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Showing posts from April, 2017

Smart Homes Are...Back

I have talked about smart home devices in the past, but this time I want to talk about a specific smart home device.  I have wanted to discuss this one for a while now.  This one is HomeKit capable and has all the bells and whistles you could ever want.  I am talking about the Ecobee smart thermostat.  The Nest thermostat has always been the one you think of.  But the Ecobee smart thermostat is not a second rate product.  So, what makes it special.  Just being HomeKit compatible is not the biggest feature.  This one is a combination of sensors and such that help keep the perfect temperature at all times.  It is advertised as a smart home product for homes with more than one room.   That seems to me like most homes.   If your home has one room then I would suggest you find something else to read.  The best part about this product is that it has a very nice user interface that can be controlled form your phone or from the thermostat itself.  The thermostat itself has a large touchscreen…

Self Driving cars...should I take one?

While reading some stories on the internet, I came across an interesting article.  The idea of self driving cars is not new by any means.  But the idea of self driving cars taking volunteers to various locations in the real world is a new idea.  This is happening in Phoenix Arizona right now.  In fact if you live in the area you can sign up for the program.  I am not sure what the criteria is but an interesting new idea.  The company doing this is called Waymo.  So, what is this companies story.  Waymo was first part of Google as a project or hobby.  In 2016 they became a full fledged subsidiary of Alphabet.  This is quiet an accomplishment for this idea that started as a fun project and is now a real thing.  These cars have been driving in a few different cities and have expanded their fleet to include over 500 cars.  Let me also mention that the cars have a alert driver in them for now.  The driver only takes over if the car begins to do something that is not right.  This is a reass…

What is the best flagship smartphone?

Today I wanted to talk about what the best flagship smartphone is.  There are a lot of stories going around about the various new flagship devices on the market today.  You will also notice that a lot of energy goes into talking about budget smartphones.  But you may be like me, and have a flagship phone.  I know you wondering “What is the next big one to get?”  So, let’s get right in.  Let’s start with Apple, since that is what I am using right now.  Apple has the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus available right now.  Since it is not September the 8 or 7s is not an option for you.  Some people are waiting but the 7 series are not bad at all.  They have much improved cameras, new design, and are actually faster than previous models.  They also have this Home Button that is not actually a button.  It takes some getting used to but is actually nice in the end.  This new Home Button design also lessens on what can break and allows for the device to be water resistant.  I am not using the word proof h…

Why are there so many digital assistants?

With the Galaxy S8’s arriving a few days ago, I was led to wonder how many digital assistants are out there?  We know of the big ones, Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, and now Bixby.  There are also so many more out there that I will not bother to mention here.  If I did bother to mention them we would be here for…ever.  Let’s break down these assistants.   The best place to start is with Google.  I start with this one for to reasons.  First off I mentioned it first in my list.  Second reason is that it is generally considered to be the best assistant out there.  Though Google Home is not the best iteration of the assistant, Google is the best.  I have various Android phones through out the years and have aways enjoyed being able to say, “Ok Google “.  What I like best about this one is its ability to organize your life.  What I mean by this is different assistants have access to different services.  Since Google has the most comprehensive list of digital offerings, their assistant has …

What is going on today?

Today instead of talking about one particular item we are going to do another recap.  What is new in the world of tech?  Let’s start with my favorite…or rather the company I hate the most right now.  Plastc Inc. is dead.  Like really dead.  They are filling Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  As you can tell I am unhappy about this current news.  Anyway, I will stop being a downer and move on.   What else is going on right now?  Some of you may have seen the Apple  has been given an approval to test self-driving cars.  This may not really mean much but is interesting to see them make this move.  While this is not the first of these speculations, this is the first more public reveal of the potential planes.  In other news the Galaxy S8 is doing well so far.  I read a report that talked about how, as long as the battery doesn’t explode, the phone should do really well.  In fact this may be the big break Samsung needs after the Note 7 issue.  I really hope this phone does really well.  I also read a …

Plastc card is dead...and will never return.

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I received and email today from a company called Plastc.  The email started with “we regret to inform you” and continued to say that they had released all their employees and are shutting down.  This is sad to see.  I was really hoping that this would be successful.  Plastc was creating a smart card that had real working prototypes and everything.  They were so close.  According to them they failed to raise the necessary funds and apparently their last investment option fell through just yesterday.  I will include a screenshot of the email I received from them.  This relates back to an article I wrote about why tech startups often fail.  That is all for this one.

All products referenced to or pictured are sole right of Plastc…who is gone and is seeking Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  So they will not be chasing me down for copyright related stuff...

--@gartner_andrew


Android Phone or Laptop?

Today I wanted to touch on something you all may have heard about recently.  There are actually more than one of this product type.  I am talking about these laptops that are actually just a screen, keyboard, and battery.  What makes them special is their ability to be plugged into you Android device and allow for desktop like use.  This is not the first time to see something along these lines.  Microsoft has had a version of this for Windows Phone.  But, as we all know, there are many limitations to Windows Phones.  This product does the same type of thing but you use your Android phone.  This means that you will have infinitely more options and as Android OS gets more advanced there are even more options for this type of product.  The cool thing is that most of these laptop like devices come in at under 150 USD.  That is not a very expensive way to turn your phone into a computer.  There are limitations of course but these can be handled pretty easily.  I have not had the chance to …

Google Home

Today I wanted to shift gears a bit and give a more in-depth look at the Google Home.  I have talked about this one before but have never really talked about it more.  I have a Google Home and love it.  So, why do I love it?  What makes it worth the money?  Let’s talk about the first question first.  Never heard that before right?  So, I love the Google Home because of how easy it to use.  Let me explain.  Google Home is a smart speaker that responds to the “Ok Google” command.  From there the speaker can turn on lights, play music, and tell you about your day.  The speaker has so many abilities.  I use it to control the lights in my room.  I use it for music at night and every morning it wakes me up at a set time.  I have found limitations with the device though.  Google Home can only connect to one Google account.  So, if your like me and have multiple Google accounts you cannot have the speaker create events and such to those other accounts.  This is something that Google may add w…

What's new today?

It is a Monday.  This means back to work and school for most.  For me it means another day in the world of technology.  What has happened and what are we looking forward to this week?  First off there are reports that pre-orders for the new Samsung Galaxy S8 are shipping.  This is exciting news for lucky pre-order individuals.  Speaking of Samsung, they have an insights program that can lead to them giving you hardware in exchange for regular feedback.  This program seems to be by invite only.  I know about this because I have received a few emails from them in the past concerning this. I actually received an email about maybe being able to test the new S8.  I am not sure if I have been selected, but look forward to finding out in the next few weeks or so.  I will keep you all posted!  So, what else?  Google has officially released Wear 2.0 and manufactures are starting to roll out the update to users.  This update took a long while to come around and experienced many snags down the l…

Apple and Disney?

Today I read an article that suggested something very interesting.  An Apple and Disney combination.   It is no secrete that Apple has a vast amount of cash on hand.  I have heard as much as 350 billion.  The article suggested they could spend a cool 237 billion of that to buy Disney.  Will this actually happen?  Probably not.  But think about it.  That would be a powerhouse combination like non other.  Disney is the undisputed king of TV and most movies.  Apple the king of the mobile phone and computer industry. Imagine them together ruling the media and tech world.  It actually is beginning to sound like an empire.  I want to make it clear that this is just one opinion of an analyst and is no way indicative of Apple's planes or anything of that sort.  Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading and as always, all products pictured or referenced to are sole property of their owners.

--@gartner_andrew

Best Tech From China...But Should You Bother?

Let us take a moment and enjoy the day.  Now that we have that out of the way let’s chat about the best tech from China.  Let’s cover a few items and see if getting tech from China is actually a good idea.  All items listed and linked are available on GearBest at the time this article was written.  First up is in the phone department.  I have talked about Xiaomi before and they are first up.  Their budget handset the Redmi 4 is on sale today.  This phone is selected because the Redmi line has always been the best bang for buck in terms budget/mid-range smartphone market.  Now with this phone you don’t get the latest in terms of specs, but you do get a high powered phone that is smooth to use and has enough power to handle most users needs.  This is a good buy.  Next up is in the world of wearables.  There are as many Chinese wearables as there are words it seems.  One to take note of is the Zeblaze ZeeBand.  This one looks a lot like a Fitbit, but is far less expensive.  It also has g…

The future of home automation.

Do you remember all the sci-fi shows where the appliances and electronics have a conversation with you?  Have you ever wanted this in your home?  Well there might be good news.  This article was spurred on by my running into more companies opening up their automation platform to more and more developers.  Today we just saw this from Amazon with the Alexa developer program.  Over the past year or so I have noticed that there has been a huge push to have everything in your home have some type of smart function.  We saw a few different refrigerator companies come out with units that have huge screen that can show you what is inside your fridge at any time.  I am so happy to have this as an option.  Maybe someday I can finally not have to open the fridge every time I want to know what is inside.  This is such a time consumer for me right now.  Anyway, moving on.  The best application I have seen home automation come into is lighting, security systems, and thermostats.  I am a fan of these…

Too Busy to Shop...or Make Dinner?

Have you ever been so busy doing important things that you don’t have time to make dinner or even go shopping?  If so, this article is for you.  If you are someone who has time to do these ordinary tasks then maybe another article might interest you more.  Or maybe you want to keep reading and see what is in store.  Today I am going to shed some light on the complex world of delivery services.  We are not talking about the pizza place that delivers pizza to you.  We are talking about services like Uber, PostMates, Google Express, Amazon Fresh, and others.  In fact, there are so many that I had to narrow down my topic in order to make it a readable length.  Let’s talk about Uber, PostMates, and Google Express.  Uber is probably the most familiar name out there.  Most everyone has used them get rides to the airport or home from the bar and what not.  A little while back they began allowing Uber drivers to deliver food from pre-set places to customers homes.  This was an interesting conc…

Another MacBook Pro Update

Hello, I am back again today.  I wanted to give another update to my MacBook Pro saga.  I am happy to say that the computer is working well.  I did have to do a few more tweaks to do to it though.  I left off last by cleaning the computer out, replacing the battery, and adding RAM.  I am still trying to get the laptop to 8GB from its current 6GB.  Anyway, I went a step further.  I fully disassembled the computer and cleaned even more dust and gunk from the internal components.  This is a long process given al the neatly tucked cables and ribbon cables that are everywhere.  That was not the only reason I wanted to open the computer though.  I also wanted to reapply the thermal compound to the CPU and the GPU.  I initially wanted to see of I could put a new chip into the computer but found that the chips are soldered onto the board.  I could have looked up the specs to find this out but I wanted to try it for myself.  Let’s just say I don’t like to read the instructions.  I prefer to tr…

WWDC June Expectations

Today I want to chat about what we think will be in store for Apple’s WWDC in June.  While June is a few months away we have a decent idea what to expect.  First up is in the Siri department.  Last year we saw Siri come to the Mac.  This was a big announcement and showed what Apple can do with integration and continuity.  This is something that has been big in the Apple ecosystem.  This year I would expect to see further integration and more options for developers on the Mac side.  We already have the integration tools on the iOS side.  I have even heard some rumors of a standalone Siri speaker.  You know like the Google Home or Echo.  This may be far fetched, but we should get a better idea of this as we get closer to the event.  Next up would be the software side of things.  It is pretty safe to assume that software will take up the majority of the event.  We can expect to see a new iOS version, probably iOS 11, and new macOS versions too.  On the macOS side I would not be surprised…

What I Want From Google

Hello, I have done a few what we want from Apple articles but thought we would talk about what I want from Google.  We can’t leave them out of the request list.  That would be just mean.  Anyway, what do I want from Google?  To start the request list is the looming giant.  More hardware made by Google that is made to work perfectly with their OS.  They have the Pixel and the Pixel C but only the Pixel is really made perfectly to work with Android.  The Pixel C is an impressive tablet but hasn’t been updated in a long while.  Unfortunately the tablet has always been plagued with bugs and is outdated.  Enough about that though.  I would love to see Google improve the release schedule of their software.  This is an area that they are improving greatly but the gap is still significant.  I would also love to see more of their Google Labs projects come to life.  Their Labs team has made some of the coolest projects I have ever seen.  I am aware that Google Glass and Project Are never really…

A Different Take on Smart

Tonight I want to talk a little more about the Nextbit Robin.  I briefly mentioned the device in the previous post. I wanted to get more into detail now.  I have owned this device on two different occasions and have had a decent amount of time with it.  So, what sets this phone apart?  This phone is different than in that combines cloud based storage with hardware storage.  Let me explain.  The Robin uses cloud storage to save space when your phone starts to fill up.  It does this by archiving the apps you use the least.  This can lead to a bit of a slower load time when you go to use those apps though.  Other than the cloud based storage this phone has decent specs.  It has a snapdragon 808 chip with 3GB of RAM and 32 GB ROM.  You get a 5.2” 1080p IPS screen with the latest gorilla glass.  The phone has fingerprint ID built into the home button and NFC for payments.  The phone features the latest quick charge.  I found it interesting that the battery is not listed in the specs.  With…

What is the Best Budget Smartphone?

What is the best budget smartphone on the market today?  This is a frequently asked question.  There are also many answers to this question.  So, for better or for worse here is my take on this age old question.  I am going to introduce a few different phones.  I will not be getting into super detail on each.  First up isn’t actually one phone but a series of phones from Motorola.  These guys have a few lines available.  The best budget ones are in the G family.  I wrote about one of there newer models, the G Plus, that is available on Amazon for less than 200 USD.  The only catch here is it is available to prime members who are willing to allow ads on the lock screen.  Regardless a really good price for a decently speced phone.  This would be my choice in the G line.  Next up is another phone that is frequently on sale on Amazon.  The Nexbit Robin.  I have had this device in the past and have always been very impressed with the unit.  This one has been as low as 150 USD on Amazon in …

Another S8 Update.

I am back and this time we are going to talk a little more about the new Samsung Galaxy S8.  Previously we got into the nitty-gritty with an in-depth look at the specs.  This time we are taking a different approach.  I want to talk about the pros and cons of the new phone.  While I know the phone has not reached users hands yet, we still have a decent amount of into about the devices.  Thanks to a few well known YouTubers I have been able to see the device a little more closely.  So, let’s talk about the pros first.  We like to start with the positive before crushing your hopes and dreams.  I will give you  sneak preview of the final thought.  Get the phone.  Anyway, my first pro is the screen.  I have to start here.  The screen on this phone is beyond incredible.  The Infinity Display, that is what they are calling it, is the brightest most vivid display yet.  The colors on the display come to life.  The bezel-less design feels more fluid and vivid in your hand.  I am a fan.  Next up…

Tech Deals Anyone?

Today I want to show some deals that have surfaced over the past few days.  The latest being the ongoing Amazon Unlocked Phone sale.  I bring this one up first because there are some really good deals here.  One example is the Lenovo Tango phone is on sale for 399.99 USD.  These phones are also all unlocked.  I will link them all above.  I was very interested in the Sony Xperia phones that are included in this deal.  I am told that this is a limited time sale that will not last long.  It is also worth mentioning that through Amazon Prime you can get the 5th generation Moto G Plus with lock screen ads for 185 USD.  This deal does require a valid Prime membership.  This unlocked phone event does include the addition of a few unusual named phones that are not too common.  In other news I recently saw the Huawei P9 on sale on Amazon as well.  It seems that Amazon is the place to go for tech deals.  If you search hard enough I have heard rumors that the new LG Watch Style on sale for aroun…

New App?

Hello there.  So, what is new for today?  Well, I have something special for you this time.  I am building and testing a new App.  That is correct, we are about to launch a brand new iPhone app.  I am not going to share a lot of details just yet, but I am very excited for what is coming.  The app will be only for iPhone.  Cost and such are still to be determined.  The app will feature original content and it looks great.  So, now that we got that out of the way, what else is there to talk about?  Amazon is next up.  This is because Amazon has officially announced Alexa on the iPhone.  This one is not a standalone app like some assistants are.  Alexa is now baked into the very powerful Amazon app.  There has always been a microphone button near the search bar,  now when you hit that button Alexa comes up to help you out.  I have played around with Alexa a short while back.  I have used the various Alexa powered speakers that Amazon has released.  I have used the echo tap and the echo d…

What I Want

Today I want to talk about a few phones that I wish would be available from the manufacturer in the US.  The first one I did a review on a short while back.  The Huawei P10.  This is a newer phone that was announced earlier this year at MWC 2017.  I have actually seen a few giveaways for this phone.  The folks over at Android Authority are running one now.  Anyway, this phone has great specs, looks good, and preforms well.  The second phone I would love to see here is the Xiaomi Mi series.  These phones can be picked up at GearBest but you will pay a little more and have to deal with customs on this one. These phones are made by a company that is called the Apple of China.  Not sure if they appreciate that title.  These phones are incredibly good looking.  They also are the people behind the Mi Mix.  This guy is a truly bezel-less phone that looks insane.  I will talk more about that phone latter on.  The final phone I want to see in the US are the various UMI devices from China.  The…

Is the Samsung S8 Worth it?

I am back.  Today let's talk about one of the hottest topics around.  The S8.  But is it worth it?  Let's find out.  The S8 is the latest flagship phone from Samsung.  After the unfortunate Note 7 episode Samsung claims they buckled down on testing and will not let it happen again.  Anyway, what is inside the S8.  The S8 is rocking a gorgeous quad HD+ Super AMOLED display at 2960 x 1440 that is bezel-less.  The screen looks beautiful.  I mean WOW.  Anyway the phone has a 8MP AF front camera with a F1.7 aperture.  Also supports wide selfies...The rear camera is a duel pixel 12MP OIS camera at the same F1.7 aperture.   It has a whole slew of features and things to make you look like a killer photographer.  The phone shoots full 4K video at 30 fps.  With 8x digital zoom.  Can even take 9MP photos while shooting 4K.  This thing has an Octa-Core 64 bit chip at the 10nm size.  It's fast to say the least.  You get 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM standard.  This one is also expandable via Mi…