230 (US$40 off)

  • Advanced Sleep Coaching
    Develop better sleep habits with Advanced Sleep Coaching that helps you manage your overall sleep quality.
  • Body composition analysis (BIA)
    Get stats that help you be at your best with body composition info right on your wrist — everything from body fat readings to your Body Mass Index (BMI).
  • Improved sensor accuracy
    Get more accurate wellness readings thanks to an improved, curved sensor that gets closer to your skin.
  • Auto Workout Tracking
    Whether you’re running, swimming or rowing, make the most of every outdoor adventure with Auto Workout Tracking.
  • Improved battery
    Stay powered up throughout your busiest days with an improved battery that can keep up with you.
  • Sapphire crystal glass
    Do all your daily routines with confidence — the sapphire crystal glass face is 1.6x stronger to stand the test of the hardest days.
  • Enhanced GPS
    Wander all you want and still know where you are with enhanced GPS and voice navigation right on your wrist.
  • Galaxy Connected Experience
    Stay connected on your adventures when you sync Galaxy Watch5 to your Galaxy mobile devices.
  • Extension of your phone
    Do more when you pair your Galaxy Watch5 to your Galaxy smartphone
  • Customize with faces and bands
    Customize your outfit. Galaxy Watch5 will match any mood or look with a wide array of band and watch-face choices.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G 256GB – US$1035 (US$150 off)

  • Light up your life with 8K video
    Shoot videos that rival how epic your life is with stunning 8K recording.
  • So smooth, you won’t believe you shot it
    The video you capture is effortlessly smooth, thanks to Auto Focus Video Stabilization on Galaxy S22 Ultra.
  • Low light? No problem.
    Capture the night with crystal-clear, bright pics and videos, no matter the lighting with Night Mode.
  • Bring out the beauty with every pic
    Put all your favorite details on display. Portrait Mode auto-detects and adjusts to what you want front and center, making all your photos worthy of a frame.
  • Highest resolution. Premium clarity.
    Capture premium detail with 108MP resolution — the highest available on a smartphone.
  • Your favorite content. Our brightest screen.
    Your favorite content will look even more epic on our brightest display ever with Vision Booster.
  • Color that adapts to your day
    Streaming on the go, working from your patio, or binge-watching late into the night? The Galaxy S22 Ultra adaptive screen automatically optimizes color and brightness, outdoors and indoors.
  • A battery for a day and into the next
    Power every scroll, click, tap and stream all day long and then some with an intelligent, long-lasting battery.
  • Super-fast charging that won’t hold you back
    Dive back into action at a moment’s notice with 45W Super-Fast Charging.
  • Write, sketch, edit, and more
    New phone. New S Pen. Now you can unleash your creativity on Galaxy S22 Ultra with an embedded S Pen.
  • A new standard of premium
    Expertly engineered to outlast your day with class. Finally, a phone that meets your standards.
  • Don’t just stream it. Share it.
    Watch viral YouTube videos and content together with your friends, from anywhere.
  • Shoot for the moon
    Experience out-of-this-world zoom power with 100x Space Zoom.
  • Snap a ton with just one take
    Snap perfect, profile-worthy photos and viral videos at the same time in one click.
  • Multi-cam recording activated
    Slide into the director’s chair and create share-ready videos on the spot with multi-cam recording and automatic pro-style effects.
  • Save your heart out
    Your life is full, but your storage shouldn’t be. Get the space you need and then some with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB memory options for Galaxy S22 Ultra.
  • Processing speed that keeps up with you
    Snap, switch, stream and surf with the speed of our fastest processor ever.
  • Serious security
    Use your phone with confidence — Galaxy S22 Ultra helps keep your private data protected with multilayered security.
  • Phone and PC, beautifully in sync
    Link to Windows gives you the power to sync your phone with your PC, so you can work from your phone without even picking it up.
  • Powerful apart. Stronger together.
    Get more out of the activities you love the most when you connect Galaxy S22 Ultra with Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Watch.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G 256GB – US$990 (US$135 off)

  • Connectivity built for today. And tomorrow.
    Built with 5G connectivity in mind, you can share, scroll, browse and binge in a flash(1).
  • Our best camera. Your best life.
    Zoom in close, take photos and videos like a pro, and capture incredible share-ready moments with our easy-to-use, multi-lens camera.
  • Trust us, you’ll look amazing in 8K video
    A night out. Your best friend’s birthday party. Family moments you’ll want to remember forever. Capture your life’s best moments in head-turning, super-smooth 8K video.
  • Movie-making magic in the palm of your hand
    Slide into the director’s chair and create share-ready videos on the spot with multi-cam recording and automatic pro-style effects.
  • Spontaneity, now captured from multiple angles
    Create share-ready GIFs and videos in a single take or pick your favorite moments and pull your favorite stills in super high-res to share with your followers.
  • The highest-resolution camera you can get on a smartphone
    Pick up more pixels with the highest resolution you can get on a smartphone at 108MP, while an upgraded sensor gives you more color and way less noise in low light.
  • Get closer with the most powerful zoom on a smartphone
    Zoom in with amazing clarity with a dual-lens combo of 3x and 10x optical zoom, or go even further with our revolutionary 100x Space Zoom.
  • Our best smartphone display yet. There, we said it.
    Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with our highest contrast ratio and a 6.8” adaptive display that automatically adjusts from 10Hz to 120Hz. Plus, intuitive blue-light management adjusts based on time of day to keep your eyes happy.
  • Life moves fast. S21 Ultra moves faster.
    Transform your story sharing, live streaming, video-editing and multi-tasking with hyperfast processor speeds
  • A striking new phone design — may cause phone envy
    Modern haze finishes with an all-new integrated metal camera design and our toughest glass on a smartphone. Groundbreaking — it’s a vibe. And it looks good on you.
  • All day battery, and then some. No charging.
    Power every scroll, click, tap, and stream all day long and then some with an intelligent battery that works with you, not against you.
  • All your photos are keepers. So keep ‘em.
    Every moment matters. Hold on to them with S21 Ultra 5G’s extensive built-in storage.

Apple iPad 10.2-Inch 9th Gen WiFi – US$370/64GB US$550/256GB (US$55 off on both)

  • Gorgeous 10.2-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • A13 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • 8MP Wide back camera, 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage
  • Up to 256GB storage
  • Stereo speakers
  • Touch ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • Lightning connector for charging and accessories
  • Works with Apple Pencil (1st generation) and Smart Keyboard
  • iPadOS 15 is uniquely powerful, easy to use, and designed for the versatility of iPad
  • Apps are available on the App Store. Title availability is subject to change.

Apple Watch Series 7 (GPS) 45mm with Sports Band – US$410 (US$70 off)

  • Always-on Retina display has nearly 20% more screen area than Series 6, making everything easier to see and use
  • The most crack-resistant front crystal yet on an Apple Watch, IP6X dust resistance, and swim-proof design
  • Measure your blood oxygen with a powerful sensor and app
  • Take an ECG anytime, anywhere
  • Get high and low heart rate and irregular heart rhythm notifications
  • Stay in the moment with the new Mindfulness app, and reach your sleep goals with the Sleep app
  • Track new tai chi and pilates workouts, in addition to favorites like running, yoga, swimming, and dance
  • Track your daily activity on your Apple Watch, and see your trends in the Fitness app on your iPhone
  • Sync your favorite music, podcasts, and audiobooks
  • Pay instantly and securely from your wrist with Apple Pay
  • All-day battery life and faster charging
  • watchOS 8 introduces new workout types, the Mindfulness app, the new Portraits watch face and enhancements to Messages
  • Apple Watch comes with 3 free months of Fitness+, featuring world-class workouts by the world’s top trainers
  • Apple Watch Series 7 requires an iPhone 6s or later with iOS 15 or later.

Apple iPhone 14 Plus – US$1065/128GB (US$110 off) US$1210/256GB (US$85 off)

  • 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display
  • Advanced camera system for better photos in any light
  • Cinematic mode now in 4K Dolby Vision up to 30 fps
  • Action mode for smooth, steady, handheld videos
  • Vital safety features—Emergency SOS via satellite and Crash Detection
  • All-day battery life and up to 26 hours of video playback
  • A15 Bionic chip with 5-core GPU for lightning-fast performance. Superfast 5G cellular
  • Industry-leading durability features with Ceramic Shield and water resistance
  • iOS 16 offers even more ways to personalize, communicate, and share

Apple iPhone 14 – US$980/128GB (US$75 off) US$1095/256GB (US$80 off)

  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display
  • Advanced camera system for better photos in any light
  • Cinematic mode now in 4K Dolby Vision up to 30 fps
  • Action mode for smooth, steady, handheld videos
  • Vital safety features—Emergency SOS via satellite and Crash Detection
  • All-day battery life and up to 20 hours of video playback
  • A15 Bionic chip with 5-core GPU for lightning-fast performance. Superfast 5G cellular
  • Industry-leading durability features with Ceramic Shield and water resistance
  • iOS 16 offers even more ways to personalize, communicate, and share

Apple iPhone 13 – US$780/128GB (US$65 off) US$895/256GB (US$100 off)

  • 6.1‑inch (diagonal) all‑screen OLED display; Super Retina XDR display; 2532‑by‑1170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi
  • The Ceramic Shield Front is tougher than any smartphone glass; the Glass back and aluminum design
  • 5G for superfast downloads and high-quality streaming
  • A15 Bionic chip; 6‑core CPU with 2 performance and 4 efficiency cores; 4‑core GPU; 16‑core Neural Engine
  • Dual 12MP camera system: Wide and Ultra Wide cameras; Night mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, Cinematic mode, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera with Night mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, Cinematic mode, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording
  • Rated IP68 (maximum depth of 6 meters up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529
  • Supports MagSafe accessories for easy attachment and faster wireless charging
  • iOS 15 is the world’s most personal and secure mobile operating system, packed with powerful features and designed to protect your privacy.

Apple iPhone 11 128GB – US$570 (US$95 off)

  • 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD LCD display
  • Water and dust resistant (2 meters for up to 30 minutes, IP68)
  • Dual-camera system with 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide cameras; Night mode, Portrait mode, and 4K video up to 60fps
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera with Portrait mode, 4K video, and Slo-Mo
  • Face ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay
  • A13 Bionic chip with third-generation Neural Engine
  • Fast-charge capable
  • Wireless charging
  • iOS 13 with Dark Mode, new tools for editing photos and video, and brand-new privacy features

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic 46mm – US$235 (US$40 off)

  • Body Composition Analysis
    Get ready to crush your wellness goals with body readings right on your wrist.
  • Advanced Sleep / Continuous SpO2
    Manage your overall sleep quality for a great night’s sleep with an advanced tracker that calculates your sleep score.
  • ECG
    Be smart about your heart with ECG Monitoring that gives accurate readings.
  • Fitness / Auto Workout Tracking
    Make the most of every workout with Auto Workout Tracking. Stay motivated by connecting to live coaching sessions via your smartphone or to dynamic Group Challenges with your friends.
  • V02 Max / Advanced Run Coaching
    Make the most out of every mile with Advanced Run Coaching and VO2 max readings to assess your cardio levels.
  • Extension of Your Phone
    Galaxy Watch4 Classic works as an extension of your phone so you can talk, stream and text from your wrist on the go.
  • Upgraded OS (GSuiteApps)
    Tap into the power and convenience of select Google services and apps on your wrist.
  • Luxurious Design
    Show off your style with a luxurious and timeless watch design that’s great for any occasion. Personalize your look even more with a range of stylish watch faces and bands.
  • Group Challenges
    Get moving and motivated with your family and friends. Join the fitness fun with activities and challenges designed just for groups.
  • Trip Detection
    Get peace of mind while on the go with Trip Detection which sends an SOS to your emergency contact in the event of a hard fall.
  • Women’s Health
    Galaxy Watch4 Classic helps women build a deeper connection with their bodies and their health by helping to log and track fertility windows, ovulation cycles, and periods.
  • Samsung Health
    Samsung Health helps you stay on top of your health, your goals, and your upcoming fitness needs.
  • Payments
    Make purchases on the go without your wallet with Samsung Pay or Google Pay on your wrist.
  • Ecosystem
    Tap into a Galaxy of possibilities with effortless connectivity between all your connected Samsung devices.
  • SmartThings
    Cool down the house as you cool down from your workout with a tap of your wrist.

FuserTech – IT products

Acer Aspire A315 Laptop – US$288.18 (US$50.85 off)

  • 4GB RAM
  • 500GB HDD
  • Intel Celeron N4000 CPU
  • Windows 10 Home

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 lite – US$182.75 (US$32.25 off)

  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB Internal
  • 8.7 Inch

Amazon Fire 7 Kid’s Tablet 16GB – US$103.50 (US$18.50 off)

  • Includes ready-to-go bundle
  • Fire 7 Kids tablet includes a sturdy Kid-Proof Case with built-in stand, 1-year of Amazon Kids+, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee.
  • Enhanced tablet performance
  • Fire 7 Kids tablets offer a full-feature tablet experience, including up to 30% faster quad-core processor compared to previous generation, 16GB internal storage, and up to 10 hours enjoying their favorite games, apps, videos, and more.

More stores and discounts

As the week goes there may be more products and stores added to this article so you might want to bookmark it. Black Friday is on the 25th of November. One thing to look out for is discounts that are not really discounted. Some retailers might put blow up the ‘before’ price to make it seem like a big saving when it actually isn’t. May your payday and bank account be in your favor.


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Spending most of the day staring at screens? Protect your eyes from strain using these home remedies https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/spending-most-days-staring-at-screens-home-remedies-to-protect-your-eyes-from-strain/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/spending-most-days-staring-at-screens-home-remedies-to-protect-your-eyes-from-strain/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2022 12:46:24 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198482

The life expectancy in Zimbabwe is around 62 years. That means our middle age is in the 30s and as a middle-ager, I can tell you for free, your body starts preparing for the long sleep once you hit the big three-oh. I recently had to tend to my decaying body. A half-life of staring […]

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The life expectancy in Zimbabwe is around 62 years. That means our middle age is in the 30s and as a middle-ager, I can tell you for free, your body starts preparing for the long sleep once you hit the big three-oh.

I recently had to tend to my decaying body. A half-life of staring at screens apparently took its toll on my weary eyes and they requested a timeout. 

You probably have an equally demanding schedule, staring blankly at digital screens for no less than 15 hours a day. For most of us, the only time we are not looking at screens is when we are asleep. 

The morning starts with a quick reach for the trusty smartphone. Later on, we trade that small screen for a bigger computer screen and toil away the day. At the end of the day, we treat ourselves to a bit of entertainment to unwind and for that, we trade the computer screen for a larger one.

After the TV session, one sometimes has to do a little reading and that happens on some kind of screen in most cases. Physical books are a relic and we are encountering fewer and fewer of them. Depending on the lighting situation, physical books are just as taxing on the eyes though.

After a few chapters, you decide it’s time to knock off for the night and a little social media sesh on the phone is the preferred lullaby for most of us.

Eye strain

That is way too much screen time. If you don’t take precautions, that kind of screen time will bite you in the rear in due time.

They say if your vision is blurry and your eyes feel dry by the end of the day, you have screen time to thank for that. 

Apparently, we don’t blink as much as we normally do when we are staring at a screen. When not looking at screens, we blink about 15-20 times a minute but blink less than half as often when looking at screens.

Blinking spreads tears over the eyes, keeping them from getting dry and irritated. Hence why blinking less is bad for your eyes.

There are nonprescription artificial tears that can help you prevent and relieve dry eyes. However, before resorting to the pharmacy, there are other measures you can take to remedy the situation. 

Some home remedies to reduce eye strain

We have heard some of these remedies but hardly do we ever follow them until we get some kind of scare. Don’t be like me, try to make some of the lifestyle changes they say can help reduce eye strain.

Limit screen time

If you can help it, reduce the amount of time you spend staring at screens per day. Try listening to music, podcasts or whatever else you can think of that doesn’t involve eyeball on screen.

Take breaks

Even if you can’t really limit your screen time, you still need to take breaks. There is something called the 20-20-20 rule and it goes like this: every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet (6 metres) away for at least 20 seconds.

You should also take 15-minute breaks for every 2 hours you spend looking at a screen.

To be honest, this all sounds like it would disrupt my workflow and get me out of the ‘zone’ but my middle-aged eyes need it, so it has to be done. 

Optimise lighting

Whatever you do, you don’t want your light source shining directly into your eyes. So, avoid placing your monitor directly in front of a window. You don’t even want to have a white wall directly behind your monitor, it reflects too much light and it can be like a window.

Even for overhead lights, try angling off so that rays from the bulb do not have a direct path to your eyeballs. 

Further, you should also note that glare on your screen is just as bad. Some monitors come with antiglare coatings and if you have that, lucky you. If not you might want to invest in matte screen filters.

Still on lighting, you want to match your monitor’s brightness with the surroundings. Your monitor should not be brighter or dimmer than your surroundings. I used to type away in the dark, I preferred a dark room but little did I know that I was just straining my eyes for no reason.

Monitor position

Don’t sit too close to your monitor. Let it be about half a meter away from your face. You also need to make sure the centre of the monitor is 10-15 degrees below eye level.

Adjusting the screen itself

I am a member of the ‘all-things-dark-mode’ cult but as Khalid warned all those years ago, I was playing myself. Dark mode does reduce eye strain but only when you’re in a dim environment, hence why some call it night mode. In bright daylight, you want to keep dark mode off and you don’t want a bright screen in the dark. 

We have talked about blue light filters many times. It remains true, blue light fatigues your eyes faster. However, for many of us, the yellow screen that greets you when you turn the blue light filter on is too drastic to work with. Luckily, for most screens, you can now adjust the intensity of the blue light filter. Find what works for you.

The other sin I was committing was that of using tiny type. I would often choose the smallest font size available and for some reason found joy in not having to scroll as much by fitting as many words onto the screen as possible. As if scrolling would kill me. I was straining my eyes for no reason at all.

You should make text larger for easier reading and less strain on your eyes. 

Protect your eyes

There is more you can do to reduce eye strain but the above should get you started. Don’t wait till you have to see a doctor to try out the home remedies we talked about. 

However, if possible, try to get your eyes checked out, especially if you have been experiencing eye strain regularly. 

All the best and remember to blink more.

Also read:

Is your phone affecting your health and sleep? It probably is, find out how

Have A Hard Time Putting Your Phone Down? This App Might Just Be The Answer

Admit it, you kind of are an addict. Here’s the help you need


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Thinking of asking the Ministry of Finance some questions? They gave us their number https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/thinking-of-asking-the-ministry-of-finance-some-questions-they-gave-us-their-number/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/thinking-of-asking-the-ministry-of-finance-some-questions-they-gave-us-their-number/#comments Sun, 20 Nov 2022 06:17:16 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198470

I’m not going to lie these are interesting times. Just last week the RBZ was crowdsourcing thoughts and ideas on a Central Bank Digital Currency that they are working on. Now the top office that is the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has shared its WhatsApp contact numbers that anyone can use to reach […]

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I’m not going to lie these are interesting times. Just last week the RBZ was crowdsourcing thoughts and ideas on a Central Bank Digital Currency that they are working on. Now the top office that is the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has shared its WhatsApp contact numbers that anyone can use to reach out to them.

MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
PUBLIC NOTICE
MINISTRY WHATSAPP NUMBERS

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, is pleased to advise stakeholders that the Ministry is now accessible and reachable via WhatsApp on the following numbers.

1. +263 719 567 051 and
2. +263 719 567 113

Kindly please note that the numbers will be used exclusively for WhatsApp messaging and SMS texting only. Phone calls are strictly not allowed and the Public is advised to use normal Ministry of Finance and Economic Development contact details indicated below.

The platforms will be used for consultation purposes, surveys and for general engagement with stakeholders. Further. stakeholders can also use the platforms to make enquiries and queries on services rendered by the Ministry as well as to share feedback on Ministry services and programmes.

The Ministry has provided these platforms out of the realisation that we need to provide diverse communication channels to ensure that no one is left behind as we progress on our journey towards Vision 2030.

MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
16 November 2022

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Twitter page

Availability

In case anyone was curious, no, the number is not managed by a bot. It is run by humans and the availability of the number is 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and out of commission on weekends. It’s also strictly for WhatsApp as mentioned in their press statement.

There was once a time when access to such offices was reserved for individuals of elevated social standing. Now it’s coming more open to more members of the public. It’s still yet to be seen whether or not it will be a channel providing useful assistance to the public it’s meant to serve. Try it out and comment your experience.

Also read:


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FBC, another Zim Financial services firm to branch out to Botswana https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/fbc-becomes-another-bank-to-branch-out-to-botswana/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/fbc-becomes-another-bank-to-branch-out-to-botswana/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2022 11:01:38 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198458

Just last week ZB Financial Holdings officially launched a reinsurance company in Botswana and now FBC has joined the party as well launching their own reinsurance company in the neighboring country. FBC Reinsurance company is the bank’s way of expanding into the region. We are proud of being recognised as an investor friendly, lucrative, safe […]

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Just last week ZB Financial Holdings officially launched a reinsurance company in Botswana and now FBC has joined the party as well launching their own reinsurance company in the neighboring country. FBC Reinsurance company is the bank’s way of expanding into the region.

We are proud of being recognised as an investor friendly, lucrative, safe and profitable investment destination. Establishment of FBC Re in Botswana is testament to the Government’s firm commitment towards creating a conducive environment for attracting Foreign direct investment in the country.

The launch of Fbc Reinsurance Botswana is a great unifier as it brings Botswana and Zimbabwe together as one family. l have no doubt that this launch occasion also enabled FBC to identify more investment opportunities in this wonderful country which has made commendable progress in creating a conducive environment for attracting Foreign Direct Investments.

Ms Malebogo Kote – (Manager Investment Promotion Botswana Trade and Investment Centre-BITC)

FBC Reinsurance Zimbabwe gave birth to its subsidiary Fbc Re Botswana Pty Ltd in line with our strong desire to offer specialised service that meet the needs of our valued regional customers Kleto Chiketsani(FBC Re Managing Director) addresses delegate at the launch event.

FBC Holdings Tweet

Also Read:


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WhatsApp adds polls and communities. I have some thoughts. https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/whatsapp-adds-polls-and-communities-i-have-some-thoughts/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/whatsapp-adds-polls-and-communities-i-have-some-thoughts/#comments Thu, 17 Nov 2022 09:42:08 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198453

WhatsApp has been busy these past couple of months adding feature after feature to the chat app. They are all pretty interesting with the latest ones being Polls, Communities, and Avatars. So are they any good? Polls Polls are pretty much a way of data collection on whatever topic you desire. The data will come […]

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WhatsApp has been busy these past couple of months adding feature after feature to the chat app. They are all pretty interesting with the latest ones being Polls, Communities, and Avatars. So are they any good?

Polls

Polls are pretty much a way of data collection on whatever topic you desire. The data will come in an easy to work with the format for the person who will be running the poll instead of perusing the whole chat for individual messages. It’s a feature I see being used a lot in community, academic, and even business groups.

I do think that there was an oversight WhatsApp made with polls. They do not have the option to restrict one person to only select or vote for one option. You can, if you want, vote for every option on any poll. At least we get to have them both on individual accounts and business accounts.

Communities

Essentially communities are groups for existing groups. A way of organizing the various groups you are in to make it easier to find them and share messages just to specific groups of the same topic. Think of it this way. In the zhet economy that is Zimbabwe, the typical WhatsApp account is in a variety of groups for a number of things. Avon products, Forex groups, health products, fuel, you name it.

All these groups can be organized by whatever topic you so choose. And you can share specific messages with specific groups of the same topic. And if you have used WhatsApp for long enough you will remember that back in the day we had broadcast lists. A way of grouping contacts with the same topic and…yes broadcasting messages to all of them at once.

For a business this feature is amazing. It allows me to put all Techzim groups under one ‘Community’ and share news articles in all of them at once instead of 5 groups at a time. But WhatsApp brought this feature to individual accounts and denied business accounts. Imagine region-specific broadcast messages for businesses with multiple branches in different locations. A powerful and convenient business feature shipped off to individual accounts.

Avatars

Meta is bringing the Avatars magic from the Metaverse to WhatsApp. It’s just an extension of expression from the selection of gifs, emojis, and stickers that are available for use right now. But you can customize these to fit your look, religion or personality.

Also Read:


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USD rates proposed for 2023 by Harare City Council are near to minimum wage https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/usd-rates-proposed-for-2023-by-harare-city-council-are-near-to-minimum-wage/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/usd-rates-proposed-for-2023-by-harare-city-council-are-near-to-minimum-wage/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2022 11:46:24 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198444

In a budget announcement done by Harare City Council Finance chairperson Councillor Costa Mande announced proposed USD council rates for 2023. The rates can still be paid in the RTGS equivalent at the prevailing interbank however they will be steep. Really close to the USD150 that the government announced as minimum wage. The USD rates […]

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In a budget announcement done by Harare City Council Finance chairperson Councillor Costa Mande announced proposed USD council rates for 2023. The rates can still be paid in the RTGS equivalent at the prevailing interbank however they will be steep. Really close to the USD150 that the government announced as minimum wage.

The USD rates for Harare City council for 2023

High-Density SuburbMedium-Density SuburbLow-Density Suburb
Monthly rates fees starting atUS$23.15US$77.30US$113.30
Monthly water fees (first 5 cubic meters)US$5.15US$8.30US$8.30
Monthly refuse collection feesUS$8US$11US$11
Monthly sewer chargesUS$4US$6US$6
Total expected monthly council bill per householdUS$40.30US$102.60US$138.60

Granted in some suburbs some costs won’t be as high for example water in areas where council water is but a legend and sewer in areas where septic tanks are employed instead of sewer lines. But up to US$130 seems like it’s going to be a tough ask for a lot of home residents. This might also further raise rentals across the board which was already sky-high in Harare.

What’s also going to be the issue is that for a while now, service delivery has been close to non-existent, especially on refuse collection and the state of the roads. These same residents being asked to pay the council for these services are the same residents using their own resources to provide a solution for the disposal of refuse, water supply, and roads.

This will increase the rate of defaulters

It’s a shared thought amongst Harare residents that it seems unfair to pay for services that are not being delivered. And it’s also a bit of a chicken and egg situation because the council also states that they cannot deliver because rates are not being paid. In April of 2022, the City of Harare stated that it is owed to the tune of ZW$17 billion in unpaid rates, even threatening to convert those arrears to USD for residents that fail to make payment plans with them.

Council is owed in excess of $17 billion in local currency. The money is losing value daily as it remains resident with the residents. When residents make payment plans to settle their bills, they “should ensure they pay their current monthly bills in addition to agreed settlement amount”. Head Communications Mr Michael Chideme said failure to pay bills was affecting service delivery as the city was finding it difficult to procure necessary resources like garbage trucks, road equipment and other items needed to provide services to the people.

City Of Harare

If residents are failing to pay the current tariffs then it does not look good for the council in its effort to get every resident to be current with their bills. Maybe the few that are already current will somewhat offset the deficit from the many that are not paying. But if the service is not available it’s going to make it harder for residents to commit to payment.

Also read:


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Xiaomi 12s Ultra concept has a built-in Leica lens mount! https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/xiaomi-12s-ultra-concept-has-a-built-in-leica-lens-mount/ https://www.techzim.co.zw/2022/11/xiaomi-12s-ultra-concept-has-a-built-in-leica-lens-mount/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2022 10:00:13 +0000 https://www.techzim.co.zw/?p=2198434

Xiaomi announced their concept, the 12s Ultra, with the highlight being their partnership with Leica. Outside of professional camera circles, Leica’s popularity was brought about by its collaboration with Huawei for the camera system. That partnership has since ended thanks to a lack of Google services destroying sales of Huawei devices globally. So Xiaomi came […]

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Xiaomi announced their concept, the 12s Ultra, with the highlight being their partnership with Leica. Outside of professional camera circles, Leica’s popularity was brought about by its collaboration with Huawei for the camera system. That partnership has since ended thanks to a lack of Google services destroying sales of Huawei devices globally. So Xiaomi came to the rescue and the Xiaomi 12s Ultra concept is a very compelling concept.

Evolution of smartphone cameras

A smartphone camera 5 years ahead of its time

Cameras have been a pivotal part of smartphones and over the past decade, a lot of things have happened. In 2012, Nokia unleashed its 5-year long project in the form of the Nokia 808 Pureview. A smartphone with a 41MP camera at a time when 13MP sensors were considered cutting edge. And for 5 years after that, the rest of the industry was using this camera as a benchmark.

In it were technologies like lossless digital zoom, pixel binning, and oversampling, technologies that at the time were only found in flagship-grade photography cameras. The physical size of the sensor itself was the largest ever fitted to a smartphone and because of its sheer size, it had one substantial camera bump.

This quickly became undesirable as the push for smartphone design went towards sleek, slim, and compact designs. The engineering problem now is that the more thin and compact you make a phone, the less space there is for powerful hardware. And with camera hardware, you cannot run away from having physically large elements when powerful imaging chops are required. You need a large sensor to capture sufficient light and gather good image data at the sensor level before processing comes into play.

The impossible made possible

In 2019, Huawei introduced the P30 Pro which had the largest sensor ever fitted in a smartphone. Physically larger than the one in the Nokia even though it had a lower pixel count. I will point out that pixel count does not equate to better overall photos but rather the quality per pixel and the subsequent image processing is what give you the best results.

The larger sensor on the P30 Pro meant it had the ability to gather a lot more light in photos making life easier for the image processing to do its job without too much strain. And it did, and probably still does take some of the best-looking photos day and night. However, it also kicked things off the camera zoom race. It was capable of providing a 5x optical zoom. Meaning they fitted inside this phone some physical lenses with a magnification of up to 5x.

So many give and takes. So many compromises

Whilst this was one amazing feat given the complexities behind fitting all that hardware in such a slim smartphone, it’s not a perfect way of delivering some zoom. Firstly, the zoom lens uses an inferior-quality imaging sensor which does not deliver images of the same brilliant quality as the main sensor. Photos taken with the zoom camera have less vibrant color, are not as sharp and generally look bland compared to those from the main camera.

The second issue is that the P30 Pro and other smartphone cameras making use of this periscope implementation have a fixed zoom or fixed focal length. This then limits the number of scenarios you can use the zoom because in most cases it’s zooming in too close or too far for it to be of any use.

Very recently, the Sony Xperia 1 IV added continuous zoom to their telephoto lens from 3.5x to 5.2x which brings a whole lot of utility when fine-tuning your zoom. It’s brilliant. But they did not address the issue of image quality because it still uses a less superior quality imaging sensor to the one used on the main lens. Xiaomi’s 12s Ultra concept wants to bring in a very fresh solution to that problem which I like a lot.

Just slap a DSLR lens on it!

So when the Xiaomi 12s Ultra was launched it carried some big camera numbers. A 1-inch sensor, (The same physical size as sensors in professional cameras), 50MP meaning huge, quality pixels, a Leica collab that they snubbed Huawei, and a very substantial camera circle that actually looks like a DSLR lens.

Since Leica already makes some really good and REALLY EXPENSIVE cameras, Xiaomi thought, what if they make a Leica lens-compatible attachment on their camera ring so that you can use the main camera of the smartphone for everything? A portrait shot gets a portrait lens. A zoom shot gets a telephoto lens and so forth.

It won’t matter which scenario of photo or video you are taking. You will be using the best lens on the smartphone every time. And I see the utility of this as I used to use binoculars as a telephoto lens with my phone when I was out in the wild taking photos of wildlife. You got the zoom and the best image quality.

Is this the right approach?

Glass is pricier than bodies

All camera nerds reading this will know that glass is more expensive than the body. What this means is that when you get a professional camera like a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, the body is not that expensive. The lenses however are a whole different story. This is because image processing on these cameras is not as sophisticated as that on smartphones. To get the best possible image you have to have a very good lens and a very good lens is expensive.

Having less sophisticated image processing is by design. Professional photographers have different tastes and looks they seek when taking photos. So they prefer to have just the bare minimum image processing for the sake of more creative freedom during the shoot and in post-production.

Not all of us are pros

But there is a demography consisting of enthusiasts. Enthusiasts who either cannot afford a DSLR or do not have the skill to get the most out of such cameras. A demography that is overwhelmed by the sheer number of buttons and adjustments involved with professional cameras. I know we will keep an eye on this concept.

Versatility and ease of use over bells and whistles

Another reason why this Xiaomi would be appealing is its versatility and ease of use. It’s versatile because when you want to use it as a phone you can. It will maintain its sleek and compact design and work as well as any other flagship. When you need it to be a serious photography tool you just pull out a lens and attach it to the back camera and you have a camera system closer to a professional camera than it is to a good smartphone camera.

And when it comes to ease of use we look at workflow. You can have really professional-looking photos for social media without involving a computer for file transfer. It’s convenient for editing as well. The Xiaomi 12s Ultra can shoot RAW images which you can quickly import into Lightroom or Snapseed on the same device. And when editing is done you can use this same device to share the files. Essentially the workflow just becomes more streamlined.

The Xiaomi 12s Ultra. A concept I hope makes it to market

When we look at all previous camera-centric smartphones we see a common trend. A tradeoff of some sort is always experienced. Either you gain good quality zoom at the expense of portability and versatility (Samsung Galaxy K Zoom). Or you get portability at the expense of continuous optical zoom adjustment (Every smartphone with a zoom lens except for the Sony Xperia 1 IV). Or you get portability and the versatility of the zoom lens at the expense of pure image quality (Sony Xperia 1 IV).

With the Xiaomi 12s Ultra, this is probably as good as the best of both worlds can get. Not only is it quality zoom because of it making use of the superior main camera, but also you get to use quality glass too in the form of the lens attachments. And I also think it is the best use of that frankly massive 1-inch sensor. It’s doing justice to the hardware.

Sony made a special edition, a camera-focused smartphone called the Xperia Pro-i and it was the first smartphone with a 1-inch sensor. But I feel it was wasted because that is where they ended. Xiaomi with the 12s Ultra will definitely make a much better case for it having that 1-inch sensor largely because of this lens attachment. Whilst it won’t result in an explosion of Xiaomi smartphone sales, it surely will make us enthusiast shutterbugs VERY happy.

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