Friday, June 22, 2018

With A Billion Users, Instagram Takes On YouTube

This file photo taken on March 21, 2018 shows Instagram logos on a screen in Kuala Lumpur.PHOTO: Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP
Instagram said on Wednesday that it now has more than one billion active users, as it unveiled a new long-form video feature in a bid to attract “creators” like those on YouTube.
It becomes the fourth Facebook platform to hit the billion-user mark, including the namesake social network with more than two billion users, and the  messaging applications WhatsApp and Messenger.
Instagram, which had some 800 million users as of September, has been outpacing rival social networks such as Twitter and Snapchat and has been gaining younger users even as Facebook itself has seen declines in the youth segment.
Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom announced the milestone as he unveiled the new video application known as IGTV.
“We have now a community of one billion users,” Systrom told the event in San Francisco.
“Since our launch in 2010, we’ve watched with amazement as the community has flourished and grown.”
As Facebook itself has moved deeper into video, Instagram will become a direct competitor to YouTube with IGTV.
IGTV will enable any user to upload long-form videos and will also include “channels” from video “creators,” similar to a format employed by Google-owned YouTube which has given rise to a number of YouTube “stars.”
“Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel,” Systrom said.
– Built for smartphones –
Systrom said IGTV is built to be used on a smartphone, and boosts the time for videos from the previous limit of one minute.
“The way we are watching video is changing,” Systrom told the event.
He added that IGTV is “built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical.”
The launch comes amid a shift in video viewing habits away from traditional television to online platforms including Netflix and Hulu, and with more people watching both professional and user content on services like YouTube.
According to the research firm eMarketer, 181.7 million Americans will watch video content on their smartphones at least once a month this year, up 6.1 percent from a year ago.
Product manager Ashley Yuki told the event that IGTV “is an open platform from day one, so everyone can become a creator.”
Rolling out for the iOS and Android apps, IGTV will allow any user to upload videos up to 10 minutes long, with the limit for larger accounts at one hour.
Systrom described the new app as “a separate space, a dedicated space to enjoy video without being distracted.”
Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for a combination of cash and stock worth some $1 billion at the time.
Since then it has become a strong engineer of growth for Facebook in terms of users and ad revenues.
While Facebook offers no detailed revenue breakdown, eMarketer estimates Instagram will generate $5.48 billion in net US ad revenue this year, up 70.4 percent from last year and accounting for more than one-fourth of Facebook’s net mobile ad revenue.
Facebook itself is also ramping up its video offerings with original shows and this week announced new formats including interactive game shows, quizzes and polls.
The post With A Billion Users, Instagram Takes On YouTube appeared first on Channels Television.

Tech: Canada just became the 2nd country in the world to legalize marijuana

Canada just became the second country in the world — and the first G7 nation — to legalize marijuana nationwide. The move was a key part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise.
Canada just became the second country in the world to legalize marijuana nationwide. Legal sales are set to begin on October 17.
The bill passed Canada’s Senate 52-29 on Tuesday evening.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during his 2015 campaign to legalize marijuana.
Marijuana stocks surged on the news on Wednesday morning.
Canada is the second country in the world to legalize marijuana, paving the way for recreational sales throughout the country.
Canada’s Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday evening approved the revised bill 52-29, making Canada the first G7 country to legalize marijuana. Uruguay did so in 2013.
Trudeau said on Wednesday that legalization will officially take effect on October 17, citing provincial requests for more time to develop retail infrastructure.
“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana — and for criminals to reap the profits,” Trudeau said in a tweet on Tuesday evening. “Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate.”
What the bill does
Bill C-45, known as the Cannabis Act, legalizes marijuana but leaves it up to each province to decide how to sell it. Some provinces, like Ontario, are planning on provincially run outlets, while others, like Alberta, will open up marijuana retail to the private sector.
The federal government set a minimum age of 18 to purchase marijuana, though some provinces have indicated they will raise the age to 19, mirroring liquor-purchase laws. The bill makes the distribution and sale of marijuana to minors an offense.
Recreational sales are expected to begin in eight to 12 weeks, according to Reuters.
The bill was part of a promise that Trudeau’s Liberal Party made during the 2015 campaign to keep marijuana out of young people’s hands and move the illicit market into a regulated framework.
“I’m feeling just great,” Sen. Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in Canada’s Senate, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “We’ve just witnessed a historic vote for Canada. The end of 90 years of prohibition. Transformative social policy, I think. A brave move on the part of the government.”
Activists applauded the move
Cannabis activists cheered the move on Wednesday morning.
“Canada should be applauded for taking bold and decisive steps towards ending the failed prohibition of marijuana,” Hannah Hetzer, the senior international policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “Canada’s progress will galvanize support for drug policy reforms in the US and all around the world.”
Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, echoed Hetzer’s sentiment.
“We applaud Canada for showing federal legislators in the United States what can be accomplished with true leadership and dedication to sound public policy,” Altieri said in a statement.
Marijuana stocks are surging
Marijuana stocks surged on the news on Wednesday morning.
The Canadian Marijuana Index, an aggregate measurement of all publicly listed marijuana stocks in Canada, was up 3.3% as of 10:45 a.m. The overall North American index, which includes US stocks, was up 2.3%.
Golden Leaf Holdings, a cannabis company listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, was the biggest gainer, with the stock surging 6.8%.
Legalized marijuana is expected to be a boon for Canada’s economy. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, one of the country’s largest banks, predicts that Canada’s legal marijuana market will be a $6.5 billion industry by 2020.
Several Canadian marijuana firms, including Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth Corporation, are seeing a wave of investor excitement around marijuana legalization. Marijuana companies have been capitalizing on that liquidity to go on acquisition sprees.

Tech: Chinese smartphone company Oppo just revealed a Lamborghini-edition phone that costs nearly $2,000

The Chinese tech company Oppo has unveiled the first device from its partnership with Lamborghini, the Find X Automobili Lamborghini Edition. Oppo says the phone can charge completely in 35 minutes and will cost almost $2,000.
The Chinese smartphone maker Oppo launched its new Find X phone on Tuesday, along with the Find X Automobili Lamborghini Edition.
Oppo says the Find X Lamborghini edition can charge from 0% to 100% in 35 minutes and will cost nearly $2,000.
Both versions of the Find X have a nearly edge-to-edge display, a motorized hidden camera, and facial recognition.
The Chinese smartphone maker Oppo just announced one of the priciest phones you can buy.
At an event in the Louvre Museum in Paris on Tuesday, Oppo announced its new Find X device, a premium smartphone with a nearly edge-to-edge display, a motorized hidden camera, and a beautiful shiny finish.
On its own, the Find X is an expensive device — Oppo said it would cost €999 (about $1,160) when it’s released in August.
But there’s another, pricier device on the way. At the event, Oppo also unveiled the Find X Automobili Lamborghini Edition, which has superfast charging; Oppo says it can charge a battery from 0% to 100% in 35 minutes.
The Lamborghini edition will cost €1,699, which is about $1,970.
The phone will also have 512 MB of storage, a carbon-fiber texture underneath the glass on the back of the device, and an engraved Lamborghini logo.
Otherwise, the Lamborghini edition will have specs similar to the standard Find X device, including facial recognition, a 25-megapixel selfie camera, and a screen that covers more than 93% of the front of the phone.
Oppo is launching the Find X in Europe this August, but there’s no word yet on when the device could come to the US.

Opportunities Weekly: Demo Africa 2018, TEXPO Technology Exhibition and more

Every Wednesday by 5:00 PM (WAT), we publish a list of opportunities across the globe for African entrepreneurs, individuals, and startups. Don’t miss out on anyone.
Read more on Techpoint.

Reloaded Nokia 8110 4G arrives in Nigeria

Slide to talk with the newest member of the Originals family, the 8110 4G reloaded icon now available to buy through accredited dealers nationwide HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, today announces that the Nokia 8110 4G is now available to buy from accredited dealers for N24, 000 from 28th May, 2018. Reloading the […]
Read more on Techpoint.

Tech: WhatsApp has stopped working some phones, here is a list of them

In Nigeria, the new updates will affect users using Samsung Galaxy Mini Plus, Huawei Mercury M886, Sony Ericsson Xperia Active ST17a, Nokia Symbian S60, iPhone 3GS/iOS 6 among others. Whatsapp, the popular instant messaging app, has released a new list of operating systems of smartphones that will no longer be supported by the app.The platform owned by Facebook also advised users using older OS versions to upgrade to newer ones if they want to continue using the messaging app.In Nigeria, the new updates will affect users with old smartphones like Samsung Galaxy Mini Plus, Huawei Mercury M886, Sony Ericsson Xperia Active ST17a, HTC EVO 4G+ and others running on Android 2.3 or lesser.In a message posted on its Support Page, Whatsapp said the platform will no longer support the list of the old operating system because “we’ll no longer actively develop for these operating systems, some features might stop functioning at any time.”The operating system no longer supported include:1. Android versions older than 2.3.32. Windows Phone 8.0 and older3. iPhone 3GS/iOS 64. Nokia Symbian S605. BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10The statement further stated that user can no longer create new accounts on the under listed OS and some features might stop functioning at any time.Nokia S40 until December 31, 2018Android versions 2.3.7 and older until February 1, 2020iOS 7 and older until February 1, 2020Whatsapp recommended upgrading to a newer version of Android running OS 4.0+, iPhone running iOS 8+ and Windows Phone 8.1+.

Jobs Weekly: Android/iOS Developer, IT Manager and more

Below is a compiled list of some available tech job vacancies for you this week. Follow the instructions specified for each role to apply. Android and iOS Developer at Cobssot Consulting Ltd Job type: Contract Location: Lagos Application deadline: July 31, 2018 Responsibilities Development of an Android/iOS app Requirements Must have previous verifiable experience/projects How […]
Read more on Techpoint.

Tech: This 24-year-old Ugandan software engineer just won £25,000 in the Africa Prize for...

Brian Gitta is the first Ugandan to win the prestigious Africa Prize and the youngest winner to date.  Brian Gitta, a 24-year-old Ugandan software engineer won £25,000 in the fourth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation for developing Matibabu, a device which tests for malaria without drawing blood.Gitta is the first Ugandan to win the prestigious Africa Prize and the youngest winner to date.Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK,encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers, from all disciplines, to develop innovations that address crucial local problems.Brian Gitta, a 24-year-old Ugandan software engineer has won £25,000 (124 million Ugandan shillings) in the fourth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.Gitta is the first Ugandan to win the prestigious Africa Prize and the youngest winner to date. Gitta and his team developed Matibabu, a device which tests for malaria without drawing blood.Matibabu, which means ‘medical centre’ in Swahili, is a low-cost, reusable device that clips onto a patient’s finger, requiring no specialist expertise to operate. The results are available within one minute on a mobile phone that is linked to the device.Also READ: Here’s a picture of what the African tech startup space will look like in 10 yearsAt an awards ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, last week, four finalists from across sub-Saharan Africa delivered presentations, before Africa Prize judges and a live audience voted for the most promising engineering innovation.Rebecca Enonchong, Africa Prize judge, said; “We are very proud of this year’s winner. It’s a perfect example of how engineering can unlock development – in this case by improving healthcare.”“Matibabu is simply a game changer,” she said.Apart from Gitta, the three runners-up selected winning £10,000 each were Ifediora Ugochukwu from Nigeria for iMeter, an intelligent metering system that gives Nigerian users transparency and control over their electricity supply. Collins Saguru, a Zimbabwean working in South Africa, for AltMet, a low-cost, environmentally friendly method for recovering precious metals from car parts and Michael Asante-Afrifa, from Ghana for Science Set, a mini science lab that contains specially developed materials for experiments.Gitta commented: “We are incredibly honoured to win the Africa Prize – it’s such a big achievement for us because it means that we can better manage production in order to scale clinical trials and prove ourselves to regulators. The recognition will help us open up partnership opportunities – which is what we need most at the moment.”Also READ: A Nigerian app that allows employers conduct video interviews has been selected for the PeaceTech Accelerator in Washington, D.C.In 2017, 27-year-old Nigerian systems engineer, Godwin Benson, who designed Tuteria, an online platform that links students to qualified tutors in their area and within their budget, won the third edition of the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers, from all disciplines, to develop innovations that address crucial problems in their communities in a new, appropriate way.

EFInA highlights significant Fintech opportunities that could redefine the access to financial service landscape...

To further promote financial inclusion in Nigeria, Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) a financial development organization funded by DFID and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation organized a FinTech Breakfast forum at Eko Hotel and suites on the 14th of June, 2018. Through its Innovation Fund, EFInA targets the economically deprived population. Launched in 2009, […]
Read more on Techpoint.

How Bankers’ Committee wants to onboard 40m Nigerians into the financial system

That only 40% of adults in Nigeria is included in the financial system is a threat to the target of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to have 80% inclusion within the next two years. The umbrella body of Nigerian banks’ managing directors and top officials of CBN — the Bankers Committee — has confirmed […]
Read more on Techpoint.

Tech: An invasive weed that can cause severe burns, blisters, scars, and blindness is...

Giant hogweed sap makes skin severely sensitive to the sun, which can lead to third degree burns in a short period of time. Scars can last for years and the sap can cause blindness if it gets in the eye.
The invasive giant hogweed plant was just discovered in the state of Virginia for the first time.
Giant hogweed sap can make skin extremely sensitive to the sun, causing third-degree burns in a short period of time. This can blind people if it gets in an eye.
If you encounter the plant, don’t touch it. And if you’ve been potentially exposed to giant hogweed sap, stay out of the sun and see a doctor if you experience a reaction.
The giant hogweed plant is originally from the Caucasus region, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea where Europe and Asia meet. In the early 20th century, the herb was introduced to the US as an ornamental garden plant — the impressively-sized plant’s white flower heads can reach two and a half feet in diameter.
This was a bad idea.
The plant’s sap, which people encounter when breaking the stem or leaves or when they brush against its bristles, can make skin severely sensitive to the sun, leading to third degree burns in a short period of time. Scars from the burns can last for years, and this reaction can cause blindness if sap gets in a person’s eye.
Giant hogweed, which is now federally classified as a noxious weed, has been found in Virginia for the first time, the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech announced last week. At least 30 plants were found at a site in Clarke County.
These plants had previously been found growing in other parts of the Mid-Atlantic and New England, including in New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts; and in the Pacific Northwest in Oregon and Washington. The USDA website shows it has also been found in Michigan and Illinois.
What giant hogweed looks like
The giant hogweed plant itself (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is technically a biennial or perennial herb in the carrot family.
According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) identification guide, the plant tends to be between seven and 14 feet tall, with clusters of 50 to 150 flowers that spread as far as two and half feet across.
Massive leaves can stretch five feet across.
Green stems are splotched with purple and have coarse white hairs, which carry the plant’s dangerous sap.
Giant hogweed also produces thousands of dry, flat, oval seeds, which are about 3/8 of an inch long and have brown lines on them.
A number of plants are often confused with giant hogweed, including cow parsnip, angelica, Queen Anne’s lace, wild parsnip, and poison hemlock.
While giant hogweed was often originally planted for ornamental reasons, it can spread if soil containing plant or seeds gets moved or if seeds are carried by wind or a person or animal to a new location.
What to do if you find giant hogweed
If you happen to find giant hogweed out in the wild, don’t take a weed whacker to it. The sap can get sprayed around in a dangerous way.
There are specific procedures that need to followed to be sure the plants are killed, and there are certain herbicides that are legal for use by a licensed pesticide applicator.
If you or someone you know brushes against one of these plants, experts recommend immediately washing the affected area with soap and cold water and keeping that skin out of the sun for at least 48 hours (the reaction can begin within 15 minutes of exposure).
If you think you’ve been burned by a reaction after coming into contact, see a physician immediately. Topical steroids can reduce the severity of the burns. If sap gets into your eyes, rinse them and wear sunglasses. After a burn, skin can be especially sensitive to sun exposure for several years.
In general, the NY DEC recommends contacting them (or your state DEC outside of New York) for professional removal.

Tech: Millennials are on track to have worse health in middle age than their...

Millennials already have it tough with lower wages, less job security, and emotional pressure — and according to a new report from the Health Foundation, they are likely to have poorer health in middle age than their parents.
Millennials could have worse health in middle age than their parents.
That’s according to a new report from the Health Foundation, which found that millennials may have a higher risk of developing cancer, diabetes, and heart disease later in life.
Millennials already have it tough with lower wages, less job security, and emotional pressure.
They are also more likely than other generations to experience chronic loneliness, the Office for National Statistics has found.
Millennials already have it tough. Their wages are stagnating, they are unlikely to own homes, and they’re often told they are entitled and lazy.
And according to a new report by the Health Foundation think tank, millennials may be the first generation to have poorer health in middle age than their parents.
The report cites issues with employment, relationships, and housing that are now affecting people in their 20s and 30s as factors that could lead to a higher risk of developing diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease later in life.
Overall, the trend is “linked to long-term stress, anxiety, depression or lower quality of life,” according to the report, which also found that millennials are the first generation to earn less money than their parents did at their age.
“Young people today are facing pressures that are very different to those of previous generations,” said Jo Bibby, the director of strategy at the Health Foundation.
In particular, the report found that millennials are under psychological stress from insecure working hours, zero-hours contracts, underemployment, and the “gig” economy, as well as the impact of social media, which the report says adds pressure to keep up digital friendships and relationships as well as real-life connections.
In the survey of 2,000 people aged 22 to 26, just 31% said they had strong relationships and support networks growing up, and 46% said they had enough financial and family support. Forty-nine percent said they had emotional support from family, while 80% said they felt under pressure to behave a certain way because of social media.
Earlier this year, a study from Kings College London found that lonely millennials are at twice the risk of developing mental-health problems like depression and anxiety compared with those who feel more connected to others. The Office for National Statistics also found that millennials are more likely to experience chronic loneliness than any other age group.
Bibby told The Times that though there were improvements in young people’s health, they could be eroded by “the precariousness and instability of the lives many young people are facing.”
Michael Marmot, a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, added: “I agree with them that we may be storing up problems for the future, in addition to whatever problems of mental illness, crime and the like that may be happening right now.

French Development Agency to split the $76M African Development Fund in three parts

But not providing modalities regarding how the African development funding will be handled indeed left many Africans confused.
Read more on Techpoint.

Why Nigeria’s electricity generation to national grid dropped to 1,087.6MW

On Sunday, a statement by Mrs Ndidi Mbah, General Manager of Public Affairs for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) says electricity generated into the national grid has dropped. According to a report, the decline in electricity generation totaled 1,087.6 Megawatts. And the production decline was caused by a ruptured gas pipeline of the Nigerian […]
Read more on Techpoint.

Africa News Roundup: Beads for science

Here are last weekend’s top headlines on startups, entrepreneurship, innovation and tech from around Africa. Battling pneumonia According to iAfrikan, Ghanaian scientists — at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital — have designed beads to help mothers accurately monitor children’s respiratory rates and diagnose signs of pneumonia. This […]
Read more on Techpoint.