Vyng, Drupe, Sonar Ruler: Download These 6 Brilliant Apps To Liven Up Your Smartphone

Image result for Vyng, Drupe, Sonar Ruler: Download These 6 Brilliant Apps To Liven Up Your Smartphone1/7

Tech Detox

By Rajarshi Bhattarcharjee

Liven up your smartphone like never before with a digital assistant, video ringtones, stripped back music and more.

Image: Getty

ET Bureau
Vyng
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Vyng

Vyng is a video ringtone app for Android handsets which lets users play a new video with every incoming call. This app from a Los Angeles-based startup aims to transform how you start mobile conversations by introducing emotions to the lock screen from its library of more than 60,00,000 music videos.

(Image: play.google.com)

Just A Line
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Just A Line

What started as an experiment by Google is now a standalone app — Just a Line. It is an augmented reality doodling tool that lets you make AR drawings in 3D space around you. You can then share your creation with a short video. It lets you doodle in the air and draw with friends in the same space by pairing your phones. The app works on any Android phone that supports ARCore and the latest iOS devices.

Image: play.google.com

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Drupe – Caller ID App
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Drupe – Caller ID App

It’s a popular cross-platform dialer app from which you can voice and video call, message, schedule, tweet, email, set remind ers and do more from one place. Drupe lets you dial or WhatsApp someone who is not on your contacts list and comes with a call blocker feature. The app also has a record feature for incoming or outgoing calls.

Image: play.google.com

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Sonar Ruler [iPhone Only]
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Sonar Ruler [iPhone Only]

Sonar Ruler from Laan Labs is an innovative app that uses echoes to measure distances with your iPhone. The app makes your iPhone send a short pulse from the speaker and measures how long that pulse takes to bounce off something and return to the phone. It then estimates how far away you are. Sonar Ruler offers a distance measurement range up to 60 feet.

Image: play.google.com

Agencies
Google Home
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Google Home

The smart assistant is now also adept at recommending what movies or TV shows to play through your Chromecast and controls multiple devices straight from your smartphone. The app can now show all your devices in one view and organises them by room. It also lets you manage devices like a smart thermostat as well as smart lights without having to go into their respective apps.

Image: play.google.com

Agencies
Loffee - Lo-Fi Music
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Loffee – Lo-Fi Music

If you are a fan of low-frequency beats and stripped back music, Loffee is a must-have app on your handset. While the playlist ranges from music for focusing to music for setting the vibe on a lazy Saturday afternoon, the platform also recognises talents from around the globe. The best thing about the app is that it works offline — perfect for flights or a long journey.

[“source=economictimes.indiatimes.”]

Man assaults wife for seeking money for shampoo in Ahmedabad

Representative image.AHMEDABAD: A 42-year-old woman from Bavla village in Ahmedabad on Sunday filed a complaint with Viramgam town police stating that her husband had thrashed her badly, pulled her hair and banged her head on a wall just because she had asked for money to buy shampoo.

“On Sunday morning, when my husband was at home and I asked for some money, he became angry and started abusing me. When I tried to pacify him, he suddenly pulled my hair and banged my head on a wall,” stated the complainant.

Later on, the woman called up 181 Abhayam Helpline from where a counsellor came to her home in Bavla and tried to make her husband understand that he should treat his wife properly.

But her husband did not pay any heed to the advice and asked his wife to leave home.

Later, the woman approached Viramgam town police and filed an FIR of domestic violence.

The complainant, who has been married for 15 years, stated in her FIR that her husband, who works with Western Railway as a clerk, beat her very often on petty issues.

“When I got married my husband’s elder brother and sister-in-law used to stay with us. Since the beginning of our married life, my husband’s brother and sister-in-law used to provoke my husband to torture me,” the woman stated. “I had kept quiet for long for the future of my two children,” said the complainant.

Later, the couple moved to Shastrinagar in Ahmedabad city but the intervention of in-laws and her husband’s torture continued there.

Due to some personal issues, the couple then moved to Bavla where the woman’s torture continued.

On Sunday, the woman felt all limits had been crossed when her husband grabbed her hair and banged her head on a wall, stated the FIR filed with Viramgam town police.

[“source=timesofindia.indiatimes.”]

Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For Money

Image result for Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For MoneyAs we continue to enjoy the “Yellen gold standard,” now in its Powell phase — who knows how long it will last — let’s look at why the gold standard system worked so well for so many centuries, including nearly two centuries of U.S. history before the rupture in 1971, during which time the United States became the wealthiest country in the history of world.

In 1971, the economist Arthur Laffer — he was the chief economist of the Office of Management and Budget at the time — was asked what he thought the consequences would be of Nixon’s “closing of the gold window,” which effectively ended the Bretton Woods period when the dollar’s value was fixed at $35/ounce of gold.

“It won’t be as much fun to be an American anymore,” Laffer reportedly replied. And he was right.

But why? Why is it that the collective intelligence (let’s be generous) of today’s central bankers, and indeed all the central bankers since 1971, cannot outperform a yellow rock? This probably strikes some as bizarre, but it has always been thus. Way back in 1928, in a book called The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, George Bernard Shaw declared:

“You have to choose … between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government. And, with due respect for these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the Capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.”

It’s the same today. These things never change. Ninety years ago, intelligent women understood these things.

To understand why gold works, as a standard of monetary value, you have to understand what makes good money. Today’s cryptocurrency enthusiasts are rediscovering what monetary thinkers have always known: that the best money is stable money, or, as I like to term it, Stable Money — money that is stable in value. After learning that Bitcoin and its ilk make splendid devices for gambling (the continued popularity of places like Las Vegas and Macau show that there remains a large interest in such things), but a rather poor currency — exactly as I said would happen some years ago — the cryptocurrency engineers are now focusing their energies on developing “stablecoins.”Image result for Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For Money

Ideally, a currency would be perfectly stable in value. The market economy is organized via prices, profit margins, returns on capital and interest rates. Changes in the value of the currency derange this process, creating chaos and havoc. John Maynard Keynes described in 1923:

“[Markets] cannot work properly if the money, which they assume as a stable measuring-rod, is undependable. Unemployment, the precarious life of the worker, the disappointment of expectation, the sudden loss of savings, the excessive windfalls to individuals, the speculator, the profiteer–all proceed, in large measure, from the instability of the standard of value.”

In The Scandal of Money (2016), George Gilder updated this insight, using the tools of modern information theory:

“Casting a shroud of uncertainty over all valuation, monetary manipulations shorten the time horizons of the economy. In information theory, the dominant science of our age, when a medium sends a message of its own–static on the line–it’s called noise. Noise in the channel reduces the channel’s capacity to transmit accurate information.”

In practice, such idealized perfection is not quite possible, so we have to go with the next best thing. The next best thing is gold: the thing that most closely approximates this ideal of stability of value. President James Madison summed up succinctly:

The only adequate guarantee for the uniform and stable value of a paper currency is its convertibility into specie [gold]–the least fluctuating and the only universal currency.

James Madison understood this.

And the United States became one of the most successful countries in the history of the world because people like James Madison understood it, and adhered to this principle from 1789 to 1971.

In this single sentence, Madison touched on some important political truths. You might argue that, ideally, “smart people” could get together and create some better — that is, more Stable — foundation for money than gold. But, you might also notice that nobody actually does this. They don’t even try, and never have, in the past five decades of floating fiat money. One reason for this is that they are human: consequently, they crumble to political pressures, while gold does not. Even if you could invent some statistical concoction that is a better measure of Stable Value than gold — although no human ever has — arguably, no human institution could ever implement it for any length of time. Just look at how statistical concoctions like the Consumer Price Index have been continually altered, each time in response to political pressures, and to serve political ends. This is one reason why, as Madison asserted, gold remains “the only adequate guarantee for the uniform and stable value of a paper currency.”

Related to this is the fact that gold is the “only universal currency.” It is the only thing (along with its adjunct silver) that all people have agreed to use as the basis of money, which then allows fixed exchange rates between countries, vastly simplifying trade and investment. In the pre-1914 era, most major governments participated in the world gold standard, which was simply the extension of many centuries of gold and silver coinage used throughout the world. This system was reassembled during the 1920s, and again in 1944, at Bretton Woods. We have had no difficulty establishing world monetary systems based on gold.

Contrary to popular belief, most countries today do not have freely-floating currencies. According to the International Monetary Fund, about half of all countries actively “anchor” their currencies to something else, usually a major international currency like the dollar or euro. In other words, they have fixed exchange rates. Another 25% of all currencies are “stabilized” against a major international currency, which remains the reference although exchange rates are allowed to drift somewhat. Either “anchored” or “stabilized,” most currencies today are part of the dollar or euro currency blocs. The only significant difference between the euro currency bloc, and the prior world currency bloc based on gold, is the standard of value: gold, or the floating fiat euro.

Despite this enthusiasm for fixed exchange rates (a form of Stable Money), there is little interest today in establishing a unified world currency bloc. We could, for example, form a world currency bloc around the euro, and the IMF has long promoted such solutions. Then, the world would be free of the difficulties of floating currencies. The dollar/euro exchange rate would be fixed, along with the pound/euro, yen/euro and other exchange rates.

The simple reason is that nobody would trust the European Central Bank. I wouldn’t — because the ECB is subject to political pressures, or other agendas, to which gold is immune. The ECB can also serve as a means of imposing political pressures.

Actually, the world did have a system like this. It was called the Bretton Woods arrangement. The British pound, German mark, Japanese yen, French franc and all other world currencies were nominally linked to the U.S. dollar. The reason why they agreed to this is that the U.S. dollar was also linked to gold, at $35/oz. When the dollar left gold in 1971, nobody was interested in remaining linked to the dollar, and currencies floated. They still float today.

Gold’s performance as a standard of Stable Value has been exemplary. It is, actually, a lot better than one might rationally expect. The things that the gold standard made possible — such as the extraordinary stability of bond yields during the nineteenth century — have never been replicated under fiat currencies. Just look at those results (achieved without market manipulation), and tell me which central bank wiseguy — give me a name of a real person — that you think could accomplish this; and then explain, if that is true, why they haven’t done so already.

Yields on long-term government bonds: U.S. (1970-2017) and Britain (1830-1880)NATHAN LEWIS

Economies work best when currencies are stable in value. Once we know what the goal is, we then look for a way to achieve it; and the best way has always been to base a currency on gold. Nobody has found a better way, even in the form of a proposal; and nobody has ever needed to find a better way, because gold has always worked very well.

[“source=forbes”]

A Murky Flood Of Money Pours Into The World’s Largest Election

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has spearheaded moves to loosen campaign finance laws in India, generating criticism that businesses—and foreigners—could potentially wield unprecedented influence over the election starting next month.

The new rules let corporations, including those partly owned by foreign entities, fund elections anonymously. They also permit businesses to bankroll political parties through opaque instruments called electoral bonds and enable shell companies to be conduits for election funding.

A Murky Flood Of Money Pours Into The World’s Largest Election 

The changes, which Modi’s party has said were designed to at least partially account for undocumented cash long used during India’s elections, may actually make it easier—and legal—for anonymous donors to support political parties. Spending on the election ending May 23 is set to rise 40 percent to 500 billion rupees ($7 billion), according to the New Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies.

“It won’t be an exaggeration to say our elections will never be the same again,” said N. Bhaskara Rao, the group’s chairman, who has advised previous Indian governments. “What is this if not the auctioning of our democracy to the highest-paying corporation?”

Modi swept to power in 2014 promising a business-friendly administration that would transform India’s image on the world stage. He remains the favorite for many investors, despite more recently introducing populist policies to boost support in rural India and tightening rules against corporate defaulters.

The biggest innovation in India’s campaign finance laws is the anonymous electoral bond. Despite the name, they bear little resemblance to the promissory notes investors are familiar with: Buyers aren’t paid any interest.

Anyone can buy an electoral bond at the government-owned State Bank of India in denominations ranging from 1,000 rupees to 10 million rupees ($14 to $140,000). Afterward they are delivered to a political party, which can exchange them for cash. They don’t carry the name of the donor and are exempt from tax.

A Murky Flood Of Money Pours Into The World’s Largest Election 

“Electoral bonds have made political parties completely beholden to unaccounted money, which could even be foreign money or money from dubious sources,” said Jagdeep Chhokar, the former head of India’s top business school and the founder of the Association for Democratic Reforms, a group that researches elections. “Corporate agendas can run the show.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who first announced plans for the electoral bonds in 2017, argued last year that they actually help improve transparency because they are banking instruments and every political party has to disclose how much it received. If full transparency is required, donors would go back to cash, he wrote in a January 2018 Facebook post.

For those in India worried about anonymous money in politics, the process for changing the laws has offered little reassurance that the new measures are an improvement.

System Overhaul

India’s campaign finance overhaul began in 2017, when parliament approved an amendment that made it easier for companies to donate to campaigns, including removing a cap on corporate donations (the maximum used to be 7.5 percent of a company’s average net profits over three years). Now new firms can also donate to political parties, opening the door for shell companies to be set up expressly for the purpose.

Also eliminated were requirements for companies to disclose how much they donated and to which party.

A Murky Flood Of Money Pours Into The World’s Largest Election 

The changes were introduced in parliament via a money bill, a measure that only needs to be passed by the lower house controlled by Modi’s ruling coalition and not the opposition-led upper house.

A similar tactic was used to pass with little debate rules that changed the definition of a foreign company. Previously, all subsidiaries of international entities were treated as overseas donors and not allowed to make political contributions. Now if a foreign firm has a stake of less than 50 percent in a company operating in India, that unit can fund Indian elections.

While several lawmakers protested the moves, analysts said the amendments will benefit both Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the main opposition Congress party.

“Nobody from the opposition spoke up,” Rao said. “Maybe everybody realizes they stand to gain if they come to power?”

In 2014, the Delhi High Court found both major parties guilty of violating foreign-exchange laws when they accepted a donation from London-based commodities giant Vedanta Resources Plc.

(The suit, filed by a former top bureaucrat and the Association for Democratic Reforms, was against the political entities and Vedanta wasn’t a party. The company didn’t respond to request for comment. The BJP and Congress argued the donations weren’t foreign because the Vedanta units that channelled the money were registered under Indian law.)

The law passed last year changed the definition of a foreign company all the way back to 1976, effectively nullifying the court’s verdict because Vedanta’s overseas parent owned less than 50 percent of the Indian unit.

The government has defended the revisions, saying they were intended to align the definition of “foreign source” with the nation’s foreign direct investment policies, and other laws bar political funding from abroad. GVL Narasimha Rao and Nalin Kohli, representatives of Modi’s BJP, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The latest official data show that Modi’s ruling party won the bulk of financing in the year ended March 2018, both through corporate donations and electoral bonds.

A Murky Flood Of Money Pours Into The World’s Largest Election 

In 2018, electoral bonds worth about 10.6 billion rupees ($150 million) were purchased, according to data obtained under India’s Right to Information Act by Factly, a data journalism portal in India. About 90 percent were of the highest denomination available, which is out of reach for the average citizen.

India’s rules governing political contributions are looser than other major democracies. In the U.K., companies aren’t directly allowed to make donations to political parties. The U.S. allows unlimited funding through political action committees called super PACs on federal election campaigns, but requires them to disclose the names of donors. Milan Vaishnav, Washington-based senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who’s edited a book on Indian political funding, said he hasn’t seen an instrument like electoral bonds in any other country.

“In most advanced democracies, transparency is a core principle,” Vaishnav said. “Few advanced democracies legitimize opacity in the way India has done.”

[“source=bloombergquint”]