The Best Back To School Tech For Students

I already made a video about technology in education that was meant for teachers and administrators.  Now it’s time for students to take a look at some back to school tech.

Let’s start with a laptop.  For the average user, I recommend a Chromebook for classroom use.  Specifically the Samsung Chromebook Plus.  It comes with an S – Pen and flips around so you can download a note taking app and get rid of all that paper.  Next is a phone.  I’m an Android guy, so I won’t be recommending the iPhone.  If you want something that’s out now the Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus are probably your best option.  It’s what I carry around daily.  You can even check out my review right here.  If you don’t mind waiting a little, the Pixel 2 could be interesting.  The Note 8 could also be a good option and you could use it to take notes on instead of a laptop.  For your math classes, the Texas Instruments TI – Nspire is a must.  Just make sure you get the one with that comes with a Computer Algebra System, or CAS.  That lets you type in almost any equation and the calculator solves it for you.  It takes a little bit to learn how to use it, but I taught myself the basics one day during math class instead of reviewing for the final.  You could also download FluidMath if you are using a computer.  If neither of those work, I will be making a video showing you how to install apps to make your graphing calculator smarter once school starts, so subscribe to get notified when that video is up!  Last up is headphones.  This is where I try and help out you iPhone people especially.  Don’t get lightning headphones and don’t get Air Pods.  Get the Axgio Dash bluetooth headphones.  They might not look the best but they sound great, feel comfortable and secure, and they’re only $40.  I normally only use one at a time so I can still hear what’s going on around me and I get almost a full week of use like that.  If I use both of them at the same time the battery still lasts around a day or two.

 

Is there something I forgot in my list of school tech?  Let me know in the comments on my video.  Speaking of video, don’t forget to subscribe to Tyler Tech on YouTube to get notified when a new video gets uploaded!

Make Your DSLR Wireless With CamFi!

 

 

The CamFi is a little box that attaches to your DSLR and allows you to wirelessly control it using your phone, tablet, or computer.  The CamFi plugs into the USB port on your camera and creates a wifi network that you connect to and control almost everything about your DSLR.  That means when you can’t fit behind your camera because of space limitations, or because you want to stand in front of it, you can use the CamFi to change the focus, white balance, take pictures, and start and stop video recording all from your phone.  Or if you own a photography studio, you can have your pictures show up on a monitor for your client to see as you take them, or even have all your pictures print out as you take them.  You could even get rid of the cameraman for your youtube videos (I can’t because I feel bad firing myself).

 

The CamFi is simple to hook up.  First, you connect the CamFi to your camera’s USB port, then you can mount the CamFi in a few different ways.  First, is using the included mount for your camera’s hot shoe.  That could be a problem if you want to use a mic or other accessory too.  In that case, you can use the lanyard to hang the CamFi from your tripod, or lens.  Those are just the ways that have worked for me, you can put it anywhere as long as it’s secure.  Then you just turn on the CamFi, connect to the wifi network it creates, and open the app.  There you go, now you can control the settings all from your phone, tablet, or computer.  There is also the option to put the camera in live view, but because of the camera only supporting USB 2.0, this could be slightly laggy or jumpy.  The file transfer is really fast.  That makes it easy to take professional pictures on your DSLR and share them on social media, all wirelessly.  I think this is an essential tool for anyone who owns a DSLR that isn’t wireless.  The CamFi is going to be staying in my camera bag from now on.  If you want to get one for yourself, I’ll leave a link to the CamFi in the description.  Thanks to CamFi for sending this to me for my review!  

Why You Need Net Neutrality

Today is a day of action across the internet.  Tech companies are having an online protest of proposed changes to net neutrality rules by the FCC.  The FCC wants to get rid of regulations from 2015 that prohibit internet providers like Comcast and Verizon from blocking websites, slowing them down, and prioritizing sites that pay.  Without net neutrality the internet would be more like cable TV, where the content you see is what your provider puts in front of you.  Comcast and Verizon want to control what we see and do online and the FCC is ready to let them.  It’s up to us to stop them.  Team Cable would start charging websites if they want to be prioritized, that means that sites like Youtube and Google with billions of dollars will be easier for you to access.  Smaller sites like Vimeo might not be able to pay as much or more than Youtube, essentially putting them out of business because of slow speeds.  Sites across the internet, including this huge list, will be participating in today’s day of action.  That list has over 200 companies that agree on defending net neutrality.  A lot of them will be adding a slow loading image to show what the internet would be like without net neutrality.  Our website will be showing a message that you can use to send a message to the FCC (As long as everything worked out.  As a backup I also installed a wordpress plugin that’s supposed to do something similar.)  There is also an ad at the top of the Tyler Tech site that takes you to battleforthenet.com, a website created in support of net neutrality.  You can help too.  You can change your social media profile pictures to a loading icon, post these pictures, and sign some open letters.  I joined over 170 creators and added Tyler Tech to the Internet Creators Guild’s open letter to the FCC.  Net neutrality is essential in ensuring that the internet remains a level playing field for all creators.  Please support net neutrality *BUFFERING* so this *BUFFERING* isn’t normal (That makes more sense at the end of the video…)

 

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)

We had some issues with our webhost and lost most of our old site, but this article was recovered.  We were unable to recover the images… sorry for any inconvenience.

 

 

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)

We had some issues with our webhost and lost most of our old site, but this article was recovered. We were unable to recover the images… sorry for any inconvenience.

 

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)

We had some issues with our webhost and lost most of our old site, but this article was recovered.  We were unable to recover the images… sorry for any inconvenience.

 

 

 

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)

We had some issues with our webhost and lost most of our old site, but this article was recovered.  We were unable to recover the images… sorry for any inconvenience.

 

 

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)

We had some issues with our webhost and lost most of our old site, but this article was recovered.  We were unable to recover the images… sorry for any inconvenience.

 

 

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.