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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!

Features

5 reasons why you need a smart, home printer

In 2021? Absolutely!

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Every year, I would tell myself I need a printer — but end up not buying one. After all, do you really need it? At this age? Where you can sign documents on Adobe Acrobat or another third-party extension through your mail, and scan photos directly using your smartphone.

Regrettably, we all still need a home printer, bud. Regardless of their horrendous sizes and designs, there are still a lot of perks when you have a home printer. Especially when it’s a smart, inkjet printer.

Recently, Brother launched a new lineup of compact, space-saving inkjet printers. Using the latest (and most affordable of the bunch) DCP-T420W made me realize how a printer can make your life fun and easy, whether you’re always out or staying at home.

Hard and soft copies still go hand-in-hand

When life went on pause due to a global pandemic, businesses and other establishments (particularly printing services) closed and shut down. While most documents needed for work are being sent and signed via digital formats, there are days when I struggled not owning a printer when I badly needed it.

Back then, I needed to print copies of sheets and labels as I was shipping an expensive music box to Taiwan. The shipping company required these papers to be attached as part of their logistical process. Banks and government agencies also require physical copies of whatever is sent on their emails and/or websites. The world hasn’t fully gone digital, and there’s still a need for papers and printers.

Save time, save money

Using the Brother DCP-T420W — or having a home printer in general — helped save time and money. I don’t have to scramble to search for printing services, which requires driving around town. And yes, when you drive, you need to fill up the tank. Read: Price hike on fuel and gasoline.

But having your own [ink] tank to fill makes it easier for your wallet and convenience. Brother’s new lineup of printers lower cost per print, which approximately prints up to 7,500 pages in black and 5,000 pages in color. And they print fast. No more waiting on printing services asking you to come back later to get the files you needed.

So far, I haven’t fully consumed my inks even though I printed a bunch of high-quality photos. But if I ever ran out of supply, I know I can easily buy one seeing how they’re affordable and accessible.

Print, scan, and copy in the comfort of your own home

Having a printer means you can do everything in the comfort of your own home. Print some important documents, scan my passport for my visa applications, and copy waybills and signed agreements — I can do all of this even when I’m wearing pajamas.

More importantly, the DCP-T420W is so versatile that it lets my not-so-tech-savvy family use the printer without me assisting them. For the old-school, you can plug the USB cable into your laptop and print using Brother’s iPrint & Scan — which works on both Windows and macOS.

Meanwhile, the tech-savvier young’n can maximize the machine’s flexible connectivity options. There’s Built-in Wi-Fi where an entire group can effortlessly share one device, and you can print directly using your mobile devices. Isn’t that so convenient?

Get creative — and productive

There’s so much you can do when you have a printer. Back then I would always wonder, why would I need one?

Occasionally, you’ll realize the reasons why you’ll feel the need to have a printer at home. But for most people, it’s a fleeting moment — simply because they sometimes forget the endless possibilities in having this machine.

For the most part of the lockdown, I spent time with printables that helped me organize my habits, lifestyle, and my room. I started printing labels, charts to track my goals, and sheets to manage my finances. I have to say I’m halfway through my journey towards self-development, and I’m happy a simple machine like a printer helped me in this pursuit.

Print whatever you like without judgment

Above all, having a printer gives you the freedom to print whatever you feel like. I had a lot of fun printing photos, illustrations, and texts to help with my vision board and manifestation journals. To re-decorate my room, I bought photo papers and printed my favorite photos and moments to remind me how blissful my life is for having all these memories.

Yes, sometimes I get sentimental and with this at home, no printing person can judge me for asking to print weird group photos and travel photos in their shop.

Price and availability

The Brother DCP-T420W retails for PhP 7,650 (US$ 157). It’s available for purchase through Brother Philippines’ authorized dealers and is supported by the Brother Customer Service Center and Authorized Service Centers nationwide. Price is inclusive of prevailing taxes and includes a 2-year Extended Warranty.

There are other models available as well — DCP-T520W (PhP 8,950), DCP-T720DW (PhP11,950), DCP-T820DW (PhP 13,950), and MFC-T920DW (PhP 18,950). For more information, visit www.brother.com.ph.

SEE ALSO: Brother’s latest inkjet printers offer faster, more affordable prints | HP Ink Tank 415: Print more and then some

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OPPO Reno5: Ideal upper midranger

It’s a stellar overall package for its price

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Reno5

OPPO’s Reno line has slowly carved out an identity as somewhat of an affordable premium smartphone. Priced at around half of what flagships today cost but offering about two-thirds of the features, the OPPO Reno line has the makings of the ideal upper midranger, and the Reno5 fits that description to a T.

How it looks

The Reno5 (both the 4G and the 5G variants) come in either Galactic Silver or Starry Black. The Black has a more traditional glass finish, thereby being more magnetic to fingerprints and smudges, while the Galactic Silver has a frosted matte finish making it more palatable if you don’t like using a protective case.

Reno5

The Galactic Silver Reno5 is flashier. The color kind of shifts depending on how light hits it. If you’re into phone finishes that catches the eye, this is totally the way to go.

Button placements are pretty standard. On the right hand side is the power button while the volume buttons are on the left. At the bottom you’ll find the speaker grille, USB-C port, and 3.5mm jack (nice).

Reno5

At around 180g and with these dimensions (159.1 x 73.4 x 7.9 mm) with a 6.4-inch display, the Reno5 sits very close to my personal sweet spot in terms of overall smartphone size. It’s a little too light to my liking but it never feels fragile.

The ‘Oxygenation’ of ColorsOS

There’s been some buzz about how OnePlus — a sister company of OPPO under the BBK electronics umbrella — is becoming more and more like OPPO. What’s getting lost in all that noise is how OPPO is turning into OnePlus just as much as the latter is being ‘OPPO-fied.’

This is most evident in ColorOS 7.2. From its cluttered and bloatfull past, the UI skin that OPPO layers over Android has gotten more breathing room letting more oxygen come through. The customizations available run deep — everything from light vs dark mode, the shape and size of the icons, to the accent color of the settings menu.

Also present are the gesture shortcuts that longtime OnePlus fans will be familiar with like drawing a V to open the flashlight, O to open the camera, and double tap screen to wake. These are all OxygenOS staples that have found their way to OPPO and sometimes other Android skins too.

Some purists or overly zealous brand supporters might dismiss this as blatant copying, but is it really that big an issue especially when these are all quality of life improvements no matter how subtle they may be?

All things considered, ColorOS is now overall more appealing thanks in large part to applying design decisions first applied on OnePlus’s OxygenOS.

OLED, 5G, and Snapdragon 765G

This section is probably the least contentious about this phone. Its display, performance, and promise of next gen mobile connectivity work exactly as advertised. The 6.4-inch OLED display has a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s nice and smooth with the deep blacks typically found on OLED displays. It could use a bit more brightness when under intense daylight, but it’s in no way unusable under such circumstances.

The 5G variant will cost you a little more and it’s not at all a bad deal considering most especially if you live or frequent areas with 5G coverage. We used the OPPO Reno5 as a hotspot hub for half a day and it did not feel at all like we were on mobile hotspot.

Shifting talk over to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765g SoC, this seems to be the best-performing midrange chip. It won’t leave you wanting in terms of general smartphone use. We didn’t use it a lot for gaming on this particular handset but previous experience dictates it’s pretty darn good for mobile gaming as well.

Battery life is also pretty straightforward. Standby time is great and the 4300mAh will last you a day on moderate usage. That goes down to around five hours when used primarily for gaming and with 5G connection.

Fun with the cameras

Reno5

The Reno5 sports a quad-camera system: 64MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth. But all the fun really happens in the software sid of things.

It still features OPPO’s fun AI Color Portrait mode that isolates the subject from the background by draining the color out of the background and putting the subject front and center in full color.

Reno5

This same feature also works on the 32MP selfie camera.

Reno5

Even more exciting, this feature is now also available in video mode so there are more ways for you to have fun with it.

Another addition is the Night Flare Portrait that captures your subject in a nice stylized night shot filled with color and creamy bokeh.

Reno5

More than just portraits

Naturally, the cameras along with the AI engine behind its imaging works not only for these fun and funky portrait images and videos. As a standard shooter for documenting your daily life, it’s more than reliable. Check out these samples:

A nice meal for lunch

Naturally, save room for dessert

Ultra wide. Take stroll after downing some delicious food

 

Capture things in good detail

Snap a quick selfie

 

Or ask someone to take a quick portrait photo

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The easy answer is yes. The OPPO Reno5’s overall package is the ideal upper-midranger. There’s a lot of fun to be had with its camera features, it looks great, and performs just about as good as any phone in its price range.

Reno5

It also doesn’t hurt that in the Philippines, OPPO went out of its way to make sure it can be had in may different ways including through TelCos and via installment basis.

The OPPO Reno5 is by no means a perfect smartphone (no such thing exists anyway), but for what you’re getting in relation to its pricing, it’s a stellar option.

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How to remove filters in Zoom

Save yourself from a viral cat-astrophe

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If you haven’t seen the viral video of a lawyer nervously faffing about when he showed up in a Zoom call on national television as a cat, you need to see this.

And, if you’re nervously giggling to yourself while Googling how to remove filters in Zoom so you don’t embarrass yourself like this, here’s a step-by-step:

Removing Zoom filters before a meeting

Prevention is better than cure. To make sure you save yourself from turning into a cat, you should check on your Zoom setting right meow.

  1. On the Zoom desktop client, click your profile picture on the top right corner of the screen and select Settings.
  2. Click the Background & Filter settings.
  3. Check your video preview to see if you have any filters selected or if you have the appropriate virtual background set up for the call.
  4. If you have a video filter you want to turn off, click the Video Filters
  5. Select the box labelled None in the top left corner of the filter selections. You may need to scroll up to find it.

Removing Zoom filters in a meeting

This is for when someone is panicking over being in a Zoom meeting with a filter on and you’re trying to change them back to being human.

  1. In a Zoom meeting, click the up arrow next to your Stop Video icon and select Choose Video Filter to open the Settings window.
  2. Select the box labelled None in the top left corner of the filter selections.

Removing third-party filters in a meeting

  1. In a Zoom meeting, click the up arrow next to the Stop Video
  2. Select the right camera setting, or (if you’re already panicking) frantically select each camera listed until you show up as normal.
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