Month: June 2020

How To Become An Inspiration To Others: 4 Essential Qualities

If I were to ask you to name the person who has inspired you the most, your first choice might be a celebrity. It also might be a professional public speaker, a successful business person, a spiritual guru, or some other public figure.

But in reality, the people who make the biggest, and most lasting impact on our lives are probably ordinary folks. They might not even consider themselves to be inspirational.

And that’s good, because it means that each of us could potentially impact other people’s lives for the better. There are people around us whose lives are falling apart, people who are looking to someone like you and me for help and inspiration.

So, what does it take to inspire others?

Here are the four characteristics which I believe to be the most important. These are qualities that have nothing to do with social status, education, cultural background or financial standing; just our humanity.

Authenticity: The Secret of Lasting Inspiration

Although these four qualities overlap, for me, authenticity has to take the first spot, because more often than not, inauthentic people let us down, badly.

Imagine you are listening to a well-known motivational speaker. You are captivated by his story, awe-struck by his charisma. It feels good to be in his presence. You wish you were like him. You follow him on social media. He becomes your idol and your role model.

Until it comes to light that such stories of courage and fortitude, which you found so inspiring, were all made up. Your idol’s reputation is in tatters, and followers like you are left distraught and disillusioned. How do you feel now? Not good, hey?

Thankfully that sort of thing doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

The thing is, we can feel equally let down by lesser-known people if what they’ve told us about themselves turns out to be untrue, so it’s best not to fall into that trap ourselves.

You might think your life story lacks excitement and drama, but that’s not a problem. To be truly inspirational, we don’t have to make up a story; we just have to be ourselves, warts and all.

Your life story is unique, with episodes of pain and happiness, failure and success: you don’t need to embellish, or belittle it. You just need to tell it as it is ­- others going through a similar experience need to hear it.

Empathy: showing genuine interest inspires trust

empathy qualities of an inspirational person

It is not your story per se that inspires, but the emotional connection it creates. Because, as John Maxwell points out, “you develop credibility with people when you connect with them and show that you genuinely want to help them”.

There are times when it’s right to share your own story with others, though they are more likely to be inspired if they can see how it relates to their experience and aspirations.

When people’s experience is the same as, or similar to our own, they feel we understand what they’re going through. Showing empathy could mean having to disclose something about ourselves. However, just being in touch with, and owning the feelings associated with our memories, can often speak louder than words.

To be inspired, your audience (be it just one person, or a crowd) need to feel that they matter and that you are genuinely interested in them as individuals. The best way to convey this is by actively listening to them. And I don’t mean just listening to what they say. If you’re connected emotionally, you’ll get insight into what they truly want to tell you.

So, be fully present – listen and be attentive.

Vulnerability: It Can Be Painful, But Inspiring

To inspire others, we need to come across as human, regardless of whether the conversation we’re having is on a personal level or in a professional capacity.

As mentioned above, if we want to connect with others on an emotional level, we might need to reveal a little of our true self. I realize this goes against the grain for those of us whose natural inclination is to put barriers around our emotions. However, (as a metaphor) safety barriers are usually stiff and unyielding, behaviours that are not particularly attractive or inspiring in us; so it pays to loosen up.

Now I’m not saying that we should make our mistakes or indiscretions public. Nor am I suggesting that we wear our hearts on our sleeves, or give vent to emotional outbursts. What I am saying is that it is okay to show emotion when relating our own story, or when we’re feeling the pain in other people’s stories.

A word of caution: pretense is off-putting and potentially offensive. Fake emotions have no place here, nor do crocodile tears. Genuine vulnerability, on the other hand, can be a powerful inspiration.

Being vulnerable means that we expose ourselves to the possibility of being hurt: this takes personal courage. Some see it as a weakness, but if tears come, let them. Don’t be embarrassed: “What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful” (Brene Brown).

Boldness: Ordinary But Inspirational Acts of Courage

qualities of an inspirational person boldness

Some of the most inspiring people I’ve known are those who have shown courage and integrity. And I’m not thinking about heroic acts that get splashed across the media. Instead, I’m thinking about ordinary people who dare to face life when everything around them is crumbling. Such as:

  • People who persevere through multiple failures;
  • People who survive abusive and toxic relationships;
  • People with reason to seek revenge, but choose to forgive;
  • People who stand firm in the face of persecution or injustice;
  • People who stand up for others when they can’t do it for themselves.

Is this courage? Yes, both physical and moral.

It was Mark Twain who said: “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare”. But I think if we look into the lives of ordinary people, we’ll find that moral courage isn’t as rare as he imagined. Courage is not the absence of fear, but doing what we have to despite being afraid.

So, what’s the source of such courage?

For some, it’s an inner compulsion; perhaps driven by love, a sense of fairness, philosophy, or religious belief. What’s yours?

My courage comes from believing that I am never alone, because God is in me, and with me, at all times.

Inspired? Now It’s Your Turn

That’s it – the four essential qualities that could help you inspire other people. How many of these do you possess?

  • Authenticity
  • Empathy
  • Vulnerability
  • Boldness

You certainly know your life story; you just need to have confidence that relating relevant parts of it can help others get through similar experiences. Being empathetic might require practice, but you can start by being genuinely interested in people, even if that entails making yourself vulnerable.

So be bold. Go for it. At least make a start. Who knows, you might find that you enjoy it so much you will want to make a career of it. If you do, then possessing these four qualities would be an excellent foundation that will put you ahead of the pack.

Finally, a word from Mother Teresa, one of the most ‘ordinary’ inspirational people of all time: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” That’s inspiration at its best.

The post How To Become An Inspiration To Others: 4 Essential Qualities appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Strap in — a virtual Tour de France kicks off this weekend on the online racing platform Zwift

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on all manner of professional sports this year, and cycling has not been immune. For example, the best-known race on the planet, the Tour de France, normally staged in July, has had to be pushed back to August 29 through September 20.

That doesn’t mean that the world — and professional cyclists — can’t enjoy world-class racing this summer. In fact, beginning this coming weekend, 23 top men’s teams and 17 women’s teams will participate in a virtual version of the event that’s being hosted by six-year-old Zwift, after it was chosen by the official race organizer of the real tour, Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), as its partner on the event.

It’s a coup for the Long Beach, Calif., company whose multiplayer video game technology is used by both amateur and pro cyclists and that, according to Outside magazine, is now the biggest player in the growing online racing world.

Investors have noticed, funding the company to the tune of $170 million so far, says cofounder and CEO Eric Min.

This Tour has the potential to drive many more users its way, too.

For one thing, the virtual version of the event, which will feature six stages that last roughly hour over the next three weekends beginning this Saturday — it gets underway with the first women’s stage, followed immediately by the men — will be broadcast in more than 130 countries. (In the U.S., it will be broadcast on NBC Sports.) It’s hard to imagine another way for a company like Zwift to get so much exposure as quickly.

The race is also open to any cyclists on its platform who want to race on the same roads as the professionals, meaning anyone who wants to “compete” in this virtual tour needs to sign up for an account, though it’s worth noting a few things.

First, mere mortals won’t be racing at the same time as the cyclists in the Tour but during mass participation events during the week that will ostensibly provide them the chance to experience exactly what the pros went through and to compare their power, heart rate, cadence and other data to their pro rider heroes.

Also, Zwift is a subscription service. Users can check out the platform for a free, seven-day trial, but after that, Zwift charges $15 per month. Riders also need a smart trainer, which costs around $300. Zwift doesn’t make its own trainers — yet — but its software works with the hardware of a dozen or so companies.

Unsurprisingly, Min sounded both excited and terrified when we caught up with him last week to talk about the race, whose first two stages will be held in Zwift’s existing game world, Watopia, with the other stages orchestrated in virtual versions of real courses from the race.

Though Zwift has staged virtual races before —  including the Giro d’Italia, which is basically the Tour de France for Italy, and the Vuelta a Espana, an annual multi-stage race in Spain — it “doesn’t get any bigger than this,” said Min, who told us the idea was hatched six weeks ago with ASO and that Zwift has been working furiously to prepare for the race ever since.

It could prove a turning point for the outfit. It already has nearly two million accounts, and while subscribers ebb and flow, depending on the time of year, the virtual Tour is an opportunity for some of those riders to “reengage,” Min says, adding that Zwift has been growing 50 percent year over year, and has unsurprisingly seen pick-up accelerate throughout the pandemic.

Zwift doesn’t just cater to competitive athletes, Min stresses, saying that more than half the company’s customers are overweight and that, unlike Peleton, its customers are drawn less to particular instructors and more to the idea of being part of a club where they can train, take part in events, and compete with one another another, either in a public way or by via private rides wherein users share maps with friends, for example.

Either way, both amateur rider and professional racers will undoubtedly have high expectations of the Tour itself, even while it comes with more inherent challenges, including less time to break away from fellow riders than in the real-world tour, where each stage can take five or six hours.

Min thinks Zwift is ready. On our call, he discussed how Zwift convincingly creates drag, for example, walking through the software’s calculations, including a rider’s weight and body mass and the terrain they’re on and whether a rider is receiving draft from riders in front. Apply resistance to the machine  or easing it is what gives riders a sense of motion and inertia. “It’s not exactly like outdoor riding,” said Min, but combined with the software’s visual tools, meant to fool the mind, “it gets pretty darn close.

And that software, including the Tour maps, is now largely done, Min said. Now, Zwift just needs to ensure that its broadcast tools work as well as possible, among other last-minute priorities.

“We’ll do some dry runs [this] week. Then it’s showtime,” he said, before adding: “The stakes are pretty high. It has to be rock solid.”

Gorgeous Google Doodle celebrates Marsha P. Johnson for the last day of Pride Month

Gorgeous Google Doodle celebrates Marsha P. Johnson for the last day of Pride Month

As a tumultuous Pride Month draws to a close, Google is marking it with a tribute to transgender artist, activist, and drag performer Marsha P. Johnson.

Johnson was a central and beloved figure in New York’s gay scene from the 1960s onward, and is widely recognized as one of the first people to fight back against police harassing patrons during a raid on the Stonewall Hotel. This sparked the Stonewall riots, commemorations of which became Pride celebrations. 

Alongside Sylvia Rivera, Johnson also founded Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Activist Revolutionaries, or STAR, to offer housing, food, and other assistance to trans and non-binary youth. She said the “P” in her name was there for when people questioned her gender or presentation — it stood for “Pay it no mind.”  Read more…

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Harnessing The Power Of Sleep

Sleep is an important part of our lives. We are supposed to be spending a third of our lives asleep, but not everyone is making that happen. Lack of sleep can result in a lot of different problems, including an increased risk in type II diabetes, heart disease, mental health issues, as well as a decreased immune system. It’s a stressful time right now, and more people than ever are having trouble catching the appropriate amount of Zzzs. How can we overcome stress and ensure we are getting the rest our bodies and minds need?

The Importance Of Sleep On Health

benefits of sleep

Six in ten of the leading causes of death in the United States have been linked to a lack of sleep. Most people know they are supposed to get eight hours of sleep a night, but only a few actually do. Some people fool themselves into believing they can get by on six hours of sleep or less. Others are so busy with life and work, particularly those who have multiple jobs, that they aren’t able to make the time they need to get adequate rest.

The result of not getting enough rest hinges on cortisol and melatonin levels. These are the hormones that regulate our sleep and wake cycles. When you first wake up in the morning your cortisol levels are higher and your melatonin levels are lower. You’ll have higher blood pressure and lower inflammation and you will feel awake and alert.

As the day wears on your melatonin levels rise and your cortisol levels drop, and right before your typical bedtime is one of the highest levels of melatonin you will have all day. Your blood pressure drops and your inflammation levels rise and you begin to feel drowsy and ready for bed.

During sleep your body is in a rest and repair state. Cytokines are released in order to regulate both innate and adaptive immunity. White blood cells accumulate and fight off the antigens trapped in your lymphatic system.

When people don’t get enough sleep, though, these normal functions aren’t taking place. Too little sleep causes cortisol to build, causing you to live in a perpetual state of stress, which wears down your immune system. This causes your inflammatory processes to kick into overdrive, which lowers cytokine production among other issues. Over time, too much cortisol can lead to increased problems with sleeplessness and daytime fatigue, issues with memory and focus, and decreased immunity.

How To Get Better Sleep Starting Tonight

power of sleep

Maintaining a routine is the most important thing when it comes to getting more and better sleep. Keep a regular schedule. Wake up at the same time every day, regardless of what day of the week it is. Go to bed at the same time every day for the same reason. This gives your body a chance to know what to expect so your hormones can do what they need to do. Keeping your body guessing disrupts your cortisol levels and melatonin levels, so your sleep and wake cycles won’t come naturally.

Manage light levels and other comfort factors in your bedroom. Use light blocking shades if you work during the night and sleep during the day or if there are any lights outside your bedroom window. Stop using screens and anything else that emits blue light at least an hour before bedtime. Try to keep the temperature in your room cool, use a white noise machine if there are any distracting noises, and ensure your bedding is clean and comfortable.

If you still can’t sleep:

  • Make sure you aren’t sabotaging yourself by taking naps during the day.
  • Take an honest look at your caffeine intake – are you getting too much or not cutting it off early enough in the day?
  • Don’t try to keep trying. Get up and read for a while and try again later.

If you are waking up frequently because of nightmares, you’re not alone. Increased stress has been shown to impact quality of sleep and lead to higher levels of negative content in dreams. Oftentimes, dreams during times of stress and trauma are more vivid and more memorable, which can make you feel as though you haven’t slept at all.

It’s time to harness the power of sleep. Learn more from the infographic below.

The Power of Sleep
Source: Online Mattress Review

The post Harnessing The Power Of Sleep appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Indian startups diversify their businesses to offset COVID-19 induced losses

E-commerce giant Flipkart is planning to launch a hyperlocal service that would enable customers to buy items from local stores and have those delivered to them in an hour and a half or less. Yatra, an online travel and hotel ticketing service, is exploring a new business line altogether: Supplying office accessories.

Flipkart and Yatra are not the only firms eyeing new business categories. Dozens of firms in the country have branched out by launching new services in recent weeks, in part to offset the disruption the COVID-19 epidemic has caused to their core offerings.

Swiggy and Zomato, the nation’s largest food delivery startups, began delivering alcohol in select parts of the country last month. The move came weeks after the two firms, both of which are seeing fewer orders and had to let go hundreds of employees, started accepting orders for grocery items in a move that challenged existing online market leaders BigBasket and Grofers.

Udaan, a business-to-business marketplace, recently started to accept bulk orders from some housing societies and is exploring more opportunities in the business-to-commerce space, the startup told TechCrunch.

These shifts came shortly after New Delhi announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The lockdown meant that all public places including movie theaters, shopping malls, schools, and public transport were suspended.

Instead of temporarily halting their businesses altogether, as many have done in other markets, scores of startups in India have explored ways to make the most out of the current unfortunate spell.

“This pandemic has given an opportunity to the Indian tech startup ecosystem to have a harder look at the unit-economics of their businesses and become more capital efficient in the shorter and longer-term,” Puneet Kumar, a growth investor in Indian startup ecosystem, told TechCrunch in an interview.

Of the few things most Indian state governments have agreed should remain open include grocery shops, and online delivery services for grocery and food.

People buy groceries at a supermarket during the first day of the 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Bangalore on March 25, 2020. (Photo by MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

E-commerce firms Snapdeal and DealShare began grocery delivery service in late March. The move was soon followed by social-commerce startup Meesho, fitness startup Curefit, and BharatPe, which is best known for facilitating mobile payments between merchants and users.

Meesho’s attempt is still in the pilot stage, said Vidit Aatrey, the Facebook-backed startup’s co-founder and chief executive. “We started grocery during the lockdown to give some income opportunities to our sellers and so far it has shown good response. So we are continuing the pilot even after lockdown has lifted,” he said.

ClubFactory, best known for selling low-cost beauty items, has also started to deliver grocery products, and so has NoBroker, a Bangalore-based startup that connects apartment seekers with property owners. And MakeMyTrip, a giant that provides solutions to book flight and hotel tickets, has entered the food delivery market.

Another such giant, BookMyShow, which sells movie tickets, has in recent weeks rushed to support online events, helping comedians and other artists sell tickets online. The Mumbai-headquartered firm plans to make further inroads around this business idea in the coming days.

For some startups, the pandemic has resulted in accelerating the launch of their product cycles. CRED, a Bangalore-based startup that is attempting to help Indians improve their financial behavior by paying their credit card bill on time, launched an instant credit line and apartment rental services.

Kunal Shah, the founder and chief executive of CRED, said the startup “fast-tracked the launch” of these two products as they could prove immensely useful in the current environment.

For a handful of startups, the pandemic has meant accelerated growth. Unacademy, a Facebook-backed online learning startup, has seen its user base and subscribers count surge in recent months and told TechCrunch that it is in the process of more than doubling the number of exam preparation courses it offers on its platform in the next two months.

Since March, the number of users who access the online learning service each day has surged to 700,000. “We have also seen a 200% increase in viewers per week for the free live classes offered on the platform. Additionally there has been a 50% increase in paid subscribers and over 50% increase in average watchtime per day among our subscribers,” a spokesperson said.

As with online learning firms, firms operating on-demand video streaming services have also seen a significant rise in the number of users they serve. Zee5, which has amassed over 80 million users, told TechCrunch last week that in a month it will introduce a new category in its app that would curate short-form videos produced and submitted by users. The firm said the feature would look very similar to TikTok.

The pandemic “has also accelerated the adoption of online services in India across all demographics. Many who would not have considered buying goods and services online are starting to adopt the online platforms for basic necessities at a faster pace,” said venture capitalist Kumar.

“As far as expansion into adjacent categories is concerned, some of this was a natural progression and startups were slowly moving in that direction anyway. The pandemic has forced people to get there faster.”

Roosh, a Mumbai-based game developing firm founded by several industry veterans, launched a new app ahead of schedule that allows social influencers to promote games on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, Deepak Ail, co-founder and chief executive of Roosh, told TechCrunch.

ShareChat, a Twitter-backed social network, recently acquired a startup called Elanic to explore opportunities in social-commerce. OkCredit, a bookkeeping service for merchants, has been exploring ways to allow users to purchase items from neighborhood stores.

And NowFloats, a Mumbai-based SaaS startup that helps businesses and individuals build an online presence without any web developing skills, is on-boarding doctors to help people consult with medical professionals.

Startups are not the only businesses that have scrambled to eye new categories. Established firms such as Carnival Group, which is India’s third-largest multiplex theatre chain, said it is foraying into cloud kitchen business.

Amazon, which competes with Walmart’s Flipkart in India, has also secured approval from West Bengal to deliver alcohol in the nation’s fourth most populated state. The e-commerce giant is also exploring ways to work with mom and pop stores that dot tens of thousands of cities and towns of India.

Last week, the American giant launched “Smart Stores” that allows shoppers to walk to a participating physical store, scan a QR code, and pick and purchase items through the Amazon app. The firm, which is supplying these mom and pop stores with software and QR code, said more than 10,000 shops are participating in the Smart Stores program.

Tons of ’80s stars turn adorable ‘Ferris Bueller’ cast reunion into a nostalgia trip of iconic John Hughes moments

Tons of '80s stars turn adorable 'Ferris Bueller' cast reunion into a nostalgia trip of iconic John Hughes moments

In the last episode of Josh Gad’s Reunited Apart for a while, the host and superfan brought together the cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, arguably the quintessential ’80s movie. Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Jennifer Grey joined Gad over video call for a chat about their memories of the shoot, as did Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett (who played Ferris’ parents) and Ben Stein, the economist and occasional actor responsible for “Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?” (He can also still do that improvised monologue about the Hawley-Smoot tariffs, and it’s still super boring.)

Gad also brought in Jake Gyllenhaal to quiz the cast on some seriously obscure Ferris trivia, and High School Musical director Kenny Ortega to talk about the one-take perfection and joyous legacy of the parade scene, which he choreographed. Read more…

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Consistently add skills to your CV with a lifetime subscription to Whizlabs

Consistently add skills to your CV with a lifetime subscription to Whizlabs

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to Whizlabs Online Certifications is on sale for £47.17 as of June 27, saving you 98% on list price.


It’s easy to embellish the truth on your CV. We’ve all done it at some point, right? For example, perhaps you know how to italicise words in HTML, but your CV suggests you’re practically a full-service UX developer.

Unfortunately, there’s a realistic chance your professional claims will be exposed for the outrageous exaggerations they are. So get one step ahead of your boss and/or the HR department by actually backing up those claims with a lifetime membership to Whizlabs Online Certifications. Read more…

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Alexis Ohanian is leaving Initialized Capital

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is leaving Initialized Capital, the investment firm he co-founded in 2011 with Garry Tan, as first reported by Axios and confirmed by TechCrunch. The move comes weeks after Ohanian publicly stepped down from the Reddit board of directors, with Y Combinator president Michael Seibel taking his spot.

Ohanian launched Initialized Capital back in 2011 with a $7 million investment vehicle. Since then, the San Francisco-based firm has grown immensely and made early-stage bets in companies like Flexport, Instacart, Cruise, Coinbase and Codecademy. Most recently, it closed a $225 million investment vehicle in 2018, its fourth fund to date.

Ohanian is leaving Initialized Capital to work on “a new project that will support a generation of founders in tech and beyond,” the firm said in a statement to TechCrunch. According to the Axios story, Ohanian is leaving Initialized to work more closely on pre-seed efforts. On its website, Initialized details that many teams it talks to already have launched products and have a plan to earn revenue.

“We understand that products and business models evolve, but it’s good to see in a very concrete way how teams are able to ship products and work together,” the firm wrote. If Ohanian raises a pre-seed fund, it will be interesting to see how he changes this methodology.

Ohanian did not directly respond to a request for comment.

It’s worth mentioning that partner departures in venture capital are rarely crystal clear break-ups. As Initialized confirmed, Ohanian will remain involved in the firm’s existing investment vehicles and portfolio companies due to legal ties. It is unclear if Ohanian will remain on any board he is on. Ro, a company in which Ohanian has a board seat, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One big question is whether Ohanian’s departure would trigger a key-man clause in the firm’s limited partnership agreement. “Key-man” clauses, which are typical in limited partner agreements, require that certain designated people (typically the main partners in a firm) must stay continuously employed at a firm and be active investors. When a key-man clause is triggered, limited partners often have a variety of tools, ranging from control over new hiring to outright ending the investing at a fund, in order to protect their investment in a fund.

In this case, it would be surprising if Alexis Ohanian wasn’t a key man, as he is one of the leading general partners and a founder of the firm.

Ohanian stepped away from being involved in the day to day of Reddit in 2018, and recently left his board seat at the company following protests against police brutality. The co-founder urged Reddit to fill the seat with a Black board member. Reddit ultimately selected Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel to fill the position.

Tan, the other founding partner of Initialized, helped YC grow in its early days and helped build the famed accelerator’s internal software system and late-stage funding program. “[Tan] will continue to lead Initialized Capital into the future, finding and funding great entrepreneurs as he has done for nearly a decade,” the firm wrote in a statement to TechCrunch. “Garry and Alexis remain committed to each other as long-standing friends and business partners. The firm fully supports Alexis in his future pursuits.”

Initialized Capital currently has $500 million assets under management and has backed over 200 companies to date.

Additional reporting by Danny Crichton.

Stephen Colbert mocks Pence’s search for positives as U.S. coronavirus cases reach record high

Stephen Colbert mocks Pence's search for positives as U.S. coronavirus cases reach record high

Despite President Donald Trump’s previous claims that the coronavirus would magically disappear in April, the deadly pandemic reached an all-time peak in the U.S. this week. The country set a new personal record for most new cases in a single day on Wednesday — then promptly beat it with 39,327 new cases on Thursday.

However, as Late Show host Stephen Colbert notes, Vice President Mike Pence is stubbornly ignoring these dire signs in favor of more “encouraging” ones.

“Yeah, 2.5 million infected Americans!” quipped Late Show host Stephen Colbert on Thursday. “Don’t look at the glass as half empty. Look at your lungs as half full.” Read more…

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All the tech in Ford’s most important vehicle: the 2021 F-150 truck

Ford rolled out all the stops Thursday evening for the reveal of its all-new F-150 truck, right down to the splashy videos dominated by electric guitar riffs. Heck, the automaker even cast the sharp-tongued Denis Leary as its MC.

Of course, none of that really matters. It’s all about what Ford has done to improve the most important and profitable vehicle in its lineup. It’s been six years since the last redesign. This all-new F-150 offers kind of performance and abundance options that Ford truck owners have come to expect. Ford is offering 11 different grille options, for instance.

But what stands out this time is the tech as well as a push beyond mild hybrids into the realm of a full hybrid powertrain.

Here’s all the technology in the new F-150, starting with the interior and specifically the infotainment system.

Control center

The base XL version of the truck will come standard with an 8-inch center touchscreen display. However, on higher trims — XLT and above — the F-150 will have a 12-screen that can be split so that users can control multiple functions simultaneously, including navigation, music or truck features.

Ford F-150

Image Credits:

Connectivity and OTAs

Who cares if the display is big if it doesn’t have the underlying connectivity to support a host of features? The important aspect to note is the F-150 has a new SYNC 4 system and embedded 4G LTE modem, which can provide Wi Fi access for up to 10 devices. SYNC 4, which has twice the computing power or the previous generation, is going to be standard in all models of the F-150 and will feature natural voice control and real-time mapping. The requisite on-demand audio content offered via SiriusXM will also be available.

The system will also wirelessly connect a smartphone to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The critical new piece here is that system, which was built within Ford instead of outsourced, can support over-the-air software updates. That means the system roll out upgrades to the vehicle such as adding or improving driver assistance features and keeping maps up to date. SYNC 4 will offer third-party apps through its AppLink system, including Waze and a version of Amazon’s Alexa called Ford+Alexa.

Office, bed or dining room?

Ford is clearly aiming for people who spend a lot of time working out of their truck. The new F-150 will come with an optional work surface in the center console area. The surface is designed to be used as a convenient place to sign documents, set up a laptop up to 15-inches in size or park that sandwich. The nifty part is that Ford managed to keep the console shifter. The driver hits the button, it folds into a compartment and makes room for the laptop work area.

Image Credits: Ford

Out on the tailgate is another work surface that includes integrated rulers, a mobile device holder, cupholder and pencil holder.

Ford F-150 Tailgate Work Surface

Image Credits: Ford

Back inside the cab are the sleeper seats, which got a bit of coverage before the big reveal. These “max recline” seats are available in the higher end models like King Ranch, Platinum and Limited and do as advertised: fold flat to nearly 180 degrees.

Hybrid system

Ford is offering its “PowerBoost” system, which refers to the full hybrid powertrain, on trim levels from the F-150 XL to the Limited. The system combines Ford’s 3.5-liter V6 engine and 10-speed transmission with a 35-kilowatt electric motor. This electric motor will use regenerative braking energy capture to help recharge the 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, which is located underneath the truck..

Ford said it’s targeting an EPA-estimated range of about 700 miles on a single tank of gas and will deliver at least 12,000 pounds of available maximum towing.

Power

The truck will also offer an onboard generator called Pro Power Onboard. The feature is available with a 2.0-kilowatt output on optional gas engines. The hybrid F-150 will come standard with 2.4 kilowatts of output or an
optional 7.2 kilowatts of output.

Owners can access this power source through outlets located in the cabin as well as up to four 120-volt 20-amp outlets in the cargo. The 7.2 kw power option will include a 240-volt 30-amp outlet. The system will allow for the batteries on tool to charge while the vehicle is moving.

Assistants everywhere

There are so many in here, it’s hard to keep them straight. The driver assistance features are part of Ford’s branded Co-Pilot 360 2.0 system. The important details are that more of these advanced driver assistance features are standard on the base XL trim, including a pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist and auto high-beam headlamps and auto
on/off headlamps.

Ford has added (checks notes) 10 new driver-assist features. The most notable one is Active Drive Assist, the hands-free driving feature that Ford plans to roll out via software updates to specific vehicles, including the all-electric Mustang Mach-E in the third quarter of 2021.

The hands-free feature will work on about 100,000 miles of pre-mapped, divided highways in the U.S. and Canada. The monitoring system will include an advanced infrared driver-facing camera that will track eye gaze and head position to ensure drivers are paying attention to the road. The DMS will be used in the hands-free mode and when drivers opt for lane-centering mode, which works on any road with lane lines. Drivers who don’t keep their eyes forward will be notified by visual prompts on their instrument cluster.

Then there’s “Intersection Assist,” which detects oncoming traffic while the driver is attempting a left turn, and “Active Park Assist 2.0,” which handles all steering, shifting, braking and accelerator controls during a parallel or perpendicular parking maneuver while the driver holds down a button.

Finally, there is “Trailer Reverse Guidance” and “Pro Trailer Backup Assist.” Neither are new, but they’re important features for users who haul trailers.

Taking Home Learning To The Next Level

Distance learning can be difficult for students all around the world. The abundance of distractions, atypical environment, and impersonal approach to education is hard to follow – a mere shock to students. It’s easy to let normal schedules slip when everyone is home, and technology frequently diverts our attention. However, this makes teachers and parents concerned their students will fall behind. Making learning fun could offer a solution.

It’s likely your student needs access to technology to engage in their online classes. However, most technology comes armed with a fleet of push-notifications – causing distractions amidst coursework. In fact, a study conducted in 2015 found that phone notifications was a major interference when it came to attention and productivity. It remained the case even when participants had no interaction with their device. Simply having technology around that is unnecessary to course content can be distracting.

make online learning fun

Reducing distractions

Luckily, you can limit these distractions. On Apple devices, you can use “screen time” to set time limits on specific apps and features. The similar options for Android devices is “focus mode,” which lets you block access to specific apps on a set schedule. On top of this, you can stop notifications altogether. Encourage your learner to turn on “do not disturb” mode during class. Additionally, suggest silencing notifications rather than simply putting them on vibrate. Vibrations can be as distracting as sounds.

Another way to minimize distractions for students is to build a class schedule around a type of activity rather than specific plans. For example, model out a day with alternating activities: some shared, some independent. Switching between quiet and active play can help avoid behavior problems and improve focus.

Smooth transitions

With that being said, you’ll also want to master the science of smooth transitions. Try giving warnings before a transition in coursework – and stick to them. More specifically, you have to make sure you have your kid’s attention, then provide instructions and say “go”.  This keeps your student engaged while switching tasks. Consider using a visual timer to set during these transitions. The Time Timer app can help your child understand how much time is left before switching gears.

Sleep well, learn well

You’ll also want to encourage sleep to reduce the amount of stress on your student. Having consistent sleep and wake times each day can help reduce cortisol – which is known as the stress hormone. Remember: you don’t have to keep your old schedule to have a consistent routine.

Getting more interactive

Furthermore, it’s also important for students to feel they’re in an educational environment. Allowing them to share and collaborate can help keep the same dynamic, improving their productivity and focus. Although in quarantine, students can schedule virtual sessions to help each other with schoolwork, or virtual playdates to catch up with friends. Video conferencing platforms can also help parents and teachers stay in touch to swap ideas on what works.

online learning

Technology in online education

Incorporating technology into education makes learning slightly more fun – music to every student’s ears. EdTech also makes learning more hands-on. Several libraries will allow you to get a card online if you don’t already have one.

This opens up the catalogue of selections by miles for students. Students can find free texts that are no longer copyrighted on Google Books and LibriVox, and loan their books on Amazon Kindle and Nook. Even more, many libraries will grant membership cards without local residency, or let you purchase a card for a small annual fee. If you add more library cards to your account, you can check out more items.

Apps for fun and learning

However, EdTech can make learning fun outside of English classes. Apps like Bedtime Math, Monopoly, and Yahtzee make learning easy – even if you’re not comfortable with math. Bedtime offers a daily math problem for children aged 3-9, including a short engaging story, and a problem based on your child’s age. The aforementioned family games help practice basic math skills. For an added challenge, use extra cards or dice to practice arithmetic as you play. Gaming can be very helpful in education. A 2018 study showed that when parents with high math-anxiety used Bedtime Math, children showed long-term improvement.

On the other hand, apps like iNaturalist and Google Sky can increase your child’s interest in science. iNaturalist provides recommendations and shares photos of plants and animals for the students to identify. Google Sky, meanwhile, lets you explore the solar system without a telescope. Similarly, Globe Observer tracks observations of clouds, land cover, and tree measurements. More interestingly, these apps are citizen science projects – which help scientists study nature on a larger scale.

The Takeaway

Based on a survey of California schools, nearly 9 in 10 parents are concerned their child could fall behind academically. Teachers are concerned 90% of their students will fall behind in Math, and 88% will fall behind in English. However, making learning fun can smoothen the transition to home learning. Check out the infographic below for visual tips on enhancing home learning for students.

Enhancing Home Learning
Source: Online Schools Report

The post Taking Home Learning To The Next Level appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Masayoshi Son resigns from board of Alibaba; defends SoftBank Group’s investment strategy

SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son said on Thursday he is leaving the board of Jack Ma’s Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group today, a month after Ma left the board of Son’s technology group.

Son said he sees the move as “graduating” from Alibaba Group’s board, his most successful investment to date, as he swiftly moved to defend the Japanese group’s investment strategy, which has been the subject of scrutiny and public mockery in recent quarters.

Son said his conglomerate’s holding has recovered to the pre-coronavirus outbreak levels. The firm has benefited from the rising value of Alibaba Group and its stake in Sprint, following the telecom operator’s merger with T-Mobile. Son said his firm has seen an internet rate of return (or IRR, a popular metric used by VC funds to demonstrate their performance) of 25%.

In a shareholder meeting today, he said he was worried that many people think that SoftBank is “finished” and are calling it “SoftPunku,” a colloquial used in Japan which means a broken thing. All combined, SoftBank’s shareholder value now stands at $218 billion, he said.

Son insisted that he was leaving the board of Alibaba Group, a position he has held since 2005, on good terms and that there hadn’t been any disagreements between him and Ma.

Son’s move follows Jack Ma, who co-founded Alibaba Group, leaving the board of SoftBank last month after assuming the position for 13 years. Son famously invested $20 million in Alibaba 20 years ago. Early this year, SoftBank still owned shares worth $100 billion in Alibaba.

A range of SoftBank’s recent investments has spooked the investment world. The firm, known for writing big checks, has publicly stated that its investment in ride-hailing giant Uber, office space manager WeWork, and a range of other startups has not provided the return it had hoped.

Several of these firms, including Oyo, a budget-lodging Indian startup, has moreover been hit hard by the pandemic.

Son, who has raised $20 billion by selling T-Mobile stake, said after factoring in other of his recent deals SoftBank had accumulated $35 billion or 80% of the total planned unloading of investments.

Learn how to invest in cryptocurrencies with this set of online classes

Learn how to invest in cryptocurrencies with this set of online classes

TL;DR: The Complete Cryptocurrency Investment bundle is on sale for £19.21 as of June 25, saving you 94% on list price.


If we’re to believe every plot point from the movie The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg allegedly stole the idea for Facebook from the Winklevoss twins and went on to become one of the youngest billionaires ever. 

Things ended up working out for the Winklevoss brothers, though. They received a $65 million settlement and competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but they still weren’t a member of the prestigious billionaire club. That changed when they finally became billionaires thanks to Bitcoin.  Read more…

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How To Let Go Of Things That Cause You Stress

One of the few things you will experience in life is emotional stress. Inevitable as it is, the question is how to get through heartaches and let go of the things that cause us stress. While we try to move on and forget everything that reminds us of the past, the process has never been easy. After all, the art of letting go is not without challenges.

There’s nothing wrong with being hurt when people do things that are, well, hurtful. However, it doesn’t mean that we should just sit idly and suffer. It is also an undisputed fact that we feel greater distress when the offense comes from the people we trust. If you want to move forward and reclaim your sense of peace, this article offers some tips.

Distancing

It is good to distance yourself from people or things that cause us pain. If you’re in a relationship with someone and they do things that hurt your feelings, walking away from the toxic relationship is the best step. The mistake most people make is that they get blinded with love, and they find it difficult to let go. However, the more we see them, the more we want them back in our life. This is why distancing ourselves from whatever causes us pain is a great way of letting go of things that hurts us. Always remember that in most cases, out of sight is out of mind.

Be thankful

Be thankful for what happened and don’t get stuck with the question of why it is happening to you. Talk to yourself whenever you get hurt and find out why it’s good for you to be apart from that thing. Whether it’s heartbreaks from your partner, see the good reason why you had to leave and don’t keep on reminiscing on why it must happen.

Focus more on yourself

focus on yourself

Focus more on yourself rather than thinking about the past. Find something you love doing and get attached to it, find your purpose, and don’t worry about the stressor. When you’re addicted to what you love doing, you spend time doing it and you forget whatever might be hurting you.

Focus on the present

Practice focusing on the present and not the past. The more you learn to live in the present and not the past, the more you’d be stronger in life. Accept the fact that whatever had happened in the past can’t be changed, but the present can be worked on just to get a brighter future. Holding onto the past will do nothing but steal your present and shatter the future.

Understand the situation

Understanding that the person or thing causing stress was never meant to be yours (maybe you just lost something precious, or someone you ever loved so dearly just broke up with you). Believe that the very best will come your way with ease; if it were ever meant for you, it wouldn’t cause you pain and stress.

Don’t complicate issues

Be gentle with yourself in the process of letting go if you haven’t been through it before. You need to understand that it takes time to heal from your pain. Don’t rush it because it’s a step by step process. If you go hard on yourself, you’ll only get hurt even more.

Eliminate the stress indicator

Eliminate whatever reminds you of the bad experience or stress you are going through—eliminating works when the stress indicator is something materialistic, human or emotional. Take out whatever reminds you of bad moments that cause stress pending the time you get over the stress.

Make friends

letting go of stress

Don’t be afraid to make new friends. Friends, especially the real ones, have a way of cheering us up whenever we’re down. Your friend can help you get over stress by taking you out for brunch or dinner: you laugh together and get a nice time out. It is an undisputed fact that stress and emotional breakdown always want to make one distant himself/ herself from the social world. However, the best you can do for yourself is to make new friends. The good times spent with friends have a way of relieving pains.

Move on

Don’t expect apologies if what is causing you stress is human. Sometimes we get to hurt ourselves more with expectations. When people hurt us, we wait for them to apologize. Expecting apologies and not getting it makes you feel worse.

The takeaway

Whenever you are stressed or troubled, don’t give in to the pain. Your peace of mind should be the priority. Always remember you need to be stronger than ever and never let anyone/anything be in control of your emotions and happiness. You are the perfect person to handle stress and emotional pains.

The post How To Let Go Of Things That Cause You Stress appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Lin-Manuel Miranda burns John Bolton for that ‘Hamilton’-inspired book title in freestyle rap

Lin-Manuel Miranda burns John Bolton for that 'Hamilton'-inspired book title in freestyle rap

With the filmed original cast performance of Hamilton hitting Disney+ next week, creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda returned to the Tonight Show for the first time since Jimmy Fallon’s first at-home show in March. Miranda, who also happens to have a documentary about his improv show Freestyle Love Supreme coming out next month, was game for a game called Random Object Freestyle.

Fallon held up a number of not especially random, suspiciously topical objects — including a Hamilton poster, a Broadway street sign, a box of popcorn, and a face mask — for Miranda to riff on lyrically. He didn’t bat an eye until Fallon revealed a copy of former national security advisor John Bolton’s tell-all Trump White House memoir, whose title happens to be a Hamilton reference.  Read more…

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AI researchers condemn predictive crime software, citing racial bias and flawed methods

A collective of more than 1,000 researchers, academics and experts in artificial intelligence are speaking out against soon-to-be-published research claims to use neural networks to “predict criminality.” At the time of writing, more than 50 employees working on AI at companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft had signed on to an open letter opposing the research and imploring its publisher to reconsider.

The controversial research is set to be highlighted in an upcoming book series by Springer, the publisher of Nature. Its authors make the alarming claim that their automated facial recognition software can predict if a person will become a criminal, citing the utility of such work in law enforcement applications for predictive policing.

“By automating the identification of potential threats without bias, our aim is to produce tools for crime prevention, law enforcement, and military applications that are less impacted by implicit biases and emotional responses,” Harrisburg University Professor and co-author Nathaniel J.S. Ashby said.

The research’s other authors include Harrisburg University Assistant Professor Roozbeh Sadeghian and Jonathan W. Korn, a Ph.D. student highlighted as an NYPD veteran in a press release. Korn lauded software capable of anticipating criminality as “a significant advantage for law enforcement agencies.”

In the open letter opposing the research’s publication, AI experts expressed “grave concerns” over the study and urged Springer’s review committee to withdraw its offer. The letter also called on other publishers to decline to publish similar future research, citing a litany of reasons why both facial recognition and crime prediction technology should be approached with extreme caution and not leveraged against already vulnerable communities.

The publication’s opponents don’t just worry that the researchers have opened an ethical can of worms—they also cast doubt on the research itself, criticizing “unsound scientific premises, research, and methods, which numerous studies spanning our respective disciplines have debunked over the years.”

Facial recognition algorithms have long been criticized for poor performance in identifying non-white faces, among many other scientific and ethical concerns frequently raised about this kind of software. Given that the research in question developed facial recognition software that can be applied for predictive policing purposes, the technology’s stakes couldn’t be higher.

“Machine learning programs are not neutral; research agendas and the data sets they work with often inherit dominant cultural beliefs about the world,” the letter’s authors warn.

“The uncritical acceptance of default assumptions inevitably leads to discriminatory design in algorithmic systems, reproducing ideas which normalize social hierarchies and legitimize violence against marginalized groups.”

Self-Development Tips for Every Entrepreneur

Anyone can start a business, but not everyone can succeed with it. That’s a fact that every aspiring entrepreneur should understand when planning to open and start their own company.

In fact, thousands of people have opened a business only to find it failing at the end. The truth is, success isn’t a sure-fire thing in business. You, as an entrepreneur, should be prepared to face some changes along the way and learn how to adapt to them.

When you run a business, you’re required to develop personality traits that will help you stay resilient through tough times. As you go through self-development, you’ll learn to become a better entrepreneur. The more you grow, the better your decisions will be and the higher your chances are of succeeding in your industry.

With that said, here are some self-development tips all entrepreneurs can use to ensure the success of their business:

Read Books

self development tips for entrepreneur

Books are the hub for learning – whether in school or real life. They exercise your mind which improves your focus, concentration, creativity, and expands your vocabulary. These attributes are important when running a business since you’ll be constantly speaking with and dealing with different people. Your creativity will also help you in creating solutions to problems, as well as increase your business’ profitability.

According to Rockefeller Habits, entrepreneurs should read at least 24 books in a year. Half of them should be business-related that deal with topics such as marketing strategies, finances, or anything related to a particular skill in an industry. The remaining 12 should focus more on personal development. This includes topics related to culture, politics, or anything along those lines.

Take a Break

Did you know that 50% of most business owners don’t take time off work, at all? Many may not even realize it, but even the most successful business owners need a vacation. Most entrepreneurs are too hesitant to take one because they fear their business would fall idle without them. This can lead to burning out or worse, you might lose your passion and give up on your business dreams, entirely.

Once your workday is at an end, step away from business emails or calls, unless it’s extremely urgent. Push pause, and try to forget about the stresses of running a business. As you may have heard, great ideas come from when you’re relaxed and doing nothing at all. Be sure to take a break sometimes. You’ll be surprised at how relaxing and renewing you will become.

Determine Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Entrepreneurs have their strengths and weaknesses. Many of them, however unintentionally, make the mistake of improving their weaknesses. With the number of resources available today, you can easily hire an employee and delegate tasks that you’re not an expert in, and begin to focus on doing the things you excel in.

For instance, if you’re not good at accounting, you can hire someone on a retainer basis to do your company’s numbers for you. This way, you won’t be left with the burden of doing something you’re not good at. Besides, it’s also not advisable to stretch yourself by trying to do everything yourself.

Learn or Improve a Skill

self development tips

Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from college. It goes on forever. This is especially true when it comes to running a business. Many business owners make it a top priority to brush up their skills or learn new ones relevant to their industry. Many find it helpful to enroll in courses relating to marketing, finance, or other areas of study that are relevant to their business.

If you don’t have the time to attend physical classes, you can always sign up for online classes. Many schools offer online classes that are specifically designed for people with day jobs or busy entrepreneurs.

Lead but Learn to Listen to Your People

When you run a business, you automatically become a leader. However, acting like a boss all the time will affect your relationship with your people. Sometimes, you also have to step down, listen, and learn from your employees. In doing so, there will be times when you get a measure of insight into how you’re doing as a leader. Even if you receive criticism, take it and learn from it while using it to create a better version of yourself.

Have a List of Things You Need to Improve On

Believe it or not, there’s an endless list of things you can do to develop yourself as an entrepreneur. You have to work on yourself continuously if you want to count yourself among the best in your industry.

If you discover something you need to improve, put it on your list and start working on the solution. Do it one by one, step by step so you won’t lose track of your goal.

Be a Better Entrepreneur and Lead Your Business to Success

Improving and developing certain characters is critical to the success of your business, regardless of the industry you’re in. If you are not constantly striving towards becoming a superior entrepreneur, you’ll miss out on many new business opportunities.

The self-development tips you have discovered in this article will help you develop your relationship with customers, suppliers, and even financing institutions, if and when you’re looking for extra financing.

Always remember, taking action is what will bring your business to success. Knowing what to improve will not ensure success. You need to actually take action and devote yourself to incorporating these improvements within yourself.

The post Self-Development Tips for Every Entrepreneur appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

4 of the best electric massagers for soothing aches and pains

4 of the best electric massagers for soothing aches and pains

We know that you’re tense at the moment. We’re tense too. Everyone is tense, OK? 

We could all benefit from a professional massage, preferably somewhere picturesque by someone who really knows what they’re doing. Probably with lots of candles, some atmospheric music, and maybe a few essentials oils in the air.

All of that sounds absolutely amazing, but it’s just not something you can expect to receive on a regular basis. If you want regular release from tension, you are better off considering an electric massager. These devices can help to reduce pain and tightness, increase mobility, and aid in the recovery from injuries. Read more…

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IMAGE: John Lewis



BEST FOR RECOVERY

Theragun PRO

One of the most powerful percussive therapy devices with the features to help you recover.


    £549 from John Lewis

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    HoMedics ShiatsuMax 2.0

    A premium device offering 14 massage programs to perfect your home treatment.


      £299.99 from Amazon

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      BEST FOR HEAT

      RENPHO Shiatsu

      This device provides four powerful deep-kneading massage nodes and a reinforced heating function.


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        IMAGE: Amazon



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        MARNUR Shiatsu

        This massager offers eight rotation knots with optional heating and three adjustable intensities.


          £51.99 from Amazon

          Horizon Quantum raises $3.23M for its quantum software development tools

          Horizon Quantum is part of a new crop of startups that focus on building new tools for building software for quantum computers. The Singapore-based company, which is hardware-agnostic but also launched a close partnership with Rigetti Computing in 2018, today announced that it has raised a $3.23 million funding round led by Sequoia Capital India. Previous investors SGInnovate, Abies Ventures, DCVC, Qubit Protocol, Summer Capital and Posa CV also participated.

          At its core, Horizon Quantum aims to democratize quantum development. Because there is very little about quantum computing that is intuitive, the company argues, it will take a new set of tools to help today’s developers tackle quantum. What makes Horizon unique is that it takes conventional source code and then automatically analyzes that to figure out where a quantum computer could speed up an algorithm. Right now, the company can identify potential speedups in code written for Matlab and Octave.

          “The conventional approach to developing quantum applications is to explicitly specify the individual steps of a quantum algorithm, or to use a library where such explicit steps are specified. What makes our approach unique is that we construct quantum algorithms directly from conventional source code, automatically identifying places where it can be sped up,” explained Si-Hui Tan, the chief science officer at Horizon Quantum. “Everything that relates to quantum mechanics happens under-the-hood and on-the-fly in our compiler. This automation is what alleviates the need for any quantum knowledge. All our users have to do is to provide their program in a conventional programming language.”

          Horizon Quantum’s Joe Fitzsimons (CEO) and Si-Hui Tan (CSO).

          At the same time, the company’s tools also make life for experienced quantum software developers easier by giving them the tools to write more succinct code that is also automatically optimized for the underlying quantum processors.

          “We’re building a compiler that can go all the way from conventional, classical, code down to the control signals sent to the quantum hardware,” Quantum Horizon CEO Joe Fitzsimons told me in an email. “We’re still building, and we have a lot still to do, but we’ve demonstrated key parts of the technology, from identifying speedups in classical code down to characterising and mitigating errors in quantum processors. Our hope is that it will make quantum computing more easily accessible for the millions of software developers out there, and will allow us to leverage quantum computing in new domains (we specifically think about domains like geophysics for the energy sector and computational fluid dynamics for aerospace and automotive sectors).”

          The company says it will use the new funding to help bring its technology to market and engage with its early customers.

          7 Ways to Splurge Money Wisely

          Yes, you read that right!

          Splurging – a word so decadent that just the thought of it is followed by strong guilt.

          When you are brought up in a middle class household, the money mindset you have picked up – whether consciously or unconsciously – forbids you to think of splurging.

          You will be looked down upon, judged, frowned on and lectured if you even think of extravagance.

          But that doesn’t have to be the case.

          We all have our guilty pleasures – the ones where the cost doesn’t seem to matter. Comic books, shoes, clothes, perfumes, pens, alcohol, watches, knife set, desserts, markers, belts, purses, socks, jewelry, art, memorabilia – the list is endless.

          If splurging is making you unhappy or guilty, you are probably doing it wrong. When done wisely, splurging improves our relationship with money. Intelligent splurging is all about being aware of what’s most important to you and your happiness.

          For example – I never feel bad when I spend thousands on buying books. There is no guilt about spending money eating healthy or paying for a gym membership/personal trainer. Of course, there is a ceiling based on what I earn – because let’s be honest, if I cannot afford it, it will be followed by guilt.

          Here are some ways you can splurge money wisely.

          Instruments Of Your Trade

          spending money wisely

          One right way to splurge is on the tools you need for work. If buying two LED monitors helps you with your productivity, then don’t hold back. If you are going to be working from home, then it is better to invest in a good ergonomic chair and a 2-in-1 standing desk, to allow you the flexibility of standing and working. If you are an athlete, splurging wisely on tools of your trade will mean buying good equipment you need for the sport you are an athlete in.

          More than once, I have regretted buying cheap earphones and pinching dollars on a laptop, only to regret it later. Not investing in a comfortable chair, when my work involved sitting and working proved more costly for my back.

          Wherever you can, try and go for quality because these are tools you will use on a daily basis and probably even multiple times in a single day!

          Necessities Of Your Life

          Splurging on necessities that you can use in the long run saves you a lot of frustration and time. Buying a good pair of knives or proper machines to help you in the kitchen can be a huge time saver and enhance the taste of your food.

          Similarly, investing in a good mattress is like investing in your quality of sleep. Good sleep, on most days, is the difference between a good or a bad day.

          The stuff you consider a necessity is the stuff you use a lot and regularly so might as well buy a durable one which can stand the test of time.

          Celebrating Milestones

          Milestones are important. Celebrating adds a special zest which makes them memorable. And making them memorable often has a cost attached to it.

          As the days pass by, you will not remember what it cost but you will surely remember the memories that the day brings, which makes splurging on them a very wise decision.

          The ones you remember are the ones you celebrated, so splurge on those celebrations a bit without feeling guilty about it.

          Health

          I want you to look back to the times you were sick. How well did you perform? How much work were you able to get done? Let me guess – not much!

          A healthy brain and a healthy body are your two most important assets. For you to go out and achieve your dreams, you need to have a brain that can think and a body which is healthy and free of diseases.

          Sickness is inevitable but splurging on our health – gym memberships, personal training, diet, medical tests – will ensure we minimize such days. It will enable us to be in top shape when opportunity arrives at our door and, in the long run, will pay off manifolds.

          Thoughtful Gifts

          way of spending money wisely

          I love this one because I have firsthand seen the effects of this! The delight on the face of the recipient is priceless and it gives both of us memories of a lifetime!

          Research shows that an unexpected present or being surprised is a real booster for people. This is equivalent to you finding a thank you note left on your desk by some grateful colleague or you discovering some money in pockets of an old pair of pants!

          More importantly, these are the moments and the stories people tell wherever they go.
          One example of this – a friend I know loves using planners. I feel they are a waste of money. Yet, I ended up spending a considerable amount to buy her a planner she had been eyeing! And it’s been worth every penny!

          Buying back time

          You already know your time on this earth is limited so why not buy back some of it?

          We all have our nagging task list – a leaky tap, a lawn which needs landscaping, roof full of dead leaves, an AC that needs to be serviced. How much of it can you really keep up with? Most of the time, it is not about the money but about your mental health. If money can help ease the stress by having someone take care of something for you, what is the harm?

          If you can afford it, pay the extra couple of hundred dollars so you can take a direct flight and spend the night in your own bed. Paying someone to cook and clean in the house means you get a couple of hours in a day back – time which can be spent catching up with a loved one or strengthening existing relationships or just catching up on your nagging tasks – which let’s be honest – you wouldn’t otherwise have time for.

          Not living like a CEO when you are a sandwich artist

          To splurge wisely, you have to do it within your budget and frequently. As Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of GirlBoss says,

          “You cannot live like a CEO if you are a sandwich artist!”

          The key is modesty – doing it in limited quantity and under the umbrella of your income. Splurge small and frequently. You get to decide what it means to you.

          The people who are happy with their mansions and luxury cars are the people who can actually afford them. Going into heavy debt to splurge is exactly how not to do it!

          Even when you splurge on the stuff mentioned above, you have to do it keeping in mind your income. In college, I spent 4 years with a cheap netbook just because it is all I could afford. Until I got my first paycheck, I slept on an air mattress and when I finally bought one, it was a spring mattress for $80 because I still couldn’t afford a mattress costing thousands.

          Splurge lavishly and cut ruthlessly.

          The post 7 Ways to Splurge Money Wisely appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

          This online class gives you the perfect start in podcasting

          This online class gives you the perfect start in podcasting

          TL;DR: The Podcasting 101 bundle is on sale for £23.35 as of June 21, saving you 98% on list price.


          There’s never been a better time to get into podcasting – it’s cheap, it’s relatively easy, and the market for content is huge. 

          You might already know someone with a show, so why not add your voice to the mix? The Podcasting 101 bundle can help you launch your own show right away, even if you’ve never even recorded so much as a voicemail message.

          In the bundle, you’ll receive lifetime access to 10 courses and over 35 hours of training in every aspect of podcasting, including the very basics of audio/video recording, strategies for recording your own voice, and even instruction on how to breathe correctly so you can host your podcast with confidence and not sound like some out-of-breath goblin. You’ll also learn tips on voice acting, if you’re interested in doing a narrative radio play-style podcast, and video production, in case you want your show to have a visual component for YouTube. Read more…

          More about Podcasts, Mashable Shopping, Online Courses, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals

          This Week in Apps: App Store outrage, WWDC20 prep, Android subscriptions change

          Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

          The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

          In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

          This week, one story completely took over the news cycle: Hey vs. Apple. An App Store developer dispute made headlines not because Apple was necessarily in the wrong, per its existing rules, but because of a growing swell of developer resentment against those rules. We’re giving extra bandwidth to this story this week, before jumping into the other headlines.

          Also this week we look at what’s expected to arrive at next week’s WWDC20, the TikTok clone Zynn getting banned from both app stores (which is totally fine, I guess!), Facebook’s failed attempts to get its Gaming app approved by Apple, as well as some notable Android updates and other app industry trends.

          Main Story: Hey vs. Apple

          One story dominated this week’s app news. Unless you were living under the proverbial rock, there’s no way you missed it. After Basecamp received App Store approval for its new email app called Hey, the founders, David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried, turned to Twitter to explain how Apple had now rejected the app’s further updates. Apple told Basecamp it had to offer in-app purchases (IAP) for its full email service within the app, in addition to offering it on the company website. They were not happy, to say the least.

          This issue came to a head at a time when regulators are taking a closer look at Apple’s business. The company is facing antitrust investigations in both the U.S. and the E.U. which, in part, will attempt to determine if Apple is abusing its market power to unfairly dominate its competitors. In Hey’s case, the subscription-based app competes with Apple’s built-in free Mail app, which could put this case directly in the regulators’ crosshairs.

          But it also brings up the larger concerns over how Apple’s App Store rules have evolved to become a confusing mess which developers — and apparently even Apple’s own App Store reviewers — don’t fully understand. (Apple reportedly told Basecamp that Hey should have never been approved in the first place without IAP.)

          Apple has carved out a number of conditions where apps don’t have to implement IAP, by making exceptions for enterprise apps that may have per-seat licensing plans for users and for a set of apps that more directly compete with Apple’s own. These, Apple calls “reader” apps, as they were originally directed making an exception for Amazon’s Kindle. But now this rule offers exceptions to the IAP rule for apps focused on magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video, VoIP, access to professional databases, cloud storage, and more.

          That leaves other digital service providers wondering why their apps have to pay when others don’t.

          Apple didn’t help its argument, when earlier in the week it released a report that detailed how its App Store facilitated $519B in commerce last year. The company had aimed to prove how much business flows through the App Store without Apple taking a 30% commission, positioning the portion of the market Apple profits from as a tiny sliver. But after the Hey debacle, this report only drives home how Apple has singled out one type of app-based business — digital services — as the one that makes the App Store its money.

          Apple’s decision to squander its goodwill with the developer community the week before WWDC is an odd one. Heinemeier Hansson, a content marketing expert, easily bested the $1.5 trillion dollar company by using Apple’s hesitance to speak publicly against it. He set the discussion on fire, posted App Store review email screenshots to serve as Apple’s voice, and let the community vent.

          Amid the Twitter outrage, large publishers’ antitrust commentary added further fuel to the fire, including those from Spotify, Match, and Epic Games.

          For more reading on this topic, here are some of the key articles:

          • TechCrunch’s exclusive interview with iOS App Store head, Phil Schiller. The exec said Apple’s position on the Hey app is unchanged and no changes to App Store rules are imminent. “You download the app and it doesn’t work, that’s not what we want on the store,” he argued. (Except of course, at those times when such an experience is totally fine with Apple, as in the case of “reader” apps.) Schiller also said Basecamp could have avoided the problems if Hey had offered a free version with paid upgrades, or if it offered IAP at a higher price than on its own website.
          • Daring Fireball’s comments on the “flimsiness” of Business vs. Consumer as a justification for Apple’s rejection of Hey. John Gruber points out that the line between what’s a business app and a consumer app is too blurred. Apple allows some business apps to forgo IAP if they sell enterprise plans (e.g. per seat plans) that often involve upgraded feature sets that aren’t even iOS-specific. But in this day and age, who’s to say that an email service doesn’t deserve the same ability to opt out of IAP in order to serve its own business user base? After all, what if it upgrades its paid service with web-only features — why should Apple get a cut of that business, too?
          • App Store policy criticism from The Verge. Nilay Patel sat down with Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson to discuss the plight of Hey for its The Vergecast podcast. Cicilline said Apple’s fees were “exorbitant” and amounted to “highway robbery, basically.” He said Apple bullied developers by charging 30% of their business for access to its market — a decision which crushes smaller developers. “If there were real competition in this marketplace, this wouldn’t happen,” he added. The Verge’s Dieter Bohn also argued that Apple’s interpretation and enforcement of its App Store policies is terrible.
          • Basecamp CEO’s take on Apple’s App Store payment policies: Basecamp, the makers of the Hey app, put out a company statement about the App Store rules. The statement doesn’t add anything new to the conversation that wasn’t already in the tweetstorm, except the Basecamp response to Schiller’s suggestions which was something along the lines of 😝. The bottom line is that Hey wants to make the choice for its own business whether it needs the benefit of being able to acquire its users through the App Store or not. One way requires IAP and the other does not.
          • Vox’s Recode examines the antitrust case against Apple. The article doesn’t reference Hey, but lays out some of the other antitrust arguments being leveraged against Apple, including its “sherlocking” behavior,

          Headlines

          Apple has denied Facebook’s Gaming app at least 5 times since February

          The Hey debacle is only one of many examples of how Apple exerts its market power over rivals. It has also repeatedly denied Facebook’s Gaming app entry to its App Store, citing the rule (Apple Store Review Guidelines, section 4.7) about not allowing apps whose main purpose is to sell other app, The NYT revealed this week.

          Facebook’s Gaming app, which launched on Android in April, isn’t just another app store, however. The app offers users a hub to watch streamers play live, social networking tools, and the ability to play casual games like Zynga’s Words with Friends or Chobolabs Thug Life, for example. The latter is the point of contention, as Apple wants all games sold directly on the App Store, where it’s able to take a cut of their revenues.

          One of the iterations Facebook tried was a version that looked almost exactly like how Facebook games are presented within the main Facebook iOS app — a single, alphabetized, unsortable list. The fact that this format was rejected when Apple already allows it elsewhere is an indication that even Apple doesn’t play by its own rules.

          Zynn gets kicked out of App Store

          Image Credits: Zynn

          Zynn, the TikTok clone that shot to the top of the app store charts in late May, was pulled from Apple’s App Store on Monday. Before its removal, Sensor Tower estimates Zynn was downloaded 5 million times on iOS and 700,000 times on Google Play.

          These Excel courses look great on your CV

          These Excel courses look great on your CV

          TL;DR: The Complete Excel Pro Tips Certification bundle is on sale for £15.30 as of June 20, saving you 93% on list price.


          Love them or loathe them, spreadsheets are inescapable in practically every single industry. So, there’s virtually no way to avoid the number-crunching powerhouse that is Microsoft Excel. Sorry. 

          Excel has been the leader in spreadsheet software for decades. Yet, despite its necessity, most people don’t bother going deeper than the surface. But now, you can step out of the majority and learn how powerful and complex this software really is with the help of this Complete Excel Pro Tips Certification bundle, which is on sale for just £15.30. Read more…

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          Ford Bronco debut date moved so it wouldn’t fall on O.J. Simpson’s birthday

          Ford has changed the debut of its 2021 Bronco once again because its planned July 9 reveal falls on the birthday of O.J. Simpson, one of the iconic SUV’s most infamous passengers

          The automaker tweeted Friday that it has moved the unveiling to July 13.

          The reveal of the all-new Bronco lineup will now happen on Monday, July 13. This is instead of July 9. We are sensitive and respectful to some concerns raised previously about the date, which was purely coincidental.

          — Ford Motor Company (@Ford) June 19, 2020

          Here’s a short history lesson for those who might not understand why Simpson’s birthday and a Bronco are linked. In 1994, Simpson was charged in the double murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. He was involved in a slow speed chase as a passenger in a 1993 white Bronco driven by his friend after failing to turn himself in. The incident was broadcast on local and cable networks and the white Bronco became a pop culture moment. Simpson was acquitted.

          Ford said that picking the debut date was coincidental.

          The relaunch of the Bronco has been anticipated for years now. In 2017, Ford announced it was bringing back the Bronco after years of customer requests and speculation. The mid-size SUV that ended its 30-year production run in 1996 was supposed to debut in March. Then COVID-19 happened and well everything got cancelled, including numerous vehicle reveals.

          How You Can Help The Environment When Planning Your Next Holiday

          By now, most of us will be aware that air pollution has dropped as a result of the pandemic. Imposed travel bans and reduced traffic means that the world is on track to see the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions. Despite this, there’s still a lot more to be done for us to avoid catastrophic global warming. You might find yourself thinking ‘what can I do?’, but rest assured, there are some easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint over summer.

          Choose staycations instead of going abroad

          If there’s one thing the drop in emissions over the last couple of months has shown us, it’s that flying abroad is harmful to the environment. Studies show that the average citizen exceeds climate change recommendations by a staggering 7.8 tonnes each year. Limiting international trips is a great way to lower our overall carbon footprint. Staycations are an excellent choice for environmentally-conscious holidaymakers looking to see their country in a new light and contribute to their local economy, too.

          Buy local produce and sustainable products

          eco friendly holidays buy local produce

          Whether on a staycation or travelling abroad, choosing to buy locally produced food and drinks will reduce the overall carbon emissions from transporting ingredients across the world. It’s also best to limit your meat intake both at home and abroad as that requires a large amount of energy for production and impacts deforestation. Buying from local suppliers also encourages independent businesses who often produce a far lower carbon footprint than big brands.

          Recycle and use renewable energy

          Wherever you visit, make sure that you know what the local recycling options are and use them whenever you can. If you know that you’re staying somewhere with limited options, try to open and discard packaging before you set off and bring your own reusable drinking bottles and shopping bags. If you can, you should try and prioritize hotels with renewable energy sources and keep appliances off when they’re not in use.

          Walk or cycle to and from attractions

          do eco friendly holidays

          Although it can be environmentally friendly to carpool or use electric taxis, it’s always best to walk or cycle to local attractions if you can. Keep an eye out for local bike hire services and be sure to walk with a friend if travelling late at night. If you do need to travel somewhere by public transport, try to choose a sustainable option and carry out a portion of the journey on foot. Some destinations should also offer electric vehicles to rent, which can be a good option for families.

          Buy eco-friendly toiletries and clothing

          Most people stock up on toiletries and clothing items in preparation for going away. If you can, try to choose eco-friendly alternatives to reduce your overall carbon footprint. For example, some sunscreens contain microbeads which don’t decompose and some shampoos are sold in non-recyclable plastic bottles. Try to buy recyclable products with eco-friendly ingredients and clothing items that you won’t throw away after wearing once.

          Before you leave for your holiday, make sure that all appliances are turned off in your home to avoid your carbon footprint climbing up and only leave lights on if it’s essential for security. There may be a lot of planning involved but prioritizing the environment whenever you can is always the right thing to do.

          The post How You Can Help The Environment When Planning Your Next Holiday appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

          All the best deals on Amazon’s range of popular devices

          All the best deals on Amazon's range of popular devices

          TL;DR: Save up to 50% on a wide range of Amazon devices, including smart speakers, tablets, and streaming sticks.


          Amazon has a wide range of popular devices including smart speakers, tablets, streaming sticks, and security cameras. These devices tend to all go on sale at the same time, so you need to be ready when they do.

          Fortunately for you, we are always ready. We have lined up all the best deals on Amazon’s range of devices, with savings of up to 50% on list price. You can pick up the Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, Fire 7, and much more at heavily reduced rates.

          More about Amazon, Amazon Echo, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals

          Two More Suspects Charged for Burning Down Minneapolis Third Precinct

          Matt Naham
           

           
          Two suspects have been charged in connection with the arson of the Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) 3rd Precinct. The station was torched days after the George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police.

          a group of people performing on stage in front of a crowd © Provided by Law & Crime The U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the District of Minnesota that 26-year-old Bryce Michael Williams of Staples, Minnesota has been charged with the federal crime of conspiracy to commit arson.  The USAO said that a masked and baseball cap wearing Williams was taken into custody on Tuesday and appeared in court on Wednesday.

          Authorities claim that a man identified as Williams was seen on police station surveillance video holding a Molotov cocktail as unnamed individuals attempted to light the wick. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) say that videos posted on Williams’s TikTok showed the defendant wearing clothes that matched video of the clothing of the person holding the Molotov cocktail. The USAO said Williams’s face was visible in a different video.

          On Tuesday, United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald that 22-year-old Breckenridge, Colorado man Dylan Shakespeare Robinson was charged with aiding and abetting the arson of the Third Precinct.

          a group of people posing for the camera: Braden Michael Wolfe, Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, Bryce Michael Williams © Provided by Law & Crime Braden Michael Wolfe, Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, Bryce Michael Williams

          As in the case of Williams, authorities say Robinson was identified through police station surveillance footage and through video that was posted on the suspect’s social media account. There, Robinson allegedly typed some incriminating things, like “These guys have never made a Molotov… Rookies” and “We need gasoline”:

          According to the allegations in the complaint, ATF investigators reviewed a video posted on ROBINSON’s Snapchat account that shows at least one individual appearing to make a Molotov cocktail while multiple unidentified voices provide directions on how to make the device. During the video, ROBINSON typed several comments, including “These guys have never made a Molotov… Rookies,” and “We need gasoline.” Investigators reviewed another Snapchat video in which ROBINSON can be seen setting a fire in a stairwell inside the Third Precinct.

          The latest charges come just over a week after 23-year-old Braden Michael Wolfe of St. Paul, Minnesota was charged in connection with the arson of the Third Precinct.

          Wolfe was also charged with aiding and abetting arson.

          Authorities say Wolfe was wearing “body armor and a law enforcement duty belt and carrying a baton” when trying to get into a store where he worked as a security guard. He is now out of a job.

          “WOLFE’s name was handwritten in duct tape on the back of the body armor. Law enforcement later recovered from WOLFE’s apartment additional items belonging to the Minneapolis Police Department, including a riot helmet, 9mm pistol magazine, police radio, and police issue overdose kit,” the USAO said in a press release. “According to the allegations in the complaint, during a law enforcement interview, WOLFE admitted to being inside the Third Precinct the night of the arson, to taking property from the building, and to pushing a wooden barrel into the fire. ”

          Wolfe allegedly identified himself in photos in “multiple witness photographs depicting [himself] in front of the Third Precinct holding a police baton, with smoke and flames visible in the background.” The defendant allegedly admitted pushing a wooden barrel in a fire that had been started at the Third Precinct.

          5 Retirement Planning Myths Busted (To Help You Plan Your Finances Better)

          When it comes to financial myths related to retirement planning, there exists plenty. Thankfully, younger citizens are becoming more conscious by the day and are opening up to embracing less conventional financing options. However, even the most well-informed people can sometimes fall prey to some of the existing retirement planning myths. It’s high time we reboot our thinking process and break free from such shortsighted ideas today.

          Here are 5 retirement planning myths that we really need to abolish as fast as possible.

          Myth 1: There’s plenty of time to start retirement planning later

          retirement plan

          One of the biggest mistakes that you can commit is to procrastinate retirement planning. When someone in their 20s starts their career as a fresher, low income makes them think that it’s not feasible to start investing in retirement planning just now.

          Well, this is probably the biggest mistake in your financial planning. People tend to think that when they start earning more at a later stage of life, it will be easier to spare money for investing in retirement plans. But they tend to forget that as they grow older, so do their responsibilities and expenditure. In short, it doesn’t get easier to start saving at a later stage of life.

          Another important factor to consider here is that the later you start investing in your retirement plans, the more monthly investment you need to reach your target. It is easier to save $1000/month for 35 years than to save $3000/month for 15 years (and don’t forget about the amount of interest you’ll gain for the extra 20 years of investment).

          Myth 2: I’ll inherit a lot of money from my parents/relatives

          You might have rich parents or close relatives, but that does not secure your future as much as you think.

          Firstly, you do not know when you will be able to inherit. It’s pretty possible that you are in your late sixties and they are still thriving and enjoying the fruits of their lifelong labor well into their nineties. In that case, you will not get any immediate benefit from their wealth.

          Secondly, when they are not around anymore and you do inherit their property, you can never be sure of the amount. If your parents have lived throughout their eighties and their nineties, it’s pretty much possible that they have spent the major portion of their wealth on themselves owing to their luxury lifestyle, charities and other responsibilities, or even their medical expenditure.

          In short, until you get your hands on it, you can never know how much you are going to get from inheritance. In any case, it’s not very prudent to depend on it and abandon saving up for yourself.

          Myth 3: My monthly expenditure will decrease

          Contrary to popular belief, your monthly expenditure will not decrease as much as you think. Many people tend to think that they will only need 50%-60% of their current income after retirement. But, unfortunately, that’s not true. Rather, your income will stop but your expenditure will remain almost the same. Vacations with family, joining a club, and attending social events are some of the few things that will require plenty of money.

          And unless you have a solid health insurance plan, the skyrocketing medical costs will take another big chunk of your savings.

          Myth 4: I won’t live much longer after retirement

          This was true once, but not anymore. In the past, human lifespan used to be only 70-75 years, but with the blessings of modern medical sciences, it has significantly improved. A person with a healthy and active lifestyle can expect to live well into their late eighties to the early nineties. So, you need solid financial planning for at least 20-25 years of your life after retirement.

          Myth 5: My spouse will take care of it

          retirement savings plan

          Depending on your spouse for post-retirement financial planning is not the best idea in the world. We don’t want to sound too negative, but of course, there are practical factors to keep in mind.

          Firstly, things can go wrong in your relationship and you might end up being divorced.

          If we still overlook the chances of that happening and believe you are going to live together happily ever after, there are still factors to consider. Most retirement plans work in a way that, if your spouse only covers himself/herself in their retirement policy, it will yield better payoff. But if they are opting for joint benefits, they will have to pay a lot more premium and the payoff will be lesser.

          That’s why it’s a good idea to have individual investments for your spouse and yourself rather than opting for joint plans.

          So, now we’ve busted the 5 biggest myths around retirement planning. We hope you make better decisions after reading this.

          The post 5 Retirement Planning Myths Busted (To Help You Plan Your Finances Better) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

          Former Facebook exec thinks big tech will get broken up “over the next 10 years”

          Investor Chamath Palihapitiya made part of his fortune at Facebook, where he was a vice president for more than four years, leaving one year before its 2012 IPO.

          Though he has voiced concerns numerous times since about his former employer, he also believes it has played an active role in enabling users to report and disseminate important information. For example, he suggests it was smart phones and social media that has made so many Americans aware of the George Floyd tragedy and enabled citizens in the U.S. and at least 12 other countries to organize protests against racism. Without these platforms, he suggests, we might even be engaged in a traditional civil war in this country.

          That doesn’t mean Facebook or others of its gigantic peers are any more immune to be regulated, however — not in his view.  As Palihapitiya said today of the companies during an online tech event: “Are they going to get broken up? Yes. Will every single government go after them? Absolutely.”

          His more specific prediction is that Facebook, as well as Amazon, Google, and Apple, will continue to be investigated and fined by regulators around the world until they are no longer the leviathans they have become. “First, they’ll taxed to death, then they’ll get trust-busted,” said Palihapitiya.

          He doesn’t think it will take all that much longer, either.

          While investors are currently being rewarded for “going long” on the companies as they grow largely unabated, Palihapitiya said that, “on the margin, over the next 10 years . . . regulators will get their way” because “these internet companies undermine what regulators want, which is power. And the more you distribute power and information to the edges, the more in the crosshairs you will be.” (Palihapitiya noted that the only big tech company that hasn’t become a target of antitrust regulators is Microsoft, and he suggested it won’t be spared forever, either. He more or less thinks the company was given a break, following the consent decree approved in 2002 that curbed some of Microsoft’s practices and that only expired in 2011.)

          Interestingly, no matter Facebook’s size going forward, Palihapitiya thinks the “pendulum will swing for it to be more sort of Middle America, the sort of ‘Fox News,’” of social media, as Twitter meanwhile swings to the “coastal cities in the United States.” It’s already easy to see these “demographic segmentations that are happening amongst these huge products,” he said.

          The latter development may be much closer at hand. Kevin Roose, a New York Times columnist covering the intersection of technology, business and culture, occasionally tweets about the top-performing posts on Facebook. Yesterday, as is often the case, the searches skewed heavily toward conservative figures and themes.

          Top-performing posts on Facebook today (link posts only, ranked by interactions, data from @crowdtangle) are from:

          1. Donald J. Trump
          2. Franklin Graham
          3. Fox News
          4. Fox News
          5. Ben Shapiro
          6. Ben Shapiro
          7. Ben Shapiro
          8. Blue Lives Matter
          9. Occupy Democrats
          10. Sean Hannity

          — Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) June 16, 2020

          Teased by interviewer Robin Wigglesworth of the FT about how Facebook might react to the comparison, Palihapitiya said matter-of-factly of the different platforms, “The content reinforces the kind of person that wants to be using them. It’s no different today than when you choose to watch MSNBC versus CBS versus Fox News.”

          Save on a lifetime subscription to thousands of professional courses

          Save on a lifetime subscription to thousands of professional courses

          TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to the Virtual Training Company is on sale for £63.05 as of June 18, saving you 96% on list price.


          The debate over MOOCs rages on: will they replace continuing education? For some people, opting for online courses as a learning option is a no-brainer.

          Yes, some people like the interaction that goes on in an actual classroom, but perhaps you’re an on-the-go professional with little time to spare between work and family time. Or you’re vying for a career that’s often more versed in real-world experience, like coding or design. In cases like these, you may prefer slotting in the learning on your own time (and paying a lot less in the process). Read more…

          More about Coding, Online Classes, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals

          LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts: LinkedIn’s Best Practices

          LinkedIn is the largest online professional networking platform. It’s only wise to make use of it the right way. If someone is only using it as an online resume, then they are missing out on a lot of opportunities.

          LinkedIn not only help to recruit people faster, but it also helps professionals increase their network faster. Some common mistakes can prevent LinkedIn users from utilizing LinkedIn’s benefits. Avoid these mistakes to avail its many advantages.

          Creating a LinkedIn Profile and Disappearing

          creating linkedin profile

          One of the biggest mistakes for those who want to expand their network is not even using LinkedIn. Many users sign up for LinkedIn to have an online resume, and right after, they become inactive. Some users only visit their profile once a month or very occasionally.

          If you’re barely active, it is likely to lose many opportunities to connect with industry leaders, recruiting agencies, and hiring managers.

          By being active on LinkedIn and optimizing profile, you can attract more referrals, build stronger network, and get more opportunities.

          Having a Bland Profile

          Creating a profile is not enough. When optimizing LinkedIn profile, take opportunities to reveal your personal brand: skills, specialities, etc. Using the default headline given by LinkedIn and only listing your most recent position, title and company information will reduce the chances of your profile to appear in the LinkedIn search results. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile entails more of the basics, such as adding relevant keywords and coming up with an engrossing headline.

          Also consider that when creating a LinkedIn profile, it should be visible. It is obvious that some details can be kept hidden from public, but it is not advisable to hide everything. This will defy the purpose of creating a profile in the first place. Motivating every LinkedIn and other users to be in your network before they visit your profile is an amazing idea to grow your network.

          You want to help the recruiters to understand that you are the right candidate for them. That is why the Headline, Current Experience and Details, Summary, Past Experience, and Educational Qualification sections should be visible to the public. Otherwise, it is likely that hiring managers will move on to other LinkedIn candidates with more optimized profiles.

          Sharing Posts/Photos that Aren’t Career-Related

          using linkedin

          LinkedIn, by first interpretation, is a social networking site. But it is quite different from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For these social networking sites, the primary focus is to connect with friends and socialize. In LinkedIn, the main goal is the same: to connect with social users – only the environment will be more professional.

          Therefore, LinkedIn is not the site to share images of your food or pets. It is a network of business professionals who exist to keep up with industry trends and updates. Use LinkedIn to learn more about professional skills and grow your network.

          Do not use your LinkedIn news feeds like other social network (Facebook or Twitter). LinkedIn is to attract more professional audience for your business. Its primary goal is to grow professionally. Therefore, business audience will not prefer to view images, videos, and posts that are not relevant to them.

          Not Following LinkedIn Etiquette

          Even though the objective is to make the most out of LinkedIn, it never means you should send invitations to everyone. By doing so, your account may get labelled as spam. Instead, only try to connect with LinkedIn users who will also mutually get advantages. A good rule of thumb is to send a connect request to the people who you already know or those who are more likely to accept it.

          LinkedIn users should make some of the first connections with the family members, friends, and friends of family, previous and current co-workers, managers, classmates, and colleagues before sending to prospects and customers.

          Sending invitations to everyone on LinkedIn and not keeping in mind mutual benefits will not help in adding value to your social or business network.

          Another common LinkedIn etiquette is not to complain about your boss or a leader at your workplace. LinkedIn is not the place to comment on your workplace.

          Thus, these are the simple yet common mistake that many LinkedIn users make. You may want to refrain from doing them to get the most value out of the LinkedIn platform. If LinkedIn is used properly, a user can open up a world of new opportunities.

          The post LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts: LinkedIn’s Best Practices appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

          African payment startup Chipper Cash raises $13.8M Series A

          African cross-border fintech startup Chipper Cash has closed a $13.8 million Series A funding round led by Deciens Capital and plans to hire 30 new staff globally.

          The raise caps an event filled run for the San Francisco based payments company, founded two years ago by Ugandan Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled.

          The two came to America for academics, met in Iowa while studying at Grinnell College and ventured out to Silicon Valley for stints in big tech: Facebook for Serunjogi and Flickr and Yahoo! for Moujaled.

          The startup call beckoned and after launching Chipper Cash in 2018, the duo convinced 500 Startups and and Liquid 2 Ventures — co-founded by American football legend Joe Montana — to back their company with seed funds.

          Two years and $22 million in total capital raised later, Chipper Cash offers its mobile-based, no fee, P2P payment services in seven countries: Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya.

          “We’re now at over one and a half million users and doing over a $100 million dollars a month in volume,” Serunjogi told TechCrunch on a call.

          Chipper Cash does not release audited financial data, but does share internal performance accounting with investors. Deciens Capital and Raptor Group co-led the startup’s Series A financing, with repeat support from 500 Startups and Liquid 2 Ventures .

          Deciens Capital founder Dan Kimmerling confirmed the fund’s lead on the investment and review of Chipper Cash’s payment value and volume metrics.

          Parallel to its P2P app, the startup also runs Chipper Checkout: a merchant-focused, fee-based mobile payment product that generates the revenue to support Chipper Cash’s free mobile-money business.

          The company will use its latest round to hire up to 30 people across operations in San Francisco, Lagos, London, Nairobi and New York — according to Serunjogi.

          Image Credits: Chipper Cash

          Chipper Cash has already brought on a new compliance officer, Lisa Dawson, whose background includes stints with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and Citigroup’s anti-money laundering department.

          “You know in the world we live in the AML side is very important so it’s an area that we want to invest in from the get go,” said Serunjogi.

          He confirmed Dawson’s role aligned with getting Chipper Cash ready to meet regulatory requirements for new markets, but declined to name specific countries.

          With the round announcement, Chipper Cash also revealed a corporate social responsibility component to its business. Related to current U.S. events, the startup has formed the Chipper Fund for Black Lives.

          “We’ve been huge beneficiaries of the generosity and openness of this country and its entrepreneurial spirit,” explained Serunjogi. “But growing up in Africa, we’ve were able to navigate [the U.S.] without the traumas and baggage our African American friends have gone through living in America.”

          The Chipper Fund for Black Lives will give 5 to 10 grants of $5,000 to $10,000. “The plan is to give that to…people or causes who are furthering social justice reforms,” said Serunjogi.

          In Africa, Chipper Cash has placed itself in the continent’s major digital payments markets. As a sector, fintech has become Africa’s highest funded tech space, receiving the bulk of an estimated $2 billion in VC that went to startups in 2019.

          Africa Top VC Markets 2019

          Image Credits: TechCrunch

          Those ventures, and a number of the continent’s established banks, are in a race to build market share through financial inclusion.

          By several estimates — including The Global Findex Database — the continent is home to the largest percentage of the world’s unbanked population, with a sizable number of underbanked consumers and SMEs.

          Increasingly, Nigeria has become the most significant fintech market in Africa, with the continent’s largest economy and population of 200 million.

          Chipper Cash expanded there in 2019 and faces competition from a number of players, including local payments venture Paga. More recently, outside entrants have jumped into Nigeria’s fintech scene.

          In 2019, Chinese investors put $220 million into OPay (owned by Opera) and PalmPay — two fledgling startups with plans to scale first in West Africa and then the broader continent.

          Over the next several years, expect to see market events — such as fails, acquisitions, or IPOs — determine how well funded fintech startups, including Chipper Cash, fare in Africa’s fintech arena.

          SoftBank confirms it may sell some of its T-Mobile stake

          SoftBank Group confirmed today it is considering selling its T-Mobile U.S. shares.

          Bloomberg reported last month that SoftBank was nearing an agreement to sell about $20 billion of its T-Mobile U.S. shares to investors including Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s controlling shareholder, in an effort to offset major losses from its investment business, including the Vision Fund.

          In today’s notice, SoftBank Group, which owns about 25% of T-Mobile U.S. shares, said it is exploring transactions that could include private placements or public offerings and transactions with T-Mobile or its shareholders, including Deutsche Telekom AG, or third parties.

          The potential sale would be part of SoftBank Group’s program, announced in March, to sell or monetize up to $41 billion in assets to reduce debt and increase its cash reserves. The company said, however, that it cannot assure any of the transactions involving T-Mobile shares will be completed.

          Cameo now lets you pay to Zoom with celebrities, including Tony Hawk, Lance Bass, and Sean Astin

          Cameo now lets you pay to Zoom with celebrities, including Tony Hawk, Lance Bass, and Sean Astin

          Cameo introduced a new feature on Sunday — Zoom calls. The celebrity shoutout service will now let you book a 10-minute live video interview with various big names, so you can directly ask Sinbad about the Shazaam movie you’re positive exists. It’s like a pop culture convention’s meet and greet, only without the germs.

          So far, Cameo lists dozens of personalities as available for a live chat, including beloved actor Sean Astin, iconic skateboarder Tony Hawk, N*SYNC alumni Lance Bass, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, and original Green Power Ranger Jason David Frank. Scott Patterson, aka Luke from Gilmore Girls, is also available, so you can ask Stars Hollow’s grumpy coffee dealer how much caffeine the show’s cast actually consumed. Read more…

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