Have you ever wondered how long you stared or tapped away at the screen on your phone? How about the amount of time spent on the Internet? According to calculated data and social scientist research, this could prove to have many negative effects on your health. For the past eight years, we have experienced the rise of the smartphones. No longer do we have to sit down and glance at a screen from our home or desk; now we always carry one with us. Also, the overall style of the Internet has evolved over the past 40 years from lines of code to written words, and finally, to highly stylized Internet with various graphics, emojis, and videos. Technology, as it stands today, serves the people and has a number of benefits but can also disconnect you from reality and damage your human-like qualities such as senses and emotions.

Intrusions Upon the Real World

Technology overload seems to be affecting not just a single demographic but anyone who has multiple devices. While having these devices has caused people to become high-level multi-taskers, it has left many without any time to themselves. At one point, work was something you go to, but now smartphones have made work much more; you carry it around wherever you go. While technology overload isn’t a medically recognized disorder, it can easily be seen thanks to research into the habits of people and organizations that have used or over relied on technology.

In an article titled “Does the Internet Increase Anxiety?” freelance writer Ned Smith, who is also a former senior writer at international consulting firm Sweeney Vesty and vice president of communications for iQuest Analytics, stated, “The promise of the digital age has been that constant connectedness will increase productivity and effectiveness, but the opposite has turned out to be true. The constant onslaught of information from smartphones, computers, and other digital devices has actually decreased productivity, creativity, and the quality of personal relationships. Information overload and the multitasking required by today’s digital demands make people feel like there is too much to do and that life is spinning out of control.”

While the quality of relationships, time and productivity on a personal level is important, companies are losing out financially as well. Within the same article, Smith stated, “Basex, a research firm that specializes in technical issues in the workplace, reckons that information overload is responsible for economic losses of $900 billion a year at work.”

How to Set Boundaries

One of the first steps to limit your technology usage is to set boundaries. You may wonder how to accomplish these steps. Many social scientists, researchers, and advocates of limiting technology have opinions and real data on what methods to take to help alleviate these symptoms.

1. Do things in a sequential order

Dr. Joanne Cantor, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison stated within the same article that you should limit your multi-tasking and focus more on single tasking. “Do one thing at a time,” she said. “You’ll find you actually save time.” Focusing on single-tasking instead and committing to longer goals can help you be more productive.

2. Be the master of your own interruptions

Learning how not to respond is easier said than done especially when it has become instantaneous. Besides single tasking, checking your phone every hour can devolve into every minute. The idea is to not be on available 24/7 for every single thing. While some calls, emails and texts will be more urgent than others, you should set aside blocks of time every so often to check emails and text messages.

3. Take the time to recharge

 Technology also makes work better but at the same time longer than before and can even cause you to work outside of the office. “Research shows that information overload interferes with your ability to think outside the box,” Cantor said. Work is good, but leisure is needed to get the most out of work. Channel energy into other hobbies such as fitness, cooking, drawing or playing musical instruments. These activities focus more on single sequential tasks instead of juggling multiple things at a time.

Since the groundbreaking creation of the Internet, there has been a constant innovation that we have benefited from. Making our lives easier, faster and safer than ever before, something like technology is a double-edged sword. Normal usage of the multiple devices around us can push people further into addiction-like qualities, causing an overload of information around us. Smartphones and computers can work tirelessly while humans cannot; that is why it is important that researchers tell you to recharge yourself by stepping away from the deluge of information once in a while.

Source: nevalleynews.org

Categorized in Science & Tech

According to Flurry Analytics, 50% of all devices activated on Christmas Day 2014 were Apple products and the amount of apps downloaded increased by 150% in just 24 hours! With so many apps available to Mac users, it’s difficult to know which ones are really worth your time or money, especially since each of us has different needs. Below are 10 apps that any one and every one who owns a Mac should download right away, from financial software to photography apps!

1. Because You’re Usually A Bit Disorganised: Use Evernote

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Chances are you are already an Evernote user, but just in case you aren’t or are yet to install the app on your mac it’s crucial to include this versatile and simple brain-replacing app! Evernote allows you to store photos, website articles, and of course notes amongst numerous other facilities and enables you to sync anything you store amongst multiple devices.

The basic Evernote app is free for Mac users, however you can pay $5 a month (or %45 annually) for Evernote Premium. The Premium version allows users to annotate PDF files, store more notes and search for text in Office documents!

2. Because Your Hard Drive Is Always Full: Use Disk Doctor

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Awarded the title of Best Selling Programme 2014 on the Apple Store for Mac, Disk Doctor is every avid Mac users best companion. Disk Doctor will clean up your hard drive by scanning your Mac for old or useless files and data that are stopping your Mac functioning at it’s best.

For just $2.99, Disk Doctor will keep your Mac healthy and your hard drive free of clutter!

3. Because You’ve Upgraded To Yosemite: Use Command-C

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Without a doubt Yosemite is a success for Apple as far as iOS goes, however nothing is without it’s faults. Somehow, Apple users’ were left unable to copy text on a Mac and paste it onto their iPhones or vice versa. Command-C fixes this blunder with a simple, seamless patch and allows you to once again work smoothly between platforms that are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Although the app is free in the Mac App Store, it will cost you $3.99 on the iPhone. However, it is a huge time-saver and incredibly practical for anyone who requires the use of multiple devices!

4. Because It’s An Apple Staple: Use iWork

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For many years, Apple lagged behind Microsoft when it came to building software that would compete with Office. Of course, Apple did release iWork a decade ago but it is only just evolving into a substantial application. Currently, iWork includes three separate apps:

  • Pages – an application used for writing.
  • Numbers – a spreadsheet programme.
  • Keynote – fantastic for building professional presentation.

Each of these apps is easy to use and even easier on the eyes! In addition, anyone who purchased a Mac after September 24 2014 will receive works free of charge.

5. Because You Need Distraction Free Writing: Use iA Writer Pro

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For anyone who is required to write often, be they a professional, author or a student, iA Writer Pro will allow you write without any distractions. For $19.00 iA Writer Pro extends a blank page to fill your entire screen covering menus, apps or any other distractions that may hinder your writing flow.

Once you’ve started to write, iA Writer Pro will also kick it’s syntax feature into action and pick out adjectives, verbs and nouns that work to make sure your sentences are the best they can possibly be.

6. Because You Have A Lot Of Thoughts And Nowhere To Put Them : Use Notability

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Named App of the Year 2014 by Apple themselves, Notability allows you to capture any thought any time. For $9.99 you can record a thought, write it down, store a photo or even a sketch, as well annotate PDFs and other documents. By backing up your stored thoughts to Google Drive or Dropbox you can share them over various devices running touchscreen version of Notability via iCloud.

7. Because You Love Photography: Use Pixelmator

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Despite the fact Apple users have notoriously supported Adobe Photoshop, Pixelmator is swiftly becoming a strong competitor. This $29.00 graphics software allows it’s user to retouch photographs with expert precision, paint, draw and apply 160 beautiful effects to their photos. If you use Pixelmator in conjunction with Apple’s new cross-platform application Handoff you will also be able to switch seamlessly between Mac and iPad.

8. Because Nothing Compares To Word: Use Microsoft Office

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Yes, yes. I know I said that iWork was good but nothing competes with Microsoft Word just yet, especially if you are familiar with Microsofts famous software. Starting at $139, Microsoft Office will supply you with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and OneNote. Or you can subscribe to Office 365 for $6.99 a month, which can be used across devices!

9. Because You Love Art: Use Topaz Impression

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At $99 you may think that Topaz Impression is a little bit over priced, but if you are an art lover and creative than this app may be your greatest investment. Topaz Impression will convert your photographs into pieces of art like no other on the planet at over 10,000 brush strokes a second. You control the stroke style, size, volume and strength and will have access to more than 100 effects, 72 textures and 17 different types of brushes, ensuring that no two pictures will ever be the same.

10. Because You Need To Keep On Top Of Your Accounts: Use Quicken 2015

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Like Topaz Impressions, Quicken 2015 is a pricey application at $72 but besides that these apps could not be more different. Quicken has been popular amongst PC users for quite a long time, however as it’s refreshed software moves to Mac many Apple-devotees will soon be using this incredible financial software. Quicken automatically categorises your accounts and transactions, ensuring you will always be on top of your bills and funds!

Source:  lifehack.org

Categorized in Science & Tech

Over the past few years, there have been a lot of changes affecting the key technologies that power the internet.

HTML is the dominant web language and its new version, HTML5 provides impressive web enhancements for new web applications.

However, when this fifth version of HTML was released way back 2014, it became really popular to web and app developers, the issues surrounding its internet security risks also take hold.

Just like every new technology, HTML5 is bound to have defects and pitfalls. Internet security experts and commenters had also predicted this, long before its release.

HTML5 AND ITS IMPORTANCE

HTML5 is the 5th revision of the HTML standard developed by W3C. While it was approved as a standard in October 2014, its adoption began several years earlier.

This language mainly describes the contents and appearance of web pages. Due to its many new features, it makes web pages more interactive and dynamic.

Among these features include messaging enhancements, new parsing rules to enhance flexibility, elimination of redundant attributes and native multimedia support.

W3C developed HTML5 mainly to address the compatibility issues with the previous HTML version.

The main reasons why this version has become so popular is the essential elimination of browser plugins, reduction of web development time and mobile friendliness.

HTML5 is also supported by all the authority browser vendors including Google, Apple, Opera, Microsoft, and Firefox.

THE INTERNET SECURITY RISKS ASSOCIATED WIH HTML5

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As HTML5 approved as a standard in 2014 becomes more popular among developers, it introduces new internet security threat due to the new features and attribute.

As HTML5 becomes adopted on a very large scale with a large percentage of browsers. Mobile applications are now based on this language.

It is also important for developers and users to know about the internet security risks involved in order to be able to tackle them.

The security problems that affected the older version are still present.

More importantly, the new features in HTML5 present further internet security issues.

Below are some of the attacks made possible by HTML5.

1. CROSS ORIGIN RESOURCE SHARING (CORS ATTACK)

Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) is a feature that allows a resource to gain access to data from domains outside itself.

Using this feature, web pages can load resources including scripts, CSS style sheets, and images from different domains.

As such, a remote cyber attacker can inject codes on the web pages.

An API called XMLHttpRequest makes this possible. Basically, this is an API that facilitates the transfer of data between a server and a client.

Before the introduction of HTML5, a site could not make direct requests to another site using this API.

Now, HTTP requests can be made, provided the requested sites grants permission.

This is the point where vulnerability that can be exploited. Access can be granted through the following header in the responses; Access-Control-Allow-Origin.

If a website has wrongly defined this header or based on a wrong assumption, access control can easily be bypassed.

A similar threat called Cross-Site-Request-Forgery (CSRF) was present in HTML4. However, with HTML5 this is possible without user interaction.

 

2. HTML5 TAG ABUSE

The new attributes and tags introduced by HTML5 present in an internet security threats to cross-site scripting attacks. XSS attacks where attackers run malicious scripts through unencoded or unvalidated user inputs have been around for a while.

Developers often avoid them by filtering user inputs. This is basically not allowing users to input certain character sequences.

Some of the new attributes and tags in HTML5 can be employed to run scripts by bypassing input filters. With HTML5, any object can associate itself with any form regardless of its position on the web page.

This can be exploited for malicious purposes. Attackers can also modify web page forms using attributes in HTML5 such as formaction, fromenctype, formmetod, form target and formnonvalidate.

3. LOCAL STORAGE

Prior to HTML5, browser data was stored through web cookies. The local storage feature in HTML5 was developed to improve internet security and enable storage of more web data.

It allows browsers to store and delete data based on name-value pairs. The good news is that the origin-specific, meaning sites from different origins cannot access applications on local databases.

 

Unfortunately, it is vulnerable to the aforementioned XSS attacks.

XSS flaws resulting from developer errors, this can allow the execution of JavaScript codes leading them to the access of local variables.

Attackers can also redirect target site requests to different sites using DNS cache poisoning.

There are other internet security issues with HTML5 including Cross Document Messaging, Offline Web Applications, and the middleware framework.

Most of these internet security problems fall into the hands of the web developers.

As such, they can be mitigated by safe coding practices, regular code testing, education on the possible internet security threats, data sanitization and access restriction for untrusted code.

Source:  darkwebnews.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

Our tablets and mobile phones are amazingly agile in running a wide array of apps. Just head over to your app store of choice, jump on some WiFi and the downloading frenzy can begin. Your phone probably defaults to storing those little icons all over your home screens. While this is a fantastic resource, it can lead to a hot mess. Fortunately, you don’t have to live through the chaos. Here are some ideas about how to organize all those incredible applications.

1. Action Categories

If you need to look something up in Wikipedia and listen to your iTunes, why not center your organization on these concepts? All you need to do is create folders which reflect the best action word associated with the apps

Action Organization

 

2. Color Codoing

If you are a really visual learner, your best organizational scheme might center around color. We all know Snapchat features a primarily yellow icon and facebook is largely blue. Thus we can drag Facebook next to twitter ad Snapchat alongside Apple Maps and BAM color code achieved. This is a great method for those of us who relate first to the application image rather than its function.

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3. Frequency Used

We all have a few apps we rely on almost everyday. If you want to minimize time spent searching for icons and maximize time spent getting the information you love to have, organization by frequency is a great option. One way to accomplish this is by assigning each home screen to a level of frequency. The first screen can include the items you use everyday. Swipe once and find the items used a few times a week. Swipe another time and find the lesser used apps.

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4. Themed Rows

Remember back in college when your favorite club would have themed meetings? Everyone would come dressed in their pajamas or favorite Hawaiian shirts? Well, you can relive some of those fond memories by organizing your apps around central themes. Instead of pajama days, you can assign each row its own theme. For example, you may have a maps row, a social media row and a knowledge base row.

Themed Rows

5. Break out the Widgets

Widgets, primarily used on Android, are a great way to quickly access a lot of information. By plopping a widget onto one of your home screens, you can creatively manage space. Widgets are a great organizational tool for those who want to collect key information without additional clicks.

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6. One Central Home Screen with Folders

One of the great things about modern phones and tablets is their flexibility with number of home screens. If you like to swipe a lot, you can have multiple screens. However, if you prefer a simpler start point, you can center everything on one screen and fit everything in via folders.

One Screen with Folders

7. SmartBar

This android tool combines several features in an easy to access centralized manner. Rather than having to click through to find the app you need to perform the needed task on your phone, you can simply access it in a click or two with SmartBar. With this tool set up on your homescreen, you can organize the applications you want around this powerful feature.

SmartBar

 

8. Hand Position

Another simple method of organizing your applications is ease of use when holding. Everyone prefers to hold their phone in a slightly different way. Given this particular position is likely to be the configuration used to open most applications, it can be a useful organizational tool. Simply place the apps you use most often closest to the finger you use most of operate the phone. Whether this is your thumb or index finger, this organizational scheme can increase the speed at which you operate your phone.

Hand poistion

 Source: lifehack.org

Categorized in Science & Tech

Our favorite iPhone and Android apps of the year

We’re increasingly reliant on the smartphones in our pockets to keep in touch with friends, watch movies and TV shows, and get work done. But the phones themselves would be meaningless without the software that, almost like magic, imbues them with new powers even their creators never thought possible.

In that spirit, these are TIME’s 50 best iPhone and Android apps of the year. These are apps that were either released, had a notable redesign, or took off in popularity this year. The list is unranked, as the different functionality of each app makes them impossible to fairly compare. What did we miss?

Venmo

iPhone and Android, Free

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It’s rare that a company or an app gets “verbified” the way Google did. That’s exactly what’s happening with money-sending app Venmo, especially among cash-allergic millennials. “Just Venmo me” is an increasingly common refrain at brunch or the bar when it’s time to split the check.

Messages

iPhone, Free

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Why include Apple’s default messaging service in this list? Because Messages got a major overhaul in iOS 10, the company’s new iPhone software update. Messages is now a feature-rich messaging platform, complete with third-party apps, stickers, and fun graphic effects like confetti and laser beams. All the new functionality puts it leagues ahead of regular old SMS texting.

Signal

iPhone and Android, Free

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Which messaging app should you use when you really want to make sure your chats stay secret? Try Signal, an encrypted chat app used by politicians, businesspeople and whistleblowers worldwide. Signal offers complete end-to-end encryption, meaning the company behind the app can’t see what you’re sending and receiving. And it works with your existing contact book, so long as both parties have Signal installed.

Snapchat

iPhone and Android, Free

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Sure, Snapchat first came out in 2011, but it certainly came into its own this year — especially with the app’s “Chat 2.0” revision in March 2016. With that update, the free disappearing video messaging app laid the groundwork for all sorts of killer features, from geofilters to facial lenses. As a result, Snapchat has not only become one of the most fun apps of the year, but it’s turning into a real business, too.

Pokémon Go

iPhone and Android, Free

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The super-powered creatures that triggered a worldwide craze in the 90’s have finally reached the smartphone era. Immediately upon launching in July, Pokémon Go became a massive sensation among seemingly anyone who owned a smartphone. The game tasks players with physically exploring the real world to capture new Pokémon creatures, engaging in battles to claim gyms, and collecting items. It also uses your phone’s camera to make it seem like critters from the game are appearing in your actual surroundings. By cleverly using the technology in our smartphones and tapping into a wildly beloved franchise, game developer Niantic created a smash hit.

WhatsApp

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In the seven years that WhatsApp has existed, it’s become one of the most widely used communication tools in the world. The Facebook-owned app initially gained popularity because it works on most smartphones and provides a cheaper alternative to SMS for sending messages around the globe. After conducting a survey this April that included 187 countries, research firm SimilarWeb found that WhatsApp was the messaging app of choice in 55% of the world. Earlier this year, the company announced that it surpassed the one billion user milestone, meaning one in every seven people in the world now use WhatsApp.

NPR One

iPhone and Android, Free

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Unless you drive often, you probably don’t have easy access to an AM/FM radio. Which means it’s hard to find public radio, a great source of news, knowledge and new music. NPR’s new NPR One app can help — it’s basically a customizable public radio station that learns what shows you like and what topics you’re interested in, building a more personal feed over time. You can also use it to listen to NPR podcasts on demand, like Planet Money and the NPR Politics Podcast.

NYT Cooking

iPhone, Free (web version for Android)

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Need an easy weekday meal for two? What should you do with all those apples you just picked? How about a slow-cooker recipe? NYT Cooking, from The New York Times, can answer all these questions and more. It offers lots of great recipes searchable by type of meal, prep time and more, often along with beautiful photos. A big bonus: You can save recipes from around the web to this app, making it a clearing house for the meals you’d like to cook.

Spotify

iPhone, Android (Free With Ads)

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Even with Apple, Amazon and Google all taking aim, Spotify is still king of the music streaming apps. A big redesign this year brought a more modern interface that’s still dead simple to use, and gorgeous to boot. One of our favorite features is the mood-based playlists, great when you need something for a rainy day or a morning workout.

A Good Snowman Is Hard to Build

iPhone and Android, $4.99

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A puzzle game about crafting people made of snow, rolled into being by a blobby black creature surrounded by tiny gardens of white. Players fashion snowballs from strips of snow by swiping to roll, then stacking them in threes, large-medium-small. Only each garden has constraints, from ornamental bird baths and birdhouses to rows of potted plants. Beautifully visualized and scored, A Good Snowman Is Hard to Build is one of the sweetest, smartest puzzlers to grace 2016.

Prisma

iPhone and Android, Free

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Photo editing apps are generally a dime a dozen, all offering slight variations on the same basic features: Film-style filters, crop and resize tools, red eye reduction and so on. Prisma stands out from the pack by using complex algorithms to transform your images into vibrant and unique works of art. A recent update means it can now do the same for video, too. It takes some practice to know which filters will work the best with which photos, but once you nail it, the payoff is sweet.

White Noise

iPhone, Android (Free With Ads)

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Getting a newborn to sleep, or even just break out of a crying fit, is no easy feat. White Noise helps by flooding baby with soothing sounds, from “Heavy Rain Pouring” and “Ocean Waves Crashing” to “Extreme Rain Pouring” and “Stream Water Flowing.” It’s easy to switch between sounds and adjust the volume to find the mix that works best for baby. Only one downside: The app doesn’t work in the background if you exit it to work on other things. Best to download it onto one of the old disconnected iPhones sitting in a drawer and make that baby’s iPhone.

bitmoji

iPhone and Android, Free

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Why say it with words when you can say it with stickers? Bitmoji lets you create custom emoji-like stickers complete with an avatar that looks just like you. Stickers have been around for years, but they’re really taking off this year — so much so that Snapchat acquired the company behind Bitmoji for about $100 million in March.

Google Translate

iPhone and Android, Free

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One of the coolest pieces of fictional Star Trek tech is the Universal Translator, which lets the Enterprise’s crew understand alien languages. The next best thing is Google Translate, which can take typed phrases, spoken words and even real-world text (like street signs) and transform them into other languages. This year’s big update brought more useful features, like tap-to-translate on Android and offline language packs for the iPhone version, helpful when you’re traveling abroad without a data plan

Breathe

Apple Watch, Free

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Apple’s Breathe app, for the Apple Watch, walks users through a short set of deep breathing exercises. That might sound silly, but spending a few minutes every day to take some deep breaths can have remarkable benefits for your mental health. Our advice: Disable the daily breathe reminders, stressful in their own right, and open the app only when you need it.

Burly Men At Sea

iPhone and Android, $4.99

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Brain&Brain’s folklorish adventure is a whimsical romp starring three bearded adventurers that speaks in plaintive accordion tunes and whispers, airy sighs and polyphonic hoots–one that marries quirky activities with starlit encounters and aquamarine serpents plucked from Norwegian myth. It’s a little bit The Old Man and the Sea, a little bit O Brother, Where Art Thou? And a reminder that every journey is a circle, filled with both farce and delight.

Amazon Alexa

iPhone and Android, Free

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Amazon’s Alexa app turns your smartphone into a remote for your Echo Internet-connected speaker, handy for setup and when you’re too far from your Echo for it to pick up your requests. If you’re an Echo fan, this app is a can’t-miss companion.

Quik

iPhone and Android, Free

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Modern smartphones can record very high-quality video, but what to do with all that footage? Try Quik, an automatic video editing app that action camera maker GoPro acquired and rebranded this year. Quik takes a bunch of your video footage, identifies the best moments automatically, and sets the whole thing to mood-appropriate music. It’s a great way to add a professional-looking touch to your recordings before putting them on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram.

Mint

iPhone and Android, Free

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Mint’s an older app, but it’s still the king of budget management software. Mint connects with your various bank accounts, pulling in your spending and income and organizing it into categories that make it easy to track and stick to a budget. It’s great in those situations when you’re contemplating a big purchase and want to see if you can really afford it or not.

Gboard

iPhone, Free

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Google’s Gboard app pulls Google’s powerful search engine into text conversations, making it possible to find answers to questions or seek restaurant suggestions without leaving a chat. Google’s search bar is built right into the keyboard, which pulls up results across sites on the Web, locations in Google Maps, and more. The app launched in May, months before Apple released its dramatic overhaul of iMessage in September that added the ability to interact with outside apps within a text thread.

Day One

iPhone, $4.99

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Keeping and looking back on a journal can be deeply rewarding, but it’s a tough habit to build. Instead try Day One, a journaling app that makes it easy to quickly record a few thoughts, along with a photo, every day. Unlike paper journals, Day One automatically backs up your notes to the cloud, helping preserve your reflections forever.

Crashlands

iPhone and Android, $4.99

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Old school roleplaying games dole out abstract rewards like “experience points” so you can make your superpowers a trifle more super. New school ones like Crashlands let you scoop those rewards up off the battlefield, drag them back to your base, then turn them into cool, usable objects. Killer aliens meets goofball storytelling and characters meets a weighty crafting system brimming with hundreds of recipes, Crashlands is everything predictable RPGs aren’t.

Boomerang

iPhone and Android, Free

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Boomerang takes a burst of still photos, then stitches them together in a short, looping video. The end result is somewhere between a GIF and a stop-motion movie. Tons of fun to play around with, Boomerang is Instagram’s best spinoff app.

Google Trips

iPhone and Android, Free

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With its new travel app, Google wants to be the only resource you need when planning your next getaway. Trips scans your Gmail inbox for flight and hotel information, pulling it into a one-stop-shop. It also packs itineraries for a handful of cities, including attractions, restaurants and more. These simple travel guides can be downloaded for offline use, great when you’re abroad without a data plan.

Untappd

iPhone and Android, Free

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Remember how much fun Foursquare was in its glory days? Well, Untappd is basically Foursquare specifically for beer. It’s great as a sort of “beer journal:” Scanning a bottle or can’s barcode with your smartphone saves it for later, meaning you’ll always be able to remember the name of that new brew you tried last night.

Vevo

iPhone and Android, Free

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If you love music videos, you probably know Vevo, which is basically the MTV of the smartphone era. Vevo dropped a big redesign this year featuring a gorgeous interface with your favorite music videos, as well as a discovery feature to help you find rising artists. The app learns your preferences over time, helping to customize your feed.

Alto Mail

iPhone and Android, Free

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AOL’s take on gussying up your email service has been around for a few years, but the app’s 2.0 version, launched in September 2016, makes an already smart take on email even smarter. The free app’s new dashboard scrapes all the important information from your emails — shopping receipts, tracking numbers, reservation information, and more — and puts it on virtual cards, for easy gleaning. The app can be used to put a more manageable face on almost any other email service, from IMAP to Gmail, and can also pile up your digital information in “stacks” of photos, files, bills, and other categories.

Houseparty

iPhone and Android, Free

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With a user-friendly way to stream video from a mobile phone to everyone in the world, Meerkat turned the Internet on its ear. But that app is so last year (to the point that it’s no longer operational) and in its place Meerkat’s developers have released Houseparty,  which is mainstreaming group video chats in almost the same way. Creating what it calls a “synchronous social network,” Houseparty basically lets people video chat with each other, up to eight people at a time. Open the free Android or iOS app, and you’re broadcasting in your own private video chat room.

Netflix’s Fast.com

Web app, Free

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With millions of users sucking down data at home, on mobile and over Wi-Fi, the Internet can be a very slow place. There are dozens of iOS and Android apps to measure your speeds, but they all seem to have an air of unreliability. Fast.com, a web app put out by Netflix, loads quicker than a Craigslist directory on whatever device, whichever operating system, and wherever you are. So from the boardroom, to the bathroom, to the backyard, you’ll always know if you’re down to download.

Nuzzel

iPhone and Android, Free

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Launched at the tail end of 2015, this free Android and iOS app is a vital app for keeping pace with Twitter’s endless stream of information. Syncing up with your social networks, Nuzzel keeps track of the most tweeted links by the accounts you follow and provides a roundup of all the associated tweets. Ideal for news hounds or anyone who closely follows trends on the Twitterverse, it’s become a must-use over the past 12 months.

Reddit

iPhone and Android, Free

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Unofficial Reddit apps existed before this year, but the official take makes the front page of the Internet even easier to use and browse than it is on a computer. Longtime Redditors may disagree (they’re never short on opinions), but the app’s intuitive interface is good for new users, making it easier to dive into topics and communities. The communications tab pulls messages, comments, replies and mentions into one place for quick access, and the main tab puts the web’s hottest content just taps away.

Sorcery! 4

iPhone and Android, $4.99

sorcery-4.jpg

The fourth and final installment in studio Inkle’s grand game-book series based on Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! adventures is an easy recommend for admirers of plain brilliant storytelling. No, you needn’t have played the first three, though the delights are that much brighter if you have. Want to see what a choose-your-own-adventure meets immaculate illustrations and artistry meets the opposite of tin-eared writing looks like? Start here.

Streaks

iPhone (with Apple Watch app), $3.99

streaks1.jpg

Bad habits may be hard to break, but good habits can be even harder to make. This app helps by giving users a gentle reminder ever day — whether its on your phone or your wrist — to develop up to six healthy routines. Pre-loaded with all sorts of activities from drinking more water to walking the dog (and with Apple Health integrations), it’ll help you do all the little things consistently and right. Streaks was launched in 2015, but the app was given a slick 2.0 makeover this year that was so good it garnered the app an Apple Design Award.

Tribe

iPhone and Android, Free

tribe.jpg

There are a slew of Snapchat-like free video messaging apps on the market. And while they all jockey for position, Tribe does so with a new killer feature: Magic Words. Basically, when a user says a term in his or her video (like a band name, for example) that word — through some back-end Google speech recognition magic — appears on the screen, overlaid on the video as a clickable keyword. Is this enough to put it ahead of the camera-toting pack? It’s early to say for sure, but this one’s worth watching.

Google Allo

iPhone and Android, Free

google-allo.jpg
A new messaging app from Google, Allo is one of the first products to incorporate the firm’s new artificially intelligent aide, the Google Assistant. Allo has a few limitations — there aren’t any third-party apps and there’s no desktop companion, for instance. But Allo earns a spot on our list because of the potential of the Google Assistant. Right now, it’s pretty good at handling basic questions and surfacing recommendations within chats. But when and if it gets smarter, it could be truly brilliant.

Microsoft Pix

iPhone, Free

microsoft-pix.jpg

Microsoft is pitching Pix as a replacement for the iPhone’s standard Camera app. Pix, which launched in July, uses artificial intelligence to recognize the subject of an image and adjust camera settings in real time. If you’re snapping a photo in well-lit conditions, it’ll create a GIF-like video loop when it detects motion. Unlike many other photo apps, Pix offers helpful enhancements rather than gimmicky features, all with little effort on the user’s part.

Picniic

iPhone, Free

picniic.jpg
Picniic is a sort of Swiss Army Knife for keeping your family organized: it’s a shared to-do list, calendar, and event manager all in one. Within the app, users can assign tasks on the to-do list to specific family members and take note of the last time a certain family member was heard from. It’s a bit similar to another app called Cozi, but Picniic offers a few extras, including a newsfeed-style stream of updates and an encrypted storage locker for keeping personal family information.

Swift Playgrounds

iPhone, Free

swift-playgrounds.jpg
There are dozens of apps, games, and toys designed to help kids learn the building blocks of computer programming. But few of these apps do so by having players write lines of actual code, as Apple’s Swift Playgrounds does. The iPad app challenges participants to input strings of characters written in Apple’s Swift language to complete puzzles. Aspiring developers can also write their own code in a blank document and export it into Xcode, Apple’s software for creating apps. “We’re not hiding code, or running away from the fact that it is code,” Wiley Hodges, director of tools and technologies product marketing for Apple, previously told TIME about the app.



Pocket

iPhone and Android, Free

pocket.jpg
When you see an article you want to read but don’t have time at the moment, you can save it to Pocket and savor it later. It downloads articles in a clean, readable format so you can read anything without an Internet connection. Add-ons for desktop browsers mean you can save stories from your work computer and read them on your way home.

Waze

iPhone and Android, Free

android-waze.jpg

Google Maps and Apple Maps are fine, but neither will make you the master of defeating traffic like Waze. Acquired by Google in 2013 for a reported $1.3 billion, Waze collects data about traffic jams, construction and other issues and displays them to other drivers in a given area. It’s also great at finding little-known shortcuts to save you precious minutes, mileage and gas money.

Reigns

iPhone and Android, $2.99

reigns1.jpg

Swipe left or right, that’s all there is to Reigns, an ingenious, dichotomous Tinder-like, only about ruling a kingdom instead of speed-dating. There are no roads less traveled, only left or right turns, yes or no answers to questions of medieval monarch-dom, as you attempt to balance your kingdom’s needs along idiosyncratic, ever-forking roads. If your idea of choose-your-own nirvana involves minimalist, binary survivalism (your goal is to stay alive), Reigns is one of the coolest stripped-down, rapid-play angles on the genre in years.

Super Stickman Golf 3

iPhone and Android, Free

super-stickman-golf-3.jpg

Golf and stickmen? Really? Unqualifiedly. It’s the adventurist allure of putt-putt, the ballistic physics of Angry Birds and the zany level design of 2D platformers like Super Mario Bros. rolled into one. After two forays to hone their ingenious little mashup, this is the iteration of Noodlecake Studios’ series to own, the one that brings it all together while adding the option to put English on the ball. Even if like me the thought of playing real golf makes you recoil, this is the stick-and-ball-swatting game for you.

Bandsintown

iPhone and Android, Free

bandsintown.jpg

Ah, the time-old question: “Any good bands in town tonight?” Get your answer with Bandsintown, which analyzes your music listening habits and alerts you when your favorite performers are in your area.There’s also a calendar display that lets you check out who’s playing on a given date in case you’d prefer to check out something new for a change.

Insight Timer

iPhone and Android, Free

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Do away with the the stressful blare of your built-in phone buzzer. Insight Timer is really nothing more than a peaceful chime when time’s up, but we find ourselves using it for everything from signaling the end of a meditation session to the completion of roast chicken. Anything’s better than hearing Marimba for the millionth time.



Calorie Counter

iPhone and Android, Free

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It’s never easy to count calories, but MyFitnessPal’s Calorie Counter can be a handy helper. Just tell it what you’ve eaten in a given day, and it’ll let you know how many calories you’ve consumed. Tracking that data is an important part of losing weight, which, when it comes down to it, is about burning more calories than you’ve taken in.

Warbits

iPhone, $3.99

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Okay, sure, Warbits clearly cribs from classic turn-based strategy game Advance Wars (for Nintendo’s ancient Game Boy Advance, no less). But I can think of no higher praise to lavish on a game that fills a void over a decade wide and generations of overlooked platforms deep. Much more than a clone, Warbits takes the idea that teams of infantry, armor and aerial vehicles are squaring off over moderately sized squarish maps, then adds an online mode that’s pretty much the definition of how to do turn-based, 1v1 or 2v2 strategy on a phone.

Hitlist

iPhone, Free

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There are incredible airfare deals available and dozens of places we’d love to visit. But finding a reasonable deal takes far more time and effort than it should. Hitlist can help. It combines travel photography with airfare deals, letting you add appealing destinations to your watch list. Then you’ll get alerts when there’s an incredible price on flights.

Beam

iPhone and Android, Free

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Video game streaming apps like the Amazon-owned Twitch are getting extremely popular — Twitch users watched more than 241 billion minutes of content last year. So it’s not surprising to see younger companies getting in on the action. One of the newbies is Beam, which offers the unique twist of letting viewers impact the game. Audiences on Beam can suggest moves for players, give them challenges, and more. Microsoft acquired the company behind beam in August; it’s now integrating it directly into the Xbox platform.

PRISM

iPhone and Android, $2.99

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Prism has one of those un-self-aware taglines about “sacred geometry” converging with “the ethereal soul” you can just ignore, then get right to the heart of the matter: It’s a stirring, smart little shape-puzzler set to groovy, hypnotic tunes. Lines and dots you manipulate with your finger adorn shapes that unfurl like polyhedral flowers as you advance, uncloaking incandescent cores. The puzzles are diverting but accessible, ensuring you’ll hang around long enough to appreciate the experience’s gorgeous, trippy ambience.

Meditation Studio

iPhone, $3.99


meditation-studio.jpg
A well-designed gateway app to a serious daily meditation practice. Great for beginners, the app has more than 200 guided meditations of varying lengths organized around whatever you need—sleep, confidence, stress and anxiety relief—and it gives you a perfect little zen break wherever you are.

Source : time

Categorized in Science & Tech

Microsoft announced its Creators Update during its press event earlier this week, and a fast-paced video has highlighted a number of new changes. While we're expecting to see features like better trackpad gesture control, blue light reduction (like F.lux), and Windows Holographic integration, Microsoft has a whole lot more planned. Brad Sams over at Thurrott.com has surfaced all of the big additions in the Windows 10 Creators Update, and it's safe to say there are some surprising changes.

Action Center

Action Center Windows 10 update

Microsoft is making changes to its notifications center (Action Center) in the Windows 10 Creators Update. Some of the quick actions have been refreshed, but the big change is sliders for both volume and screen brightness. Windows 10 users will welcome this change,

as you'll now finally be able to adjust these in smaller increments than the 25 percent levels that are currently offered as quick actions.

Custom Accent colors

Accent colors Windows 10

If you use a custom color for the Windows taskbar and other UI elements then you're about to get a lot more options. While Windows 10 offers a number of custom accent colors right now, Microsoft is going to provide a picker with advanced options and the ability to preview what your crazy color might look like throughout Windows. It's a nice change that will help people even further customize the look of Windows 10 to match a particular wallpaper or preference. Microsoft also appears to be adding video help manuals into the settings pages of Windows 10.

Themes for Windows 10 in the Store

Windows 10 themes in Store

Microsoft is going to start selling themes for Windows 10 in the Windows Store. As part of the custom accent color options, the software maker is adding a "personalization" section to the Windows Store, complete with collections of themes that are designed to change the appearance of Windows 10. Some of the collections include Minecraft and League of Legends themes, and it's possible these custom themes could extend over to the dashboard for Xbox One consoles.

The People bar

Windows 10 people bar

Microsoft demonstrated its new people integration into the Windows 10 taskbar, but this extends into little widgets that let you quickly send Skype or emails to your favorite friends. You'll be able to switch between Skype and Email within the same window, and it will be interesting to see if Microsoft extends this type of app integration to third-party app developers.

Groove Music Maker

Groove Music Maker

Microsoft appears to be working on a separate Groove Music Maker app. It looks a little like Microsoft's Surface Music Kit Remix apps for the Surface cover that it never released broadly. It's clearly a simple-to-use music creation tool that's designed with touch in mind. Judging by the brief demonstration, you'll be able to select riffs from a library, add sounds from different instruments, and alter the BPM and length of tracks easily. It's another example of Microsoft aiming Windows 10 at creators.

Full pen support in Microsoft Word

Office pen Windows 10

Based on Microsoft's video, it looks like the company is finally bringing full pen support to Word. Microsoft teased better pen support for Word during its Windows Ink introduction earlier this year, and it looks like it's finally arriving with the Creators Update. You'll be able to manipulate and delete text a lot more easily in apps like Word, and even leave comments on documents in just ink.

Microsoft Edge tab browsing

Microsoft Edge tab browsing

Microsoft appears to be making some changes to its Edge browser with the Creator Update. Edge has a tab browser option which lets you navigate current tabs by expanding the page-preview option. Microsoft also appears to be working on a session manager for Edge, allowing you to restore tabs from before you rebooted or closed Edge. This will include tabs that were open days or weeks ago.

Windows Defender update

Windows Defender

Microsoft is also updating Windows Defender in the Creators Update. Windows Defender currently exists as a classic win32 desktop app in Windows 10, but Microsoft's video appears to show a Defender app that looks a lot like a universal app. If Microsoft does move Defender to the universal platform then it's one more step from preventing the jarring process of having to shift between these modern apps and the old desktop ones for basic settings in Windows 10.

Source : theverge

Categorized in Science & Tech

How has the rise of mobile changed the way people view Google SERPs? Contributor Kristi Kellogg summarizes a session from SMX East in which Mediative's Chris Pinkerton discusses the results of eye-tracking studies. 

Chris Pinkerton, the vice president of business development at Mediative, has been tracking the ways viewers look at the Google search engine results page (SERP) since 2003. In that time, Mediative’s eye-tracking studies have revealed major shifts in the way users consume the SERP.

At SMX East 2016, he explored the ways the proliferation of mobile devices have deeply impacted user search behavior on both mobile and desktop searches.

Pinkerton asserts that search activity, psychologically speaking, is mindless activity. It’s mindless because of the habits that form with the devices we use.

chris-pinkerton.jpg

Habits are a very powerful thing to start to understand. Developing a habit of consuming information on a desktop in a certain way changes the way you consume content.

Looking back at 2003, Google became the dominant search engine because it drove people to find information faster than its competitors. That created habitual behavior — people found content the fastest on Google and kept coming back.

(As an aside, Bing has implemented programs to pay people for their search behavior in an attempt to break these deeply ingrained habits and introduce a new behavior.)

In 2005, there was a Golden Triangle pattern when it came to eyeballs on the Google SERP. But in 2016, this pattern is vastly different (see below), due in large part to mobile. It’s changed the way people consume the SERP and the speed at which they consume it. Users spot-scan and find what is contextually relevant for them.

pinkerton

Mobile devices have habitually conditioned searchers to scan vertically more than horizontally. This has translated to desktop search as well. People are viewing more search listings during a single session but are spending less time viewing each one.

Users are looking the front end of search listings, so make sure your main message comes first.While it used to take a user 2.6 seconds to consume a SERP, that time has been cut in half, to 1.3 seconds, Pinkerton said.

Regardless of mobile’s impact, the No. 1 organic listing captures the most click activity, regardless of what new elements are presented. However, it takes 87 percent longer for the No. 1 organic listing to be first seen on a mobile device vs. desktop, he said.

Statistics that will impact your digital marketing strategy

Knowledge Graph

  • With a Knowledge Graph panel on the SERP, almost 22 percent fewer clicks went to the top No. 1 organic listing.
  • 93% of searchers look at the Knowledge Graph panel.
  • 49% of searchers click on the Knowledge Graph panel

Local listings and map

  • 47% more clicks on the map and local listing occur when positioned above the organic listings.
  • 10% of clicks on local listing on average.
  • 51% more searchers view the local listings and map when positioned above the organic listings.

Star ratings

  • Listings with star ratings capture 24% of page clicks on average.

Sponsored listings

  • Top sponsored listings are viewed after 0.36 seconds on average.
  • 2% of clicks on the top two sponsored listings on mobile vs. 14.5% on desktop.
  • The top organic listing gets 10% fewer clicks when three sponsored listings are present vs. one sponsored listing.

Organic listings

  • Top organic listings capture the most search activity (33.2%).
  • 5% of searchers on average look at the top organic listing.
  • 57% of clicks go to the top four organic listings on average.
  • Only 7.4% of the clicks that occur are below the fourth organic listing on mobile vs. 16% on desktop.

Read Mediative’s full eye-tracking report (registration required). See how user behavior has changed in just the last two years with my reports from SMX East 2014 and 2015.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Original source of this article is Search Engine Land

Categorized in Science & Tech

The Internet is a necessity in the workplace, whether you work in a supermarket or in an office, there is a part of your job that will require an Internet connection. With companies becoming increasingly obsessed with ways to increase productivity, the most obvious way is to improve your connection speed.

If you count up the times you have waited for a page to load or a tutorial video to stop buffering, you’ll probably have spent hours if not days each year sat at your screen simply waiting.

In the following paragraphs we’ll cover what contributes to Internet speed and share some top tips on how you can speed yours up.

Internet speed is determined by a number of factors; some are completely out of your control, like where you live whilst others you do have control over.

Network structure

Perhaps the most important thing is the structure of your network. Whether you use a wired or wireless connection, if your system isn’t installed with bandwidth in mind you could be losing mountains of all-important speed. As a result, it is imperative that your business hires a structured cabling and wireless network professional to ensure that your network is in the best position possible to help you reach maximum Internet speed.

Clean your device

Have you ever wondered why the Internet on your laptop seems to move much quicker than on your PC, despite you being connected to the same network? Well a lot of this can be to do with your device rather than the network.

If you are trying to use multiple applications at once or your device is reaching its memory capacity, it will run much slower. As a knock on effect this means it will take longer for web pages to load.

Spend a few hours going through your computer and remove any unwanted applications. Don’t forget to perform regular virus scans as well because if your computer is infected it could make your Internet run at a snail-like pace. Here are a few more tips on how to clean your computer.

Check your browser

This is something that many people forget, but different browsers will have more of a strain on your computer and connection. For example, Internet Explorer is a popular browser but it does use a lot of resources, on the other hand you could find that using a more compact browser like Chrome will speed up your connection.

Download browser plug-ins

Most browsers now come with the ability to download plug-ins like dictionaries that allow you to hover over a word and instantly be presented with a definition.

There are many fantastic plug-ins that can help to improve your Internet speed. Popular ones include those which virtually disable ads from your surfing experience and with less flashing banners and pop-ups on your screen, you will have less elements to load and ultimately the content that matters should load much more quickly.

Most browsers now come with this ability built-in, like Safari will automatically disable all Flash elements unless you physically click on it and enable Flash.

Remove unwanted plug-ins

There are countless plug-ins that you can download so you’ll be forgiven for amassing a few over time. However, if you have plug-ins that you haven’t used in months, delete them. They’ll be running in the background and consuming bandwidth unnecessarily.

Close all unneeded tabs

Many webpages will now refresh automatically every few minutes, mainly news sites. So even if you aren’t looking at pages but have them open in tabs, they will be consuming bandwidth. If you are one of these people that likes to have unlimited tabs and browser windows open, think again if you are experiencing slow Internet speeds – closing them could have a huge difference.

Source : http://www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-technology-2/internet-reliance-improving-your-speed-at-work/

Categorized in Science & Tech

Chinese search engine Baidu, which opened its India office in Delhi last year, wants to expand its services in India through an ad platform and a localised marketplace.


Josh Fenn of Baidu Inc’s Global Business Unit speaks to BrandWagon’s Ankita Rai on the company’s India strategy, its focus on app developers and building a digital ecosystem.


Baidu has so far launched only niche utility applications in India, while in other markets it is also present in online to offline (O2O) and search spaces. What is the India strategy?


In India, the focus is on mobile and mobile-related products because there is a global shift towards mobile. It was in 2008 that we started bringing our products outside China. India is our newest market.


Between 2008 and 2013, we launched some of our popular products here such as DU Battery Saver, DU Speed Booster, Baidu Browser, MoboMarket, ES File Explorer and input app Simeji.


The marketplace MoboMarket was first launched in Indonesia and shortly afterwards in India. MoboMarket has 4.5 million active monthly users each in India and Indonesia. In India, MoboMarket is available in Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bangla, Marathi and Urdu, with Telugu launching soon. Developers can launch their apps on this platform and get more eyeballs in the domestic market and monetise through our DU Ad Platform. There are eight million monthly active users for DU Battery Saver and Du Speed Booster in India, while ES File Explorer has 10 million monthly active users.


In India, we are focussed on building a strong foundation of internet services that will help to build the ecosystem.


The first phase of the India strategy was launched in 2013-2014 aimed at building a user base for our products here.
The second phase was to introduce more developer facing platforms and grow the ecosystem. That’s where MoboMarket comes into play. The marketplace aims to enable local developers find the right audience for their apps and get more downloads. The third phase is aimed at enabling developers make more money out of it. That’s where the DU Ad Platform comes into play.


As Baidu looks to capitalise on opportunities outside China, what kind of markets are you targeting?
If you look at all the countries that we have offices in apart from the US — Brazil, Egypt, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan — Japan stands out, being the most developed market. The rest are emerging countries and have similar characteristics such as lower smartphone and internet penetration, but are fast growing. We
observed a similar trend in China a few years ago.


Now China has 52 per cent internet penetration. It has over 700 million internet subscribers across PC and mobile. So yes, we are looking for countries similar to China that are in the early phases of mobile internet. Second, we have a localised strategy for each market instead of rolling out generic products.


We have been operating in China for 16 years. We have developed unique ways to bridge the technology gap. For example, we have made our search more humanised and help people who don’t know how to interact with technology.


For instance in hinterlands, people write long queries when searching something online. We understand how to bridge this gap between rural and urban population and we are planning to bring this expertise in India and other countries too.
A majority of Baidu’s revenues comes from search advertising. But the whole idea of search is changing. Users can now get news, weather updates or even search for flights on platforms like Facebook or even in the Chinese context, on WeChat. Is the market for search saturating with competition coming from non-traditional players?


The search market has evolved quite a bit since 2014. There are different entry ways for people to find information they are looking for, such as Facebook, WeChat, e-commerce portals or through O2O services. In China, we have a very strong position in search due to integration of machine learning technology.


In mobile search, our market share is over 75 per cent. We have 660 million monthly active users on our mobile search platform in China. The search market is not narrowing down but our focus is building foundational services for the internet ecosystem here in India.


Baidu launched a search engine in Brazil in 2014. As you expand globally, do you plan to launch search in other countries? Given Baidu’s experience in the O2O business model in China, do you plan to replicate similar offerings in other markets?
Baidu is present in information, search, app platforms, AI and machine learning technologies. We previously launched search in Brazil, Thailand, Egypt and Japan. But we are now more focussed on mobile products and services. Search is just one way of looking at things. We are integrating machine learning in O2O services. We are diversifying into other entry ways of search.


For example, you can integrate machine learning into group buying platforms. We have 1.6 billion users outside China. In terms of user numbers, the biggest markets are Indonesia, India and the US. In 2014, we acquired Brazil’s biggest deal platform, Peixe Urbano. The company has 70 per cent of the domestic market share. We take a localised approach in each market. In India, we don’t have any plans right now in the O2O space, but it is a possibility.


Baidu launched its ad platform for advertisers and publishers in India this year. How will it help small app developers?
In case of an app ecosystem, it is important to support the small developers. This is what we learnt in China and aim to implement it in other countries such as India.

 

The DU Ad Platform, launched in March, helps small app developers in monetisation. It provides advertisers with intelligent targeted ads and publishers with efficient monetisation solutions. We have 1.6 billion users for all of our apps outside China.

 

Source : http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/companies/face-off-baidu-takes-a-localised-approach-in-each-market-says-baidus-josh-fenn/348219/ 

Categorized in Search Engine

There’s a lot of misinformation about security online. The truth is that by taking a few simple steps you can make yourself much safer. Here are the basic, super easy ways to do it:

Use a unique Password, but don’t worry too much about complexity

Conventional wisdom says that if you use a long password with crazy letters, numbers, and symbols, your account is safe. The fact is, a password like “annexrubykneadtone” is just as secure as “J+e}F*b>J*S;36fSvbSLX)R}” as long as it’s unique. When a hacker is trying to break into your account, the first thing they’ll probably do is search through previous database dumps for your email address. If you’re using the same password across multiple services, a hacker who finds it can access many of your accounts.

There’s a helpful webste for checking to see if your email address has been included in a database dump, but it doesn’t include every dump. If you use unique passwords for each service, you know that if one of them gets breached, all of your other accounts will be safe. This doesn’t mean that you should make your password short and easily guessable, obviously. And don’t include any personal information that could be easily researched.

When it comes to things like securing your hard drive or external drives with encryption, complexity actually becomes a little more important than it would be for an online service. Offline drives are susceptible to brute force attacks, where a hacker rapidly guesses millions of passwords. There’s a surprisingly easy way to create strong passwords that you can memorize, but that will be able to stand up to a brute force attack. You could also use this method for creating passwords for your online accounts, though it may be a little time consuming.

Use two-factor authentication whenever possible

Two-factor authentication has made the internet much more secure. Generally, two-factor authentication requires that you enter a code generated by an app on your phone or sent to you via text message, in addition to your account password. It ensures that even if a hacker has your password, they can’t get into your account. You should use two-factor authentication on everything you can, from your bank account to your social media accounts to your email. Sure, it can sometimes be a pain in the ass, but it is so worth it.

Here’s a handy guide for services that offer two factor authentication.

Use an ad blocker

Ads are known to spread malware. For that reason alone, you should block all of them. Seriously! I say this as someone whose rent is, in part, paid by ad revenue. With ads, there is no upside when it comes to your security online. My favorite ad blocker is uBlock Origin, because it gets the job done and is easily customizable. (Bonus tip: Chrome is generally regarded as the most secure browser, because it receives frequent automatic security updates.) You might think that ads on sketchy porn sites or illegal streaming services are the only ones that can infect you, but ads on huge mainstream news websites like The New York Times and the BBC have been found to distribute malware.

Source : http://gizmodo.com

Categorized in Internet Privacy
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