fbpx

Samsung Galaxy M40: Midrange beast

Recently, Samsung has been focusing on producing budget-friendly phones. This market strategy is no doubt implemented to capture the Indian market; which has in recent times been enamored with Xiaomi phones. For a subcontinental behavior which demands more for less, Samsung has provided phones like the M20/30 and the A30. This phone is more of the same strategy, but for a slightly higher price point. The Galaxy M40 might be the best option to go for on a roughly 30K budget. 

First impression and specs

Out of the Galaxy M line of phones, this has the most processing beef; due to the Snapdragon 675 processor along with 6 GB RAM. The immediate impression upon getting this device in your hand is that Samsung is trying to make this feel like one of the premium phones. That’s the only reason I can think of for getting rid of the headphone jack. It has an Infinity-O display with 91.8% screen to body ratio. It is also a pinhole screen (selfie camera on the screen), no doubt a compensation for the lack of an AMOLED panel. However, watching videos and playing games on this phone is still a treat. The body is polycarbonate material. 

The M40 is USB-C fast charging enabled. It has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and also offers facial scanning. The device is very light and wieldy, proving significant attention to feel on the hand. Overall, it looks, feels and is modelled after the premium Samsung Galaxy phones. 

Performance and software

While the specs offered are impressive, the utilization of the software on this phone feels a bit underwhelming. As opposed to the similarly priced M30 and A50, the M40 is a more basic experience. The UI is less intuitive and offers fewer options. It is missing some relatively small but important features; like a blue light filter, which Samsung has promised in an update. However, the M40 shows remarkable fortitude while multitasking. It is also very impressive at hardware intensive processes like editing and gaming. The positives are somewhat undercut by the measly 3500 mAh battery, even though it offers fast charging. Overall, a very fast and responsive phone; but leaves you wanting for more. 

Camera

The M40 implements a vertically placed triple camera; with a 32mp primary lens, 5 mp depth sensor and 8mp 123 degree wide lens. There’s a 16mp front camera for selfies. There are a couple of neat features and filters in the camera software that might appeal to you. The picture output of the cameras can be summed up as “good”. It’s not the best out there, but it’s good enough given the specs and the price. Pictures look natural and vibrant with rich colors. And the only weakness of the camera seems to be blurry edges and a slight lack of detail. The real magic happens while capturing videos, as this seems to be the best stabilization on a camera at this price range. 

Verdict

While the lack of a headphone jack makes me want to remove this phone immediately out of consideration, the truth is that the M40 is a very reasonable choice at the price point. The similarly priced A50 might be a bit better for efficiency-oriented individuals. But the premium looks and feel the M40 offers places it into an entirely different bracket. Go for this if you want a good looking, ultraslim and wieldy, decent smartphone.

How to find co-founders for your tech startup

Startups are the talk of the town at the moment. With the growing economy in Bangladesh, the scenario is very opportune for entrepreneurial minds.

However, we tend to focus on the projects that succeed as examples of startups. And as a result, many projects that fail miss our attention. And this deprives us of learning the possible drawbacks in a startup project; principal among which is a lack of suitable partners and co-founders.

A startup, especially one related to technology, requires all hands on board. And many hands at that. You’re going to need a combination of people equipped with a variety of skills. Let’s take a look at how (and whom) to assemble.

Us and them

Firstly, a business idea can feel lucrative to like-minded people. This is usually a good thing, but can also be quite the opposite. While choosing a co-founder for any startup, one should involve individuals with complementary characteristics and interests. Too many of a kind might leave weaknesses elsewhere.

Before looking for people to bring onboard, analyze what you bring to the table.

For tech startups, it is necessary to have people on board with necessary, relevant technological know-how. Since startups are heavily dependent on initial investment and funding, people with said faculties are an advantage. Startups are usually time and effort consuming; so your partners need to be okay with both. Most of all, you must only involve people who are trustworthy. It is what it is.

Where to look

It’s important to be very specific while looking for personnel. If you need an experienced, professional individual who can take care of the technological side of things, specify a position such as the CTO and the responsibilities and requirements involved.

The first place one should look is one’s own personal network. There are many ready, able and willing individuals looking for the right project; and they might be closer than you think. Look for referrals to individuals within your own social groups and discuss the prospects of the project with them.

There are several virtual meeting places for individuals to link up and go for entrepreneurial projects. COFoundersLab, Founders Nation, YouNoodle are among the most reputable. The advantage of these mediums is that you can assess qualifications and match up to requirements to individuals in a specific and fast-paced manner.

In addition, look at job listing boards and local university seminars. These places are often frequented by interested individuals who might find your prospects exciting.

In Closing

It’s important to have specific goals and matrices for your project in place. It helps determine the parameters of founder duties. It also helps communicate the fact that you are seriously invested in your project. This might positively affect the recruitment process. Lastly, it is of paramount weight to take your time with this. A startup can be a very delicate project and might be what you end up doing for the rest of your life. So take care in picking whomever you do it with.

You can now buy your train tickets from the bKash app

Getting train tickets is often a hassle, usually around holidays. Which is why e-ticketing services are so on demand nowadays. It seems like bKash has taken initiative to provide further convenience to us.

bKash has recently integrated the option the purchase tickets through the app. This comes as the result of an agreement with Bangladesh Railway’s e-ticketing service.

One needs to simply open up the bKash app, click on the tickets icon and select trains. From there one can select routes, date and timing. Find the ticket you need and hit purchase.

This adds much-needed convenience to the life of the average train traveller. It’s safe to say e-ticketing services for the railway were not up to par. But with this, a welcome change can be anticipated.

Save yourself the trip to the local police station. You can now file a GD online

Filing a general diary is usually a very tedious activity. The perceived stigma of the process scares off many people. And as such, a lot of crimes go unreported. But there’s an alternative you should know about.

DMP had introduced a system for filing GD’s online earlier this year. They are now pushing for the public to implement it on a more regular basis. Through this system, you can submit a statement by filling up an online form on this web address: http://gd.police.gov.bd/index

Needless to say, this is a very welcome step. We refrain from filing GDs due to apprehension of the circumstances surrounding the process. Many a person has an unpleasant tale about filing a complaint. This online procedure takes out the personal interaction factor that we’re apprehensive of and provides a far more prompt solution.

Source: DMP Website

It is to be mentioned that as of now, the process only covers lost and found cases. That means you can file an online GD for cases like a lost phone, ID, and other personal accessories and petty theft.

This is more convenient than it sounds; as many organizations such as universities require a GD filed before they replace a lost ID card. Therefore, the online GD system makes this a whole lot simpler.

Google Stadia is a mess. Initial impressions suggest

By now, we all know more or less about Stadia. Google made no secret of its big foray into game streaming. The founder’s editions of the console have reached reviewers recently. So how is the feedback so far?

Not very exciting, we’re afraid.

Read more: Google launching game streaming service “Stadia”

The promise of Stadia

Google hyped up Stadia to the point where it sounded like the future of gaming in general. The cloud-based service promised to change the way we play games. The cloud storage would remove the need to download game content. Click on a hyperlink and just dive into a game of your choosing; without sacrificing any resolution demands.

In the face of all that potential, here’s how the product actually feels like:
It feels like it hasn’t really launched yet.

The delivery

Disclaimer: Stadia works. We’re not trying to say it’s just some sort of scheme that doesn’t. You can play games via the cloud service, without any physical discs or large downloads. It just doesn’t work as it is supposed to.

A lot of the key features promised are not present. One of the biggest prospects that could change how multiplayer works; the ability to join a game that you’ve been watching at the click of a button? It’s not there.

In addition (more like subtraction), Stadia doesn’t have iOS support, no working friend-list, and no games with Stream Connect. And you can’t really buy a Stadia right now.

Hardware problems

The service is supposed to be free(technically). What you can get right now to play a Stadia game is the Stadia Pro; which is only available through the Stadia Premiere Edition Bundle.

There is no other way to access the service other than by Buddy Pass. Which allows a Stadia Pro owner to give you access to try the service. Thing is, this feature isn’t available at launch.

So, in simple terms, you are paying full price to buy a console. This console was going to eliminate the need to own hardware to play games. This console itself is hardware.

How it holds up

This is all to be considered with the information in mind that Stadia the service was always supposed to be free. You would still have to purchase games to play on the service. But you would be able to play them anywhere, on anything. Even a browser.

To be fair, the Stadia does run games smoothly enough.

There are input lags and stutterings, but not to the extent where it becomes a major bother. The games look fine as well.

Right now, you are paying for a console that delivers on none of the big promises it made. You’re better off buying a PC or a different console at the moment.

Conclusion

This isn’t to say Stadia won’t be what it set out to be eventually. The point is it isn’t right now. But Google still “launched” it at full price.

Google Stadia might just end up becoming the future of gaming. But it isn’t at present. So probably you should hold off on this purchase for the time being.

How online quizzes steal your data and why you should be concerned

Most people love to talk about themselves. Even the emo edgy ones among us occasionally feel the need to inform others of their edgy state of being. Social media in its entirety is based on people’s vanity projects. And one of the largest providers of that vanity is online quizzes. Because we all like to know which brand of toilet paper we are. And there is not much wrong with that. But what if the cost of finding out your designated light-sabre at Hogwarts is your personal information turned into packets of data?

Facebook’s data breach through quizzes

We’re all familiar with the tendency of companies to use data from our internet usage into targeted marketing strategies. Whether the perceived convenience of such practices holds up against ethical code is a different issue. But the discretion with which these tactics collect information that one might not want to share is often frightening.

Just this March, news broke of stolen data collection through Facebook quizzes. While users took a quiz, a browser extension was auto-installed on their computer. This extension siphoned personal data like name, gender and profile picture. And then it resulted in targeted ads that looked like the average Facebook ad. Facebook even filed a lawsuit over this.

Read more: Understanding cybersecurity in a more connected Bangladesh

How you compromise yourself and why it matters

This goes to show just how vulnerable our security is on the internet. Seemingly harmless activities give away information you don’t even know is important. Even less discreet methods; questions on quizzes like “What is your name/gender/etc” can go a long way in compromising your personal safety. The result might seemingly be just targeted ads, which many don’t even mind.

But data like that may result in companies easily being able to categorize your personality index and even subliminal suggestive advertising to make you purchase things you don’t even want. Think about it, did you really ever think you needed those exercise equipment you bought online before you did?

Read more: How your money is at risk and what to do about it

Steps you can take

Knowing about how data is stolen can go a long way in preventing it. Always try to notice what extensions, add-ons or login information any online page asks for. Don’t give out sensitive information or even basic information about yourself. And please try to take these quizzes less often. You can do without knowing what type of onion you are today.

How your money is at risk and what to do about it

Let’s start with a small tale. I watched a guy get scammed on the bus the other day. He got a call from some guy claiming to be a Bkash representative. In a few minutes, he handed over his account details. I tried to stop him as soon as I got wind of what was happening, but it was already too late, and he had handed over his pin number. We can safely assume what followed. 

To many of us, remote transactions are still very hazy. In general, we prefer to exchange via cash. This is in no small part due to the lack of safety over the remote channels available to us; in addition to general inconvenience. Bkash scams are everyday things now. And even if they weren’t, the process of maintaining a Bkash account feels tedious to me. Load up an online wallet with money, pay some money every time you do it. Our banks have made huge strides in making transactions more liquid, but there is still room for improvement. With relatively new technology on the horizon which provides many of the answers we’re looking for; let’s take a look at blockchain

Blockchain, how it works

Simply put, blockchain is a chain of blocks that contain and communicate information. Although its implementation is relatively new, its roots can be traced back to 1991; when it was primarily used as digital timestamps. In 2009, the foundation for use of blockchain as it is today was laid, as it contributed to the creation of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. It should be noted that once some data has been recorded in a blockchain, it is nearly impossible to alter. A very simple example of the information in a block would be the basics of a transaction: sender, receiver and amount. Any changes in the block can be traced by changes in its hash; a hash being a sort of digital fingerprint. What this means is a blockchain cannot be created or edited without informing everyone on its related p2p network. This essentially makes blockchain one of the most secure modes of technology.

A more secure future for your bucks?

When you think about it, the money you have remotely; like in bank accounts and mobile wallets, works because it connects to you. Without your identity attached to it, the money belongs to no one. And in that way, your money is under threat via your identity. Blockchain technology ensures your money, your identity and your transaction details are secure. Intermediaries like banks or companies like bkash keep track of your transactions and your money.

Blockchain moves to cut out the middleman and keep your money assigned to you.

In many ways, blockchain currencies are the better option for ownership of money. And with blockchain phones and other technologies on the rise, it may be time to take a look. 

Read more: World’s first Blockchain phone is here. And you can buy it in Bangladesh

This article was intended to remind the readers of the risks and inconveniences of traditional bookkeeping and transaction procedures. In addition, we took a simplified look at blockchain as a possible solution. Stay tuned for more as we explore more on cryptocurrency, blockchain and try to decode the technology behind them in an upcoming series.

The Oxford Student Union has a Bangladeshi president. Meet Anisha Faruk

First of all, I feel weird about this; rejoicing in the success of a person we share little more than ethnicity with. It feels like we’re claiming some credit where none is due. It’s all her, people. She did it because she’s good. Her success is hers.

Anisha Faruk aka Padma; a lady of Bangladeshi origin, has been elected the president of the student union of Oxford University. Her father is Bangladesh Army major Faruk Ahmed(retired).

Padma is completing her undergraduate program as a historian.

She previously occupied the co-chair position of the Oxford University Labour Club. And she was the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Student, the largest student journal of the University. So she’s no stranger to great responsibility and respect.

Ms Anisha beat tough competition from independent candidate Ivy Manning and Ellie Milne-Brown; who represented the reputed Aspire panel. This was a historic election with a 20.3 per cent participation rate. Ms Anisha promoted diversity as the primary strong point of her panel.

With this, the trend of the continued success of our compatriot overseas continues. We can only hope to match and exceed the success our peers are enjoying. And we hope to leave a blazing trail of achievements by Bangladeshis across the world.

5 relatively underrated musicians you should try

Music is a soothing aspect of almost everyone’s life. It can be anything one needs at any point in time. A safe haven, a serene escape or a blazing motivator; these are just a few of the things music can be to a person. Discovering music new to one is often one of the greater joys a person can feel at a particular moment. Due to the busy life most of us lead, the magic of discovering music is lost to many. To help you find new music that can speak to your soul, here’s a few recent musicians/bands that might have flown under your radar. 

Read more: Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Eida

Suggested Tracks: Nightdriver, What it means

Eida can no longer be considered underrated. They are a local band, consisting of a few university students with a great collective (and individual) sense of humour; evident by the name. Their music, in simple terms, is akin to modern dream-pop and retro wave with influences from 1975, Gorillaz and even The Strokes.

But from a more curious perspective, Eida’s music is much more. This group of talented musicians are not afraid to experiment and wouldn’t limit themselves to any specific genre. Their tracks invoke a very melancholic mood, and it is well worth giving them a try.

Chitropot

Suggested Tracks: Shondha Hole

Another local group. I found these guys off a random YouTube autoplay. Their music closely resembles fusion, in that they use a curious combination of instruments. But again, you shouldn’t fit things in a box. Very simplistic tone, vocal performance and the sheer emotion make them worth checking out.

Mitski

Suggested: Be the Cowboy (Yes, the entire album)

An American singer-songwriter, Mitski emphasizes creativity and experimentation in her work. Be The Cowboy is her 5th and latest album; she self-released the first two. This album received critical acclaim upon release and sets itself apart from contemporary pop music and music in general. The artist has designed the album with very short tracks, but each track invokes emotion and tries to get a point across. I suggest taking some time with this album, it is truly spectacular.

Oblique

Suggested track: Krishnopokkho, Bhondo

Not much introduction is needed for local Rock band Oblique, after the success of Aloron last year. They have been around since 2007 and are known for their use of unconventional, thought inducing and emotional lyrics. Rumour is that they are about to release a new single. So go ahead and check out their work.

Courtney Barnett

Suggested Track: Need a little time, Sunday Roast

The Australian singer-songwriter has a very loyal following. Her lyrics are embedded with witty humour and delivered with a dry, deadpan singing style. The combination is usually hilarious, emotional and curious at the same time. The best way to describe the emotion her music invokes would be; it encourages you to get to know the singer better. It enforces the need to delve deeper into her work, and that is possibly the best thing any music can do for its creator. Try out her recent album “Tell me how you really feel”, and please do.

Most of the time the reason for detachment to enjoying music is a rut.

All you might need is a little help with getting out of the said rut and finding the joy in music again. So take these musicians as a start to discovering music and musicians again, and let us know about the less known musicians you enjoy.

Oppo A9 2020: Beast of a phone with 8GB RAM and 5000 mAh battery

Earlier this year, OPPO introduced OPPO A7 with a decent 4320mAh battery and Oppo A9; both of which gained immense popularity within a short period of time.

Considering the affection from the users, the manufacturer has decided to launch the OPPO A9 ‘2020’ in Bangladesh. It comes with substantial upgrades in processing capability, camera performance; and increased power capability by adding a monstrous 5000mAh battery. In addition, the New ‘2020’ version incorporates 8GB RAM to ensure smooth multitasking experience for heavy-duty usage.

The RAM, why it makes a difference

Regarding the 8GB RAM, Mr Damon Yang, Managing Director of OPPO Bangladesh says, “OPPO has always prioritize on user experience with OPPO devices. This is an era of creative minds. With a gigantic 8GB RAM, gaming and content creation will be smoother; while ensuring a better outcome in terms of multi-tasking.”

Operating system tends to force close some of the background apps in smartphones that have smaller RAM. Multi-tasking, high-intensity gaming, photo and video processing becomes challenging for smartphones that come with smaller RAM. With an 8GB RAM, photo processing will be faster than ever before. Video rendering will be faster for creative users who use a smartphone as a tool for content creation. But most importantly, higher RAM ensures smoother performance for games that come with high definition graphics.

The powerhouse battery

Oppo A9 "2020" with 8GB RAM and 5000 mAh battery 2

The Oppo A9 2020 comes with a powerful battery that can back the need of demanding smartphone gaming. Games like PUBG drain batteries very fast. However, with VOOC flash charging and a 5000mAh battery, the concern for battery backup is minimal. A single charge may last for more than 2 days for a moderate user. For heavy users, it will survive a full day.

For outdoor content creator and travellers, power back-up really becomes an issue; since they are bound to be detached from any power source during their work time. So, the new OPPO A9 2020 would relieve frequent travellers from the predicament of running out of power.

The Oppo A9 ‘2020’ will hit the market by mid-September 2019. It will be available in official OPPO stores and other channels as well.