Google, Please Don’t Kill Hangouts

I may not be the biggest fan of Google, but I have to say that Google Hangouts is one of the best messaging apps I’ve ever used. It’s available on every platform, so I can start a conversation on my computer and continue it on my phone if I step away from my desk. It supports group chats and person-to-person chats equally well. Most importantly, it’s simple to send animated gifs and pictures (which we all know is the only way to truly express yourself online).

So why does it seem like Google is killing it? Why can’t we have nice things?

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WWDC 2017: Apple’s Mobile-Related Announcements

Apple’s WWDC developer conference kicked off this week, and as usual Apple held a keynote on Monday to announce updates in its hardware and software offerings. This was an unusually long keynote and Apple didn’t leave very many of its products untouched, so there is a lot that I could potentially talk about. In the interest of keeping our articles to a reasonable length, this post is going to focus on mobile-related announcements. For all of the other WWDC announcements, check out our other post here.

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Why Are Software Updates So Annoying?

A few nights ago, I opened my front door and pulled out my phone to turn on my Philips Hue lights. As usual, I swiped open the iOS Control Center and tried to use the HomeKit shortcut buttons to turn the lights on, but they were grayed out with a message that the lights were unavailable. Thinking this was a glitch, I opened the Hue app….and was greeted with a message telling me the lights needed to install a software update and that I would be unable to control the lights during this time. There was only one option, a friendly orange Update button.

Of course, my reaction was, “No, Hue, I don’t want to update right now. I want to turn my lights on, because it’s completely dark in here.” So I force-quit the app and opened it again, hoping to have a chance to turn the lights on before initiating the update. No dice–actually, as soon as I opened the app, it immediately started the update process. Wonderful.

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Will The Next iPhone Really Have a USB-C Port?

The Internet has been buzzing recently about a rumor published by the Wall Street Journal that the next version of the iPhone will have a USB-C port. Rumors about future iPhones are a dime a dozen, but the WSJ is a credible enough source that people are taking a serious look at whether this is something Apple might actually do. Is it actually plausible that Apple might ditch the Lightning connector for USB-C?

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Sometimes I Hate My Smartphone

You might have heard recently about Nokia releasing a new version of an old phone–the iconic Nokia 3310. The original 3310 earned a reputation for being a reliable, no-frills phone that was basically indestructible. If you were around when they were in use, you probably either had one yourself or knew someone with one. It’s right up there with the Motorola StarTAC and Razr flip phones in terms of being a quintessential example of an early-2000s cell phone.

Of course, we’re not in the early 2000s anymore, which raises the obvious question of why Nokia (or more accurately, HMD, which currently owns the Nokia brand name) would release a phone in 2017 that is closer to a “dumb phone” than a smartphone. I think the answer is twofold: people like nostalgia, and they like the idea of owning a phone that doesn’t demand their constant attention.

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Apple Watch: Long-Term Review

I’ve had an original Apple Watch since it came out in April 2015. Surprisingly, I still get comments and questions about it, and I’ve decided to write down some of the thoughts I’ve shared with various people over the year and a half I’ve owned the watch. Most reviews of tech products are based on a surprisingly limited amount of usage, because everyone wants to see a review as soon as the newest products come out.

However, a lot of gadgets make an especially good (or bad) first impression that doesn’t end up holding true over months or years of use. I’m going to review the Apple Watch from the perspective of having owned one for quite a while, and point out a few places where I think there is potential for growth and change in the wearable market.

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