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What Is the Number One App to Install Onto Your Phone?

There really is an app for that.

From social media, to games, to apps that can track your sleep cycle, both the App Store and Google Play Store have just about everything you may need or want in your day-to-day life. The small rectangles in our pockets can carry an extraordinary amount of data, and various applications help us navigate that data in a way that no other generation has been able to do.

But out of the hundreds—no, thousands—of apps on these stores, which is the best? What is the number one most valuable app to have installed on your device?

In my opinion, it’s Google Photos.

Why do I think Google Photos is better than the rest? What makes this simplistic picture app the most important?

Not enough people take advantage of the amazing features Google Photos has to offer, even when it comes pre-installed on some new devices. Here are the reasons I think everyone should have this app installed on their phone, and what makes it so great to use:

  • Google Photos can back up all photos at a high resolution (up to 16MP) at no cost to you.
  • It can back up all videos at up to 1080p resolution.
  • The amounts of pictures and videos Google Photos can back up at this quality is unlimited, which means you don’t have to pay for any additional storage.  
  • Google Photos is available on both Android and iOS, so you can access your pictures on any of your devices.
  • This app will automatically start to back up your pictures and video as soon as you connect it to Wi-fi. or you can set it up to back them up on the go as you take them. For this, you will have to go into Settings > Back up and sync > turn on Use Cellular Data (I would only recommend this for people with unlimited data, as it may end up costing quite a bit, depending on how many photos you take)

To take advantage of these features,when you use the app, make sure your “upload size” setting in your app is set to“High Quality.” If you want to retain a higher resolution and size, you can select “Original Quality,” but your photos will count against the 15GB of free storage that Google Drive allows. Once your 15GB is full, you will have to start paying for extra storage, or delete some of your photos to make room for new ones. And who wants to scroll through a year’s worth of cute dog photos to choose which ones to ax?

To use this application, you must also have a Gmail account. That way, Google can tie your photos on all your devices to you, giving you access to them on any device you sign in on.

Google Photos is a valuable tool for the casual cell phone photographer. With this app, you don’t have to choose between saving your vacation pictures and freeing up your storage. The Google Photos app gives any smartphone user, iPhone or Android, a way to save those memories without stressing about running out of space. The days of desperately mass-deleting old photos can end.

Why I Ditched Android for the iPhone XS

It was seven years ago when I opened the box to my brand new iPhone 4S. It was a magical moment, full of wonder and awe, at a time when smartphones were really starting to become capable little machines with the capacity to enhance our lives and hold our attention at ransom. This was the first time that I had ever bought a brand-new iPhone, and by any definition you could have called me an Apple fanboy. I was soon obsessed with jailbreaking and tinkering with these devices. It quickly became known around my school that if you needed a phone unlocked or a screen fixed, I was your guy.

However, it didn’t take long for iOS to feel kind of dull, even with all the customizations that jailbreaking brought. Not 6 months after buying that iPhone, I would go on to trade it for a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and enter the world of rooting and loading custom ROMs, only sometimes checking in to see what iOS was up to. I personally was not a fan of the limitations put in place by Apple on a device that I owned; considering myself a “power user” (read: nerd) at the time, I found the limitless potential of Android refreshing.

Now don’t get me wrong; though I’ve had my qualms with Apple for years, I’ve always found their operating systems to be intuitive and honestly designed with the user in mind. Over the years I have watched from the outside as Apple slowly started to figure out what exactly its users wanted. To believe that Apple is still at the forefront of innovation would be disingenuous; instead, they have shifted their strategy to one of patience, taking the time to let others make mistakes first while slowly perfecting the technology and releasing it once mature. Examples of this include Apple Pay, Touch ID, Face ID, wireless charging, dual cameras, and the list goes on. A lot of features were blatantly stolen from Android and the Jailbreak community, none of which I have a problem with, but feel it should be mentioned.

I’ve been an Android user for quite awhile now, but even with all the customization options, I still found myself becoming bored with the platform. I couldn’t help but wonder if I could go back to an iPhone now that the platform has matured. Even with the iPhone XS’ flaws, such as the notch, no fingerprint scanner, and lack of headphone jack, I couldn’t avert my gaze. I decided to take a chance and buy the new iPhone. What started as a mild curiosity has blossomed into full-on infatuation. I love how slick this phone is. Ditching the home button has proven (to me at least) to be the last piece of the puzzle to iOS’s fluidity. Gestures work great, Face ID surprisingly works very well (even in the dark), and my battery life is fantastic. I have very little to complain about with the phone itself. What annoyed me the most is that, this time, the phone didn’t come with a headphone jack to Lightning adapter. For how much this phone costs, there’s no excuse not to include an adapter besides greed.

To be honest, there’s not a whole lot, or anything really that this phone does that any new Android flagship can’t. However, everything it does do, it does extremely well. Every little detail has been thought of and polished. The OLED panel is beautiful, the 120hz Touch Sample Rate is snappy, and the Dolby Atmos speakers are something I didn’t know I needed, but are absolutely incredible, and not just for a smartphone either.

Is the new iPhone worth $999? To me it isn’t, and I actually didn’t pay that much for it. When the phone first launched, Sprint had a killer deal making the iPhone XS free on lease with eligible trade in that I took advantage of.

All in all, the phone is going to cost me less than $500 when I pay it off. If you have an aging iPhone, or if you have an Android and are thinking of switching to the dark side, I’d recommend holding out for a good deal if you can. If the price doesn’t deter you (most phones will require a 30-year mortgage soon anyway), keep the iPhone XS on your radar. If you are looking for something that works well right out of the box and don’t need to be bothered by a bunch of unnecessary options, this could very well be the phone for you.

 

Why Is The “Right To Repair” So Important?

A few months back, many iPhone 6 users were faced with Apple shutting down their iPhones with one of their software updates. Those users had made repairs on their phones, without using an authorized repair shop. Apple’s decision caused a public outcry and eventually, they reverted these changes in their next version of iOS.

This is the same situation that happens whenever an owner of a John Deere tractor attempts to make repairs through someone who is not authorized. After fixes are made, they are still required to have a John Deere representative come out and authorize the repairs, which is another added on expense and time consumer. Many of these farmers are fighting this because it could slow down their work in the field.

If this is not something that Apple is allowed to get away with, why is John Deere getting away with it?

Whether you’re wanting to fix your iPhone or the John Deere tractor in your field, the “right to repair” is a vital factor to support your livelihood.  At least eight states have been considering laws to protect the user’s “right to repair”. This “right to repair” will cause the users to have the chance to get more life out of the device, instead of tempting the user to just toss the device into the trash. Big or small, electronic devices contribute to the 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste that we produce every year, worldwide. When a device is harder to repair, it is more likely to be tossed into a landfill, even if there are laws that attempt to prevent this.

E-waste is extremely dangerous if it ends up in landfills. Batteries can explode and cause fires and many chemicals can get into the ground water surrounding the landfills. Instead of keeping up the habit of running to the store to buy a new device every time something breaks, we should be taking the device to the repair shop to extend the life of the item. While we are fighting for the ability to access the information to fix our devices ourselves, there are still companies like EPC, Inc. that offers service and repairs on many of your electronic devices.

EPC will always attempt to repair first, using our award-winning service department.   But if the machine is truly end of life, EPC’s Electronic Recycling Center, de-manufactures and recycles your e-waste to reduce the amount that ends up in landfills. Most electronics are 100% recyclable and EPC follows the BAN e-Steward guidelines while recycling all raw materials. We also take data security very seriously and any data recycled devices is destroyed according to the NIST 800-88 Guidelines to ensure the privacy of our customers.

Stop in to our St. Charles, MO location today to get your electronic devices repaired by our award-winning service department!

Tech News: Seesmic Desktop Edition

  • Seesmic Desktop Beta available: Thanks to the great video podcast, Tekzilla, I found a great twitter client in the style of TweetDeck that improves on the original in several ways. You have to sign up for their mailing list to be added to the beta test, but it is completely worth it.
  • Hack Twitter, Get a Job? The teenage hacker that recently published a few twitter worms was hired by exqSoft, a web application developer. Says the exqSoft CEO: “Any publicity is good publicity.”
  • The Pirate Bay found guilty: In a decision that will likely have legal implications far outside their native Sweden, the admins of The Pirate Bay were found guilty of ‘assisting in making copyright content available’ and were fined $3.6 million and sentenced to 1 year in jail. Not so fast – this verdict will definitely be appealled.
  • Stanford to offer free iPhone app development courses: If you have always wanted to learn how to make an app for the current hotness, Apple and Stanford want you!