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YouTube generated $65 million in user spending in the first month of 2020



YouTube was the top-grossing app in the video and photo category in January 2020, according to new data from SensorTower.

The popular video platform generated $65.5 million in user spending – that’s an 85% growth from last year.

The top countries contributing to the platform’s growth were the US (58% of all revenues), Japan (8% of revenue total) and the UK at 4% of total revenues.

TikTok ranked second with estimated revenues at $28.6 million which is a whopping 4x as much as the popular short-form video app earned in January 2019.

Among the main contributors for its success where Chines users (85% of its revenues) and the US (10% of revenues).

Other popular video and imaging apps included Twitch, Kuaishou and PicsArt.

Perhaps surprisingly, Instagram did not rank in the top 10.


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As Life Moves Online, an Older Generation Faces a Digital Divide




For more than a week, Linda Quinn, 81, has isolated herself inside her Bellevue, Wash., home to keep away from the coronavirus. Her only companion has been her goldendoodle, Lucy.

To blunt the solitude, Ms. Quinn’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons wanted to hold video chats with her through Zoom, a videoconferencing app. So they made plans to call and talk her through installing the app on her computer.

But five minutes before the scheduled chat last week, Ms. Quinn realized there was a problem: She had not used her computer in about four months and could not remember the password. “My mind just went totally blank,” she said.

Panicked, Ms. Quinn called a grandson, Ben Gode, 20, who had set up the computer for her. Mr. Gode remembered the password, allowing the call and the Zoom tutorial to take place — but not until Ms. Quinn got him to promise not to tell the rest of the family about her tech stumble.

For many seniors, “the only social life they had is with book clubs and a walk in a park,” said Stephanie Cacioppo, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago. “When they look at their calendar, it’s all canceled. So how do we as a society help them regain a sense of tomorrow?”

To bridge that digital gap, families are finding new apps and gadgets that are easy for older relatives to use. Companies and community members are setting up phone calls and, in areas where lockdowns are not yet in place, in-person workshops to help those uncomfortable with tech walk through the basics.

Officials are also calling for people to pitch in to close the divide. Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urged people this month to help the elderly set up technology to talk to medical providers.

“If you have an elderly neighbor or family member who might have trouble with their laptop or their phone for this purpose, make yourself available to help,” Ms. Verma said in a news conference.

In nursing homes that have stopped visitors from coming in to limit the spread of the virus, workers are leaning on tech to help residents stay connected with their families.

At 23 senior living communities in North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia run by Spring Arbor Senior Living, workers have been triaging family calls — sometimes multiple ones a day per resident — over Apple’s FaceTime, Skype and a software system operated by K4Connect, a tech provider, said Rich Williams, a senior vice president at HHHunt, which owns the centers.

“That line of communication is essential to the resident’s well-being,” he said.

Mr. Williams added that workers had also used virtual activities like Nintendo’s Wii bowling and SingFit, a music singalong program, to help Spring Arbor’s 1,450 residents — whose average age is 88 — pass the time and stay active.

Candoo, a New York company that helps older people navigate technology, has recently taught its customers how to use Zoom and other video calling apps with downloadable guides and phone calls and, in some cases, by taking over their screens and showing them where to click. Candoo charges $30 for a one-hour lesson and $40 for support.

“People are literally relying on technology, not only to keep them healthy and safe and alive, but also to keep them occupied,” said Liz Hamburg, founder of Candoo.

Jane Cohn, 84, who lives alone in New York, has paid for Candoo’s services to help her get connected. Typically active, she has been staying inside because of the virus outbreak. Her doctor’s check-in went virtual, while her therapy session and New York University class on architecture and urbanism moved to Zoom.

Ms. Cohn said she called Candoo twice in one day last week to help her get on Zoom. She had never used the software before, and when she tried to join her N.Y.U. class through the videoconferencing app, she saw only a video of herself and wasn’t able to hear anything.

A Candoo representative walked her through Zoom over the phone. Ms. Cohn, already worried about the virus, said struggling with technology “adds another level of stress.”

Some people are finding easy-to-use tech to connect generations. Medbh Hillyard recently introduced an electronic speaker called a Toniebox to connect her parents, Margaret Ward and Paddy Hillyard, to her sons, Rory and Finn, ages 3 and 18 months, during quarantine.

While they all live in the same neighborhood in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and frequently saw each other before the outbreak, they have now stopped close contact. Each evening, Ms. Ward, 69, and Mr. Hillyard, 76, instead use an app on their smartphone to record bedtime stories. The app then transmits the stories to the Toniebox so Rory and Finn can listen, Ms. Hillyard said.

“It’s been a really, really good way of having contact each evening and them still being able to do bedtime stories for us, which is really lovely,” Ms. Hillyard said.

Tech-savvy older people have found themselves in great demand, fielding calls from friends and neighbors who need digital help.

Chuck Kissner, 72, a technology executive in Los Altos, Calif., who administers a computer network for his extended family and maintains their 40 or so devices with security updates and software licenses, said he recently had a deluge of requests for tech assistance from his neighbors.

Last week, he spent several hours using remote access to the devices of his homeowner association board to help members, who range in age from about 65 to 85, figure out how to attend a virtual meeting.

One neighbor and board member sanitized his iPad and left it at Mr. Kissner’s front door. The neighbor was having trouble logging into his Apple iCloud account because he could not remember the password. Mr. Kissner could not get into the account, and the neighbor eventually sought support from Apple.

“Everyone got into the meeting,” Mr. Kissner said. “It’s great to see the reaction when it works and it seems so simple.”

After Ms. Quinn’s family helped her get on Zoom, she told her book club about the videoconferences. While some were excited about keeping the club going online during the outbreak, others didn’t want to try it, she said.

“I’m thinking that we won’t do it this month, but when they get tired of not getting together, we’ll probably do it,” said Ms. Quinn, who was also trying to get her bridge club to go virtual.

Her family has certainly embraced the Zoom calls. Jackson Gode, 23, one of Ms. Quinn’s grandsons, lives across the country in Washington, D.C., and used to text her a few times a month. Now they video chat more frequently, he said.

“We’re in this time of great uncertainty,” he said, adding he was “just wanting to make sure that every moment we have counts.”


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One Shop Became a Lifeline for Rhode Island’s Solitary Clam Fishermen




BRISTOL, R.I. — Lou Frattarelli eased his flatbed truck into the loading zone at Andrade’s Catch, a small seafood shop in this town on Narragansett Bay. He had just tied his 24-foot clam skiff to the marina beside the firehouse and offloaded his catch. He had four sacks of quahogs to sell, raked on the still-running tide from the bottom of the bay.

Davy Andrade, one of the shop owners, met him at the door. Mr. Andrade was buying, one of the few shellfish dealers in the state still employing clammers and bringing a local seafood staple to residents.

“What do you want me doing tomorrow?” Mr. Frattarelli asked, hoping for one more day’s pay.

“Another 500, if you can,” Mr. Andrade answered.

Five hundred littlenecks is far fewer clams than an experienced quahogger can rake in a day from the rich waters around Prudence Island, where Mr. Frattarelli had been working. But in the age of the coronavirus, it amounted to a boon.

Many fishing ports across the United States, long imperiled and struggling under strict regulations and the declines of valuable fish and shellfish stocks, have fallen even quieter in the pandemic.

For Rhode Island’s quahoggers, as the harvesters of wild hard-shelled clams are known, the circumstances have gone past difficult to bizarre. While their neighbors struggled to buy food during surges of panic shopping that emptied grocery store shelves, quahoggers found the market for fresh clams — a food rich in protein and minerals — abruptly shut down.

(Full disclosure: I have a commercial fishing license and sell clams most weeks. I have no business relationship with Andrade’s Catch and have never sold clams to this shop.)

Until two weeks ago, much of the East Coast’s daily harvest of wild clams was channeled through wholesale buyers to restaurants and raw bars, many of them in New York City. When bars and restaurants were closed, wholesalers stopped buying.

In Rhode Island, where state regulations forbid quahoggers from selling clams directly to consumers, the result is that the fleet has all but stopped working — even though catches were high and people, wary of going into crowded and picked-over grocery stores, are eager for healthy meals.

The situation is even more confounding because quahogging was a quintessential form of social distancing before social distancing was a public mandate. A lone quahogger on a skiff, away from everyone else while rhythmically scratching a bull rake over the bay floor, just happens to align with the world’s new prescription for living — all while producing food.

Andrade’s Catch has managed to support quahog sales, at least at a small scale. While the shop does a robust wholesale business, it also runs a retail shop out front. By shifting operations almost entirely to retail, it has kept a few boats on the water.

“I’ve got about six guys I am buying from,” Mr. Andrade said, and he rotates their days. “We want to keep the guys going.”

On a typical winter day, the shop would buy from 12 to 15 boats, he said. In the summer, it often buys from 25. On Tuesday, three boats went out, each told to catch the shop limit. Andrade’s Catch was paying 20 cents a littleneck, down from 30 cents earlier this month. Quahoggers fortunate enough to get an order could gross $100 a day.

That pay was something but not enough, said David Andrade, Davy’s father and a co-founder of the shop with his wife. “I’ve been telling the diggers, take it easy, wait for the restaurants to come back,” he said. “But in all reality, you’ve got to make $200 a day to pay for the boat.”

Even these small orders have been helped, Davy Andrade said, by an unexpected form of local generosity: A town resident donated $600 to provide free clams to Andrade’s Catch customers. The donation became the impetus for a retail special: Anyone spending $24 or more on seafood this week received 24 free clams, enough for a pot of chowder. (The donor asked to remain anonymous.)

Even without the special, the shop has still remained busy with sales of other seafood.

Mr. Andrade’s fiancée, Victoria Young, runs an Instagram account that posts daily lists of available seafood, much of which comes from the trawler fleet working in nearby New Bedford, Mass. She also encourages shoppers to place orders by phone and to collect purchases curbside — reducing traffic in the store and potential dangers to the customers and staff.

Between customers, Ms. Young sprays and wipes anything they might touch — the counters, the A.T.M. and the frame, glass and handles of the front door.

Like most everyone else, Ms. Young has faced deep personal disruption. She is from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and has family there she is worried about. Her people were expected to be gathering soon for her wedding, not living in indefinite and escalating isolation, uncertainty and fear.

“We were supposed to get married next week,” she said, looking at Davy. “We’ve postponed it.”

The shop, meanwhile, has commanded their full attention, in part because supermarkets have been overwhelmed, and a small shop, with fewer customers, can feel safer than a big store. Andrade’s Catch, the couple said, has been drawing about 35 customers a day, and sometimes more. “Last weekend we got mobbed,” Mr. Andrade said.

Mr. Frattarelli, the quahogger who offloaded his catch, is grateful for the shop’s continued orders. But he expressed grave worry.

“I’ve fished through hurricane closures before,” he said. “It would be one week, two weeks, maybe a month and you’d be back. The thing that scares me about this is there is no light at the end of the tunnel.”

P.J. Russo, another quahogger who fished Tuesday, suggested that the tunnel would get darker for many diggers fast. As independent skiff owners, quahoggers earn cash essentially by piecework. They have no salary. Many lack backup employment or cash reserves, he said.

Tuesday was the only day Mr. Russo had worked in the last two weeks. The rent money he owed his landlord for March is gone. “That was the last of our cash, and we have now spent it on food,” he said. “When you run out of money and you run out of food, that’s when things get crazy.”

He said he was shucking some of the catch he could not sell, then freezing the meat, figuring that he might have to live off it soon.


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