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Wi-Fi on the moon!

There’s been a lot of talk about living on the moon and what not. I mean, that’s great with the air and water and all, but has anyone stopped to think how we could possible survive without wifi? Apparently, MIT and NASA have; they believe that a decent, reliable connection may actually be possible on the cheese lookalike planet. We now know, thanks to a very talented group of researchers in MIT and NASA, that communication technology has developed to the extent where it can be used to give the moon the same facilities we get here on our home planet. In fact, large data transfers and HD video streaming can also be done.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]How it works:[/button]
Four separate telescopes, each just 6 inches in diameter have been used to send signals to the moon. Located at a ground terminal in New Mexico, these telescopes have a laser transmitter feeding into them. They can send information as coded pulses of invisible infrared light; together it results in 40 watts of transmitter power. But what makes this hard is the fact that going through the Earth’s atmosphere will bend the signal. So, this is why four telescopes are used. Each telescope transmits light through a different column of air, increasing the chances of one actually hitting the receiver. The receiver is attached to a satellite that is orbiting the moon. The satellite is NASA’s LADEE or Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. The LADEE has a telescope itself which collects and transcends the laser beams into optical fibre. Finally, a photodetector converts the pulses of light into electrical pulses which can then be turned into data.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]The achievements so far:[/button]
Distance between Earth and Moon: 384,633km
Rate of transfer: 19.44mbps
Download rate: 622mbps

Mark Stevens of MIT Lincoln Laboratory made some comments on the difficulties they need to overcome:
“Communicating at high data rates from Earth to the moon with laser beams is challenging because of the 400,000-kilometre distance spreading out the light beam. It’s doubly difficult going through the atmosphere, because turbulence can bend light-causing rapid fading or dropouts of the signal at the receiver.”

On 9th June, NASA and MIT will present their findings at the CLEO laser technology conference in California. But you can also find details of their discoveries as posted by the Optical Society. They have a lot to be proud of as they have broken previous record transmission speeds that were achieved by RF signals, by a factor of 4,800. Stevens says that even though less than a billionth of a watt from the 40-watt signal is actually received by the satellite, it is still 10 times the amount of signal needed for a proper, reliable connection. Moreover, exciting news like the fact that his will also be able to be used on deep-space missions to Mars and other planets will be revealed in the CLEO tech convention.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is almost here: a sneak peak

As days go on from sunrise to sunset, again and again every day, smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. One of the leading competitors in this game is Samsung with its Galaxy series of gigantic smartphones, at the top of which lies the Galaxy Note 3. It’s a well-appraised phone with some unique features but like all other smartphones in recent years, its cycle will soon end and its successor is bound to be born. That’s right; we have some tidbits on the features of a possible Note 4.

While it is too early to specify a date for the release of this phone, a report seems to have done just that; and it’s stated to be released on Wednesday, September 3rd. Given Samsung’s previous pattern of releasing Note, Note 2 and Note 3, it makes perfect sense. The IFA 2014 will be taking place from 5-10th and like its predecessors, the Note 4 will very likely be released two days before its commencement.  Also, the unveiling will be called Samsung Unpacked 2014: Episode 2 as per the earlier release of the S5 as Episode 1.

But can the new ‘phablet’ of a phone bring anything new to the table? Here’s what we know:

1. Display: GSM Arena thinks that there will be no difference in the already large 5.7 inch display that the Note 3 boasts. However, other sources feel as though the trend of smartphones growing larger in size will continue and that the Note 4 may have a ridiculous 5.9 or 6 inch display. Also, to top off the already HD displays that most smartphones today have, it is said to feature a QHD display of 1140×2560 resolution. While we’re talking about the display, it’s important for me to mention that Samsung is planning to use the ‘new form factor’ which may be a curved display or perhaps a 3-sided display that will let users explore exciting new viewing angles.
2. Under the Hood: Most likely, the Note 4 will have the Snapdragon 805 processor. This implies a quad-core Krait 450 chip which will be power-packed with a 2.7GHz CPU and an Andreno 420 GPU. It looks like the phone is going to be pretty fast; nothing unexpected.
3. Motion Launcher:
The Note 4 is said to have some of the features which the HTC One m8 currently sports, notably, the swipe to launch motion launcher. This is basically a provision to do certain actions with your phone like unlocking it, without having to use the hold button. It can include tapping and swiping gestures.
4. Aqua Capture: The name implies some sort of water-related feature. It could be that it can take pictures underwater like the Sony Xperia Z series, or just be waterproof and dust resistant to a certain extent like the Samsung Galaxy S5.
5. Multi Network: This is a lot like the Galaxy S5’s download booster which allows the user to make combined use of both the wi-fi connection and the mobile data package to download larger files faster. The Multi Network for Booster feature in the Note 4 may be the same or perhaps make greater use of your internet connection.
6. Smart Fingerprint: Well, by now we’re all well-aware of what the fingerprint feature does, thanks to iPhone 5s followed by the Galaxy S5.

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Facebook is now safer than ever with new security partners

Facebook is, once again, taking serious measures to protect its users from any kind of cyber threats that may occur. Especially keeping in mind the incident where eBay was hacked, I suppose it’s the responsibility of all internet giants to take major action against it. So to do Facebook’s part of the job, they shook hands with security merchants F Secure and Trend Micro.

Basically, the work of these two companies is to work as a malware scanner within your browser through Facebook. So this means you don’t need to use a third party insecure app, plus it’s completely free. When you go to Facebook, given that your device is infected, you will see a notification that will recommend you to use F-Secure’s malware clean up technology or you can take up the option of ‘HouseCall’ by Trend Micro. You will be given two options: either you could download the app or decline to download. Chetan Gowda, a software engineer at Facebook said:
”Each product contains distinct malware signatures and is suited to different kinds of threats, so we recommend trying the suggested product even if you already have an anti-virus or similar program running on your machine.”
Pay heed to those words, because it is highly advised that you do download it. I mean, why not? It won’t cost you anything, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Facebook will, itself, detect malware on your computer, and notify you

Facebook will, itself, detect malware on your computer, and notify you. In case you’re not aware of the dangers of malware, here are a few things it can do: hamper your regular device performance, theft of important personal data, or even gain full access to your system. Moreover, it can harass other Facebook users in your friends list by posting malicious links or spam on your behalf, which im sure has happened to all of us at some point. I still remember my friends asking me, “What is that distasteful video you posted on my wall?” So yes, while we cannot actually see things like malware and viruses, it can have a very ‘real’ impact on our devices and our lives.

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“Helping people stay safe on Facebook is a hugely important part of what we do and we’re glad to be adding the strength of F-Secure’s anti-virus technology to our existing systems to block and eradicate malware,” said Gowda.

And the other end seems to be quite pleased with the new partnership too:
F-Secure Product Manager Arto Saari said, “We are pleased to partner with Facebook to stop cybercriminals from taking advantage of Facebook’s user base for malicious ends.”

“Helping people stay safe on Facebook is a hugely important part of what we do and we’re glad to be adding the strength of F-Secure’s anti-virus technology to our existing systems to block and eradicate malware,” said Gowda

But this isn’t the end of Facebook’s care for security; it plans to expand its attempt to eradicate online threats very soon. To fight against hackers even further, in March, Facebook introduced a ThreatData security service. It’s an automatic service which will detect any form of incoming virtual threat, recognize and categorize it and then fight it; it’s a central intelligence tool.

Speaking of the introduction of new things, Facebook has also launched a audio recognition feature very recently. It works a lot like Shazam and, according to Facebook, is “a new way to share and discover music, TV and movies.”
Also, this being quite interesting, Facebook is planning on launching an app which will be competing with the trending Snapchat; it will be called Slingshot.

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EBay’s been hacked!!

One of the most amusing ways to spend time sitting in front of your computer is by browsing through stuff on eBay. It literally seems to have everything you could possible want, but more importantly, it’s a secured and trusted site. For blood thirsty shoppers, it’s nothing short of a dream come true. But then, just take a moment to stop and consider the kind of information we put into eBay, everything from our date of birth, our credit card information kept in PayPal to our very precious passwords that are supposed to protect the kind of data I just mentioned. It could happen that these information are compromised for whatever reason, and it has. EBay’s been hacked!

Two weeks ago, it was discovered that eBay had been hacked. But the more riveting news is the fact that investigation shows that the hacking actually took place between the end of February and the beginning of March

Two weeks ago, it was discovered that eBay had been hacked. But the more riveting news is the fact that investigation shows that the hacking actually took place between the end of February and the beginning of March. This means that there was a time lag of months before eBay could take any action based on what happened. In the words of Paul Martini of iboss Network Security, “The damage could well have already been done.”
He is quite right. But despite that and according to protocol, users of the world’s largest online retailer were told to change their logins and passwords right away. The cyber crime was posted in a message that appeared on PayPal yesterday. It was titled ‘eBay Inc. To Ask All eBay Users To Change Passwords’ and it asked its 200 million users to reset their logins to protect the sensitive information that they put on the site.  Martini said that eBay is a ‘potential gold mine’ for hackers and that it would be in the users’ best interest to follow eBay’s advice on changing their passwords.

Here’s what we know about the hacking: the hackers ‘compromised’ the logins of a few eBay employees which gave them direct access to the corporate network. IT security experts have warned that users are still susceptible to other cyber scams such as phishing scams and identity theft or fraudulence. However, on the bright side, eBay’s very own PayPal has its information stored separately and it is very much untouched. This means that your financial information is perfectly safe, so far. Phew!

EBay has failed to quote exactly how many users’ information was compromised on its British site, which has 14 million active users

EBay has failed to quote exactly how many users’ information was compromised on its British site, which has 14 million active users. But eBay has assured them that there was no evidence that indicated that their credit card or financial information had been meddled with.

To conclude, we could end with Michela Menting, of ABI Research, who said: ‘It remains to be seen whether the defense and response mechanisms in place will stand up to scrutiny now that the attack has been publicized.’ That’s what we all want to find out and while the danger seems to be lesser now that it’s all out in the open, you can never be too cautious; Till then, keep your cyber doors locked and swallow the key! 

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Make your ‘Last Seen’ on Whatsapp Invisible!

There was a time when I’d say, if you don’t have Facebook, you probably don’t exist. But now, I could easily replace the word Facebook with Whatsapp in that sentence. Whatsapp is one of the leading culprits behind the slowly diminishing importance of text messaging through your carriers. We just love it and feel rather handicapped without it. However, Whatsapp can be a bit invasive; in particular, the feature which shows your contacts when you last checked your Whatsapp. That can be a bit frustrating, especially when you’re ignoring someone or perhaps sneaking around someone’s back. Not that we encourage either, but since we do want you to be safe when you’re dealing with the world of internet, here’s how to hide your ‘last seen’ on Whatsapp:

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]For iOS[/button]

1. Open Whatsapp.
2. Go to ‘Settings’
3. Go to ‘Chat Settings’
4. Scroll down to ‘Advanced’
5. Turn off Last Seen Timestamp.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]For Android[/button]

1. Open Whatsapp.
2. Go to ‘Settings’
3. Go to ‘Account’
4. Go to ‘Privacy’
5. Press Last Scene and you may choose between ‘Everyone’ (this is the default setting)
or
‘My Contacts’ (only people on your contact list will see your last scene)
or
‘Nobody’ (your last seen will be hidden from everyone)

Hope this helped ensure your privacy!

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The Importance of Typography: a form art or psychology?

They say art comes in many forms; it could be the obvious ones that involve canvases, the sensitive ones that involve psychology or even the very under-rated art of writing. Today, I’m here to talk about typography. Keep in mind that deciding which font to use, while it is an inevitable part of typography, does not nearly encompass the whole idea. For those web-designers who will tell you otherwise, well, they are either unaware and lack the necessary knowledge regarding typography or they’re just plain lazy.

Type designer Matthew Carter once said, “Type is a beautiful group of letters, not a group of beautiful letters.”

Wiser words have never been spoken, for typography is far more than just shiny alphabets. It’s an art form, a complex technique and a subject to be learnt. It is the arrangement of type; that means that this includes everything starting from font type, size, layout, color schemes and design integration.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]A Common Misconception[/button]

Tell me, what comes to your mind when you hear ‘web design’? I have a strong feeling that you’re thinking that it’s just beautifying the website, you know, making it look pretty. I guess I can understand why you’d say that; any term followed by the word ‘design’ simply implies the process of making something look good. For example, interior designers are hired to make your home look good while fashion designers work to make clothes look good. It all seems pretty legit, so far. But the truth is that web design, while a similarly creative field like of the ones I mentioned, cannot simply be categorized as such.

“Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty,” said Swiss Typographer Emil Ruder.



You see, most of what you see on a site is writing; 95% of a website is content.“Content! Content! Content!” is all you’ll hear if you ever choose to be involved with a web publication. For obvious reasons content is of prime importance when running a website. So, I can say that it’s a safe bet to say that typography deals mostly with ‘readability’.
Oliver Reichenstein, founder and director of design agency Information Architects, said in one of his articles titled “Web Design is 95% Typography” in 2006:

“95% of the information on the web is written language. It is only logical to say that a web designer should get good training in the main discipline of shaping written information, in other words: Typography.”

Readability is almost proportionate to the kind of traffic your site will receive. A slight change in your typography will affect your content’s readability possibly warping your readers’ perception. Remember, illustrations and flashy graphics will only take you so far. It’s time to take typography seriously, and if everything I’ve said so far has failed to get through to you, here are 5 more reasons:

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]1. First impression is the last impression[/button]

This is probably the easiest concept to understand. When you go to a site for the first time, your brain categorizes it in your own way. For example, when I first saw HiFi Public, I thought it was ‘sleek, classy yet funky due to the splash of orange.’ So what made me think so? Yes, typography. Then, for another example, when I visited the site for Duolingo, I thought it was friendly, fun and educative; all that from its type style, imagine that. It will help viewers visualize what your website stands for, a picture in their minds of something that is not drawn, but written.

[button link=”#” size=”small” target=”self”]2. Branding[/button]

Of course, the logo of your brand will play a huge role in the impression it gives, but a logo isn’t of much use without the right typography to go with it. Just imagine Facebook’s logo with a different font and color palette, pretty messed up right? There goes your perception of Facebook right out the window!
The key to delivering the right identity of your brand to your audience is finding the balance between logo, font and typeface.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]3. Appeals to viewer’s appeal[/button]


Certainly, you can’t sell content that isn’t worth-reading, no matter how good your typography is. But, with that being said, it is of equal importance to understand that viewers will take their eyes off horrid typography in the speed of light no matter how well-written your material is. You want them to read it? Feed their eyes! It’s human nature; we tend to be attracted to what we find to be visually appealing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that an ‘okay’ article can go a long way with compelling typography.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]4. A reader’s guide[/button]


Like I’ve just said, an article doesn’t just have to be good in terms of quality but its presentation has to be top-notch as well. There’s a reason why headings, sub-headings and body text sizes vary. It signifies the structure of your writing and maintains its well-needed flow. Especially in the case of online publications, you will find that little things make big differences. Consider the article you’re reading right now, what plays a great role in the fact that you’ve come so far in a 1000 word article, other than my brilliant words, are sneaky changes in font types, sizes or colors.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]5. Consistency is essential[/button]

Referring back to the first reason I gave you, if your viewer’s impression keeps changing every time they visit your site, it’ll just lead to confusion and you can be sure that they won’t be coming back. You know, uniformity appeals to the human eye due to the concept of making a ‘habit’. People get used to things, and once they do, they get comfortable. That is the kind of comfort you want to maintain. Moreover, typography has the power to be the glue that holds your website together; it’s what connects, for example, the logo to the content or the tittles to the color scheme.

Much like Ellen Lupton who said, “Typography is what language looks like,” I believe that it is has the ability to make you visualize an intangible idea. It is not only a clever form of art that involves creative potential and even human psychology; it is a powerful tool when it comes to web designing. It’s time to get past the idea of sparkling up your site to achieve temporary attention and start working on improving readability so that your website can soar straight to the top and never look back.

Now as added bonus we are listing  30 hand-picked and award winning typo-graphs of 2013. You’re Welcome!!

Hi! by Temeshi
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Exclusive Workwear Overalls by BMD design

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Ping-pong by Simon Ålander

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One Trick Pony

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It Only Took A War by Maurice Redmond
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Life in stereo by Lo Siento

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Zachary Smith
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“Hold Fast & Carry On” by Olde Soul Print Shop.

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Softball Playoff Night by Jacob Etter

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Pilar Soul Riot - Festival by Javi Bueno
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Gold Leaf by Carl Fredrik Angell

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Halloween Party Invite by Brightside Prints
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Show us your type by Tom Crate[divider] [/divider]

Six Strings, Ten Fingers by Joseph Alessio

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Oliver Munday

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Those who tell the stories rule the world by Will Pay

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I have no fucking clue by Lavanya Naidoo
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Austin, Texas by Michael Tangonan

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Philips 'You Need To Hear This' by Ged Palmer
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Hammer & Grain by Jorgen Grotdal

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Joshua Noom
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Face The Music 2013 by Andrew Fairclough
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Handwriting by Arnaud Le Dévéhat

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Scott Biersack

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Hard Work & Determination by Nicolas Fredrickson

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Jazz

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Home Sweet Home by Scott Biersack

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Aloha Friday by Matthew Tapia

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Stranger and stranger

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Nicolas Fredrickson
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Guinness Book of World Records: the fastest texter on earth

We’re all well-aware of the utterly strange records that some people hold in the Guinness Book of World Records, but the one I’ll be talking about today is actually a very ordinary act that we carry out every day. Texting, which was once merely an efficient mode of communication, is now a source of addiction. In today’s day and time, each one of us holds some expertise in typing. But as fast you may think you type, a 16 year old from Brazil has officially gained brag rights for typing faster than anyone else in the world.

But as fast you may think you type, a 16 year old from Brazil has officially gained brag rights for typing faster than anyone else in the world.

The previous record for fasting record was held by Gaurav Sharma, a 15-year-old from Seattle who wrote a 25 word paragraph in 18.44 seconds. He had accomplished this with Word Flow Keyboard which was Microsoft’s pride in the Windows Phone 8.1 software. But now, shattering that record is a 16 year old Brazilian teenager called Marcel Fernandes who did the very same thing in just 18.19 seconds. While the task itself is nothing out of the ordinary, the paragraph they had to type is a bit peculiar. Not only so, it consisted of overly difficult words that we don’t really use when texting. See for yourself:

“The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.”

Other than the .25 seconds, the difference between the current record holder and the previous one is the keyboard they used. This time, Fernandes used a keyboard app called Fleksy.

The COO of Fleksy, Loannis Verdelis, was overjoyed, “It was in our business plan from day one to get our technology to beat the record.”

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The company broke out of its beta version for Android in December 2013 and iOS in February 2014. They beat Microsoft’s Word Flow keyboard, released in March, which was a very talked about feature as it is because Windows phone users were looking forward to its exciting new features. But Word Flow isn’t the first to allow ‘swipe’, typing in words by gliding over letters, input method for texting. I’m sure you all have heard of ‘Swype’ another keyboard app which is became quite famous for making texting so effortless. And guess what? Before Word Flow, they were the ones to hold the record for the fastest texter which was set by Franklin Page, a Swype employee, who had written the same para in 33.54 seconds back in 2010.

Fleksy attempted to break the record by holding a contest where it asked its users to try and break the previous record. Among the hundred contestants was the very special Marcel Fernandes.

“Since I was a child, I always loved phones, and still love smartphones today. But I don’t consider myself addicted to using smartphones, as I don’t spend all day using them.”

As opposed to both Word Flow and Swype, Fleksy actually provides a separate keyboard. It uses an algorithm to autocorrect based on the user’s sentence structures and personal language; also, it guesses the user’s next word. Its fastest user Fernandes has proved, with the help of Fleksy that you don’t necessarily have to swipe to attain high speeds.

Verdilis said, “Though we like swiping as an input method, the vision is to make an awesome keyboard that everyone can use. My parents know how to tap type. Now they can be fast smartphone typists too, without having to learn swiping or any other alternative input method.”

But everything aside, we don’t want to encourage anyone to obsess with texting and stay stuck with their phones all day. Hence, we want you to see what Fernandes had to say when asked if he was a texting addict:

He told CNN, “Since I was a child, I always loved phones, and still love smartphones today. But I don’t consider myself addicted to using smartphones, as I don’t spend all day using them.”

To celebrate the honor of making history by putting their name in the Guinness Book of World Records, Fleksy released an update for its Android version which includes a World Record Challenge Contest. For the next two weeks, users will have the same task Fernandes performed and they’ll try to beat the set record. The winner will receive a brand new Nexus 5 and the top 10 runners-up will receive a copy of the latest Guinness Book of World Records. The app will be completely free for the next 45 days, so what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

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HTC One M8: Here to be the best

It has been smooth sailing for HTC ever since the release of its One series; each of the phones proved to be of solid build and powerful specs for their respected timelines. And now they have released their best phone yet, which is also regarded as the best in the world – the HTC One m8, the successor to the previously hit original HTC One. So what gives it the unanimous title of being the best phone in the world? We’ll find out the answer to that and more in this tour of the brilliant world of the HTC m8.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]Design:[/button]
Where do I start, the m8 is simply a treat for sore eyes! The Aluminum build, which is a common feature among both the ‘One’s, has been a key reason behind the likability of the phone.  But, as opposed to 70% of the m7, 90% of HTC’s new flagship is made of metal giving it an even more premium feel.

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The phone is big, although that’s something quite expected given its contemporary phones, with a 5 inch full HD screen. The hold button is still all the way at the top but this time it’s on the right side, which while some people find hard to reach, fits right into my idea of a proper smart phone. There are the usual volume keys on the side but what’s more notable is the microSD card slot which indicates that this set comes with the provision of an expandable memory.  The back is curved which has proved to make users happy as it feels pleasant to hold in your palm and so HTC has stuck with that. All in all, the design is a much more appealing and polished version of its predecessor with the edges more curved and sharper lines all around, making it a compelling design for a phone and perhaps one of the best I’ve come across.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]Power and Performance: [/button]
I’ll tell you this, there is no lack in the specifications of this phone. With a 2.3 GHz CPU, there isn’t much this phone can’t do. In fact, it’s super-fast and can handle multi-tasking very well giving you a buttery smooth experience. The Asian variant for some reason has a higher 2.5 GHz CPU but we don’t think that will practically affect your experience much when using the phone. In any case, both variants will be running the Android KitKat 4.4.2 OS and the performance of the m8, when compared to other phones using the same OS, was clocked at a relatively higher benchmark which is, while expected from HTC, is still quite impressive. There are definitely some improvements in the user interface like the way contacts are displayed, and the better keyboard for typing, but you can know about the more exciting new features in the next few lines.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]Additional Feature:[/button]
The blinkfeed, which isn’t exactly my most favorite thing, has definitely been a signature feature of HTC. It is now better than ever with upgraded looks visually and a handy side bar to quickly navigate to your favorite topics. But the feature I think is going to be rather fun to use is the tap to unlock gesture. Basically, when your phone is on sleep mode, you can do different gestures like swiping up or down, right or left or simply double-tapping that will lead to different phone actions without having to reach the phone’s hold button.  I originally saw this idea in the LG G2 but I suppose this is a more improved version given that the g2 was released much earlier on.

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[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]Camera:[/button]
Whatever your opinion about the whole Ultra-pixels idea may be, HTC seems to have stuck with it. While there is not much of a difference in mega-pixels, the images captured by the camera are significantly better.

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Specifications

Display: Type Super LCD3 capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inches (~441 ppi pixel density)

OS: Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat)

Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801
CPU: Quad-core 2.3 GHz (US/EMEA)/ 2.5 GHz (Asia, China) Krait 400
GPU: Adreno 330

Card slot microSD, up to 128 GB
ROM:16/32 GB,

RAM: 2 GB

Camera:
Primary Dual 4 MP, 2688х1520 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED
Secondary Yes, 5 MP, [email protected], HDR

Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 2600 mAh battery

Price:Gold: Tk 59,900/- & Silver & Gray: Tk 55,900/-

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Especially in low light, the camera seems to do wonders. Another difference in the new camera is that it said to have 2 sensors and is called ‘Duo Camera’. But in reality, only one of the sensors takes the picture while the other just helps the camera understand the depth of the picture making the image more realistic overall. A drawback for the camera this time is that in very bright conditions, images tend to become over-exposed. But the good news is, HTC allows a huge number of options when it comes to fixing the ISO, white balance, exposure, brightness and all the photography tools which you can use to set up your camera for the in-situ lighting conditions.  As for the secondary camera, it’ll surely blow your mind with a 5MP HDR display. A selfie has never been so brilliant every before! I don’t mean to raise your expectations, but to give you a clearer picture I thought the camera was slightly better than the appraised secondary camera of iPhones.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]Battery:[/button]
At first glance, the 2600mAH battery seems relatively less powerful than the 3000mAH batteries of its counterparts. But Qualcomm’s new efficient Snapdragon 801 chipset has surely helped make efficient use of whatever battery they are using. And it really worked because when tested it was seen that compared to the previous HTC One, the battery life has increased by 40%. Of course, how long it takes for you drain your battery will depend on usage; for example, when you play a high graphics game the charge will definitely drop fast. I am honestly not that overjoyed with the battery, but still thought it was good enough.

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Jolla and Sailfish OS: a great non-mainstream smartphone

Today I’m here to talk about Jolla and Sailfish; I can guess that those of you who do not know what these are are probably wondering why there’s news about fishes on a tech-site. While that is not true, I must tell you, the simile ‘like little fish in a giant pond’ has been used quite a few times while referring to them. Anyway, enough with the word play. Jolla is a relatively new brand of smart phones and it uses an operating system called Sailfish.

So, what is Jolla? Who are they? As unfamiliar as they sound, you’d be surprised to know the name attached to them. Jolla is a Finnish company. It was founded in 2011 by a group of former Nokia employees who wanted to pursue their work on the MeeGo operating system and as you read on, you’ll see that that’s exactly what they did.
Jolla is new to the smart phone world; it is trying to make its way past the big boys like HTC, Samsung and Apple. Of course, that can be rather tough. But according to one of its founders, Sami Pienimaki , they are not bothered about scooping up a large share of the market, one of the advantages of being a small company with low operating costs is that they don’t have to sell too many phones to survive. Yes, Jolla is definitely more affordable than most high-end smartphones and while it will take a while to establish a proper consumer base, it seems that Jolla is already making its competition sweat. Having said that, Jolla has a lot of work to do:

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]Design[/button]

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To me it looked like two very slim phones stuck together. For example, the black and white combo one provides an appealing contrast as the back removable cover is white and the upper half is black but there was a gap in the seam between the two making it look rather, well, different. I thought, if anything, the rectangular shape reminds me somewhat of the Nokia Lumia phones. It’s quite debatable whether you’d like it or not, but you can judge that for yourself. My point here, though, is that it breaks the typical outlook that most smartphone makers have these days. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed or not but most of the smartphones these days tend to look rather similar with a few variant tidbits. Unfortunately, Jolla does not give you the same premium feel as the other big brothers due to its plastic body. But what I did like was the little logo signature at the bottom right of the phone, very classy and the company name does not get in your face like most other phone’s ones. Speaking of likings, one of the best things about the phone is that the battery is removable (along with the back cover of course) and the memory is expandable: two things phone makers these days tend to neglect. Jolla has a series of colorful back covers called ‘The Other Half’, but the interesting thing is, that’s not just to add color to your phone; it has nfc that can change the theme of your phone according the back cover. Tres cool!

 

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]Display[/button]
It’s not a full HD display, just getting that off the table in case you’re expecting too much. But the display is very, very good. With a 4.5” screen and 540×960 pixels it gives much better colors than expected. The blacks are as dark as they should be and the overall saturation gives it an appealing look. I’d say the contrast was a bit much on some darker images but that’s still not a big problem. The problem comes in when you decide to watch movies, or go through too much text on a site; that’s when you finally come in contact with the low resolution of the display. Some images and videos will lose intricate details as the phone doesn’t read full HD files as it should. Also, the viewing angles are ‘so-so’ at best, but then the whole viewing angle concept never mattered much to me, I mean, why would you view it from strange angles any way? Moving on, the Gorilla Glass 2 on the phone definitely gives it a standard look.

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[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]OS[/button]
Finally, we get to talk about Sailfish. Once again, Jolla is being noticeably different and separated from the more popular Android and iOS. Well, not completely separated.
So firstly, Sailfish is one of the main things making this phone so unique. It’s new, yes, so it’ll definitely be a while before it can put its hands into the mass market, which is highly improbably by the way, but the truth is it’s not supposed to attract everyone. It’s made to appeal to the not-so-mainstream users.
So what’s so different about it? The whole UI itself begs to answer your question. It is completely gesture based; it has no physical buttons whatsoever and neither does it have capacitive touch buttons for navigation. You need to swipe to get anywhere at all. For example, a basic move is swiping upwards from the bottom to drag out the notifications bar, which is still quite standard. But then there are actions like swiping left or right to get into the menu or out of an app. To get back to where you were, you need to reverse the movements your thumb made. If anything, the system is quite fascinating.
It has a small glowing dot on the top left, which works as a notification light that can guide your way.

Now let’s talk about how it looks visually. Honestly, I think it looks pretty neat. The tear drop shaped icons and the translucency in most of the areas seem quite pleasant. Unfortunately, there are some inconsistencies like the design of the app logos and such. But I’ll cut them some slack on that as the OS is still developing and is yet to reach its full potential.

You know, all this smells like Nokia to me. When you see the OS yourself, you will find that it resembles the Nokia N8 and N9.

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But I did say it’s not completely absolute in comparison to Android. That’s simply because of its apps. As you can imagine, a new OS like Sailfish does not have too many apps in its store, 200 to be exact. The rest of the more common apps need to be 3rd party Android apps which while compatible with the Jolla, obviously because they need it, sometimes causes stability issues.

I agree with most reviewers that the OS is a bit hard to use and doesn’t do too well on the learning curve. But, like most other things in life, it’s a matter of getting used to it. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that the whole ‘not having to lift your finger’ idea behind the OS actually leads to a lot of efficiency in terms of time and productivity.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]Performance, Camera and battery:[/button]
With an ancient Dual-core 1.4GHz processor and 1GB RAM, it isn’t exactly the most powerful thing around, neither is it the fastest. I won’t lie; there are some noticeable lags in the phone which might annoy you at times. But for light usage, you won’t find so much of a difference.  Also, it has issues connected to Wi-Fi and portable hotspot. The good thing is, it supports 4G—you should remember that we are talking about a phone that is much more affordable than high-end ones, so some of the features it has, like the 4G, come in as enjoyable surprises.
As about the camera, the 8mp camera is actually quite nice. The colors are very realistic and the UI looks really nice in the camera app. The images taken are ‘okay’. On one side, they are much more detailed than those captured by some its competing phones, but then low light causes it to become grainy. The front-facing 2mp camera is good in proper lighting, but lacks the ability to capture images in dark rooms.
Lastly, the battery; it isn’t quite as good we’d like it to be. It can last up to 7 hours and 12mins but only under half the brightness. But the truth is, Jolla as it is, is less bright than what the eye needs so using it with the brightness on half can be a bit hard. Plus, with heavy usage and pressure on the processor, the battery life will drop by 30%. I guess if it was any other top notch phone it wouldn’t be an issue for users. But just because this isn’t a high-end phone, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]To conclude[/button]
I have to say, I love Jolla! Despite its imperfections here and there, it has a certain appeal to it due to its eye-catching uniqueness. I really am cheering for Jolla to do it’s best to improve and I know that once it catches on, a lot of users will move towards it. In fact, the Sailfish OS is already being tried on the Google Nexus phones and there have been rumors about Samsung trying it out as well.  Good luck Jolla!

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Business Incubating and Accelerating 102: The top 5 in the game!

As I’ve promised earlier, in the second part of the business incubator and accelerator series, I will be talking about some companies who made it big in this sector. Not only so, they have been responsible for other successful names as well.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]1. Y Combinator:[/button]

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This company was born in 2005 in Mountain View, California. Its founders include Paul Graham and Viaweb co-founders Robert Morris, Trevor Blackwell and Jessica Livingstone. Like most accelerators, they offer seed funding, consultation and basically anything else needed by a start-up business. We’ve spoken about this previously so it should ring a bell, seed funding is when the investors offer securities in exchange of a percentage of equity of the concerned company. Later, they help the company pitch their idea to bigger investors to gain greater funding. For Y Combinator, they require an average of 6% in equity. They fund up to $120k to around 68 companies. Y Combinator’s approach of accelerating includes 2 sessions of 3 months yearly where the startups move to Silicon Valley and receive intensive care and work to get them ready for investors. Y combinator has been very successful so far and has funded over 630 startups till date. This includes big names like Reddit, Airbnb, Dropbox, Scribd, Disqus, etc. The situation right now is such that investors are more than eager to spend buck loads of money on YC companies.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]2. TechStars: [/button]

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The people at TechStars are very mentorship oriented. Hence, their founders David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis have shook hands with some important business men in the tech business. That list includes  Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, tumblr CEO David Karp, HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah, and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. So as you can imagine, TechStars bring their A-game when it comes to accelerating startups. Keeping that fact in mind, they also require a greater return in equity of 7-10%. TechStars will fund $118k in each company and while that amount is big, the chances of getting selected are rather tough; fewer than 1% of the startups that apply actually get chosen to be funded, a lot like an Ivy League University. TechStars has grown to 7 cities:  Boulder, New York City, Boston, Seattle, San Antonio, Austin and London. TechStar boasts that after 90 days with them, startups get $2M in follow-on investment. Some of their companies include: Digital Ocean, Localytics, Sendgrid, Contently, Occipital, Next Big Sound, Kapost, etc. They work in small batches in order to concentrate on each company.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]3. 500 Startups:[/button]

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This startup incubator was founded by Dave Mclure in 2010. They fund upto $250k and put in great care when it comes to the companies they handle. They don’t just invest in USA but also in overseas companies. They have been the secret behind popular companies like 9GAG and 42Floors. They believe that ‘Design’ ‘Data’ and ‘Distribution’ are the keys to a good startup. Like TechStars, they hold a great batch of mentors who share their expertise and help startups with the same passion as the people from 500 startups.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]4. T-TBI:[/button]

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Technopark Technology Business Incubator, located in Kerala, is the first and most successful in India to be a technology business startup incubator. It started in 2007 and now provides fully furnished office spaces in addition to mentoring and developing startup companies. It is a joint association of Technopark, Trivandrum and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Government of India. They want to encourage students and entrepreneur’s interest in technology and innovation. They have helped a lot of different companies in India, over 195 to be exact, some involved in health care while others are software businesses. They currently have 39 companies being incubated virtually and 49 physically.

[button link=”#” size=”medium” target=”self”]5. Hub Dhaka:[/button]

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Hub Dhaka is a very new incubating business that is located in the heart of Bangladesh. Founded by Sajid Islam, they launched this year on the 30th of April. Their ‘startup campus’ as they call it, is located in Mirpur, Dhaka. They focus on tech-based startups. Not only does Hub Dhaka provide consultation but also office space of 2400sqfeet and networking among other successful entrepreneurs. It already has $56,585 invested. They are determined to help structure innovative ideas of the talented people of Dhaka who lose their way just because they don’t get the proper guidance to grow. The founder graduated from and is now a member of a training and startup launch program called The Founders Institute in California and hence carries sufficient knowledge and expertise on the matter and plans to maintain international standards. Since Hub Dhaka is still very much a new-born itself, it’s hard to say anything more on it, but we hope it reaches its full potential and achieves its ultimate success by helping the people of Bangladesh.