Reintroducing myself to Android

I bought myself a Moto E to use as my reference Android device. It’s a pretty solid phone for the sub-$100 price point. It’s also running a near-stock version of Android Lollipop, and will get updates in a fairly timely manner when Android M rolls out this fall.

I sometimes badmouth Android on this site sometimes for being worse than iOS in many ways. I have a lot of experience using Android phones, but I’d feel more comfortable making statements about them if I was using an Android phone on a regular basis. Thus the Moto E.

After a few days’ use, I feel as confident as ever in saying that Android is NOT as well designed as iOS in many important ways. There are parts of Android that look nicer in screenshots, but in practice, I find the entire OS to have a small level of “jank” in every area. Even compared ot my 2014 adventure into the platform, it’s much improved, but it’s still not totally there.

Third-party apps also still pale in comparison to their iOS counterparts. Twitter, Facebook, Slack, and Flipboard are on both platforms, but are better on iOS. Even the apps like Day One, Tweetbot, Editorial, Dark Sky, and Fantastical are all better than any comparable app on Android. In some cases the difference in quality is small, but in most cases it’s still pretty damn huge.

One app that bucks the trend is Pocket Casts, which is a delight to use on both iOS and Android, but it is much better on Android. The app flat out looks nicer. You really have to see this app in motion, because it is a marvel with awesome animations for everything.

pocket-casts

And it functions better than the still-excellent iOS counterpart. The “volume boost” and “remove silence” features are features I love, but have not made their way over to the iOS app yet.

Expect some deeper dives into the status of iOS vs Android in the coming weeks. In the meantime, just know that if you’re a little bored with iOS and think that maybe, just maybe Android has gotten better that iOS, don’t worry. Maybe it will win me over in the coming days, but I feel very good about keeping my SIM card in my iPhone for the foreseeable future.

Casino games become a major mobile sector

At one point in the not too distant past it was possible to spend weeks and possibly months deciding which mobile device that would fit our particular needs. Now if one spends too much time doing research one or more new models are likely to hit the market, sending us back to the drawing board.

The computing power of mobile devices surpasses that of many of the desktop PC’s available in the late 90’s. The ubiquitous mobile device (US mobile device penetration is now over 101%) has changed not only how we communicate, but also revolutionized the entire software and home computer markets. PC software is designed to have the look and feel of apps; computer operating systems strive for a look and feel of mobile devices.

Screen-Shot-2013-05-01-at-10.35.00

Our devices have changed virtually every aspect of our life, from how we pay bills, get a ride, find a place to eat, get around, interact with others and play games.

NEW YORK, NY December 12, 2014. Features. Founders of selfieonastick.com, Dominic and Jackie. Brooklyn Bridge, NY, NY. Photo By Zandy Mangold.

It is in the gaming area where the mobile impact is most felt, as the mobile revolution has shattered the stereotype of the “typical gamer.” While males still make up the bulk of online gamers, more and more females are joining the active gaming community, and the average age of the male player is now 35.

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To give you an idea of how pervasive mobile gaming is almost half of all tablet owners spends more time on their tablet than on their PC or watching television and almost 90% of the time they are playing games. The gaming market now rivals movies in the amount consumers spend on entertainment.

Europa Casino Blackjack

One of the fastest growing sectors in the gaming market is casino games. The vast technological changes mean that device owners are turning to flash casino games on their mobile devices for fun and perhaps profit. While slot machine type games have been available for some time, the new games rival any found in a brick and mortar casino. Additionally the types of games now available means that players can test their luck and skill at games such as blackjack, roulette, and baccarat for fun, real cash, or various rewards.

The increase in casino game play has also been aided by the sense of security mobile device owners have. The same security features that have resulted in the rise of online banking and mobile payment options enable them to feel comfortable with real money play at online casinos.

The gaming industry has long been one of the main innovators in the mobile market. Mobile casino sites continue to search for ways to enhance the players’ gaming experience. Look for more social aspects, multiplayer options, and advanced options such as live dealer games to become part of online casino options. The phenomenal growth in the number of games is also driving the growth of online tournaments and creating substantial jackpot games.

Our favorite Amazon tech deals for April 28, 2015

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The evolution of payments: From the days of bartering to mobile payments

Money as a mode of exchange of goods and services as we witness today has been in prevalence since the very early days of humankind, although very hard to pin it precisely. Bartering system was one of the early modes of payments, originating in the Asian and Middle East regions. Exchange of goods and services between people were very common and later found its way out with the difficulties arising in the weighing of services or goods and their value. Coins were later instated and that was the onset of value of goods and services. These systems were sometime in the 1700 B.C’s and fast forward it to the past few decades and we had traditional shopping, where you had to physically vouch for shops and get your desired goods and services. If the current and future payment systems are to be considered, everything is now mobile.

Commerce, since the very early days of bartering till now has witnessed tremendous change, all due to the rise of the Internet and subsequent mobile devices. With commerce and trading going completely online, we have options abound for making payments these days. We have credit cards, debit cards, net banking, Bitcoins, Mobile wallet and with every year passing, we are witnessing the surge in mobile payments. These payment modes have defined and transformed the way we make purchases. During the times of traditional commerce, a new terminology called ‘E-commerce’ was introduced and it made the best use of combining internet into the banking and payment modes. People were very sceptical in the beginnings as to how these online commerce and payments would turn out to be. There was a lot implied regarding the security of one’s personal accounts while making transactions through the newly originated mode of payment.

Technology evolves constantly and with does away with all of the misconceptions and illusions regarding the online payments. With the advent of secured server scripts and Https, these online modes of payment became even more tightly constructed while offering users the flexibility to access and make use of them whenever needed. These well-structured online payments have resulted into other online payment alternatives over the past decade, like PayPal. PayPal offered a completely new way to make payments online, providing the reliability and security as you would have with a top-notch bank. PayPal went on to evolve and expand its reach on the market and enjoyed a huge share in online payments industry. It grew to an extent that even online casinos that accept PayPal are witnessing a surge. PayPal went on to grow such that it is now widely accepted by millions of businesses and individuals.

mobile-payments

Mobile payments are now the future with all major corporates like have entered the picture with the likes of Google WalletApple Pay and more are lining up to have a piece of this new mint. Everything that we knew of in the past is now quickly becoming obsolete with the rapid pace that technology is evolving right now. Cash based payments, although still in use widely over different countries, it is quickly becoming obsolete with the mobile payments making it unviable to carry wads of cash around. Cash is now just yesteryear, with only 18% of payments in UK being made through cash.

What we are witnessing is just the beginning in the form of online and mobile payments. An ecosystem as big and vast as payments will sure go on to evolve with evolving technology and human trends.

The definitive 12-inch MacBook review roundup

The new 12-inch MacBook is here in all its glory and we’ve gathered the best reviews from around the web for you. Is this the laptop of the future? Read on to find out!

THE VERGE:

This new MacBook is the future. All laptops are going to be like this someday: with ridiculously good screens, no fans, lasting all day. Just like the original MacBook Air defined a generation of competitors, this new MacBook will do the same. It, or something inspired by it, is what you’ll be using in two or three years. It’s that good.

BLOOMBERG:

With the new keyboard and trackpad innovations, lust-inducing industrial design, and impressive downsizing of internal components, the MacBook feels like a an important next step in the evolution of portable computers. But this machine isn’t for everyone, particularly those who expect extremes from their devices. Still, if you prioritize style, need something ultraportable, and don’t mind trading power for a crisp and clear Retina display, then the perfect computer may have arrived.

ENGADGET:

Much like the original Air, the new MacBook is expensive, and it’s not for everyone. In particular, it’s for well-heeled shoppers who demand the most portable machine possible, and who also don’t want to compromise on screen quality. That might not be persuasive to would-be Windows users, who have several compelling alternatives, many with equally sharp screens and a bigger selection of ports. But for loyal Mac fans who wouldn’t dream of switching, the new MacBook is by far the lightest-weight machine in Apple’s lineup, especially with this caliber of screen. It’s not for everyone, especially not right now, but if it’s anything like the Air, it might one day become the standard.

MASHABLE:

The most important thing about the new MacBook, to me, isn’t necessarily what it is now, but what it represents. In five years, the sea of MacBook Airs and MacBook Air-style machines we see now at Starbucks will be replaced by machines that look more like the new MacBook.

This is the future.

TECHCRUNCH:

It’s true that for users who treat their notebooks as their sole computers, and who like to plug a lot of things into those computers as a result, this probably isn’t the best option. But for people looking for a mobile Mac to complement their desktop machine, and for those who aren’t sending their whole day on their Macs for work (meaning likely the vast majority of general consumers), this is a future-oriented notebook that is just as effective in the present, too.

WIRED:

Much like that first Air, the new MacBook is for the future. It’s a vision of our next computer, the one we’ll buy when our Airs or ThinkPads can’t keep up anymore. The MacBook is a work in progress: The processor and the battery will improve, and the price will drop. It won’t take long. The future’s getting here faster than you think.

ARSTECHNICA:

Ultimately the new MacBook feels like a first-generation product—a very good first-generation product, but a first-generation product nevertheless. It’s got some promise and a couple of major shortcomings and you don’t need to be the first person who takes the leap into the Brave New Future it represents. I use an iMac as my primary computer and a 13-inch MacBook Air when I’m sitting on the couch or in a café or on a plane, and perhaps 90 percent of the time this MacBook can replace the Air without issue. If this is going to be your main computer or only computer or if you’re one of the bare handful of people who use Thunderbolt for something, it’s hard to recommend.

LOOP INSIGHT:

If you know going into the purchase that you are going to connect a bunch of things to your computer, perhaps the MacBook isn’t for you. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for a lot of people, like me, not having the ports isn’t a big deal.

The decision between portability and ports is a pretty easy one for me—I’ll take portability 9 out of 10 times. That’s what a laptop is for.

FASTCOMPANY:

That’s the thing about the new MacBook: It doesn’t cater to exactly the same audience as any existing Mac. It’s a really good laptop—assuming you can figure out how to make USB-C make sense for you—and yet its size, weight, and overall minimalism give it an iPad-like persona. The thinking behind it is a different, more subtle way of mixing PC and tablet than all those other devices that try to be both at once. But like the original 2008 MacBook Air before it, this specialty Mac could also be a blueprint for the next generation of mainstream notebooks.

WSJ:

I expect the new MacBook to follow the same path as the Air. Over the next few years, it will improve, and become an affordable, indispensable tool for life in the future. But here, now, in the present day, there are more practical slim, everyday laptop choices. The MacBook Air is the best option all around, the MacBook Pro Retina 13 is a great step up, and PC users can do no better than Dell’s latest XPS 13.

Voca – A Viable WhatsApp Alternative for the textually active

With WhatsApp alone clocking over 3 billion messages per day, Text messengers are all in. It is quickly becoming a trend in technology that messaging apps are taking over traditional social networks with the convenience in usage and additional features associated with them. The acquisitions of Viber for $900 Million and WhatsApp for a whopping $19 Billion are the manifestations to the new shift for mobile conversations.

While WhatsApp is necessarily not an inept mobile messaging app, it sure doesn’t imply one shouldn’t vouch for some other messaging apps with better offerings. One such messaging app making the rounds around the tech world is Voca Messenger. With over a Million downloads on the Android platform, Voca is quickly gaining recognition for its host of features that are in fine tune with the masses who just love their messenger apps.

INTRODUCING VOCA MESSENGER

Voca is an international calling and messaging app for Android and iOS platforms. The app provides free calling and messaging for connecting with fellow Voca users, while the international calling rates are extremely affordable for making calls to Landlines and other users not based on Voca. This Stockholm, Sweden based company is quickly gaining attention for its offerings have amassed them a great liking and positive response from the mobile messenger users worldwide.

The app is well designed and reflects their personality and values of offering clear and valuable functionality. Their calling rates are super low and support over 230 countries spread across the world with support for free messaging and calling between Voca messenger users. The pricing of their calling rates even well place Voca messenger to be a better Skype alternative. The rates for most popular destinations of USA, China and India are 0.7¢/min, 0.6¢/min and 1.5¢/min respectively.

The ad-free and no-nonsense messaging app has done away with all those subscriptions, access codes, hidden fees and PIN’s which have haunted messaging app users for some time now. You can create groups for adding your contacts and share with them pictures, video, contacts and location. The company explicitly states that they make use of encryption protocols to safeguard their users’ private data. The app is customizable and lets you change some key features like colour scheme and the looks of your home-screen. Voca also lets you arrange your contacts into lists like family, business, etc. The payment feature of Voca also lets users add balance to their accounts and accepts payment across a wide variety of choices.

Below is a quick comparison chart that you should definitely take a look at to understand how well Voca messenger app compares when pitted against the mightiest likes of WhatsApp and Viber.

Sr. No Features Viber Voca WhatsApp
1 Instant Messenger Yes Yes Yes
2 Making phone calls Yes Yes No
3 Caller ID                – Yes              –
4 Free phone calls Yes Yes No
5 Video calls No Yes No
6 SMS Yes Yes Yes
7 MMS Yes    Yes Yes
8 Group Chat 15 users limit Yes 30 users limit
9 Free international calls Yes Yes No
10 Payment methods No Yes No
11 Profile Status No Yes Yes
12 Inviting Friends Yes Yes No
13 Customization ability No Yes No
14 Encryption of data Yes
15 Sharing contact details Yes Yes Yes 

FINAL THOUGHTS – THE COMPREHENSIVE MESSENGER FOR MODERN DAY TEXTING

Voca is a messaging app solution for the modern day textually active crowd who want a more powerful messenger with integrated calling, videos and other social features. You can Try Voca for free, if you are among the online media consumers who want a more extensive and comprehensive set of features integrated into your messaging app.

The definitive Apple Watch review roundup

The Apple Watch is here. Well, not really, but the reviews are in and we’ve gathered the best Apple Watch reviews we could find. Should you get it? Is it the smartwatch we’ve all been waiting for? Read on to find out.

We’ll be updating as more reviews become available.

STYLE:

This is where Apple’s breakthrough Taptic technology comes in. The Watch tapped my wrist when I received a text, when a call was coming in, or when it was time to stand up after an hour spent sitting at my desk. Each tap is subtly different. If it took a while to distinguish between the taps for right and left when the Maps function was giving me directions to our beach house in Tulum this weekend, it nonetheless made an instant relic of the rental car’s GPS. On my way to the airport, I added my editor and a few other key people at the office to my VIP mailbox, which means I got a tap if they sent an e-mail while I was away (I could read it right on my Watch or go check my phone), but I wasn’t notified about the hundreds of other e-mail messages that came in daily. They weren’t crucial, so there was no need to interrupt my beach time reading (or automatically deleting) them.

THE VERGE:

There’s no question that the Apple Watch is the most capable smartwatch available today. It is one of the most ambitious products I’ve ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology. But that ambition robs it of focus: it can do tiny bits of everything, instead of a few things extraordinarily well. For all of its technological marvel, the Apple Watch is still a smartwatch, and it’s not clear that anyone’s yet figured out what smartwatches are actually for.

BLOOMBERG:

So Apple has succeeded in its first big task with its watch. It made something that lives up to the company’s reputation as an innovator and raised the bar for a whole new class of devices. Its second task—making me feel that I need this thing on my wrist every day—well, I’m not quite sure it’s there yet. It’s still another screen, another distraction, another way to disconnect, as much as it is the opposite. The Apple Watch is cool, it’s beautiful, it’s powerful, and it’s easy to use. But it’s not essential. Not yet.

WATCH-NEXT:

But in short, my week with the Apple watch has been a week experiencing a different relationship with my forearm. Quite simply it’s not so much a watch, certainly not as we know it, as a new generation of wrist-wear.

CNET:

You don’t need an Apple Watch. In many ways, it’s a toy: an amazing little do-it-all, a clever invention, a possibly time-saving companion, a wrist-worn assistant. It’s also mostly a phone accessory for now.

In the months and years to come, that may change: with Apple’s assortment of iPads, Macs, Apple TV and who knows what else to come, the watch could end up being a remote and accessory to many things. Maybe it’ll be the key to unlock a world of smart appliances, cars, and connected places. In that type of world, a smartwatch could end up feeling utterly essential.

NYT:

It was only on Day 4 that I began appreciating the ways in which the elegant $650 computer on my wrist was more than just another screen. By notifying me of digital events as soon as they happened, and letting me act on them instantly, without having to fumble for my phone, the Watch became something like a natural extension of my body — a direct link, in a way that I’ve never felt before, from the digital world to my brain. The effect was so powerful that people who’ve previously commented on my addiction to my smartphone started noticing a change in my behavior; my wife told me that I seemed to be getting lost in my phone less than in the past. She found that a blessing.

TECHPINIONS:

After a week, I’m convinced Apple is onto something with this product. It may not be a necessity for most people but it is absolutely complementary to our digital lives. And the best part is the whole thing is going to keep getting better. More apps will come, developers will evolve and create new and compelling software to take advantage of those interactions that are measured in seconds and not minutes. Apple will update the operating system to include more features and functionality. That is the beauty of this being both a hardware and software play. The experience is not static but dynamic and we can look forward to watching and using the Apple Watch as it continues to evolve in meaningful ways.

DARING FIREBALL:

After more than a week of daily use, Apple Watch has more than alleviated any concerns I had about getting through a day on a single charge. I noted the remaining charge when I went to bed each night. It was usually still in the 30s or 40s. Once it was still over 50 percent charged. Once, it was down to 27. And one day — last Thursday — it was all the way down to 5 percent. But that day was an exception — I used the watch for an extraordinary amount of testing, nothing at all resembling typical usage. I’m surprised the watch had any remaining charge at all that day. I never once charged the watch other than while I slept.

WSJ:

For now, the Apple Watch is for pioneers. I won’t pay the $1,000 it would cost for the model I tested, only to see a significant improvement roll in before too long. But I plan to pay $400 for the 42mm Sport version once it’s on sale. That’s worth paying for a front-row seat for what’s next in tech.

RECODE:

The Apple Watch’s battery life is not nearly as long-lasting as some other wearable devices, but it’s better than I expected.

Apple has promised that the battery will last 18 hours per charge with normal use. It hasn’t yet died on me during the day, or even late at night. My iPhone actually conked out before the Watch did; this happened to Bonnie, too.

MASHABLE:

I didn’t expect to like the Apple Watch. But I didn’t expect to dislike it either. I feared my reaction would be meh. That would’ve been a shame because I believe in wearables and have been pulling for a breakout star.

The Apple Watch is that breakout star. It’s gorgeous, smart, fun, extensible, expensive (a plus if you want to telegraph luxury and excellence) and an object of true desire.

Like any 1.0 product, the Apple Watch isn’t perfect. The S1 chip has pep, but the watch could lag. The hyped Taptic response is useful, but not a game-changer. And I can’t make myself care about the ability to send heartbeats (though I do like to occasionally check my heart rate, especially after vigorous activity).

YAHOOTECH:

And this much is unassailable: The Apple Watch is light-years better than any of the feeble, clunky efforts that have come before it. The screen is nicer, the software is refined and bug-free, the body is real jewelry. First-time technologies await at every turn: Magnetic bands, push-to-release straps, wrist-to-wrist drawings or Morse codes, force pressing, credit-card payments from the wrist. And the symbiosis with the iPhone is graceful, out of your way, and intelligent.

MENS JOURNAL:

Now, after a week of testing, I can say that the Watch is useful, fun, inspiring — but it can also be a little frustrating, needy, and redundant with my ever-present iPhone. It certainly demands attention. Every form of information goes straight to my wrist, tempting me to constantly check my activity stats or see what I’ve been missing. And managing the stream of incoming emails, texts, calls, and notifications feels more distracting, more falsely urgent, than a phone you can just stuff in your pocket.