Apps

US FDA approves first contraceptive app

Can an app stop you from getting pregnant?

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I now truly believe that there’s an app for everything. 😱

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the very first app to be marketed as a method of contraception. Yes, ladies, you read that right. Not a period tracker, but an actual birth contraception method.


Natural Cycles is a phone application from a European startup. For EUR 65 per year, it works by using the fertility awareness method via basal body temperatures and menstrual cycle information to tell whether a woman is fertile or not. It then advises which days you should “abstain” or “use protection.”

According to the US FDA, “consumers are increasingly using digital health technologies to inform their everyday health decisions, and this new app can provide an effective method of contraception if it’s used carefully and correctly.” They report that clinical studies have shown that the app has a “perfect use” failure rate of 1.8 percent (meaning 1.8 in 100 ladies get pregnant in spite of using the app correctly) and a “typical use” failure rate of 6.5 percent (which accounts for wrong app usage, etc).


To put in context, the US CDC pegs the typical use failure rate of birth control pills at nine percent and condoms at 18 percent. Interesting enough, this same information gives fertility awareness-based methods, the same method being used by Natural Cycles according to the FDA statement (though, in this case, unassisted by apps or algorithms), a typical use failure rate of 24 percent.

The FDA warns that “no form of contraception works perfectly, so an unplanned pregnancy could still result from correct usage of this device.”

The contraceptive app is not one without their share of controversies. Early last year, they were certified as the very first contraceptive app by the Europen Union. It has since been reported, however, that out of the 668 women who sought abortions from September to December 2017 at one of Stockholm’s biggest hospitals, 37 were relying on Natural Cycles as a contraceptive method.

Natural Cycles claims that they are “responding to each reported case,” and that “as [their] user base increases, so will the number of unplanned pregnancies coming from Natural Cycles users. This is an arithmetic truth applicable to all contraceptive methods.”

Apps

FaceApp goes viral again, raises security concerns

Taking social media by storm

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FaceApp is taking social media by storm once again. The popular editing app which went viral two years ago has resurfaced after celebrities, YouTubers, and even NBA stars posted elderly versions of themselves.

Quick to jump in the bandwagon, people followed and started posting their aged version on Twitter and Instagram. Fancy seeing a glimpse of yourself in the future, as well? Here’s how you can do it.


Easy, step-by-step guide on FaceApp

Download FaceApp via Google Play Store or the App Store. Open the app and select the photo you want to edit. Pro tip: Avoid using selfies with caps, sunglasses, and other accessories on.

After choosing a photo, you can then pick from an array of filters: Beauty, gender-swap, or the old age filter that everyone is obsessing over, and many more!

Using the old age filter, you can see how you’d look like when you’re over 60 years old. If you want to see how you and your partner look when you’re old and wrinkly, just apply the filter first on your face since you can only apply it one at a time. Then, save it, and upload the saved image to apply the filter once again.

You can do this with group photos, too, except you’ll need more patience. It’s an excruciating process but isn’t it worthwhile?

Is our security compromised?

FaceApp’s sudden virality has raised major privacy concerns, just like when Zepeto went viral last year. This is almost always the case when the app in question appears to be collecting data from its unknowing users.

A report on Fast Company indicates that the Russian company behind FaceApp saves the photos uploaded by transmitting it to their servers back in Russia. While it’s all fun and magic on your end, the report supposes your security may be compromised.

Moreover, the US government poses the app as a threat to national security, prompting the FBI to investigate the Russian startup. Will this be a similar saga between the US and China trade war? Let’s hope it won’t escalate into a bigger issue.

FaceApp has responded to these allegations claiming that images are deleted from their servers within 48 hours from the upload date.

At the end of the day, FaceApp is pretty much similar to Facebook and Google, who have taken more information from us than we realize. If you’re still afraid, the best course here is to stay away from photo editing apps and resist the urge to try senseless features for the sake of fun and likes on social media.

 

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5 accredited Airbnbs you can book in Boracay

Life is always better at the beach

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Photo by Airbnb

Boracay is one of the Philippines’ most beautiful islands. Every tourist dreams of seeing its majestic sunsets and enjoy its heavenly white sands.

After Boracay’s rehabilitation in 2018, the Department of Tourism of the Philippines has limited the number of tourists arriving in the island, hence, every traveler must present proof of booking from an accredited accommodation.


Most Airbnbs in Boracay aren’t accredited yet. Thus, we prepared a list so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Bianca’s Garden Apartment

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If you’re looking for a safe haven away from the crowd, then you should stay at Bianca’s Garden Apartment! Located at the quiet side of Station 3, the apartment is situated on a peaceful hilltop side of Boracay. Despite being situated at a distance from the popular tourist attractions, it’s still just a few minutes away from the center.

Book it here.

Tropicana Ocean Villa

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Families can enjoy this entire villa by Tropicana Oceana. It’s a home perched gracefully on a slope, offering a beautiful and panoramic view. In addition, it’s situated in Din-i-wid beach, ensuring a serene and relaxed atmosphere away from the typical Boracay buzz.

Book it here.

Apartment 3, Sheridan Villas

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For those looking for a homey place, Apartment 3 in Sheridan Villas is the place to go. It’s suitable for groups, and it’s also just a few minutes away from the white beach area in Station 3. Furthermore, you can bring your friends and families to nearby restaurants and eat to your heart’s content.

Book it here.

Bamboo Bungalows Rest House

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Bamboo Bungalows screams tropical and nature, adorned with a little bit of sleek and contemporary. Located at Station 2, this place might be ideal for couples wanting an oasis surrounded by lush greenery, but it’s also great for solo travelers seeking tranquility. Nonetheless, Bamboo Bungalows are best for those who want to take a retreat whilst still near all the adventures Boracay has to offer.

Book it here.

Marrakesh Resort: Ocean View with Balcony

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Located at the picturesque Station 1, Marrakesh Resort offers a stunning view of the beach and breathtaking sunsets. It also lets you experience Morocco through its themed rooms, restaurants, and bar serving Mezze and delicious cocktails. Enjoy a romantic getaway in one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

Book it here.

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Friends is leaving Netflix for HBO Max

This is a huge blow to Netflix

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Friends is officially leaving Netflix. Earlier this year, there were rumors that Netflix will lose Friends. It was officially confirmed when WarnerMedia — who owns Friends’ distribution rights — launched HBO Max as the new home for the well-loved TV series.

Along with Friends, titles such as Pretty Little Liars, Batwoman, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air will be streamed when HBO Max launches in spring of 2020. The streaming service is positioning itself to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu.


The show won’t depart the streaming giant until later this year so you and your friends can still binge-watch until then. On the other hand, Netflix might take a huge blow from this since Friends is one of the most watched shows, according to research by Jumpshot.

More and more companies are capitalizing on video-streaming apps and services with paid video offerings. On a larger scale, this isn’t just a problem for Netflix but for the whole industry as well. Users might find it expensive to maintain multiple subscriptions and might resort to piracy instead. Sure as hell, we won’t pay three different subscriptions just to watch my favorite shows.

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