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Replacement battery for my Google Nexus 6P phone arrived today, along with tools to do the job

Posted on: Tue, 2017-08-08 - 21:38 By: danie

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Replacement battery for my Google Nexus 6P phone arrived today, along with tools to do the job

My phone also picked up the dreaded battery problem a few months back (it basically dies when the battery reaches 25%). As the battery is not normally replaceable, and an assortment of tools is required to do the job. So it all arrived today and I need to schedule the courage now to get it done. It will either be all better.... or all worse...

The battery is not available locally and neither were many of the tools... the price of buying imported phones without replaceable batteries.... but the freedom makes it worthwhile!

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Android 8.0’s “streaming OS updates” will work even if your phone is full

Posted on: Mon, 2017-08-07 - 22:45 By: danie

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Android 8.0’s “streaming OS updates” will work even if your phone is full

We've probably all had this happen at one point or another: it's time for an OS update, and your phone wants to download a ~1GB brick of an update file. On Android, normally this gets downloaded to the user storage partition and flashed to the system partition. But wait—if your phone is full of pictures, or videos, or apps, there may not be enough space to store the update file. In such circumstances, the update fails, and the user is told to "free up some space." According to the latest source.android.com documentation, Google has cooked up a scheme to make sure that an "insufficient space" error will never stop an update again.

Where the heck can Google store the update if your phone is full, though? If you remember in Android 7.0, Google introduced a new feature called "Seamless Updates." This setup introduced a dual system partition scheme—a "System A" and "System B" partition. The idea is that, when it comes time to install an update, you can normally use your phone on the online "System A" partition while an update is being applied to the offline "System B" partition in the background. Rather than the many minutes of downtime that would normally occur from an update, all that was needed to apply the update was a quick reboot. At that point, the device would just switch from partition A to the newly updated partition B.

Even better news is that it looks like this will be coming to Google Play Services too!

See https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/08/android-8-0s-streaming-os-updates-will-work-even-if-your-phone-is-full/

Android 8.0’s “streaming OS updates” will work even if your phone is full
Android's new OS update scheme should banish the "insufficient space" error forever.

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How to get a Bitcoin or Ethereum debit card in South Africa

Posted on: Mon, 2017-08-07 - 21:43 By: danie

How to get a Bitcoin or Ethereum debit card in South Africa

A number of South African online stores accept payment in Bitcoin, but most brick-and-mortar retailers only accept cash or card.

Cryptocurrency holders looking to spend their digital tokens without converting them to fiat currency, however, can do so with a debit card linked to a virtual wallet.

Cryptopay is an online Bitcoin wallet which allows users to purchase and transfer Bitcoin. The company also offers a VISA debit card, which can be loaded with Bitcoin and used to purchase items or draw fiat currency from ATMs.

The card can reflect either GBP, EUR, or USD amounts, and can be funded by Bitcoin transactions.

Users can order the Cryptopay Bitcoin debit card online through the official website for $15, and the company offers free delivery worldwide. The physical card also has a monthly service fee of $1.00 and a 1% loading fee.

The card can be used without submitting any identity verification documents beyond your billing address, although you will need to verify your identity to remove the transaction and withdrawal limits.

The Cryptopay card can take up to six weeks to arrive in SA, and can be used at any VISA-compatible points of sale.

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/cryptocurrency/220264-how-to-get-a-bitcoin-or-ethereum-debit-card-in-south-africa.html

 

How to get a Bitcoin or Ethereum debit card in South Africa
Ordering a cryptocurrency debit card allows you to spend your Bitcoin or Ethereum in South Africa.

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What You Can and Can't Recycle

Posted on: Mon, 2017-08-07 - 21:33 By: danie

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What You Can and Can't Recycle

Can you recycle plastic bags? Do you have to scrub out your containers? What about paper towels?

Every major curbside recycling program takes clean paper and cardboard, metal cans, and plastic jugs and bottles. Beyond that, things get complicated. But some general rules apply. Recycling incorrect items (eg. soft plastic bags) can actually cause more expense and waste. And local rules are also important like some recycling depots only take whole glass bottles and not broken glass.

See http://lifehacker.com/what-you-can-and-cant-recycle-1797603814

What You Can and Can't Recycle
We recently got new recycling bins at the Lifehacker office, and suddenly realized no one knew all the rules about recycling. Can you recycle plastic bags? Do you have to scrub out your containers? What about paper towels?

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Using Plotagraph on Mac, Windows and iOS to create animated photos

Posted on: Mon, 2017-08-07 - 05:33 By: danie

Think of those moving Harry Potter photos… It’s also a new word, so you’re super-excused for not knowing it! It simply means a “looping” photograph. You begin with a SINGLE image (not a movie file), like a JPG, and then you use Plotagraph to “animate” it. The resulting image is a repeating movie file that loops so smoothly, you can’t tell the seam. There’s also some crazy new tech on there, like morphing and more.

See some examples and how it is done at https://www.stuckincustoms.com/plotagraph-review/

A Better, Safer Battery Could Be Coming to a Laptop Near You

Posted on: Sun, 2017-08-06 - 08:38 By: danie

Startup Unveils Revolutionary New Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries can be made far more cheaply and safely than today’s lithium-ion batteries, but they are not rechargeable. That issue, along with the superior power of lithium-ion batteries, has meant that alkaline batteries are not used in personal computers, smartphones or electric vehicles.

Ionic could change that equation with an alkaline battery the company said could be recharged hundreds of times. One additional benefit of the company’s breakthrough: An alkaline battery would not be as prone to the combustion issues that have plagued lithium-ion batteries in a range of products, most notably some Samsung smartphones.

Cheaper and more powerful batteries are also considered by many to be the driver needed to make the cost of renewable energy technologies like wind and solar competitive with the coal, gas and nuclear power that support the national energy grid.

Ionic said it had developed prototypes of a rechargeable alkaline battery that can be made using continuous manufacturing processes similar to the making of plastic wrap. So far, the company, which is backed by William Joy, a pioneering Silicon Valley computer designer, has demonstrated up to 400 recharge cycles for its prototypes. Ionic executives say they believe they will be able to triple that.

The alkaline batteries that Ionic has developed would initially be heavier than today’s lithium-ion batteries, said Mike Zimmerman, a materials scientist who is the founder and chief executive of Ionic. But the new batteries would more than compensate for that handicap with their cost advantage and, in time, their ability to store more energy.

See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/technology/alkaline-batteries-replace-lithium-ion.html

A start-up company in Massachusetts says it has found a way to turbocharge alkaline batteries for a safer, cheaper and rechargeable alternative to lithium ion.

LastPass doubles price of its Premium plan, removes features from its free service tier

Posted on: Sun, 2017-08-06 - 07:07 By: danie

LastPass doubles price of its Premium plan, removes features from its free service tier

As a long standing Premium customer of +LastPass, a doubling of the annual price leaves a pretty sour taste in my mouth. Even when LastPass expanded their free offering I opted to stay paying the premium subscription. Although they are probably the best password manager service out there, I have cancelled my subscription for now, while I have another good look around the market.

What I look for is form filling and password sync across all my devices - Mac, Linux, Windows, and Android - and the sync needs to be secure with end-to-end-encryption. Now that my NextCloud service is running nicely I'm willing to look for something that uses that as a password sync service and can cost between $10 to $15pa.

See https://www.neowin.net/news/lastpass-doubles-price-of-its-premium-plan-removes-features-from-its-free-service-tier

Speeding Up Your Podcasts Won’t Solve Your Problems

Posted on: Sat, 2017-08-05 - 03:31 By: danie

Speeding Up Your Podcasts Won’t Solve Your Problems

To fight the growing wave of podcasts released each day, a group of people have started listening to their favorite shows at hyperspeed. The only problem: They might not be comprehending much. It does depend on the type of podcast as well but it worth reading this before you start cranking the speeds over
1.5x and 2x.

In 2017, the estimated number of Americans who have listened to a podcast has risen 11 percent from 2016 to 112 million, according to Edison Research. Per the same Edison report, an estimated 42 million people listen to podcasts weekly. The total number of podcasts published throughout the internet remains unclear, but the growth in listenership points toward an expanding and open market that doesn’t just have a podcast for everyone, but allows everyone to have their own podcast. “I think podcasts have become the new blog,” said Sophia Boyd, a news assistant and weekend producer at NPR.

See https://theringer.com/inefficiency-week-podcasts-speed-comprehension-f0ea43949e42

If you want to comprehend everything you hear, you’re stuck with the normal human cadence

Fitbit for the blind: Echolocation-based smartwatch aids sightless steps

Posted on: Fri, 2017-08-04 - 09:03 By: danie

'Fitbit' for the blind: Echolocation-based smartwatch aids sightless steps

The Sunu band smartwatch, designed for people with visual impairments, uses a sonar sensor to detect objects and people within a 15-foot range. When it does, it gently vibrates to alert the wearer, changing intensity as an object or person gets closer. Wearers can also customize it using an iPhone app via Bluetooth, adjusting for walking speed and to make buzzes stronger or weaker.

Sunu, a company based in Boston and Guadalajara, Mexico, will start shipping the devices for $249 to $299 later this month.

See https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/08/fitbit-for-the-blind-echolocation-based-smartwatch-aids-sightless-steps/

Sonar sensor and gentle vibrations cue wearer in to surrounding objects, people.

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