Consumer Reports: Samsung Galaxy S7 Active not actually water-resistant

Samsung told The Associated Press that while the Active is meant to be one of the most rugged phones out there, “there may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be.”

Consumer Reports bought two and they both failed.

And those rappers looked so convincing in that commercial where they throw their phones into a fish tank and poured champagne all over the phones too.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/technology/ct-consumer-reports-samsung-phone-not-waterproof-20160708-story.html

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How AWS came to be

Ron Miller:

What you may not know is that the roots for the idea of AWS go back to the 2000 timeframe when Amazon was a far different company than it is today — simply an e-commerce company struggling with scale problems. Those issues forced the company to build some solid internal systems to deal with the hyper growth it was experiencing — and that laid the foundation for what would become AWS.

Speaking recently at an event in Washington, DC, AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who has been there from the beginning, explained how these core systems developed out of need over a three-year period beginning in 2000, and, before they knew it, without any real planning, they had the makings of a business that would become AWS.

I use AWS daily so it’s interesting to read things like this.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2016/07/02/andy-jassys-brief-history-of-the-genesis-of-aws/

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Changes to Evernote’s Pricing Plans

Evernote’s Chris O’Neill has published a blog post explaining price increases coming to the platform. Plus and Premium are now $3.99 and $7.99 a month, respectively, with discounts for annual buyers. For those customers, Plus is now $10 more a year, while Premium has gone up $20.

But, the big change is this:

Beginning today, the prices for our Plus and Premium tiers will change for new subscriptions, and access from Evernote Basic accounts will be limited to two devices. Current subscribers and Basic users who are using more than two devices will have some time to adjust before the changes take effect. If you are impacted, look for a message from us in the coming days.

Basically, if you use an iPhone, iPad and a Mac (or if you have an iPad and an iPad Mini for example), you will now need to pay for Evernote.

I was an avid Evernote user, but with the changes to the Notes.app last year, I’ve moved almost entirely to Notes and just use Evernote to go back to old notes mostly.

Source: https://blog.evernote.com/blog/2016/06/28/changes-to-evernotes-pricing-plans/

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How Thin Does Your Laptop Really Need to Be?

How do I put this nicely? Your laptop could stand to lose a few… ounces.

It’s the truth: Compared with the new wave of insanely thin laptops, even your once-svelte MacBook Air or Dell XPS 13 looks like Garfield after a lasagna lunch. Apologies if this causes them any self-esteem issues.

Earlier this month, HP began selling the Spectre, “the world’s thinnest laptop,” according to the company. At 0.41 inch thin, it’s as flat as a single breakfast pancake—bananas not included. More impressive, it doesn’t skimp on processing power, like Apple’s new MacBook does.

Nicely written laptop review from the wall street journal.

Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-macbook-vs-hp-spectre-how-thin-does-your-laptop-really-need-to-be-1466531445

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What Apple’s Forthcoming APFS File System Means to You

Michael Cohen, writing for TidBITS:

Among the tidbits Apple revealed to its developer audience at the recently completed Worldwide Developers Conference was a new file system for the whole range of its products.

Dubbed “APFS” (an acronym that Apple doesn’t completely spell out even in its developer documentation), the file system is meant to replace HFS+, the file system that in turn replaced 1985’s HFS (Hierarchical File System) in 1998.

Important change coming with APFS in macOS Sierra.

Source: http://tidbits.com/article/16584

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Apple discontinues Thunderbolt Display

Jim Dalrymple:

Apple on Thursday told The Loop that it is discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display.

“We’re discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display, said an Apple spokesperson. “It will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users.”

That last statement makes it sound like Apple does not plan to replace the display in the near future either.

Source: http://www.loopinsight.com/2016/06/23/apple-discontinues-thunderbolt-display/

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Requiem for a Headphone Jack

M.G. Siegler:

The latest bit of antiquated technology Apple is going to kill. Thank god.

I tweeted that last November in response to a rumor that Apple would remove the 3.5mm headphone jack in the next iPhone. Yesterday, the rumor re-surfaced, this time in a report about this fall’s forthcoming iPhone by The Wall Street Journal. This is happening, people.

And sure enough, right on cue, Nilay Patel over at The Verge got pissed off. Taking the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid, was his headline yesterday. At first, I thought the post may have just been a clever excuse to use the phrase “jack off” in a headline. But reading it, he does seem to be legitimately mad about this forthcoming maneuver by Apple.

John Gruber calmly retorted some of Patel’s fears, and poked fun at others. To which Patel snarked:

Was counting on @gruber for the best argument possible for removing the headphone jack, and it’s “Apple knows best”

But here’s the thing about that notion: it’s said every single time Apple does something like this The removal of the floppy drive on the Mac. The lack of a physical keyboard on the iPhone. The removal of the optical drive on MacBooks. The end of the mouse. The removal of USB ports. Etc. Etc. Etc.

The outrage is as palpable as it is comical. Then everyone calms down. The news cycle moves on. People buy the new Apple device anyway. Life continues. All competitors copy Apple’s once-controversial move. And technology ends up in a better place as a result.

Because, ultimately, this isn’t about “Apple knows best,” it’s about progress. You cannot move forward if you don’t sever the ties to the past at some point. As Gruber points out, Apple seems to be particularly astute with its timing in this regard, but I’d argue these changes would ultimately happen regardless. They’d just happen a lot more slowly.

This isn’t rocket science, it’s simply sensing trends that are going to happen. Sometimes Apple may push the envelope a bit early (the one USB-C port on the MacBook is mildly annoying), but pushing that envelope is the lifeblood of innovative companies. If Apple wasn’t making a move like removing the headphone jack, I’d be worried. The plug is essentially 19th century technology, for Chrissake.

I actually welcome the move to no headphone jacks. I’m an avid user of bluetooth as well as the one pair of ear buds I have that are lightning.

Source: https://500ish.com/requiem-for-a-headphone-jack-9a5b06613e9c#.35ehij5vw

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How to Back Up Everything From All Your Apps and Devices

You know you should back up your files. But it’s a chore that’s easy to ignore until you accidentally delete that Facebook album—right after deleting those same pictures from your phone.

Accidents happen. Even your most-trusted gadgets and apps could go haywire and lose your data. Or, more likely, human error could wipe-out your treasured files.

Backups give you some peace of mind. They’re your insurance for all kinds of digital disasters. And trust me: You’ll be grateful for your backup when your smartphone hits the pavement.

Here’s how to back up anything and everything—including your web app data—to make sure you always have a second copy in case of emergency.

Most of this is common sense, but still a handy guide to keep around for backing up and restore data across various apps and devices.

Source: https://zapier.com/blog/backup-everything/

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Intel, Apple & the End of Moore’s Law

Howard Yu, writing for Fortune:

In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore made a bold prediction about the exponential growth of computing power. He observed that the number of transistors could be doubled every two years by shrinking their size inside of a microprocessor. And since transistor density correlates with computing power, computing power correspondingly doubles every two years. Intel has since delivered on that promise and immortalized it in the name of Moore’s Law.

Take an imaginary letter-size paper. Fold it in half, then fold it a second time, and then a third. The thickness of the stack doubles exponentially every time. If you are skillful enough to fold the same piece of paper 42 times, you will have a tower that stretches to the moon.

[…]

Just four months ago, Intel disclosed in a regulatory filing that it is slowing the pace in launching new chips. Its latest transistor is down to only about 100 atoms wide. The fewer atoms composing a transistor, the harder it is to manipulate. Following the existing trajectory, by early 2020, transistors should have just 10 atoms. At that scale, electronic properties will be messed up by quantum uncertainties, making any devices hopelessly unreliable. In other words, engineers and scientists are hitting the fundamental limit of physics.

This can mean some great changes to the computing industry and, hopefully, a wave of innovation that takes us beyond the standard silicon model.

Alongside this, Intel just announced that Apple Inc.’s next iPhone will use Intel chips in some of the next generation of iPhones:

Apple Inc.’s next iPhone will use modems from Intel Corp., replacing Qualcomm Inc. chips in some versions of the new handset, a move by the world’s most-valuable public company to diversify its supplier base.

Apple has chosen Intel modem chips for the iPhone used on AT&T Inc.’s U.S. network and some other versions of the smartphone for overseas markets, said people familiar with the matter. IPhones on Verizon Communications Inc.’s network will stick with parts from Qualcomm, which is the only provider of the main communications component of current versions of Apple’s flagship product. Crucially for Qualcomm, iPhones sold in China will work on Qualcomm chips, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t made its plans public

Source: http://fortune.com/2016/06/18/apple-intel-deal-moores-law/

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