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Every gadget has a story. A new publication from Medium about consumer technology.

In the future of the past, cyborgs were different. In the The Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors played Steve Austin, a test pilot who suffers severe injuries after crashing an experimental plane. He loses both legs and an arm, and is blinded in one eye. Austin then becomes an experiment, himself — he is rebuilt as a cyborg (at the cost of $6 million). As a cyborg, Austin has bionic arms and legs as well as a sophisticated camera for an eye. With his new superhuman limbs, strength, and speed, Austin is dispatched to fight crime around the world.

screenshot of the ‘start menu’ on a Chromebook
image courtesy of the author

The desktop on a Chromebook is as barren as the Sahara Desert. Save for a wallpaper you’ll rarely see, it has no function whatsoever. I still cannot understand why Google have kept things this way rather than allow shortcuts and widgets to be displayed on the Desktop, but hey ho, what do I know? I’m only a user.

Cue my discovery of the Taskbar app. Designed for Android phones, maybe this little app could fulfill a need most of us Chromebook users yearn for?

Let’s take a look.

Installing Taskbar

Installation is straightforward. Head to the Google Play Store and download the…

Photo by Apple, Stock Footage by Stockland | Animated GIF by Author

Okay, let me guess: what would be the improvement of the next iPhone? Slightly bigger screen? Slightly smaller bezel? One more storage option? Better camera? Truth be told, I’m tired of Apple’s incremental improvement for the recent iPhones.

Understandably, mobile phone innovation has already peaked, and it is very difficult to beat Steve Jobs’ 2007 iPhone reveal. The original iPhone was groundbreaking because Apple was way ahead of its competitors.

Overly Obsessed with Camera Features

Apple iPhone 13 (Credit: Apple)

Apple didn’t reinvent the wheel or the iPhone. From a distance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between an iPhone 12 lineup and the iPhone 13 devices Apple unveiled on Tuesday.

They share the same sharp-edged design as the 12. The camera arrays are still surrounded by that box and could resemble a stovetop. The only visible difference is the iPhone 13 cameras are now offset diagonally to each other. Apple didn’t even trade-in the lightning port for USB-C (which it’s already using on its iPad Pros, iPad Airs, and the spiffy, new iPad mini).

And yet, I still…

Behold Facebook’s new Ray-Ban “smart” glasses — with two cameras, so you can feed pix to their feed all day long

Over a decade ago, I began reporting on “wearable computing”. Back in the 90s and 00s, this meant interviewing DIY hardware hackers who’d built their own rigs.

They discovered some pretty cool uses for a head-mounted computer. Often they used their wearable as a form of “extended memory” — they’d jot down notes on the fly and retrieve them when needed, even years later, peering into their tiny eye-level screens. They also liked to engage in ambient, floating text-chat with friends. Wearables, they all told me, could amplify your cognition.

But the one thing nearly everyone told me?

If you…

Image by Author.

If you’re a long-time reader of my tech stories here on Medium, you’ll notice a common theme: I go back and forth a lot. A lot. One minute, I’m looking at iPads or MacBooks, the next it’s Surfaces and Chromebooks.

This isn’t a new thing for me; for most of my technological life, I’ve flip-flopped between devices and operating systems in an effort to find the perfect computer. I went for Chromebooks because they were cheap, and I went for Windows laptops because they could run more programs.

It wasn’t until last year that I finally decided to give the…

Lenovo’s new IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon (Credit: Lenovo)

Few tech companies have as storied and long a history as Lenovo, the brand that started as IBM in the early 20th Century, helped launch the personal computer space in the 1980s, and defined the laptop keyboard for future generations.

IBM as a cloud and enterprise solutions business remains, but the computer and laptop company that defined personal computing for a generation has been owned by the Chinese company Lenovo for 15 years. It’s rarely mentioned in the same breath as Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Amazon, but Lenovo is increasingly competing in all the same categories — even smart displays.

Image by Author.

A month ago, I wrote about my decision to say goodbye to Chrome OS.

It has been an operating system that I’ve used for years now, but as my computing needs became more robust, I found myself requiring the power and program support of Windows or macOS instead, and my Chromebook found itself teetering on the edge of obsoletion.

Largely, my opinion on Chrome OS hasn’t changed since I wrote that story; I find it limiting at times, I can’t do everything I need to with it, and it forces me to use Google’s services, which I’m not overly thrilled…

Windows 11 (Credit: Microsoft)

I derive a certain pleasure from running early Windows Builds. It’s something I’ve been doing it since the mid-1990s, back when Windows 95 was code-named “Chicago.” So, imagine my disappointment at not being able to run beta builds of Windows 11.

Two months ago and shortly after Microsoft announced Windows 11, I decided to activate my Windows Insider subscription (it’s free and lets you test-drive early and pre-release builds of upcoming Windows updates). I planned to access the first Windows 11 Beta. Microsoft makes the process relatively safe for most users. Adventuresome Windows users willing to put up with some…

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

In the long and stories history of hardware features that have been deprecated to loud public outcry — the floppy disk, the CD drive, and a parade of various ports — few have stuck around as long as the headphone jack. The last iPhone to feature a headphone jack launched in 2015, and in 2016 Google took a shot at Apple for removing it.

It’s a move Google repeated last week with an entire Jony Ive-style ad. …


Every gadget has a story. A new publication from Medium about consumer technology.

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