BinSina celebrates UAE’s 50th anniversary with NFT ad

BinSina celebrates UAE’s 50th anniversary with NFT ad
In the region, BinSina is among the first brands to have ventured into this space in honor of the UAE’s 50th anniversary, celebrated on Dec 2. last year. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 February 2022

BinSina celebrates UAE’s 50th anniversary with NFT ad

BinSina celebrates UAE’s 50th anniversary with NFT ad
  • Pharmacy chain creates NFT ad to reflect UAE’s progressive spirit

DUBAI: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have been all the rage making their mark in industries ranging from fashion to now, advertising.

Brands including Twitter and Taco Bell have jumped onto the bandwagon globally and this month, CryptTV, an American entertainment company focused on creating horror content, dropped 10,000 NFTs of 10 CryptTV monsters.

Similarly, restaurant firm Buffalo Wild Wings started selling three NFTs, dubbed NF-OTs, to mark the five-year anniversary of the only Super Bowl to have been decided in overtime.

In the region, BinSina is among the first brands to have ventured into this space in honor of the UAE’s 50th anniversary, celebrated on Dec 2. last year. The pharmacy chain, in partnership with creative agency LivingRoom Communications, created a two-pronged campaign to celebrate the occasion.

Designed to reflect the history of the UAE, the first part of the campaign included a traditional mural designed by LivingRoom Communications, showcasing the story and evolution of the country. It was displayed in the windows of BinSina’s 120 stores.

Then, to capture the progressive spirit of the Emirates, the company wanted to use a media channel that reflected the future, resulting in the decision to turn the mural into an NFT. 

The agency added effects and animations to the mural design to turn it into a digital art piece. It then created a software cryptocurrency wallet MetaMask and uploaded the digital art piece on NFT marketplace OpenSea.

The launch was announced on social media platforms including niche channels such as Reddit and Quora, resulting in word-of-mouth awareness and interest.

Clarence de Guzman, copywriter at LivingRoom Communications, told Arab News: “Unlike on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook where currencies come in the form of likes and views, numbers on forums rely on how far the message has gone.

“We started talks about how NFTs in Dubai and the Middle East are picking up, then we joined budding communities and chat groups exclusively for NFT artists and creators in the UAE particularly,” he said.

The awareness resulted in the work being “mentioned on Twitter, tagged on forums and even featured as a top NFT influencer on sites like LunarCrush,” in addition to attention from local press, added De Guzman. The Discord server recorded a boost of 500-plus new members shortly after the OpenSea release.

The auction is currently taking place on OpenSea via Ethereum.

“We expect a value of up to 80 Ethereums ($219,074) judging by how the NFT minting market in the UAE behaves at the moment,” he said, adding that the agency was creating a series of artworks as a follow-up to the ad.

In the world of disappearing content and short attention spans, memorability is something most brands can only dream of, and few can achieve.

“More than its monetary value, an NFT as an ad has a promising potential in immortalizing a brand, and that’s every advertising agency’s goal,” De Guzman said.

But he pointed out that consumers may not fully embrace the idea just yet.

“The consumer market is still in a transition phase — and just like how we felt when we were first introduced to the concept of the Internet, some people resist the credibility of NFTs. It would be amusing to see this idea fully realized years later,” he added.


Apple warns of security flaw for iPhones, iPads and Macs

Apple warns of security flaw for iPhones, iPads and Macs
Updated 8 sec ago

Apple warns of security flaw for iPhones, iPads and Macs

Apple warns of security flaw for iPhones, iPads and Macs
  • Apple released two security reports about the issue on Wednesday

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for iPhones, iPads and Macs that could potentially allow attackers to take complete control of these devices.
The company said it is “aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”
Apple released two security reports about the issue on Wednesday, although they didn’t receive wide attention outside of tech publications.
Security experts have advised users to update affected devices — the iPhones6S and later models; several models of the iPad, including the 5th generation and later, all iPad Pro models and the iPad Air 2; and Mac computers running MacOS Monterey. It also affects some iPod models.
Apple’s explanation of the vulnerability means a hacker could get “full admin access to the device” so that they can “execute any code as if they are you, the user,” said Rachel Tobac, CEO of SocialProof Security.
Those who should be particularly attentive to updating their software are “people who are in the public eye” such as activists or journalists who might be the targets of sophisticated nation-state spying, Tobac said.


StarzPlay partners with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait

StarzPlay partners with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait
Updated 18 August 2022

StarzPlay partners with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait

StarzPlay partners with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait
  • The telecoms company’s subscribers on selected plans will get free access to the streaming service
  • StarzPlay is one of Virgin’s first partners in Kuwait to offer free subscriptions bundled with mobile plans

DUBAI: Streaming platform StarzPlay has partnered with Virgin Mobile to offer the telecoms company’s subscribers in Kuwait free access to its library of movies and TV shows.

Virgin Mobile users who sign up for selected monthly, six-monthly or annual plans will receive a free StarzPlay subscription. The cost of eligible mobile plans range from 7 Kuwaiti dinars ($23) to 19 dinars a month.

StarzPlay is one of Virgin Mobile’s first partners in Kuwait to offer free subscriptions bundled with mobile plans as a value-added benefit for customers.

“Bolstering our telcos (telecommunications companies) portfolio has been a strong focus for us from the start,” said Raghida Abou Fadel, StarzPlay’s senior vice-president of business development and sales. “Virgin Mobile has been a strong partner for us across the region.”

Last year, for example, StarzPlay partnered with Virgin Mobile in Saudi Arabia to offer free subscriptions to customers with selected plans.

“We want to make content easily accessible for our subscribers in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, and partnering with local telco players offers us a great opportunity to reach and connect with newer audiences,” said Abou Fadel.

Benoit Janin, the CEO of Virgin Mobile, said: “Our continued partnership with StarzPlay highlights our commitment to providing excellence and additional benefits to our customers and we are excited to extend this partnership in Kuwait.”

StarzPlay is home to original shows such as “Baghdad Central,” “Power,” and “Vikings,” among others. It also offers Western classics such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Office,” as well as Arabic and anime content.

It ranks among the region’s top three subscription video-on-demand services, according to the company, and is available in 19 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.


CNN cancels ‘Reliable Sources,’ host Stelter leaving network

CNN cancels ‘Reliable Sources,’ host Stelter leaving network
Updated 18 August 2022

CNN cancels ‘Reliable Sources,’ host Stelter leaving network

CNN cancels ‘Reliable Sources,’ host Stelter leaving network
  • The show will have its last broadcast this Sunday.
  • CNN has been looking to cut costs but also to put forth a less opinionated product

NEW YORK: CNN has canceled its weekly “Reliable Sources” show on the media, and said Thursday that its host, Brian Stelter, is leaving the network.
The show will have its last broadcast this Sunday.
CNN has been looking to cut costs but also to put forth a less opinionated product. Stelter has written a book, “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth” and been critical of Fox News, making him a frequent target of the CNN’s conservative critics.
Stelter came to CNN from The New York Times, where he was a media writer.
“He departs CNN as an impeccable broadcaster,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development at CNN. “We are proud of what Brian and his team accomplished over the years, and we’re confident their impact and influence will long outlive the show.”
Stelter said that he was grateful for his nine years at CNN, proud of the show and thankful to its viewers.
“It was a rare privilege to lead a weekly show focused on the press at a time when it has never been more consequential,” he said. “I’ll have more to say on Sunday.”
The “Reliable Sources” newsletter, a daily compendium of the media’s big stories, will continue and will be led by CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy.


From Wordle and beyond: The rise of word games

From Wordle and beyond: The rise of word games
Updated 18 August 2022

From Wordle and beyond: The rise of word games

From Wordle and beyond: The rise of word games
  • The New York Times upgrades Wordlebot assistant, a ‘daily companion’ to analyze performance
  • Over the past year dozens of spinoffs have sprung up across the Internet

LONDON: The New York Times announced it has upgraded its Wordle assistant, Wordlebot, introduced earlier this year as a “daily companion” to help analyze your Wordle performance.
With the new update, The New York Times added a number of new features, such as the addition of “slate” to Wordlebot’s list of starting words, a new method of “scoring skills” and modifications to the way the bot restricts its analysis to the group of five-letter words that are known Wordle solutions, which according to the company “puts it on a more even footing with humans.”
Wordle is (arguably) the undisputed game of the year. Every day, users try to guess a chosen five-letter word within six tries. The app has become a daily ritual for millions of users worldwide.
The game is a perfect mix of simplicity, fun and genuine competition. Rachel Orr, a senior design editor at The Washington Post, described Wordle as the “perfect pandemic game” for its ability to absorb our attention through the “pattern-seeking custom it humbly provides.”
Thanks to its “lack of ads, simple interface and a heartwarming origin story,” the daily word guessing game drew millions of players in its brief existence, convincing The New York Times to buy it for an undisclosed seven-figure sum last January.
Since then, a number Wordle spinoffs have sprung up across the Internet, including Worldle, Heardle and even an Arabic version, AlWird, giving rise to an entirely new genre of guessing games.
Among the latest additions to the genre is GuessThe.Game, a Wordle-style deduction test based on video games.
GuessThe.Game was developed by Sam Stiles, a Canada-based software engineer who created the game based on Framed, another Wordle-style game where players guess a mystery movie of the day by viewing still shots. Stiles realized that the same concept could be applied to video games.
“So I decided to whip one up,” Stiles said.
Since its debut in May, Stiles claimed that millions of people had played GuessThe.Game in “nearly every single country on Earth,” and that given the volume of daily traffic, “the game continues to expand virally.”
But Stiles is not the only person to have developed a Wordle-style game during his spare time. The list of spinoffs is long and spans across many different topics and subjects.
For example, Wordle aficionados can choose between Wordle Unlimited, an almost unlimited version of the real game; Quordle, where you are required to solve four Wordles at once; Dordle, where you play with two puzzles; and also Octordle and Sedecordle.
There is also Worldle, a geography guessing game where players are shown the outline of a country and have to guess which one it is; Heardle, the Wordle-style game for music lovers; and Nerdle, a maths game developed by data scientist Richard Mann with help from his daughter and son.
Environmentalists can try A Greener Wordle, which gives climate change-related answers; Airportle instead is designed for frequent flyers who want to test their knowledge of the three-digit airport IATA code; and there is even a game for Taylor Swift fans called Taylordle, where you guess practically anything related to the US pop star.
For the joy of players, new Wordle-style games are popping up every day, with Wordle-mania showing no signs of slowing down.
Even though the majority of Wordle-style games have humble origins and were intended as pure entertainment, some developers do not hide their desire to replicate the Wordle fairytale and cash in.
“In an ideal world, it ends up getting acquired by some brand or publication,” Stiles said, expressing confidence that someday “someone may come along and want to have their brand name associated with it like (Wordle and Heardle) did.”


FBI raid causes Trump’s social media app to surge in popularity

FBI raid causes Trump’s social media app to surge in popularity
Updated 18 August 2022

FBI raid causes Trump’s social media app to surge in popularity

FBI raid causes Trump’s social media app to surge in popularity
  • Since the raid, Truth Social enjoyed unexpected popularity, with users taking to the platform to express anti-FBI sentiments

LONDON: Donald Trump’s social media app Truth Social has picked up steam following the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate.

In the days after the FBI search, the number of downloads of Truth Social spiked, taking the app from 66th to 15th place in the Apple App Store.

The download numbers are small compared to previous figures but have helped to revive the app.

The platform was officially launched this year on Feb. 21 amid intense criticisms on the App Store, but many users were put on a waiting list and were unable to sign up until later.

After a sluggish start, Truth Social has gained a small but devoted user base, most of whom are committed to Trump.

Trump founded Truth Social after being banned from Twitter for his comments made after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol Hill attack, when his followers stormed the US seat of government in Washington DC.

Since Trump’s Twitter account was suspended, the former president has taken to Truth Social to share his thoughts, spread propaganda and promulgate misinformation, including about the FBI raid.

Earlier this month, the FBI burst into the former president’s home at Mar-a-Lago in Florida looking for classified documents the agency believes were taken after his time in office came to an end.

Many Truth Social fans have taken to the platform to express their anger about the FBI with some users — including one who is believed to have carried out an attack on a bureau office — issuing threats to FBI agents and to Judge Bruce Reinhart.

In the last few days, Trump continued to rage on Truth Social, claiming both that “Republicans could win many additional seats, both in the House and Senate, because of the strong backlash over the raid at Mar-a-Lago” and that the FBI “stole my three passports (one expired), along with everything else.

“This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!” he added.

According to Similarweb, a digital intelligence platform, both the Truth Social app and website have experienced an increase in popularity since the raid.

Anti-FBI sentiments have built among users, and hashtags like #FBIcorruption, #Truth, and #DefundTheFBI have been trending on the platform, which shares many of Twitter’s features, during the past 10 days.

Similar posts are widespread among Trump supporters on other free speech websites like Gab, Parler, and GETTR, as well as the secure messaging service Telegram, and are not exclusive to Truth Social.