World of Hoplites

I recently received an announcement telling me that I could sign up for the beta of a new Total War game, called Total War: Arena. Hmmm. While I did play some Total War games, I must admit that I am not the world’s biggest fan of the series, mostly because of the extra stupid AI. So a PvP version to me sounded like a cheap ploy to eliminate the AI. But then I saw that the game was 10 vs. 10 players, with each player commanding some troops. And I thought to myself, “Oh, that looks like World of Tanks with hoplites, I’m interested!”, and signed up.

Today I got the activation code, and only then I realized that this doesn’t just look like World of Tanks with hoplites, it actually *is* World of Hoplites, programmed by the same people who made World of Tanks, Warplanes, and Warships: Wargaming.net. The “Total War” part is just some cross-branding marketing trick to attract the people who are Total War fans but don’t play any games from Wargaming.net yet. Well, best case scenario Wargaming.net programmed the gameplay and Creative Assembly provided the graphics. (Worst case scenario is the other way round).

So now I am downloading the beta, and I am looking forward to trying it out. In the interest of full disclosure I’d like to add that Wargaming.net is one of the small number of game companies from which I ever received freebies. After posting an interview with one of the devs my World of Tank account was set to receive 250 gold every day I logged on. And as I was playing a lot I ended up with still over 70,000 gold left in that game. But I already had spent money on WoT before, and unfortunately the World of Tank gold isn’t the same as the World of Warships gold, and probably also not the same as the Total War: Arena gold. So no freebies for me for the new game!

Android Widget: Android – LeaVe my baThRoom at-least !

What is a widget?  In Android, the word widget is a generic term for a bit of self-contained code that displays a program, or a piece of a program, that is also (usually) a shortcut to a larger application. We see them every day on web pages, on our computer desktop and on our smartphones, but we never give too much thought into how great they are. Widgets first appeared in Android in version 1.5, and really gained traction thanks to HTC’s Sense-flavored version of the operating system. Prior to the release of the HTC Hero and our first taste of HTC Sense, widgets were functional, but pretty bland in appearance. Since then, the people making our phones and independent developers alike have done some marvelous things with widgets, and it’s hard to imagine using Android without them.
Android support to implement widgets for both, the home screen and the lock screen.

Common Types of Android Widget
Widget typically fall in one of the following categories

1. Information Widgets

Information widgets display information elements that are important to a user and track how that that information changes over time. Touching information widgets typically launches the associated app and opens a detail view of the widget information. Example for information widgets are weather widgets, clock widgets, etc.

2.Collection widgets

As the name implies, collection widgets specialize on displaying multitude elements of the same type, such as a collection of pictures from a gallery app, a collection of articles from a news app or a collection of emails/messages from a communication app. Collection widgets typically focus on two use cases: browsing the collection, and opening an element of the collection to its detail view for consumption. Collection widgets can scroll vertically.

3.Control widgets

The main purpose of a control widget is to display often used functions that the user can trigger right from the home screen without having to open the app first. A typical example of control widgets are music app widgets that allow the user to play, pause or skip music tracks from outside the actual music app. Power Control Widgets are using to make changes to the system settings easier and simpler. You just need to toggle On or Off almost all the system settings with just one tap.

4. Hybrid Widget
They combine the elements of different other widgets in one.

Some Widget Limitations
Gestures
Only two gestures available for widgets are Touch and Vertical Swipe
Elements
Due to gestures limitations, some of the UI elements that rely on restricted gestures are not available for widgets.

To create your own widget and use your widget in layout XML, there are two additional files for you need to create. Here is a list of files you’ll need to create to implement a custom widget:

XML Definition File – Click on your project and create a new folder called xml. Now right click on the newly created folder and create a new XML file. An XML flie defines the XML element used to instantiate your widget, and the attributes that it supports. The resource type of the XML file should be set to AppWidgetProvider. In the xml file, define some properties which are as follows :-

<appwidget-provider 
xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
android:minWidth="146dp"
android:updatePeriodMillis="0"
android:minHeight="146dp"
android:initialLayout="@layout/activity_main">
</appwidget-provider>

Layout XML [optional]– An optional XML file inside res/layout/ that describes the layout of your widget. You could also do this in code in your Java file.

Java Implementation File– This is the file that implements the behavior of the widget. If you can instantiate the object from layout XML, you will also have to code a constructor that retrieves all the attribute values from the layout XML file.

Java File must extend AppWidgetProvider class and override its update method. In the update method, you have to deifne the object of two classes PendingIntent and RemoteViews.

PendingIntent pending = PendingIntent.getActivity(context, 0, intent, 0);
RemoteViews views = new RemoteViews(context.getPackageName(), R.layout.activity_main);

In the end you have to call an update method updateAppWidget() of the AppWidgetManager class.

appWidgetManager.updateAppWidget(currentWidgetId,views);

Following are the other Methods of AppWidgetProvider class to manipulate widgets.
onDeleted(Context context, int[] appWidgetIds)
This is called when an instance of AppWidgetProvider is deleted.

onDisabled(Context context)
This is called when the last instance of AppWidgetProvider is deleted

onEnabled(Context context)
This is called when an instance of AppWidgetProvider is created.

onReceive(Context context, Intent intent)
It is used to dispatch calls to the various methods of the class

You also need to declare approvider widget class in Android manifest file as follows

appWidgetManager.updateAppWidget(currentWidgetId,views);  

<receiver android:name="ExampleAppWidgetProvider" >

<intent-filter>
<action android:name="android.appwidget.action.APPWIDGET_UPDATE" />
</intent-filter>

<meta-data android:name="android.appwidget.provider"
android:resource="@xml/example_appwidget_info" />
</receiver>

Example

here is the example of application widget which create basic widget which will open the Web Browser.
Content of the MainActivity.java

package net.suven.android.androidwidget;

import android.app.PendingIntent;
import android.appwidget.AppWidgetManager;
import android.appwidget.AppWidgetProvider;
import android.content.Context;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.net.Uri;
import android.widget.RemoteViews;
import android.widget.Toast;

public class MainActivity extends AppWidgetProvider{
public void onUpdate(Context context, AppWidgetManager appWidgetManager,int[] appWidgetIds) {
for(int i=0; i < appWidgetIds.length; i++){
int currentWidgetId = appWidgetIds[i];
String url = "http://android.suvenconsultants.com/";

Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW);
intent.addFlags(Intent.FLAG_ACTIVITY_NEW_TASK);
intent.setData(Uri.parse(url));

PendingIntent pending = PendingIntent.getActivity(context, 0,intent, 0);
RemoteViews views = new RemoteViews(context.getPackageName(),R.layout.activity_main);

views.setOnClickPendingIntent(R.id.button, pending);
appWidgetManager.updateAppWidget(currentWidgetId,views);
Toast.makeText(context, "widget added", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
}
}
}

Content of the activity_main.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools" android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="match_parent" android:paddingLeft="@dimen/activity_horizontal_margin"
android:paddingRight="@dimen/activity_horizontal_margin"
android:paddingTop="@dimen/activity_vertical_margin"
android:paddingBottom="@dimen/activity_vertical_margin"
tools:context=".MainActivity"
android:transitionGroup="true">

<TextView
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:text="SCTPL"
android:id="@+id/textView"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true"
android:textColor="#ff3412ff"
android:textSize="35dp" />

<Button
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:text="Visit SCTPL"
android:id="@+id/button"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true"
android:layout_marginTop="61dp"
android:layout_below="@+id/textView" />

</RelativeLayout>

Content of the AndroidManifest.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
package="net.suven.android.androidwidget" >

<application
android:allowBackup="true"
android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher"
android:label="@string/app_name"
android:theme="@style/AppTheme" >
<receiver android:name=".MainActivity">

<intent-filter>
<action android:name="android.appwidget.action.APPWIDGET_UPDATE"></action>
</intent-filter>

<meta-data android:name="android.appwidget.provider"
android:resource="@xml/widget"></meta-data>

</receiver>

</application>
</manifest>

content of the res/xml/widget.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<appwidget-provider
xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
android:minWidth="146dp"
android:updatePeriodMillis="0"
android:minHeight="146dp"
android:initialLayout="@layout/activity_main">
</appwidget-provider>
Install App and Go to your widget section and add your created widget to the desktop or home screen.

Android widget application output
Click here to download Source Code and APK
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15 Minutes of Fame

Google Analytics sent me an automated mail telling me that this blog had 1.7k visitors last month. That is less than I used to get in a single day a decade ago. The good news for Google / Blogger is that I don’t blame them for the decline, and won’t be showing up at their HQ with a gun. I am pretty certain that the loss of readers can be explained by the following factors:

  • I am writing much less now, 1-2 posts per week instead of per day.
  • I am not writing about a single topic, MMORPGs, any more, but about a variety of different things, which interest different people.
  • The original MMORPG topic of my blog isn’t of great interest any more.
  • Blogging, and hanging out on blogs, isn’t the medium of choice any more.

So basically I had my 15 minutes of fame, with highlights like being invited to a Blizzcon with a press pass around my neck and allowed to interview a Blizzard developer. Or getting free “review copies” of games (all of them disclosed on the blog) and stuff. I even got a few hundred dollars as donations over the years.

Blogging never was more than a hobby to me, it was obvious that quitting my day job for internet fame would have been an extremely bad idea. And then I am part of a generation that still believes that they are responsible for their own success or failure. My impression of younger generations is that they more often believe that success is owed to them, and that any of their failures must be due to evil acts from others. Now combine that with the fact that a YouTuber today can be a *lot* more famous than a blogger from a decade ago, and make a lot more money; and then you get closer to understanding why somebody might take a decline of internet fame so serious that she starts shooting people.

The internet has dramatically lowered the barrier of entry to self-publication and possibly fame. But that isn’t just true for you, it is true for everybody else as well. Thus fame is getting more and more fickle and short-lived. Being “internet famous” can be fun, but it appears that it can also be dangerous.

Rupert Murdoch Seems to Have Forgotten That He Fired Bill O’Reilly

The only sexual-harassment problem they’ve had at Fox News was Roger Ailes, he said.

In light of the news that the Walt Disney Company had reached a deal to acquire most of 21st Century Fox, executive co-chairman Rupert Murdoch spoke to Sky News TV about the move and other business matters at the empire.

But when the topic of sexual harassment allegations came up and whether they affected the network, Murdoch called the accusations “nonsense.”

“It’s all nonsense,” he said. “There was a problem with our chief executive, over the year, isolated incidents.” Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes stepped down in 2016 after over 20 women accused him of sexual harassment, and News Corp paid $45 million in settlements related to those allegations. Upon his departure, Ailes was awarded a $40 million exit package.

Murdoch told Sky News TV, “As soon as we investigated he was out of the place in hours — well three or four days. And there has been nothing else since then.”

Since then, since Ailes left News Corp, there has actually been quite a bit else.

The network’s biggest star, Bill O’Reilly was fired in April following numerous sexual harassment allegations and after the New York Times discovered that Fox had paid at least $13 million in settlements over complaints made against him. The network also terminated host Eric Bolling in September, after Huff Post reported that Bolling had sent unsolicited pictures of his genitalia to at least three female colleagues. Host Chris Payne was also suspended this summer after allegations of sexual harassment. He was later reinstated.

Murdoch claims the accusations were “largely political because we are conservative. The liberals are going down the drain. NBC is in deep trouble.”

The media industry, like Hollywood, the food industry and politics, has come under scrutiny for a culture of predation by men in power and systematic sexual misconduct. From NBC’s Matt Lauer, to CBS’s Charlie Rose, to PBS’s Tavis Smily, allegations of sexual harassment or assault have not been confined to conservatives. But to ignore how pervasive allegations specifically at Fox News have been is a very selective understanding of this current moment.

“There are really bad cases and people should be moved aside,” Murdoch said. “There are other things — which probably amount to a bit of flirting.” According to Sky News, the 86-year-old said that he did not believe sexual misconduct allegations had “affected investor sentiment towards his businesses.”

 

 

Related Stories

  • Sean Hannity Has a Long, Revolting History of Undermining Women Who Report Sexual Abuse
  • 12 Most Insane Rules From the Biggest Neo-Nazi Website on the Internet
  • Rupert Murdoch’s Appalling Corporate Legacy: An International Empire of Sexual Harassment and Law Breaking

pRoDuct oR SerVice – sell it on “AmaZon marketpLace”

amazon

Amazon, the E-commerce giant, is one of the oldest merchants on the web and has over 200 million customers worldwide. Amazon is the unrivalled marketplace to sell products online. It provides an excellent platform for conducting online business and has proved beneficial for both buyers and sellers. Amazon is an extremely popular e-commerce site that can help expand your reach in the market and improve the visibility of your product in a unique way.

There are various reasons why you should consider selling at Amazon Marketplace

  • Increase Sales: The best reason of selling on Amazon is the scale of their online visitors.
  • Acquire Potential Customers from across the Globe: Amazon has millions of varied customers across the globe who visit on a frequent basis.
  • Quick and Stress Free Shipping: Amazon can ship your product, through Amazon’s FBA service, Fulfillment by Amazon, to the customer faster and at cheaper rates than you can do it yourself.
  • Effortless, Trusted Shopping Experience for Customers
  • Secure and Timely Payments: Amazon offers hassle-free and timely payments. Payment for your product is deposited into your bank account and you are notified via email that your payment has been made. Also, Amazon deducts its fees only after you make a sale.

Amazon Marketplace – Account Types

Before start selling products you should first choose the type of account, then decide what product to sell and finally decide how to manage shipment and returns.

Amazon offers two types of Account

1) Individual Account
2) Professional Account

Differences between Individual and Professional selling plans

Individual sellers are on a pay-as-you-go system and use a basic set of tools for listing and order management. While Professional sellers pay a monthly subscription fee of $39.99, they also receive a waiver of the $0.99 fixed closing fee for each order and can access additional tools for listing inventory and managing orders.

Amazon Marketplace – Listing a New Product

If you want to list a new product in the Amazon catalog, then you need to follow the steps given below:
1) Log-in to your account
2) Click on sell button
3) Select your account type
4) Fill the following form

It may take a few days for the product to begin appearing in the search list.

Listing Products in Masses
What if you want to sell thousands of products? Entering the details of each item would be very tedious. In such a case, uploading lists of products into Amazon Seller Central comes to your rescue. It does not mean that you do not need to input the product data. You obviously need to enter all the data, the product cost, its condition, quantity, etc. but you will be entering it into a spreadsheet and upload the spreadsheet on Amazon. The entire procedure of uploading is the same as discussed earlier.

Amazon Marketplace – Pricing Tools

Amazon has a repricing tool that could be quite useful. Merchants need to use such pricing tools because prices change very quickly with upcoming new merchants and new inventories. So, one needs to keep a check and keep the prices reasonable without making any changes manually. These tools use Amazon Web Service’s Application Programming Interface (API). They track information about your pricing and your opponent’s pricing and modify your pricing to appear more competitive, thereby escalating your sales and drawing you closer to the Buy Box.

Amazon has no objection to merchants using these tools. In fact, they understand that managing large number of products isn’t possible without automation and they like tools with a tendency to push the pricing down, because it provides lower prices to their customers.

Amazon Marketplace – Price Calculator

It is quite an effort to know how much revenue you can generate by selling a product on Amazon. Being one of the most popular marketplaces for online merchants, Amazon has a wide array of fees – marketplace account fees, variable cost fees, referral fees, shipping costs, etc. The fee depends upon whether you are an individual seller or a pro merchant, shipping your product yourself or using FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon).

One cannot estimate how much profit can be earned by selling a product. Here, the readymade Price Calculators come to the rescue and helps you calculate how much profit are you going to make on the sale. Amazon Price Calculators are well equipped to help the sellers in determining their total profit on items after shipment and all monetary transactions.

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Deal Spotlight: Codeanywhere lets you write apps from any place for 92 percent off

If you want to be able to write code for apps from any location, you have to check out Codeanywhere. This cloud-based development service lets you create code if you have any Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, or if you have access to a web browser.

Normally, a lifetime freelancer subscription to Codeanywhere would cost you a whopping $1,260. However, this week Android Authority readers have the price cut down to just $89, a savings of 92 percent. The fine print is that technically this price will give you access for three years, but the good news is that when that expiration arrives, you just have to email the company at [email protected] and it will renew that three year subscription for free. You will have to do this move every 3 years, but if you do, this subscription will be renewed for free as long as you live.

Codeanywhere offers support for over 75 programming languages, so the chances are that anything you use will be available from this service. Autocomplete support is also available for HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, Python & PHP languages. It lets you connect to up to 50 FTP servers, along with pairing support for when you want to collaborate on a coding project with a friend. You can connect your code to  FTP, SFTP, Dropbox, Google Drive and other services, and you can run any command on your container or remote servers by using SSH. 

You can view different versions of your code in Codeanywhere to pinpoint disparities between each of your saves and you can choose from a large number of predefined dev stacks. Finally, you can quickly connect to any of your existing Git repositories.

Are you ready to start coding your apps from anywhere for a super-low price? Then click on the button below to save 92 percent off Codeanywhere.

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Learn ABC of “A/B testing”

What is A/B Testing?

A/B Testing is one of the best way to compare two or more versions of an application or a web page.It enables you to determine which one of them performs better and can generate better conversion rates. You compare two web pages or applications by showing the two variants (let’s call them A and B) to similar visitors at the same time. The one that gives a better conversion rate, wins!

All websites on the web have a goal – a reason for them to exist

  • eCommerce websites want visitors buying products
  • SaaS web apps(Software as a service) want visitors signing up for a trial and converting to paid visitors
  • News and media websites want readers to click on ads or sign up for paid subscriptions

Every business website wants visitors converting from just visitors to something else. The rate at which a website is able to do this is its “conversion rate”. Measuring the performance of a variation (A or B) means measuring the rate at which it converts visitors to goal achievers.

Example

Let us assume that there is a web page and all the traffic is directed to this page. Now as a part of A/B Testing, you have made some minor changes like headlines, numbering, etc. on the same page and half of its traffic is directed to the modified version of this web page. Now you have version A and version B of the same web page and you can monitor the visitor’s actions using statistics and analysis to determine the version that yields a higher conversion rate.

A conversion rate is defined as the instance, when any visitor on your website performs a desired action. A/B Testing enables you to determine the best online marketing strategy for your business. Take a look at the following illustration. It shows that version A yields a conversion rate of 15% and version B yields a conversion rate of 22%.

Why Should You do A/B Test?

A/B testing allows you to make more out of your existing traffic. While the cost of acquiring paid traffic can be huge, the cost of increasing your conversions is minimal. To compare, a Small Business Plan  whose cost is equivalent to 5 to 10 Google Adwords clicks. The Return On Investment of A/B testing can be massive, as even small changes on a landing page or website can result in significant increases in leads generated, sales and revenue.

Traffic vs Conversion rate

What Can You Test?

Almost anything on your website that affects visitor behavior can be A/B tested.
webpage

  1. Headlines
  2. Sub headlines
  3. Paragraph Text
  4. Testimonials
  5. Call to Action text
  6. Call to Action Button
  7. Links
  8. Images
  9. Content near the fold
  10. Social proof
  11. Media mentions
  12. Awards and badges
Advanced tests can include pricing structures, sales promotions, free trial lengths, navigation and UX experiences, free or paid delivery, and more.

A/B Testing Process

The correct way to run an A/B testing experiment is to follow a scientific process. It includes the following steps:

Study your Website Data: Use a website analytics tool such as Google Analytics, and find the problem areas in your conversion funnel. For example, you can identify the pages with the highest bounce rate. Let’s say, your homepage has an unusually high bounce rate.

Observe User Behavior: Utilize visitor behavior analysis tools such as Heatmaps, Visitor Recordings, Form Analysis and On-page Surveys, and find what is stopping the visitors from converting. For example, “The CTA button is not prominent on the home page.”

Construct a Hypothesis: Per the insights from visitor behavior analysis tools, build a hypothesis aimed at increasing conversions. For example, “Increasing the size of the CTA button will make it more prominent and will increase conversions.”

Test your Hypothesis: Create a variation per your hypothesis, and A/B test it against the original page. For example, “A/B test your original home page against a version that has a larger CTA button.” Calculate the test duration with respect to the number of your monthly visitors, current conversion rate, and the expected change in the conversion rate.

Analyze Test Data and Draw Conclusions: Analyze the A/B test results, and see which variation delivered the highest conversions. If there is a clear winner among the variations, go ahead with its implementation. If the test remains inconclusive, go back to step number three and rework your hypothesis.

Report results to all concerned: Let others in Marketing, IT, and UI/UX know of the test results and the insights generated.

A/B Testing – Tools

There are various tools that can be used to generate hypothesis and to run the variations, these include:

  • Visual Website optimizer (VWO)
  • Google Content Experiments
  • Optimizely

All these tools are capable to run A/B Tests and to find the winner, but to perform post analysis these tools should be integrated with Google Analytics.

A/B Testing – Google Analytics

Google Analytics has two options for analyzing the data −

  • Universal Analytics
  • Classic Google Analytics

New Universal Analytics feature allow you to use 20 concurrent A/B Tests sending data to Google Analytics, however the Classic version allows only up to five.

Integrating Optimizely with Google Universal Analytics

To integrate Optimizely in to Universal Google Analytics, first select the ON button on its side panel. Then you must have an available Custom to populate with Optimizely experiment data. Then the tracking code must be placed at the bottom of the  head section of your pages. Google Analytics integration will not function properly unless the Optimizely snippet is above this Analytics snippet.

Configuration Steps

Optimizely uses Universal Google Analytics’ “Custom Dimensions” to tag your visitors with the experiments and variations to which they’ve been added. Configuring Optimizely to begin sending this information to Universal Analytics requires four steps −

Step 1

Add the following JavaScript code to your site wherever the Universal Analytics code exists after the ga(‘create’…) function fires and before the Universal Analytics ga(‘send’,’pageview’) function fires and the tracking call is made (see details in the next section) −

// Optimizely Universal Analytics Integration
window.optimizely = window.optimizely || [];
window.optimizely.push(“activateUniversalAnalytics”);

Step 2

In the Optimizely Editor, go to Options → Integrations then click on the Universal Analytics checkbox to enable the integration.

Step 3

Select the custom dimension you would like Optimizely to use. You have to ensure that the Custom Dimension should not be in use already by any other part of your site, or by another currently-running Optimizely experiment.

Step 4

Select a Custom Tracker if you are using a custom event tracker other than the default. This will change Optimizely’s integration call to use the custom tracker rather than the default.

Creating a Custom Report using Google Analytics

First step is to log into your Universal Analytics account and click the Customization tab at the top. You should see a Custom Reports list.

Next is to set up a Custom Report for each experiment that you have integrated Universal Analytics with.

  • Click on the New Custom Report → Enter the report title and add the metric groups you wish to view in the report.
  • To filter this report for only your Optimizely experiment, choose the Custom Dimension you set up previously as one of the Dimension Drilldowns.
  • Add this dimension in the Filters section and use a Regex match on the experiment ID for the experiment you want to filter.
  • Click on Save.

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Here is how tech companies are responding to the repeal of net neutrality

Save the Internet

Unless you’ve been in living under a rock the past several months, you knew that a vote on net neutrality was coming. It played out just as everyone suspected and the FCC voted to reclassify internet service providers like Comcast, Spectrum, and Verizon. The vote removed restrictions on the companies that many felt were vital to an open and fair internet.

Here are how some large tech companies are reacting the vote.

Google

Google is a proponent of net neutrality and has repeatedly voiced its support of it in the past. In a statement released to news organizations after the vote, Google pledges to continue to follow the policies of net neutrality. Here is its statement in full:

We remain committed to the net neutrality policies that enjoy overwhelming public support, have been approved by the courts, and are working well for every part of the internet economy. We will work with other net neutrality supporters large and small to promote strong, enforceable protections.

Facebook

Facebook is another company that voice support for strong net neutrality regulations. Many fear that with the repeal of net neutrality, world-changing companies like Facebook may never be able to sprout up. Facebook’s COO released the following statement after the vote:



Netflix

As the largest video streaming service on the internet, Netflix has a vested interest making sure people are able to stream their content. Even though the company has seemingly waffled on its net neutrality, it came out with a firm statement stating, “We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality.” Here is the company’s full statement:

Amazon

Amazon is another of the tech giants that stood behind net neutrality. With its repeal, Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer took to Twitter to share his statement:

Microsoft

Microsoft is a staunch supporter of net neutrality, saying earlier this year, “Without an open internet, broadband internet access service providers gain the power to outright prevent edge content and services from reaching their customers, levy tolls on edge providers and customers for access to edge content and services, and pick winners and losers in the internet economy, thus subjecting edge provider success to the control of broadband internet access services providers rather than the forces of customer demand.” After the vote, its Chief Legal Officer made the following statement:

Reddit

Reddit bills itself as the “Front Page of the Internet”. It’s another company like Facebook that was started by a couple of kids and turned into a phenomenon. If you’ve used the site any time in the last few weeks, you’ll know that the site and (most of) its users are strong supporters of net neutrality. In a statement today, Reddit CEO Steve Hufmann (Spez) said in part:

It is disappointing that the FCC Chairman plowed ahead with his planned repeal despite all of this public concern, not to mention the objections expressed by his fellow commissioners, the FCC’s own CTO, more than a hundred members of Congress, dozens of senators, and the very builders of the modern internet.

Nevertheless, today’s vote is the beginning, not the end. While the fight to preserve net neutrality is going to be longer than we had hoped, this is far from over.

You can read the statement in its entirety here.

Comcast

Comcast is one of the companies that could seemingly benefit from the net neutrality changes. Many fear that companies like Comcast could wield its power to prevent users from reaching sites or streaming video content to benefit its own platforms.

But, According to a blog post by Senior Vice President David L. Cohen, Comcast believes that Congress should move to enact net neutrality laws. Its stance is that the rules enacted by the FCC were just governmental overreach, but it really supports net neutrality. Whether you believe that or not is up to you, but you can read the full blog post here.

Charter/Spectrum

Charter is the second largest ISP in the country and obviously had its eye on the FCC’s meeting. After the vote, the company released a statement on its website that read in part, ” Charter has been consistent and clear: we support a vibrant and open internet that enables our customers to access the lawful content of their choice when and where they want it. We commend the FCC Chairman and Commissioners for their action today that re-establishes the light touch regulatory framework that had been in place for decades when the Internet took root and grew into an important tool for daily life and a major engine of economic growth.”

You can read the rest of its comment here.

AT&T

AT&T repeated many of the same sentiments as Comcast and Charter. AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs, Bob Quinn, took to the web to express that the repeal of net neutrality laws isn’t that big of a deal.

In the post, Quinn states, “AT&T intends to operate its network the same way AT&T operates its network today: in an open and transparent manner. We will not block websites, we will not throttle or degrade internet traffic based on content, and we will not unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic (all consistent with the rules that were adopted – and that we supported – in 2010, and the rules in place today).”

You can read the full post here.

Verizon

Verizon hosts a Broadband Commitment website that states, “Verizon supports the Open Internet, and is committed to offering services that allow our customers to take full advantage of all of the lawful content and services that the Internet has to offer.” Speaking to Inverse yesterday, Verizon spokesperson Rich Young backed up that sentiment with this statement, “Verizon fully supports the open Internet, and we will continue to do so. Our customers demand it and our business depends on it.”

T-Mobile

T-Mobile released a very short statement after the vote. It reads, “We always have and will support an open internet that enables us to provide new and innovative services to our customers and keep them first! We will continue to provide amazing service and support to our customers each day!”

Sprint

Sprint’s statement on the repeal of net neutrality is longer than T-Mobile’s, but says just as little. It reads, “Sprint applauds the FCC’s efforts to simplify a complex and challenging issue, while balancing multiple stakeholder interests in this important proceeding. Our position has been and continues to be that competition is the best way to promote an open internet. Complex and vague regulations previously created uncertainties around net neutrality compliance. The Commission’s decision today eliminates those uncertainties and appears to allow Sprint to manage our network and offer competitive products.”


Which company had the best response?

Trump’s Bizarre Love Affair With Putin Deepens: What Is He Hiding?

A Washington Post feature on Trump’s Russia fixation is oddly credulous: Is wounded pride really the issue here?

On Thursday, The Washington Post published a long article about how Donald Trump is dealing with Russia as president. It wasn’t exactly reassuring. The reason is not that he’s poised to start a war, as he seems to be with North Korea, but that he’s giving away the store to the other side. It’s disturbing because Trump doesn’t seem to be capable of even thinking about America’s relationship with Russia like a president at all. He gets so upset by the investigation into election interference and his subsequent actions that intelligence briefers reportedly don’t mention it as a priority, slipping it into the written material — which he’s said in the past he doesn’t need to read — or sliding it far down the list of items of concern to avoid provoking his ire.

The upshot is that the president isn’t able to focus on relations with Russia at a time when it couldn’t be more important to do so. Trump’s insistence that there was no election interference has taken on the character of a bizarre fixation that is inhibiting the rest of the government from doing its job. And it seems nobody has a clue what to do about it.

The article is full of interesting details about the inner workings of Trump’s national security team and how they deal with this mercurial boss.  For instance, he once assumed his highly qualified Russia expert Fiona Hill (the co-author of a major biography of Vladimir Putin) was a clerical worker. Trump asked her to retype a memo, became angry when she seemed confused by the order and demanded that national security adviser H.R. McMaster reprimand her — which, astonishingly, he did.

But then, none of that should be too surprising. Trump is no more respectful of world leaders with whom he doesn’t feel that personal kinship. He reportedly got bored in the middle of a briefing about Angela Merkel and went into the bathroom, leaving the door open and telling his aides to speak up while he primped in front of the mirror. We all saw his refusal to shake Merkel’s hand in front of the press and this derisive tweet from a couple of years ago:

He apparently doesn’t consider her an equal on par with strongmen like Putin or China’s Xi Jinping, both of whom he shows a deference that verges on obsequiousness.

The article is a portrait of a man-child, so deeply over his head that you wonder if he isn’t literally going to hold his breath until he turns blue before it’s all over. In that sense, it tracks with the recent New York Times article that depicted Trump tweeting from his pillow in the morning, wandering around in his bathrobe, drinking two six packs of Diet Coke and watching up to eight hours of cable news a day.

After reading both of these articles, you get the sense that somebody in the White House has decided that the best defense against charges that Trump colluded with Russia is for people to believe that he behaves as he does because he’s a narcissistic simpleton who can’t deal with the fact that he didn’t win the popular vote. While that description may be accurate, it doesn’t let him off the hook.

The Post’s reporters vaguely examine the possibility that there could be some blackmail material or kompromat hanging out there, or that Trump has some serious financial exposure somewhere in his past. But the article primarily relies on his aides’ portrayal of him as someone who believes in the power of his personality to bond with Vladimir Putin, and believes that together they will solve the world’s problems.

Furthermore, the authors seem to take at face value the assertion that Trump’s insistence that the Russians played no part in the election is because “the idea that he’s been put into office by Vladi­mir Putin is pretty insulting.” Trump is essentially depicted as a juvenile egomaniac who lacks the capacity or imagination to have done anything as sophisticated as collude with a foreign country.

This is spin that I often see reporters and pundits regurgitate on TV, as if this can all be explained away by the proposition that Trump is a buffoon who is constantly frustrated by people saying he didn’t really win. But this fails to account for all the sucking up he did toward Putin during in the campaign and his continued inability to say a bad word about him ever since. It’s not as if Trump is usually at a loss for a well-timed insult.

It also fails to account for the fact that Trump has shown not even minimal interest in doing a “deal” with Russia that would benefit the United States. While he repeatedly insults our allies and crudely demands that they pay protection in return for the U.S. living up to its treaties and commitments, he asked for nothing from Putin in return for lifting sanctions and putting up barriers to NATO expansion, other than a vague promise that everyone “gets along.”

The idea that Putin is the only man on earth Trump sees as a partner in bringing peace on earth just doesn’t pass the smell test. That the self-anointed master negotiator has not seized the opportunity to use the knowledge we have about election interference as a bargaining chip, and instead seems inclined to grant Putin his wish list for nothing in return, does not give one much confidence.

Trump lies about everything, so there is no reason to take him at his word on any of this. Of course he is upset about the Russia investigation, and of course it bothers him that people might think he didn’t legitimately win the election. But it’s hardly likely that he behaves this way because he’s an innocent man. In fact, it’s ludicrous. Everything we know about him suggests the opposite.

Whether it’s about Trump’s past financial exposure or the rumored salacious kompromat or some agreement over dirt on Hillary Clinton or a big hotel deal, there is definitely more to this. He doesn’t act like a man who has been unjustly accused. He acts like a man who’s hiding something and thinks if he blusters and blames he can hide his guilt from his staff and even from himself. He can’t.

 

 

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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.

Editor’s Pick

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.