Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Motorola Razr 3 Is Getting A Makeover

We have what may be our first glimpse at what appears to be a testing model of the third generation Motorola Razr according to a pair of leaked photographs from Evan Blass via 91Mobiles. On the rear  side of the rebooted smartphone, codenamed Maven, they have two improved cameras:  a 13MP sensor for macro and ultra-wide pictures, and a 50MP f/1.8 main sensor.

One of another ways this one is different than previous version, is that the device's "chin," or the lip that extended outward in prior generations, appears to have vanished in the image of the device entirely closed. When closed, it flips close like the classic forming a  more square shape, which differs from both recent remakes and the device's original design.

The fingerprint sensor has also been relocated to the power button, which appears to be on the device's side, according to Blass. The fingerprint sensor was initially located on the chin of the 2019 Razr, but was moved to the rear of the handset for the 5G-enabled Razr released in 2020. Dieter Bohn, the former executive editor of The Verge, described the positioning on the back of the handset as a "awkward spot to reach," while putting it on the chin prompted him to use two hands to open the phone.

The Razr 3 is said to have an FHD+ inner folding display and a hole-punch 32MP selfie camera, according to Blass. (An image of the device's inside screen may be found at 91Mobiles.) Motorola is expected to offer two versions of the device: a normal version with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 system-on-a-chip (SoC) and a "Plus" version with an updated, but as-yet-unknown, chip. It'll have up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage, according to expected  specs.

Motorola appears to be preparing to compete with Samsung's flagship foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip 3, with its boxier form and two camera sensors. The first two Razr reboots weren't exactly stellar - the 2019 model had a $1,499 price tag and a number of problems, including a bumpy screen, a squeaky hinge, and a poor camera. Motorola's second generation wasn't any better, and the addition of 5G didn't make the $1,399 price tag seem justified.

The third generation Razr is expected to ship in China in July or August, according to a statement made by a Lenovo executive in December (Lenovo purchased the mobile brand in 2014). Outside of China, no release date has been announced sadly.

How do you feel about the more modern reboot of the classic Razr?

Monday, May 9, 2022

Pay for Gucci's Luxury with Crypto

Bougie may have become a lot cooler and more modern, or at least luxury house Gucci is! 

Gucci, which is owned by Kering  brands in France, has announced that they will become the latest company to accept virtual currency. The Italian luxury brand, will begin taking cryptocurrency payments at certain locations of its American based stores.

Customers will be able to pay using a plethora of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Shiba Inu and Dogecoin, a so-called "meme" cryptocurrency that was founded as a joke, will also be surprisingly  accepted, according to the company.

The service will be available later this month at some of the company's major locations, including Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and Wooster Street in New York.

Customers who pay with cryptocurrencies at stores will receive an email with a QR (aka: Quick Response) code to use with a digital asset wallet, which is a mobile financial transaction app. QR codes, or rapid response codes, are black and white squares that can be read by mobile phones and have been increasingly popular since the outbreak began.

The policy will be adopted  and added to all of brand's North American stores in the near future, according to the company. However, no ETA was given on when they plan to roll it out nationwide.

Gucci is the most recent and possibly highest end brand to announce that it will start accepting cryptocurrency payments. They are joining Microsoft, AT&T, and Starbucks being among the world's most well-known companies that now accept digital currencies.

How do you feel about cryptocurrencies being accepted by luxury retailers now?  It is an interesting twist for a company that has been around for a long time now. They seem eager to stay on the trends to stay current. Who knows, maybe they will announce luxury NFTs in the future?! 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Is History To Blame Call of Duty: Vanguard's Failure?

History is still boring, or at least that is what Activision Blizzard is implying when it comes to why Call of Duty: Vanguard isn't selling as well as they had hoped. 

They blamed the dismal performance on the lackluster reaction to 2021's Call of Duty: Vanguard after its most recent earnings failed projections by $300 million. The game's narrative was a time-hopping, globe-trotting jumble that followed a special operations task force as it attempted to foil secret Nazi conspiracies near the end of WWII.

Here is what they wrote regarding the slump in sales during their annual report from April 30th:

"While Call of Duty remains one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time, our 2021 premium release didn’t meet our expectations, we believe primarily due to our own execution, The game’s World War II setting didn’t resonate with some of our community and we didn’t deliver as much innovation in the premium game as we would have liked."

Their usual fan base does not agree 100% with that statement. Many players thought the plot was too short, seasonal content was not released on schedule, or  it's Zombie setting was not widely accepted well.  Others also complain that they release a new game of this franchise every year and people get bored with a franchise that never allows for growth. You pair those issues with a world wide pandemic and personal issues going public, you can see where this game release turned messy. 

It should be noted that the game was still a best-seller, just not to the extent that Activision would have hoped for. To win them back, the publisher is promising "the most ambitious strategy in Call of Duty history" in the form of Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2, a reboot of a sequel to a spin-off, at least until the anticipated $69 billion agreement with Microsoft closes. Activision is counting on a "return to the Modern Warfare setting, which delivered our most successful Call of Duty release ever" to boost sales.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Meta Partnered with Coursera for Professional Certificates

 Meta ceased requiring job searchers to have a four-year university or college degree to apply for select opportunities last year in an effort to fill excellent openings. The company said at the time that it believed the decision would show companies that a post-secondary degree isn't the only method for someone to obtain the skills they need to be a valued member of their workforce. Following up on that announcement, the business has announced a collaboration with Coursera, an online learning platform, to provide five new software engineering professional credentials.

The programs, according to Meta, are suitable for those wishing to get the essential skills to land an entry-level employment in the IT industry. It is not necessary to have prior industrial experience or even a college diploma to enroll in the courses. The new courses cover everything from front-end development to Android and iOS app development, with the latter providing an intensive introduction to JavaScript, React, Swift, and UI Kit. Two of the programs start on June 30th, and the remaining three start on July 31st — though you may pre-register for all of them now.

The classes come at a time when IT businesses like Meta are having difficulty filling positions in the United States. There were over one million empty IT positions in the United States even before the pandemic. The labor shortfall is expected to worsen in the future years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's difficult to determine how much more professional qualifications will help fix the problem, but Meta is certainly doing everything it can to address its own talent deficit.

What courses are you interested in by Meta and Coursera, and will you be taking any of them?

Friday, May 6, 2022

Build Your Own Mini Marshall Stack with New Bluetooth Speakers

Marshall has added two additional Bluetooth speakers to its portable speaker lineup, with one being an update on an older model with a few new capabilities. The company's first ultra-compact portable, the Willen, is joined by the Emberton II, which improves on the prior model in a few respects. Both are now compatible with the Marshall Bluetooth app, which was previously unavailable on any of their portable speaker models before. 

It was also unavoidable that the corporation would introduce a feature known as Stack Mode, a nod to "Marshall stacks". This just brings them up to date with the rest of the speaker industry, allowing you to wirelessly share your music with other speakers, in this case they will need to be a Willen or Emberton II speaker in order to share. It's also worth noting that Marshall has extended the Emberton II's battery life from 20 to 30 hours on a single charge when played at a modest volume level.

If you are wondering how well they perform, Marshall speakers give a fantastic warm tone with meaty bass and powerful highs in general. However, you cannot expect the same performance from these as you can with a larger speaker such as Tufton.

For the updated Emberton II, you can also expect a firmware update and EQ tweaks that are available in an app. The Willen is designed for those who are on a budget and may be just wishing to try out a Marshall speaker system. 

Both speakers include Bluetooth 5.1, an IP67 weatherproof rating, and are Stack mode compatible, which requires a triple press of the Bluetooth button to host and a double push on secondary speakers to join or disconnect.

Emberton II  (sold at $169.99) will be released on May 10th and the Willen ($119.99) on June 2nd. 

Are you excited for these 2 new releases from Marshall?

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Instagram Cracking Down on Tiktok Reposts

 Instagram doesn't want to be a highlight reel of your favorite Tiktok videos. The head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has announced changes that he says will help to credit the original content creators, as well as encouraging users to create their own unique content for the gram. 

Their parent company Meta (who also owns Facebook) is trying to make both platforms more creator friendly, rather than staying social with your friends. Hence why you are seeing newer items being added to try to pull creators into their services with reels and shopping tools. However, that hasn't stopped people from trying to turn them into a knockoff version or mirror to Tiktok. So how are they going to respond? By burying it from the rankings and to further hide the copied content from view.

Don't fret just yet though, as Instagram is saying that it will take a learning curve to see what they considered as new, fresh content vs stolen. Here is what Adam has shared thus far.

What are your thoughts and do you think this is a better direction for Instagram to move towards?

Password Security Tips for World Password Day 2022

 It may seem like every year you hear of a crazy new holiday or themed day, well today may be no different than that to you. Today marks World Password Day, a day where we try to raise Internet awareness on cyber security and how you can protect yourself from being hacked. So in honor of today, I decided it is time to share some tips to help you all in making sure that you are as secure as you can be.

1. Never Reuse Passwords

This one should be considered common sense, but we all do get our lazy sides going and sometimes it is easier just to reuse the same one or a variation of it again and again. This should be a huge no, as if that account gets hacked, you can bet your Xbox S or Playstation 5 that those hackers will attempt to use that password to gain access to other accounts.

2. Use a Phrase or 10+ Characters

The longer the password, the hard to crack it - or at least that is what this one is all about. Yes, it does make it harder on you, but at the same time it makes it harder for a hacker and that is a good thing! You can also use a password manager to store these passwords for you, and many of them do offer a password generator that can help you to create a longer, random password if you don't want to use a phrase. This can also be helpful where they cannot use AIs to crack into a random password, as the longer it is, the longer it takes to crack.

3. Don't Share Accounts

I can promise this is not sponsored by Netflix, but sharing accounts and passwords can be a security concern. Most services and websites should do better by allowing everyone who is sharing a service to create their own login, but alas, that doesn't appear to be a concern to them. Perhaps we can remind them of this security liability on World Password Day?

4. 2-Factor Authentication (2FA)

As we approach to a more digital age, 2FA is a growing and popular option for many. It makes it harder for those to gain access to your account as most want to send you a random, generated code to your phone where you can see it and then enter it. It can feel like a real pain, but it can be a good thing as well especially for accounts that may house personal information.

What are some of your tips regarding password security? Is this the first time you have heard of World Password Day?