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Technology and Gadgets

My biggest passion - anything relating to general technology and gadgets... This is a blog of my tech news articles that I find interesting and I curate them to stay on topic with about 2 to 3 posts per day. It is being run as a Collection which means only I am posting but anyone is free to comment and discuss the posts as long as it stays on the topic of the post.
 
Out of long experience this has shown me to be the most focussed way of obtaining relevant interesting news without lots of spam and off topic chatter. I have no intention of spending time moderating a social Community. I've previously had over 500,000 followers on G+ and they followed because posts stayed strictly on topic. I hope people will appreciate that here and if you'd rather do social chat there will be other Groups for that. I honestly can't find time to do news as well as moderate lots of other posts that I have not researched myself.

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  • Danie van der Merwe
  • Danie van der Merwe
    The 5 Best App Launchers for Ubuntu & Linux Mint

    Ubuntu’s default app launcher is the GNOME Shell Applications Overview — but this full-screen grid of icons doesn’t suit everyone’s tastes. So, thankfully, there is a world of alternative app launchers for Linux desktops — launchers that are more traditional, more interactive, and/or often more capable than what Ubuntu includes out of the box.

    And they should run on other distros as well. I'm trying out Ulauncher on Manjaro KDE. Ulauncher has ma...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    Create floating Chat Heads for any Android messaging app with Tasker

    Love it or hate it, Facebook Messenger introduced a concept that has caught on with messaging apps: floating “chat heads.” These little bubbles float on top of whatever you’re doing so you can quickly jump into a conversation. Now the developer of Tasker, João Dias, has a method for bringing chat heads to all messaging apps.

    Chat Heads for Any App requires Tasker, AutoNotification, and AutoTools. The chat heads work exactly a...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    Victron Energy Listens! They added my local currency to their energy savings reports and shows a 45% energy bill savings from my solar

    I noticed the reports only showed Euros, Pounds and Dollars and because of their strength the max was a "2" whilst our cost is South African Rands was R2.29 per kWh. So I logged a request and Victron Energy said they'd look at it and low and behold there sits ZAR alongside Dollars, Euros and Pounds with the scale increased to a 4.

    It validates my reason for upg...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    Elon Musk’s Neuralink: Both an evolution and a plan for radical change - Neuralink will probably fail in interesting and worthwhile ways

    In one way some of the presentations made me think of Cambridge Analytica proposing a seemingly innocent brain-hack but then doing away with all our brain data and reprogramming us... but supposedly Facebook is not involved here... Seriously though this is really interesting to watch in that Musk's Neuralink has catapaulted forward the capabilities in this are...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    Best Android Phones for Rooting and Modding in 2019 - Staff Pick is the OnePlus 7

    Rooting isn't as popular as it used to be, but there's still a vibrant community of modders involved in launching new ROMs. If you're just getting started or are looking to delve back into the world of modding (maybe you still need to record phone calls), these are the devices you need to consider. A moddable phone ensures you have a Plan B in future too if the OEM no longer patches and updates the phone.

    See som...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    Twitter wants you to follow interests, instead of just people - which is good as you discover new on-your-topic people

    Laugh if you will but Google+'s success (I call it that as it was one of the big top three social networks even if Google lost interest) was very much based around interests and hobbies etc, not following individual people. So Communities and Collections were strong. People met people who had similar interests from around the world and broke out of their small restrictive physi...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    Facebook let contractors listen to audio recordings from Messenger app users - Facebook just does not understand Privacy

    Much like a previous US President did not understand the meaning of "sexual relations" like the rest of us, it seems Facebook's understanding of Privacy is just broken, and they'll "do better next time" and the time after that and after that...

    We can blame regulators but should we as consumers not blame Facebook and just take our business elsewhere? We can say all our frien...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    Web body mulls halving HTTPS cert lifetimes to improve security - Expensive renewals once a year... or free certificates any time? Tough choice

    HTTPS certificates are, essentially, used to encrypt connections between browsers and sites, and help software determine that no one is tampering with or eavesdropping on those connections.

    By reducing the amount of time a TLS/SSL certificate is valid, websites must renew their certs more often. This will, it is hoped, force them to use certificates wi...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    Spotify’s pitch to podcasters: valuable listener data - Spotify for Podcasters comes out of beta today

    Spotify is going to give podcasters listener data they can’t get anywhere else. The company is taking its Spotify for Podcasters dashboard out of a beta today, giving more podcasters a chance to see data like their listeners’ music taste, age, gender, location, and how long they listened to a particular episode. Apart from Apple, which offers some show analytics, this is the most detailed info...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    The Great Hack Documentary on Netflix - A glimpse into how personal data collection can influence targeted propaganda

    We all know the influence that propaganda has on an entire population - we've seen what happened in Germany in WWII and in South Africa during Apartheid, and it keeps happening all the time. Withholding certain information and releasing other information through mass media can influence how a country thinks and ultimately votes (any country).

    I lived through Apartheid and saw f...  more
    They took your data. Then they took control. The Great Hack uncovers the dark world of data exploitation through the compelling personal journeys of players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal. In select theaters and on Netflix July 24.

    Watch The Great Hack, Only on Netflix:
    https://www.netflix.com/TITLE/80117542
  • Danie van der Merwe
    Carrier is an immersive audio podcast that left me on the edge of my seat... much old-time radio theatre

    The series comes from QCode, the studio that released Blackout earlier this year. Like its predecessor (which featured Mr. Robot’s Rami Malik), it features a high-profile lineup of actors: Cynthia Erivo (Widows, Bad Times at the El Royale) voices Raylene, while Martin Starr (Silicon Valley), Lamorne Morris (New Girl) and Lance Reddick (The Wire, Fringe) are also part of the cast. But while t...  more
  • Danie van der Merwe
    SMS Backup+ is now broken due to Gmail's API changes, but there's a workaround

    I've been using this app for many years to back up my SMS messages for easy searching as well as restoring. The authentication also finally broke this week on my phone but this workaround re-enabled it for me.

    See https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/08/12/sms-backup-is-now-broken-due-to-gmails-api-changes-but-theres-a-workaround/

    #SMSbackup+