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Google IO 2016 and Android N
October 17, 2020 Technology chris

Google hosted its annual developer conference, Google IO last week.  Key announcements included:

  • Android N 7.0: successor to Marshmallow
  • Google Assistant: replaces Google Now
  • Google Home: smart speaker system (similar to the Amazon Echo)
  • Allo: messaging (similar to Apple iMessage)
  • Duo: video chat (similar Apple FaceTime)
  • Daydream: virtual reality (similar Oculus Rift)
  • Android instant apps: use apps without downloading them
  • Android Wear 2.0: connect to wi-fi, support for iOS

The following infographic has a great summary of Google IO announcements over the years.

I upgraded my Nexus 5X to Android N beta over the air and it was the easiest Android upgrade so far.  I registered for the beta on my Mac/PC and within moments, I received a notification on my Nexus 5X to upgrade with one tap.  I’ve been impressed with how stable the beta is and the number of new features including improved notifications and split screen multitasking.  I’m looking forward to trying the new instant apps that launch immediately without downloading.  A good list of the new Android N features can be found on Android Central.

Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, kicks off on June 13 in San Francisco.  I’m looking forward to Apple’s announcements.…

Riega Apple Watch replacement band – thumbs up!
September 17, 2020 Technology chris

I own a space grey 42mm Apple Watch Sport with the black plastic sport band. It’s a great watch but I’ve been wanting to purchase a replacement band for a dressier look. The bands that Apple sells are very nice but also expensive. I was looking for something more affordable (e.g. aftermarket bands)

My first attempt was the $40 Happy Cell blue leather loop which I purchased online from Amazon. The band’s biggest problem was that the magnet wasn’t strong enough and didn’t hold the watch on my wrist.  The second problem was that the leather wasn’t durable and after one day of use, it started to show signs of wear.  I promptly returned the band to Amazon for a refund.

 

My second attempt was the $30 Riega black stainless steel Milanese loop. The band looks great, is comfortable, matches my “space grey” Apple Watch perfectly and the super-strong magnet keeps the watch securely on my wrist.  I’ve also noticed that unlike the stock plastic band which can sometimes get sweaty, my new stainless steel band is “ventilated” and doesn’t get sweaty like the stock band. In addition, the magnet closure on the new band is infinitely adjustable, unlike the stock band which has a fixed number of settings, which allows me to get a perfect fit.

Apple did a great job designing how the bands attach to the watch simply and easily without tools so its easy to swap out bands.

 

I remain a fan of the Apple Watch  – particularly now that Apple has released WatchOS 2.0.1 which re-enables the ability to view my work calendar.

I’ve decided to pass on the new Apple magnetic charging dock for $79.   I’ll stick with my $15 Spigen stand which has served me well for the past several months.

A few of my favorite Apple Watch apps/features:

  • Apple Pay. However, I wish more retailers accepted it
  • Microsoft Powerpoint.  For advancing slides from the Powerpoint app on my iPhone
  • Delta Airlines boarding pass
  • Fitness tracking
  • Calendar
  • Text notifications and responses using Siri and default messages
  • Navigation.  Apple Maps running on my iPhone will give gentle taps on my watch when it’s time to make a turn

 …

How to enable and use AppleTV peer-to-peer AirPlay discovery and playback
August 12, 2020 Uncategorized chris

One of the great new features of Apple iOS 8 is the ability to wirelessly connect iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to Apple TV without first connecting to a wi-fi network. Previously, it was necessary to connect both your AppleTV and your iPhone/iPad to the same wi-fi network. Here are a few examples of where this feature is useful:

See the source image

A sales rep brings their AppleTV with them to a client site and connects it to the client’s projector. The sales rep delivers a presentation wirelessly from their iPad

Enterprises equip their conference rooms with AppleTVs. Employees, clients and contractors can display their iOS screens wirelessly without connecting to a wi-fi network

 

 

Requirements:

 

Latest model of Apple TV (REV/A) running the latest 7.x firmware. The model number A1469 is printed in very small type on the bottom of the AppleTV. Note that there are three versions of the black “hockey puck” Apple TV and only the latest model has this capability

iPhone or iPad running iOS 8.x with wifi and Bluetooth enabled

 

 

How to:

 

Tap on AirPlay on your iPhone or iPad, select your AppleTV. Your mobile device will be mirrored to the display. I’ve created a video below that shows the feature in action…

IBM publishes flexible workplace study
July 17, 2020 Technology chris

IBM has published the Flexible Workplace Study which contains interviews with 675 CIOs and IT managers of large enterprises across multiple industries in Australia, China, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.  What is the flexible workplace?

See the source image

Today’s workplace is a virtualized and physical environment characterized by connections, collaboration and user choice that enables the worker to be more agile and perform activities anywhere, anytime—and can ultimately help create greater enterprise value.


This redefined workplace is the result of industry trends in technology and work habits. Today’s workers increasingly meet, share, discover and get work done via technology.  They expect the technology tools they have embraced in their personal lives to play an important part in their business lives, as well. This poses important challenges for the organization supporting the workplace.


The most successful companies implementing the flexible workplace are reporting 20%+ improvement in productivity and cost savings.   Key insights:

 

  • Seventy-four percent of CIOs and ITmanagers are placing greater priority on the flexible workplace compared to other investments over the next 12 months
  • Majority expects the flexible workplace will yield productivity gains and enhanced security.  Nearly half believe it will reduce costs and potentially increase revenues
  • Forward thinkers (9 percent) report 20 percent or greater improvement in productivity and cost savings on average. They are more likely to have workplace and mobility strategies in place, support the highest proportion of remote workers and the greatest number of devices and are most likely to outsource.
  • Mobility makes the flexible workplace work, and it is the attribute most in demand by end users. The tools that support users—applications and information—need to go where business is taking place.
  • Forward thinkers are keenly focused on improving enterprise performance through collaboration. They are leveraging social business to strengthen two-way communication and sharing—both within the organization and with customers, vendors and partners.
  • Forward thinkers are making fast use of emerging mobile devices, operating systems, platforms and applications. They recognize that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is expanding and, rather than trying to limit usage, they are supporting a broader set of devices and operating systems.  They are investing in a mobile application platform and creating application stores that favor collaborative and content applications for core business processes versus the back office.
  • With each new access point, the security perimeter grows—and mobility significantly expands the number of access points.
  • The importance of strategy: While other adopters are implementing some flexible workplace capabilities, forward thinkers are placing emphasis on the development and execution of flexible workplace strategies that align with core business strategies. Forward thinkers are looking at the bigger picture and making integrated investments.

 …

Android Nexus 5X smartphone – thumbs up!
June 9, 2020 Technology chris

See the source image

I recently purchased a new, Nexus 5X 16GB unlocked smartphone on eBay for $229 (deal of the day). The phone itself is made by LG and uses Google’s Android reference architecture including a native Android 6 Marshmallow experience. After using the Nexus 5X for over a month, I’m a fan.

The new Imprint fingerprint reader is easier to setup and quicker to use than Apple TouchID. Initially, I didn’t like the placement of the fingerprint reader but I quickly got used to it. Using Imprint to unlock the Nexus 5X is much easier than entering a passcode. However, there are relatively few apps that support Imprint for app authentication at this time.

Pros:

Low cost
Just the right size – not too big and not to small; can be used with one hand
Very nice LCD screen and build quality
Nice camera
Native Android 6.0 Marshmallow experience
Android Imprint fingerprint reader
Native Android experience
Lots of security updates from Google that are installed automatically
USB C connector

Cons:

Buttons for power and volume are awful – way too small
Dual speakers look great but sound awful
Security updates take a long time (20 minutes+) and have to process each app installed on the phone – the more apps the longer the updates take
No integrated visual voicemail

Specs:

5.2 inches
1920×1080 LCD at 423 ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Fingerprint- and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating
Rear Camera 12.3MP, 4K (30fps) video capture
Front Camera 5MP
Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 Processor, 1.8GHz hexa-core 64-bit
Memory & Storage RAM: 2GB LPDDR3
Internal storage: 16GB or 32GB. No external storage options…

IBM Impact Conference Kickoff
May 5, 2020 Technology chris

IBM’s Impact conference, focused on Websphere software, kicked off on Monday in Las Vegas. Highlights:

 

Opening general session kicked off with a great talk by Walter Isaacson who shared some great stories of Steve Jobs from his book
Twitter hashtag is #ibmimpact

See the source image
Press release: IBM releases New Foundation for Mobile Computing. A big focus of the conference is mobility and the new IBM Worklight product. IBM VP Bob Sutor has a great overview of the product on his blog
Official website
Official blog
8,500 attendees

My role at the conference:

Participating in analyst briefings
Working on the showcase floor at the IBM booth
Delivering a presentation on the showcase floor and assisting with two breakout presentations on mobile

I’ll share a recap of the conference when it wraps up later this week.…

Efficient Technological Advancement To Look For While Buying Home Appliances
Image April 9, 2020 Technology chris

When we talk about comfortability and getting maximum of it, then the home appliances come into the picture. Just imagine if you are totally exhausted by the day’s work and headed home, you just want to take a warm bath and when you get into your bathroom the geyser doesn’t work or the screen doesn’t show the right temperature. It will cause a sense of dissatisfaction and you will feel so restrained. This can be kept at bay if you are using some of the advanced tech home appliances. 

Often people just consider durability and the usage of home appliances while buying one, but with technological advancement, one should opt for an updated one. It also depends upon the usage and the needs. 

In this excerpt, we will provide you some of the effective attributes one should look for while buying advanced home appliances. 

Attributes to look for while buying home appliances

 Automation

When it comes to home appliances, automation is the key to ultimate comfort. There are lots of automated appliances such as self-cleaning robots that provides alternative to all of the home chores. Different kinds of humanoid robots are equipped with top-class AI. When you are buying one of the home appliances automation is the key to be productive and efficient. One of the main concerns while keeping this in mind is the cost associated with it. Highly advanced home appliances can cause a hefty amount.

 

Smart appliances 

One of the technological advancement is the smart appliances. Everybody needs a smart home appliance that has an advanced user interface that can be operated remotely. There are loads of appliances that can denote the parameters such as high-end refrigerators or air conditioners that readily provides the temperature and storage capacity. Apart from these, they are also able to provide different prompts when they need preventive maintenance.

Energy-efficient technologies

As we know some of the home appliances use a bulk of energy and it can cost you massively. There is numerous advancement in the home appliances that rates them based on efficiency to use energy. There are different levels of energy efficiency in home appliances. If you are going to buy one of the advanced tech appliances then this attribute should be at foremost as they provide you stress-free usage.

Closed and private aspects

When it comes to security various home appliances provide ultimate security to the home. The remote operation is the next big thing where people can access their home appliances from a distance. It works on the principle of geolocations that enables you to access efficiently.

These are some of the attributes that help to narrow down your search for an effective and productive appliance. Home appliances can be a big sense of relief for those who work long hours. Advanced tech inclusion in those appliances can be an icing on the cake that appeals to masses. Best of luck for your purchase of a technologically advanced home appliance.…

Technology … Where We Are!
Image March 26, 2020 Technology chris

An Honest Opinion


From the renaissance to the present age the most significant and fundamental change in the world has been technology. As human beings grew and bonded intellectually, the planet saw the creation and implementation of science and technology. Nothing in the universe has so affected mankind; nothing has fascinated us to this extent as technology.

The changes have been so rapid that it suddenly consumed the interest of a vast majority of humans and has now left us feeling empty, in a void, like vacuum.

What I mean is if we look subjectively into the way technology has emerged into the times there are two distinct phases:

One was the beginning of the golden era during the times of Da Vinci and later Newton and finally Einstein until 1900 where discovery as such was neonatal. Every single discovery and invention merited the maximum cognitive brilliance of the human mind. The technologies developed and the sciences studied were a challenge to the human mind itself. Even today, many people fail to understand the meaning behind Einstein’s theories or Da Vinci’s brilliance. The world that day was an exciting one for intellectuals. Discoveries made, hit the headlines almost everyday in the newspapers.

But if we see the second phase, the second half of 1900’s to today, there has been a total paradigm shift in the way research takes place. Technology advances today in a rather sporadic manner. Science has diversified into an application oriented business rather than the pure magic of discovery and invention. Learning for learning sake has become passé.

The entire gamut of technology has become a commercial enterprise with almost every aspect of learning requiring external coaching. Individuality and originality is lost in a sea of madness, a rat race where the winner is the richest.

Nothing creates headlines in technology today except the booming of markets, the building of new industries and foreign trade.

The raw design of research which was once the fundamental aspiration of every human being is gone. With future advancements we might lose that feeling, the pristine feeling of pure joy that discovery brings, the madness that is the insignia of life on earth.…

Technology Can Change a Lot in Ten Years
Image March 15, 2020 Technology chris

Technology has changed a lot since I was a kid. Being in my mid-forties, I’ve seen great technological changes over my life. When I was a kid, for example, we knew that computers would be important in the future. But, we didn’t know that they would be in people’s homes and can fit in the palms of our hands. In the last ten years, there seems to be an acceleration of mobile and development towards nanotechnology.

Technology is more mobile, nowadays, because it is smaller and it is smaller so it can be more mobile. Everyone seems to be carrying around a small computer nowadays that are more powerful than the business computers in the early 80s. Fifteen years ago, you wouldn’t see someone walking along the street with a smartphone in their hands like you do now. People can connect to the internet, read email and play games on phones that are fairly high in resolution. For me, mobile technology has meant that I can maintain important communication when I am not at home for long periods.

Another thing that has increased a great deal in the last ten years is the number of cameras that are being used and carried around. Everyone seems to be taking pictures now. The cameras in phones have improved a great deal and easy editing software makes it easier to take good pictures. Cameras have also gotten smaller and easy to keep hidden, which isn’t a good thing, sometimes. But, they can help solve crimes and provide helpful information in other situations. Some people even use them to take pictures of documents or even checks for deposits. That’s something I wouldn’t have seen anyone do ten years ago.

American society seems to be more saturated with computers, in one way or another, than ever. In 2003, it is estimated that only 62% of the households in the United States had their own personal computer. Now, it’s at least 77% with most of those having broadband. This not only means that most people in the country have computers at home, but that they’re probably faster than they were ten years ago. This may mean that more people are using the internet to do things like pay bills, watch TV, chat by video, or shop online. I’ve been using broadband for more than ten years, but it is a lot faster than it was when I first started using it.…

Old World Notes Meets Modern Technology
Image February 4, 2020 Technology chris

Old Meets New and How to Cope

I struggle daily with reconciling old world things with the new world technology. I blog and I also write in a journal, I also tend to take a lot of notes at work. Blogs are digital, no options there. But for my work notes and for my personal journal should these be digital or on old fashion paper? I have done numerous web searches for this exact topic, but I have found little in the way of answers. Which is one of the reasons I am writing this. I may never find the answer I am needing, nor the answer that I am happy with. I more so want to find the best practice for me.

At work the ability to pull up a notebook and sketch, take notes, rip out pages to give instructions, and be more immediate in responses on a factory or lab floor are invaluable. For these uses I use my Moleskine notebook, whether it is a knock off version or an actual Moleskine. Granted at work it would be easy to make the switch to a digital note system, since work provides everyone with a computer, not to mention my iPad. I simply just don’t like the digital clutter that follows at work and with so much stuff happening at work. Going back to sling a thought into a note is that much harder to do on the spot with digital files spread around various programs and apps.

Personal notes and journals on the other hand are simpler to manage as digital or physical paper. If I stay with physical journals and notes I will continue to use Moleskines and keep the little black books around for years. The harder question will be if I choose to go to a digital system, which one do I use? There are many options for note programs and journaling software for both the Apple laptops and for the Apple iPad. File format being the most important, since I log all my backups and keep them around having them all accessible later is very useful. Future proofing in a sense is a great thing even if the retrieval and rebuilding of the data can be notoriously painful, yet not as painful as a total loss of data.

There are also, as you could guess, pros and cons to both styles of notes and journaling. Mainly the issue of electricity. I simply cannot go on a camping trip and easily drag my iPad along let alone a laptop. The quiet of nature surrounding me is a great catalyst for writing, I simply cannot tune in as easily during camping trips with a piece of technology as I can with paper and pen. I also have an issue with durability, since paper is proven and safe from electrical failure. Digital data is easily destroyed with power surges, accidental erasure or even a spilled beer in the wrong place can render anything digital into scrap. …