Top 5 survival skills everyone should have regardless of their gender

Patriarchy, misogyny and sexism. Words like these are talked about, detested and discussed nowadays as a welcome change in our day to day dialogues.

Even then, people talking the most about these forget to actually evidently ‘practice’ the hatred towards these words. We somewhat subconsciously associate some skills with the prowess a specific gender is meant to have.

But often, these are just basic survival skills everyone should learn.

What were once parallel streams for men and women are now converging. As millennials stumble, claw, or sail their way into adulthood, the lists of gender-specific skills every man (or woman) should know are giving way to something new — a unisex form of adulting.


This is an interesting skill to have. Cooking is considered an art and anybody who masters cooking can master the way to get into someone’s heart. In our culture, cooking is commonly associated with the act of the women and men who know how to cook in our society are considered ‘extraordinary’.

In reality, it is somewhere in the middle of a preference and a survival skill. A ‘must-know’ if you’re anyone above the age of twenty. Because men, you can’t always expect to be handed a sandwich while staring at the TV for no good reason. And women, the same goes for you. Knowing how to cook makes life easier, instantly.

Paperwork (Paying taxes, official work, banking, money management) 

This task here rather contains a vast area of real-life scenarios. If you come from a Bengali family, you’d have seen dads handling taxations, bank papers or any legal paperwork for that matter whereas our mothers were never really into it.

But in reality, every adult regardless of their gender should at least understand how these intricacies work. For example, if you decide to open a bank account for your savings and don’t know how banks work because you were never taught about it just because you are a girl is a glaring example of how our society has characterized tasks based on gender.

Learn how tax slabs work, to handle money, the basics of legal paperwork etc. They will always come in handy whenever you’re past the age of twenty, doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. 

Household chores

Even though the social concept of women-only chores is changing with time but many still hold a perception that household chores are best done by the women of the house.

Cleaning your own mess should be what we’re taught instead. A guy can know how to clean, wash the dishes, help his wife get things done and still be the manliest man. A girl can know how to clean and wash and still be a corporate leader.


Men in our society aren’t as much exposed to self-care as our women are. To girls, self-care looks like looking after our physical and mental health.

But to the boys, it is rather a vague concept in our society since it is so feminized in our country. The part of self-care that includes looking after your skin, your external appearance, your hair- is so feminized in our country that boys don’t even understand the necessity of taking care of their skin, feet, hands and hair.

Self-care doesn’t understand gender. It is only concerned with the body you go through so much with. Learn to take care of yourself. Cut that cucumber into circles and bust all that stress under your eyes.


Driving is a life-saving skill, both at home and abroad that could save you a lot of time, energy and dependency. The steering doesn’t have a brain and so the car operates better with whoever decides to become a safe driver. Don’t give in to the stereotypes, learn to drive safely. 

Things to keep in mind before getting your next suit

A good suit is an essential piece of clothing that every man need to have in their collection. Whether it’s for work, a wedding or any other formal event, having the right suit is indispensable in making the right impression. But picking out or tailoring ones next suit can be a daunting task for anyone. The fabric, size, style, colour, tailoring and budget all play their part in making the right suit. And for anyone who’s relatively inexperienced or getting their first suit on their own, it can be quite a headache. And the last thing any man wants is to not look good in their new suit.  

So here are a few things men should keep in mind before getting their next suit.

Having a clear idea of the desired suit

Buying a new suit doesn’t start in the store, it starts in one’s head. Deciding on a two-piece or a three-piece suit, the colour, material, style or even buying it readymade or buying the cloth and tailoring it, is something one should have an idea off beforehand. Each option has its own merits and it’s on the buyer to decide which route they are going to take. So a clear vision is the first step in getting there. 

Correctly matching the trousers with the coat

One of the biggest rookie mistakes is buying a black coat to match with a black pair of trousers.  A suit is a matching coat and trousers made from the same type of fabric and colour. Merely matching two different coat and trousers, no matter how similar they are, is not going to work as well as one would think it would. 

Sticking to the basics

When it comes to choosing the colour of suits, one can never go wrong with the classics. Sticking to the timeless black, grey, brown and navy blue color for suits is never a bad idea.  And pairing them with the right shirt and tie is a sure-fire way to get the best out of the suit. Checkered and patterned suits are blowing up right now on Instagram and Facebook and that opens up the door to new possibilities. We do recommend losing the pinstripes as it does seem a bit dated.

 Getting the right size

Unlike most other clothing suits don’t generally come in small, medium or large, rather they are fitted to the buyer’s measurements. So getting the correct measurement is crucial for anyone looking for a new suit, especially for the shoulders, torso and height. One of the most common missteps people make when getting a new suit is buying one that’s too big.

Pro tip: The suit should hug the wearer’s frame as closely as possible without it being tight.   

Detailing of the lapel, buttons and hemming the trousers   

Getting the right lapel style and the number of buttons are some of the finer detail but they are just as important. Lapel types are generally two; the notch style which is more casual and versatile and the more formal peak style. As for buttons, the buyer can go for two buttons to three buttons on the torso depending on their choice. Another detail to notice is whether the coat sleeves or trouser length is correct and hemming them if they are longer. Also when it comes to trousers, opting for flat front pants instead of the pleated pant are commendable. 

A good tailor can make all the difference

It’s always wise to have a trusty tailor on hand for any altering or adjustment that may be required for a suit. And a good tailor can help you get the most out of a suit even if it’s a bit off or if it gets damaged. Most suits are made to be alterable and even a lower-priced suit, in the hands of a skilful tailor can make it look and feel much better.

Getting a suit is a rite of passage for many men and hopefully, the pointers above will help in getting the perfect suit next time around.  

Surviving the heavy Dhaka rain: Must have closet essentials

Imagine that one morning you wake up to the cool breeze of the wind and the sprinkles of rain touches your face through the window. You can’t wait to make yourself a cup of milk tea and grab a book to read. The scenario is nothing but pure perfection.

As much as that daydream was worth it, a part of you probably wishes life was that easy. You have to get out and put on your work clothes. With classes, jobs and chores to do there is no time to sit home and hide inside the blanket. However, nothing should stop us from enjoying the rainy season and for that the right kind of gear is necessary.

Get yourself THE Umbrella

Its time you ditch the boring old black umbrella and get yourself something funky and worth not losing! Umbrellas are a must-have during this season. Like everything else, umbrellas have their cons too. To get that one umbrella to be your saviour for this season, make sure you get the ones with a strong handle and not fragile enough to take you off with the wind.

Must have closet essentials for rainy season 6

Ajker Deal, One Stop Shop BD, Online Shopping BD, and Intermix, BD online shop — these sites have plenty on offer. You can also order custom-made umbrellas online! New Market has plenty of umbrellas for you to choose from with a price worth bargaining.

Carry something to protect your phone and wallet

Must have closet essentials for rainy season 7

This season can often catch us completely off guard. And we might let go of everything but our phones and our wallets we must carry all the time. Carry a simple polythene bag all the time to protect your phones and wallets. Thank us later.

Bring back Raincoats!

Raincoats can be that one major throwback you would enjoy to rekindle from your childhood. It is the perfect attire to protect your formal wear and enjoy the rain while you’re on the road.

Must have closet essentials for rainy season 3

If you want to get yourself something out of the box that is both useful and fashionable, try Cyclehub BD, Bike Shop BD, Auto Fair BD, among others — online shops that will certainly not disappoint. Gulshan DCC, Nurjahan and New Markets will be worth the penny too.

Rubber Slippers and Boots all the way

Skip the stylish leather shoes and amazing mini heels because it is the time for rubber slippers and some boots to shine in your shoe section! You will be amazed by the comfort and the enjoyment to jump in puddles because the streets of Dhaka will disappoint you but these bad boys won’t!

Must have closet essentials for rainy season 4

Visit any of the outlets of Apex, Bata, Step Footwear, or Lottos and you will be impressed with the variety in terms of collections they have in case of design and comfort.

Last but not least, keep a travel coffee mug with yourself to enjoy the rain all the while you’re drinking nature’s energetic gift. In this hectic life, we have created for ourselves you can only do so much to love the little things in life. We only seem to get summer and winter more often than not throughout the year so let us enjoy the monsoon season this year for a change. Say goodbye to mud-drenched pants and monsoon blues!

Virtual Reality – the next step in personal entertainment

Virtual Reality is a tech of the future, and as time passes by, AR and VR tech is getting more immersive and integrated into our lives. But it’s still a long time before VR becomes a piece of tech available for the masses, especially in Bangladesh. Despite being overpriced, VR is being developed in Bangladesh, with a lot of cheaper alternatives seeing use in Bangladesh among tech enthusiasts, developers and gamers.

Essentials and useful features

A lot of prerequisites are essential for a perfect VR experience. The best headsets feature head-tracking, motion-tracking and a surround sound. A 9-axis gyroscope helps a lot in this regard. Usually lower priced headsets rely on a smartphone for providing the experience, but dedicated VR headsets such as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift have their own screens and hardware to make the experience better. Usually these headsets connect to a PC. A powerful PC will run these headsets with ease.

The affordable options : VR with smartphones

The Google Cardboard VR Headset

There are a lot of cheap options for VR. The cheapest DIY option is setting up a cardboard headset. Here’s a guide from Google to make your own VR headset. The headset doesn’t cost much to make, and only needs a pair of lens and a cardboard box. The experience doesn’t come close to a fully fledged VR headset, but it offers a sort of experience.

The Xiaomi VR Play

The main issue with Google Cardboard is the quality of the materials. You can easily save your time and efforts by buying a Chinese VR headset instead. Options among these include Remax, Xiaomi and the mildly popular VR Box 2.0, costing from a mere 500BDT to 1500BDT, depending on quality and features.

The Xiaomi VR Headset

Move up to around 5,000BDT and you’ll get surround sound built into the headset, as well as much better head support and hardware support with the Xiaomi VR 3D Glasses. You’ll still need a smartphone to enjoy the experience, but needless to say the headset itself is quite well built. The Samsung Gear VR is a much better alternative at a similar price, but it only supports Samsung Galaxy phone starting from the Galaxy S7.

The real deal : 3 degrees of freedom in hardware

3 degrees of freedom headsets involve stationary experiences, usually seated or standing positions which measure roll, pitch and yaw axes.

The Oculus Go

Currently, the cheapest headset with 3 degrees of freedom and hardware support is the brilliant Oculus Go. The Oculus Go promises a no-frills experience by removing the need for any wire or a smartphone. And the best part is the price. The Oculus Go costs 200USD for the 32GB version, and 250USD for the 64GB version. It seems like the best starting point for getting into VR headsets, as the headset supports Netflix and a few games from it’s store.

The Lenovo Mirage

The next biggest substantial update is the Lenovo Mirage. The Mirage is a daydream VR headset which doesn’t need a smartphone to support itself. While Mirage Solo is an excellent VR device, it simply isn’t worth the 400$ price tag, especially considering Lenovo’s selection of video games and apps.

In this segment, it seems the Oculus Go is the best option for casual VR entertainment and activities.

The really real deal: 6 degrees of freedom in hardware

6 degrees of freedom allow the user to walk around inside a physical space. In addition to the 3 degrees of freedom explained above, these headsets also measure surge, sway and heave. These headsets offer the most advanced VR experiences, but they need a powerful system to run.

The Playstation VR

The most affordable experience currently, with 6 degrees of freedom is the Playstation VR. The PSVR is a great VR system by Sony. It isn’t perfect, as there are other HMD (Head mounted devices) offer far better value. But the PSVR can support SteamVR, which in turn opens up a massive library of games. The only edge the PSVR has is the fact that it has a 120hz display. But it’s also a bummer, as the display inside is a 1080p display.

The Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift costs only 400$, and it’s the original pioneer of VR. Problem is, the Rift still needs a room tracker for it to work on certain games, and compatibility with Steam is still quite dodgy. However, the Rift stands among the headsets as one of the lightest ones in the market, and that goes a long way in terms of comfort.

The Samsung HMD Odyssey

To have the best value in terms of hardware VR, you have to spend 500USD for the Samsung HMD Odyssey. The headset is a WMR(Windows Mixed Reality) headset, and fortunately supports SteamVR app store. This means that all the games up on Steam is supported, including Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR. The display is fantastic, using Super AMOLED panels and the head tracking is class leading as well.

The HTC Vive

Another option in the range is the HTC Vive. HTC Vive doesn’t really need any explanation to describe it’s reputation, as the Vive already has a functional enough software experience when compared to WMR. Availability is an issue, and when compared to the Samsung HMD Odyssey, the Odyssey offers better build and display.

Utilities of VR

VR has become a useful and cost efficient tool for everyone. VR helps train workers for efficiency with little cost in a virtual environment. Creating capable workers with utility becomes a lot easier. Getting the equipment is the easiest part, but setting it up for business and integrating the system into technical architecture is the hardest part. If executed properly, it will bring a revolution to the industry.

Efficiency aside, AR helmets help bring up a heads-up display(HUD) to manage inventory for the workers. With proper wearables, it can help managers ensure workplace safety in factories by monitoring heartbeat rate and blood pressure, also being displayed in the HUD of the worker.

Tilt Brush

Artists can make 3D drawings and paintings through Oculus and HTC Vive. Google even has an app for Vive and Rift called Tilt Brush for 3D painting, featuring dynamic brushes such as smoke, snow, fire etc.

And as usual, it brings an entire new dimension to video games. The hardware hasn’t gotten perfect enough to feel more intuitive and convenient than keyboard and mouse, but it’s development has been tremendous. The Oculus GO and it’s affordable price is a testament of how VR is slowly becoming more and more affordable. At this point, we can definitely say that VR is the future, and it’ll go a long way.

Taxing goes digital: what the new 5% VAT on e-commerce means

E-commerce is doing well in Bangladesh. Digital Bangladesh is truly upon us, and everyone is busy digging the fruits of our latest gold rush. Inside sources indicate that e-commerce is growing at an astounding rate of 40%, currently maintaining a market size of 2000 crore BDT (23.612 Million USD). That’s a very, very good growth rate. In fact, it’s not just very good; it’s almost too good to be true. Perhaps that is part of the reason a new e-commerce VAT is being proposed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith. The proposed measure, effective from July 1, will exact 5% tax from e-commerce businesses.

A similar measure is being separately implemented for ride-sharing services such as Uber and Pathao, which will also be levied with 5% VAT. On the other hand, the corporate tax rate ceiling on traditional businesses has been lowered by 2.5% from 42.5% to 40%. “Due to advances in ICT, digital and virtual businesses are fast replacing conventional business,” Muhith stated while declaring the budget last Thursday. “To keep up with these changes, we need radical reform in our tax system.”

It should be noted that this measure is a follow-up to a previous attempt to levy tax on e-commerce for the 2015-2016 budget. Then, Muhith proposed a 4% VAT that was quickly withdrawn under pressure from concerned stakeholders.

From a taxation perspective, it seems logical to levy a single digit tax rate on a fast-growing industry. In fact, if the 40% growth rate holds true, then our e-commerce industry is growing more than twice as fast as India’s e-commerce industry. India’s e-commerce ecosystem currently has a mammoth market cap of 17 billion USD as of 2017, and a projected cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.57% for the next 10 years. In comparison, if Bangladesh’s e-commerce industry continues to grow at a 40% CAGR, then it will have a market cap of 682 million USD by 2028.

From a capacity viewpoint, there is ample space for such meteoric growth. An estimated 2 million shoppers buy from popular e-commerce sites such as Daraz and Kiksha- in addition to using food delivery services such as Foodpanda and Hungry Naki- on a daily basis. However, this is simply 2.33% of the total number of active internet connections in Bangladesh (85.9 million). This number, in turn, will only grow as internet penetration increases with the expansion of 4G network and services.

Buyers, sellers and platform operators, however, are unlikely to greet this proposed measure with much enthusiasm. At the moment, e-commerce sales mostly take place in low-cost categories which are highly price sensitive. A price hike of 5% is negligible for upper-middle class urbanites in Dhaka, but it can be a deal breaker for cash-strapped bargain hunters. They can switch to smaller e-commerce sellers who undercut the market prices, or simply opt for brick and mortar purchases.

From a consumer perspective, a higher sales tax seems counter-intuitive. While e-commerce buying is highly convenient, we also suffer trade-offs in terms of waiting time, shipping cost and uncertainty over product quality and authenticity.

E-commerce is a godsend for those who hate shopping, but for those who love it- such as yours truly- e-commerce is still an imperfect substitute. A lower sales tax, which translates to a lower overall price tag compared to a physical purchase, is one of the panaceas which make swallowing the e-commerce pill easier. For e-commerce platforms, the mechanics of processing the new VAT paperwork can seem like a nightmare on its own. According to an insider, the largest e-commerce platforms process an average of 3000 orders per day. That means, on a monthly basis, each operator will have to process an average of 90,000 orders per month. VAT paperwork involves the processing of 5 official documents per order. Thus, 450,000 documents will need to be processed per month.

Return policies and discounts are an accepted norm in the industry. However, with a range of 5000-8000 returns per month, the amount of paperwork that needs to be processed, and then unprocessed, is incomprehensible for the current workforce. Whole new departments will need to be created simply for dealing with the extra paperwork. Not to mention all the money flowing to and fro between the buyer, seller, platform operator and eventually, the exchequer.

The proposed VAT, it should be noted, is still one-third of the standard VAT rate (15%). If the rate doesn’t increase in the foreseeable future, there is a possibility that consumers and sellers alike will adjust to the 5% rate and business will continue as usual. The Government can thus comfortably lay claim to 9.9 Crore BDT (1.18 Million USD) worth of tax revenue in this fiscal year, with hopes to collect a total of 289 Crore BDT over the next 10 years.

That’s a lot of money, indeed.

How a cheap Chinese mug can change your life (for real)

The pinnacle of modern engineering has yielded a product that will change your life, as it has mine, for the rest of time.

Imagine a world where you never have to wait your turn to use the office spoon again. A world where you put you coffee and water into a cup and it’s all ready to go at the press of a button. A world where you don’t have encumber yourself by using a spoon to mix your coffee and milk and sugar together.

Now stop imagining flying cars and the year 3000 because I’m here to tell you; the future is now.

Introducing the Self-Stirring Mug.

Chinese manufacturing has given birth to a product that will make you the envy of your all co-workers. A product that, as its Amazon page lists under its features, “displays the words ‘SELF STIRRING MUG’ on the front” so that you can immediately differentiate yourself for the rest of the spoon-using plebeians.

Yes, some will say that spoons are not really obsolete since you need to use one to get your ingredients into the mug in the first place. Those people are jealous. What they really want to say is that they aspire to be you; that they want to live the life of comfort and joy that you now know.

Made of stainless steel and plastic, this Tk 750 mug can be powered by the Tk 30 Sunlight batteries found at your local store.

The question is not whether you want this product — the only reason you wouldn’t is if you’re a mug. The question it’s whether you’re willing to step into the future and leave behind the world you knew growing up.

6 factors to look out for while buying sneakers (and our recommendations)

Shoes are essential for making a long-lasting impression of yourself wherever you commute. But that isn’t the sole purpose of sneakers and shoes. Sometimes, sandals just don’t cut it for casual activities, especially in Dhaka. And so, here are the essentials when you want to go shoe shopping for Dhaka.

Vulcanized Soles

Shoes go through a lot of strenuous use on the streets of Dhaka. From running to the leap of faith for catching a bus, the soles take the beating that no man can endure in his lifetime. Imagine getting stomped on at least a thousand times a day. Which is why a vulcanized soles are essential. A vulcanized sole is extra durable for most conditions in Dhaka, and these have become pretty standard in Dhaka’s market by now.

Made with breathable materials

Amateur shoemakers don’t often recognize this essential part of making shoes, which is why local fashion designers often screw up this part for making shoes. They’ll charge you a hefty premium for its design and color, but the insides of the shoes might give up within a week. This is why shoes like Converse and Vans are widely used, and the reason why brands like Nike and Adidas value air ventilation inside the shoe.

Midsole type

First, recognize the kind of feet you have. Understanding that, decide on your type of shoe. Neutral-arched feet: if your feet are neither overly arched nor flat, look for shoes with firm midsoles and straight to semi-curved lasts. Flat feet: people with flat feet benefit from a straight last and motion control shoes to help stabilize your feet. High-arched feet: high arches can contribute to joint pain and strain on muscles, so look for cushioned soles for your convenience.


Try to find the perfect balance of weight for your shoes, especially sneakers. Don’t pick shoes that drag your feet down like it’ll drag you down to hell, and don’t buy shoes that are lighter than a feather. Lighter shoes might compromise quality or durability for weight savings. On that note, wearing heavy basketball shoes are a no-go if you expect to do a lot of walking – save those Jordans for actual occasions (that actually isn’t playing basketball, for most people).


Look for shoes that are actually stitched, not glued on like a toy made by a five year old. Good quality shoes need to be stitched together, or they fall apart quite easily. The shoes should be double stitched, and triple stitched shoes are even better.

Lace protection

Few people pay attention to this aspect, but this is one of the most important aspects of buying a shoes. If the lace holes aren’t reinforced with metal, there’s a chance that strain and abuse from Dhaka might rip off the openings, leaving you with the most unappealing loafer, ever.
These are some recommended shoes that are more than appropriate for travelling in Dhaka, just because of how well made they are.
What shoes are you wearing in Dhaka? Have a recommendation for others? Feel like we should included more items in our list? Let us know!

The curious case of the disappearing 3.5mm jack

How far do you remember in terms of using a cell phone? If you are like me, who started using cell phones in early the 2000’s, you  might remember connector variations based on manufacturers. However, they all had one common grievance; none of them sported a 3.5mm headphone jack. Ahh, the dark ages, when we all had to carry our proprietary connector headphones or stupid dongles to allow 3.5mm connections. Then finally, by the grace of god and common sense, slowly, all manufacturers started adding this miracle of a connector as a boasting factor for their products, and suddenly, any device that didn’t sport it was dubbed backdated.

So imagine the irony when Apple shocked the world with rumours that they were planning on axing the gold standard 3.5mm for their own proprietary Lightning connector, and subsequently established the rumour with the iPhone 7 and its plus sized sibling, minus the headphone jack. And as Apple is considered a market shifter in terms of certain trends, many of the OEMS from the Android camp followed suit with their seeming war with the headphone jack.

So, you may ask why the market is suddenly moving back in time instead of forwards. Sure, the society has a habit of getting into a retro vibe where they start bringing back old ideas and brandish it a bit. While that is fine for things like fashion designs, it is certainly not fine when it comes to technology. I can’t imagine someone giving up their 4K ultra something LED panel for those ancient CRT televisions which you have to bang three times to get it to work properly and needed the whole neighbourhood to move it one inch to the left.

Before you end up saying something like “What’s the big deal?”, let me explain that the inconveniences they cause can be annoying to say the least. Put yourself in everyday scenarios and you will see just how annoying it can be to live the jack-less life. Imagine yourself on a road trip where your friends are playing hateful music and you want to change that with the songs on your phone. You reach for the aux when you suddenly remember you don’t have the jack. Or losing your dongle and shelling out not very little money to get another. Or forgetting your headphones at home and not having the ability to use a cheap one for the time being because of, you guessed it, no jack. Before any of you head for the comments to say “Go wireless”, let me remind you that phones with jacks ALSO have wireless options. And that’s the thing with technology. It is supposed to GIVE you options, NOT take them away.

So how are manufacturers getting away with this you may now ask? Simple. By flogging words like “Digital” or “Freedom” or “Courage” or whatever other jargon they can come up with. They also use excuses like using the space saved from the jack to do something which they could have done anyway, but Shhh, you aren’t supposed to know that. So let’s investigate each of their ‘arguments’ and see if it justifies their motive.

Suspect: thickness

Manufacturers argue that by getting rid of the jack, they are able to make phones thin enough for you to slice apples in between long calls. But, in all seriousness though, has their argument for being able to make thinner phones held up with the sacrifice that was made?

The current thinnest smartphone on record is the Vivo X5 Max, measuring in at 4.75mm, and guess what, it can and has packed a 3.5mm headphone jack whereas the 7mm thick iPhone 7 and the 5.2mm thick Moto Z didn’t.

Verdict: Not guilty. Until phones hit sub 3.5mm thickness, the argument regarding thickness is pointless. Besides, if they do hit that thickness, it’s not like USB C or Lightning would do any good either as neither would fit.

Suspect: digital Audio

This is probably the loudest drum being played by OEMS right now to justify killing the headphone jack. They argue that while the 3.5mm only gave analogue signals, the new USB-C/ Lightning connectors give you true digital sound. Some manufacturers  even supply Active Noise Cancellation through their USB-C headphones, saying it would not have been possible with 3.5mm jacks, in the hopes of quelling some of the hate. So is this digital audio claim another fluke? Well lets clear that one out quite simply. Analogue means physical movement is required to generate sound, whereas digital means ones and zeros. I have yet to encounter a human who has a native USB connection to their brain , having the ability to decode ones and zeros because the only way to experience digital audio is to connect the phone’s USB cable directly to your brain and decoding the ones and zeros.

What manufacturers have done instead is ship the responsibility of decoding the sound to your headphones by placing the DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) to your headphones instead. There, this DAC converts the digital signal to analogue movements for the driver inside the headphone , creating this ethreal “digital” audio. In the not too distant past, this DAC lived inside the phone and all you had to do was connect your 3.5mm headphone jack and you were good to go. This also meant that manufacturers who made flagships paid extra attention to this in-built DAC to give you a good sound, like the LG V series. Now, they have relegated this duty to USB headphones instead, so technically, you get less for your money now. As for the active noise cancellation, Sony showed us with the Xperia Z2 back in 2014 that you could have active noise cancelling with the 3.5mm jack.

Verdict: Not guilty. Lowering manufacturing costs by not having to focus on a good DAC for their phones and yet, bumping up smartphones prices per year is hurting no one but the consumer.

Suspect: design and spacing

OEMS have even resorted to rubbish like claiming to use the space saved to put a larger battery or some other feature which could not be fitted had the jack lived. Some have even started to blame the new trend of bezel-less screens for the demise of the jack, but how much of this is true? I am afraid it’s more snake oil from the OEMS. Most of us have seen a smartphone teardown,  witnessing the now-extinct headphone jack component. Getting rid of it won’t yield any battery gains.

Take examples such as Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Mi Max 2, Asus Zenfone Max, and Lenovo P2. What do they all have in common? For starters they are all phones with battery capacities exceeding 4000 and 5000mAh AND with 3.5mm headphone jacks. As for the bezel-less argument, let’s have a look at the shiny and pretty Samsung S8, Note8, and LG V30 shall we. Boasting industry leading bezel-less displays and yet, they manage to carry a 3.5mm jacks, and bloody good ones too.

Verdict: Not guilty. The jacks hardly occupy any meaningful space that the manufacturers have used for anything useful.

Suspect: wireless audio

Yet another, albeit slightly more reasonable argument regarding the demise of the jack. There is no denying the existence ofquality Bluetooth headsets out there,and they serve the general populous with satisfaction. However, wireless still has some ways to go before they have the ability to match the  standards of wired connections. When was the last time you saw a DJ or a music producer using wireless headphones at work?

Wireless is not a solution for the audiophiles who pay for the top flagships for their sonic performance, so cutting down the jack really doesn’t serve any purpose other aggravation. And lest we forget, wireless solutions and wired solutions can, and HAVE been coexisting together for a while now.

Verdict: Not guilty. Wireless audio hasn’t matured to a point where they are justified to replace their wired counterparts. Besides, there is nothing wrong with keeping both and giving the consumer the the freedom of choice.

Suspect: creating a universal standard connection

This one is almost so close to absurd that it requires but a simple question. What was wrong with the universal and mature connection that is the 3.5mm jack in the first place?

It has been around for a 100 years now, and the market is rich with cheap to expensive options that work with just about anything with a 3.5mm jack On top of that, the whole argument seems ironic when Apple has their own Lightning connector whereas Android has USB-C,  which in turn is  incompatible with several  Android OEMS.

Verdict: Not guilty. This is a moronic argument on which almost the entirety of the elimination of headphone jacks rely on.

So who is really to blame here? For Apple, its mostly profit as they own the right to the Lightning jack and  the OEM has to pay Apple royalty for it. Also, let’s not forget that before the unveiling of the iPhone 7, Apple  acquired one of the biggest wireless headphone brands; Beats. As for the OEMs from the Android camp,  it seems meaningless on what they are doing, as USB-C is not under any of their own creations. With the way things are going, the headphone jack is on its way out.  But if history serves as a reminder, then hopefully in the future, we will see manufacturers regain their senses and bring back the headphone jack. Until then, all I can end with is a simple “stop it”.

Sheroes of Tomorrow: a celebration of women in business

How would you define a hero?

To many, a hero is a cape-wearing, eye-lasering or lasso-of-truth-wielding super-human. But when you live in a society where half the population is struggling for equal pay or an opportunity to break through the glass ceiling or struggling to fulfil their ambitions of building something of their own, it’s hard not to celebrate those who overcome these struggles as nothing short of heroes.

Sheroes of Today organized the perfect tribute to these women of valour, who have taken it upon themselves to create their own business, to propel themselves towards achieving their goals. Co-hosted by Cookups and Jete Chao, the event took place on March 23, 2018 in Cityscape Tower on a lovely spring afternoon.

The floor was teeming with people of all ages who had come to experience the passion and creativity of various artists and entrepreneurs. There were numerous stalls filled with artwork, stationery and varied merchandise, but just we entered, we were drawn to the delicious smelling arrangement of various home cooked food.

Many home cooks who started their business through the online platform Cookups came to showcase their offerings and serve their customers in person. The range of items were overwhelming; brilliant smelling pot-pies, kebabs, pretzels, cookies, jell-Os, tarts pizza and drinks. One of these home cooks was Sharmin, who started working through Cookups to sell her food and is now quite happy after having quit her job to become a home-maker and mother. “My brother urged me to sell my home-cooked food and I am so grateful to him that he did. It’s been six months since I started and I am quite happy with where my business stands now.” said a gleeful Sharmin.

Serving next to her was Sharmeen, who had quit her job at an IT firm as a computer engineer to raise her three children. She looked just as happy to talk about her business as much as she was to serve her customers who were waiting in a line to try her smoked shish-kebabs.

Looking beside her we found a middle-aged lady busily serving desserts. She is a Filipino, ex medical laboratory scientific officer, MLSO, who left work 7 years ago to raise her children who are all grown up now and with Cookups she is now able to retreat back to a life where she can work for herself again.

Speaking to the women doing business via cookups, it was evident that the platform was providing a gateway to housewives for becoming a self-earning individual through their culinary talents. And it really isn’t a surprise knowing the amazing home-cooks we have in every household of this country.

We took our little snacks in our hands and walked across the hall to the various stalls by artists sharing their work on a canvas or in print and on stationery and t-shits. Everyone had their own significant style that spoke more about the artists and sometimes about what the art represented. There was a t-shirt that had an orna drawn over it and the tag said, “orna koi?”, something I found to be particularly delightful. We spoke with Humairah Shams, an artist and co-founder of Made with Love, who told us the purpose of the business – “We want to add little bit of our love into our products and share it with all the people who purchase them. We have difficult days and we want to put something beautiful in the everyday things we use.”

We spoke to the owner of Her Stories who had taken upon the task of creating an amazing book full of stories of female heroes of our country painted by talented female artists from Bangladesh. The books in the stall were accompanied by tote bags and posters of a lady with 8 hands doing various types of work at once that said, “Amar ma kaaj kore”.

While mentioning homemade products again, we must speak of Soaperstar, a homemade toiletries venture. The lovely little white cart was filled with items ranging from aromatic blocks of soap, shampoos and even beard-oils.  All the products are handmade by the owner, Shehna, who told us how her products contained no harmful chemicals or preservatives and were all vegan and healthy to use.

Other stalls included Numinous, a pop-culture themed merchandise business, who had their first meet and greet with customers through this event; Art for the Soul, Hulo Kraft, 6 Yard Story and many other fresh women entrepreneurs, looking to make a name for themselves.

We left the event with the impression that the passion of these artists, entrepreneurs and dreamers resonated through the products they sold. We also marveled at the warmth in the atmosphere, where women of all ages came together under one roof to celebrate themselves.