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Top 10 Best Text Spying Apps to Track Messages

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Spying on someone’s text messages is very easy to do. One way to do this is to get access to their phones physically and read all their messages. However, rarely, is that so easy — and has a larger risk of being caught. The best alternative for grabbing someone’s phone is to use an app that is used to spy on text messages.

These apps are designed to be stealthy and are made for spying. All you have to do is install the app and then you can use the for reading the text messages of someone without much of a worry.

Here is a list of the top 10 apps that you can use to spy on text messages:

  • Spyier Text Spy

This is an app used to monitor phones and is also a text message reader. It has some extremely powerful features which make this app top the list of text message spying apps. It can be easily used and doesn’t need any extra technical skills. The app is so advanced that it allows you to spy on messages without jailbreaking. This app also has a stealth mode and also makes sure that your privacy is not compromised.

  • Spyic Text Spy

Spyic is the second-best spying app in the market currently. It can be used on both iOS and Android devices. It has a well-established reputation and has extremely reliable features.  With the help of this app, you can get access to someone’s messages from both your phone and PC. It will also send you the deleted messages and also archived ones. It reveals contact information, names, and also any media shred through the texts.

  • Cocospy

The third on the list is an app called Cocospy. It is another well-known spy app and can work on both Android and iOS. This app also helps in monitoring any activity on the phone apart from just reading text messages. You can get access to it from any web browser. It is used by numerous people worldwide and is a genuine app. it also checks the media files and contact s in the phone and also makes sure to get access to the deleted messages.

  • Fami360

This app is more of a parental control solution. The design of this app is such that it allows the parents to get access to the devices that your children use very remotely and in secrecy, thus also reading the messages that they exchange. The app can be sued to monitor the devices through other phones and PC. It monitors text messages, media exchanged, social media activities, contacts, phone calls and many more.

  • SMS Peeper

SMS Peeper is an amazing choice in the case of a remote text message reader. It allows the users to read the last hundred messages that have been sent and received by the device and it works remotely. It is not really a full-fledged spy application and cannot monitor the other activities performed through the device. One drawback of the app is it doesn’t monitor anything other than text; it doesn’t get access to call logs and media.

  • SpyBubble

SpyBubble is a spy app that can work on multiple platforms. It allows the user to get access to the messages exchanged in any Android device. This app can also monitor other activities performed from this device. It can be used to read social media messages as well.

  • Appmia

This is an app used to monitor mobile devices as well as track the messages in it. The app is quite famous and has more than 250,000 highly active users. Appmia can be used to keep a record of messages sent and delivered by a device and also through their social media accounts.

  • Auto Forward

Another one of the text message spying apps in the market that can make its name to the list of top 10 text message spying apps is called Auto Forward. This app is very easy to set up and can work on both iOS and Android platforms. It gives access to both text messages and also the media files that are shared through texts. Even though this app is highly reliable and helpful, it is extremely costly.

  • iKey Monitor

Taking up the ninth spot in this list is the iKey Monitor app. This app is mostly famous because of its ability to spy on social media messages. It can work on both iOS and Android devices and also allows you to take screenshots of the texts.

  • Copy9

Copy9 marks the end of the list of the top 10 text message spying apps. It is a very dependable app and has been helping users for years now. This app offers a free trial and works only on Android platforms. It also has a dated interface. It is the lack of its availability on the iOS devices that brings it so down the list.

Even though the top three are the best in the lot, all these apps are amazingly helpful in spying on text messages of a device.

Image Credit: Daria Shevtsova; Pexels

The post Top 10 Best Text Spying Apps to Track Messages appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Hacker Noon Adds Quantitative Social Proof and Web Monetization Standards

Hackernoon homepage 2020

Hacker Noon launched new functionality for contributing writers, and announced a strategic investment of $1M by Coil.

Less than a year ago, Hacker Noon replaced Medium’s software with its own content management system. Since then they’ve created over 100+ years of reading time, and historically have published over 12k+ writers, according to the company’s about page.

I caught up with Hacker Noon’s Founder & CEO David Smooke to discuss the publishing platform’s growth over the last year, the company’s recent funding announcement, and where the future of digital publishing could be headed.

Streaming Micropayments in the Browser

Coil was founded in 2018, uses a proposed open web standard called Web Monetization to stream micropayments to creators in real time. Coil has been making other strategic investments in community content destinations, like Imgur.

“With this partnership, Hacker Noon writers can now add their Web Monetization meta tag to their stories, and we’ll experiment with streaming micropayments to writers based on how much time Coil users spend reading their stories,â€� said Smooke.

Will automatically streaming payments via the browser actually work?

“As the ecosystem is young and innovation requires experimentation, these payments will start small,â€� said Smooke. “But from the beginning, the browser was designed to power the exchange of monetary value. The HTTP status code ‘402 Payment Required’ is a nonstandard client error status response code that has been reserved for future use. Maybe that future is sooner than we think? Additionally, we’ll offer a way for writers to donate their earnings to charities that are dedicated to making the Internet a better place.”

On the Hacker Noon platform, here’s what it looks like for contributing writers to add their Coil Web Monetization Tag:

Hackernoon profile rewards

A Total Frontend Overhaul on Hacker Noon

On April 20th, Hacker Noon announced that they had switched their primary reader experience from static pages to the open source NextJS framework.

“It allows us to deploy changes at Hacker Noon without having to re-render every post and to publicly cache pages,â€� said Smooke. “So between deployments, if one user visits a new story that hasn’t been pre-rendered, it gets rendered, hydrated, and then stored for future visitors.”

With this frontend re-architecture, the Hacker Noon product team made major improvements to all of its public facing pages. Writers can now add their call to action not only to their profile page but also on the story pages themselves, driving more traffic to an external source. And readers, who are not required to log in since the launch of the new site, have a generally better and less distracting reading experience with wider images, better typography, and even a dark mode.

“We still have a long way to create the best reading experience we can,â€� said Smooke. “Currently, we rely on Algolia integration to allow for a clean pathway to content discovery, that includes filters by tag among other things. With the next iterations, we want to optimize for reader-centric features such as subscriptions by tags and authors, annotations and emoji reactions, and overall more meaningful engagement to each piece of content.”

Quantitative Social Proof

Platforms are under siege: how should they frame contextual information to the users’ content? And when should they step in to actually take down the content? Instagram has addressed this by removing like counts, and Twitter – in a more explosive manner – has started fact-checking the President’s tweets.

Hacker Noon has made their own move to provide quantitative social proof. The publishing platform has started to surface “time reading created� on contributing writers public profiles:

Daniel Jeffries - HackerNoon

“A platform has a responsibility to frame how others interact with the content,â€� said Smooke. “The simplest measure of engagement is time. As we are a place to read, it makes sense for us to provide our readers with quantitative measurements, such as reading time created.”

Smooke confirmed that writers only ‘earn’ this feature when they exceed one day of reading created, and writers can turn on or off this data on their profile page via their settings page.

The Future of Publishing

Hacker Noon exists in an interesting overlap between traditional columns and opinions (think Forbes, WSJ, and NYT) and social platforms (like Twitter or Reddit). Many publishers are trying to become more like social networks, and many social networks successfully capture publisher revenue. Hacker Noon has never charged its readers but also is not focused on paying writers, until the introduction of the Web Monetization tag. But even now, it’s a third party, Coil, that is paying the writers.

What does Smooke think the role and responsibilities of platforms like Hacker Noon with its contributors?

“We have never been, and will never claim to be, the Jesus of publishing. Our writers are responsible for their own content. We provide another set of eyeballs to help improve the quality and distribution of the story. We call it the second human rule. And we will continue to provide more rewards and opportunities for publishing on Hacker Noon. We are not the arbiters of truth. What we can do right now, is amplify the voice of technologists who have deep expertise in their domains. We have a good business and well on our way to making a better business. In my humble opinion, Hacker Noon’s highest ceiling remains the creation of the time reading token.”

Seems lofty.

In the short term, Hacker Noon has raised money, and will expand software, sales, and editorial resources. I’ll be following where this goes…

The post Hacker Noon Adds Quantitative Social Proof and Web Monetization Standards appeared first on ReadWrite.

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5 Post-Pandemic Changes to Expect in the Workplace

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Disrupting businesses in every sector of the economy and infecting nearly 7 million people at the time of this writing — with 400,000 deaths globally. The coronavirus pandemic that sprung up December 2019 has had negative effects on businesses across the world, and the economy as a whole.

The stay-at-home orders that have been mandatory in several countries have caused our work lives to be affected in so many ways, from working in open offices and interacting with coworkers daily to working from home and having to rely on video conferencing apps for effective communication.

These many changes in our current work-life have left many of us wondering whether it’ll have any lasting effects on our work-lives once the pandemic is over and the current lockdown measures are eased. How will how our new work lives proceed from here?

The many effects the pandemic will have on our current work-life include:

  • Higher Prioritization of workers’ health.

The current attention that employee well-being has been garnered recently by organizations and employees themselves will surely increase. We will surely see employee health, wellness, and well-being being of greater importance in a post-pandemic situation.

We can predict more sick day allowances and health initiatives like the full health checks and examination of employees before they enter their workplaces.

After the pandemic and for a short period of time, signs may be posted to remind everyone to wash hands and perhaps limit how they give handshakes and hugs, and to maintain personal space.

To avoid overcrowding, keycards and sensors will monitor your whereabouts throughout the day and alert you whenever you’re in close proximity to another individual.

In the long run, contact-tracing apps for co-workers may also become part of the work-life experience to avoid the spread of future diseases and infrared body temperature scanners before access to the office building. These contact-tracing apps might even show areas with high coworker traffic similar to apps like Waze.com.

  • Remote work

The role in-office collaboration has to play in a company is overwhelming as it is important for building personal bonds and relationships between coworkers and boosting employee productivity, it is also essential for the creation of company culture, but what is more important is the safety of an organization’s employees.

The importance of remote working at a time like this has shown as many organizations have looked too remote working as a means of sustaining their businesses and to keep them up and running.

In a post-pandemic situation, it’s likely that we see the retention of remote working as a means of working for non-essential workers by organizations. However, office and in-house collaboration are surely not going away and higher-ranking workers may still work in-house.

  • Restructuring of office spaces.

The fundamental design of office workspaces and offices will surely be altered. More personal space, elevator capacity limits, and demarcating spots to stand in elevators to limit physical contact.

More space between desks with coworkers sitting on every other seat, partitioning may be installed to reduce the risk of spreading diseases, fewer chairs in conference rooms, private cubicles or offices, there’s an endless list of how the overall design of the office space might evolve in a post-pandemic situation.

  • Business travel and conferencing.

The coronavirus pandemic will definitely have a lasting effect on meetings as a whole, we should expect fewer conferences and curtailed travel plans in the post-pandemic era. Essential meetings will still hold, but ones with lesser importance will be moved to emails, phone calls, and video conferences.

We should expect employees will only have physical meetings when a project is crucial and cannot be done via video conferencing. Conferences, meetings, and conventions will be halted for the foreseeable future with meetings that aren’t necessary would now be done with video conferencing.

  • Work shifts and office hours.

Organizations will have gradual returns and might not require most people to come back until there’s widespread testing, treatment, or a vaccine. Work shifts might be put in place to ensure there’s a limited amount of employees in the workplace at any given time.

Limiting the number or set of people required to come to the office has been important for employee safety as it reduces the chances of them getting the disease. Only requiring essential workers to come to the office might be the norm in a post-pandemic situation.

In Conclusion

How business around the world is going to be changed due to the current global pandemic is unknown as we cannot predict the future with a 100 percent accuracy but by making educated guesses we might know how the impacts of the pandemic might shape our work life.

Workplaces may have significant changes in the long run, these may include new seating arrangements and the addition of building materials that discourage the spread of germs.

In order to reduce the risk of spreading future diseases, it’s a great time for new technology and innovation. We will need to be provided with access to rooms and elevators without employees having to physically touch a handle or press a button. Innovations in automatic door sensors, automatic sinks, soap dispensers, and maybe even voice-activated elevators.

Measures will surely be put in place to reduce the spread of any future diseases and pandemics to guarantee the general public and employee safety.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

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Amazon PPC Campaign to Increase Sales During Pandemic

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The Corona outbreak has been among us for about two months and it has already made its drastic mark in commerce around the globe. With self-isolation, lockdowns, and social distancing in effect, a significant change in consumer behavior and relationship with the service providers have been observed.

There is a massive spike in online shopping from the consumer end which leaves the business owners with a rather uncertain situation: How to keep floating if cash is tight? After all, online marketing is what reels in most customers.

Here are a few strategies that may prove useful to business owners who might just not only salvage but also end up making visibility and sales with the smart Amazon PPC Management.

  1. Refocus Your Spending

During a recession, the business owners are first to cut down on extra spendings and limiting their budget. That means axing down on marketing and advertisement. In harsh times when they may seem a luxury, for many e-commerce business owners, it almost becomes a necessity to stay alive. Instead of completely halting your Amazon PPC  Campaign, [amzonestep.com/services/amazon-ppc-service], try a progressive focus approach.

Begin with the reevaluation of your current campaigns. Which are relevant to essential needs, are budget-friendly, and with most favorable performances. Cut down your wastes and bid smarter on keywords. You could try the automatic bidding feature that will keep the relevancy up to date.

Narrow down the ad run time schedule by testing out your target audience when they are MOST responsive. If you focus your campaigns at specific hours when customers are most actively engaging with your ads, you could not only end up saving the maximum cost but also be able to bring in better sales.

  • Make Use of the Opportunities 

You know what they say. With the grey clouds, there is a silver lining. While the average rate has dropped to 50% of Cost Per Clicks across the market due to cut down on ad campaigns, it only means there is now more opportunity for those who have decided to stay onboard and campaign smartly.

You can enjoy significantly lower costs plus lesser competition for now. Since most of the consumers are browsing from home now, its a golden opportunity to mine from that. With lower CPC and competition you can reach more impressions and build brand awareness if you are a small business owner. Make use of Amazon Product Photography services and Amazon Listing Optimization Services from Amazon experts such as AMZ OneStep.

People are sitting at home, bored, and looking for something to consume. Give them the assurance you are exactly what they need right now and can trust you to provide better services than they are used to. Keep them engaged with promotional sales, discounts, free delivery services, or gift card purchases, all for good faith. In return, if you play it right, you end up with good visibility and sales.

  • Use Negative Keywords to Filter Out Traffic

Due to COVID-19 being the hot top everywhere, search engines have been flooded with the corona virus-related queries. Add negative keywords list containing all COVID-19 related search terms such as Pandemic, COVID-19, Corona, Virus, Sars, Virus cure, etc. Using keywords in this way, your brand will no longer be displayed or associated with stories regarding this topic.

Blocking such terms will help you restrict your ad being shown to irrelevant consumers and save your Cost Per Click of your Amazon PPC Campaign.

Final Thoughts

Things are already looking up in some of the countries that were hit originally with the virus outbreak. For the rest of us, it may still stretch out for months until things are finally under control. Leaving your Amazon PPC management hanging dry completely may not be the best cost-effective idea.

Amazon PPC Campaigns running with budget-friendly refocused spendings, smart operation, and new opportunities to avail, even small businesses may be able to hold through the tough times.

Learn more and in-depth about Amazon PPC Management from AMZ One Step blogs.

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Guiding a Tech Startup Through COVID: Q&A with Hawke Media’s Erik Huberman

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on every company. But as in every crisis, the small players have been bruised worse than the big ones.

Tech startups, in particular, have faced hardships. ClassPass, a fitness membership startup, saw more than 95 percent of its revenues dry up in less than two weeks. Hiring platform ZipRecruiter has cut nearly half of its staff.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to startups’ financial struggles. What they can do, however, is look at how agencies designed to help tech startups grow are handling the situation.

For that, I caught up with Hawke Media founder Erik Huberman. Hawke Media is the fastest-growing agency in the United States and serves as an outsourced CMO for a range of tech startups.

Erik’s take? Every startup is going to struggle, at least in the short term — but the greatest opportunities are rooted in adversity.

Talking Shop for Tech Startups

Erik and I covered a lot of ground. Here’s a lightly edited transcript of our conversation:

Brad Anderson: How has Hawke Media been affected by the COVID crisis? Has it seen any silver linings?

Erik Huberman: For the first time in six and a half years, we’ve gone fully remote. That’s tough in the best of times; try doing it overnight.

We’ve also had client challenges. Although we’re fortunate to have a massive client base, some of their struggles have cascaded to us. We’ve had some pullback on marketing, while others have shut down completely. There’s been a lot of triage work to do.

The silver lining we’ve seen is that, because we’re focused on internet business and driving digital commerce, our work has become increasingly important to our clients. In the past six weeks, e-commerce has gone from 18 percent to 30 percent of consumer spending. As a result, we’ve been able to almost double the average online company we work with.

Many of our clients have wound up thriving in this crisis. The challenges come from the minority of them that haven’t grown — and in some cases, simply can’t grow — during this.

BA: It sounds like Hawke Media has weathered the crisis well so far. What key risks are other startups struggling with?

EH: It’s critical to understand that every startup is going to lose some customers because of the pandemic. It’s just a fact. If you have a diversified client business, there’s a very strong chance some of your clients will pull back on what they’re spending with you.

There are two ways to counteract your clients cutting back: You’ll either need to grow your existing customer relationships, or you’ll need to develop new ones.

Like us — and many of your own clients — you’re also likely learning to operate remotely. That’s going to look a little different for every company. How you meet, operate, or manufacture might have to change. This crisis could last a while, so focus on building out new processes and procedures.

Likewise, assume fundraising is going to be wonky for a while. Some firms, like Zoom, are going to close much higher rates because they’re built for this sort of thing. With that said, investors are unsure about what the future will look like, so it’s going to be harder for most companies to raise money.

BA: Those are big challenges for small companies. How should startup leaders handle them?

EH: The good news is that marketing costs have plummeted because so many companies have pulled out. In that sense, replacing lost business is actually easier and less expensive than you might think.

That’s exactly why we’ve been playing offense at Hawke Media. Double down on marketing and sales now, and you should see a surge in retention and acquisition as the situation improves.

Remember, though, that sales and marketing can’t be a contact sport right now. You’ll need to operate with the least amount of human contact possible. Use digital tools, but make sure you don’t lose the humanity of the workplace.

Throw happy hours. Have Zoom parties. Get your team involved beyond just Slacking and working from home. People are going to get lonely, so it’s on your company to keep the culture strong.

Focus on building to last. You don’t know what’s coming. If you’re burning cash, slow the burn; if you’re mid-negotiation with an investor, close it. Slow down a bit, and find ways to button up your business so it’s not just a startup.

Are you ready to actually make money? If you can drive revenue and build a solid business, as opposed to just fundraising, you’ll be fine. “Primetime revenue solves everything,� as the saying goes.

BA: How can tech startups go beyond just meeting challenges? What COVID-related opportunities do you see?

EH: As I mentioned earlier, marketing is dirt cheap right now, and ROIs are massive. If you can afford to market digitally and aren’t in an industry directly affected by the pandemic, you’re probably doing very well right now.

Even if you are in an affected industry, you can still thrive. Many restaurants have successfully switched to contactless delivery and takeout. Gyms that have gone virtual are getting a lot of engagement. You shouldn’t be scared to spend money on marketing if you can help people enjoy their homes in some way.

Realize, too, that your competitors are having these same conversations. Some of them are going to be aggressive about winning business right now, and some are going to be playing scared. Which do you want to be?

The bottom line is that a pandemic is a great opportunity to bring people together. If you can hold your team together and look out for your customers, you’re going to come out of this much stronger. It’s human nature: Nothing creates community like crises.

BA: Help us understand how the rubber meets the road: How has Hawke Media tapped those opportunities?

EH: We’ve encouraged our clients to keep going. The majority of our clients have had record months across the board.

Because of what’s going on right now, there are tons of consumers moving online. The best move is to model that. It’s a chance to grab market share, hit the ground running, and emerge from this crisis as a leader.

At Hawke Media, we’re choosing to go after that opportunity. We’re watching our competitors — or at least a portion of them — fall apart because they’ve made the opposite choice. The difference is that we’re running at the problem while they’re running away from it.

When I question whether we’ve made the right call, I think back to a quote from my business partner and COO, Tony Delmercado: “Even if it lasts another year, it’s still going to be just a blip on the radar of our lives. Our actions during this time, though, will stick with us for the rest of our lives.�

Decide who you want to be when the pandemic is over, and set yourself up for that. If it’s a successful business, keep that mindset. If you want to run off into the woods, why not just shut down your business?

Imagine what you could do if you were to treat this as an opportunity. Think about how not just to mitigate risks, but also what you can actually do to grow.

In my experience, most startups are operating that way; it’s the bigger companies that are freaking out.

BA: You’ve given a lot of good advice, but what’s the most important lesson you think startup leaders should take from this crisis?

EH: Don’t let external factors become excuses for not building your business. There’s always going to be some crisis — whether it’s a pandemic, tariff, natural disaster, lawsuit, or internal issue — to deal with.

That’s exactly the advice my dad gave me during one of the first crises my company faced. Stressed out, I called him and told him the whole story. His response? “Yeah, it happens all the time. I have to go. Talk to you later!�

That’s the mindset you need to thrive. Welcome to the world of business ownership: There’s always going to be some type of adversity to overcome. Get used to it.

The post Guiding a Tech Startup Through COVID: Q&A with Hawke Media’s Erik Huberman appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Bitcoin Emerges as New Standard in Post-COVID Economy?

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Bitcoin has always had the potential to become a world standard for money. Even if the blockchain that powers Bitcoin lacks the bandwidth to handle the required transaction volume, and even if the world wasn’t ready 11 years ago for non-governmental e-money to go mainstream, the potential was always there.

Indeed, Bitcoin enthusiasts and developers have long insisted the day will come when Bitcoin will stand alongside gold. Back in 2018, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, emphasized that Bitcoin would become the world’s single currency.

What the visionary, Milton Friedman, predicted about Bitcoin in 1999.

Even before Bitcoin became a reality, visionaries like Milton Friedman were predicting the rise of an internet-version of cash, as long ago as 1999. “The internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government,� he said at the time. “The one thing that’s missing but will soon be developed is a reliable e-cash, a method where you can transfer funds on the internet without A knowing B or B knowing A.�

The statements of Milton Friedman are precisely why finance commentators like Vice News producer and The Wisdom of Crowds author James Surowiecki have been so skeptical about Bitcoin going mainstream. “Our economies and financial systems are built around fiat money, and they rely on the central bank’s control of the currency (and the government’s ability to issue debt in that currency) to help manage the business cycle, fight unemployment, and deal with financial crises,� Surowiecki wrote in spring 2018 when Bitcoin hype was peaking.

Can Bitcoin be the dominant economic currency?

“An economy in which Bitcoin was the dominant currency would be a more volatile and harsher economy, in which the government would have limited tools to fight recessions and where financial panics, once started,� he continued, “would be hard to stop.�

Yet, two years later, the signs are positive that the significant disruption of the novel coronavirus could do what nothing else has done so far: give Bitcoin the extra push to become accepted as a reserve currency.

The macroeconomic moment we’re currently in represents a serious opportunity for Bitcoin use cases. Let’s take a look at a few key reasons why.

Corona is leveling the playing field

Set against long-lived currencies like the dollar and the pound sterling, Bitcoin seems new and untested. But venerable fiat currencies are crumbling.

Currency collapse, of course, is nothing new – this all has happened before. As recently as 2017, when the Bolivar collapsed, many Venezuelans went on to adopt cryptocurrency for their transactions. Before that, the Zimbabwean dollar and Argentine peso saw hyperinflation that prevented them from serving as valid currencies. The Icelandic krona suffered a similar fate after that country’s financial collapse in 2008.

In hindsight, 1971, when the gold standard was finally abandoned, was the beginning of the end for fiat currencies. For decades, central banks have reacted to economic threats by printing money and lowering interest rates, slowly creating a massive debt bubble that eventually caused the 2008-9 crisis.

Despite warnings, their strategy hasn’t changed, leaving fiat currencies over-inflated and ready to pop.

The coronavirus crisis brought a substantial economic shock that these currencies can’t withstand.

We are seeing sudden slashes to both supply and demand and cuts to international trade that has brought the global economy almost to a standstill. In response, the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the European Central Bank (ECB) all increased their quantitative easing plans and brought interest rates down even further to 0% (or below, in the case of ECB and Japan).

In the absence of the gold standard, it’s unclear what fiat currencies have reduced value against.

We can even argue that they reduced value against Bitcoin since it reflects the true market value of currency at any given time. Some hardcore proponents, including the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, claim that it’s the only true hard money.

While that insight into the issue is hardly accepted universally, Bitcoin is increasingly seen as “harder� than fiat currencies which are manipulated by central banks.

Indeed, if Bitcoin’s resistance to central bankers’ manipulations is what once made it seem impractical, today, that stand seems like much more of a feature than a bug.

With fiat currencies in disarray and central banks on the back foot, we’re likely to see either a return to old financial ideas perceived as safe and stable, such as the gold standard, or the acceptance of radically new ones like Bitcoin which no longer appear unattractive.

When the internet rules, e-cash is king

Up till now, the decentralized nature of Bitcoin was one of its disadvantages. It was seen as chaotic, disorganized, and unreliable with no one officially “in charge.â€� The current period shows the manipulation of interest rates and quantitative easing measures — together with the effects of the coronavirus. All of these produce a prolonged period of artificial deflation, or worse, stagflation, decentralization could become an asset rather than a drawback.

Friedman, whom I quoted above, presciently linked the rise of e-cash with the central role of the internet in governing our lives. Once the internet rules, his argument goes, we will trust the currency which it manages.

It’s similar to the slow rise of email, which existed as a medium for communication since 1971 but wasn’t widely adopted until the mid-1990s. Suddenly, trust rapidly increased until it became ubiquitous.

Bitcoin occupies a similar space. It’s an internet-based tool that’s been awaiting its time. You could say that 2009-2020 were Bitcoin’s shadow years, just as 1970-1990 was that era for email. And we’re already seeing the tide start to turn.

The critical role that Bitcoin plays.

We can see this from the increasingly important role that Bitcoin plays, not just as a currency, but as a trustworthy agent in online interactions. The concept has been building and maturing slowly. And, UX has improved with time.

As digital currency spreads and becomes more stable, it’s turned into the foundation for dapps. RSK, for example, uses Bitcoin as the foundation for a smart contract platform, easing people’s ability to use it for transactions. RSK is the first open-source smart contract solution to have been built on Bitcoin’s network, and the platform has also rolled out powerful interoperability capabilities.

Bitcoin’s benefits to Ethereum.

“We believe being able to offer Bitcoin’s benefits to Ethereum users and to connect these respective developer communities is a crucial step for the blockchain ecosystem as a whole,� RSK Strategist Adrian Eidelman told the press in February.

Another example is the recent acquisition of the popular Taringa! Social network by IOV Labs, the company behind RSK. There are ambitious plans on the table to introduce Bitcoin transaction capabilities, to decentralize social media data storage, and to reduce the monopoly of global internet corporations such as Facebook.

The decentralizing move has a lot in common with Dorsey’s recent statements about his goal to decentralize Twitter’s tech infrastructure over the years ahead, through a project codenamed Bluesky.

At the same time, Atomic Loans is investing in building a decentralized finance marketplace for Bitcoin DeFi-backed loans. Such advances are fast bringing Bitcoin to be a versatile, widely-accepted currency.

Success breeds success

Bitcoin is standing on the threshold of widespread adoption as a reserve currency, and its diversifying use cases attest to this.

The currency is increasingly used for P2P lending and has improved cross-border trade as it removed the need to go through exchange middlemen. Dorsey is among the recent investors in Lightning Labs’s project to build a new protocol layer to speed up and lower the cost of Bitcoin transactions, while his Square Cash App is rolling out payments in Bitcoin, and Money on Chain is building a DeFi platform to serve as the foundations of a DeFi ecosystem for direct financial interactions.

We’re looking the future hard in the eye.

These and other important steps are establishing Bitcoin as a viable, stable means for payment. We anticipate that it will soon be adopted by central banks as a reserve hard currency, alongside their existing fiat currencies and gold stocks. In the short term, governments may even create their own Bitcoin to maintain control over the currency, but Bitcoin relies on decentralization, and in the long term, it will continue to evade governmental control.

A new bitcoin utopia could be on the way.

We still haven’t reached Bitcoin nirvana, but the signs are promising for long-term Bitcoin believers. Fiat currencies have long been losing their appeal, after decades of overprinting money and dragging down interest rates. As they crumble, Bitcoin’s star rises.

The corona-triggered recession is merely the pin that popped the fiat currency bubble.

Simultaneously, the more projects and platforms built on the back of Bitcoin DeFi, the more trust in and familiarity with the currency increases, setting it up for adoption as a reserve currency in 2021 and beyond.

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Tailoring Your 2020 Strategy to Win in the Remote Workplace

remote workplace

In a survey last year, three out of four workers worldwide said they considered flexible working to be “the new normal,� according to the 2019 Global Workspace Survey. Since then, remote work has spiked. Tailoring your strategy in 2020 will be a key factor in ensuring business success and achieving, or at least continuing to progress towards, your business goals in 2020. Fix your strategy to win in the remote workplace.

A strategy that moves the needle on business objectives doesn’t need to be tied to an office space. It often checks off three important boxes that can be completed near or far: prioritizing employee experience, tracking progress in real-time to know when to revise, and finding new ways to collaborate when setting and executing strategy.

Prioritizing Employee Experience

With the workforce at home, employee experience might seem like an afterthought — out of sight, out of mind — however, neglecting to prioritize employee experience would be a major blow to strategy execution. After all, as leaders carve out a way to make sure strategy is implemented effectively, it’s important to remember that execution is performed by, well, actual people.

Business goal-setting lives in the world of paradox.

Goal setting needs to be both ambitious but realistic, visionary yet concrete. It is essential that this balance surfaces in your overall strategy along with specific and actionable plans that help to execute your strategy throughout your organization.

One way to ensure this is to slice company goals down into smaller, measurable fragments. With measurable fragments, employees, and relevant larger groups (departments and teams) are more likely to stay the course even as they’re located remotely.

Specificity and quantifiability allow easier progress tracking and improve motivation, resulting in a great employee experience across all levels and teams.

Focusing on transparent actions and cross-level communications.

Transparent communication is naturally, one of the best solutions for ensuring people in your organization feel heard. Transparency propels motivation, alignment and engagement while helping your team to better understand each other and achievement (or lack thereof) of respective goals.

Transparency helps to highlight individual progress or times when an employee might need help, particularly when it is effectively integrated with communication tools, automated dashboards, and executive reporting.

Tracking Progress In Real-Time to Know When to Revise

While breaking down goals and outlining how to achieve them in your organization is a key foundation to a successful strategy, oftentimes leaders will “set and forgetâ€� goals — a sometimes fatal mistake for a blossoming business.

Furthermore, in a distributed workforce regular checkpoints become essential for keeping projects on track, but if the goals aren’t at the forefront of day-to-day actions, execution can become unproductive or stray off course.

For some teams with established communications systems, the leader’s whereabouts are nonessential to the success of the team.

Track productivity and aligning remote workers around unifying goals and targets in real-time is an effective way to promote strong leadership and delegate clear tasks amongst team members. It is critical to identify immediately when your strategy isn’t resonating with the people responsible for executing it.

You will likely see this in a post-quarterly review, but what if you could see it on a daily basis (or even in real-time whenever you needed it)? Think of the impact that might have on redirected strategy or execution gone wrong.

There are many new tools designed to automate the work that teams are doing — after all, automation is a top priority for many businesses as they seek to improve processes and expand. Some of these are one-off tools, but there are options available that allow you to automate and integrate with many existing tools that your workers already use (ex. Slack, Jira, Microsoft Teams).

Using seamless integration ensures that everything your employees do to progress toward company goals is automatically recorded in real-time and compiled into a simple and visual dashboard.

Tracking progress automatically is the best way to ensure maximum productivity. Automation can help scale activity tracking to an enterprise-level while also providing fascinating data insights into a remote worker’s performance—and the performance of the company as a whole.

Using data to inform performance (and, conversely, performance to inform data) highlights the human issues that sometimes lie behind organizational problems. It equips an organization to change and improve and its employees to be productive team members and contributors to the company’s cause.

Finding New Ways to Collaborate When Setting and Executing Strategy

Two of the biggest challenges in collaboration that may confront remote workforces are a feeling of disconnect to the organization’s goals and priorities as well as a general lack of visibility into workloads, progress, teams, and management.

These are common challenges for teams meeting face-to-face as well, and they go hand-in-hand when inhibiting teams from being productive and collaborating properly.

Shifting to a remote workforce completely changes the context in which teams work together, and it can make tasks and projects more difficult to accomplish. One solution to this disconnect is relying on management software to increase transparency within and across teams in an organization.

Use data and communication throughout an organization via a goal management platform.

Companies can encourage and illuminate ways for all employees to be productive team members who are all making a difference to the organization’s overarching goals. Technology like this can also help organizations make sure every teammate is aware of their responsibilities, and more importantly accountable for them so that everyone in the organization is contributing – which is a big part of being collaborative.

In short, aligning employees against a shared set of objectives and then using data to provide a centralized, transparent tracker for each goal is a highly effective way to promote collaboration across functions, geographies and roles.

Pivoting your strategy to win in the remote workplace doesn’t take much effort.

Take a few simple shifts that can transform the execution of a strategic vision and lead to business wins down the road. Prioritizing employee experience and how employees carry through overarching yearly strategies.

The manner and frequency in which you monitor progress when it comes to meeting goals; and actively finding new ways to collaborate from afar when setting and executing your strategy all play a key role in determining its success and should be evaluated on a regular basis.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

The post Tailoring Your 2020 Strategy to Win in the Remote Workplace appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Cloud cloud based technology cloud cost reduction cloud migration covid-19 Data and Security Learn Tech

How COVID-19 is Driving Us into a Cloud-Based Future

cloud-based future

With the advent of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many organizations have had to re-adjust the way they operate. Remote working is now a reality for large sections of the workforce. Remote collaboration through cloud-based platforms is an accepted part of most workdays. But the utility of cloud-based technology does not end there. Here is how COVID-19 is driving us into a cloud-based future.

A recent report indicates that in the next two years the cloud computing industry will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5%. Already a strongly-emerging technology, cloud-based solutions are proving to be invaluable during a global health crisis where people can no longer work at a fixed site. The extent to which cloud-based technologies are driving us into the future are as follows:

Supporting Remote Work and the Freelance Economy

Continued productivity is vital as organizations shift to remote models of working. This is as important to corporate organizations as it is to schools and colleges. During COVID-19, many working and learning programs have continued with high levels of efficiency, thanks to highly-flexible, scalable, and efficient cloud-based solutions.

The seamlessness with which business has continued means that every responsible organization should have a cloud migration solution.

Demand for collaboration tools has seen unprecedented growth in platforms like Zoom and Slack. More entrenched office productivity tools such as Microsoft 365 also sees high demand. These tools are all cloud-based and their excellent conferencing, and productivity suites all enjoy the multiple benefits of the cloud.

When the pandemic eventually subsides, people will have to go back to work. But an increasing number of workers will not. The freelance economy has seen continued growth in recent years, with over 60 million Americans doing freelance work of some sort. Cloud computing is an invaluable tool that has allowed the freelance economy to take hold and thrive.

A boom in E-Commerce and the Fade of Brick and Mortar

As people have been stuck at home, the demand for e-commerce services has risen sharply. Retailers were already migrating away from brick and mortar into the online space before the global pandemic arrived.

Retail companies know that as e-commerce adoption rises, any cloud investment costs will be recouped through cloud cost reduction. This applies to cloud solutions also being responsible for overall reduced IT costs by obliterating the need for most traditional hardware such as servers.

The ways in which global supply chains have become embedded in e-commerce fulfillment points to an inevitable future internet of things. Service provider collaboration and integration happens at the level of the cloud between retailers and logistics service providers, resulting in a smooth and highly-efficient delivery system.

Through the robust scalability of the cloud and its forever switched-on nature, global supply chains can support the wants and whims of consumers everywhere. This has been shown during COVID-19, with online purchases spiking a staggering 146%, and supply chains barely breaking a sweat to deliver.

Growth of the Cloud in the Government Sector

Healthcare has come to prominence during the pandemic. It has benefited greatly from access to a scalable and secure cloud infrastructure. This has been necessary to manage patient information. With millions of people laid low by the virus, it has taken the need for efficient and accurate computing to a new level of importance.

The prominence of the cloud during the pandemic goes beyond patient records. Collaboration between various private and governmental agencies has risen to unprecedented levels. Virus development projects are being shared by many countries and institutions.

Additionally, virus contingency management information is being shared by nations across the world. All these efforts are underpinned by highly scalable and collaborative cloud-based tools.

It is for moments like these that governments were already moving towards a cloud-based future at great speed. Until recently, almost half of all government agencies in the US were actively using cloud services.

These agencies understand the power and versatility of private cloud networks, with benefits such as deep security and information sovereignty being crucial. Cloud adoption within government circles will only continue to rise.

Content Platforms Enjoying a Surge

Binge-consumption of TV and audio content has been a feature of the pandemic. Video-streaming services have reported a strong surge in new subscriptions since the enactment of lockdown orders in many countries.

Not to be outdone, music services and many podcasts and audiobook services have also reported large jumps in membership. The gaming industry has also reported large spikes in usage times. Support services such as mobile networks and internet service providers have benefited from these enforced behavior changes.

Cloud-Dependent Industries on the Rise

The SaaS segment was already a growth area, and its continued importance and growth potential has been revealed during COVID-19. Due to the many daily applications and tools driven by this service, the industry in its entirety is in the limelight.

Service desks, accounting packages, customer relationship management, human resource management, and enterprise resource planning all rely on the SaaS model. Infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and desktop as a service are all part of the cloud family and are all showing continued growth.

The new model of remote working depends on the streamlined continuation of business-critical services such as human resource management. Cloud service providers have been able to remotely manage and secure underlying infrastructure, allowing organizations to continue to function within their constraints. This versatility has been perfect during the pandemic and will continue to be perfect for the business of the future.

Robust and Sustainable Is the Way of the Future

If anything, the virus has taught us the danger of having all your data tied to office sites and fixed hardware installations. There has always been the danger of data loss through disasters on site. Data loss has been mitigated by on-site security, but cloud services offer a better way.

The better way of cloud services is because hardware inevitably deteriorates, can be stolen, corrupted, or become obsolete. When your data is simply inaccessible, as it has been during the pandemic, a better solution must be found.

There is also the matter of sustainability. Large organizations can collect vast amounts of hardware to house their information. It is the responsible thing to do to cut down your environmental footprint by putting everything in the cloud.

There are also downstream issues like energy efficiency and reduced building usage. Other sustainability wins come with the reduced need for workers to commute to the place where the information is held. These wins have come into sharp focus during the virus as many measures have revealed a cleaner planet, even if just temporarily.

Conclusion

The global pandemic has revealed that cloud services will continue to provide strategic flexibility and scalability for a number of organizations. The virus response would likely have been a lot less effective in a time before cloud services.

It is totally imaginable that habits like social distancing would have been impossible to achieve if people needed to be on-site to manage and control business-critical systems.

At this moment in time, cloud services may heavily favor sectors which are useful during a pandemic, but future prospects are robust across all sectors. There are also no geographical boundaries, with cloud services projected to increase in adoption across the world.

New cloud technologies like cloud direct connect, where private networks can join the cloud, will allow more and more types of organizations and networks to take part. Cloud computing is truly taking center stage in driving us into the future.

The post How COVID-19 is Driving Us into a Cloud-Based Future appeared first on ReadWrite.

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General

Keep Your Data Safe When Traveling

Traveling with data can be quite risky nowadays. There are lots of hackers who can steal your information while you are using the public network or charging your smartphone/laptop, etc. Even border agents, who just do their job, might accidentally invade your privacy. Let’s get to know how you can secure your data when traveling.

Five tips to help you secure your data when traveling

  • Use a reliable VPN provider.

Connecting to public Wi-Fi is almost inevitable when traveling. They are everywhere: hotels, shops, cafes, etc. That’s why you should be proactive and buy services from a trustworthy VPN provider. Using its app, you’ll be able to have an encrypted connection, complete anonymity, and an extra layer of protection from hackers.

  • Don’t use public USB charging stations.

Charging station in the train stations and airports have probably been tempered with. Consequently, you might lose your data without even noticing it. It’s much better to use electrical outlets if you need to charge your device. Another solution is to pick a USB cable that doesn’t transmit data and take it with you on a trip. You are sure to prevent hacking via this method.

  • Transfer sensitive data to the cloud.

There is no need to carry all the data with you. In case you have something confidential, you don’t want the border agents to see (or you worry about thieves), you can simply move the files to the cloud and remove from your device.

  • Delete password managers.

This tip will only work for those whose devices can be examined by border guards. They can use your password manager to access all the data. Without it, they’ve got no authority to make you unlock the files. If needed, you can reinstall the manager.

  • Don’t be uncooperative.

It also concerns border agents. Since they have a wide latitude of things they might request, you should be cooperative lest you want to be detained. Think about it beforehand and remove everything you don’t want others to see.

Using these tips, you are sure to secure your data from falling into anyone’s hands. However, there is much more you can do. For example, create backup files and store them safely in a convenient place. This might be a backup device or a cloud.

It’s also better not to leave your devices anywhere unattended. For example, don’t leave your phone in the bar or on a restaurant table, etc.

Finally, there are tips about keeping your data safe that doesn’t concern fraud. For instance, you must keep your devices away from liquids. While it sounds silly, you might lose the data unless you have a waterproof device. It won’t be anyone’s fault but there will be nothing you could do to restore the information.

Conclusion

Keeping your files safe during traveling includes protecting them from hackers, people like border guards, and even accidents. Use the tips you’ve learned from here and have no more worries when traveling.

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General

Travelers Advantage Scam: 5 Ways to Secure Yourself

When people get ready to travel somewhere, they often check out the weather forecast, currency rates, major landmarks beforehand. However, they fail to educate themselves on how to avoid various scams when traveling. Let’s fix this and discuss the top five ways you can secure yourself during your trip.

What is a traveler advantage scam?

There is no precise definition of a traveler advantage scam since it happens in different forms. It can happen anytime during your trip from buying online tickets and booking rooms, to having your smartphone hacked while you use an unsecured Wi-Fi spot on the other side of the world. The scams’ rates are growing annually and more scams appear.

The main travelers’ advantage scams you must avoid

  • Third-party discount travel scams.

When choosing a holiday destination, many travelers are tempted by discounts. Some firms lure their clients offering instant discounts for hotels, flights, cruises, etc. The only thing you need is to pay a small sum with your credit or debit card. All the clients get a promise that after the payment, they’ll get unbelievably low prices.

  • Free vacation.

Some travelers often come across free vacation offers. They often come from companies you’ve never heard of. However, there is always a catch. You must know and detect the major signs of a scam. One of them is a beautiful picture & description without specifics (dates, the name of the hotel, resort, airline, etc.)

  • Rental fraud.

It’s booming now as travelers tend to pick Airbnb and private residential home rentals. Such fraud often involves huge discounts on travel rentals. The owner convinces you to pay immediately and offers an almost luxurious apartment. However, when the customer shows up, he sees deteriorated rooms. And this is the best-case scenario. It might turn out that the owner is another person who never offered the accommodation for rent at all.

The good news is that some sites now offer protection against such situations. Yet, it can be rather difficult to get in touch with customer support and get the money back.

  • Bait-and-switch scams.

This is a very widespread rental fraud. It basically offers highly desirable accommodation. After a person books it and arrives, the property manager says it’s currently unavailable and gives you a less desirable option.

  • Currency exchange scams.

Traveling overseas, it’s important to take caution when exchanging the currency. The street-based exchanges might seem user-friendly but charge high fees or give you the wrong sum of money. They count on you not knowing the exchange rates. Anyway, it’s better and safer to change money in banks. Moreover, you should find out about the exchange rate beforehand.

Conclusion

Traveling experience can only be great if you take precautions and secure yourself from scams. Using the knowledge about these widespread fraud schemes, you are sure to be more attentive now. However, you can come across other issues. For example, you should be very careful using free Wi-Fi spots. To prevent identity theft or hacker attacks, it’s better to use a reliable VPN.