PlayStation 5

It’s a new console, and it promises to be faster, more immersive, and just plain better than anything else.

The PlayStation 5 comes in two different models, the digital edition, and the, should we call it, non-digital edition? The PlayStation 5 digital edition comes without an optical blue-ray disc-drive, which means you’ll only buy and play games digitally. And since there isn’t an optical drive, it also means you won’t be able to play DVD/Blue-Ray movies, or anything else that requires an optical drive.

Sony claims that this PlayStation will offer a more immersive experience, and I hope that it does, it’s 2020 and it’s time for these games consoles to showcase all the advances in both software and hardware.

The PlayStation 5 has a faster SSD drive; for those not familiar with the term, it means that it has a Solid State Drive, and it is, in fact, faster than the regular Hard Disc Drives (HDD). The SSD drives are also more durable as they don’t have any moving parts. So that’s a good thing, trust me.

The PlayStation 5 also comes with a more in-depth immersion experience due to its support for haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and 3D audio. And what does all that mean? Good question, haptic feedback refers to any technology that can create an experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user. For example, this PlayStation probably has much better haptic feedback through the game controllers.

This new game console also promises to have adaptive triggers, which means you truly feel the tension of your actions in the game, for example, when you are jumping, shooting, or drawing a bow to shoot an arrow.” This, along with the haptic feedback, is a way of trying to pull you, the player, further into the game than ever before, making a more immerse experience.

It’s been a while since I owned a PlayStation, I think the last one I bought was the PS3, and then I switched to the Microsoft Xbox. The main reason I did this was that my PlayStation fan was very loud, and it was very annoying when playing games or watching movies. However, I will buy this new PlayStation 5, I have to experience it to further expand my review and opinion of it, but so far, it looks good.

The only thing that I don’t like is the design, it just isn’t futuristic enough, in my opinion, and it reminds me of Sony’s dog robot. It’s probably the color and the shape of it, I’m not sure, but in a way, it looks like a cheap plastic toy to me. To be fair, I haven’t seen the real device, my opinion about the design is purely based on the photos and videos I have seen so far.

What are your thoughts? Are you ordering one? It launches in the holiday 2020, according to Sony’s website, which means, Christmas 2020, or December 2020. Some rumors the cost of the PlayStation 5 is going to be between $470 – $499.

Should I buy one of the new iPhone 11 smartphones?

The new iPhone 11 is out, and the world has taken notice. This year, Apple released all three phones the same day (iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max), and Everyone took it to Twitter, YouTube, and Podcasts to complain about how this new iPhone isn’t as good as it should have been, to tell us how much of the new capabilities are things that other devices already had, and also to make it a point how expensive they are. And yet, a lot of us can’t wait to get our hands on one of them.

Apple’s new iPhones have something this year that they didn’t have in the past few years; A considerable better camera(s), and much, much better battery life. Also, if you are already an Apple consumer, if you are in their ecosystem, getting a new iPhone with a better battery, and a better camera makes sense… if you do have the money for it.

For current iPhone users

If your iPhone battery is on red by the end of the day, go get the new iPhone.
If you appreciate photography, if you make videos, especially interview or vlog type videos, go get the new iPhone 11 Pro; yes, the one with the 4 cameras.
If the battery life of your current phone is right for you, and the camera takes the photos you like, there isn’t really a need to upgrade to the new iPhone, in my opinion.

For everyone else

There is probably a good reason why you aren’t an iPhone user, you either dislike the hardware, the software, the price, or all three of these things. I understand, people like and prefer different things and switching to any of the new iPhones isn’t going to give you anything that a new smartphone from Samsung or the Google Pixel won’t give you.

However, if you have a Mac, iPad, or iMac, using an iPhone gives you access to some really nice features that you won’t get with the other smartphones. And by the way, these features aren’t limited to the new iPhones, these sweet things are part of the software and will work with any iPhone as long as the software, iOS, is up to date. An example of the apps that make users very happy and productive within the Apple ecosystem is AirDrop (transfer files easily between your devices), Safari (you can view tabs from the other Apple devices), etc.

The good

The new iPhones are fast, very fast, you won’t be disappointed. The new custom-built A13 Bionic chip is as amazing and unique as it sounds. To most of us, it just means that the new iPhone can run the latest and also demanding apps and games. It also means you can do some photo and video processing right from your smartphone. I do prefer to do my photo and video editing using a much larger screen, but that’s just me.

The cameras, let’s talk about the cameras of the new iPhone, specifically, the iPhone 11 Pro. This smartphone, it’s a camera with high-end camera software. On the back, you have 3 new cameras, the ultra-wide camera, the wide camera, and the telephoto camera. That’s right, this new setup would give you a chance and flexibility to take some outstanding photos, and almost under any condition.

The battery last longer, and if you are a heavy iPhone user, you know how important that is. The battery is larger, but it also lasts longer, well done Apple, it’s about time.

The new iPhone 11 starts at $700, which is $50 less than last year’s iPhone XR. The Pro model is $1,000, and the Pro Max is $1,100.

The bad

It’s a good camera, it’s a good smartphone, but in a year or two, you’ll probably change it for a newer one.

The ‘notch’ is still very visible, other smartphones have made good progress making the ‘notch’ less visible, but Apple hasn’t.

The iPhone 11 fingerprint scanner is gone, which means you have to either type your password or use Face ID, which not everyone is happy to do use yet.

The iPhone 11 Pro is heavier than last year’s model, it weighs 188 grams while the iPhone XS was 177 grams, and the Samsung Galaxy S10, it’s just 157 grams.

Remember, if your budgets allow for it, and you are already in the Apple ecosystem, getting a new iPhone is not a bad idea if you appreciate having a much better camera and definitely much better battery life. It’s up to you, and please remember that if you are happy with your current’s phone camera, and your battery is still keeping up with your life then you are probably OK keeping your current phone a bit longer.

Commentary: Home devices are becoming less cool and more creepy

Amazon, Google, Apple, and now Facebook are now all pushing for home invasion, they are fighting hard to get conquer the consumer’s home (and possibly your car), and while competition is great for us consumers, not everything about this is good for us.

When Amazon released Echo with the wonderful digital assistant Alexa, I was pretty excited, I bought one, and I’m still pretty happy with it. It took Google and Apple a little bit to respond with their own flavor of a smart speaker/home assistant, but they did. So far so good.

I have to admit, when the Google home device was released, I started to worry about all of this. The Amazon Echo, while creepy sometimes, it’s not entirely aware of my life, it knows what toothpaste I buy and how often but it doesn’t know about my contacts, my email, etc. Also, it’s good to know that Amazon’s primary business model isn’t advertising, and neither is Apple’s.

Now, Google is another story, but I’m still trusting them with my email, and only some of my searches and internet browsing (I’ve switched to Firefox as my primary browser and DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine).

Facebook is where I feel the line has been crossed into creepiness, I just don’t trust the company now, and I am definitely not feeling that bringing Facebook’s eyes and ears into my house is a wise choice. And how can we trust them? They haven’t been playing nice with consumer’s privacy and why would they? Facebook’s business model is advertising, and their success is the result of highly targeted advertising that is only possible by them collecting multiple data points from us, our contacts, and our online (and offline) behavior to create detailed profiles that can be bundled and offered to whoever needs them.

I invite you to read Ben Thompson’s weekly article with the title The Battle for the Home which inspired this brief commentary.

What’s New? The Surface line just keeps getting better

It’s been a while since Microsoft surprised us with its first Surface laptop, tablet, or whatever it was. At the time, the design was something unique and innovative, but not everyone liked it, or at least, not everyone was sure that the Surface was a good move for Microsoft.

Microsoft’s introduction of its Surface tablet engendered buzz like no other we’ve seen from Microsoft. The big question is, does it stand up to the hype? – PCWorld

Microsoft first announced the Surface at an event on 18 June 2012, presented by former CEO Steve Ballmer in Milk Studios Los Angeles. This hybrid tablet included a keyboard that was surprisingly good, and it also served as a cover for it.

Earlier today, Microsoft announced new updates to its existing line of Surface products and a few new items as well. So the question is, is Microsoft’s Surface line getting better? In my opinion, yes, it has been improving with every update and every product added to it. The Surface Book 2 for example, is an excellent laptop for power users looking not only for a responsive and capable laptop, but also a computer that can act as a tablet for portability, creative work, and even for entertainment.

What’s new?

Both of these incredible products come in an all-new finish, a timeless and sophisticated matte black.

Surface Pro 6

  • Featuring the latest 8th generation Intel® Quad Core™ processor.
  • More than 67 percent faster than 5th generation Surface Pro.
  • Same portability, versatility and all-day battery as before.
  • PixelSense™ Touch Display.
  • Intelligent inking.
  • Password-free Windows Hello sign-in.
  • Windows Timeline.

Surface Laptop 2

  • New Quad Core 8th generation Intel® processor.
  • 85 percent faster than the original Surface Laptop.
  • PixelSense™ Touch Display.
  • Best in class keyboard and trackpad.
  • 14.5 hours of battery life you need to get through your day (without sacrificing performance and portability).

Surface Studio 2

This is the second generation of the most potent Surface ever. This is the computer that targets annoyed Mac OS users that need high graphics performance, and fast processing for video creation, and other demanding computing tasks.

  • Next generation Pascal graphics and 50 percent faster GPU.
  • 38 percent brighter than previous Surface Studio, with 22 percent more contrast.
  • Surface Pen:
    • 4,096 levels of pressure, tilt sensitivity for drawing and sketching.
    • Best-in-class ink latency.

Surface Headphones

This is the new Surface family member, the Surface Headphones that match the design and we hope, the quality, of the rest of the Surface line products.

  • Spectacular sound quality and 13 levels of ambient noise control.
  • Designed with collaboration in mind, there are 2 beam-forming microphones on each ear cup, 8 microphones in total.
  • Easily adjust volume and noise cancellation levels with new, intuitive on-ear dials.

Microsoft says that while Surface Headphones are optimized for Surface devices, they will pair with any Bluetooth enabled device so when you’re switching between PC and phone, you can stay connected to your music, meeting or call seamlessly. The Surface Headphones also integrate with Cortana for voice-activated commands – I’ll get back to you on how well that works once I get a hold of them to try it.

What else is new?

Many people are already using Surface products, and the continued success of the Surface line depends, in part, on how many people Microsoft can get to switch from Mac OS devices and who are looking for powerful and capable tools that can help them complete their work and enjoy every minute of it.

These Surface products aren’t cheap, and to help with that, Microsoft also released a new program called Surface All Access to help people purchase any of their Surface products with low monthly payments.

One more thing, you can also get the Windows 10 October 2018 update now, details are on the video below – or you can just wait until the general rollout begins on Oct. 9.

Alexa, Are we there yet?

Amazon hosted a hardware event in Seattle this week, and as expected, it introduced an array of new and updated Echo devices, including the Echo Auto. That’s right, an Echo that you can bring with you, in your car. Echo it’s Amazon’s line of smart speakers and screens, and with the addition of Echo Auto, there is now an Echo device for your car.
Amazon Alexa is the software, a virtual assistant developed by Amazon, first used in the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers developed by Amazon Lab126. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, such as news (Wikipedia).
Amazon’s new Echo Auto will be a hit, I just know that right now. The price point is low, starting at only $24.99 with the introductory offer (By invitation only ) that will save you 50% for a limited time. The regular price is set to be $49.99. This device will bring Alexa’s virtual assistant capabilities to your car, making it safer for you to get information, listen to music, etc. while you drive since all you have to do is talk to it and use voice commands instead of moving your eyes off the road or your hands off the steering wheel.
This is revolutionary, and I’m not talking about the tech of this device but the strategy behind it. The Echo Auto is a simple device, it’s small, it has the full power and versatility of the original Echo, and it will make Alexa accessible from any car, for just $24.99 with the starting price. The benefits of taking Alexa on the road thanks to this new device, the Echo Auto are many. Safety is the first thing that comes to mind, with the Echo Auto, we’ll be able to have amazing hands-free capabilities in our car by just using our voice. No more looking away from the road just to play a song, or make a call.
Just ask Alexa to play music, resume your Audible book, check your calendar, find nearby businesses, make calls, and more. With eight microphones, Echo Auto even hears you over road noise. Echo Auto starts up in seconds, works through your car speakers, and uses your existing smartphone plan. ~ Amazon
The Echo Auto also brings entertainment, you can ask Alexa to tell jokes, play a game, play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. In my case, having Alexa in my car will allow me to play my podcasts, audiobooks, or listen to the news briefing – all of it without having to use my hands or stop paying attention to the road.
There are already cars with the Alexa software built in, but this little device allows everyone to bring Alexa’s functionality into their car, any car. One concern I have with this (as I do with the rest of the Echo devices) is privacy, and as Amazon continues to conquer the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room, and now the car with its line of smart speakers, I just hope they also continue to maintain the interactions of users with Alexa private.
Alexa, Are we there yet?
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