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Why Blackout Tuesday matters and how you can help

What happened last Tuesday?

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I thought Instagram was glitching at first. At midnight on Tuesday, my Instagram feed started flooding with nondescript black squares. At first, none of the posts had any caption or any explanation whatsoever. I was confused. However, as the hour grew longer, the hashtag finally made its long-awaited debut: #BlackoutTuesday.

On every social media possible, everyone participated in the growing online trend. Celebrities. Personalities. Streamers. Creators. Organizations. Companies. African Americans. Asians. Caucasians. Everyone participated in Blackout Tuesday.

What is it? What did it mean? Was it a true way to support the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement? Or was it a PR move designed for those who don’t want to participate in demonstrations?

The black square

By now, the black square (or circle for Facebook) is no stranger to the online world. During tense political upheavals, the iconic image makes an appearance, heralding everyone’s support or opposition towards a specific political stance or event.

Remember the controversial Marcos burial a few years ago? Opposers posted black profile photos with the caption: Marcos is not a hero. It was also used to protest the cybercrime law years ago. Regardless of what it specifically protested, the black image is always a political statement.

In this case, the black square is a symbol of protest against the wrongful murder of George Floyd, an African American man, under the custody of a white police officer in Minnesota, sparking a new #BlackLivesMatter movement. Since the incident, peaceful protests and violent riots have erupted all over the US. In the online world, famous personalities with a platform have used their audiences to spread awareness on the issue. For days, social media was dominated by the #BlackLivesMatter conversation.

On Tuesday, social media took a different direction. Rather than spreading more awareness and furthering the conversation, everyone posted the black square, marking the return of the iconic image. However, this time, the image wasn’t just a political statement. Rather, the online activity had a deeper function.

After flooding social media with the nondescript black squares, the posters ceased all activity on social media for the day. The #BlackoutTuesday movement intended to allow more important voices to be heard. By silencing their voices, they allowed black people more control over the conversation for the day.

In similar fashion, some companies have postponed their long-awaited events to allow the protest to dominate social media. Music streaming services have also reduced their services in a similar #TheShowMustBePaused movement.

It was more than a political statement. It was a call for others to keep quiet and listen to those who had a stronger authority to speak on trauma, racism, and discrimination.

#BlackoutTuesday versus #BlackLivesMatter

Unfortunately, the movement had its drawbacks. At first, participants conjoined both #BlackoutTuesday and #BlackLivesMatter into the same post, creating a strange problem for the protest.

Now, hashtags aren’t just a clever way to add a quirky subtitle for a social media post. They can also help users follow a certain trend. When they search #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter, for example, they can see other posts with the same hashtag.

Naturally, when people searched for #BlackLivesMatter posts on Tuesday, they ran into a strange sight: an overwhelming wall of black. Ironically, in Blackout Tuesday’s attempt to silence all unimportant voices, it flooded social media in a downpour of posts without a voice. Others have also called it a desperate attempt at virtue signaling, a PR move.

Halfway through the day, #BlackLivesMatter protestors urged #BlackoutTuesday posters to stop incorporating both hashtags into the same post. However, it wasn’t to dissociate the movement from Blackout Tuesday, Rather, the guidance was to steer the movement in the right direction.

For all the good intentions that the black squares had, it was truly just a good-natured post. Besides telling posters to stop using both hashtags, Black Lives Matter supporters shared different ways to help the movement beyond the black square or the hashtag.

Beyond the hashtag

Blackout Tuesday is just one part of the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter protests. As the black squares end their one-day effectivity, the call for further action rises to the fore. How can we help the protests from miles away?

First of all, the easiest way is to keep the conversation alive. Blackout Tuesday (or even Black Lives Matter) is not just a one-day event. Neither is it just a purely American concern. The conversation will always be as relevant as it is today and as it is in the US. It is not just a racial war. Wherever discrimination is present, whether it’s race or class, the spirit of Black Lives Matter should always prevail.

Secondly, if you have means to do so, you can always donate to relevant, anti-discrimination foundations or funds. Naturally, donating to a cause in another continent might be too much to ask. However, discrimination happens everywhere. You can still donate or help various causes in your own backyard.

If you don’t have the money or would rather stay at home, YouTube creators have found a revolutionary way to help the cause from afar. Posted first by YouTuber Zoe Amira, these hour-long videos contain art and performances from black artists. However, rather than just an awareness tool, these videos are jampacked with ads. The creators will donate all of the ad revenue to Black Lives Matter funds and foundations. Of course, you’ll have to turn off ad blocker for the duration of the entire video. At the very least, you can mute the browser tab; however, be careful not to mute the YouTube player itself as it nullifies ad revenue.

If you can’t do any of these, the least you can do is to just listen. Everyone has a responsibility to hear out and understand different voices in the racial debate. At this point, either from miles away or right on your backyard, listening is our only way to understand the plights of other people suffering worse things than us.

SEE ALSO: Facebook employees walk out to protest against Trump

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vivo Watch with 18-day battery life now official

It’ll be available in two sizes

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vivo Watch

vivo has launched its first smartwatch and it’s simply called the vivo Watch. At first glance, it might look like a generic circular smartwatch but has a ton of firepower under the hood. It looks premium while also being perfect for rough usage.

The body consists of stainless steel and brushed ceramic bezel. It’s available in two sizes — 42mm and 46mm. The 42mm one gets two rounded buttons on the side while the 46mm has flat ones. This is the only visual difference between the two.

The 42mm gets a 1.2-inch AMOLED display while the 46mm comes in at 1.4-inches. Powering the watch is an ST miniature main control processor along with the Apollo ultra-low power co-processor for heavy-duty tasks and background activities.

Coming to features, it’ll automatically track all your movement in the background and automatically recognize exercises like outdoor running, indoor running, outdoor walking, swimming, cycling, indoor cycling, mountain climbing, trail running, elliptical machine, and more.

Obviously, in-line with the competition, it gets a heart rate scanner, sleep tracking, and blood oxygen monitoring. Other functions include notifications, music controls, alarms, and vivo’s voice assistant Jovi. It also has NFC support for enabling contactless payments.

The complicated sensor array includes a 5-core optical heart rate monitor, blood oxygen sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, altimeter, ambient light sensor, and a geomagnetic sensor.

Lastly, the 42mm vivo Watch can chug along for nine days on a single charge. On the other hand, the 46mm watch can last a whopping 18 days in one go.

Sales are currently limited to China and both watches cost CNY 1,299 (US$ 190).

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Pixel 5 will include a bigger battery, RAM, and Snapdragon 765G

Price rumored between USD 600-700

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It’s only a few days away before we saw the unveiling of Google’s latest flagship, Pixel 5. However, that doesn’t stop the leaks from pouring in. Detailed specs of the upcoming device have been leaked, leaving little to speculation.

Detailed specs of the Pixel 5

According to WinFuture, Pixel 5 will have a 6-inch display set at FHD+ resolution. Google is keeping the 90Hz refresh rate here, a feature already introduced on the company’s 2019 flagship.

An interesting tidbit is the use of flexible OLED for the display. With the flexible OLED, Google is able to shrink the bezels of the device on each edge. Leaked renders suggest uniform bezels on all sides. This is a nice, tiny must-have for people irked by asymmetrical bezels.

Major changes for the Pixel 5 include an all-aluminum design for the flagship. However, this conflicts with past rumors suggesting that the flagship may include a polycarbonate plastic back. The polycarbonate rumor might still be in play since earlier leaks indicated that Google will introduce reverse wireless charging this year. Still, it is interesting how the company will refine the Pixel’s design.

Overall, the design of the Pixel 4a will carry on Pixel 5. A display cut-out upfront will house the 8MP selfie camera. Unlike last year’s Pixel 4, this year’s Pixel flagship will use a fingerprint sensor on the back for authentication.

In terms of the rear camera, Pixel 5 will sport a dual-camera setup once again. The setup consists of a 12.2MP primary camera with a 16MP wide-angle camera. A new interesting addition this year is support for 4K 60FPS video recording. In recent years, Pixel owners have been complaining about the lack of such a feature that is already present on other flagships.

A major change this year is the battery capacity of the Pixel 5. Google is reportedly fitting a 4,080mAa battery this time around, with 18W wired charging for top-ups. The large battery actually eclipses both Pixel 4’s 2,800mAh battery and Pixel 4 XL’s 3,700mAh battery.

WinFuture also confirms long-rumored specs for the upcoming flagship. This includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G with support for 5G networks. Finally, RAM is getting a boost to 8GB, which is 2GB more than last year. Storage options begin at 128GB. Expect a USB-C port, dual bottom-firing speakers but no headphone jack on the device.

Of course, the flagship will run Android 11 out of the box. Considering that this is a Pixel device, expect three years of updates as a standard. Still, it is exciting to see if Google will up the ante and promise additional years of software updates, especially with Samsung setting the bar high.

Pricing and availability

Rumors indicate retail pricing of around US$ 600 – 700 with the Pixel 5. If that holds true, this year’s Google Pixel 5 will deliver serious competition for upper-midrange and value flagship phones. A September 30 unveiling is likely considering that Google has announced a major event for that day. The much cheaper Pixel 4a 5G is also likely to debut that day, along with other products from the company.

Source: WinFuture via XDA-Developers

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Xiaomi Mi 10T series to launch on September 30

Pixel 5 launches on the same day

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Xiaomi follows a two flagship per year cycle and it launched the Mi 10 series earlier this year. Now, the brand’s all set to launch its successor — the Mi 10T series. It’s now confirmed to make its global debut on September 30 in Germany.

The Xiaomi Mi 10T series is likely to boast of three options, the original Mi 10T, an amped-up Mi 10T Pro, and a slightly affordable Mi 10T Lite. The new series is important for the brand because it intends to take-on premium giants like Apple, OnePlus, and Samsung.

The Mi 10 Ultra is also a solid device but limited to China. The new series can bridge the gap and go against the soon-to-launch OnePlus 8T, Pixel 5, and iPhone 12.

Specifications of the phones haven’t been confirmed yet, but it’s safe to assume it’ll have the latest Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, 5G connectivity, and a display with a higher refresh rate. It’s also common to see a quad-camera setup on Xiaomi phones and the Pro variant can have a 108-megapixel camera sensor.

The Lite option is said to sport the recently announced Snapdragon 750 SoC that can deliver cutting-edge performance without being too heavy on the pocket.

Adding to this, Xiaomi has a reputation for delivering products with very aggressive pricing. The company has renewed its premium focus in markets like India, where the Mi 10 launched after a long sabbatical. With steadily growing demand, there’s a lot of space for more brands.

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