Uptime, the Social YouTube App for Friends, Becomes Available to All

Uptime, the Social YouTube App for Friends, Becomes Available to All

Google-backed team Area 120 launched the Uptime app in March this year, and made it available via invite only to iOS users. Now, the company has removed the invite system and has made the app available to all iOS users on the App Store in the US. There’s still no Android version in sight yet.

For those unaware, the newly launched Uptime is a video sharing app made by Area 120 that lets you share YouTube videos with your friends and comment and chat on them as well. It lets you see all the videos your friends are watching on YouTube and vice versa. Uptime version 18.1 runs on iOS 10 and above devices only. This update, along with killing the invite system, introduces a new home screen for better discovery and navigation. It also brings support for music videos and allows for finding friends through Facebook.
The Uptime app is now available to all users in the US only, and can be downloaded for free from the App Store. Unfortunately, Indian users still can’t experience this app, as it still not available in the region. With the Uptime app, Area 120 looks to offer a YouTube centric platform for social sharing with a close group of friends.

You can share a YouTube video on Uptime for your friends to see, react, and have a conversation with. Google’s incubator, dubbed ‘Area 120’, is a new approach – part incubator and part new take on the spirit of the 20 percent time programme. It essentially allows employees to work on experimental projects in their free time, and is reportedly supervised by Google executives Don Harrison and Bradley Horowitz.



Google Talk Is Officially Dead, Switch to Hangouts Complete

Google Talk Is Officially Dead, Switch to Hangouts Complete

It was inevitable that Google would one day start cutting down its confusing array of chat-based applications, and the Internet search giant has done just that. The company has finally killed off its Google Talk service and has replaced it with Hangouts, keeping true to the promise made back in March.

Google Talk, aka Gchat or GTalk, which came into existence back in 2005, is among the company’s oldest messaging applications that has been in a state of limbo given the various new messaging apps that the company has introduced including the more recent Google Allo. Killing off GTalk essentially means that anyone who was still using Google Talk rather than Hangouts will now be forced to shift to the latter to continue messaging on Gmail. The transition will go through smoothly and you’ll find all your chat contacts now in Hangouts.
Even though Gchat may be gone now, you’re still left with a number of chat-based services from Google to suit your needs. It’s also perhaps not a bad thing as not only does Hangouts cater to modern sensibilities with chat bubbles and GIF support, but also allows Google to focus more of its resources on its remaining apps. It’s a major step in the company’s effort too streamline its services.

Google in March also announced that it would drop support for carrier SMS on Hangouts and would instead be shifting it to Android Messages. The company in recent months has been trying to rewire Hangouts to serve G Suite and enterprise users, much like Slack or Microsoft Teams, and making it the default chat for Gmail is an effort towards the same. The same month, the company also rolled out Hangouts Meet video conferencing service along with text-based messaging service Hangout Chat for enterprise users.




Silicon Valley’s Not Hotdog App Comes to Android

Silicon Valley's Not Hotdog App Comes to Android

The Not Hotdog app, which started as a bit on HBO’s Silicon Valley before releasing as an actual app on the App Store, is now available on Android too. The app’s purpose is simple: it helps you identify whether the food in front of you is a hotdog or not. And that’s all there is to it.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the show, here’s how this happened. Midway through the fourth season – which finished airing this week – pompous Erlich (T.J. Miller) and oblivious Jian-Yang (Jimmy O. Yang) secured $200,000 in funding from a venture capital firm for SeeFood, an app that the former pitched as a “Shazam for food”.

After cooking up a working demo over a few days, with the help of Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), they realised that their app was in fact capable of only identifying a hotdog and nothing else. So in a smart pivot, the app came to be a known as ‘Not Hotdog’.

Normally, the joke would’ve stopped there. But HBO went ahead and hired a developer to turn the ridiculous idea into an actual, functioning app, which would be the first for Silicon Valley since its beginning four years ago.

The developer in question is Tim Anglade, who published a lengthy post on Monday regarding the app’s development process on his Medium blog. In it, Anglade mentioned that they used Tensorflow, and a Nvidia GPU to train the algorithm, which took about 80 hours.

Of course, the app is far from perfect. Anglade himself attached a tweet that shows the Not Hotdog app failing if you just put some ketchup on an arm, a banana, or an apple. But that’s missing the point, which is that… okay maybe there’s no point to it. Now go identify some hotdogs, or not.




How to Block Pop-Ups in Firefox

How to Block Pop-Ups in Firefox

Browsing on the Web on your phone or computer can become a fraught experience if you visit sites that throw a lot of pop-ups at you. It’s particularly bad on the mobile where it is hard to dismiss these. However, this is slowly becoming less of an issue, as most browsers now allow you to prevent pop-ups altogether. Firefox is the second-most popular desktop browser in India, and you can follow the below steps to block pop-ups with Firefox. We’ve also written about Chrome, UC Browser, and Opera, if you don’t use Firefox.

How to block pop-ups in Firefox (Windows/ macOS/ Linux)
If you’d like to block pop-ups on Firefox for desktop, follow these steps:

Open Firefox.
Click the hamburger menu button in the top-right corner, and choose Options.
Choose Content in the left-hand side.
Tick Block pop-up windows to block pop-ups, or untick to allow.
popup firefox pc Firefox popups

How to block pop-ups in Firefox (Android)
If you’d like to block pop-ups on Firefox for Android, follow these steps:
Open Firefox.
Type about:config in the address bar.
Search for dom.disable_open_during_load.
Set it to false to allow pop-ups, and true to block pop-ups.
How to block pop-ups in Firefox (iPhone/ iPad)
If you’d like to change the pop-up blocker setting on Firefox for iOS, follow these steps:

Open Firefox.
Tap the hamburger menu button at the bottom.
Swipe left, and then choose Settings.
Turn on the toggle for Block Pop-up Windows to block pop-ups, or turn it off to allow pop-ups.

popup firefox ios Firefox popups

Have you had any trouble with pop-ups on Firefox? Share your questions via the comments below.

For more tutorials, visit our How-To section.



Monument Valley vs Framed: A Tale of Two Sequels

Monument Valley vs Framed: A Tale of Two Sequels

At WWDC 2017, a little over a week ago, Apple announced Monument Valley 2 for iOS. The original was highly acclaimed, and even found prominent mention in the Netflix series House of Cards. In the past, developer Ustwo has spoken out against a sequel, but a fresh team with new concepts and features changed things, the company said.

The game – out now for iOS, with an Android version in the works – is available for Rs. 400 ($4.99 in the US), and most of the early reviews were extremely positive. The original was also one of our favourite mobile games, thanks to its gorgeous design and intelligent gameplay. So it was obvious that we were going to give Monument Valley 2 a shot as well.

The sequel is – obviously and predictably – gorgeous and the delight of exploring the pastel worlds it presents alone is worth the price of entry. But the “freshness” that’s promised is nowhere to be seen. The game has changed, yes, but only in the most basic sense. As an experience, Monument Valley 2 remains much the same as the original, only it doesn’t even have the appeal of being something completely original and, thus, delightful.

When Monument Valley came, it had the advantage of there never having been anything to compare it to. Playing Monument Valley 2, you get a clear baseline to measure it against, and while the second game is still enjoyable, it’s less satisfying nonetheless.

monument valley so much colour monument valley

Monument Valley 2 is a gorgeous game that pairs impossible geometry with beautifully laid out landscapes, and characters who start off as ciphers and slowly gain in personality. Much like the original, the pastel colour palette stands out, and the now familiar towers are filled with strange systems to get you from point A to point B. Without spoiling things, the game features a series of puzzles – that are largely simpler than the original – as you work your way through a series of impossible buildings, slowly unfolding the story just like the structures themselves. It’s all very pleasing, if familiar.

It’s possible that people won’t agree with this – we’ve seen vicious Twitter battles play out on this topic already – but Monument Valley 2 feels more like an expansion pack, rather than a new game. Both Monument Valley titles are short games that offer up a beautiful world for you to inhabit, but at this point, and after the hype of the WWDC reveal, perhaps our expectations were simply at the wrong place for this game to be worth the asking price.
This becomes clearer when you compare Monument Valley 2 to another iOS sequel that just released recently – Framed 2. The game released this week, also at Rs. 400 ($4.99 in the US), which makes for a good comparison. Framed is another one of those “concept” games you’ll find on iOS; the original game from two years ago has a unique premise – you’re shown a series of comic-book frames, and if you change the order of the panels, you can change the outcome of the story.

Pop art colours, sharp lines, and retro background music all come together to make Framed an engaging buy, though the concept wears a bit thin by the end of the game. Framed 2 recognises this, and fine tunes the game, elevating it from quirky and interesting, to must play.

framed game framed game

The story of Framed 2 features the same characters and it’s again told without any dialogue, but there’s a lot of drama and emotion nonetheless. The different settings are dynamic, while the core mechanic of rearranging panels remains. You will rearrange the frames to determine what happens next, and find ways to evade capture using the environment.

The difference between these two sequels can not be overstated. Framed 2 is the result of a developer taking a hard look at its game, deciding it could do better, and delivering on that thought. Monument Valley 2 claims to be the same thing – but feels more like a developer looked at its output, and thought, “this is great”.

As a result, where Framed 2 has not been afraid to change things up, making the police more effective and the storytelling crisper and more fulfilling. On the other hand, Monument Valley 2 tries to be a more faithful sequel, and in the bargain, misses out on building on the original.

As the reviews have pointed out, whether you’re new to the series or a big fan of the original, Monument Valley 2 is well worth your time and money. But given how original the first game felt, we can’t help but feel a little disappointed.



Sega Forever on Android and iOS Isn’t the Netflix of Retro Gaming

Sega Forever on Android and iOS Isn’t the Netflix of Retro Gaming

Sega Forever is the company’s attempt at bringing back its older games to modern devices, games that are synonymous with consoles such as the Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis as it was known in the US), Sega Master System, and of course, the Sega Dreamcast to name a few.

To kick this off, Sega has made classics like Comix Zone, Phantasy Star II, and Sonic the Hedgehog available on the App Store and Google Play. You can play them for free with ads and cloud saves, or simply pay a nominal fee of Rs. 160 ($1.99 in the US) to play them ad-free with support for local saves. Unfortunately, the free versions doesn’t support offline play.

While this initiative is called Sega Forever, typing that into the App Store or Google Play doesn’t take you to any app named ‘Sega Forever’. Instead you’ll see some of the aforementioned titles available for download as separate apps.

It’s here that the very idea of Sega Forever falls flat. You see, Sega is positioning this as the Netflix of retro gaming. On paper, this sounds cool. Unfortunately, the practicalities of this have yet to be ironed out. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video let you download or stream a host of content from those apps, but this is not the case with Sega Forever.

Sega Forever doesn’t have a subscription for classic games either either. Well, not for now at least, with Sega stating that it wants to use the smartphone as a gateway with ads to allow for some form of monetisation. It’s also eyeing the PC games space too and it might have a different revenue model.
This lack of consistency – intentional or otherwise – continues in the titles on offer. Firing up Sonic the Hedgehog, you’re smacked silly with nostalgia. From opening menus that have the game’s box art and cartridge, invoking a sense of simpler times, to the classic ‘Sega’ refrain when the logo pops up on screen, the company hasn’t shied away from its heritage or its fans.

But this isn’t the same across games. Comix Zone for example, doesn’t have the same attention to detail that Sonic the Hedgehog gets in terms of menus, though much like Phantasy Star II and other titles at launch, it does have visual references to the console they were all for – in this case the Sega Mega Drive – front and centre.

At the same time, these games have a mention of Sega Forever and other titles under the label in the first screen of the game itself – something that Sonic doesn’t have. The blue hedgehog might be Sega’s mascot, but you’d think that Sega would use his popularity to highlight the other games in the Sega Forever initiative too.

Every bit of what constitutes to Sega Forever is disorganised and scattered. Granted, Sega is doing what it can under the framework of current guidelines from the likes of Apple, but it makes us wonder if this is an earnest attempt to make and preserve classic titles available to a larger audience, or simply a quick money grab.

By launching on mobile the company gets access to more users, but not necessarily those with the capacity or inclination to pay. Rather, Sega Forever on iOS and Android has more potential to serve as an ad platform thanks to the sheer number of titles that can be offered from the Mega Drive and Master System libraries alone.

The real test of realising the idea that is the ‘Netflix of retro gaming’ will depend on Sega Forever’s execution on consoles and PC. With the potential for better aggregation and bundling, a unified achievement system, perhaps a trading card meta-game layer (on Steam), and pixel perfect reproduction minus ads, it could just be what the Sega faithful and newcomers need. Till then, you’re better off getting your retro fix elsewhere.


Oracle re-spins legacy software into cloud growth game

oracle.pngThe demise of legacy enterprise software vendors may be a bit overblown and Oracle appears to be showing a blueprint and a ground game that leverages its customer base into an as-a-service recurring revenue stream.

Oracle’s fourth quarter was strong on many fronts, but can be summed up in two words: Legacy lives. And if you couple Oracle’s results with strong performances from Red Hat and VMware you’ll find that the giants are adapting.
Brad Reback, an analyst at Stifel, put it best in a research note following Oracle’s fourth quarter:

Oracle’s strong print combined with recent solid results from Red Hat and VMware suggest that legacy software vendors continue to improve execution despite the changing IT landscape. It further goes to show how sticky enterprise software is and that legacy players can adjust as they leverage their privileged position within their massive installed base footprint.

You could also add SAP into that mix.

Perhaps these enterprise giants are melding license and cloud models into something hybrid.

The upshot: Enterprise software giants don’t necessarily have to win new cloud customers as much as convert the ones they have into an as-a-service model. Meanwhile, the power of Oracle’s bundle–database, HRM, CRM, ERP, infrastructure–means that customers can cut deals. Oracle has about 13,550 customers in its active software-as-a-service base.

And now let’s toss in Oracle’s cloud at customer play. Oracle noted that AT&T is moving its on-premise database to the cloud. The revenue didn’t show up in Oracle’s fourth quarter, but the deal was strategic. Oracle’s plan is to bridge hybrid and public cloud by running its services in a customer’s data center.

CTO Larry Ellison and CEO Mark Hurd outlined the deal. Ellison noted that there are similar deals to AT&T in the pipeline. “During this new fiscal year, we expect both our PaaS and IaaS businesses to accelerate into hyper-growth, the same kind of growth we’re seeing with SaaS, as our customers begin to migrate their millions of Oracle databases to Generation2 of the Oracle Public Cloud,” said Ellison.

Hurd added the following details on the AT&T deal.

  • AT&T’s deal is ratable over time and Oracle nets more revenue.
  • There are more than 10,000 Oracle databases at AT&T.
  • AT&T wanted the data on-premise due to regulations.
  • “We take our Oracle Cloud machine and we are able now to do all of that with them on their premise and give them all the benefits of the cloud. We manage. We patch. We basically run the cloud for them and we help them get all of that done,” said Hurd.
  • Financials weren’t disclosed, but Hurd said the AT&T transaction is important because of what it represents for the Oracle customer base.
  • Meanwhile, Oracle added several ERP, HCM and CRM customers. These customers are also moving up from on-premises to the cloud.

Oracle’s bet is that on-premise database licenses become cloud machine similar to the way customers have moved apps to the cloud.


Software export growth set to slow: Nasscom

Domestic market expected to grow faster than exports and may touch $26.5 million in FY18

The country’s software export growth is set to slow to 7-8% this fiscal year, down from 8.6% a year earlier, according to industry body Nasscom.

Nasscom expects software export revenue to be between $124-125 billion in the current fiscal year to March 2018. Software exports during the last year ended March 2017 were $116 billion and domestic market revenue, excluding that of hardware, was $24 billion, both in constant currency terms. The domestic market was projected to grow faster than the export market during this fiscal, Nasscom president R.Chandrashekhar said. Revenue from the domestic market may increase 10-11% and touch $26-26.5 billion.

Last fiscal, the industry added $11 billion in revenue, an increase of 8.6% in constant currency and 7.6% in reported currency, despite headwinds in the form of “increased rhetoric on protectionism, elections, Brexit and visa issues.

Macroeconomic uncertainties also led to delay in the decision-making process of customers, while in traditional services the growth was slower on account of the focus on cost optimisation. Currency volatility led to a difference of 1-3% between constant currency and reported currency growth, the National Association of Software & Services Companies (Nasscom) said.

Stating that it was the first instance of Nasscom making the guidance announcement in Hyderabad, Chairman Raman Roy said it is a precursor to the focus that will remain on the city over 8-12 months ahead. Hyderabad will play host to several programmes of Nasscom as well as the prestigious World Congress on IT, which is coming to India for the first time.

‘Inflection point’

The outlook, Nasscom chairman Raman Roy said, comes in the backdrop of the industry being at an interesting “inflection point.”

Mr. Chandrashekhar said improvements in financial services and a high potential in digital businesses would be the key growth drivers. Nasscom had deferred making the announcement in February. Then it had lowered the projections for the last fiscal year.

“The direction today is far clear… have a greater visibility and reasonably confident of what we are talking about,” he said.

An improvement in legacy business and increased automation-based projects would be among the growth drivers, Mr. Chandrashekhar said. The industry also foresaw itself as a net hirer. The number of people to be hired this year would be between 1.3 lakh and 1.5 lakh, he said. The demand will be for technology-skilled professionals and it was imperative for new and existing people to reskill themselves.

Vice-chairman Rishad Premji said a big opportunity for reskilling was emerging and unlike in the past many in the workforce were coming forward to equip themselves with new skills.


BlackBerry’s Banner Year Hits Snag as Software Sales Falter

Image result for BlackBerry’s Banner Year Hits Snag as Software Sales Falter

The Canadian company, which exited the hardware business last year, missed analysts’ estimates for total revenue, the majority of which is now made up of software sales. Revenue excluding some costs was $244 million in the fiscal first quarter compared with the average analyst estimate of $265.4 million.

The shares fell 5.2 percent to $10.49 in early market trading at 7:58 a.m. in New York.

The lower-than-projected sales struck a negative note in what has otherwise been a banner year for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company. Shares have surged more than 60 percent as investors started treating BlackBerry like the growing software company it has turned itself into. An $814 million windfallawarded to end a dispute with Qualcomm Inc. over royalty payments and positive comments from short seller Andrew Left didn’t hurt either.

The Qualcomm payment bolstered BlackBerry’s cash reserves, which now stand at $2.6 billion. That means Chief Executive Officer John Chen could resume making acquisitions to bolster software revenue, a tactic that helped replace some of the company’s evaporating hardware sales over the last three years.

Share Buyback

Some of that cash will go toward share buybacks, with BlackBerry authorizing TD Securities to buy back as much as 6.4 percent of the company’s circulating shares on its behalf. Buybacks have been part of Chen’s tool box in his bid to revive the company’s fortunes. Shares taken out of public circulation are used to offset the company’s employees equity inventive plan.

BlackBerry also re-organized how it reported revenue to reflect its current reality as a software company with a side business in licensing old hardware patents. The new software and services segment accounted for $92 million in revenue, up 12 percent from what would have been $82 million in the same quarter last year.

Chen has said he wants to increase that software number faster than 13 percent a year, as he fights with competitors like International Business Machines Corp. and MobileIron Inc. for the growing market in software that helps companies and governments keep their employees’ devices safe from hackers.

Licensing revenue was $32 million, compared with $25 million last year. Handheld devices revenue, which is made up of licensing agreements for the company’s phone brand to company’s like TCL Corp., was $37 million, compared to $152 million last year when the company still produced its own phones.


‘Trump & Dump’ program aims to profit off Trump tweets

The "Trump & Dump" artificial intelligence program identifies Trump's market-moving tweets, assesses instantaneous

Techies have devised a program to execute quickfire stock trades to take advantage of President Donald Trump’s Twitter habit of blackballing individual companies.

And the president’s tweets are saving puppies, since when the program earns money, the funds are donated to an animal welfare group.

The “Trump & Dump” artificial intelligence program identifies Trump’s market-moving tweets, assesses instantaneously whether the sentiment is positive or negative and then executes a speedy trade.

Ben Gaddis, president of Austin, Texas marketing and technology company T3, said the idea was sparked by watching Trump’s actions during his transition, when twitter attacks of companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin sent the share prices tumbling.

“Everyone is asking themselves how to deal with the unpredictability of Trump’s tweets,” Gaddis told AFP. T3’s response was to develop a “bot,” a piece of software that does automated tasks, to trade on the information.

The company has so far been pleased with the results, which yielded “significant winnings” on two occasions and a “slight” loss on a third trade, Gaddis said.

In early January, T3 scored a “huge” profit by betting Toyota’s share price would fall after Trump lambasted the automaker for building cars in Mexico, it said in a short video on the T3 website.

The time lag between the Trump tweet and T3 trade was only a second, according to a short video on the T3 website.

T3, which has pictures of numerous dogs on its website and describes itself as having “dog friendly offices” is donating the earnings from the bot-directed trades to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

“So now, when President Trump tweets, we save a puppy,” the video.




[Source:- Phys.org]