Apps

3 reasons why Tinder is the best travel app

Tips on how to make the most out of your travels!

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There are plenty of travel apps nowadays to help you make the most out of your travels, but nothing comes close to the splendid experience I had using Tinder. Yes, you read that right. I used Tinder — a dating app — as a travel app.

There’s always a stigma surrounding Tinder. Whenever I mention I’m using the app, people frown. Tinder, to these people, is an app for hooking up or for those desperate to find love. Pity them for they don’t know that an app like this has a lot of uses, particularly during your travels.

Here are the reasons why it’s the best travel app, ever.

You can get the best recommendations from a local

No one knows a place better than a local. Want to know the coolest yet un-crowded cafe in the neighborhood? How about some speakeasy bar that only a few can go into? These locals know the spots where you can best enjoy the city so it’s best to ask them.

A while back, I was in Taipei for a business trip. Seeing how I have a spare day to go around, I asked a few matches in the area on where to go and what to do. A local suggested visiting chic cafes, art galleries, and other hiking destinations aside from the popular Elephant Mountain. A bar owner — whom I matched with — suggested visiting his bar in New Taipei City. However, it was too far and it would have taken so much time so I decided to pass.

These suggestions helped me plan my itinerary which would later allow me to take Instagrammable photos around the city, buy local beef jerky as a souvenir to my now ex-crush, and see more of what Taipei has to offer.

You can have a date, tour guide, and photographer in one

Some matches are eager to meet you in person. If you decide to meet these Tinderfellas and Tinderellas, they can easily become your tour guide and your photographer on your date.

A year ago, my flight was delayed for seven hours. Stuck at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, I decided to open Tinder and asked my matches the best places to visit around the area. I was keen on exploring nearby destinations since Cebu is known for its horrible traffic jams, and I didn’t want to miss my flight.

A match gave me tourist spots in Lapu-Lapu city (where the airport was located) and I explored for an hour. A few moments later, he asked if I wanted to meet up and I immediately said yes. I took a motorcycle ride to the capital and met him at SM Seaside City Cebu, the third-largest shopping mall in the Philippines.

Seeing how I had limited time to explore, my match took me to the best spots where we could eat and take lots of amazing photos, particularly at the mall’s rooftop where we both watched the sunset together.

You can make connections that last a lifetime

It’s marvelous to find people whom you can connect with on a different level, and it’s even more interesting if they came from different cultural backgrounds. These people are full of ideas and opinions that it’s hard not to be drawn and share your own thoughts. The conversation we have with these people can lead to a different kind of connection, something that we yearn in most of our relationships with other people.

However, not everything is about romance. Some connections are bound to stay as friendships. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances now that I initially met on Tinder, and I was able to forge harmonious (and professional) relationships with all of them. To date, I still grab meals with them and keep up with everything that’s happening in each other’s lives, especially when I’m around town.

Yes, Susan. You can build a wholesome and professional relationship with your Tinder matches. It’s not just for hook-ups, but if that’s your jam, then…

Bonus: Get free accommodations for a night!

If you’re down for a sexy time, Tinder can get you free accommodations, too! You can ask your date and stay at his/her place and voila, life hacked. Just be careful about who you sleep with, screen them properly, inform at least one of your friends, and don’t forget to use protection!


What’s your Tinder story? Connect with us on social media and share your stories!

Apps

Amazon bans TikTok for employees, reverses decision in a few hours

Everyone’s worried about using TikTok now

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Amazon sent an internal memo to its employees, asking them to remove the TikTok from any mobile device that can access their company email. The memo was picked up by the mainstream media almost immediately and it served as an indication of how American companies are losing trust in the Chinese-backed app.

However, the company soon backtracked and an Amazon spokesperson said the request had been sent out in error and that there was no change to the company’s policies at the moment.

Company spokeswoman Jaci Anderson declined to answer questions about what caused the confounding turnaround or error. The original memo cited “security risks” as the reason for avoiding TikTok.

In response, TikTok failed to understand Amazon’s concerns. It did not receive any communication from Amazon before the email went out.

However, the social media app has received a lot of backlash from authorities due to its poor data privacy history. TikTok is banned in India and recently, the US suggested it’s considering a similar ban on the app.

Furthermore, US lawmakers have been concerned about the app for months now. The US army and navy instructed soldiers to delete the app from military devices in December. The biggest concern regarding TikTok is that its parent company, based in China, is required to share information collected on users with the Chinese government.

“We still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community,” TikTok said.

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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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