Goodbye, Yahoo! You would be missed

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If you are from the generation that saw the dial-up Internet age, you must have used one of the many service of a company called Yahoo! Be it chatting away in your favorite chat room or searching for something on the Internet (yeah, people used to do that before Google came along). Yes, that Yahoo! that still feed our nostalgia of the early, humbling days of the Internet, is selling itself.

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Alphabet Surpasses Apple as the World’s Most Valuable Company

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Alphabet Inc., the holding company of Google has unequivocally becomes the World’s Most Valuable Company, surpassing Apple with a market cap difference of $23 billion dollars – Google’s market cap was $558 billion with 8% increase after the company reported its fourth-quarter earnings. Meanwhile, Apple’s market cap sits at a $535 billion.

The company smashed expectations on both ends, bringing in $21.3 billion in revenue and earnings of $8.67 per share. What amazing is that Google, a software company, surpassed the revenue of Apple, a hardware company with crazy margins on its products. This narrative alone speaks a lot of its capabilities and focus on making the best of what they make, which are mostly intangible services.

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Lollipop for Your Phone

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In case you were wondering, your smartphone won’t be asking you to buy it a Lollipop. Not any time soon, anyway.

Back to the actual topic, Google has announced to roll out one of the biggest version upgrade since Android 4.0 today. Lo and behold, Android L(ollipop) 5.0, following the tradition of name its operating systems alphabetically after sweet delicacies. This latest version of Android have been in spotlights ever since Google announced it in I/O 2014 a few months back.

So what’s new?

A bunch of stuff, really. From complete revamp of internal workings to a sexier, sleeker user interface to material design, it is said to be the

largest, most ambitious release on Android

Some of the most notable features of Android Lollipop are:

  • Consistent design and look-and-feel in all of the devices.
  • 5,000 new API’s for developers.
  • OS sync (yes, OS sync) across multiple devices running on Android Lollipop. So you launch an app on your phone, do some stuff on it, pick up your tablet, and continue where you left off on the phone. Your photos, songs, searches, recent tasks, and even applications get sync across devices.
  • Categorization of notifications – say you’re on a dinner date and wouldn’t want to have it disturbed so you allow only certain kind of notifications to be displayed to you, like a text message from a family member or a voice note from your home land-line number.
  • Android now runs on Android own runtime environment making it more efficient and less power hungry than its previous versions. Google claims that its optimizations into core Android will give your device an extra juice of 90 minutes every day. For you tech-savvy people out there, here’s a comparison between Android Lollipop’s ART and previously used Dalvik Virtual Machine.
  • Material Design – unified experience across device platforms and screen sizes allowing a user to intuitively use an Android application whether they’re tapping away on their smartphone, tablet, your smart watch, or an in-car Android computer.  For more detailed features of Material Design, read this article.
  • Ability to create multiple user profiles and switch between them. Switching a profile would keep your photos and other data private, including the apps you’ve installed on the device.
  • 3D but flat, yet 3D.

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    Look, ma, it’s both flat and 3D

There are plenty of features in Android Lollipop that are yet to be disclosed about the operating system. So, if you’re saying to yourself, “Well, awesome! So when do I get my hands on a phone running Android L?” And the answer is: if you’re a developer and have Nexus 5 or Nexus 7, you can get to play with it. For the rest of the folks, Google is going to release Android L on 1st of November. So hang tight!

Basit Saeed

Passionately a software developer, Basit Saeed considers himself a person who believes in software and social media being the change agents of 21st century. He is a techy, a gadgets freak, and loves playing with code whenever he can. He tweets at @basit_saeed.

The Internet of Things – Possibilities and Downside

Internet-of-things “Good Morning, sir! I’ve regulated the temperature to your liking. You can have your orange juice now,” your refrigerator tells you as you move towards it for your morning juice. “I took the liberty to check your Google Calendar and there’s a party on for day after tomorrow. Given that Sebastian and Elina accepted the invitation, I’ve placed an order for 3 lbs of meat for steaks as you prefer a steak party with the two of them. Moreover, you drank the last can of Coke last night so I’ve placed the order for that, too. And don’t worry, I’ve notified the supermarket to deliver the goods after 7 PM as you’re home by that time.” You nod along having that glass of orange juice. You then put it in the sink and walk towards the bathroom for a brush and a shower. There, you find that the bath has already been prepared by your bathtub and the temperature is just perfect according to the weather your bathtub found out assessing the latest weather forecast. While you’re brushing your teeth, the mirror in the bathroom comes to life and shows you a summarized view of your Facebook news feed, Twitter timeline, and news from the sources you prefer, thanks to Google web history it keeps of you. In case you are wondering, this is not a day out of the life of Tony Stark in the next Iron Man movie, or an excerpt from a Sci-Fi novel I’m writing these days. This could be our world in the next ten years from now. Lo and behold the INTERNET OF THINGS.  Continue reading

Microsoft Releases Source Code of MS-DOS and Word for Windows

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If you’ve grown up in the 90’s, you must be familiar with MS-DOS and Word, two incredibly awesome software developed by Microsoft at the start of it being the global leader in software and OS market for decades to come. MS-DOS or Microsoft Disk Operating System was literally the start of Microsoft when they sold off the OS to then super power of entire computer industry, IBM and everybody who uses a PC is familiar with Microsoft Word, a word processing application that now comes as part of an office productivity suite.

Computer History Museum today, with permission from Microsoft Corporation, has released the source code of both MS-DOS and Word for Windows, in an attempt to give software development students an insights to software that changed the course of history.

 

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Over-Inflating Your Opinion

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Knowing that a major population of earth is young, are evidently very active and visible over the internet. The major target audience posting and consuming the content on social media is also the younger population, while it is expanding to accommodate wider all-inclusive age brackets and demographics.

A need to interact and share defines the people of today. Users gravitate towards social media platforms they can participate in and contribute towards in terms of content, where they receive the most positive responses. Hence, the choice between sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and the likes. If you notice closely our behaviors on Social media are extended to our social lives. Out of many such interwoven behaviors one is the over-inflation of opinions and voicing it to the extent of imposing them, belittling those who disagree. All because we have the freedom of speech.

We have often read how Facebook destroys the self-esteem of its users, and we condemn all the vicious things technology can do. What went unnoticed was how social media over-inflates its user’s egos with too many likes, shares, interactions and retweets on expression of social or political issues.

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Spotflux.. No More! Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Blocked Access to Spotflux in the Country

Spotflux-blocked-in-Pakistan Spotflux, a free proxy service that allows people to access uncensored content on the internet, has finally been banned by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). We tweeted about PTA interrupting Spotflux’s service by blocking ping requests to its servers on January 28. It is confirmed that it might have been a test run to a full-fledged ban on Spotflux and quite possibly other proxy services in the future.

Spotflux isn’t the only web application that has faced ban in Pakistan. More than a year ago, PTA banned YouTube blaming a controversial movie trailer Innocence of Muslims to be the source of civil unrest in the country. Moreover, Skype and Viber have also been blocked temporarily due to security reasons of an impeding terrorist attack. Continue reading