Uber has launched CNG services in Chittagong, apparently

This just in. Uber has started CNG run auto-rickshaw services in Chittagong. Although there was no official announcement by Uber as of yet, anyone living in Chittagong who uses the app will see a CNG option now available for use. This is only within the Chittagong region, at least for the time being. Making this seem like a test run to see how this works out. 

Read more: Pathao, Uber and the need for greater scrutiny about data gathering activities

Since the start of ride-sharing apps, the thought of bringing auto-rickshaw services into this did cross people’s minds. In India, Ola and Uber have been successfully running it’s auto-rickshaw operations for quite some time now. In Bangladesh, Oi Khali was launched as the first-ever dedicated ride-sharing for CNG run auto-rickshaws.

Read more: Uber in the deep waters of South East Asia

Despite its failure, another similar platform OBHAI has picked up the CNG service and has been running its CNG services along with its regular ride-sharing services. With the launching of Uber’s CNG, Uber is set to become a major contender in CNG run auto-rickshaw sharing.

We’ll bring you more updates as soon as we get an official word from Uber.

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

The time when Blockchain becomes a thing is upon us. Other than being used in cryptocurrencies, there will now be general use of this technology. Sirin Labs, A Swiss-based company has developed a Blockchain smartphone. They call it the Finney! Sirin Labs will launch Finney in Bangladesh. 

BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) has cleared the import, which will begin from August 27. Index Group will be the one to import this.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is mainly a bunch of blocks that contain records. For example; name, address, time, transactions, and the list goes on. Now several blocks like these are open to the public and are decentralized. And these blocks will update themselves with new information; and will link up to one another via cryptography. So, despite being out in public this technology is very secure.

Now, the Bangladesh government has planned to send graduates to learn and train for blockchain technology to Japan and India.

Features of the phone

The phone will be priced at $999. After being approved in August, it is said to be available in the market from October 2019. The Finney will run on Android OS 8.1x and Sirin OS 3.01. It will also have Cold storage crypto wallet, major cryptocurrency support, crypto wallet application, Token conversion system, and an Embedded D-apps store. Internal memory on this is 128gb which is expandable up to 2tb. The phone comes with a second screen on top of it and it has a water resistance of IP15.

It’s the Netflix for games. Meet, Apple arcade

Apple has announced its very own Netflix for Games called the “Apple Arcade”. The games provided will be available for playing offline as well as online. Just like Netflix allows users to download stuff on certain devices such as Phones and Tablets. Apple Arcade will be released on September 19. The subscription rate for this will be $4.99 in the U.S and approximately 450 Takas in Bangladesh.

Features

It's the Netflix for games. Meet, Apple arcade

Apple Arcade is allowed to share with 5 family members. Basically, like Netflix, again, you get to create 5 profiles. Probably be able to play on five devices at the same time. Apple Arcade initially has more than a hundred games to offer. Out which Lego Brawls seem promising. Now, who wouldn’t like a PvP lego where bricks drop from the sky. You sue those bricks to build stuff to your advantage. Kind of like “Stick Fight”. These games in Apple Arcade are strictly restricted to it. Not available for separate purchase.

The opportunity of a lifetime! 

An interesting thing you would notice if you visit the Apple Arcade website. That is they are giving game developers a chance. Meaning if you are a game developer and want everyone to experience what you have created; then this is a good opportunity for you. https://developer.apple.com/apple-arcade/

What else?

Moving on, The games in Apple arcade will not have any kind of in-app purchase or ads. This is something android users have been dreaming of since the beginning of time. Fret not! As Google is also working on something of this sort Android users. WITHOUT ADS AND IN-APP PURCHASES! FINALLY! The Google Pass is the name for Google’s game streaming service.

Last but not least

It's the Netflix for games. Meet, Apple arcade

For those who’ve been using Netflix, this is a great thing. Like, you are getting good quality games in with ease. Except those who use Netflix. Netflix owners in this side of the globe are mostly android users. So an Apple exclusive service is of no use to them. But on the bright side, this is a good take on the gaming industry and this will reduce piracy a lot. Anyone with Netflix experience would look forward to this.

Freelancers in Bangladesh will now get ID cards

Bangladesh Freelance Development Society (BFDS) and the ICT department took an initiative to create a database targeted towards the local freelancers. Under this initiative, ID cards will be provided to freelancers, bringing freelancing under an official working structure.

Read more: Kajkey.com: Making money from your laptop

This ID card validates a freelancer showing off his skills and achievements. They are calling this “The Free ID”. Other than showing off skills, it can also be used for banking.

“All this information will be fixed in the card with a QR code and only institutions that have an agreement with the BFDS can access it,”

Said Mustafizur Rahman, general secretary of BFDS.

Read more: 5 Bangladeshi platforms where you can pitch your startup

The card will contain the freelancer’s info, the earning statement, and his/her development in the career. According to data from BFDS, out of the six lakhs freelancers, only two lakhs earn actively.

Now, the ICT division of Bangladesh will be the ones providing the cards. While BFDS will provide tech support. Both parties signed an agreement regarding this. Other than that, BFDS signed a deal with Walton to allow the freelancers to buy Walton electronics at instalments.

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 25,000

It is not always possible to buy expensive high-end smartphones. Especially, for those living in a budget. Here are a small recommendation of budget smartphones, all under Tk. 25,000. These smartphones pack a hefty amount of features that will satisfy your phone needs.

Samsung Galaxy A50

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The Samsung Galaxy A50 was released in March of 2019. The smartphone comes with 6.4 inches of Super AMOLED glass notched touchscreen. It has a pixel density of 403 ppi and a 4000 mAh battery. It comes packed with fast charging to keep it going through the day. It’s also rocking an Exynos 9610 chipset that houses eight cores; either 4 or 6 gigabytes worth of ram and either 64 or 128 gigs of internal storage. In case that was not enough, it also offers expandable microSD storage up to a whopping one terabyte.

On the camera side, it boasts triple cameras on the back and one selfie camera.

The triple cameras on the back consist of 25 megapixels, 8 megapixels ultra-wide unit. The last one has 5 megapixels with a depth sensor. These also allow for video recordings at up to 1080p resolution and thirty frames per second and HDR functionality. The selfie camera is 25 megapixels. This allows for video recording at 1080p resolution and thirty frames per second and HDR functionality.

Besides these, A50 has a headphone jack, USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, a fingerprint sensor under the screen, NFC, accelerometer, 4G, dual sim capabilities and other great small features. The screen to body ratio is an incredible 84.90%. Running everything under the hood is Android Pie (9.0) which is the latest version of Android. All this comes in only at a weight of 169 grams.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy M10, the phone designed to win Bangladesh back

Samsung Galaxy M20

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The first thing to mention for this smartphone is the teardrop notch on the screen. The screen itself is a 6.3 inches capacitive touchscreen. Packing a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a pixel density of 409 ppi. The battery is 5000 mAh with fast charging.

Samsung Galaxy M20 comes with the Exynos 7904 chip and two variants for storage options. One option is to get 4 gigabytes of ram and 64 gigabytes of internal storage. Another option is to get 3 gigabytes of ram and 3 gigabytes of internal storage. Both allow expandable storage in the form of MicroSD slot up to one terabyte.

The M20 boasts dual cameras on the back and one selfie camera. The selfie camera is 8 megapixels and HDR-enabled which also records videos at 1080p resolution at 30fps. These also have HDR functionality and record videos at 1080p and 30 fps.

One of the dual cameras is 13 megapixels and the other is a 5-megapixel ultra-wide.

All the usual necessities also make appearances as expected. From USB Type-C to a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth 5.0 and 4g capabilities, dual sim and of course, a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Running everything is Android Oreo (8.0) which is upgradable to Android Pie (9.0). The whole smartphone weighs a respectable 186 grams.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy M40, midrange beast

Honor 10 Lite

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The Honor 10 Lite comes in a total of five different variants. There is a 6 gigs ram version that can either have 64 gigs of internal storage or 128 gigs of internal storage. There are 64 gigs of internal storage option that either has 3 or 4 gigs of ram. Finally, there is a 32 gigs internal storage option with 3 gigabytes of ram. No matter which version you choose, you will also be getting expandable storage via micro SD card up to 1 terabyte. Although, the SD card will take up one sim slot.

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The smartphone sports a 6.21 inches LCD capacitive notched display at a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a 3400 mAh battery. On the back, it’s a dual-camera setup. One of the cameras is 13 megapixels and the other is 2 megapixels. They can record videos at 1080p resolution at 60 fps. The selfie camera is 24 megapixels which also records videos at 1080p at 30 fps. Both the front and back cameras have HDR functionality.

This device is geared towards taking selfies.

Under the hood, on the hardware side, running everything is the Hisilicon Kirin 710 octa-core CPU. On the software side, it comes with the latest Android operating system, Android Pie (9.0), with EMUI 9.1 on top of it. The Honor Lite 10 also comes with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, fast charging capability, and other miscellaneous features. It does not have a USB Type-C port though. Altogether, the device weighs only 162 grams.

Avail an exclusive discount of BDT 200 on any purchase above BDT 1000 in PriyoShop.com! Use the code HIFIPUBLIC to get the discount. Offer valid till 30th September.

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World Bank puts Bangladeshi IT firm Tiger IT on the Blacklist

The World Bank has blacklisted the Bangladeshi IT firm, Tiger IT, due to finding traces of corruption in the smartcard printing plans by the Election Commission. This is not the first time, however. World Bank investigated this issue once back in 2015. They found no traces, until now. 

World Bank’s allegation

As per indictment of the World Bank, Tiger IT and its chairman took corruption shelter. They did it through various tenders that abide by the loan-based policies and grants of the World Bank. They also made sure that no other organization can take part in these tenders.

Prior to this, the World Bank blacklisted Oberthur Technologies last year in November. At a certain time, Oberthur was the international companion of Tiger IT. 

The IDEA project

Back in 2011, November 24, Election Commission launched an initiative to hand out smart cards called Identification System for Enhancing Access to Services (IDEA). The EC took a loan of 1 thousand and 4 hundred crore or 14 billion takas for the project.

At the time, accusations were floated that instead of giving the task of making the smart cards to capable institutes who applied, they gave it to Oberthur Technologies. There were claims that Obertur made sure that no one else could apply for this and they proceeded without competition. Before getting the contract from EC, Oberthur was buried knee-deep in debt. After the contract, they were relieved of it.

Oberthur signed the contract on 14th January in 2015. As per the contract, they were supposed to make and personalize smart cards for 90 million voters. Then they were to send the cards to Upazilas and Thanas accordingly. The contract was supposed to end back in 2016, yet Oberthur kept extending the time. Despite that fact Oberthur couldn’t meet the requirements. EC cancelled the contract in 2018.

The investigation and following drama

The World Bank sent a 2-man team to Dhaka, in 2015, to investigate. They received complaints regarding the tenders from other companies. But they couldn’t find any sign of corruption. Allegedly, Tiger IT tried to sabotage the investigation through different modules.

Now, due to the change in ownership of Oberthur, they could not supply sufficient empty cards to Tiger IT. As a result, there was a clash between Tiger IT and Oberthur. Courts in Dhaka are settling the case regarding the clash of two companies.

Because of this accusation, Tiger IT will remain in the blacklist for nine and a half years. While Tiger IT’s CEO is blacklisted for six and a half.

Sony is launching an AC that you can wear. No kidding.

Wearable technology has developed tremendously over the years. There have been a few stumbles on the way, but now apple watch is in its 4th iteration and there is no shortage of android smartwatches in the market. That being said, there is an obvious lack of innovation when it comes to wearable technologies in the public market.

The future is here

Well, Sony has taken a look at everything and decided that it is time to do something new and special.

They have developed what they are calling the ‘Reon Pocket’.

It is supposed to be a portable, wearable Bluetooth enabled air conditioner that fits into your pocket. That’s right, it’s a pocket AC and it’s no science fiction.

How it works

The ‘Reon Pocket’ works in conjunction with a special undershirt. Once the device is set up, you can control your body temperature using an app on your android or apple device. Thermoelectric coping is used to make sure that the user does not feel too hot or too cold. The device can increase your body temperature by fourteen degrees, or cool it down by twenty-three degrees. It’s up to you and the weather to decide what you want.

The product is not commercially available as of yet. Sony has launched a crowdfunding campaign to start off the development of the project. The campaign has already reached forty-three per cent of its stated goal and if all goes well, we may see the device start its development phase by the next summer.

A portable air conditioner would be a truly convenient tool. Here is to hoping that the project is a success and we can be a little more comfortable when we are stuck in Dhaka traffic during the hot summer.

How to destroy your cinematic universe

The concept of a shared cinematic universe where a series of movies would be connected with each other with its own individual plot and an overall arching story that would lead to big pay off in another movie down the line was created by Marvel Studios with the after credits of 2008’s Iron Man.

This paid dividends for the then fledgling and now the juggernaut in the Cinematic World.

With success comes a host of competitors that will try to give a shot at the successful idea.

However other than Marvel and in a much smaller capacity The Conjuring movie series, no one has been able to crack the code for a successful cinematic universe.

Whether due to sheer incompetence, greed, not understanding the strength and weakness of the properties and just not having a plan, there are a number of factors studios can cause for a studio’s cinematic universe to crash and burn even before it lifts off the ground.

Overestimating your strengths

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public

One of the fundamental reasons why a cinematic universe blows up is because most studios do not evaluate whether or not their properties, for example, can be adapted into a cinematic universe format.

The properties must have enough depth and characters that could be organically be stretched out into multiple movies without feeling forced. Marvel, DC and even Star Wars can pull this off because there are numerous stories written about those characters from many different writers in many formats, that the studios can simply pick and choose which one to go for.

For most studios they don’t have that luxury and instead of creating a traditional good first movie and then follow up with great sequels, they announce a cinematic universe with whatever IPs they have. The biggest example being the Universal Monster Dark Universe Cinematic Universe that was poorly thought out and it crashed and burn with only one movie in its slate. The 2017 reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise.

Time will tell whether the planned WB Godzilla Kaiju Universe, Hasbro Transformers and their other toy line up universe will meet the same fate.

Not having a plan or direction

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public
Credit: SyFY Wire

One of the most baffling events that came out of the entertainment world is the DCEU or as it is now known Worlds of DC in general.

From hiring directors and them leaving midway through production, from Zack Snyder’s total control of it and then the Execs of WB taking control from him, from various movies being announced that no one asked for and then getting cancelled these developments clearly shows that WB never had a solid game plan for their cinematic universe and that indecision clearly shows in their movies as well.

With the exception of Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam, all the Worlds of DC branded movies either underperformed in terms of critically and commercially or both and generally they are seen as inferior to the MCU.

Read more: Shazam is the new magic word for DCEU!

The planning and the logistic behind the MCU is something that most studios don’t take any heed to it. That is one of the core reason why cinematic universes crash and burn even without getting a chance to fully form because the studios expect to land on the moon first before properly figuring it out how to get out of earth’s orbit in the first place.

Pacing and patience

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public
Credit: USA Today

For the all the talk about the MCU success most fail to see the one crucial step they took that no one up to now did. They never announced from the get-go that the First Iron Man movie was gonna be the start of their cinematic universe. They focused on making a great movie that can stand on its own first and then gave the small teaser of their plans in the end credit scene.

Read more: A love letter to MCU from a fan with no ticket

This was done so that they can create goodwill at first with the general audience and then in the subsequent movies slowly start to reveal their master plan cumulating in the First Avengers Movie and now their phase four.

Compare this with DCEU BVS which was tasked the monumental task of Introducing Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor and the entire Justice League in one sitting and also other numerous Easter eggs that were supposed to lead into other movies.

Sadly what resulted is a bloated mess of a movie that didn’t have any direction and character motivations and some scenes were done purely to tease the other future movies which created a Frankenstein’s monster of a movie that lacks focus.

Not exploring alternate options

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public

This article already talked a great length about the MCU when it comes to cinematic universes, however, there is another name that can be added to that list, The Conjuring Universe.

Rather than making the mistakes above they simply went on a different direction than all of the rest of the Marvel Imitators. They simply made one good movie and then created a sequel and based on the audience reaction on the sequels secondary villains or tertiary characters they made spinoffs about it and slowly in a matter of years created a cinematic universe of their own.

While the Conjuring Universe cannot be compared to Marvel in terms of financial and critical and cultural significance, at least that cinematic universe is done right.

The Lesson that can be taken from the conjuring universe is that other than the previous lessons above is sometimes a cinematic universe from the onset is not a must. You can simply create a good movie, have goodwill and slowly from there through sequels or spin-offs or prequels organically have a cinematic universe.

Not every series of movies need to have all the characters team up, in the end, to fight a big bad in the ultimate team-up movie.

Luke Islam makes Bangladesh proud at USA’s America’s Got Talent!

From the first Bangladeshi female commentator to trending #1 video on Youtube, we Bangladeshis managed to do it all. Yes, that is right. On Last night’s America’s Got Talent 12-year-old Luke Islam, who is half Bangladeshi by birth, got to perform in AGT Season 14. It ranked #1 on YouTube’s trending list.

Who is Luke Islam?

Luke Islam is a 12-year-old American born Bangladeshi. Last night on Season 14 of America’s Got Talent he got to sing his heart out. Luke Islam, in turn, is a huge fan of the Broadway. He also dreams of becoming a Broadway singer himself. His parents informed that singing is something he has been doing since he learned how to talk and had been watching Broadway shows since he was only 6.

Now apparently his brilliant singing brought Judge Julianne Hough to tears and got him the Golden Buzzer. He performed “She used to be mine” from “The waitress”. Yikes!

Read more: Hamza Choudhury, the Bengali starlet of Leicester City

The golden buzzer is a big deal

The Golden buzzer is a really big deal in AGT. Each judge gets to press it once during the season. Once pressed for, the act that got this will go straight up to the Live shows. Julianne Hough awarded her golden buzzer to the young yet big dreamer Luke Islam. 

“I just have to say I’m extremely flattered that you would even look up to my brother and I with a voice like that, with an energy like that, because you have such talent and grace. You have something so special. You have an essence inside of you that has given you a gift.”

Said Julienne. 

“I believe that not only are you going to become a star and get your dream to come true, but I don’t think you need to wait that much longer,”

She went on as she pressed the buzzer.

Read more: French movie “Fahim” to portray the story of Bangladeshi chess prodigy

BUT! But that is not the end of it. The highlights of this episode were uploaded in Youtube by the AGT official channel. This ended up becoming the #1 on the trending list of Youtube.

Read more: 6 Bangladeshi Superheroes You Should Know About

First ever Bangladeshi female commentator: Shathira Jakir Jessy

For the first time, ever! A Bangladeshi female commentator did the commentary during the Bangladesh Vs. India match on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. On Star Sports.

Yes, folks, you read that right. History has been made, as the former national cricketer, Shathira Jakir Jessy had been selected to commentate in Bangla during the Bangladesh Vs. India match on Tuesday.

“This is a historic moment for Bangladesh – for the first time ever, a Bangladeshi girl will commentate on Star Sports. It feels great to think I am that person.”

Said Jessy earlier in an interview.

Besides this, she will also commentate during the England Vs. New Zealand and Afganistan Vs. West Indies in Bangla on 3rd and 4th July respectively.