Android malware is a growing issue which Google has been tackling with all the seriousness it deserves, as the company highlights the numerous ways it has stayed ahead of bad actors in the Play Store over the past 12 months.

Google's effort to make the Play Store a more trusted and safer place receives a boost as about 99 per cent of apps “with abusive contents” were tossed from the Play Store, thus making it a more challenging place for those who seek to abuse the app ecosystem for their own selfish gain.

According to Google, there's a new detection models and techniques that can identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks at scale. It uses AI-powered engine to help “detect abusive app content and behaviors — such as impersonation, inappropriate content, or malware” which then human reviewers are able to detect problematic apps.

This resulted in the successful taking down of over 100,000 bad developers in 2017, and also making it more difficult for bad actors to create new accounts and attempt to publish yet another set of bad apps.

Some samples of bad apps highlighted includes: Copycats, Inappropriate Contents and Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs).

The copycats are generally apps that attempt to deceive users by impersonating famous apps, and as famous titles get tons of search traffic for particular keywords, so the bad actors try to amass installs leveraging such traffic. And inappropriate content apps are those that contain or promote content, such as pornography, extreme violence, hate, and illegal activities.

While Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) are malware that can steal people's data or harm their devices, for instance apps that conduct SMS fraud, act as trojans, or phishing user's information.

Google promises to continue its fight and to innovate in its capabilities to better detect and protect users against abusive apps and the malicious actors behind them, with the goal of making Google Play a safe app store.

Google employ machine learning to remove bad apps from the Play Store

Microsoft Teams afford workers a more powerful hub for teamwork and collaboration, allowing them to better work with other apps. The software's latest set of new features allow users work with apps in new ways, like the ability to command apps and take quick actions from the command box, as well as include content from an app in a conversation.

Microsoft Teams also presents a way to search for apps from the new app store where you can browse by category or search by name, category or integration type.

The new update which is perhaps the biggest since Teams launched last March, makes a single release of new functionality aimed at bringing together everything a team needs in one place. It can integrate in-house apps like Excel with services like Office 365, and ones from other partners, including Trello, InVision, and SurveyMonkey.

Other new ways you can use apps in Teams to access information from another app in a conversation, which now you can have a conversation about content from an app without the need to include a screenshot or a hyperlink to the information.

Also you can add an emoji or GIF, and you can bring information from apps into a chat or channel message with a simple click. For instance, searching for a specific task in Trello, a work item in Wrike, or a weather forecast, and include an interactive card with that information into a message.

The new personal apps space affords an easy access to the apps you care about and you will see all the items that you have been assigned to across apps, like tasks in Planner, issues in Jira Cloud, or your filters or pull requests in Bitbucket Cloud. Also, you can easily find items you have recently accessed, such as OneNote notebooks or videos from Microsoft Stream.

The features are still rolling out, so expect to see them in your Teams client shortly. Microsoft have invited all users to try out the new features and provide feedback using the feedback link in the left corner of Teams.

Updated Microsoft Teams; What's expected from the revamped software

Facebook's experiments on both AR and VR has reached an advance stage, both for entertainment and communication purposes, with the company now working on AR applications that could not only modify or replace the face, but the entire body.

The company's AI Camera Team which has been credited for various computer vision technologies and creative tools that help people express themselves, has come up with real-time “style transfer” - Mask R-CNN, as the technique is called, to give your photos or videos the look of something like a Van Gogh painting.

While the research is far from unprecedented; as skeletal tracking systems are commonplace in many industries, Facebook is looking especially into keeping things simple and easy to deploy on mobile.

The aim is to ease working within hard limitations as relate to image resolution and sensor data, with the processing power available.

Albeit, the development of computer vision models for mobile devices remains a challenging task, as a mobile model doesn't only require to be small, but fast and accurate without large memory requirements.

The company has promised to continue tinkering with different models that could better fit into mobile GPUs and DSPs which has the potential to save both the battery and computational power.

Facebook tinkering with full-body replacement/tracking in a VR or AR context

While the AutoSave feature was added to Windows Office software since August last year, Mac users running the Office software have had to make do with the rather uncompromisingly absent of the nifty Office feature until now.

Microsoft last week added AutoSave to the core applications in Office for Mac 2016, and also to subscribers of Office 365.

Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 with refresh version number of 16.9, now automatically save files opened on Word, Excel and PowerPoint from Microsoft's cloud-based storage services, including OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online.

The AutoSave widget is at the top-left of the Word, Excel and PowerPoint windows when the file being edited is opened from one of the support online storage services.

With files automatically saved to the cloud repository every few seconds, which interval may vary depending on what you are working on, according to Microsoft. And locally-stored files, when opened, will show a dimmed widget indicating that AutoSave is not available.

The widget can also be used to disable AutoSave for that specific file, or turn back on the feature for the same file later.

Albeit, AutoSave for Office on Windows can be permanently disabled through the registry hacks, which instructions are available online, there isn't a similar workaround for the Mac Office.

Other new features for Office 2016 on Mac includes: real-time collaborative editing in all three applications, additional Excel charts, and a quick-start assistant in PowerPoint. And perhaps for the first time in over 20 years, Office is again built out on one codebase for all platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android).

Microsoft brings AutoSave to the core Office application for Mac

The "text bomb" glitch could allow a would-be attacker crash your iPhone by sending a malicious URL within text message, and once the recipient’s phone processes it for preview, the device would freeze, with the home screen crashing and doing other weird stuff.

While all that's required is a link containing malicious code on iMessage, and the security glitch can result freezing of your iPhone, and, in some cases, outright crashing.

The vulnerability was first uncovered by Abraham Masri, a software developer who intially tagged it “chaiOS,” a bug that would allow others to freeze your iPhone with little more than a quick text message.

Apple, though rarely mention about the details of any bug had already pushed out iOS 11.2.5, to fix the glitch and security notes that it compiled from the links received in text messages as processed and presented by victims' devices.

The bug can also affect Mac computers, according to Masri, though no fixes had been issued for now as at the time of this post.

The company had credited Masri for finding the bug, also teasing the HomePod speaker, and Siri new abilities like ability to read the news (which is only available in the U.S., U.K. and Australia for now) in the released security fix.

Apple fixes "text bomb" Glitch that could allow Anyone crash the iPhone

Mozilla has determined that going forward web-exposed features are to be restricted to secure contexts, and that new features of Firefox must meet the under-development standard that requires all browser-to-server-and-back traffic to be encrypted.

The successful restriction of existing, as well as new features to secure contexts, according to Mozilla have become much more mature.

And all the building blocks are now in place to quicken the adoption of HTTPS and secure contexts, and follow through on our intent to deprecate non-secure HTTP.

So going forward, all Firefox new features that are web-exposed are to be restricted to secure contexts, such new feature can be anything from an extension of an existing IDL-defined object, CSS property, or even HTTP response header to emerging technology like WebVR.

What this means is that traffic must be encrypted to prevent "man-in-the-middle" attacks in which hackers siphon insecure browser-server traffic by getting between the connection.

Google has already gone full-speed in the push for all websites to implement HTTPS encryption, as the company rolled out new warnings to flag HTTP connections as insecure in its Chrome browser.

While Mozilla first announced its intentions to require HTTPS back in April 2015, perhaps the new timeline after which all new features will be available only to secure websites is its first item of business, with the version of the browser, Firefox 58 set to ship in January 23.

Mozilla has promised to provide developer tools to ease the transition to secure contexts and enable testing without an HTTPS server.

Mozilla set to require all Firefox Browser-to-server-and-back traffic Encrypted

While the Facebook-owned company has been running a closed pilot program for verifying business accounts (with green checkmark) to distinguish them from personal accounts, now it has finally launched its Business app, allowing companies to fill out information such as business description, email address and website.

The business accounts are provided with series smart messaging tools that offer similar technology akin to Facebook Messenger, and making it much more possible for businesses to better communicate with customers.

For now, the WhatsApp Business app is only available in select regions, namely the U.K. and U.S., also including Indonesia, Italy, and Mexico; with a planned worldwide rollout in view.

The WhatsApp business accounts can be distinguished from individual accounts with the presence of a green checkmark, after verification of the phone number registered with the account as same with the business phone number, and the listing as “Business Accounts".

It will also offer “quick replies” to provide businesses with fast answers to customers’ frequently asked questions; “greeting messages” that introduce customers to the business; and “away messages” among other unique features. While businesses can also avail the tools and resources available at website to reach their customers.

The company have promised more enterprise solutions aimed at larger businesses with a global customer base – like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks. Albeit, such extra business features will attract some charges, and it will be probably built on the WhatsApp Business core product.

The WhatsApp Business app is currently available as a free download on Google Play in the supported regions. But still no information when an iOS version is coming.

Finally, WhatsApp for Business makes debut; targets Enterprise users

Microsoft has shutdown its free upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, and officially ended support for the OS, leaving its users as essentially running a dead operating system.

While Windows 8.1 will remain same for users, no new features or bug fixes will be made available by Microsoft henceforth. Albeit, Microsoft has provided an “extended support,” which will provide security updates until 2023.

The company had availed its users a free one-year window to upgrade to Windows 10, which till date only 7 percent of users have evaded the upgrade, against the July, 2016 deadline.

Microsoft also opened what it calls the “assistive technology” loophole: for users who use assistive technologies, such as screen readers or a Braille keyboard, to have extra time to upgrade.

The “assistive technology” loophole upgrade path to Windows 10 closed January 16, however given that the company had earlire extended it from Dec. 31, no one actually knows if its now the final cutoff for the assistive upgrade.

Microsoft still wants users to upgrade to Windows 10 and perhaps will use the loophole as an ostensible extension as back door of sorts to allow upgrades.

Even as Microsoft warns that users running Windows 8.1 will see a higher degradation of performance from the Meltdown and Spectre patches than those on Windows 10 machines. While Windows 8.1 will continue to receive security fixes for another five years, the OS certainly lacks the robustness or security of Windows 10.

Microsoft ends support for Windows 8.1, shutdown free upgrade to Windows 10

Google has announced new changes to YouTube monetization, while assuring its advertisers that their ads are now less likely to run on random, fly-by-night channels. The company added that the changes apply for the more exclusive Google Preferred program, and is supposed to be limited to the best and most popular content.

Under the new program, it would offer not only the most popular, but also the most vetted content on YouTube.

While previously, channels had to reach 10,000 total views to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), the new changes will center around the process that determines which channels can run ads on YouTube.

Instead of acceptance based on total views, Google will now consider channel size, audience engagement, and creator behavior into consideration to determine eligibility for ads. And preferred contents would be manually curated, with ads running only on videos that have been verified to meet its ad-friendly guidelines.

Going forward, new channels will need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to be eligible for ads.

And YouTube will introduce a “three-tier suitability system” in the next few months, to give marketers more control over the option to chose running ads in safer environments versus more reach.

The enforcement on these new requirements for existing channels in YPP will begin on February 20th, 2018. Additional information can be found on the Help Center.

What publishers need to know about changes in YouTube monetization

The ideal location for your business to thrive and succeed is one of the single most important decisions you will make for your business. We've all heard the phrase ‘location, location, location’ time and time again; it really is something worth taking note of. For entrepreneurs starting a new venture, choosing the right location should be at the top of your to-do list.

To find the best location for your new business, you will need to dedicate time to assess your requirements. A good approach is to decide on three things; what you must have, what you would like to have and what you cannot tolerate under any circumstances. With a clear image of what your ideal business location will look like and a budget in place, you will find it much easier to find that perfect location.

Continue below to learn how you can find the ideal location for your startup, and avoid costly mistakes, thereby setting your new venture on the path to success.

Consider the Office Facilities

The facilities available at the offices in the area will have a big impact on how suitable a location is going to be. If all of the office spaces in the area are old, dated and not well-maintained, you may want to consider looking elsewhere. Not only will facilities like these be difficult to work in but basing your business there may hurt your company image.

Premium office providers offer flexible leases with no long-term lock-in contracts and will also provide full back office support which is invaluable for startups. Servcorp are a premium office space provider with prestigious locations across the States, check their website to see what they have to offer.

Assess the Target Market

It’s important to consider your target market when choosing a location for your new venture. Look at the demographics and work out exactly who your customer is. Once you have that much information, you need to consider the local community. Are there enough people who match your customer profile in order for your business to succeed? If not, you will have to re-strategize.

Look at the Local Talent Pool

For businesses that operate remotely, you may not need a local workforce to tap into. However, if you are a growing company and you want to hire staff locally, you need to look at the local talent pool. Are there enough people living in the area or within a commutable distance that have the skills you require? Should you need to hire locally, this is a vital question to ask before deciding on a location.

What are the Costs?

As with any major business decision, your budget is going to come in to play. Rental rates are the obvious place to start but there are other considerations to be made too. For example, some properties will include utilities while others will not. Cleaning, maintenance and repairs are other potential extra expenses which you should inquire about.

And, make sure you remember to find out if a security deposit is required and if so, how much it will be. This is often overlooked by new businesses and you want to avoid any surprises when you go to sign the lease.

Good Accessibility

Look at the facility objectively and consider how accessible it will be for both staff and customers. Is there ample parking space? Can you access the property easily by public transport? Is it easy to locate for delivery drivers and customers alike? Does the building have disabled access and an elevator?

Ensuring that your office location offers accessibility, is crucial in this day and age. It’s important for your staff to be able to get to and from work easily and for clients to find you without any issues.

Why Finding the Right Location is Crucial

There are many different factors that need to be considered in order to find the perfect location for your new venture. Do your due diligence and avoid the temptation to take the very first place you see as starting off in the wrong location can be detrimental to your business in the long run.

Finally, take some time to carefully consider your requirements, investigate the local area and ensure that all the boxes are ticked before making your final decision. Remember, this is one of the most important decisions you will ever make for your new venture, so take the time to do your research to make the right call.

The Entrepreneurial Environment - 6 Tips For Finding the Ideal Location For Your New Venture

The biggest show in the the tech world, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018) attempt to migrate some of the sleek gadgetry of gaming and fitness applications down to mainstream health is perhaps a plausible feat already.

And perhaps the tech world are looking to cash in on the health industry which turnover is estimated to worth about US$264 billion annually, with specialties ranging from app-based diagnoses, to telemedicine and self-care.

While earlier CES had focused on "health tech" centered on digitizing workout and heart-rate trackers (fitness related automation), the CES 2018 iteration had most obviously raised the bar for health, fitness, wellness and medical technology. With most of the sensor technology used to help runners track performance or golfers perfect swings now being adapted for medical applications.

And startups like France-based Helite, Xenoma (Japanese firm) and Sensoria Fitness, a US-based startup, have all brought huge technological leap to tracking technology with their varied offerings showcased at CES.

Helite airbag which looks like a fanny pack is equipped with sensors, a battery, airbags and an air cartridge. The sensors detect a fall, then the airbag is deployed to help break the fall and avoid serious injury.

Xenoma aimed to help those at risk of falls, as well as people with dementia, by adapting its wearable clothing designed initially for golfers.

And Sensoria Fitness deploy system which uses sensors to keep track of seniors and persons in rehabilitation.

Other tools in offering also include those for gauging the risk of disease, an eye-tracking assessment in a gaming application to screen for concussions and brain health monitor, with the possibility of early detection indicators for autism and Parkinson's disease.

Wearables at CES 2018: Slew of self-care, health & fitness devices

While the Fall Creators Update debuted on October 17, Microsoft within the week hailed it as now fully ready for enterprise users, and fully available for all compatible devices running Windows 10.

The full availability is the final phase of the rollout process, according to the company, and as with any new feature update, it tend to target a select set of devices that they believe will have the best compatibility based on device specifications and testing done by its device partners.

Microsoft further confirms that Windows 10's second feature upgrade, the October's "Fall Creators Update," has been sufficiently tested and is fully ready for deployment across the organizations.

The company continues on its business-ready declaration even though it discontinued the original multiple-branch servicing model, but its automatic feeds upgrades has been almost as surprising as the original process.

And the new reality is that Microsoft will be pushing customers to pick up the upgrade path because enterprises have been pretty slow, which the company has been forced to extending support timelines beyond their usual 18-month span.

Microsoft, however claims that the Fall Creators Update was the fastest Windows 10 release to reach 100M devices, all while achieving higher customer satisfaction ratings compared to prior updates.

Adding that enterprise customers irrespective of the Semi-Annual Channel update cycle can also fully deploy when ready. And IT administrator should decide when to broadly deploy once they've validated the apps, devices, and infrastructure in their organization to work well with the latest release.

The company recommends that IT admins should also leverage Windows Analytics tools for help in testing and deployment of Windows 10 to their organization, and to accelerate Windows 10 migration.

Microsoft pitches Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for Enterprise

The current version of macOS High Sierra has a bug, which could allow anyone to unlock the App Store preference pane by typing any password, though not as serious as the infamous root login bug that earlier hit macOS password prompts.

While the App Store settings are unlocked for administrators by default, there are little chances that locked down system settings are at risk, however if someone got access they could disable automatic security updates to take advantage of known vulnerabilities.

Apple, already has issued a fix for the bug in the latest version of macOS 10.13.3, which is currently still in beta and may likely be released this month.

For now, keep your App Store preferences locked down, and ensure that you log out as administrator when you are away, alternatively, you should use a standard account rather than the administrator login.

And about the recurring macOS password vulnerability, Apple had apologized in a statement, and confirmed that it was "auditing its development processes" to help prevent this mishap from happening again.

Albeit, the vulnerability doesn't affect macOS Sierra or any other previous version of the operating system.

Beware: Apple's macOS High Sierra password prompt bug is real

The Spectre vulnerability affects modern microprocessors with speculative execution, and thus the data cache - programs that accept requests may be tricked into reading private data, consequently, can modify the state of the data cache.

While the exploit hasn't hit the world's biggest microprocessors in the wild, as it's almost unnoticed, most browser makers have responded by updating their software to fend off a possible attacks based on Spectre.

The exploit first spotted by Google's Project Zero security team who identified the multiple flaws in processors designed by Intel, AMD and ARM, though not-yet-exploited in the vast bulk of the world's microprocessors.

Spectre could easily be leveraged by criminals using JavaScript attack code posted on hacker-run or compromised sites, thus can also violate browser sandbox technology, by mounting them via portable JavaScript code.

The Google research team in a proof-of-concept demonstrated how an attacker could use JavaScript to read the address space of a Chrome process, via open tab, and also access site credentials that had just been opened.

Albeit, the most important fixes distributed so far have been from chip makers and operating system vendors, who have updated their applications.

Browser makers, including OS developers, are about now working on patches, as best as could be done without replacing the CPU, but effective against the flaws grouped under the umbrella terms of Meltdown and Spectre.

Google Chrome for Windows, macOS and Linux version 63 which debuted about a month ago, came with a new security technology, called "Site Isolation." Google has urged its customers to enable the feature - which is off by default in Chrome 63 - to effect better defence against Spectre attacks.

Also Google has promised more anti-Spectre defenses in Chrome 64, slated to debut in the week of January 21, with additional mitigations, and highlighted modifications to Chrome's JavaScript engine, V8.

Microsoft has equally issued updates for Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge for Windows 10, as well as IE patches for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 this week.

The Microsoft updates can be downloaded in the form of the usual Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7/8.1 or the Security Only Quality Update for the same versions.

And for Firefox users, Mozilla has updated its browser to version 57.0.4 with the same two mitigations as other browser developers.

While Apple confirmed that the December updates to macOS and iOS introduced defensive measures to help defend off Meltdown, and the Spectre vulnerabilities. The company also promised to release an update for Safari on macOS and iOS in the coming days to mitigate the exploits.

How Browser Vendors respond to fight the Spectre Vulnerability

Mark Zuckerberg, through his official page had pledged to fix the seemingly top issues with the social network this year, which ranges on questions of history, civics, political philosophy, media, government and technological rhetoric.

The Facebook CEO's major emphasis remains on thwarting the spread of false information, and the meddling with the 2016 U.S election by Russia, which blame was attributed to the tech giants: Facebook, Google and Twitter for their inability to control the activities of users with evil intents.

While this isn't the first time Zuckerberg has promised to tackle the issue, this latest move will be more wide ranging than mere managing of decisions and shaping the company's rules.

Albeit, the Facebook issues extends far beyond Russia, even as critics claim the company’s central role has undermined the news business, and sort to “hijack” our minds with products designed to keep us addicted to the social network.

Facebook had recently changed its algorithmic priorities in the news feed, placing “reactions” at per with the standard “like,” and the company appears to be pushing further into the goal of emotion-centered engagement, especially with the algorithmic reinforcement serving as megaphones for outrages.

Thus, an important step in the countering of misinformation, hate speech and propaganda — Facebook should take is to abandon its focus on emotional signal-as-engagement system.

Facebook could as well offer a filter that would keep any post (or share) of an unverified account from showing up. As its set to require companies to add additional levels of verification, and have a label that different them from individual users.

The company should also make its executives readily available to answer to the press, and be upfront about technical challenges; more open about its mistakes and willing to answer the questions honestly.

Additionally, Facebook should open itself up to independent researchers, as it presently stands, the company is a black box - a pretty difficult one at that, and in most cases almost impossible for independent researchers to analyze social behavioral traits on the platform.

What's there to fix on Facebook in 2018?

Uber has made it mandatory for every partner driver whose account is deactivated following poor ratings from riders to undergo an online test, which can be accessed at the web address: and drivers are required to input their full name, with mobile number to match their Uber account details.

Albeit, there are many other reasons partner drivers account may have been deactivated, you will certainly be able to reactivate your account without too much of a hassle. While the partner drivers are indirectly responsible for the poor ratings, there's still hope to regain account, and return to full service.

But first, you will need to email Uber to know exactly why your account was disabled. Then, once you get a response, the entire situation will become clearer as to the steps to follow to regain your driver account.

The Uber online test comprises 7 different sections, and modules that covers general knowledge questions about the Uber Driver app, including the best practice for Uber drivers and safety procedures.

Without successful completion of a section you can't move over to the next, and precision in answering the different questions is rewarded with a higher percentage, whereby if a correct answer is attained in one attempt results a higher percentage mark.

And overall, if any driver fails to attain an accumulated 90% score in the test, no certificate will be issued, but you're allowed a-one-section resit (usually, only section 7) to try to recoup up to 90% to pass the test.

If successfully, the 90% mark is attained, you'll have to wait for only 24hrs to have your Uber driver account restored. Now that you are fully aware of how to reactivate your Uber driver account, it is also expected that you learn how to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

Updated: Steps to reactivate Uber Driver Account after ban

The huge success of Bitcoin in 2017 has resulted a spike in interests on cryptocurrency, with quite a lot of technical jargon thrown around, which those who are new to crypto currency would find a little confusing.

Cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is any digital asset that employs cryptography to secure transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. While the public has shown huge interest in this new phenomenon, it won't be pretty out of place to get in tune with the concepts as it may be challenging for someone looking to learn the ropes.

So, we've sorted some terms out, though it isn't an all encompassing glossary on cryptocurrency, but may be a bit handy for those threading the crypto path for the first time!


These are network point linked to wallets that are used to effect the transfer of funds between wallets. Addresses are randomly generated consisting of 26-35 alphanumeric characters, and serves as the public key in the pair of keys used by holders to digitally sign transaction.

As a security measure it is recommended that users create alternative addresses within their wallets to carry out transactions in order to secure their fund.


Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works without a central bank or single administrator, that is a form of electronic money independent of traditional banking system.

The transactions are verified by network nodes through the use of cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. It's creation is credited to Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009.


This term is used to describe cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin, that is an alternative coin.


Short for Initial Coin Offering, ICO represents instances in which a new cryptocurrency is selling advance tokens from its overall coinbase. They are especially used by developers of a new cryptocurrency to raise capital.


This is a type of distributed ledger, comprising of unchangeable, digitally recorded data in packages called blocks. Otherwise, it refers to the full list of all the blocks that have been mined since the creation of Bitcoin.

And some of Blockchains exclusive features are immutability and decentralized information storage capabilities, which ultimately results an incredibly strong storage system.

Other associated terms are Genesis Block (the very first block in the chain), and Block Reward (reward that is given to a miner after successfully hashing a transaction block).

Hard Fork

This is a permanent diversion from the previous blockchain, that is nodes running previous versions will no longer be accepted by the newer version. It is a radical change to the protocol that makes previously invalid blocks/transactions valid (or vice-versa), requiring all nodes to be upgraded to the latest version of the protocol software.

Soft Fork

Soft fork happens when a majority of the miners upgrade to enforce the new rules. And the old nodes will recognize the new blocks as valid, as soft fork is backward compatible.


Mining is the process through which transactions are added to a blockchain. It is simply the solving of cryptographic problems using computing hardware that also triggers the release of cryptocurrencies.


Hash is a random mathematical formula used in the verification of transaction data in the process known as mining. The process involves a variable amount of data that produces a shorter, fixed-length output.

While this list isn't an all conclusive one, as we may have left some terms out, so please you can contribute in the comments box below!

Jargon Buster: All terms related to Cryptocurrency explained!

YouTube, the video-sharing platform has been a money-spinning tool in the finger of creatives the world over, and has also helped them to create their own brand. And the top YouTubers raking in millions in earnings, includes the Nigerian, Olajide Olatunji - who has collaborated with both Xbox and Eurogamer.

From top YouTubers to the celebs you’d forgotten started their careers online, find below the comprehensive infographic on how they built their careers and made their money; brought to you by MoneyPod.


INFOGRAPHIC: Top YouTubers & How They made their millions

Instagram Stories allow users merge photos and videos into a slide show, and mimicks Snapchat feature with same moniker, which parent company, Facebook had previously extended the support to include Facebook platform itself.

Now, Facebook is testing Instagram Stories cross posting to WhatsApp, which feature will include decorated photos, videos and GIFs, and to last approximately 24 hours.

With a Story posted as a Status on WhatsApp, will also remain encrypted like the rest of media contents on the platform. Albeit, WhatsApp users will have the option to tap to share to WhatsApp from the Instagram sharing screen, and will still have to press “send” in WhatsApp to post the story.

The cross posting feature is based on a code that WhatsApp makes publicly available to integrate the messaging platform to third-party apps/services.

Facebook had earlier launched a click-to-WhatsApp messaging button in Facebook ads, in a bid to help to monetize WhatsApp itself. And followed suit to commence the testing of cross-app notifications between Facebook, Messenger and Instagram to alert users when they get mentions or messages in any of the platform.

The convergence of all Facebook-owned social media platform is perhaps aimed to help grow each platforms overall engagement and traffic on the already successful offerings.

Instagram to soon allow posting of Stories direct to WhatsApp

A recent finding claims that some apps on both Play Store and Apple App Store running software from a company called Alphonso is using the smartphone’s microphone to listen for audio signals in TV ads and programs.

According to Apptopia, an app intelligence firm, there are over 106 apps on Google Play and 24 on the App Store using Alphonso software, which sometimes connect users movie viewing habits to places they visit.

While most of the apps were games and aimed at children, that listen for audio signals emitted by the TVs in order to track their viewing habits.

The tracking technology is akin to Silverpush’s software that the FTC had red-flagged in 2016, which it alerted app developers that they could be in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, And also accused them of collecting or transmitting users TV data, without actually telling users that they were monitoring their TV viewing habits.

Alphonso’s software serves as another reminder to mobile users to be careful of what they install on their smartphone.

Smartphone users should to careful to review an app’s permissions – especially if it’s asking for unlikely access to other functions, such as a game that needs to turn on the phone microphone.

Apple and Google had long required applications to get user consent if it wants to tap into the microphone. And the iOS App Store even go as hard as providing a pop-up that enforces users to agree to the microphone usage.

It is recommended that users should check where they’ve consented to microphone use in apps. For iOS users, simply go to Settings, select Privacy > Microphone; and for Android, go to Apps & notifications –> App Permissions, then Microphone.

How Smartphone’s mic is used to track users TV viewing habits

The increasing popularity of devices like the Amazon Echo have made many consumers to get used to the idea of interacting with computers using their voice, now the new year may most probably define the application of this novelty in the Enterprise world.

Just imagine the possibilities when attending a business meeting, and having Amazon Echo (or any voice-driven device) sitting on the conference table, what ease it will afford for the enterprise.

From instant answers to common query, for instance instead of powering the PC, and opening a program like Excel to find the contact numbers, you can simply ask Alexa voice assistant on the device.

Below are three suggestions for ITs voice resolutions for 2018

  • Up until now the technology has been limited by how we interact with computers. We usually type keywords into Google as the only way we are allowed to enter information. While Interfaces to digital systems of the future will no longer be only human centric, but machine driven.
  • With an AI-driven sales tool that uses voice, type and touch, connected to a voice-enabled device would make a lot of sense.
  • Smartwatches, requiring no keyboard and infused with Alexa, even if there is no screen - provides a more natural way to interact with the device.

While Amazon is already at work to introduce Alexa for Business as a cloud service at re:Invent, but other cloud companies are also expected to follow suit in expanding voice services for developers, and making it easier to build voice into any interface.

Albeit, some cloud companies have been experimenting with Echo integration, such as Sisense, a BI and analytics tool company, had introduced Echo integration as early as 2016. Also Cisco introduced the Cisco Voice Assistant for Spark in November, employing voice technology it acquired with the MindMeld purchase to provide voice commands for common meeting tasks.

As 2018 is ushered in, even more instances of this type of integration both with the help of big cloud companies, and those trying to build something independent of those vendors, should become a norm.

These are just a few suggestions, however you can share whatever are your picks in a few lines in comments. Do have a great New Year!

3 New Year’s resolutions for Voice Interfaces in 2018

Amazon's clampdown on third-party developers who leveraged the Alexa Skills as ways to make money from their creatives, initially was met with resistance as developers questioned the rationale behind the series of new policy changes on how advertising will be supported within Alexa’s voice-enabled apps.

While the world of third-party skills associated with group of apps were sold collectively to brands that needed to reach consumers through Amazon’s connected speakers, like the Echo, and other Alexa-powered devices.

Amazon in an effort to cushion the revenue crunch on developers have introduced the Alexa skills economy which though still in its infancy, make payments mandatory to developers of Alexa Skills.

The Alexa Skills economy comprises a small but fast-growing network of independent developers, marketing companies and Alexa tools makers, saddled with the task of creating voice-activated flash briefings, games and recipes through Alexa on Amazon's Echo speaker.

Though Alexa Skills market a few years ago was worth a meager by comparison of $500,000 to the now market cap of $50 million, comprising more than 25,000 skills, according to VoiceLabs. And Alexa remains an important business for Amazon, as its expanding the assistant into millions of internet-connected gadgets and into the workplace.

The Alexa economy is increasingly important to Amazon, yet most developer complains of flaws in the system as reasons that keep serious developers away from the program. And developers also take issue with the unpredictable payouts from the rewards program.

Amazon has also introduced two new ways for developers to make money by offering in-skill purchasing, and allowing some developers to sell premium content or digital subscriptions in their skills.

The company claims it has already paid millions of dollars to developers through the Alexa rewards program, and promises expanding it to more countries in 2018.

What Amazon's new Alexa Skills economy means for Developers