Foldable OLEDs, ‘Signal’ gets clever mask, Egy renewables screaming for help, A15 feeling strong

Mobile:

  • LG to sell foldable OLED panels to Apple, Google and Microsoft

But they are in the prototyping phase for now. If you would prefer your phone to fold up, you should probably keep an eye on this as from our viewpoint a big screen “phablet” can be a bit awkward to handle and sometimes you’d wish you could just shrink it or perhaps, fold it. More here.

  • NTRA extends ultimatum for signing agreement between Telecom Egypt and Mobile network providers.

Telecom Egypt refuses to give allowance for 4G networks using 3G bandwidth already licensed to mobile network operators. The landline monopoly wants to license to all at once and not give anyone an advantage before the other, or so they claim. Telecom Egypt was licensed 4G network bandwidths from the NTRA at a cost of over $7B LE. Confusing? Let us explain, Airwaves are sold by the NTRA (bandwidth spectrum, frequencies) and each mobile provider is granted/buys a license to use the frequency spectrum in the wireless domain. However, cell towers are connected by land to each other and consequently form a backbone network. Telecom Egypt owns the landlines that connect those (monopoly on land) and the network’s performance is only as fast as it’s slowest link. Voice calls, de facto, call for only a tiny sliver of available bandwidth among nodes so the rest of that is licensed to ADSL and mobile network providers. More speed means more land line bandwidth. OFDM uses blocks of frequencies from that which is theoretically available. More blocks means more speed and that means more licenses. And, as mentioned earlier, Telecom Egypt also holds a license for 4G. Details here (Arabic).

Condiments:

  • Encryption App ‘Signal’ Fights Censorship With a Clever Workaround

Recently, activists in Egypt have noticed a popular encrypted messaging app  called ‘Signal’ was being blocked. The app provides powerful encryption methods and was popular with activists and dissenters living under oppressive regimes. Signal developer Open Whisper Systems enabled a clever technique to get the ball rolling again by masking traffic to look like common traffic to CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) and bouncing it off CDN servers. Now censors will have a really hard time knowing the difference as this actually allows hiding in plain sight, in the crowd of zillions.

  • ‘Biggest Ad Fraud Ever’: Hackers Make $5M A Day By Faking 300M Video Views

Very sneaky group of people were determined to game the ad system and set up a massive fake URL and bot network to sell ad space and make money by creating automated ad clicking fake clients. That is some serious dough, none of which is fake though.

  • Raspberry Pi’s PIXEL Linux desktop now available for x86 PCs

PIXEL was built and honed to run efficiently on a Raspberry Pi. So why not port it to run on full blown “big daddy” PCs? The environment is lean and mean as well as polished. There are plenty of applications bundled with this environment, even Adobe Flash player! More here.

  • Zuckerberg says Facebook is ‘not a traditional media company’

We said it before that FB is a social media company and not in the news business. However, it seems that Zuckerberg found his giant making headlines with a consensus of lots of people get their news from FB (pretty much like when “hip” millennials in the US say they get their news from The Daily Show and its kin/siblings/children), so why not take the opportunity being handed to him? I guess the algorithm argument could be made that automated content “steering” for users (which is what the algorithms do) is a type of editing, no? And if those are just done by machine, well, look at Microsoft’s Tay. A mindless system could easily run amuck. Tread carefully.

Renewables:

  • Renewable energy investors call for presidential intervention

Adding renewable power generation projects to the grid takes forever according to investors. The problem they say is primarily the EETC doesn’t seem keen on adding solar and/or wind power generation units to the grid even though the first phase of the feed-in tariff projects have been submitted a while ago. Siemens is also delayed as they have a Windmill project that is expected to add to the Ministry of Electricity’s goal of making 37% of production from renewables by 2035. Investors are desperate is seems as they are calling for the Prez to personally step in and grease the wheels.

Startup news:

  • A15’s affiliates volume of business to record $150m by 2017

A15 has many start-ups under it’s umbrella and is currently hitting really high volumes so now they are looking forward to spinning off a few of their high growth startups they are invested in. Fadi Antaki (CEO of A15) believes that 2017 will be a good year for entrepreneurship in Egypt as the injected money into the top 20 startups is just over half what is spent in a startup power house like the UAE. There is plenty of creative potential and human capital in Egypt as it is the most populous nation in the region. More here.

  • Left out: Tunisian startups demand attention

There is a disconnect between Tunisian entrepreneurs and startups as the government has grand plans for reviving and growing the Tunisian economy. The grand plans don’t include Tunisian startups and worse off, the government doesn’t even facilitate procedures or ease red tape even prompting some to bail out . They are asking for space (figuratively) and a voice as they believe they are worth listening to instead of being shrugged off.

  • How will Saudi’s diversification affect startups?

Saudi Arabia wants to sell 5% of the worlds most valued company which it owns in an IPO. Where will the money go? Funds for startups and SMEs. The public sector already employs 70% of the workforce and Saudi Arabia wants to move more into an economy that is less dependent on oil revenues. The private sector needs a boost and SMEs are one way to get the ball rolling. We are talking hundreds of millions for Startups and SMEs easily shifting GDP closer and closer to a knowledge based economy. And knowledge they shall receive as even the country’s top universities and research centers are in on the action. More here.

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