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Here are the top stories on GadgetMatch this week.

1. US government doesn’t know how to un-ban Huawei

US President Donald Trump lifted the ban on Huawei during a G20 conference meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, no actual policy was announced since. This means, technically, the ban hasn’t exactly been lifted.

National Economic Council Larry Kudlow clarifies that the lifting only covers “general merchandise” and that Trump remains focused on cybersecurity concerns. The conflict, though, has definitely died down a little and Huawei can resume business as usual. But that still does not mean they’re allowed to sell in the US.

Google, for its part, has publicly opposed the ban saying it’s an even greater threat to overall cybersecurity. The company is still operating under the temporary window provided by the US government but that can change in a few weeks as talks progress between the US and China.

2. Facebook apps breakdown

All hell broke loose when the “Image could not be loaded” error message took over the Internet for a few hours this week following a slew of Facebook apps breaking down.

The news feed as well as Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp all had trouble loading images for an extended stretch.

Some people on Twitter were quick to poke fun on the breakdown with one of them even saying that Facebook CEO did this intentionally so that his products would trend on Twitter.

The company, though, was quick to address the issue saying it was just due to a “routine maintenance operation” which we all know is code for:  “We were trying something new and messed up but we can’t tell you that.”

Thankfully, all the apps are now back up and running as usual so we can continue looking at other people having the time of their lives and feel miserable about ourselves.

3. Xiaomi, Meitu unveil Mi CC9 series 

When Meitu was bought by Xiaomi in 2018, the hope was that it would help bring Meitu’s tech closer to more people. Fast forward to 2019 and the collaboration has finally given birth to the Mi CC9 Meitu Edition.

The phone is a solid midranger powered by a Snapdragon 710 chip along with 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

But as fans know, the Meitu magic lies all in the camera app. Instead of the usual camera app that comes with MIUI, this one’s equipped with the Meitu camera app and its entire suite of beautifications options. There’s even an AI low light portrait mode as well as video stabilization on the front-facing camera.

These are all done in the service of preserving the “Meitu spirit” which continues to “take on the journey to make girls happy.”

The other two phones in the lineup are the Mi CC9 and the Mi CC9e.

The Mi CC9 shares most of the features of the Meitu edition minus the Meitu camera and a lower configuration at 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Meanwhile, the Mi CC9e is the smallest of the bunch and is also the least powered and lacks certain features like NFC, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and IR blaster.

4. Samsung showcases the Galaxy A80 BLACKPINK edition 

BLACKPINK is not just in your area, they’re practically everywhere these days. Including Samsung smartphones.

In April, Samsung introduced a special edition of their midranger Galaxy A70 featuring the popular K-Pop girl group. This week, the BLACKPINK edition reaches Samsung’s phone with a rotating camera — the Galaxy A80.

Getting this package will net you a charging stand, a special case that fully customizes the phone into all things BLACKPINK, as well signed photocards of the members.

Also announced are BLACKPINK edition Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Watch.

The BLACKPINK Edition Galaxy A80 was first launched in Thailand but we have received confirmation that it’s also coming to the Philippines as well as other Southeast Asian markets.

5. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is coming

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is coming our way in about a month.

Samsung posted a teaser online showing the S-Pen pointing down to what looks like a punch-hole camera. Zooming out, you’ll see that the image forms an exclamation point which probably hopes to get you excited about the upcoming Note.

The teaser also shows that the unpacked event will be on August 7 but there seems to be no other details at the moment. We should know more as we draw closer to the actual date.

Bonus!

We would love to invite you to support this new project — it’s a podcast called “She Said, He Said” with Nicole Scott of Mobile Geeks.

Each week, expect to hear unique perspectives, the news that matters, and a whole lot of strong opinions!

“She Said, He Said” is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and everywhere else you get your podcasts. And since you’re here, might as well give it a listen now, yeah?


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

Features

Smartphone photography 101: Capturing festivities

Keep those memories of celebration and happiness alive

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The crowd, color, food, and impeccable decorations make welcoming the Lunar New Year so much fun and memorable. It only happens once a year, so it’s important to keep those memories of celebration and happiness alive.

Here are some tips from photographers on how you can make the most our of your iPhone during the festivities:

1. Shoot with your phone

Food stylist CR Tan demonstrates how easy it is to shoot a reunion dinner. Even if you have one, you wouldn’t really want to whip out your big camera to capture the fun and action over food. With good lighting, a little bit of styling, and added human element, you can achieve a great photo with an iPhone.

Follow CR Tan on Instagram: @xlbcr

2. Use Night Mode

Not enough light? Don’t let darkness stop you. Photographer Yudhi Aristan uses Night Mode to capture vibrant colors even in low light. Just hold still for a few seconds and see the magic happen.

Follow Yudhi Aristan on Instagram: @aristan89

3. Play with perspectives

Take your time to frame your shot. Photographer Jason Lim suggests playing around with the different lenses your iPhone comes with. The Ultra Wide Angle, Wide Angle, and Telephoto lenses can be used to create eye-catching compositions.

Follow Jason Lim on Instagram: @jsnjnr

Did you capture any photos in welcoming the Chinese New Year? Share them with us in the comments below! 📷

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24 Hours Series

24 Hours in Jakarta

Captured through the awesome camera of the Galaxy A71

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When I hear Indonesia, Bali always comes to mind. Although I’ve never been there, I know it’s a dream destination for many because of its beaches, peaks, parks, temples, and terraces. It’s an escape out of the polluted and crowded cityscape.

Two hours away from Bali is the country’s capital, Jakarta. Its dense city structure further proves that it has been on a massive urban sprawl. Honestly, I had no idea where to go and what to do — but the internet exists for a reason. The only Indo things I’m aware of are mi goreng, nasi goreng, beef rendang, MONAS, Alfa Mart. That’s about it.

I flew all the way to Jakarta for Samsung’s Awesome Live Event with BLACKPINK where they introduced the Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71. The day after the event, I finally had the phone on hand and tested its “awesome camera”, including the new ultra-wide lens.

Cozy stay

Capturing the hotel view outside was the first thing I did with the phone. Not the best window view I had but the greenery added an ethereal escape against the sharp, tall slabs of concrete.

Going out of the room gives me another view. That large structure is the Tennis Indoor Senayan where Samsung held its live event. It’s also one of the venues of the 18th Asian Games and other K-Pop concerts. Seeing it from afar and up close made me realize how lucky I am.

Before heading out, I tried the hotel’s breakfast buffet. So far, so good. There was enough variety that I enjoyed eating. I spoiled myself by having more than five plates. Here’s a photo of the sweet food, for the wandering souls out there.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII)

I decided to go to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah as it’s located far from the skyline of Jakarta. Despite what the name suggests, this place isn’t “mini”. This museum is just one among the many parks you can see inside the TMII premises.

With limited time, I decided to push through — and I’m glad I did. It made me realize how similar Indonesians and Filipinos are, not just when it comes to appearance but also language. There are Bahasa and Tagalog words that both share the same meaning such as “selamat”, “datuk”, “kolintang”, “pintu”, “balik”, “lima”, “pula”, “kanan”, “anak”, and more. It’s truly fascinating.

These traditional art pieces show how rich and diverse Indonesia’s culture is. Some were hand-drawn, sculpted, weaved, or even painted, like the batik. They even have their own version of puppets called wayang.

After the three-story museum tour, I headed to a mini temple to rest and relax. Those who were caught off-guard by the claustrophobic dim spaces of the museum can enjoy the majestic pond outside.

National Monument (MONAS)

As mentioned earlier, I knew about MONAS. It’s Indonesia’s National Monument — and that’s because the city-building game I’m playing introduced me to it. I downloaded the landmark mod which made me recognize it’s one of Indonesia’s sought-after landmarks.

It’s erected right in the center of Jakarta. According to locals, you can see all of Jakarta if you go up — pretty much like a drone. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do that because of the flaming hot weather.

Kota Tua

If you weren’t aware, Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch empire. Batavia was the old-day Jakarta. Thus, the “Old Batavia” they’re calling can be found here in Kota Tua.

What you see above is the Fatahillah Square which is the historical center of the old town. Beside it, there are museums pertaining to wayang, fine arts and ceramics, and even Jakarta’s history. During my visit, they were all closed.

If you are too lazy to walk around, there are these colorful bicycles you can rent.

The establishments here look nothing like modern-day Jakarta. A lot of cities saved much of their history through preservation of old buildings and Kota Tua is no exception.

After strolling for almost half an hour, I had my late lunch. Indonesian cuisine is known to be spicy. I teared up eating authentic mi goreng — its spice level is way too high for comfort. I love eating spicy food as long as they’re tolerable. Thankfully, Thai iced tea I ordered saved my tongue from burning.

I went to the night market early so I witnessed how vendors cooked their food before it got crowded. There are martabak and lumpia stalls although I didn’t get to try them.

The sun was setting so I hurried to see other establishments. There were a lot of shops that offer local kopi and indomie, while other stalls were selling phone cases and designer imitations. I didn’t find any souvenir shops around, although that might be because I was there before most shops opened.

Malls galore

Jakarta’s malls aren’t the biggest but they have exclusive shop offerings, like Plaza Senayan. It was surprising to see a bakery and a popular coffee shop inside the department store. It’s not something I’m used to, and I found it odd considering they were selling all sorts of cosmetic products within the vicinity.

I wasn’t too happy with the food choices at Plaza Senayan so I went to another mall near the hotel called FX Sudirman. I only had a few hours left before I had to leave so might as well enjoy what I can have.

As a Libra, being indecisive is part of my whole being. I roamed around and there were better food choices but I got tired so I chose to eat at an American burger joint instead. The Salted Egg Cheese Burger was good although the salted egg flavor was barely there.

When I went out I was greeted by these roller skaters going back and forth the sidewalk.

3-Star Airport (?)

I was surprised that the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is only a 3-star airport. It’s not as fancy as Singapore’s Changi, but it’s clean, organized, and the architecture is modern and striking. My flight departed at midnight, so you can see how quiet and less crowded it gets off-peak hours.

Unlike other airports that offer 24-hour services, most shops and restaurants after immigration were already closed by the time I got there.

Too little time for a huge city

Moments before boarding the plane, I somehow wished I could’ve stayed longer. It would’ve also been more “awesome” if I met locals around. It’s hard to imagine how I managed to compress what I wanted to see in just 24 hours. It may not be long before they transfer the city capital crown to East Kalimantan in Borneo, so I’m hoping I can come back before that happens with a more well-thought out itinerary.

All photos were taken using the Samsung Galaxy A71.

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Apps

How to make your crush view your Instagram Story

Three easy steps to get that validation

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Catching up with friends entails a discussion about your love life. Being single for a long time, a friend asked if I were dating someone new. I responded gleefully, “no, I’m not dating anyone but I have a new crush I met at an event.”

Giggly about my newfound love interest, my friend advised me how to tease my crush. However, it’ll only work if we’re following each other on Instagram. To see if my friend’s strategy works, we used our own accounts and to my surprise, we succeeded.

While it may yield different results, here are three easy steps you can do to make your crush view your Instagram story.

Step 1: Post a story you want your crush to see

Uploading a story feels like a small window to our lives. Make sure the photo you upload is something that you want your crush to see. It’s like making an impression, and you only have one shot if he/she ever sees your story. I posted my gym photos and pizza stories — something that both my crush and I enjoy.

Step 2: Edit your story settings

Here’s the not-so-tricky part! We’re calling it the hide-unhide strategy. When your story is uploaded, immediately adjust your story settings and hide your story from your crush. Save it, and then change the story settings again to unhide the story. This strategy beats Instagram’s algorithm and pushes your story to one of the first stories he/she can view.

Step 3: Enjoy the validation

As long as you and your crush follow each other on Instagram and regularly use the app, then it’s guaranteed that he/she will view your story. Enjoy the frickin’ validation. I’ve been doing it for almost a month now, and I always giggle whenever I see my crush’s name.

There are times that the strategy won’t push you to the first story he/she can view. For some reason, my friend tried hiding and unhiding her story to me, and she only ended up being second on the queue. Instagram still prioritizes the accounts you engage with the most through reacts and direct messages. However, being at the first five ensures you have a shot at making an impression that lasts.

Now, hurry and make your crush view your story. It won’t be long before Instagram’s algorithm changes again!

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