Computers

Solar-powered classrooms bridge educational gap in rural communities

Making education more accessible one classroom at a time

Photos from Dell

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GadgetMatch is founded on the premise of making life better and easier through technology. For many of us who get caught up in emails and social media in our day to day, it’s easy to forget how technology changes lives.

It teaches new skills, builds self-confidence, and brings new job opportunities especially to rural communities; but that’s easier said than done. High costs and complex societal challenges hampers not just access to technology in developing countries, but human progress as well.

There are companies like Dell Technologies who make it a point to harness its resources and global reach to make technology more accessible. In areas where access to consistent energy and technology are scarce, Dell has partnered with Computer Aid International to create Solar Learning Labs. 

These labs are solar-powered and created by converting old shipping containers. The classrooms are filled with Dell Wyse Thin Client workstations managed by an air-cooled PowerEdge server. Up to 20 students can use a classroom at a time.

Reusing and converting what is otherwise considered waste is inline with Dell’s use of circular economy concepts. Relying on solar panels to generate electricity makes the containers self-sufficient. They can also be placed even in the most remote locations because of their size. They help deliver sustainable and affordable connectivity to schools.

A commitment to advance education

EMEA Strategic Giving Manager Houcine Faik says Dell is committed to enabling and empowering communities with technology, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s core to its business.

The goal is to help increase the exposure of entire communities to digital skills, particularly in developing countries where many students and schools still struggle to access reliable technology, infrastructure, and electricity.

The initiative first kicked-off in Lagos, Nigeria in 2013. Since then, Dell has already funded 18 labs in six countries around the world including South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Mexico, and Colombia.

More than 10,000 students have benefited from the project during school hours. The labs are also open to other members of local communities even after school.

Faik tells Gadgetmatch that they chose South Africa to start expanding the program by leveraging a crowd-funded approach. The average number of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) jobs in South Africa increased by 26% over the last decade.

There is also a national commitment to improving ICT for education in schools, but a shortage of training capacity and equipment.

Expanding to more countries

For now, Dell is focusing their efforts in scaling the Solar Learning Labs in South Africa, and then Latin America. “Based on the success in these locations, we’ll then look to expand to other regions,” shares Faik. By enabling crowd-funding, Dell hopes to open up the opportunity to partner with others to make scaling the project easier.

While there are no plans of expanding to Asia just yet, Dell recently released its full 2030 Progress Made Real plan. This outlines the company’s goals of creating a lasting, measurable impact on people and the planet over the next decade.

One of Dell’s 2030 commitments is to advance the health, education, and economic opportunity of 1 billion people. Using the company’s expertise and technology, it can help 1,000 nonprofit partners digitally transform to better serve their communities.

With its 2030 vision now set, Dell hopes to create a total of 100 labs by 2030. If you are interested in helping fund a Solar Learning Lab, visit solarlearninglabs.org.

Accessories

Machenike: Best budget peripherals?

Worth it?

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I’ve been wanting to get myself a mechanical keyboard to slowly work towards building a PC from scratch. Of course, this is sensible considering I have a laptop to plug them into. You know, getting the pretentious privileged feel of not struggling amidst a world still in shambles?

So, while the hunt was dreadful on hypothetical money I didn’t have, we stumbled upon an affordable alternative that we didn’t quite expect. But, in a good way–I think.

What is Machenike?

Machenike is a Chinese professional gaming hardware brand. It’s the first established esports hardware brand in China with investors like Haier and partners like Alibaba Groups. Now, Machenike has its fair share of rounds online. But, it’s getting a lot of traction especially when people are looking to upgrade their work-from-home set-ups. With affordability, performance, and aesthetic seemingly in check, are their peripherals really worth the buy? Here are the ones we tried out:

Machenike K7 mechanical keyboard

Let’s put facts out there: there’s no escaping plastic with peripherals. From god-awful unachievable to wallet-saving prices, most peripherals are mainly made of plastic. So, don’t act all surprised to find that Machenike’s mechanical keyboard line is mostly plastic. Considering its price-point, this is kind of a steal.

The Machenike K7 comes in four variants depending on the keyboard color (RGB or Ice-blue) and switch color (blue or black). The keycaps have a matte texture with opaque keycap letters, characters, and controls to show off your pick of color.

Design-wise, the keyboard shows-off its minimalism, unicorn-vomit rainbow aesthetics, and multi-functionality. You can connect it via cable or Bluetooth and play around with RGB settings.

Every click is audible and only requires a reasonable amount of actuation force. Which, you’ll need to make sure you double-check before ordering one (the blue switch is 60g and the black switch is 80g).

Is this the mechanical keyboard for you?

Overall, the keyboard looks and feels great despite low-quality keycaps and unbranded switches. So if you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard but are strapped for cash, this is a really good one.

It’s got great features, a simple and sleek design, and reliable performance under its belt. So, it’s definitely a keeper. The Machenike K7 is on sale on Lazada for just PhP 1,498.

Machenike M6

Machenike M6 and M7 gaming mouse

The Machenike M6 is a wired ultra-light gaming mouse with RGB capability. The mouse comes with four variants depending on color (white or black) and mouse sensitivity (6400 DPI or 16000 DPI).

Meanwhile, the Machenike M7 is a wireless gaming mouse with RGB capability and up to 10 days of battery life. The M7 has three variants depending on mouse sensitivity (2400 DPI or 16000 DPI), OMRON switches (10M or 20M), and battery (600mAh or 1000mAh).

Machenike M7

As for design, the Machenike M6 gaming mouse has a unique honey-comb design that lets the Machenike’s logo and mouse internals peek through. It strikes out more than the M7’s minimalistic black design with RGB accents at the bottom. Both mice are made of plastic but, that comes with the price-point. They’re both minimalistic in design and have customizable features at the bottom.

Overall, they’re both reliable performance-wise and can deliver on accurate use and play. But personally, the M6 is a bit too light for my liking which is more on preference than anything else.

Are these the gaming mouse for you?

Overall, the Machenike M6 and M7 both deliver on your gaming mouse needs despite cheap components. It’s a matter of preference on wired or wireless mouse (although the M7 has a wired option), aesthetics, and weight. So, if you need an affordable gaming mouse, this is definitely a good pick.

The Machenike M6 is on sale on Lazada for PhP999 and the M7 for PhP 1,199

More wins on top of the price

As affordable as the Machenike peripherals are, there are more wins for the brand on delivering your orders within 3 days. This typically isn’t a win elsewhere on the planet but, knowing painful order waiting times on some tech essentials, this is a big fat W for the brand.

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Computers

More colorful iMacs are returning this year

With five color options

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Image source: Concept Creator/Jon Prosser

In Apple’s modern iteration, color has almost all but disappeared. The tech company focuses almost entirely on premium color schemes. However, if you look back at Apple’s storied history, you’ll notice Apple’s previously fanciful colors, especially with the old iMacs. According to a new leak, Apple is reportedly bringing back colorful iMacs this year.

Reported by infamous Apple leaker Jon Prosser, the next iMac will unleash five different colors reminiscent of the options available to the iPad today. Besides the Apple staple black and white, the series will also come in pastel green, pastel blue, and pastel pink. Prosser enlisted the help of Concept Creator to visualize how the series will looks, at least based on how the current iMacs look now.

Currently, Prosser has not leaked what else the upcoming iMac will come with. Last year, Apple launched the 27-inch iMac armed with Intel. Who knows what the upcoming iMac will launch?

Though the leak reveals a more colorful future for Apple, it’s still a far cry from the vastly more colorful options of the early 2000s. Regardless, if Prosser’s leak is true, more colors are coming. iMac users might finally express their individuality outside of the simple.

SEE ALSO: Apple launches an all-new 27-inch iMac

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Computers

Researchers find malware on nearly 30K macOS devices

Silver Sparrow is being closely watched by researchers

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Owners of macOS devices — that includes the Macbook Air, Pro, and the iMacs — have one thing to worry about right now: a new type of malware. Researchers from Red Canary found a new type of malware that has affected a large number of macOS devices already, though its inner workings are still unclear.

Dubbed “Silver Sparrow”, the malware is one of the second malware with compatibility for the M1 processor. Likewise, researchers also found that it exhibits a behavior different from the usual macOS adware. Its primary mode of execution is through Javascript, specifically through the macOS Installer Javascript API. As such, this makes it harder to detect or analyze.

It also has a built-in self-destruct mechanism. Researchers, however, are unclear why the self-destruct mechanism is there.

The function of the malware also remains unclear at the moment. Without a final payload, it just hides on infected macOS devices until triggered by an unknown mechanism. Researchers warned that it posed a serious threat given its “forward-looking M1 chip compatibility, global reach, relatively high infection rate, and operational maturity”.

For malware without a clear motive yet, the number of infected devices is staggering for researchers. Malwarebytes put the exact number at 29,139 macOS devices across 153 countries.

To prevent any more potential threats, Apple already blocked the certificates used to sign the malware packages. For now, affected users can’t do anything yet, given that the malware is still under close scrutiny.

Via: Ars Technica

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