News

Here’s where you can donate to the COVID-19 outbreak efforts

Donate from the safety of your own home

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With the World Health Organization declaring the COVID-19 a pandemic, medical workers around the world have been busy fighting the outbreak. One way to help them is to lend donations and financial assistance. Many organizations around the world have set up a donation drive to aid the efforts in combating the outbreak.

Here’s a few of them where you can also donate:

We will update this article for new donation sites. Hit refresh from time to time to see these updates.

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization has its own donation drive that you can participate in by visiting their website.  The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund facilitates easy donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations. They can choose to donate from USD 25 up to USD 2,500. If they’re feeling generous, they can donate a custom amount of money that will go a long way in combating the pandemic.

GCash

GCash is also holding a voluntary cash donation within its app. All of the money raised from the app shall go to seven partner organizations that help medical workers in combating the outbreak. The company has already raised approximately PhP 2.2 million as of March 20. To donate, simply download the GCash app or go to this site.

PayMaya

People who use the alternative to GCash — Paymaya — can also donate to select partner organizations. The company has partnered with the Philippine Red Cross, UNICEF, Caritas Manila, Oxfam, and others for this donation drive. Anyone willing to donate must head over to this website, select their preferred organization, choose the type of donation, and pay online via card or mobile number linked to their account.

Lazada


As part of their Lazada for Good campaign, the company has spearheaded a donation drive that can be accessed here. The donation drive is up and running for all the countries where Lazada operates — that includes the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, among others. Clicking over the link will take people to a country-specific Lazada site where they can donate to country-specific organizations.

Help from Home

This website provides a centralized hub for websites where you can donate to vulnerable people. The websites are arranged according to the group of people you wanted to help or give a donation to. Anyone can donate to medical workers or families affected by the ongoing lockdown on various parts of the Philippines by going over the site.

UNICEF

UNICEF — the UN-attached agency responsible for initiatives aimed towards children worldwide — also its own donation site where you can donate a certain amount of money. The donated money will go towards providing protective equipment to health workers in partner hospitals. Those donating can opt to pay with PayPal, GCash, or through their online banking providers.

SEE ALSO:

5 things to do while stuck indoors


As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

Apps

4K streaming could be cheaper soon

Thanks to the H.266 format

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Watching 4K videos on YouTube or Netflix is taxing on mobile data, consuming about a gigabyte or more. But a new compression method could change 4K streaming soon.

Developed by Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, the H.266 / Versatile Video Coding format aims to bring a more efficient way of compressing and streaming videos digitally. This new standard is meant to replace two existing standards — the H.264/AVC and H.265 HEVC.

Compared to the two, H.266 can transmit 4K videos at a much lower file size. The institute says H.266 can transmit a 10-minute UHD video at only 5GB of data.

This is almost 50 percent more efficient than the most advanced video format in the market, H.265 HEVC. Right now, HEVC requires 10GB of data to transmit the same 10-minute UHD video. As such, consumers can expect cheaper 4K streams with the H.266 format.

For example, a 25-minute 4K video that clocks in at 4GB can be streamed at a much lower 2GB with the new format. This will drastically reduce data and bandwidth consumption for consumers and companies.

The new video format also tries to solve the patent royalty system that has long plagued H.264 and H.265. Right now, companies have to deal with the messy system of paying licenses and royalties just to include these formats to their apps and websites. H.266 does away with these licenses, promising a better deal than the old formats.

Support and availability

As of right now, support for H.266 is being worked on both the software and hardware level. According to the institute that developed the format, Media Coding Industry Format is working on chip designs that support the new format on a hardware level.

Meanwhile, the institute is working on an encoder and decoder software which will be released this autumn.

It is worth noting, however, that H.266/VVC is not the only format that promises to improve 4K streaming on devices. Most tech companies today are adopting AV1 alongside VP9. These two formats are developed by separate organizations.

Right now, these formats — along with the H.266 — promise a better way of streaming 4K that will ultimately benefit everyone.

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Apps

Google removes 25 apps for secretly stealing your data

The apps were downloaded more than 2 million times

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Google has removed 25 apps from its Play Store for slyly collecting your data in the background. The apps were collectively downloaded more than 2.3 million times before the company clamped down.

According to French cybersecurity firm Evina, the malicious apps were developed by the same threat group. They seemed to offer different functionalities but were fundamentally designed to phish data.

The apps disguised themselves as step counters, image editors, video editors, wallpaper apps, flashlight applications, file managers, and mobile games. While offering some functionality on the front, the end-goal was always to collect user data.

Basically, what these sinister apps do is steal Facebook user’s credentials if they regularly open the account on their phone. The phishing app would overlay a web browser window on top of the official Facebook app and load a fake Facebook login page. You’d assume you’re logging in to your account, but in reality, you just handed over your username and password.

Image by Evina

Evina discovered the flaw in these apps and contacted Google for further action at the end of May. Once the company’s findings were verified, the apps were kicked from the Play Store. Google not only removed the apps from the Play Store but also disabled them on users’ smartphones and informs them via the Play Protect feature.

In recent times, users are increasingly aware of phishing and data collection since social platforms like TikTok have also been caught red-handed. Apple has emphasized its focus on privacy and announced a host of new features to protect the user via iOS 14. Even Xiaomi has added a range of new methods to protect the user in MIUI 12.

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News

realme X3 SuperZoom, realme Watch arrive in PH

At really competitive prices

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realme truly is shaking things up with the launch of two new devices to add to its ever expanding portfolio. The realme X3 SuperZoom and the realme Watch are now officially in the Philippines.

realme X3 SuperZoom: First flagship smartphone in PH

The company is referring to The realme X3 SuperZoom is the first flagship smartphone that they are bringing over to the Philippines.

Inside, it’s powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor with 12GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. It has a 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with support for 120Hz screen refresh rate.

It has a quad-camera setup. The main 64MP ultra-high resolution wide angle camera is flanked by the 8MP ultra-wide angle lens, an 8MP periscope lens, and a 4MP macro lens.

The 64MP lens is the Samsung ISOCELL GW1 — the same sensor realme has used for their 64MP phones. The periscope lens is capable of up to 60X hybrid zoom which is great as long as you don’t do creepy things with it.

realme has also been proud of the work they have done on their phone’s Night Mode, taking it even a step further with Starry Mode. This is essentially an astrophotography feature that should come in handy when we’re finally allowed to actually stay outdoors.

In front it has a 32MP camera and it shares some video shooting features with the rear camera like UIS Video Stabilization, and in-software bokeh effect.

realme Watch

The realme Watch, meanwhile, is a fitness band that doesn’t look like most fitness bands. It foregoes the slimmer design and instead gives us a 3.5cm (1.4”) display.

It has 14 different workout and sports modes, has a camera shutter, water reminder, and meditation features. The watch can also track your heart rate, sleep, and monitor your blood-oxygen levels.

Price and availability

The realme X3 SuperZoom will retail for PhP 24,990 (US$506). Pre-order starts on July 9 to July 17 in realme concept stores, kiosks and select stores nationwide.

During the pre-order period, customers will also get to claim exclusive realme Buds Air Black worth PhP 3,990 (US$ 81).

The realme Watch will retail for PhP 3,990 (US$ 81) and will be available alongside the X3 SuperZoom. Customers may avail the device at PhP 1,000.00 off during Lazada’s 7.15 mid-year sale.

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