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New phone names are crap and I am done

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Every year, there are more models of phones launching than the last. In India alone, companies introduced more than 700 handsets last year. This creates a headache for customers to remember names of different variants launched, as anyone tasked with recommending phones to them.

Last year, Apple announced the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X. Despite Apple announcing that the phone’s name is pronounced as ‘the iPhone Ten’, many people refer to as ‘the iPhone ex’.

Apple just announced three models this year at its special event: The iPhone Xs, the iPhone Xs Max, and the iPhone Xr, pronounced:

  • the iPhone ten es (Tennis?)
  • the iPhone ten es max
  • the iPhone ten ar (tenner? tennor?)

The Internet is confused and pronunciations like the iPhone excess, the iPhone excess max, and iPhone Xor are commonly flying around.

When a phone model has one or variants, it’s easy to keep track of them. Case in point: the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, The Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+.

When you’ve got that two variants, things can get messy.

Ideally, the naming of a phone should have three conditions: It should allow for pronunciation, it should be easy to accurately convey in print an speech, and it should support the hierarchy or differentiation between variants. That makes it easier for comparison and purchasing decisions.

For instance, Huawei’s P20 comes in three variants: the P20 Lite, the P20, and the P20 Pro. This nomenclature checks all the boxes described above.

Let’s take another example: The latest releases from Motorola’s G series includes the G6 Play, the G6, and the G6 Plus. While these are simple and easy to pronounce, it is hard to establish that where the Play model stands in the hierarchy, unless you’re actively following the brand.

There are some bad examples which companies can certainly avoid. Asus is probably the worst offender that comes to mind.  In 2016, it pushed out 10 variants of the Asus Zenfone 3 with names like the Zenfone 3, the Zenfone Deluxe, the Zenfone 3 Laser, the Zenfone 3 Max. Honestly, I don’t even know how its own employees kept track of this range.

The answer to “Which iPhone should I buy?” used to be very easy a couple of years ago. Now,  journalists will have to resort to drawing tables to explain which model is which. Sure, the situation is probably not as dire the Asus Zenfone 3 fiasco or Samsung going with the ‘Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch’, but Apple gets no points for its (confusing) nomenclature in 2018.

These days, hardware brands are likely under pressure to release phones along with marketing material as quickly as possible. As a result, they don’t seem to have time for creating naming conventions for humans.

It’s time to take a step back, breathe, and make phone names cool again.

Published September 13, 2018 — 09:43 UTC

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Author: Ivan Mehta

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Aspiring data engineers, here are four course bundles that’ll make your career

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So…you wanna be a data engineer. It’s a smart choice, especially considering data engineer positions are generally six-figure jobs. Of course, they don’t just hand those jobs out to anyone pushing a resume.

Understanding how data systems work is highly specialized knowledge. You can take a big step toward holding all that knowledge with the training found in these four course bundles from TNW Deals, each $400 to $1,000 off their regular price.

Ultimate SQL Bootcamp – $49 (87% off)

Databases are the backbone of networked systems — and SQL is the backbone of a database. So pick up this 9-course collection featuring over 60 hours of instruction on everything you need to know to create, integrate, manage and secure database operations. You’ll also learn critical app development skills along the way as well as tips for writing SQL queries for non-engineers. Even if you’re a true beginner, databases won’t seem so scary after this training.

The Big Data Bundle – $45 (94% off)

Big data — the process of analyzing giant sets of figures to find deeper patterns and connections — is the basis for machine learning and artificial intelligence. That means it’s one of the fastest growing fields in technology, which makes this 9-course, 64-plus-hour bundle invaluable for any burgeoning engineer.  These courses will show you how tools like Hadoop, MapReduce, Spark and Scala can help make the impossible not only possible, but doable.

The Python Power Coder BONUS Bundle – $44 (95% off)

If you’re working with databases and large data sets, you better understand Python. As the programming language increasingly at the heart of advanced data science, this package of eight courses introduce Python and all its applications.  With simple syntax and intuitive coding practices, this training will get you programming with Python quickly. Then you’ll see how this language can be used for app building, game creation, system networking and more.

The Complete Tableau 10 Data Science Bundle – $19 (98% off)

Engineers need to know Tableau 10 because it’s the pre-eminent data visualization tool around. As you work through these five courses, you’ll unlock how to turn mountains of raw information into easily digestible charts and graphs that you and your company can use to start making better informed decisions. If you want to build a case for your projects or ideas that will earn buy-in from your boss and co-workers, Tableau 10 will help you win that agreement.

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Author: TNW Deals

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Google mysteriously removes cryptocurrency wallets from Play Store

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Google removed at least three major cryptocurrency wallets from its Play Store overnight. While the reason for their removal is not immediately clear, Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver is blaming Google’s new cryptocurrency mining policy.

Over the last 12 hours, cryptocurrency wallet apps Bitcoin Wallet (managed by Bitcoin.com), CoPay, and BitPay have been removed. The curious part is that none of these are cryptocurrency mining apps (nor do they advertise such features).

Google has remain tight-lipped about what triggered the removal. Though that shouldn’t be a surprise, given its policy not to comment on individual cases like these.

Ver has since hinted Google’s updated Play Store policy had mistakenly flagged wallets as on-device cryptocurrency miners, which is strictly against the new rules.

“Google told us that it was because they no longer allow crypto currency [sic] mining apps,” wrote Ver. “I have no idea how they came under the impression that our wallet is a mining app.”

Currently, Bitcoin.com is the only one to make it back online.

Hard Fork reached out to BitPay and Bitcoin Wallet developer Bitcoin.com for comment. So far, BitPay has told Hard Fork that it should be back online soon, though stopped short of giving any details of what needs fixing before Google reinstate it.

The three wallets share a kinship through code. CoPay is the eldest, of which Bitcoin Wallet is a direct fork. CoPay develop and release the BitPay app themselves, which is very similar, but has additional functionality.

Android users have installed both BitPay and CoPay over 100,000 times, each. Bitcoin Wallet boasts more than one million users.

All three support both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, but the beef between Roger Ver and proponents of Bitcoin should not be understated. In May, Ver was forced to heavily edit his blockchain explorer to remove all suggestion of Bitcoin Cash being the real Bitcoin.

Bitcoin.com has also received flak for surreptitiously pushing Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as Bitcoin (BTC) on its Bitcoin Wallet app.

The developers share code for the wallets through GitHub, so the chance of malicious actors sneaking cryptocurrency mining code in an update is pretty slim. Although BitPay doesn’t receive a cut from mining fees, BitPay raised eyebrows by imposing additional “network” fees to cover costs.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by these strange events; Google’s new cryptocurrency rules have had a rocky start, despite good intentions. In the lead-up to the policy coming into effect, Hard Fork found the Play Store was hosting loads of apps that could mine cryptocurrency on-device and were legitimate targets for removal.

But, Google then removed a cloud-based cryptocurrency mining app with over one million users, even after it stopped supporting smartphone mining.

Let’s hope they sharpen up.

Published September 13, 2018 — 11:19 UTC

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Author: David Canellis

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Scientists believe jellyfish could help rid our waters of plastic waste

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Beachgoers in Israel must often contend with two nuisances in the long summer months: jellyfish and garbage.

Jellyfish usually swarm the waters to terrorize bathers beginning in July (and sometimes even in June) and their gelatinous remains can be found dotting the shoreline for the next two months.

The plastic waste, meanwhile, is a permanent feature on the beach and in the water during those months, much to the dismay of those who care for the beach experience.

Plastic garbage thrown away by beachgoers makes up a staggering 92 percent of the waste found in Israel’s seawaters, whereas the global average is only 75 percent, according to a 2015 study by the University of Haifa cited by The Jerusalem Post.

Globally, the world has produced some 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste since the 1950s, only nine percent of which has been recycled and another 12 percent incinerated, and the majority of it ends up in the ocean, according to an Economist report this year. In 2016 alone, plastics production worldwide totaled some 335 million metric tons.

Israeli scientists have been working alongside international researchers to find an innovative solution to help minimize plastic waste in the seawater, also known as microplastics following a degradation process, using jellyfish.