Deal: Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are $50-$75 off at the Google Store, up to $550 off at Target

Both Google and Verizon Wireless are making a last minute holiday sales push for the recently launched Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Over at the Google Store, you can get the 64 GB version Pixel 2 for $599 unlocked, or $699 for the 128 GB model, which is a $50 discount from its normal price. Pixel 2 XL buyers can get the 64 GB version for $774, or for $874 for the 128 GB version, which knocks off $75 from its normal price. There’s no word on how long this sales promotion will last.

Get it at Google Store
Editor’s Pick

If you want to save even more money and don’t mind being locked into one carrier, Target is selling the Verizon version of the 64 GB Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, or the 128 GB Just Black version of the 2 XL, for an even bigger discount. From now until December 24, you can get a free $250 Target gift card when you purchase the Verizon version of those phones from the retailer. The gift card is for customers who are either activating a new line or service or upgrading an current line with Verizon on a payment plan. In addition, you can also get $300 off all those Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL phones from Target until December 31, which will be applied as a monthly credit over 24 months.

Target and Verizon are also offering a $200 gift card for the purchase of the original 32 GB Google Pixel until December 24, if you’d rather go for last year’s flagship.

Get Verizon Pixel 2 at Target
Get Verizon Pixel 2 XL at Target
Get Verizon Pixel at Target

Huawei confirms its phones will be sold by US carriers in 2018, starting with Mate 10

  • Huawei exec Richard Yu stated its phones will be “competitively priced” in the US market.
  • He added that Huawei does not expect to deal with security concerns in the US.
  • More information on the Huawei US carrier launch will be revealed at CES 2018.

After months of rumors and unconfirmed reports, the massive China-based phone company Huawei has finally and officially revealed that some of its handsets will be sold by US wireless carriers, starting sometime in 2018. The first such phone will be in its Mate 10 family of devices.

Editor’s Pick

The report comes from ABC News, quoting Richard Yu, the president of Huawei Technologies’ consumer business. He stated, “We will sell our flagship phone, our product, in the U.S. market through carriers next year.” The Mate 10, and its higher-end brother, the Mate 10 Pro, went on sale in China and other markets earlier this fall. Previous rumors claimed that the Mate 10 Pro would be sold by AT&T and Verizon in 2018. Yu did not state specifics on which carriers would sell its phones, but he did reveal that more information on those sales plans will be announced in early January during CES 2018.

While Huawei has sold phones under its own name and with its Honor brand in the US as unlocked devices online, breaking into the US carrier market could be huge for the company. Huawei is currently the number three seller of smartphones worldwide, trailing behind only Apple and Samsung. Yu stated today that the company’s phones, as sold by carriers, would be “competitively priced” in the US market.

He also added that Huawei does not expect its plans to be hit by security concerns by the US government. Some lawmakers and agencies have expressed concerns in the past that Chinese-based smartphone companies like Huawei could use those devices to spy on consumers. Today, Yu denied that would be the case, and suggested that those kinds of complaints were either politically motivated, or perhaps generated by its competitors.

Google+ – Posts, Circles, Sparks & Hangouts !!!

Google+ (Google Plus) is an interest-based social networking site owned by Google Inc. Launched in 2011, this platform brings together people with similar interest. Such group of people can build a community and share their ideas through photos and posts.

Google+ is unique in way in that it allows more transparency in what one shares and with whom it is shared. The Google+ menu bar is displayed on other Google services when one logs in the google account.

Some of the most prominent features of Google+ are as follows −

  • Posts where one can update the status.
  • Circles are used to share information with different groups.
  • Sparks offer videos that users might like.
  • Hangouts & Huddles are for video chat with a friend or a group of friends.

Uploading a Post:

We can upload posts on our Google+ profile easily and share it with people in our communities/circles or others who we want to share it with. When we share our post, it is visible on the receiver’s news feed. The post also appears on our profile page and people can comment, like, or share the post. We can also tag people to our post using “+ and their name.

Let’s go step by step and learn how we can upload a post in Google+.

Step 1 − Open your Google+ account.

Step 2 − On the profile page, at right bottom corner click on write icon to write new post.

Step 3 − Write the post. We can also copy paste the content.

Step 4 − Tag anyone if desired. Add the location if needed.

Step 5 − Select whether the post should be public or private.

Step 6 − Once done, click the ‘Post’ option. The post appears on our page as well as on the profile page of the persons tagged to the post.

Google Plus – Circles

Google Circles can be used to group together different people. It may different members of the family, colleagues, or a group of people having similar interest. When we add people to a particular circle, they receive a notification of being added to the circle. Members of a circle can view the posts and photos in the circle. We can also add or remove people from circles at any time. Circles help to share the right information with the right people.
For example, it is a great way to share jokes with ‘friends’ circle, while sharing business matters with ‘work’ circle. People added to circles can also be available on our Google Hangout. By default people and pages added to circles are publicly visible. However, we can change the privacy options from settings. 

How to Create a Circle?

Step 1 − Open Google+ account.

Step 2 − Click ‘People’ from the navigation menu.

Step 3 − Click the ‘Following’ tab as shown in following screenshot.

Step 4 − Scroll down and click New Circle as seen in the above screenshot.

Step 5 − Name the circle and once done, click ‘Create’.

Adding People to Circles

Step 1 − Open the profile of the person who is to be added to the circle.

Step 2 − Click the circle that the person is to be added to.

Step 3 − Click Done.

Removing People From Circles

Step 1 − Open the profile of the person to be removed from the circle.

Step 2 − Click the circle that the person is in and from the menu uncheck the circle.

Step 3 − Click Done.

Google Plus – Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a communication platform developed by Google which includes instant messaging, video chat, SMS and VOIP features. It replaces three messaging products that Google had implemented concurrently within its services, including Google Talk, Google+ Messenger (formerly: Huddle), and Hangouts, a video chat system present within Google+. Google has also stated that Hangouts is designed to be “the future” of its telephony product, Google Voice, and integrated some of the capabilities of Google Voice into Hangouts. Users can be messaged by their Google+ accounts.

This platform also offers “hangouts on Air” option using which we can broadcast live video chatting and discussions to the world through your Google+. These video chats and discussion is accessible to all. It can be edited and a copy of the broadcast can be shared though YouTube channel.

To broadcast our Hangouts on Air, all we need is −

YouTube channel − Make sure to have a YouTube account. Create an account, if there isn’t one.

Google+ profile − Make sure the Google+ page is connected to YouTube account. Nowadays they are automatically connected, however existing users should connect it to Google+ page.

Creating a Hangout

Step 1 − Open Google+ page.

Step 2 − Search for Hangouts in the drop-down menu located on the left side of the page.

Step 3 − Click “+ New Hangout”. Check and add people to be added to Hangouts.

Step 4 : Choose the format for Hangouts, i.e. either video or text hangout. We can also alter text chat to video chat any time by clicking the camera button that appears on the top of the chat window.

We can share emoticons or pictures through Hangouts. We can also add filters to the pictures and videos. When we are done chatting, click the Close (x) button.

Google Plus – Events

Google+ Events page helps in organizing an upcoming event or occasion. It helps anyone using Gmail to add certain events in their calendars. All information about the particular event can be populated with just one click.

The event automatically gets added to Google calendar of those who are invited and are already in the circles. We can invite as many people or even the entire circle/community at the same time. Click ‘+invite name, circles’ and select the privacy as ‘public’. By doing so, anyone can find the event and access the details.

Events automatically get synchronized with guests’ calendars. Everyone attending can share the photos/videos to the shared album. Guests can even inform whether they are going to attend the event or not. If there is a change in the date of the event, guests will be notified by email. They will receive a notification for the change in place, date, time, etc.

Creating a Google+ Event

Step 1 − Open Google+ account.

Step 2 − Click the ‘Events’ tab.

Step 3 − Click ‘Create event’.


Step 4 − Fill all the information about the event such as ‘Title’, ‘start/end date’, ‘location’, ‘description’.

Step 5 − Upload the cover picture. Make sure the cover picture depicts the event.

Step 6 − Check/uncheck the following options.

  • Guests can invite other people.
  • Guests can add photos.
  • Hide guests list.

Step 7 − Add more description via ‘Advanced’ tab.

Step 8 − Invite people who we want to come to the event by clicking the green ‘invite’ button.

Step 9 − Publish the event.

Google Sparks:



Google+ SPARKS is a feature you can use to get all the info about your interests (if you can’t see it by clicking the link, here is a screenshot).
You can click on any of the images (categories) you want, and add it to your interests. I chose to type in my interests instead, and keep up with stuff I am interested in. Creating a spark “Movies” just seems like too much.
Once you chose your interests, you will be able to see a link to each of them under your profile picture. Any time you want to see what is going on in the world, that is related to your interest, click on it and you will get a page filled with news, posts, information.
For example, I can stay up to date with anything related to “blogging”,”Programming” or which ever interest I add, as you can see it in my list of Sparks.

Want To Learn Digital Marketing?

How much are readers worth?

I received a mail from an MMO website that it was for sale. I didn’t even know that there were auction sites for websites. Probably because I never considered my site as a business. I feel honored that people come to my site to read my thoughts. The idea was never to attract a maximum number of readers and then somehow monetize them. (And if I had wanted to do that I should have cashed out a decade ago, when this was still a popular blog.)

The site on sale boasts 30,000 YouTube subscribers, 9,000 Facebook fans, and 4,000 Twitter followers. And you can “buy” all these fans for $1,000 or best offer. That suggests that one fan is worth between 20 and 30 cents. However the site hasn’t had much content in the past few weeks, and those “fans” might be long gone, never to return. Especially if the new owner of the site creates little new content, or somehow changes the scope. So at best buying an existing website is a starting boost that gets the word out faster than if you created the same new content on a brand new site. Websites are dynamic and the real number of readers / subscribers / fans / followers depends very much on the current quality and quantity of content created.

Not only is buying a web site possibly a bad deal for the buyer. I would also consider it somewhat dishonest towards the fans. Imagine buying tickets to a concert and on going there finding out that the band you liked sold their name to another band, whose music you don’t like!

In summary, this blog is unlikely to be sold. I’m sticking to an earlier promise that I can’t be bought for less than $100,000. And as this site was never worth this much, you can be pretty confident that as long as there is somebody writing here, it will be me.

Naming and Directory Concepts,JaVa – is not MaVa


Java Naming and Directory Services

A Naming Service provides a mechanism for giving names to objects so you can retrieve and use those objects without knowing the location of the object. Objects can be located on any machine accessible from your network, not necessarily the local workstation.
A real-world example is a phone directory. It stores telephone numbers against names and addresses. To find people’s phone numbers is simply a matter of using their name (and possibly address) to identify an entry in the phone book and obtaining the stored phone number. There are a few complications, such as finding the right phone book to look in, but it is essentially a simple process.
Incidentally, naming services have a similar problem to that of finding the right phone book. This is known as obtaining a context. A name can only be found if you examine the right context (phone book).
A Directory Service also associates names with objects but provides additional information by associating attributes with the objects.
The yellow pages phone directory is a simple form of a directory service. Here, businesses often include advertisements with additional information such as a list of products sold, professional qualifications, affiliated organizations, and even maps to their premises. These attributes add value to the name entry. A directory service will normally provide the ability to find entries that have particular attributes or values for attributes.
Yellow page style phone books also store names under categories—for example, hairdressers or lawyers. Categorizing entries can simplify searching for a particular type of entry. These categorized entries are a form of sub-context within the directory context of the local phone book.

Why Use Naming And Directory Services?

Naming Services provide an vital mechanism for de-coupling the provider of a service from the consumer of the service. Naming services allow a supplier of a service to register their service against a name. Users, or clients, of the service need only know the name of the service to use it.
Think of the phone book once more, and how difficult it would be to find someone’s phone number without it. Obtaining your friend’s phone number would mean going to their home and asking, or waiting until you meet up with them again—which may be difficult to organize because you can’t phone them to arrange the meeting.
It is very difficult to imagine a world without naming services.

What is JNDI and why we NEEDED it?

When you build an application, chances are you have to depend on some other resources built by somebody else. There is a directory or naming service that maps or bind name to such resources so that you can use  the name and get the resource into your application. Such resources could be an object or simply just location to object. Such services are important because it provides way to expose the those resources to be used and reused. For instance:
DNS (Domain Name System): 
It maps people-friendly names (such as www.google.com) into computer-friendly IP addresses in dotted-quad notation (192.168.0.1).

LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) 
It provides access to hierarchical structural information about users, networks or systems over IP network through url and other attributes names.(e.g cn=Martin Bond, ou=Authors, o=SAMS, c=us).
NIS (Network Information System) 
It provides access to file and application resources through ID and password.
So, the common thing is they all are naming systems that binds the name to the object of our interest. Those objects or resources may or may not be on the same host and just be reference to object. No mater where they are naming service provide the lookup service to find such object by name.
The difference is the naming convention each of those naming services has undertaken. For instance:
  • DNS uses the dot notation to construct the full domain name. (www.google.com)
  • LDAP uses comma to separate the components while uses key/value pair to distinguish each components. (‘cn=Rupesh Bho, o=ComPlus, c=US’) .
With such differences, it would be nightmare for the application developers if they have to spend writing code to bring various naming servers every time they work on the application. This is where JNDI comes into play.
JNDI is a API which provides the uniform standard to access any naming or directory services into your application. Remember JNDI is just interface, not implementation.

JNDI architecture consists of API and Service Provider Interface(SPI). Java application use the JNDI API to access a variety of naming and directory services. The SPI enables a variety of naming and directory services to be plugged in transparently, thereby allowing the Java application using JNDI API to access their services.
JNDI is included in Java SE. To use JNDI, you must have the JNDI classes and one or more service providers. Some service providers like LDAP, RMI and DNS are included with the JDK, other you can find from other vendors.

Context and InitialContext:

The Context interface plays a central role in JNDI. A context represents a set of bindings within a naming service that all share the same naming convention. A Context object provides the methods for binding names to objects and unbinding names from objects, for renaming objects, and for listing the bindings.
JNDI performs all naming operations relative to a context. To assist in finding a place to start, the JNDI specification defines an InitialContext class. This class is instantiated with properties that define the type of naming service in use and, for naming services that provide security, the ID and password to use when connecting.
 Let’s take a look at Context’s methods:
  • void bind(String stringName, Object object): Binds a name to an object. The name must not be bound to another object. All intermediate contexts must already exist.
  • void rebind(String stringName, Object object): Binds a name to an object. All intermediate contexts must already exist.
  • Object lookup(String stringName): Returns the specified object.
  • void unbind(String stringName): Unbinds the specified object.

Want to learn more about JAVA?

Do You know who is “Google PanDa” ?

Content quality comes up more and more in the SEO context. Focusing on content quality was the winning underutilised SEO tactic in our expert roundup, and low value content is one of the major causes of manual and algorithmic Google penalties, notably Google Panda.

Google Panda is a series of on-going algorithm updates and data refreshes for the Google search engine that the company rolls out to help refine its search algorithm to improve the value of search query results for users.

Panda is a special “filter” designed to de-rank low quality content, and since 2016, it’s a part of the search engine’s core ranking algorithm. This means that Panda updates are now rolled out faster and more frequently than ever before, with more sites affected by the update.

But the question is, what is “content quality”, exactly? How do you improve it, grow your rankings, and keep Panda away? Here are the 6 essential steps to audit your content against poor quality and fix the issues you find. But before we start.

How does Panda work?

The Panda algorithm (named after Google engineer Navneet Panda) is designed to help Google improve the quality of search results by down-ranking low quality content. The basic principle here is that Google assigns a particular quality score to each website in its index (the score is assigned site-wide, not to separate pages.)
Initially, Panda functioned as a filter applied to a pack of search results that Google considered relevant to a search query. The Panda score was re-ordering them, pushing down the low-scorers, and giving a boost to the highest scored content.
Now, as Panda signals are “baked” into Google’s core ranking algorithm, they no longer re-order the results, but form them together with Google’s other ranking signals.

How does Panda identify high quality content?

Sure thing, there’s no “gut feeling” that helps Panda identify real quality. Panda is only an algorithm that checks your website for a number of factors that Google assumes are features of a high quality website. Then, by applying some math, it gives the site a specific quality score based on the results of this check.

The good news is, if your site’s quality score is based on a number of separate factors, you can influence those factors to improve the score.

The bad news is… Google won’t disclose the exact quality factors it takes into account to calculate the score. So the list of Panda-prone issues below is an educated guess, based on what Google has said on site quality, and what trackable factors it can use to determine it.

6 steps to a Panda-proof content audit

So, we know that Panda is used to assign your website a particular score depending on its “quality” — now let’s think of the factors that may be involved in the assessment.

Step 1. Crawl your website to get a full list of its pages

Unsurprisingly, the first step in completing a content audit is to… find all your content.

And since the Panda score is assigned site-wide, it is not enough to audit just the most important pages — you need to check your entire site to make sure no low quality content is dragging your overall website quality score down.

How to check

  • Launch WebSite Auditor and create a new project for your website.
  • Enter your website’s URL and hit Next.
  • Now, give WebSite Auditor a couple of minutes (depending on the size of your website) to collect and list your site’s pages.
  • When the crawl is complete, switch to the Pages dashboard to view all your pages.

The optimal way to deal with problematic content largely depends on the size of your site.

  • For a small website (>100 pages), removing low quality content is something you can not afford. Your key strategy is to improve on every problematic page, rather than delete it.
  • For a medium-sized site (100-1000 pages), removing some of the low quality content is possible. But your main focus will be on improving content at least for the most important pages.
  • For a large website (>1000 pages), improving all problematic pages is a huge piece of work, so your focus would be to “weed out” and remove the unnecessary and low quality content.

Step 2. Check for thin content

Imagine you have a category page with only a few lines of meaningless text and hundreds of links to products. This is what’s generally called thin content. Google’s been focusing on combating thin content a lot lately, with both Panda and Fred.

Search engines use content to determine the relevancy of a page to a query. And if you barely provide any information that’s accessible to them, how are they to understand what the page is about?

How to check

1.In your WebSite Auditor workspace, locate the Word count column. If it’s not there, right-click on the header of any column to enter the workspace editing mode, and add the Word count column to your active columns.

2.Back to your WebSite Auditor workspace, sort the pages by their content length by clicking on the newly added Word count column.

Panda advice

Surely, quality is not all about word count, since there are cases when you can deliver value in a few hundred words. That is why there’s no “minimum word count” threshold that triggers a low Panda quality score. More to that, sometimes pages with a little over a hundred words do exceptionally well on Google and even get included into its rich answers.

But having too many thin content pages will very likely get you into trouble — so on average, word count under 250 words is a good indicator to locate problematic spots across your site.

Step 3. Check for duplicated/very similar content

Another factor that could be a signal of your site’s low quality is duplicated or very similar content across multiple pages.

How to check

1.In WebSite Auditor, switch to the Site Audit dashboard and locate the Duplicate titles and Duplicate meta descriptions factors under the On-page section.

2.If any of these have an Error status, click on the problematic factor to get a full list of pages where duplication occurs.

Panda advice

Very often, bigger sites have to deal with a huge amount of pages that need to be filled with content. And many of them resort to an easy way to fill out those gaps — by writing boilerplate text that’s the same on each page except for a few variables. This is what Google considers automated, low quality content.

So, besides weeding out the word-by-word duplicated content, pay attention to the similar-looking pieces (say, your page titles are absolutely identical in structure and differ only in a product name) that may be a sign of content automation.

Step 4. Check for aggregated content/plagiarism

What’s also synonymous with quality in Google’s eyes is the “uniqueness” of your content. As Google wants your content to add value and not simply repeat what’s already been said, having non-unique content on your website (e.g. plagiarized content, product descriptions duplicated in feeds used on other channels like Amazon, shopping comparison sites and eBay) is an easy way to get under Google’s Panda filter.

How to check

If you suspect that some of your pages may be duplicated externally on other online resources, a good idea would be to check them with Copyscape.

Copyscape gives some of its data for free (for instance, comparing two specific URLs), but for a comprehensive check you may need a paid Premium account.

Panda advice

Even though Google tries to identify the original source of content, experiments show that in many cases they are unable to tell the stolen content from the original.

So, to make sure content thieves don’t hurt your Panda quality score, take appropriate action if you notice someone’s using your content on their sites — either by contacting the webmaster to ask them to remove the copied content, or using this content removal form from Google.

Step 5. Check for proper keyword usage

Keywords and keyword targeting are the most basic and longest-running concepts in SEO. And if you’ve been in the search industry for quite some time, you may remember the days when SEO meant just having the right words in your meta keywords tag.

Sure, these times have passed: search engines now try to detect and punish websites deliberately using too many keywords in their content.

However, whether Google will admit it or not, their algorithms are still built upon keywords. And having a keyword in your title tag does improve your page’s rankings, meaning you simply can’t afford not optimizing pages for keywords.

So, the only ticklish question here is, “How many is too many?” And one of the ways to check this is by looking at top ranking competitors (because the sites that rank in top 10 are the sites that pass Google quality test with an A+.)

How to check

1. In your WebSite Auditor project, go to the Content Analysis module and select the page you’d like to analyze.

2. Enter the keywords you’ve been optimising this page for and let the tool analyse your page along with your top ranking competitors.

3. What you will see now is the average keyword usage stats, both on your page and competitors’ pages. Ideally, all content-related SEO factors should have a green Correct status. For any factors that don’t, click on them one by one and pay particular attention to the Keyword stuffing column.

4. If you’d like to go the extra mile and see how well your page is optimised for all topically relevant keywords (and not just the ones you specified), switch to the TF-IDF dashboard. Here, you’ll see the terms and phrases that your top ranking competitors commonly use in their content. Pay attention to the Recommendation column to find out which terms you may want to add or use less of.

5. Now switch to the Content Editor module to add or remove extra keywords and see your on-page stats recalculate for you as you type.

6. When you’re done, hit the Save button to save the optimized HTML to your computer, ready for upload to your site.

Panda advice

Remember the Hummingbird algorithm update? The one with which Google learned to recognize the meaning behind a search query and give a common answer to a number of “different-in-keywords” but “same-in-meaning” queries?

This update changed the way SEOs optimize pages — now we no longer think “single keyword optimization“, but try to make our pages comprehensive and relevant for a whole group of synonyms and related terms. So, utilizing synonyms and related terms will help you improve your pages’ relevance, rankings and avoid the keyword stuffing issues.

Step 6. Check for user engagement metrics

Though Google generally states that user experience signals are not included into their search ranking algorithm, real-life experiments show the opposite. And one of the metrics SEOs suspect Google to use is bounce rates.

Think about it — as Google tries to bring users the best search experience, it obviously wants them to find what they were looking for with the first search result they click on. The best search experience is one that immediately lands the searcher on a page that has all the information they need, so that they don’t hit the back button to return to the SERP and look for other alternatives.

Bouncing off pages quickly to return to the SERP and look for other results is called pogo-sticking, and it can be easily measured in terms of bounce rates.

How to check

1. In WebSite Auditor’s Pages dashboard, go the Traffic coming to pages tab.

2. Select all pages in this view, and hit Update Pages. From the list of factors to update, only select Page Traffic.

Panda advice

The thing to remember when analyzing your bounce rates is that “it’s all about user intent”. If the searcher is looking for a very quick answer (think “What’s the capital of Australia?”) — then, quite obviously, they will leave the page as soon as they get the information they need.

If the high-bounce pages you see on your site are of this kind — giving users the immediate answers they were looking for — then they are not something to worry about. In other cases, try to improve your content and user experience to lower the bounce rates.

Other Things To Consider:

1. Check for user-generated content issues.
User-generated content and how it affects Panda has been a hot topic recently, and it has gotten to the point where many SEOs are recommending to get rid of all user-generated content, claiming that Google sees it as a signal of poor site quality.

This is far from true, because we’re still seeing lots of websites based purely on user-generated content (think Quora) that are doing well on Google.

However, user-generated spam — for instance, irrelevant comments on your blog or poorly moderated forum pages — can put your site into trouble.

So if your website features user-generated content, make sure improving your moderation strategy is a priority.

2. Check for grammar mistakes.
Bad spelling and grammar can both impede user experience and lower the trustworthiness of your content in Google’s eyes, so don’t tempt the fate by leaving obvious grammar errors on your pages. You may want to use a specialized grammar tool like Grammarly, or simply copy your pages’ content and paste it into a word processor. This should highlight the spelling mistakes so you can update the content.

3. Check for intrusive ads.
Sure thing, Panda is not the reason to stop using ads on your site. As long as your ads don’t get obtrusive, that is. Not only do excessive and disruptive ads (pop-ups, above-the-fold ads, and so on) annoy visitors, they apparently get on Google’s nerves just as well. Remember, this kind of advertisements can also trigger the Fred update — another reason to say no to intrusive ads.

Want to learn Digital Marketing?

YoU are GeTTing HaCKed! -‘Cloak and Dagger Attack’


Android users may want to keep a close eye on the apps they download onto their devices as researchers have discovered a series of vulnerabilities in the operating system that relies on two particular Android permissions to work.

Dubbed Cloak & Dagger by the research team that discovered the vulnerability, the attack relies on abusing the SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW and BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE permissions in order to compromise the system.
System vulnerabilities
The way the exploit works is pretty straightforward: a malicious app gets downloaded and installed to the Android device, with the necessary permissions being granted without requiring the user’s input.

From there, hackers are able to perform Clickjacking, record keystrokes, phishing, and even installing a God-mode app, all without the user being aware of it.
God-mode-app
Illustrate the danger that the vulnerability poses, the researchers have prepared three videos that demonstrates the potential attacks that could be carried out.

The first one is called the Invisible Grid Attack, and it works by placing an invisible overlay over the device’s keyboard. With it, the hacker could identify the information that is being typed out.
The second video depicts a clickjacking attempt that eventually culminates in a God-mode application being silently installed in the background without the user even noticing it.

Finally, the third video showcasing how a hacker could steal a password by manipulating the overlays.


Even newest Android version Android Nougat 7.1.2 might get affected due to this attack. So be aware of it.
As google is working on this problem, they will be coming with a solution pretty quickly. Stay safe!

Want  to learn Android Programming?

Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo all slash smartphone orders by over 10%

  • Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo are all cutting smartphone orders by over 10% in Q4 2017.
  • The companies are sitting on more and more inventory as worldwide smartphone demand has dropped.
  • Xiaomi is still performing well despite the struggle of fellow Chinese device manufacturers.

One of the smartphone trends that might have flown under the radar in 2017 is the explosion of Chinese cell phone manufactures. While they have been steadily growing for years, this was the year that companies like Xiaomi were able to top Samsung in the important market of India. Huawei is the world’s third largest device manufacturer and occasionally tops Apple for second and OPPO and Vivo (both owned by BBK) are both in the top three in China.

Editor’s Pick

To say it has been a good year for these companies would be an understatement. But, it looks like Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo are preparing for a slower start to 2018. According to a report from DigiTimes, the three companies are cutting smartphone orders by over 10%. The information comes from sources at suppliers for the trio of companies.

As demand for new smartphones falls, the companies are now sitting on more and more inventory.

The one company that seems to be immune from the slowdown is Xiaomi. The company continues to be bullish in both online and retail environments. Xiaomi is continuing its surge in India, which saw it overtake Samsung in the country. India looks to be an interesting battleground for 2018 as Samsung and Xiaomi battle it out at the top and Huawei looks to increase its presence.

See also: Report: Samsung’s global market share will fall in 2018

Xiaomi and Huawei are also both expected to increase their presence in the United States next year. Rumors of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro’s release on Verizon and AT&T have heated up recently and Xiaomi is reportedly in talks with US carriers to carry its phones as well, according to Bloomberg.

Despite cutting orders, it looks like 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for Chinese smartphone manufacturers.

Which phone manufacturer had the best year in 2017? [Poll of the Week]

Last week’s poll summary: Out of almost 23,800 total votes, 25.1% of our readers said the Galaxy Note 8 is the best Android smartphone of 2017. 18.9% voted for the OnePlus 5T, 18.2% voted Pixel 2 XL, and 11.3% said the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is the top device of the year.

2017 brought us some of the best smartphones we’ve ever seen. It was also the year that we saw many Android OEMs come into their own.

Samsung had a particularly tough year, as it not only had to recover from the Galaxy Note 7 recall, it also had to win the trust back of consumers. Samsung worked hard to bring trust back to its brand, which resulted in the Galaxy S8 and Note 8— two of the best Android smartphones ever made.

OnePlus has also stepped things up this year, particularly with the launch of the OnePlus 5T. The OnePlus 5 felt a little stuck in the past, but the 5T brought an improved camera experience and a fantastic 18:9 OLED display. OnePlus continues to make improvements every year. It’s crazy to think this is the same company that had so many weird missteps a few years back.

See also

Huawei made some huge strides in 2017 with the launch of the Mate 10 Pro. Not only did that phone win our Best of Android 2017 competition, it feels like Huawei is becoming more original than ever before. Some might complain of Huawei’s software being too aggressive in some areas, but the improvements on the design/build front cannot be overstated.

I’d also like to mention HMD Global, the proud owners of the Nokia brand name. The Nokia 8, the company’s 2017 flagship, holds its own against the other competitors on the market. Android Authority actually named HMD Global as the best smartphone brand of 2017.

In your opinion, which smartphone manufacturer had the best year? Cast your vote in the poll below, and speak up in the comments if there’s anything you’d like to add.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

If Trump Fires Mueller, Is a Watergate Rerun Coming?

Firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox was a massive blunder for Richard Nixon. But yes, it could happen again.

For some reason I had a yearning to curl up on the couch and binge-watch Watergate documentaries this weekend. I can’t imagine why. Just because every TV talking head was breathlessly talking about the right-wing crusade against special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, and rumors were flying that Jared Kushner is shopping around for a crisis management firm, that’s no reason to think that the scandal may be headed for a new phase. But when news broke on Saturday that a Trump transition lawyer had sent a letter to Congress complaining that Mueller had allegedly obtained transition officials’ emails illegally, it sure felt as if something was going to break.

Trump returned from Camp David on Sunday night and told the press that he isn’t considering firing Mueller. Since he cannot tell a lie, that’s obviously the end of that. The Kushner business, on the other hand, may be true, in light of the news about the emails that the Trump team didn’t know were in the hands of prosecutors until after they had all testified, opening up the possibility that someone may have lied. As Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos can attest, that’s a big no-no.

Trump’s transition lawyer, who doesn’t seem to have any experience in these matters, said that the way the prosecutors obtained the emails is illegal — but also said that Congress should make it illegal. So the nature of Team Trump’s specific complaints is a bit confusing. Evidently they had placed their own man in the General Services Administration, who assured them that emails they sent on government devices with the .gov address would be secured and wouldn’t be turned over without their knowledge.

Unfortunately, their man got sick and died, and the people beneath him were not told about this promise, and when the prosecutors came looking for the emails they were handed over, as would happen in any criminal investigation. Since all such emails are government property and everyone is informed before they are issued the email addresses that they have no expectation of privacy, there’s nothing unusual in any of it. But as we’ve seen before, the Trump team doesn’t really listen or pay attention to the normal rules and regulations. They apparently thought they had this all dialed in. As usual, they didn’t.

Mueller’s office made a rare public comment right after midnight on Sunday morning: “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.” Apparently, they had reason to believe something criminal was going on in the Trump transition.

Lawyers from both parties weighed in on Sunday and explained that there’s nothing illegal about a government investigation obtaining emails from a government agency. The Trump attorney referred to “possible” executive privilege and attorney-client privilege, but didn’t really make the claim, mainly because executive privilege doesn’t exist for a president until he takes office, and if there were attorney communications that might be privileged, all it means is that prosecutors couldn’t use those to build their case. Needless to say, if the Trump team wants to argue this, the appropriate venue is a courtroom — which is exactly what the House Oversight Committee chair Trey Gowdy told them.

As I mentioned, Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller, but then, he isn’t literally the one who would fire him, is he? That job would fall to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the special counsel investigation since Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case. Trump could direct Rosenstein to fire Mueller; if Rosenstein refuses, the president can fire him and demand that the next person in line do the deed. It’s not as if it hasn’t happened before.

Looking back at the Saturday Night Massacre in the fall of 1973, at the height of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon was furious that special prosecutor Archibald Cox had gone beyond what Nixon thought should be his mandate. When the president found out that Cox was looking into the financing of his West Coast White House in San Clemente, California, he went ballistic. Nixon probably had a lot less to hide in this regard than Donald Trump does.

But what finally precipitated Cox’s firing was the battle over the tapes of Nixon’s conversations in the White House, which had been described in detail by former White House counsel John Dean when testifying about the cover-up of the Watergate break-in. After the existence of the tapes had been exposed, Nixon refused to turn them over. Cox took him to court, and the court had ruled against the president. Nixon refused. His lawyers came up with a cockamamie plan to have one elderly conservative senator listen to the tapes and attest to the accuracy of White House-prepared transcripts of certain conversations under subpoena. Cox said no — that was in defiance of the court. He planned to take the case back before a judge and would abide by his ruling.

That’s when Nixon called up the Attorney General Elliot Richardson and told him to fire Cox. The president said to Richardson when he refused, “I’m sorry you choose to put your purely personal commitments ahead of the public interest.” To which Richardson replied, “Mr. President, it would appear that you and I have a different perception of the public interest.” Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus also resigned, and then Solicitor General Robert Bork finally did the deed.

What happened next was interesting. Nixon wanted to shut down the office altogether and sent the FBI to lock the place down. But prosecutors wouldn’t leave and were giving press conferences. The public was all up in arms, and the media backlash was furious.

Nixon ended up having to appoint another special prosecutor and picked a conservative Republican, Leon Jaworski, who was predisposed to give the president the benefit of the doubt. But after refusing to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, Nixon finally gave up the tapes. When Jaworski heard him talking to John Dean, he said, “can you believe the president of the United States coaching a witness on how to evade the truth?”

That’s when the prosecutors got their indictments of the presidents’ men and delivered their case to the House committee considering impeachment.

Watching Trump and knowing how often he lies, it seems inevitable that there have been more than a few such moments for Mueller in reading some of those emails and listening to testimony from people around the president. The difference is that Nixon had an understanding of the necessity of maintaining stability in the system, even as he abused it terribly. Trump doesn’t even know what the system is and his lawyers don’t seem to have much of a grasp of it either. So far, Republicans in Congress are completely unwilling to do their duty.

Trump might follow the Nixon playbook and fire Mueller, but after that, the whole thing could go off the rails. As strange as this is to say, Nixon knew there were limits to his power. Trump doesn’t. Who knows what he might do?

 

 

 

Related Stories

  • Robert Mueller Has the Trump Team Panicked, No Matter What the President Says
  • The One Scenario in Which Trump Would Risk Impeachment and Fire Robert Mueller
  • Donald Trump Jr. and Ted Cruz Mock Barack Obama with Bizarre Cookie