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‘two' - Zoi Koraki via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0


In the last twenty years, tech has changed so much about the way in which we live and work, including, how we date. One study shows that by 2031 around 50% of relationships will have started on the web. But what is it about online dating and, in particular, dating apps that have made them so popular. In this article, we'll attempt to break down the main appeals of dating apps and explain why so many of us are looking for love in the digital realm. 


A wider pool


One of the biggest benefits of dating apps is that they let us see how many options we have. Many of us have trouble finding friends as an adult, let alone finding a romantic match. Once you've exhausted connections from your hobbies and mutual friends it can feel hard to meet people in real life. Dating apps allow you to realise just how many other singles there are out there. Sites like Badoo have over 300 million users! A wider dating pool means you don't feel the need to settle and you can really search for your perfect match. 


Flexibility


In today's world, many of us can feel like we have little time to actually put an evening aside to go on a date. A key benefit of dating apps is that they let you get to know people at your own pace. Rather than putting aside a whole evening to meet up with someone, you can simply message whenever you have a few free minutes and let the relationship develop on your own schedule. 


Really getting to know your date 


Dating apps also allow you to avoid some of the first date awkwardness that you would get on a blind date. Dating apps allow you to get to know the person first. Not only do people's profiles give you some info on who you're about to chat to, but online dating also allows you to get all those awkward 'firsts' out the way before you meet up. By the time you go out on a date, you'll actually know some things about your match, which can help avoid awkward silences and not knowing what to say. 


Cost 


Another reason that dating apps are so popular is that most of them are free. Traditionally, online dating sites have charged for their services, but dating apps allow you to meet a whole range of people for free. They also let you weed out people who wouldn't make it past a first date, so you save the money you would have spent on an unsuccessful date with them!


Less Stress


If you're someone who is easily stressed or has anxiety, then dating apps can have huge benefits. They help you build up to meeting the person and give you the distance and time you might not have had otherwise to really help you develop a relationship. 


 

‘Rose romance' - Maria Eklind via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


Have you ever used a dating app? Do you prefer meeting people in the real world or online? Let us know in the comments.


https://unsplash.com/photos/EG49vTtKdvI


A digital nomad is someone who works remotely, usually in a different country, through the power of the Internet. This kind of lifestyle has become popular among this generation's professionals, as it affords them a lot of flexibility and free time to pursue other things outside of work.

 

The key to being a successful digital nomad is preparation. For it to become an enjoyable, thriving lifestyle, a digital nomad must have these gadgets in their toolkit.

 

A universal travel surge protector

 

It's important that you protect your precious technology from random power surges and electrical mishaps. A great way to do that is by investing in a reliable travel surge protector. Get a unit that can be used in various regions, or at the very least, the countries that you want to visit.

 

A travel smartphone and SIM card set

 

Find out which mobile carriers are available at your destination, and if your smartphone can be used for their prepaid services. If your phone won't cut it for some reason, you'll have to get a secondary handset for use while traveling.

 

WiFi and mobile signal boosters

 

Wireless and mobile strength can be extremely spotty at times, especially in rural and far-flung areas. Be prepared to handle these situations with a wireless travel router and a portable signal booster kit. Stable power and a reliable Internet connection are two of the most important resources that a digital nomad needs for their lifestyle. Take a look at the weBoost Signal Booster series for dependable kits.

 

A tablet or e-reader

 

A tablet is generally more expensive, but it can do a lot more than a simple e-reader. If you're content with reading e-books and comics, then the latter should be enough for your needs.

 

Encrypted portable drives

 

There will be times that you'll need to plug in your portable drive to a public terminal to transfer files or maybe get documents printed. Naturally, you don't want your stored data to get stolen. For these instances, you can either use a different throwaway flash drive or settle for a slightly more expensive encrypted drive that you can use for a long time.

 

A lightweight gaming laptop

 

If you're into gaming, then it's best to get a laptop that can handle it. Anything your standard office laptop can do, a gaming laptop can do faster and better. Fortunately, nowadays, gaming laptops aren't that heavy anymore, so you don't have to worry about lugging a hefty backpack. 

 

A solar backpack

 

You might as well grab a backpack that can charge your gadgets with the power of the sun. Settle for a sturdy pack that has waterproofing as well as useful anti-theft features like locking mechanisms and a rugged, slashproof body.

 

Extra power banks

 

You can't go wrong with packing a few of these juice packs, especially when you're bringing a boatload of gadgets.

 

A portable Bluetooth speaker

 

For the moments when you want to share yourwec sophisticated musical tastes with the whole world. Good tunes need to be shared with other people after all.

 

Noise-canceling headphones

 

For the times when you just want to blur out the noisy madness of daily life. This can be an invaluable, sanity-saving tool that can make or break your experience as a digital nomad in an unfamiliar land.

 



People in the past would have never thought that there will be something called a "car" that would help them travel from one place to another without crossing miles and miles on feet. But then technology played its part and we had cars and bikes and whatnot. However, a few years back even this generation never thought of a gadget that could take them from one place to another swiftly and smoothly without using a car and consuming any petrol. Here by the term gadget, we are referring to none other than a hoverboard. Yes, you read it right, hoverboards are a sign that yes technology has now gone too far and now with every passing year our lives are being upgraded by such amazing inventions. You can find more info in our guide on Petagadget.


Just for a while imagine that you are moving swiftly from one location to another without hopping in the car. Isn't it amazing and exciting to even think about it? Well, if you find it wonderful then why not turn this all into a reality by investing a little into a hoverboard?


Now, if you are someone who yet has some doubts on the advantages of a hoverboard then stick a little longer to this article because today in this article we will give you proper reasons on why you should get yourself a hoverboard right now.


1-No Fuel Consumption


We all know how important it is for us to save money at this age because we never know when we fall victim to a financial crisis. Now, on the other hand, we also know the fact that we have to spend a big figure on our traveling too because of the fuel consumption. Now at such point, we are pretty sure that you would love to save a few dollars and cut down the fuel cost and that can be done only if you are ready to invest a little in buying a hoverboard. You see, a one-time investment in hoverboard can save you hundreds of dollars every month and especially you will be able to go on short commutes without spending even a single penny. The best part about hoverboards is that if you charge it fully, it can take you on a ride of almost 15 kilometers which will save you a lot of fuel.


2-It Is Eco-friendly


The need of the hour is that we all start using those products and gadgets that are eco-friendly because we all know how much harm we have done to the climate and to our environment by using and releasing poisonous gases. Now, in such a situation, products like hoverboards are pretty useful because they don't work on any kind of fuel or gas, it's just that you have to charge them with electricity and they will be on the go for you. This is another major reason why you should invest in buying a hoverboard because first, it will save you a lot of money and secondly it causes zero harm to your environment and the overall climate.

 

3- It Is Portable


Another amazing reason why you should go for this gadget is that it is completely portable and compact too. Like if you have to reach a place where you would need a hoverboard then yes you can carry this miraculous gadget without any problem. Hoverboards seem like something very heavy but in reality, they are extremely light in weight and you can carry them anywhere you want to. The only thing you have to be careful about is that you have to handle hoverboards with care, like if you are carrying them to a place then make sure you are using a handle bag or a car to take them to another place.


4-It Is Fun To Ride On Them


The major reason why you should say yes to a hoverboard is that they are fun to use. Like you can go out to the park with your family and children and enjoy riding on a hoverboard. Once you use it, you will actually know how entertaining it is to take a tour down the street and enjoy the view and the nature around you. Especially if you've got kids who don't like to spend much time outside then you can use a hoverboard to build interest in them and motivate them to play outside. Moreover, you can have a fun time teaching your little one how to ride this gadget, it can be a little tricky to maintain the balance and ride with perfection but once you practice it, you will know how amazing of an activity it is.


5-Hoverboard Is Easy To Learn


If you are someone who is confused on whether he should buy a skateboard or a hoverboard then know the fact that hoverboarding is a lot easier to learn than skateboarding. The only thing and the only effort you have to make with hoverboarding is that you have to learn how to maintain a steady balance and how to move in the right direction. Once you've mastered the art of balancing on a hoverboard, you will then love to take it everywhere with you because yes, it is that fun and addicting.


6-They Are Safer


People usually think that hoverboards are dangerous but the reality is the other way around. Basically, the features with which it comes make it a completely safe option. You see, hoverboards are safe because they come with movement sensors, gyroscopic motors and foot pads too that make sure that you don't fall or get hurt. With all these features you will have a perfect and steady grip on the board so don't be afraid to buy it because again, hoverboarding is fun and entertaining only if you learn it properly.

 

7-They Use Better Technology


The most advanced and latest technology is used to make a hoverboard, you just need to be able to stand steady on the foot pads and consider your job done here. The best part about this gadget is that it comes with a sensor receiving signals from the foot pad that sense the direction in which the rider wants to go. Once you ride it, you will feel like it's a magic wand that knows the direction which you desire to go on.


These are the few reasons that justify why you should buy a hoverboard for yourself. Also, you can gift a hoverboard to your loved ones and we assure you that they will love this gift. Especially if you have a teen around in your house then buy him this amazing product on his birthday or on his special day and honestly, he or she will be crazy happy with this gift of yours. Don't wait any further and get yourself and your loved ones a hoverboard and have fun at a whole another level. 



As an Australian who sometimes visits Australia but doesn't live there anymore, let me tell you that when I head back home and fire up the internet I am often sorely disappointed, however not nearly surprised at all.


After a good nine months in Cambodia where the speed of my 4G mobile was faster than my ADSL speed at my parents' house in inner city Perth, I just had to laugh. I have to visit particular sites that don't chew speed to even play new slots games smoothly. From a very poor third world country to coming across to one of the most advanced English speaking first world countries (hey, a lot of Europe, particularly Scandinavia, is streaks ahead of us in most areas) you'd expect the internet speeds to be at least up to the same quality - if not faster.


Yeah, this isn't the case


I know that this is an article about the difference between the bandwidth in the USA and the bandwidth in Australia, but I feel like this is a particularly relevant point to bring up. The internet speeds and bandwidth in Australia suck.


Australia is detached (physically) from the rest of the world


This isn't news. Plus, it isn't even really that surprising. Australia is the most isolated continent on Earth (except Antarctica, which I'm sure expect slow internet due to, oh, the almost non-existent population levels). Australia is very far from the rest of the world. That's what's kept the country from getting invaded by others and starting a war. Who on Earth can be bothered going all that way to attack? Ships would take forever, and planes are too expensive. With drones becoming more prevalent this could be an issue in the future but until then... I'm losing my point here, aren't I?


To get internet to Australia there needs to be undersea cables laid for thousands and thousands of kilometres. What type of cables? How many? What's the bandwidth there? So, that means that there's a finite amount that Australia can receive to begin with without laying more (hugely expensive) cables.


Once it gets to Australia, it's another story. Let's check out the average speeds of the USA compared to Australia at the Speedtest Global Index, shall we?


Australia is currently sitting at number 56 on the list of the top 100 countries, with an average speed of 26.45Mbps. Oh, look, we're one number ahead of Kazakhstan. The US is sitting pretty at number 9 with a speed of 83.20Mbps. Unsurprisingly, Singapore is number 1 (at 166.44Mbps) and Hong Kong at number 3 (136.15Mbps), two of the most technologically advanced cities in the world (Asia), and Iceland at number 2 and 161.98Mbps, which is arguably the most technologically advanced city in Europe. Who's in front of Australia on the list? Wow! Heaps of countries you wouldn't think. Puerto Rice, Uruguay, Chile, Thailand, oh hey - there's even New Zealand at number 21 with 66.89Mbps!


New Zealand??!!


New Zealand is the island country right next door to Australia on the right hand side. Many people are not aware that New Zealand is even a place (or think it's part of Australia) unless they've met a Kiwi or have seen an advertising campaign luring them there - it's where Lord of the Rings is filmed. There is only around 1700km of ocean between New Zealand and Australia.


Why is Australia's internet so slow compared to the US if it's not just geography?


So, really, maybe the title of this article should be why is Australia's bandwidth so woeful compared to the US, or even their closest neighbour?


The answer to this is a bit of a complex riddle that originates with the history of telephony networks in both countries.


In the US, this tracks back to the beginning of telephony. In 1885 AT&T was formed. AT&T held a private monopoly in the US until 1984, when a court ordered the company to split into regional companies. AT&T was, and is, a private company. Telephony networks in the US were never government owned, always private companies.


A brief history of Australian networks


In Australia, the Telstra network was the only telephony network, a government owned and run network, until privatisation in 1997. This is important to note, because by this time internet was prevalent in all parts of Australia, running exclusively on the only network in Australia - Telstra. The privatisation also included allowing other private companies to enter the market.


Of course, the people at Telstra were clever enough to realise that the country is huge with not much "stuff" (aka infrastructure or population) in the middle - unlike the US. "Australia" really describes the coast of Australia - because there is not much else in the rest of it.


While Telstra's infrastructure was and is aging, they owned it all and it was/is the best available. Other providers couldn't compete due to the huge costs of infrastructure implementation.


Eventually, the Australian government saw the stranglehold that Telstra (still) had on the market and recognized their constituent's cries for faster internet. Thus, the NBN was proposed. The NBN or National Broadband Network, was an initiative dreamt up by the then government in 2007 to get Australian internet speeds in line with the rest of the world.


While the NBN was brilliant in theory, it's execution over the past 10 years (continuing) has been woeful. An initial estimated $15 billion cost has now blown out to $56 billion. An original fibre to the node idea changed to fibre to the premises and then again back to fibre to the premises.


Trying to find companies to implement the solution were failures. Trying to find the right technologies were failures. The interactions with Telstra inevitably favoured Telstra as they were the experts in the field. Changes in governments over the years meant changing strategies on the project. The NBN in Australia is currently a national joke.


The state of the NBN today


The NBN's statistics are confusing, some say to hide the fact that they're not living up to expectations. Many households that have connected to the NBN complain that they are receiving slower speeds as compared to their ADSL connection, too.


And it's true - in many cases connecting to the NBN is slower than using the old school ADSL. This is to do with the packages, pricing, offerings, and partnerships. Yes, in a lot of households' instances, it is better to go with the technology that has been in place for years upon years, rather than "upgrading" to the NBN.


If you do a Reddit search for NBN + joke you'll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of results that you uncover. Or, if you're an Australian, mildly irritated, but not surprised. The network that was supposed to bring Australian internet speeds in line with the rest of the world has failed miserably, mainly due to changes in government, which dictates policy, combined with lack of expertise in infrastructure by the people hired to do the job - not surprising when government tenders often go for lowest cost offers to save the budget.


While the NBN is still rolling out it is already obsolete. As a first world nation, Australia is relatively slow on the uptake, particularly as it applies to government understanding of technology, requirements, and the effects of privatisation. In fact, plenty of the NBN is still that good old copper wire the telephony networks ran on back when the government owned Telstra.


Australia would do well to invest in learning about technology before they try to implement it. In comparison to Singapore, who invest heavily in tech and learning the differences are stark.


In comparison to the US, the US is light years ahead. While this is a combination of the differences in geography, policy, and privatisation, the evidence is clear. Australia has a long way to go when it comes to learning how to increase their internet speeds and it looks like this is now squarely in the hands of private companies should they wish to take on the challenge.


And I have no doubt that if one of the private companies had taken on a premise such as the NBN they would have been able to implement the system - actually, a better system - at far less of the cost of the government estimates. It remains to been seen what happens in Australia when it comes to broadband but I can only imagine they'll be trailing behind the rest of the world for some years to come.


So, forget it. I'm taking off from mum's house and heading back to Cambodia where I can stream in peace.



As the most recent statistics from OFCOM reveal, mobile phone use in the UK is now almost universal with 94% of adults owning or using a mobile (Q1 2017). Of these, 76% have a smartphone (Q1 2017), while the number of households that are ‘mobile only' has risen to 18%. Combined with this significantly greater use, the proliferation of apps that we use for everything from booking tickets to watching what we eat would seem to suggest that our reliance on our mobile devices is only going to increase.


One of the most significant changes that mobile technology has brought about is the way we pay for goods and services. There has been a rapid and significant increase in the number of people in the UK who make purchases both online and in person using a mobile phone.


This has in large part been brought about by a significant increase in the use of contactless payment cards across the UK, along with other mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, Boku, along with a burgeoning range of person-to-person (P2P) apps that enable you to instantly transfer money electronically to another individual, often without having to go through a bank.


However, while the number of contactless card payments in the UK as a whole has grown exponentially (more than £25 billion was spent via contactless payments in 2016), it has been interesting to note that UK consumers have not embraced other forms of mobile payment quite so readily. For instance, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay have not quite had the impact many expected (despite the fact that the number of Apple Pay transactions in 2016 grew by 300%).


While most people in the UK are more than happy to use a contactless debit or credit card (i.e., a card that does not need to be inserted into a card reader and for which no PIN is required) to make a payment at a supermarket or coffee shop, they have not necessarily seen the need to move over to alternative payment systems where only a mobile phone is needed, such as those offered by Apple, Google and Samsung. For instance, payments made using Apple Pay or Android Pay by passengers on Transport for London services account for only 8% of all contactless card payments (albeit this figure is up from 3.5% twelve months earlier).


Security concerns are cited by some as preventing them embracing card-free payment technology, while others have not seen a pressing need to adopt the technology given that existing ‘tap and go' or ‘wave and pay' cards largely do the same job. There is also the sentiment expressed by many consumers that losing a mobile phone or having it stolen is a traumatic enough experience without the added complication of card security being compromised as well.


Another reason that has prevented greater uptake of mobile payment services has been their hitherto relatively limited acceptance, meaning that consumers haven't found that there are enough opportunities to use the system to warrant switching over to it entirely.


However, two important factors point towards much faster growth in the mobile payments sector in the very near future. Firstly, the demographics. The latest available data from 2016 showed that almost 60% of payments made in the UK using Apple Pay or Android Pay were by users aged 16-34. If these early adopters continue to use the technology moving forward, this will impact significantly on the overall number of users, as currently only 3% of users are aged 65 or more. In ten to fifteen years, however, we can expect to see a much wider spread of age groups experienced in and used to using mobile payments.


Another game-changer could be Apple Pay's move to accept limitless payments. To date, most card readers that accept contactless payments (both mobile phone and card) have a maximum transaction limit of £30. However, the majority of tills in the UK that accept Apple Pay are now able to process payments greater than £30, and it is expected that this will have a dramatic impact on uptake rates, and will give the mobile payment system a distinct advantage over bank-issued contactless debit and credit cards.


Android Pay too is making inroads in this sector, and while uptake has been slower than expected since its introduction to the UK in 2016, the fact that 60% of the mobile phones in the UK use the Android operating system would suggest that there is much unrealised potential for growth. The launch of Samsung Pay, and the Barclays Bank mobile payment system (available through its own native mobile banking app) have further broadened the choice for consumers in this area as well.


Therefore, it would seem to be the case that while acceptance of mobile payment systems in the UK has been steady rather than explosive, a significant incremental increase in uptake is expected to continue. And whether people are aware of it or not, it will soon be the case that just about everyone in the UK will soon be carrying in their pocket or purse the mobile technology to pay for a coffee, buy the week's shopping, or book a holiday, without the need for a conventional plastic card at all.


Popular mobile payment methods


As well as direct mobile payment systems, there are many other ways in which mobile phones can be used to buy goods and services in the UK.

 

Pay by Mobile



Pay by Mobile is an increasingly popular way of making payments via a mobile phone. When you make a purchase using Pay by Mobile on a service like Boku or Fortumo, the amount you spend is added to your monthly mobile phone bill if you are on a post-paid plan, or deducted from your balance if you are on pay-as-you-go.


The Pay by Mobile payment method has proved very popular with the young, and payment solutions like Boku are frequently used in the leisure sector, with mobile casinos for instance offering a range of payment methods and Pay by Mobile options. Carrier billing payment methods are also a popular alternative for those without traditional banking arrangements, such as credit or debit cards, and are an especially convenient way of making in-app purchases or subscribing to streaming services. There are also specialist services like PayByPhone that enable you to pay for your parking across the UK with your mobile phone, or OboPay which enables you to make person-to-person payments that are charged to your mobile phone account.


Another reason for the popularity of Pay by Mobile payment systems like Boku is that the costs are charged to the merchant rather than the user, making it a cost-effective way of making digital and online purchases.


One of the most significant developments in carrier billing services in the last year has been a proposed partnership between Boku and ALTBalaji to stream original video content to customers globally. This will no doubt further increase the appeal of highly convenient Pay by Mobile payment systems.


E-wallets



E-wallets have long been one of the most popular online payment methods and they can be used for mobile payments as well. Skrill and Neteller are the two most prominent and widely accepted e-wallets, and can be used to make online purchases for a wide variety of goods and services via mobile. Many users appreciate the security that e-wallets give them, as they act as a third-party middle man between you and any retailer or service provider you deal with so that they don't have access to your bank account or credit card details.


There are fees attached to using e-wallets, usually when you make a deposit into your account. However, most retailers or leisure providers that you deal with won't charge you for making a purchase or adding funds to a casino account, for instance.


Recently, both Skrill and Neteller expanded into offering P2P payments. With Skrill, all you need is the recipient's email address or mobile number, while for Neteller money transfers only an email address is required.


P2P payment apps



Person to Person mobile payments (generally known as P2P apps) are a quick and straightforward way of transferring money from one person to another using a mobile phone, often without the need for bank accounts. P2P apps are designed for transferring small amounts of cash, rather than large money transfers.


P2P apps have proved to be an especially popular way for friends to repay small amounts of money, or to share the costs of purchases or services (e.g., splitting the bill at dinner, or for buying tickets to a show or match), and there are a growing number on the market. Each has its own different capabilities, with one of the most notable differences being that some will require both parties to have the app, while others let you send cash to, or request money from, anyone with a mobile phone. The cost of using these apps will vary as well.


One of the most popular P2P apps in the UK is Paym. You link the app directly to your mobile or online banking account, and so any money you send goes straight from your account as it would with any other purchase. All you require to send money to a friend is their mobile phone number (the Paym app will access your contacts for this) and the recipient will get a text saying they have been sent cash by you (provided their bank supports the Paym system).


One of the biggest developments in P2P apps is the news that Facebook has now launched Person to Person payments in the UK. Using the Messenger app, you can send cash either from your mobile or your laptop, and once you have linked a debit card to the account there are no fees applied. There is a maximum transfer amount of £2,500, although like most P2P apps, the majority of people use it to transfer small sums to friends. 


Contactless credit and debit cards


Currently, credit and debit cards remain the dominant form of contactless payment and are generally used more often than mobile payment methods. However, Barclays Bank has now launched its own mobile payment system which removes the need for a physical card and enables its customers to use their mobile phone to make purchases in the same way as they currently do with a tap-and-go card.


However, as discussed above, as Apple Pay and Android Pay make further inroads into the market, it is expected that other major high street banks will also launch their own mobile payment systems. And although no-one is expecting it to happen anytime soon, just as cash was overtaken in 2016 by contactless cards as the primary means of making physical purchases, it's not unreasonable to expect that plastic credit and debit cards will go the same way in the not-too-distant future.


The future of mobile payments



It's hard to imagine a future where mobile payments don't become the dominant means of making purchases both online and in physical stores, not only in the UK but globally. Mobile payments have become especially beneficial in underbanked regions of the world, most notably in Africa, and with the number of mobile phones users worldwide predicted to top 5 billion by 2019, the further uptake of mobile payment systems would seem inevitable.


As we carry more and more of our lives around in our mobile devices, it is logical to expect that we will further embrace technology that is integrated within these devices. Mobile payment systems reduce the need for physical cards, make transferring money quicker and easier, and enable us to access the growing number of digital and streaming services with greater ease. So even if your mobile phone isn't your wallet right now, you can almost certainly expect it to become so in the future.

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