Substratum and its themes arrive on Samsung Galaxy S7 running Nougat

Substratum theming is now available on the Galaxy S7 running on Android 7.0 Nougat. What’s more is that root is not mandatory for Substratum to work, but note that the theme engine should be compatible with the ROM in concern. Before proceeding, you must remember that this is still beta testing and there will be bugs.

Before Substratum existed, themes were either obtained from apps on the Play Store or were part of older custom ROMs like CyanogenMod. Substratum is very unique in that, it lets you do whatever you want to the system UI. You can have three different themes installed on your device and you can select individual elements from each theme to show only what you like. That’s some serious customization power in your hands right there.

How to install Substratum and apply themes

    1. Start by installing the APK from here.
    2. You will need to download a theme from the Play Store, which also doesn’t rely on Android System or Theme-ready Google Apps as these are root specific.
    3. Once the theme is installed and ready, you will receive a notification on the same.
  1. Open Substratum and look for the theme. On some smartphones you will need to scroll down to find the button on the bottom-right to enable/install
  2. Tap on Install.
  3. To apply the theme, simply Reboot the app.

Read: Top 20 Substratum themes you can use

A word of caution: Android System and SystemUI elements should NOT be applied yet as they could be unstable and cause your device to crash.

[“Source-theandroidsoul”]

[Update: Gone from the beta too] Twitter removes its homescreen widget support from the latest alpha

Twitter is struggling to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Life can be tough when you’re a social network that almost everyone has heard about but no one knows how to use when they’re just joining for the first time.

But despite these tumultuous times at Twitter’s headquarters, the Android app has seen some of its best days in the past few months: an overhauled Material Design inspired interface, a test for a night mode, Android N Direct Reply, and more. But instead of giving something new, the latest Twitter alpha 6.9.0 takes away a feature: the homescreen widget.

If you have the widget added to your homescreen, you will see the above message instead when you’re on the latest alpha. The widget is clearly no longer functional. Whether this change will carry through to the beta and stable versions remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Twitter’s Android developers are at least considering the possibility of removing the widget support altogether. Maybe they found out it wasn’t used all that much and the people who had added it were so few that it didn’t warrant keeping it alive and supported. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, feel free to cry foul in the comments below.

[Source:-Android Central]

Flock Launches IT’s First ‘Chat Operating System’

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There are more than a few internal enterprise social networks competing for deployments in a cutthroat market right now. Some of the ones you may know are Slack, Facebook for Business, Jive, Convo, Google+, Cisco Jabber, Jostle, Microsoft Teams, VMware Socialcast, Salesforce Chatter, SocialText, IBM Connections and Tibbr.Most of them have their built-in constituencies, all of them have their slightly different feature sets. But they’re all fundamentally similar in what they do: They use a server or cloud-based app to connect teams of workers to get tasks and projects done on time, efficiently and in a transparent manner.Guess what? We have another one to add to this already impressive list. It’s Flock, which started in the Far East and is boldly making inroads in the U.S.The two most important things that set Flock apart from all the rest is that: a) it is built entirely upon chat as its underlying foundation; and b) developers can build bots, widgets and even entire apps on the framework, then easily feed them into Flock’s own appstore for distribution.

Flock, whose CEO and founder, Bhavin Turakhia, describes it as “the fastest and slickest team messenger” now available, has been available for about two years, so it’s been tested in the real world.The freemium-based application has recorded between 250,000 and 300,000 downloads, has about 40,000 to 50,000 active users in 25,000 enterprises, and is growing fast, Turakhia told eWEEK. Turkhia is co-founder and CEO of Directi, Flock’s parent company.San Francisco-based Flock made news Dec. 20 with the release of its application development platform, FlockOS, which Turakhia called “the world’s first chat operating system.”And what exactly is a chat operating system? “Within Flock, you can actually add buttons or widgets and control the UI (as you would in a software development kit),” Turakhia said.Thus, developers can build customized apps, bots and integrations on Flock itself, and either use them within their organization or publish them in the Flock Appstore, making them available for all Flock users.Base App is Free of ChargeThe base Flock product is free of charge; to add specific features will cost customers a simple $3/per person/per month, Turakhia said.”Right now our focus is on growth,” Turakhia said. “Increasingly, there will be the need for simple apps that are built on top of a messaging framework. Flock is a team messenger that competes in a space with Microsoft, Facebook, Slack and a lot of other incumbents. But we have been adopted by companies of all shapes and sizes globally. Software development teams, tech companies, startups and sales and marketing teams use us, as do community groups, nonprofits and so on.”We have an outstanding UI and other capabilities that distinguish us from competition. We’re just starting down that path where we’re looking at aggressive growth and global reach.”FlockOS provides a first-of-its-kind widgets feature that allows users to connect with any Flock app,  similar to that of any fully interactive website. With the kind of powerful apps that can be built, a user could get all their work done from within Flock, enabling massive productivity benefits.FlockOS allows developers to build apps that:–Provide a tightly integrated experience by using widgets. These include the attachment widget, sidebar widget, and modal widget — all capable of displaying rich HTML.–Send messages and rich attachments to Flock users and groups. For example, the Poll app in Flock creates an opinion poll in a rich attachment format and immediately broadcasts it to all in a group. It also shows real time updates on the poll results.–Add buttons to attachments, chat tab bar, attachment picker bar or app launcher bar. The meticulously designed app-specific buttons embedded in the interface ensure higher app discoverability, and in turn, boost app usage.–Set up slash commands providing an additional option for users to interact with the app.–Configure a bot to send directed messages to users, carry on conversations and complete tasks from within Flock.–Customize URL previews for specific URLs, so the app can display information relevant for the user.

Deliver a consistent experience across platforms, including web, desktop and mobile, without having to rework any code.With these capabilities, development teams can create apps to meet the specific needs of their teams and organizations, through functionalities that employees demand from their current messaging and collaboration tools, Turakhia said.”Apps built on FlockOS empower teams to have more choices in the functionalities and capabilities of the collaboration platforms they use every day,” Turakhia said. “Instead of being ‘stuck’ with using a particular service and its limited capabilities, teams can now create a custom environment within Flock that is designed for their unique needs.”Developers can currently build custom apps on FlockOS using Java and node.js SDKs with additional SDKs (Python, Ruby, etc.) to roll out soon, Turakhia said.Examples of Apps Built on FlockOS–The To-do app allows a user to simultaneously have a conversation with the team, as well as assign them to-dos — all within Flock. It is easy to track the status of these to-dos as all updates are sent as message notifications on the respective Flock group.–The Notes app allows the user to quickly make shareable rich notes. All users in a Flock group can view or edit it, thus making it a resourceful collaboration tool.–The soon-to-be-released Meeting Scheduler app will help users schedule meetings, invite other participants, get participant feedback on meeting slots, and even view their entire calendar at a glance — all from within Flock.Developers and enterprises interested in creating their unique apps and integrations for FlockOS can go here.For a list of apps and integrations that are available, visit Flock Appstore. This roster is constantly growing and includes a host of popular apps like Github, Trello, Twitter and Google Apps.

[Source:-eWeek]

Adobe is forcing people to install a Chrome Plugin with its latest Reader update

This week Adobe pushed out a series of crucial security fixes to its PDF reader. Alongside the updates, the software firm appears to have installed an extra plugin onto the computers of customers.

According to numerous unconnectedindividuals on Twitter, the latest Adobe Reader update prompts people to install a Google Chrome Plugin.

The Adobe Acrobat and Reader updates (15.023.20053) are part of a release designed to fix a flaw that could let hackers take “control of the affected system”. But when you install this security fix, the Adobe Acrobatplugin is automatically added to your browser.

“It auto-installed,” security expert Troy Hunt told WIRED. “I literally walked up to my PC and the prompt was already there.”

When enabling or downloading the Chrome Plugin, people are required to grant it three specific permissions next time they open Chrome: to “read and change all your data on the websites you visit”, “manage your downloads”, and “communicate with cooperating native applications”. The plugin is intended to let users easily convert websites into PDFs. It should be noted that you can choose not to enable the plugin, and you don’t have to hand over permissions to Adobe in order for the bug fixes to take effect.This technique of auto-installing plugins is typically used by hackers to get access to people’s computers. Although this Adobe plugin appears to be from a legitimate source, it’s concerning that a company dogged with security issues should use such a tact.

WIRED has contacted Adobe for comment on the auto-install but the firm had not responded at the point of publication.

Adobe, in support documentation, issued alongside the plugin, says URL data is not collected for the company. “This [permission] is required to allow the extension to convert HTML content to PDF,” Adobe says. “However, the URL information is not sent back to Adobe.”

Hunt added: “I suspect Adobe is attempting to take a slice out of the native in-browser PDF viewers, but this certainly felt a bit too bullish.”

The firm continued that the information collected only includes the browser type and version, Adobe desktop production information, and data on how menu options or buttons are selected. It does not include personal information that could be used to identify a person, for example. Adobe claims that it details how it uses that information in its privacy policy.

The Adobe security updates were introduced to stop potential hackers from accessing computers remotely and installing malware. Across Adobe Reader, Acrobat and Flash Player there were 42 fixes for known problems.

[Source:-Wired]

Zazu is a cross-platform app launcher with plenty of tricks up its sleeve

Zazu is a cross-platform app launcher with plenty of tricks up its sleeve

As a minimalist, I love keeping my desktop neat and free of clutter. That means I have to resort to using an app launcher of some sort to find my favorite software.

I’ve tried using just the Start menu, as well as different docks and other tools. But I’m starting to enjoy using Zazu a whole lot. This simple text-based launcher invokes apps in a pinch, and is also extensible thanks to support for plugins that you can build yourself. Oh, and it works on Mac, Windows and Linux.

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Simply install Zazu and bring it up by hitting Alt + Space; you can then search for any app on your computer, look up a term on the Web, run system commands like shut down, and even do arithmetic calculations and conversions. If you’ve tried Alfred on OS X, you’ll find the interface to be fairly similar.

There are customizable plugins available from Zazu’s site to do things like save multiple items to a clipboard and searching through your Chrome bookmarks. What’s particularly exciting about the app is that anyone can build and contribute plugins to extend its functionality.

However, it isn’t perfect: While using it to look for apps on Windows, Zazu frequently surfaced the uninstaller for the programs I looked up, because they were in the same folder. It’d be nice to see these blacklisted by default, along with options to hide other search results from the app manually. I also couldn’t get the file finder feature to track down documents, images and music files stored on my hard drive.

Still, it’s a neat app that stays hidden until you need it and makes light work of launching your programs from wherever you are. I’m hopeful that it’ll gain traction among folks who can code and grow its library of plugins to become even more useful.

[Source:-TNW]

Meet a Landy Award winner: For its work with Lane Bryant, Razorfish wins Best Mobile SEM & Best Retail SEM Initiatives

From left, Merete Kenworthy, Kristy Croft and Courtney Demko from Razorfish accept the Landy for Best Retail SEM Initiative. The team also took home the prize for Best Mobile SEM Initiative.

Razorfish took home the Landy Award for both Best Retail SEM Initiative and Best Mobile SEM Initiative this year for its work with retailer Lane Bryant.

Last year, the Razorfish team noticed mobile searches had started surpassing desktop for the first time among Lane Bryant’s current and prospective customers.

At the time, the women’s clothing retailer’s online momentum relied heavily on high-converting desktop traffic, and the dramatic shift in device behavior threatened to upend that success. Razorfish set out to understand how mobile was impacting offline sales and developed a plan that would take advantage of shifting behaviors and give Lane Bryant customers a seamless experience across all channels — all in time for the holidays.

Razorfish created consistent brand messages that addressed specific customer needs and distributed the ads across multiple channels with search, display and video ad formats to reach target audiences wherever they were. The agency also developed concise mobile-specific ad copy and jumped in on an AdWords beta that helped garner brand attention and improve click-through rates.

On the measurement end, Razorfish established a second set of KPIs to capture actions such as mobile store locator usage and email signups to identify and optimize campaigns that were driving store traffic and growing the CRM database. Participating in Google’s Store Visits measurement beta allowed Razorfish to attribute offline store visits to AdWords campaigns and optimize the campaigns using that data.

The original goal was to maintain revenue and ROAS comps from the previous year through the holiday season. However, the integrated, mobile-focused program ended up generating a significant lift in ROAS, and mobile revenue increased substantially over the previous year.

[Source:-Search Engine lAND]

Machine Learning & Its Impact on SEO: An Interview With Eric Enge

Machine Learning & Its Impact on SEO: An Interview With Eric Enge

At Pubcon 2016 in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to speak with Eric Enge, CEO and Founder of Stone Temple Consulting, about machine learning and its impact on SEO.

If hearing the phrase “machine learning” has you worried, because it’s about to become one more thing to think about in SEO, please watch the video below. Eric Enge explains how machine learning will impact SEO and digital marketing. You can also listen to the interview in podcast form here.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • Machine learning hasn’t developed to the point where it can fundamentally disrupt SEO or digital marketing. It’s not about to turn the world of SEO upside down anytime soon.
  • Enge describes the concept of machine learning as using data to solve complex problems that the human mind isn’t capable of solving on its own. While it’s evolving rapidly, machine learning is still a long way off from being sophisticated enough to impact ranking signals.
  • Machine learning is already being used by Google in some ways. For example, the Google News section serves related articles using machine learning.
  • Google’s overall intent with machine learning is to serve better content to users. Satisfied searchers equal more revenue for Google, so you can trust the company will always be looking for new ways to improve.
  • Focusing on creating valuable content and providing the best user experience has always been a way to stay in Google’s good graces no matter how the algorithms have evolved.

Please visit SEJ’s YouTube page for more video interviews. For more information about visual storytelling, please see the following resources:

[Source:-sEJ]

What is SEO and Why it’s Important

You’ve come up with a promising business idea, spent months designing and building your site, and submitted your URL to the major search engines. Now, all that’s left to do is to wait for visitors to discover your site and spread the word! After a few months of waiting, your hit stats still haven’t gone through the roof. What gives? Alas, with over one billion websites competing for views, this “build-it-and-they-will-come” approach to marketing is likely doomed to failure. The solution is to learn and apply SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. In today’s article, we’ll learn what SEO is, and its role in making your website a success.

The Role of SEO in Search Engine Optimization

SEO is a set of rules that can be followed by website administrators to optimize their website(s) for search engines and thus improve their search engine rankings. These rules are necessary, because, in order for a search engine to return the most relevant results, it first needs to parse web pages and index them for both relevance and popularity. There are literally hundreds of factors that influence a page’s relevance, both large and small. Popularity is determined using complex mathematical algorithms that comprise numerous variables. These variables are referred to as “ranking factors” in the search marketing biz.

SEO vs. Internet Marketing

SEO is not the same thing as Internet Marketing. A more apt description would be that it’s one type of Internet Marketing. As such, it should be part of your overall Internet Marketing campaign, which normally includes other things like social media promotion, email campaigns, and other activities. In fact, SEO is really the first marketing initiative, as designing a solid document structure and authoring engaging content contributes directly to SEO.

How SEO Benefits You

Studies have shown that the majority of users are most likely to choose one of the top 5 suggestions in the results page, so it’s highly advantageous for you to rank as high as possible. Doing so will help direct a far higher number of visitors to your website and/or customers to your on-line store.

Moreover, most searchers don’t just search once before clicking on a website. Rather, people tend to search, click on some websites, edit their search terms, search again, click on more websites, further hone their search terms, search again, and so on. This honing behavior means that if your site continually shows up in all a user’s search results, their trust in your site will grow accordingly. After enough exposure, the user will very likely click on the link to your website. Moreover, the chances of the user making a purchase are also increased by the built-up trust.

Speaking of studies, several have shown that SEO can have a better return on investment (ROI) than traditional forms of marketing such as TV and print ads. There is such a thing as paid search engine ads (i.e. Google AdSense), but what we’re talking about here is just the regular search results. SEO’s superior performance can be attributed to the fact that it markets to people when they are already looking for the products and services your business provides. As such, you don’t have to interrupt their favorite TV show, or compete for there attention on a page where they are reading a news article. Nor do you have to convince them they need your product or service; only that you are the right business to purchase from. In that sense, good SEO preaches to the choir.

Understanding SEO allows you to properly build, format, and annotate your web content in a way that search engines can digest. Without SEO, a website can be invisible to search engines. According to Robert Nicholls, founder of Capital City Web Solutions:

“Unfortunately, a great website is only great to those who see it and without SEO, the chance of a new website being found in search engine results is practically zero.”

The good news is that the steps required to make your site rank higher in search engines has the beneficial side effect of increasing the quality of your website by making it more user-friendly, faster, and easier to navigate. In the case of an online store, SEO plays a major role in helping your business grow and achieve its potential.

The traffic generated by SEO tend to be more valuable than by other means because it allows for extensive behavioral tracking. Probably the best example of this is Google Analytics. The data and metrics that Google Analytics provides is highly relevant because they give you insight into your customers: how they search, how they browse, the language they use, the technology they use, the region they live in, the days they are most active, the times of day they are most active, etc. All of this information can be extremely useful in helping you make more informed decisions regarding your business and its strategies, both online and off.

The battle for Rob Gravelle supremacy:

google_search_results_for_rob_gravelle.jpg

SEO Gone Bad: Tricking the Search Engines

Some unscrupulous individuals have gone to great lengths to achieve a top ranking in popular search engines by resorting to hacks. Many attempts to manipulate search engine results were successful for a time, until search engine bots wised up and began catching the fraudsters in the act. Sites that were propped up by artificial means were promptly blacklisted and removed from search engines.

Tricks include:

  • Paying unscrupulous companies to submit a site to a bunch of dubious link directories.
  • Selling text links on the site.
  • Article marketing. Thats where you write multiple similar versions of the same article, making only minute adjustments to the wording, and then submit those versions to different websites that collect free articles in exchange for a link back to your site.

Google has become especially adept at catching deceptive SEO practices. According to Nicholls:

“With updates to Google’s algorithms, website are not as easily able to trick the search engine into a higher rank than they deserve and this is good. The hard part to these changes is that it makes SEO a lot harder to get quick results for a competitive market and a lot more work to improve the website’s rank than it was in the old days.”

In Closing

Even if search engines don’t catch you today, they are always evolving. Thus, they are guaranteed to catch you at some point in the future. So always do SEO the right way. How to use SEO correctly will be the subject of an up-coming tutorial.

[Source:-HTML Goodies]

ITBP awards medals to its four-legged soldiers

While seven-year-old Thunderbolt is part of the Animal Transport unit of the force, ‘lifeline’ of the force at high-altitude forward posts, three-year-old Sophia undertakes special sniffing operations to detect IEDs with her handler in Left Wing extremism hit areas of Chhattisgarh.

ITBP chief Krishna Chaudhary decorated the two during the celebrations of the 55th Raising day of the force at Greater Noida.

The two dutifully marched up to the saluting dais and bowed their heads to receive the medals even as the DG offered them ‘ladoos’ as a token of appreciation for their work.

While Sophia is credited with successfully sanitising events attended by VVIP dignitaries, including numerous functions attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has sniffed out numerous Improvised Explosive Devices in the Naxal theatre, Thunderstorm has worked for a number of years in providing rations and ammunition to high-altitude ITBP posts along the China border under hazardous climate, blizzards and thin oxygen.

This is the first time that a security force had taken such a step and had minted special medals in this regard. Till now, the exemplary work by the four-legged soldiers in ITBP was recognised by issuing regular commendation cards by the force chief or others.

ITBP spokesperson Deputy Commandant Vivek K Pandey said the awarding of medals is a step to “recognise and thank the selfless service provided by these silent soldiers.”

A senior official said the force has made a beginning in recognising the exemplary and loyal support of these animals who literally walk shoulder-to-shoulder with the men in uniform whether in operations or any task in the internal security domain.

While the mountain-trained force has been credited for inducting the first breed of Belgian Malinois dogs for anti-Naxal operations in the country and other tough assignments like infantry patrols few years back, the force traditionally has a strong animal transport unit comprising horses, mules and ponies to aid troops guarding the high-altitude posts along the 3,488 km long China border.

The 80,000-personnel strong ITBP was raised in 1962 in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression and the force, apart from rendering border guarding duties, is tasked to carry out various activities in the internal security domain in the country.

[Source:-Rediff]

Brainworx updates its range of guitar plugins, and gives you amp/cab sims for free

Brainworx has announced four new plugins aimed at guitarists, with one of them enabling you to use its tone-generating technology for free.

The first cab off the rank is the bx_rockrack V3 ($199), a new version of the company’s amp/cab suite. This features emulations of eight guitar amps from Marshall, Mesa and ENGL, plus 40 Impulse Responses that blend cabs with EQ settings and other gear.

Then comes bx_metal2 ($49), an emulation of the Boss MT-2 stompbox that’s designed for metal distortion tones. Also on a distortion tip there’s the bx_blacklist2 ($49), which recreates the sound of the ProCo Sound RAT 2 pedal.

If you want to get your amp modelling kicks for free, meanwhile, you can download the bx_rockrack V3 Player, which uses the eight models from the full bx_rockrack V3 to create 26 non-editable presets, giving you everything from clean tones to full metal heaviness. This is included in Plugin Alliance’s PA free bundle.

All the plugins are available for PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats, and you can find out more and download demos on the Plugin Alliance website.

[Source:-Music Rader]