Google I/O

On May 17th, Google announced their newest innovation to the technology world. This time around, Google has decided to put AI on the forefront of its latest devices. Follow along for the highlights of the conference!

  • Assistant interfaces – This new addition allows you to type into Google Assistant, or even plugs-in input straight from Google Lens such as images. For example, this makes it easier and much more helpful to translate it several different languages. Simply point your camera at a menu that is made in a different language, and Google Translate will translate it to your primary language.
  • Google Lens – Google Lens will have a set of services that are vision-based and will identity the object by a point of a camera. You are also able to point it at a Wi-Fi bar code, and it will automatically log you into the network.
  • Google Assistant – Google Assistant has made researching and quick references a joy for Google and Android users. However, with this new update, Google Assistant will now be available on the iPhone as an app.
  • AI-driven face recognition will now perform better in Google Photos at recognizing people.  With Google Lens, the form of image-recognition will be easy to use through your smartphone by using computer vision.
  • Google Home – The Google Home update provides proactive assistance that will give you info before you need it. In other words, users will be able call hands free to US and Canada lines for free, add Soundcloud and Deezer to already existing music services such as Spotify, HBONow, Hulu and others will be added to the TV casting partners. It will also allow you to send directions to your phone on a ‘let’s go’ command and send your calendar or weather report to your TV.

With these additional features, Google continues to make smartphone devices easier and more functional to use on a daily bases.

 

Android Wear 2.0

Do you enjoy your regular wrist watches just as much as you enjoy your smartphone? Do you find that Android watches are more stylistic than Apple’s Watches? Well, you are in luck because Android Wear 2.0 is here!

Google recently confirmed that many of their watches will have the Android wear update between April and late May 2017. With this new update comes the introduction to use it on LG smartwatches, and now, iOS system.

Some of the new features for Android Wear 2.0 include:

  • Google Assistant – Google assistant was first used in Google’s Pixel smartphones, but now, this helper is ready to respond to a simple ‘OK Google’ command or press of a button on your watch. Assistant can help make reservations for you, provide you with the weather report, and will also work with smart home devices, leaving you completely hands–free.
  • Complications – Initially, complications are features that provide more than just the watch face information of hours and minutes. Android wear adds support for third-party complications. This means Fitbit, Spotify and similar apps will be able to integrated directly to your watch face.
  • Notifications – While some of us love to receive notifications, even if it does cover the whole screen, Android wear will have small icons that can easily be tapped to expand on the specific notification such as a text content or email.
  • Standalone apps – Android wear apps work independently with phone apps. In other words, the app will work perfectly even if your phone is nowhere near you.

There are several watches that can support Android wear 2.0 and are perfect for any style. As more smartwatches will be added to the list, here are some of the watches available:

  • Asus ZenWatch2, Asus ZenWatch 3
  • Casio WSD F10
  • Fossil Q Founder, Fossil Q Wander, Fossil Q Marshal
  • Huawei Watch, Huawei Watch Ladies
  • Michael Kors Access Bradshaw Smartwatch
  • LG G Watch R, LG G Watch Urbane (1st gen)
  • New Balance RunIQ

Pop Up Problems

It can happen suddenly and take up a chunk of your computer screen – the dreaded pop up!  These pop-ups can be initiated by a single or double mouse click or rollover (sometimes called a mouseover), and also possibly by voice command or can simply be timed to occur. These windows are almost never requested by the user, so how exactly can you get rid of them?  The answer is different depending upon your computer system.

If you have Windows 10 they suggest the following dierctions:

  • Open Internet Explorer.
  • Click the Tools button, and then click Internet options.
  • On the Privacy tab, under Pop-up Blocker, click Settings.
  • In the Pop-up Blocker settings dialog box, set the blocking level to High: Block all pop-ups (Ctrl + Alt to override).
  • Click Close, and then click OK.

On Google Chrome you can try to block pop ups in the following manner:

Turn pop-ups on or off

  • Open Chrome.
  • In the top-right corner, click the icon you see: Menu or More .
  • Click Settings.
  • Click Show advanced settings.
  • Under “Privacy,” click Content settings.
  • Under “Pop-ups,” select Do not allow any site to show pop-ups (recommended) or Allow all sites to show pop-ups.

While pop ups are meant to be a form of marketing, they can be insidious and annoying. The trouble is that a malicious pop-ups can be confused with a legitimate pop-up ad. Therefore be careful when confronted with a pop-up. You never know if you can trust the source or if it could contain spyware, malware or other viruses. Talk to the professionals at M&H Consults to learn more about blocking pop ups and preventing the problems they tend to bring.

Macbook Pro’s New Touch Bar Tricks

If you have recently purchased a brand new Macbook, you have probably noticed its cool new feature, the touch bar! There are many new tricks and technological life hacks provided by the touch bar, which is why we have decided to share the details with you. Follow along to learn about some of the tricks below.

One simple, but useful trick, is the volume and brightness adjuster. With the touch bar you can simply tap on the volume or brightness button and then slide up or down to adjust them to the perfect level for you. Sure, the respective buttons will still be on the keyboard if you would rather use that, but using the touch bar allows for more precision.

Another simple way to use the touch bar is to communicate with Siri. All you have to do is press and hold the Siri button on the touch bar and give your command. Once your command has been made you can release the button and she will be able to complete her task. Easy, isn’t it?

Jumping ahead or backwards on a video or song is now an easy act. Once you are on the video or music application, a bar-like buttons appears on the touch bar. Tap on that button and slide your fingers over the scrub tool to jump ahead or behind. This is a great feature for those who are in the video editing business.

Are the applications available on the control strip not ones you typically use? These can be changed. You can manage available apps by going to System Preferences > keyboard > Customize Control Strip. Once there, you can drag and drop buttons more relevant to what you use onto the control strip.

With its cool new features, the Macbook’s new touch bar has come to make getting tasks done more easily and quickly.

Deciding on a Screen Size: Weigh Your Options

The screen is the primary point of focus on a computer. Replacing the arrays of blinking status lights on early computers, monitors now provide a rich multimedia viewing experience, but the name has endured. A Council for Research Excellence study found that American adults spend an average of 8 1/2 hours looking at screens, while in a scientifically conducted telephone poll by Poll Position, 64 percent of respondents said that they spent four to more than 10 hours a day looking at a screen. According to a 2001 Educational Testing Service research report on the effects of screen size and resolution on test results, several studies also found that larger, higher-resolution screens positively affected user performance, particularly on reading. The screen you purchase should be appropriately sized for your daily tasks, but you don’t want to spend more than you have to. Larger monitors are typically more expensive than smaller monitors with the same features, but size is only one factor of monitor price.

Primary Monitor: For the display you use every day, consider the tasks you most often perform on your computer. If this monitor is for a family entertainment computer, then go for the displays between 24 and 30 inches, such as the Samsung Class 300 at 27 inches. At this size, everyone can sit farther away from the
screen without losing display quality. Newer screens designed for entertainment are more likely to support multi-touch, preparing you for touch-enabled desktop apps and operating systems, such as Windows 8. If you’re a digital artist or photographer, you want a display like the NEC MultiSync PA241W, sized at 24 inches so you can see life-size wide-gamut color images while still sitting close enough to work at a desk. Try a screen around 20 to 22 inches, such as the business-oriented Lenovo ThinkVision L2250P, for frequent document editing.

Aspect Ratio: The 4:3 ratio of the Asus VB195T is closest to Letter size, making visualizing documents for print simpler than on a wider screen. For heavy document editing, consider a pivoting screen. You can rotate them while working so that they are taller than they are wide. The HP DS245V, with a ratio of 16-to-10, is closest to Legal paper size. A 16:10 ratio monitor has the highest pixel counts, also a plus for artists. For multimedia viewing and gaming, a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, the same format as HDTV, eliminates black bars or distorted picture. This aspect ratio is the most common one sold.

Considerations for Laptops: Laptop screen size affects both battery life and portability. The larger your screen, the larger the laptop frame, which increases the weight of the computer. For a laptop, a small screen is 13 inches and a large screen is around 18 inches. The larger screens can also be hard to hold or use in smaller spaces, such as trains or airplanes — a concern if you travel frequently. Comparing the 14 inch Dell XPS 14z with the Dell XPS 15z at 15 inches, the extra inch of screen gains you 1.18 pounds and 1.6 inches of width. Larger screens need more power to function too, so to maximize your battery life, you should minimize your screen size.