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What your DNA says about your health

Have you ever had your DNA analysed for your health? I'm not talking about the ancestral analysis people are doing to see if they are part Cherokee American Indian, but rather your individual DNA make-up that predisposes you to certain health conditions?

Maybe you're asking why you would want to do such a DNA test? I did it about 2 months ago and let me tell you the results are fascinating. It starts off with a quick swab in the mouth using an ear bud to get the DNA needed (and you were worried they would be taking blood from your eyeballs). 

DNAlysis Biotechnology has fast-become known as one of the leading genetic testing laboratories in in the world with a wide range of DNA tests available in the nutrigenomic and pharmacogenomic spheres (I copied that from their website... I can't pronounce those words let alone know what they mean) and they are based in Johannesburg (Illovo). 

In my layman's explanation of how it all works: we are all individually hardwired a certain way, in other words, predisposed to certain conditions, but your lifestyle and diet and can give the genes a helping hand if you know what genes need the help. That's where DNAlysis can make a difference.
DNAlysisThey process the DNA in their own state of the art laboratory in Illovo and give you the results a few weeks later. The costs are a few grand, depending on what aspects you want analysed. These are your options:
DNAlysis
I had the reports done for:

DNAlysis
There was over 40 pages of results and fortunately they have a trained professional that can help break down the data and give you information that you can action on. Without going into all the details about my specific results, here's some of the valuable information linked to my DNA:
  • I don't have fat genes, which means I'm not naturally prone to putting on weight. If I do... I'm stuffing my face with too much food
  • Carbs are not my friend. I should try steer clear of too many.
  • I have a propensity for soft tissue injury, so I need to warm up and stretch more at gym (I once tore my calf muscle by playing squash without warming up. I spent 3 weeks on crutches)
  • I have a high risk for nicotine addiction. Thank heavens I've never smoked as I might struggle to quit.
  • I have a low risk for Alzheimers
  • I'm prone to inflammation when injured, but my body doesn't always know when to switch off the healing process. Consuming Omega 3 oils can assist this gene
  • I have poor methylation (which has to do with the way your body fights free radicals, which could make me more prone to cancer... I had stage 3 cancer as a teenager). Apparently something as simple as consuming Brazil nuts daily (they contain an enzyme called selenium) which can assist this gene.
So, do you NEED to do this analysis? Not at all. But knowledge is power, and having DNAlysis test your DNA could definitely give you a nudge in the right direction!

Check out their website: www.dnalysis.co.za

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CONSUMER REVIEW: Logitech Z906 Speakers

I love getting new gadgets to test out. I'm by no means a technical guru, simply a pro-consumer that devours electronic toys!

My latest quest was to find some decent speakers for my home studio. No, I'm not a musician (you definitely don't want to hear me sing), but I am a voice artist and do a lot of recordings at home. I was looking for an affordable speaker option that would still provide the quality and clarity of sound needed when I play back and edit voice tracks in my office.

The usual run-of-the-mill computer speakers, whilst good enough for general use and even gaming, are generally a little under powered for my professional needs, so Logitech dropped off a set of speakers they thought might do the trick: the Z906 5.1 Surround Sound System. Logitech Z906
Just looking at them you can see this system packs a punch. A 1000 watts is a pretty decent number and the styling looks great. It only took a few moments to rig the system up and connect an audio source (a feed from my iPhone) to listen to the quality of sound... and I liked it. So much so, that the speakers didn't even land up in my office, they went straight into the lounge as a home theatre system. You see, this is the versatility of the Z906. Yes, you can use it on your computer (especially if you're big into gaming), but they are also great in the lounge. By the way, I know what you're saying! You would have thought that me, being a DJ, would have sorted out my home theatre sound the moment we moved into our new home a year ago. I guess though, I'm a bit like a chef who doesn't cook at home. The intention was always there, but I just hadn't got around to doing anything about it. That is, until I got my hands on the Z906.

Logitech Z906

Logitech Z906

The Z906 accepts various inputs in the back of the subwoofer (from mini-jack and RCA to digital coaxial and optical). Surprisingly though, no HDMI port.

I connected my 55 inch TV to it via an optical cable, and straight out the box it decoded the correct signal and played it out. Part of the ease is that it has an intelligent controller with a logical user interface to change various speaker configurations.

Logitech Z906
Well done Logitech, the speakers connect using normal speaker wire (unlike some other models in the past that use a proprietary Logitech connector, making it difficult  if you want to extend the cable). The system also comes with an infra-red remote control. I programmed my Apple TV to take control of the system's volume, so I only use the Logitech remote to switch the system on (it automatically powers down after a few hours and you need to manually switch it back on).

At the time of writing this blog, the Z906 was priced at R3699 at Makro, R3999 on BidorBuy,  and R4699 on Takealot. Whilst these prices may fluctuate, the bottom line is, you are getting really good quality digital sound at a very affordable price. The Z906 is well worth the consideration whether you want an immersive gaming experience on your computer, or you want to enhance the sound of the movies your watch on TV.

I'm not sure if Logitech were expecting me to put the Z906 back in the box after a few weeks of testing and return it, but it's in my lounge and not going anywhere! The search for a speaker system for my home studio continues :)





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Should your next printer use cartridges or an Ink Tank?

Let's not kid around, ink cartridges are expensive. In fact, there's always been an inverse relationship between the the price of a printer and the cartridges. The cheaper the printer, the more expensive the cartridges... especially original ones (which the cheap, yet clever printers know to detect if they're not original).

I have a small home office and print out various documents every single day. Nothing excessive, but enough for me to use my printer cartridges sparingly. Most of the time I print using "black and white draft" mode to try and make the black ink last a little longer. I try not use the yellow, cyan or blue at all.

For the last 3 years I've had an HP Officejet 8620 and it's served me relatively well. Some motherboard thingy packed up in it after 2 years, and it was going to cost me almost the same to fix as opposed to buying a new printer, until I realised I had opted for the extended 3 year warranty and got it repaired at no cost.

Being a bit of a gadget lover (I think word gets around), last week Epson offered to drop off their new L6160 Ink Tank printer for me to play around with.  I had the CEO of Incredible Connection Craig Lodge on my radio show a few weeks ago and he was raving about Ink Tank efficiency, so I vaguely knew about it, but had never used one. I was keen to see what the hype was about, so asked Epson to "bring it on over".
 Ink Tank printer

Usually a cartridge printer has a "starter cartridge" that can print a few hundred pages before you have to go running off to the shops and sell a kidney to buy new cartridges. So on the Ink Tank printer box a number stood out for me right off the bat... it can print 14000 pages on the ink that the printer comes with!? Holy crap, that's a lot.

Taking the Epson L6160 out the box I noticed the printer is incredibly light and much more compact than my older HP Officejet 8620. The Ink Tank printer also comes with a few bottles of ink which you literally pour into the printer like you would milk into your morning bowl of cornflakes.

Ink Tank Printer

I was a little concerned it might be messy pouring the ink in. What if I mess it all on the table? So I placed a black refuse bag underneath it, but soon released that Epson were one step ahead of me. There are little notches on the bottle heads that fit only into the correct colour receptacle on the printer, they fit snuggly in place and just glug their into contents into the printer.

Pouring ink into Ink Tank printer

The printer has viewing windows in the front chassis so you can see exactly what your ink levels are. One bottle has exactly the right amount of ink to fill the respective colour reservoir from empty. Once you've filled it up, you switch on the printer and allow it 10 minutes to "charge the ink". I have no idea what this means, but you only do it once when filling the machine up.

Ink Tank charging the ink

And that's it. A few screen prompts later, the Epson L6160 was connected to my home Wi-Fi (and even automatically prompted for a small software update).

I love the fact that the Epson L6160 is much more compact than my older printer and fitted nicely into the shelf space I had. The model above mine (the L6170) has an automatic document feeder on the top, but I really use mine more for printing than multiple-scanning, so was not too phased (but something to think about if you need to feed a lot of documents into the printer for scanning).

Ink Tank

So here's the big question everyone is asking... is ink tank technology much more cost effective than using conventional printer cartridges?

As a test, I did print out a 120-page university document that I needed and the ink levels didn't even budge, but that test isn't really scientific I suppose. The box the Epson came in said it prints 14000 copies with the 2 ink bottles included in the packaging. I don't print enough to get a real sense of usage in just a week or two, so I mentioned the Ink Tank technology on my Twitter feed and got some positive responses from heavier users:

Tweet


Tweet 

Tweet

Being a quantitative market researcher by profession (yep, I was part of another world before becoming a radio deejay) I decided to crunch some numbers.

The premise of my calculation is, since the Epson L6160 prints 14000 black copies straight out the box, how much does it cost to buy and use, compared to my HP Officejet 8620 (to buy and print 14000 copies as well)?

The HP Officejet starter cartridge (that comes in the box) prints about 1000 pages, so I simply added the cost of printing another 13000 pages using extra cartridges (each HP Officejet 950 XL cartridge prints about 2500 pages so I did the calculations below).

I must mention, to make it as practical as possible (in case you want to pop off to the shops and buy a printer after this), I went onto Incredible Connection's online site and chose models they listed that are as close to my 3 year old HP Officejet 8620 and the Epson L6160 that I could find. I found the HP Officejet 8610 and the Epson L4160. If you want to compare different models, just change the purchase price in the calculation below.


Hp Officejet 8610



Epson 4160


Here are my numbers:
Ink Tank vs cartridge printer comparison

So, there is a R2330 saving by printing 14000 black and white pages using the Ink tank vs cartridge printer. Put another way, printing the same pages on the cartridge printer will cost you about 50% more than if you use the Ink tank technology.

It would appear that whilst an ink tank printer may cost you more than a cartridge printer at the initial purchase stage, in the long run, if you're a small business using your printer all the time time, ink tank technology is the winner.
 
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