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Showing posts from March, 2017

2010 MacBook Pro Repair

I recently reported that I had switched from a 2006, or so, Lenovo Thinkpad to a MacBook Pro.  I am happy to report that the switch is going very well.  So, how did I pull it off?  Well to start the 2010 MacBook Pro was in pretty bad shape.  It had a dead hard drive, bad RAM, and a battery that latest maybe an hour.  Not very good for heavy use.  It also had some minor overheating issues.  The overheating issues were the first to be addressed.  I solved this by doing a complete clean of the inside of the laptop.  I cleaned the fan, board, case, and every nook and cranny.  This did way more for the computer than you would think.  Then I tested the living daylights out of the machine to see if it was stable.  After a few more cleaning sessions I achieved stability.  Then I had to address the bad hard-drive issue.  This was a little more challenging than anticipated.  Apple computers use a different style of formatting than any windows computer.  When a Mac is older it can be harder for …

iPad Showdown

Today I am going to break down the current iPad lineup and compare what is available to you today.   We will be getting a tad nitty gritty with this one.  First off, how many iPad options are there right now?  The answer is four.  From most expensive to least expensive, we have the 12.9” iPad Pro followed by the 9.7” iPad Pro then the 9.7” iPad and lastly the 7.9” iPad Mini.  So this means that earlier this month the iPad Air 2 was removed from the rotation.  It seems the iPad replaced it.  Yes, the new device is called iPad.  This may get a little confusing here.  Now for the specs.  Lets start with the 12.9” iPad Pro.  This device is rocking a 12.9” retina display at 2732 by 2048 which provides 264 ppi (pixels per inch).  It has Apples very own A9X chip with the corresponding M9 co-processor.  This is a 64bit chip.  The iPad Pro is compatible with the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard.  This big guy has a 8 megapixel rear camera with f2.4 aperture.  It will shoot full 1080p HD vid…

Samsung Announcements

Today, actually right now, Samsung is announcing the features of the new Galaxy S8.  The first software feature that interested me was the addition of their own Siri type assistant.  They call it Bixby.  Bixby is different than other digital assistants in that it combines what is on the screen with what you do normally to make suggestions for items or services you may want to use to do the task at hand.  It also recommends things based on the time of day and what you do normally using your phone.  Bixby even uses the internet of things to helming you interact with your home.  The assistant even can set up Uber rides where all you have to do is click the ok button.  This assistant is accessible through a hardware button and a special screen you can swipe to.  The S8 will be available starting mid April and will be available through various channels.  The phone even comes with a high end par of earbuds by AKG.  A nice touch.  Samsung’s website should have even more details very soon.
Th…

The Future of Android.

Today let’s talk about some new software.  This time the new software is not from Apple though.  We are talking about a brand new version of Android.  Seems like the last release just started rolling out, but not to worry we have a new version.  While it will take a while for this version to hit phones in mass, the developer previews are available for select devices right now.  Imagine testing the latest version right now.  Well the good news is that the Android Developer Platform is actually free.  Take that Apple.  Now that I dissed Apple, let me give them some credit.  I have been a developer for Android for a while now and Apple does a much better job making their program easy to navigate and offers more support and options than Android does.  But hey for free who is complaining.  So, what is this new versions of Android like?  By the way it is called Android O right now.  Let’s go through the highlights.   The first highlight is the change to notifications.  Google has added some…

New Apps And New Software

Today I am trying a new app to write these articles with.  Another quick update.  I am now on a MAC.  Yes the writer of Apple News articles was using a PC for a good while.  But worry no more.  I am assuming that everyone was very worried.  Anyway, what shall we talk about today?  How about we chat about software.  I want to talk about two different softwares this time around.  Let’s start with iOS and MacOS updates.  Today was the special day for updates to everything.  iOS 10.3 was released with a slew of new improvements.  My favorite improvement was the Find My AirPods feature.  MacOS got a slew of new improvements too.  They have added a feature called night shade that will allow for better nighttime viewing.  A nice feature if you ask me.  The Night Shift feature only works with Macs 2012 and newer.  So looks my 2010 MacBook Pro will not be having this feature.  This is only the beginning of the new features that will be arriving to iOS devices and Macs.  Lets move on to new app…

Security

Apple Pay

Let’s talk Apple Pay.  I am aware that this is not a new technology by any means.  Why are we talking about it then?  We are because it has expanded greatly since its launch a while back.  In fact, just recently Apple Pay came to even more countries.  Apple Pay is now in most large cities across the world.  So, why are we all not using it?  The answer to that question is a bit lengthy.    Let me start by explaining the chip that is embedded into most all your cards.  This chip is called EMV technology.  This technology has been in Europe and most other places in the world for a while now.  The US is still just getting it.  EMV is important because it is significantly more secure.  The heightened security is possible through the addition of a pin along with the card being inserted into the reader.  So, what does this have to do with Apple Pay?  A lot actually.  Apple Pay is a wireless version of EMV.  Well sort of.  Apple Pay and the other wireless payment types use a process called t…

Apple is back at it again...

There is no need to give Apple prominent space on this blog.  Well that is just not true.  I am back today with another article.  And as the title and first sentences may suggest we will be talking about Apple…again.  Why?  Well they are back at it again with some new products and changes.  We discussed the change they made to the Apple Watch buying options, but now let’s look at what else they are up to.  The morning the new stuff hit I went to the Apple Online Store and had a look for myself.  First thing I saw was a bright red thing.  Yes, they released limited edition Product(Red) iPhones.  Now I cannot speak to what the limited-edition thing really means.  Are these here to stay? We are not enlightened to this information.  After delving a little deeper into the red iPhones, I was surprised by how good they look.  I mean they are gorgeous.  I am not saying that because I am an Apple junkie who loves everything they do.  I have often wondered at some of their odd choices in desig…

Apple Watch Anyone?

As you may have seen, I did not do an article yesterday.  I was busy so no article.  But good news today you get a new article.  So, what are we going to look into? Today I want to talk about the Apple Watch.  I am aware that this is not a new product.  Yesterday Apple released a few new products.  With these new releases came a few new watch bands.  Apple also changed the options for buying the watch.  You can only buy the watch with sports band or the stainless-steel loop.  I am currently using a first-generation Apple watch.  I have a few different band options.  So, why discuss this?  Well I wanted to give a run-down of why I use this watch and how I have been using it.  I use the Apple Watch for everyday health tracking and notifications. The health tracking that I use is mostly steps, calories, and heart rate. I use these to make sure I stay somewhat healthy.  But more importantly the notifications.  I really enjoy not having to pull my phone out when I get an email or text or …

Is Blackberry Still Alive

Today surfing the internet has led to today’s second article.  So, where did my internet rabbit hole led to?  I landed on Blackberry or RIM.  I have researched what they are doing currently various times in the past.  I, like many others, have had my time with their various devices.  I have never been impressed with anything they have ever produced.  So far, this article is sounding like a bash on Blackberry time.  It kind of is.  Here is why I wanted to write about this. I want to look at what they are doing with themselves these days.   Let’s look into this.  Blackberry used to be the gold standard for secure business phones many years ago.  They were used by business men and government agencies.  More recently they have been more of a desperate cry for help.  After the Priv model (Yes, the Priv name stands for privacy, clever huh?) they ditched their own OS completely and switched to the much more popular Android OS.  I then noticed that they have released a slew of oddly named ph…

Apple and Samsung's next big thing.

Today let’s talk about some tech rumors that are floating around.  I will also share some thoughts about them and tell you my favorites.  Let’s start with Samsung.  Reports speculate that the S8 and S8 Edge or Plus should be arriving very soon.  There have been rumors of Note 7 like facial recognition and better wireless charging.  I have even seen reports of a radically new design.  When it comes down to reality we will most likely see the facial technology and better wireless charging.  I would not be surprised if that is all we see besides the usual internal upgrades.  You know the stuff that always claims to make the phone a million times better than the last and be the biggest change to the phone yet.  Not sure how we can always have the biggest change. But anyway, moving on.  Apple is next on the list.  I am seeing a lot of rumors that as soon as tomorrow we could see a refresh on some Macs and maybe iPad lineup?  I doubt the iPad refresh since there has been no scheduled prese…

Wearables

Many people wonder where the world of wearables is going.  Why is this a topic of hot debate amongst the tech community?  I have a couple of thoughts on the topic I am going to share with you today.  I was motivated to write about this topic after reading an article about the new Levi and Google smart jacket.  I saw something like this last year from a higher end clothing brand.  There is a big difference with this new smart jacket though.  This one shows how wearing technology can benefit your everyday life.  I often see how hard it is to develop something innovative but also useful.  I am not going to dive into the details on the smart jacket just yet though.  I then proceeded to think about the various wearables that I have used or heard of.  Which ones were useful?  Which ones were cool but not necessary?  What makes a wearable a necessity?  I believe it becomes a necessity when it improves the way you function from day to day.  Let me give some examples of this.  A Fitbit benefi…

Why do so many startups fail?

Why do so many small startups fail?  This is an interesting question and will be the focus for this article.  I was inspired to write this one because I heard of another innovative tech startup indicate that they were done.  There is no end all be all answer but I have a few thoughts that might help shed some light on this.  
First off is ambition.  I love ambition.  I have used it in many of my ventures.  But ambition alone does not make you rich.  Or in this case make a company successful. I think this is the biggest issue these failing tech startups are experiencing. They have loads of ambition but are unable to execute on this ambition.  So, why is this a problem?  Let me explain.  Ambition is what drives new ideas and help one think outside of the box.  It drives innovation.  But, we live in the real world.  Ambition alone will fail every time guaranteed.  Ambition must be coupled with a well thought through plan that can be executed with a reasonable amount of money and labor. …

Apple News from the eyes of a blogger.

Today I want to share my experiences with Apple News.  I want to do that because I have been writing daily posts for a few weeks now and have some insights into how it works.  I also want to shed some light on the process with you all.
I started my channel back when Apple News first launched.  I called it GartnerProductions but did not post anything till mid-February of this year.  When I first started with the platform the site always crashed.  I mean always.  It was thus impossible for me to write the articles.  You may be wondering why I had this problem and not everyone else.  This is because I write the articles using Apple News format.  This means that I write them on icloud.com.  I do this to avoid the delay that occurs when you import the articles from another blogging platform.  This way I also ensure that they are formatted right and look clean when read.  (A little side note.  This also allows me to have ads provided my Apple within the Articles.)  Doing it this way is a …

Android ROM Journey

Today I want to talk about Android’s ability to be customized and even modified.  I wanted to talk about this because recently I have been attempting (and failing) to put a custom software set on an old Android phone.  I have been trying to do this because I have had a renewed interest in custom software.  Let me talk about what this means and then the process involved in doing this.  Then we will talk about how my experience went. First off what are custom software or ROM’s?  ROMs (the technical name) are heavily modified versions of android that allow for deep customization and tweaking. They are based on Android but have stripped away most all the outer layers to get to the heart of the platform.  There are ROMs for almost all versions of Android.  Some focus on different appearances for the user.  Some focus on the heavy power user.  The user who knows what they are doing and want to code things themselves.  Some focus on allowing older phones to have the latest software.  This i…

Android Vs. iOS

Today I want to compare Android to iOS.  These are the two biggest platforms for smartphones.  In fact, almost every smartphone you buy has one of these two.  iOS is only on Apple made hardware.  So, how is the big competitor.  It gets this title because of the sheer number of iPhones and iPads that are floating around in the world.  Android, on the other hand, is on a million and one different devices by different manufactures.  Because of this it gets to be a contender.  Who wins though?  Nobody really wins in this one.  Sorry no cut throat competition this time.  So, let’s take a closer look at the two.  First up is Android. Android is software that is designed and engineered by Google.  Android is more open and customizable than any other software platform.  Android can also be modified with what we call skins.  Google lets any manufacture or even consumer mess with the software all they want. There are however some caveats to the software being this open.  Let me quickly mention…

Smartwatch Showdown

This morning let’s talk about some more tech.   Smartwatches.  Which one is best and should I get one?  So, let’s compare a few different smartwatch types and then you can make your choice.  I will be talking about three different watch types.  Apple Watch, Android Wear 2.0, and Gear watch.  Apple Watch might be the most popular of the three types.  Apple has made a square shaped watch using premium materials with a reasonable starting price.  Apple has stayed true to their roots and have made the Apple Watch to use innovative input methods.  I am more referring to the digital crown than anything else. The digital crown allows you to scroll on the watch without having to try to fit your fingers on the small screen.  Speaking of size the Apple Watch has two different size options the 38mm and the 42mm variants. The Apple Watch also has interchangeable bands for endless possibilities.  Next up Android Wear 2.0 equipped watches.  Google released 2.0 last year at their annual conference. …

Plastc Card

What are smart cards and do I need one?  This is the question we will be talking about today.  There are many different variations if smart cards.  I will be referring to the ones that try and replace your wallet.  More specifically Plastc.  No I am not spelling that wrong either.  Plastc is a smart card that aims to replace all your credit, debit, loyalty, and gift cards.  That is a pretty tall order.  So how does it work?  Well the card itself is basically like a credit or debit card with a brain and touchscreen.  The card uses an app and a supplied Bluetooth reader/charger to load the cards into your card.  From there the small e-ink display allows you to select the card you want to use.  The card then re-writes the strips on the back of the card for that particular cards info.  Then you swipe the card the same way you would any card.  And just like that it charges your account. A little side note, the card reader is also the charger.  How does it get your card info?  The card uses…

MacBook Air Repair

I am still alive.  I was very busy yesterday and was unable to post.  But, I am here and here is another post.  Today we shall be talking about the MacBook Air.  Why talk about this?  Well I have been spending the last few days working on a MacBook Air that has extensive liquid damage.  I found the computer at my workplace and proceeded to hunt down all pieces to put it back together.  I have never tried to do something this complicated before.  It is going very well.  I have successfully gotten the computer to work except I have run into a serious issue.  The screen.  It has no backlight.  This makes it very hard to see what is on the screen.  It is very odd to have to hold a flashlight over the screen to see what you are doing.  But, I have good news.  I have found out that I may be able to replace either the whole housing or open the screen housing up and replace the screen and/or inverter.  All other parts of the computer are working and working well. I will update as this project…

Charging

Today I thought we would talk about charging.  Charging is something we all must do with almost everything we use on a regular basis.  Charging can get annoying when we have different types of products from different manufactures who have different methods of charging.  I have good news!  There is a company out there who has introduced a charging cable with various tips to work with a vast range of products.  I am referring to the Nomad three in one charging cable.  I ran across this product at the same time I purchased their rugged lightening cable with a battery integrated into the cable.  I purchased the battery cable.  But I was able to get a good look at the three in one cable.  This cable is also in the rugged line and is truly unbreakable. Its biggest selling point is the interchangeable tip design.  This cable features lightening, micro USB and USB type C.  This pretty much covers all the types you will need for any handheld device.  The cables themselves are made of military …

Tile

In the previous article, I promised to talk about Tile.  Well here it is.  So, what is tile?  Do I need one?  First things first let’s talk about the device.  Tile is a Bluetooth tracker.  It comes in two variants Mate and Slim.  Mate is made to be put on a keychain with some car keys or whatever you put on your keychain.  Slim in designed to go in your wallet or backpack.    Slim is larger than the mate.  Slim advertises itself as the “world’s thinnest Bluetooth tracker.”  I am not going to try and be the judge of that.  It seems like all companies say world’s first or world’s best.  Anyway, I use the Slim version.  I have it in a notebook that I keep in my backpack.  This way I never forget to leave without out, or it leave without me.  I have tried the previous generation to the Mate.  This one was just called Tile.  A pretty simple name.  They work great.  With these newer slimmer versions, they have improved connectivity and reliability.  I have had no issue connecting to them or…

My Favorite Tech

Tonight, I want to share some of my favorite tech with everyone.  I will try to keep this concise without overwhelming you with options.  So, the million-dollar question is, wait for it, "What is my favorite tech?"  I will try to link everything in the list.

1. iPhone 7. -- You had to know this one was coming.  Yes, the iPhone 7 must have the number one spot.  I put it in this place because it is the most used of all my tech.  I use my phone for everything.  I use it to organize my ever-growing digital world.  This can be hard too.  I even use my phone to track stats on my blog. I don’t use it for phone calls much anymore though.  I mean who wants to talk on the phone? That’s so last year. Anyway, I never go anywhere without this trusty partner.

2. My laptop. -- What do I use for my laptop?  Great question.  I am currently using a six to seven-year-old Lenovo IBM X60 ThinkPad.  Let me tell you this thing is a champ.  I have tinkered with this guy for years.  No matter what I…