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from the Cannaverse Technologies website

LA might spearhead marijuana in the Metaverse, but the Bahamas bring their own take on toking to virtual reality by the end of this year. Nassau-based Cannaverse Technologies is at work on Cannaland, a new Metaverse that joins plant medicine mania with the groundbreaking success of NFT marketplaces to create a Web3 weed community.

Whereas wine and spirits retailers have a more straightforward route to leveraging blockchain technology, marijuana’s position is complicated. Legalization is on the rise, but each state has its own standards that can cause complications for upstart companies connecting with consumers on a large scale. Cannaverse Tech’s site says their forthcoming platform will support “the globalization of current and future cannabis brands while providing major consumer products… a metaverse platform to establish and build their brands.” 

Competitors like LA-based Higher Life CBD and Kandy Girl have centered their Web3 models around virtual boutiques on existing platforms like Decentraland where they sell and distribute IRL goods. “Cannaland will not provide a platform that allows users to purchase cannabis,” Cannaverse Tech Founder & CEO Mark Bonner told Metaverse Post. “We are focused on creating consumer brand awareness and building up global cannabis brands, which is unique to our sector.” 

Their platform will operate on a Play-to-Earn model powered by Cannaland Token (CNLT), Cannaverse Tech’s own Ethereum-based cryptocurrency. “These tokens provide consumer rewards and indisputable proof of ownership of goods, services and properties that is more secure than any land deed,” their website says. Key user benefits come from connections, but burgeoning brands stand to gain the most–introducing their products to the expansive user base Cannaverse Tech hopes to create. 

Cannaland ecosystem, from the company site

“We began the project in 2023 after exploring a local land-based cannabis 360 project,” Bonner said. “Our inspiration was centered around the growth of medicinal and recreational cannabis. We realized the incredible global opportunity it would be, for both consumers and companies, if there were no city, region, or country legal boundaries to constrain corporate messaging that hinder them from building national and global brands.”

Though Bonner kept specific details about the company’s funding under wraps, he did tell Metaverse Post, “We are very fortunate to have a highly supportive institutional investor who has funded the company to date and has committed capital throughout our early stages of development.”

“We are finalizing several interactive gaming options that will provide enhanced user experiences in our community,” Bonner said. “The overarching message of Cannaland for the consumers will focus on the responsible use of medicinal and recreational cannabis. There will be opportunities that include gamified cultivation, virtual new product experiences, and learning responsible use in our Cannalearn area.” 

Cannaland stands to make a real mark on IRL reality through The Cannalearn Foundation, which will teach safe and socially responsible practices from cannabis production to consumption. Their site also says the Foundation will “also support causes for individuals unjustly affected by inequities related to local cannabis laws prior to legalization.”

The platform’s slated to launch by Q4 2023. In the meantime, Bonner said that Cannaverse Tech is “working diligently with a leading cannabis legal firm to craft the necessary policies that will ensure we do not violate any existing laws in the USA or globally.” They’re also gearing up to launch CLNT on a tier one crypto exchange, and will announce “major brand and resource partnerships both in and out of the traditional cannabis space” in the near future. Stay tuned.

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Xiaomi Mi 11 Revisited: Is It Worth Buying One Year Later?

Zarif Ali / Android Authority

At Android Authority, we cover a lot of phones, and in 2023, we saw a large variety of devices that were extremely competitive in the flagship arena, with the Xiaomi Mi 11 among those devices. In our original review, we stated that the Mi 11 had “the right price and the right specs to compete with the current crop of flagships in the market.” Of course, that was way back in February 2023.

Now, just shy of a year later, let’s see what’s good and what’s not so good about Xiaomi’s affordable flagship as we revisit and reevaluate the Mi 11.

Check out: The original Android Authority Mi 11 review

The good


Zarif Ali / Android Authority

The display on the Mi 11 is beautiful and surpasses many of the other devices within its price point. The Mi 11 has a 6.81-inch WQHD+ AMOLED panel that supports 120Hz and can go all the way up to 1,500 nits of brightness. The best part: you can enable its high refresh rate and higher resolution at the same time.

Related: These are the best Xiaomi phones you can buy

It’s worth mentioning the screen is curved, but not how you’d typically expect. Instead of just curving over the sides, the Mi 11’s screen slightly curves over the top and bottom as well, which has the side benefit of making all four sides of the screen’s bezels the smallest they can be. With its resolution, refresh rate, and extremely thin bezels, the Mi 11’s display is still one of the best affordable flagships for media consumption.

Performance and charging

Zarif Ali / Android Authority

Equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128 or 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage, there’s no question that the Xiaomi Mi 11 can hang like a true flagship, even a year on. In day-to-day usage, the Mi 11 has little to no hiccups running apps and games. Throw in a 120Hz panel and 480Hz touch sampling and you’re not going to miss a beat with this device.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 can hang like a true flagship, even a year on.

While we’re on the topic of fast things, the Mi 11 supports 55W wired charging and 50W wireless charging. Unlike many top phones today, this phone actually ships with a power adapter in the box, so you’ll be able to get those ridiculously fast charging speeds from day one. In terms of actual battery life, it’s nothing too impressive. With the stock display settings of FHD+ and at 60Hz, you’ll make it through a full day of usage, but as soon as you bump it up to the WQHD+ and 120Hz, you’ll definitely need to charge closer to the evening.


Zarif Ali / Android Authority

The Xiaomi Mi 11’s camera module sports a main wide, an ultrawide, and a telemacro. On paper, this looks to be a flagship-level setup, especially with a 108MP main sensor and video recording available up to 8K at 30fps, but in execution, the camera on the Mi 11 is a mixed bag.

I want to be clear here, the camera on Mi 11 isn’t bad by any means, it’s simply just not on par with other flagships at this price point. The main sensor pulls some very pleasing results, and the 12MP ultrawide can produce some decent shots in the right conditions. When it comes to the telemacro lens, however, it feels like a waste of space, especially because the quality out of its 5MP sensor doesn’t yield anything extraordinary. Its lens has a narrow field of focus that results in large subjects being partly out of focus, while the image overall looks mushy.

Check out: The best camera phones you can get

Here are couple of samples from the Mi 11’s camera system:

My biggest gripe with the whole camera experience on the Mi 11 was its handling of skin tones. The device can shoot great photos of people in proper lighting, but it misses the mark with color accuracy that makes skin look a bit unnatural. Paired with the phone’s beautification and skin smoothing, the final result can look overprocessed.

As you can see, none of these pictures are inherently “bad” by any means, but when looking at similarly priced phones like the Pixel 6, Samsung’s Galaxy S21, and the iPhone 13 series, the Xiaomi Mi 11 can’t consistently keep up with those phones in terms of image quality, color accuracy, and sharpness.

Xiaomi Mi 11

One cool customer, but is it a Galaxy S21 killer?

Xiaomi has created a compelling phone in the Mi 11. It has the right price and the right specs to compete with the current crop of flagships in the market.

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Google Pixel 5A Revisited: The Good And The Bad A Year Later

The good

We awarded the Google Pixel 5a 4.5/5 stars and it holds Recommended status in our official review. At the time, we noted that the phone was a great and unassuming phone that just worked without costing a fortune. On the flip side, we also felt its processor and cameras were starting to age even at release. A year later, most of these points remain unchanged.

Battery life

When we first reviewed the Pixel 5a we immediately fell in love with the massive battery. Our reviewer found he could easily get up to two days of use without needing to charge the phone up. A year later, my experiences are pretty similar.

What makes the Pixel 5a’s battery life so fantastic is twofold. First, the 4,680mAh battery is bigger than most reasonably-sized flagships out there, including the Pixel 6 with its 4,614mAh battery. The second reason is that the mid-tier processor and 1080p display aren’t exactly battery-guzzlers. The combination means you really have a phone that never runs out of juice unless you’re trying to.

If I really try to push the phone with more intensive apps like mobile games and streaming, sure, the battery might drop down faster. Even so, I found the days I pushed it to its max still saw nearly a day and a half’s use on just one charge. When I took it easier, pushing to two days (or even slightly over that) wasn’t too hard to reach either.

Most of the time I found myself not charging at night anymore at all, as the battery lifespan was so good it felt unnecessary. Instead, I’d just plug it in for an hour or so each day while working.

Prefer phones with big batteries? Check out our guide to the phones with the best battery life

Google’s software might not be flashy, but the additions it does add are often truly useful.

The Pixel 5a promised at least three years of OS and security updates, though it’s now a third of the way through that guarantee. It’s not as good as the three-year OS and five-year security pledge you’d find with the Pixel 6, though. The big question is how well has Google kept its promise? Pretty well actually. It’s constantly attempted to squash bugs over the last year. Early on, many users reported issues like overheating and app crashing, and mostly, that doesn’t seem to be an issue for me at all here in 2023.

The OS side of things has also been handled well. The Pixel 5a shipped with Android 11, but mine is fully updated to Android 12. Android 13 beta is also fully supported by the Pixel 5a, which should mean the latest version of Android will hit the handset relatively shortly after its official release.

There’s little to complain about when it comes to the Pixel 5a’s software or its update schedule, though it’s important to note that Samsung actually beats Google here. Earlier this year Samsung started offering up to four years of OS updates and five years of security patches for select phones, including several devices that compete with the Pixel 5a on price. If long-term support matters to you, Google is still pretty solid but Samsung has really upped the competition.


Okay, the Pixel 5a camera is using a pretty old sensor. Aside from some minor tweaks, the camera used here is the same one as the Pixel 3 series. I can also honestly say pictures from the Pixel 6 series’ upgraded camera suite look better to my eyes, but we have to remember something here: this is a budget phone. It’s hard to find a much better camera at this price.

If you’re a true photography nut, you’ll find that the camera isn’t as good as you’ll find with a flagship. But let’s be honest, most of us just want quick snaps of our food, kids, family, and friends so we can share them on social media. The Pixel 5a excels at those basics, with accurate colors and above-average exposure levels. It also has a fairly wide dynamic range.

The Pixel 5a has a 16MP ultrawide lens with a 107-degree field of view. Pixel 5a photos will come out great almost every time in the daylight, but even night shots manage to hold up pretty well thanks to Google’s Night Sight mode. Really, the only situation where the Pixel 5a’s camera doesn’t perform like a more modern flagship is when zooming in. The 12MP sensor and lack of a telephoto are recipes for disaster at anything beyond 2x, and even then the images just come out kind of blurry. Google’s Super Res Zoom technology is good but it can’t work miracles.

Check out: The best camera phones

For those that love taking selfies, you’ll find the 8MP front-facing sensor does the job just fine. I didn’t really have much to report, though our original reviewer noted that Google’s software can struggle with blurring out hair or the edges of glasses, but that’s usually the case for portrait shots. I didn’t notice it, but to be honest I also didn’t take tons of selfies during my time with the phone.

Yes, the Pixel 6a has a better camera on paper due to it borrowing the Pixel 6’s ultrawide shooter (we’ve yet to fully test it), but the main camera is unchanged as far as hardware goes. It’s no surprise then that the 5a still holds up just fine in 2023 and is still one of the best in the mid-range market. It’s also one of the more stable and consistent camera experiences. Its camera app opens much faster than most other budget phones and 90% of the time, the photos you take are going to look great, even if the lighting isn’t perfect. That’s certainly more than many other budget devices can say.

The not so good

The Google Pixel 5a is intended as a phone for basic users and so obviously not everything about it is going to be perfect. Compared to other mid-rangers, it’s a bit expensive for starters. Aside from price, there are a few other downsides worthy of discussion.

Its fast charging isn’t particularly fast

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Earlier, we applauded the Pixel 5a for excellent battery life, but big batteries come at a cost. The 4,680mAh battery takes over two hours to charge from zero to 100% with the supplied 18W charger. This is much slower than not only today’s flagships, but several budget options like the Galaxy A53 5G edge it out at least a little too.

Should you care about this at all? In my experience, no, as the excellent battery life makes it less of a concern. But it’s important to remember that if you use this phone all the way to near depletion, charging it won’t be a fast affair. Then again, if you plug in every night, you’ll never even notice this as a major issue.


When the Pixel 5a launched last year, I’d say it was a pretty excellent value since it was priced about $150 less than the Pixel 5. But then the Pixel 6 came out and you could easily buy the Pixel 5 second-hand for much less than the 5a. We also saw more mid-range competitors offering aggressive price tags over the last year.

Currently in mid-2024, the Pixel 5a’s most obvious competitor is actually the Pixel 6a ($449). The newly upgraded phone is priced the exact same but has quite a few improvements. Then we have the Galaxy A53 5G ($449) which is priced the same and in some ways is actually a better phone than the 5a. The A53 5G has a 120Hz display, a longer software support guarantee, and a slightly larger battery (though actual performance is about the same). You also get 25W charging over 18W. If you care about these things, the A53 5G is really tempting. If cameras matter more to you, the Pixel 5a is still the better option.

Google Pixel 5a review revisited: The verdict

When I first started using the Pixel 5a I could really tell the difference from my more expensive Pixel 6, but then I started to slowly forget I was even using a different phone. In most situations, the speeds were similar for day-to-day use, and the size and weight aren’t too different either. That’s a pretty big compliment for a phone that costs $150 less new and can be found even cheaper online at places like eBay and Swappa.

Next: Google Pixel 5a problems and how to fix them

Google Pixel 5a

Google Pixel 5a

Killer battery life • Versatile cameras • Three years of updates

MSRP: $389.99

A budget phone with great cameras

The Pixel 5a takes the winning formula of the Pixel 4a 5G, adds a metal build and water resistance, and drops the price a bit. It’s an affordable phone from Google with an impressive camera system and a great software experience.

See price at Amazon



One Year Later, Microsoft Office’s Collaboration Tools Are Still A Work In Progress

With the introduction of Office 365 Home Premium last year, Microsoft radically changed the way it delivers Office to consumers. Instead of just offering an Office suite that includes a varied number of applications priced anywhere from $140-$400, the software maker wagered you’d pay $100 per year to get access to all of the Office apps and the right to install them on up to 5 PCs, plus extra Skype minutes and OneDrive storage.

The addition of Skype and OneDrive isn’t just a frill. Driven by competition from Google Apps, Microsoft’s new approach to Office focuses on making your documents available to you everywhere and facilitating easy collaboration and file sharing.

So now that we’re one year into this new era of Microsoft Office, how is the suite doing? How well do the desktop, Web, and mobile apps work together to keep you productive no matter where you are?

To find out, we adjusted our workflow to rely solely on Office 2013, Office Online and Office Mobile for Android (Office 365 Home Premium subscription required). Here’s how we found the current state of Office collaboration for working together in real time, maintaining a canonical version of your collaborative document, and editing files on the go.

Simple sharing and live collaboration

The last time we looked at live collaboration in Office, we said that Microsoft wanted to “empower people to collaborate on documents, but its new Office suites don’t make things easy.”

Little has changed on this front, although there has been one major improvement. Microsoft’s Web apps, recently renamed Office Online, now feature live typing. If both you and your fellow editors are working on a document together, you will see document changes as they happen.

Office 2013 can show you who else is editing the document in real time.

Live collaboration on the desktop, however, is trickier. The main problem is that while Office 2013 desktop apps connect to the cloud, their collaboration features don’t behave the same way as the Web-based applications do.

When you start collaborating from the desktop, a pop-up notification appears at the bottom of the app to alert you that someone else is editing the document. But in our tests in Word, Excel, and OneNote, several minutes passed before the desktop user received the notification. In some cases, changes to the document were available before we were notified that another person was editing the document.

It’s understandable how Microsoft may have come to this decision. Without the cue of live typing, edits that automatically appeared on the desktop app after a save could quickly become confusing. The end result, however, is you have to integrate separate steps into your workflow to send and receive changes to a document during collaboration.

Once you receive changes, they are highlighted so that you can easily see what was added by another editor.


Initiating a chat inside Office Online is not intuitive.

Another not-so-obvious issue for both Office Online and the desktop is that you can’t chat with a collaborator unless they are already added to your Skype contacts. You would think that simultaneously editing the same document implies the need to have a discussion, but that’s not the way it works.

Microsoft’s Web-based chat component doesn’t have chime notifications to let you know someone has messaged you. Without an audio cue, you’ll have to keep your eye on any collaborative browser tabs you have open so you don’t miss out on important communications.

Comments in Office 2013 have the best layout yet.

Office on Android

The biggest change to Office over the past year was the introduction of apps for Android phones and iPhones. (The iOS version will install on an iPad, but Android tablet users are out of luck.)

Office mobile apps are great for quick edits and monitoring changes on the go.

Tracked changes are a glaring omission from Office mobile. You also won’t be able to differentiate between each editor’s contributions on a collaborative document the way you can on the desktop or Web app.

Web apps

The assumption with Office Online is that the apps are deliberately hobbled so they don’t undermine the company’s desktop business. That may be true, but Microsoft has the fundamentals covered with its Web apps and has slowly been incorporating new features.

Microsoft’s Office Online covers the basics, but will leave power users wanting more.

The verdict

More so than any other version of Office, Office 2013 and the new Office 365 service try to try to make collaborating with colleagues a simple, seamless experience. It’s moved closer to that goal thanks to gradual improvements to the Web apps and the addition of mobile versions of Office for Android and iOS. Unfortunately, features like chatting and live editing are often unwieldy. Until Microsoft can work out these and other idiosyncrasies, it will be hard to take Office seriously as a collaboration contender.

11 Best Tourist Places To Visit In Leh Ladakh This Year

Leh Ladakh

Ladakh is a treasure trove with spectacular sights to spend your days. When it comes to Ladakh, every traveler’s soul craves the top places to Visit in Leh Ladakh.

Best Places to Visit in Leh Ladakh

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#1 Hemis National Park

The Snow Capital of India is a thrilling experience and is one of the most renowned places to Visit in Leh Ladakh. This only national park of the Northern Himalayas is home to exquisite fauna and flora with 16 mammalian and 73 avian species.

#2 Royal Leh Palace

This enchanting ancient royal palace stands on the top of Tsemo hills. Besides offering a breathtaking sight of the valley, its artistic ruins of wood and stone carvings are outstanding. Also called Lachen Palkar, it is a museum housing royal art.

#3 Shey Monastery

This 17th Century historic Buddhist monastery is a dream for attaining peace infused with a divine aura. Perched on the hilltop of once renowned India’s Summer Capital, Ladakh’s king Deldan Namgyal built this magnificent monastery. The 39-ft copper Shakyamuni Buddha statue is the monastery’s central highlight and is the second-largest statue in Ladakh. The beautiful artwork is also a prime attraction.

#4 Pangong Tso Lake

Ever had a picnic near a large Blue Sapphire nestled in breathtaking ranges? It is that memorable experience one can have in top places to Visit in Leh Ladakh. A hit spot for video shoots for television and Bollywood screens, this paradise awaits every tourist. Enjoy a picnic or camping to enjoy the tranquillity and solace at Pangong Tso.

#5 Shanti Stupa #6 Thiksey Gompa

Thiksey Gompa shines with the Buddhist culture. Its 12-storey complex is a wonder and stands amongst the world’s most famous monasteries. The enriching experience of standing in the monastery hosting over 500 monks leaves one short of words. The fascinating sights of artwork, statues, and scriptures offer an insight into the world of Buddhism. Its Maitreya Temple, built in 1970 to honour the 4th Dalai Lama, is a sight to behold.

#7 Hall of Fame

Amidst the majestic mountain ranges and picturesque scenes also lies some painful history. Hall of Fame is the glory dedicated to the brave soldiers who lost their lives in the Indian-Pakistan war. Pay homage to the departed souls and renew your gratitude for the Brave hearts.

#8 Alchi Village

The breathtaking Himalayan ranges hide this tiny paradisic land. Get a welcome full of warmth from locals and swaying Apricot groves. Alchi village encircles the Likir district’s divine spiritual aura itself. On the backs of the Indus, this quaint village is amongst the must-visit tourist places of Leh.

#9 Khardungla Pass #10 Nubra Valley

Enter the world of the heavens with Nubra Valleys. This paradise lies 3048m above sea level on the feet of Karakoram ranges and offers worth-capturing sights. The sandy white deserts walked over by double-humped Bactrian camels, majestic peaks, and lush villages are spectacular sights beside Shok and Siachen rivers’ confluence.

#11 Zorawar Fort

A history enthusiast can’t miss this historic beauty in Leh. Though heard by a few, this fort is a majestic glory. Once under the rule of the Dogra Dynasty, its rust-yellow walls hide a great history of General Zorawar Singh Kahluria. Visitors can see old coins and treasures in the fort, also known as the Riasi fort.

So, the best 11 places to Visit in Leh Ladakh are here. What’s stopping you from vacationing in this paradise nestled in the Himalayas? Plan a trip solo or with your loved ones now!

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Annual International Education Week Goes (Mostly) Virtual This Year

Annual International Education Week Goes (Mostly) Virtual This Year

BU is highlighting programs, cultural centers, global research, and international education that contribute to its diverse fabric during the annual International Education Week. Courtesy of Global Programs

Student Life

Annual International Education Week Goes (Mostly) Virtual This Year A look at some of the many events on tap

International travel may be largely curtailed at the moment, a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped BU’s celebration of annual International Education Week (IEW), which runs this year from Monday, October 26, through Monday, November 2, featuring dozens of (mostly) virtual events. The week will highlight University programs, cultural centers, global research, and international education that contribute to the diverse fabric of BU.

IEW is a joint initiative of the US Departments of State and of Education that celebrates the benefits of international education and the exchange of ideas and cultures. It began in 2000, and today is observed across the United States and in over 100 other countries. 

Willis G. Wang, vice president and associate provost for global programs, says he is happy to see so many schools and colleges, student groups, and University offices plan events for IEW this year despite the current semester’s challenges. “We are especially heartened to bring together the BU community to celebrate our enriching diversity and global mindset,” Wang says. “Perhaps now more than ever, we can all take something from these events and discussions. We hope participation in IEW leaves our community feeling more informed, inspired, and connected with our varied global engagements.”

Amanda Miller, Global Programs managing director of strategy and communications, says a lot of thought was put into selecting events that were worth asking students to log on to yet another Zoom or virtual event, since Zoom fatigue has become a real thing as the pandemic continues. “They really needed to speak to an interest or a need of the student,” Miller says. 

Here are five events we thought sounded especially interesting:

Cohosted and copresented by BU Diversity & Inclusion, this topic was suggested by international students who come from less diverse cultures than they encounter here, says Miller. The talk will open with Alana Anderson, Diversity & Inclusion director of programs, delivering a brief history of race in the United States.

2. Italian Women Who Made a Change: the Veneto Case in a Global Perspective

Hosted by Elisabetta Convento, director of the BU Study Abroad program in Italy, this event will explore some exceptional yet little-known women from the Veneto region of Italy who helped drive major changes in Italian society.

The Marsh Chapel virtual Global Dinner Club is a chance to come together, learn how to cook on a budget, and watch some great cooking demonstrations from other diners. This group, which meets weekly, thrives on diversity and is open to people of all nationalities and religions.

Hosted by ISSO, this event will share information on the various options for applying for US permanent residence (aka green card). Elizabeth Goss, the founding partner of the immigration law firm Goss Associates, will give an overview of the process as well as the most typical potential ways nonimmigrants can stay in the country.

BU’s celebration of International Education Week continues through Monday, November 2. Find a full list of events here.

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