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.

Digital Art 101: Everything you need to know

Lately, many artists are diving into the imaginative world of digital art because of the comprehensive opportunities that it holds. Trying to switch to a digital medium is not an easy task. For an aspiring beginner, becoming a digital artist from scratch may seem a like a daunting endeavor. But with some practice and skill, the pen tablet can turn into your wand in no time.

Learning the basics

Even if you’ve been exploring art as early as childhood, you will need to become familiar with the techniques of painting digitally.

Because it is significantly different from traditional art.

Firstly, you need to get an overview of the different tools and brushes that exist and how to go about using them. From personal experience, I would suggest experimenting freely with all of the brushes until you start to understand how things work. And of course, there are millions of tutorials online that can help you get a head start.

Debunking the age-old myth

I hate to break it to you, but no. Drawing digitally is not “easier” than drawing on paper. No matter how convenient it may seem, it does come with a lot of complications, so don’t go into digital art thinking it’s going to be a walk in the park.

You don’t have to stick with Photoshop

When people hear the words “digital art”, they automatically associate it with Photoshop. Many assume that it is the only program available to draw with. While learning Photoshop can be great for you in the long run as an artist, it is not the most user-friendly software for beginners. You can explore a variety of other programs like Clip Studio Paint, Krita, Autodesk Sketchbook (did I mention this is free?), MyPaint (also free), Corel Painter Essentials, etc. All these new programs have truly made digital art a lot more approachable, so try a bunch of them and see which one works for you the best.

Use photo references

Let’s be real, it is unrealistic to expect that you’ll know how to draw everything and anything in this world, and that’s why photo references exist. Using hand drawn sketches or photographs as a photo reference can really ease up your creative process. Additionally, there are plenty of stock websites that solely exist to help you with this, so go on and scour the Internet for whatever you need. But remember, the idea isn’t to completely recreate these images; it is only there to help you start off so you can add your own intricate details to it and eventually be able to draw without the help of references.

Pro tip: When you’re struggling to find the accurate photo reference of a figure, just make your friend pose accordingly and use that instead!

Using layers

I cannot stress how important it is to understand how layers work when it comes to digital painting. It is a magical feature that will make your creative process ten times easier. Knowing how to use layers according to your own advantage will give you a lot of power as a digital artist. Because then, you’ll be able to edit your art without any restrictions. Even though layers might seem confusing at first, it is really is a no-brainer once you start using it.

Investing in a tablet

One of the cardinal tools for digital art is a graphic tablet. Using a mouse will hinder the quality of your work immensely while also making your fingers numb (I kid you not). The number of options out there can make it seem like an impossible task to choose the right tablet. The truth is that there is no one right tablet, and it all comes down to your own requirements and affordability. Some of the most popular manufacturers right now are Wacom, Huion, XP-Pen, Ugee, etc.

The important part is to spend some time researching. Maybe watch some videos on YouTube, and figure out how much you’re willing to invest in this. Some important things that you want to keep in mind are the size, pressure sensitivity, pen, accuracy and of-course, the price. Not all of us can afford the really fancy, expensive tablets, especially beginners, so you can consider going for a modest one to help you get started.

Tip: Wacom Intuos is one of the most recommended graphic tablets of all time at an affordable price and is great for entry-level artists. It also comes with three 3 free drawing software.

Try again and again and again

Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP.  One of the biggest eradicators of creativity is our own self-doubt. But as a creative individual, you have to push through it and start believing in your own work. Keep striving to improve every day and don’t be disheartened by comparing your progress to other artists who have had years of experience. Remember that they also started off somewhere, clueless, just like you.

This week in Tech 2: No sequel joke

Welcome again to tech roundup/highlights/whatever you would like to call it. We might make this a weekly thing, but we’re not sure if we can top week 1. Or if we want to top week 1.

Disclaimer: If there’s something interesting in technology happening outside Bangladesh and we haven’t covered it yet, we might do so in this segment. We left off last week on the note of decommissions. The Government sanctioned decommissioning of almost 3 million SIMs. The first storm of the season took it upon itself to decommission telecommunication and internet services in many areas. How thoughtful.

Oh and also people fought over Facebook reacts. That last one doesn’t have the same ring to it after the first mention. This week is much more sober and cheerful in comparison. Let’s take a look.

Rajshahi E-commerce Fair attracts youngsters

The daylong E-commerce and post fair took place on April 6th at Lakshmipur general post office auditorium in Rajshahi. The central discussion was about the convenience of using the E-commerce platform to launch startups with minimum capital. Many investors, entrepreneurs and visitors attended the fair. The 4th industrial revolution and the concept of businesses shifting to online platforms were also topics of discussion.

The most eye-catching aspect of the fair was the majority of the attendees being young people. This signals the growing situational awareness in Bangladeshi youngsters regarding startups and moneymaking strategies.

The most eye-catching aspect of the fair was the majority of the attendees being young people. This signals the growing situational awareness in Bangladeshi youngsters regarding startups and moneymaking strategies.


Repto is going to Silicon Valley

Education platform Repto has won the “eGeneration Presents Startup World Cup 2019, Bangladesh” competition. They will now be proceeding to the final round in Silicon Valley. The event was arranged by Fenox Venture Capital and eGeneration Ltd in Bangladesh for the first time. The competition awards the best regional tech-based startup the opportunity to present at the final round. The ten finalists presented their startup ideas at RTV Bengal Studios, where Repto won the opportunity to take their case all the way to Silicon Valley and win a million dollars.

From the initial 86 applicants, 10 were selected, all of whom Repto outlasted to win. 39 regional champions along with Repto will present in the final round. It will take place on 17th May.


“Say no to Fortnite”- Prince Harry

Well Hallelujah.

The Duke of Sussex has a problem with the popular battle royal game. In his speech at West London Young Men’s Christian Association, Prince Harry likened Fortnite addiction to alcohol and drug addiction. He stated that the game is designed to inspire addiction in players, and that parents should strive to familiarize their children to the world outside the internet.

Relevant information in this regard is similar battle royal game PUBG being banned for children under 13 years of age in China. Recently India has also banned PUBG for primary school students.

Bottom line is important people have an opinion of such games that isn’t favorable. It might have something to do with the problem known as “Kids these days” syndrome. But there is a very real aspect to the complaints.

Don’t look at us, we hate the game because it’s bad. If you want to play it go knock yourself out.

Oh wait, someone else already did.

That’s all for this week. Goodbye. 

Does Tesla and Elon Musk need an intervention?

As awesome as Tony Stark is, sometimes he needs friends to help him get through the day. That can include fighting aliens and rogue AIs or helping him recover from alcoholism and get his company back to speed. Perhaps, it’s time for Elon Musk to get the same kind of help, too.

Tesla’s shares slid by more than six percent on Friday, after Musk smoked weed during a live interview with Joe Rogan. This is the kind of behavior that, while not entirely unexpected from a man who launched a car into space, is also rarely seen from CEOs who run companies worth 45 billion dollars.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

2018 hasn’t been easy, for both Musk and Tesla. It has consistently missed production targets for the Model 3. Musk has amped up production since last year, a process that he has termed “production hell”. In a radical move, he attempted to automate most of the production line. One such production robot, affectionately dubbed the “fluffer bot”, was so ineffective that it repeatedly stalled production. He eventually had to replace it by human workers.

Then came the Thailand rescue saga, where Musk accused a diver of being a pedophile. He doubled down on these accusations in August, wondering why the diver, Vernon Unsworth, didn’t feel confident enough to sue Musk. Unsworth happily obliged.

Last month also saw Musk teasing about taking Tesla private. NYSE shorts Tesla among one of the most commonly shorted stocks. And Musk has often accused Tesla short sellers of actively trying to sabotage Tesla. However, he changed his mind after apparently securing funding from a Saudi Arabian fund. The SEC is also investigating Tesla for Musk’s initial “funding secured” tweet.

Should Musk Head Towards Greener Pastures?

elon musk tesla

Musk admitted, in a tearful interview for the New York Times, that 2018 has been the most stressful year of his life so far. He constantly uses Ambien and is open to hiring another executive at Tesla to help him tide over the constant challenges. Earlier, Azalea Banks also alleged on Instagram that she was in Musk’s house while he tweeted about taking Tesla private when he was on acid.

Musk’s latest stunt triggered two exits. His chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, is leaving Tesla after just a month on the job. Apparently, his expectations about the pressure and environment have been thoroughly exceeded, especially given the level of public attention being placed on the company. He and HR chief Gaby Toledano join a list of thirty executives who have departed Tesla since 2016.

Musk reshuffled his executive deck by announcing a series of promotions through a company-wide email. It should be noted that these were not new hires, and thus long planned before the resignations on Friday.

Musk’s antics put the investors in a tough spot. Tesla’s stocks are down by fifteen percent so far; compared to the all-time high last year, it’s a further degradation of thirty percent. There’s much to rejoice for within Tesla, with the SolarCity acquisition and plans for semi-trucks targeted towards corporate buyers. In fact, Tesla is forecasted to turn a profit for this year’s fourth quarter and expected to hold speed for the entirety of FY 2019-20.

However, now investors can’t help but wonder if Musk doesn’t just need another hand as a COO, but if he should step down as CEO entirely. Possible alternatives for Musk include ex-Ford CEO, Alan Mullaly.

SpaceX, for instance, is faring much better than Tesla, where Musk has a well-regarded CEO in Glynne Shotwell. Shotwell has been at the company since 2002 and was made COO in 2008.

Are Musk and Tesla Inseparable?

elon musk tesla

In Tesla, Musk’s influence is much more singular than in SpaceX. He constantly spends time with engineering problems. During a routine factory tour, Musk was visibly annoyed when the assembly line stopped moving. Although it was a standard safety precaution, he stated that wished the cars to keep moving anyways and didn’t see how the process could hurt him, head-butting a car to demonstrate his confidence.

It is, indeed, true that people are out to get Tesla. Andrew Left, an activist short seller, is suing Tesla and Chairman Elon Musk for actively inflating the company’s stock price. “In response to Musk’s tweets,” Left said in his official complaint, “many Tesla short-sellers were forced to cover their positions at artificially high prices, losing approximately $1.3 billion in a single day.”

It’s tempting to compare Musk to both Steve Jobs and Howard Hughes when it comes to brilliance, charisma and a bluster that may signal his eventual downfall. “People are always telling him he can’t do it,” explained Christopher Davenport, the author of Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos. “But he doesn’t like to hear it can’t be done. He categorically rejects that. It’s all about, ‘How can we do it?’”

“Starting a space company from scratch is simply not done. People warned him against it time and time again, and Elon’s friends even staged an intervention. But he had a commitment to his ideas and a passion and a vision and belief that he saw an opening there — a real business opportunity where, from a technology standpoint, there hadn’t been a lot of advancement.”

“The reason Elon seems to attract drama is that he is so transparent, so open, in a way that can come back to bite him,” said Kimbal Musk, Mr. Musk’s younger brother, to New York Times. “He doesn’t know how to do it differently. It’s just who he is.”

Why Musk Prefers Sleeping on Floors over Cursed Vacations

Elon Musk tesla

The problem with Musk, perhaps, is that he is too confident and firm in his belief in himself. He leads from the front, like the engineering version of Alexander the Great. Often found sleeping on factory floors or under his office desk. “A C.E.O.’s most important job is to build a great team around you,” said Bill George, a Goldman Sachs board member. “He shouldn’t be sleeping on the factory floor. I’d rather have him sleeping at home.”

Musk’s legendary work schedule is well known. He works one hundred and twenty hours a week, dividing his time between SpaceX and Tesla. He nearly missed his brother’s wedding in Spain this summer. “I got there two hours before the ceremony,” he said. “I left directly from the factory. And then I went straight back.”

As committed as Musk is, he is only human. We need humans like Musk, now more than ever. In a world where the youngest billionaires run the gamut from Mark Zuckerberg to Kylie Jenner, Musk is working on genuine problems to create solutions that benefit society, and civilization, at large.

“Launching a business is hard, particularly when you have a vision to change the world like Tesla,” wrote Amy Nelson, founder, and CEO of The Riveter, which creates work and community spaces. “I applaud Musk for his authenticity and I believe it is important for founders to share with one another and the world what starting a company is like…Musk, I hear you. This is really wonderful and really hard. You’ve got a few more years of running a company under your belt, but trust me: I feel your pain.”

Musk hasn’t taken a vacation since 2001. Vacations are cursed, he thinks. You can’t blame him. In 2000, he was ousted from Paypal by the board and replaced by Peter Thiel. Later, he contracted malaria in Brazil and almost died. However, for his own sake, and for ours as well, perhaps Musk should try taking more time off than he usually does.
The truth is, we can all try staging an intervention to bring Musk down to Earth. But interventions haven’t worked for Musk in the past, and they probably won’t work now, either.