China Is Making Strides in the Search for a Cure

Cancer has been a notoriously difficult health issue. Many bacterial and viral infections have been rendered toothless thanks to vaccines. Other medical problems have been taken care of by environmental precautions. Even medical conditions with no cure will often be preventable with the right precautions. But cancer is something else entirely. Stories of people who do everything right and still end up with cancer are common enough to almost be a cliche. There’s certain factors which can decrease the chance of developing any given type of cancer. But this, in and of itself, demonstrates the crux of the issue. Even in the best case scenario it’s often more about balancing risks than it is about any real prevention.


It can almost seem like cancer is an inevitability. In some ways, there’s often truth to it. Anyone who’s had their DNA tested to find out their medical predispositions will have some hint of just how cancer really works. Cancer is in essence a genetic condition. It’s cellular tissue which is simply replicating incorrectly. It’s normal human cells, but which have essentially forgotten how to play well with the rest of the body. It’s a unique combination of genetics and environment. In the end it usually does come down to genetics. Unless there’s a specific environmental trigger, genetics will be the underlying issue for cancer. But for the vast majority of people it’s a mix of genetics and environment to differing degrees.


This is why some recent news from China is so exciting. They’re the first to make use of a gene editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9. This tool can be used to edit out the genetic factors which predispose people to cancer. Cancer is essentially something going wrong with a person’s cells. But the other part of it is natural defences within the person not being able to deal with the malfunctioning cells. The CRISPR-Cas9 can edit a patient’s genes so that they produce cells which can properly respond to cancerous malfunctions.


People should keep in mind that this is still a very new treatment. This is the second time in history that the treatment has actually been used in humans. Initial trials are planned in the US, but are still in the future. But for people with cancer, or who have a history of it in their family tree, this should be fantastic news. It opens up doors for some revolutionary new treatments of a wide variety of different types of cancer.


Changes Are Coming to Amazon’s App Ecosystem

Most people were somewhat befuddled when Amazon decided to roll their own varient of the popular android operating system. Over time they’ve managed to create a real niche for themselves. Amazon’s version of Android is usually different enough to justify itself. But at the same time it’s similar to other versions of Android that one can expect some degree of compatibility. In fact, many Android users have come to count on that compatibility over the years. Amazon has had a continual marketing effort in play almost right from the start. They’ve been luring people into their unique app ecosystem by offering access to their app store to the vast majority of android devices.


It’s usually a win win situation for android users and Amazon alike. Amazon will, of course, benefit from having android users look around their app ecosystem. Their own version of android is specially tailored to that app system. The end result is that people will have some motivation to go with amazon based android products in the future. For a long time now, android users have had a big benefit as well. They’ve been able to get a continual stream of discounted apps. Amazon regularly offers free purchases of apps which normally have a price tag attached to them. It’s a marketing tactic that has been quite effective over the years. Many people have tried to compete with Google’s app store over the years. But at the moment Amazon is the only company that’s really succeeded in doing so. Their free apps are considered one of the main reasons for this success.


But Amazon recently announced that they’re planning to end this practice. Users might find themselves disappointed. But it’s actually good news, at least in some ways. The best part is that Amazon will be keeping the service going at least until 2019. The best part for fans of Amazon’s version of android is that this signals a resounding success for the company. The free apps were a big financial hit to Amazon that was being undertaken in hopes of long term profit as more and more people gave their android variant a try. One can take this change of policy to mean that Amazon now considers their android products to finally be able to stand fully on their own when competing against vanilla builds of android.


VPNs Great, Not Perfect, For Internet Privacy

Congress’ recent vote to abandon internet privacy measures, allowing ISPs to sell off their users’ activities and preventing future safeguards from being instated by the FCC has caused a surge in interest in VPNs. A VPN, short for virtual private network, is a private server that allows a user to have a secure, encrypted connection. Browsing the internet through a VPN sends the user’s data to the private server and then securely back to the user without a chance for the traffic to be seen or modified; any out-going data looks like it originates from the server’s location instead of the user’s computer. It is important to remember that a VPN does not make users anonymous, only obscured; the VPN sees the traffic and law enforcement can request that information from the VPN company.


While a respectable VPN can get around government surveillance and malware, there is a great deal of confusion among experts on which VPN is the best. While many companies offer VPNs, many have the potential for broken security, have questionable levels of security and may not share what they do with a user’s data. With all of these variables in mind and a user’s technical affinity in mind, the best solution is to use a paid VPN or just to establish a personal one. If looking into paid VPNs, its best to look over their privacy policies and countermeasures to threats. Regardless of the individual user’s countermeasure to surveillance, it is important to remember that the best defense to having that person’s personal data open to the market.


Here are a several common reasons people have resorted to a VPN for.

  • Avoiding government censorship or surveillance programs.
  • It is an employee benefit.
  • Securing data when utilizing public Wi-Fi.
  • Masking BitTorrent usage.
  • Appearing to be in a different country to use a video streaming service.


While each of these concerns carry their own difficulties, some ill-suited for a VPN’s offerings, the primary reason for using one as of this week is stopping ISPs from making money from selling off users’ data.


Hyperloop, The Future of Travel

Our modern world is currently experiencing incredible progress in the industry of computing and the internet that has changed the way the world exchanges information on a global scale. Storage spaces are getting bigger while the size of the chip is becoming much smaller by the day. One would have thought that this drastic technological improvement would have brought a new age of utopian technology. These changes have not been noticed in many areas of our life; things do not seem to have evolved over the years and transportation is one industry that has stagnated over the years. Though we have been treated to fictional stories that foresaw flying cars and teleporters during the 21st century, we have had to settle for Segway.



Dreams never die, though, and the future is much bright for the transportation industry. Currently, we have one futurist technology for transportation that is known as Hyperloop. While it may not be as fancy as personal jetpack or mind-shattering as a teleporter, the Hyperloop has been dubbed as the game changer in the transportation industry. Hyperloop technology comes with great promises such as shortening travel times on land and slowing damage to the environment.



Elon Musk, the inventor, and technological futurist proposed hyperloop; he is the CEO of the aerospace firm known as SpaceX and electric car manufacturer Tesla. According to Musk, the bullet train system that is currently under development will be expensive and slow moving in the future.



The Hyperloop concept is made up of two large tubes that stretch between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The tubes would have pods carrying passengers; the pods would travel at a speed of 700mph. So as to propel the tubes pods, magnetic accelerators will be fitted along the length of the tube; the magnets would accelerate the pods forward.



The world needs this new revolutionary technological mode of transportation. The conventional means of travel such as road, water, air, and rail tend to be expensive, slow and pose a danger to the environment. In particular, road transport is problematic when considering the environmental damage that it courses and the fluctuating prices of oil. While the conventional mode of transit continues to pose a danger to the environment, mass transit is critical. Therefore, Hyperloop is a significant technological milestone for the future of transportation field.




SpaceX Launches First Reusable Rocket

Following years of development by Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm, the first recycled rocket in history landed in on a platform in the Atlantic on March 30, 2017. This Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered a satellite into low earth orbit then returned to earth intact, marking the first successful return of a used rocket from space in history. Just less than one year ago in April 2016, this Falcon 9 rocket successfully returned from space. Because rockets capable of reaching space often cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build, the Falcon 9 program promises to significantly reduce costs for space programs around the world. Additionally, these savings can be passed along to satellite companies and other SpaceX customers, potentially saving them millions of dollars.


This breakthrough for Elon Musk’s company comes after a 15-year development cycle that faced some of the most difficult hurdles in the history of rocket science. On this landing, the rocket booster from the Falcon 9 was also recovered intact, which according to Musk is the most expensive part of the rocket. SpaceX hopes this breakthrough will cut its costs by over 30%, helping the company meet its mission of making space travel more affordable. According to SpaceX, the rockets can be launched 10 times without needing any repairs, and an additional 100 with only minor fixes required. Musk hopes that, as these technological advances are compounded, SpaceX can reduce the cost of spaceflight by more than 90%.


Musk says his next major goal is to recover a rocket then launch it again within 24 hours, and hopes to accomplish this goal sometime this year. The SpaceX CEO is also working to develop a passenger spaceship, which he hopes will offer service to the moon. SpaceX is also hoping to establish permanent colonies on Mars, and to engineer a spaceship capable of ferrying passengers between the two planets.


What to Expect from The Samsung New Flagship, The Galaxy S8

Samsung, one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world, has a new phone; the Galaxy S8. If you are a loyal Samsung’s customer, you might be wondering whether it is wise to upgrade to the new model. During the launch of the device, the Samsung representatives echoed the company’s commitment to safety and their integration of new eight-point safety protocol into the phone. The Galaxy S8 will test its efficacy once it starts to ship in April.



The latest Samsung phone is larger compared to former versions. However, it is slim compared to the previous models. Apart from that, it has great features packed with more pixels. It is a popular device whose features includes curved edges all around. However, the most notable Galaxy S8 news is on the inside. ‘Bixby’ is the name that Samsung has given to the intelligent user interface agent; this feature allows users to perform tasks on the phone with their voice. This update is interesting when you consider the Google’s voice-enabled AI, Google Assistant, which ships with Android-powered phones. This feature is so great, such that it is capable of taking action from your voice commands. For instance, you can say something like, “Set display brightness to minimum” and many more contextual gestures.



There are about 300 actions that you can perform with touch in the gallery app alone. Samsung understands that you can say something in different ways. Thus there are about 15,000 different voice commands that Bixby can understand. The company is targeting to integrate 52 languages in Bixby.



Apart from the voice commands, Bixby can see using the phone camera. You can hold up a QR code, scan a business card and the details of the contacts or point the camera to a particular product and Bixby will use the computer vision that is powered by Pinterest; it helps you to find the outlet that you can source the product. The S8 has the footprint of Samsung flagship phone. It has wireless and fast charging. The phone’s storage has a capacity of 64GB of memory; it also has SD card slot that you can add extra memory for your media items. Also, Samsung has continued to support fingerprint, face and iris recognition to unlock the phone.


Space X Historical Achievement of Launching and Landing Used Rockets

Space X, the company owned by visionary Elon Musk, has finally sent one of the used Falcon 9s back to space. This was after more than two years of landing the rocket after launch. Space X has earned a positive reputation particularly for this particular rocket launch; communication satellite was sent into orbit by the rocket, the rocket which was launched from Cape Canevearal, later on landed on the company’s drone ship that was voyaging over the Atlantic Ocean.



Space X CEO Elon Musk did not hide his joy for this accomplishment; he appeared on the company’s live streaming moments after landing and spoke about the achievement. He said that this was a major accomplishment in spaceflight which proved that it is possible to re-fry an orbital class booster which is the most expensive part of the rocket.



Reusing the rocket has been the primary objective of Space X since 2011. Before this launch, all orbital rockets had been expendable since they were being discarded into space. This technique requires a completely new rocket for the upcoming rockets launch which means that millions of dollars would be spent for each rocket launch. The strategy that has been adopted by Space X is towards relying on its used rockets again and again. Through, the company can moderately save on the manufacturing cost for each mission.



The recent launch was the 13th attempt of these rocket landings, and eight vehicles had successfully launched to space again. However, Space X was yet to reuse one of the stockpile of the recovered rockets for the last two years. With this particular launch, Space X has proven that it is possible to reuse one of these vehicles.



Space X confirmed that part of the used Falcon 9 could successfully launch to space again. The fact that the vehicle returned to Earth in one piece means that it can be launched once again for the third time. The primary objective of reusing rockets is that Space X wants to gain from the economic benefits of the reusable rocket and the best method of doing this is to launch these vehicles as frequently as possible.




Galaxy S8 Undergoing Rigorous Testing

After Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 crashed and burned last year, the company is working hard on their latest venture, the S8. The new smartphone is set to hit the market soon, and company leaders have been happy to share their testing techniques with the public. Most importantly, they want everyone to know that the phones are completely safe to use, and they feel that these new products will be able to stand out in a highly competitive market.


Samsung employees have been testing the battery of the S8 to ensure that the overheating problems never occur again. The battery testing process has become more rigorous, and it now exceeds traditional standards set by the industry.


The battery in the Galaxy S8 has a capacity of 3,000 mAh (with the S8 Plus having a capacity of 3,500 mAh.) In comparison, the S7 Edge from last year had a 3,600 mAh battery. This is one tweak that was made with safety in mind.


While lowering the capacity, Samsung still promises that the S8 battery will have long-lasting life. Customers should be able to get a full (or nearly full) charge on their phones even after months of use and hundreds of charging cycles.


Additionally, the S8 is set to include the latest Bluetooth technology. It will be the first phone on the market to include Bluetooth 5 technology, which doubles data-transfer speeds and quadruples transmission range from predecessors.


With a large screen, sensitive touch capability, and a high-quality camera, the S8 has many features that should attract attention. Samsung knows, however, that people want to feel safe with their smartphones, so for right now, they’re focusing on these battery tests and other quality checks. They want to be able to assure people that they’ll be able to take their phones with them wherever they go without having to worry about any battery issues.


Enterprise Technology to Go Public in 2017

Enterprise technology start-ups are predicted to go public in 2017, but only if current market conditions predominate. First, the stock market is doing well. Second, start-ups are gaining more time to incubate. In other words, they have more time to fine-tune their product. Finally, Wall Street is seeing the growth potential behind enterprise software’s monetization model and this is attracting serious investors.


A look further into the monetization model truly brings Wall Street’s interest in enterprise software technology into focus. When a company’s data lives in the cloud and when enterprise software links every aspect of an organization’s digital life with the cloud, then enterprises are committed to paying monthly subscription rates and are less likely to change vendors. Investors find the idea of buying into a company that generates constant revenue difficult to resist.


They did resist it at first because the monetization model seemed too risky. Since enterprise organizations can opt out at any time and since many start-ups didn’t have a track record, investors deemed enterprise technology start-ups risky investments. Far better, it seemed, to invest in the booming consumer-facing technology start-ups like Facebook or Twitter. However the problems with consumer-facing technologies include consumer unpredictability and the inconsistencies of trends and fads.


The shift from consumer IPOs to enterprise technology IPOs seems organic. In the early aughts, and even up until 2016, tech giants like Cisco, IBM and Salesforce bought out smaller entities for major sums of money. But given that smaller start-ups like MuleSoft, Alteryx, Yext and Okta can stand to achieve revenue gains far behind what private companies have to offer, it only makes sense for the founders to remain in control of their products and reap the rewards. Not only do their products generate monthly revenue but they are designed to serve large organizations who have money to spend.


What does this mean for players like Cisco, IBM and the rest? If start-ups have less incentive to sell to these established software companies, then Cisco, IBM and the others will have to invest in their own talent and support an in-house culture of innovation.

Twitter Sheds Its Egg

When the folks at Twitter changed the social network’s default profile avatar in 2010, they were practically obsessed with avian imagery. Since then, each new Twitter account has received an egg with a randomly assigned, single-color background. That standard changed on March 31, 2017. Now, one might call Twitter egg-free.


Please forgive that shell of a joke and focus on the fact that the microblogging giant has replaced the egg with an image that practically begs the Twitter user to upload a different avatar. Today’s default image looks vaguely like a person. It features a bonbon-shaped head above a pair of rounded shoulders. Two shades of gray comprise the image.


People will find this graphic boring, and that fact benefits Twitter’s vision. The team in charge of this design change would like to see much less of their newly introduced gray blobs across Twitter than they have of the egg for the last seven years.


Twitter never foresaw the egg’s icon status. The company always intended for users to upload personal images. Alas, people’s actions are difficult to forecast. Some users fell in love with their egg avatars. With the gray blobs, perhaps users will be less attached and more likely to convert to other images.


Importantly, the egg has known mixed status. Though intended as a placeholder, it became a mask for Twitter’s nefarious sector. Users who would rather troll others than add to the community’s collective value have kept their eggs for years. Now, they will likely continue hiding behind Twitter’s new gray blobs, but the brand has unmarried itself from its problematic avatar.


Further, the egg was an emblem of fake accounts. Services that offer to boost people’s follower counts do so by creating thousands of phony accounts and using automation to follow their clients’ accounts.


The old-school eggs may become the Twitter equivalent of vinyl records. Some users will surely upload egg images to remind themselves of a time when users’ pages were laden with bird-related images.


May Twitter’s gray-blobs graphic be as unpopular and simultaneously successful as the company hopes!