Tech News

What is NFT: Meaning in a token, explained by Tim Berners-Lee

An NFT called “Source Code for the WWW” was sold on June 30, 2021 for a winning bid of 5,435,500 USD. This NFT was created by Tim Berners-Lee, the writer of the code that would become the internet. This NFT (non-fungible token) is roughly the equivalent of if Jonas Salk had at some point written down the formulation and production processes for his polio vaccine and put said piece of paper up for auction.

Take this NFT, for example

The NFT sold on the 30th of June, 2021 by Sotheby’s called “Source Code for the WWW” was created by Tim Berners-Lee. The NFT includes an archive of original dated and time-stamped source code files as created by TBL. This NFT also includes an “animated visualization” of the code being written (30 minutes, 25 seconds long).

Also in the NFT is an SVG of the original code “from the original files using Python” with a “graphic representation” of TBL’s physical signature, and a letter from TBL written in a file in markdown format. This NFT was created with the ERC-721 NFT token standard, minted on June 15, 2021 (in an edition of 1.)

Open source, but also a one-off

Jonas Salk famously make absolutely certain that there would be no patent or reserved rights to his greatest achievement: a working polio vaccine. Tim Berners-Lee was working at CERN when he wrote the initial source code for the WorldWideWeb, and convinced CERN leadership to make said source code open source, so it could be used and spread by anyone.

An NFT is a digital token, a line of code that can be owned and can represent ownership of an asset or assets that can potentially be digital and/or physical. In this case, Tim Berners-Lee’s aim to keep the original source code for the internet open source makes us ask a key question: What is this NFT if the source code is open source?

What an NFT is: An agreement

TBL hasn’t changed his mind about ownership of the internet. It’s still open source, it’s still out there for everyone to use and work with. The NFT sold at Sotheby’s is a representation of the work, as created by TBL, signed by TBL in a way roughly similar to how an artist might sign a physical painting or chip their signature into a sculpture.

SEE TOO: What is NFT? A simple explanation for the crypto-newb

Tim Berners-Lee spoke with The Guardian about this NFT, giving us a very clear idea of what this token represents to him.

“I’m not even selling the source code,” said TBL, “I’m selling a picture that I made, with a Python programme that I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it was stuck on the wall and signed by me.”

To learn more about non-fungible tokens (NFT), take a peek at the timeline of links below. And stick around SlashGear for more updates on how NFT is forming the future of digital assets, one token at a time.

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Tech News

Samsung Galaxy A50 review: A $350 phone that gives Galaxy a whole new meaning

In no uncertain terms, there’s nothing about the $350 Galaxy A50 that’s only half as good as the $750 S10e. Quite frankly, there’s nothing about it that’s only 40 percent as good as the $900 S10, either. I know that’s not technically how pricing works, but when you have two phones from the same company that are priced so far apart, it’s only natural to compare them.

Unlike the Google Pixel 3a, which basically copied the Pixel 3 note for note with subtle downgrades to bring down the price, there are some major differences between the mid-range A50 and the premium Galaxy S10+. But the main similarities—a giant OLED display, triple-camera array, in-screen fingerprint sensor, and a selfie cutout—give the phones a remarkable kinship. They even have the same pretty, prism-inspired color options.

Update 11 a.m. ET: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated that the A50 has IP68 water resistance.

Of course, every mid-range Android phone is essentially designed for people who can’t or simply don’t want to pay upwards of a thousand bucks for an S10 or a Pixel 3, and still want a top-notch Android experience. But with the A50, Samsung has done more than create an affordable phone with the illusion of premium. It’s given budget-minded smartphone purchasers a Galaxy handset they can love as much as an S10.

A great design starts at the display

There’s no “plus” model of the A50, but it clocks in at whopping 6.4 inches in diagonal display width, the same size as the Note 9 and Galaxy S10+. Suffice it to say, if you don’t like big phones, the A50 probably won’t appeal to you.

galaxy a50 notch Christopher Hebert/IDG

The Infinity U display on the A50 has its issues when compared to the S10+, but that shouldn’t deter you from buying one.

If you can handle its size, the A50 is an extremely well designed phone for $350. Like the S10e, the Galaxy A50 has a “flat” Infinity U screen as opposed to the curved display on the Galaxy S and Note lines. The flatness means there are visible bezels all around, but they’re not distracting in the slightest. If you’re coming from a Galaxy S, in fact, you might actually appreciate them, because you’re much less likely to touch the side of the screen accidentally with the wrong grip. The display’s namesake feature—the tiny notch at the top for the selfie cam—makes the whole package feel more compact than a 6.4-inch phone should.

What isn’t so great is the fingerprint sensor built into the bottom of the screen. Samsung is using an optical scanner here rather than the ultrasonic one on the S10, but the results are no less spotty. Even after a mid-review update, missed scans and error messages were the norm. Oftentimes I opted to enter my passcode rather than even try. It might look cool, but there’s a reason why in-screen scanners are more common on midrange phones than premium ones: The technology isn’t nearly as polished as the pricier one it’s supposed to replace.

galaxy a50 ports Christopher Hebert/IDG

The $350 A50 has one thing the thousand-dollar Galaxy S10+ doesn’t have: a headphone jack.

The display on the A50 is Full HD OLED (2340×1080), but the difference between it and the 1440p screen on the S10 is more than just pixel density. The gap in display quality is far more noticeable than the one between the Pixel 3 XL and the Pixel 3a, and the pristine attention to detail isn’t nearly as evident as it is on the S10. Case in point: When you’re using an app that doesn’t fill the whole display, the top few millimeters of the screen bend slightly inward, a phenomenon you won’t find on the S10 or Note 9.

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Tech News

With the iPhone 11 Pros, Apple stripped all meaning from the ‘Pro’ name

If you head over to right now, the first thing you’ll see at the top of the page is the iPhone 11 Pro. It boats pro cameras, a pro display, and pro performance alongside an image of a triple-camera array that looks intense. Inside, Apple calls it “the first iPhone powerful enough to be called Pro.”

Hogwash. The iPhone 11 Pro runs the same A13 Bionic processor as the iPhone 11. It has many of the same camera features, including the new ultra wide lens. And the battery life, while rated for a fantastic 18 or 20 hours of video playback, isn’t all that much better than the iPhone 11’s 17 hours. In fact, in its intro teaser vid, the only feature Apple showed off was the camera bump.

Basically, the iPhone 11 Pro is no more “Pro” than the iPhone XS was yesterday. Apple merely decided it was time to slap a new name on the iPhone to shake things up and tossed a $26 18W USB-C adapter in the box. And in doing so, it cheapened the “Pro” name for every other product line.

A ‘Pro’ by any other name

When we first heard about the iPhone Pro, it instantly conjured images of a radical new device with a host of rumored new features: A USB-C port. ProMotion display. Apple Pencil support. Higher base storage. Maybe even microSD card support and a Smart Connector.

iphone 11 and pro Apple

The iPhone 11 isn’t all that different from the iPhone 11 Pro.

That’s how Apple has trained us to think of its “Pro” devices: More powerful, expandable, and capable than the lower-end models. That’s not the case with the iPhone 11 Pros. If anything, the iPhone 11 Pro serves to makes the entry-level iPhone 11 more attractive. Unless you absolutely have to have the biggest possible iPhone display, there’s nothing about the iPhone 11 Pro that make it a “Pro” device, unless you count Midnight Green as a “Pro” color.

With the iPad Pro, the iMac Pro, the MacBook Pro, and the Mac Pro, there are significant and obvious upgrades over their cheaper counterparts. You know immediately if you want to spend the extra money on them, and power users can walk away confident that they spent the extra money on a machine that fits their needs, from the iPad Pro’s USB-C port to the Mac Pro’s insane specs. There’s a level of trust there, that Apple has crafted a device made for a certain type of user and is providing value based on that name.

The “Pro” in the iPhone 11 Pro, on the other hand, is little more than pure marketing. Yes, they have better screens and better cameras than the iPhone 11, but Apple didn’t bring any real professional features to the new iPhones other than the upgrades they would have gotten anyway. Phil Schiller made a big deal about the so-called XDR display, but the improvements over the display on the XS—contrast ratio and brightness—hardly make it “Pro”-caliber.

iphone 11 pro lenses Apple

The iPhone 11 Pro’s third camera is really it’s only “Pro” feature.

When the iPad Pro launched, it wasn’t merely an iPad Air with a bigger screen. It brought a new A9X processor, the Apple Pencil, and the Smart Keyboard, as well as quad-speaker surround sound. The iPhone 11 Pro delivers none of that innovation, despite Apple’s rhetorical flourishes. In one fell swoop, Apple turned “Pro” from an apt descriptor into pure marketing fluff, and millions of people will be none the wiser.

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