Snapchat to start paying its users in 2018


Snap has just announced that it is going to start incentivizing its top creators paying them by allowing them monetize their snaps in the same vein as YouTube by 2018.

The announcement of the decision to let users monetise their videos was contained in the their quarterly remarks, where Snap's CEO Evan Spiegel said
In 2018, we are going to build more distribution and monetization opportunities for these creators in an effort to empower our creative community to express themselves to a larger audience and build a business with their creativity. Developing this ecosystem will allow artists to transition more easily from communicating with friends to creating Stories for a broader audience, monetizing their Stories, and potentially using our professional tools to create premium content.

While this is great news for users, it's unlikely that the monetisation option would be available to everyone, it's likely that it will be a lot similar to the way YouTube does it allowing only those channels with over 10,000 views to monetize their content.

Apple's FaceID fooled by a $150 2D printed mask

"Where there's a will, there's a way" or so the saying goes and that phrase is more than true in the case of Apple's much lauded FaceID security system. The Face ID which Apple says is just as secure as Touch ID, might just not be as secure as Apple wants us to believe if the video posted by the security firm BKAV is anything to go. The video shows the Face ID on the iPhone X being easily unlocked by a 3D printed mask plus an artist sculpted nose in its first and only attempt.

On a not so serious but potentially problematic note, another video circulating on the internet shows how the Face ID can be used to unlock the phone of a sleeping or unconscious person using bottle caps, mushrooms and olives.

While what's done in these videos are not that easy to pull off, it does remind us that no matter how secure we think a system is , it's no match for the sheer willpower of anyone willing to spend a significant amount of time trying to get passed it.

Google Play Store Protect is a joke


Just a few weeks ago, Google made quite a bit of noise about how their new initiative Google Play Protect; they were working on ensuring that malware apps don't make their their way to user's phones. While that seems like it's a good thing, it's done nothing to keep the bad apps out of the Play Store. And a big indictment  of Google's failure came in the form of a fake WhatsApp app that managed to amass over a million downloads before it was taken down.

The fake WhatsApp app named "Update WhatsApp Messenger" managed to fool people into downloading it by using the same developer name and screenshots as the original app.
This epic fail is only the tip of the iceberg that's Google's poor app review process which has seen shady anti-virus and cleaner apps become a mainstay in the Play Store.

The Apple FaceID is totally awesome

Nope, I haven't got an iPhone X (the thing dear) but I have been watching quite a few videos of the iPhone X and it's mostly videos of how well the new FaceID system works.

When the iPhone X was announced, my interest was piqued by FaceID, I was really skeptical that Apple could really pull it off. Android has always had a "Face Unlock" feature but it didn't quite hold up well to reasonable scrutiny, even the one on the recent Samsung flagship devices are easily fooled by photos.

Based on all these and what happened during the iPhone until event, I expected FaceID to crash and burn. But from what I've seen online, FaceID is totally ninja. While one can argue that's it's not more convenient or better than TouchID, it's still a remarkable achievement on Apple's part. The degree of sophistication achieved by Apple is simply amazing. The FaceID works by projecting a series of Infrared dots on the face, and uses a computational model to determine if you are you.

A few Youtubers have even devised many clever ways to fool the FaceID system and failed spectacularly.

So far FaceID is foolproof and the only to beat the system is to use an identical twin.

ICYMI: Check out Samsung's hilarious Apple slander filled ad

Samsung is officially the king of slander as far as the smartphone market is concerned. As much as I would want to describe it, I think it's better watched to be appreciated.

Hey @Opera What's up with the full screen ads on mini

While I haven't been using Opera mini that much (Flynx has replaced it as my default browser) but every now I do find a reason to use it and lately I noticed that i am now being served fullscreen interstitial ads that prevents me from doing any thing for 5 seconds and this happens a few times a day which is really unacceptable.

I can understand Opera (or whoever owns it now) needs to make money but these fullscreen interstitial ads is just the wrong way to go about it.

A look at Dan Brown's latest offering.... Origin


I've been out of the loop for a minute that i was caught by the surprise announcement that my beloved Dan Brown had released another one of his Robert Langdon pseudo-religious murder mystery adventure titled Origin (Hat Tip to Charles Darwin) . Origin sees Prof. Langdon trying to uncover the truth behind the death of a former student who had found the answer to man's greatest existential questions and obviously the cure to religion all the while been chased around Spain by another brainwashed Christian baddie.

While the new book Origin follows the tried and trusted formula employed by Dan Brown in his highly successful Robert Langdon series however it felt more of a harder read particularly when compared to his seminal The Da Vinci Code or any of his other books other than Inferno. As usual Dan Brown tries to draw the user into the world of the Langdon, with incredible descriptions of the buildings and art that leaves the reader with the urge to see those places and art, however  sometimes it felt less integral to the story and more of a filler ploy. I couldn't help but think that in trying to replicate the recipe that served him so well with his previous books he might have robbed Origin of the chance of being this amazing story especially with its overt style similarity to the previous books. Ultimately Dan Brown's take on Singularity which is a mildly hot button issue with the futurist in the scientific community falls flat on its face by the somewhat oversimplified way in which the author describes it. The story felt overly engineered with author failing to establish a credible relationship between the events of the first act and the latter revelations.

That been said while Origin isn't that different from the previous books, it felt a lot less enjoyable not unlike Inferno . Although Inferno has something that's lacking in all of the Langdon series and that is how it's the only one of Dan Brown's books that actually addresses a pertinent issue. Compared to Inferno , the central theme behind Origin seemed a bit far fetched and ultimately disappointing in that the anticipation built up by the events of the first act is ultimately let down by the final reveal. Perhaps i am the one at fault expecting a bit too much from this one book, expecting another Da Vinci Code. Perhaps I shouldn't over think it and just enjoy this fine piece of literature.

At the end of the day, Origin is really good Dan Brown novel, it might be a harder read than its predecessors but it still has all of the right ingredients.

Oh Snap.. Snapchat couldn't convince enough people that these goofy glasses are cool


Rumour has it that Snap's hardware push wasn't as well received as their CEO Evan Spiegel would have us believe. While its use of pop-up vending machine was lauded by tech writers and enthusiasts, selling the camera enabled Spectacles to Snapchat users was harder than hoped.

Just like Google's ill-fated Glasses project, Spectacles had the same problems as users weren't too convinced that the Spectacles were cool or remotely useful. And as a result, Snap is sitting on a trove of hundreds of thousands unsold Spectacles. The failure of the Spectacles further compounds Snap's recent troubles since its IPO. 

ZTE Axon M.... because two screens are better than one

It's like it's 2009 again in the smartphone world with smartphone makers all trying to be creative with they can with how your smartphone is shaped. While other smartphone makers from Samsung to Apple have gone with the idea of making the bezels around the screen even smaller, ZTE is betting that having two screens is even better. 

ZTE is going towards what used to be the preserve of old school flip phones and sticking two hinged displays into the usual rectangular smartphone form factor with the Axon M.
The ZTE Axon M packs two 5.2 inch HD screens and is powered by a Snapdragon 821 processor which might from a year ago but still capable enough to power two displays. It also has packs a 4GB RAM, 64GB built in storage, microSD slot, 3180 mAh battery, 20MP camera and a fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button.

One wonders how consumers would receive this new and somewhat weird take on the modern smartphone. Will it garner enough attention and sales to warrant a sequel? Will the idea catch on and make other smartphone makers jump in on the idea? Or will be just another screen to break?. Regardless, ZTE isn't betting the farm on it just yet as it appears to be an AT&T exclusive for now.

image source:Android Authority

Samsung to earn as much as $110 per iPhone X sold


Samsung is about to come in a windfall if the soon to be available iPhone X does well. Samsung is reported to earn as much as $110 per iPhone X sold.

According to a report by Counterpoint Samsung, which makes the memory chips, batteries and capacitors in addition to the OLED display for the iPhone X, would make about $4 Billion which is a lot than it earns from selling its own Galaxy S8 smartphones. Although the Samsung Galaxy S8 brings in more money per unit ($202 per unit) for Samsung's components division, Apple is expected to sell about 130 million iPhone X as opposed to 50 million Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices. Apple's chip orders is reported to make a third of Samsung's total annual revenue.

Twitter to increase the character limit from 140 to 280

In a move that's long overdue, @jack the CEO of Twitter announced that the popular social network would be doubling the character limit from where it stands at 140 to 280.

According to a Twitter blog post this move would ensure that, English speaking users wouldn't have to delete words from their tweets in order to fit their thoughts into a tweet, which is something i believe a lot of English speaking users are well familiar with.

While this is a good move but it's far from most users are clamoring for like being able to edit tweets moments after sending them.

WhatsApp would soon let users delete sent messages

If you have ever sent a message to the wrong person and spent a few minutes or hours trying to make the person realise that it wasn't meant for them then this new WhatsApp would be more than a godsend to you.

According to WABetaInfo, which has a track record of discovering features that WhatsApp is considering implementing long before it makes it way to the app. The feature would not only let you delete the message from chats but also from the notifications.

ICYMI: Here's the UEFA Europa League Draw


The draws to UEFA Secondary continental football competition was held earlier today at Lyon. This year's competition would be getting some shine especially with Arsenal featuring after been unable to maintain their record of 16 consecutive qualifications for the UEFA Champions league. While the teams look a shade below the caliber of opponents that Arsenal usually face in the Champions league but the trips to Eastern Europe could prove a challenge with the tight English schedule. 

Villarreal ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
Maccabi Tel Aviv ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ
Astana ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฟ
Slavia Praha ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ

Dynamo Kiev ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
Young Boys ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ
Partizan ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ
Skรซnderbeu ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฑ

Braga ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น
Ludogrets ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ
Hoffenheim ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช
ฤฐstanbul BaลŸakลŸehir ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท

AC Milan ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น
Austria Wien ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น
Rijeka ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท
AEK Athens ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท

Lyon ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท
Everton ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
Atalanta ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น
Apollon ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ

Copenhagen ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ
Lokomotiv Moscow๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
Sheriff ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฉ
Zlรญn ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ

Viktoria Plzeลˆ ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ
Steaua Bucureศ™ti ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด
Hapoel Beer-Sheva๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ
Lugano ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ

Arsenal ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
BATE Borisov ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ
Koln ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช
Red Star Belgrade ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ

RB Salzburg ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ
Marseille ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท
Vitรณria ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น
Konyaspor ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท

Athletic Club ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
Hertha Berlin ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช
Zorya ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
ร–stersund ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช

Lazio ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น
Zulte Waregem ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช
Vitesse ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ

Zenit ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
Real Sociedad๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
Rosenborg ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด
Vardar ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ

ICYMI: Here's the UEFA Champions league Group stage draws


The draws for the group stage of what's undoubtedly the greatest annual sporting event was held yesterday in Monaco. In addition to the draws, the awards for the best players in UEFA club competitions was almost handed out. 

The award was almost exclusively a Real Madrid thing with the exception of Gianluigi Buffon who picked up the Best Goalie award, The best defender award went to the Real Madrid Captain Sergio Ramos, Lukas Modric took the best midfielder award and Cristiano Ronaldo went home with best forward award. The awards for  the best men's and women's player of the year was also handed out.

The award for the best women's player of the season  went to Lieke Martens who recently won the UEFA Women's Euro Championship with the Netherlands. The award for the UEFA Best men's player of the season went to none other than Cristiano Ronaldo who's had a exceptional year winning the Champions league, La Liga, Club World Cup and the Euros. 

The draws pitied some familiar foes with Real Madrid taking on Dortmund once again. English Champions Chelsea find themselves in the same group as Atletico Madrid, while Barรงa has been handed an opportunity to do-over their quarter-final defeat at the hands of Italian Champions Juventus. One team that would be rueing their luck would be Tottenham Hotspurs who have the unenviable position of having to face both Real Madrid and Dortmund while Manchester United and Liverpool couldn't have wished for a better pairing than they got. 

The composition of the groups are as follows:

Benfica ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น 
Manchester United ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 
Basel ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ 
CSKA Moscow ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ 

Bayern Munich ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช 
PSG ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท 
Anderlecht ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช 
Celtic ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 

Chelsea ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 
Atletico Madrid ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ 
Roma ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น 
Qarabag ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฟ 

Juventus ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น 
Barcelona ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ 
Olympiacos ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท 
Sporting ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น 

Spartak Moscow ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ 
Sevilla ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ 
Liverpool ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 
NK Maribor ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ 

Shaktnak Donetsk ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ 
Manchester City ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 
Napoli ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น 
Feyenoord ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ 

Monaco ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท 
Porto ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น 
Beskitas ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท 
Leipzig ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช 

Real Madrid ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ 
Borussia Dortmund ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช 
Tottenham Hotspurs ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 
APOEL ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ 

The group stage matches of this year's UEFA Champions league will be played as follows:

Match day one: 12-13 September
Match day two: 26-27 September
Match day three: 17-18 October
Match day four: 31 October-1 November
Match day five: 21-22 November
Match day six: 5-6 December

Opera is shutting down the Opera Max, its data compression VPN app


Today started off with a bit of bad news as Opera announcef that it was shuttering the Opera Max VPN, its data saver app for Android. The news came to me as a bit of a shock as there was no indication that the app was struggling considering that it had been downloaded between 10 to 50 million times and comes pre-installed in a few Samsung devices.

According to Opera, the decision to discontinue the app was as a result of the company having a "different value proposition from the rest of its products"

The discontinuation of the Opera Max VPN app is a bit of shame as its one app that i have comebto rely on daily to squeeze out a bit more mileage from my very limited data allowance. While the app has been delisted from the Play Store, the app would continue to function as it is for users who already have thit installed for an undisclosed period of time.