Long Live Touch ID

I must be one of the last hold outs that still like having Touch ID. Granted I have never owned a Face ID enabled device but most of my devices use it. I have iPads and iPhones that all use the tech and its nice to be able to share an iPad or iPhone with my daughter. While I can go ahead and use a passcode, Touch ID is still more secure but not as restricting as using Face ID where its only your face or using the passcode.

The use case that I use for Touch ID is managing my daughters phone. She has 2 fingers enabled, and my wife and I have a finger each which leaves one finger left. This is good for us since the passcode is pretty long and I don’t always want to type it in. It gives us instant access to the phone and its content (there isn’t a lot on it but its helpful when I need to muck around with the settings and stuff.

Most of the newer Apple devices are going to Face ID. All the new iPhones and even the new iPads use Face ID. MacBook Pro’s still use Touch ID but I think the implementation of it could be better. When I first start up the computer it requires a password, but after that I can use Touch ID when waking up the computer from the screen saver or after I’ve opened the lid back up. It also lets me pay for stuff with credit cards that I’ve saved in Safari. I can see Face ID coming to a future MacBook Pro so it works similar to Windows Hello which I’ve heard is awesome but most corporate computers don’t allow it.

I still think that Touch ID has its uses in phones and computers. Better use of Touch ID would be great on the Mac. So many people cover up the cameras on their computers it would almost render Face ID useless. I’m surprised that Windows Hello is widely used based on this phenomenon. I’ve seen some of the Android Phones on YouTube lately that are incorporating the finger print reader right into the screen. That would be cool to give the user a choice to unlock with their face or their finger. I’m waiting for the 2020 iPhones personally to upgrade. Thats when apparently Apple will support 5G and it will also be an “S” year, so they would have had a full year to refine their phone design and maybe they’ll bring back a little bit of the Touch ID magic back.

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Slowly moving to USB-C

MacBook USB C Port image from iMore.com

It would appear that the tech world is starting to head towards USB-C more and more. My MacBook Pro from 2017 has USB-C and I’ve been dealing with that for about a year or so. My new GoPro Hero Black 7 also uses USB-C for charging and so does the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, a lot of my other devices are still using lightning (in the case of Apple) and micro USB (Bose headphones and my external batteries). That means I have to carry 3 different types of cables with me when I travel for work or for pleasure. Not really painful but still, it would be nice if everything was interchangeable.

GoPro Hero 7 USB-C Charging/Data Port

My new work computer still using the clunky old proprietary charger but it also has a USB-C port. Now I can’t plug anything in there since the software bars me from actually doing anything with the USB ports except to charge my iPhone. If they go the Apple route and let you charge your actual device with USB-C that would be excellent for me personally, one less charger to bring along for the ride. On YouTube there has always been a lot of talk about being in dongle hell when you have a USB-C port only computer like my MacBook Pro, personally I haven’t really experienced that since I use an adapter for my USB-A cables and convert them to USB-C. I might be in the minority since I have 4 USB-C ports, 2 of which are the Thunderbolt ports which provide power.

My desktop computer is start to slowly die, even though it has a 1TB SSD in it to give it a nice speed boost. The 10 year old processor and 3GB of RAM is really starting to show though. My daughter has to use a website for her homework and it takes forever to load on the desktop but she likes using it since its in the office with her mom. I decided to load up the same website on my MacBook Pro and it screams, so I’m definitely looking for a new computer but its going to have to have USB-C. The current Surface Pro is the front runner but there’s no USB-C. That was a major omission in my opinion. As more and more of my devices go towards USB-C, that is what is going to drive my tech buying requirements in the future.

One of the reasons I refuse to update my iPad Pro and my iPhone is because they both use Lightning ports, the latest iPad Pro has a USB-C port which is great but then all my other I-Devices use Lightning. Right now its very convenient when I do family vacations to just carry a few lightning cables instead of having to mix and match all the time. When 5G technology is prevalent and my iPad Pro is running like shit, I’ll be ready to do a massive tech upgrade to USB-C. Truthfully, the only real reason I even use cables anymore is for charging. If I can get my iTunes backups for my I-devices onto my NAS, I’m just going to do network backups for everything.

I think in around 5 years, I should have everything on USB-C. That means I can finally use one cable to rule them all instead of the hodge podge I have to deal with right now. My RAVPower USB hub is helpful but man… so many cables….

GoPro Take A Photo!

“GoPro take a photo” was one of the phrases that I used a lot during my vacation.  I went skiing with my family in Whistler BC and I took my GoPro Hero 7 Black.  I loaded this up with a 200GB memory card so I wouldn’t have to change cards during the trip.  I had it powered on most of the time and since there was so much awesome scenery, I kept on saying “GoPro, take a photo” as I skied down trails, went zip lining, snowmobiling, and dog sledding.  The GoPro has an excellent camera and I was able to capture some excellent pictures just by using that phrase.

There is another phrase “GoPro, start recording” that I used a lot too.  This would start a video recording hands free.  This gave me the ability to start and stop recording with out even touch the camera most of the time.  The only thing that I really had to manage was the power for the camera.  Every once in a while if I left the camera on for too long it would turn off on its own, there is a setting to wake up the camera with your voice but it drained the battery a lot faster so I kept this option off.

The GoPro Hero 7 Black is definitely a step up from my other GoPro, the Hero 4 Session.  The image stabilization, the video quality, and the photo quality are all improved.  The Hero 4 Session was great because of its very small size but since it didn’t have image stabilization, the video wasn’t the best unless I kept the camera completely still.

I’m adding some of the pictures that I took from my vacation just to show off how awesome the GoPro Hero 7 Black is just for taking still pictures.  I did set it up to take linear pictures rather than wide angle to try and avoid that fish eye effect.

 

Last post of 2018!

2018 is about done. It’s been an interesting one to be sure but I’m glad it’s over. There were some good parts and some bad parts but now I just have to look to 2019. I just got used to writing 2018, now I have to consciously think when writing the date so I don’t write 2018 on important stuff like checks and junk.

Instead of being home for New Years, we’ll be celebrating from Canada in the middle of our winter break from school and work. I don’t think we’ll stay up till midnight, we have things to do tomorrow that require an early start. Once again I didn’t hit my goal of 100 posts but there isn’t enough interesting shit in my life that I can blog about. I think I’ll be more conservative and commit to 24 posts, I can manage 2 a month for 2019. Hopefully this year I won’t miss a month like I did in 2018. I made up for it by posting a little more the following month.

Happy new year interweb, see you next year!

Goodbye Google Hangouts?

During my perusing of the inter web, I learned that Google might be killing off Google for us regular people and just letting it exist for enterprise customers. I’ve been using Google Hangouts for a while now, mainly I use it because of the integration with Google Voice. There is also the added benefit that I can talk to other people that use Google Hangouts that use it for enterprise customers.

I’m probably in the very small minority that still uses the application. I use my Google Voice number for work and for other things to try and keep the telemarketers away. The problem is, the telemarketers just call the Google Voice number instead. I also like the integration with Gmail and contacts in Gmail. It lets me message people via SMS or make phone calls. The best part is that its cross platform. I use it on my iPhone, iPad and through the web browser. In that way its a poor mans iMessage that I can use on Windows and OSX.

Recently Google brought back the Google Voice app back. It’s always been there but it was kind of neglected for a long time but it was recently updated. Probably in anticipation of eliminating Hangouts. I was attempting to use the web version but for some reason its not working right which is a shame. Hopefully they’ll fix the interface for it soon. It won’t be exactly the same as being able to use Hangouts, it won’t be available within Gmail which was a great feature in itself. I also heard that the app Allo is also potentially on the chopping block. That makes me wonder what consumers are going to use for chatting that can compete with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

You can use WhatsApp cross platform, but the person also needs to have the app installed. Hangouts is different in that its sending it via SMS so it doesn’t matter if the person has the app or not, your message will go through. I hope that Google gets its shit together and makes a converged chat platform for voice, video, and SMS that integrates with Gmail like Hangouts does right now but at least improves upon the concepts and design.

Apparently I have a year to find something new. I have confidence that at least Google Voice will continue since it does compete directly with Skype and WhatsApp. The only thing preventing me from totally trying to switch to something like WhatsApp is that it doesn’t have an iPad app. I think people have been asking for that for years but they just don’t want to do it. With Apple just owning tablets, it makes sense if they want to keep people interested in using the platform across devices.

Most of the big tech bloggers are covering this which is how I found out about it. I’ll continue to watch it over the next year since it impacts me and how I interact with others.

GoPro Hero 7 Black!

img_0066

Due to my numerous travels all over the US for work, I accumulate quite a number of American Express points as I spend money on meals, lodging, and transportation.  Over the last year I saved enough points to finally get a GoPro Hero 7 Black for free!!  I have the GoPro Hero 4 Session that I also got on points about 2-3 years ago and I’ve been using it on trips.  I was just about to get the Hero 6 Black when all of a sudden the Hero 7 was announced to be released soon so I just had to wait for it.

I haven’t really had an opportunity to use it much.  The reason that I wanted a new action camera was because of the image stabilization that was one of the top selling features of the new GoPro.  The Hero Session doesn’t have any type of image stabilization so a lot of my videos were jittery and not very usable.  I tried the Hero 7 recently while riding my bicycle and it was really smooth even with all the bumps in the road.  In addition to the Hero 7 Black, I got a screen protector for the front and back of the camera and a battery charger with 2 extra batteries so that I can use it for approximately 6 hours before I need to juice everything up.  I had just enough points left over for a 200GB microSD card to use for videos.

There are more steps involved with using the Hero 7 compared to the Hero Session.  The Hero Session was just 1 button whereas the Hero 7 has 2 (power and shutter).  Although the voice command stuff is awesome, you have to leave the camera on which drains the battery.  I’ll have to be more careful with my action shots during my vacation to Whistler so I don’t drain the battery just waiting to take a video.  I did try out some of the voice commands and they work wonderfully.  I can see those being very useful so I don’t have to reach up and hit a button if the camera is already on.

I haven’t discussed the video quality yet but I think that’s because I’m not one of those people that shoots everything in 4K. I’m just fine with 1080p.  I shoot that resolution with my iPhone 7 and I don’t have any problems with the quality.  It’s also easier to upload to YouTube and doesn’t eat up hard drive space on my NAS.  I can’t wait to find a good excuse to use this camera in the winter while on vacation.

Reinstalled Windows 10…….again!

img_1430I think this is the 3rd time that I’ve installed Windows 10 on the HP Stream.  The first time was when I did the original upgrade, the second time I was having trouble with the computer itself and just wanted to get it working, and now the third time was because I needed to get more space on the computer.  It occurred to me that the fastest way to get the computer working was to just reinstall windows.  I also noticed that I had a lot of partitions on the SSD that was just eating up space and not providing me any benefit at all so I deleted all of those and created one massive drive to do the install.

The reinstall went pretty well but it took a while to do.  I had to get Windows onto a USB flash drive first, then I had to wipe the computer and then do the installation.  After that was all done a little configuration was needed.  I used to have Chrome installed but I attempted to use just Edge.  That didn’t work so I had to install Firefox so that I could get to the websites that my daughter uses for school.  I also needed to do some driver updates to recognize the microSD card reader so I can save and access files that I had saved before hand.

I now have around 50% of 30GB free (that’s 15GB’s).  That should be enough for the swap file so that the computer doesn’t crash constantly when trying to surf the internet using Firefox.  By no means does this mean that the computer is going to be blazing fast or do all the things that I want it to do but it should be fine for my daughter to start using again.  I wrote in a previous post that I might get a new computer during Black Friday but since I was able to get the HP Stream working again I’m going to save the money.  Once my daughter outgrows the computer, I’m going to try and keep it around.  Whenever I have visitors there always seems to be a need for a computer and I won’t be upset if someone messes it up. I prefer to keep my MacBook Pro as my personal computer (not to mention I don’t need someone messing with my files and settings when they’re just a visitor).