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Category Archives for Technology

Quick List of Things to Expect & Hope for at WWDC 2016

It’s about an hour till Apple’s yearly World Wide Developer Conference kicks off & here’s a quick rundown of what we can expect & possibly hope for at this years event. Amidst all the sales figures & other achievements of Apple over the last year let’s focus on what we can expect from the two major categories Software & Hardware.

Software:

As the focus of said event is for developers we’re likely to see an update across all of Apple’s software OS lineup. In order to prepare developers for whats to come & what we as consumers can look forward to in the upcoming months feature wise.

iOS 10- 

We’re more than likely to see our first glimpse at the latest iOS version thats in the works & what we can expect to see from the next big update. This would likely include major updates to Siri, a redesigned music app, improved features such as 3D Touch and much more.

OS X 10.12- 

Going hand in hand with the mobile OS update would be a OS X update. No word on the possible naming scheme for said update but this would also bring Siri to mac finally & improvement across some of apple stock apps like Photos, Apple Music/iTunes, and so on.

TV OS 2-

The Apple TV software would be getting some love to in order to match up with iOS/OS X. Improved Siri functionality would make sense in order to have unified experience across all Apple devices along with some visual improvements throughout the OS.

Watch OS 3-

While we’d like to see a gen 2 of the Apple Watch all together if that’s not yet announced then we’ll settle for a OS update. Hopefully bringing improvements to the overall performance of the OS while also pushing for further Native app support on the watch.

 

Hardware:

On the hardware side of things it’s a bit different. While we may hear announcements we’re not likely to see anything ready for a June/July release time frame. So if anything we may get a teaser for new hardware or they may hold off all together on those announcements.

Macbook Pro 2016-

One of the most talked about pieces of hardware without a doubt is Apple’s Macbook Pro that’s been awaiting an update for quite some time now. This will include upgrades across all specs CPU, RAM, and so on. More importantly adopting an improved design with an OLED touch bar replacing the normal function key rows & some new USB-C ports to match their latest Macbook line.

Apple Cinema Display 5K Edition- 

Another big rumor is that of the Apple Cinema Display which is heavily outdated since its release years ago. The rumor is that Apple would be integrating the same 5K display from their iMac line into a standalone monitor form factor for power users & macbook users alike. This is something consumers have been awaiting for quite some time now & granted it’ll come with the Apple price point given the current display still retails for around $900+.

Macbook Air 2016-

A less likely rumor is that we’ll see an all new Macbook Air announcement at this event. Given that it was bumped up in RAM not that long ago this isn’t as likely to happen however we’re more than certain to see all macbook models eventually unified as far as specs & hardware by the end of 2016.

 

 

 

Gawker Files for Bankruptcy following the Hulk Hogan Case

The tech-sector has been buzzing lately over the controversial support of Silicon Valley mogul Peter Thiel in his funding support of Hulk Hogan’s case towards Gawker. While Gawker in itself is no stranger to controversial content the leak of the Hogan sex tape may have been their last time crossing the line. As a result of the Hogan case Gawker was fined $140 million. As a result of the legal fees & court decision Gawker has officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Sources have all stated that the current #1 bidder is Ziff Davis with a bid around $100 million.

The case & support of Thiel has been the center of discussion lately as people question the ethical standpoint of silencing journalists & their words by blatantly supporting a case in order to shut down the organization itself. All of this sparked by Gawker’s outing of Thiel’s sexual preference. Nonetheless Gawker has a very current situation to deal with & is responding by selling at a price that only weeks ago would’ve much higher.

Nick Denton the man behind Gawker had this to tweet:

 

Surely this won’t be the last we hear of said case & the future of Gawker as a whole however this does raise a lot of questions & in the eyes of not just Hogan but Thiel as well a victory.

 

Spotify Upgrades Family Plan (6 Users for $15)

Spotify has announced today that they’ll be upgrading their Family Plan for all users (excluding Canada) to a new $15 a month plan for up to 6 users. This matches their competitor Apple Music’s promising Family Plan. Saving users significantly over the months.

As a Spotify Family Plan member myself I was previously paying $25 USD a month for 5 users plus myself. Now I save around $120 a year for the same plan. The Family Plan includes separate accounts for users to use so that you can have your own playlists, saved songs, and so on. While access to over millions of songs in Spotify’s library.

In a very competitive music streaming space pricing & exclusivity seem to be the big factors in users choice. Now with Spotify matching Apple’s family plan it could incentivize more users to either switch, stay, or upgrade their account on the platform.

You can read the official announcement on Spotify’s blog here & sign up for the Family Plan here

Google’s Home to Compete w/Amazon’s Echo

Today marked the start of Google’s I/O developer conference. One of the many announcements included the introduction of Google Home. Their wi-fi speaker/AI built to compete with devices like Amzaon’s Echo & Echo Dot. These speaker assistants can do various things from playing music to updating you on the weather, traffic, and so on. The ability to connect to smart devices also allow you to control certain devices from lighting to a coffeemaker depending on your setup.

Google Home will be the first big hardware competitor to Alexa Amazon’s assistant. The Home sports a much more compact & playful design. Options available to replace the speaker grill to a color of your choice. All of course powered by the search engine that is Google.

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The Home will connect via wi-fi to your network & allow you to stream music via a variety of services & apps. All while offering the ability to trigger the assistant with the “Okay Google” keyword. Aside from having advanced voice recognition technology Google’s Home also has the ability to understand context something Alexa is still improving on. Asking a question & following it up with something relevant to what was last asked is where the Home shined in the demo.

Now this product was only announced at I/O in order to get developers to start working on various apps & connections that can be made. No official word on release date other than later in the year & pricing. However it’s no question that this will directly compete with Amazon’s Echo. Just like the Echo the Home interconnects with various devices around your house from Google. You can easily stream audio from the Home across to your Chrome cast connected devices either at your choosing or all at once.

The device looks promising however Amazon has definitely been pushing out updates over time to keep the Echo relevant over time & more and more smart devices are supporting it. We’re expected to see this sometime in fall in regards to pricing & more solid details in it’s capabilities.

Instagram’s New Flat UI

Instagram has been quietly testing out it’s flat UI for some users over the last couple weeks & it has made it’s way in a formal update today.

The new app icon is the first thing you’ll notice sporting a rainbow like color scheme. As Instagram puts it

Today we’re introducing a new look. You’ll see an updated icon and app design for Instagram. Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form.

More importantly the UI of the app itself has changed to an all new flat design. Sporting a simple black & white color scheme with flat buttons. The aim to simplify the design while maintain the same navigation as far as UX goes. Everything is still in the same place with a more simple look in order to allow focus on of course what matters most the content.

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Personally the app icon itself takes more adjusting to then the app design itself. Gone is the brown hue & camera we’ve grown to know on our homepage. However one thing  I’ve always appreciated about Instagram is the simplicity, surely theres been multiple features added over the years but the content is still front & center. What do you think about the all new minimal UI? Love it or hate it let me know.

 

Apple’s 2016 Macbook Rose Gold Update

Apple has quietly pushed out a 2016 update to their Macbook line. Bringing faster hardware to the same sleek Macbook design & adding in the famous Rose Gold (Pink) color to the lineup.

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Aside from the shiny pink I mean Rose Gold look all aesthetics are about the same port & dimension wise. The update brings changes internally, mainly that of the CPU & GPU. Adding in the new generation of Intel-M processors (namely the M3, M5 & M7). Further diving reveals that they’ve expanded the battery ever so slightly to produce longer life & small enhancements to hardware such as the PCI controller & DRAM speeds.

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The base model starts at $1,300 & can go upwards of $1,600 depending on your configuration. Real time results wise you get a 20-25% speed increase & almost 40% performance on the GPU side of things. By all means this isn’t going to make your previous Macbook obsolete. Ram capacity, hard drive options, and everything else is basically the same. However if you are already in the market for a Macbook there’s no better time then now to buy based off the recent refresh. This isn’t a powerhouse but for lightweight usage & basic video & photo editing task the Macbook performs decently.

However the update in itself is nothing surprising. More of a refresh but even at that your still stuck with just one USB-C port & outside the Intel changes the exact same hardware options. There was a lot wrong with the last gen Macbook & this simply gave it a speed bump without addressing the major issues. If you know what your looking for & what you’ll get out of this mac then by all means however I feel Apple could’ve waited on this one to push out a more substantial update.

 

 

 

Amazon’s Leaked Kindle Oasis

The upcoming Kindle that was announced by CEO Jeff Bezos a couple weeks back has now leaked to the net before official launch. Speculated to be called Kindle “Oasis” the popular e-reader looks to provide a better one handed experience with its new design.

The design which features an interesting take on the Kindle. Essentially adding a big handle to the it, this is meant to make one handed use much easier & convenient but as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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The supposed Oasis has a side profile similar to that of a trackpad from Apple or Logitech while the actual specs are said to be a screen of 300ppi & improved battery life. There is no set word on pricing & full specs just yet but from the looks of it we’ll see a better screen, new hinge like design to accommodate easier reading with one hand, and two physical buttons to navigate through pages & the Kindle interface.

What are your thoughts on the rumored Oasis? We’re likely to see an official release this month however as of now Amazon has declined to comment on any rumors/speculation related leaks.

 

 

The Case for the Subscription Model in the App Economy

Smile Software makers of TextExpander made a big announcement recently with regarding the pricing of their shortcut snippet software. The update sparking a conversation regarding the subscription model & it’s place in our app economy.

Essentially TextExpander pricing goes as follows:

$4 monthly/$48 Yearly (Annual Plan)

$5 monthly/$60 Yearly (Monthly Plan) 

Team plans & existing users get a discount to help save.

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The reaction to this has been very mixed some users in support of a tool they use everyday while others claim they’re basically getting charged more & not essentially owning the software. Now Smile is doing this in part to as they say free users of the upgrade treadmill & of course profit more in this model.

The feedback here however is interesting. The subscription model in itself is nothing new & has been around the internet for quite some time. Be it internet dating, music services, you name it. Though this day in age where we can buy an app with a tap of a finger the subscription model is being widely adapted. The argument of willingness to pay upfront for software or over time in a subscription model has it’s benefits & drawbacks. Paying upfront means you know what you get & you own the software for the most part. You pay more initially but if the tool at hand is something you use often then it’s worth every penny. A subscription model would disperse that payment over time & of course if you decide to stop using it you simply stop paying.  This model however can add up overtime. It’s also bills to worry about every month versus a one time payment.

Software-Sold

The bigger question here comes to that of worth. What is the app in question worth to you?  I think of my own subscription services & what I qualify as things I use often enough to justify a monthly subscription. Spotify, Apple Music, Netflix, HBO Go, are just a few examples. All services I use on a consistent basis & serve as the entertainment factor in my life. They save me money when I consider the cost of let’s say buying albums on a frequent basis or renting/buying TV shows. So in that case I find it highly worth it. These are also services that have been for the most part a subscription service from the start. Text Expander’s issue is that it’s been a tool that people have been gladly paying for. Despite paid upgrades & new versions people were loyal customers. It’s only in changing to a new model that requires a change in that, creating uproar. Now redefining how we see the app & it’s usefulness to us on a daily basis. Especially when there’s cheaper & similar alternatives to said app.

So the question comes what qualifies as a worth subscription model for you? An app, service, donation platform. The technology we use is changing & ways developers & companies gain revenue from it is changing to. If the tools & services we use are integral in our daily lives then the dollar value & what we’re willing to pay should reflect that. However it’s also key to realize that the consumer has a vast amount of options from cheaper to free nowadays beyond that there are some who simply can’t afford more monthly expenses. There are times where the case makes sense say the Adobe suite for example where rather than paying hundreds of dollars your paying twenty per month of use.

There’s a balance to be found in this system & the ever evolving app-economy. Both from the consumer & developer side of things. Until then we either give our business where we see fit or take it elsewhere. Leave your thoughts & opinions in the comments below or drop me a note on Twitter!

Yoink Overview- A Drag n Drop Shelf for OS X

  My thanks to Eternal Storms Software for sponsoring DigitalDojos this week. Eternal Storms Software houses a suite of OS X & iOS apps that make everyday life easier. Productive tools from Yoink, ScreenFloat and their free-ware app SiriMote will change the way you use your mac.

 Yoink is an app that is far better displayed then explained on paper. A drag n drop shelf for OS X users that changes the way your work & interact with files on your mac. The app retails for $7 on the Mac App Store or try a free demo via their site. Check out our full video overview to see it in action!

Video Overview:

The great thing about Yoink is it can be used in a variety of scenarios. For me recently it’s become even more essential given my smaller screen size I’ve been working on. The idea of Yoink is that it offers a tucked away menu that you can easily interact with by dragging & dropping files you interact with on a daily basis or per project. Freeing your mouse from having to drag files across the screen & across apps. The best example I can give is for those who work in fullscreen app environments. Whether your editing photos on photoshop, videos on Final Cut Pro X, or what have you. You can of course swipe between fullscreen environments with gestures or click on the Finder window & be thrown around or you can use a solution like Yoink. Take all the files your using & drag n drop them into your Yoink bar.

After that you simply go into your app of choice of when you need said files simply toggle your Yoink bar & drag the files in as needed. Again this is great because you can take files from your desktop or finder windows & stash them all in a place that is always accessible no matter what you doing in OS X. No need to find the correct Finder tab, file, or group of files when it’s all stashed in Yoink.

 

Yoink Options:

Matthias at Eternal Storms made the Yoink options super simple & to the point which is something I enjoy about the app. You can tweak it to your liking & adjust to whatever workflow you may have.

The app settings sit in your menu bar for you to access if need be adjusting options likeScreen Shot 2016-03-31 at 9.14.02 PM

Windows Position (Set Yoink bar position on your screen be it left or right)

Windows Size (Adjust the size of the Yoink bar from 3 files to biggest, smallest, or automatic)

Preferences allow you to tweak other options & behaviors of the app, such as controlling quick look preview options for files & so on.

 

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There’s a good amount of options to adjust how Yoink looks & acts based on your preferences.  You can have files stacked together when you are working with multiple lets say videos or photos for a project, or have them spread out depending on the option you prefer. This app truly changes the way I work when it comes to video editing projects in ScreenFlow & Final Cut. No longer do I have to constantly switch between windows or find certain files that may or may not be in one location. I simply take a couple seconds dragging and dropping the files I’m working with & just get to work. Saving me arguably the most important resource, time.

So if your looking to save time & improve your own workflow by simply putting that much more power in your drag n drop actions then look no further than Yoink. There’s no right or wrong way to use it. Treat it as your temporary shelf for a permanent home for the files. Organize your files with a simple click n drag, free your mouse up & get to work.

 

 

Lyft Introduces Lyft Carpool Service

It was only a matter of team that Lyft the ride sharing service introduced a carpool option to their app. The carpool feature is designed to allow commuters catch a ride with someone on the same route. This helps you make the commute to work & save on costs of course. As a drive you get paid essentially to take & drop a passenger off along the everyday route you take. The difference between this & Lyft’s line feature or Uber’s Pool feature is that it’s specifically meant for work related trips on existing routes that drivers take each day.

Nowadays, getting to work is work in itself. Congestion has become an inescapable part of the American commute, and rush hour is getting worse nationwide.* Yet 80% of Americans still drive to work alone because it’s their best option.** Until today.

The feature is rolling out into major cities starting with the San Francisco area. This can be ideal for those who typically take public transport, want to save on commute costs, and so on. The idea is that it’ll allow you travel a bit faster as with an extra passenger you can easily enter the carpool lane & get to work. It limits you to only picking up one passenger that way you don’t have to worry about multiple drop offs. Price wise Lyft is currently quoting prices anywhere for $4-10 for riders & drivers have the ability to up to $10 per trip without changing any of their routes.

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So if you commute & are already taking advantage of such ride sharing services & want to cut down on costs or a driver whose looking to make a couple extra bucks while helping someone else out then look into Lyft Carpool.

 Save $5 on your first Lyft ride for new users by using my code!

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