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Technology (23)

The internet can be a brilliant resource for your children. They can find material for their projects, keep themselves updated on the latest developments and also develop new skillsets. But like a coin, the internet has two sides to it. While it offers your child a world of entertainment and education, it is also a lurking place for predators and fraudsters.

As a parent how can you keep your children – no matter how old they are - safe online? How can you ensure they do not get involved with any predators or make mistakes which can put them in danger?

Internet Safety to Children

The following internet safety tips will help you with this.

        1. Make sure you spend time with them when they are on the computer.
        2. Set up parental controls and content filtering on computers, tablets, smartphones, and other gadgets.
        3. Teach your children never to give out their personal information like name, address, phone number, school/college name etc. without your permission.
        4. Password-protect all folders which contain personal and family pictures. This way you can be sure your children are not uploading these pictures without your                           permission.
        5. Ensure your children understand that they are not allowed to personally meet anyone, they met online, without your permission.
        6. Keep the computer/laptop in the common room and not in individual bedrooms, so you can monitor its use.
        7. As parents, monitor your credit card bills for unfamiliar charges. Children can be easily lured to make purchases online.
        8. Bookmark your children’s favourite sites, so they can get to it easily.
        9. Monitor the amount of time your child spends on the computer. Excessive time online, especially at night should be considered as a red flag.
      10. Do not allow your children to use the webcam when you are not around. Ensure they know it’s to be used only for family video calls.
      11. Make sure you always logout of all your websites, especially if you access money transferring websites frequently, to transfer money home. Keep changing the                         password frequently.
      12. Maintain a healthy and open relationship with your child, and establish an atmosphere of trust, so that they will come to you for help in uncomfortable situations.
      13. Take your child seriously if he/she reports any such incident.
      14. If you child has a ‘new’ friend online, then insist on being introduced to this friend.
      15. Make them understand that they should not bully anyone online nor respond to anyone who is bullying them. Bullying can be a criminal offense and strict actions will be            taken against anyone who participates in it.

Taking an active role in monitoring your kids' internet activities will help guarantee that they benefit from it without being exposed to any potential dangers.

Whether you were on a career break or a sabbatical, getting back to work after the hiatus is a huge challenge. Bouncing back with your dream job/ role is a true dare, which can be accomplished only with proper strategies in place.

Here are simple tips to get you back on the radar.

Update your resume

Like it or hate it, your two page resume will be your very first impression. While a career gap doesn’t look great on a resume, you need to update it with all the relevant things you did during your break. It could be new skill sets you acquired that could turn your weaker spots into your strengths.

Stay relevant on social media

Companies today rely heavily on social media portals like LinkedIn and Facebook for their recruitment. Hence make sure you have an updated account in these portals. There are dedicated recruitment websites in every country. So upload your resume on these websites to get noticed.

Network

Your ex-colleagues and ex-managers will always remember your professionalism and dedication to work. Leverage this to your advantage. Get in touch with them to increase your chances of finding the perfect job post the hiatus.

hiatus

 

Be flexible

A lot might have changed in the corporate world during your time off, the market value for your skill set might have dipped. There could be new technology in the market that is a must know for every professional. Consider these factors when applying for jobs and ensure that you acquire working knowledge of these new technology.

Being flexible will help you adjust quickly to the new reality of your career, the last thing you want when you’re trying to revive your career is to undersell or over sell yourself.

Seek help for international career opportunities

You might have been working in a different country before you took a break and gone back to your home country. In such scenarios it might be difficult to network or gauge the market potential abroad. Make sure you reach out to recruitment agencies who hire for foreign countries, so they can help you. The recruitment agencies will charge you a fee for their work, but with easy remittance channels available, to make payments online, you should consider this option.

Be patient

Last but not the least make sure you remain patient. With hard work and patience you can realise your true potential and get your career back on right track.

Motherhood (and indeed fatherhood too) is a life-changing experience. The first few weeks of being a new parent can be an emotional and anxious time. Thankfully, there exists a host of baby-related technologies that can make life easier for worried new mummies. Here, in alphabetical order, is our list of the top technologies for parents of small babies.

Breastfeeding app: There are lots of apps available which allow you to keep track of nursing sessions, the side you nursed on last, and alternate breast and bottle feedings. A popular app you can try is “Baby Tracker: Nursing”.

A new mom Technologies that can make your life better
Online forums: Online communities have come into their own, lending much needed advice and support. “British Mums Dubai” is an example. The website is aimed primarily at expat mums and offers baby advice, weaning tips, competitions and access to a community of mums who’ve already been there and are ready with helpful advice. It’s linked to their Facebook group, which you can request to join.

Digital Ear Thermometer: You will use it many times every day, to check whether that crying is because your baby is ill or just fussing! You can also use it at night without waking the baby up if he or she feels hot. It’s not glamorous, but is an essential piece of technological kit.

Itzbeen Pocket Nanny: This hand-held device helps you record and monitor your baby’s naps, feedings and diaper changes- essential for those sleep-deprived weeks where you can’t remember the last time you changed your baby!

White Noise Machine: There are many of these available, and all emit white noise similar to that heard in the womb, to help shush your baby to sleep. A popular option is the Baby Shusher, which emits a constant rhythmic shushing sound designed to mesmerise your baby into a calm sleep.

WiFi baby monitor: The days of the static “radio” baby monitor are long gone. Baby monitors have revolutionised in the digital age, and now use WiFi, 4G and smartphones so you can easily keep an eye on your sleeping baby from anywhere. The best ones offer high-security, password-protected streaming to keep you and your baby secure.

There are many technological advances to help make your parenting experience better. But perhaps the most essential piece of technology is a data-enabled smartphone, whether to google a strange rash, look up baby products, or simply while away the midnight feeds with some gentle browsing.

Happy parenting!

The world’s popular shopping apps

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Few pastimes are more satisfying than shopping and experiencing the thrill of sourcing that coveted little black dress, bagging the latest gadget, landing a bargain and redeeming a discount. Shopping now comes via mobile and tablets, which means you can shop straight from your living room couch and have your purchases delivered to your door. Here (in alphabetical order) is our list of some of the world’s most popular apps.

The worlds popular shopping apps

Amazon: No list of this type can be compiled without mentioning Amazon, the big daddy of online stores. With millions of users, there isn’t much you can’t find here, and every day there are deals where if you’re quick off the mark you can nab yourself a top bargain. Amazon is super-easy to use, so much so that you’ll be lost in retail paradise before you can say “Login”.

eBay: The online auction site has made bidders of us all, and if you’re obsessed with outbidding the competition, the app makes your life even easier. You can set up notifications and alerts straight to your phone so pesky real life doesn’t get in the way of that elusive deal.

Etsy: If you’re the arty, crafty type, this is your spiritual Internet home. Here you’ll be able to access items from almost a million sellers, frequently unique, handmade and limited editions. You can browse other people’s work, or have a go at starting your own cottage industry.

Google Shopper: This app recognises products via simple text search, but also by barcode, voice and sometimes photo. It offers price comparisons, reviews and information on millions of products to help you get the best deal on whatever you’re buying.

Groupon brings you deals close to your local area, on all sorts of products and services. You can buy and redeem deals without ever leaving your phone, and the customised local content opens up new experiences even within your own hometown.

LivingSocial: This app provides deals offering discounts of upto 90% on goods and services. You can buy directly from your phone, and there are nice rewards (like freebies) if you refer friends to get the same deal you do.

So in these modern days, when people can access any product they like from the comfort of their homes, the world really is your oyster when it comes to online shopping. And with Gocash the prepaid card available from UAE Exchange, you can make those purchases quickly and easily, while still keeping tabs on your budget and protecting your financial details.

The ability to transfer money, and pay through your mobile phone, has transformed the consumer experience. Whether it’s paying a parking fine, buying a birthday gift or sending a money transfer abroad, conducting financial transactions with the tap of a screen is the new norm. However, when transferring large sums of money, whether domestically or internationally, it’s always wise to take precautions. Here are our top tips for transferring money and paying for services securely through your mobile.

Update your device: Make sure the phone/mobile device itself is secure even before you start a transfer. Ensure that your operating system (iOS, Android, etc.) is up to date, because the latest versions also have the latest security protections. For Android phones, it may be a good idea to invest in an antivirus program to protect against malware.

Update your app: Ensure that you’re using the latest version of your money transfer or payment app. Each new version addresses vulnerabilities, potential exploits and other concerns that have been identified. Generally, apps that you haven’t updated in a while are more vulnerable to exploits than those kept current.

Choose reputable payment enablers: It’s always a good idea to use reputable payment and transfer apps that have been carefully designed for security and will keep your financial details safe.

How to transfer money

Use a strong password: If your mobile payment app requires a password, pick a strong one. The ideal password should contain a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. If your phone has biometric locking features, it’s best to enable those as well to guard against theft.

Use secure Wi-Fi: Try to make sure that the Wi-Fi connection is private and secure. Unsecured public Wi-Fi services can be vulnerable to breaches.

Use an extra level of verification: Use mobile sites with transaction guarantors such as 3D Secure or Verified-By-Visa, which require an extra level of authentication before transfers are approved. Where possible, enable two-step verification. It might be one more step before a transaction goes through, but it’s worth it for peace of mind.

Check your bank and credit card statements: It’s a good idea to keep a record of all transactions and compare them against your bank and credit card statements. This will make sure that fraudulent or accidental charges are instantly noted.

So, there you have it. With our checklist for safe mobile payments and transfers, you’re all set to turn your phone into a powerhouse of financial transactions.

Any sort of payment that is made without direct contact between seller and buyer can be considered a remote one. It’s easy to see how the ability to make remote payments has changed the consumer experience for the better. Online shopping, door to door delivery, and the ability to wave your phone at a checkout sensor when paying for goods, all rely on remote payments.

Why? Because these aren’t just good for the consumer but are also incredibly empowering for entrepreneurs and SMEs. Consider the new paradigm of transport created by Uber and Careem. These services won’t have been as possible without adopting a seamless remote payment system. E-commerce stores too rely on remote payments for their business model to work – though many in the UAE also offer cash on delivery.

So, remote payments unlock new business models by diversifying away from a cash-only model. They also enable a wealth of data gathering, upselling and cross-promotional activities.

For instance, mobile and remote payments can help businesses small and large integrate loyalty programmes into the payment system. Customer information can be stored in the payment gateway, which does away with needing additional tokens or customer codes to be punched in. Adding value directly to the customer experience increases brand loyalty and makes the customer want to return.

Remote payments are good for businesses too

Remote payment gateways are also an excellent way of upselling and cross-selling. Relevant offers, discounts and additional goods and services can be offered right at the point of payment, either through mobile or online. Customers are more receptive to these offers at the point of payment, which improves conversion rates and sales.

Remote payments, and those made through mobile, are also very helpful in tracking inventory and understanding customer behaviour. It helps businesses track the products and services they are selling, and gain insight into customer demand. Not only can they capture payment information but can also store purchasing patterns to learn more about their customers, and improve their service offering.

It’s not just remote payments that are helpful for businesses. Remote money transfers, such as those enabled by the UAE Exchange Money2Anywhere portal, make it exceptionally easy for customers to transfer money anywhere in the world, and support family and friends back home – creating disposable income. For local businesses back home, this higher disposable income translates into sales, which in turn unlocks job creation to add further prosperity to the community.

Remote payments have revolutionised the consumer experience. At the same time, they’ve helped businesses find new audiences and better serve existing ones. With a simple, secure effective remote payment provider, a good marketing plan and reliable shipping methods, a small business can widen its net of potential customers far beyond the geographical boundaries of its physical location - with obvious benefits to turnover and profit.

Mobile wallets and payment apps are a great way to extend financial inclusivity to unbanked audiences, and also to get users transacting, paying and transferring money through their mobile phones. Dedicated payment apps are turning smartphones into financial powerhouses – allowing consumers to access and pay for services on the fly. As the GCC moves towards a smart government experience to facilitate economic growth, here are some of the apps making payments on the go a whole lot easier:

e-Dirham: Included in Dubai Smart Government Innovation Annual Report 2016 as an award-winner in the e-commerce category, the app lets users make payments without needing their e-Dirham card, top up their mobile e-wallet and much more.

DubaiNow Smart Government App: With a perfect 5-star rating on the iOS App Store, this handy app puts access to government services in the palm of your hand. Pay most of your bills and fees, and track and plan your travel around the city.

Hotpay: With 4 stars on the Google Play store, this popular app lets users in Kuwait pay their mobile bills for all three Kuwaiti telcos, and buy e-vouchers for Google Play, CashU, Netflix, Amazon, PlayStation and other services.

Top mobile payment apps in the GCC

mPay: Dubai residents can use this popular app – with 4 stars on the Google Play store - to pay for telco and government services. Connected to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Etisalat, the Roads and Transport Authority and Dubai Police, mPay has been redesigned with a slick new interface to facilitate payments for mobile phone and broadband bills, DEWA bills, traffic fines, and Salik and Nol cards.

Payit Global: With a high 4.5-star rating on the Android Google Play store, this Kuwaiti app personalises your payment experience and unlocks a range of payment services for your phone. Use it to pay bills, top up phone lines, buy vouchers and access other services.

PayPal: The Top Ten Reviews site has included the PayPal app in its top ten roundup of 2016’s best mobile wallets. This easy and convenient app links your PayPal with your phone, and helps you make payments and transfer money around the globe.

RTA Dubai: Included in the Dubai Smart Government Innovation Annual Report 2016 short-list, the mobile app of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) brings a range of traffic and vehicle related services straight to the palm of your hand. Users can use the app to pay for services and clear fines.

Sadad: If you’re in Bahrain, use Sadad to pay through your mobile, anywhere and at any time. The app, available for both Android and iOS, has a solid 4-star rating on the Google Play store and enables access to over 30 services.

And that’s a wrap-up. Empower yourself by turning your phone into a powerful means of payment through our list of popular apps.

On the other hand if you are not a mobile payment person, you can always visit the nearest UAE Exchange branch for all your bill payment needs!

Know your Blockchain from your Bitcoin

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Does crypto-currency have you confused?

As the latest development in a series of fintech developments with the potential of revolutionising the payments and transfer industry, Bitcoins and Blockchains are set to become increasingly relevant to consumers. We’ve put together a handy guide to help you navigate these new innovations.

Bitcoin burst came into the financial scene in 2008 as a digital currency. It’s safe, secure and encrypted, and can be used to buy goods and services wherever sellers accept it. The currency is gaining ground, with some restaurants in the UAE beginning to accept it for purchases and delivery. The currency has a floating exchange rate against real world currencies. In December 2016, for instance, a Bitcoin was worth around USD 767.

As a dynamic departure from the norm, Bitcoin doesn’t exist as notes or physical coins. Neither does it have a central bank to issue the “coins” and control their availability. So, what happens instead? Bitcoin transactions are maintained in decentralised digital ledgers called “Blockchains”. These Blockchains are publicly available, and openly shared. Each time a Bitcoin transaction is conducted, a new “block” is added to the record chain.

BlockChain

It’s this mechanism what makes Bitcoin so hard to hack or attack – there are thousands of copies of the blockchain all over the Internet – and all of them are verified with each other before transactions can be updated. Blockchains are what keep Bitcoin secure. Fraud is very difficult because there are multiple copies of the Blockchain, and every transaction is recorded publicly and can be viewed by everyone. The Blockchain is also the reason why Bitcoins can’t simply be copied and counterfeited - because it would be impossible to compromise the thousands of ledgers that exist globally.

In short, Bitcoins and Blockchains are part of the same ecosystem. One is the currency, and the other is the name given to the public ledgers that maintain a record of transactions and establish an exchange rate.

The future is bright for digital currencies. Banks, venture capitalists, and large international firms have started to invest in Bitcoins, and where they go, the rest of the world will follow. However, it’s worth noting that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin also pose brand new regulatory and compliance challenges for authorities because they are location agnostic and operate peer-to-peer without any involvement from central banks.

In today’s fast paced world, Muslims face several challenges while fulfilling their Ramadan obligations and worship. Working during fasting requires immense mental, physical and spiritual discipline. Sometimes one tends to lose track of time and health due to social and work pressures. Staying attuned to the abstinence, and taking care of the daily chores viz., cooking, shopping becomes a challenge.

Contrary to popular beliefs of technology being a distraction, today mobile technology has become an enabler to resolve spiritual, logistical and physical challenges during Ramadan. Download these 5 mobile apps below to gain spiritual enlightenment, ease the practical strain, and celebrate the spirit of Ramadan. 

ramadan kareem app

Muslim Pro

A complete Ramadan encyclopaedia, Muslim Pro gives you detailed information on your location specific fasting and prayer timings. This app offers you a comprehensive coverage of the Holy Quran with Arabic scripts, phonetics, translations and audio recitations as well as Qibla (direction to Mecca) locator, Islamic Hijri calendar, along with maps of Mosques and halal restaurants.

Wain Nakel

If you are looking for a restaurant to eat Iftar meals, Wain Nakel is the right app for you. When you feed in the budget and preferred cuisine, this app gives you restaurant options based on your location.

ShareTheMeal

Powered by United Nations World Food Programme, Sharethemeal app is an easy way to reach out and help the needy around the world. This app is an authentic and transparent way to feed millions of hungry children across the world with just Dh 2 per child.

Ramadan Fitness Challenge

If you are tempted to binge during Iftar, the Ramadan Fitness Challenge app is for you. While fasting certainly has health benefits, mild exercise is imperative to keep your system agile. Developed by health experts and personal trainers, the app provides workout challenge reminders, customised timers and tips on fitness and health during Ramadan.

Sallety

A handy shopping enabler, Sallety app helps you to compare the prices of more than 270 products across nine leading hypermarkets in Dubai. The app also allows consumers to submit complaints of commercial fraud or unreasonable hike in prices that are generally prevalent during this month.

Empowered with the above mobile apps, fulfil your daily fasting, prayer and social obligations this Ramadan.

Is there any area in your life, where a smartphone cannot help?

Ironically, pondering hard only makes us discover areas where smartphone usage could be increased. *The smartphone usage alone is predicted to reach 6.1 billion by 2020 owing to the emerging economies. According to Pew Research statistics, there is a strong correlation between per capita income and smartphone ownership.

Luckily, there have been great strides in the budget smartphone market, and now it’s easy to find a perfectly capable device even under $200. Here are top 5 Android smartphones that lets you enjoy in style without pinching your pockets.

Android Smartphones below 0

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro- $199.99

USP: With 178 degree viewing angle and fingerprint sensor behind its 5.5-inch display, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro is one of the few impressive smartphones under $200 category.

The two-tone flash 16MP rear camera, and 5MP front camera captures precision pictures. Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexacore processor with Android 5.1 Lollipop OS (MIUI7 skin on top of it) offers great performance.

Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE551KL - $199.00

USP: Equipped with 3GB RAM that enables faster multitasking, Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE551KL is one of the best smartphones in the market below $200 category.
Asus Zenfone 2 Laser has an autofocussed 13 MP rear camera and 5MP front camera with 5.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 in-plane switching LCD display. The Android 5.0.2 Lollipop OS with Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor offers a solid performance.

Motorola Moto G (3rd Generation)-$179

USP: With IPx7 water resistant feature, Moto G 3rd generation will be up and running even after incidental water exposure for up to 30 minutes. This feature is not available in many smartphones under $200 category.

With amazing call quality and excellent noise cancellation, Moto G captures great pictures with its 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. The 1.4GHz Snapdragon 410 processor with Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) OS, offers faster performance.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime-$180

USP: Enhanced with a superior imaging module, 8MP rear camera with LED flash and 5MP front camera, Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime offers a terrific selfie/groupfie experience for those who love budget phones under $ 200.

The attractive design built around its 5 inch display with Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410 processor and Android 4.4 KitKat OS, offers excellent performance.

Blu Vivo Air -$199.00

USP: If you love style, then the ultra-slim flaunt worthy Blu Vivo Air with premium look and feel is the one for you. Enjoy elegance even under $200.
The picture quality is good with its 8MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. It has a 1.7GHz Mediatek MT6592 with Android 4.4 OS that offers reasonable performance.

Which is your favourite smartphone in the budget category!

(*Source: Ericsson Annual Mobility Report)

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