Google Launches My Activity Site – The Paranoid, Unite!

So if you are super paranoid about Google knowing everything about you, this post may not be good for your blood pressure.  If, however, you like being able to see your activity using Google products and services on any give day, the new My Activity site is for you.  And frankly, it is pretty darn cool.  For each day you can see a breakdown of the apps, services and other content that you have done on any given day.  It is literally a minute-by-minute breakdown.   You can see your search history, the website you have visited, the apps you have used, the YouTube videos you have viewed.  You get the idea:  If you give Google access to this information, it is in there in impressive detail.

Big Movie Sale Right Now at Google Play

Right now at the Google Play Store, there is a huge sale going on a wide range of movies.  You can pick up some great titles for as low as $5.99 in HD and as low as $3.99 in SD.  There is a good mix of titles at are on sale from the recently released Zoolander No. 2, to the classic Matrix trilogy, the Taken series and all of the Fast and Furious series.  If you have been wanting to bulk up your movie collection, now is the time.

HP Announces the Chromebook 11 G5 With Optional Touchscreen

HP, like many other traditional PC manufactures, is getting serious about Chrome OS.  The company has announced the new Chromebook 11 G5, an 11.6″ Chromebook that will start at just $189 when it is released to partners this month and retailers in October.  The new Chromebook 11 will be available with an optional touch screen display which, given that upcoming release of Android apps on Chrome OS, is something those of you in the market for a Chromebook should seriously consider.  It will be powered by the Intel Celeron N3060 and likely will have configurable memory and storage options once it does hit the HP store.  Equally, it was have an impressive 12.5 hours of battery life.

Google Plus is 5 Years Old Today and Still Surviving – And Maybe Thriving?

Google Plus, the social and community site from the Mountain View company, celebrates its 5th birthday today.  The site and service was the 4th attempt by Google to bring forth a social networking site after Buzz, Friend Connect and Orkut all died.  Plus is by far the longest lived of any attempt into this arena by Google and over the course of 2014 and 2015, it looked like it too would end up on the digital trash heap.  But it hasn’t.  Google continues to tweak on it both on the web and in apps for Android and iOS.  It has evolved from a proper head-to-head competitor of Facebook and even Instagram to something different.  Sure it has the elements of those services but it is really more focused on community.  Within Google Plus you can easily find a community of like minded people on a whole range of subjects and interests.  You can create your own topic creations, your own communities and share them with everyone.  Not only is Google Plus surviving, you could make the argument that it is thriving.

Evernote Announces Price Increases

On their blog today, Evernote has announced pricing changes for their two pay tiers as well as change to their free basic tier.  The prices go into effect immediately for new customers who sign up starting today while those who already have an account will see the price increase starting August 15th.  For the free basic tier, functionally the program remains pretty much the same although you are now limited to syncing to two devices.  Those two device can be a PC or a phone, a phone and tablet, a PC and a tablet, etc.  You get the idea:  two devices only.  The basic tier also has the free PIN locking of your account on your devices, which became a part of the free tier earlier this month.

Song Lyrics Now Show Up in Google Search & Google Play Music

A behind-the-scenes update and a new partnership with LyricFind has brought inline lyric viewing right within Google Search and Google Play Music on your Android phone.  The partnership with LyricFind brings lyrics to songs from over 4,000 publishers to the apps, making it much easier and smoother to find the words to your favorite song (and to figure out if you have been singing them wrong all these years!).

“We’re happy to expand the depth and quality of lyrics available on Google’s services,” says LyricFind CEO Darryl Ballantyne. “We’re working together to make lyrics available to a larger audience in a faster and more efficient way.”

LyricFind has been the main driver behind creating a legal and global lyric infrastructure for all platforms, and its partnership with Google further strengthens this mission. LyricFind collects new royalties for songwriters and rightsholders, and benefits music fans who engage more easily than ever with lyrics that inspire them.

Ultimate the good news for us Google users is that there is nothing we have to do to make the magic happen other than do a search.

Android Pay Comes to Singapore Starting Today

Good news for those of you in Singapore.  Today you can download the Android Pay app and start using the service wherever tap-and-pay is supported.  The expansion comes a couple of weeks after Samsung Pay made its way to the country and gives users the ability to make secure payments from their phone without having to pull a credit card out of their pocket. In order to use the service, you have to have a MasterCard or Visa from a supported bank.  Those banks include Standard Chartered Bank, OCBC Bank and POSB.  DBS and UOB are also supported.

Real Racing 3 Update Brings Four New Exotics to Race

Real Racing 3 has been updated once again, bringing with it four new exotic cars for you to take spin in on tracks around the world.  The update is rolling out to the Google Play Store now and you are looking for version 4.4.1 for those keeping score at home.  The update is big at 55MB so you’ll want to download it over Wi-Fi to make your life easier.  Once you have it, you will have access to a new Ferarri and three new Lotus cars in the game.

WordPress for Android Finally Gets a Visual Editor

Good news for those who use WordPress for their site or blog.  The new build for Android Finally, finally, contains a Visual editor. That means that you will have the same look and feel as you do on the web when it comes to formats, layouts and other things instead of having to use plain text and HTML markup.  The change is most certainly welcome for those who don’t have code experience or simply don’t want to have to bother with the code.  I’m certainly in that camp ( is powered by WordPress).

Review of Coocheer Mobile Power Battery Pack – Good Performance in a Hardened Package

When it comes to external battery packs to charge your devices, the options are endless when it comes to size and performance.  Many of these battery packs, however, are not necessarily hardened to withstand the elements.  Enter the Coocheer Mobile Power pack CH-242.  This 7500mAh pack has an aluminum chassis and body surrounded by a rubber edge.  More importantly, the CH-242 has a rubber cover over its 2 USB ports to help keep water and dirt out while you are using it in the outdoors.  While it certainly is not the most powerful pack you can get, for a price of just under $21, it is a great value.  Here is my review.

Improved Satellite Images Coming To Google Earth and Maps

Today Google has announced that they will start using images from the Landsat 8 satellite for Google Earth and Google Maps, bringing far superior images for both apps when you view the earth in satellite mode.  The change moves the primary imaging source of Google from Landsat 7 and both of the satellites are operated by the USGS/NASA Landsat Program.  What this means for you is far more detailed and clearer images when you use either of the apps.

Today we’re rolling out an even more beautiful and seamless version, with fresh imagery from Landsat 8 satellite and new processing techniques for sharper images than ever before. Satellite images are often cloudy, but not always over the same place, so we looked at millions of images and took the clearest pixels to stitch together this cloud-free and seamless image.

There is nothing we as users have to do.  This is a back end update from Google and you should start seeing higher quality images in both apps today.

T-Mobile Galaxy Note 4 Sees Marshmallow Update Arrive

Following in the footsteps of Verizon, T-Mobile has now released the Android Marshmallow update for the Galaxy Note 4 on the carrier’s network.  The update brings Android 6.0.1 to the Note 4 as well the June security update.  It is about as fresh a version of Android as you can get.  The update is a hefty 1.5GB so you will certainly have to be on Wi-Fi in order to download it.  Once you do have it downloaded, you can expect a 20-30 minute install time and reboot of your device.  As always, I recommend you make sure that you have any local documents or photos backed up to the cloud or your PC prior to starting the update – just in case.

Google Launches My Activity Site – The Paranoid, Unite!
Song Lyrics Now Show Up in Google Search & Google Play Music
Real Racing 3 Update Brings Four New Exotics to Race
WordPress for Android Finally Gets a Visual Editor
T-Mobile Galaxy Note 4 Sees Marshmallow Update Arrive
AT&T Releases Android Marshmallow for the Galaxy Note 5
How To Enable Event Based Do Not Disturb in Android
HTC 10 Update Brings Improvements and The June Security Update
Google Clearly Defines Update Support for Nexus Devices
Unicode 9.0 Formally Ratified
Android N Developer Preview 4 – A Progress Report
Android N Developer Preview 4 OTA Now Rolling Out
Google Launches My Activity Site – The Paranoid, Unite!
HP Announces the Chromebook 11 G5 With Optional Touchscreen
Chrome OS Stable Channel Sees A Small Update
Chrome OS Update Brings Improved Monitor Support
Project Fi App Update Paves The Way for U.S. Cellular Service
U.S. Cellular Now A Part of Project Fi Coverage
T-Mobile Set to Acquire More 700MHz Coverage In The Chicago Area
Project Fi App Update Addresses Mobile Data Usage Leak and Adds Call Blocking