WhatsApp for Small Business and the Developing World

WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, announced a new product on top of their personal messaging platform. They introduced WhatsApp for business that integrates to the company’s network. For many Americans, WhatsApp is unknown or just not something they can use, but for the rest of the world, it is one of the major communication applications.

WhatsApp is so popular in rest of the world because in many countries, there are pay per text and minutes plans. WhatsApp is a cheap one-year subscription that gives unlimited texting, calling, and voice calling over data. As long as there is Wi-Fi or the internet, people can communicate. It is normal for us in the USA to have a flat rate for unlimited texting and callings, so we don’t realize how this matter. Communication is the way to make money, organize events, connect with family and friends, so it essential that people have affordable access.

From my personal experience in India, I can say that phone plans are expensive for the average person in the country. It might not be as bad for upper- middle class and rich but most of the population that don’t fit into those class, can’t afford it. Wi-Fi, on the other hand, is much more cheaper and readily available. Nearly all major stores, and restaurants and public areas offer some connection, even if it is slow by American standards. Expanding on the slow networks, WhatsApp does a really good job of minimizing the digital footprint so it can be used on very slow connections.


WhatsApp Business is really a new way to connect and do business. The app basically offers business tools at an affordable price. It sets up a virtual market place for the company and allows them to automate, advertise, and bring in customers. With a billion-active user daily, the platform allows business to reach out to that worldwide pool.

I think this an amazing product that really focuses on why people use WhatsApp and what the user might want. Many people don’t have access to fast connections but WhatsApp platform can perform well is slow speed, it allows customers from all over the world to be able to contact a business. This also allows new business to come form places that can’t afford a full website and tools. Understanding HCI, WhatsApp has created something that will help many people.


Businesstoday.in. (2018). WhatsApp Business: How normal users will be affected. [online] Available at: https://www.businesstoday.in/technology/news/how-to-use-whatsapp-business-normal-users/story/268393.html [Accessed 10 Feb. 2018].

Picture: http://www.hrtricks.ga/whatsapp-business/

Quantum Dots for The Future

Samsung and LG are the definition of the bitter rivalry among hardware tech companies. They both compete in essentially every product they make, appliance, phone, TV and etc. Recently the focus has been about what the two companies are doing for their TV products. Samsung is betting on something called Quantum Dot while LG is betting on OLED. It doesn’t seem like the people talk about tv technology like they did a couple of years and there doesn’t seem to be a craze for either. Regardless, the technology is being pushed and is showing potential in changing the way we receive content.


Currently in the market, LG produces OLED Tv panels and Samsung is producing a somewhat hybrid of Quantum dot and LCD. The reason for the hybrid, Samsung hasn’t been able to get to pure Quantum dot technology to quite work yet, so instead have been slowly improving the technology over the years and phasing out old technology like LCD.


In the TV realm, the experts say that OLED, which is Organic Light-Emitting diode, is currently superior in terms of the Samsung’s offerings. OLED is an advancement in LED technology. It uses organic materials to produce different colored light. It is able to give dark blacks, produce huge range of colors, use less energy, and be thin and light. The problem is the OLED is almost at it limits in terms of its technology and capabilities. Samsung currently is pursing a technology that is hard but if done right, it basically beats out OLED in very way possible. It is much more efficient, super thin, brighter, etc. 


Currently, Samsung’s QLED uses a thin layer of quantum dots in front of a layer of blue LEDS. The blue led provides the blue light and also provides the energy for the green and red quantum dot to work. The blue light basically provides higher energy light than that of red and green, so the quantum dots can convert blue photons into red and green photons. The problem with this that, there is wasted light because layers of color filters, LCD and polarizers blocking the certain light to create the required imagine. The next step is to create a layer quantum dot that have red, green and blue dots, and to use electricity, rather than light, to activate them. This drastically improves the efficiency, performance of the displays and reduces the number of different layers that block light. This is considered the ultimate use of the technology and looks to change the way we use our devices.

I think that Quantum Dot technology will impact the way we design user interfaces and devices. The new display will be much more thinner and power efficient, so the hardware, such as phones, will have to be redesigned to meet user’s needs. We can also expect this to change the way we interact in VR. The displays can produce colors and imagines that are very life-like. I would imagine that game designers would leverage this but also be cautious of it because it makes game element too life-like. We could also see thin foldable displays that will launch a new wave of HCI studies.



Morrison, Geoffrey. “How quantum dots could challenge OLED for best TV picture.” CNET, CNET, 22 Jan. 2018, www.cnet.com/news/how-quantum-dots-could-challenge-oled-for-best-tv-picture/.

Picture: https://news.samsung.com/za/qled-tv-vs-oled-tv

Meltdown and Spectre is Bad News for Everyone

meltdown spectre

The spectre and Meltdown are capable of targeting CPU chips of all kinds. There are very few CPU chips that are not affected by this. It isn’t a PC vs Mac or iPhone Vs Android problem. It is a universal problem that basically affects everyone. Smartphone, governments, banks, hospitals and more can have their data stolen.

How do Spectre and Meltdown work? Without going into technical verbiage, it is a hardware level exploitive. It takes advantage of how the CPU is designed. Even though chip makers have patents over their designs and have different physical hard designs, they often share a general ideology on how the design behaves. The spectre and Meltdown take advantage of this idea and are able to basically affect many devices regardless of their chip model. To make the CPU faster, chip makers have designed the CPU to have a process called speculative execution. It basically tries to predict what the user might use next by running random bits of data and being reading to execute quickly if the prediction was right. This process allows the attacker to run code on your computer without your consent.

How can it attack you and what are the fixes? The problem is that it is a design flaw in how processors are made so it can be fixed without upgrading to new hardware that has this fixed. For PC users, they simply can the switch out the CPU when a fixed version comes out. For everyone else, smartphones users, laptops users, and users of devices with the CPU solder on will have to fully replace their device. A very expensive problem but that is the only way to fully protect yourself. A software fix can slow down the exploits but is it only a matter of time before hackers find ways around that. You can simply visit a website, and we attacked. This attack could sneak around your computer without a problem. It is basically giving a criminal X-Ray vision into a vault. The hackers can look at passwords and sensitive data.

I feel really uncomfortable about how widespread and powerful the exploits are. This is a hacker’s dream. They can work on this and be able to affect millions. Once someone figures out how to use this exploit, everyone else will have access to this. For this threat, I could follow all the right habits of making good passwords, but they can easily be accessed. It seems like it’s pointless to follow up on threats and try to protect ourselves. What makes it worse is that you have to spend money on new hardware to fix this problem. The companies create this problem, and they will make more money out of this.

Porup, J.M. “Meltdown and Spectre affect the smartphone in your pocket. Should you be worried?” ITworld, CSO, 4 Jan. 2018, www.itworld.com/article/3245796/mobile/meltdown-and-spectre-affect-the-smartphone-in-your-pocket-should-you-be-worried.html
Picture: https://www.itworld.com/article/3245796/mobile/meltdown-and-spectre-affect-the-smartphone-in-your-pocket-should-you-be-worried.html

Companies Fail to Defend Against Basic Threats

hacked computer security symbol   hacked rot

There are more computing devices in the world than ever before with thousands of them  coming online every day. They are in our pockets, homes, hospitals, and schools. They bring us convenience, safety, commerce, education and so much more. The existence of these computers has become an integral part of our society and everyday life. We can’t imagine our life without them, and it is scary to think what would happen if we don’t have them one day? Personally, I don’t think we can survive. How will food get delivered to the stores? How can you call the police?  how the electricity is going to reach you? With this great danger, we should seriously look on how to protect our companies and devices, but it seems like we aren’t doing the basic things.

In an article written by Roger Grimes for IT World, he mentions that companies aren’t following what the hard-cold data is showing them. He blames that on human tendency saying that humans often don’t make a decision that will benefit them even though the data shows them the good and the bad. In his article, he mentions a couple of reasons for why we are so vulnerable to threats that could be easily avoided. First, every day there is an average of 15 new security threats that IT security will have to deal with. This becomes really overwhelming for IT to handle. It becomes even harder when internal politics take their attention away to fight whatever the higher ups tell them to do. Rather than following up on threats to see if they are harmful to the company, they are distracted by the inputs of the higher and forced to provide crucial resources to fix a mundane problem. Second, Media hype has caused a general widespread numbness. Simple threats are leveled to great heights and cause many to be panic and be overly concerned. Over time, people have become less attentive to these threats that when a real threat does occur, it goes unnoticed. Third, too many projects and not enough of completion. Many companies react to threats by starting many projects. Although the throwing many projectiles randomly at the target can increase the odds of success, that doesn’t come close the odds of success for a few projectiles that been aimed. In a way that also applies to the projects that companies start. They start so many,  but don’t have the resource or patience to see them completed. If they had simply focused on one or two, most companies would have been covered for most threats.

This article reminds me of the Spectre and Meltdown threats that have come up in past month or so. I didn’t think too much about it until I had to do some research for it. I realized that I had become a victim of the hyped news and didn’t take this credible threat seriously. It seems like many manufacturers aren’t doing their part either. I still haven’t received a patch for my Note 8, laptop or PC and I don’t think I will receive them any time soon. What makes it worse is that sometimes there are patches available, but there aren’t clear instructions on how to install them. I would imagine that most people would never update or patch their devices for many years! It is a bit scary because it allows the threat to be weaponized and used in cyber warfare.

Grimes, Roger A. “6 reasons you’re failing to focus on your biggest IT security threats.” ITworld, CSO, 16 Jan. 2018, www.itworld.com/article/3247796/security/6-reasons-youre-failing-to-focus-on-your-biggest-it-security-threats.html?upd=1517713257786.
Picture : https://www.itworld.com/article/3247796/security/6-reasons-youre-failing-to-focus-on-your-biggest-it-security-threats.html?upd=1517713257786

Fog For IoT

cloud computing network connections - IoT - internet of things

IoT is easily the most popular buzzword for 2017. We are seeing increasing interest in what IoT can do. It is rightfully so because it is supposing to make many things automated, bring greater efficiency and convenience to world. Many devices share data with each other, so that decisions, such as turning off certain devices and allocate power to crucial devices in order to prevent a blackout, can be on scale that is meaningful and impactful. We have to ask the question, how can this happen?

In order for devices to share information, they need a network that can transmit data to each other. We already have this in place but it is too small for the many devices that will exist on the network. We are limited by the data transmission capacity and the latency of the network in facture. With the stand model of having a centralized cloud computing where all the data is sent and process is very inefficient. One, it hogs to much bandwidth. Two, increases latency because large amounts of information is buffered and queued, and it can’t be used for time sensitive situations. Three, it is an inefficient way to make decision, and distributing data.

The idea, not a tangible solution yet, to fix these problems is something called Fog Computing. Its goal is to decrease latency, dynamically change each devices’ function, give out data to required devices. How the OpenFog Consortium wants to go about doing is quite complex but simple in its nature. Devices on the network can function independently if they have to. For example, a self-driving car needs to react right away if it senses an accident is about to occur, rather than wasting time by waiting for a server to respond to tell the car what to do. At the same time, it should be able to get input from the server such, as changing speed to avoid congestion. This is a case where it is lowering the latency for the decision-making process to occur, essential is the case of an accident. It is the act of balancing where the computations should be done. It ideally saves time and bandwidth. Using the same case, we can idealize another part of OpenFog Consortium’s idea. The self-driving cars on road, in a case of crash, can immediately talk to cars around it, rather than sending its data through the cloud. This shows that devices can actively choice when to give out point to point communication rather than sending it to a server.

With IoT coming very soon, I think this a is great idea that can speed up the emergence of IoT. Even though the concept seems simple enough, it doesn’t solve how IoT will behave. This idea will make data transfer more efficient, but how do you want data to send and where to send it? There will be so many devices and sensors that knowing what is need to make a meaningful decision is going to be hard too. For example, a car is about to crash into a gas main. A camera records the car, but something has to be able to process the video in way to see the cars trajectory, speed, etc. Then the computer has to communicate to the gas stations’ shut value. At the same time, call the nearest fire engine just incase. Then, there are so many more factors.

Creating a standardized protocol for all IoT is one set in making it work, but something has to be designed so data can be understood in a meaningful way. This is probably were AI will come into play.


Butler, Brandon. “What Is Fog Computing? Connecting the Cloud to Things.” ITworld, Network World, 17 Jan. 2018, www.itworld.com/article/3243111/internet-of-things/what-is-fog-computing-connecting-the-cloud-to-things.html.


Picure: https://www.itworld.com/article/3243111/internet-of-things/what-is-fog-computing-connecting-the-cloud-to-things.html

Blockchain Is Here to Stay

blockchain how it works

The words Bitcoin, Ethereum, cryptocurrency seem to be the buzz these days. With the rise of Bitcoin, it has caused a lot of hype and a modern-day gold rush. With some cryptocurrency seeing quick and steep growth, many are flocking to this is new system of money to see if they can also reap the benefits. The main hero giving us the ability to trust the system is Blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger technology. In simple terms, it is public ledger that all parties hold and it consists of the all the transaction that have ever happen within a system. In way, you can verify and authorize new transaction by comparing all the ledgers.

Even though Blockchain was popularized by Bitcoin, it has many other uses other than for cryptocurrency. In a sense, Blockchain can be compared to administrative record work, so anything that requires record keeping and constant accounting of assets can be replaced with a cost-effective way, Blockchain. Currently, we are seeing Blockchain being used in finance for bank transactions, mobile payments, shipping (a very successful example). We are also seeing some experimentations done in healthcare, company access portals, and in the energy industry.

If it such a powerful tool, why isn’t being widely used or rather, what is holding it back?. One, it is simply misunderstood, and the idea is still in its infancy. There are enough developers working on creating new implementations, creating improved model, or doing research. It is every expensive and hard for everyone get access to the software. Two, just like everything new thing, it will take a long time before it can be adopted. Any rapid change to the system could cause unforeseen consequence. This prevents companies and other organization from adopting it to quickly.

I love the idea of Blockchain technology and its possibilities. Even though, I really don’t know too much about how it works, but I get the gist. I feel like this could potentially bring an aspect of security to the internet of things. With so much data being transmitted online, making ledger that track where data is going would be awesome. The system could authorize “data” transactions, keep track of where the data is going, and keep the data with the selected parties. Perhaps, the system could actively respond to hacks. If the system sees that the data transaction was hacked, it could automatically change protocols, codes, etc…

Even though Blockchain is really slow in its growth, I can see that it going to be like TCP/IP was for the internet.


Mearian, Lucas. “What Is Blockchain? The Most Disruptive Tech in Decades.” ITworld, Computerworld, 18 Jan. 2018, www.itworld.com/article/3191077/security/what-is-blockchain-the-most-disruptive-tech-in-decades.html.



Robot that can Read and Understand!

See the source imageHave you ever thought of a question and google couldn’t find the perfect answer for you?  In the near future, we could expect search engines to give an answer straight away rather than giving you possible links. Companies like Alibaba and Microsoft are racing to create a powerful AI, one that could do things that only thought possible for a human being to do, thinking, comprehending and actively responding. In this article we will take a look at how it might impact our society.


Alibaba and Microsoft have built artificial intelligence that have beaten humans on a Stanford University reading comprehension test. Alibaba later stated, “This is the first time that a machine has outperformed humans on such a test.” Artificial intelligence experts at Stanford created the test to calculate computers’ reading capabilities, which are constantly growing. Alibaba’s software was the first to beat the human score of the test. Although many considered this accomplishment as a great milestone, Luo Si, the chief scientist of natural language processing at the Chinese company’s AI research group acknowledged admitted this advance in artificial intelligence will cause many to lose their jobs. The technology “can be gradually applied to numerous applications such as customer service, museum tutorials and online responses to medical inquiries from patients, decreasing the need for human input in an unprecedented way,” Si also said.


I think we first have to ask, “ How are tests designed?” What does this test measure? The Stanford test consists of questions about a set of Wikipedia articles. For example, a human or AI program reads a passage and then answers multiple questions regarding the passage. Alibaba’s network program scored 82.44 on the test on January 11, beating the 82.304 scored by the human participants by a hair. A day later, Microsoft’s AI software also beat the human score, with a result of 82.650.


I felt that the AI programs weren’t really fully comprehending what it was reading. On a basic level, there are two parts to comprehension. The first part, taking in information and being able to categories them in patterns and links. The second part, being able to use those patterns and links to answer questions that aren’t directly related what is already known. For example I give you two pieces of information, water has a large amounts of H2O molecules and H2O reflects blue light. Then, I ask you what is the color of the water? If you can only do part one of comprehension, there is no direct correlation to what I asked and what you know, so you would not be able to answer that question. If you were able to do the second part of comprehension, you will be able make a assumption that since water is mostly H2O molecules, the color of water must be blue. It is kind of like learning something is class and being able to apply that knowledge on homework that isn’t exactly like the material learned in class.


I don’t think we are at a time where, AI will start replacing humans quite yet. The AI systems mentioned in the article seem to be not capable of the second part of the comprehension. They lack the human qualities that is required for the jobs that AI was thought to replace. Furthermore, I would add that the prediction that some job will be lost to AI is a gross underestimate. As soon as AI can master the second part of comprehension, they will replace everyone’s jobs, even the researcher’s jobs. The AI will be able to make assumptions, test ideas and learn. With its superior processing power, it will only be a short time before it surpasses all the information that humans have gathered over 1000 years.


I think we will come to a point when we have to decide on how much AI we want and how much we should develop it. It is going to become an ethical question. After AI has surpassed us, what does that mean for humans? What is our purpose? Should we merger with AI’s?



Pham, Sherisse. “Reading Robots Beat Humans in Stanford Test.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 16 Jan. 2018, 4:16 AM ET, money.cnn.com/2018/01/15/technology/reading-robot-alibaba-microsoft-stanford/index.html.

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Boeing Tests an Unusually Large Drone. What Does That Mean For Us.

Imagine you wake up one morning in the near future and you look outside to see a sky-highway filled with commercial truck sized drones zig-zagging to get to their destination. This is a vision that The Boeing Company is trying fulfill. Although they don’t have a concrete plan on who would they will cater to, they have a good idea on what the potential uses are. I hope that after reading this post you will see that drones have the potential to make an impact on society.

Artist render by Wired


A team of engineers in the R&D division spent three months to prototype a large drone and in the beginning of January, they revealed an electric, unmanned drone prototype that is capable of lifting 500 pounds. They say it can reach up 60 to 70 MPH, fly several hundreds of feet into the air, and have a capable range of 20 miles. Weighing in around 747 pounds, the drone is capable of navigating by itself, and recognizes complex obstacles.

What do they think this drone can do for the commercial market? Boeing Engineers think that drones this large can fill the gap between the small drone deliveries and the large bulk order truck shipments. Currently, the consumer market is switching away from the business model of going to a mass super store to a home delivery model. Stores like Walmart, Costco, Target get their supply and products from big trucks and then consumers drive to those stores, but with the increase in popularity of Amazon over traditional stores, we can see that people are preferring home deliveries. The large drone comes into the market to support the system of home deliveries by offering increased capabilities than that of a traditional drone. They also allow traditional stores like Walmart to compete with Amazon by allowing them to ship their product straight to the consumer.

I think Boeing’s prototype is a signal of what is to come. As I mentioned before, I believe that we will one-day wake up and see many drones whizzing by on sky-highway. I think this is highly probable because drones offer many advantages that traditional transportation vehicles and systems don’t. They are offer fast direct services, straight to someone’s door step. Reliable services because companies can easily fix or buy more drones rather than wait for drivers, who might be unskilled and expensive. Most importantly, drones are capable of doing the dirty, dangerous and repetitive jobs. I can see the military using these drones to deliver mission critical support in areas where it is too dangerous for traditional pilots. For humanitarian aid, when roads are too damage for trucks to get through or when there is a need for repetitive supply drops, drone offer those capabilities. For connecting small hard to reach area that aren’t accessible by road, such as remote communities in Alaska.

I believe that Boeing prototypes could signal a new revolution to the way we transport goods. In terms of how IST will play a part in this: provide coding and application development, interpret large data that is produced from the drone, etc. The need for IST is numerous in this case.


Davies, Alex. “Boeing’s Experimental Cargo Drone Is a Heavy Lifter.” Wired, Conde Nast, 14 Jan. 2018, www.wired.com/story/boeing-delivery-drone/.