Why Do You Need to Shop on Black Friday?

This year, Black Friday falls on 24th November 2017. Most of us like this day because it is the best day to shop. It’s the best holiday if you like to shop. Let’s trace back to the origin of this holiday that is celebrated in many countries today and the number is on the rise. The day is considered as the busiest shopping day of the year. Stores open as early as 4 AM. Some even open at midnight to offer promotional sales.

So why is the day called ‘Black Friday’, why not Red or Blue? Well the term was coined by Philadelphia police or bus drivers to describe the traffic observed a day after Thanksgiving. Streets were clogged with traffic caused by people heading to shopping stores. However, businesses did not like this negative explanation to the term and later, a new explanation came to be.

Sale day in other words, Black Friday is followed every year with multiple controversies. Most of them associated with lack of staff in stores, exposing them to over shifts, and rise in visitors’ violence. The day comes after Thanksgiving Day which is celebrated every fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Though not an official holiday, California and few other states in the US observe Black Friday as a holiday, which is followed by two weekends offs leading to a four-day shopping weekend.

The approaching Monday is coined as Cyber Monday. It is another shopping day for those who still wants to shop or didn’t find what they were looking for over the weekend. However, on Cyber Monday people shop online. This means people can make purchases from their offices and homes. Cyber Monday was the busiest day of 2014 with $2 billion sales in desktop online spending which was higher by 17% from the previous year.

Black Friday indicates the beginning of Christmas shopping season. During the 19th and 20th Century, stores would advertise Christmas shopping on the occasion of Thanksgiving. Back then, Thanksgiving parades sponsored by shopping stores were used to advertise Christmas shopping. Many people view this practice as inappropriate and it became socially unacceptable. But soon, people came up with the idea to start advertising Christmas shopping after Thanksgiving Day. It is now fashionable ‘not’ to advertise Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving.

The story has a capitalist angle too. Many believe that stores wanted the Christmas shopping season to stay on for longer. To offer a solution to this, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November instead of the last Thursday. This extended the shopping season by a week. Later, an act of Congress reinforced this change.

Are you up for some Black Friday sales online now? Watch this space to stay tuned for some great Black Friday deals in the coming weeks.

Do write to us at editorial@techthirsty.com or Tweet to us at @Techthirsty.Read the rest

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Is the 280 Character Count a Sign of Twitter’s Nervousness?

 

Silicon-valley giant Twitter has never turned a profit in the 11 years of its consequential existence. The real hit seemed to be when the company reported a further 8% decline in its first-quarter revenue to $548m in July this year. Advertisers of Twitter saw waning value in the social media giant and ad revenue for the three-month period fell 11% at $474m.

At the time though, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey celebrated the report saying the number of daily active users on the social media had gone up to 328 million for the fourth consecutive quarter. He said the number of users went up 14% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Clearly, the company knows that it is up against some strong currents. Competing with companies like Facebook and Google makes it a bigger challenge for Twitter.

Noticing the lowering interest of its subscribers, Twitter gave some flexibility to the character limit by allowing images and pictures in addition to the character count. The @replies were also excluded from the count. Things have not changed despite these efforts. People are not staying on the social media platform long enough. English-speaking users, who make a bulk of their subscribers, are posting lesser on the social media platform. This is with reference to Twitter’s blog post mentioning that the testing of 280 characters comes from the fact that Japanese, Chinese, and Korean languages are more space-efficient than others.

News that Twitter will now be testing the possibility of a 280-character count is a sign of nervousness. Twitter is trying to introduce a much higher character count for Tweets but fans of the crisp networking platform are not really thrilled.

Some responses on Twitter to this increase in character count came like this:

 

Twitter has to find ways to make itself profitable. Currently, that’s what the company needs to focus on. It is not that the investors are expecting a lot from the company’s growth. It has to fight for ad revenue against strong competitors like Facebook and Google. While the latter has always shown value for advertiser money, Facebook has also made itself profitable in the recent times. Clearly, Twitter needs to move that way soon.

Increasing the character count might not be good for its regular visitors. However, there are hopes that it would encourage more users to visit the platform more frequently. Additionally, it would benefit brands, which tend to face constraints while using Twitter as an integral part of their promotional mix.

Investors are ready to wait on this move. Twitter stock went up 2.17% yesterday by USD .36. Seeing the initial responses on Twitter, it looks like this one could pick up soon enough. Here are some Tweets from users who received the 280 character limit right after the announcement.

Speaking of the new test, the company acknowledged the emotions of those who have been tweeting for years with 140 characters. “But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint,” the company said.

Twitter does have greater challenges to deal, apart from the character limit. Two of the key issues are that of maintaining an active user base, and generating value for investors.

 

Do write to us at editorial@techthirsty.com or Tweet to us at @Techthirsty.Read the rest

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All That Glitters is Rose Gold

When Apple launched its Rose Gold Apple Watch priced at $ 10,000 plus, a new colour trend came into being. Warmer than white gold and cooler than yellow gold rose gold is a fancy name for something that is little more than a pale metallic pink. ‘Rose’ gold sounds ~dainty~ and ~fancy~; a step above gold and pink.

According to a writer for the New Yorker, “rose gold is warm and flush—what yellow gold would look like if it suddenly suffered an embarrassment.”

Rose gold gadgets have been around for a long time. Samsung came out with the Galaxy Note 3 in 2014, with a gilded rose gold edge. Back in 2003, Motorola offered a pink Razr but called pink instead of rose gold. There are the Huawei Watch and the Mate S smartphone in rose gold. Samsung has a rose gold Gear S2 smartwatch and the Galaxy S7 in ‘pink’ is pretty much rose gold too.

But it was after the Apple Watch and the iPhone 6S in Rose Gold, followed by the iPad 3, MacBook and the Beats by Dre Headphones- all in a charming Rose Gold colour – the trend really took off.

Here are the latest rose gold-tinted gadgets from the rose-tinted world of technology that charges a lot more money for a change of colour:

  1. Apple iPhone 7

i phone 7 rose gold

Source:QuatarBestDeals.com

(Source: apple.com)

With a wonderful 5.5-inch retina HD display, responsive 3D touch,2 rear facing 12-megapixel cameras, 4K video and a re-engineered enclosure that makes it the very first water-resistant iPhone, iPhone 7 plus offers an enhanced user experience, bolstered by the 64-bit A10 Fusion chip that offers a faster CPU performance.

It comes in 3 variants: 32GB, 128GB and 256GB.

Price: Starts at INR 67,000 (Feel free to look out for online discounts!)

2. Apple MacBook

AnandTech

Source: AnandTech

Sixth generation dual-core Intel Core M processors, a Turbo Boost feature that gives 3.1 GHz of processing, an 1866 MHz memory, new Intel HD Graphics 515 and faster flash storage bumped with better battery life on a 12-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina display is what the latest MacBook offers.

Price: Starts at INR 106,900

3. Beats by Dre Solo2 Wireless

Beats

Source: Apple.com

(Source: apple.com)

Offering up to 30 feet of wireless listening, 12-hour rechargeable battery, an ear cup padding that buffers outside noise and a durable, compact folding design for easy portability the Beats Solo2 Wireless headphones offer a wonderful experience.

Price: INR20033

4. MI In-Ear Headphones Rose Gold

MI In-Ear Headphones Rose Gold

Source: Mi.com

To satisfy the lust for rose gold earphones, try the MI In-Ear plugs by Xiaomi. These are classy and go with your other rose gold accessories. Don’t miss the really sophisticated box that comes with it.

Price: INR2000 (approx.)

5. Unitek Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Unitek Portable Bluetooth Speaker

With its roundish rose gold aluminium unibody with Bluetooth 2.1, up to 3.5 hours of playtime, built in micro phone hands free function, auto-scan FM radio, 3W speaker with enhanced bass and a micro USB cable that acts as an antennae, this little wireless speaker packs a punch and matches all the rose coloured gadgets you may have.

Keeping in tune with the trend, it should be mentioned that the world of rose gold gadgets expands to rose gold charging cables, electric toothbrushes, clip-on phone cameras and watches. One could also simply purchase some of the gazillion covers available in this colour till another colour (metallic anything) becomes the next big thing.

Price: INR3000 (approx.)… Read the rest

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Why Was Google Slapped With a$2.7 billion Fine?

Google fine

You know what they say about monopoly—it is business at the end of its journey. To think of Google here would sound exaggerated right now. However, there have been many cases recently where Google has been warned for misusing its position in the search market. Global economic forums and anti-trust agencies are keeping a close eye on their activities to prevent a global technology giant from creating ripples in the market.

Recently, the European Union’s competition commission slapped Google with a $2.7 billion antitrust fine, inquiries while blaming the popular search engine for giving out false shopping results. Google is being criticised for promoting its own shopping comparison higher than others.

European Commission first reported the matter to Google in 2015. It studied 1.2 Billi inquiries before arriving on the decision that Google was unfairly manipulating shopping results. There were hundreds of companies that complained about Google for displaying its shopping services inappropriately.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestages called it an abuse and illegal under European antitrust laws. According to European Competition Commission guidelines, Google should be unbiased and treat its rival services equal to its own when comparing prices.

In support of the internet giant, Google General Counsel Kent Walker said that Google’s shopping comparison is a service provided to customers. He explained his point using the example of Puma shoes that has links to five different European retailers.“Our data shows that people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their searches,” said Walker. Clearly, Google completely disagrees with the fine imposed by the EU antitrust.

The search engine giant can appeal this decision to the bloc’s highest courts and they have 90 days to take any action. It can either try to end the conduct or pay the penalty amount, which accounts for up to 5% of the company’s average daily global revenue. Google has been asked to ensure that it complies with the EU antitrust guidelines and finds ways to implement the decision.

This is not the first time that Google is accused of an anticompetitive activity. In past, it was reported that Google has promoted its apps and services unfairly to suppress competition of Android devices.

 … Read the rest

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In a spin over fidget spinners

Till sometime back, you would have been reprimanded for being fidgety.Currently, a restless nature is trending and help is available at your fingertips. Or that’s how the marketers of fidget spinners would like us to believe.

It’s unlikely you haven’t heard of fidget spinners until now. It is has been reported as the biggest gadget trend of 2017 and we are just half way through the year.In fact, Amazon has listed it as one of the top-selling products under its ‘Toys & Games’ category.

For the uninitiated, a fidget spinner is essentially a toy/gadget that doesn’t require technology or batteries to run. It has three spokes along with an inline skate and ball bearings that make it a spin. Extremely popular across age groups –school children form a major chunk of users – it’s easy to use, cheap to buy and portable. Promoted as a fun way to beat stress and restlessness, fidget spinners have gained a steady fan following. There’s even a Fidget Spinner Association that is looking to host a championship in September.YouTube has enough videos gone viral that prove the gadget’s popularity.

Take a look at this:

Now here’s the not so good part about what seems like a harmless toy. Parents across the world and health experts are raising concerns about the safety of fidget spinners and its repercussions on mental health. New videos about children taking the spinners to school and cases of addiction of the gadget have surfaced. Some schools have even banned the toy.

In some cases, new versions of the spinner have caused injury. The spinners with lithium button batteries also have small parts which pose a choking hazard. The toys are now being called ‘dodgy’. So can fidget spinners help with attention and anxiety, as claimed by those who make them?

“The jury is still out on whether a fidget spinner is simply a toy or a gadget that can eliminate anxiety in children and adults, and even help those with ADD or ADHD focus,” Claudia Swartzberg, chief executive of Top Dog Education was quoted in a news report. “While many are claiming they aid mental focus, there’s no science that supports the notion they have therapeutic properties. However, even though there is no data to show that fidget spinners are beneficial rather than being fun, teachers, many parents, and learners claim they’re helping their mental focus in and outside the classroom,” Swartzberg was stated as saying. In an interview that appeared on www.healthline.com, Dr. John L. Bender, a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians says, “It would not be proper to claim that there was a level of evidence comparable to a full scientific study to base such a claim.”… Read the rest

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The New Snapchat Update Has Parents in a Tizzy

Image

Picture source: Netsafe

Almost every few days, Snapchat rolls out a new fun filter for users to play around and click photos with. You could be a furry Koala one day, a ferocious looking gorilla or a cute puppy the next. It’s mostly harmless fun with your friends and those who follow you.

But the newest update to Snapchat has parents worried. Snap Map, the new addition to the App, lets friends and anyone who follows you see your location. “You can share your locations with each other so you can see where they’re at and what’s going on around them,” reads the official update.

It’s this sharing of location that has raised security concerns among parents.

The main concern is that once a story is shared in the ‘Our Story’ option in Snapchat, anyone anywhere can see the location of those in the story. It’s like everyone’s watching every step you take. It comes as little surprise that many concerned parents and adults have shown their dislike for the feature by posting views using the hashtag ‘stalking’ (#stalking).

Even though Snapchat recommends adult users, the App enjoys huge popularity among pre-teens and teenagers. According to a news site, parents have concerns that if children added a potential predator, bully, or other undesirable people to their friend list, they could be easily located.

“Given how specific this new feature is on Snapchat – giving your location to a precise pinpoint on a map – we would encourage users not to share their location, especially with people they don’t know in person,” said child safety group Childnet International in a post on their site. It went on to issue a safety alert saying, “It is important to be careful about who you share your location with, as it can allow people to build up a picture of where you live, go to school and spend your time.”

But in their defense, Snap Chat lists out that “only the people you choose can see your location — so if you’re friends with your boss, you can still keep your location on the down low during a ‘sick day’.”With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional.

How to be safe?

We live in unpredictable times. With social media penetration on the rise, especially among children, here are some safety guidelines you could get your child to keep in mind when using Snap Map, courtesy Internet safety website Webwise.ie:

  • Location setting: Consider using the Ghost Mode or selecting close friends, this will give you more control over who can see you. If you choose the Friends setting – Ensure you review your friend list. Do not share your location with people you do not know in real life.
  • Location-sharing services can give other users a clear picture of the places you regularly visit (home, school, etc.). Consider whether this is information you want to share with others.
  • If you choose to share a story using the ‘Our Story’ feature anyone can view that story regardless of what sharing setting you choose for Snap Map. Consider how much information you want people to see.

 … Read the rest

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Radio Hopping in Virtual Garden

Radio garden, tech news, latest technolgy

Picture this. It’s late in the night and you are tossing and turning in bed, trying hard, very hard to get to sleep. You have exhausted your song playlist and can’t fathom switching on the television for some late-night viewing. You reach for your phone. A message pops up‘You don’t want to miss this’ it reads along with a link to what seems like a radio station. Only this is no ordinary Internet radio station. It’s nearly 8,000 of them. From across the world.Welcome to Radio.Garden.

Hey, what garden?

Firstly, Radio.Garden is not an Internet radio station. It is a website with links to radio stations across countries, cities, genres, languages, all just a click (truly just one click) away.Designed by Amsterdam-based Studio Puckey, Radio.Garden lets anyone, anywhere in the world tune into a radio station at any point in time for a live feed.

How does it work?

Radio garden, tech news, latest technology

Log on to the site and the first thing you see is a 3D globe (Google Earth interface), which in a few seconds gets covered with tiny green spots. There are no names marking the countries or cities. A tiny pointer lets you glide over the world and as you rest it on any of the green spots, it tells you the name of the city and country you have reached and the radio stations you can tune into.One minute you could be listening to Celtic music from Glasgow and a few minutes later, be plugged into ghazals from Karachi or enjoying classic country numbers playing out from Christchurch, New Zealand.

Why are we gushing over it?

We have to admit, it has us hooked. The number one reason is easy accessibility. The interface is very easy to use and there are no long sign-ins required (not just yet). You don’t need to download an app or register to use the service. Heck, you don’t even need earphones to get the radio on.Though it will definitely help if you have them on while listening to a popular talk show streaming out of North America. Also if you were good at geography lessons, you won’t take long to zero down on your favourite place on the planet. Finding Boston on the map took us a while.

Nevertheless, it’s good fun to place the pointer anywhere in the world and be surprised with what’s playing. Hop across continents and find your favourites. There’s also an interesting history section on the site that plays out a compilation of sounds from a particular place recorded a decade ago. We tried Kolkata and it took us to 1986 with sounds of a Durga Puja, hawkers and street noises coming through.A delight to hear. Are you ready to tune into the world?… Read the rest

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