YouTube TV app for Apple TV and Roku to launch Q1 2018

  • The YouTube TV app will be launching on Apple TV and Roku in Q1 2018.
  • The app was originally supposed to be out by the end of the year.
  • Older Samsung and Sony smart TVs will also see the app early next year.

One of the limiting factors when choosing an over-the-top streaming service is the ability to stream the content to your TV. Most services allow some sort of casting from your phone or tablet, but that’s not a perfect solution. To do this, you’re relying on multiple pieces of hardware that could fail at any time. Additionally, some programming like the NFL don’t currently allow mobile streams of their content.

That’s why, when YouTube TV started to roll out its standalone app, I started doing a happy dance. I can now use the app on my smart TV or Xbox, and the experience is great. It saves me on Sundays and allows me to watch my beloved (but terrible) Bengals.

Editor’s Pick

Unfortunately for some users, they’re still lacking the app. Users with Apple TV and Roku devices were slated to get the app before the end of the year. Now, with only 12 days left in 2017, we’re getting word the apps are being pushed back to Q1 2018. In addition to Apple TV and Roku, the YouTube TV app will also come to older smart TVs in the first quarter. These TVs include some Samsung sets from 2013 and 2014. Older Sony TV’s that use a Linux-based OS instead of Android TV will get the app too.

Most of YouTube TV’s competitors like Sling, Hulu, DirecTV Now, and PlayStation Vue are all on numerous platforms. YouTube TV lags a bit behind the others as they’re all on Apple TV and Roku already. Where you won’t see YouTube TV is on Amazon’s Fire TV or the PlayStation 4. Google and Amazon have had very public battles (although things do appear to be getting better) and Sony refuses to let other streaming services on its gaming system while its pushing PlayStation Vue.

Despite all of that, YouTube TV is one of the popular options for cord-cutters right now. The lineup of channels is fantastic, and at just $35 a month, it’s very affordable. The service initially rolled out to only a few cities in the US when it first launched, but that number has recently pushed past 80.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

I’d write my thoughts about my Switch, but frankly I’m still too busy having fun with Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battles. And I haven’t even started Zelda or Super Mario Odyssey yet!

FCC officially repeals net neutrality rules: what now?

Huffington Post

Net neutrality is officially dead, but what does that mean for Internet users in the US and beyond? Will it ever come back? Read on to find out.

Editor’s Pick

Brief background

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about net neutrality, an ongoing debate in the US. Net neutrality required service providers to treat every content equally: no throttling, blocking, or providing preferential treatment for additional fee. These rules were one of the Obama-era FCC’s signature achievements, but with Ajit Pai in charge, a former Verizon employee, and two other Republicans, the organization’s stance on net neutrality has changed drastically. The FCC wanted to get rid of net neutrality altogether and undo the classification of ISPs as Title II common carriers, and that’s precisely what they voted to do on December 14.

December 14 vote

As expected, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal these landmark regulations just few days ago, the organization claiming that “the Internet wasn’t broken in 2015.” Pai commented, “We were not living in some digital dystopia. The main problem consumers have with the Internet is not and has never been that their Internet provider is blocking content. It’s been that they don’t have access at all.”

The two Democrat commissioners who dissented echoed the sentiments of net neutrality advocates: Jessica Rosenworcel says that the FCC’s “rash decision” gives Internet providers permission to “discriminate and manipulate your internet traffic.” Mignon Clyburn delivered a powerful and impassioned defense, claiming that the FCC’s vote was “particularly damning… for marginalized groups, like communities of color, that rely on platforms like the internet to communicate.”

Legal challenges?

Let’s first examine the legal implications, and the bottom line is that there will be lawsuits with a lot of interveners, challenging the FCC’s vote. Public interest groups like Free Press and Public Knowledge have already declared that they will challenge the repeal in court; the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he and other attorneys general from more than 15 states will file a legal challenge in the coming days.

These legal claims are likely to rely on the Administrative Procedures Act, which prohibits federal agencies from acting in a “capricious” manner, going back and forth on decisions with changes in political administration. However, as Wired points out, “As capricious as the current FCC’s about-face may seem, legal experts say the challenges won’t be a slam-dunk case. Federal agencies are allowed to change their minds about previous regulations, so long as they adequately explain their reasoning.” The onus is on the claimants to show that the FCC’s decision is a capricious one, which is going to be difficult to prove.

It’s going to be difficult to prove that the repeal was a capricious decision.

Net neutrality advocates may also point out that while the FCC claims that 7.5 million comments it received during the public review period were spam, created by bots, it is refusing to help investigations into what happened. It’s unlikely to have much weight, unfortunately.

Will average users feel the change?

Yes and no. It’s unlikely that Internet users in the US will be impacted – either positively or negatively ­– by the repeal overnight. As AT&T’s senior executive VP Bob Quinn points out, the Internet will “continue to work tomorrow just as it always has.” In fact, many service providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have promised not to block or throttle content. For now. The catch here is that their stance may change in the future, and even if it doesn’t and they continue to stay away from blocking or throttling content, they may still create fast lanes for their own services or for those who pay a premium.

Indeed, what we are likely to see in the future is an expanded form of zero-rating where service providers exempt certain streaming services from data counts. Carriers have been doing this even under net neutrality rules were (though the legal validity of this practice was called into question multiple times); without net neutrality rules, there is nothing even remotely getting in the way of these carriers from providing preferential treatment to its own streaming services.

Further, contrary to Pai’s statement that the Internet wasn’t broken even before 2015, and contrary to his supporters who claim that carriers won’t dare throttle or block content in fear of public backlash, the long-term effects of the FCC’s vote could be devastating. Comcast throttling BitTorrent connections, AT&T blocking voice-call services like Skype and FaceTime, or Netflix paying additional fees to Verizon are the sorts of behavior that we saw prior to net neutrality rules and there’s no reason why they wouldn’t return now that net neutrality rules have been repealed.

Comcast throttling BitTorrent or AT&T blocking FaceTime are the sorts of behavior that we saw prior to net neutrality rules.

Ultimately, the FCC’s decision gives significant leeway to ISPs: they may one day decide to block certain apps and websites, slow down content provided by competitors, bury relevant but unpaid search results, etc. Consumers in the US may end up having to choose Internet packages like TV channels, similar to what we see in some European countries. The most popular websites like Google, Amazon, and Netflix may one day be dispersed and inconveniently grouped into separate, overpriced packages. Want Google as well as Netflix? Pay up!

What about those outside the US?

Of course, given that the FCC is a US organization, its decision to repeal net neutrality rules won’t have a direct impact on other countries and users in other countries. However, if your country does have legislation similar to net neutrality rules, you might want to keep an eye on the political side of things. Policy decisions made in the US usually have a far-reaching indirect effect on neighboring countries, Anglophone countries, and countries that have special ties with the US.

Even if your country has made it clear that it wants to uphold net neutrality rules or the equivalent legislation, there may be financial factors to consider. If companies like Netflix or Spotify are adversely affected by the FCC’s decision in the US and are forced to pay more by ISPs, they will most likely increase monthly subscription fees for users in the US as well as for users outside the US.

What can you do?

Unfortunately, for those of you who are in support of net neutrality rules, there isn’t much to be done right now. Over the next few months, we will see legal battles between public interest groups and attorneys general and the FCC; we will see heated political debates; we will see predictions from both sides – those who are in favor and those who are not. Only time will tell if net neutrality rules were indeed preventing the arrival of cyber-dystopia or if they were simply an obstacle to corporate profit and further investment.

Do You know who is “Google PanDa” ?

Content quality comes up more and more in the SEO context. Focusing on content quality was the winning underutilised SEO tactic in our expert roundup, and low value content is one of the major causes of manual and algorithmic Google penalties, notably Google Panda.

Google Panda is a series of on-going algorithm updates and data refreshes for the Google search engine that the company rolls out to help refine its search algorithm to improve the value of search query results for users.

Panda is a special “filter” designed to de-rank low quality content, and since 2016, it’s a part of the search engine’s core ranking algorithm. This means that Panda updates are now rolled out faster and more frequently than ever before, with more sites affected by the update.

But the question is, what is “content quality”, exactly? How do you improve it, grow your rankings, and keep Panda away? Here are the 6 essential steps to audit your content against poor quality and fix the issues you find. But before we start.

How does Panda work?

The Panda algorithm (named after Google engineer Navneet Panda) is designed to help Google improve the quality of search results by down-ranking low quality content. The basic principle here is that Google assigns a particular quality score to each website in its index (the score is assigned site-wide, not to separate pages.)
Initially, Panda functioned as a filter applied to a pack of search results that Google considered relevant to a search query. The Panda score was re-ordering them, pushing down the low-scorers, and giving a boost to the highest scored content.
Now, as Panda signals are “baked” into Google’s core ranking algorithm, they no longer re-order the results, but form them together with Google’s other ranking signals.

How does Panda identify high quality content?

Sure thing, there’s no “gut feeling” that helps Panda identify real quality. Panda is only an algorithm that checks your website for a number of factors that Google assumes are features of a high quality website. Then, by applying some math, it gives the site a specific quality score based on the results of this check.

The good news is, if your site’s quality score is based on a number of separate factors, you can influence those factors to improve the score.

The bad news is… Google won’t disclose the exact quality factors it takes into account to calculate the score. So the list of Panda-prone issues below is an educated guess, based on what Google has said on site quality, and what trackable factors it can use to determine it.

6 steps to a Panda-proof content audit

So, we know that Panda is used to assign your website a particular score depending on its “quality” — now let’s think of the factors that may be involved in the assessment.

Step 1. Crawl your website to get a full list of its pages

Unsurprisingly, the first step in completing a content audit is to… find all your content.

And since the Panda score is assigned site-wide, it is not enough to audit just the most important pages — you need to check your entire site to make sure no low quality content is dragging your overall website quality score down.

How to check

  • Launch WebSite Auditor and create a new project for your website.
  • Enter your website’s URL and hit Next.
  • Now, give WebSite Auditor a couple of minutes (depending on the size of your website) to collect and list your site’s pages.
  • When the crawl is complete, switch to the Pages dashboard to view all your pages.

The optimal way to deal with problematic content largely depends on the size of your site.

  • For a small website (>100 pages), removing low quality content is something you can not afford. Your key strategy is to improve on every problematic page, rather than delete it.
  • For a medium-sized site (100-1000 pages), removing some of the low quality content is possible. But your main focus will be on improving content at least for the most important pages.
  • For a large website (>1000 pages), improving all problematic pages is a huge piece of work, so your focus would be to “weed out” and remove the unnecessary and low quality content.

Step 2. Check for thin content

Imagine you have a category page with only a few lines of meaningless text and hundreds of links to products. This is what’s generally called thin content. Google’s been focusing on combating thin content a lot lately, with both Panda and Fred.

Search engines use content to determine the relevancy of a page to a query. And if you barely provide any information that’s accessible to them, how are they to understand what the page is about?

How to check

1.In your WebSite Auditor workspace, locate the Word count column. If it’s not there, right-click on the header of any column to enter the workspace editing mode, and add the Word count column to your active columns.

2.Back to your WebSite Auditor workspace, sort the pages by their content length by clicking on the newly added Word count column.

Panda advice

Surely, quality is not all about word count, since there are cases when you can deliver value in a few hundred words. That is why there’s no “minimum word count” threshold that triggers a low Panda quality score. More to that, sometimes pages with a little over a hundred words do exceptionally well on Google and even get included into its rich answers.

But having too many thin content pages will very likely get you into trouble — so on average, word count under 250 words is a good indicator to locate problematic spots across your site.

Step 3. Check for duplicated/very similar content

Another factor that could be a signal of your site’s low quality is duplicated or very similar content across multiple pages.

How to check

1.In WebSite Auditor, switch to the Site Audit dashboard and locate the Duplicate titles and Duplicate meta descriptions factors under the On-page section.

2.If any of these have an Error status, click on the problematic factor to get a full list of pages where duplication occurs.

Panda advice

Very often, bigger sites have to deal with a huge amount of pages that need to be filled with content. And many of them resort to an easy way to fill out those gaps — by writing boilerplate text that’s the same on each page except for a few variables. This is what Google considers automated, low quality content.

So, besides weeding out the word-by-word duplicated content, pay attention to the similar-looking pieces (say, your page titles are absolutely identical in structure and differ only in a product name) that may be a sign of content automation.

Step 4. Check for aggregated content/plagiarism

What’s also synonymous with quality in Google’s eyes is the “uniqueness” of your content. As Google wants your content to add value and not simply repeat what’s already been said, having non-unique content on your website (e.g. plagiarized content, product descriptions duplicated in feeds used on other channels like Amazon, shopping comparison sites and eBay) is an easy way to get under Google’s Panda filter.

How to check

If you suspect that some of your pages may be duplicated externally on other online resources, a good idea would be to check them with Copyscape.

Copyscape gives some of its data for free (for instance, comparing two specific URLs), but for a comprehensive check you may need a paid Premium account.

Panda advice

Even though Google tries to identify the original source of content, experiments show that in many cases they are unable to tell the stolen content from the original.

So, to make sure content thieves don’t hurt your Panda quality score, take appropriate action if you notice someone’s using your content on their sites — either by contacting the webmaster to ask them to remove the copied content, or using this content removal form from Google.

Step 5. Check for proper keyword usage

Keywords and keyword targeting are the most basic and longest-running concepts in SEO. And if you’ve been in the search industry for quite some time, you may remember the days when SEO meant just having the right words in your meta keywords tag.

Sure, these times have passed: search engines now try to detect and punish websites deliberately using too many keywords in their content.

However, whether Google will admit it or not, their algorithms are still built upon keywords. And having a keyword in your title tag does improve your page’s rankings, meaning you simply can’t afford not optimizing pages for keywords.

So, the only ticklish question here is, “How many is too many?” And one of the ways to check this is by looking at top ranking competitors (because the sites that rank in top 10 are the sites that pass Google quality test with an A+.)

How to check

1. In your WebSite Auditor project, go to the Content Analysis module and select the page you’d like to analyze.

2. Enter the keywords you’ve been optimising this page for and let the tool analyse your page along with your top ranking competitors.

3. What you will see now is the average keyword usage stats, both on your page and competitors’ pages. Ideally, all content-related SEO factors should have a green Correct status. For any factors that don’t, click on them one by one and pay particular attention to the Keyword stuffing column.

4. If you’d like to go the extra mile and see how well your page is optimised for all topically relevant keywords (and not just the ones you specified), switch to the TF-IDF dashboard. Here, you’ll see the terms and phrases that your top ranking competitors commonly use in their content. Pay attention to the Recommendation column to find out which terms you may want to add or use less of.

5. Now switch to the Content Editor module to add or remove extra keywords and see your on-page stats recalculate for you as you type.

6. When you’re done, hit the Save button to save the optimized HTML to your computer, ready for upload to your site.

Panda advice

Remember the Hummingbird algorithm update? The one with which Google learned to recognize the meaning behind a search query and give a common answer to a number of “different-in-keywords” but “same-in-meaning” queries?

This update changed the way SEOs optimize pages — now we no longer think “single keyword optimization“, but try to make our pages comprehensive and relevant for a whole group of synonyms and related terms. So, utilizing synonyms and related terms will help you improve your pages’ relevance, rankings and avoid the keyword stuffing issues.

Step 6. Check for user engagement metrics

Though Google generally states that user experience signals are not included into their search ranking algorithm, real-life experiments show the opposite. And one of the metrics SEOs suspect Google to use is bounce rates.

Think about it — as Google tries to bring users the best search experience, it obviously wants them to find what they were looking for with the first search result they click on. The best search experience is one that immediately lands the searcher on a page that has all the information they need, so that they don’t hit the back button to return to the SERP and look for other alternatives.

Bouncing off pages quickly to return to the SERP and look for other results is called pogo-sticking, and it can be easily measured in terms of bounce rates.

How to check

1. In WebSite Auditor’s Pages dashboard, go the Traffic coming to pages tab.

2. Select all pages in this view, and hit Update Pages. From the list of factors to update, only select Page Traffic.

Panda advice

The thing to remember when analyzing your bounce rates is that “it’s all about user intent”. If the searcher is looking for a very quick answer (think “What’s the capital of Australia?”) — then, quite obviously, they will leave the page as soon as they get the information they need.

If the high-bounce pages you see on your site are of this kind — giving users the immediate answers they were looking for — then they are not something to worry about. In other cases, try to improve your content and user experience to lower the bounce rates.

Other Things To Consider:

1. Check for user-generated content issues.
User-generated content and how it affects Panda has been a hot topic recently, and it has gotten to the point where many SEOs are recommending to get rid of all user-generated content, claiming that Google sees it as a signal of poor site quality.

This is far from true, because we’re still seeing lots of websites based purely on user-generated content (think Quora) that are doing well on Google.

However, user-generated spam — for instance, irrelevant comments on your blog or poorly moderated forum pages — can put your site into trouble.

So if your website features user-generated content, make sure improving your moderation strategy is a priority.

2. Check for grammar mistakes.
Bad spelling and grammar can both impede user experience and lower the trustworthiness of your content in Google’s eyes, so don’t tempt the fate by leaving obvious grammar errors on your pages. You may want to use a specialized grammar tool like Grammarly, or simply copy your pages’ content and paste it into a word processor. This should highlight the spelling mistakes so you can update the content.

3. Check for intrusive ads.
Sure thing, Panda is not the reason to stop using ads on your site. As long as your ads don’t get obtrusive, that is. Not only do excessive and disruptive ads (pop-ups, above-the-fold ads, and so on) annoy visitors, they apparently get on Google’s nerves just as well. Remember, this kind of advertisements can also trigger the Fred update — another reason to say no to intrusive ads.

Want to learn Digital Marketing?

Netgear Orbi RBK50

Fiddling around with technology that doesn’t work makes me very nervous. On the plus side I am then mighty pleased when I finally get everything working. And so I am happy to report that after fiddling I managed to dramatically improve the WiFi reception in my home by installing a Netgear Orbi RBK50.

For the last few years I have been using a Linksys EA7500 WiFi router. That worked, but in spite of the promises on the box about covering a “medium household”, WiFi reception in my den was always feeble. The den is only two rooms away from the office with the router, but the room between is the bathroom, and so there is one tiled wall without an opening in the way. That appears to block the signal quite drastically, so it takes the long way around. It was okay for web surfing, but not ideal for things like Netflix streaming. And then I bought the Switch. The Switch has one major drawback regarding Wifi, in that it has the world worst WiFi antenna. When your tablet shows 2 bars instead of 3, the Switch already can’t find any signal at all any more. So I had to move the Switch next to the base station every time I wanted to download something. Time for an upgrade.

I surfed the internet for recommendations (which also told me that Linksys routers aren’t considered to be very good) and found that a lot of people liked the Netgear Orbi. Just to make sure I took the RBK50 system, which has both a base station and one satellite for range extension. I had tried a Linksys extender, which had worked to some degree, but failed to use the same SSID as the base station as promised on the box. With Netgear Orbi there was no problem. I could put the satellite in the den, and it would still get a good signal from the base station and then enhance it. So now I have 75 Mbit/s WiFi connection everywhere in my home! Even the Switch shows three bars of WiFi connection.

The fiddling was necessary to get my printers working, which didn’t like the Orbi switching to a completely new IP gateway address. So I had to change the Orbi to access point mode, which then mysteriously messed up everything and I had to factory reset my main router as well as the Orbi system to get everything working again. It is still a mystery to me why everything goes fast on a computer, except for network connections: Every time you reset a router or network card, it takes several minutes to establish a network.

Anyway, everything is working now, and at 15 times the speed necessary for Netflix HD streaming (or 3 times the speed for Netflix Ultra HD streaming, which I don’t have the Netflix streaming plan for). Which means that both me and my wife can stream video without a download on the computer slowing down by much. Nice!

Android Wear Oreo update tracker (Update: More watches receive Oreo)

Update (12/18): Google has been rolling out Android Oreo to Android Wear devices for a week now and it has already gotten through a fair number of them. As pointed out by Android Police over the weekend, a few more have just made the list.

The Fossil Q Founder 2.0, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Wander, Michael Kors Access Bradshaw, and the Michael Kors Access Dylan, are now said to have received the update, though it might take a few days to show up on all watches. What’s more, the Gc Connect, which was removed from the Oreo waitlist without explanation in the last update, has made a triumphant return: it’s now listed as having received Oreo.

Google has announced the rollout of Android Oreo for Android Wear. While not as significant an update as Android Wear 2.0 was, the new Oreo software will nonetheless bring some useful tweaks, including a Touch Lock — supposed to help in wet conditions — notification channels, battery improvements, and adjustable vibration strength (you can read about what else is included in the update here).

Now, Google has revealed a list of Android Wear devices set to receive the update on its Android Wear help page, though we don’t know when individual watches will receive it. We’ll be tracking the progress of the Android Wear Oreo update deployment in the coming weeks and months in this article and you can find out what we know so far below.

Which smartwatches will get the Android Oreo update?

According to Google, these are the smartwatches due to receive Android Oreo:

  • Casio PRO TREK Smart (WSD-F20)
  • Casio Smart Outdoor Watch (WSD-F10)
  • Diesel Full Guard
  • Emporio Armani Connected
  • Fossil Q Control
  • Fossil Q Explorist
  • Huawei Watch 2
  • LG Watch Style
  • Michael Kors Access Grayson
  • Misfit Vapor
  • Mobvoi Ticwatch S & E
  • Nixon Mission
  • Polar M600
  • Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
  • ZTE Quartz

Which smartwatches already have Android Oreo?

The Android Oreo update has already rolled out to a handful of smartwatches, and these are:

  • Fossil Q Founder 2.0
  • Fossil Q Marshal
  • Fossil Q Venture
  • Fossil Q Wander
  • Guess Connect
  • Gc Connect
  • Hugo BOSS BOSS Touch
  • LG Watch Sport
  • Louis Vuitton Tambour
  • Michael Kors Access Bradshaw
  • Michael Kors Access Dylan
  • Michael Kors Sofie
  • Montblanc Summit
  • Movado Connect
  • Tommy Hilfiger 24/7 You

Note that the update for the devices listed above may have only recently started rolling out and not all devices may have received it.

Which smartwatches won’t get the Android Oreo update?

There are a number of popular watches that weren’t on the Google list which we’ve outlined below. These watches may still receive certain updates through the Google Play Store, but the software will remain on a previous version (such as Android Nougat).

  • Asus ZenWatch 2
  • Asus ZenWatch 3
  • Fossil Q Founder
  • Huawei Watch
  • Huawei Watch Ladies
  • LG G Watch R
  • LG Watch Urbane
  • LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE (including AT&T and Verizon versions)
  • Motorola Moto 360 (2nd Gen.)
  • Motorola Moto 360 Sport

That’s all we have right now but we’ll bring you more information on the latest Android Wear updates as we get it.

Next: Best Android Wear watches

What is Dash? — a short guide

CoinJournal

What is Dash? It’s a cryptocurrency. At it’s simplest, Dash is a form digital cash you can send over the internet to a friend or retailer without a middleman like a bank.

Read: What is cryptocurrency?

Dash began its journey in 2014 and is currently the sixth largest cryptocurrency in the world by market cap — behind Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, IOTA, and Ripple. But how is it different from Bitcoin, what are its advantages, and how much does it cost? You’ll find answers to these questions and more below.

Dash vs Bitcoin

The Merkle

Dash is similar to Bitcoin in many ways. You can use it to make purchases online or hold on to it as an investment. It also runs on a publicly disclosed blockchain that records each transaction.

Read: What is a blockchain? – Gary Explains

But Bitcoin has its share of problems Dash is trying to solve. Speed is one of them. Dash transactions are confirmed in four seconds, while sending Bitcoins to someone can take 10 minutes or more.

Then there are the fees. The average Bitcoin transaction fee is around $6, compared to only $0.4 you have to pay to send someone Dash. But the fee will increase when more people start using the cryptocurrency.

A big problem with Bitcoin is also that it doesn’t have a governance structure. This means important changes can’t be made without a hard fork that brings a new cryptocurrency to the market, which is how Bitcoin Cash was born. Dash is different. It has a voting system in place so that important changes can be implemented quickly.

Unlike Bitcoin, Dash is self-funding. 45 percent of newly created Dash goes to the miners, and 45 percent to masternodes. The rest — 10 percent — goes to a treasury for funding the development team, marketing, customer support centers, and so forth.

There are a few other differences between the two cryptocurrencies, but these are the major ones.

What are the advantages of Dash?

What is Dash? BitcoinCloudMining

Two of the biggest advantages of Dash are the speed and low fees already mentioned above. You can send money to anyone in the world for less than $0.4 in four seconds — try doing that through a bank.

Editor’s Pick

Banks charge higher fees, especially if you’re sending money abroad. A transaction can also take up to a few days to complete, although most banks can speed up the process, if you’re willing to pay extra.

Another benefit is anonymity. Although all transactions are public, you don’t have to share personal info like your name and address. However, this can also be a drawback. Dash, Bitcoins, and other cryptocurrencies that provide anonymity have been used by criminal organizations because the money can’t be traced back to them. Some claim their popularity among bad guys is one of the main reasons we’ve seen such a large increase in their value so far.

How to buy, store, and spend Dash?

What is Dash? Dash

Buying Dash is easy. You can get it the same way as many other cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin. Make an account on an exchange like BitPanda or Kraken and buy Dash with your local currency.

There are also a few locations in the US where you can buy Dash from an ATM. It’s the easiest way to get the cryptocurrency, although the fees are high. If you live in Austria, you can buy it at over 400 Post branches and about 1,300 Post partners.

How can you store Dash? You keep the cryptocurrency in a digital wallet, one of which you can download from the company’s website. The alternative is to keep it in a hardware wallet such as the Ledger, which is a much safer method due to the reduced risk of getting hacked.

Businesses that accept Dash include hosting providers, online casinos, and even advertising agencies.

Where can you spend it? Dash isn’t as acceptable as standard currencies like dollars and euros, but there are many businesses that have embraced it. These include hosting providers, online casinos, and even advertising agencies — see full list here. You can also use it as an investment, which we’ll talk more about in the next section.

How is it created and how much does it cost?

What is Dash? Waffal

Dash is created through a process called mining, same as Bitcoins. Mining requires specialized computers that search for solutions to difficult math problems. If the solution is correct, a new block is added to the blockchain and the miner is rewarded with some of the Dash created.

How much does a Dash cost? Its price goes up and down all the time as a result of supply and demand. At the time of writing, you can get one for around $690 — though the exact value of Dash can be seen in the updated widget below. This makes it far less valuable than Bitcoin, which currently costs around $15,800 per piece.

Dash has proven to be an excellent investment so far, as its value has been increasing ever since its introduction. For example, if you had invested $1,000 at the beginning of 2014 when one Dash was worth $0.3, you would have $2.3 million today. Cryptocurrencies have made people into millionaires in a short period of time, which is why everyone is talking about them these days.

If you bought $1,000 worth of Dash at $0.3 per coin in 2014, you would have $2.3 million today.

But before you get too excited and go online to buy Dash, keep in mind that investing in cryptocurrencies is risky. Sure, most of them have increased in value in recent years, but that doesn’t mean the trend will continue. The price can go down as fast as it went up, so make sure to never invest more than you can afford to lose.

What is Dash?


There you have it. These are some of the basic things about Dash. Will it become an important part of our daily lives in the future? No one can be sure, especially because there are many cryptocurrencies on the market — over 1,000. Not all of them will be able to survive, although it looks like Dash is on the right path for now.

Have you ever used Dash or any other cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments.

Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo all slash smartphone orders by over 10%

  • Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo are all cutting smartphone orders by over 10% in Q4 2017.
  • The companies are sitting on more and more inventory as worldwide smartphone demand has dropped.
  • Xiaomi is still performing well despite the struggle of fellow Chinese device manufacturers.

One of the smartphone trends that might have flown under the radar in 2017 is the explosion of Chinese cell phone manufactures. While they have been steadily growing for years, this was the year that companies like Xiaomi were able to top Samsung in the important market of India. Huawei is the world’s third largest device manufacturer and occasionally tops Apple for second and OPPO and Vivo (both owned by BBK) are both in the top three in China.

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To say it has been a good year for these companies would be an understatement. But, it looks like Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo are preparing for a slower start to 2018. According to a report from DigiTimes, the three companies are cutting smartphone orders by over 10%. The information comes from sources at suppliers for the trio of companies.

As demand for new smartphones falls, the companies are now sitting on more and more inventory.

The one company that seems to be immune from the slowdown is Xiaomi. The company continues to be bullish in both online and retail environments. Xiaomi is continuing its surge in India, which saw it overtake Samsung in the country. India looks to be an interesting battleground for 2018 as Samsung and Xiaomi battle it out at the top and Huawei looks to increase its presence.

See also: Report: Samsung’s global market share will fall in 2018

Xiaomi and Huawei are also both expected to increase their presence in the United States next year. Rumors of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro’s release on Verizon and AT&T have heated up recently and Xiaomi is reportedly in talks with US carriers to carry its phones as well, according to Bloomberg.

Despite cutting orders, it looks like 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for Chinese smartphone manufacturers.

Google+ – Posts, Circles, Sparks & Hangouts !!!

Google+ (Google Plus) is an interest-based social networking site owned by Google Inc. Launched in 2011, this platform brings together people with similar interest. Such group of people can build a community and share their ideas through photos and posts.

Google+ is unique in way in that it allows more transparency in what one shares and with whom it is shared. The Google+ menu bar is displayed on other Google services when one logs in the google account.

Some of the most prominent features of Google+ are as follows −

  • Posts where one can update the status.
  • Circles are used to share information with different groups.
  • Sparks offer videos that users might like.
  • Hangouts & Huddles are for video chat with a friend or a group of friends.

Uploading a Post:

We can upload posts on our Google+ profile easily and share it with people in our communities/circles or others who we want to share it with. When we share our post, it is visible on the receiver’s news feed. The post also appears on our profile page and people can comment, like, or share the post. We can also tag people to our post using “+ and their name.

Let’s go step by step and learn how we can upload a post in Google+.

Step 1 − Open your Google+ account.

Step 2 − On the profile page, at right bottom corner click on write icon to write new post.

Step 3 − Write the post. We can also copy paste the content.

Step 4 − Tag anyone if desired. Add the location if needed.

Step 5 − Select whether the post should be public or private.

Step 6 − Once done, click the ‘Post’ option. The post appears on our page as well as on the profile page of the persons tagged to the post.

Google Plus – Circles

Google Circles can be used to group together different people. It may different members of the family, colleagues, or a group of people having similar interest. When we add people to a particular circle, they receive a notification of being added to the circle. Members of a circle can view the posts and photos in the circle. We can also add or remove people from circles at any time. Circles help to share the right information with the right people.
For example, it is a great way to share jokes with ‘friends’ circle, while sharing business matters with ‘work’ circle. People added to circles can also be available on our Google Hangout. By default people and pages added to circles are publicly visible. However, we can change the privacy options from settings. 

How to Create a Circle?

Step 1 − Open Google+ account.

Step 2 − Click ‘People’ from the navigation menu.

Step 3 − Click the ‘Following’ tab as shown in following screenshot.

Step 4 − Scroll down and click New Circle as seen in the above screenshot.

Step 5 − Name the circle and once done, click ‘Create’.

Adding People to Circles

Step 1 − Open the profile of the person who is to be added to the circle.

Step 2 − Click the circle that the person is to be added to.

Step 3 − Click Done.

Removing People From Circles

Step 1 − Open the profile of the person to be removed from the circle.

Step 2 − Click the circle that the person is in and from the menu uncheck the circle.

Step 3 − Click Done.

Google Plus – Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a communication platform developed by Google which includes instant messaging, video chat, SMS and VOIP features. It replaces three messaging products that Google had implemented concurrently within its services, including Google Talk, Google+ Messenger (formerly: Huddle), and Hangouts, a video chat system present within Google+. Google has also stated that Hangouts is designed to be “the future” of its telephony product, Google Voice, and integrated some of the capabilities of Google Voice into Hangouts. Users can be messaged by their Google+ accounts.

This platform also offers “hangouts on Air” option using which we can broadcast live video chatting and discussions to the world through your Google+. These video chats and discussion is accessible to all. It can be edited and a copy of the broadcast can be shared though YouTube channel.

To broadcast our Hangouts on Air, all we need is −

YouTube channel − Make sure to have a YouTube account. Create an account, if there isn’t one.

Google+ profile − Make sure the Google+ page is connected to YouTube account. Nowadays they are automatically connected, however existing users should connect it to Google+ page.

Creating a Hangout

Step 1 − Open Google+ page.

Step 2 − Search for Hangouts in the drop-down menu located on the left side of the page.

Step 3 − Click “+ New Hangout”. Check and add people to be added to Hangouts.

Step 4 : Choose the format for Hangouts, i.e. either video or text hangout. We can also alter text chat to video chat any time by clicking the camera button that appears on the top of the chat window.

We can share emoticons or pictures through Hangouts. We can also add filters to the pictures and videos. When we are done chatting, click the Close (x) button.

Google Plus – Events

Google+ Events page helps in organizing an upcoming event or occasion. It helps anyone using Gmail to add certain events in their calendars. All information about the particular event can be populated with just one click.

The event automatically gets added to Google calendar of those who are invited and are already in the circles. We can invite as many people or even the entire circle/community at the same time. Click ‘+invite name, circles’ and select the privacy as ‘public’. By doing so, anyone can find the event and access the details.

Events automatically get synchronized with guests’ calendars. Everyone attending can share the photos/videos to the shared album. Guests can even inform whether they are going to attend the event or not. If there is a change in the date of the event, guests will be notified by email. They will receive a notification for the change in place, date, time, etc.

Creating a Google+ Event

Step 1 − Open Google+ account.

Step 2 − Click the ‘Events’ tab.

Step 3 − Click ‘Create event’.


Step 4 − Fill all the information about the event such as ‘Title’, ‘start/end date’, ‘location’, ‘description’.

Step 5 − Upload the cover picture. Make sure the cover picture depicts the event.

Step 6 − Check/uncheck the following options.

  • Guests can invite other people.
  • Guests can add photos.
  • Hide guests list.

Step 7 − Add more description via ‘Advanced’ tab.

Step 8 − Invite people who we want to come to the event by clicking the green ‘invite’ button.

Step 9 − Publish the event.

Google Sparks:



Google+ SPARKS is a feature you can use to get all the info about your interests (if you can’t see it by clicking the link, here is a screenshot).
You can click on any of the images (categories) you want, and add it to your interests. I chose to type in my interests instead, and keep up with stuff I am interested in. Creating a spark “Movies” just seems like too much.
Once you chose your interests, you will be able to see a link to each of them under your profile picture. Any time you want to see what is going on in the world, that is related to your interest, click on it and you will get a page filled with news, posts, information.
For example, I can stay up to date with anything related to “blogging”,”Programming” or which ever interest I add, as you can see it in my list of Sparks.

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An alternative explanation for Harvey

As a scientist I do believe in man-made global warming. So do the governments and the majority of citizens of every country in the world, except for Syria, Nicaragua, and the USA. The science says that global warming is likely to increase the occurrence and effect of catastrophic weather events. In particular an increase in the power of hurricanes and the amount of rain they carry has been predicted by the models years ago. Nobody is saying that hurricane Harvey is man-made, as hurricanes already existed long before man burning fossil fuel. But the fact that Harvey brought more rain than ever before observed on the American continent (the National Weather Service needed to add new colors to an expanded rain scale to map it) fits rather well with the predictions. So of course the US climate change deniers, first and foremost the Trump administration, react somewhat miffed if asked about climate change right now.

So I was thinking that one should keep an open mind and respect the believes of those who do not trust science. And I came up with an alternative explanation for Harvey which doesn’t rely on science or an assumption of man-made climate change: Hurricane Harvey was an act of God, or more precisely the wrath of God. God sent Harvey to express his displeasure with the vain and godless Trump administration. Which is why he sent the hurricane to deeply Republican Texas, and not to Democratic California. In his mercy, God intended Harvey as a stern warning. If the USA doesn’t get rid of Trump he will send further punishment, like heavenly fire (in the form of North Korean nukes). Repent now and kick Trump out, before it is too late!

I hope this inclusive multi-cultural approach makes my less scientific and more religious readers happy. 🙂