Monthly Archives: October 2015

Life is just a game

Hey there. Recently I have been surfing though the internet and had encountered an amusing pic.1

I laughed for a while and then it stuck me – I new the game industry accumulate enormous pile of money, but lately it has became ubiquitous and keeps growing, engulfing new gamers in its nets.

Game industry evolved with the evolution of complement equipment – PC, consoles, Youtube (don’t You think that video service played enormous role in it?),  Twitch (another famous video streaming service) etc. Now the market is so big, that it attracts both content consumers and producers easily. Just some facts:

  1. 155 m americans play games
  2. 51% of americans have game console. Not a PC, but game console.
  3. Gamers are young? Laughing in your face: average male – 35, average female – 43.(source: http://www.theesa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ESA-Essential-Facts-2015.pdf)

Industry growth encourages both game producers (EA Sports, Blizzard, Konami etc), but also producers of complement content, namely streamers – PewDiePie makes 12m dollars a year overviewing and streaming games. (source: http://forbes.net.ua/lifestyle/1403890-zvezdy-youtube-ckolko-mozhno-zarabotat-na-videobloge).

But what I’ve become amazed by is the game contests. It’s something truly mind-bogling: Huge orcs stampeding over the venue, Metallica playing US anthem, thousands (literally) acolytes waiting for the final round etc. It becomes gorgeous show, surpassing NBA finals many times.

blizzcon-2013-anaheim-convention-center-outdoor-1   blizzcon-costume-wallpaper-2560x1440513147948464_b0b290cc9b_k

Performance like this make gamers all over the world to stick to their screen with mouths opened is awe. Everyone wants to become a pro player and get an invitation from the Blizzard. Making comparison with Nobel prize, here everything is crystal clear and comprehensive. I don’t want to blame Nobel nominations, but winning a Nobel Prize in an age of 70 for a topic You have been developing for decades (Angus Deaton) or  even sadder story with John Nash – it does not encourage to become a Ph.D. 🙂

Whereas in cyber sport everything is more prosaic: if u kill more enemies, collected more points and completed the quest faster then others – You are “Nobel Prize” winner.

Prize pool? well, it’s fabulous:

  1. Hearthstone – 250 000$
  2. Starcraft – 1.6 m $
  3. Fifa 2015 – 15 m $
  4. Dota2 – 18.5 m $

In conclusion i want to stress out – the industry is bursting and individuals as well as companies pour huge sums of money to soar it even further. What is the effect on players: more interesting projects and chances to participate in tournaments; for streamers: endless opportunity to create content; for scholars: it’s never too late to start playing DOTA 2 🙂

P.S. If You mother tells You to stop playing games, because You would never achieve anything in your life – just give her a link to this blog…

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What are zero rating services and why should you be concerned?

 

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Chris O’brien in his article1 on Venturebeat quotes, “In the race between Google and Facebook over global connectivity, everyone is winning” but is this really true and if it is, at what cost?

Continue reading

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The dangerous power of Internet of Things

The Internet of things should be understood as a kind of ecosystem, in which devices communicate with each other using the network, e.g. a home network or the Internet. This type of solution can be used for instance in intelligent houses, in kitchen appliances, at airports or in shops. IoT can be used for remote control of home heating, it enables fridge to order food and it makes your irrigation water your lawn automatically, if in the weather forecast for the next few days there is no rain.

At first glance it seems to be to a huge benefit for consumers, which is confirmed by the increasing popularity of this technology. The IAB report published last month shows (available for download http://iab.org.pl/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Raport-Internet-Rzeczy-w-Polsce.pdf) that 40% of the respondents declared they owned devices using IoT and 50% said they desired to have such devices in the future.

However, I would like to point out that what was designed to be a convenience for all of us, can become our curse. Taking into account advances in technology, IoT will be using more and more sensors, cameras and data, which, together with Big Data, will allow better and more precise customer profiling as well as algorithm creation. Such actions are already taking place e.g. a few years ago American retail chain called “Target” basing on the purchases of a teenager, concluded that she was pregnant. Therefore, they sent her a package of materials related to motherhood. The package was picked up by her father and that is how he found out he was going be a grandfather (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2102859/How-Target-knows-shoppers-pregnant–figured-teen-father-did.html).

That is why I encourage reflecting and being conscious while agreeing to the terms and conditions of services we want to use, because they can take over the control of our lives.

 

WOVE – DIGITAL GOES MATERIAL

We are living in the world of displays. People already have a lot of devices that brings  information to them but it seems that it is still not enough. There are already smartphones, tablets, tv screens, smartwatches, displays in public communication, at hairdressers etc. However this is only the beginnig, because Polyera introduced a prototype of Wove Band with flexible multi-touch screen.

Sales of the first edition is expected in mid-2016. The Wove operating system, Wove OS, is based on Android’s operating system and connects to smartphone by Bluetooth. There is still no information how much it will cost, but probably it will be less than the cheapest Apple Watch option.

 

wove pic

Polyera claims that Wove is just the beginning: “Over the next few years, we will enable the products that people have long wished for, and many they have not yet imagined: where devices are no longer hard, heavy, and cold, but soft, ambient, and organic–where the forms they take and the roles they play become more natural and more human. We’re excited to take you on this journey.” The company is working on a variety of flexible electronics components, such as flexible OLED displays, flexible sensors etc.

It seems that the digital revolution is coming. The main slogan of Wove is ‘digital goes material’ and if it actually does we will soon be facing revolution of digital products. It is already comfortable to have a smartphone or tablet, but it requires this little attention not to be folded or dropped etc. Imagine that now you don’t have to worry about this.

Today it is just the Wove Band, but this technology can be transferred to many products which we use every day. Let’s imagine a bag that women take almost everywhere. Soon it could be a bag and a tablet the same time. What about changing a colour of it? Even clothes could become a display. I am just not sure if I am excited about it or terrified. Will it save our time or still it from us? Anyway, let’s enjoy our current devices because they may soon become antiques.

 

Sources of information:

http://www.polyera.com/

http://www.wove.com/

http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/16/meet-wove-an-e-ink-touchscreen-computer-that-wraps-around-your-arm/

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Advertising on Instagram

instaSome of you might have noticed that recently Instagram allowed its users to advertise. It is great opportunity for businesses that are present in social media, as Insta has over 400 million users, and therefore become one of the world’s biggest mobile advertising platforms.

Here are a few things you should know if you are interested in advertising on Instagram:

1.You can create ads by Facebook Power Editor tool or through Instagram’s Ads API partners, eg. Hootsuite.

In Power Editor you can create ad for Instagram even if you don’t have account there, however:

– ad on Instagram will show your Facebook’s fanpage name and profile photo as your Insta user name, but it’ll be grayed out and won’t be clickable,

– you have no option to answer for comments on your ad.

 

2. There are three types of ads you can create: Image Ads, Video Ads and Carousel Ads.

Image Ads can have 1:1 or 1.9:1 (landscape) image ratio. The caption length is up to 300 characters, however 125 characters are recommended.

There is also Call-to-action button so you can drive traffic directly to your website, not only IG account. You can choose between: Book Now, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Shop Now, Sign Up and Watch More.
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Video Ads also can have square or landscape format, and can last up to 30 seconds! I believe it is great option. I felt like in 15 seconds you can’t say/show too much, but 30 seconds are decent.

Carousel Ads are like Image Ads, but you can have several photos and swipe to see them.

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3. As Instagram is Facebook-owned company it has the same targeting options – meaning very specific!

You can target by age, gender, localization, interests or even create your own Custom Audience. Custom Audience is list of people you already know, for example your clients. Facebook matches list of your customers emails with IG accounts and makes your audience. Then you can also make audience that is similar to your clients.

 

I would also like to show you example of Instagram ad by Maybelline and their results. Maybelline wanted to “raise the profile of eyebrow cosmetics in Australia, increase brand awareness, message association and product sales.”

As Aurelie de Cremiers, Marketing Director of Maybelline New York, said “Women are already using Instagram for beauty advice and inspiration, especially when it comes to new looks and trends. As a visual and creative platform, Instagram allows us to engage authentically with our customers while also profiling our products. It’s a great match for us.”

What were the results? Check it out.

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“By inspiring women to consider eyebrows as part of their daily makeup routine, the campaign drove a 16-point lift in brand awareness of Maybelline Brow Drama, a lift in message association and as part of the brand’s overall media mix, achieved a 2.4x uplift on Maybelline Brow product sales.”

 

What do you think about advertising on Instagram? Would you give it a try for your business? Maybe you have already tried it?

I will definitely try it for my future business purposes, as Instagram has 400 million highly engaged users (this number is constantly growing), and mobile marketing is one of the most important marketing channels.

 

Sources of information and photos:

https://business.instagram.com/advertising/

https://business.instagram.com/?section=casestudies#caseStudies

http://instagram-static.s3.amazonaws.com/case_studies/Instagram%20Maybelline%20Case%20Study%20FINAL.pdf

https://www.facebook.com/business/help/976240832426180

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251651

 

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One more use of Virtual Reality

Video games fans cannot wait until virtual reality becomes widely available and the tech companies have made a point of honor of making their dreams come true. What seemed, until recently, to be possible only in science fiction stories is expected to become a reality by the end of the year. Oculus Rift, vrAse, PlayStation VR, VR Samsung or HTC Vive are already present on market or will enter it any moment to make playing even more attractive.

One more use of HTC Vive was discovered by one of the Valve Corporation employees, who is working with HTC on a virtual reality headset. This time he decided to play a game called LIFE and using goggles to proposed to his girlfriend in a test room in the Valve headquarters. Kelly Tortoorice, the future bride, posted on her Facebook:

So there I was, typical day… on a sunken ship deck; fixing robots; painting three-dimensional fire; walking through the Alps; and then suddenly, a virtual engagement ring started floating my way.

 

vr marriage

Then she took headset off and saw her boyfriend on the knees with a real ring. The fiancée seemed to be positively surprised. Apparently she did not consider the idea of her boyfriend insufficiently romantic, because she said YES.

What will come next? A pair of VR goggles for everyone instead of wedding invitations? The honeymoon without leaving home? What about the wedding night…?

It would be much easier to create your dream wedding in a virtual reality, but still I’m for the traditional one. On the other hand every girl wants to hear: ‘You are so special that I decided to be the first man on Earth to propose a marriage in the Virtual Reality.’

But unfortunately guys, this pick-up line is already taken.

 

Sources: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/10/valve-employee-uses-virtual-reality-to-propose-real-life-marriage/

ww.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153670151235561&set=a.452950420560.229937.636360560&type=3

 

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Don’t mock it – that’s how your next laptop is going to look like

Apple Corporation released its new Macbook early this year and it became a remarkable event. Portable laptops with high resolution displays have been scattered all over the market and apple addicts reasonably have been begging for retina display for airs ever since. But company went further and issued a pretty controversial device. I believe even the laziest dropped some cramps toward this guy. Here I want to express my opinion on the main “controversial” features of new Macbook 2015.

  1. Weak performance. On the main issues turned out to be performance. Mobile processor Intel Core M  is considered slower then many of mobile processors and raised many questions. Graphic chip of old generations should bring poor contribution as well.  Let’s disregards absolute number and turn to experience. Eventually that matters. From my own using I may say I haven’t had any visible problems working with this laptop. By working I mean WORKING 🙂 a bit photoshop, Adobe premiere (yet 4k video is unbearable for this guy. However with lack of options, Macbook 12 can try little by little), browsing, playing games like Hearthstone, multitasking (like playing, then browsing, then playing again). I could heat it up to 60 degrees Celsius – so believe, I am not merciful user:)  So in the end of the day I can admit – this laptop fits perfectly for my daily tasks. Don’t rely on its power for hard editing or playing  – be realistic. But for 95% normal (not geek gamers) – Macbook 12 delivers enough performance.maxresdefault
  2. USB Type C. Ok, I agree…I was stunned quite a while. However it requires double considering. How often do we use our USB nowadays in comparison with what had been lately, say, 5 years ago? I believe more seldom, right? And this is the point – we are moving away from wires and USBs. Pen drives? – cloud storage. Additional periphery (big monitors, projectors, mouses, keyboards etc) – look for macbook pro. Charge a phone – come on…. Keep in mind that Type C is going to be evolved and included in other devices. And after all, someone has to be a trailblazer, so let it be Apple and this gorgeous laptop.apple-watch-event-2015-0176
  3. Price. The cheapest model costs 1299$ what caused waves of embarrassment and blaming Apple’s policy. But if we go back to 2008 and check its price tag – the price for macbook 2015 would not have seemed to high. I believe we must give a company a time to settle things down. Next generations will have more optimised and balanced price I am assured.

In the end let’s make thing clear: I have no intention to sell You the new Macbook. What I want to say is that You have to touch it, use it for a while and then make up your own objective opinion. But I am convinced, whether You like it or despise it, don’t tease it to harsh because your future laptops will look like New Macbook.

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Free to read! *Charges may apply*


Put your hand in your pocket. Dig around. What did you find? A few coins? A paper? Or did you find a Smartphone? Yes. I bet you did. Now as you unlock your phone what is the first thing that your eyes see? You will say: “Just a bunch of apps”. Perfect. Now as well, its more than likely that you did not pay for this “Free” application. Because as the economist Milton Friedman said: “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” But one might think: “I just downloaded this application for free. How can they make money off me?”
Well that is a slippery question that has many answers to it. However this time I will focus on one, that is the ever growing gaming app industry. The Mobile Video Game Industry is set to make $30.3 billion dollars worldwide. The big name gaming apps that are generating this revenue are free-to-play. Some of these are Angry Birds, Clash of Clans, Temple Run, Candy Crush Saga, and Fallout Shelter just to name a few.
However the most interesting and lucrative part is how low cost these applications are to make. An application can cost to make between $10,000 to $250,000. One might say that is a high cost for a free to play application. However to create the average video game console/pc can cost between $1,000,000 to $140,000,000. That is a large sum and risk for the developer to take. As well for the consumer its a hefty tag to pay with the average game costing $60. This is why its becoming more intriguing, for big name video game companies to start creating free-to-play applications. Bethesda, the video game developer that has created iconic games like Skyrim (one of the highest selling games of all time) and Fallout, created a free-to-play application called Fallout Shelter. Within the first two weeks it made $5.1 million dollars, this game was created as form to advertise their upcoming game Fallout 4. But they might have stumbled within their actual cash cow with this free-to-play game, that will probably out gross the product that they were marketing for. Another highly addictive and revenue generating juggernaut is Candy Crush Saga. In 2014 they generated $1.5 billion dollars for a game that is just entering is third year of existence.
I wont give you any further examples since you know where this trend is going. Free-to-play apps make money. But how? Well through many different ways. One is in game purchases. The application offers you to shorten wait time, an extra life, an outfit, a character, more resources, pretty much anything in which the game revolves around. However they do this in a clever way. At the beginning they give you a few “tokens” in which you normally would pay, then they show you how they can be used during a “tutorial” and show you how advantageous it can be. So after playing the game a few times, the difficulty level starts going on an incline. Then eventually you are forced to either wait for your waiting time to end, or gain more life….but if you don’t want to wait, then you can pay.
Developers play with the addictive qualities of these games and smartphones to keep trying to fish for the money from your bank account. One might want to deny that these free-to-play games are going to go away but the forecast portrays that by 2018 mobile gaming will generate $45 billion dollars.
As you see this is the present and the future that is implemented into smartphones. But are you willing to get with the times, so you can spend your valuable time and money on a pointless application?
I’ll let you decide. I am gonna go read a book off my Kindle app…..wait….
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Hacking, a new issue for insurance companies

Every year hackers are responsible for enormous losses in companies. No matter where the company is located, cyber-attacks can occur. This problem is not something new and has existed for the past 10 years. Nevertheless it is a growing phenomenon because of the ubiquitous nature of the Internet, which is present in almost every household and company in the Western world.

 

The lack of security presents opportunities for cyber attackers to penetrate your company and steel sensitive information’s. For this reason I invite you to read this article : 5 tips to protect your business from Hackers.

 

To measure the amplitude of those attacks, here are some major breaches occurring in this century:

 

  • In December 2006: Albert Gonzalez and 11 other hackers, has broken the security system of tjx companies (American apparel and home goods company). Tjx networks were not protected by any firewalls, which resulted in the exposure of 94 million credit cards.
  • April 20, 2011: 77 million Playstation networks have been hacked, additionally 12 million credit cards were unencrypted. Sony has suffered enormously after this attack as the site was shut down for a month.
  • July 2011: Estsoft a South Korean software developer has been the victim of the biggest theft of information of South Korea. This resulted in 35 million Koreans being exposed, which is the majority of the population. A lot of information has been stolen from millions of users, among others: birthdates, ID numbers, addresses etc.

 

The list of major breaches is longer and is growing every year (lien).

 

The problem faced by insurance companies does not lie in the providing of insurance for big enterprises but in the capacity of covering the total amount of losses in certain cases. For the most serious hikes, insurance increase deductibles but in some situations limit the refund to 100 millions of dollars, which means that sometimes only half of losses are covered or even less.

For companies that already experience some breaks, the renewal of their insurance costs them, in some cases, 3 times more than at the beginning.

 

However, these problems also offer new opportunities for insurers. Even if the level refunded by insurance corporations is often lower than the real loss caused by hacker attacks; those major events underline the importance of having protection.

As the demand for protection is rising, insurers raise their prices. According to pwc during next 5 years prices for cyber insurance market will rise to 7,5 billion dollars in US.

More here

 

The real problem is that while prices are skyrocketing, the insurance will not increase the security. Furthermore most policies will not work due to the lack of security. Perhaps companies should increase their preventive measures in order to avoid further attacks.

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Dislike button

 

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I would like to comment on rumors about the introduction by facebook. “‘Dislike button’ ‘supported by some sources with a comparable level of credibility to the” Fakt “. Zuckerberg clearly and explicitly said (and this is already at 3 minutes Q & A) that there will not be ‘dislike button’ but only there will be a tool  to demonstrate empathy in situations where ‘like’ is inappropriate, Ex. When someone set status on the sad events like death to allow users to show that they are with you and understands you in a simple way (without commenting or writing a private message) when you ‘like’ is not in place. More importantly, he said that this tool is not designed for offensive or cell to make someone upset so I guess quite clear is that this tool has little in common with ‘disliking’. Another example of how the media manipulate extremely truth and for those who share something popular on Facebook without thinking anything else it come across on FB proposes to seek the truth sometimes at source. I would recommend to hear the initial 6  minutes to understand Mark Zukenberg vision.

This is the link to Q & A https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwbVnDXA-Is

Additionally I would like to knew what are thinking about future education platform on facebook?

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