Google Stadia is at the failure stage

Why does the company fail to gain a foothold in the gaming market?

Reading time 5 minutes

About a year ago, on March 19, one of the world’s largest media corporations named Google announced the upcoming entry into the video game market. The company launched the Google Stadia game platform, something new in this area. The main feature that the creators of Stadia noted was the full focused of the new product on cloud gaming. This reminds Netflix analogue in video games: with a monthly paid subscription, the user gets access to the games in the platform’s library. At the same time he or she has an opportunity to connect within any device without downloading the games themselves. High resolution quality is guaranteed. A stable Internet connection and Google Chrome browser are required. At the announcement stage, Stadia looked interesting and seemed to be quite different from the market leaders (Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Switch). But everything changed dramatically six months later.

Никто не любит жадность
No one loves greed

The release of Google Stadia took place on November 19, 2019 and turned out to be disappointing. The main object of criticism was the general technical unavailability of the platform: the first buyers noted that the games work with significant glitches and are far from 4K resolution, as was promised at the announcement. In addition, many users were outraged by the Google pricing policy: the subscription costs $ 10 per month; Chromecast Ultra prefix, which includes a controller in Night Blue color, a Chromecast Ultra adapter, a three-month subscription for two and a Destiny 2 game costs $ 130; at the same time, the average price for a game will be similar to those of Sony, Microsoft and Xbox – $ 60. The current generation consoles for all Google competitors are about $ 500. There is also a monthly subscription worth about $ 7, but exclusively for online games. For single players (story games that a gamer can play alone) this subscription is not needed, as well as the Internet connection in general. This reveals another problem: users of Stadia are very dependent on the work of the company’s internal servers: if they crash, all game progress will not be saved. Another important obstacle, partially due to the preceding paragraphs, is the quantity of games. There were only 22 games in the Google start library, after 3 months of the service’s existence only 6 more were added. 28 games is an extremely small number for a company which is trying to become a full-fledged player in the market. Moreover, among these games there is not a single exclusivity. These are games that can only be played on one console, one of the most compelling reasons to buy one. At the moment, the PlayStation is a leader in the gaming industry thanks to exclusives such as the Uncharted series, The Last of Us, God of War, Bloodborne and many others. The Xbox has a series of Halo and Quantum Break, the Switch has Mario and Zelda. Stadia has nothing. The reason is Google itself: after the release, the company weakly supports the project (6 new games in 3 months to confirm). Accordingly, the audience, which was already relatively small, is beginning to decline. Therefore, game developers have no motivation to conclude exclusive production contracts with Google, because they still will not pay off in the current platform state.

За годы существования Google всего "умерло" 198 проектов
Over the years of Google’s existence, 198 projects have “died

Thus, Stadia is a vivid example of how an excellent idea can be ruined by poor technical performance and the lack of a clear PR strategy. The future of the project looks uncertain. It is unlikely that anyone will be surprised if he soon replenishes the “Google Cemetery“.

IPhones are only for the good guys

An interesting feature of Apple products usage in the cinematography

Reading time 4 minutes

On February 26, Vanity Fair, an American magazine in the field of politics, culture, fashion and film, published another video interview on its Youtube channel (more than 2 million subscribers).  This interview was conducted by Ryan Johnson, a popular filmmaker. First of all, he is known as the creator of the science-fiction film “Loopers” and the 8th episode of the Star Wars movie saga, “Last Jedi”. In a 23-minute long video, Johnson talked about his last movie, “Knives Out”. A detective drama tape was released last September (in Russia on November 28) and received rave reviews from critics (97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and extremely positive reviews from viewers (a rating of 8.0 on IMDB). In addition, the film was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Screenplay category. Financially, “Knives Out” also became successful: with a budget of $ 40 million, he raised 306. In the beginning of 2020, it was announced that Johnson is already working on a continuation of the picture. He is planning to release it before the end of 2021. The plot of the first part tells the story of Benoit Blanc, a detective, who is investigating the mysterious murder of the famous author of crime novels Harlan Tromby. Hollywood star actors such as Daniel Craig, Chris Evans and Jamie Lee Curtis have performed in the movie.

Райан Джонсон раскрыл секрет Apple
Ryan Johnson revealed Apple’s secret

The interview instantly became popular due to Johnson revealing of a rather interesting secret: it turns out that Apple, whose products and accessories are regularly featured in movies and TV shows, prohibits negative characters to use them. Indeed, the real killer in “Knives Out” does not use anything related to Apple, unlike some suspects who ultimately turn out to be innocent. Johnson noted with humor that all other detective directors would probably want to kill him because of the exposure of this fact. And not only detective directors: now, watching any Hollywood movie, you can know in advance who is the villain and who is not. If the character in the frame uses Iphone, MacBook, AirPods and any other Apple products, then he or she is, by definition, a positive character. Thus, the company avoids negative associations with its products. According to representatives of the American CNBC channel, not only Apple has such a reverent attitude to the perception of their products by viewers. This is also true, for example, for manufacturers of various food products. It is unlikely that the company will like the fact that something with the label of its brand is thrown into the bin or broken into pieces in the frame.

Самые популярные бренды дорожат своей репутацией даже в кино
The most popular brands value their reputation even in the movies

 

Off the hook

How to safeguard personal data from those who are willing to steal it

Reading time 6 minutes

The 28th of January is the international day of personal data protection since 2006. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has established the date to encourage people to increase their attention to the information they poste on the Internet. From this article, you will know what rules you should follow in order not to become an easy target for scammers.

Surf the net via VPN

Use VPN to provide encrypted Internet traffic and network anonymity. The data that pass through the VPN is secure because the technology creates a protective layer between the device and the Internet. Data interception is unlikely.

To use VPN, just download the application and log in. Choosing a service, remember that it should not store data or transfer it to anyone. It is proved that some free providers collect user information or do not encrypt traffic. Other services earn money on a subscription, not on data. Tor browser is an alternative to VPN. It preserves user’s anonymity and protects the Internet connection from surveillance.

Choose passwords properly

Rules for appropriate creating a password
Rules for appropriate creating a password

The main rule is one account — one password that is long and difficult. The more various symbols are used, the more effort hacker have to make to get the access to the account. Password manager is a handy tool that help not to forget all usernames and passwords. The program generates unique successions which are stored in an encrypted database for all usernames. To enter it, the master password is needed. It is the only succession to be remembered. By the way, some managers support two-factor authentication what makes them more secure.

Set up two-factor authentication

Try to apply it everywhere to protect data additionally. In this case to enter the account, the system requests two different types of data. Username and password is the first type, special code is the second. This code can be entered only by the mobile phone. It comes via SMS or email, sometimes biometric data or a USB key are used, though it occures less commonly. Moreover, a special authenticator application may be the second stage of protection. The app generates codes for entering accounts. This method is more reliable than SMS messages, because they are easy to intercept.

After having enabled two-step authentication in the account, choose which type of data you will enter in the second stage. Then set up backup ways to log in to your account
After having enabled two-step authentication in the account, choose which type of data you will enter in the second stage. Then set up backup ways to log in to your account

Encrypt!

Communicate via messengers that support end-to-end encryption instead of calling or sending SMS. Otherwise, correspondence and conversations will be stored on the servers of operators in the clear.

Enable the encryption of the file system. Then no one but you will get access to the decrypted correspondence, even if they get hold of a phone or laptop. The encryption is usually enabled on mobile devices by default while instructions for Windows or Mac computers are available on the Internet.

Disable displaying messages in notifications on the locked screen. If a hacker sees a one-time password from the Bank, even encryption will not help. For the same reason, put a PIN code on your SIM card: after stealing the phone and moving the card to his own, the attacker will still not get to your funds.

In 2019, hacker attacks on Sberbank began to occur 15-20% more often, and on January 2, 2020, the Bank was subjected to the most powerful attack in its history
In 2019, hacker attacks on Sberbank began to occur 15-20% more often, and on January 2, 2020, the Bank was subjected to the most powerful attack in its history

Encrypt the email: PGP technology will help to do this. The message is encrypted before sending and the interceptor will not be able to read it.

Use the HTTPS Protocol. Unlike HTTP, it encrypts the data that you put on the site, what means that they will not be able to intercept it.

Maintain the information hygiene

  • use licensed software
  • install updates
  • try to avoid public wi-fi networks
  • use anti-virus software
  • learn to make sure that no one is listening to you

Share the security rules with interlocutors whom you exchange data with, and then your correspondence will be protected at both ends.

Masslooking: New, Effective and Intrusive

Due to the service, insta-stories views have increased many times

Reading time 4 minutes

In May 2019, active Instagram users noticed significant changes in the statistics of their pages. The number of views instagram-stories became much greater. In addition, public pages of famous bloggers and celebrities began to “follow” them. This is a new way to PR accounts – masslooking.

Bots are not welcome

At first, users of the platform did not understand why they had such an increased activity. Some users thought they aroused the interest of public pages.

В среднем на 200 ожидаемых просмотров приходится 600-700 посещений
An average of 200 expected views account for 600-700 visits

Profiles of famous people caused even more questions. The bloggers Sasha Kat, Ruslan Sokolovsky and Lissa Aveme became unexpected spectators.T-Killah was the most prominent one, he looked through the stories of almost all Instagram users. Obviously, none of these people were subscribed to the browsed accounts. Bots appeared in the list of views of stories that usually have more than a hundred views.

Masslooking – a new way of promotion

In 2018, on the reddit.com forum, a user wondered why his Instagram stories are viewed by random accounts if he does not use tags. Answer: this is due to the fact that the story was highlighted in the “interesting”, these are algorithms of recommendations. However, this phenomenon is called “masslooking” – it was a question of this instrument back in 2017. Probably, SMM-specialists mastered the algorithm only now and are ready to provide services.

Using the algorithm, profiles of public people and brands can view up to 80 thousand insta-stories per day. The average price for a single story view is 0.01 kopecks. The function is carried out through third-party services to work with Instagram.

The account promotion tool works in the same way as “massfollowing” (mass subscription) and “masscommenting” (mass mailing of comments). The main goal of the algorithm is to attract a new audience. Developers are counting on user interest in accounts with a large number of subscribers. After the transition to the profile is expected subscription user. Many users also publish new stories with marks of the stars who visited their account.

Specialists in SMM are well aware of the new promotion tool. SMM managers consider such an algorithm effective. The fact is that the vast majority of users follow the views, often expecting to see interesting profiles. Companies are praised by masslooking and consider the scheme a unique PR strategy.

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Масслукинг фуфло? Ой ли? ⠀ Все чаще я стала встречать в инстаграм посты о том, что масслукинг это фигня. Что вот ещё месяц назад на обычном профиле среднестатистической девочки было 50-100 просмотров сторис, а сейчас их 500-700 и никто не будет смотреть «кто меня посмотрел» и переходить. ⠀ Ребят, специально – нет. НО… у всех нас (почти у всех) есть люди которые нам не безразличны. В том или ином варианте. И нам интересно а вот он/она посмотрел мои сторис? И мы лезем среди этих дебрей в 500-1000 просмотров выискивать ТОГО человечка. ⠀ И здесь нам в глаза бросается описание аккаунта или интересная аватарка и мы переходим. ⠀ Да!!! Все ещё переходим! Работает масслукинг!!! У меня у клиентки с подключением масслукинга запросов в день стало на 30 шт больше. Часть закрывается на продажи. Часть остаётся запросами. ⠀ Важно грамотно базу подобрать. И фильтровать ее с умом!!!! Ну не слушайте вы тупо тех, кто говорит «максимум 100 подписок, максимум 500 подписчиков» иначе вас не заметят. ⠀ Если ваши клиенты – девочки модели, актрисы начинающие или просто девочки которые накрутили зачем то себе подписчиков? Тысяч так 20-200. Подписчиков то накрутили, но просмотров сторис у них от этого не прибавилось! Как скажите мне вы их найдёте, как они вас заметят если вы их не прорабатываете массфоллом или масслукингом? ⠀ В идеале, конечно, надо выходить в топ по хештегам. Тогда вас люди сами найдут. И здесь важно чтоб аккаунт был максимально информативен. ⠀ У нас с масслукинга приходят люди у которых подписок 3000-4000 то есть масфолловеры. А подписчиков и 11000 и 300000 может быть. ⠀ Если у вас крутой продукт и красивый Инстаграм вас заметят! Особенно если человеку нужна ваша услуга. ⠀ У меня всё. Со мной можно не согласиться, но я вижу конверсию от масслукинга.

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Experienced Instagram users immediately understood the algorithm, but were not happy with it. They were divided into two camps: some condemned the scheme of advancement for its uselessness, others for obsession. The algorithm is effective for stars – many users noticed the artist T-Killah, but they laughed at the profiles of unpopular bloggers. Obsessive advertising of these accounts littered browsing lists with hundreds of bots.

Protection from unwanted viewers

It is impossible to completely get rid of unnecessary accounts – the stories will be viewed by new spam bots. However, there are two ways to avoid twisted views:

  1. Close the profile by changing the privacy settings (many users did this);
  2. Publish stories only for “best friends”, in the list of which you can add all your subscribers.

Wonders of Modern Photo Editors

Now you can change sex, get a tattoo and turn into an anime in one click

Reading time 7 minutes

Once again Snapchat literally blew up social networks with its new filter, which allows you to «change» sex. The girls looked at themselves as a guy, and the guys looked at themselves as a girl. Some users have even created Tinder pages for their alter ego to prank friends.

Илон Маск в «женской» версии от Snapchat
Elon Musk and his «female» version from Snapchat

It is not the first time when Snapchat developers demonstrate to the public interesting things. Take even insta-stories, the format that has been created by Snapchat team. Also masks and photos in dialogs, which disappear after 24 hours. All of that Instagram borrowed from the creators of Snapchat. Although, in a way it was not invented by them either. Some time ago, Snapchat redeemed the Looksery app, which was developed in Ukraine. The team of the same app actually made most of those «masks».

Today Snapchat really sets the bar, but it is not the only app that allows you to experiment with your appearance. There are plenty of them, and they all perform different functions – from changing the sex and age to transformation into the anime.

Meitu — transformation into the anime

Chinese app Meitu was launched way back in 2008, but it became popular only in January 2017. The mask of this photo editor increases eyes, blushes cheeks and changes facial proportions. That is how you become an anime character. The main advantage is that the app processes images in real time, so you can try on the effects before taking a photo or  a video.

Basic editor filters are free – but there are also special filters that require a paid subscription. For free you can try on Bunny ears and pretend to be sick: a face blushes, cheeks grow and virtual snot starts pouring.

Meitu - приложение для любителей японской культуры
Meitu — the app for fans of Japanese culture

FaceApp — aging, fake smile and sex change

The developers of FaceApp one of the first resorted to the use of neural networks in creating photo editors. The app is widely known for the opportunity to try on a believable smile, change the sex and look at yourself in old age. In 2017, the social network was full of collages of four photos, which appeared even on television.

Today FaceApp yields to new masks from Snapchat. New filters process images in real time and make men look like women, and women look like men way more realistic. However, FaceApp can still surprise those who just discovered it, because it alters the appearance quite plausibly. We must not forget that  the developers of Snapchat obviously got inspired by this app. Because several years ago, the developers of FaceApp introduced such filters as «sex change» and «aging».

FaceApp - нейросеть, от которой стареешь
FaceApp — neural network that makes you grow old

InkHunter — the virtual try-on of tattoos

InkHunter does not change the appearance, this application’s function is practical. It is recommended to use it before going to the tattoo parlor. With InkHunter you can try on a tattoo: the desired image will be applied to the specified area of the skin. In order to do this, you only need to draw a special sign on your hand or foot — three stripes in the form of a smiley. So the neural network recognizes it.

The app uses augmented reality technology, so the quality of the displayed tattoo is not high enough. The «tattoo» cannot be properly scaled, expanded or zoomed in to really see how the image would look on the skin. Probably the fact is that after the success of the app in 2016, it is no longer being developed.

Фото с меткой для приложения и снимки с примерами татуировок (динозаврик настоящий)
Photos with a label for the app and pictures with examples of tattoos (a dinosaur is real)

FaceTune — the simplified version of Photoshop

And finally, the most important hit in the insta-photography industry — FaceTune. It was developed by the Israeli team Lightricks. This platform has replaced Photoshop for many users. In the photo editor, you can do face tuning, whiten teeth or remove bags under the eyes. In addition, it looks quite natural.

Even the free version of FaceTune amazes with its list of features. For instance, you can «narrow» the shape of the face and highlight the cheekbones, or paint it  in any color. The app does not apply filters or «masks», but it provides tools: you need to apply the desired effects with a brush and try not to overdo it.

FaceTune - любимое приложение всех insta-блогеров
FaceTune is the favorite app of all insta bloggers

The app simplified the work on improving the appearance so much that the media started discussions. On the one hand, FaceTune is suitable for those who cannot use Photoshop, on the other — it makes it too easy to hide flaws, which makes natural beauty a rarity.

Competitors reconciled on the “cloud”

Sony and Microsoft join forces in cloud gaming

Reading time 4 minutes

Sony and Microsoft have always been fierce rivals in the video game market. In the conversations of gamers you can often hear such a phrase as the “war of consoles”. Each next generation of game consoles has a winner. But recently, companies have begun to cooperate in the field of cloud gaming and artificial intelligence. This news came as a surprise to the whole community.

Kenichiro Yoshida, President and CEO of Sony Corporation (left), along with Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

The companies intend to jointly develop cloud solutions based on Microsoft Azure and look for possible options for using the database platform for Sony streaming and gaming services as part of the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties. In addition, the parties intend to work together on the development of semiconductors and AI, used to create “smart” photomatix and other products.

Thus, Sony became a Microsoft client, acquiring the power of their Azure cloud system for their gaming services. Most likely, Sony wants to improve the quality of the PlayStation Now, which allows you to run PS4 games through the cloud on other devices.

Despite all the excitement around the launch of PlayStation Now, it’s not so convenient to use

Up to this point, Sony did not show much interest in streaming services – users did not expect such a change of course from the Japanese company. It seems that Sony has pushed the xCloud initiative from Microsoft and the announcement of Google Stadia from Google to the decision to develop cloud gaming. Nevertheless, they decided to turn to Microsoft for help, instead of developing a platform from scratch. Most likely, these actions are connected with the desire of Sony not to lose focus on the development and quality of games. On the contrary, Microsoft in the past few years has focused on creating services and package offers, rather than on building up a library of exclusive games.

It seems that this unexpected agreement, contrary to all contradictions, satisfies the interests of both parties. It is possible that we will soon be able to see more from this collaboration, and how xCloud and Sony services will compete with Stadia from Google.

The most expensive mistakes of space engineers

How one bug in the program and confusion of meters and feet can cost millions of dollars

Reading time 6 minutes

Developers of space projects sometimes make expensive mistakes. Let’s recall the five largest engineering errors of the space era.

Rocket «Mariner 1»
Ракета «Маринер-1»
Rocket «Mariner 1». Ph: NASA

Mariner 1 is the first apparatus of the NASA’s «Mariner» project (automatic interplanetary probes designed to investigate Mars, Venus and Mercury), the launch of which was scheduled on July 22, 1962. The apparatus was supposed to fly to Venus, however, after 293 seconds it deviated from the course, and was destroyed over the Atlantic ocean. According to the official version, the programmer made a mistake while translating the handwritten formula into a computer code: he mistook the index symbol for a regular dash. As a result, the on-Board computer software perceived normal speed jumps as critical, which led to a failure. The accident could not have happened, but the device’s antenna lost contact with the guidance system on the Ground, and the program automatically moved to plan «B». The engineering error cost $18.5 million, which the New York Times called «the most expensive dash in history».

 

Space station «Skylab»
Станция «Скайлэб»
Skylab space station. Ph: NASA

Skylab is the United States orbital station launched in 1873 (the first and only one). It was designed for Earth observation, astrophysical, technological, and biomedical researchs. Before the destruction, it held three space expedition, however, due to increased solar activity, it went off the orbit in 1979. The lowering of the Skylab accelerated, and since the station did not have its own engine, it was not possible to raise it to another orbit. According to the forecasts of the mission control Center, the station was to enter the Earth’s atmosphere on July 11, 1979 and sink for 1300 kilometers in South Cape Town. But the inaccuracy in the calculations by 4% led to the fall of some wreckage of the station in Western Australia. The damage from premature destruction was estimated at $10 million.

Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope. Ph: NASA

Hubble was launched in 1990, but immediately there was a problem in its work: the telescope transmitted a blurred image. After checking, it turned out that edges of the telescope’s main  mirror were too flat, making the telescope «myopic». NASA scientists have developed a program for image processing and, at first glance, the problem was solved. But few months later, other problems were discovered (gyro failures, problems with solar panels and computer malfunctions), and NASA organized three space expeditions to eliminate those defects. One of them brought «glasses» for the telescope — optical correction system COSTAR. Manufacturing and delivering of «glasses» have cost NASA 49.9 million dollars, while since the beginning of telescope’s construction there were spent 6 billion dollars.

Mars Climate Orbiter
Аппарат «Mars Climate Orbiter»
Mars Climate Orbiter. Ph: NASA

Mars Climate Orbiter is an apparatus studying the Martian climate, which was launched by NASA on December 11, 1998. The main objective of the apparatus is to picture the surface of Mars and to study the dynamics of its atmosphere. Nine months later the unit arrives to the planet, turns on braking and begins to move on highly elliptical orbit. According to the calculations of engineers, the device was supposed to change the orbit to circular and to begin research two months later. However, 5 minutes after the start of braking the apparatus passed Mars and never sent any signals. After analyzing the errors, it turned out that the NASA team calculated the parameters of the decisive stage of the flight in the metric system, and the engineers of Lockheed Martin — in the British system (pound-force). As a result, the device crossed the orbit for 53 kilometers lower than required and disintegrated in the atmosphere of Mars; the loss amounted to $193.1 million.

Satellite «NOAA-19»
Спутник «NOAA-19»
Satellite«NOAA-19». Ph: NASA

The accident is not related to the software, but to ordinary sloppiness. In 2003, September 6, during the construction of the satellite, engineers have tried to move it to a horizontal position, but the device collapsed to the floor. The investigation determined that shortly before failure the technician has pulled from the truck 24 screws and has not documented it, but other staff did not check the presence of screws either. As a result, $135 million were spent to repair the satellite.

 

 

Americans are shocked: Apple has released the card with cashback

Russian users are only grinning, cashback is not new for them

Reading time 4 minutes

Apple has presented its own virtual credit card – Apple Card. When paying by credit card, the company instantly returns 2% of the total purchase amount. It is easy to order a card: just spent a few minutes in the Apple Wallet app. To use the service you need only the iPhone.

At the presentation, the card was given not so much time as the rest of Apple’s new products, but presented in sufficient details. The company showed its physical carrier – a titanium card without a number, a term and a CVV code. All necessary data will be stored on the phone without which it is impossible to use the card.

You can see the history of recent transactions easily in an application that enables you to keep statistics. At the presentation, the user-friendly interface caused delight and loud applause from the audience. The fact that the Apple card has interested users is also confirmed by media statistics. The chief editor of The Verge, Nilay Patel, said that the article about the Apple Card was the most viewed material about apple products. The Russian Internet publication TJ declared exactly the same.

Apple Card application design

In Russia, such a rush around Apple’s card was viewed with irony. The fact is that Russian users have been familiar with cashback and high-quality online applications. These services have been provided by «Sberbank» , «Tinkoff Bank» and «Rocketbank» for many years.

And this is really the case when the States are in no hurry to keep up with progress. In Russia the flowering of IT technologies in the banking sector began in the 2010s. One of the first innovative banks was «Tinkoff» in 2011, and later – «Rocketbank» in 2013. Therefore, the presence of mobile banking and the return of interest on purchases of a Russian user is no longer surprising.

Russia is one of the leaders among countries that use Apple Pay

According to experts, the Apple Card will not immediately become the market leader. However, it is expected that the card will push for changes stagnant US banking sphere.

Turn the screen into black and white mode

How to overcome the dependence on the smartphone without getting rid of it

Reading time 4 minutes

Dependence on smartphones is a disease, and users themselves began to understand it. According to Google statistics, the query “smartphone addiction” and similar became very popular last year.

Analysts attribute this to the desire of people to cope with dependence on smartphones. Recently, as SKY News reported, sales of push-button phones without Internet access have increased in the world. According to the data presented on the website, sales increased by 5%.

However, there is another way to deal with smartphone addiction. American psychologist Martin Sinclair, the author of the bestseller “Care for busy people” proposed to transfer smartphones in monochrome. All application icons and their interface will become black and white. According to him, looking at the screen without colorful pictures and notifications can block emotional attachment – a key element of addiction.

It’s not a secret that app and website developers deliberately use techniques that cause addiction. Bright colors and colorful pictures – one of them. This was told by Tristan Harris, former head of design ethics at Google. He is the founder of the non-profit organisation Time Well Spent, where users are told about manipulation of their attention and how not to fall for the tricks of developers.

Instruction for use

If the smartphone has already become an integral part of the hand, and life without it seems impossible, it’s time to ask yourself: have I become addicted? The positive answer is an excuse to put your phone in monochrome mode. This can be done in a few clicks.

For Android

  1. Go to system settings and select the category «about phone»;
  2. Several times in a row click on the build number, it will open access to advanced editing;
  3. In the system find window «for developers»;
  4. In the section «hardware visualization acceleration» find the item «Simulate anomaly» and choose the monochrome mode.

For iOS

  1. Go to basic settings;
  2. Find the «Quick access» section and select «Filters»;
  3. After that, a triple press on the «Home» button will allow you to quickly change modes from black and white to color.

And the main recommendation: remember that the world around is much brighter than the screen of your smartphone!

Spotify enters Russian music market

Competitors are tense but feel confident

Reading time 4 minutes

Spotify is an online streaming audio service that allows you to listen to music tracks legally and for free. Now the service successfully operates in 70 countries. Daniel Ek, CEO of the service, said that the company is preparing to start work in Russia in the summer of 2019.

The development team believes that there is a strong potential in the streaming service to conquer the market of music services.

A subscription to a service for USA residents costs $ 10. The cost in Russia is currently unknown.
A subscription to a service for USA residents costs $ 10. The cost in Russia is currently unknown.

“We now have more than 159 million active users in 65 countries, 71 million premium subscribers, more than 3,500 employees worldwide and more than 35 million tracks. But we’re just starting… Spotify has a lot more prospects than you thought.”

The service functions as a cloud base and allows the user to select a composition from an extensive media library. Currently, Spotify provides access to over 30 million tracks. Users can search by artist, album, genre. All users have access to many major independent labels. You can also create your own playlists or listen to the radio. You can use the resource with advertising and some restrictions for free. If you pay a subscription, all restrictions are automatically removed.

In Russia, users have long been waiting for Spotify. The service planned to start work here in 2014 and even registered the legal brand LLC Spotify in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. However, the introduction of the Register was not a guarantee of launch. According to some sources, there were several obstacles to entering the market: the economic crisis, changes at the legislative level, requirements for the storage of users’ personal data, conflicts and disagreements with certain organizations and individuals.

Sberbank CIB analysts have already warned that Spotify will have a significant impact on the Russian music market. But his direct competitors (Yandex.Music and VKontakte (together with BOOM)) noted that they are not afraid of the appearance of a new player on the market and see their competitive advantages over Spotify.

Not only Yandex.Music and VKontakte become competitors. Do not forget about Apple Music and Google Music.
Not only Yandex.Music and VKontakte become competitors. Do not forget about Apple Music and Google Music.

“The growth of the market of legal audio services will be 20–30% per year, Spotify will make a significant contribution to this growth if it starts working in Russia,” said Alexandra Nosach, head of the licensing department for music and video content at Black Star Inc.