Everything you need to know about Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra

We’re all familiar with the term cryptocurrency, and perhaps with its nature too. Cryptocurrency itself didn’t work out as well as expected in the long term. But the concept might be put to good use by none other than Facebook.

How did the crypto hype start?

Cryptocurrency at its peak looked nothing more than a “make money quick” scheme or an electricity bill hazard. But the possibilities such a concept could bring about were left unexplored. A form of currency separate from cash or cards promises added convenience and liquidity and would be the kind of thing we see in sci-fi films. Which is probably why Facebook has decided to adopt a form of cryptocurrency.

How does Libra work?

The Libra cryptocurrency, named after the Roman unit of coin measurement is set to launch in the first half of next year. This is certainly the best-supported effort to bring cryptocurrency technology into the mainstream. As the project is backed by 27 prominent companies, the likes of MasterCard, Uber and Spotify chief among them. The currency sets itself apart from other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin by having a group of major currencies like the US Dollar and the British Pound backing it.  This is sure to bring stability to its value. The major reason for the failure of Bitcoin and others in establishing themselves is the fluctuating values they experience in a short time.

Libra promises to facilitate instantaneous money transfers all over the world and fulfilling the potential the cryptocurrency concept originally had. Facebook will also launch a wallet app named Calibra for use in payments over Messenger and WhatsApp.

The Libra promise

Libra has an association of its backers dubbed the Libra association. Each member exercises equal rights over the product, so Facebook doesn’t necessarily own Libra. Different backers have also implied that they will use their expertise to help the cause in different ways. In addition to a strong group of overseers, Libra also has its value regulated by established currencies. Thus, expectations of its success are very valid. Let’s see how it goes.

Ferar Gaan: The first Bangladeshi short made entirely with a Smartphone

Let us begin with an analogy. Steven Soderbergh’s latest film High Flying Bird was shot entirely on a smartphone. Referring to this award-winning director, it is like ‘writing script in pencil’. The director replied so to his fellow visionary director, Christopher Nolan, when Nolan challenged him to go back to shooting on film. This thrilling dunk had its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival earlier this year. It received accolades from both the critics and the audiences.

Technology and filmmaking

When it comes to film making, one would surely think of new technological advent in equipment. But in reality, there are a lot of things that will appear with that thinking which may confine the opportunity of becoming a film-maker, when you also have the chance to shoot your dream with just a smartphone. Soderbergh and other directors prove that it’s not about the camera, the best camera you got probably in your pocket to make your vision into reality.

Ferar Gaan: The first Bangladeshi short made entirely with a Smartphone

Our celebrated director Shafayet Mansoor Rana took the idea further and decided to try his hand at writing his script in the metaphorical pencil and it certainly worked. He successfully delivered the first ever professional production completely shot on a smartphone in Bangladesh. The film, Ferar Gaan, was released last week as the iflix original on this popular streaming platform. The film has been entirely shot using Samsung flagship smartphone Galaxy S10+. 

The plot

In the opening sequence of this short, we see two men looking for an address quite frantically. When they finally get to their desired destination, the person gets shell shocked and falls to the ground with awe and the title pops-up on the screen. The director pushes us back to two months earlier. The film is starred by rock icon Jon Kabir, popular actor Azmeri Asha and Sayeed Zaman Shawon. This short is split into three chapters which portrayed the vicissitudes of the life of Rubab Khan, the famous star played by Jon Kabir.

Ferar Gaan: The first Bangladeshi short made entirely with a Smartphone 2

The plot revolves around him, his music, his fame, his losses and how he reclaims his lost kingdom with the strike of a moment of epiphany. Rubab Khan was very popular and surrounded by millions of fans, but his ego and snobbishness made him fall from the sky. On his prime, one day, a diehard fan of Rubab Khan, played by Sayeed Zaman Shawon, made his way to the backstage despite strict restrictions and asked for a selfie with his icon. In response, he got a tight slap and very rude behavior from his icon and later was thrown out by the guards. The very next morning, Rubab finds out that he has lost his gifted voice. And eventually, he lost everything including his fascinating career, his fans, and even his girlfriend, played by Azmeri Asha. 

Filmmaking with smartphone

The story of Ferar Gaan is penned by Tanvir Chowdhury, the person behind the operation of the camera is Sumon Sarkar and the uplifting music is composed by Fuad Al Muktadir. Ferar Gaan was shot entirely with Samsung Galaxy S10+ which features three rear professional grade cameras consisting of a 12MP wide lens, 12MP telephoto lens, and 16MP Ultra-Wide lens which records 4000 pixels horizontally video very easily. No additional lenses were being used to shoot the film. And the director didn’t do much manipulation after shooting, thanks to Samsung’s ground-breaking innovation.

Ferar Gaan: The first Bangladeshi short made entirely with a Smartphone 1

Anyone would love the fact about making a movie with the handiest yet advantageous device like Samsung S10+ that they can make a very quick decision and perform creative execution albeit spending very less than shooting with the equipment screams movie camera. As Soderbergh said, ‘If you want the lens on the wall, you don’t have to cut a hole in the wall and put the camera behind it. It’s a great tool.’

The creative duo Shafayet Mansoor Rana and Sumon Sarkar carried out an experiment with a spontaneous style which delivered the audiences a worth-watching 40-minutes story of redemption. That has the merit to revive the viewers with sparkling momentum. 

YouTube’s crusade against hateful content backfires

Last Wednesday, YouTube announced its adoption of stronger measures to fight hateful content on the site. But these new policies seem to have stirred up controversy in a different way instead.

These new policies aimed to more assertively confront supremacist content on the site have some unwanted effects. Many creators have claimed that their videos and in some cases entire channels have been improperly removed. The leading argument is the new algorithm can’t differentiate between actual hate content and educational or journalistic content that documents these. It is claimed that videos that contain appearances from noted supremacists are also being removed. Independent journalist Ford Fischer’s entire channel was demonetized without notice or further instruction to appeal against it within minutes.

YouTube's crusade against hateful content backfires

YouTube has refused to comment so far regarding the issue. Though it should be noted that videos are only flagged by the algorithm of YouTube for unsavoury content. The decision to demonetize or remove content lies in the hands of review teams employed by YouTube.

It is important to take measures to battle the increasing presence of hateful content on online platforms. But it is equally important to discern bigotry from documentation of bigotry. Battling hate begins with knowing about it and being aware of its facets. If sources of information regarding bigotry are swept under the rug in some vain attempt to deny its existence, it will simply persist in our ignorance. As it has for many centuries. YouTube must be held accountable for this event and must act swiftly to better its systems. Until then, watch your content.

Bangladeshi video gamer makes a gaming empire: The B2M Games story

Video games have played a significant part in shaping most of our lives. Video games have a way for our imaginations to spring free. The engaging narratives and open sandboxes in games inspire us to build worlds, follow storylines, be engaged in new universes and have a lot of friends while doing it. Many of us have wondered, if only we could turn our love for video games into a way to make money.  What if the dream of having your own gaming empire came true? Is that even possible in Bangladesh? Introducing, B2M Games.

What is B2M Games?

B2M Games specializes in making addicting mobile video games on the Android platform. Some of their games are Fruit Hit Smash, Kingfisher, Tap Tap Dagger. Their most popular game, “Adommo 71” has a solid fan base and played regularly by locals. The Adommo series may be followed up with future entries.

A whopping 65 games are in the development phase. Their future plans include creating more than a thousand video games.

Founded in April of 2016, the company started with three people. B2M games has now grown into a 12-person team with 6 developers and 4 designers. B2M games has started to break even on their third year of operation. For a gaming company in the current industry, especially in the context of Bangladesh, that is a remarkable and difficult feat.

Read more: Bangladeshi graphic novels: 5 essential reads

B2M games is the dream child of Rayid Isaam Faruq, Founder and CEO.

Driven by the passion of one gamer

Mr. Rayid possessed knowledge of app building, but his skills in game making was next to nothing at the initial stages of the company. Mr. Rayid’s, an avid game enthusiast, took his passion for gaming and turned into a full time job.

Before B2M Games, he worked in a holding company which dealt with purchasing intellectual property of game companies. Mr. Rayid was motivated by this experience and drew from it to acquire the necessary knowledge of the industry and confidence to start B2M Games. The astonishing growth in smartphone usage penetration also contributed to B2M Games’ growth. Mr. Rayid’s story inspires us to carry our dreams with us, wherever we might end up, even in jobs and tasks that may seem unrelated. It might just happen to come compound into something bigger and come true.

Advice to aspiring game developers

Learn as you go and keep improving

At the moment, B2M Games are producing fun, but simple games. But it is a company which seeks to evolve with each release. Mr. Rayid puts it simply, his team has grown with each game and through the vigorous process of trial and error. They have worked on each new release, being smoother and more seamless, more emotional and cerebral.

Grow slowly, but effectively

As trailblazers in a relatively young industry in Bangladesh, persistence and quality is important.


Mr. Rayid’s message to aspiring game developers is to grow slowly, but effectively. He advises planning out a road map for your company and working according to that plan. Not getting ahead of yourself is strongly recommended, and patience is key. Most of all, he advises writing down the rawest version of the dream you have and looking at it every once in a while– just in case you ever lose your way. Because it is a long road ahead.

20th edition game is coming out soon!

On this journey of growth and learning, B2M Games is reaching a milestone in the form of their 20th edition game, Brain Calculator. This game is different than other B2M projects in that this is more of mathematical puzzle game, as opposed to one click action/arcade games. It is going to be a very colorful retro experience and due to launch very soon.

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

You can download their games today from the Play Store. Join B2M Games on their exciting journey and support local entrepreneurs while you are at it.

Things to consider before choosing the right television

The use of televisions has evolved over the years with better sets being introduced with the advancement of technology. Nowadays, you are able to play games, live stream via the internet, watch movies from your flash and watch using decoders among others on one television.

And now with the Cricket World Cup 2019 coming up in May, we take a closer look at the key things you should consider before buying a television.

Display

The most important thing about any television is the display screen. Quite obvious that one. When it comes to the screen, there is a lot to consider in terms of panel technology.

OLED is commonly available in the market and it has the best black levels, colors, and contrast than any other television screen. On the downside, OLED panels tend to have issues such as burn-in, which can leave minor color artifacts visible on your TV after prolonged usage.

QLED is a relatively new technology that uses quantum dots to produce colored light. This uses a quantum dot layer that is said to improve brightness and colors on the TV. QLED screens are better than OLED, LED, and LCD TVs.Moreover, QLED TVs doesn’t have the issue of burn-in compare to OLED TV. The burn-in can be a big issue for gamers. Samsung is one of the few brands who have TVs with QLED screens and surprisingly the prices are cheaper than OLED TVs in the market. Samsung QLED TVs delivers outstanding colors unmatched by any other brand.

The Resolution

TV manufacturers are rapidly shifting from HDTVs to Ultra HD sets (also called 4K). Ultra HD videos look noticeably better. And it’s getting easier to find a suitable TV set with 4K capabilities, provided the market saturation. Content providers have begun to adapt to this change too. Several streaming services, like Netflix, have started offering 4K content.

Price

A television can cost you a small fortune. The good news is that now you can get a great TV even if you are on a tight budget. We usually purchase a TV with the intention of using it for a few years. So, investing the money on buying a TV from a good brand will be the best option. Because they will offer better technology, sharper design, metal finishes, thinner bezels, better motion processing, and smoother pictures. And most importantly, a they have a brand image to worry about, so performance and customer care is guaranteed.

Input lag and the choice you should make

Input lag is the time it takes for an image to go from the TV’s processor to the screen. This is generally around one-hundredth of a second (10 milliseconds). But for gamers, every millisecond counts. In fast-paced shooters or one-on-one fighting games, ten milliseconds can be the difference between victory and defeat. Samsung is known to have the lowest input lag out of all the brands in the market.

So far, we have seen that Samsung TVs are great for gamers because of the QLED technology and the lowest input lag. Moreover, if you are a fan of large screens or just want as small secondary TV, Samsung has something for every room size and every wallet.

Conclusion

For the last 13 years, Samsung has been the number 1 global brand for TV in terms of sales. Most of their models have great picture quality and very good smart features since Samsung puts a lot of research to bring further improvements in this area. Recently they have announced unbelievable prices for its television range in Bangladesh. It is offering the lowest ever price, bringing their high-quality televisions within the affordability of customers.

Uber Eats launches in Dhaka

Starting today, April 30th at 12 PM, on-demand food delivery app Uber Eats has officially been launched in Dhaka. The app is to work in a similar way to other food delivery services present in Bangladesh. Although with the added reliability of global corporation Uber.

Not all of Dhaka though, yet

Uber Eats has partnered with over 150 restaurants at launch. These include Pizza Guy, Chillox, Cheez, Madchef and Sultan’s Dine. It will be available in key neighbourhoods of the city like Baridhara, Banani and Gulshan at launch. No, not Uttara.

Uber Eats launches in Dhaka

Separate apps

This is to reiterate that the Uber Eats app is distinct from its Uber or Uber Driver apps. Uber Eats aims to make the food delivery process seamless and swift. It allows consumers to live track the progress of their order. It also allows scheduling an order ahead of time.

Read more: Where to eat in Dhaka after midnight

More competition?

While the advent of a global giant corporation like Uber might not be good news for local companies, it is advantageous for consumers. Uber’s massive resources allow it to establish lower prices than would be usually available. And increased competition between service providers is always good news for consumers.

Thanos google search: Genius marketing?

The long-awaited conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is upon us. Avengers: Endgame is about to/has hit theatres, depending on where you’re living. It truly is the end of an era, as more than a decade of storytelling reaches its climax.

Avengers: Endgame is perhaps the single most important cinematic landmark in recent history. And it is great to see Marvel and Google throwing out some compact but fun details to lead up to the big deal.

Go to google and search Thanos. A small infinity gauntlet icon can be noticed beside the usual webpage.

Click on it, and the page randomly scrolls down to different weblinks and snappily(kek) eradicates them.

Small easter eggs like this go a long way for hyping the monumental occasion. Sure, trailers and teasers have their place and have honestly taken on a lot more importance than they used to due in no small part to Marvel.

But you can’t help but wonder if this is the future of marketing. Little things like these go to show the effort and enthusiasm those in charge have put into the project. It has its way of speaking to the fans, and like any conversation, the fans feel inclined to reply.

We have waited long for the culmination of the Avengers plotline. And the Thanos gauntlet trick shows that the people involved with the project are just as excited as we are. Now if only the figured out a way to eradicate the spoiler people.

Marvel’s Avengers Endgame launches in theatres on 26th April. We are sure you have gone through much to acquire tickets. So go earn your stay. And for those of you who haven’t gotten tickets yet, we feel you.

Game of Thrones S08E01: Awkward Reunions

The period of waiting has concluded. The end times are upon us, my lads and ladies, winter has come. And its first episode is almost entirely as awkward as my attempted regal speech.

Game of Thrones has finally returned to our screens. The first episode, King’s Landing, dropped this morning. And as always, it stands impressive with its visuals and narratives.

Read more: Here are the key 21 episodes you need to watch before Game of Thrones season 8 premieres this Sunday

Setting up shop

A good first episode sets up the story for further development and structures the narrative. King’s Landing does this in remarkable fashion. Season 8 is to be the shortest in terms of number of episodes, so we expect each one to be packed with storytelling elements. The thing is, cramming lots of story into fewer episodes is a difficult task to accomplish without a downgrade in quality.

The first episode has just the right mix of setups and actual forward steps in storytelling. Without spoiling anything, best I can divulge is that a lot of the “what happens when x meets y again” questions are answered. And the awkwardness that follows is brilliant.

The characters

Almost everyone was accounted for in this episode, their motivations and allegiances reaffirmed.

Season 8 picks up exactly where the last season left off, so not much has happened in between.

This was more about where everyone is and where everyone is going to end up being when the iceberg hits. A lot of exchanges of information went on between them, and everyone’s a bit more aware of what’s going on.

The characters are as inspired as ever, the impeccable acting always helps. The more striking features of each character are still as visible as ever. Except Euron Greyjoy. That guy just tries too hard.

The story

Game of Thrones’ reputation for narrative consistency holds up in this episode. The story is advanced quite a bit along with the set up for future episodes. We are set up for one heck of a ride this season, quite evident from the very first episode.

For a more in-depth analysis, check out our upcoming video segment regarding Game of Thrones Season 8.