JUST IN: See the huge sum Microsoft pledges to ease local housing crunch

According to reports, Microsoft on Wednesday pledged $500 million for loans and grants aimed at ramping up construction of affordable housing in the Puget Sound area of Washington state where the US technology giant has its home.

Image result for microsoft“In recent years, our region hasn’t built enough housing for the people who live here,” Microsoft executives Amy Hood and Brad Smith said in a blog post. We are committing $500 million as a company to advance affordable housing solutions.” Microsoft was only a few years old when it moved from New Mexico to the Seattle area city of Bellevue in 1979, and now has its headquarters in nearby Redmond.

Related image

Since 2011, job growth in the region has been 21 percent while housing construction growth has trailed at 13 percent. A gap in available housing has caused housing prices to nearly double in the past eight years, making the greater Seattle area the sixth most expensive region in the US, according to Hood and Smith. “The gap between job growth and housing growth has been even greater in the suburban cities around Seattle than in Seattle itself. This is a big problem. And it’s a problem that is continuing to get worse,” the blog post said.

Related image

The $500 million will be used to “help kick-start new solutions” to the housing crisis, according to the executives. Microsoft planned to make $225 million available at below-market rates to subsidize preservation and construction of middle-income housing, initially targeting six cities east of Seattle and Lake Washington. “Median income in the region hasn’t kept pace with rising housing costs, increasingly making it impossible for lower- and middle-income workers to afford to live close to where they work,” Hood and Smith said. Teachers, nurses, first responders and many in key roles at nonprofits, businesses and tech companies now begin and end their workdays with long commutes.” A total of $250 million will be made available at market rates for low-income housing development, while $25 million will be devoted to philanthropic grants aimed at addressing homelessness, according to Microsoft. “With these and similar investments, it’s possible to lend money, accelerate progress, be repaid and then lend this money again. Our goal is to move as quickly as possible with targeted investments that will have an outsized impact,” Hood and Smith said.  Microsoft is one of Washington State’s largest employers.

Technology Update: Mobile Giant Set To Release New Set Of Phones

If you are an iPhone fan, Apple iPhone XR 64GB Black is a good choice to upgrade. This single-SIM model is a development of the company concept of moving away from physical buttons, which makes these devices so popular.

Image result for iPhone XR 64GB

Besides a little modified controls layout, iPhone XR stands out from other currently available models due to enhanced display graphics and a number of advanced features, which can be found in the device design and software.

Apple iPhone XR 64GB Black has been designed to deliver comprehensive customer satisfaction. Many people will certainly find its size perfect, neither too big nor too small. The sleek body is dust and water resistant (the humidity damage is not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty).

Image result for iPhone XR 64GB

You will be surprised to see how well the face identification feature can really work. While the absence of a regular Home button may take some time to get used to, it only adds to the user experience.

Also, the model is a bit easier to use and faster as compared to previous ones, which is due to iOS 12, the most advanced operating system used in mobile devices.

A number of new powerful tools have been added to help you have the most personal iPhone ever. Advanced Features iPhone XR uses a 6.1-inch 1792 x 828 Retina LCD with rounded corners. The most advanced solution in this industry, it secures perfect color matching and features a new backlight design.

Related image

Face ID is one of the most interesting features added to this model. The innovative face recognition algorithm is used to authorize unlocking the device, logging in apps and even making payments. With this device, you can enjoy wireless charging (a Qi charger is required, which is sold separately).

A12 Bionic, a new chip, and iOS 12 use machine learning algorithms to take a user’s interaction with pictures, videos, games and augmented reality to a higher level. The device offers a 12 MP rear camera and 7 MP front camera.

Related image

Quite good and fast, they are provided with a brand-new Depth Control algorithm, Smart HDR, Portrait Lighting, Portrait mode and other convenient features.

Image result for iPhone XR 64GB

What Is in the Package As a standard, Apple iPhone XR 64GB comes with the following accessories: EarPods plus a Lightning connector (no 3.5 mm headset jack is available); Lightning / USB cable; USB power adapter; Documentation.

 

WORKING GOVERNMENT!! Massive Jubilation Breaks Out Across The Country As 1000 Villages Get Access To Satellite TV

The 10,000 African Villages Project have seen a lot more Nigerian villages benefit from it. The Program is an initiative of the Chinese Government as they seek to provide digital TV access to rural communities across the continent.

This was revealed during the launching ceremony of the project in Kpaduma Village, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory.

A Promise Kept: 1,000 Nigerian villages get access to Satellite TV

Speaking to journalists, the Chief Executive Officer, StarTimes Nigeria, Justin Zhang noted that StarTimes was contracted by the Chinese Government to deliver on the project across Africa, adding that no fewer than 1,000 villages in Nigeria have benefited from the project, an initiative which could help meet the ITU’s demand for African countries to achieve digital migration of TV industry before the year 2020.

According to him, “We have entered an advanced stage in the installation of satellite TV access to 1,000 Villages in Nigeria. The villages identified for this project will receive 2 solar power projector TVs for the community, digital TV sets, 20 Satellite dish and decoders where they can watch more than 100 international and local channels all free of charge, just as we have done in Kpaduma village”

A Promise Kept: 1,000 Nigerian villages get access to Satellite TV

Also commenting, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed commended the Chinese Government’s initiative towards fostering a better China-Africa partnership. He noted that the project would be an eye-opener to the villagers, many of whom prior to now have not had access to satellite TV or an opportunity to see the world beyond.

 

A Promise Kept: 1,000 Nigerian villages get access to Satellite TV

The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian expressed China’s willingness to continue to bring projects that will better the lot of Nigerians and Africans at large, assuring that that the friendship between China and Nigeria will be preserved via infrastructural projects that will uplift the people of the local communities who need it the most.

A Promise Kept: 1,000 Nigerian villages get access to Satellite TV

On December 4th, 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation that China would implement satellite TV programs for 10 thousand African villages. The project, known as “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages”, is part of China-Africa cooperation programs and is aimed at enabling African families in rural areas to have access to the digital signal with high-quality images and rich TV programs.

Let us hear your thoughts on this story in the comment section below.

Must Read: Jobs That Will Be Taken By Artificial Intelligence In the Next Five Years

In 2015, a man named Nigel Richards won the title of French-­language Scrabble World Champion. This was especially noteworthy because Richards does not speak French. What the New Zealander had done was memorize each of the 386,000 words in the entire French Scrabble dictionary, in the space of just nine weeks.

Image result for Nigel Richards

Richards’ impressive feat is a useful metaphor for how artificial intelligence works—real AI, not the paranoid fantasies that some self-­appointed “futurists” like to warn us about.

Just as Richards committed vast troves of words to memory in order to master the domain of the Scrabble board, state-of-the-art AI—or deep ­learning—

While limited in scope, deep learning is usable by everyone and powerful within a certain domain. It can help ­Amazon maximize profit from recommendations or Facebook maximize minutes spent by users in its app, just as it can help banks minimize loan-­default rates or an airport camera determine if a terrorist has queued up for boarding.

The potential applications for AI are extremely exciting. Autonomous vehicles, for example, will dramatically reduce cost and improve safety.

But not every job will be replaced by AI. In fact, four types of jobs are not at risk at all. First, there are creative jobs. AI needs to be given a goal to optimize. It cannot invent, like scientists, novelists and artists can. Second, the complex, strategic jobs—­executives, diplomats, ­economists—go well beyond the AI limitation of single-­domain and Big Data. Then there are the as-yet-unknown jobs that will be created by AI.

Are you worried that these three types of jobs won’t employ as many people as AI will displace? Not to worry, as the fourth type is much larger: empathetic and compassionate jobs, such as teachers, nannies and doctors. These jobs require compassion, trust and ­empathy—which AI does not have. And even if AI tried to fake it, nobody would want a chatbot telling them they have cancer, or a robot to baby­sit their children.

The technology also poses serious challenges in terms of security; the consequences of hacking into AI-­controlled systems could be severe—­imagine if autonomous vehicles were hacked by terrorists and used as weapons.

Finally, there are the issues of privacy, exacerbated bias and manipulation. Sadly, we’ve already seen failures on this front; Facebook couldn’t resist the temptation to use AI technology to optimize usage and profit, at the expense of user privacy,fostering bias and division.

BREAKING! This Google feature will surely interest you

“As you`re looking to build new habits or pick up new tasks in the new year – whether sticking to an exercise regimen, sprucing up your winter wardrobe, or collecting new ideas for your home – we hope this new feature helps you along your way and makes your search history more accessible and useful,” Moore said.

Image result for googleGoogle has started rolling out a new feature called activity cards to make it easier for users to pick up the threads to past searches and continue exploring a topic. “Activity cards will roll out today on mobile web and the Google app in English in the US,” Andrew Moore, Google`s Product Manager for Search wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. So when you revisit a query related to a task you had started in the past, Google will show you a card with relevant pages you had already visited and previous queries you had done on this topic.

Image result for new google features“As you`re looking to build new habits or pick up new tasks in the new year – whether sticking to an exercise regimen, sprucing up your winter wardrobe, or collecting new ideas for your home – we hope this new feature helps you along your way and makes your search history more accessible and useful. If you`re logged into your Google account and search for topics and hobbies like cooking, interior design, fashion, skincare and beauty, fitness, photography and more, you may find an activity card at the top of the results page that provides easy ways to continue your exploration,” Moore added.

Related imageUsers will also be able to add or delete items to their activity cards. If you want to mark a page to read or reference later, just touch and hold the link to quickly add items on your activity card to a collection. You can access your collections by tapping the menu on the top left of the Search page (on mobile web), or through the bottom bar of the Google app.

Robot Dogs In Driverless Vans Are The Delivery System Of The Future (Photos)

When Nigeria’s singer Asa sang in a commercial song for a top bank in Nigeria that “Welcome to the future”, not many know that the future is here. German automative firm continental unveiled a concept delivery system at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, tapping the help of robotics company ANYbotics. The system uses four-legged robot dogs to hop in and out of its driverless delivery vans, carrying packages right up to someone’s door.

The concept combines continental‘s completely autonomous robo-taxi, called the ‘CUbE’, and ANYbotics‘ quadrupedal robots that can open doors and ride elevators. The van carries these robot dogs until it arrives at the correct destination, sending them out through the back door of the car to drop the package off at the recipient’s doorstep.

Continental showed off what this would be like at CES with a pretty impressive demo. The robot dog started out by jumping out of the van, before making its way over the garden in front of a model home and clambering up the set of stairs to the door. The dog then removes the package from its back and place it onto the front porch, before ringing the fake doorbell with one of its arms.

What are thoughts on this? Kindly leave a comment

Now you can lock your Whatsapp chats with fingerprint! Don’t get caught

WhatsApp to soon add fingerprint lock feature to its chats which will mean that users will have to authenticate the app everytime they want to check WhatsApp chats. The new feature expected to come to Android. WhatsApp is set to add the fingerprint scanner feature that is expected to add a new layer of security to chats. The latest WhatsApp fingerprint lock feature has been spotted in testing with select users on Android and can be expected to be rolled out to everyone in the coming weeks. Notably, the feature has been spotted in WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.3 which means Android users will be the first ones to get it followed by iOS users.

WhatsApp new security feature: Check how to secure your chats using fingerprint

WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.3: Fingerprint authentication feature
The new WhatsApp authentication feature spotted in WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.3 version is currently available to select users. It’s also worth noting that the fingerprint lock will be available to Android users first.
The new fingerprint lock in WhatsApp will be available in Privacy settings under the authentication tab, which will also be a new addition. The new feature will put an authentic lock on the entire app and not just specific chats.
To enable the fingerprint authentication, users will have to register their fingerprint on the device. WhatsApp will also have an option for users to choose device credentials if the fingerprint was registered.

Image result for whatsapp fingerprint
Once enabled, users can open WhatsApp chats only by authenticating the app with the help of fingerprint.
The new fingerprint feature is expected to add a layer of security to WhatsApp chats. The Facebook-owned app uses end-to-end encryption to protect chats. WhatsApp is the most widely used instant messaging service globally, and the Facebook-owned platform tries to keep adding new features to make it relevant for it’s over billion daily active users. The latest in the series is the new fingerprint lock feature that has been spotted by WABetainfo, which keeps a track on the upcoming WhatsApp feature when they are in the testing phase.

For those who are not aware of the authentication feature on WhatsApp should know that this will be a native feature built inside the app and will be safer than using any third-party fingerprint lock to keep your WhatsApp chats safe.

Image result for whatsapp fingerprint

WABetainfo reports that WhatsApp is also working to integrate Face ID and Touch ID to its iOS version. However, the feature is currently in development and will take some time to be available to all users. Considering that the newest iPhones – iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR doesn’t support fingerprint authentication, we can expect Face ID to be the default WhatsApp authentication method.

TRAGIC!! Plane crash at airport kills 10 people

A Boeing cargo plane has crashed at an airport in Iran, leaving its 10 crew members feared dead.

The pilot reportedly lost control of the big jet as it struggled to land at Karaj airport.

The pilot reportedly lost control of the big jet as it struggled to land at Karaj airport. It crashed near houses and exploded in flames on impact.

Local reports say the Boeing jet went down west of Tehran after “mistaking the airport with another airfield because of bad weather”.

Dramatic images show smoke billowing from the runway as emergency services scramble to the scene.

A spokesman for Iran’s civil aviation has told state TV that the plane – which was reportedly carrying meat – belongs to Kyrgyzstan.

Yet a spokeswoman for Kyrgyzstan’s Manas airport said the plane, en route from Kyrgyzstan’s Manas airport, belonged to Iran’s Payam Air, Reuters reported.

The head of Iran’s emergency department, Pirhossein Kolivand, said: “We don’t have clear information about the details of the crash.”

Breaking News: Mobile Giant To Launch Three New Phones This Year

Apple Inc plans to launch three iPhone models this year with some new camera features, including three rear cameras for the most expensive model and two for the other models, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The iPhone

The new iPhones will succeed the XR model that has shown sluggish demand, which according to Apple was due to weak sales in China.

That led several electronics retailers in the world’s second largest economy to slash iPhone prices this week. Apple was not available for comment outside regular business hours.

The Cupertino, California-based company has decided to stick to liquid-crystal display (LCD) at a time when sluggish sales of iPhone XR cut into its most recent revenue projection, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Last week, Apple issued its first revenue warning in nearly 12 years, sending its shares down 10 percent, their biggest intra-day fall in six years.

Apple plans to continue with LCD model as the device has been in the production pipeline for months, the report said.

However, for 2020, Apple will fully switch to the organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, display for iPhones, thereby completely dropping the LCD model, the report said.

Shares of the company was nearly flat in premarket trading.

In the same vein, Apple AAPL -1.1%’s plans to redesign the iPhone have already started to leak. But with the company under new pressure to deliver, a major source in Apple’s supply chain has revealed a potentially game-changing breakthrough.

In an official announcement, Apple’s Face ID component supplier AMS has revealed technology which can remove the iPhone’s notch and open the door to the truly bezel-less design of our dreams.

In addition, What AMS has created are new light and proximity sensors which use proprietary algorithms to operate quickly and accurately at very low light levels. These levels are so low the tiny 2 x 2.5 x 0.5mm chips can be placed behind an OLED display. And bingo! Face ID no longer requires a notch to be cut into an iPhone screen to function.

This is why MTN doesn’t want your data to last

The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has entered as judgment the settlement terms in a suit filed by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited against the Federal Government. In the suit, the telecoms firm asked the court to restrain the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Attorney-General of the Federation from imposing punitive sanctions on it. On the other hand, the apex bank had accused MTN Nigeria of improper dividend repatriations and demanded that $8.1 billion be returned “to the coffers of the CBN”.

MTN had challenged the $8,134,312,397.63 demanded from it by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over alleged forex remittance infractions. When the case came up in court, MTN’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, informed Justice Saliu Saidu that parties have resolved the dispute amicably. He said the terms of the settlement were filed in on December 28, 2018.

CBN’s counsel, Mr Henry Ejiofor, also confirmed to the judge that both parties have settled out of court. He, thereafter, urged the court to enter the terms of settlement as judgment.

In his ruling, Justice Saidu thanked the parties for not wasting precious judicial time by going through the rigours of a trial. He adopted the terms of settlement as the judgment of the court and struck out the AGF’s name from the suit.

 

The Federal Government had accused MTN of unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports, asking it to pay approximately $2billion in relation to the taxes.

According to the CBN, MTN and four banks deliberately flouted the “laws and regulations … including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006.”

The banks allegedly colluded with MTN, using irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCI) to illegally remit foreign exchange abroad. The four banks were slammed with a combined N5.87 billion fine. MTN had denied the allegations and subsequently filed the suit to challenge it.