The JavaScript and React framework, Next.js 8 comes with support for serverless deployment, whereby applications are separated into smaller lambdas or parts, to allow code to run on demand and scale automatically, with each page in the directory serving as a serverless lambda.

While Next.js is for building server-rendered apps with the React UI library and JavaScript, now the version 8 has brought with it serverless capabilities, and low-level API for serverless deployment.

And the framework also help to reduce build-time memory usage and speeds up static export, with other improvements in Next.js Version 8 including: better static export, with faster static rendering through next export on multi-CPU machines. It is performed on output files which can be served directly without code execution on server.

It offers build-time memory usage reduction, through contributions to the Webpack module bundler and this resulted in 16 times better memory usage without degradation in performance.

And there are also improvements in prefetch performance, with Next.js router enabling the prefetching of pages for easier navigation, while a sample API authentication is included to show how to authenticate against external API in programming language.

Finally, the inline JavaScript tag has been changed to JSON for safe transfer to client. Though with previous Next.js versions, the enabling of the Content Security Policy security layer required enabling script-src unsafe-inline in their policy, the change means that no inline scripts are included by Next.js, as it creates an inline script tag.

The JavaScript and React framework, Next.js 8 support for serverless applications



Instagram, the Facebook owned company is testing direct messaging for the web that allow users to chat outside the app, while this means that users on PC or Mac will be able to chat on Instagram, and users can also access Instagram via a mobile web browser to privately message others on the platform.

The general adoption of the service has been hitherto hampered by the unavailability of web continuum, as full web support could mean Instagram will be a more full-fledged messaging system, with mobile and desktop clients to serve as alternatives rather than just a feature for sharing photo and video contents.



Even as messaging remains the fulcrum of engagement on Instagram, it also made people addicted to the app, but with the availability on the web users can be able to receive messages anywhere and could send from anywhere as well.

While Facebook’s chat feature started from the web before been extended to mobile, it has continued to record huge growth; it’s possibly the more reason for Instagram Direct to embrace the web. Albeit, there is another possibility that it could be paving the way for the upcoming unification of the back-end infrastructure for Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp to allow cross-platform chat support, as reported by The New York Times.

The Instagram Direct web version is available from the arrow icon in top right of the homepage, with some features using an Instagram.com/direct/…. URL structure. And perhaps, Facebook will adopt a Direct destination website similar to https://www.messenger.com, if the feature becomes hugely popular.

Instagram Direct Messaging coming to the Web to allow users to continue chats



Google is currently testing AR navigation feature for Maps, which will allow users to use their smartphone camera and arrows on the screen to find their way around a given location.

The feature, first teased at Google I/O developer conference in May, is now rolling out to a number of users under the Local Guides program, Google Maps community members who volunteers to contribute information about local businesses, and also engaged for the testing of new features on Maps.

While the blue dot on Maps calibrates a meter or so away from real position, making the navigation feature unreliable most times, Google hopes to deploy the Maps AR navigation to makeup for the short comings.

And once navigation is turned on, the “Start AR” button will appear on Google Maps, to avail the user a real-time view using their phone's camera.

It helps by orientating the users when they are following a walking map, and also solves the common problem in getting out of a subway which is a great annoyance in many big cities around the word.

And you'll have an idea of which way you're facing, so you won't have to wait for the little blue dot on Maps to point you in the correct direction.

Google is seriously building more capabilities to Maps to make the app more useful and appealing to users, with bevy of new features like the "for you" tab offering tailor-made recommendations and the "match score" to show you how much likeness you may have for a local restaurant or business.

Google Maps AR navigation undergoes testing with select Local Guides



While high-end Android devices have specialized hardware that handles encryption using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), but smartphones in the budget segments run on low processors on which the AES can not run efficiently, Google is looking to solve the security puzzle with Adiantum.

Adiantum is designed to make encryption more efficient for devices without cryptographic acceleration, by adapting ideas from AES-based proposals for length-preserving encryption such as HCTR/HCH using the ChaCha stream cipher in a length-preserving mode. For ARM Cortex-A7, the decryption on 4096-byte sectors is about 10.6 cycles per byte, around 5x faster than AES-256-XTS.

Encryption has become hugely essential for security and privacy with the proliferation of public Wifi and the need to secure the data on our smartphones, albeit it comes as a trade-off for speed as it can take quite a while to resolve traffic through the system.

And this issue of slowness is the more reason it can not be supported on low processor powered devices, as AES would result in a very poor user experience and apps would take much longer to launch; since storage encryption has been required for most devices running Android 6.0, those devices with poor AES performance (50 MiB/s and below) remains exempted.

But Google seeks to change that because encryption is now necessary for everyone, even so much so that a device becomes practically unusable.

The ChaCha20 stream cipher offers faster encryption than AES when hardware acceleration is unavailable, because it relies on operations that all CPUs natively support: additions, rotations, and XORs. So, Google selected ChaCha20 along with the Poly1305 authenticator, which is also fast in software, for a new TLS cipher suite to secure HTTPS internet connections.

With ChaCha20-Poly1305 standardized as RFC7539, it greatly improves HTTPS performance on devices that lack AES instructions. And the end result is Adiantum, which is named after the genus of the maidenhair fern, and in the Victorian language of flowers (floriography) represents sincerity and discretion.

Going forward, device manufacturers are required to enable Adiantum for either full-disk or file-based encryption on devices with AES performance <= 50 MiB/sec and launching with Android Pie. For Android Q, Adiantum will be a part of the platform, and the Android Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) will be updated to require that all new Android devices be encrypted using any of the allowed encryption algorithms.

Google to bring Encryption to low-processor powered Android devices with Adiantum



Google launched a new Chrome plugin dubbed Password Checkup, that will alert users when their login details have been compromised, whose information is found in their recent “Collections” leak, and will prompt a warning message to update their information.

While the “Collections” leak is Google's Archive of about 4 billion usernames and passwords, and all credentials that it feels have been compromised in recent times.

On installation, all your login details entered across various sites will be checked against the database of breached usernames and passwords and a warning will be issued if your details matches any compromised record.

The Password Checkup extension automatically identify when a login details is compromised in any third-party data breach, with the passwords stored in an encrypted form, and the warnings against it stored locally on your machine.

Google maintains that users personal information are safe, as such sensitive data are encrypted, there is no way anyone can intercept or access the data.

As Chrome already offers password generator tool, if it detects that your credentials has been stolen, the Password Checkup will ask you to change the login details, and Chrome will store the new password automatically in a password credential file, that is if you choose the option, and use it to log you into a site automatically in any future visits.

Google also rolled out a related security feature called Cross Account Protection, to help in availing another line of defense to users using third-party apps, that is if you use your Google account to log into other sites.

The company will be working with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and OpenID Foundation, with other major technology companies to secure users accounts using the Cross Account Protection tool behind the scene.

And any event your account is compromised, Google will notify all the apps and websites that you’ve logged into with your Google account to make sure your other accounts are protected.

How Chrome's Password Checkup plugin can help in securing against data breaches



ClusterFuzz, which offers scalable fuzzing infrastructure that finds security and stability issues in software, used by Google for the fuzzing of Chrome Browser, and serves as the backend for OSS-Fuzz is now open source.

It has helped to unravel over 16,000 bugs in Chrome and more than 11,000 bugs in other 160 open source projects integrated into OSS-Fuzz.

While the term fuzzing implies the method for detecting bugs in software by feeding unexpected inputs to target program, which is very effective at finding memory corruption issues that's often the cause of some serious security problems.

Especially applicable in software projects written in C or C++, fuzzing is crucial in ensuring their security and stability as these languages are mostly unsafe.

Albeit, these issues can be manually sorted out, but it's difficult and rather time consuming, as bugs can often slip through even a rigorous code review, ClusterFuzz offers effective, continuous debugging at scale and fully integrated into the development process of a software project.

ClusterFuzz is able to detect bugs in software within hours after they are live and verify a fix within days.

Google had earlier offered ClusterFuzz as a free service to the open source projects via OSS-Fuzz. Now, the company has fully open sourced ClusterFuzz, making it available for anyone to use via GitHub, with instructions provided for guidance.

Google open sources ClusterFuzz, the fuzzing infrastructure for detecting bugs



If you've been following recent happening in the torrent ecosystem, then you must have known about the growing onslaught against torrent sites, with almost every major torrent sites like the Pirate Bay (TPB) and KickAsss Torrents haven been shutdown by the government authorities at one time or the other.

But no matter how hard the government kicks, they just can’t stop users from visiting torrent sites. Still, there are quite a lot of working Piratebay proxy sites available now, and many serving as torrent search engine which does not host torrent files, but provide ways for users to find good torrents on different active torrent sites.

While the Pirate Bay remains the largest and most popular torrent site, offering numerous torrent files via magnet links for the latest movies, games, software and much more; but sadly, TPB has had many ups and downs over the recent years.

Albeit, the Pirate Bay has notorious reputation for copyrighted files, the more reason its various domains have been taken down by different countries, but torrenting is not all about illegalities, as many users do share bits of larger files via torrents as it enable potentially fast download speeds.

And the rise in torrenting also meant a rise in the popularity of VPNs, which ensure you are safe and your connections secure as you sort out the different torrents. Similarly, with many ISPs in different countries constantly blocking the Pirate Bay, you can use a VPN to bypass the blockade.

3 Best VPN for TPB torrenting in 2019

1. ExpressVPN: With availability and support in over 90 countries, ExpressVPN is arguably the top notch VPN to consider for safe torrenting given the extensive support it offers. Moreover, it also allows access to the Pirate Bay from virtually anywhere in the world securely and anonymously.

ExpressVPN is equally super-fast, and offers tons of great features which makes performing tasks like torrenting an absolute pleasure.

2. NordVPN: NordVPN pride itself as one of the first service with ultra-secure connection, supporting OpenVPN and protocols like: IKEv2/IPsec, PPTP and L2TP, armed with ‘Double VPN’ servers which passes your data through two separate servers for extra security.

Additionally, NordVPN supports Onion over VPN for extra privacy, making it the number one for security and privacy conscious users.

3. CyberGhost VPN: CyberGhost VPN offers tons of robust features for privacy and rock-solid grade encryption to keep your data secure while torrenting, and possess highly optimized servers in several locations for a seamless experience.

And when it comes to pricing, CyberGhost has the cheapest prices combined with awesome features that makes it one of the most favorite VPN for the Pirate Bay any day.

If you wish to know more about these listed VPN services, do check out their respective websites for comprehensive pricing and free options available.

And always remember, using the Pirate Bay or any other torrent site without VPN can be pretty dangerous, you just don't want to experience any nasty surprises, as these sites are infamous for hosting pirated contents, and the authorities are always in the lookout for offenders.

But with VPN you are amply covered, and VPNs have made the torrenting experience so much better with their network encryption and IP masking features.

The Ultimate List of Best VPN (Both Paid & Free) for the Pirate Bay Torrents in 2019



Cranelift, an open source project developed by Mozilla in conjunction with Fastly Labs aims to help in the translation of the functions of WebAssembly portable code format to native machine-code functions, for more efficient execution on the web.

It is being built with the support of Crane Station, the Crane Compiler Organization; the Cranelift will also be useful for the running of WebAssembly code outside of the web, as it makes WebAssembly fully readable as input with native machine code as output. And the functions can be converted into static single assignment (SSA) form, with optimizations performed before the conversion to machine code, and packaged into native object files (.o files) or executed directly as a just-in-time (JIT).

Though still in developmental stage, and the APIs unstable, it has enough functionality to run certain programs such as WebAssembly MVP (minimum viable product) functions execution, with WebAssembly embedded externally as part of the complete implementation.

While the currently finished Cranelift-based product is available in Fastly’s Terrarium, a browser-based editor and deployment platform that uses Cranelift in its compiler and server launched in November 2018.

Mozilla is also working to integrate Cranelift into Firefox browser, which will be useful to generate native code to the Rust compiler, albeit Cranelift is seen as a library for bigger products rather than a product on its own. It is also working on an embeddable, nonbrowser VM for WebAssembly, which uses Cranelift for compilation and runs WebAssembly outside the web, called Wasmtime.

Wasmtime can be used as command-line utility or as library embedded in bigger application; and quite similar to LLVM compiler project, with both having textual and in-memory factors of their intermediate representation and cross-compile without rebuilding the code generator by default.

The Cranelift intermediate representation (IR), however is less friendly for mid-level optimizations, but it doesn't currently perform any by itself, and Cranelift has a larger set of instructions and no intrinsics.

Cranelift: An Open Source Project to translate WebAssembly into native Machine-code functions



A project tagged “Met x Microsoft x MIT” partnership born out of last December collaboration between New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a combination of Microsoft’s AI technology and the museum’s data, part of the Met’s Open Access Program, designed to make the museum’s art collections more accessible on the Web.

Microsoft partnered with New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art on a series of “hackathon projects" - with Microsoft Azure cloud services, including Azure Cognitive Services, conversational AI, and Azure Machine Learning, employed in the making of the projects that pair the company’s AI with Met’s collection of artwork to transform connections between people and art.

Albeit, the projects are still in developmental stage, it's not yet certain if and when it will become publicly available, but the different collaborations include: Tag, that’s it!: Which suggests the pairing of humans with machines to crowdsource keywords for art works from the Met archives, and using those keywords, they will suggest related art on the Web in conjunction with the Wikimedia platforms.

Another instance, Artwork of the Day: Utilizes Bing search engine's photograph on homepage, tagged Artwork of the Day in a slightly different genre. It uses AI to match a piece of art in the Met collections that relates to events of the day or an individual, based on available public information.

Third on the list, Storyteller: Takes a different perspective from the “Tag!” hack: with telling a story out loud, Microsoft’s conversational AI listens in for related keywords and select the appropriate art to illustrate the story. And Microsoft plans to make it possible to share the resulting stream of arts on social media or print out.

Then, My Life, my Met: Changes the focus to you and your social media feed; it intelligently matches the images in on Instagram feed with the over 400,000 images that are available via The Met’s Open Access program.

Finally, the Gen studio: Makes images the actual hack, whereby each image is matched against other works of art in the Met archive, with the intent that users will be able to explore cross-cultural connections, that is enact visual relationships between cultures. For instance. the images of the sun in Mayan art works could lead into depictions of the sun in Native American or African art.

Microsoft AI can transform Instagram Feed into literal art with Met's art collection



Piggybank.ng platform was started by the trios: Odunayo Eweniyi, Somto Ifezue and Joshua Chibueze, all former students of Covenant University, Nigeria, with the aim of solving the endemic problem of lack of savings across the country.

According to statistics, about 80% of Nigerians are required to save at least 40% of their monthly earnings to be able to survive the hard times. And especially in our society, where there is no credit system, people tend to depend on the accumulated savings to make any headway in business startup, and the majority of payments are made in cash.

The Piggybank concept is pretty straightforward and simple; just deposit as little as $1 a day in your online Piggybank.ng account, which you can not touch until an agreed withdrawal date, except perhaps for an emergency, albeit you are required to pay a 5% early withdrawal fee.

Whilst the accumulated savings are entitled to around 6% interest per annum, you can always set an agreed withdrawal date, unless perhaps you are okay with 5% early withdrawal charges.

Unlike conventional banking system, the platform restricts withdrawals until an agreed date or users can set to withdraw their savings on a quarterly basis.

The idea of a fee is actually to discourage unnecessary withdrawals, which in itself will defeat the real purpose of the platform - to help users save up some tangible amount of funds - instead of ending up using all income in servicing some unforeseen expenses.

It is particularly targeted at Nigeria’s Millennials, whom online activities via mobile phones for day-to-day communications and transactions are becoming hugely popular, and currently these demography make up about 60% of its registered users.

Piggybank.ng recorded some staggering growth in savings of 3000% between 2016-17, with savings amounting to over $5M, which statistics drew the attention of a group of investors, led by Olumide Soyombo, Co-Founder of Leadpath, who have been instrumental in the raising of $1.1M by the company.

To get started is as easy as signing up via PiggyBank.ng portal, and there’s a Quick Save option that allows you to quickly save money at hand. Both Quick Save and Auto Save can work at the same time.

You can add funds to your PiggyBank.ng account by choosing from the different payment options, including: debit cards (VISA, MASTERCARD, etc), or other means that are available on the dashboard.

Additionally, there is PiggFlex Account which is different from the Core Savings account, that gets you rewarded with points which can be converted to cash from your use of the PiggyBank.ng app, and also offer upfront interest for using the SafeLock feature within the PiggyBank app.

Piggybank.ng Review: The Platform that Let's Nigerians Save Money with Ease