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.

Google Maps adds new features for Bangladeshi roads including a biker mode, safety feature and more

Google has launched several new features to Google Maps for the convenience of the people of Bangladesh at a launching event today at Lakeshore Hotel, Gulshan.

From now on, riders will get better journey time estimates and suggested routes best suited to bikes. The people will now have the option of getting their navigation cues in Bangla.

As the popularity of ride-sharing services increases, everyone now will have the option of double-checking their commute and sharing the trip with friends and family. This safety feature triggers an audible alert if there is greater than a 0.5km deviation from the suggested route.

“We want to provide the most local and relevant experience to meet people’s needs so we hope that by providing a customized experience for motorcycles, adding Bangla voice navigation, and providing an extra option for commuter safety makes getting around Bangladesh easier and more helpful.”

Krish Vitaldevara, Director Product Management, Google Maps commented regarding this

Extra help for motorcycle riders 

Google Maps now features a new navigation mode for motorcycle riders. Motorcycles also have specific needs. They can take routes that cars can’t take such as narrow roads and alleys. There are also some roads (e.g. highways) where two-wheelers aren’t allowed. Motorcycles often move at different speeds than cars. 

This definitely comes as good news with more than half the country’s households owning a motorcycle as a common way to get about and cut-through traffic. In Dhaka alone, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) data show that the number of registered motorcycles has doubled over the last eight years.

Previously, riders would need to do a mental calculation to estimate their arrival times. It was based on a combination of walking and driving routes. But this new feature delivers more accurate travel times based on machine learning models that reflect motorbike speeds. Not only turn-by-turn navigation but the direction results also include Google Street View image references, to help people with pre-trip planning and remember their routes.

Turn-by-turn voice directions in Bangla

Another update rolling out is turn-by-turn voice navigation in the local language. Now you can expect Google Maps to effortlessly tell you to “In 100 meters, turn right onto Bir Uttam Rafiqul Islam Avenue” in Bangla.

The Google Maps voice navigation language is independent of your device’s language setting. You could have voice-guided navigation in Bangla while continuing to use the Google Maps app in English.

You can also change your phone language settings to “Bangla (Bangladesh)” and Maps voice navigation will automatically give you directions in Bangla.

Safer trips

Now, after searching for your destination and getting directions, you can enable this experience by selecting the “Stay safer” and “Set off-route alerts” option. 

If your cab, rickshaw or ride-sharing driver deviates more than 0.5km from the Google Maps suggested a route, your phone will buzz with a prominent notification and you can tap it to see where you are compared to the original route.

You can also choose to share your live trip with friends and family directly from that screen so they know you are off route and can keep track of your journey, and take appropriate action if required.

Improving the map in Bangladesh

Since January 2018, Google has added more than 50,000km of roads, more than 8 million buildings, and more than 600,000 points of interests on Google Maps across Bangladesh and continue to update it.

Ready to give all these new features a try? They are now all available to Android users in Bangladesh using the latest version of Google Maps. 

Top 5 gaming headsets for an immersive gaming experience

Researching for a good gaming headset can become a difficult task. With the upcoming varieties of gaming headphones in the market, it might be difficult to choose “the one” for yourself. If you take gaming seriously, you know that a gaming PC, a good graphics card and a mouse isn’t the only thing that is important. A good budget gaming headsets not only affects the way you play, but it’s also important to block external noises, and give your long-lasting comfort while you play for hours for a musing gaming experience.
Here are the top 5 gaming headsets on an affordable budget for you to save up for!

Corsair HS50 Stereo

Corsair HS50 Stereo is the most available and worth your budget gaming headset of 2019 so far. Both the earcups and headbands are heavily padded and you can easily use it, as it comfortably adjusts with your ears and head. The headset has a strong bass response and has an impressive noise cancelling feature. The microphone offers a clean clear sound with no vibration or distortion.

Fantech HG11 Captain 7.1

Source: Google

With an inline volume control and chrome lighting, the Fantech HG11 Captain 7.1 brings you comfort and a driver software that allows user to adjust base, treble and the environment how they want it to be on. The ear cups are quite large and sturdy. The headband is of steel which makes it pretty sustainable and not too heavy on the ears. One of the advantages of this headset is, being a USB headset it rarely changes the sound source. There will always be a computer where you can install a driver.

Razer Kraken 7.1 V2

Source: Google

Although a bit more on the pricier scale, however, Razer itself has never failed to disappoint its users. The over sized earcup does not weigh down on your ears and are known to be downright soft and comfortable. You can also use the Razer Synapse 2.0 software to determine which programs will use the surround sound and which one will use regular stereo sound. Other than gaming experience, the 7.1 V2 also serves an excellent purpose on audio and music performance. You can set the headset with any genre to excel your music experience. All in all it is one of the headsets you can treat yourself with.

Logitech Prodigy G231

Source: Google

At first glance you might as well confuse the G231 with G230. However with the neon orange design, the G231 stands out with their accessible ear cups, moving left to right giving enough space for all head shapes and sizes. The microphone is longer than most other Logitech headsets, however the mic boom is adjustable according to your needs. However, it doesn’t offer much build in quality or software support. That being said, if you are a starter this headphone might be affordable and something you can start of your gaming experience

HyperX Cloud Stinger

Source: Google

One of the most desired feature on gaming headsets is comfort and audio. the HyperX Cloud Stinger can offer you both with gaming and music experiences. It handles low frequencies better and can offer you the bass response you expect. Even through, the headset is heavier than most other headsets but is comfortable to the ears as the memory foams inside the ear cups offer much more sustainability.

Where to shop for your head gears:

If you opt for an online option, Amazon is the perfect option for you to look through their products. You can order through different online stores on Facebook who can bring you these products, for instance, shopup, backpackers etc. However, if you are looking to buy a headset in person Motaleb Plaza, Multiplan Centre and IDB Bhaban can be your go to shopping centres for you to unleash the shopaholic in you!

BioTime: ZKTeco’s best in class web-based multi-location centralised time management solution here in Bangladesh

BioTime 8.0 is a powerful web-based time and attendance management software that provides a stable connection to ZKTeco’s standalone push communication devices by Ethernet/Wi-Fi/GPRS/3G and working as a private cloud to other employee self-service by means of a mobile application.

Multiple administrators can access BioTime 8.0 from anywhere using a web browser. It can easily handle hundreds of devices and thousands of employees and their daily inputs. With BioTime 8.0, users can also set up various attendance rules which are applicable for the whole company or individual departments. Users can set various attendance parameter like check-in, check out, and overtime rules. It can also automatically synchronise the data between devices and servers among the same “Area” to ensure the information are updated in real-time.

BioTime 8.0 comes with a friendly user interface that is able to manage timetable, shift and schedule and can easily generate attendance report. Moreover, it can be directly integrated with ERP and HR software to do synchronisation using API in these fields (Employee, Department, Area, Job).

For details about the product, visit: www.zkteco.com.bd

OPPO unveils world’s first Under Screen Camera

OPPO unveils its groundbreaking technology Under-Screen Camera (USC) at MWC Shanghai 2019, which offers “real full screen” user experience. OPPO also debuted its innovation in 5G, IoT and Smart Home Zone technologies.

Mobile World Congress is an event where all the mobile technology manufacturers showcase their latest innovations. This year MWC 2019 is happening in Shanghai and global smartphone brand OPPO has seized the opportunity to stun the world with their latest innovation in under-screen camera technology, long-range device-to-device connectivity, 5G and IoT. 

The Under-Screen Camera

USC is OPPO’s latest innovation in new-generation smartphone form factor. By integrating the front camera and the screen, USC provides users with a complete view, an immersive screen and an integrated body. It also enables users to see and capture the entire screen, take photos, use face unlock and make video calls.

OPPO unveils world's first Under Screen Camera

As OPPO’s latest under-screen display solution, USC features a customized camera module that captures more light; zoning control is employed on the screen, together with “highly-transparent” material that enhances transmittance of light through the screen.

OPPO unveils world's first Under Screen Camera

Besides, through OPPO’s customized algorithm, haze removal algorithm and white balance algorithm, USC can enable complete photography experience and support features like smart beauty mode and photo filers in the future. Combined with the new algorithm, pictures taken are more colourful and vivid.

Innovation in 5G and IOT

In addition to debuting its under screen camera innovative technologies, OPPO also exhibited its latest achievements in 5G and IoT – OPPO Reno 5G can load large-scale mobile games in the cloud via a 5G network, enabling users to enjoy 5G cloud gaming. In the IoT Smart Home Zone, OPPO featured its IoT open platform, which is compatible with products across more than 20 categories, including more than 260 devices from a variety of brands.

OPPO unveils world's first Under Screen Camera

“As smartphone offers more functionalities nowadays, users have a higher demand for immersive and broad screen view. From the water-drop screen to pivot structure, to USC technology announced today, OPPO has been exploring the best balance between ‘thin and light’ and ‘full screen’. OPPO hopes to provide users with the ultimate ‘true full screen’ through the USC technology.”

said Qiao Jiadong, Product manager at OPPO

Pathao fires at least 300 employees in a surprise move

As of 25th June 2019, approximately three hundred of Pathao employees have been dismissed without any warning or notice. Among those three hundred who were dismissed, were top-level employees as well.

Although, there has been no official word on this from the Pathao authorities. The mass dismissal was confirmed from multiple employees that were dismissed.

An internal source from Pathao confirmed that approximately three hundred employees were fired. They were dismissed Tuesday morning, today, unnoticed. Among the dismissed, there was an executive assistant manager and several department heads. Many of them were stationed in different departments of Pathao.

Read more: Pathao and the quest for customer reassurance

The source was only able to give an approximate number. An exact amount is yet to be known.

Read more: How far would a Bangladeshi food joint go to hide the truth?

When contacted the Marketing lead of Pathao, Sayeda Nabila Mahabub, to know about the situation, she was reluctant to discuss this matter over the phone.

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

Thank you for reading this article. If you like our content, support us and help us grow by sending your feedback, suggestions, stories and questions to [email protected]

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.

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.

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.