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July 21 2018

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July 20 2018


Micro-aggressions and Veiled Threats [#acpodcast]

Daniel Bader, Jerry Hildenbrand, and Russell Holly are joined by Marton Barcza of TechAltar to talk about Google's Fuchsia OS and its potential for replacing Android. They also have an in-depth discussion about the EU's Antitrust case against Google and the $5 billion fine levied against them. The ruling may be just, but it could be argued that the outcomes will negatively affect consumers.

Listen now

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Show Notes and Links:


  • Thrifter.com: All the best deals from Amazon, Best Buy, and more, fussily curated and constantly updated.
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How to back up and restore your WhatsApp messages with Google Drive

Wanna hold on to all of your WhatsApp messages? Save 'em! Switching phones? Take 'em with you!

Maybe you like to use WhatsApp for work because it's free and easy to use. Maybe it's just a convenient way to keep in touch with friends. Either way, you probably have some pretty important messages and media in there, and it'd be a shame if it all suddenly disappeared. That's why it's a great idea to back up your messages, photos, and videos.

Backing up between Android and iPhone

If you're planning on switching from Android to iPhone and want to take your WhatsApp messages with you, you're out of luck. When you back up WhatsApp on your Android phone, you back up to Google Drive. The Android WhatsApp app uses Google Drive to back up and restore. The iOS app uses iCloud to do both of those.

Even if you have the iOS Google Drive app, you still won't be able to restore your Android WhatsApp files. The iOS WhatsApp will only communicate with iCloud.

How to backup your WhatsApp chats to Google Drive

Luckily, WhatsApp automatically backs up and saves your messages to your phone's memory on a daily basis. However, depending on your settings, you can also backup your chats to Google Drive. This way, just in case you have to delete WhatsApp from your phone, your messages will be safe. Just be sure to back things up before you uninstall the app.

Google Drive is a great way to backup all your WhatsApp messages. You can switch from Android phone to Android phone and you'll be able to have your messages and media follow you wherever you go. It's also a bit of extra insurance in case WhatsApp decides to one day crash beyond repair and you end up having to uninstall and reinstall it. Here's how to backup with Google Drive:

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu icon on the top right of the screen. It's the three vertical dots.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tap Chats.

  5. Tap Chat backup.
  6. Tap Google Drive settings to choose the frequency with which you'd like to backup your chats.
  7. Tap Account.
  8. Tap the account you would like associated with the backup.
    • Tap an account in the list
    • Tap Add account to add an account not found on the list or to create a new one.
  9. Tap Allow.

  10. Tap Back up over.
    • Tap the circle next to "Wi-Fi" to backup over Wi-Fi only.
    • Tap the circle next to Wi-Fi or cellular to backup via Wi-Fi or wireless data, keeping in mind that you could accrue data charges.
  11. Tap the box next to "Include videos" to backup video messages.
  12. Tap Back Up to manually back your phone up now.

Now that everything's backed up, you'll be able to restore your chats every time you reinstall WhatsApp, no matter the device. Note that whenever you back up to Google Drive, WhatsApp also backs up to your phone's internal memory as well, which means it'll take up some space. If you have a preinstalled file managing app, or one like ES File Explorer, you'll be able to go in and make room if you need to.

It may be prudent to plug your phone in when backing up, as the first backup could take a while, depending on the sizes of your chats. The nice thing is that every backup you perform after the first one will be incremental, which means it will add to the current backup, instead of erasing everything and starting again or adding an entire backup over the old one, taking

How to restore WhatsApp chats from a Google Drive backup

Everything's backed up. Great! You've changed phones or have had to reinstall WhatsApp. Not so great. Now how do you get all your chats back? Here's how!

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Verify your phone number when prompted.
  3. Tap Restore.
  4. Tap Next when the restoration is complete.

  5. Set up your profile just like you did the first time.
  6. Tap Next at the top right of the screen.
  7. Tap Continue.

Now you can access your WhatsApp chats on any Android phone that has WhatsApp installed. All you have to do is sign in.

How to move your WhatsApp messages to a new phone using Google Drive

You're wading through the jungle in Borneo. Of course, you're using WhatsApp to keep in touch with family and friends back home because hey, it's free. Suddenly, an orangutan swoops in, grabs your phone, and crushes it into dust between its able hands.

No worries! You've already followed the steps above and are properly backing up your WhatsApp chats to Google Drive, so all you have to do is grab a new phone and move all your chats over. Confused? Don't be! Here's how:

  1. Add the same Google account to your new phone that you used to perform the backup on your old phone.
  2. Install WhatsApp on your new device as you did on the previous one.
  3. Launch WhatsApp from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  4. Tap Agree and continue.
  5. Verify your phone number, just like you did the first time you set up WhatsApp.

  6. Tap Restore to restore your WhatsApp chats from your Google Drive backup.
  7. Tap Next.

And away you go! Your WhatsApp on your new phone is just like it was on your old phone. Thanks, Google Drive!

Note: This process isn't entirely foolproof and may not work every time. You may have to uninstall WhatsApp and reinstall it a couple times for the restore to take effect. If there are messages you really want to save, you may want to copy them to a computer or some other device to make sure you have them forever. Also beware that continually reinstalling WhatsApp may result in a temporary ban, since your phone number has been recognized. In short, WhatsApp can be just a little fickle.

If you'd rather not bother with Google Drive, you can always save your chats to an SD card and transfer them that way. This is a rather complicated process, since you can't just simply move WhatsApp from your phone's internal memory to an external SD card; you can only move its data. So, when we say it's a complicated process, we mean it's more like a migraine, and we don't recommend it if you can avoid it. However, if you must, check out WhatsApp's "Restoring or transferring a backup" instructions.

Updated July 2018: Added a section regarding backing up and restoring between iOS and Android and updated screenshots.

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TicWatch Pro vs. Apple Watch: Features or polish, because I can't have both

There are a lot of things here Apple should pay attention to.

I've been an active Apple Watch user for 260 days. Not a lot compared to some of the other smartwatch folks around me, but enough for me to know a fair bit about the strengths and weaknesses of the platform through my daily use. I'm largely a fan of the way Apple does things on the Watch, but like most smartwatch owners I find myself never truly happy with display performance in daylight or the battery after a day of constant use. Neither are easy problems to solve, and the watches offering solutions to date have compromises in other areas that make them downright unpleasant to wear.

The folks at Mobvoi got my attention recently with its TicWatch Pro, a watch running Google's Wear OS promising between five and thirty days of battery life in certain modes and, a special display which works perfectly even in direct sunlight. After a week of using this new watch, I find myself ready to call TicWatch Pro the best Wear OS watch I have ever used. But compared directly to my Apple Watch, the title of best overall is less easily won.

So much more than round vs. square

Any time you compare anything to the Apple Watch, the initial wave of reactions are the same. People on Twitter, in droves, respond to photos of the two watches side by side with a comment about how round displays actually look like watches and are therefore better. I think it's clear by Apple's sales record with the Watch so far that not as many people care about round vs. square as these folks might think, but it remains a talking point in the general public. Personally, the physical shape of either watch doesn't impact me one way or the other. I've never really worn traditional watches, and I don't wear a TicWatch Pro or an Apple Watch to tell me the time. These are tiny computers on my wrist to give me a deeper look into my digital self. From acting as a trusty notification dumpster to a fitness companion, I don't need these things to look like watches.

Apple's third generation Watch display is impressive, but the TicWatch Pro display is on an entirely different level functionally.

What I will say is, because the TicWatch Pro is round, it feels noticeably larger on my wrist than the Apple Watch. TicWatch Pro isn't appreciably thicker or taller, but the design feels roughly the same as it does when I'm wearing a leather cuff watch band on my Apple Watch. Since I wear a cuff-style band frequently, the size of the TicWatch Pro doesn't feel particularly big. But on those with smaller wrists, or those who prefer the smaller of the two Apple Watches, the difference will be significant.

TicWatch Pro and Apple Watch both have a pair of buttons for use on the side, but only Apple's watch has a rotating crown. I admit I almost never use the rotating crown on my Apple Watch, but those who take advantage of not needing to rub your finger on the display are going to notice it missing on the TicWatch. The secondary button on the TicWatch Pro is entirely programmable, though, which I really like. I enjoy having a shortcut to Strava on my watch, and the physical button is more convenient for me than adding a Complication to one of the Apple Watch faces.

The main event in comparing these two watches is the display. Apple's third-generation Watch display is impressive, but the TicWatch Pro display is on an entirely different level functionally. It's called a "dual layer" display, with one layer being a fairly standard-looking round AMOLED display. That second layer is using Film compensated Super Twisted Nematic (FSTN) LCD tech, and it exists specifically to deliver high-contrast black and white displays at much wider viewing angles than anything else. And wow does it work well. This secondary display is on when the AMOLED display is off, which means when I'm on my bike I can glance down and my wrist and there's actually information I care about. I don't have to lift my arm from the handlebars, or from my keyboard while typing, to gain access to the information I want.

When I do lift my wrist to see the full color display, the time it takes for the watch to transition from FSTN LCD to AMOLED is about the same wait time it takes for the Apple Watch to wake up when I lift my wrist. Which is to say it's not as fast as I would like, but it gets the job done. There's never a time when the display is unresponsive, and if my wrist is still I can push a button on the bezel or touch the display to wake it as well, but there's never a time when some amount of information is being displayed on this watch and I'm a fan of that.

The other thing of note regarding the hardware is the method of charging. Both of these watches require you to use a proprietary dock to charge the watch, but by nature of its popularity, the Apple Watch charger is significantly easier to replace when you need to. The charger for the TicWatch Pro is also a pin-based charger instead of the smooth magnetic-seal wireless charger Apple is using. I personally prefer Apple's charger, but the use of pins instead of a fully wireless set up on the TicWatch is a real shame. Other Wear OS watches with wireless charging have been found to work with a host of third-party chargers, and it would have been nice to see this watch do the same.

Apps, watch faces, gestures, and everything in between

These little wrist computers need to earn that spot on my wrist, and for me, that means delivering information when I want it and leaving me alone the rest of the time. While watchOS and Wear OS both have great notification controls to keep apps from pestering me when I'm busy, and Theater or Do Not Disturb modes when I really don't want to feel that vibration at my wrist, delivering information is another thing entirely.

Apple doesn't allow third-party developers to build faces for watchOS. The options you get from Apple are what you have available to you, and nearly all of them can be adjusted by adding Complications with additional information or links to apps you want shortcuts to. This is fine, but it means I'm only ever going to use the Activity Rings face on my Apple Watch. That is the information I care about the most, and this face is the only way to show that information with the detail I like. Wear OS takes a different approach, letting just about anyone make a face for these watches. It means I have access to my body tracking data in many different formats, with a ton of visual flourish. I like having access to so many options, though very few of these third-party faces have any customization options at all which is just limiting in a different way.

Apple's biggest strength against Google right now with its Watch platform is popularity.

Both Wear OS and watchOS do a great job delivering me notification I can interact with, but only Wear OS makes that interactivity possible with just my wrist. Gesture controls in Wear OS remain one of the biggest strong points the platform has, especially when I'm on my bike. Being able to dismiss a notification with a flick of my wrist, or scroll further into a text message with a simple wrist twist, is tremendously convenient. It means I don't have to slow down, and don't have to take my other hand away from its task. This is something Apple really should implement sooner rather than later, especially as the watchOS platform continues to offer features for fitness-focused folks, because it makes a huge difference in how convenient a lot of features actually are.

Apple's biggest strength against Google right now with its Watch platform is popularity. Developers know watchOS is where the people are, and that's where the energy for optimizing third-party apps goes. Strava on Wear OS is a prime example. The watchOS counterpart displays an order of magnitude more useful information about my ride while I'm moving, and is generally more stable for things like auto-pausing. The Wear OS app straight up isn't very good, which is a shame. Wear OS apps, in general, are at least a generation behind watchOS when it comes to things like optimizations for information density and battery performance.

On the subject of battery performance, a few notes about that exciting "5 to 30 day" experience on the TicWatch Pro. Mobvoi includes these numbers on the box with a caveat, it only really applies to when the watch is in one of two low power modes. These special modes turn off the color display and leave you with the always-on LCD, effectively blocking you access to most of the things which make the watch useful. While it is amazing that I can flip the watch into these low power modes and know it will still function for much longer than a day or two, the battery drain when you're actually using the watch is almost identical to the Apple Watch. I get a little over two full days out of it if I'm not using it for much, but four to five hours on my bike with Strava running will cut the battery down to 50%.

Finally, virtual assistants. To be perfectly honest, the less said about Siri on the Watch the better. I know things are going to be much better in the next generation of watchOS, but Google Assistant is more capable in every possible way on the TicWatch Pro. That's another one of those things that can be a big deal when you don't want to reach for your phone because you're driving and want that hands-free experience. I will say that, in comparing the two side by side, the microphones on the Apple Watch did a noticeably better job translating my speech to text when outdoors.

Which should you buy? It depends

Apple Watch is almost always the best experience for people who live entirely in the Apple ecosystem. It meshes better with its software, and the level of polish in the overall Apple experience can't be discounted. But if you lean into the Google ecosystem from your iPhone, and a MacBook isn't your primary computer, and you're not especially slender in the wrist, the TicWatch Pro is the first general non-Apple watch I've been genuinely happy using with my iPhone. The layered display tech is exceptional, the size is just right for my needs, and while the apps aren't all as functional as I'd like there's a lot to love about the Wear OS ecosystem.

If you're not totally sold on an Apple Watch and want something a little different, I don't think there's a better place to spend your $250.

See at Amazon

"Hey Russell, what Apple Watch strap is that?" - Check out the $16 Nickwea Apple Watch cuff on Amazon!

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Top 5 features Chrome OS is missing

These are niche, but they'd be appreciated.

Chrome OS already handles the basics of a desktop and laptop operating system down. So much so, that unless you need a specific application that's only on macOS or Windows, you can happily use a Chromebook as your only device. It'll be fast, it'll be secure and it will only get better over time.

But that's not to say Chrome OS still doesn't have room to grow. It's making Linux applications easier to use later this year, Android applications are getting more capabilities, and Progressive Web Applications are going to become more commonplace. But there are a few creature comforts Chrome OS could handle better.

Customizable scroll speed for external mice

Chrome OS supports any USB or Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, but using the mouses's scroll wheel may feel… off… compared to Windows or macOS. The scroll speed on some of my mice feels just a bit too fast compared to how I've grown accustomed to over the last 20 years of using a computer, and there's no option in the settings to change this. It sounds trivial, but it's enough to keep me from using some of my mice with my Chromebook when I'm out and about.

Proper audio muting

This is something Windows and macOS do, too, but that's no excuse for Google. If you have audio coming from the web browser — say a YouTube video — then you open an Android application to listen to your favorite podcast. You press play on the podcast, and you panic because the sound from the YouTube video is still playing. If you switch between two Android apps, the audio from one will correctly pause, but the same is not true of the web browser. I doubt Google or any operating system builder could reach into a site to pause whatever media is playing back, but muting the browser when another application is playing media would suffice.

Better window snapping

You can snap application windows to the left or right of the display in Chrome OS, but Windows does this slightly better. When you snap an application in Windows, it shows a list of all the other application windows available to be placed on the opposite side of the screen, so you can get your split screen on that much faster. Windows also lets you quickly snap an application by pressing the Windows Key + Left or Right on your keyboard. It'd be great to see Chrome OS include either of these features.

System wide dark theme

You can get a dark theme for your browser, for Gmail and other websites, but it's piecemeal. Again, I'm not sure there's much Google could do as an OS builder to make a third party site display in a dark theme, but it'd be great to see one toggle to change the browser, Settings, and any compatible Android applications from the default light theme to darker tones.

Persistent media controls for web apps

Android applications already offer media controls in the notification area, but it'd be great for websites to be able to do the same. I don't expect every website to be able to do this, but sites that use service workers as part of their Progressive Web App should be able to. It'd go a long way to making PWA's feel more like "native" apps, and it'd be more convenient for the user to have all of their media controls in one place.

What say you?

What features would you like to see in Chrome OS? Let us know down below!

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This $9 under-desk headphone mount is a great addition to any workspace

Create a great place to stash your headphones.

The Anchor - Original Under-desk Headphone Mount by Elevation Labs is a great way to store your bulky headphones while keeping them within reach. At $12, it offers a pretty good value, but if you use the coupon code NOCLUTTER you can knock an extra couple bucks off its price, making it just $9.20 via Amazon.

The Anchor uses an ultra-secure 3M adhesive to mount to the bottom of your desk and it can hold two sets of headphones on it.

With nearly 1,700 reviews it maintains a 4.5 out of 5-star rating, so you'll want to pick up one of these before the discount disappears.

See at Amazon

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