Tyler Tech’s Site Is Up And Running Again!

You might have gotten an error message if you tried to visit our site since the end of June, but that is all (hopefully) fixed.  It all started out when we went over our monthly traffic allowed by our webhost.  Our account got locked until the end of June, and I managed to change DNS settings that made our website not load.  It took a week for the right settings to take effect.  On Friday, about an hour after the website was back, up our webhost was under a DDoS attack.  That took them the whole weekend to fix and on Monday I discovered that the Tyler Tech website got deleted from their servers.  Luckily, I made a backup after we went over our traffic and was able to retrieve the text from our old articles and upload that to our site as “archived”.  I decided to start from scratch after my first experience with WordPress and put this site together.  I will be keeping regular backups (and possibly looking into a new webhost), but in the end everything worked out.  Thanks for reading.  You can check out some of the archived articles here: http://tylertech.tk/category/from-old-site/  and read some newer articles on our homepage.

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Review – Has Samsung Improved Since 2013? (ARCHIVED)

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I’ve been using the Galaxy S8 Plus for a little over three weeks. This is my first Samsung phone since the Galaxy Centura back in 2013. I didn’t have a good experience with it. Does the S8 Plus remind me of the Centura, or has Samsung improved?

 

 

The one thing that amazes me about the S8 Plus is that Samsung managed to fit a 6.2 inch screen into a smaller phone than the Nexus 6P, which has a 5.7 inch screen. They did this making the screen go the whole way to the side and almost all the way to the top and bottom of the phone. They had to take out the home button to do this, but they made the screen so it’s pressure sensitive where the home button used to be. The screen is a Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display. If you’ve ever seen a Samsung display, you know that they look amazing and this one is not any different. The only thing that the could be a problem is that you might have to move your hand up the phone to reach the top of the screen, or use two hands. Back to what I said about getting rid of the home button. You might be wondering about where they put the fingerprint sensor. It’s not in the screen like they might do with the iPhone 8. They moved it to the back, right in the center, the place where you normally rest your finger anyway.

 

Just kidding, that picture is a fake. It is on the back, but it’s right next to the camera, in the worst possible spot. When I have my finger on the fingerprint sensor, it covers half the camera. I don’t get why they couldn’t just put it below the camera like in the picture I made, or even just move the camera to the side like on the iPhone. This isn’t terrible, it’s just annoying. While we are on the back of the phone, I want to talk about something that I haven’t heard a lot about but I want to mention. It’s the heart rate sensor. The heart rate sensor is hidden right under the flash and I didn’t know about it until about a week after I got the phone. It’s something that’s not normally on a phone plus you can use it to measure your heart rate, oxygen saturation, and stress level.

The camera is the last thing on the back of the phone. It’s the same camera as last year’s S7 had, but that’s not a bad thing. The only difference is the software that the phone uses to capture photos and videos has changed that’s what makes it better that the S7’s camera. This is still one of the best smartphone cameras I’ve used. Here are a few pictures from the rear facing camera showing different situations, like low light and outdoor use. I have HDR on for all of these pictures.

Something else that’s nice is they actually have a headphone jack. Not only does Samsung give you a headphone jack, but they give you headphones too. Now these aren’t $30 headphones like Apple gives you… Yes, I read that twice too! I didn’t think Apple charges $30 dollars for those headphones that don’t even stay in your ear either. Anyway, Samsung gives you comfortable headphones that are tuned by AKG. They actually stay in your ear and retail for $99. I thought that was a nice touch.

The USB Type C port gives the phone fast charging on wired, and they also say that it has fast wireless charging but I couldn’t test that since I don’t have a wireless charger. The battery is really good. They didn’t try to fit a huge battery in the S8 or S8 Plus to make sure nothing like the Note 7 happened this time. The battery in the S8 is actually smaller than the one from the S7. I am still able to get about 15 hours of battery from the 3500 mAh battery. You can extend that battery life by using the power saving modes.

Time for Bixby. To me, Bixby is like the Note 7 of software. Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, and Cortana all use voice as the main way to communicate with them. Bixby doesn’t yet support voice interaction, and seems like Google Now with cards. There is also the Google Goggles like camera feature, Bixby vision. I don’t think Samsung should have released Bixby until the voice interaction was ready, but I really don’t think they should have dedicated a button to what their version of Google Now cards is. I always accidentally press it and there is even a case on Kickstarter that covers up the Bixby button. It doesn’t look like it will get funded, but the fact that this is a thing shows how much people dislike the Bixby button. Something more like double tapping the fingerprint sensor to open bixby would have been more appropriate in my opinion. Bixby seems like it was rushed to consumers in my opinion, like the Note 7, just less fires. (Watch this part of the video for a laugh!)

A good part of the S8 Plus is that it’s the first phone to have Bluetooth 5.0. There are some videos that explain what it does better, like this one. Leaving stock Android was something that I was afraid of. I liked having the developer previews of upcoming Android releases, being the first to get software updates, and having the Google Now experience. So far I don’t really miss the developer previews that much, and if I do I can put it on my old phone. The software updates haven’t been an issue yet, I just hope I don’t have to wait for months to get Android O after it’s released. And I was able to install the Google Now launcher on the S8 Plus because I had it on my 6P. Touchwiz is now referred to as the “Samsung Experience”, and doesn’t change as much stuff with Android as previous versions of Touchwiz. I can live with the Samsung Experience.

I used the S8 Plus for my review, but all of this applies to the S8. The only difference is that the Plus has a larger screen and a bigger battery. I would recommend the S8 or S8 Plus to anyone looking for a more premium Android experience, or someone switching to Android from an iPhone.

Samsung’s New 49 Inch Super Wide Monitor (ARCHIVED)

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Yesterday Samsung launched the CHG90 display, an ultra wide 49-inch monitor. It features High Dynamic Range (HDR) and quantum dot technology that enhances the picture. It is also one of the first monitors to support AMD’s FreeSync 2 technology that “combines smooth, stutter- and tear-free gaming with low-latency, high-brightness, high-contrast visuals, as well as excellent black levels and support for a wide color gamut to showcase HDR content with twice the perceivable brightness and color of that offered by the sRGB standard. As a result, gamers can enjoy a smooth, plug-and-play, low-latency HDR gaming experience without having to frequently readjust software or monitor settings” according to Samsung.

 

Photo by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge

 

My favorite thing about the CHG90 has to be it’s 32:9 aspect ratio and 3840×1080 double full HD (DFHD) resolution. That is the equivalent of putting two normal 16:9 monitors next to each other and removing the bezel. You can pre-order this amazing 49-inch display on Amazon and at Micro Center retail stores for $1499.

 

Source: Samsung Press Release

WIFO Drum Kit Funded On Kickstarter! (ARCHIVED)

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The WIFO Drum kit will turn your phone or tablet into a drum set. I found them on Kickstarter and so did 400 people. They are fully funded but their campaign is still going until June 23rd. It looks like the kit will work with any drum app, and if you back them on Kickstarter, you get a drum game app for free.

 

You get a set of drumsticks with a conductive tip, but my favorite part is that it comes with a bass pedal that connects to your screen. You just put it over the bass drum in the app and when you use the pedal, it taps the bass drum. Another great thing about the WIFO Drum Kit is that is comes with a leg strap incase you are somewhere without a table to set your phone on. As a former drummer, this seems interesting. I already contacted them about a review unit, but if you want to go fund them on Kickstarter (you should!), click here to go to there page. Is this something you’re interested in? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Apple To Share Screen Repair Robot (ARCHIVED)

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Apple is about to make it easier to get your broken iPhone screen fixed. First reported by Reuters, Apple will be putting its screen repair machines in about 400 third party authorized repair centers. Best Buy will be one of the first to have the repair machines in stores, but not in all of their stores.

Apple’s Horizon screen repair robots are “… gray metal boxes the size of a microwave with a swing-out windowed door, vary slightly in shape depending on the model of iPhone they repair.” according to Reuters. The Apple technicians take the broken screen off and mount the new one. Reuters also adds that “Once the new screen is mounted, the iPhone goes into the Horizon Machine, which allows Apple’s software to communicate with the fresh hardware. Over the course of 10 to 12 minutes, the machine talks to the phone’s operating system to pair the fingerprint sensor to the phone’s brain. While that unfolds, a mechanical finger jabs the screen in multiple places to test the touch-sensitive surface. The machine also fine tunes the display and software to match the precise colors and calibration of the original.”

Does Apple making this available to third party repair centers mean that the iPhone 8 is going to break easily? Only time will tell. For more info and pictures of the Horizon machine, check out the article from Reuters.

Top 3 Announcements at WWDC (ARCHIVED)

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Yesterday (this would have been up yesterday, but Comcast…) was Apple’s WWDC and there were some pretty big announcements. I may personally prefer Microsoft and Google over Apple, but I still need to cover all the news in the tech world, so here are some of my favorite announcements from WWDC in no particular order.

 

The Siri Speaker is Here

First on the list is the HomePod, Apple’s competitor to Google Home and the Amazon Echo. Apple’s press release emphasizes it’s Apple Music integration. You can still use Siri to do the traditional AI assistant tasks like getting news and weather updates, plus home automation. Here’s some more info from CNET’s coverage:

“Here’s everything we know about the HomePod right now:

  • $349 (£270/AU$465, converted)
  • Available in December in the US, UK and Australia
  • Sends messages
  • Siri integration
  • HomeKit-compatible
  • Can work with Apple Music subscription
  • Spatial awareness
  • White and space gray color finishes”

 

Here is Apple’s HomePod speaker in white.

iOS is Full of Updates

Apple has packed iOS 11 with new features. They are adding professional camera features with OIS, True Tone flash, and HDR to make photos in portrait mode look more professional. Apple Pay will be getting the ability to send money or get paid right in iMessages or using Siri. Do Not Disturb While Driving is probably a more useful feature. Your iPhone will detect when it’s in a car and silences notifications. You can also chose to have an automatic reply sent to texts while driving. Some more upgrades include a redesigned App Store, a new lockscreen, and a one handed keyboard.

 

Here is iOS 11 running on an iPad and iPhone

 

The Most Powerful Mac

Apple has announced the iMac Pro, the most powerful Mac. It comes in a space grey enclosure and some great specs. The iMac Pro features a 27” 5K retina display, up to an 18 core Xeon processor, and up to 22 Teraflops of graphics computation. According to Apple’s Press ReleaseiMac Pro is scheduled to ship in December starting at $4,999 (US). More details can be found at apple.com/imac-pro.” They are also working on a new Mac Pro.

 

Here is the new iMac Pro in space grey

 

Those are my top 3 announcements from WWDC. Was your favorite announcement left out of the list? Let me know what it was in the comments below.

T-Mobile Tuesdays Celebrates One Year with a Thankathon (ARCHIVED)

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T-Mobile customers, get ready for a thanking. T-Mobile Tuesdays is celebrating it’s one year anniversary by bringing back some of it’s best deals. T-Mobile customers can pick up a free T-Mobile trucker hat in their stores, get $0.25 off per gallon at Shell, and two free movie or game rentals from Redbox (one for you and one to give to a friend). They will also be giving away a lot, including 100 LG G6’s.

In addition to that, anyone (even if you aren’t a T-Mobile customer) can get thanked with a 12 hour thankathon. During the thankathon, T-Mobile will be giving away prizes every hour starting at 9 a.m. ET (6 a.m. PT). The list of prizes is on the T-Mobile Tuesdays site.

Look out for a reminder that will be up closer to this tuesday. Until then, T-Mobile also gave some statistics for the prizes they gave out and organized them into a nice infographic:

The New Adobe Scan App Is Great For Students! (ARCHIVED)

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Adobe released a new app on Wednesday, Adobe Scan. It will scan documents, and that’s nothing new, but after you scan something the app turns it into an editable PDF file. This is something I wish they released at the beginning of the week, because I know what it’s like to do this manually. I had to take the pictures on my phone, wait for them to upload to Google Photos, run the pictures through a web-based Optical Character Recognition software, then copy the text into a Google Doc. I had to do that for about 30 pages and it took an hour or so.


Adobe Scan does the same thing, it’s just automated and all in one place. When you open the app and go the the scanner, it automatically recognizes and scans your page. After you scan the pages you want, it will give you the option to edit the photos and crop them if you need to.

After you crop them, Adobe Scan uses OCR to figure out what’s in the document, turns it into a PDF file, and then suggests opening it in the Adobe Acrobat app, so you will need to download that too. In the Adobe Acrobat app, you can search the scanned document or copy and paste the text into something like Google Docs or Word to edit it.

You can search your PDF and copy the text into Google Docs or Word to edit it.

This app is something that will be going on my home screen because of it’s functionality, ease of use, plus it’s free! What are your thoughts on Adobe Scan? Let me know in the comments below.

 

This Is Essential (ARCHIVED)

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Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android, has released his new smartphone: Essential PH-1. It features a 5.7″ QHD edge to edge display that uses an interesting method to fit everything on the front. There is a little “U” shaped cutout on the top of the screen that makes room for the camera and a few sensors.

 

Essential uses an interesting method to fit the camera and sensors on the front of the phone.

Essential’s camera is the world’s thinnest dual camera system built for a phone and is optimized for low light performance. Both cameras can record in 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p at 120fps. That means that you can use the rear camera and the front facing camera to record slow motion video, something I haven’t seen yet. The rear camera is 13MP while the front camera is 8MP.

A closer look at the cameras on Essential.

 

The Essential phone will ship with 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. It is powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor and a 3040 mAh battery. Something that I didn’t mention yet is the accessory pins. Andy Rubin doesn’t want the Essential to become outdated every year, so he added a magnetic connector that can be used to connect accessories to. Right now they have a 360 degree camera that will snap right on.

 

The Essential’s magnetic connectors allow you to add stuff, like this 360 camera, to the phone.

 

 

You can reserve the Essential PH-1 right now at the Essential Store. There is no cost to reserve one. Currently, you can only reserve it in Black Moon and Pure White, but the Essential will also be available in Stellar Grey and Ocean Depths. You can see all the colors below. I have emailed the PR team at Essential and I am hoping they send me a review unit. Check back for an update or new article when the phone starts shipping out.