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Facebook Gaming Introduces Online Tournaments Amid Lockdown

Facebook Gaming launches virtual tournaments

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Facebook
Facebook Gaming has launched a new feature called tournaments to help people stay connected through games. Pixabay

Facebook Gaming has launched a new feature called tournaments to help people stay connected through games. This is a technology news.

The virtual tournaments will allow anyone to organise a competition with friends and live-stream it on the platform, with results managed virtually.

“We are excited to open early access to FB Gaming tournaments, a feature to help people stay connected through games. Gaming is all about friendly competition. Facebook Gaming tournaments help bring that experience to everyone wherever they are, whatever game they’re playing,” the social media giant said in a statement on Tuesday.

Facebook
Facebook Gaming was launched in 2018 as direct competitor to Twitch, another game streaming service bought by Amazon for $970 million in 2014. Pixabay

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FB is making early access tournaments available to everyone and will gather feedback and continue to build it together with the community.

This feature was originally developed for live esports gaming events but now the company decided to release it early to help people cope better while in isolation due of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Tournaments hosted through Facebook can be set up to prompt viewers to donate money to charity.

FB Gaming was launched in 2018 as direct competitor to Twitch, another game streaming service bought by Amazon for $970 million in 2014. (IANS)

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Lockdown Diaries: Online Sales of Gardening Products Shoot Up

Online sales of gardening products hint at home-gardening bloom in lockdown

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Many Indians have turned into gardeners during lockdown. Pixabay

By Siddhi Jain

Two months of lockdown has turned many Indians into avid gardeners. As people explore their green side by growing a variety of plants, sales of gardening products on an e-commerce site seem to have shot up notably in this period.

As per Snapdeal, the overall sale in the gardening category for mid-March and mid-May 2020 is more than double the sale in the same time-frame last year.

“Over the last two months, users have bought seeds to grow a range of vegetables including brinjals, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, chilli, coriander etc. Seeds of everyday-use items like lemon and tomato were the most searched for seeds on Snapdeal. Combo vegetable seeds pack with multiple varieties of seeds priced under Rs 300 was another popular pick amongst Snapdeal shoppers,” the online marketplace told IANSlife.

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People have bought a variety of seeds amid lockdown. Pixabay

What made it to e-carts and search bars?

As kitchen gardens blossomed, so did a collective desire to build immunity against the novel Coronavirus.

Since late April, Moringa (drumstick) seeds remained high in demand for immunity-boosting properties.

For those looking at summer flowers, Roses, Zinnia, Petunia and Marigold have been a top pick, since they grow well in summers.

Enthusiastic gardeners also bought a range of supplies including garden tool kits comprising trowels (‘khurpi’), clippers and weeding forks, green net to save plants from birds, spraying can, and seedling trays, Snapdeal shared.

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Many enthusiastic gardeners also bought a range of supplies including garden tool kits. Pixabay

Apart from greening lawns and balconies, people also bought indoor plants like money plant, areca palm, rubber plant, and fiddle-leaf fig. Succulents were also widely searched and liked but seldom bought due to its high maintenance nature and difficulty to survive Indian weather conditions, the e-commerce platform said.

When it came to pots, plastic pots in a variety of shapes, colour and sizes were in high demand and the popular price range of these were Rs 50-250. Most users bought multi-packs of 4-12 pots. Traditional terracotta pots were also searched for but were not available due to difficulty in transporting the same. Grow bags which are a cheaper alternative to pots were a hit too, Snapdeal said.

“Gardening is a fun and relaxing way to get in touch with nature. In the lockdown period, we saw increased interest from our shoppers in this category, as they spent more time at home. From the nature of buying, we can infer that users are attempting to grow everyday use fruits and vegetables at home. Our sellers also received queries for bulk supplies from those users who intend to grow organic produce for regular commercial sale. Seeing the demand, we have onboarded new sellers in this category to ramp up supplies,” a Snapdeal spokesperson told IANSlife.

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Regional demand

Seaweed solution bottles were popular gardening picks among the metro audiences to save the trouble of keeping packets of compost. The non-metro audience, on the contrary, continued to buy compost. Cocopeat, which can absorb water for longer than normal soil, was widely bought in north India to beat the sun.

Shoppers from Tier 2 cities bought most of the gardening supplies. Most orders came from Bhopal, Chandigarh, Nagpur, Dehradun, Gurgaon, Jamnagar, Lucknow, Mysore, Ranchi and Raipur.

Orders for some of these items were placed mostly when deliveries of these products were prohibited and are now being delivered post the lockdown restrictions being removed, the brand said. (IANS)

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Social Media: A Boon Amid Lockdown

Social media has proved itself a boon, be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life

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Social media has proved its worth in these times. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

There have been several incidents when social media has proved itself a boon; be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life. There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities.

‘My Pincode’ is one such group on Facebook that was launched by the NGO Social Media Matters in April when the entire country was confined in their houses. It is about local groups on Facebook to virtually connect, communicate, collaborate and create a support system for each other in their respective pincode areas. These groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support, relief, and share critical information.

Blood donation, ration supply, repair work, daily essential information, government advisories are the highlights of My Pincode as these demands top the charts across posts made by users. Partners like Sarvahitey, Akshay Patra Foundation, Blood Bank were fundamental in their roles to look into all the requests and take immediate action.

Shantanu Garg, who lives in West Delhi, posted on the group requesting for a blood donor on behalf of a friend. Within a few hours, moderators of the group who tagged all volunteers and other admins and started reaching out to other blood donor agencies were able to arrange the required amount of blood. There have also been other instances of such donor requests. Sajal Bhateja’s request for urgent requirement of blood on South Delhi Group was also addressed in two hours.

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There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities. Pixabay

Other topics that are being discussed on the groups are:

Which is the nearest clinic I can visit?

Where can I get emergency help?

What does the situation look like right now on the roads?

What are the queues like at the shops?

How much longer will supplies last?

Are courier services working in the area?

Which are the nearest Government and Private Testing Centres?

Can I visit the police stations?

Are postal services working in the area?

How do I obtain a curfew pass?

What is the situation at the hospitals?

Are there any blood donor requests?

In an attempt to bring together communities from 170 hotspots of India across 17 states (as identified by the Central Government of India in April 15, 2020) and crowdsource help, open groups have been formed and are being managed by moderators and group admins, trained by the NGO. It will be further extended to 32 states and union territories.

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Social media groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points, and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support. Pixabay

Each state has a moderator and several admins who have been moderating the discussions and letting users connect with each other for essential and verified information as to keep fake profiles/information away.

Also Read: Beat Summer Heat With these Coolers

Every day the lead moderators sift through all the groups to look for any inappropriate content that is posted/approved/queried. As soon as users post on the group, the network of admins gets activated and they look into the prime information or request made by the user. Once that is identified, the request is verified and then the network gets activated to resolve the request. (IANS)

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UAE-Based Indians expatriates Start Free Online Coaching For Kids

2 Dubai based best friends have started the '#PandemicCamp' to provide free online education for CBSE students

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2 UAE based expats have started taking free online classes of children who can't afford private tutors during the pandemic. Pixabay

Two United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Indian expats started free online coaching for children who have dropped out of after-school private tuition because of the coronavirus pandemic, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) news reported.

Simran Kanal and Mehak Lalchandani, who have been best-friends from their Dubai school days, were running their newly-founded ‘#PandemicCamp’ to provide free online coaching for CBSE students whose parents can no longer afford private tutors, reports Gulf News.

Pandemic Camp is offering free Zoom lessons in English, Maths and Hindi for grades one to five, taught by the two former CBSE students Kanal and Lalchandani, both 2014 alumni of The Millennium School in Dubai.

“We’re both very compassionate, both as students and as teachers. We came across parents who have had to withdraw their children from private tuition, so this camp is a way we wanted to give back to society,” said Kanal, a freelance journalist and writer who works for an online marketplace platform.

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Pandemic Camp is offering free Zoom lessons in English, Maths and Hindi for grades one to five. (Representative Image). Pixabay

Lalchandani, a finance degree holder, said: “Since we’re very familiar with the CBSE curriculum, that is why we chose CBSE and are catering to primary school grades.”

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She said the sudden switch to distance learning has not been easy for students, teachers and parents.

“In a classroom, you have 30 students and you have to personally go to a student and see what they’re doing in their book. But when you have 30 students online, then it’s very difficult for that one-on-one help,” Gulf news quoted Lalchandani as saying.

Kanal said compared to her school days, students today in grade four or five have “tremendous assignments” that often need close help by parents, who themselves have to learn new digital skills. (IANS)