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The only app that matters this year is Signal

Date Published: Tue, 19 Dec 2017 23:45:03 +0200

The only app that matters this year is Signal

For the uninitiated, Signal is a free and secure messaging application that allows for encrypted texts, phone calls, and video chats between users. That's basically it. Sure, it has a ton of neat features (like disappearing messages), but a big part of what makes it so important is just how simple it is.

If you can use iMessage, you can use Signal. If you can figure out how to send a text message, you can figure out Signal.

And that's the way it should be. With Signal, the private way to communicate is also the easy and free one. No more mucking about with PGP, and no more wondering just who, exactly, is reading your messages.

"There are no ads, no affiliate marketers, no creepy tracking," Whisper Systems explains on its website. "Just open technology for a fast, simple, and secure messaging experience."

The app is available for both Android and iOS, and even has a desktop version.

See http://on.mash.to/2BNE5qP


4 Best Linux Distributions To Install On A Google Chromebook

Date Published: Tue, 19 Dec 2017 22:48:12 +0200

4 Best Linux Distributions To Install On A Google Chromebook

The good thing about Chrome hardware is the price. Thanks to Google, anyone can go out and buy a $350 laptop for 199-250 dollars. They usually have good battery life, decent screens and just enough RAM/storage space to accomplish day to day things.

Google is responsible for getting computers into the hands of more and more people. They subsidize the cost of Chromebooks, and as a result, more people have laptops. Trouble is, the operating system on these Chrome devices are locked down, don’t respect user privacy, and don’t have a lot to offer outside of a web browser. If you’ve unlocked the bootloader on your Chrome device, and want to replace the operating system, Linux is the best choice. Linux operating systems are free, and will run on anything. Here are the best Linux distributions to install on a Google Chromebook.

See http://bit.ly/2B1iJma


31% battery left after two days of use with Google Pixel 2 XL

Date Published: Mon, 18 Dec 2017 23:27:50 +0200

31% battery left after two days of use with Google Pixel 2 XL

This was from being unplugged Saturday morning and up to Sunday midnight without the normal night charge I"d do. It included instant messaging, some calls, about three hours of podcast listening over Bluetooth, some Waze navigation, Foursquare checking etc.

Goes to show that if there are no badly behaving apps, a phone should / could get a good two days use between charges. The screenshots below show some of the battery stats. Accubattery is showing the battery health at 107% still.

18/12/2017


The HTC Vive VR Headset works with Windows and Linux OS on Steam VR Games

Date Published: Mon, 18 Dec 2017 03:39:04 +0200

The HTC Vive VR Headset works with Windows and Linux OS on Steam VR Games

The video below gives a good sense (OK the player is a bit overexcited!) of what a realistic VR game can look like (complete with rusty machinery and dead flies). What is also of interest about this particular headset (used with many similar games in Steam) is that it now also works on Linux - https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-4.15-Non-Desktop-Quirk. I'm trying really hard not to buy one...

Watch the video of Derail Valley at http://bit.ly/2CrcDMg


Fernbus Simulator Reloaded - Look at the Reflection Detail and Night Light Effects

Date Published: Sun, 17 Dec 2017 16:54:12 +0200

Fernbus Simulator Reloaded - Look at the Reflection Detail and Night Light Effects

This sim reminds me very much of ETS2 in terms of the attention to detail and graphics. I set the video link below to start during one of the stops where QwertyAfro walks around the bus and you can see all the reflections off the bus as if you are walking around a real bus at night. What also shows up nicely is the effect of the city lights and streetlights casting very natural glows.

At this position you can see him running through the various switches on the dashboard and seeing what they do - https://youtu.be/rc5hT_l8kbc?t=16m12s.

See https://youtu.be/rc5hT_l8kbc?t=33m32s


The Renault Zoe is a very popular electric vehicle in Europe

Date Published: Sun, 17 Dec 2017 15:28:03 +0200

The Renault Zoe is a very popular electric vehicle in Europe

With Nissan announcing it's 2018 model its worth remembering that Renault's Zoe is already in its second generation and has been very popular in Europe (14.7% market share). This is partly because it is an EU car, it is very reasonably priced, and is more pitched at what the average driver is looking for.

The 2nd gen Zoe has an increased range of 300km (187mi) and can be fully charged in 1-1.5 hours using a fast charger. At home with a regular outlet, the same can be achieved in 8-10 hours. The French government supports EV’s with a 6,000 EUR credit as well as an additional 4,000 EUR “cash-for-clunkers” credit when you trade in an ICE vehicle older than ten years. Public charging for the Renault is free in France with an Z.E. Pass whereas diesel and gasoline are quite expensive. This makes the Zoe an attractive option when compared to other compact ICE cars, like the Renault Clio. The Zoe is available with four different option packages; Life Gamme, Zen Gamme, Intens Gamme and the most luxurious the Edition One. Pricing starts at 23,700 EUR and tops out at 28,100 EUR, excluding the government discounts. What is different with the Zoe is that the battery can be leased from Renault for three years at 69.- EUR per month for 17,500km per year, 79.- EUR for 30,000km per year and 119.- for unlimited kilometers per year. This program was originally introduced to keep the car more competitively priced and to take away any concerns about the longevity and depreciation of the batteries in the Zoe. Renault will maintain the batteries and replace them free of charge when they drop below 75% of their original performance, regardless of the age of the vehicle. In addition to this Renault also offers a four-year, 100,000-mile warranty with European roadside assistance.

See http://bit.ly/2BoYBLJ


Anyone else had a #WeFix screen protector crack like this within a month?

Date Published: Sun, 17 Dec 2017 13:57:52 +0200

Anyone else had a #WeFix screen protector crack like this within a month?

I bought this R299 WeFix screen protector in the first week of November for my daughter's iPhone, after being upsold to the more expensive screen protector. They fitted it for us in the shop. It had a 3-month warranty on it so after she saw cracks appearing and the bottom right side starting to lift up, I thought that was not a problem as I'd take it back. So I finally got back to the WeFix shop at Canal Walk today and got told that the phone had been dropped so it is not covered by the warranty. The drop is determined by the straight crack that runs from the bottom left side up at direction 2 o'clock. No signs of impact depression at all and my daughter can't recall dropping it. All that I had noticed was that bottom right side steadily lift and I had to cut the piece off that was lifting out of fear of it slicing my daughter's finger.

I suppose the lesson learnt is that you must not spend too much on screen protectors and we're rather going to replace it with a cheaper R199 one. It's also one of those items that is unlikely to be warranty replaced. Reminds me a bit of the "water damage" issues that used to crop up with phones that failed a few years back.

It would be interesting to hear from others though who have bought the harder screen protectors, whether they have lasted well, or have they had similar issues. I've normally bought the thin protectors and must say I've never had to replace anyone of them.

17/12/2017


Are you still using an RSS reader?

Date Published: Sun, 17 Dec 2017 05:58:03 +0200

Are you still using an RSS reader?

Well, 76% of the readers of this article replied "Yes, Religiously", as do I, but instead of Feedly I am using Inoreader with a subscription service. Inoreader gives a lot better management over feed subscriptions like how often they update, which do you read the most, etc.

See http://bit.ly/2CosXgz


You can now download Google Chrome beta and start muting autoplay videos

Date Published: Sun, 17 Dec 2017 03:34:08 +0200

You can now download Google Chrome beta and start muting autoplay videos

These are the videos that blare out after I open a new tab late at night and the rest of the house is sleeping... In the couple of seconds it takes you to find where the video is playing on the page, everyone is pretty well much rudely awakened.

Back in September, Google said Chrome 64 would address several user concerns around content that autoplays, most notably, the ability to have autoplay videos go silent by default. Now, if you’re really keen on testing it out, you do so today by downloading the Chrome 64 beta. The company said the full autoplay video blocking feature, which is part of a broader ad blocking effort in Chrome that’s been in the works for quite some time, would arrive in the consumer version of the browser come January.

See http://bit.ly/2Cpqym3


Another startup is attempting to make all-in-one credit cards a thing - Plastc may yet be born

Date Published: Sat, 16 Dec 2017 23:30:11 +0200

Another startup is attempting to make all-in-one credit cards a thing - Plastc may yet be born

Smart credit cards that let you toggle between multiple digitally saved credit cards haven't had a great run. Plastc, which raised more than $9 million in preorders, failed to ever ship a product and filed for bankruptcy. Coin, on the other hand, managed to ship a card, but ended its product services after Fitbit acquired the company. Still, the dream isn't dead, yet.

A company called Edge announced today that it's acquiring Plastc for an undisclosed sum with the goal of incorporating its tech into the company's own all-in-one credit card. Edge hopes to start shipping cards in the next seven months and won't rely on preorder money. Instead, it's depending on private equity.

But yes the world has moved on in the meantime with wearable NFC, chip-and-PIN, tap-and-go, etc payments... So this card has to somehow also incorporate those advances.

See http://bit.ly/2BkPqMl


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