Why Bluetooth Remains an Unusually Painful Technology After Two Decades

In the two decades since it was first included in products available to the general public, Bluetooth has become so widespread that an entire generation of consumers may not be able to remember a time without it.

ABI Research estimates that 5 billion Bluetooth-enabled devices will ship to consumers this year, with that figure expected to rise to 7 billion by 2026. Bluetooth is now in everything from smartphones to refrigerators to lightbulbs, allowing a growing number of products to connect to each other seamlessly — sometimes.

Despite its pervasiveness, the technology is still prone to headache-inducing issues, whether it’s the struggle to set up a new device to connect with, switching headphones between devices or simply being too far out of range to connect.

“I have a very love-hate relationship with Bluetooth,” said Chris Harrison, a professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Melon University. “Because when it works, it’s amazing, and when it doesn’t, you want to rip your hair out.”

“The promise was to make it as seamless and easy as possible,” he said. “Bluetooth never quite got there, unfortunately.”

The reasons for this go back to the very foundation of the relatively low-cost technology.

The rise of Bluetooth

Bluetooth is said to borrow its name from a ninth-century Scandinavian king, Harald “Blue tooth” Gormsson, who was known for his blueish-gray dead tooth and also for uniting Denmark and Norway in 958 AD. Early programmers adopted “Bluetooth” as a code name for their wireless tech that connects local devices, and it eventually stuck.

The technology was differentiated from Wi-Fi by being “inherently short range,” Harrison said. It’s still the case today that the Bluetooth options many consumers are accustomed to in their phones and portable speakers function at lower power and can only connect at limited distances.

Bluetooth signals travel over unlicensed airwaves, which are effectively open to the public for anyone to use, as opposed to privatized airwaves that are controlled by companies like AT&T or Verizon. This may have eased its development and broader adoption, but it came at a cost.

Bluetooth must share and compete with a slew of other products using unlicensed spectrum bands, such as baby monitors, TV remotes, and more. This may generate interference that can disrupt your Bluetooth’s effectiveness.

Harrison cites other reasons why Bluetooth can be “unusually painful,” including cybersecurity issues that can arise when transmitting data wirelessly.

If you set up a Bluetooth speaker in your New York apartment building, for example, you wouldn’t want just anyone within a 50-feet radius to be able to connect to it. But manufacturers never settled on a seamless “discovery mode” process, Harrison said.

“Sometimes the device will start up automatically and be in this, ‘I’m ready to pair mode,'” he added. “Sometimes you have to click some kind of alien sequence to get the device into this particular mode.”

More than that, multiple U.S. government agencies have advised consumers that using Bluetooth risks leaving their devices more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. The Federal Communications Commission has warned that, as with Wi-Fi connections, “Bluetooth can put your personal data at risk if you are not careful.”

At least one high-profile government official is said to be a Bluetooth skeptic: Vice President Kamala Harris. In the much-watched video of Harris congratulating President-elect Joe Biden after the election (“We did it, Joe!“), she can be seen holding a clump of wired headphones in her hands. According to Politico, Harris “has long felt that Bluetooth headphones are a security risk.”

But businesses and consumers continue to embrace Bluetooth. Apple, perhaps most prominently, ditched traditional headphone ports and introduced its popular Bluetooth-enabled wireless earbuds, AirPods. Other tech companies have since rolled out similar products.

Some diehard audiophiles, the sort of people “who complain about Spotify not being high-quality enough,” as Harrison puts it, also refuse to embrace the world of Bluetooth headphones for sound quality reasons.

Despite its flaws, Harrison doesn’t see demand for Bluetooth dying down and admits he himself uses it seamlessly — some “70% of the time.”

“Bluetooth hasn’t seen its pinnacle yet,” Harrison said, predicting the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things, or smart devices, working together in close range will only add to its growth. “Bluetooth will be the glue that connects that all together.”

By:

Source: Why Bluetooth remains an ‘unusually painful’ technology after two decades

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Is Your Smartphone Ruining Your Memory? Rise of Digital Amnesia

‘I can’t remember anything’ is a common complaint these days. But is it because we rely so heavily on our smartphones? And do the endless alerts and distractions stop us forming new memories? Last week, I missed a real-life meeting because I hadn’t set a reminder on my smartphone, leaving someone I’d never met before alone in a café. But on the same day, I remembered the name of the actor who played Will Smith’s aunt in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1991 (Janet Hubert).

Memory is weird, unpredictable and, neuroscientifically, not yet entirely understood. When memory lapses like mine happen (which they do, a lot), it feels both easy and logical to blame the technology we’ve so recently adopted. Does having more memory in our pockets mean there’s less in our heads? Am I losing my ability to remember things – from appointments to what I was about to do next – because I expect my phone to do it for me? Before smartphones, our heads would have held a cache of phone numbers and our memories would contain a cognitive map, built up over time, which would allow us to navigate – for smartphone users, that is no longer true.

Our brains and our smartphones form a complex web of interactions: the smartphonification of life has been rising since the mid 2000s, but was accelerated by the pandemic, as was internet use in general. Prolonged periods of stress, isolation and exhaustion – common themes since March 2020 – are well known for their impact on memory. Of those surveyed by memory researcher Catherine Loveday in 2021, 80% felt that their memories were worse than before the pandemic. We are – still – shattered, not just by Covid-19, but also by the miserable national and global news cycle. Many of us self-soothe with distractions like social media.

Meanwhile, endless scrolling can, at times, create its own distress, and phone notifications and self interrupting to check for them, also seem to affect what, how and if we remember. So what happens when we outsource part of our memory to an external device? Does it enable us to squeeze more and more out of life, because we aren’t as reliant on our fallible brains to cue things up for us? Are we so reliant on smartphones that they will ultimately change how our memories work (sometimes called digital amnesia)? Or do we just occasionally miss stuff when we don’t remember the reminders?

Neuroscientists are divided. Chris Bird is professor of cognitive neuroscience in the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex and runs research by the Episodic Memory Group. “We have always offloaded things into external devices, like writing down notes, and that’s enabled us to have more complex lives,” he says. “I don’t have a problem with using external devices to augment our thought processes or memory processes. We’re doing it more, but that frees up time to concentrate, focus on and remember other things.” He thinks that the kind of things we use our phones to remember are, for most human brains, difficult to remember.

“I take a photo of my parking ticket so I know when it runs out, because it’s an arbitrary thing to remember. Our brains aren’t evolved to remember highly specific, one-off things. Before we had devices, you would have to make a quite an effort to remember the time you needed to be back at your car.” Professor Oliver Hardt, who studies the neurobiology of memory and forgetting at McGill University in Montreal, is much more cautious. “Once you stop using your memory it will get worse, which makes you use your devices even more,” he says. “We use them for everything.

If you go to a website for a recipe, you press a button and it sends the ingredient list to your smartphone. It’s very convenient, but convenience has a price. It’s good for you to do certain things in your head.” Hardt is not keen on our reliance on GPS. “We can predict that prolonged use of GPS likely will reduce grey matter density in the hippocampus. Reduced grey matter density in this brain area goes along with a variety of symptoms, such as increased risk for depression and other psychopathologies, but also certain forms of dementia.

GPS-based navigational systems don’t require you to form a complex geographic map. Instead, they just tell you orientations, like ‘Turn left at next light.’ These are very simple behavioural responses (here: turn left) at a certain stimulus (here: traffic light). These kinds of spatial behaviours do not engage the hippocampus very much, unlike those spatial strategies that require the knowledge of a geographic map, in which you can locate any point, coming from any direction and which requires [cognitively] complex computations.

When exploring the spatial capacities of people who have been using GPS for a very long time, they show impairments in spatial memory abilities that require the hippocampus. Map reading is hard and that’s why we give it away to devices so easily. But hard things are good for you, because they engage cognitive processes and brain structures that have other effects on your general cognitive functioning.”

Hardt doesn’t have data yet, but believes, “the cost of this might be an enormous increase in dementia. The less you use that mind of yours, the less you use the systems that are responsible for complicated things like episodic memories, or cognitive flexibility, the more likely it is to develop dementia. There are studies showing that, for example, it is really hard to get dementia when you are a university professor, and the reason is not that these people are smarter – it’s that until old age, they are habitually engaged in tasks that are very mentally demanding.”

(Other scientists disagree – Daniel Schacter, a Harvard psychologist who wrote the seminal Seven Sins Of Memory: How The Mind Forgets and Remembers, thinks effects from things like GPS are “task specific”, only.) While smartphones can obviously open up whole new vistas of knowledge, they can also drag us away from the present moment, like it’s a beautiful day, unexperienced because you’re head down, WhatsApping a meal or a conversation. When we’re not attending to an experience, we are less likely to recall it properly, and fewer recalled experiences could even limit our capacity to have new ideas and being creative.

As the renowned neuroscientist and memory researcher Wendy Suzuki recently put it on the Huberman Lab neuroscience podcast, “If we can’t remember what we’ve done, the information we’ve learned and the events of our lives, it changes us… [The part of the brain which remembers] really defines our personal histories. It defines who we are.” Catherine Price, science writer and author of How to Break Up With Your Phone, concurs. “What we pay attention to in the moment adds up to our life,” she says. “Our brains cannot multitask. We think we can. But any moment where multitasking seems successful, it’s because one of those tasks was not cognitively demanding, like you can fold laundry and listen to the radio.

If you’re paying attention to your phone, you’re not paying attention to anything else. That might seem like a throwaway observation, but it’s actually deeply profound. Because you will only remember the things you pay attention to. If you’re not paying attention, you’re literally not going to have a memory of it to remember.”

The Cambridge neuroscientist Barbara Sahakian has evidence of this, too. “In an experiment in 2010, three different groups had to complete a reading task,” she says. “One group got instant messaging before it started, one got instant messaging during the task, and one got no instant messaging, and then there was a comprehension test. What they found was that the people getting instant messages couldn’t remember what they just read.”

Price is much more worried about what being perpetually distracted by our phones – termed “continual partial attention” by the tech expert Linda Stone – does to our memories than using their simpler functions. “I’m not getting distracted by my address book,” she says. And she doesn’t believe smartphones free us up to do more. “Let’s be real with ourselves: how many of us are using the time afforded us by our banking app to write poetry? We just passively consume crap on Instagram.” Price is from Philadelphia. “What would have happened if Benjamin Franklin had had Twitter?

Would he have been on Twitter all the time? Would he have made his inventions and breakthroughs? “I became really interested in whether the constant distractions caused by our devices might be impacting our ability to actually not just accumulate memories to begin with, but transfer them into long-term storage in a way that might impede our ability to think deep and interesting thoughts,” she says. “One of the things that impedes our brain’s ability to transfer memories from short- to long-term storage is distraction.

If you get distracted in the middle of it” – by a notification, or by the overwhelming urge to pick up your phone – “you’re not actually going to have the physical changes take place that are required to store that memory.” It’s impossible to know for sure, because no one measured our level of intellectual creativity before smartphones took off, but Price thinks smartphone over-use could be harming our ability to be insightful. “An insight is being able to connect two disparate things in your mind. But in order to have an insight and be creative, you have to have a lot of raw material in your brain, like you couldn’t cook a recipe if you didn’t have any ingredients:

You can’t have an insight if you don’t have the material in your brain, which really is long term memories.” (Her theory was backed by the 92-year-old Nobel prize-winning neuroscientist and biochemist Eric Kandel, who has studied how distraction affects memory – Price bumped into him on a train and grilled him about her idea. “I’ve got a selfie of me with a giant grin and Eric looking a bit confused.”) Psychologist professor Larry Rosen, co-author (with neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley) of The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, also agrees: “Constant distractions make it difficult to encode information in memory.”

Smartphones are, of course, made to hijack our attention. “The apps that make money by taking our attention are designed to interrupt us,” says Price. “I think of notifications as interruptions because that’s what they’re doing.” For Oliver Hardt, phones exploit our biology. “A human is a very vulnerable animal and the only reason we are not extinct is that we have a superior brain: to avoid predation and find food, we have had to be really good at being attentive to our environment. Our attention can shift rapidly around and when it does, everything else that was being attended to stops, which is why we can’t multitask.

When we focus on something, it’s a survival mechanism: you’re in the savannah or the jungle and you hear a branch cracking, you give your total attention to that – which is useful, it causes a short stress reaction, a slight arousal, and activates the sympathetic nervous system. It optimises your cognitive abilities and sets the body up for fighting or flighting.” But it’s much less useful now. “Now, 30,000 years later, we’re here with that exact brain” and every phone notification we hear is a twig snapping in the forest, “simulating what was important to what we were: a frightened little animal.”

Smartphone use can even change the brain, according to the ongoing ABCD study which is tracking over 10,000 American children through to adulthood. “It started by examining 10-year-olds both with paper and pencil measures and an MRI, and one of their most interesting early results was that there was a relationship between tech use and cortical thinning,” says Larry Rosen, who studies social media, technology and the brain. “Young children who use more tech had a thinner cortex, which is supposed to happen at an older age.”

Cortical thinning is a normal part of growing up and then ageing, and in much later life can be associated with degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as migraines. Obviously, the smartphone genie is out of the bottle and has run over the hills and far away. We need our smartphones to access offices, attend events, pay for travel and to function as tickets, passes and credit cards, as well as for emails, calls and messages. It’s very hard not to have one. If we’re worried about what they – or the apps on them – might be doing to our memories, what should we do?

Rosen discusses a number of tactics in his book. “My favourites are tech breaks,” he says, “where you start by doing whatever on your devices for one minute and then set an alarm for 15 minutes time. Silence your phone and place it upside down, but within your view as a stimulus to tell your brain that you will have another one-minute tech break after the 15-minute alarm. Continue until you adapt to 15 minutes focus time and then increase to 20. If you can get to 60 minutes of focus time with short tech breaks before and after, that’s a success.”

“If you think your memory and focus have got worse and you’re blaming things like your age, your job, or your kids, that might be true, but it’s also very likely due to the way you’re interacting with your devices,” says Price, who founded Screen/Life Balance to help people manage their phone use. As a science writer, she’s “very much into randomly controlled trials, but with phones, it’s actually more of a qualitative question about personally how it’s impacting you. And it’s really easy to do your own experiment and see if it makes a difference. It’s great to have scientific evidence.

But we can also intuitively know: if you practice keeping your phone away more and you notice that you feel calmer and you’re remembering more, then you’ve answered your own question.”

By:

Source: Is your smartphone ruining your memory? A special report on the rise of ‘digital amnesia’ | Memory | The Guardian

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How To Increase Sales and Traffic With eCommerce Mobile App Development

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There is no doubt that the popularity of online shopping keeps increasing year by year. Customers prefer to use their PCs or smartphones for making purchases of everything from drinks to apartments. That’s so simple, efficient, and profitable that no buyer can stay aside from such an attractive offer. As a result, the popularity of eCommerce apps has also grown. According to the latest statistics, more than 90% of the time mobile users spend on mobile software.

And almost 80% of people have an experience with online shopping. So developing an app does really make sense. This is your opportunity to increase traffic, sales, and revenue in the end. If you haven’t launched a mobile app for your project yet then hurry up to do it. While you doubt your rivals attract customers, sell their goods, and get insane profits. And if you have already developed mobile software for your company then take care of its promotion. Make people want to install and use your app. Try these tips to make your eCommerce mobile apps truly popular and efficient.

Follow the Requirements of ASO

The basic principles of App Store Optimization are called to promote your application in the App Store and Google Play. By using proper keywords, adding informative descriptions, placing relevant screenshots, and so on you will allow users to find your software among thousands of other apps.  By increasing your recognition, you’ll notice a higher amount of downloads.

In general, ASO is powerful enough to guarantee the following benefits:

– increase retention rate. It demonstrates that the number of active users installing your app is much higher than the number of those customers who have uninstalled it;

– scale the loyalty of users. Paid ads also boost your mobile app traffic but organic search forms a loyal community of people truly interested in using your software for a long time;

– further app improvement. By getting feedback from your users you will be able to detect bugs and get rid of them efficiently.

Take Advantage of Email Marketing

Newsletters and promotional emails aren’t dead in marketing meaning, as you may think. No matter new and original advertising tools, email marketing is still known as one of the most efficient and low-cost tools to reach desired goals. By sending regular emails and newsletters you are able to share with subscribers new information about your sales, promote special offers, gift them with personal discounts, and so on.

A customized landing page is a great mobile eCommerce platform to promote your shopping offers. It helps in brand recognition so potential buyers can find out more about your company. In addition, powerful CTA elements will intrigue users and motivate them to try your software for a better shopping experience.

All you need is to create a one-page website with a detailed description of your app’s features and advantages. Don’t forget to add downloading links so the visitors of your landing page can easily reach your software.

Promote Your Apps on Social Media

Depending on the type of your business, you may be interested in investing more funds in SMM marketing. It means you need to grow the number of subscribers and share with them viral content. Such an approach is powerful because an average user spends approximately 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media every day.

If you have a successful account on social media platforms you should definitely promote your app. There are many ideas on how to encourage your subscribers to do it. For instance, you can explain the beneficial eCommerce app features and customers’ benefits. Launch a relevant hashtag and let people share their opinions about your offer. Thanks to using the power of your social media accounts, you can make your app popular too.

Launch Referral Marketing

Have your friends ever shared with you any link, product, or app? This is an example of referral marketing. It means the recommendation of something to other people for a bonus. Person A only needs to have a unique affiliate link or code to share it with user B. After user B installs your app, user A will receive a reward.

As you can see, the mechanism of referral marketing is very simple. No need to invest funds in software ads – your users will be your ambassadors for free. As a result, you can reach your planned goals: increase the number of app installs, save money on advertising campaigns, scale your loyal community, etc.

Try to Work with Influencers 

Influencer marketing isn’t a new thing. You can contact social media personalities with great bases of subscribers for cooperation. Such influencers may advertise your mobile eCommerce app without noticeable signs of traditional advertisement. That’s the point of native marketing: by working with influencers you’ll make your ads look like friendly recommendations.

As a result, online buyers will be much more excited to purchase your products using your mobile software. Once the social media personality shares a recommendation with them, they may rely on it and give your offer a chance.

Develop Your Business with a Mobile App

A mobile app is a key to massive sales nowadays. It allows you to reach new target audiences, motivate your loyal customers to make orders, improve conversation rate, increase brand recognition, build better relationships with customers and, finally, reach your business goals.

It seems you can generate mobile app sales. It’s possible that your app isn’t good enough to bring you desired results. Then you must improve it to make its features and interface user-friendly. But if your software is great but traffic and sales leave much to be desired then rely on the listed above tips. Make a step forward in your eCommerce success now and your business will demonstrate better results soon.

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Source: Increase Sales and Traffic With eCommerce Mobile App Development

Why You Should Factory Reset Everything: A Privacy 101 For 2022

A full factory reset is usually the final option if something has gone very wrong indeed with your device. So, why am I here saying it should be your first move? The devil, of course, is in the detail.

Why would you need to factory reset anything?

The idea for this ‘how-to’ article came to me after I had spent way too long getting my old PlayStation 4 Pro ready to be moved on to a new owner. I was lucky enough to get hold of a PlayStation 5 last year, so the time had more than come to let my much-loved PS4 Pro go. Of course, this meant I needed to ensure that all my personal data wasn’t included in that sale. This proved to be rather more time-consuming than I had imagined.

A bit of Startpage searching later (yeah, I’ve stopped Googling and use a more privacy preserving option now) quickly led me to the steps required; that was when the fun started. A full factory reset for the PS4 meant more than just deactivating the games console. By the time I’d wiped it clean of all my personal data to be absolutely certain it was safe to sell, more than three hours of my life had gone by.

This got me thinking that if wiping data from a PS4 Pro was so convoluted and time-consuming, what about other devices across the hardware spectrum? Although for some deleting all traces of your ownership is delightfully straightforward, that’s certainly not true in all cases. And, so, here we are. I hope this privacy 101 on how to factory reset all the things* before you sell or otherwise dispose of them, in 2022. is useful in some small way.

* No, not literally all the things, obviously; but a good starting point, nonetheless.

These are all the things I’ve had reason to factory reset in the last year or two, plus a few others for good measure. If there are any other specific things that you would like to see added to the list, then contact me using the link in my profile and I’ll do my best to keep it updated.

Do make sure you have backed up any data you wish to keep before attempting any factory reset, regardless of device, because there really is no going back!

How to factory reset a Sony PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro

Step 1: Sign into your PlayStation account.

Step 2: Go to Settings|PlayStation Network|Account Management.

Step 3: Select ‘Activate as Your Primary PS4’ and click on ‘Deactivate.’

Step 4: Once your PS4 has finished deactivating, sign back in and head to Settings|Initialization.

Step 5: Select ‘Initialize PS4’ and then choose the ‘Full’ option when presented to you.

Step 6: Select Initialize|Yes then go and make a cup of tea, and a sandwich, pop to the shops and then have a shower before making another cup of tea. This can take two or three hours to complete, with multiple restarts.

Step 7: When you see the initial setup screen asking you to connect your controller using a USB cable, the job is done.

How to factory reset a Sony PlayStation 5

Step 1: Sign into your PlayStation account.

Step 2: Go to Settings|System Software.

Step 3: Select Reset Options|Reset Your Console|Reset

Step 4: Wait for the PS5 to restart and you will see the initial setup screen once the factory reset has been completed.

How to factory reset a Microsoft Xbox One

Step 1: Make sure you are signed in and then head for Settings in the system menu.

Step 2: Select System|Console info|Reset console.

Step 3. Select Reset and remove everything.

Step 4: Sit back and wait, then wait some more. When a restart lands on the setup your controller screen you are done.

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How to factory reset a Microsoft Series X|S

Step 1: Make sure you are signed in and then head for Settings in the Profile & system menu.

Step 2: Select System|Console info|Reset console.

Step 3. Select RESET AND REMOVE EVERYTHING.

Step 4: Sit back and wait, then wait some more. When a restart lands on the setup your controller screen you are done.

How to factory reset a Nintendo Switch

Step 1: Select HOME|System Settings|System.

Step 2: Go all the way down the menu until you get to Formatting Options and then select Restore Factory Settings.

Step 3: Select Next.

Step 4: Select Restore Factory Settings and wait for about five minutes until the system restarts.

How to factory reset an iPhone or iPad

Step 1: Head to Settings|General|Transfer or Reset.

Step 2: Enter passcode or Apple ID password when requested.

Step 3: Confirm erasure and wait a few minutes.

Step 4: And relax, it really is as simple as that. Nice one Apple.

Step 5: Unless you’ve forgotten your passcode, in which case it gets more complicated: Apple explains what to do here.

How to factory reset an Apple Watch

Step 1: Place your Apple Watch and iPhone close together.

Step 2: Open Apple Watch app on your iPhone and head for the My Watch tab.

Step 3: Select All Watches and then the info button for the relevant device.

Step 4: Click on Unpair Apple Watch.

Step 5: Select remove your mobile data plan if you have a GPS + Cellular Watch.

Step 6: Confirm. Enter Apple ID password to disable the activation lock if set and wait a few minutes until the Start Pairing screen appears.

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How to factory reset an Android smartphone

I had cause to factory reset a Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ running Android 12 recently. These instructions apply with that in mind.

Step 1: Settings|General Management.

Step 2: Scroll down and select Reset|Factory data reset.

Step 3: Read the warnings and hit the big blue Reset button when you are quite sure.

Because the Android smartphone ecosystem is so fractured, you may find your device instructions will differ slightly depending upon manufacturer and the version of Android installed. In which case I suggest you search for “factory reset <device> <Android version>” which should iron out any user interface wrinkles.

How to factory reset an Amazon Kindle

Step 1: Ensure your Kindle is sufficiently charged before continuing, you will need to be at 40% or more to perform the factory reset operation.

Step 2: Open your device and swipe down from the top of the screen to display the quick actions menu.

Step 3: Select All Settings|Device Options.

Step 4: Select Reset Device.

Step 5: Read the warning about deleting your data from the device but leaving it accessible from the cloud and click to confirm the factory reset.

Step 5: If you have the parental control option enabled but can’t remember the password then you will need to enter 111222777 in the passcode field to initiate the reset.

How to factory reset an Amazon Echo

Step 1: The easiest way to start the Echo factory reset process is to ask it. Say ‘Alexa go to settings’ to pop up the settings screen. Or you can pull down from the top of the screen and select it from the options displayed.

Step 2: Now scroll down and select Device Options|Reset to Factory Defaults.

Step 3: Those are the instructions that work with the Amazon Show, because that’s the device I’ve used it on. However, performing a factory reset will differ from device to device, generation to generation. Luckily, Amazon has a full set of step-by-step instructions for all of them.

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How to factory reset a Google Nest Hub

Step 1: Press and hold the volume-up and volume-down buttons simultaneously for 10 seconds.

Step 2: Wait for the on-screen factory reset warning to appear and if you keep hold of the volume buttons it will continue. If you change your mind, let go of the buttons.

These incredibly simple instructions are specifically for a Google Nest Hub. There may be some slight Nest/Home device variations depending on what you have, but Google has it covered with full instructions for each.

How to factory reset an older Mac

These instructions are for a Mac running a pre-macOS Catalina version. For Catalina or later instructions, which are slightly simpler, see Apple’s specific instructions. If you need to factory reset a Mac with Apple silicon or the T2 chip and are running macOS Monterey, then you’ll want this factory reset information.

Step 1: Open iTunes and head for Account|Authorisations|Deauthorise This COmputer and enter your Apple ID and password before selecting the Deauthorise option.

Step 2: Now that you have signed out of iTunes you’ll need to sign out of iCloud. From the Apple menu select System Preferences|iCloud|Sign Out.

Step 3: Sign out of iMessage (are you thinking about just using a chainsaw by this point?) by opening the app and selecting Messages|Preferences|iMessage|Sign Out.

Step 4: Unpair all Bluetooth devices from System Preferences|Bluetooth.

Step 5: Enter Recovery Mode by restarting your Mac and holding Command-R until the Apple logo appears.

Step 6: Select Disk Utility|Macintosh HD|Erase.

Step 7. Enter the following details. Name: Macintosh HD Format: APFS and click erase or erase volume group, depending which button appears. You may need to enter your Apple ID at this point as well.

Step 8. Quit back to the Disk Utility window and select Reinstall macOS and then wait until the Mac reaches the Setup Assistant at which point you are good to go, leaving a clean Mac ready for the new owner.

How to factory reset a Windows 10 computer

Step 1: Head for Settings and then select Update and Security|Recovery.

Step 2: Select Reset this PC|Get Started.

Step 3: Select Remove everything.

Step 4: Confirm that you want to erase all personal data from all drives.

Step 5: When you are asked how you would like to reinstall Windows you can choose to download from the cloud (the latest version, coming in at around 4GB) or a local installation using the data on your device.

Step 6: And finally, you can now read the list of what is about to happen, press Restore and Robert is your mother’s brother.

You can find specific details of how to perform a factory reset of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 devices here.

How to factory reset a router

While you may reboot a router if you are having problems with your network and use the admin console to upgrade your firmware to keep up with the latest security mitigations, if you are selling the thing then a factory reset is what you need. This ensures all your network names/IDs and passwords are deleted.

Because there are so many different routers out there supplied by different providers or bought as a third-party product, no one set of instructions will fit all. It’s highly recommended, therefore, that you go and search for your particular hardware (all the details will be on the back) but here is a generic guide to help you along.

Step 1: Use the paperclip and reset button triple 30 technique: depress the reset button with the paperclip and hold for 30 seconds. Unplug your router for 30 seconds then switch back on. Repeat step one.

Step 2: Alternatively, a search for your router model should reveal the admin interface method. Using a web browser enter your router IP address (that search will reveal this as well) or use the software that came with it to launch the admin console. Login.

If you have never logged in as admin before then, yep, you can search for the default credentials online (which is why it’s important to change them in the first place!) Find the restore menu, usually, and select the factory reset option.

Davey is a three-decade veteran technology journalist and contributing editor at PC Pro magazine, a position he has held since the first issue was published in

Source: Why You Should Factory Reset Everything: A Privacy 101 For 2022

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The WhatsApp Business Model – How Does WhatsApp Make Money?

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What Is WhatsApp & How Does It Work?

WhatsApp is a messaging application that allows users to communicate with each other via text, audio, and video.WhatsApp can be accessed via its tablet and smartphone apps (available on Android and iOS devices) as well as its web application (called WhatsApp Web).

Users can communicate with each other individually (in private chats) or via groups. WhatsApp’s platform is end-to-end encrypted, meaning that only the users in the chat can read the messages. If users feel like sharing their special moments, they can do so via WhatsApp’s Stories feature. These moments are then displayed for 24 hours.

Apart from its consumer application, WhatsApp has also a communication tool for businesses (named WhatsApp Business). Businesses can:

  • Set up business profiles with helpful information for their customers (such as an address, email addresses, or a link to their website)
  • Labeling contacts for better categorization
  • Automated messages and quick replies
  • Broadcasts (similar to a newsletter)

The WhatsApp Business tool is geared toward small businesses. If a business has some greater scale, it can opt into using WhatsApp’s Business API. The API endpoint allows them to integrate it into their existing business software.WhatsApp is used by more than 2 billion people in over 180 countries across the globe. As such, it is the world’s largest communication platform.

The History Of WhatsApp

WhatsApp, headquartered in Mountain View, California, was founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton.Koum was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, during the 1970s. He spent the transformative years of his childhood in Fastiv, a small town just outside of the Ukrainian capital.Being of Jewish descent, Koum and his family often became the subject of anti-Semitic behavior. On top of that, the Soviet government was notorious for spying on its citizen, leaving the family with no room for privacy to express the predicament they felt being in.

In 1992, at the age of 16, Koum and his mother were allowed to immigrate to the United States where they ended up in Mountain View. Unfortunately, his dad was never allowed to enter the states and eventually died in 1997.The mother-son-duo spent their first few years in a small two-bedroom apartment provided via government assistance. To make ends meet, Koum’s mother took up a babysitting job while Jan worked as a grocery store clerk.A few years later, his mom was diagnosed with cancer and they continued to live off her disability allowance.

By that time, Koum was already head deep into computers. He became a self-taught programmer by purchasing manuals from used bookstores and returning them when he was done reading (to save money).In the mid-1990s, he enrolled himself at San Jose State University to pursue a degree in Computer Science. Koum ended up joining Ernst & Young as a security tester post-graduation. In 1997, EY assigned him to work on Yahoo’s advertising system where he ended up meeting Acton.Acton’s path prior to their meeting couldn’t have been more different.

He was born and raised in Michigan where his mother ran a freight-shipping company, allowing them to live a fairly comfortable life.He ended up doing his Computer Science undergrad at Stanford and then joined Apple as a software engineer. In 1996, Acton became Yahoo’s 44th employee where he quickly climbed the corporate ladder.The pair hit it off immediately and Acton convinced Koum to apply for a role at Yahoo. 6 months later, Koum joined the internet giant as an infrastructure engineer.

He even dropped out of college (he was still attending San Jose State at the time) to completely focus on Yahoo.Their relationship deepened in the years that followed. When Koum’s mother died of cancer in 2000, Acton immediately offered his support. He’d frequently invite Koum over to his house, on skiing trips, or to ultimate Frisbee matches.While their bond became stronger throughout the years, their dissatisfaction with working at Yahoo grew alongside it.

The majority of their time at Yahoo was spent on releasing Project Panama, the firm’s long-awaited advertising platform.In the end, having worked on an advertising product for almost a decade, both Acton and Koum felt emotionally drained. Their dislike for advertising products should eventually come back to haunt them (but more on that later).In 2007, a year after the launch of Project Panama, both Acton and Koum handed in their resignation. They embarked on a year-long hiatus, traveling around South America and enjoying games of ultimate Frisbee.

Then, around the beginning of 2009, Koum purchased his first-ever iPhone. He immediately realized that the App Store, which had just launched a few months prior, would spawn a whole new generation of businesses that build on top of Apple’s ecosystem.A mutual friend of Koum introduced him to Igor Solomennikov, a Russia-based iOS developer that would help him build the product’s frontend (while Koum was responsible for the backend portion).

A few weeks later, on February 24th, 2009 (which is also Koum’s birthday), he incorporated WhatsApp Inc. in California. WhatsApp, by the way, is short for “what’s up”, a phrase Koum found befitting for a messaging app.Over the next months, Koum spent hours upon hours programming the app. Unfortunately, a plethora of bugs caused it to continuously crash. At one point, he was even ready to call it quits. Acton’s response was fairly blunt: “You’d be an idiot to quit now,” he stated. “Give it a few more months.”Koum’s perseverance eventually paid off when Apple released push notifications in the summer of 2009.

Each time one of the app’s users changed their status, all of their contacts would get a notification.Eventually, people would start messaging each other through the app – from any place around the world. While this may sound dull in today’s hyper-connected world, WhatsApp’s introduction became a huge revelation and, for the first time, indicated the impact smartphones could have on our lives.At the time, the only free texting application was BlackBerry’s BBM, which was solely accessible to users that owned a BlackBerry device.

User growth started to snowball when Koum released an upgraded version of WhatsApp that included a messaging interface (i.e. chats). Over 250,000 users downloaded the app within a matter of days.To keep up with demand, Koum came to see Acton, who at the time was still unemployed and working on another startup idea, to convince him to join the project. When Acton used the app for the first time, he immediately realized the limitless potential that a messaging platform like WhatsApp could have.A few months later, Acton was able to convince 5 of his former colleagues at Yahoo to invest $250,000 in the startup’s first-ever seed funding round.

The funding round furthermore granted him co-founder status and a significant stake in the company.The money allowed them to hire a few more developers that would build WhatsApp products for the Android’s and BlackBerry’s operating system, respectively. Yet, they remained true to their frugal origins.The team would share a warehouse with Evernote (who’d later take over the whole building and essentially kick them out). They would wear blankets to keep them warm and used the cheapest Ikea furniture for work.What became more abstruse was that the team find it necessary to put up an office sign.

Instead, they’d tell job candidates to get to the Evernote building, walk around the back, find the unmarked door, and simply knock.A bigger problem became the startup’s largest cost pool: SMS verifications. SMS brokers like Click-A-Tell would send the messages on WhatsApp’s behalf and charge them anywhere between $0.02 to $1 depending on location.The team would occasionally change the app’s pricing structure from free to paid (equal to $1) to cover its cost. Yet, despite the fact that they charged users, WhatsApp would rise to become a top 20 app in the U.S. App Store by the beginning of 2011.

WhatsApp’s growth was solely based on word of mouth and the quality of the product they delivered. Deeply affected by their experience at Yahoo, the founders promised themselves to never derail the app with ads or other distractions. To that extent, Koum had a note in front of his desk reminding him of the exact same thing.Being on top of the App Store world and building a high-quality product put the team on the radar of a lot of Silicon Valley investors. Yet, they were rejected right from the start. Acton’s fear, at the time, was that VC funding would lead to lesser decision-making power – and investors would force them to insert ads into the application.

One investor proved to be particularly enduring. Jim Goetz, Partner at Sequoia Capital, tried to get in contact with the founders for well over 8 months – without any success. Eventually, his persisting follow-ups led to a meeting at the Red Rock Café, a famous Mountain View workspace known to be home to many startup founders.Goetz ensured the duo that he’d only act as a strategic advisor and not force them to make any business decisions they weren’t comfortable with.

In the end, Sequoia was able to lead WhatsApp’s Series A round, which netted the company $8 million.The founders made sure to use the money to the best of their ability. By 2013, WhatsApp had over 200 million monthly active users and a staff of 50 people. Sequoia would go on to invest another $50 million via WhatsApp’s Series B, which valued the company at $1.5 billion.Ironically enough, when Goetz signed the check, Acton sent him a screenshot of the firm’s account balance, which was equal to $8.2 million. They simply needed the money ”for insurance”, as Acton recalled.

Being a highly capital efficient company with a rapidly expanding user base does eventually put you on the radar. In the spring of 2012, Koum’s email inbox was hit with the following subject line:“Get together?”The recipient was no one other than Mark Zuckerberg asking the WhatsApp founder to have a chat over dinner. Over the next year, the pair got together for many more of these dinners, discussing the chances of a potential acquisition.In mid-June 2013, when WhatsApp just crossed the 300 million user mark, the founders had a scheduled meeting with Google’s Head of Android Sundar Pichai (who now serves as the company’s CEO).

Pichai would even introduce the pair to then Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page. A few days before that meeting was bound to happen, a WhatsApp employee ran into Amin Zoufonoun, Facebook’s Director of Business Development and one of the brains behind the $1 billion Instagram acquisition.He told him that Acton and Koum were supposed to meet Page in the next few days. Zoufonoun immediately went back to the office to speed up the acquisition process in order to avoid a last-minute counteroffer by Google.

Yet, the founders still attended that Google meeting but actually didn’t even receive an offer from Google.About 2 weeks after that meeting, on February 15th, 2014, Zuckerberg and Koum inked the deal. Facebook would pay $19 billion to acquire 100 percent of WhatsApp, paying $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in stock, and another $3 billion in stock grants if the founders would stay on at Facebook for at least 4 years. The price ended up rising to $22 billion due to the share-based components of the deal.

To make this even more of a Cinderella story, Koum signed the agreement on the doorsteps of his old welfare home in Mountain View.Furthermore, the deal would make Koum and Acton overnight billionaires. Koum would make $6.8 billion after taxes while Acton would pocket $3 billion. Lastly, Sequoia walked away with $3.5 billion, which represented a 60-fold return on the firm’s $58 million investment.Ironically enough, both Acton and Koum applied for roles at Facebook after they left Yahoo but were ultimately rejected. Now, they had not only a seat at the table but access to quasi-infinite resources.

As a result, WhatsApp was able to triple its user base to 1.5 billion within 3 years of the acquisition.On the outside, everything was looking great but the tension between Facebook and WhatsApp executives began to rise soon after.Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, as well as many other Facebook executives started to push WhatsApp’s founding team to ease the end-to-end encryption it became known for.Furthermore, they wanted to include targeted ads within the app, a concept that both Acton and Koum opposed heavily (they even had a clause in their contracts that granted them accelerated payouts if Facebook insisted to include ads).

A few disagreements between the company’s employees also popped up. For instance, Facebook employees issued their dissatisfaction about the fact that WhatApp’s desks, which were brought over from their Mountain View location (WhatsApp moved into Facebook’s headquarters after the acquisition), were larger than the standard desks Facebook employees were equipped with.WhatsApp also negotiated for nicer bathrooms and had conference rooms which permitted Facebook employees from entering.

WhatsApp, on the other end, wasn’t without fault either. When the founders were tasked with replicating Snapchat’s Story feature into WhatsApp, Acton and Koum used that assignment as an excuse to delay exploring other revenue-generating avenues.Eventually, the mounting tension between the 2 camps became irreparable. On September 17th, 2017, Acton announced he would leave WhatsApp. Koum’s departure came just 7 months after (in April 2018). Due to their premature exit, Acton and Koum gave up $900 million and $400 million in stock compensation, respectively.

To make matters worse, Acton publicly denounced Facebook, criticizing the company on how it handled its user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. He even pushed people to stop using Facebook by publicly supporting the #DeleteFacebook movement.Facebook, that same year, was even slapped with a $122 million fine by the European Union due to providing “incorrect or misleading information” in regards to the acquisition.While all these incidents painted a gloomy picture of how miserable life as a Facebook-owned property can be, it did not seem to affect WhatsApp’s usage growth at all.

Particularly India, with its 1.37 billion inhabitants, became one of the major growth markets.WhatsApp’s popularity among Indians allowed many businesses to flourish by offering products and services to millions of smartphone users via the app’s Business tools. Unfortunately though, just like its mother company, WhatsApp became a breeding ground for spreading fake news.In 2017, 17 men were killed after false rumors of their attempts to kidnap kids from a village spread on the app.

WhatsApp introduced various measures, such as limits on message forwarding and full-page newspaper ads warning about these rumors, to combat the spread of fake news on its platform.In some instances, WhatsApp (albeit unintentionally) even caused political leaders to be ousted. In October 2019, Lebanon’s Prime Minster Saad Hariri, amidst intense public pressure, was forced to resign from his position after proposing a 20 percent tax on the first WhatsApp call users made in a day.And the bad news did not end there. In January 2021, WhatsApp announced that it would roll out a new privacy policy which forced users to share data with its parent company Facebook.

While it turned out to be a misunderstanding (Facebook already gathers WhatsApp data in an encrypted way, so user information remains private), the damage was already done.Many of its users flocked to other messaging platforms, such as Signal (as promoted in a tweet by Elon Musk), Telegram, or Viber. Initially, the company said it would remove users who wouldn’t accept the new terms. However, the company reversed its course days before the supposed go-live on May 15th, 2021.In fact, the company has now doubled down on privacy-related changes and other features that often mimic those of Telegram and such.

For instance, in June, the platform introduced multi-device support, which allows users to message on various devices at the same time. Other features include encrypted video chats as well as disappearing photos and videos (August 2021).Unfortunately, not everyone seemed to believe in WhatsApp’s noble intentions. In September 2021, Irish authorities imposed a €225 million (~$267 million) fine on WhatsApp for failing to tell some users how much data was shared with Facebook.

The fine was the second highest ever issued under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was first introduced back in May 2018.Today, WhatsApp is widely considered to be the world’s largest communication platform. Over 100 billion messages are now being exchanged on the platform – every day. WhatsApp currently employs well over 1,000 people in 6 office locations across 4 countries.

How Does WhatsApp Make Money?

WhatsApp makes money by charging medium and large enterprises for access to its Business API. But before we go into more detail, let’s take a closer look at the firm’s previous monetization efforts.As earlier stated, WhatsApp used to monetize its customers via a subscription model. Users paid $1 per year to be able to use the app. That would be equal to a $2 billion revenue run rate given WhatsApp’s 2 billion user base.In 2016, 2 years after the acquisition, Facebook decided to ditch the $1 fee.

The underlying strategy was to continue focusing on user growth and help WhatsApp become the ubiquitous leader in the messaging space.That also meant ditching any plans to insert ads into the product. Whilst Facebook’s Messenger product does offer in-app advertising, its executives have decided to work with businesses to monetize WhatsApp.In 2018, WhatsApp launched its Business API, which became the first continuous effort to monetize the app post-acquisition.

The B2B tool is free to use for small companies. Meanwhile, larger organizations have to pay whenever they send a reply 24 hours after the initial message was sent. Everything beyond the 24-hour threshold will cost anywhere between $0.05 to $0.90 per replied message.Furthermore, WhatsApp partners up with other companies, such as the cloud communication platform Twilio, to deliver its API.

Future Monetization Channels

In recent times, multiple reports have emerged about new revenue streams that WhatsApp may pursue.WhatsApp has been working on a payment product since 2018. In June 2020, it finally launched a payment service in Brazil that allowed users to pay each other (mirroring Venmo and Zelle) as well as other businesses on the platform.Unfortunately, around 10 days later, Brazil’s central bank suspended the launch, stating that it wanted to “preserve an adequate competitive environment” within its mobile payments industry.

Mastercard and Visa, WhatsApp’s payment partners, were asked to suspend any money transfer within the app.While the failed launch was a tough pill to swallow, it hasn’t stopped the company from pursuing the payment concept.In November 2020, it enabled P2P payments in India, the firm’s largest market by user count. Business payments, in which WhatsApp would receive a portion of the order value, are expected to follow in the next few months. Also, in May 2021, Brazil lifted its payment ban, adding another country to the mix.

For the longest time it had been speculated that Facebook might finally decide to put ads on WhatsApp. Will Cathcart, the Head of WhatsApp, has indicated a more native approach.Instead of advertisements pointing towards a website (like on Messenger), ads would be directed at existing WhatsApp Business accounts that sell products and services a user might need.Another possibility might be ads within WhatsApp’s Story feature. These ads would, in all likeliness, show up in between stories. Businesses would then pay WhatsApp a fee in exchange for being shown on these advertorial placements.

Lastly, it has also been speculated that WhatsApp is set to introduce business directories as well as cashback rewards. With the directory, businesses would pay WhatsApp a fee for being listed or promoted on it while cashback rewards would grant the company a portion of the purchasing price (known as a referral fee).However, due to the firm’s troubled past, it remains very timid with the monetization features it introduces.

WhatsApp Funding, Valuation & Revenue

According to Crunchbase, WhatsApp has raised a total of $60.3 million across 3 rounds of venture capital funding. The company’s only investor throughout its startup time was Sequoia Capital, with partner Jim Goetz leading negotiations.The last time WhatsApp valuation was publicly disclosed occurred during its acquisition by Facebook. The tech giant paid a whopping $19 billion to acquire a 100 percent stake in the company.Facebook has furthermore decided to not disclose any revenue it generates from WhatsApp. Instead, any revenue figures are included in the firm’s overall income figures.

By: Victor

Hi folks, my name is Viktor. A twenty-something year old who all the sudden found himself in the world of blogging.The information you can find on this website is a reflection of my lifelong experiences working in technical account management, consulting, and data analytics. My work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, Seeking Alpha, Coindesk, BuzzFeed, and hundreds more……

Source: The WhatsApp Business Model – How Does WhatsApp Make Money?

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