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Instagram Redesigns Layout Of Home Screens; See New Features



Instagram is redesigning the layout of its home screen to emphasize shopping and Reels. The company introduced a new design that gives shopping and Reels permanent placement in the app’s navigation bar. 

The company teased the change in September when it began testing three new variations of its home screen, but the update marks the first time Instagram is officially changing up its home screen in some time. With the update, Reels takes the place of the shortcut to create a new post while a new shopping section appears where the activity tab used to be. (Both the activity section and create post shortcut have moved to the top right corner of the app next to the inbox.)

In a  blog post, Instagram Head Adam Mosseri said the change reflects a growing shift toward short-form video content and an increase in shopping during the pandemic. (Incidentally, both shopping and TikTok competitor Reels are also strategically important to Facebook’s future.) But the change is also likely to be unpopular, at least at first, among change-adverse Instagram users. For Instagram though, it’s likely a risk worth-taking, especially if it can get more users watching Reels and smashing the in-app buy button.



“Robotics And ICT Center Will Impact The Youth Positively”, Minister of Communications Commends MTN



The MTN Ghana Foundation has commissioned a multi-purpose ICT library and robotics lab at Ebenezer Senior High School which will also serve the Dansoman community.

The Dansoman Community Library is the first Secondary School library in Ghana to have a modern integrated ICT Center and a Robotics lab. The robotics and ICT lab will be a learning resource center for training students and young people in robotics. The multipurpose facility was constructed at cost of GHC 770,000 and comprised of a 100-seater conventional library area, a 20-seater ICT center, a world class Robotics lab and washrooms.

Speaking at the commissioning, the CEO of MTN Ghana Selorm Adadevoh said “When the idea of a modern integrated ICT library and robotics lab in Dansoman was brought to us at MTN Foundation, I was personally very inspired by it.  We gladly accepted to embark on this project at the Ebenezer Senior High School because we understand the life changing opportunities such a facility would bring to the people of Dansoman”.

 “One of our core mandates is to improve the quality of life of people through appropriate and sustainable interventions in communities where MTN operates”, he added.

On his part, The MTN Foundation Board Chairman Prof. Franklyn Manu urged the management and beneficiaries to adopt good maintenance culture to preserve the facility. He said “Such a facility will require constant upkeep, maintenance, and replacement of to ensure its longevity”.

The special guest of honor Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications and Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West Constituency commended MTN Ghana Foundation for supporting the school and community with such a modern facility. She said “I am excited about this project: It is clear from all the success our young people have chalked that they do not lack talents and ability to succeed. What our young people need, are the tools and the platforms to showcase what they have. When given the right tools and the right skills, our young people can compete and be the best in the world.”

The ceremony was attended by Mr Samuel Koranteng, Corporate Services Executive of MTN Ghana, Mrs Nabila Williams, a Board Member of MTN Ghana Foundation, Dr. Yaw Okraku-Yirenkyi, a Co-Founder of the Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation (GRAF),  Hon. George Cyril Bray, MCE of Ablekuma West Constituency, Mr. Hayford Siaw , Director of Ghana Library Authority, District Director of Education and the Headmistress of Ebenezer Secondary School.

Since the inception of the MTN Ghana Foundation in 2007, the Foundation has implemented over 150 major projects in areas of health, education and economic empowerment at a total cost of USD 15million. These projects are estimated to have impacted over 4 million people.

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Tech & Innovation

Spotify Says It Is Dominating The Podcasting Market Because Of A Million-Plus Tiny Podcasts



Anchor powered more than 1 million show launches in 2020

Spotify’s $100 million-plus Anchor acquisition is seemingly paying off. In data released today as part of its annual Wrapped look-back on the year, the company says Anchor, which makes podcast creation software, powered 80 percent of new podcasts on Spotify this year, meaning the software contributed more than 1 million shows to Spotify’s catalog in 2020 alone. Overall, Anchor powers 70 percent of Spotify’s total podcast catalog, or around 1.3 million out of over 1.9 million shows.

People also seem to be listening to that content. Spotify says Anchor shows account for more consumption, in terms of time spent listening, than any other third-party podcast hosting or distribution provider on its platform. (Not counting shows owned or operated by Spotify.) This sounds surprising, at least to me, especially given that big networks like NPR, The New York Times, and Wondery all put their shows on Spotify. But Mike Mignano, head of podcast mission at Spotify, says the data point speaks to the large global podcasting ecosystem that people might not know exists. With more than a million Anchor shows on the platform, listening time adds up fast, even if some shows only have a small group of dedicated fans.

“I think people still tend to think of podcasting as being this sort of small, niche community, and I think the 2020 growth has highlighted that it’s very, very quickly grown far beyond that, and there’s just so much more scale and depth to the medium than I think people realize,” he says. “We feel like for all the people in the world that want to say something, or want to share their voice, or want to have themselves heard, there can be actually far, far, far more new podcasts over the next couple of years.”


Spotify says Anchor’s top five markets in 2020, by total number of shows, were the US, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and Great Britain. In Indonesia, Spotify signed nine shows to become exclusives. Meanwhile, the fastest-growing markets, looking at the average monthly increase in new shows, are India, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Indonesia. India accounts for nearly 40,000 Anchor-made shows and has been growing at an average of 22 percent month-over-month increase in 2020.

Still, many of these creators might not be making money through their podcasting, or at least not with the help of Spotify. Although Anchor supports monetization and automatically inserts ads into participating shows, the feature is only available in the US. So while a variety of countries contribute to Anchor’s growing reach, the creators on the platform likely aren’t making a living, or even any income, because of their podcasting work. (Mignano and a spokesperson declined to comment on when monetization might roll out to other markets, although in the US, a spokesperson says more than 100,000 creators have generated revenue through Anchor’s sponsorships product.

Spotify itself had another big podcasting year. It made two big acquisitions — The Ringer and Megaphone — and signed multiple exclusive deals with figures like Joe Rogan and Kim Kardashian WestYesterday, it said two of the most popular shows on the platform this year include The Joe Rogan Experience and The Michelle Obama Podcast, both of which were major investments for the company. But not every show involves a recognizable name, which is why the Anchor deal was a critical part of Spotify’s podcast strategy. People all over the world are making shows with Spotify-owned software. Whether they can become superstars and make money off that work, though, is the next challenge for Spotify, at least if it wants to retain these podcasters in the years to come.

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Twitter’s Verified Programme To Return In 2021



2020 has been an interesting year for the team at Twitter, but one of the newest developments is the announcement of the return of its blue check verified accounts programme.

In a blog post on 24 November, Twitter announced that it will be reprioritising its verification program. The company temporarily shelved the programme three years ago.

Verification was previously criticized as “arbitrary” and “confusing”. The company also noted that while it meant to authenticate identity, users interpreted the blue checks as an endorsement or indicator of importance.

The verification system will relaunch in 2021. But first, Twitter will kickstart its plans by asking for critical feedback on its newly drafted verification policies.

Twitter hopes that this feedback will help it make better judgment calls as to which users will be eligible for verification.

Who will be able to get verified on Twitter?

Twitter outlined six account types that will be eligible to receive the verification badge.

These include:

  • Government accounts
  • Accounts representing companies, brands, and NGOs
  • News outlets and organisations
  • Entertainment and sports companies
  • Accounts owned by activists, organisers, and other influencers.

Twitter has created a page detailing the criteria for its drafted policy. The company also says that it will add more account types to the criteria in 2021.

It has, additionally, added disqualifying criteria that will prevent an account from receiving verification.

This includes the use of bots and bought followers to inflate audience numbers. Notably, accounts associated with hateful content or harmful activity may be ineligible for verification.

Meanwhile, groups and individuals who have committed human rights violations (and found guilty by an independent commission) will be ineligible for verification. This policy will apply even if their Twitter activity doesn’t violate any platform rules.

The public feedback period runs from 24 November until 8 December, with Twitter set to publish the final policy on 17 December.

You can take part in the feedback by completing the Twitter verification survey.

If you want to Tweet your feedback, tag Twitter and use the hashtag #VerificationFeedback.

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Tech & Innovation

Microsoft Windows Turns 35: Successful Years From Windows 1.0 To Windows 10



Which version of Windows was the very first you ever used? How different is it from the latest version?

The PC revolution started off life 35 years ago this week. Microsoft launched its first version of Windows on November 20th, 1985, to succeed MS-DOS. It was a huge milestone that paved the way for the modern versions of Windows we use today. While Windows 10 doesn’t look anything like Windows 1.0, it still has many of its original fundamentals like scroll bars, drop-down menus, icons, dialog boxes, and apps like Notepad and MS paint.

Windows 1.0 also set the stage for the mouse. If you used MS-DOS then you could only type in commands, but with Windows 1.0 you picked up a mouse and moved windows around by pointing and clicking. Alongside the original Macintosh, the mouse completely changed the way consumers interact with computers. At the time, many complained that Windows 1.0 focused far too much on mouse interaction instead of keyboard commands. Microsoft’s first version of Windows might not have been well received, but it kick-started a battle between Apple, IBM, and Microsoft to provide computing to the masses.

Back in 1985, Windows 1.0 required two floppy disks, 256 kilobytes of memory, and a graphics card. If you wanted to run multiple programs, then you needed a PC with a hard disk and 512 kilobytes of memory. You wouldn’t be able to run anything with just 256 kilobytes of memory with modern machines, but those basic specifications were just the beginning. While Apple had been ahead in producing mouse-driven GUIs at the time, it remained focused on the combination of hardware and software. Microsoft had already created its low-cost PC DOS operating system for IBM PCs, and was firmly positioned as a software company.

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