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Computers can interpret only 1s and 0s, making it a bit complicated to interpret dates in terms of year, month and day. Scientists came up with a solution to help computers understand dates: provide the date to the computer as a numerical value in terms of seconds and teach it to interpret that value as a human-readable date. This seconds value will be calculated by picking a point of reference and counting the number of seconds elapsed since that point. This is what Epoch Time is about.

Introducing Epoch Time

In the English dictionary, “Epoch” is defined as an instant of time considered to be the starting point for a particular period or event. In Computing, “Epoch Time” refers the starting point used to calculate the number of seconds elapsed.

Epoch Time in Common Operating Systems

Epoch Time in the real world starts at the time of 00:00:00 UTC, where UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time.

Apple macOS considers its Epoch Time as starting from January 1, 1904.

Microsoft Windows considers its Epoch Time as starting from January 1, 1601.

Unix and Linux Systems consider their Epoch Time as starting from January 1, 1970. This time is also referred to as Unix Time and Unix Epoch.

What Will Unix Time Be at this Moment?

Thedate command can be used to find the unix time at any moment, as shown below.

The large numerical value is the number of seconds elapsed since 00:00:00 UTC January 1, 1970. To interpret this date as a human, it can be fed as input again to the date command as shown below.

To keep it simple, by default, the date command displays a human-readable date and time along with time zone information.

Who Decided the Unix Time?

In the 1960s and 1970s, Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson built the Unix system together. They decided to set 00:00:00 UTC January 1, 1970, as the “epoch” moment for Unix systems.

How Effective Is Unix Time?

Unix Time is stored as a 32-bit signed integer value. As every second ticks away, the value keeps increasing, and it will eventually reach its limitation on 03:14:07, 19 January 2038 as the 32-bit signed integer value will overflow and reset itself to December 13, 1901. When this happens, it will disrupt numerous time-bound activities on a system like software licenses, backup operations, etc. This issue is referred to as “Year 2038 problem.”

Some people suggested the 32-bit value should be changed to an unsigned integer value. This meant Unix systems would be able to interpret dates up to the year 2106. However, this was found to not be effective for dates prior to 1970.

New Way to Store Unix Time

Developers soon came up with a 64-bit signed integer value to store Unix time. This means Unix time will be valid for approximately the next 14 billion years. This is nearly 22 times greater than the current estimated age of the universe! This should last to the end of the universe (estimated to be 13.8 billion years) Newer 64-bit systems can handle the new Unix time but not older 32-bit systems. The Linux kernel introduced this 64-bit value to store the number of elapsed seconds since the epoch from version 2.6.19.

By the year 2038, it is believed that 32-bit systems will be out of vogue, so this should not be a problem. Embedded systems used in cars like Engine Control Unit (ECU) are time-dependent and 32-bit based. This is expected to work until the year 2038.

Fun Fact

A similar situation was observed with Psy’s Gangnam Style music video uploaded on YouTube, that previously used a 32-bit value to track the number of views for a video. That video garnered so many views that it crossed the 32-bit threshold. YouTube has since begun using a 64-bit value to track the view count for its videos, stating they did not expect the number of views for a video to cross the 32-bit value.

Divya Lakshmanan

Divya divides her time between speculating the existence of aliens and writing about her technical findings.

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What Is The Google Rankbrain Algorithm Update All About?

What is Google RankBrain AI

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, and I will be using the acronym here to keep it easy. Before proceeding to the part where we will talk about Google not being able to understand what its own creation is doing, this section introduces BrainRank AI Search to readers who don’t know about search engine algorithms.

Search Engines like Google depend on hundreds of factors to bring the best possible results to anything you enter in the search box. Earlier they were dumb and focused just on keywords. But the keywords could also be dumb. For example, people can search for “explain top of the food chain”. This can easily confuse a search engine into assuming that maybe the person searching is asking something about food chains like restaurants so give him a list of top restaurants in the area

But the person is actually searching for the name of which, the top carnivore. The food chain starts with single cell animals, goes on to herbs, then herbivorous animals, carnivorous animals, humans and ends with a predator on the top.

Google and other search engines store plenty of information on their servers so that they can provide you with the results you want. For that, they check out many factors. So far, no artificial intelligence was involved. Among the hundreds of factors, it was ‘items in bold’, ‘headings’, ‘subheadings’, ‘repetition of a word or phrase’ and many such things.

If the person who is searching on Google, types in irrelevant things into the search box, the results were always garbage. The first principle of machines is if you feed garbage to machines, they’ll give out the garbage. You may search GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) for examples of this principle.

To tackle such situations, Google kept on making changes to its search algorithms and then secretly included BrainRank into it somewhere in 2023. It kept it a secret until recently. An event was held in March, and that is when they acknowledged that their engineers do not know how the thing works. It does send out wrong signals.

RankBrain is part of Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm, and is said to be the third-most important signal – the first probably being the quality of back-links. It will soon change the way SEO works.

Here is what Google RankBrain AI search algorithm does according to what I could grasp from my research. Instead of focusing on each search initiated, it focusses on the entire search session. Normally, to get proper results and to narrow down, many researchers use synonyms and words related to what they are searching. Like in the above example, one may use “topmost consumer in the food chain” and “what’s the highest level of food chain called”. He or she may use more keywords depending upon what the person wants to know.

So as the searches progress in the session, from the first search to nth search, Google RankBrain AI will start presenting more and more relevant pages to the researcher. This may include pages that do not even include the keyword but provides more related information about the same.

How does Google RankBrain work

Here comes the problem. The creators of the RankBrain AI themselves do not understand how it works. Since it is limited to search, it is not a scary situation. But imagine creating a similar thing in a domain that is related to weapons? What are the odds against a machine growing mature enough to take its own stand against the creators? What if we create AI-based robots for the army, mass produce them and some things go wrong to make them turn against their own generals? It doesn’t look right. The chances are 50:50 – a good amount of risk.

In an event called SMX, Google’s Paul Haahr, who goes by the handle @haahr on Twitter told many interesting things about the algorithm and acknowledged that Google engineers who work on RankBrain don’t know how it works. Either Haahr was not willing to share information or the creators really don’t know much about their creation.

If later is the case, it should ring some alarm bells. Already many scholars have raised their fears on AI and the fast growing research in the domain. They petitioned governments to stop funding projects leading to strong and super AI.

Google RankBrain AI is just the beginning!

What Is A Digital Footprint And What Does It Tell About You?

What Is A Digital Footprint And What Does It Tell About You? What is Digital Footprint? How To Know More About Your Digital Footprints?

Though there is no patented way to know about all the information about you available on the Internet, you can try a few things. To begin with, you can start by searching specifics like “FirstName LastName@” to be aware if there is an email address with your name that you may not be aware of. Secondly, you can try and search for “FirstName LastName filetype: doc” to check there is a document on the web with your name on it. You can try and repeat it with other file extensions like image files and pdfs.

Apart from these manual methods, there are a few online tools to help you determine what is all the information available on the internet. HaveIBeenPwned is a website to help you determine if your email address has ever been compromised in any of the data breaches. Similarly, PeekYou, FamilyTreeNow, and Radaris also help to determine the digital footprints you have on the internet.

How do you Minimize your Digital Footprints over the Web? 1.  Encrypt your Data with a VPN:

Though there are a lot of VPNs available out there in the market, we suggest using Systweak VPN for Windows Operating System.

Systweak VPN:

This Systweak VPN is one of the most secure VPNs available in the market. Systweak VPN employs industry-best security measures to keep your data private over the web. For Example,

Systweak VPN can help mask your IP Address with a different one so the website you visit never gets to see your IP Address and hence, can’t determine your real location.

Because Systweak VPN allows you to use several different servers around the web, you don’t have to worry about cookies tracking you everywhere because they would never know that it is you who is surfing all those websites.

Also, because Systweak VPN uses AES 256-Bit Encryption, all the data that you send or receive over the web is secure.

With all the amazing features and more, Systweak VPN is one of the most secure VPNs available in the market.

Also Read: Top 7 Uses of VPN – When to use a VPN

2.  Be prudent about what you disclose online:

Another demonstrated technique for protecting your security is to be very cautious and careful about what you do on the web. Try not to share all your subtleties on the web, don’t fill forms on any or every website, don’t go around pursuing insecure sites. The less data you uncover, the better. Remember that everything you share on the internet can be caught and held, conceivably for a significant period.

3.  Social Media Privacy Settings:

Most of us don’t bother much about what we share on our social media and to whom we let it be shown. Make sure that you have your Social Media accounts’ information only visible to your friends and no one else other than that should know what you post, where you went, etc.

Recommended Readings:

Kaspersky Antivirus, Total Security, and Kaspersky Internet Security 2023 (Full Review)

Don’t Like Windows Defender? Here Are Best (Free/Paid) Antivirus For Windows 10

Is It Legal To Use VPNs?

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About the author

Sagar Kapoor

Customer Onboarding: It’s All About First Impressions

Get the basics of your onboarding strategy right Is my offering correctly aligned to my market?

If your sales, marketing and product teams look to each other for the answer to this question, there’s a problem. Product alignment is the first – if not most crucial – step to a successful onboarding game plan. You see, regardless of the marketing spend behind a great product, conversions will be slim-to-none if a product doesn’t speak to the persona’s pain-points. As Peter Drucker famously asserted, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Well, yes, but as marketers we all know that no product really sells itself. Instead, it’s when a company really believes in what it has to offer, and takes the necessary time and effort to know its market, that great things happen. For me, Uber is a perfect example of a company that was acutely aware of the crowded market space it was entering, but understood the pain-points so well that their execution and delivery resulted in a disruptive business model that will have its ripples felt far and wide – and for some time to come. Here’s an insightful case study  on how the company turned the transportation industry on its head.

Are my customer metrics doing my onboarding strategy justice?

Download Expert Member resource –Customer Onboarding Guide

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Is your onboarding strategy adapting to changing times?

It’s no secret that market spaces are becoming increasingly competitive and that consumers are enjoying a power-shift that is steadily tilting in their favour. These developments bring with them both challenges and opportunities to differentiate oneself amongst competition who are equally eager to do the same. This makes the acquisition and onboarding stages so central to building a customer base that remains loyal in times when loyalty can at best be described as fleeting. As we strive to know more about our customers, we’ll increasingly look to our data to bridge the divide and make those all-important first impressions that can so easily make or break our relationships with our customers.

New customers, like seedlings, require nurturing

According to MarketingLand,

“The true standard for hyper-personalization is interacting one-to-one with individuals, not segments. To anticipate an individual’s desires at any point in time, however, requires having deep customer insight, which comes from analyzing granular data.”

Given the access to customer data marketers enjoy today, moving beyond generic market segmentation tactics means we’re able to start building relationships with our customers from the get-go. Nurturing newly on-boarded customers with messaging based on insights gleaned from multiple touch points will quickly shift the relationship from that initial stage of awkward silences to a more personal and lasting relationship.

Retention strategies should speak to the changes in the lives of customers

You don’t want your customers to think of your brand as that friend who only picks up the phone to call you when he needs a favour. Data analytics reveal much about who our customers are and offer insights into the lifecycle stages they’re experiencing. This presents us with opportunities to “share” in their life events and personalise their experiences with our brands. In the midst of all the marketing noise coming at us, personalisation is central to making your brand message resonate in the mind of the consumer.

And the opportunities to do so are plentiful. Gartner states that,

“By 2023, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times, generating revenue of more than $77 billion and making apps one of the most popular computing tools for users across the globe…As a result, Gartner predicts that mobile users will provide personalized data streams to more than 100 apps and services every day.”

Considering that the app world is only one of many channels companies can leverage to “get to know” their customers, the opportunities to build personalised retention strategies are in abundant supply.

Data holds the key to more personalised customer engagement

As consumers expect more relevant marketing and are increasingly filtering out what they perceive to be intrusive, marketers are also realising the key role data plays in delivering messaging that resonates. The only logical way to do this, it seems, is to take the time to listen to what our data is telling us about our customers and apply those insights to our customer retention and acquisition strategies. With the information overload showing no signs of abating, the challenge will be how to reach out and touch someone across the great digital divide.

Don’T Be Duped By Performance, Apple’S M1 Silicon Is All About Platform Control

Read more: What’s the difference between Arm and x86 CPUs?

Increasing dependency on the App Store

Switching the CPU architecture that powers your app ecosystem is no small feat. To assist developers with the changeover, Apple launched a new Xcode 12 developer toolset. To quote Apple, Xcode produces one binary “slice” for Apple Silicon and one for Intel. It then wraps them together as a single app bundle to share or submit to the Mac App Store.

That’s pretty handy, as it means you can just hit install in the store without having to worry about downloading the right version. However, there’s a clear nudge for developers to publish their recompiled apps to Apple’s store. Especially for older apps that may not have contemplated store deployment several years ago. Microsoft has a similar solution using Visual Studio to produce Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for the Microsoft Store.

Everyone likes a good app store for simplicity’s sake. However, developers have to abide by more rules if they choose to publish on storefronts. Disagreements over T&Cs gave rise to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic games earlier in 2023. We shouldn’t forget that Apple also takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts from all developers earning over $1 million per year. Up until recently, this commission rate applied to all developers. However, the newly introduced Small Business Program will soon ensure that Apple will only take 15% from those developers under the threshold.

Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp support isn’t coming to Arm-based Macs.

The transition has similar implications for users looking to run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware. Mac OS continues to support x86 for now, so Hackintosh builders are safe in the medium-term. But the far-out picture points towards Arm-only support before the turn of the decade. Securing compatible hardware is set to become much more difficult if/when Apple phases out Intel support. Of course, we may have many more Arm-based PC platforms by then. However, off-the-shelf part support will depend on how deeply the company eventually integrates critical Mac OS functionality with its bespoke hardware.

Moving to Arm certainly wasn’t designed to kill off Boot Camp and Hackintosh. It’s merely a side effect that also happens to further limit consumer options for interacting with Apple’s ecosystem.

Cutting ties with Intel means killing apps

Apple’s desire to end its dependency on Intel is no secret. Rumors suggest the company hasn’t been happy with Intel’s chip progress for years, and Apple is footing the cost. It makes economic sense for the Cupertino company to leverage its mobile silicon team for laptops. But moving away from x86 relies on emulating old applications built for that architecture. Apple’s solution is Rosetta 2. However, it’s highly unlikely that the company intends to keep emulation around for very long. Rather, it’s a tool to ease the transition period away from Intel and onto its own silicon.

Some sort of deadline, even a non-official one, encourages developers to actually compile native Arm apps rather than relying on emulation for years. However, older applications at the end of support roadmaps may never be recompiled. Likewise, Rosetta also can’t interpret a number of Intel CPU extensions, meaning that some high-performance apps may not even work on Arm Macs.

Are there any benefits to platform control?

Apple gave up on PowerPC in 2006 due to a combination of lower clock speeds, sluggish innovation, and the expense of IBM’s processors. Today, similar pricing and innovation issues have reared their head with Intel. Although for consumers, the improved performance per watt from moving to Arm is the key benefit.

However, that marginal improvement hardly seems worth upsetting the entire Mac OS developer and consumer software ecosystem. Intel Macbooks have decent battery life and great performance after all. It’s also odd that the company didn’t seem to consider the increasingly potent chip portfolio over at AMD.

The move to Arm silicon is as much about platform control as it is about driving innovation.

What Cupertino really wants more control. First over the development roadmap and inner working of its silicon. With in-house processors, Apple can drive integrated imaging, machine learning, and security features in the direction it wants. Deeper hardware and software integration seems inevitable. At the same time, switching to the Arm architecture gives Apple greater leverage in the software space. Tighter integration with its security APIs, app verification, biometrics, credit cards and payment info are all possible with new silicon and software APIs. As a result, developers are not so gently nudged into its app store to ensure product compatibility and make use of cross-platform support with iOS.

We’re still some years away from the complete transition to Arm. However, Apple’s end-game is a tightly controlled, unified hardware and software ecosystem across wearables, mobile, and PC. Whether this is in the best interest of consumers remains to be seen.

Up next: Does Google have a reply for Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem?

Correction (November 22, 2023): This article originally stated that Apple takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts. This article was written before Apple announced changes to the App Store commission rate for some developers through its Small Business Program, starting in 2023. The article has been amended to reflect these changes.

The 10 Most Famous Fad Diets Of All Time

People have understood the importance of eating right and hence, are always on the lookout for a good diet that can help them to achieve their weight management goals. However, when it comes to fad diets, you may come across too many options on the internet. These fad diets may be overwhelming as they claim quick weight loss.

You need to choose the right diet for you as per your health conditions, medications you are taking and most importantly after talking to your primary healthcare provider. The options available are endless and hence, you must choose the diet wisely. Here is the list of 10 of the most popular fad diets with their benefits and downsides to help you choose the right match for your health goals.

Most Famous Fad Diets

Before starting any diet, you must remember that rapid weight loss cannot be sustainable. Quick weight loss diets may not be healthy and you may gain weight once you stop the diet. Let us have a look at the 10 most popular fad diets.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet emphasizes whole foods, lean protein, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts. The other flexible versions of the Paleo diet may permit the consumption of dairy products like butter and cheese, but the majority of Paleo diets discourage processed food, sugar, grains and dairy products.

In this diet, you consume fewer carbohydrates and more proteins. As a result, you consume 300 to 900 fewer calories than the everyday requirement. Some studies claim that the Paleo diet may reduce waist size and promote significant weight loss. This diet may be effective in reducing risk factors for heart disease like triglycerides, blood pressure and cholesterol. Also, it may help people with diabetes as it controls the blood sugar in the body. However, the Paleo diet totally eliminates whole grains, legumes and dairy products which are healthy and nutritious.

Keto Diet

The goal of this Keto diet is to push your body into a state of ketosis where it burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This low-carbohydrates and high-fat ketogenic diet replace carbohydrates with unsaturated fats like seeds, nuts, butter, oil, cheese and avocados. The Keto diet may help in weight loss and type 2 diabetes.

Also, it may help children with epilepsy as it may reduce seizures due to a reduction in inflammation in the brain. However, the side effects of the Keto diet can be unintended weight gain, kidney problems and heart issues. The state of ketosis can be dangerous for people with Type 1 diabetes as it may cause acid buildup in the bloodstream. Also, the Keto diet restricts many foods with health benefits and may not be a long-term solution.

The Atkins Diet

It is the most popular low-carbohydrates weight loss diet which permits more consumption of protein and fats by avoiding carbohydrates. The Atkins diet is split into four phases which begin with the induction phase and here you are allowed to eat 20 grams of carbohydrates per day for two weeks. After that, the next phases allow the slow reintroduction of healthy carbohydrates into the diet.

Many studies have found this diet to be beneficial for faster weight loss. It helps to reduce belly fat and overall weight loss. Also, it may reduce risk factors for chronic health conditions like heart problems and diabetes. Compared to other diets, this diet is easier to stick to. One of the downsides of this diet is that it may lack calcium.

Mediterranean Diet

It is often termed a heart-healthy diet as it includes vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, olive oil and heart-healthy fats. The foods that are permitted in this diet are from the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea like Greece and Italy. This diet also allows red wine in moderation and allows consumption of seafood, nuts, unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

The Mediterranean diet limits sweets, dairy products and red meat and encourages regular physical activity. The diet may help to reduce the risk of heart problems, diabetes, some cancers and Parkinson’s disease. No doubt, it is one of the healthiest diets considering the alternatives and eating patterns for the followers, but it may develop vitamin D deficiency when you cut back on dairy products.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasters have to focus on when they eat. They have to follow a strict schedule alternating the periods of eating and fasting. Usually, there is a six to eight-hour window each day. Some may choose to eat only one meal for a few days every week. Drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated is encouraged.

The diet gives you the flexibility to choose your eating and fasting schedule. It may improve health conditions like obesity, heart problems, some cancer and neurological disorders. However, people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking insulin require regular food intake and this diet may not be suitable for them. Also, fasting may result in overeating, undereating, irritability or abrupt weight gain.

DASH diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet focuses on the intake of foods with low sodium and low fat. It is often recommended for people with heart problems and hypertension. The diet permits the consumption of high-potassium foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils along with low-fat products like fish, poultry and unsalted nuts. The DASH diet may lower blood pressure and the plan is adaptable to any lifestyle. However, consuming less sodium may be unhealthy.

Vegan Diet

This diet eliminates all animal-derived products like eggs, honey, dairy products and meat. A vegan diet is high in fibre and low in cholesterol and is often linked to lower inflammation. This plant-based diet may control chronic health diseases and obesity. Vegans may experience depression or an increase in the risk of stroke as they have low levels of vitamin B12.

You may have to consult a doctor and take some supplements to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Research shows that a vegan diet is beneficial as it restricts whole and minimally processed foods, but giving up all animal products like honey or milk can be tough for some people.

Weight Watchers

The Weight Watchers (WW) system focuses on eating a balanced diet and eating everything you want but in moderation. You can easily track what you eat and through the system get the motivation to follow your weight management goals.

Local support is provided through virtual meetings and the diet has been in practice for more than 40 years. It offers immense flexibility but also makes it a bit difficult to overcome the temptation to eat your favorite foods in moderation.

Zone Diet

This diet maintains the balance of foods you consume by adding protein and reducing carbohydrates. A zone diet may help you in weight loss, reset metabolism and reduce the risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Typically, followers have to adopt a 30-30-40 breakdown to control their insulin levels in the body and hunger. Here, you consume 30 percent protein, 30 percent fat and 40 percent carbohydrates. The variety of food options and ease of use make it one of the popular diets. However, some may feel this diet is restrictive and light on nutrients.

Dukan Diet

It is a high-protein and low-carbohydrate weight-loss diet which is divided into four phases. Each phase has its own dietary pattern and two phases are for weight loss while two are for maintenance. The weight loss phases permit consuming unlimited high-protein foods, while the maintenance phases may permit consuming non-starchy vegetables for carbohydrates and fats.

This diet may decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin and result in weight loss. The weight loss may also come at a cost of muscle loss and calorie restriction which may cause the body to regain weight easily.


Different diets may work for different people. Your doctor is the best person who can determine whether the diet is suitable for you or not. Alternatively, you have to choose the diet that suits your lifestyle, tastes and health conditions. Always go for a long-term diet which can help you stay fit.

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