On Shania Twain's 'Life's About to Get Good,' We Have No Choice But to Take Her Word for It

There’s something just so inherently delightful about the prospect of a brand-new Shania Twain single, from an upcoming brand-new Shania Twain album, in 2017. The last time Shania released an album, LeBron James had yet to even make his NBA debut, and after endless false-start rumors and reported delays, it was starting to look like she might not release another until well after he retired. It’s not an exaggeration to say there’s been no substitute for her barnstorming country-pop while she’s been gone, either: No star to appear in her wake has matched her effortless charm, her global ambition and her absolute sledgehammer hooks.

This is all to say that “Life’s About to Get Good,” released Thursday (June 15) as the first taste from Now, due in September, didn’t have to actually be all that good to still be a welcome presence in our lives, especially going into the warm-weather months. Luckily, it is anyway; a rollicking anthem of folk-pop perseverance with a gently throbbing pulse, a sing-along-by-song’s-end chorus and an inscrutable, almost quacking hook on the verses that sounds like it should be marking a Naked and Famous song. It’s marvelous, it’s irresistible — it’s Come on Over-worthy, which 20 years later is still pretty much the highest compliment you can give to a song of its ilk.

It is also — rather quietly — completely devastating. If you don’t know about the drama Twain has undergone in her personal life since she’s been gone, a quick summary: She separated from superproducer husband Robert “Mutt” Lange after nearly 15 years of marriage, with Lange alleged to have been having an affair with Twain’s best friend, Marie-Anne Thiébaud. Shania bounced back quickly, however, and within two years she was remarried — to Frédéric Thiébaud, former husband of Marie-Anne. It’s the kind of stuff that would’ve been deemed over-the-top even in a classic country song, and it’s unignorable context when considering the alternately heartbreaking and heart-filling lyrics of of “Life’s About to Get Good.”

Despite the song’s sunny sonic demeanor and Twain’s unwavering delivery throughout, the verses are a pretty big downer from the opening lines: “I wasn’t just broken, I was shattered/ I trusted you so much, you were all that mattered.” The second verse gets even more brutal: “The longer my tears fell, the wider the river/ It killed me that you’d give your life to be with her.” And then the absolute killer at second verse’s end, as the singer resolves to move on despite her wallowing instincts, declaring “It was time to forget you… for-e-ver.” The pause before the final word and way she extends it to emphasize all three syllables sounds like she’s still considering pulling it back at any second, and it’s spine-tingling just to hear her reach the end of it.

Shania Twain performs on the Toyota Mane Stage during day 2 of 2017 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 29, 2017 in Indio, Calif.


Shania Twain Announces New Album ‘Now’: Listen to the First Single

But that’s where the chorus comes in, and thank heaven. The refrain is such an instantly familiar affirmation that it threatens to overwhelm the nuance of the preceding verses, as Twain rhapsodizes (with sturdy backing-vocal support), “Life’s about joy/ Life’s about pain/ It’s all about forgiving and the will to walk away.” She soldiers on with newfound determination: “I’m ready to be loved/ And love the way I should/ Life’s about, life’s about to get good.” It keeps the song from ever becoming a drag — Shania would never, not with a lead single — but has just enough lived-and-learned bruising to steer clear of being pat, either.

And when it comes to the chorus… she would know, wouldn’t she? It’s always dangerous to read too much real life directly into pop music, but with a story like Twain’s it’s pretty hard not to, and the music and delivery sells both the hurt and the healing with such crackling alacrity that it almost seems insulting not to assume she knows exactly from what she speaks. It’s exactly what fans would’ve asked for from a Shania comeback single, and it makes its title one of the year’s most gleeful self-fulfilling prophecies.

Samsung Pay Is Here, and It Could Be the Best Reason to Get the Galaxy S8

On a trip to the mall late last year, as I got to the checkout kiosk to pay for the clothes I had just bought, I realised I didn’t have my wallet on me. Forced to make the walk back to where I had parked, I envied people living in countries that have had the option to pay with their phones for a few years, and wondered when I would be able to have that luxury too.

Well, that day has come. Samsung Pay launched officially in India on Wednesday, allowing you to simply make payments with your phone – as long as it’s one of six Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy S7, and Galaxy Note 5. If you have one, then all you need to do is get the app, and enter your card details on first run (assuming your account is with one of the supported banks, such as HDFC and ICICI). Voilà! Who knew the future would be so easy?

Of course, India isn’t the only region to get Samsung’s mobile pay service. Samsung Pay launched in Korea in late 2015, before moving to the US a month later. Since then, Samsung Pay has expanded to the likes of Australia, Brazil, China, and Russia. It’s a tiny market right now, overall, but there’s growing competition from all sides, mostly Apple Pay and Android Pay, at least in markets outside India.

Samsung Pay been here slightly longer for more enterprising people, thanks to an early access programme Samsung made available earlier this month. I’ve tried the beta several times during those weeks, and it’s worked flawlessly so far. To be honest, I have had reservations every time I stepped up to the head of the queue, but the only issue has been the curious/ puzzled faces of the people behind the counter.

It is also really easy to use, too. Like Apple Pay, it’s accessible from the lock-screen. Simply swipe from the bottom, and then swipe left or right to pick the desired one. It remembers what you used last time around, so if you frequently make payments with the same card, you’re good to go with one swipe. Then, align your phone’s back with the card reader, and authenticate using your fingerprint/ PIN combination.

Now if I find myself having forgotten my wallet again, all I’d have to do is get my phone out, and I’d have all my cards with me. Soon, the Gear S3 will have it as well, so you won’t need your phone either. Much more importantly, it’d allow me to leave my clunky wallet behind that I hate having to carry in my back-pocket. It’s a constant annoyance when I’m sitting, and I’d be glad to get rid of it.

Samsung Pay Is Here, and It Could Be the Best Reason to Get the Galaxy S8

This won’t be as universal for everyone, as it depends on your lifestyle. Samsung Pay doesn’t work with ATMs, so you’ll still need to carry your card around if you tend to withdraw cash frequently. Fortunately, I live a cash-less life for the most part, and visit the ATM roughly once every three months, so it’s not a bother for me. But that may not work for you. For what it’s worth, Samsung Pay already has Paytm support, and UPI is on its way, so you can use those routes if you prefer.

The biggest concern for most seems to be security, but mobile payments can actually be more secure. For one, card skimming isn’t possible since you don’t need to physically give your card to anyone, and two, like a chip-and-pin card, Samsung Pay only shares a random token with the reader, not the card number. Plus, it also needs your fingerprint/ PIN for authentication, so you don’t have to worry if your phone gets stolen – although the fact that your phone’s been stolen will still be worrisome.

The other problem with digital payments methods is that support can often be limited. Samsung Pay supports both NFC – which is the common standard for mobile payments – and MST (magnetic secure transmission), which works with most existing card readers, as it emulates the presence of a card by wirelessly transmitting, well, magnetic waves. NFC might be the true future of payments, but it’s a future that’s still not here, even in places such as the US. Samsung Pay’s MST feature is essentially a form of backward compatibility, so you can use this method of payments nearly everywhere, though the people working there might themselves be unaware.

For Samsung, this feature is a fantastic trick up its sleeve, as it gives the Korean company a leg up on its competition. By comparison, the other big two – Apple Pay, and Android Pay – will be limited to NFC-equipped readers even when they do make it to India. Samsung then has a clear advantage in that regard, and one that it can leverage to market its smartphones, and peripherals.

With the launch of the Galaxy S8 just around the corner, Samsung Pay looks like a real selling point. No thanks red iPhone, I know which one I want.

Sony's move to focus on flagship Xperia phones could be good for it

Sony Mobile just announced on its Investor’s Day celebration that it is trying to streamline its product portfolio by eliminating ‘Premium Standard’ models like the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact.

Currently the company produces three separate lines of smartphones –  mid-range handsets like the Xperia XA1 Ultra and Xperia XA1, ‘Premium Standard’ models like the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact and flagship phones like the Xperia XZs and Xperia XZ Premium.

After eliminating budget smartphones last year, now the company has decided to further consolidate its line-up by eliminating smartphones that slot in between the mid-range and flagship categories.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

This is a very welcome move and points towards a more lean and focused Sony Mobile, which aims to take back the market share it has lost over the years to Samsung, Apple and Chinese OEM’s like OnePlus. Consolidating their line-up does not only make financial sense, but will also help the company reclaim brand value that has degraded over the years.

A confused and intimidating line-up is a problem that Sony Mobile has suffered for quite some time now. Sony found considerable success with the early iterations of the Xperia Z, but over time, the attention tapered off thanks to a combination of incremental updates, poor pricing policies and a six month cycle of new flagship smartphones.

The foundation is there for Sony Mobile to stage a grand comeback. The innovation is there, all the company needs to do is streamline their line-up and make sure they don’t cannibalise their own products.

Instead of following a sensible one-year update cycle for their flagship smartphones, Sony decided to release a new version every six months. This resulted in dilution of the Xperia brand as every subsequent flagship had only incremental updates and did not look much different to the general public.

While tech enthusiasts and tech journalists could understand the slight spec differences between the new and old handsets, it became quite difficult for the common man to distinguish between the many ‘Z’ handsets on sale.

Last year, Sony decided to revamp their entire smartphone line-up by ditching the ‘Z’ brand name and introducing a whole new series in the form of the Xperia X, Xperia X Compact and the Xperia X Performance.

While this move had the potential to usher in a revival, their gamble failed to take off as the X and X Performance failed to set the market on fire due to a myriad of reasons. Now, Sony seems to have settled on the ‘XZ’ brand name and both the Xperia XZ and XZ Premium have been received warmly by critics.

The decision to streamline the product line-up will dramatically help make Sony’s product range easier to understand for the layman and will also help Sony market its product in a much clearer and focused manner.

Sony’s smartphones have a lot going for them – excellent cameras, a unique industrial design that stands out from the competition, state of the art displays and a wholly unique location of the fingerprint sensor. The upcoming Xperia XZ Premium is a clear representation of Sony Mobile at their best, a clear distillation of everything that makes Sony unique and what they are good at – Imaging, displays and audio.

The foundation is there for Sony to stage a grand comeback in the smartphone market. The innovation and impetus is there, all the company needs to do is streamline their line-up and make sure they don’t cannibalise their own products.

A lean and focused Sony Mobile has the potential to take back the market share it has lost over the years to Samsung, Apple and Chinese OEM’s like OnePlus

With fresh rumours emerging that the company plans to release two new flagship handsets by the end of the year, the potential to confuse their line-up again is ripe for the picking. It would do Sony a world of good if they establish clear product lines like Samsung has done with the ‘S’ and ‘Note’ series, with systematic and timely updates to them once every year.

What the company needs to refrain from is flooding the market with a plethora of products that have little differences between them. This will alienate the mass audience and will dilute the strength of the Xperia brand.

The future looks bright for Sony Mobile. They seem to doing all the right things in order to reclaim lost market share. The new Xperia XA1 and Xperia XZ Premium are getting great reviews. The ball is in Sony’s court now, let’s see if they hit an ace or strike out with a double fault.

Tesla’s Original Designer Created a New Car and It Charges in Just 9 Minutes

Fisker Inc. has released details concerning their first electric car, the EMotion. The EV is set to be a game changer in the electric car market due to its impressive milage, high top speed, and fast charging time.

If competition drives innovation, a crowded electric vehicle (EV) market may be the best way to save the environment. One of the latest competitors to enter, Henrik Fisker, just announced a new electric car that may instigate an innovation war that leads to the next wave of cool, high-performing — and most importantly — climate friendly EVs.

The EMotion — the luxurious sibling to the as-yet-unannounced mass market design — ostensibly has a range of 643 kilometers (400 miles), a not insignificant improvement on the 563 kilometer (350 mile) range of Tesla’s Model S. With a top speed of 259 km/h (161 mph) and a nine-minute charging time, the EV lays down a serious benchmark for Tesla.

Fisker is best known for designing some of the most iconic luxury car models in history, including ones that were used in James Bond films. The EMotion is the first car to be produced by his EV company, Fisker Inc.

Although details concerning the vehicle’s price, launch date, and autonomous capabilities have not yet been revealed, the EMotion’s announcement is a welcome update for the people who have been waiting with baited breath to see what the car would look like and how it would compare to Musk’s designs.

The Fisker EMotion. Image Credit: Fisker Inc.
The Fisker EMotion. Image Credit: Fisker Inc.

Electric cars are a pivotal part of the global fight against climate change, and the efforts of several car manufacturers — including Toyota and Porsche — to make them faster, sleeker, and more luxurious are helping EVs break into the supercar sector of the automotive market. Once there is an EV to meet the taste and desires of every driver, we can start to really phase out the vehicles’ gas-guzzling counterparts.

Facebook Moderation Guidelines Leaked, Show How It Reviews Hate Speech, Extremist Content


  • Challenges such as revenge porn have overwhelmed Facebook moderators
  • It reviews around 6.5 million reports of potentially fake accounts a week
  • It confirmed that it was using software to intercept graphic content

Leaked Facebook documents show how the social media company moderates issues such as hate speech, terrorism, pornography and self-harm on its platform, the Guardian reported, citing internal guidelines seen by the newspaper.

New challenges such as “revenge porn” have overwhelmed Facebook’s moderators who often have just ten seconds to make a decision, the Guardian said. The social media company reviews more than 6.5 million reports of potentially fake accounts a week, the newspaper added.

Many of the company’s content moderators have concerns about the inconsistency and peculiar nature of some of the policies. Those on sexual content, for example, are said to be the most complex and confusing, the Guardian said.

Facebook had no specific comment on the report but said safety was its overriding concern.

Facebook Moderation Guidelines Leaked, Show How It Reviews Hate Speech, Extremist Content

“Keeping people on Facebook safe is the most important thing we do. We work hard to make Facebook as safe as possible while enabling free speech. This requires a lot of thought into detailed and often difficult questions, and getting it right is something we take very seriously”, Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management Monica Bickert said in a statement.

Facebook confirmed that it was using software to intercept graphic content before it went on the website, but it was still in its early stages.

The leaked documents included internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts, the Guardian said.

The newspaper gave the example of Facebook policy that allowed people to live-stream attempts to self-harm because it “doesn’t want to censor or punish people in distress.”

Facebook moderators were recently told to “escalate” to senior managers any content related to “13 Reasons Why,” the Netflix original drama series based on the suicide of a high school student, because it feared inspiration of copycat behavior, the Guardian reported.

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the documents published on the Guardian website.

Facebook Rainbow Reaction Is Here and This Is How You Can Get It Now


  • Facebook has added the Rainbow reaction to support LGBTQ Pride
  • There are also Pride-themed masks and frames
  • Pride-themed features on Facebook will till June-end

Facebook has launched a new Rainbow emoji reaction, among several other features, in honour of the LGBTQ Pride Month — celebrated every year in June — and show support to the community and the cause. The Facebook Rainbow reaction is accompanied by a Rainbow Frame for profile pictures, Pride-themed masks and frames in Facebook Camera, and even the option to start fundraisers for the community on the platform. The new features will be available throughout the month of June.

How to get the new Facebook Rainbow Reaction

To get the new LGBTQ Rainbow Reaction and the other Prime-themed features, you need to ‘like’ the LGBT@Facebook official group. Once you like the page, you will soon see the Rainbow emoji reaction when you long-press on the like button on a post, photo, link, video, etc. Similar is the process to get the new The new features are available only in the US for now, and some even in the US complain of not getting the new features despite liking the page.

Facebook Rainbow Reaction Is Here and This Is How You Can Get It Now

Apart from the Pride-themed features on Facebook, there are some LGBTQ-supporting features on Instagram and Messenger as well. On Instagram, walls in major US cities will be turned into colourful beacons of LGBTQ support, where you can leave supportive comments on your posts. You can also celebrate Pride and be creative with stickers and a rainbow brush. Similarly, Messenger users can use Pride-themed stickers, frames, and effects in the Messenger Camera.

In a statement, Facebook said, “As Pride celebrations begin around the world, Facebook is proud to support our diverse community, including those that have identified themselves on Facebook as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender or gender non-conforming. It added over 12 million people across the globe are part of one of the 76,000 Facebook Groups in support of the LGBTQ community.  The social networking giant noted that more than 1.5 million people plan to participate in one of the more than 7,500 Pride events on Facebook this year.

Amazon India Says It Has Doubled Its Seller Base in Less Than a Year


  • Amazon has crossed two lakh digital entrepreneurs-mark in just four years
  • It has also done partnerships with several national and state government
  • This will open online opportunity for thousands of Indian artisans

Amazon India on Tuesday announced it has crossed two lakh digital entrepreneurs-mark in just four years of its operations and in less than a year of crossing the one lakh seller-count last July.

“This fast pace of adoption of the Amazon India marketplace by retailers – online and offline as well as first generation digital entrepreneurs – has come on the back of various unique, India-first innovations like feet on street teams, self-service registration, Chai Cart and Tatkal that helped take this digital opportunity to lakhs of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in tier II and tier III geographies,” the e-commerce major said in a statement.

Amazon India Says It Has Doubled Its Seller Base in Less Than a Year

The statement added that partnerships with several national and state government bodies was helping unlock this online opportunity for thousands of Indian artisans, weavers and craftsmen in the country.


“We have not only introduced Indian sellers to our globally successful offerings for sellers…but have constantly innovated specifically for Indian sellers to address their unique challenges,” said Gopal Pillai, Director and General Manager, Seller Services, Amazon India.

“Our teams have done an admirable job focusing on our core seller experience, seller enablement and seller success. The fast-paced adoption of our marketplace by sellers speaks volumes of their trust in us to help them grow and succeed,” he added.

Samsung Pay Mini Launched in India: How’s It Different From Samsung Pay?

Samsung Pay Mini lets you make payments using mobile wallets
It also allows you to make payments using UPI
It does not support ‘Tap and Pay’ capability seen on Samsung Pay
Alongside the launch of the Samsung Galaxy J7 Max and Galaxy J7 Pro, Samsung also launched a new payment solution called Samsung Pay Mini in India. Essentially, ‘Samsung Pay Mini’ looks to enable digital payments on affordable devices, and for now, it has been launched on select Samsung devices.

Samsung Pay Mini comes with UPI and mobile wallet integration, and it does not support offline tap-and-pay using credit and debit cards like the Samsung Pay main app. Samsung Pay was launched in India in March this year, and it supports both NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technologies that allow a user to send a magnetic signal from smartphone to the payment terminal’s card reader in shops, restaurants, and other point-of-sale (PoS) terminals.

Samsung Pay vs Samsung Pay Mini
This way, Samsung Pay eliminates the need to carry debit and credit cards, allowing users to make contactless payments across various retail outlets using specific smartphones. You just need to open Samsung Pay app, select the card, touch the device to the metal strip of the PoS machine, authenticate with fingerprint and the payment is made.

Samsung Pay also comes with Paytm integration, and recently even added UPI support, to enable multiple types of digital payments in just one app.

Samsung Pay Mini Launched in India: How’s It Different From Samsung Pay?

The list of devices compatible with Samsung Pay mobile payment solution includes Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8+, Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note5, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016), and Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016).

Coming to the newly launched Samsung Pay Mini, it is a stripped-down version of the Samsung Pay service, and the main distinction is that it does not support the easy ‘tap & pay’ method using debit or credit card. It doesn’t work with regular swiping machines for ’tap and pay’ offline payments, but supports mobile wallets and UPI for online payments. However, if a retailer accepts one of the wallets supported by Samsung Pay Mini or bank transfer, you can use it to make purchases offline.

Samsung Pay Mini is made for mid-range phones that don’t come with the hardware requirements of the full-fledged Samsung Pay service. Samsung Pay Mini offers you the ability to make payments to merchants or transfer money to your friends with wallets and bank accounts (UPI) using your device, similar to other digital payment apps on your device – except it doesn’t offer a wallet of its own. You can add bank accounts registered with your phone number using UPI and wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik etc. to Samsung Pay Mini, but you cannot add debit and credit cards for now.

Samsung Pay Mini is compatible with Galaxy J7 Max, Galaxy J7 Prime, and Galaxy J7 (2016), with other Samsung phones to follow ‘soon’.


Crowdfunding Publishers Rake It In, $100 Million Pledged Thus Far, Kickstarter Says

Product startups aren’t the only entrepreneurs using crowdfunding to finance their products. Crowdfunding giant Kickstarter has hit a landmark, recording $100 million in pledges to small publishers and self-publishing authors.

In a blog post, the company said that “more than a million people from around the world have gotten behind over 30,000 Publishing projects on Kickstarter, helping nearly 10,000 of them come to life.”

Crowdfunded Publishing by the Numbers

Here’s a breakdown of the statistics that made this milestone possible.

Crowdfunded Publishing Rakes It In, $100 Million Pledged Thus Far, Kickstarter Says

  • Successfully funded creators who have backed at least one other project: 6,414
  • Number of backers: 1,226,438
  • Number of countries/territories those backers have come from: 211
  • Number of times they have pledged to a project: 1,673,631

Kickstarter’s latest achievement is good news for writers and small publishers looking for funds to reach their audience. Notably, authors such as entrepreneur Eric Ries, author The Lean Startup are now turning to the site to raise funds for their literary work.

Apart from authors, literary magazines are also opting for the platform to meet their goals.

Kickstarter’s publishing outreach lead, Margot Atwell told The Guardian that “lately we’re seeing more authors and high profile publishers.”

“They’re becoming a critical mass and people are starting to notice it more.”

Interestingly, new indie publishers like the Big Bang Press are launching Kickstarter to fund books by fanfiction authors.

For all the advantages of moving to the Kickstarter platform to get published, there are some things worth keeping in mind. Rebecca Joines Schinsky and Jeff O’Neal, editors of Book Riot offered some words of advice on The Huffington Post, “Since the big wad of cash from your Kickstarter campaign goes right to you to do with what you will, you are going to be the last person paid. This means that keeping your expenses low throughout your project will leave you with more by the end.”

They also said that the decision to print or not should be taken after careful consideration. It’s a good idea to do a “limited run of print as a small incentive for backers to give during the campaign.”

A very important tip for fiction writers and publishers to remember is that selling is a challenge. It’s therefore crucial to create an engaging proof of concept. The project description should generate curiosity to entice the readers.

Leveraging social media is also a great way to achieve crowdfunding success on Kickstarter. Book Riot ran a promotional campaign and gave away goodies to expand its social reach. The idea helped the publisher gain new readers and boosted its chances.
Image: Kickstarter