What SMS Integration to Facebook Messenger means for users?

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Saturday, February 13, 2016 |

Facebook Messenger once featured SMS integration, but was removed in November 2013 citing lackluster adoption of the service by users. The company has confirmed plans to bring back SMS support in Messenger along with multiple account support with both features for Android users.

According to Facebook, they're currently testing the ability for people to easily bring all their conversations, from SMS and Messenger, to one place.

It’s really a simple way to access and respond to all your SMS messages within the Messenger app, alongside all the other features that Messenger offers.

Also, Messenger now supports multiple accounts at once, so users don't have to switch profiles by signing out of an account.

Facebook had always touted Messenger as a cross-platform messaging application, while trying to make this happen through integration with other services, allow you to use Messenger for all your conversations.

The importance of messaging for businesses to communicate with their customers, makes multiple account support very crucial, hence the launch of the feature on Android to enable users to switch profile from a single account.

If you want to try out the new features you can get latest version of Messenger App in the Google Play Store, then go to the Facebook App settings and see if you have Change SMS App as an option.

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Twitter Feed: Real-time vs Algorithmic Timeline

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Friday, February 12, 2016 |

Twitter has announced a new feature that help users catch up on the best tweets from people they follow, rather than the norm of real-time update to timeline. It'll afford users the option to get the tweets they’re most likely to care about to appear at the top of the feed.

The machine-learning algorithm understands your interest as you interact more with the tweets, meaning the more you use it, the more accurate the suggestions get over time.

It update tweets in recent and in reverse chronological order, and based on your previous behaviors (reply, Retweet, or like), Twitter will now place the feeds you’re most likely to care about at the top of your feed.

Real-time vs Algorithmic Timeline

Some users have already started to scream “Death to Twitter”, it is worth knowing that the feature isn't available by default, and you'll need to opt-in to get the new feature. So therefore, no fuse as you can choose to leave your timeline as it is now.

While, Twitter's real-time update has singled it out from the competitions and lending more to its credence, as natural conversation is supposed to be spontaneous. However, when you follow hundreds of people on Twitter — or maybe thousands — then, it can feel like you’ve missed some of the most important Tweets with real-time update.

What Twitter's algorithmic feature is trying to achieve is presenting you with the best contents you’re most likely to interact with based on interest.

Albeit, there are fears about the possible abuse of the feature, as a monetization scheme, Twitter may want to offer paid access for brands that are looking for targeted advertising.

How to activate the new feature?

Once you log in to Twitter, you'll land on your timeline which displays a stream of tweets from accounts you have chosen to follow on Twitter.

You can adjust your setting for "Show me the best Tweets first" by doing the following: go to your "Account Settings" page, Under Content, look for "Timeline" and toggle the box next to "Show me the best Tweets first" to change the setting.

And after reading the suggested tweets, you can simply pull-to-refresh, and your timeline returns to default. Meanwhile, the feature will be rolling out in the coming weeks.

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YouTube Red: What's the first Original Programs Impression?

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Friday, February 12, 2016 |

Google debuted a new YouTube subscription service, Red, in late 2015 promising unique shows; viral hits and music videos you cannot find anywhere else. Now fast forward to February 10, 2016 as the first original series and movies are now available, exclusively for YouTube Red.

YouTube Red is perceived as Google's foray into the arena where Netflix Amazon, and Hulu have already dominated. So what can the company conjure to turn the table around to its favor, despite coming late to the party?

It differ from those typically found on Amazon or Netflix, given that them are focused more on promoting own favorite creators, and these YouTube's stars already have their own coterie of fans.

Find below the all new four original programs:

  • Dance Camp, an amazing story of unlikely friendships, unleashing passions, and discovering yourself all through the power of dance.
  • Scare PewDiePie, a reality-adventure comprising 10-episode series with Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePieas he faces near-impossible situations inspired by video games.
  • Lazer Team, an action-comedy about four people on a mission to save the Earth from aliens as they discover a spaceship from another world.
  • A Trip to Unicorn Island, a movie on Lilly Singh's 26-city world tour.

The obvious difference in the content is that all of them feature entertainers who became prominent on YouTube itself. This means that YouTube Red programs are aimed at the set of young people who make up the majority of the audiences for such performers as PewDiePie.

YouTube believes its content, bevy of talents and audience can make it the player to beat in paid streaming services.

While YouTube Red is currently available only in the United States, you can purchase individual videos on Google-owned YouTube or on Google Play.

YouTube Red members can check on YouTube Red Originals channel to stay up to date on the latest movies, shows, clips, trailers and exclusive behind-the-scenes content from favorite creators. And fans who haven’t signed up for YouTube Red yet can watch short previews or sign up for a free 30-day trial YouTube Red membership.

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Malware Check: How Phishing links can be detected on WhatsApp

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Wednesday, February 10, 2016 |

WhatsApp made headlines in the news earlier in the week, but obviously, the favorite messaging app was in the bad light this time around. The report has it that malware are secretly been installed on smartphones via phishing links circulated by scammers on the messaging platform.

The scammers target WhatsApp users by tricking them into revealing personal information on opening an infected link, and such information can be used for nefarious purposes.

Some unsuspecting users are automatically redirected to a bogus website on clicking the phishing links, others are not so lucky, as they end up installing viruses on their device.

To avoid phishing scams, it is always advised to go directly to the website you want to visit rather than clicking on a link.

What can your browser do for you as regards detecting phishing links?

As phishing scams are imitations of the original emails and websites from actual companies, and may look exactly like what you'd expect, the site can't have the same URL as the original website they're pretending to represent.

So, always check the URL before clicking by hovering the cursor on the link, which will display the actual URL you're visiting.

While most modern browsers come with built-in phishing protection, it isn't always enabled by default, so you'll need to activate it. Google keeps track of common phishing sites and can alert you when you visit one, but you may need to go through Chrome setup process to make it work. And Mozilla also offers phishing and malware protection in a similar way, and you can enable it in the Security section of Firefox's preferences.

Also note that the above tips can help protect you from phishing scams as it'll become more of the habit of visiting sites directly rather than clicking links.

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Why KongaPay is more than just the Nigerian equivalent of Alipay

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Monday, February 08, 2016 |

As Nigeria is increasingly becoming a complex, diverse and very dynamic eCommerce business environment, with thousands of daily multidimensional, and non-linear transactions; providing the breeding ground for a new generation of entrepreneurs who have capabilities to identify market needs and to develop services to cater for them is now most expedient.

KongaPay is certainly a game-changer on the eCommerce and online payment ecosystem in Nigeria, and eliminates the need for customers to enter their card details for making online payments.

Konga.com is Nigeria's leading eCommerce business, which has been at the forefront of solving the online payment problems peculiar to Nigeria, with services like Pay on Delivery, or Cash on Delivery, meant to tackle the card payment processing setbacks.

KongaPay is designed to enable Konga customers pay seamlessly on the site, and the service is open to anyone with an active local bank account and a registered phone number.

While Alipay, an online payment service introduced in 2004 by Chinese eCommerce giant, Alibaba.com has moved ahead and expanded from its initial core into other related areas, KongaPay in comparison is currently focused of salvaging local online payment issues.

KongaPay is intended to serve as part of the everyday life of Konga consumers and to enable a more better customer experience.

While both services are similar, Alipay encompasses a much bigger picture, whereas KongaPay is aimed at providing a more attractive value proposition to its users.

It is now left to see the actual effect of the KongaPay service in Nigeria, which is due to become available to customers starting July on the Konga marketplace.

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CrashSafari.com crashes most Browsers; Here's a workaround!

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Tuesday, February 02, 2016 |

The CrashSafari.com meme has fired up the Internet, with pranksters sending the link to unsuspecting users with the sole intent of crashing their browsers, while Apple Safari is most susceptible, other major browsers like Chrome and Firefox also struggles to contain it.

It utilizes Java Script to put the browser into a loop, thereby adding characters into the browser’s address bar, overloading the memory, and resulting it to hang and eventually crash.

Apple's Safari is affected the most, both on iOS and OS X, as it freezes up the device, and you can’t navigate away from the site. It crashes Safari, forcing the iPhone and iPad to reset: and the screen to go blank, displaying only Apple logo.

While, Firefox is better placed in containing the exploit, as Firefox for Android, iOS, Windows, and OS X all take a while longer to load the site.

Microsoft Edge is the only exemption from this fiasco, as it loads the site immediately as if nothing was wrong in the first place.

Apple, Google, and Mozilla are apparently aware of this problem and are expected to issue a fix for their respective browsers in coming updates. Meanwhile, The following tips will serve as a workaround for now.

For those using an iOS device such as iPhone or iPad; simply press on a text link far longer so as to show the whole URL before opening it. And Mac users just have to hover over the text link to be able to see the entire URL.

If you aren't sure about the URL, as in shortened URL cases, then check it with online tools such as LongURL.org before loading.

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3 Ways to Save Data while watching Netflix in Nigeria

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Monday, February 01, 2016 |

It's no longer news that Netflix on-demand streaming service is now officially available in Nigeria, and while poor data is one of the factors hindering its adoption, cost of data is on-the-other-hand an even more serious concern for most users.

Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for HD video.

While there is a key account setting to reduce the amount of data Netflix uses, without actually resorting to watching less movies, as you'll find below - we also added some off-site tips to help maximize your Netflix experience without boring a hole in your pocket.

Adjust Netflix data usage settings

Data usage for your account can be adjusted to reduce the amount of bandwidth used while watching Netflix in either of these four settings estimated per stream: Low (0.3 GB per hour), Medium (SD: 0.7 GB per hour), High (up to 3 GB per hour for HD and 7 GB per hour for Ultra HD) or Auto (Adjusts automatically to deliver the highest possible quality based on connection speed).

The setting tab can be found under the Your Account link in the top-right corner of the Netflix website. Click the link, and find the “Instant Watching” section, then click “Manage video quality” under the “Settings” tab.

Note, the video quality setting you choose will also apply to other gadgets that you use to stream Netflix videos, including set-top boxes like Apple TV and portable devices like the iPad.

Use Opera Max to save data

Opera Max app can help you slurp up less data while streaming videos, shows and movies via Netflix. It can condense a 10MB video down to 3MB and significantly reduce instances of video buffering without loss of video quality.

The downside, however, is slowness in buffering speed which makes watching HD videos less enjoyable.

Utilize Web Browser to save Bandwidth

Start playing a video on Netflix via a browser, then hover your mouse over the HD icon near the bottom of the screen, and uncheck the “Allow HD” box.

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Facebook officially launched “Audience Network” in October, 2014, to allow advertisers to buy ads space on third-party apps powered by its targeting data, as a new way to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps.

The company in a blog post on Tuesday announced the expansion of Audience Network to include support for mobile Web, not just within apps, a move that's aimed to open up the platform to potential new publishers.

Facebook refers to its targeting capability as “people-based marketing, bringing the value of native ad formats to a new set of publishers. Whereby, publishers will have the opportunity to serve typical banner ads to mobile Web users through the Audience Network.

The mobile Web ads can also be targeted to groups of users the same way as in-app ads on the Audience Network, or on Facebook itself.

ComScore, in a recent research, found that 93% of visits to 25 news publishers came through mobile Web browsers, compared with 7% of visits from apps.

As a matter of fact, on average news sites receive approximately 40 percent of their traffic from mobile apps, while over 90 percent comes via mobile Web.

Facebook said it expects the “native ad” formats to perform better for publishers and advertisers alike.

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Search Accuracy: Is Google really more accurate than Bing.com?

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Monday, January 25, 2016 |

The debate over which search engine provides more accurate result continues, while Google has enjoyed the most hype in terms of new search technology innovations, Bing is actually the silent pioneer of much of the technologies.

Typically, the introduction of machine-learning algorithm, was first introduced by Microsoft Bing in 2005, as RankNet; meanwhile, that same technology was later announced in 2015 by Google as RankBrain.

Also, in that order, is the introduction of Natural Language to Search, which was pioneered by Bing, and later introduced by Google.

The first technologies, RankNet and RankBrain, both process search results and provide more relevant search results for users by intelligent guessing what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries. While the second instance is applicable to booking flight online, it eliminates the need to manually select airport, flight destination, and other options in conducting a flight search, making the process automatic.

Now, local search is an interesting area where the first technology must come to bear to be truly relevant, and we conducted a minor comparison search with the long-tail keyword for "how to transfer a domain name to google domains in Nigeria", while Google boasting of both "Penguin" and "Panda" algorithm filtering, with the later claiming to filter scrapped contents.

The above image is actually a saved screen for Google result for the search query, which despite the glorified and hyped "Panda" algo still manages to place a scrapped forum post referencing an original article on this blog for that same keyword. Meanwhile,it is pertinent to note the local relevance of that search query and the enforcing "Nigeria" keyword implied. Find below the Bing.com returned result:

Now, comparing the earlier result from Google to the later from Bing.com, which do you think really did the job? Which search engine eliminated scrap content and provided an original locally relevant result for the search query. In as much as this may pass as an amateur comparison, a bigger picture won't be far from this established fact.

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Malware Check: Apple's malware-blocking program for OS X Vulnerable

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Friday, January 22, 2016 |

The flaw was detected in January 17, at a hackers' conference in Washington D.C., while Apple's effort to patch the reported holes proved abortive. Patrick Wardle, a noted Mac security researcher showed everyone that there were at least two different ways to bypass Gatekeeper, Apple's malware-blocking program for OS X.

Gatekeeper is an anti-malware feature introduced by Apple to keep untrusted and malicious applications from gaining access on OS X systems.

The security feature, by default, accepts all software directly from Apple's own Mac App Store, as well as apps "signed" by developers approved by Apple, which it assume to be safe.

Gatekeeper first exploit sneaks in malicious code to run as "signed" software, by inserting malware into the code libraries, or dylibs, that most large applications share; while the second, bundle malware into compressed installer packages (.dmg files) for signed software.

The failure to check whether the app already trusted by OS X runs or loads other files from the same folder is the bane.

Albeit, the company's attempt to patch the vulnerability by including verification of dylibs to block the first exploit, was too narrow to contain the flaw. And the second patch could be bypassed by replicating the blocked tool.

The onus of the flaw remains that Gatekeeper still doesn't block every piece of unsigned software, only the most obvious ones get blocked.

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