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Indonesian farmers reaping social media rewards

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The BBC’s Karishma Vaswani meets the Indonesian farmers using social networking to make the most of their produce.
Indonesia is an economy on the move these days – and fast becoming one of the most technology-savvy countries in Asia.

Just look at the facts – Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest users of Twitter. It is also home to the world’s third-largest group of Facebook users.

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Blackberry maker Research in Motion counts Indonesia as one of its most lucrative markets – and other gadget-makers are eagerly eyeing the upwardly mobile Indonesian consumer.

There’s even talk of a Silicon Valley-style boom taking place in Jakarta’s suburbs, with the likes of US tech giant Yahoo snapping up an Indonesian start-up.

But while urban Indonesians are considered to be as plugged-in as their counterparts in Singapore or Seoul, out in the countryside, it’s a different story.

Challenging existence
Just venture a few hours outside Jakarta, the capital, to the village of Kadaka Jaya, and it is easy to see the digital divide.

The further you drive up winding roads, the worse your mobile phone signal gets.

It’s hard to spot a telephone tower anywhere, but for miles on end you can see emerald green paddy fields peppering the hills.

It is peacefully quiet – a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta.

From a distance, I saw a lone Javanese farmer sitting in the middle of his field, presumably for a leisurely afternoon snooze.

Ade, 24, uses technology to monitor demand for his chilli crop
It’s thought that almost half of Indonesia’s population of 230 million make their living from the land – often a challenging existence that depends on the whims of the weather and the prices of the markets.

It is in Kadaka Jaya that I meet Ade, a dynamic and bright 24-year-old farmer.

Ade has followed in the footsteps of his family, tilling the land the way so many before him have done.

Crop prices
Now though, change is coming to Kadaka Jaya.

“As farmers we constantly need new technology to improve our livelihoods,” Ade tells me, as he takes a break from picking ripe chillis.

“There’s no way for us to tell what consumers in the cities need, or when the products we want have arrived at the stores in town. We have to keep calling the shopkeepers to find out, and phone networks in this area are patchy.”

Mathieu Le Bras is the founder of 8villages, a social network for farmers
This gap between the rural and the urban is where technology start-up 8villages saw an opportunity, using mobile phones.

“8villages is a business social network for farmers,” says founder and chief executive Mathieu Le Bras. “It provides them with a link to local buyers, their local sellers – and other farmers who are growing the same crop as them.”

Ade is one of 900 Indonesian farmers testing the product free.

“It allows me to access information about fertilisers, pesticides and the prices of crops,” he says. “So now when I need information, all I have to do is wait for an SMS from 8villages.”

The plan, according to Mr Le Bras, is to take this nationwide within the next six months – and even further, to farmers in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Close interaction
Mr Le Bras acknowledges he has drawn from his experience with social networks in urban markets – but insists there are already established networks in the countryside that his product is tapping into.

The peaceful Indonesian countryside – not your typical technology hotspot
“Social networks are paramount in the countryside,” he says.

“People interact closely here, social status is very important – and the influence of a senior farmer plays a very important role in the community.”

That’s why 8villages has a service that allows farmers to enter a code on their mobile phones and access product reviews by senior farmers – taking the whole “like” concept offline.

Mr Le Bras says this is key to the success of the product, and why the farmers are now far more efficient.

“What we are doing with this is leveraging the social networks we know – like Wikipedia and eBay for example – and taking it online, so that the farmers have access to the knowledge.”

New consumers
It’s not just start-ups that are looking to tap the huge potential in the Indonesian countryside.

Global handset maker Nokia offers the Life Tools service, costing about five US cents a day.

For that, farmers with a Nokia handset get a text message about crop prices and weather patterns, a service the company says had more than 600,000 users in Indonesia in 2011.

But Nokia’s country head Martin Chirotarrab says the plan is to keep expanding its reach in the countryside.

The 8villages system was tested by its eventual users – the Indonesian farmers
“We have over seven billion inhabitants in the world,” Mr Chirotarrab tells me at the Nokia headquarters in Jakarta.

“Roughly half of them have a device in their pockets. But only a billion of these consumers are on the web. Nokia’s plan is to connect the following billion consumers to the web.”

Both big businesses like Nokia and start-ups like 8villages want many of those new consumers to come from the Indonesian countryside, but this is unlikely to happen overnight.

Phone networks in many districts remain patchy, and telecom providers have yet to make it a priority to extend them.

But this is changing – although very slowly – because of the vast untapped potential that companies are now beginning to see in the Indonesian farmer.

culled from: BBC Techonology News

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Tech News

SAMSUNG WATCH ACTIVE 2 SPECS IS ONLINE

SAMSUNG WATCH ACTIVE 2 SPECS IS ONLINE, While Samsung is gearing up to launch the Galaxy Note 10 series on August 7,

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While Samsung is gearing up to launch the Galaxy Note 10 series on August 7, there are reports about the arrival of a Galaxy Watch Active 2. It’s unclear if whether the company will launch the wearable with the new smartphone series, or if its launch will be moved forward. Despite this, more and more leaks are surfacing and revealing details about the Watch Active 2.

A couple of pictures were revealed today by the popular leakster, Evan Blass, from evleaks. According to another report from SamMobile, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 will come in two sizes, 40mm and 44mm. The former has a 1.2-inch screen, while the latter will be equipped with a 1.4-inch display. Both displays will boast AMOLED technology plus Gorilla Glass DX+. Last but not least they’ll sport 360×360 pixels of resolution. Join GizChina on Telegram

Galaxy Watch Active 2

The smaller model will weigh 31g, while the bigger one scales at 36g. They will arrive in either aluminum or stainless steel case, both are built to comply with MIL-STD 810G durability standards. According to reports, Samsung will equip the newer models with a touch-sensitive bezel. Therefore it will allow users to interact with functions without having to touch on the screen. That’s an interesting feature, after all, smartwatches displays are usually too small so it’s hard to interact with a touch-sensitive display without covering the content.

The Watch Active 2 will carry Samsung Exynos 9110 SoC underhood. The smartwatch boasts 768 MB of RAM on the Bluetooth-only model and 1.5GB on the LTE-capable variant. Both versions will boast 4GB of Internal Storage. Reportedly, the 40mm unit will have a  247 mAh battery. The 44mm model will fit a larger 340 mAh cell. As previously rumored, ECG and fall detection are both on board. However, the former can take some time to arrive at the shelves.

Last details include Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and a plethora of colors for the aluminum variants:  Silver, Black and Pink Gold, while the stainless steel color will arrive in Silver, Black and Gold. Worth noting that the LTE variant will only be available with a stainless steel finish.

Source: https://www.gizchina.com/2019/07/23/samsung-galaxy-watch-active-2-specs-surface-online/

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Hardwares

MacBook Pro 2019 will be a 16-inch LCD laptop

MacBook Pro 2019 will be a 16-inch LCD laptop, New report affirms rumors and points to $3,000 starting price

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New report affirms rumors and points to $3,000 starting price

We may have already seen new MacBook Pro models refreshed for 2019, but the true MacBook Pro 2019 is expected to land this October as a 16-inch LCD laptop, according to Taiwan’s United Daily News (UDN).

Given that this would be Apple’s largest MacBook Pro laptop since 2012’s final run of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, the company reportedly plans to slap a gargantuan baseline price tag onto this year’s model – which could rise above $3,000 (about £2,450, AU$4,350).

This laptop will likely be pushed heavily toward content creators and developers as a demonstration of Apple’s sincerity in serving those audiences. Here’s to hoping it will somehow satisfy the cross-section of folks that also like to game on their workhorse machines.

MacBook Pro 2019 backs down from OLED

This report corroborates one published by London-based market analysts IHS Markit, adding the pricing element to the mix. More importantly, this is the second report to state that the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019 display will not be an OLED product.

Instead, it will be an LCD to the tune of a 3,072 x 1,920 pixel resolution, which would give the display a rather competitive 226 pixels per inch (ppi) rating and a total of 5.9 million pixels. LCD or not, this is going to be a sharp 3K display.

Will that alone be enough to justify such an exorbitant starting price? Hardly. There are surely other features that Apple has cooking for this device.

We know that Apple is planning to allow this MacBook Pro up to 32GB of memory (RAM), which is already possible on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. 

And, of course, every report mentions an entirely new design likely focused on smaller screen bezels.

Exactly what kind of processor technology will be inside these laptops is also up in the air. Is Apple’s supposed ARM laptop processor to be finished in time for these new laptops? Or, will Apple go all in with AMD considering Intel’s faltering pole position in the laptop computing space?

We’ll almost certainly see more about these missing MacBook Pro 2019 details as we get closer to October 2019.

Source: https://www.techradar.com/news/macbook-pro-16-inch-2019

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Tech News

Google pays users to help build its FaceID

Google pays users to help build its FaceID, Google’s Pixel 4’s moderately sized bezel has been rumoured to be hiding

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Google’s Pixel 4’s moderately sized bezel has been rumoured to be hiding a powerful secret — its own take on FaceID. Much like how Pixel Imprint is Google’s version of TouchID, Google is expected to add an additional form of biometric authentication to the Pixel 4 and 4 XL with this year.

As per a report from ZDNet, men on the street have been approached by Google employees and asked to capture different angles of their face in exchange for a $5 Amazon or Starbucks Giftcard. The images were taken with a phone in a case which obscured its design likely the Pixel 4 or 4 XL (or a prototype of one or the other.)
The firm is said to be doing this for multiple sites across the US to gather a large number of pictures with which to train its Pixel’s authentication system before launch.

Google previously offered facial recognition for its Android devices in the past. This method is likely to be more secure and 3D based than before.

Source: Google is paying users $5 to help build its FaceID competitor

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