Computers

Explaining OLED screens and Dark Mode

Why that screen fits in the dark

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Most of the applications you’re currently using must have rolled out their own version of dark mode by now. The smooth transition from a light to dark interface can be done through a push of a button, or by sending the moon emoji on Messenger. A lot of people also find dark mode quite sexy, and that’s probably because of the screen they’re looking at.

A lot of newly released smartphones now have OLED screens, and dark mode seems to work best on such displays! But why is that? How do OLED panels allow dark mode to flourish?

Better, blacker, affordable screens

Organic LED (light-emitting diode) or OLED is essentially a kind of display technology. In a nutshell, OLED panels allow for better and clearer images and colors.

Thin layers of carbon fiber make up OLED screens. Because of these lightweight fibers, screens show brighter and more vibrant colors. Apart from that, OLED screens show deeper blacks and reduce instances of motion blur when navigating. The best part is that OLED screens are becoming gradually cheaper to manufacture. That explains why more and more of today’s smartphones use this panel.

More colorful than the rest

In comparison to regular LED screens of the past, OLED promises more accurate colors by producing light from individual pixels, instead of relying on backlighting. Back then, LCD screens relied heavily on the backlight of the display to make colors pop. Although, such displays also make the colors seem washed, especially when compared to OLED.

Image credit: Denise Chan

However, OLED’s colors don’t always turn out better than on LED and LCD screens. One such case is when you turn your screen’s brightness to its maximum, especially under strong daylight conditions. LED and LCD screens are designed to perform relatively better in color accuracy when your screen’s brightness is set to max. OLED screens were not designed for maximum brightness, so colors at that point would be saturated.

Which OLED is best?

There are two types of OLED technologies that currently exist: AMOLED and PMOLED. A lot of people hear AMOLED tossed around a lot because lots of smartphones use it. Essentially, AMOLED uses a storage capacitor that controls how much light each individual pixel will give off. It’s the one responsible for projecting all sorts of vibrant colors on most OLED smartphone screens. Apart from that, AMOLED screens do support wider resolutions at a more affordable and efficient rate.

PMOLED, on the other hand, does not have a storage capacitor and instead relies on user control. Essentially, the user will control lighting settings, and the individual pixels will adjust accordingly. You can find PMOLED screens on smaller devices like older iPods and pocket Wi-Fi devices. Take note that these screens use more power to implement such color changes.

Joining the dark side

Ever since dark mode rolled out for different apps and interfaces, people have been contemplating on switching to it — and for good reason. On normal LED or LCD screens, the new feature does not bode well with the technology. The depth of the black their dark mode possesses is not reflected well, to the point that the blacks look more gray than actual black. This is much more obvious when the screen’s brightness is turned all the way up.

Image credit: Mike Enerio

Aesthetically, dark mode looks better on OLED screens because of the technology’s emphasis on deeper blacks. Most OLED screens have capacitors that control light passing through each pixel, which also works for blacks and whites. As such, dark mode shows up deeper and blacker, which is the intended look compared to regular modes. But, there’s actually more to just aesthetics for this mode.

It’s also been proven that dark mode on OLED helps save your battery life. Google confirmed this at its Android Dev Summit, citing that on max brightness, blacks consume less power than all other colors. Individual pixels need less electricity to show blacks on screen, which results in lower power consumption through time. Note that Google got these findings through tests on their original Pixel smartphones and their own apps like YouTube.

What’s left for OLED and dark mode

Apps and operating systems are now starting to embrace or consider incorporating dark mode into their software. While apps like Twitter and YouTube introduced such an option early on, others are beginning to take notice. Of course, you’re gonna need the right screen to fully immerse yourself.

Image credit: Simone Dalmeri

It has been proven: OLED and dark mode are indeed a perfect match. But, it is entirely up to you whether you want to stay in the light or switch to the dark side.

Computers

This is how Apple envisions the next iMac

Made out of a curved sheet of glass

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Image by GadgetMatch

We all know the Mac Pro has been transformed from a trash bin to a cheese grater, but Apple has been using the same design language for iMac for years. Even the latest iMac Pro isn’t excluded in that list.

If you’re too worried about Apple’s design conformity, the official patent gives us a preview of what the next iMac might look like. It was already filed last year, but was recently published last 23rd of January, 2020.

Opening the document will surprise you with a series of patent figures. It is said that they will use a curved sheet of glass instead of the usual aluminum closure. The figure below shows how you can place a Magic Keyboard on top of the glass. It will then have a dedicated place for the trackpad beside it.

Animated image by GadgetMatch | Sourced from USPTO

There’s another figure which shows how you can insert the Magic Keyboard through the opening between the display and the glass. Unlike the first one, the display doesn’t extend below the glass edge.

Another figure gives us a hint that the future iMac may become an extended display without the use of other accessories other than the MacBook’s physical keyboard and trackpad — all by sliding the MacBook into the opening.

Sourced from USPTO

The problem with old AIOs is putting up all that power in such a limited space. Apple has defied the limits with their powerful iMacs. To further solve the heavy (and bulging) rear panel, they might consolidate all the powerful parts inside its stand. There’s also an option where you can dock your MacBook just above it.

Image by GadgetMatch | Sourced from USPTO

Lastly, there’s a figure that shows how the iMac can be partially folded. It might be useful to keep the trackpad and keyboard area clean when not in use.

Animated image by GadgetMatch | Sourced from USPTO

Ever since the departure of Jony Ive, we’ve been unsure about the design of Apple’s upcoming devices. One thing we all know (and wanted to happen) other than the redesign of the iPhone and its aging notch is for Apple to focus on making their existing computers more innovative while still offering a powerful punch in such a space-saving form.

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Computers

Report: Avast is selling your browsing history

Be careful what you install

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If you use Avast antivirus software for your PC, then you might not like the recent discovery regarding its data collection. A joint investigation by Vice and PCMag discovered that Avast is collecting browsing history and selling them to various companies.

Avast’s subsidiary — Jumpshot — has been collecting browsing history without user consent. The collection happens in the background as part of the Avast’s Web Shield feature. The collection of data extends to Avast’s browser extension as well. The subsidiary collected users’ full webpage URL, page title, referer, as well as resulting links from search engines.

Worse, Avast even approved the selling of collected data to various third-party companies. These companies include Google, Microsoft, and others willing to get their hands on your data for profit.

In its defense, Avast stated that it anonymized the collected data. In theory, the data cannot be traced back to users. However, researchers found out that a third-party company can easily build a profile of you just by corroborating with other data.

Mozilla and Google already removed Avast’s browser extension last December after a security researcher found out about Avast’s illegal practices. Recently, Avast shattered Jumpshot and promised not to collect anymore data.

For the time being, you should avoid installing Avast antivirus software for your PC. There are many alternatives out there, but the main takeaway here is that you should read the fine print before installing any software on your PC.

After all, many “free” software today is too good to be true. Some freeware come with malware that harm your PC, while others — like Avast — violate privacy by selling your data in exchange for profit.

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Computers

3 tips for proper gadget care against volcanic ash

Better safe than sorry

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Yesterday, the potentially destructive Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted after almost 20 years of inactivity. The eruption belched out steam, rocks, and other volcanic materials. Most importantly, it belched out ash, which caused ashfalls as far as 100 kilometers from the volcano.

Volcanic ash impacts and disrupts society as a whole. It doesn’t only pose a threat to our health, but it also presents risks to our gadgets. Since they are less than 2-4 millimeters in diameter, they block openings, limit functionality, and even corrode our devices.

Needless to say, you need to look out for you and your family’s safety first. Afterwards, you can think about your other belongings like your gadgets and appliances.

To ensure the best proper care for your gadgets against volcanic ash, we came up with three tips that you can follow. Remember, an ounce of protection for your devices is better than a pound of expensive repairs.

1) Avoid direct exposure

Avoid exposing gadgets to volcanic ash as much as possible. Soon after a volcanic eruption, be cautious of any ashfall alert. If ash begins to fall in your area, relocate any gadgets indoors

When outdoors, place gadgets in the safety of a bag or cover them if necessary. Limit the use of phones or tablets, especially when it is raining ash hard.

2) Seal off any sensitive gadgets

Some of our gadgets are sensitive to dust particles. Since ash is comparable to these dust particles, they can enter our devices and cause problems if left unchecked. One of these problems is electronic short-circuit.

It is proven that ash can contaminate insulators in power lines, causing flashovers and triggering a short-circuit. Plus, ash can corrode equipment in the long term.

Sensitive gadgets are susceptible to these damages also. Seal them off during an ashfall to prevent ash from reaching critical components. Some sensitive gadgets that you need to seal off during an ashfall are generators, power supplies, servers, and the like.

If you can’t seal these sensitive gadgets, then it is recommended to shut down them.

3) Clean any opening in your gadgets

Last but not the least, you should clean any openings in your gadgets before, during, and after an ashfall. Ash accumulates around the openings of our gadgets, including laptops and smartphones. The tiny particles present in the ash can block the openings of some gadgets, preventing them from cooling down. As such, these particles limit the functionality of these gadgets.

Cleaning the openings is simple but goes a long way in ensuring proper care. A can of compressed air will do the trick, as do a soft brush.

However, do not excessively rub ash-covered surfaces as tiny particles present can scratch or cause static discharge, which is harmful to our gadgets.

These three tips will go on a long way to ensuring that our gadgets function properly, even in an ashfall event. As with any hazards, take necessary precautions when operating gadgets to avoid hazards. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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