Samsung Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus (2018) specs: Infinity Display and a dual selfie camera

There’s no denying that Samsung’s S-series has boasted some of the finest flagships ever made, but sometimes there’s no match for a bonafide bargain, and that’s what the South Korean giant seems to be delivering with its newly-announced A-series phones, the Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8 Plus (2018).

As the new gold standard of Samsung’s mid-tier range, the Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus look to balance premium design with a steady performance all while retaining a modest price tag. On paper, this year’s A8 phones – which technically replace the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7, respectively – appear to deliver on all counts.

Editor’s Pick

This time around both the 5.6-inch A8 and the 6-inch A8 Plus sport an elongated Infinity Display with the same 18:5:9 aspect ratio found on the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, and Note 8. Both panels are Super AMOLED displays with a 2220 x 1080 resolution.

Despite missing out on the curved edges of its premium counterparts, the A8 and A8 Plus both pack slimline bezels, while leaving enough room for the devices’ most unique feature – a front-facing 16 MP and 8 MP dual-camera. We’ll be putting the pair’s selfie-taking credentials and much more to the test at a later date for a full review, but for now, be sure to check out the table below for all of the key specs.

  Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus (2018)
Display 5.6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED
2,220 x 1,080 resolution
441 ppi
18:5:9 aspect ratio
6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED
2,220 x 1,080 resolution
412 ppi
18:5:9 aspect ratio
Processor Unspecified octa-core platform
2.2 Ghz + 1.6 Ghz
Unspecified octa-core platform
2.2 Ghz + 1.6 Ghz
GPU TBC TBC
RAM 4 GB 4/6 GB
Storage 32/64 GB 32/64 GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 256 GB Yes, up to 256 GB
Cameras Rear camera:
16 MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture, phase-detection auto-focus, video digital image stabilisation (VDis) technology, hyperlapse, and Food Mode

Front camera:
16 MP + 8 MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture and Live Focus

Rear camera:
16 MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture, phase-detection auto-focus video digital image stabilisation (VDis) technology, hyperlapse, and Food Mode

Front camera:
16 MP + 8 MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture and Live Focus

Audio 3.5mm headphone jack
MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
3.5mm headphone jack
MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
Battery 3,000 mAh
Non-removable
Fast charging
3,500 mAh
Non-removable
Fast charging
Sensors Accelerometer Barometer
Fingerprint sensor Gyro sensor Geomagnetic sensor Hall sensor
Proximity sensor
RGB light sensor
Accelerometer Barometer
Fingerprint sensor Gyro sensor Geomagnetic sensor Hall sensor
Proximity sensor
RGB light sensor
IP rating IP68 water and dust resistance IP68 water and dust resistance
Network TBC
LTE Cat. 11
TBC
LTE Cat. 11
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
ANT+
Location (GPS, Glonass, BeiDou)
USB Type-C 2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
ANT+
Location (GPS, Glonass, BeiDou)
USB Type-C 2.0
Software Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Colors Black, Orchid Grey, Gold, and Blue Black, Orchid Grey, Gold, and Blue
Dimensions and weight 149.2 x 70.6 x 8.4 mm
172 g
159.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm
191 g

Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) and A8 Plus (2018) specs in the comments below! Is its dual-camera for selfies and (near) bezel-less design won you over?

How E-commerce Sites can Increase Sales with Pinterest?

Pinterest is basically a platform for users to visually share and discover exciting new interests by posting, or “pinning”, as it’s popularly called, videos or images to their own boards or that of others.

If you’re looking to drive more traffic and sales to your e-commerce site, Pinterest is one of the social networks you must add to your marketing arsenal.

People like to pin products on Pinterest and plan purchases. If used properly, your e-commerce site should be able to generate a high revenue with Pinterest.

Let’s see some of the best ways to harness the full potential of this social media platform:

1. Pick Your Pins Carefully

Quality over quantity – that’s one rule every business owner is aware of. And if you’re planning to boost your e-commerce sales using Pinterest, this rule applies even more to you.
Of course, volume is important but only to keep things consistent. Pin all your new items, engage users regularly, and keep things fresh. But, as Pinterest is an entirely visual medium, you need to be aware of which images attract the attention of the users the most.
There are two kinds of people you will come across on Pinterest, those who are ready to purchase from you right away and those who need some time.
You need to pin content that both these sets of audience will want to interact with.
As per the Yotpo guide to sell on Pinterest, brand images without faces receive 23% more sales than those with faces. So, your knowledge of product photography is definitely going to pay off here.
Other things that add to the effectiveness of yours pins include:
  • Color plays a key role, with a rich color scheme paying off more dividends than a single color pin. People also seem to prefer red images to blue ones.
  • Always consult analytics, like Pinterest business tools. This will help you figure out what works best for your target audience.
  • Your product pictures should have a minimum width of 600 pixels, with the ideal size being 736 pixels wide. Images that are taller will get Repinned more often.

2.Enable rich pins:

When you enable rich pins on your e-commerce website, some extra information like the real-time price and description of the product will appear on the pin. This can increase traffic and sales. So ensure you enable rich pins on your website.
You can also try using buyable pins. This will display the price of the product on Pinterest. People will also be able to directly buy the product on Pinterest like in this pin.

3. Create a Pinterest-Friendly Ambience on Your Website

Simplify the process of pinning images and articles from your business site. You can do so by adding a button to your website so that the process becomes faster. Because the higher the number of pins you get, the greater will be the exposure to your business.
It would be even better if you have another person pinning your product or web page as it raises your credibility factor even more than if it were you endorsing them by yourself.

4. Concentrate your efforts on promoting your brand lifestyle

Pinterest deals with more than just the sale of products; you can use the platform to influence your customer base and make them see how your brand integrates with their world.
Instead of creating boards consisting of your own products, it is a good idea to establish boards around brand values and lifestyle themes. A themed board should not be limited to your own goods; try to include other pins as well.
You need to understand that your buyers are coming to Pinterest for information and inspiration, rather than just buying stuff. Achieve the first objective, and the second one will follow on its own. And nothing works better in this regard than staying true to your brand.
If your company manufactures a unique sort of product, integrate your original pins with related pins. Basically, you will be weaving a story for your customers, with the moral being that your products are unique and something they need in their lives.

5. Use popular trends to your advantage

Being unique is good, but sometimes you just need to go with the flow. In the case of Pinterest, this means following the popular trends.
For example, seasonal content carries as much weight online as it does in traditional shops. Any pin that corresponds to major seasons, holidays, and events is bound to draw a crowd. All you need to do is understand your audience, and stay true to their interests.

6. Host contests to increase engagement

Raising engagement is always easier when you host a contest on Pinterest. However, you need to study the advertising guidelines for the platform carefully and never engage in spammy actions or any sort of content that is frowned upon.

7. Never underestimate the power of influencers:

Work with bloggers and influencers on Pinterest to improve the popularity of your products on the platform. When a Guest Pinner creates a board on your account, it draws a huge crowd. However, make sure you work with Pinterest users who cater to the same client as your business.

8. Draw the attention of the community

Bigger is better – at least when it comes the crowd size you involve to help raise engagement levels.
Make sure anybody can participate in the process. Ask customers to share pictures of themselves with your items. This is a great way to find accessible images of your photos worn by actual people.

9. Learn when to draw the line

Never pin too much on the same day. It’s understandable that you want your boards to be completely developed, but bombarding your customers with a barrage of pins is not the solution. After all, who wants to scroll through large numbers of your pins showcasing what is basically the same product in a different color.
Follow the points given above to create a professional level Pinterest strategy that excels at generating traffic, driving engagement, and above all, boosting your online sales.

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Rage of Demons: Session 3

In the previous session our heroes traveled towards the kuo-toa village of Sloobludop, pursued by the drow. They had learned from their kuo-toa companion Shuushar that there were two factions in Sloobludop: The followers of the goddess Blibdoolpoolp (aka “the Sea Mother”) with her archpriest Plooploopeen (aka “Ploop”) were vying for control with the upstart followers of the god Leemooggoogoon (aka “the Deep Father”) and his archpriestess Bloppblippodd (aka “Blopp”), daughter of Ploop.

Before they reached the village they were accosted by a patrol of kuo-toa, who offered them safe passage to Sloobludop if they would put all their weapons in a sack to prevent a surprise attack. They agreed, but before they could reach Sloobludop another patrol of kuo-toa attacked and killed the first patrol. That second patrol was led by Ploop, who explained that the first patrol was from the other faction, who would have sacrificed the group to the Deep Father. Ploop led them to the village and told them which quarters to stay in to not attract the attention of the other faction. But Surina the sorceress was curious about the other faction, magically disguised herself as kuo-toa, took Nyx the druid in the form of a small animal on her shoulder, and went exploring. She found that in fact the altar of the Deep Father looked rather grim: Two octopi were tied together on top of a manta ray, to give the impression of a two-headed monster. Traces of blood sacrifices were visible. In contrast the altar of the Sea Mother had offerings of knickknacks like sea shells, and looked more welcoming.

Based on that information the group agreed to a proposal of Ploop: They were to hide their weapon and armor under robes and be led by a group of Ploop’s followers to the upcoming festival in honor of the Deep Father. Ploop would pretend to give them to Blopp as a peace offering, as sacrifice for her god. But then Ploop, his followers, and the group would attack Blopp and her followers.

They executed the plan as intended. When striking down Blopp, the archpriestess called out “Leemooggoogoon”, and fell bleeding on the god’s altar. Suddenly the dark surface of the lake behind the altar began to bubble, and a huge monstrosity with tentacles and two baboon heads rose from the water. “Leemooggoogon” turned out to be the demon prince Demogorgon! With a single attack Demogorgon killed Prince Derendil, one of the NPC companions of the group. They also lost another NPC companion, Jimjar, by getting separated from him in the ensuing chaos. While Demogorgon killed Ploop, the group escaped and found a boat. With their remaining NPC companions Buppido, Shuushar, Sarith, and Stool, they got away from Sloobludop. Now they knew that something more dangerous than drow was afoot in the Underdark!

With the help of Arkoy’s curse that gave them a sense of direction, and Shuushar’s knowledge of the lake, they decided to travel towards Gracklstugh, the duergar city where Buppido claimed to know a way towards the surface world. But that was 20 days of travel away. On the evening of the first day they stopped at an island where they found a tunnel leading underground in which fungi grew. Unfortunately those turned out to be Timmask, a poisonous mushroom, whose spores put a confusion on Nyx, so she wandered deeper down in the tunnel. Following Nyx to stop her, the group was caught in a tremor causing a cave-in and were trapped. However a new passage had opened in one of the tunnel walls, leading to a strange temple. At first the group encountered gray ooze twice, who fell from the ceiling and damaged Mog’burz’ weapon with acid.

Then they saw a strange sight before them: A skeleton (not animated) was seemingly floating in the air, along with a dark metal mace and some coins. Trying to take the mace with a mage hand spell led to the hand encountering an invisible wall, and a telepathic message of “Hey! Stop tickling me!”. Thus the group encountered Glabbagool, a gelatinous cube who had become sentient. Glabbagool was friendly and spat out the mace and coins on request, and told them about the rest of the temple. He warned them about traps full of black puddings in corridors leading to a closed door, of which he didn’t know what was behind it. The group went there with Glabbagool escorting them (and dispatching quickly some more gray oozes). They discovered a new cave which Glabbagool said hadn’t been there before, from which water flowed into the temple.

They went to the closed door, which turned out to be easy to open for creatures possessing hands to use the door knob. Behind was an octagonal room with 7 niches, of which 4 contained strange, formless sculptures, and a big fountain in the middle containing dark water. Touching the statues unfroze them, and they turned out to be another 4 gray oozes. After killing those they discovered some treasure under the water of the fountain. Having explored the whole temple, there was no apparent way out. And from the new cave water kept rushing in, the whole complex being below the surface level of the darklake. They explored the cave and saw that the water was coming from fissures in the ceiling. With the help of a Magic Missile (and creative rule interpretation by me as DM) they made the ceiling collapse, at which point they could swim to the surface of the lake and back to their boat.

There a nasty surprise awaited them. Buppido was found unconscious with a big bump on the back of his head, while Shuushar was dead, with his entrails arranged in a bizarre fashion around him, like by some sort of ritual. Woken up, Buppido couldn’t provide an explanation of what had happened, and the group found no traces of the killer. So the next day they said goodbye to Glabbagool (who wouldn’t fit on the boat) and rowed off.

Two days later they were passing by another island, when they heard a soft feminine voice inside their heads pleading for help. Somebody on the island needed rescue! On the island they found a big green door, which turned out to be of heavy marble, covered in corroded bronze, and with an axis in the middle. Pushing with much force on the side opened the door (we were joking that Mog’burz, who failed several door opening rolls in this dungeon, kept pushing in the middle of the door). Behind the door was a Nethril tomb from millennia ago (basically Ancient Egyptian in design), the Lost Tomb of Khaem.

In the tomb the group came upon a room with a stone sarcophagus. That turned out to be a false tomb with a trap cursing them to have disadvantage on all attack rolls and saving throws. As they were all affected by the curse, this turned the dungeon into a far more deadly place. And there was another strange feature to the tomb: Any spell cast resulted in a wild magic surge, giving a random result form the wild magic table of the chaos sorcerer. That turned out to be an insidious feature when in the next room the group was attacked by four specters, who were resistant to non-magical damage. It turned downright deadly in the final (hidden) room, where the group encountered Brysis of Khaem, an evil sorceress who was now a wraith. Mog’burz the eldritch knight countered an attack of Brysis with a shield spell, but that triggered everybody’s favorite wild magic surge result: a fireball.

They barely survived this encounter, but then found the source of the voice: an intelligent sword called Dawnbringer. They also found a bunch of other nice treasures, like a necklace of fireballs, and over 2,000 gold pieces worth of valuables. Danger has its rewards in Dungeons & Dragons. At that point we ended the session, the group having reached level 5.

How Big Data Analytics Make Cities Smarter?

Smart city and big data

There has been a lot of activity around the concept of Smart City for some time. Cities are being identified as future smart cities. Theoretically at least, smart cities can fundamentally change our lives at many levels such as less pollution, garbage, parking problems and more energy savings. Though the prospect seems mouth-watering, the implementation of the smart city concept around the world has been sporadic at best because of several reasons. Whatever the stage the smart city implementation is at globally, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) have the power to drive the implementation.

Undoubtedly, the main strength of the big data concept is the high influence it will have on numerous aspects of a smart city and consequently on people’s lives. Big data is growing rapidly, currently at a projected rate of 40 % growth in the amount of global data generated per year versus only 5 % growth in global IT spending. Around 90 % of the world’s digitized data was captured over just the past two years. As a result, many governments have started to utilize big data to support the development and sustainability of smart cities around the world. That allowed cities to maintain standards, principles, and requirements of the applications of smart city through realizing the main smart city characteristics. These characteristics include sustainability, resilience, governance, enhanced quality of life, and intelligent management of natural resources and city facilities.

Big Data in Smart Cities

If major cities were to invest into smart transport systems today, then by 2030 they would save around $800 billion annually. On top of that, smart transport systems also contribute in a few other ways, including:
  • Less automobile congestion and fewer accidents
  • More advancements in faster long distance travel
  • Clean air from the reduction of pollution
  • Excess of new jobs from updates in transportation networks
  • Furthermore, any upgraded transportation option appeals to established businesses looking for a new locale, as they do to startup businesses. Any business wants to know that their workers and clients have access to efficient modern transportation. That access lowers annual budgets for businesses in terms of what they pay in gas mileage and delivery costs.
Big data tracks transportation infrastructure needs and costs helping cities define ways to expand their public transport options in the most efficient way possible. It defines what areas of the city need to open up and how receptive people are about initiatives to raise money for such a project. Cities that use this type of big data analytics are called smart cities and much of the world wants in on the innovations.
Many major cities are starting to use INRIX, a system that analyzes data from traditional road sensor networks and mobile device data. San Francisco’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission saved over $250,000 per year from the direct data collection of INRIX. 

Big Data in Law Enforcement

Contrary to popular belief, in terms of fighting crime, big data is actually allowing police and other law enforcement officers to behave less like Big Brother than more. Data analytics allows law enforcement officers to track real trouble spots and dangerous criminals.


Many local agencies are starting to use PREDPOL or predictive policing systems that collect three main data points from every report: type of crime, location and time of the incident, to make accurate officer deployment decisions in the future.

PREDPOOL



Once high criminal activities are identified, new education initiatives and outreach programs can be utilized in those jurisdictions.


Big Data in Education

The collection and analysis of big data helps educators understand which students need help, why they need help as well as identifying areas in which they excel.
Educators can provide relevant individual and group activities to support each student’s goals and needs. Teachers will be able to assess student progress on a consistent basis in order to challenge students and help them grow.
The analytics provide more three-dimensional insights of their students’ progress while allowing parents a way to understand how each child learns. 
AltSchool is one of the first K-8th grade school providing this personalized learning experience which is only available in developing smart cities such as San Francisco and New York.
altschool
The introduction of big data in the education space has encouraged students of all ages to learn remotely in the comfort of their homes. These massive open online courses collect data from millions of course takers and analyze it to find trouble areas that are causing students to fail. After analyzing millions of data points, algorithms continually updated each course to deliver an “adaptive learning experience” based on each individual’s strength, weaknesses and preferences.
These are just two examples of the many ways smart cities are adapting schools into more personalized and remote learning platforms which may change the learning experience forever.

Big Data in Health

The United Nations says that by 2050, 66% of the world’s population will be considered urban. With populations living in such close proximities, this means that health initiatives must be available to everyone no matter their background, race or economic status.
Big data can already predict the outbreaks of viruses and even track cases of depression. Smart cities will use millions of sensors that provide personalized medical services. Many citizens of smart cities will be able to activate their medical service by a mobile app or free standing kiosks throughout the city. Pulsepoint Respond is a great example of a personalized app that alerts CPR-trained bystanders of sudden cardiac arrests within their immediate area.
PlusPoint
On top of that, smart cities have already started testing systems that allow elderly patients the option to remain in their homes instead of at a nursing care facility. These type of systems include a standalone table, a tablet with Skype and wireless home sensors used for video communication between the patient and their remote caregiver.
The wireless sensors monitor the house and send alerts about safety situations such as a left-on stove or doors opening in the middle of the night. After testing this system in Oslo, Norway, the study has shown that the system can save $85,000 for each person since they don’t have to move into a nursing facility.

Big Data in Energy Usage.

Over 75% of the world’s energy consumption come from cities and 40% of municipal energy cost come solely from street lighting. Since adopting smart street lights which automatically adjust light levels to suit the needs of citizens, Lansing, Michigan saved 70% of their energy cost.
Experts predict that by 2020 there will be over 100 million of these smart light bulbs and lam>s used worldwide. Other cities like Charlotte, North Carolina have implemented smart building energy management which cut their total energy use by 8.4% and greenhouse gas emissions by 20%.
Moreover, the Spanish town of Santander installed 12,500 air pollution and RFID sensors around the city which diminished energy costs by 25% and waste management cost by an additional 20%. Smart cities are barely underway, yet they are already making substantial impact on the environment and to the citizens living in them.
Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and Songdo in South Korea are prime examples of connected cities that, using a local energy optimisation system, materialise the promises of a zero emission, zero waste model. All of the data from the sensors, spread throughout the city, are analysed in real time to optimise a number of aspects of inhabitants’ lives.


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