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Nikon Small World: Art, passion, and brilliance in microscopic lens

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Nikon’s International Small World competition was first held on 1975 and until now, the competition continues to flourish due to its success. This competition applauds the effort and excellence of individuals involved in micro-photography, using light microscopes and special lenses. After its early success, the science community and its organizers made the right decision to showcase and continue this magnificent event benefiting the talents and art enthusiasts of photomicrographs. The images captured for this event are from different arrays of scientific disciplines.

What is a Photomicrograph?

It is a technical image that is critically important to science and other industries. A good photomicrograph is considered as an image, whose content, color, structure and composition, is an object of beauty and is open only to quite a few levels of intellectual capacity and appreciation. A combination of artistic presentation and appreciation will create a masterpiece that will showcase the fantasy world of an microscopic organism.

What is the competition all about?

The Nikon Small World Competition is open to anyone who has a passion in the field of photography and wants to showcase their photographic masterpieces. This competition is well-known in different countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, the United States, Africa, Latin America and Canada. Nikon Small World gets their entries from their participants around the globe.

The subject matter is not restricted. The competition only has one criteria: images should be captured by a “light microscopy” and the participants can use any kinds of technique that is suitable particularly interference contrast, deconvolution, mixed techniques, phase contrast, dark field, polarized light, fluorescence and confocal. The entries submitted to Nikon are then arbitrated by an independent body of panelist that is an expert of a certain field and highly recognized by the authorities in the area of photography and photomicrography. The winning factor is based on the visual impact, originality, informational content and technical proficiency.

What is in store for the winners?

The first prize will get a decent amount of $3,000 toward the purchase of Nikon equipment. Other winners will receive one of 20 prizes that is sorted according to rank in the competition.

What to expect in a Nikon Small World Gallery?

The Nikon Small World Gallery gives you an artistic view of a world that is explored only through microscopic lens – it is an experience that you shouldn’t miss. The entries that you’ll going to see in the gallery are the winning entries from 1977 up to the present.

Tour exhibit schedules

Every year, the top 20 prize-winners are being exhibited at a various science centers and museums throughout Canada and the United States. Most of the winning images are also being featured on the covers of respected industrial and scientific journals.

More than 2,000 entries from different photographers in 83 countries vie for this year’s title. Nikon said “To select the winners, competition judges analyzed entries from all over the world covering subjects ranging from chemical compounds to up-close-and-personal looks at biological specimens.”

Here are the top 10 photos to captivate Nikon’s Small World 2015 competition:

10. The live clam shrimp

The live clam shrimp

A photo of live clam shrimp captured by Ian Gardiner from Calgary, Alberta in Canada shows the wonders of life absent on the human’s naked eye.

9. Young buds of a flowering plant

Young buds of a flowering plant

Dr. Nathanael Prunet of California Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College, Department of Biology made this captivating shot of the young buds of a flowering plant, Arabidopsis. The photo was taken under a magnification of 40x.

8. The ear of a mouse

The ear of a mouse

Confocal microscopy was used by Tomoko Yamazaki of National Institutes of Health to make this leaf-like image of a mouse’s nerves and blood vessels in its ears. The image was taken in a magnification of 10x.

7. Starfish

Starfish

Evan Darling of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York was able to unleash the inner beauty of an ordinary starfish after taking this snap under 10x magnification using the technique of confocal microscopy.

6. A moss’ spore capsule

A moss’ spore capsule

Though this microscopic shot of a moss’ spore capsule might remind us of giant sandworms from sci-fi writer Frank Herbert’s “Dune”, Henri Koskinen of Helsinki, Finland assured us that this organism is completely harmless especially since he’s able to snap a photo of it in its full glory.

5. The brain of a mouse

The brain of a mouse

An expertise in neurology seems to be needed for this photo as Dr. Rakesh K. Jain and Dr. Giorgo Seano took a snap of this live imaging of perfused vasculature of a mouse’s brain with glioblastoma. This wonderful image was taken at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology in Boston.

4. A lab-grown human mammary organ

A lab-grown human mammary organ

Daniel H. Miller and Ethan S. Sokol were photographed a lab-grown human mammary gland organoid, which is their main research subject. The image was taken at their workplace, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Growing organs is one of the next envisioned breakthroughs of humanity.

3. The humped bladderwort – a carnivore plant

The humped bladderwort

Dr. Igor Siwanowicz showed the entrance of a carnivorous plant called humped bladderwort in 100x magnification. Nikon said that “The bladderwort’s trap is one of the most, if not the most, sophisticated plant organs in existence.” The freshwater plant was photographed at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Research Campus, Leonardo Lab in Ashburn, Virginia.

2. The colon of a mouse

The colon of a mouse

A photograph of a mouse colon took the second best spot in this year’s competition. KC Huang, Kristen Earle, Justin Sonnenburg and Gabriel Billings took a picture of a mouse colon which was occupied by human bacteria, under a 63x magnification using a polarized light.

1. The eye of a bee

The eye of a bee

Ralph Claus Grimm took home the crown as his close-up photo of a bee’s eye covered in dandelion pollen grains, which in term really captured the judges’ eyes. Ralph made the photo under 120x magnification using reflected light. The photo seemed to be destined for the title as Nikon said that “The aim of this image is to communicate to the viewer through the eye of a bee how intricate and beautiful nature is and that we are living in a super-busy high-tech world where an increasing number of people are losing their human identity in a steady decline of art as an important part of our society.”

Nikon’s Small World proves that our planet has so much to offer, even though we are not able to see it with just one look. What do you think?

Google: Conventional computer is no match for our quantum computer

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This month, Google made a big announcement about their latest machine, “The Quantum Computer”. This device is the fastest computer in the world with 100 million times faster speed than today’s generations of computers (PC). This will be a big leap in all industrial fields because not only this project can enhance the whole human informational system, but it can also revolutionize and change technologies where ultra-computing is vital.

Quantum Machine

Let us start with the basic. What is quantum computing?

A quantum computer taps directly into the fundamental fabric of reality – the strange and counter-intuitive world of quantum mechanics” – D-wave

The computer is using a quantum bit and replaced the traditional “bit system” that is commonly used in digital communication. A quantum bit or qubits exist in a state of superposition, which can process both state of 0 and 1 (binary) at the same time unlike with traditional computer, binary instructions were processed one at a time.

This significant advantage brought by the qubit system can be easily capitalized because it can accept computing challenges that are beyond the reach of current conventional systems. This breakthrough can further enhance space travel exploration, medical research in gene therapy, artificial intelligence and a lot more.

Quantum annealing can offer run-time advantages for hard optimization problems characterized by rugged energy landscapes.

Hartmut Neven, the director of the Engineering Department, explains that for problems more than 1000 binary variables, quantum computing does a much better job than classic computing. Quantum computers where simulated on conventional processors, but compared to these, new the quantum hardware still works 108 times faster.

Who started this revolution?

Quantum-Computer

Quantum computing was first theorized by a physicist named Richard Freyman in 1982. He foreseen the emergence of computers which use a quantum bit system. The promising views of Freyman are currently happening when a new era of ultra-powered computers are built to enhance our living.

When this project happened?

A company called D-wave, based in Canada, is the pioneer on this field. Google was able to provide partnership to help them in their research and development. Actually, D-wave didn’t build a quantum computing rig; instead they built a system that can simulate a quantum annealer.

Quantum annealer is a higher-level procedure used for finding some global extrema (maximum and minimum) of any given objective function, over a prearranged candidate solution by a process called quantum fluctuations. If you wish to know more about quantum annealing additional information can be found here:

D-wave System: The quest for more qubits

D-wave started this project way back in April 2003 where they successfully completed the first quantum annealer that has a 1 qubit processor. In March 2004, a 2 qubit quantum annealer is completed and eventually doubled its power every year. This year, a 1000 qubit processor named “D-wave 2x” is released to the public and was able to get a deal with NASA. The federal agency wants to install a D-Wave 2X system in their supercomputer laboratory located in Silver Valley, Idaho USA for research and testing purposes.

D-wave 2x system benchmarking

After testing the D-wave 2x System, astounding result struck their research and development team. Here’s how it performed:

1. The D-Wave 2X near-optimal solutions is up to 15x faster than the conventional solvers using total time measurements.

2. The D-Wave 2X optimal test results shows a near-optimal solution in the middle of 2 to 600 times faster processing speed depending on its load or input. The comparison test also uses the quantum anneal time of the D-Wave processor.

3. Technically, the variance between “optimal” and “near-optimal” is quite small, which is usually less than one percent. The D-Wave 2X is up to 100x faster at finding good near-optimal solutions than optimal solutions.

4. The utmost performance benefit for the D-Wave 2X compared to its test competitor, the software solvers, are detected on their inputs that has more interesting structures rather than simple random cases that have been the major focus on its previous performance tests. Meaning, D-Wave 2X’s hardware is showcasing its finest performance against the software solvers on hard problem occurrences.

D-Wave System raised up a $29 million investment bonds this January. The company didn’t disclose its major investors’ information. Their previous investors are Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Goldman Sachs.

Despite the success of D-wave, there are a lot of rumors and arguments buzzing around, saying that the company does not represent a true quantum computing system though the test results showed a valid evidence of entanglement. This only means that the test result is a manifestation of a quantum computer. The main function of this computer is for solving optimization problems, but it can’t be used for a general computing for now.

Recent major purchases are from technology giants such as Google, NASA and Lockheed Martin, a well-known defense contractor of US Defense Department developing new technologies for military hardware.

Quantum Computer

How much would it cost for a full Quantum Computer system installation?

The whole package of the system’s installation is a whopping $15 million which includes a specialist’s service fee for installing the system. If you were Bill Gates, would you buy a quantum system?

Our today’s advancement in technology brought better gadgets, machines and tools to improve our lives. However, everything has a price. As the features go higher, so do the costs. Unlike others, we see these technology improvements as long term investments. Since our world is running in a faster speed, there is a higher chance that these investments won’t stay up for long. As people keep on finding ways to build better and faster technology, would you take that leap of investing millions for a quantum system? Sound it in the comments!

Nokia Ozo – A camera that defines a new form of art and cinematic experience

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Nokia OZOIt has been tough time for Nokia after losing the battle for smartphones. Technology giant Microsoft acquired Nokia in 2014 promising that Nokia will get back on track. Nokia now returned with a new product – the Nokia OZO 360-degree VR camera. This will be Nokia’s first product launch in the VR industry. Nokia’s OZO camera can capture stereoscopic 3D videos of the real world and it is capable of real-time 3D viewing using the virtual reality headset.

Nokia’s President, Mr. Ramzi Haidamus is talking about the dawn of a new era, where new technologies will transform the way people connect and share stories, events, and other interesting stuff.

This month, the release of OZO made a momentum for Nokia and it struck the enthusiasm of the community. Nokia gave birth to a professional camera that will capture moments unlike any other, and will let you share them everyone. The camera is built and designed for professional content creators, and proves its worth based on its price tag. The VR camera is being sold for a cool $60,000. You can also purchase a specialized docking station with accessories for $1,500. – Yes, the price is high but continue reading and you’ll know its worth it.

Nokia’s “connecting people” spirit is their foundation in creating a concept and implementing it to this project. The concept of the virtual camera emerged at the early stages of implementation, and continued through research and development. The engineering team encountered big challenges primarily on how they can address the heating problem of the 8 cameras. After several prototypes and tests, they came up with a design that enhances consistent airflow, keeping the core of the cameras cool and allowing it to solve the heating issues.

Haidamus also explained the purpose of the OZO, which is mostly destined to professional creators which are working in the field of virtual reality. The market is still in developments, but I would expect a great demand from several universities and research centers.

OZO 3

OZO has a 360-degree field of view, and can easily record videos, being equipped with eight high resolution optical image sensors that can shoot 2000 x 2000 of resolution capturing an entire sphere of the scene. Each camera lens covers a 195-degree field of view. They allow it to slightly overlap from one view to the next, to improve its performance and make clearer video recordings. It also has eight microphones that can record a four-dimensional audio. The recorded audio and video will be stored in a 500GB solid state drive. It can shoot a full HD video for approximately 45 minutes. The Ozo’s sensors let the camera collect the data in seconds, data which is then transmitted to a VR headset, allowing the users to view the streaming. The VR headset will now do its job by letting the user experience the live video. Imagine yourself using the VR headset and experiencing the recorded world. You may be exploring a virgin forest, top of the hill or watching a lovely sun set. What do you think?

The release of OZO made a huge comeback for the company. Nokia always lived on its code creating and innovating design to its simplest form and outperforms the rest in that field.

Nokia’s current project is also a big step in helping film makers revolutionize the art of film making. OZO’s distinctive innovation marks the new age of virtual reality that we will surely experience it in our houses in the future at a cheaper price.

Nokia OZO full specification:

These are the technical specification of OZO that will help you decide if it’s worth a try. For the video part, the sensor features Progressive Scan with Global Shutter. Films can start at 20″ minimum distance. The interoptic distance has an effective max. 86 mm / 3.4″. Each lens has 195 degrees FOV. The relative aperture is f/2.4. The omnidirectional microphone as a 360 x 360 degrees area coverage, measuring up to 120dB max SPL. The output is a MOV file wrapped in OZO Virtual Reality with 8Ch raw Video and 8Ch PCM Audio. The camera comes with a cool 500GB, Solid State Media drive which can store up to 45 minutes of continuous recording. The device an output via 3G-SDI SMPTE 242M, DIN connector. The captured frame rate is 30.00 fps, and the rechargeable batteries are built from Li-Ion.

You can control the OZO via a remote OSX application or via 802.11 Wifi. The OZO also comes with a proprietary OSX application called the OZO Creator Application. Images can also be sent to HDMI. The unit weights 9.3 lbs., including the battery. The weight is not that high because the case is made out of milled Aluminum alloy. It measures 10.4 x 6.7 x 6.3″ (264 x 170 x 160mm). It is certifies CE and FCC, it operates temperatures higher than +32F (0C), but not as high as +77F (+25C).

Sony PlayStation VR – revolutionizing the multimedia and gaming world

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Console gaming started with 1967 and made its way up to the present, hugely influencing along the way the way people play computer games. From the legendary 8bit system and now the superb 3D & 4D graphics made, our gaming fantasies are closer to reality. With the constant innovation in technology, the hardware also upgraded. Today, the coolest thing that we’ll experience is the transformation of games from the usual console gaming to the dawn of the most awaited virtual reality revolution. The rise of the virtual reality world is here and it will surely blow our minds.

PlayStation VR: The whole shebang!

Sony PlayStation VRPlayStation complements their console flagship, the PlayStation 4, with a Virtual Reality (VR) headset which was called “Project Morpheus” on its early development stage, last September. The name didn’t quite make a punch for their marketing team because it’s a bit harder to spell, so they have decided to change it to “PlayStation VR”. If it isn’t cool enough for you, please share a better name for this project on the comments below.

Unfortunately, The PlayStation VR is only compatible with the latest PlayStation 4 – No luck for your old PS3. Sorry, folks!

The expected release date should be next year 2016 but Sony’s PlayStation didn’t make any announcement when exactly this huge project will be released. They would have really crushed this Christmas if they would have released it today!

Technology analyst says that the expected price range will be $400 if PlayStation will sell more units. They also predicted that there’s a big possibility you’ll get a bundled PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR for about $700.

PlayStation’s main contenders are “Oculus Rift” and HTC’s “Vive” that made a partnership with Valve to develop new innovations in the virtual reality industry.

The viewing experience

The PlayStation VR’s wide view screening is capable of rendering a top resolution of 1920×1080 pixel multimedia without dropping of frame rates. It has a 5.7-inch OLED display that can provide an equal of 960×1080 pixels per eye and which offers a wide field of view (about 100 degrees). The maximum refresh rate is 120 fps – A beast, indeed!

Super low latency

Low latency is vital for a superb VR experience; PlayStation manage to reduced its latency to a nearly less than 18ms, that is half of its prototype predecessor. This benefits the user to deliver comfort and a sense of presence to a player. In contrast, higher latencies would make you really sick in a very short amount of time, so kudos for Sony on this matter.

PSVR’s Social Screening feature refers to the ability to output to a supported television. This feature allows other gamers to view the gameplay experience and it also allows other people to join game servers, even though they are not wearing the VR headset. However, you’ll need a compatible title to make this work.

The PSVR’s cool controllers

The usual PlayStation 4 is equipped with a dual shock 4 Controller while its PSVR uses a PlayStation motion detection camera with sensor that detects movement from the headset’s 9 LED lights. The lights are strategically placed beside the 5.7-inch OLED display for efficient movement detection and orientation. The Sony’s acquisition of 3D gesture recognition expert SoftKinetic will make a way to further improve PSVR’s features in the future. There’s a big possibility that the next version of PSVRs are capable of gesture recognition and detection feature.

Connectivity

Currently, the PlayStation VR is wired to the PlayStation 4 using a hub that has ports for HDMI to help outputting its display on a television. If you are disappointed with this, then this will be a big change. The developers of PSVR mentioned about their future plans to develop a more convenient connectivity solution for the PS4 and PSVR. The development and planning phase for its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity is underway and theoretically possible to be implemented starting with 2016.

What about the comfort rating of PlayStation VR?

Testers were amazed because the headset is very comfortable and they are loving it. “It’s easy to put on and take off, even if you wear glasses, and weight distribution is excellent.” – Zahra.

The incredibly high definition viewing experience at 120 fps refresh rate gives it a clear and crisp viewing experience. Also, the HD viewing experience will lessen the possibility of a user to suffer from motion sickness. However, a medical expert says there’s still a small chance for a user to suffer from motion sickness from PSVR.

Games from all over the world are excited to have this cool innovation. Some are even practicing the Virtual Reality experience on similar devices that are available in the current market, to help them prepare for the awaited moment, to get used to the VR world.

A small piece of advice though: too much VR experience may lead to problems like tiredness and nausea. Rule one before jumping into the fray – limit your VR exposure or you’ll be sorry.

Expected game titles that will be distributed on the PlayStation VR

These games are in the genre of sports simulators, space shooters, puzzle and experiential cooking. The new batch of games will eventually be added after the release of the PlayStation VR. Here are a few names:

  • Albino Lullaby (Ape Law)
  • Battlezone (Rebellion)
  • Atom Universe (Atom Republic)
  • Bedroom Robots / The Toybox (SCE Japan Studio)
  • Adrift (Three One Zero)
  • The Castle (SCEA R&D)
  • Ark: Survival Evolved (Studio Wildcard)
  • Cult County (Renegade Kid)
  • The Assembly (nDreams)
  • The Deep (SCE London Studio)
  • The Gallery: Six Elements (Cloudhead Games)
  • Harmonix Music VR (Harmonix Music Systems)
  • Joysound VR (SCEE)
  • Playroom VR (SCEE)
  • Jurassic Encounter (Supermassive Games)
  • Untitled (Just Add Water)
  • Paranormal Activity VR (VRwerx)
  • Crystal Rift (Psytec Games)
  • Hyper Void (IN Framez Technology)
  • GNOG (KO-OP)
  • Godling (Solfar Studios)
  • Cyber Danganronpa VR (Spike Chunsoft)
  • The Hum: Abductions (Totwise Studios)
  • Eve Valkyrie (CCP Games)
  • The Idolmaster One For All (Bandai Namco Games)
  • Fated (Frima Studios)
  • Loading Human (Untold Games)
  • Futuridium VR (MixedBag Games)
  • Kitchen (Capcom)
  • Headmaster (Frame Interactive)
  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Steel Crate)
  • Get Even (The Farm 51)
  • The London Heist (SCEE)
  • RIGS (Guerrilla Cambridge)
  • Magic Controller (SCEE)
  • Shadow of the Beast (Heavy Spectrum Ent Labs)
  • Mind: Path to Thalamus (Carlos Coronado)
  • Surgeon Simulator (Bossa Studios)
  • Trackmania Turbo (Ubisoft Nadeo)
  • Nighttime Terror 2 (VR Bits)
  • Hatsune Miku (Sega)
  • Untitled (Beatshapers)
  • VizionEck (VizionEck)
  • Synthesis Universe (Olivier JT)
  • Thief (Eidos Montréal)
  • World of Diving (Vertigo Games)
  • Wayward Sky (Uber Entertainment)
  • Vanguard V (Zero Transform)
  • World War Toons (Reload Studio)
  • War Thunder (Gaijin Entertainment)
  • Omega Agent (Fireproof Games)
  • Pollen (Mindfield Games)
  • Project CARS (Slightly Mad Studios)
  • U.B.E. (Toxic Games)
  • Street Luge (SCEE)
  • Summer Lesson (Bandai Namco Games)
  • Technolust (IRIS VR)
  • SuperHyperCube (Kokoromi)

PlayStation VR contenders

Different innovations and developments in the gaming world have led different gaming companies to come up with new ways on how to bring gaming experience to a whole new level. Many have been introducing virtual reality, some even came up with methods for players to fully immense themselves in the game. As the competition goes tougher, several companies have decided to dive into the battle.

Here are the companies that are competing with Play Station VR in innovating the gaming industry with virtually realistic experiences.

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift, developed by Oculus Virtual Reality, is a head-mounted head set which helps users to fully immense themselves into virtual worlds. Unlike Play Station’s VR head set, Oculus Rift can be used not only in gaming, but also in watching movies or different multimedia materials. When Oculus VR was still an independent company, they had raised $2.5 million for the development of Oculus Rift through a Kickstarter campaign. The rift is described as the “the first really professional PC-based VR headset” with 1080×1200 resolution per eye and 90 Hz refresh rate. A USB stationary IR sensor is dedicated for its positional tracking and usually placed on the user’s desk so it can be used while sitting, walking and standing in the same room. Oculus Rift is set to be released also next year on the first quarter.

HTC Vive

HTC ViveIt is a virtual reality HMD developed by HTC in collaboration with Valve Corporation as part of Valve’s SteamVR Project. HTC Vive has 90 Hz refresh rate and 1080×1200 resolution for each eye. It also has more than 70 sensors with accelerometer and MEMS gyroscope operating in a 15 feet by 15 feet tracking space while being used with “Lighthouse” base station. HTC Vive also has front cameras that identify any steady or moving objects within the room to warn the user of possibly hitting anything as part of their Chaperone Safety system. Due to this feature, the user’s room can be modeled and its settings can be saved.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VRSamsung Gear VR is developed by Samsung Electronics together with Oculus VR. Samsung Galaxy devices such as Note 5 or Galaxy S6/ S6 Edge serve as the Gear VR’s processor and video display. The head set has a dedicated IMU for tracking and can be connected to the device via micro-USB. The IMU used in Gear VR is much more accurate than the IMU being used in smartphones. Samsung Gear VR has buttons and touchpad on the side of the headset as well as sensor to determine whether it is on or not. For a user to play with the Gear VR, his or her supported smartphone must connect first to Oculus app. Samsung has released the Gear VR last 2014 with its 360° view range. The head set has built-in buttons so the user can “navigate through the gear without taking it off” and Samsung developed the headset using data on human’s average facial features to create a more comfortable wearing head set.

Google Cardboard

Google CardboardGoogle Cardboard is a virtual reality device made out of cardboards intended for mobile phones. Google developed the platform to entice developers to venture in VR and VR applications’ development. The headset is developed by Google but there is no known official seller of the device. Also, Google has made the specifications and method of making one available on their website so people can make one by themselves. Basic components of Google Cardboard are, of course, the cardboard, some magnets and 45mm focal length lenses. According to the source, “once the kit is assembled, a smartphone is inserted in the back of the device and held in place by the selected fastening device. A Google Cardboard–compatible app splits the smartphone display image into two, one for each eye, while also applying barrel distortion to each image to counter pincushion distortion from the lenses. The result is a stereoscopic (“3D”) image with a wide field of view.”

Defining the future of gaming – The immersive playgrounds

The Void

It is a Virtual Entertainment Center located in the state of Utah that has a small dedicated team of engineers, designers and enthusiast who built a playground that will let their guests experience the revolution of virtual entertainment. It’s a fun and innovative experience that you won’t get in a tour at Disney World or Universal Studios. This new playground combines the element of virtual reality and physical environment blending them to create a realistic effect of water, wind and heat. The realistic feel will make their virtual reality experience more convincing. Their guests will experience themed environments like jungle, space, and fantasy.

The company plans to expand its business and create additional Virtual Entertainment Center around the world. They want to create another platform that will provide new entertainment hub where people (family and friends) will go to their VECs and enjoy their VR playgrounds – anything is possible inside the Void, the future of VR entertainment which will most likely be a behemoth in industrial success.

Zero Latency

It is a 450 sqm warehouse and home to a virtual reality facility located in Melbourne, Australia that allows a team of six players to inhabit a virtual world that is infested with zombies. Yes, you will encounter herds of zombies that lurk around and will definitely try to eat your brains out. Better bring a friend or family for a better gaming experience – the more the merrier, right?

Zero Latency (ZL) uses the technology of Oculus Rift VR headsets to magnify the VR world to their players and monitored by 129 Sony PlayStation Eye cameras to map the movement of their players in the zombie apocalyptic VR world.

The ZL development team developed their own software that allows those devices to effectively communicate with each other and work together, blending both technology to create the renowned simulated world.

The funding of ZL came from crowdfunding campaigns, investment firms, the state government and from the pockets of their director, Mr. Scott Vandonkelaar. They had been working very hard to make this project a success for more than three years. Their early days were a tough time but they eventually push it through and reaping the success of their hard work today.

The company is planning to open up other virtual-reality facilities soon. Their persistent creativity, innovation and passion will someday open new doors for a world that can simulate surroundings without the use of headsets and backpack computers. For now, Zero Latency is most likely the closest thing that you can come to living (and running, and shooting) in a zombie infested world.

The battle of the fittest: Which mobile carrier offers the best array of services?

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Before this year ends, we decided to make a full review on the current state of the mobile network carriers in the United States. These mobile carriers are gearing-up on providing the best services and wide range mobile plans that can fit in our lifestyles. It has been a great and tight competition because of their commitment on providing the best valued services for the benefit of their company and their subscribers, and for profit of course :).

Mobile Carriers

Several carriers did a great job in upgrading their system by providing additional infrastructures and creating new mobiles plans. This made a huge factor on why the coming year will be great and exciting. As subscribers, we often put in balance our budget and the services that we get. In the near future, all network carriers plan to win market share. But times are hard, and it’s not all about providing the services alone, it’s also about putting the right price for the right type of job.

Which are the best mobile carriers?

After exhaustive research, we’ve came up with the final cut of this year’s top and the list of the best mobile network providers.

1. All hail to the king of wireless networks! – Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless made it on the top of the list this year because of its solid array of services that you can definitely depend on. Although we cannot deny that Verizon Wireless provides the most expensive mobile carrier services, you cannot ignore the fact that they are the only wireless network provider that has strong coverage in most states.

This year is Verizon 2nd year in a row of the best cellular provider. Verizon Wireless provides reliable support services, lowest rate of dropped calls, connectivity that you can always depend on, widest coverage in the metropolitan and rural areas, and offers a high average download speed, which can be enjoyed by subscribers, without experiencing any slow connection due to heavy network traffic.

Verizon’s success is made possible because of its upgrade last year. Its XLTE network boosted its capabilities as a supreme mobile network provider. Also, almost all of its phones are capable of connecting to this high speed mobile network. If you haven’t upgraded your phone, this coming year would be a great experience for you. Experience the lightning speed of their XLTE network.

Verizon Wireless was hugely demanded starting with 2012, and in the beginning there were severe connectivity issues. Their recent infrastructure boosted a huge leap in their operation. They successfully gained back the control of subscribers, keeping a record as the best bet for everyone who wants to experience a decisive download speed.

2. The best valued call and text plans in town is Sprint’s ultimate weapon!

Even though Sprint’s hiccups with its long overdue network upgrade frustrated its subscribers, this year we can finally say that Sprint’s long awaited network improvements has been brought to light. The company made a successful comeback after a great implementation of a vital network upgrade, thus improving their network capabilities and their services. Sprints wireless network speed is shadowing the Verizon and AT&T and it’s still on the 4th place.

Sprint is leading in providing valued services for cellular plans. If you prefer to call and text, then Sprint can be the right choice for you. Sprint’s offers cellular plans are way cheaper than the leading contenders. This is Sprint’s market game, providing a cheaper service yet adding extra value on its call and text plans.

Recently, the company decided to significantly slash rates down and remove some of the Kafka-esque pricing distinctions. This was a big gamble, as Sprint laid its trump cards to win and revolutionize the cellular market industry.

What makes Sprint famous is its pricing. You can get a tier individual plan at $60 which already has unlimited talk time and text. Also, it is already on the LTE wireless network. The downside about their wireless network is it rarely breaks the 10Mbps barrier. If you are not a download junky, then this plan is perfect for playing or viewing most of the multimedia files available online. With the lower price plan, is reasonable to expect several hiccups of internet speed along the way.

3. Performance, great customer support and wide phone selection is AT&T’s forte.

AT&T offers LTE wireless network across most of its wide-ranged networks and recently, they started giving discounts to customers that will bring their own phones upon the application to their services. Their wireless is still shadowing Verizon’s fast and reliable network. However, their network speed is far better than the one of T-Mobile and Sprint, upon testing with a third party test. Their rates are often favors taking traditional handset grant that includes a stingy unlocking services that won’t free your phone until you had finished the contract.

If you don’t like Verizon or T-Mobile, than AT&T is your best choice. However, its expensive plans are not that enticing and cannot compete with the fast and reliable network of Verizon (that’s why it’s on the 3rd spot).

4. Looking for the best mobile plan for family and travel? T-Mobile will prove its worth!

This year is also golden for T-Mobile as their success is measured with the increasing number of their subscribers. T-Mobile is great for international roaming because of their external contracts, which are way cheaper than their contenders. The markdown on their price range made a huge factor considering T-mobile as the best when it comes to international roaming. They offer roaming services in Canada, Mexico and many other countries.

Subscribers can roll over their unused data from their already existing plans, which in turn reflects on their bills on the next month. Also, their subscribers have the freedom of data capping upon using most popular music and video services. On the latter part, they’ll require their subscribers to accept compressed video to further ease their worries exceeding their monthly data limit and avoid additional charges.

T-Mobile also offers a great value family-combo plans that will surely entice you to avail. These family plans will surely cater all your needs. All their contenders offer highly priced family plans that start at $8,000, while T-Mobile offers the cheapest family plan that you can avail for just $5,000, with a holding period contract of two years.

Tip: If you are living in the rural areas or near the major cities then this is not for you. T-Mobile’s network is focused on the metropolitan areas.

5. On a tight budget? Do you need a “pay-for-use” mobile plan? Problem solved with Ting!

Ting is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator which runs under its affiliate partners such as T-Mobile and Sprint, which will solely depend on the mobile network provider’s cellular signal in your area. Meaning, if T-Mobile has a stronger cellular signal and it’s way better than Sprint in your location, then your preferred network will be T-Mobile. Ting is the only mobile provider that offers a “pay for what you use” policy. If you are on a tight budget and you seldom use mobile data, this is the perfect fit for you because your monthly bill will reflect on those metrics.

Another good thing about Ting is their customer support, which is considered as top of the brass because their support team is easy to reach, knowledgeable, attentive and most often, helpful to their subscribers. This is one of the deciding factors which you cannot ignore.

Do most cellular network providers offer a Wi-Fi calling feature?

Yes, however, there are conditions on some mobile providers that should be met before doing any WiFi-Call. Also, it depends on your phone’s specifications.

What is Wi-Fi Calling?

Wifi

Wi-Fi calling lets your phone call a person via a wireless access point (Wi-Fi) that has an internet connection, without using a separate app like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger and other. Basically, the calls made using this method won’t add any additional charges on your upcoming mobile bill. This is convenient in areas which have a limited or a non existent network coverage areas particularly in the basement, office buildings and rural areas. This significantly increased the coverage of the cellular network provider. Also, this can help you save few bucks on your mobile plans, considering today’s numerous public hotspots. Thus, you can call your friends and love ones almost for free.

If you have a Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge you will need a software update, then you will have an option that will let you call on a Wi-Fi network. To activate the feature, you’ll need to turn on the advance calling option from the settings menu. Then, turn on Wi-Fi Calling after setting that up, if the cellular network is poor in a certain area “seamlessly transfer to a known Wi-Fi hotspot when available” according to information released by Verizon.

Is Wi-Fi calling legal?

Yes of course! The federal government and major Telco’s won’t let users use that feature if it’s against the law and prohibited for the general public use.

How major Telco’s define its policy on how to use Wi-Fi calling?

Last December 8, Verizon made a big announcement that they will now allow their subscribers to use the Wi-Fi calling feature. Verizon is the last of the big Telco’s that allowed this feature.

Sprint and T-Mobile offered this on their network since 2014.

AT&T added this service on their iOS products such as iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus and 6s Plus to subscribers since this October. On the other hand, it is available on dozens of Android devices. This is also implemented on the Sprint’s network.

AT&T and Verizon made a clear policy on this feature stating that Wi-Fi calling feature will only be allowed or kicks in when the cellular network is low and will not suffice to make any calls and the user is near a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Verizon and T-Mobile promised that a call switching is possible when you are using 4G LTE network and Wi-Fi network. AT&T and Sprint don’t support such call switching feature.

Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint only allow Wi-Fi calling on US mobile numbers and international calls coming from outside US.

What to consider when choosing the right cellular network provider?

1. Quality and Coverage of network – Cellular providers aren’t covering all areas. You cannot achieve the full quality of your mobile network if you have a low signal in your area. Having high level of signal doesn’t mean that you have the best network coverage. There are other factors that you need to consider. One of this is the wireless network provider’s infrastructure, which is its capacity to handle subscribers in a certain area, grid or quadrant.

2. Service fees – Of course, we are all in favor of a service which is cheap and which provides all the features we need, right? Today, most of the mobile providers offer unlimited talk and text as default on their services. It is included in their plans to entice a subscription. To narrow this out, you will need to compare their services, choose which service is best to fit your needs and choose the service that will not put a huge hole in your pockets. An overview on their processing fees, monthly fees, over all contract price and features offered are a good way to compare and contrast.

3. Boat load of features – Yes, it’s one of the deciding factors that you will need to consider. We all want to have the best cellular plan, but with data plans things are a bit strange. “Unlimited Data” doesn’t also mean high speed. If you reach your data allowance, then they will throttle your wireless network speed. This state will slow your download speed into half or depending on the network provider’s discretion or policy.

4. Mobile Phone Selection – Chose the best mobile phone that suits your daily endeavors. Set a budget and don’t pass it. If you’re an average class guy like me, chose the phone that you need, not the phone that you want.

Zano – Most-funded Kickstarter drone project: A total hoax?

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Crowdfunding can sometimes be dreadful. Imagine seeing a very promising project you see on Kickstarter. You help fund the project and after a few months, you can clearly see that you’ve been duped.

In January 15 2015, over 12,075 backers have paid almost $3.5 million to fund ZANO. ZANO is an ultra-portable drone for aerial photography and HD video captures. ZANO connects directly to your smartphone via WiFi.

Zano drone

Torquing Group, the people behind ZANO, have failed to deliver on their promises and began to ship a “half-baked” product. They claim that the hardware is already future proof and would just need software updates to fulfill its initial goal. The ZANO’s battery life is way poorer than promised. The quality of the photos and the video is nothing to be proud of. So all in all, this product is nowhere near ready.

Sending Zanos out to pre-order customers before backers was a huge mistake in my opinion“, one backer said.

Sending to pre-orders seems to show a lack of respect to backers and Kickstarter in general“, other replied.

The project then was trashed and the backers were crying foul over the decision and asked for the liquidation of the money. People were claiming that the funds were misused.

We strongly refute any allegations made that may suggest that the board of directors have misappropriated any funds,” the company’s representatives stated immediately after the things escalated. Torquing posted an update on how the funds were divided but were still dodgy on how much money has been spent.

The company also posted the following: “We would like to make a sincere apology for the understandable disappointment felt by all of those that have supported the project“.

The backers requested the ZANO unit, although it is not finished. So far, Torquing has not discussed those requests.

It’s unfortunate that these things have to happen. Sadly, ZANO’s case isn’t the first one and won’t be the last one. The Eye3 project, a DIY drone, was a more in-your-face hoax than ZANO. The Eye3 package that the backers received contained pieces from cheap 3rd party components. Clearly, not worth the $2,500 price tag it was asking for.

You may be asking yourself, why crowdfund in the first place?

Well, I would say that projects that get funded are mostly due to affinity. You see something you like, or an idea you once had, come to fruition and it gets you excited. Naturally, you want that to succeed and want it enough to make sure you have it at the soonest most possible time.

Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology can be crowdfunded. Things like Pebble Time and Ouya have been from very successful crowdfunding projects. So, it’s not that all bad. You can’t blame the backers for not wanting the idea/product because the hook gets to you. It’s a risk most backers are willing to take.

IMO Kickstarter also has its blame share. Given the considerable size of the project, they should have investigated how things evolved, and maybe ask for monthly reports on the state of the product. Last but not least, they should have considered an escrow deal type. Funds should have been released systematically, not in a full lump sum.

Arm yourself with a heavy arsenal of the coolest Star Wars facts

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We all know it: the fans of this most-awaited movie franchise are going to experience the awakening of the force few weeks from now. So here’s a collection of the coolest facts that will surely make a geeky character out of you – experience the joy of being an avid star wars fan (or at least, trick your friends to think you’re one of them)!

The reunion

The latest franchise of the Star Wars film “The Force Awakens” made a big part in reuniting the original cast that includes Mark Hamill as “Luke Skywalker”, Carrie Fisher as “Princess Leia”, Harrison Ford as “Han Solo”, Peter Mayhew as “Chewbacca” and Anthony Daniels as “C-3PO”.

R2-D2Did you miss R2D2?

The adorable droid R2D2 will also be returning in this movie franchise.

New characters and droids

You will learn about the interesting story of Daisy Ridley as “Rey” a scavenger of ship parts, John Boyega as “Finn” a stormtrooper and Oscar Isaac portraying the role of “Poe Dameron” an X-wing pilot.

You’ll soon know about the newest droid character named BB-8, a little droid that rolls like a soccer ball and it has a disc-like headpiece that doesn’t move at all.

Kylo RenWho’s the Villain?

Apparently, a character named “Kylo Ren” is the villain of this episode. He is affiliated with the Knights of the Ren and the First Order.

The first Project after acquisition

Star Wars “The Force Awakens” is the first film that ever produced after the successful acquisition of Lucas Film by Walt Disney. They acquired Lucas Film for $4 billion in 2012.

The third franchise

Star Wars “The Force Awakens” is the third franchise of the film which George Lucas did not personally directed.

Origin

The renowned creator George Lucas got the non-English language from variety of sources such as the Sanskrit word “warrior” which became the name of master “Yoda”. The Dutch word for father is used to call “Darth Vader”.

The funny and clumsy “Jar Jar” won’t be around if it wasn’t from George Lucas’s son because he kept on saying those words when his still a little kid.

The chanting of the “Duel Of the Fates” is originated from a 13th Century Welsh manuscript where John Williams translated the lines “Under the tongue root a fight most dread, and another raging, behind in the head”

Maul me not?

In the entire film, Darth Maul only speaks three of his lines. The actor Benicio Del Toro was not happy with his role because the creator removed most of the character’s lines from the film. Del Toro was later dropped for good, being replaced by Ray Park.

The idea of the double-ended light saber of the Darth Maul was picked up from a comic-book series entitled “Tales of The Jedi: The Sith War”.

WookieThe one and only Wookiee!

George met Peter Mayhew in a hospital in Yorkshire and worked as an orderly. He is a 7’2″ Englishman that struck George Lucas and made him decide that he is the perfect fit for the Wookiee role – Yes, size does matter sometimes!

The word “Wookiee” came up from a voiceover work on THD 1138 by Terry McGovern. He said “I think I ran over a wookie back there.” George liked it very much and noted the word; thus the character Wookiee was born.

Spielberg, you’re my Jedi!

Steven Spielberg is Lucas’ primary choice to direct the franchise of “The Return of The Jedi.” Unfortunately, Spielberg was a member of the Director’s Guild which didn’t allow him to get the project because George Lucas left the guild on bad terms.

Due to Lucas’ determination on convincing Spielberg on his massive project, the Episode III franchise, the famed Spielberg said “Yes” and helped him with a certain sequence which gave birth to the epic battle of the lightsaber between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Spielberg’s experience with modern visuals effects from the “War of the Worlds” complements the scene like butter and bread.

Motherload!

Harrison Ford was paid a $10,000 talent fee after a successful portrayal of a major role in the Star Wars 4th episode “A New Hope.”

Special Effects

The launch of Episode III made a huge change on the franchise tracks because the creator of Star Wars became dependent on the visual effects hoping to exceed the effects used in Episode I and II. A total of 2,200 digital effects were used to bring the epic movie to life.

Despite the use of the modern special effects, Episode III didn’t receive any Best Visual Effects nomination on the Oscars, unlike its New Hope which uses only 350 visual effects.

Tatooine shoot

The buildings that had been constructed for this scenic shot are still standing somewhere in Tunisia. Several buildings were already used by the locals for local businesses.

Master Unknown?

Master Yoda’s specie had never been named by the creator.

Cameo

Famous boy band “N’ Sync” made a cameo appearance in the Star Wars episode II “Attack of the Clones” to quiet down the daughter of George Lucas. The scene was deleted after editing the final version of the film.

We’ve all been waiting for the seventh installment of Star Wars Saga and everyone’s going nuts as it’ll be shown in theaters in less than two weeks. Are you with the force?

Amazon Prime: What Is It And How Does It Work

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Amazon has been offering online shopping for many years now. With the advanced technology, there is now a better and easier way of buying products and services through Amazon. This is made possible by the Amazon Prime.

What is Amazon Prime?

In simple terms, it is a subscription service that is primarily offered to limit and get rid of the shipping costs on the purchases made on Amazon. The service is paid for, and it comes with a free trial of 30 days, then a yearly fee of $99. Once you sign up, and buy the service, you will become a member.

Currently, Amazon ships orders that are over $35 for free. This applies to the low-priority shipping service that will take between seven to ten days to get the order delivered. With the Prime services, you will get free shipping that will take only two days. You can also enjoy an overnight shipping for as little as $3.99 for every order. Other than the shipping costs, Amazon announced that it will add free media streaming of TV shows ad moves to the Prime subscribers.

What is included in the Prime kit?

The Amazon Prime service will come with different features that are designed to benefit the members. The package entails the following;

  • Free shipping for two days, which is on qualified items that has no minimum order balance. Same-day delivery is available in fourteen metro areas and applies to orders that are above $35. There is also the Prime Pantry Delivery that is meant for the heavy and bulky items, which costs a flat rate of $5.99.
  • Amazon Household. This one allows you to share the Prime benefits with an adult, along with a maximum of four children.
  • Prime Now App. This app lets you enjoy delivery within an hour in specified metro areas. When you make your first order, you may get $20 off, if the order is above $50.
  • Prime Photos. This one allows you to save unlimited photos on the Amazon Cloud Drive, and there is an extra 5GB storage for other files.
  • You are also free to borrow one free Kindle Book every month. This is available from a collection of over 350,000 books.
  • Amazon Mom. This one is available for discounts on the product subscriptions like baby wipes. It is a great feature for the new caretakers or parents. You will also get a 20% discount on the subscriptions on diapers. You can share these benefits with your Amazon Household members.

These are the most common features that you would expect to get from the Amazon Prime. So if you are a member, you can be sure of enjoying more of the features, along with their benefits.

How much will it cost you?

As mentioned, you would expect to pay about $99 every year for the Amazon Prime membership. With the amazing savings it has on the shipping costs, this product is considered a great option. If you are a frequent shopper, you can be sure of enjoying this service. On the side of the video services, Amazon Price is almost of the same price a Hulu Plus and Netflix. The Prime video subscription will need to be paid up front, which will be available for the whole year. The good thing about Prime is that you can access some Hulu shows for free. Nonetheless, you might not watch the complete season.

Another thing about Prime is that you get 30 free days for trying it. You can also cancel the free trial whenever you want to. Even with the free trial, you still get to enjoy the Prime Day, which is an annual celebration of Amazon.

What is the Amazon Household?

This is a feature that entails two adults, along with a maximum of four children. The Prime benefits will only be open to sharing with the two adults that share one Household. You can enjoy Prime Instant Video, which is only available for streaming. You will also enjoy Prime Early Access and Kindle Owners’.

With the Amazon Household, you will be able to share the Amazon content through a Family Library. The two adults must authorize one another to use the debit and credit cards to make purchases on Amazon.

What benefits will you get when using Amazon Prime

There are several advantages of using the Amazon Prime, and they include the following;

  • No extra costs. The product has competitive prices, but it will not have any extra costs like taxes and other shipping charges. The shipping costs will only be applied if you need the same-day delivery, which will be less costly than the other shipping companies.
  • Perfect timing. You can be sure of getting your order within 24 hours of purchasing. Nonetheless, the same-day delivery will be available for specific metro areas. You might want to confirm if your area is covered.
  • No minimum order amount. You will not need to have minimum order to qualify for the service. Regardless of the product that you buy, the service will still be available, and you will perfectly enjoy the benefits. Even if you bought a product worth $5, you would still have it delivered within two days for free.

There are many other benefits that you will enjoy when using the Prime service, make sure you check them out. Amazon also benefits from this program. A recent study showed that Prime members spend much more than non-Prime members when it comes to orders over $200.

What are the cons?

With all the benefits, this product still has some drawbacks that might not amuse you as such. They include the following;

  • Affiliate Stores are not covered. If you buy goods from the Amazon affiliates, you will not be able to enjoy the Prime benefits.
  • As a free member, you will not get the chance to access the media streamings.
  • The shipment can take more than the two days that the company claims.
  • Some areas are not covered by the Prime benefits.

Conclusion

The Amazon Prime is a service that can help you get your favorite products online, devoid of the shipping costs. The media streaming is also quite reliable, and you can also enjoy the additional TV shows from Hulu. Nonetheless, some TV shows will not be available in a complete series. The product also comes with free 30-day membership. There is nothing to lose because you can decide to cancel it if it doesn’t please you.

I would love to find out what are your thoughts on the Amazon Prime program, so don’t be shy and use the form bellow.

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Black Friday

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Gorged from their heavy Thanksgiving feasts, plenty of American shoppers usually visit stores across states in the US on the Friday right after the holiday, wishing to save for Christmas shopping. Below are ten astonishing facts about America’s informal accolade to all things commercial.

10During the 1800s, Black Friday usually referred to stock market crashes.

Black Friday crashes

Despite the fact that it is currently known as the biggest shopping day in America, the word “Black Friday” initially referred to quite different events.

In US, the very first time this particular term was used was on the 24th of September 1869, when two tradesmen James Fisk and Jay Gould, attempted to corner the gold stock market at the New York Stock Exchange.

Just after the government intervened to rectify the distortion by oversupplying the market with gold, the prices significantly dropped, and many investors inevitably lost sizeable fortunes in the end.

9The Santa Claus parades were Black Friday’s antecedent.

The Santa Claus parades

For majority of Americans, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has also become part of the holiday liturgy.

However, the event was in fact influenced by US’s neighbors at the Northern parts. Canada’s dominant retailer Eaton held the very first “Santa Claus Parade” on the 2nd of December 1905. When Santa eventually appeared when the parade ended, it was a sign that the holiday season or holiday shopping had finally begun. As you would expect, customers were convinced to buy their presents at the iconic Eaton’s store.

US department stores, like for instance Macy’s, became inspired by the parade and subsequently begun to sponsor efforts similar to this across the country.

8Holiday shoppers secondarily determined the Thanksgiving date.

Thanksgiving date

From the middle of the nineteenth century to the early times of the twentieth century, in a tradition began by the then US President Abraham Lincoln, he was expected to announce a “day of Thanksgiving” presumably on the last Thursday of November. This would fall on either the fourth or even the fifth Thursday of the month.

However, in the year 1939, something strange happened – the very last Thursday became the last day in November. Most retailers, nervous about the shrunken holiday shopping season, decided to petition then-US President Franklin Roosevelt to announce the holiday a week earlier – which he certainly did.

Thanksgiving was then for the next three years mockingly known as “Franksgiving” and was celebrated on rather different days in different places in the country.

Eventually, at the end of 1941, a mutual resolution from the Congress ironed out the matter. From then henceforth, Thanksgiving was to be celebrated on the Fourth Thursday on the month of November-promising an extra week of shopping before the Christmas season.

7The “Friday-after-Thanksgiving-itis” disease

Shopping disease

As claimed by Bonnie Taylor-Blake, who is a researcher and analyst at the University of North Carolina, The Factory Management and Maintenance journal lays claim to the first us of that term since it relates to the holiday.

In the year 1951, the leaflet highlighted the questioningly high number of sicknesses reported on that particular day. “Friday-afterThanksgiving-itis” is an illness that is second only to the deadly bubonic plague in its exhibited effects. Leastwise that’s the feeling you would probably experience to get production out just when Black Friday arrives.

6Big Friday

Black Friday gone wrong

The city which first made the term popular was Philadelphia. The police officers, infuriated by the crowding caused by shoppers on that day, began to call it “Black Friday.”

All retailers unsurprisingly seemed unhappy to be linked with the smog and traffic which is why they tried to rebrand the day to “Big Friday” as reported by a 1961 local Philadelphia Newspaper.

5“Black Friday” was not able to become a universal term up to the 1990s.

Black Friday 2 decades ago

The term “Black Friday” stayed on as a Philadelphia whim for quite a long time within the state. “As you can observe it stretches out a little to New Jersey and Trenton which I pretty much close, but it, however, does not really get mentioned in the outskirts of Philadelphia up until the 1980s,” claims Mr. Zimmer. “In the mid-1990s it finally became universal”.

4Some people claim that Black Fridays means “going into the black.”

Black Friday Fashion

Retailers across the country to put a positive twist on the “black” bit of the phrase by implying that it was when most retailers became profitable, however, there is no proof to support this claim. It is very true that sales made during the holidays form the bulk of customer expenditures for the year. Last year, customers on Black Friday reportedly spent approximately $59.1bn, as claimed by National Retail Federation. But what is still unclear is how much of that is profit acquired – given how most retailers compete with each other so as to offer bigger discounts and incentives.

3Black Friday was the biggest shopping day of the entire year in 2001.

Black Friday Trends

Even though it is commonly regarded as the biggest shopping day of the year, this day did not procure the designation consistently up until the 2000s.

That was because, for several years, the norm wasn’t that Americans adored deals, it was that they really loved procrastinating. Therefore up to that point, it was the Saturday before Christmas which generally saw the most wallets being drained.

2Black Friday has ultimately become an international event.

International event

Canadian retailers have for long flinched as their customers headed south on Black Fridays seeking decent shopping deals. So at the moment they have decided to begin offering their own sales – albeit Canadian Thanksgiving being a month earlier.

Mexico has “El Buen Fin” that has a close meaning to “the good weekend” when translated. It is linked with Mexico’s 1910 revolution anniversary, which occasionally falls on the same day as the American Thanksgiving.

Further away from the North American region, as online shopping has continued to expand, retailers such as Amazon have subsequently looked to Cyber Monday, a phrase that was first heard of in the year 2005, to encourage deals for shoppers across the world. China recently launched a ”Singles Day” deal that made sales of two million bras in just one hour which would make a pile almost three times higher than the colossal Mount Everest.

1Black Friday is close to becoming extinct.

Close to Extinction?

Wal-mart, one of the world’s biggest retailer, somehow broke the Black Friday custom in the year 2011, when it decided to open its store in the evening of Thanksgiving. Since then, many retailers have been in some kind of race to be able to catch up and now up to 33 Million American citizens claim that they planned to shop right after turkey.

How to get rid of AVG search and to remove AVG search bar

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The AVG search bar is there. It’s looming. It’s waiting to do something horrible to your computer. For all you know, it already has. You can’t get rid of it.

AVG removal

Malware, spyware, viruses and even extortion-ware hijacks space on your computer through various free downloads. The toolbar isn’t literally a virus but it might as well be. The AVG toolbar can be placed inside of free PDF converters or other downloads.

The worst thing you can do is panic or jump into downloading a “solution” that may make the situation worse.

Here are the good news… It’s going to be OK. You can get out of this mess.

Here Are the good news… It’s going to be OK.

AVG is a reputable site that has created software for many years. It’s likely that the toolbar corrupted your computer through some other source. One thing is for sure. Someone gave this curse to you, and any “free” solutions need to be taken with a grain of salt.

The solution takes patience and a little methodical know-how. The hard part is uninstalling the toolbar completely. It means you’ll have to get it off of the hard drive in addition to the browsers.

Let’s start with deleting AVG.

Go to the bottom left corner of the screen and right click the start bar. Once you’re there, go to the Control Panel and click “Uninstall a program”. From there, you will see “Add/Remove Programs” or the “Uninstall a Program” option. Click that tab.

Next, you will see a list of programs. This is the easy part. Scroll through the list and find the annoying AVG program on the list. It is also advisable, once you are “under the hood” so to speak, to get rid of any other programs you need to.

Next, let’s get the browsers fixed.

I hesitate to tell you but some of the web sites on the internet claim that if one browser is cleared then all of them are. I wouldn’t bank on it. So, I am going to tell you how to get the toolbar off each browser. It never hurts to be extra cautious and if the others don’t need changing, you will find out by trying them.

Logically, if the claim is true about a one-browser-fix-all, the best strategy is to start with the browser that is simplest to fix.

Let’s begin with Firefox. In the top right corner of Firefox, click the orange icon. Select the “Add-ons” feature. Reset your default search engine and homepage from AVG Secure Search to their default.

Here’s the easiest part of getting this thing off your computer. Use a search engine to find an add-on called the search-reset extension. When you add this extension, it will install itself, take care of the problem and then uninstall itself. Once it has done this, your prior default settings will be back in place. Its that simple and that’s one of several reasons why you might want to consider making Firefox your default browser.

Internet Explorer can be cleared from the toolbar by clicking the cog shaped icon in the top right corner of the homepage. Click the cog and there will be a list of tasks, among them is Internet Options.

Click that tab from the list. Once you have done that, click the Advanced tab. When you have arrived there, click the Reset Internet Explorer option and then click the Delete personal settings box. That may be one of the scariest parts of getting this beast off your computer but it’s a straight way to kill the code that has taken over your settings. You are not going to lose any data by clicking the button. It just looks that way.

When you have finished this step, close Internet Explorer and then re-open it. Explorer should be cleared. In order to be completely sure, it may be tedious but the wise thing to do to retrace your prior steps. This will save you the trouble of going back through the hassle.

Now, let’s clean Google Chrome. Look at the top right corner of Chrome. Go to that tab and right click. You should see a list of options, among them is an Extensions tab. Now, click on it. When you see the AVG Toolbar extension, all you have to do to remove it is to right click. It gives you the option of trashing it. Get that done and be safe by minimizing Chrome and emptying your recycle bin.

Once you have done that, click the menu again and scroll down to the settings tab. Once there, find the tab for default search engine and select the one you want to use. You will see the AVG engine. An “X” will appear. Click the X and the toolbar is removed.

We still haven’t finished. The toolbar is more of a nuisance than anything else but it may have come with malware and you will have to get rid of that.

It’s likely that you have an AVG safeguard toolbar. We have to get rid of it because this can really slow your computer down. You are going to have to download a program that will help you get rid of it. Don’t pay money for a downloaded solution. There are plenty of free downloads to help you to get rid of the potential for malware.

Various programs will offer different screens to navigate. They are user friendly, fast and easy to move through. Most computers that are infected could use a backup malware protection. A good one is Hitman Pro. It will make sure your initial methods have been effective.

A little advice to keep this catastrophe from happening again is using good old common sense. Make sure you read terms before agreeing. That little check mark is tempting, but it’s wise to take the time to read it.

Make sure your anti-virus software is updated and run everything you download through it.

The absolute best thing you can do to keep this from happening to you again is simply to put a little thought into whether that on-line game or free movie is worth having to go through this hassle again.

Before the internet came along, patience was a virtue. It probably still is, especially when when downloading something.