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Google Updates Messages To Better Compete With iMessage

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Google is currently rolling out a significant update for its Messages app on the Android smartphone operating system. The update features a modern text messaging system that is similar to the iMessage that Apple iPhone users have been enjoying.

Instead of using the traditional cell phone signals, the update brings text messaging through the use of WiFi or mobile data called “RCS” (Rich Communication Services). It comes with the ability to share high-quality photos, video, typing notifications, better group messaging, delivery, and read receipts. 

The quality of group messaging will also get better as the ability to name groups, add and remove contacts from groups, and the ability to see if people have seen your latest messages have been incorporated.

No End-To-End Here

According to an interview by CNET’s Rich Nieva, Sanaz Ahari which is the director of product management for Google’s communications services said that unlike Apple’s iMessage and other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Android RCS texting would not offer end-to-end encryption, a feature that would secure messages so the sender and receiver can only read them. 

As for receiving and sending text messages on other devices, Google’s messages on the chrome browser for web services is still the best and only option for Android users. 

Been There, Done That 

While it’s crazy to think that iPhone users have been enjoying these features with iMessages, Android users are late to the party and only getting this update now. The text messaging Android has essentially been running on 35-year-old technology. 

Concurrently, iMessage is coursed on Apple’s standard, not the universally adaptable RCS standard. Sadly, there is no indication that Apple will adopt RCS for iMessage. According to Business Insider, Apple was asked about this matter but has yet to hear back. 

Android first rolled out this update earlier this year in the United Kingdom, Mexico, and France. 

Google has started to slowly introduce this new feature to only about 1% of the US Android phones and will get the update on Thursday, while in the meantime, the rest will have to see the new messaging updates by the end of 2019. 

The update is coming to Google’s own Messages app, not individual phone makers’ messaging apps. For people who do not use Google’s Message app but wants to take advantage of the RCS update, they can still set it as default text messaging app by heading to Settings, go directly to Apps and notifications, then open Default apps, and finally go to SMS app and click on the blue icon to set Google’s Messaging app. 

In other cases, if the users do not have Google’s Messages app installed on their device, they can install it via Google Play Store. 

For Google Pixel, they have already set Google’s Messages as the default text messaging app. 

Design

Five Ways On How To Transform Your House Into A Smart Home

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There are no specific requirements to make your smart home, well smart. Installing one or more different smart devices into your home would categorize your home as a smart home. You can make your home as smart as you want it to be. There are many different devices that can be installed to enhance your home living.

  1. Choose your smart home assistant

The first step to making your home into a smart home is choosing your assistant. The most popular voice-controlled assistants are the Google Home and Amazon Echo. These devices are similar but still have differences. The assistant will help you to use your other smart devices. Say “O.K Google, turn on the lights” or “Alexa, play music”.  

When selecting other devices for your smart home, make sure that those devices are compatible with your assistant. 

  1. Invest in Smart Lights

With smart lighting you can walk into your home and say “Alexa, I am home” and program which lights you would like to turn on once that is said. Some of the options can dim and have multi-colors. Smart lighting can also be controlled from a phone app which allows you to control your home lights even when you’re not at home. This is a great security feature if you’re away from home or on vacation but don’t want your home to appear empty. Some systems require a bridge to connect the device to Wi-Fi. The bridge allows you to control multiple devices all at once and when you are outside of your home. 

  1. Smart Plug

The smart plug is a great way to start turning your home into a smart home. These plugs can be found for as cheap as $15 a plug. You will be able to use an app to turn on/off what is plugged in or use voice activation from your assistant when you’re at home. For example, the app will allow you to turn off your bedroom light from miles away. You can control when your plugins are using energy or not to stay energy efficient. Schedules can be created to turn on/off certain devices at specific times. There are also smart plugs designed for the outdoor elements so you can conveniently control your patio or holiday lights with ease. 

  1. Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is a great way to be energy efficient by tracking your usage. This thermostat will allow you to improve your energy use by sensing patterns in the home to adjust the temperature based on movement at certain times of the day. You can see on your app the daily and monthly energy history and where you can cut back to save energy and money.

  1. Home Security

Smart cameras can be placed inside or outside of the home. These cameras connect to an app allowing you to watch what is happening inside or outside of your home wherever you are at. The app will notify you when motion is detected on the cameras. If you choose to install cameras, make sure that you are on a secure network to keep your private life confidential.

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Business

Top Three Tech Start-Ups To Watch in 2022

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The enterprise tech startup sector is packed with companies capitalizing on growing demand — even amid the disruptions caused by the pandemic — for tools in the world of big data, devops, cloud, mobility, the internet of things and cybersecurity. 

According to Gartner, global IT spending is expected to grow by 6.2% this year, with total spending  projected to hit $3.9 trillion. The unprecedented acceleration of digital transformation in 2020 to satisfy the move to remote work, changes to education and new social norms presented by lockdowns has largely offset the early hit to IT spending caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite a rocky year, funding hotspots emerged from during the pandemic, with Massachusetts in the US, India, Indonesia, Israel, Australia and New Zealand, France, Belgium, and Brazil all reporting above average levels of funding.

“COVID-19 has shifted many industries’ tech-quilibrium,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Greater levels of digitalization of internal processes, supply chain, customer and partner interactions, and service delivery is coming in 2021, enabling IT to transition from supporting the business to being the business. The biggest change this year will be how IT is financed, not necessarily how much IT is financed.” 

In this list, we highlight some of the hottest startups building software and services aimed at large enterprise customers, who their customers are, their funding so far and how close they might be to initial public offerings (IPOs) or acquisition in 2022.

  1. Cockroach Labs

Cockroach Labs is a software firm that develops commercial database management systems. Founded in 2015 by three ex-Google employees, it’s best known for CockroachDB, a cloud-native, distributed SQL database that provides “next-level consistency, ultra-resilience, data locality, and massive scale to modern cloud applications.”

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Cockroach Labs saw its revenue more than double in 2020, thanks in part to wide-spread cloud adoption. The startup expects to see similar levels of growth this year and claims to be on track to double its workforce from 200 to 400 employees by the end of 2021.

  1. Cohesity

There are a lot of factors that make Cohesity a ‘hot’ enterprise startup: unique technology, a founder on his second act after co-founding the now public software company Nutanix and $250 million in funding from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. 

The startup was originally pitched as a cheaper way for enterprises to store what it calls “secondary data” — backups, files, test/dev and analytics data — all monitored using a single cloud platform. It has since expanded into other areas of enterprise data management, including analytics, security and rapid recovery.

  1. Confluent

Founded by the creators of open-source Apache Kafka, Confluent is a commercial version of the software that helps developers manage system and application messaging at high volume and add real-time streaming data to their apps. 

Kafka has proved popular with companies like LinkedIn, which uses the technology for activity stream data and operational metrics; Netflix for real-time monitoring and its event-processing pipeline; and Spotify, where it’s used as part of the company’s log delivery system. 

The idea behind Confluent is to make it easier for companies that don’t have a surfeit of developer power to harness Kafka.

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A Beginner’s Guide To Flying Your Drone

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You’ve picked up a drone, congratulations! You have taken the first step into a fun new world. A limitless world with new perspectives and freedoms that come with being un-tethered by gravity, free to travel the skies any way that you choose. Drones can be fun to fly as a hobby, or perhaps you want to create inspiring aerial photography. While this can be a little intimidating at first, with a few simple steps you can take to the skies and master your aerial platform in a safe and controlled way. Today we’ll take a look at some of the important steps and elements that come with flying a drone.

How Well Do You Know Your Drone?

Before going airborne, take a few minutes to become familiar with your drone. Learn about the controls, settings, and discover key information about the battery performance. It’s also a good idea to do some research about air traffic and drone rules in your area.

Even if you have never flown a drone before, you can become a master in a short amount of time with some practice. Many drones offer beginner modes and simulators that allow you to get used to the controls and fly in a safe way, without putting your drone or anyone else in harm’s way. Many of the drones in the DJI lineup offer both a simulator that connects the controller to your phone or tablet and a beginner mode that restricts the drone altitude and speed. These two modes provide a great opportunity for novice pilots to build their confidence before embarking on a full-fledged flight.

Drone Controls

Many drones on the market use a standard controller layout, consisting of control sticks and buttons. While the appearance of some controllers can differ in shape and size, the fundamental controls are the same. For the sake of simplicity, today we’ll talk about the modes commonly found on consumer drones like the Mavic, Phantom, and Spark.

Pushing the left joystick up causes the drone to fly up while pushing the joystick down causes the drone to descend. Alternatively, pushing this joystick to the left and right rotates the drone to the left and right, respectively.

The right stick controls the drone’s heading or movement. Pushing the right joystick up, down, left, and right causes the drone to move forward, backward, left, and right, respectively.

You will most likely also have several buttons that allow you to control the camera. These controls can take photos, record video, tilt or pan the camera, as well as give you access to menus. It can help to learn what each button does before flying.

The drone control layout is quite intuitive and easy to operate. Just be sure to remember which side of the drone is the front, so that you can remember which way is forward and backward. For added safety, keep your drone in GPS mode while flying; so that it hovers and maintains its position if the input to the control sticks is ceased.

Pre-Flight Checklist

  • Check the physical condition of the drone. Look for signs of wear, or cracks in the propellers;
  • Check the rules and regulations for the area you plan to fly in;
  • Check that your batteries are charged and have adequate power for flight;
  • Check that your controller and drone are properly connected;
  • Pay attention to the weather conditions;
  • Check that the immediate area around your drone to determine if it’s clear to take off and land;
  • Check your camera settings. Being able to see what your drone sees makes for safer flight;
  • Be sure there’s a memory card in your drone if you plan to take pictures or video;
  • Announce to anyone close to the drone that you are about to take off;
  • Monitor the drone settings as you fly.

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