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Source: Pixabay


Ever since Apple launched 500 applications onto the App Store in July 2008, dramatically expanding the potential capabilities of their pricey initial smartphone effort, apps have become a part of the public consciousness. Today, "there's an app for that" has moved beyond hyperbole with more than 7 million apps available across the five major smartphone platforms, as of March 2017.


Quite simply, apps have changed the way many of us access services and games, becoming a fundamental part of our daily lives.


But with the 10-year anniversary of the App Store just around the corner, apps are actually suffering a fightback unlike any which they've ever seen before, and it's coming from an unlikely source - the technology they promised to replace, web browsers.


To understand the battle between apps and web browsers, it's vital to recognise exactly where the internet was 10 years ago. Websites had grown up in an era where mouse and keyboard inputs where commonplace and powerful computers were able to display graphics and Flash heavy websites with relative ease. With the launch of the iPhone though, which didn't support flash and relied on touch input and a weak processor, these websites were no longer fit for operation.


While many websites quickly launched "mobile" versions of their pages, they were often lacking in core capabilities and were, frankly, a little unpleasant to use. As such, apps became immensely popular thanks to their streamlined, specialist design. However, 10 years on, things have changed. New technologies on the browser side have improved loading times, improved game performance and more - in addition to designers getting to grips with the navigation requirements of smartphones and tablets.


It's meant that we're now in a situation where both apps and web pages offer a superb experience for consumers, which is obviously only a good thing, but with both vying for the attention of businesses, developers and consumers, it's clear that there can only be one winner in the long run. So, which is it to be? Let's take a look at the case for each.


Web pages


Source: Pixabay


Web browsers have been around for as long as the internet and, over the decades, they've grown into incredibly advanced pieces of technology - ones which have learned from the lessons laid down by smartphone apps.


With the launch of HTML5 in October 2014, browsers grew infinitely more capable, with the technology promoting high-resolution, low-requirement graphics which enable everything from superior YouTube performance to the popular slot game Gonzo's Quest running well on both mobile and desktop. The latter, a popular online slot game by developer NetEnt, is available both for mobile browsers and desktop browsers at online casinos such as Betsafe. HTML5 has meant that more than ever, the performance difference between web and app have diminished.


Web pages also have the advantage of being accessible regardless of the space you have on your device, making them available to almost anyone.


Apps


Source: Pixabay


Apps aren't going anywhere though - at least for the time being. With many operations existing entirely as apps, rather than launching websites, they're truly entrenched. Apps also benefit from being specially tailored to the devices they're on, often making use of specific hardware features which websites can't, owing to their need for universal support.


A mobile app can also function offline in many cases, although this is mitigated by the fact that mobile internet and free WiFi have effectively ensured that we're rarely without accessible internet.

 

Which will win?


With Google working to bring mobile apps to the web through their Android Instant Apps program which allows users to visit websites to launch apps instantly without installation, it's clear that the distinction between the apps and the web is disappearing.


Ultimately though, with a future which features both still ahead of us, it's too early to tell which platform will win out. A free and open internet will always foster innovation and its low barriers to entry mean that it's unlikely to ever be replaced by apps. However, it's also the case that mobile apps do benefit significantly from their tight hardware integration and dedicated mobile design ethos.


Only time will tell, but we're excited to be along for the ride.


‘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.

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