Google Stadia’s internet speed requirements are just the beginning

Google Stadia on Thursday unveiled its pricing and some of the video games you can play on its all-new service set to launch in 2020. The company also offered up some guidelines as to the types of network speed requirements it has for various qualities of gameplay: 10Mbps  for 720/60fps stereo, roughly 20Mbps for 1080/60fps HDR with 5.1 surround audio, and 35Mbps for 4K/60fps HDR video with 5.1 surround.

That’s all well and good, but don’t assume that meeting Google’s internet speed requirements means you’ll be able to play at the stated quality. They’re the minimum, but not necessarily sufficient, conditions.

Google — like many of the PC cloud-gaming services — doesn’t mention the other, more important issues that usually affect your experience as exemplified by Nadia Oxford’s tweet: the network. If you’re getting potato streaming, then local network congestion is what’s mashing it.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Think of it as being able to drive 75 mph on the highway, but then you hit the city and your speed unavoidably drops to an average of 25 mph. That number encompasses a lot of stop and go. While these services will test your network, and even in some cases include jitter and other types of network latency data in its calculations, like stop-and-go traffic it can bottleneck by surprise at any moment. And none of it even factors in a given device’s connection stability.

In other words, even if you’re getting 500Mbps with no latency when Google checks your network, at any point while you’re playing, the entire block may start streaming some random playoff game in 4K HDR and those packets interweave with your game packets, interrupting how smoothly they’re flowing. Google fails to lay out any of the details, such as maximum jitter and latency, that you’d want to see before plopping down your $130/£119 for a Founder’s Edition preorder.

When latency rises, frames and frame-rates drop, audio stutters, image quality degrades visibly, your trigger pull registers a millisecond too late and you end up dead in a puddle of your own blood while screaming at the cats in frustration. (OK, maybe that last one’s just me.)

While Google has an advantage over many competitors in that it owns a lot of the network infrastructure between its game-hosting cloud servers and the edge servers which are the last point of delivery between Google and your internet service provider or cellular carrier. But there’s only so much it can do to optimize packet delivery once they leave your ISP. And while many of these services have algorithms to gracefully fall back to lower levels when network issues arise, but that’s not always executed well.

And none of this even includes the irritation of excitedly trying to launch a game, only to be told that your network isn’t up to snuff at the moment — bandwidth great but too much jitter, please try again later. I participated in the Project Stream Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey trial. The first time I ran it, it was great. The second time, unplayable. Both times Speedtest told me I had more than enough bandwidth. And that problem’s not limited to Google.

Everything announced at WWDC: Get the latest on iOS 13, iPad OS, Dark Mode for iPhone and more.

New Mac Pro makes its debut: The long-awaited update to Apple’s flagship desktop starts at $5,999, available in the fall.


Why Facebook Just Suspended Another Data Analytics Firm

Why Facebook Just Suspended Another Data Analytics Firm


  • Facebook on Friday suspended Crimson Hexagon
  • Facebook is under investigation over its work with Cambridge Analytica
  • The revelations were first reported by the Wall Street Journal

Facebook said Friday it suspended a longtime partner that had used data from Facebook and other social networks to assist governments – including Russia, Turkey, and the US – in monitoring public sentiment, a more cautious approach in the wake of a data privacy scandal.

Facebook said it had found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Boston-based company, Crimson Hexagon, but it was curtailing the company’s access to its data while it investigated the matter.

The preemptive move represents a shift for Facebook in the wake of the controversy over political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which Facebook said inappropriately collected the private profiles of more than 80 million Facebook users. The social network is under investigation from three different federal agencies over its work with Cambridge Analytica and, since the crisis erupted, has suspended more than 200 apps which had access to Facebook data.

Crimson Hexagon, which primarily used public, aggregated data from people who made their profiles available for anyone to see, is the largest of this new wave of suspensions.

Crimson Hexagon Chief Technology Officer Chris Bingham said in a statement Friday, “Crimson Hexagon is fully cooperating with Facebook who has publicly stated its investigation to date has found no wrongdoing.”

The revelations were first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The Journal cited documents which said that Crimson Hexagon worked with a Russian non-profit, the Civil Society Development Foundation, that had Kremlin ties and used the data to study the Russian people’s opinion of the regime of President Vladimir Putin. The company also used Twitter’s data feed, called a “Firehose,” to assist in a decision to shut down Twitter during pro-democracy protests in 2014.

Facebook has stirred controversy before over whether its data was used to monitor people for undemocratic purposes. In 2016, The Washington Post reported that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, had shared public data with a startup that helped law enforcement agencies track minority protesters in Baltimore, Maryland, and Ferguson, Missouri. Shortly after, Facebook changed its policies to prohibit its partners from using any data for “surveillance.”

“We don’t allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram,” Facebook said in a statement Friday. “We take these allegations seriously, and have suspended these apps while we investigate.”

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

Twitter and Facebook both sell public data for what’s known as ‘sentiment analysis” or “social listening.” The tech companies aggregate people’s posts, comments, likes, locations, general demographic and other information into anonymous data feeds that many startups purchase in order to analyse and sell to clients, including corporations, brands, and governments. Privacy advocates have raised concerns that sometimes data can be linked to individuals, particularly when it being used to monitor sentiment in real-time events, such as a concert or a protest.


Android P Might Just Be the Beginning of the End of Android Fragmentation

Android P Might Just Be the Beginning of the End of Android Fragmentation


  • Android P will finally leverage the effort gone into Project Treble
  • Android beta is available to non-Pixel phones for the first time
  • Go edition for P is coming too

It’s been 10 years since Android was first launched and Google has come a long way in tweaking and improving the functionality of the operating system, to a point where its the most dominant platform today. From phones to televisions to smartwatches, we are constantly interacting with the OS in some form or the other. At Google I/O 2018, Dave Burke, VP of Engineering for Android, and Sameer Samat, VP of Product Management for Android and Google Play, gave the audiences a peak at some of the new features headed to its next big instalment, which is simply known as Android P for now.

While it is still in the finishing stages, Google has released the public beta which you can now download and try out on a Pixel phone as well as, for the first time, on select OEM phones too. There are big changes coming to Android P, both on the UI side as well as system level changes, which promise things like better battery life, a ’new’ form of navigation, and a much deeper focus on making sure the wellbeing of the user isn’t impacted in a negative way.

ALSO SEEHow to Install Android P Beta on Google Pixel Devices, Nokia 7 Plus Right Now

We’ve been testing out Android P ever since Google released its first Developer Preview back in March, but the recent new features also bring up a lot of questions about Google’s strategy with Android. We caught up with Burke and Samat to get some answers to our burning questions around Android P.

We begin with the new gesture support that’s been added to Android’s navigation system. This isn’t enabled by default, so you can opt to use it or stick with the traditional ‘three-button’ layout. With the traditional on-screen navigation system (the triangle, circle and square), which Burke now refers to as “hieroglyphics,” Google found that many people didn’t quite understand how to use the controls, especially the ‘recent apps’ button.

With navigation gestures or Overview as Google calls it, Burke says, “we’re very careful to keep the home button,” a reference to Apple’s iPhone X (Review), which famously does not have a home button. But more importantly, what took Google so long to bring this feature to Android? Google’s blog postattributes the introduction of these gestures to the ever growing sizes of smartphone displays. However, we’ve had large phone display for many years now. Remember Google’s own Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P? To many, it seems like a knee-jerk reaction to what the competition is offering. But, Burke says, the team has been “increasing gestures all the time” and that, “it’s something [Google] has been working on before iPhone X.”

Android P feature dashboard androidImage credit: Google

One cool thing about the multitasking system in Android P is that you can actually interact with the opened apps (shown as cards now, similar to iOS, MIUI and many other custom ROMs), which no one else offers. This means, when you’re in the multitasking menu, you can directly copy text from the opened cards, without actually switching apps. What’s more, Android P will also offers app predictions depending on what you select. For example, if you select text, you might get a prompt for Google Docs, which would automatically open a document with the text already pasted in.

ALSO SEEAndroid P: Adaptive Battery, Gestures-Based Navigation, and Other New Features That Android P Brings

Dashboard is another new feature which gives the user an overview of their app-usage habits and is part of Google’s well-being push, to ensure its users spend a healthy amount of time on their phones. App Timer is interesting as it lets you set time limits on apps to prevent excessive usage. So once the clock runs out, you’ll be nudged to stop using the app, and it will be greyed out.

This feature isn’t present in the first public beta, but considering this is a manual process, we wonder how many people would actually use it? We feel an average user wouldn’t care about the amount of time he or she spends on an app, so it would make more sense if this process was automated.

For instance, it would be great if AI could automatically detect the amount of time you’re using the app and then nudge you to stop using it, which you could accept or ignore. A Google representative clarified that since this feature is still not finalised, the workings of it could change in the final release.

The Adaptive Brightness feature is said to use machine learning now, which learns your habits of adjusting the brightness level and then will automatically do that for you, rather than just rely on the ambient light sensor. This is very cool update and a much needed one, since we’ve found that brightness adjustments made using just the ambient light sensor on many phones aren’t particularly accurate to our preferences. The ability to learn your habits in order to adjust the light level is a welcomed addition.


Chat is another big focus for Google, as it desperately tries yet another attempt at creating a popular chat platform, this time, to take on the likes of Apple’s iMessage. Its new Chat app will be based on the RCS platform, an evolution of SMS, which involves creating partnerships local mobile operators to use this feature.

Google has been in talks with carriers in the US for a while now but no word on how this is progressing in India. As we understand this, when this eventually rolls out, users would be able to take advantage of the rich multimedia features of RCS if the person they are texting also has an RCS compatible phone and network. Else, it should default to regular SMS messaging.

Another first for Google is releasing a preview build of Android for phones outside of the Pixel family. Right now, Google has announced seven devices from different OEMs that are part of the beta program, which means you can get the latest build of P running on a Nokia 7 Plus (Review) or even the upcoming OnePlus 6. It is a little strange to see the LG G7 ThinQ absent from this list, especially since Google has worked closely with LG on this release for adding a dedicated button for Google Assistant. We were unable to get a comment about this.

Another thing you have to wonder about is whether these hand-picked devices will get the final version of Android P on day one? This has been nearly a decade long dream for Android users who aren’t Nexus or Pixel owners. From what we gather, the timeliness of the rollout will ultimately depend on the OEMs. As for the reason why these specific handsets were chosen for its beta program, it seems like this isn’t entirely Google’s decision, but could have more to do with the recent partnership forged between Qualcomm and Google.

Android P features dashboard android p

The chip maker is prioritising Project Treble for three particular SoCs right now – the Snapdragon 845, Snapdragon 660 and the Snapdragon 636 – which are seen powering the chosen seven. Burke states that Project Treble is also “playing out exactly as we expected.” He adds, “You were never going to see a benefit last year… you [will] start seeing the benefits now.”

Finally, there’s the question about Android P (Go edition), which is also on track according to Samat and should be launching around the time P arrives later this year. Regarding the rollout strategy, Google didn’t have anything to comment on this but from what we understand, that would still be up to the OEMs, since Go edition phones aren’t part of the Android One program, so Google doesn’t have the control to push the updates directly.

There’s still plenty of time before Google serves us the finished version of P, which incidentally, is yet to be christened. Samat says they are open to suggestions, so what do you guys think Android P should be named?




Last week, San Francisco became the first major city in America to pledge to connect all of its homes and businesses to a fiber optic network.

I urge you to read that sentence again. It’s a ray of light. In an era of short-term, deeply partisan do-nothing-ism, the city’s straightforward, deeply practical determination shines. Americans, it turns out, are capable of great things—even if only at the city level these days.

You might think: Big deal, San Francisco is our tech capital, the last place that needs this. But for years, San Francisco has had a major problem. True, it’s the tech capital of the country and a progressive leader among US cities, but before last week it had no plan to ensure that it had world-class data connectivity for its residents at a reasonable price. Techies frequently bemoan this fact, showing one another screenshots of spinning wheels. San Francisco’s dilemma is a compact form of the crisis in communications facing the rest of the country: Although fiber is the necessary infrastructure for every policy goal we have—advanced healthcare, the emergence of new forms of industries, a chance for every child to get an education, managed use of energy, and on and on—the private sector, left to its own devices, has no particular incentive to ensure a widespread upgrade to fiber optic connections.

Comcast dominates access in the city, but has no plans to replace its cable lines—great at downloads, not so great at uploads, no opportunity to scale to the capacity of fiber thanks to the laws of physics, and expensive to subscribe to—with fiber. And its planned enhancements to its cable lines have, in other cities, resulted in a product costing $150 per month. AT&T will say it’s upgrading to fiber in San Francisco, but so far its work in many other US cities has been incremental, confined to areas where it has existing business customers to serve or where it already has fiber in place. Other, smaller providers similarly have no plans to do a city-wide upgrade, leaving San Francisco with a deeply uneven patchwork of connectivity.

Just as in the rest of the country, poorer and less-well-educated San Franciscans tend not to subscribe to a wire at home, but instead rely wholly on smartphone data plans—no substitutes, given their expense and throttled capacity, for what’s possible using a wired connection.

It’s taken San Francisco a number of tries to get to the point of suggesting a city-controlled utility fiber network that private-sector retail operators can use as a neutral platform. Like Bill Murray’s Phil Connors in Groundhog Day, the city has been steadily learning. 10 years ago, the failure of a much-hyped city partnershipwith Google and Earthlink for a city-wide wifi network was caused by inexperience on all sides: No one was up to the job of accounting for the number of hotspots and the amount of backhaul that would be necessary for a wifi network to serve San Francisco’s data-hungry citizens in their homes and businesses. Eight years ago, a city-commissioned report recommended a fiber network, but plans didn’t proceed because of lack of leadership and the absence of a concrete plan.

The city has finally gathered both sufficient expertise and the political will to move ahead. Last week, Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell released a substantial reportfrom expert consultant CTC Technology & Energy that essentially provides a detailed, thorough blueprint for a fiber network connecting every home and business in the city. (Disclosure: I’m the co-chair, with Supervisor Farrell, of the unpaid advisory committee he convened to look at the issue. I have no clients or consulting arrangements, and receive no income or other compensation, direct or indirect, from any telecom-related company.)

This CTC document isn’t just another report. It is a pioneering and carefully nuanced study that marches deliberately through a range of public-private options for network construction, and suggests that the city separate “dark” from “lit” fiber planning. The “dark” fiber would be passive, public-works-like construction of basic fiber infrastructure, and would include no retail customer-service relationship. The “lit” fiber would be retail data-flow internet access service to customers.

The most interesting and simplest version of a public-private partnership suggested by CTC is found on page 93, deep in the report: The city would issue a franchise to a private company to build a dark fiber network reaching every home and business (adding to the 170-plus miles of dark fiber already owned by the city), and then would turn around and have a publicly controlled entity lease that fiber to private operators. Private operators, in turn, would install the electronics that “light” the network and would connect up customers to the internet.

The city would not be in the business of competing with existing providers in this model, but would, instead, be providing basic infrastructure that any company could use—the connectivity equivalent of a city street grid. The cost to the public of borrowing the money to build this basic network—estimated at about $1.5 billion by CTC—would be significantly lowered by leasing revenue from advance arrangements with operators. The city would subsidize low-income residents wishing to subscribe for fiber services from those private operators. CTC sets forth a detailed timeline for getting all of this done.

What’s great about this suggestion is that it removes any political argument that the city is somehow undermining the private market for internet access services. At the same time, a dark fiber public-private partnership would dramatically lower the cost for the private market to do what it does best: directly serve customers in a competitive environment that, on its own, produces low costs and innovation. There are undoubtedly well-funded private entities out there that will gather themselves to lease the city’s fiber; indeed, CTC strongly recommends that the city start seeking out those lessees right away. Public comment on all of this will also be essential.

Fiber is, or should be, a utility available to all Americans. All of our advanced-wireless dreams, all the Internet of Things amazingness, depends on having a solid, dependable, ubiquitous fiber infrastructure reaching everyone at a reasonable cost. San Francisco, after years of study, has finally gotten to the point of readiness to take this step. Bravo to Mayor Lee and Supervisor Farrell for their commitment to the future of their beloved city. Here’s hoping that other US cities follow suit.


Georgia Tech’s working Tennessee, and this cut to set up a touchdown is just vicious

Image result for Georgia Tech’s working Tennessee, and this cut to set up a touchdown is just vicious

It didn’t lead to a score, but it’s an incredible feat of athleticism by Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall. The Yellow Jackets have been handing it to No. 25 Tennessee, dominating possession with their flexbone offense and running up a 21-7 lead in the third quarter. That Marshall run went for 28 yards, and he carried for a one-yard touchdown a couple of plays later. He’s been electrifying.

When Marshall scored, Tech had controlled possession for 26:58 to Tennessee’s 8:43. It’s been an utterly dominant flexbone performance, with Marshall (at the time of that touchdown) only throwing four times. He completed two for 59 yards, and Tech’s been marching along methodically for five yards per carry — over and over and over.

Tennessee had an entire offseason to prepare to stop Paul Johnson’s triple option. It doesn’t appear that the Vols did a great job of it. Marshall’s already well over 100 yards rushing.


Blogging taken up more than just hobby, professionals use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest to push content

Blogs, Blogging, Blogging as hobby, blogging a hobby, Social Media, blog posts on social media, blog posts on twitter, blog posts on facebook, blog posts on instagram

In the pursuit to stand out, many bloggers have begun to publish their content on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. It’s very crucial to drive traffic from these channels
to the core site, they say.

Ananaya Banerjee

“Naked Cricket’s timing just happened, almost like a streaker on a cricket field… there’s no explaining it really,” says Gaurav Sethi about his first blog. New Delhi-based Sethi, who shut his advertising agency in the capital in 2005, started Naked Cricket (a blog on cricket, with articles, songs, cartoons, etc, on the game) the same year. At that time, blogging was a relatively new phenomenon in India, but that didn’t deter him. Three years later, after warming up to the online space, 50-something Sethi, with some friends, started his second blog, Bored Cricket Crazy Indians (BCC!), which features other bloggers apart from Sethi and their commentaries on cricket. As early as a decade ago, the idea of blogging was very simple: most people considered it just a hobby and got around to it only on weekends. It was bloggers like Sethi who gave it a twist by pursuing it professionally. The appeal, of course, is manifold. As a profession, blogging offers a mix of subjects—fashion, food, travel, tech and much more—to write on, the opportunity to work on one’s own terms, as well as make a living out of it. For some like 30-year-old Harsh Agarwal, it was a ticket to live a “boss-free” life. New Delhi-based Agarwal, a professional blogger and entrepreneur, quit his job at Accenture in the national capital within the first five months of launching his blog ShoutMeLoud, which offers solutions to aspiring bloggers and enables them to build their own blogs, in 2008 and has never looked back since.

“I never thought blogging could be pursued professionally until I discovered Google AdSense,” he says. Google AdSense, like other ad programmes, is designed to display targeted advertisements on website pages through which website publishers generate revenue, depending on the number of visitors or clicks on the site. “I was amazed to discover that all I needed to do was write what I liked, get traffic and the money would just come in,” Agarwal says. Today, Agarwal has eight blogs—ShoutMeLoud is the most popular, he says, followed by ShoutMeTech, which offers tech solutions, and Wpfreesetup, which helps users navigate WordPress. Ads, undoubtedly, play a very important role in the life of a blogger.

But more than being just a source of income, ad contributions help bloggers deliver better content on time by providing an incentive, offers 30-year-old Srinivas Tamada, the brain behind the blog, 9lessons. US-based Tamada started his blog in 2009 as a way to offer unique solutions to complicated Web programming problems. Later, Tamada transformed his blog into a money-spinning venture when he built a commercial social network software, Wall Script 8, which aims to enable people to understand and build their own social networks. The software is currently available in two versions for purchase on the Wall Script 8 website priced at $89 and $109, respectively, and has been downloaded over 5,000 times till date, with several ad-on upgrades on sale with it. Clearly, bloggers like Tamada didn’t take long to catch up to speed with the lucrative side of the profession that opened up because of the Internet boom.

A recent inductee into the club is 33-year-old Charu Tripathi, who, after spending four years in the e-commerce industry, quit her job as a brand and marketing consultant in Mumbai in 2015 and started Le Hedonist, a luxury-fashion blog, the same year. “Seeing the whole magic of building brands from the ground up had me itching to create something of my own,” says Mumbai-based Tripathi. It was her friend Neha Dwivedi, a graduate in luxury brand management from ESSEC Business School in Paris, who pitched the idea to collaborate for a blog to Tripathi. “I believed this was a truer application of all that I had learned,” says 33-year-old Dwivedi. The two girls started Le Hedonist with the aim to educate Indian consumers about fashion and luxury, they say.

Then there is 43-year-old Kalyan Karmakar. The food columnist and author relocated to Mumbai around 15 years ago after spending his early life in Iran and the UK, where he worked as a market research consultant. Interestingly, it was his wife Kainaz, who works with an advertising agency, who nudged him in the direction of blogging, observing his passion for food over the years. Karmakar’s blog, Finely Chopped, started eight years back and has been instrumental in fulfilling his “life’s mission to give men the confidence to cook, so that they don’t have to depend on anyone else to eat well.” Karmakar’s blog has him trying out recipes he saw his mother whip up or those that catch his fancy every now and then. He posts videos of himself cooking, along with pictures of places he has travelled to just to eat something famous, tasty or special.

Finely Chopped has not only won awards from the Food Bloggers Association, India, every year since its inception in 2013, it has also spread to other social media platforms such as YouTube, where Karmakar conducts personalised food walks in Mumbai to introduce viewers to his favourite food haunts throughout the city. Interestingly, Karmakar isn’t the only one branching out to alternative media. In the pursuit to stand out, many other bloggers, too, have begun to publish their content on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. “It’s very crucial to drive traffic from these channels to the core site,” say Tripathi and Dwivedi.

Sethi of BCC! agrees. Bloggers need to use social media to reach out to the right people, he says. His advice to nascent bloggers? “(There is) no use writing in isolation. So be prepared to use social media tricks if you are starting a blog,” he offers. But in spite of its mass reach, social media has a flip side as well: the problem of plenty. With so many self-made experts in all fields, blogging is getting a tad bit saturated, admits Tripathi. The challenge that, hence, presents itself to bloggers, old and new, is how to be heard or seen over the clamour? Tripathi says it helps to give a thought to who one serves instead of just replicating the same content everywhere. “Bring a spin to your original idea,” the co-founder of Le Hedonist advises.

The other challenge is that of credibility. Agarwal of ShoutMeLoud ensures that the content published on his website goes through a basic checklist, verifying if it’s going to help someone programme their blog better. “I only publish it if the answer is yes,” he says. Similarly, cricket blogs like BCC! came up at a time when fearless comments in cricket journalism in the country were not aplenty, says Sethi. When he started BCC! in 2008 with a few blogger friends, they constituted pretty much all the Indian cricket bloggers back then. Soon, they added a Pakistani, a Bangladeshi and a Sri Lankan as guest bloggers. BCC! struck a chord with enthusiasts of the sport and even went on to win the BlogAdda Cricket Blogger Award three years back. “It has been one helluva ride,” says Sethi.


President Trump Just Donated His Salary to the Education Department. Here’s How Much He Wants to Cut From It

Image result for President Trump Just Donated His Salary to the Education Department. Here's How Much He Wants to Cut From It

Before he entered the Oval Office in January,Donald Trump pledged to donate his yearly salary of $400,000 that he earns serving as President of the United States.

Fulfilling that promise for the second time this year, Trump donated his second-quarter salary of $100,000 to the Department of Education on Wednesday to help fund a STEM camp, which teaches young students about science, technology, engineering and math.

But the gift is just a small fraction of what the department would lose under Trump’s proposed budget. Though Trump’s 2018 budget will not be enacted without congressional approval, his proposal would cut the education department’s spending by $9.2 billion — or about 13.5% — which would include significant slashes to student loan programs.

A similar situation occurred in April when Trump donated his first-quarter salary to the Department of Interior, which stands to lose 12%, of about $1.6 billion, of its funding under Trump’s proposed budget. His $78,333.32 gift back then is helping fund the National Park Service’s battlefield preservation efforts, which is currently $229 million behind in deferred maintenance costs.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released a statement Wednesday thanking Trump for his donation, lauding “his commitment to our nation’s students and to reforming education in America so that every child, no matter their ZIP code, has access to a high quality education.”

“We want to encourage as many children as possible to explore STEM fields in the hope that many develop a passion for these fields,” she added.

It is unclear what the STEM camp will look like, but DeVos mentioned a reading event she hosted with Trump’s daughter Ivanka, special assistant to the president, at a Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C. aimed at encouraging young girls to learn more about STEM subjects.

Representatives from the White House and the Department of Education did not immediately respond to request for comment.


Nokia 8 Price Leaked; Launch Date Said Tipped to Be Just 2 Weeks Away

Nokia 8 Price Leaked; Launch Date Said Tipped to Be Just 2 Weeks Away


  • Nokia 8 is now tipped to launch this month only
  • Initially, it may come in 4GB RAM/64GB storage variant
  • Nokia 8 is also tipped to be available in four colours at launch

Nokia 8, and not Nokia 9, is expected to be the true Nokia Android flagship if reports are to be believed, and it seems the device’s launch is not too far away. Now, a fresh leak hints that the Nokia 8, which has been leaked multiple times over the past few weeks, will be launched as soon as July 31. Along with this, the Nokia 8 price, colour options, and some specification details have also been leaked, giving us comprehensive details about the upcoming flagship. With this launch, the HMD Global-owned brand will be able to compete better with the likes of Apple and Samsung, though the competition will only get tougher as Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 hit the market in the next few months.

Nokia 8 price, launch date, specifications

The latest information comes from German site WinFuture, and claims that the Nokia 8 will be priced at EUR 589 (roughly Rs. 43,400). This is still not as expensive as the Apple and Samsung flagships, but does fall comfortably in the premium price bracket. It is also lower than the earlier tipped price of EUR 749 (roughly Rs. 55,300), while the India price was tipped to be at Rs. 44,999. Also, the report claims that the smartphone will be launched this month itself – on July 31. That’s just two weeks from now, and if this information is true, all information about pricing, specs, and availability in different regions will be out soon.

The report states that Nokia 8 will launch with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage initially, though the rumoured 6GB RAM and 8GB RAM variant may see the light of the day a little bit later. Lastly, at launch, the Nokia 8 will be available in four colour options – Blue, Steel, Gold/Blue, and Gold/Copper. These colour options might be named a bit more creatively on launch day.

Past leaks suggest that the Nokia 8 will sport a bezel-less design, a USB Type-C port and dual speakers at the bottom edge of the smartphone. At the back, it will sport a thin vertical camera strip, or a dual camera setup. The smartphone is also tipped to sport an iris scanner, be IP68 water resistant, support dual-SIM slots, and a fingerprint scanner as well.

The smartphone is expected to feature a 5.3-inch QHD display, will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC, will sport a 13-megapixel dual camera setup at the back and a 13-megapixel front camera as well. The dimensions are expected to be at 151.55×73.7mm.


Galaxy Note 8 news update – Has Samsung just revealed its next flagship smartphone early?

Samsung Note 8

Is this the Note 8? Samsung reveals image on Twitter
Samsung is unlikely to unveil its new Galaxy Note 8 until later next month but the firm may have given its army of loyal followers an early glimpse of this latest device.

The Korean tech firm has just tweeted an image of a mysterious device and it’s got fans in a flap that it could be the first look at the Note 8.

The photo was posted on Twitter with the words “Do what you want. #Exynos will get things done,” and is aimed publicising this latest own-brand processor.

These brains are included in some versions of the Galaxy S8, however, the image in the tweet is not Samsung’s current flagship.

As soon as the photo was published, Samsung Note fans began speculating that Samsung has published the first look at the new Note 8.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 high-resolution render based on the latest leaks

One Twitter user commented, “It’s Note 8 wow how wonderful infinity design.”

Whilst another added, “If this is the Note8, god damn Samsung! It is very beautiful!”

There’s no confirmation if this image is the new Note 8 but it would certainly confirm rumours that the device is going to feature an edge-to-edge curved Infinity display.

The sensors at the top of the image also show how the new facial recognition could feature.

However, one thing that may disprove this image is a leaked Note 8 is the fact there’s no buttons on the side of the phone.

Samsung Note 8 release date

Even with the latest technology allowing for more interactions via the display, the Note 8 would still need some function switches, such as power and volume, on the side of the phone.

Although this latest image may not turn out to be the Note 8 there’s certainly plenty for fans of the series to be excited about.

This giant phablet looks set to be one of the most powerful smartphones ever made with features including a dual-lens camera, huge battery and updated S Pen with improved performance.

Sadly, it seems all of this technology could come at a price with the Note 8 expected to cost over $1,000.

This would make it one of the most expensive smartphones ever created.


Smart-home gadgets could allow hackers to access your home network in just four days

AN investigation into smart home gadgets has revealed that crooks can hack into your home network and connected appliances in just four days.

Gadgets such as the Amazon echo and Cloud Pets soft toys are all susceptible to being hacked by cyber criminals, research shows.

The Amazon Echo is a largely secure device. But Which? found that if you have one close to a window, it can be ‘hacked’ by someone shouting at it from outside

The Amazon Echo is a largely secure device. But Which? found that if you have one close to a window, it can be ‘hacked’ by someone shouting at it from outside

Which? carried out a snapshot investigation to test whether popular smart gadgets and appliances in homes could stand up to a possible hack

Which? carried out a snapshot investigation to test whether popular smart gadgets and appliances in homes could stand up to a possible hack

The investigation was undertaken by consumer group Which? to test whether popular smart gadgets and appliances in homes could stand up to a possible hack.

The consumer body said: “With so many new and different products entering the market, [we’re] concerned that some appliances pose a risk to consumer security and privacy.”

The group set up a home with a host of smart gadgets – from wireless cameras, to a smart padlock and a children’s Bluetooth toy – and hired a team of ethical security researchers, SureCloud, to hack them.

It found that while some of the devices proved harder than others to infiltrate (such as the Amazon Echo), eight out of 15 appliances were found to have at least one security flaw.

They include the Virgin Media Super Hub 2 router, which SureCloud was able to gain access to in just a few days.

And the CloudPets stuffed toy, which enables family and friends to send messages to a child via Bluetooth, was hacked into by SureCloud – which was then able to make it play its own voice messages.

In light of the investigation, the majority of manufacturers included have beefed up their software and security.

Virgin said that as well as informing 800,000 customers to update their password, it is also in the process of upgrading its customers to the more secure Super Hub 3.

The Virgin Media Super Hub 2 router is set up with a simple password and hackers were able to gain access to it in just a few days

The Virgin Media Super Hub 2 router is set up with a simple password and hackers were able to gain access to it in just a few days

CloudPets is a stuffed toy that enables family and friends to send messages to a child via Bluetooth – it is highly susceptible to hacking

CloudPets is a stuffed toy that enables family and friends to send messages to a child via Bluetooth – it is highly susceptible to hacking

A Virgin Media Spokesperson said: “The security of our network and of our customers is of paramount importance to us. We continually upgrade our systems and equipment to ensure that we meet all current industry standards.”

Smarter, whose coffee machine was included in the investigation, said: “Smarter takes product and customer security very seriously and prides itself on embedding state-of-the-art protective technologies into every layer of end-to-end ecosystem.”

Amazon, despite being a “largely secure device” also contained at least one security flaw, Which? found.

In response to claims that hackers could access people’s Echo gadgets and potentially order goods from their account, Amazon said: “Orders placed with Alexa for physical products are eligible for free return.”

How to enhance the security on your smart gadgets and devices

  1. SET strong passwords: Many smart devices come with generic default passwords that are easy for hackers to guess. Set a strong and unique password, ideally with a jumbled mix of letters, numbers and special characters
  2. Update your software: Keeping software or firmware updated means that the latest security is installed on the device
  3. Complete the set-up: All smart devices should be connected to a secure wi-fi network. This is because many use their own wi-fi during the set-up process which, if left unsecured, is an easy target for attackers located within range of the device
  4. Location, location: Be mindful of where devices are located in the home. Those close to windows or behind thin doors can be more easily accessed from outside.

Will Liu, country manager at TP-Link UK, said: “Security and privacy are a top priority for TP-Link.

“The Which? report shows how important it is for consumers to keep their network and data safe. Since the magazine reviewed our Smart Plug we have tightened security via our Kasa App, which controls all our smart devices.”

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “There is no denying the huge benefits that smart-home gadgets and devices bring to our daily lives.

“However, as our investigation clearly shows, consumers should be aware that some of these appliances are vulnerable and offer little or no security.”

CloudPets is a stuffed toy that enables family and friends to send messages to a child via Bluetooth

CloudPets is a stuffed toy that enables family and friends to send messages to a child via Bluetooth

Hackers hired by Which? were able to get the toy to play its own voice messages

Hackers hired by Which? were able to get the toy to play its own voice messages

CloudPets owners should ensure the latest security is installed on the device

CloudPets owners should ensure the latest security is installed on the device

Which? added that despite the popularity of these products and the benefits they bring, they believe that wider action is needed to close security loopholes so that the maximum benefits to consumers are realised.

“The industry must take the security of internet-enabled and smart products seriously, by addressing the basics such as ensuring devices require a unique password before use, using two-factor authentication, and issuing regular security updates for software,” they said.