If you think Facebook has no competition, just ask Telegram who experienced a spike in registrations during the recent Facebook outage

Date Published: Sat, 16 Mar 2019 15:59:11 +0200

Facebook is often seen as an untouchable behemoth in the social media realm, a site so big that no competitor can come close. But if you trust Pavel Durov, the founder of messaging app Telegram, even a simple stumble from Facebook like a few hours of outage can have pretty serious consequences for its user base.

On Thursday, shortly after Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp came back online, Durov said on his Telegram channel (via TechCrunch) that "3 million users signed up for Telegram within the last 24 hours."

Telegram is interesting in that it allows for massive groups without adverts, bots, has channels, and even automation notifications via APIs. Telegram also has a desktop browser client that does not require your phone to be connected. I've also seen quite a few of my own friends suddenly appearing on Telegram this month.



Android Q’s Desktop Mode is real, here’s your first look

Date Published: Fri, 15 Mar 2019 23:24:39 +0200

You can add app shortcuts to the desktop which launch in freeform multi-windows, a feature which first launched with Android 7.0 Nougat. You can also set a custom wallpaper for the desktop. The status bar and navigation bar seem unchanged, but you have a lot more room to work with now.

It’s possible to enable this desktop mode by going to Developer Options on a Google Pixel, Pixel 2, or Pixel 3running the beta and enabling the “force desktop mode” Developer Option, then launching the activity in the Pixel Launcher using the “GMS” command from above. You’ll need to change your Pixel’s DPI before casting or connecting your phone’s screen to any external displays, though.

This certainly looks interesting and is something I'm going to keep an eye on as we hear about more practical ways this may be used. Looks like Android Q is certainly going to be bringing quite a few new interesting features. I'm also really keen on the full dark mode.


#androidq #desktop

Firefox and Vivaldi have great vertical tab functionality but you can nearly replicate it on Chrome/Chromium/Brave using vTabs

Date Published: Fri, 15 Mar 2019 22:06:41 +0200

It's not as perfect as the Firefox and Vivaldi options but it does work reasonably well. The extension has a number of options that can be set (it runs through a wizard on the first install) but to replicate Firefox/Vivaldi best you can try the "Always on page with adaption" but it is true that this breaks some sites like Netflix - but clicking on the extension icon gives you a quick setting to disable it just for as specific domain.

What it does not offer is any tab stacking.

Install it from…

#vtabs #tabs #chrome


Netflix will now work on Brave Browser from version 62 by easily installing Widevine

Date Published: Fri, 15 Mar 2019 21:51:27 +0200

Seeing that Brave is getting more popular, running Netflix and similar DRM media may be a challenge for some users. As of 12th March 2019, there is now built-in support from version 62 (currently the Beta) version.

You can follow the instructions at… to install it.

#bravebrowser #drm #widevine


Why Digital Detoxes Don't Work - Like Diets You Either Change Your Lifestyle Or You May Be Wasting Your Time

Date Published: Fri, 15 Mar 2019 20:39:28 +0200

The original point of a detox was that if you literally have a toxic substance in your body, you need to get rid of it. Our bodies do not accumulate a substance called “digital,” so this concept does not apply.

A digital detox is more like a crash diet. You eat nothing (or, like, just juice) for a time, with the hopes that you get skinnier during that time. You may hope that you’ll get out of the habit of eating high-calorie food (or checking your phone all the time). But really, it’s just a way of assuaging guilt before you go back to your old habits.

In a sense, it is a hack to quit Facebook and leave all the emotional labor to your spouse/partner. But there is nothing you can discover during a digital detox that will change the fact that mega-corporations use your attention as fuel for stockholders. So take a “detox” if you like, but be honest with yourself if it’s just a vacation.

What has helped a bit for me (but more for saving battery screen time) is to disable pop up notifications for social media sites (I look at them later after work) but I still allow instant messenger notifications through. That separates the more urgent from the less urgent and halves the notifications I get every day.


#detox #digitaldetox

Vodacom launches eSIM support in South Africa - their OneNumber will allow customers to use a single mobile number across multiple devices

Date Published: Wed, 13 Mar 2019 20:51:28 +0200

An eSIM is an embedded SIM which is built into a device and needs to be enabled by a mobile network to function.

The technology is used by Apple’s iPhone Xs range (Samsung Galaxy watches, Google Pixel phones, etc), in addition to a physical SIM slot – allowing for dual-SIM functionality. Embedded SIMs are also found in smart wearables from major device manufacturers like Samsung and Apple, allowing them to connect to mobile networks and function with a cellular connection.

Vodacom said users will be charged a R25 monthly fee for data sharing on the LTE connection across the smartphone and wearable. A R98 once-off connection fee for the service will also be applicable.


#esim #southafrica #vodacom


Twitter RSS feeds are a free ad-free way to follow specific Twitter accounts - No wonder Twitter disabled them years ago

Date Published: Wed, 13 Mar 2019 20:41:20 +0200

I still find a free RSS reader a more efficient way to follow lots of news updates from various sources. It's cleaner than 50 e-mails per day or trying to visit separate sites etc. So although Twitter has discontinued their built-in RSS feed there are various services offering 3rd party RSS feeds for any Twitter account.

With social media sites like Friendica you can still directly subscribe to follow any Twitter account but they also allow you to add an RSS feed as a contact to follow - nice, the way social media sites should all be!


#RSS #twitter

Launch & Abandon Trap – Why Innovation Fails - “Leadership announced our new innovation initiatives at the company-wide meeting but then I didn’t hear another word about it”

Date Published: Wed, 13 Mar 2019 13:43:20 +0200

Over the years I've some very public announcements by CEOs (one even on a public platform from a major ISP) and yet when the waters were tested with innovation ideas.... zero. The ironic thing for me was that my suggestion to the ISP became a reality about two or three years later

Personally, I gauge such announcements by whether there is some institutional support mechanism put in place to measure and monitor such activities (and not just a count of what was submitted for KPI measures).

The linked article expands on four steps to avoid launch and abandon innovation: Unlock, Ignite, Access and Sustain.



YouTube Premium launched in South Africa includes Google Play Music but seems to exclude YouTube Original Movies

Date Published: Tue, 12 Mar 2019 23:17:05 +0200

YouTube Music has been integrated with Google Play Music, and if you are a Play Music subscriber, you will automatically receive a subscription to YouTube Music Premium. What is interesting about this is I recall paying a lot more for Google Music Premium a year back. YouTube Premium brings not only ad-free viewing but also the ability to download songs and videos for offline viewing.

YouTube Music Premium is available for R59.99 a month, or R89.99 per month for a Family Plan. A free trial of YouTube Music Premium is also available through the YouTube website.

YouTube Premium is available for R71.99, while the Family plan is R109.99 per month. A Family subscription allows up to six members to share a single subscription. All family members must be 13 or older, have a Google Account, and reside in the same household as the family manager.


#youtubepremium #southafrica

Forget Everything You Think (Thought, Will Think?) You Know About Time - Carlo Rovelli's Fascinating Hour-Long Lecture On The Nature Of Time

Date Published: Tue, 12 Mar 2019 23:06:49 +0200

Rovelli challenges our common-sense notion of time, starting with the idea that it ticks everywhere at a uniform rate. In fact, clocks tick slower when they are in a stronger gravitational field. When you move nearby clocks showing the same time into different fields—one in space, the other on Earth, say—and then bring them back together again, they will show different times. “It’s a fact,” Rovelli said, and it means “your head is older than your feet.” Also a non-starter is any shared sense of “now.” We don’t really share the present moment with anyone. “If I look at you, I see you now—well, but not really, because light takes time to come from you to me,” he said. “So I see you sort of a little bit in the past.” As a result, “now” means nothing beyond the temporal bubble “in which we can disregard the time it takes light to go back and forth.”

Rovelli turned next to the idea that time flows in only one direction, from past to future. Unlike general relativity, quantum mechanics, and particle physics, thermodynamics embeds a direction of time. Its second law states that the total entropy, or disorder, in an isolated system never decreases over time. Yet this doesn’t mean that our conventional notion of time is on any firmer grounding, Rovelli said. Entropy, or disorder, is subjective: “Order is in the eye of the person who looks.” In other words the distinction between past and future, the growth of entropy over time, depends on a macroscopic effect—“the way we have described the system, which in turn depends on how we interact with the system,” he said.

What a fascinating and thought-provoking talk. I really love these types of talks that shake up the way you look at the world.

See… where there is also an embedded copy of the video.


Subscribe to GadgeteerZA Blog Posts