Mi Note: Xiaomi latest smartphone with 5.7 inch display

Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer has recently launched its latest flagship phone – the Mi Note. Mi note comprises of 5.7-inch (1920X1080) resolution display, which is a bit bigger compare to Apple’s latest release, 5.5 inch, iPhone 6 Plus and is both slimmer (6.95mm) and lighter (161g) than iphone 6 Plus.

Mi Note base model is scheduled to release on 27th Jan, and comes with a 1080p screen, a 2.5GHz quad-core processor, 3GB RAM, 16/64GB internal memory, a 13-megapixel camera in the back and 4-megapixel on front and with dual SIM capability. Whereas, it’s premium “Pro” model which is scheduled to release on March, comes with a quad HD 2560 x 1440 pixel screen, a 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB RAM, an Adreo 430 GPU and 64GB of storage.

The sides of the Mi Note are made out of metal while both the front and back are made out of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The front has a 2.5D glass with a gentle curve around the edges and the back has what Xiaomi calls 3D glass with a more pronounced curve. Mi Note will be available in 2 colors, Black and White. Also, Mi Note stands out from other similar devices by the use of a Sabre DAC (digital to analog converter) and dual audio amps, which provides great quality on both small and large headphones.

The base model for Mi Note is priced at CNY 2,299 which is around $371 in USD and the Pro model will cost CNY 3299 which is around $533 in USD. Like any other high end devices by Xiaomi, Mi Note and Mi Note Pro will be released in China first. Xiaomi has yet to declare its release outside China.

Tinder’s first acquisition – Tappy

Over the past several months the acquisition trend has much accelerated between tech companies. Tinder following this trend has recently acquired Chill, creators of Tappy, as a part of a strategic acquihire.

Tappy is a mobile messenger that starts a chat with a photo which then can be turned into a chat thread, with a single individual or a group. All messages disappear after 24 hours. Tappy has some best features of Snapchat and Instagram, it finds its way as a fast little app, both in messaging and taking pictures.

Sean Rad, cofounder and CEO of Tinder – “We’re growing and recruiting like crazy. It’s incredibly difficult to find talented people to join us fast enough to keep up with our roadmap for 2015, which includes some ambitious plans. When I spoke with Brian, we found that our goals for two separate products were such a great match. There are some specific things that they’ve done in the past that we wouldn’t have to figure out on our own moving forward.

We’re very good at connecting people, but there’s this ‘what happens after that?’ moment that we want to improve. We not only want to get better at the way we use criteria to connect people, but we want to broaden the reasons for connecting in the first place. The Tappy team will help us tackle both fronts, the pre-match experience of creating that first connection and the post-match experience of communicating with that person.”

With the growth and added responsibility, it seemed that the Tinder and Tappy team are together for something big and Tinder users might be delighted with some new features very soon. While Tappy on the other end, will be shut down leaving thousands of its users.

Sample PHP code for Paypal RefundTransaction using Paypal NVP API

Depending on different conditions, sometimes we might need to refund the amount paid by users. We can refund the user by directly logging into the Paypal or use their API so, that everything can be handle from our own site with just one click. On this post, we will learn, how we can use Paypal NVP(Name Value Pair) API to refund users.

Paypal consists of RefundTransaction Method for these purposes. RefundTransaction API operation can be used to issue a full or partial refund for any transaction within a default period of 60 days from when the payment is received. Below, we use CURL to request the Paypal API, but you can use fsock as well.

Before, diving into the code, lets grab necessary API credentials from Paypal, which is required to authenticate the call to Paypal API’s. Below are the steps you need to follow to get your API credentials:

  • Login to your Paypal Business Account
  • Navigate to “My Selling Tools” under Profile menu. Refer to screenshot below:my-selling-tools-paypal
  • Under Selling online category, locate “API access” and click on “Update” button showing next to it. Refer to screenshot below:paypal-api-access
  • You will be presented with the Paypal API access page, click on Request API signature under Option 2
    paypal-request-api-credentials
  • On Request API Credentials page, select Request API access and click Agree and Submit as shown in screenshot below.
    paypal-api-credential-generate
  • Once submit, you will be taken to the page with your api credentials, as shown in screenshot below:paypal-api-credentials

API Username, API Password and Signature is what required for requesting Paypal API. Once you get these details, you can use the following code to refund the transaction.

Sample code in PHP to refund transaction using Paypal API NVP

<?php
/**
 * Send HTTP POST Request
 *
 * @param     string     The API method name
 * @param     string     The POST Message fields in &name=value pair format
 * @return     array     Parsed HTTP Response body
 */
function PPHttpPost($methodName_, $nvpStr_, $env) {

 // Set up your API credentials, PayPal end point, and API version.
 $API_UserName = urlencode('Your API username');
 $API_Password = urlencode('Your API password');
 $API_Signature = urlencode('Your API signature');
 
 if("sandbox" === $env)
 	$API_Endpoint = "https://api-3t.$environment.paypal.com/nvp";
 else
 	$API_Endpoint = "https://api-3t.paypal.com/nvp";
	
 $version = urlencode('119');

 // Set the curl parameters.
 $ch = curl_init();
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, $API_Endpoint);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_VERBOSE, 1);

 // Turn off the server and peer verification (TrustManager Concept).
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER, FALSE);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST, FALSE);

 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POST, 1);

 // Set the API operation, version, and API signature in the request.
 $nvpreq = "METHOD=$methodName_&VERSION=$version&PWD=$API_Password&USER=$API_UserName&SIGNATURE=$API_Signature$nvpStr_";

 // Set the request as a POST FIELD for curl.
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, $nvpreq);

 // Get response from the server.
 $httpResponse = curl_exec($ch);

 if(!$httpResponse) {
 	exit("$methodName_ failed: ".curl_error($ch).'('.curl_errno($ch).')');
 }

 // Extract the response details.
 $httpResponseAr = explode("&", $httpResponse);

 $httpParsedResponseAr = array();
 foreach ($httpResponseAr as $i => $value) {
	 $tmpAr = explode("=", $value);
	 if(sizeof($tmpAr) > 1) {
	 	$httpParsedResponseAr[$tmpAr[0]] = $tmpAr[1];
	 }
 }

 if((0 == sizeof($httpParsedResponseAr)) || !array_key_exists('ACK', $httpParsedResponseAr)) {
 	exit("Invalid HTTP Response for POST request($nvpreq) to $API_Endpoint.");
 }

 return $httpParsedResponseAr;
}

// Set request-specific fields.
$transactionID = urlencode('example_transaction_id');
$refundType = urlencode('Full');  // or 'Partial'
$amount;                          // required if Partial.
$memo;                            // required if Partial.
$currencyID = urlencode('USD');   // or other currency ('GBP', 'EUR', 'JPY', 'CAD', 'AUD')

// Add request-specific fields to the request string.
$nvpStr = "&TRANSACTIONID=$transactionID&REFUNDTYPE=$refundType&CURRENCYCODE=$currencyID";

if(isset($memo)) {
	$nvpStr .= "&NOTE=$memo";
}

if(strcasecmp($refundType, 'Partial') == 0) {
	if(!isset($amount)) {
		exit('Partial Refund Amount is not specified.');
	} else {
		$nvpStr = $nvpStr."&AMT=$amount";
	}
	
	if(!isset($memo)) {
		exit('Partial Refund Memo is not specified.');
	}
}

// Execute the API operation; see the PPHttpPost function above.

$env = 'sandbox';
$httpParsedResponseAr = PPHttpPost('RefundTransaction', $nvpStr);

if("SUCCESS" == strtoupper($httpParsedResponseAr["ACK"]) || "SUCCESSWITHWARNING" == strtoupper($httpParsedResponseAr["ACK"])) {
	exit('Refund Completed Successfully: '.print_r($httpParsedResponseAr, true));
} else  {
	exit('RefundTransaction failed: ' . print_r($httpParsedResponseAr, true));
}
?>

CES 2015 – Innovation come together

Consumer Electronics Show(CES) is an internationally renowned electronics and technology trade show where thousands of tech companies and journalists gather to display the newest consumer products, prototypes. The annual show is held each year on January at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

CES 2015 is officially under way and lots of tech products has already been announced. While some of the big tech giants as Apple, Google and Microsoft are missing on the show, there are still big companies like Samsung, Sony, Lenovo and thousands of other innovative companies from around the globe.

Few of the important announcements from CES 2015, so far:

  • Samsung’s bendable TV and SmartThings Hub
  • LG’s curved smartphone
  • Sharp’s ‘8K’ television
  • Sony’s 4K action cam
  • Toyota’s release of fuel cell patents
  • Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion
  • Audi smartwatch that can unlock a car
  • Intel puts $300 million into diversity
  • ….. and much more..

CES 2015 Exhibit Hours as per their official page is as follows:

  • Tuesday, January 6: 10 AM-6 PM
  • Wednesday, January 7: 9 AM-6 PM
  • Thursday, January 8: 9 AM-6 PM
  • Friday, January 9: 9 AM-4 PM

Note: Please note the hours for C Space at ARIA are slightly different than the other CES venues. C Space closes early on Thursday (4 PM) and all day Friday.

Product Categories:
Some of the featured product categories, as mentioned in their official page:

  • 3D Printing
  • Accessories
  • Audio
  • Automotive Electronics
  • Communications Infrastructure
  • Computer Hardware/Software/Services
  • Content Creation & Distribution
  • Digital Imaging/Photography
  • Electronic Gaming
  • Fitness and Sports
  • Health and Biotech
  • Internet Services
  • Online Media
  • Robotics
  • Sensors
  • Smart Home
  • Startups
  • Video
  • Wearables
  • Wireless Devices & Services

For more informations on CES 2015, please visit their official website at: http://www.cesweb.org/

Paypal PDT (Sample code for validating transaction when auto return from Paypal)

This post is continue of my previous post:
» Auto Return users from Paypal on successful payment and introduction to PDT

In previous post, we have successfully completed setting up the Paypal Auto Return and Payment Data Transfer (PDT) features on Paypal. In this post, we will be adding up transaction validation code to our return url so that, we can finally give access to the users into our members area.

Below I am listing the whole process being followed from when the user clicks buy now button to when they are given access to members area.

  • First of all, user clicks on the buy now button and is taken to the paypal for payment. Paypal displays the lists of available methods of payment so that user can pay for the item they want to purchase.
  • After successful payment, user is redirected to the return URL setup in Paypal, with certain parameters appended to the URL. If you haven’t setup/enable the Paypal Auto Return and Payment Data Transfer option in your Paypal Business Account, then click here to read my previous post on Auto Return users from Paypal on successful payment and introduction to PDT
  • Return URL is where we have the transaction validation code. As paypal redirects the user with certain parameters, as tx=, amount, quantity, etc. our script, would validate these locally and then send a request to Paypal for confirmation. While requesting paypal, we will need PDT Identity Token from paypal to verify which I am going to explain in more details below.
  • As the request is send to Paypal, Paypal verifies the request and responds back with the complete transaction details. Transaction details consists of each and every attributes which we need to validate again with our script to avoid fraudulent transactions.
  • Once validation succeeds, we can show user with success message, create member and redirect them to members area, or anything the payment was made for.

Paypal PDT Identity Token

Paypal PDT Token is an access token that uniquely identifies your account. Like any other access token, this is required to request Paypal for any transaction details within your account, and to prevent any non authenticated users from requesting the details.

If you have gone through my previous post, you might have already known how this token is generated. On Website Payment Preferences page, after you enable Auto Return and Payment Data Transfer and click save, you will be redirected to My Profile page with a message as on screenshot below:
paypa-pdt-identity-token

which displays the PDT Identity token. You can access this token anytime from your PDT section on Website Payment Preference page.

Below, is the sample code in PHP for validating transaction using this PDT identity token:

Sample code in PHP for Paypal PDT Transaction Validation

Once payment is successful, user is redirected to Return URL with certain parameters appended to the URL with transaction id. Grab this transaction id from URL and validate transaction by communicating with Paypal and execute script to process order.

// defining some constants
define("USE_SANDBOX", 1);
define("PDT_TOKEN", "your PDT Identity Token");
define("VERIFY_EMAIL", 'Your email for Business Paypal');
define("VERIFY_CURRENCY", 'Currency to be verified');
define("VERIFY_AMOUNT", 'Amount to be verified');


function alreadyExist($txid){
	// check if this transaction id has already been processed	
}

function processOrder(){
	// process the Order
	// create member or get users access to item what they had paid for	
}
if(isset($_GET['tx']) &amp;&amp; ($_GET['tx'])!=null &amp;&amp; ($_GET['tx'])!= "") {
	
	$txn_id = $GET['tx'];
	$request = 'cmd=_notify-synch';
	$auth_token = PDT_TOKEN;
	$request .= "&amp;tx=$txn_id&amp;at=$auth_token";
	
	// post back to PayPal system to validate
	$header .= "POST /cgi-bin/webscr HTTP/1.1\r\n";
	$header .= "Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded\r\n";
	$header .= "Host: www.paypal.com\r\n";
	$header .= "Content-Length: " . strlen($request) . "\r\n";
	$header .= "Connection: close\r\n\r\n";
	
	if(USE_SANDBOX == true)
		$fp = fsockopen ('ssl://www.sandbox.paypal.com', 443, $errno, $errstr, 30); 
	else
		$fp = fsockopen ('ssl://www.paypal.com', 443, $errno, $errstr, 30);
	
	if (isset($fp) &amp;&amp; $fp) {
		fputs ($fp, $header . $req);
		// read the body data
		$res = '';
		$headerdone = false;
		while (!feof($fp)) {
			$line = fgets ($fp, 1024);
			if (strcmp($line, "\r\n") == 0) {
				// read the header
				$headerdone = true;
			}
			else if ($headerdone) {
				// header has been read. now read the contents
				$res .= $line;
			}
		}
		
		// parse the data
		$lines = explode("\n", $res);
		
		$response = array();
	
		if (strcmp ($lines[1], "SUCCESS") == 0) {
	
			for ($i=1; $i&lt;count($lines);$i++){
				list($key,$val) = explode("=", $lines[$i]);
				$response[urldecode($key)] = urldecode($val);
			}
	
			$itemName = $response["item_name"];
			$amount = $response["payment_gross"];
			$email = $response["receiver_email"];
			$userEmailPaypalId = $response["payer_email"];
			$paymentStatus = $response["payment_status"];
			$TxId = $response["txn_id"];
			$currency = $response["mc_currency"];
			
			// check the payment_status is Completed, receiver email is your paypal account, currency and amount are correct
			if($paymentStatus=="Completed" &amp;&amp; $email == VERIFY_EMAIL &amp;&amp; $currency == VERIFY_CURRENCY &amp;&amp; $amount == VERIFY_AMOUNT) {
				// check that txn_id has not been previously processed			
				if(!alreadyExist($TxId)){					
					// process the order
					processOrder();
				}
			}
		} 
	}
	fclose ($fp);
} else {
    // Display appropriate error message
}

Auto Return users from Paypal on successful payment and introduction to PDT

On my recent project, I was suppose to give my users access to the members area as soon as they complete the payment. I was using Paypal as the mode of the payment as this is the most widely used and is available for most of the countries.

By default, user is presented with the buy now button, which takes them to paypal for the payment and on successful payment, users are presented with options as shown in image below, where users need to click on the link to get back to our webpage.
thanks-for-your-order-paypal

My requirement was different, I was suppose to get buyers back to my website after they complete the payment process automatically and validate transaction to create a member and log in successfully, displaying them their dashboard page with thank you message and a summary of their payment. Paypal provides us with the Auto Return and Payment Data Transfer(PDT) features for this purpose. Below, I have listed out the steps to enable the Paypal auto return and PDT:

  • Login to your Paypal Business Account.
  • Navigate to “My Selling Tools” under Profile menu. Refer to screenshot below:
    my-selling-tools-paypal
  • Under Selling online category, locate “Website preferences” and click on “Update” button showing next to it. Refer to screenshot below:
    website-preference-paypal

  • You will be presented with the Website preferences page with Auto Return, Return URL, PDT and other options as below:
    website-payment-preference-page-paypal

  • Select “on” for the Auto Return and Payment Data Transfer radio button. For Return URL, you need to mention the link to your webpage, where you wish to redirect your buyers or where the whole processing after the payment takes place. Refer to 3 red boxes above in the screenshot.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Save button to Save the settings. Once saved you will be presented with the Identity token at the bottom of “Payment Data Transfer” section. You will need this token to access and call Paypal servers to validate transactions.

These steps, ensures that you successfully completed setting up Paypal Auto Return and Payment Data Transfer feature on Paypal Business Account. Next step is to add the transaction validation code to the Return URL we just saved. I will cover this up on my next article, explaining details on setting up Paypal PDT with sample code.

Entrepreneur: stress management

Everyone must have gone through lots of stressful situations. Stress can be beneficial and motivational, if you can get control of it. On the other hand, stress can be the cause for irritation and anger, if its out of control causing serious impacts to the person.

As an entrepreneur, there are always, lots of responsibilities and work to complete. You might get so much involved with your work that you won’t have any social life. Your family complaining for you non availability, lists of pending tasks to complete, the deadline, finding an investor….. infact there is a lot to do as an entrepreneur.

Stressful situations are common for an entrepreneur and of very high risk. Its very common to loose your control and make mistakes when you are too much stressed, which might have long term negative impact for your business. As an entrepreneur, you must have people working under you. You might not want anyone to see you loosing control, and lose faith on you. So, stress management is the necessity for an entrepreneur. Here, are few ways, how you can handle your stress:

  • Know your limits and stick to it. Even if its your personal or professional life, you should only take on responsibilities that you can handle.
  • Distribute your workload. Get one or few on the management team whom you can trust and who can really help carry the workload.
  • Take a break. Get some fresh air, take long walks, long drive… refreshen yourself so, that you can give 100% when you are back to work.
  • Express you feelings instead of bottling them up. You might also, want to share it with someone whom you feel comfortable with. That will really make you stressed out. You need an advisor, whoever they may be.
  • Finally and most important is the time management.

SoakSoak Compromise via RevSlider Vulnerability

Another wordpress threat which was named SoakSoak was found to be injected into the sites via RevSlider plugin. The attack vector was confirmed by Security firm Succuri. The vulnerability with this plugin was already disclosed by Succuri a few months ago, but it seemed that many webmaster have either not heard or did not take it seriously.

After investigating thousands of compromised sites, Succuri has published the attack sequence as below:
(as mentioned in Succuri Blog)

1. Discovery: There appears to be an initial reconnaissance scan occurring where the attacker[s] are looking to see if the file exists. Snippet of the code
soaksoak-malware-dicovery

2. Exploit:If the discovery phase is successful and they find a site using Revslider, they use a second vulnerability in Revslider and attempt to upload a malicious theme to the site:
soaksoak-malware-exploit

3. Take over: If the exploit is successful, they inject the popular Filesman backdoor into the website, which they access directly at /wp-content/plugins/revslider/temp/update_extract/revslider/update.php this provides full access by circumventing existing access controls:
soaksoak-malware-takeover

From there, they inject a secondary backdoor that modifies the swfobject.js file and injects the malware redirecting site visitors to soaksoak.ru.

This malware might have long term impacts on sites if not actioned carefully as it has been mentioned making use of a number of new backdoor payloads as images, admin user creation, etc. Replacing swfobject.js,swfobject.swf and template-loader.php files might help you remove the infection as suggested. But it isn’t sure your site is completely safe as per the nature of the malware until and unless you are using a Website firewall.

Worried about the potential risk, visit Sucuri website for free site scan.
Sucuri Security

Pagevamp: Social Website Builder

There are lots of website builder services available online, that makes it easy to create a website. Some provides drag and drop interfaces and other uses various methods to make your process of making websites easier without any complexity. People are looking for easier and cheaper methods to make a website. Thus, there has been competition from the very beginning to which website builder provides easier, better and cheaper services.

Getting into the similar competition is the another startup company “Pagevamp”. Pagevamp allows its users to create and update their website easily from Facebook page in just one Click. It is the easiest and the fastest way to publish a website with no technical skills. Saying that, it helps us to escape from learning the whole new site creation process and management interface. Anyone can create a good looking and up-to-date website using Pagevamp.

Some of its features includes:

  • Instant update from facebook page
  • Responsive designs, to translate seamlessly to all types of devices
  • Powerful Hosting, managed by Rackspace
  • Cheap rates upto $12/month on annual service
  • Create many pages as per user needs
  • switch designs as per user needs, users can choose from different themes available with themes being added every month which are well tested and device friendly
  • unlimited features, with features being upgraded + added each month

From its time of launch, till now, lots of features like SEO, photo inquiry, multiple gallery pages, pdf uploads, filtering albums, news, updating content, etc and many themes have already been added to the list.

For more information: www.pagevamp.com