Features

Technology that shaped the decade

For better or worse?

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The last decade went by just like that and we’ve seen evolutions of many kinds. Technology and the internet changed the world for better or for worse.

The way we understand, consume, and own things are now different from how they were just 10 years ago — from politics, health, culture, entertainment, travel; even the career opportunities available to everyone. Here are the technology that shaped the decade:

1. Short form video

Social media has made consuming and distributing information so much different from how it was many years before. One of the things to transform over the last decade is video.

TikTok

We’re starting the list off with the latest platform to take over the internet: TikTok.

Reminiscent of the now-defunct app Vine, on TikTok users record videos of anything under the sun — from skits, to dance challenges, to cute pets.

A lot of these videos go viral not just on TikTok itself, but on other platforms too. The app is slowly becoming the next generation’s go-to app for sharing their activities on the internet and it’s bound to evolve even further from here.

Snapchat

A few years before TikTok got so popular, millennials used Snapchat — and a lot of people still do.

The idea behind the app is simple, yet unheard of at the time of its launch. Everything you post, whether a photo or video, disappears within 24 hours.

Instagram

Not long after, Instagram copied the feature and called it Instagram Stories. Even though Instagram has long been the go-to platform for sharing mundane, everyday photos, it’s also evolved to a host of highly curated photos with themes, and grids.

Most recently, Instagram also launched IGTV, its answer to YouTube’s popularity.

Because of all its features, the app has created an entire industry of creators and influencers.

2. Livestreaming, YouTube, and other video creators

Speaking of industry, content creation and livestreaming on the internet became a thing this decade, too. It’s spurred new jobs and business opportunities that no one before thought was possible…

Twitch

Apps like Twitch has allowed gamers to make a living out of streaming the games that they play including their reactions. Many users, even non-gamers, enjoy watching them.

YouTube

The market for these kinds of videos is so huge that on YouTube, the most popular channel is Swedish gamer PewDiePie. This year he surpassed the 100 million subscriber mark. No other YouTuber is even remotely close to reaching as many subscribers any time soon.

But the platform has become so popular that a lot of other users thrive off of it enough to make a living — from us tech YouTubers, beauty vloggers, to comedians — even kids! So much so that the highest-paid creator for the last two years is 8-year-old Ryan of Ryan’s World.

Facebook Live

It’s worth mentioning that Facebook Live and Instagram Live have also become another go-to platform for a lot of people. Us at GadgetMatch use them to answer questions and share unboxing experiences with you guys in real time.

3. Content streaming

This decade we didn’t just stream user-generated content; the way we consume movies, TV shows, and music also changed. Gone are the days of renting and buying DVDs, iPods, record players. Now we access everything with a few taps on our smartphones…

Spotify

I don’t know about you but all of my music I listen to on apps like Spotify and Apple Music. Instead of buying albums and owning multiple physical records, a subscription on these platforms gives me access to all my favorite artists and songs — on the go!

Netflix

The same goes for movies and TV shows. Everything can be played on demand with apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime Video.

You can watch them anywhere, and on any screen with friends, or family — even alone. Who says you have to go to the movies on your own when you can just do it at the comforts of your own home?

4. Communication and human interactions

Netflix and chill with your significant other especially in winter is fun, too. Asking someone out to the movies is still pretty common, but meeting people and dating have also evolved in the last 10 years.

Tinder

Today, the act of swiping has taken on a whole new meaning — to swipe is to want to meet a stranger.

Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble have made it possible to connect people who are worlds apart, literally and figuratively.

Whatsapp

It’s not just the way we form romantic relationships that changed; messaging apps like Whatsapp, iMessage, Messenger, and LINE have made talking to friends and family easier and a lot faster.

Conversations now unfold on our screens that often times we forget to put our phones down to talk in real life.

Emoji, stickers, and memes

Of course, not everyone is able to convey tone and context with just texting. With the help of emoji, stickers, and memes, communicating with someone miles apart has become more interactive and dynamic like never before.

5. Sharing Economy

Having your own car or office has become optional for a lot of people thanks to the boom of the sharing economy.

Uber

Apps like Uber, Lyft, Grab, and Gojek have not only become an alternative to taxis, they’ve completely changed the face of mobility.

Millennials especially are choosing to use ride-sharing apps to get to their day-to-day — eliminating the need to worry about parking space, maintenance, and other responsibilities that come with driving your own car.

Airbnb

Why book a hotel when you can stay at a house with a kitchen, washer and dryer, and live like a local? That’s the idea behind Airbnb.

I personally love using Airbnb when traveling. Aside from being cheaper, you also get a chance to meet your hosts and make new friends all around the world.

6. Cash alternatives

More and more businesses and cities have been going cashless, but in many places it’s not just about having a credit card.

Mobile payments

In China for example, WeChat Pay or AliPay have become more common than both credit card and cash payments. In the US, there’s Venmo.

Even Facebook has Facebook Pay, LINE has LINE Pay, Samsung has Samsung Pay, Apple has Apple Pay. You get the picture. Maybe one day wallets will become a thing of the past, too.

Block chain

And then there’s block chain. It’s not necessarily become as widespread as we’d hoped but both startups and bigger companies use it as an alternative to wiring money abroad and pay salaries to employees who live in other countries, mainly to avoid losing a lot of money foreign exchange rates.

7. Hashtags

The use of hashtags have also changed over the years. From merely an identifier of tweets and instagram posts, hashtags have been used to spread awareness for illnesses (#icebucketchallenge), spark movements (#metoo) and give voice to the oppressed (#blacklivesmatter), and protest, start revolutions, and even oust governments (#arabspring).

8. Ports

And now, to hardware. While a lot of ports evolved there are those that are also dying.

USB-C

USB-C is slowly replacing other ports for data transfer, charging — even audio listening.

3.5mm audio jack

The headphone jack is starting to become obsolete in a lot of devices as brands seek to make phones and laptops more compact and portable.

The last decade has also seen concept devices without any ports at all… but we probably won’t see those come to fruition until the next few years.

9. Big Display

Probably the most notable change that we’ve seen is that on the tangible thing we interact with the most in our day to day: the smartphone display.

Galaxy Note

Initially mocked by Apple founder Steve Jobs when it launched, the Samsung Galaxy Note was the first to popularize the form factor of phones we’re enjoying today.

Now the big display is common, and small phones the rare Pokemon.

Notch

In more recent years manufacturers have been finding ways to make the big display experience even better. They removed bezels and used the infamous notch instead.

The experience has been a hit or miss; I personally don’t mind it as much.

Pop-up camera

Another solution that brands have come up with is the pop/up camera.

Although really cool at first we know this is pretty temporary until tech like underdisplay cameras become more developed.

Foldable

Last but not the least, while it hasn’t exactly shaped the decade, the foldable display is paving the way for the next one.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to be really exciting. We can’t wait for it to develop and reach its peak, and forever change the way we use our devices.

Which tech changed the way you live the most? And which one are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

Camera Shootouts

Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE (2020): Camera shootout

Battle of the small phones

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Pixel 4a iPhone SE

Now that we have the Pixel 4a in our hands, it’s time for another smackdown! Priced at US$ 349, we tested it against Apple’s US$ 399 iPhone SE that packs the powerful A13 Bionic Chip. With two compact phones sporting single rear cameras, which one will shoot better?

Make sure to jot down your answers, as the results of this blind test will be at the end of this article. As usual, photos were labeled, resized, and collaged (this time) for you to load the images faster. No post-processing nor any color adjustments were done in any of the photos. So, let’s begin!

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Results

Pixel 4a: 1A, 2A, 3B, 4B, 5A, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9A, 10A, 11A, 12B, 13A, 14A, 15B, 16B, 17A, 18B

iPhone SE: 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A, 5B, 6A, 7A, 8A, 9B, 10B, 11B, 12A, 13B, 14B, 15A, 16A, 17B, 18A

If you observe closely, the iPhone SE produced warmer yet vibrant photos and well-lit, wider portraits. During daylight, it provides more details while it gets pretty noisy in lowlight.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 4a captured cooler photos. Portrait-wise, it has better focus compared to the iPhone SE despite the cropping. But this affordable phone shines better with its HDR and Night Sight, doing a great job in lowlight!

At the end of the day, both phones took photos that are rich in colors and manageable highlights. They also have decent backlit shots and creamy depth-of-field which might appease smartphone photography enthusiasts. For US$ 399, we already have an impressive camera performance. There are no losers here.

 

 

 

 

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone SE vs Google Pixel 4a: Head to Head

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Unfiltered

My Internet service provider sucks and I can’t do anything about it

Is this what living in a third-world country is about?

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It’s 2020 — a year that many people were looking forward to. To some, it’s another year to chase after their goals and dreams. While for others, it’s merely the start of a new decade.

In the technology industry, 2020 was supposed to be a culmination of the innovation we’ve had for years, bringing the future to the present. Technology should’ve been ripe enough to usher us into a truly digital age.

Frankly, we’re already living in the so-called digital age. We have gadgets and technology focused on communication and connectivity, aiming to improve people’s lives. The most recent development is the 5G connectivity taking over some parts of the world.

Yet even with the promise of bringing technology closer to people, I still can’t feel it.

The struggle of being in a third-world country

I live in a third-world country, where having a good, stable Internet connection is a privilege. In the Philippines, the major telecommunication companies and some smartphone brands have been aggressively pushing for it this year, dividing most people regarding its arrival.

Some techies and geeks rave about the hopes of having the future right in the palm of their hands. But most people — distressed customers like me — are wondering why there is so much emphasis on innovation, yet there are no solutions to most problems consumers currently face.

While I cover stories about new technology and occasionally try it out before it finds its way to more people, my heart never goes too giddy at the sight of new tech. Instead, I look for the functionality, purpose — how can it help the average consumers e.g. my family, friends, colleagues, and people who are just constantly trying to keep up with new technology.

That was what lingered on my mind when people discussed 5G connectivity. “How could you keep on blabbering about the next generation, when we haven’t experienced the proper service we deserve?” or so I thought.

All my angst are channeled to a certain Internet service provider I’ve been subscribed to. I’m just not getting my money’s worth. Whether it was a DSL connection from a few years ago or a recently-installed Fibr connection, they never fail to disappoint.

Living life with the Internet

I’m not alone in my frustrations. I know that thousands of people out there have similar complaints. Imagine paying for a 15Mbps connection, but only getting around to 2-3Mbps. It’s been this way since March 2020 despite our numerous attempts to have the problem rectified. That’s six months of having sluggish connection while paying the same amount. On top of the speed issue, I experienced multiple disconnections and loss of dial tone.

When the pandemic struck, everyone was reliant on proper Internet speed yet the limited number of players proved to be difficult to handle millions of subscribers just from the nation’s capital. We stayed at home, alienated, and struggled with the so-called new normal. In the wake of the devastating situation we were thrust into, my life went on even with the disruptive issues I encountered with my Internet service provider.

I lost count of how many virtual meetings were interrupted because of my sudden disconnection. I can’t exactly remember how many times I’ve wanted to call my bank regarding my finances and purchases. Moreover, I stopped tracking the amount of money I spend on mobile data to keep me connected and to continue my life — whether it’s working remotely, ordering food, and staying alive by not going out.

What irks me the most is my ISP’s customer service. They have been harder to reach, given the limited personnel caused by the coronavirus health crisis that’s taking so long to be addressed. The last ticket I created with their customer service representative took more than two weeks to get the repair service I requested.

We’re all glorifying the remote working setup as the future of productivity and distance learning as the future of education, yet we continuously forget how difficult it is to handle when Internet access isn’t the same for everyone.

We’ve been dependent on the Internet and online services, to keep us safe and continue our lives in this pandemic. Yet somehow, the company I trusted my money, livelihood, and perhaps my life too, doesn’t give the service I rightfully deserve.

Exhausting options, on the brink of giving up

Maybe you’re wondering, “Why don’t you just switch providers?” That’s easy to say when you have options. Believe me, I’ve tried. I considered three more providers, only to find out my area isn’t serviceable.

I’m nearly giving up on the mere fact that this hopeless situation won’t improve. I’ve been exhausting all possible options, using prepaid services to connect to the Internet so I can resume my life and work. But it’s taking a toll on my financial, emotional, and mental health.

What’s the point of paying an enormous amount for a service that’s considerably trash? When the sudden disconnection causes you to become agitated when it disrupted your work? We’re all glorifying the remote working setup as the future of productivity and distance learning as the future of education, yet we continuously forget how difficult it is to handle when Internet access isn’t the same for everyone.

I’ve tried looking for answers, too, given my inquisitive nature. When I had a conversation with a friend — an engineer who worked on the project of bringing 5G in the Philippines — I learned the difficulties of setting up towers in different areas, and mostly had to do with red tape. Limited towers mean there will be limited connection. In case you didn’t know, it’s what the 5G connectivity is trying to solve: bringing access to places that 4G connectivity is having a difficult time reaching.

Despite having the knowledge about how it works, I’m still disgruntled. At the end of the day, I’m just a consumer. All I want is to get the service I paid for, sans souci. I’m certain a lot of people feel the same way. This collective frustration forced the Philippine government to break the duopoly and let another player enter.

Frankly, I’m even more skeptical. When most players are struggling with the infrastructure needed, how is another player going to help? It might just bring more disappointment. But that’s something we can all worry about more in the future.

For now, I just need my Internet service provider to become competent in handling after-sales, customer service, and being true to what they advertise. Because I’m already resigning to my fate that being in a third-world country means you won’t get the service you deserve, and you can’t hold anyone else — private entities or the government — accountable. (Unless you’re a pretty celebrity with four million followers.)

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Automotive

4 techie ways the Ford Ranger Raptor conquers the road

Tough but comfortable

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Have you ever wondered what type of technology lies underneath your car’s hood? Cars today are no longer just the mechanical machines of the last decade. Now, every car is packed with as much technology as our smartphones. From a complex infotainment system to an accurate terrain management system, you can look forward to more than horsepower or suspension. In the new Ford Ranger Raptor, you’ll find these tough features and more.

Here are the top technology features you’ll love in Ford Ranger Raptor.

We don’t need roads

As mentioned, the Ford Ranger Raptor sports an incredibly adaptable Terrain Management System. The feature comes with six pre-set driving modes, pushing out performance in any type of driving situation.

First, of course, you have the Normal mode, maximizing output from the 2.0L Bi-Turbo diesel engine. By itself, the powertrain can deliver up to 213ps of horsepower and 500Nm of torque. Complementing this dynamic duo is a whopping 10-speed automatic transmission system.

Besides the ubiquitous pre-set, the Ranger Raptor also has Sport mode, Rock mode, Mud/Sand mode, Grass/Gravel/Snow mode, and a Baja mode for sand dunes. Regardless of which mode you prefer, the pickup truck’s race-bred suspension can endure anything with 2.5-inch Fox shocks and 33-inch all-terrain tires. It’s a perfect off-road vehicle.

A couch on the road

Technology isn’t just about gizmos and gadgets. Even a car seat’s engineering is a marvel of today’s technology. At the front, drivers and passengers will sit comfortably on body-contoured sport seats. The seats — as well as the steering wheel, the soft top instrument panel, and the shifter — were wrapped snugly with unique Raptor stitching. You’ll feel like you’re sitting on your living room couch.

Speaking of living room, both front and back passengers can keep their road (or off-road) trip entertaining with Sync 3, a capable infotainment system with voice-activated controls.

Safety first, always

This time around, Ford has added much more safety features than ever before. Besides the standard slew of car safety features, the Ranger Raptor also has a new Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. When you’re on a road, the pickup truck can keep you safe and sound with an automatic Lane Keeping System. It also comes with LED headlamps and a high mount USB port.

What’s more, Ford packed in all of these at no extra cost to the customer, making the pickup truck a perfect bang for your buck.

Premium care for a premium customer

Besides what they packed in their new pickup truck, Ford has built a new Ford Premium Care service for Ford Ranger Raptor customers. The new aftersales service comes with a whole host of convenient perks and necessities.

First of all, Ford upped the vehicle’s warranty by two years. Instead of the standard three-year warranty out of the factory, the Ranger Raptor’s warranty lasts for five years (or 150,000 kilometers, whichever comes first).

For maintenance, Ford will service the new pickup truck for up to five years (or 50,000 kilometers, whichever comes first). The scheduled service plan covers all parts and labor needed for preventive maintenance service.

Finally, the Ranger Raptor expands Ford’s Emergency Roadside Assistance service to five years, a big upgrade from the standard three-year service in the past. With the service, customers can get 24/7 assistance in the event of a vehicle breakdown. The service comes with free towing and minor onsite repairs like battery boosting, refueling, or a change of tires.

All three come at no extra cost to the customer. You’ll be paying the same price for more features.

Without a doubt, the new Ford Ranger Raptor is built Ford tough. Besides the comfortable type of ride that you’ve already come to expect from Ford, the new pickup truck comes packed with new comfort and safety features for a worry-free drive. It’s a tough monster built for anything and anywhere.

For more details visit the Ford Philippines website.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Ford Philippines

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