The Tech Monkey

RESTORING CONFIDENCE IN YOUR COMPUTER, ONE CUSTOMER AT A TIME

Welcome to the Tech Monkey! We are a small, locally owned and operated Computer Repair, Service and Sales business with over 20-years of experience.

We believe in quality diagnostics at a fair price. We use the latest tools and technology to deliver top notch service. Our techs are CompTIA and Microsoft Certified.

Instagram ends experiment with standalone Direct messaging app

Facebook is shutting down Direct, a standalone camera-first messaging app used to send Instagram direct messages. “In the coming month, we’ll no longer be supporting the Direct app,” read a message in the app announcing the shutdown. “Your conversations will automatically move over to Instagram, so you don’t need to do anything.” The announcement was first spotted by social media commentator Matt Navarra.

First launched in December 2017, Direct was an apparent attempt by Instagram to take on Snapchat’s core functionality. The app launched directly into its camera, complete with plenty of Snapchat-style filters, but you could also swipe down from the top of the screen to type messages to your Instagram contacts. Direct was the second time Instagram borrowed an idea from Snapchat; it also launched a Stories feature of its own in 2016 that’s since grown into a major part of its platform.

Source:https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/16/18627760/instagram-direct-standalone-messaging-app-snapchat-shutdown

The man who predicted Antennagate is no longer at Apple

Apple’s had a few public embarrassments in recent years — AirPower, the MacBook’s unreliable butterfly keyboard, and the iPhone slowdown saga come to mind — but it’s been a minute since since the original tech scandal of “Antennagate,” when the iPhone 4 had a tendency to drop calls if you held it in certain ways.

Today, The Information is reporting (and AppleInsider is corroborating) that Apple VP of engineering and wireless specialist Rubén Caballero has left the company, which is notable for a couple of reasons.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/29/18523309/apple-antennagate-iphone-5g-modem-ruben-caballero

Tesla still isn’t getting enough batteries from Panasonic

The supply of batteries made by Panasonic is still the “fundamental constraint” on the production of Tesla products, the company said Thursday. The electric car maker isn’t getting enough batteries from the production lines that Panasonic operates in the automaker’s Reno, Nevada Gigafactory to keep up with the number of cars and home energy storage products it wants to make. The two companies believe more batteries can be made using the equipment in place at the factory though, Tesla said. The statement echoes what CEO Elon Musk told investors on a January 30th conference call, when he said that Tesla was “cell-starved for vehicle production,” and that it had to forgo some manufacturing of its home energy products in order to keep pace with Model 3 battery packs. And it shows that despite suffering through “production hell” and “delivery logistics hell,” one long-standing problem still steers the Model 3’s success: the tension between what Tesla needs and what Panasonic can deliver.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/11/18305976/tesla-panasonic-gigafactory-batteries-model-3

Sekiro’s difficulty debate results in incredible ‘you cheated not only the game’ meme

Perhaps you’ve seen the rousing debate around FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice percolating across the internet these past couple of weeks. Maybe you’ve even engaged in a few “git guds” yourself. But no chapter in the ongoing controversy over whether the video game requires an easy mode (or whether your relationship with it really says anything meaningful about you as a human being) has been quite as satisfying as the “you cheated not only the game, but yourself” meme. The already-infamous copypasta was said with seemingly earnest seriousness by a Twitter user late last week, in response to a PC Gamer article by journalist James Davenport detailing how he used a mod to cheat his way through the game’s punishing final boss. Apparently, according to the diehard Sekiro fan who spoke on behalf of his fellow hardcore gamers, titles like this are designed to be played only one way, and to deviate from that or to seek value in anything beyond the narrow sense of accomplishment through repeated failureis to disrespect the developer’s artistic ambition and to rob yourself of the one and only form of victory these games can provide. At least, that’s the generous reading. The not-so-generous one is that players like this can only enjoy these types of games with the knowledge that most other people cannot.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/9/18302796/sekiro-shadows-die-twice-copypasta-you-cheated-not-only-the-game-memes

Microsoft brings Spotify and useful widgets to its Xbox Game Bar on Windows 10

Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer admitted last year that the software maker had “a ton of work to do on Windows” for PC gamers. Microsoft is now starting to improve its Xbox integration on PC with the unveiling of a big overhaul for the Game Bar feature in Windows 10. Available for beta testers today, the updated Game Bar now includes widgets that look more like the overlays you’d find in Nvidia’s GeForce Experience. These widgets include many of the features you’d normally find in the Game Bar, but there’s also a host of new ones. Microsoft is integrating Spotify into this feature, allowing you to control song playback during games. There’s also an audio widget for adjusting game volume and outputs, and a widget to monitor your CPU, GPU, and RAM usage. The Xbox Game Bar can be activated by using winkey+G in Windows 10, and this new layout makes it far more glanceable if you wanted to toggle into it and then quickly get back to a game.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/4/18294963/microsoft-windows-10-game-bar-widgets-overlay-features

Apple’s latest Clips update inches it closer to being a real video app

The latest update for Apple’s Clips app adds a few new features that brings it closer to becoming a full-fledged mobile video-editing app. The most notable addition is the ability to add custom soundtracks directly to videos with songs created in GarageBand and other music apps. Previously, users were limited to built-in soundtracks and iTunes music tracks. Clips, which is only available on iOS, launched in 2017 as a kind of iMovie for a new generation of creators, with built-in filters, stickers, and transitions. Today’s update adds lots of small improvements, like the ability to share projects through AirDrop or email and save them to Files, as well as introducing more share extensions to upload to other cloud services.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/2/18292601/apple-clips-update-video-editing-garageband-title-cards


Apple Watch EKG features now available in Europe with watchOS 5.2 update

Apple is enabling its electrocardiogram (EKG) reading feature for Apple Watch Series 4 owners in Europe and Hong Kong today. The iPhone maker previously launched the EKG feature in the US in December, after making it a big part of the Apple Watch Series 4 that was originally introduced back in September. Apple is delivering the EKG functionality to regions outside of the US with its latest watchOS 5.2 update, including 19 countries in Europe and Hong Kong. Apple Watch Series 4 owners will be able to enable the EKG reading through the Health app on their iPhones. To take an EKG, you open up the EKG app on the Watch and rest your index finger on the crown. The Apple Watch then records an EKG and your heart rhythm, and stores it in the Health app on your iPhone. You can then create a PDF report to send to your doctor with the results.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/27/18280580/apple-watch-series-4-ekg-europe-available-features

Samsung shows off the Galaxy Fold’s folding skills in action

Samsung has been pretty closed off about letting anyone actually try out the Galaxy Fold in real life, but apparently, those rules don’t apply to robots — specifically, Samsung’s specialized stress testing machines, which the company showcased in a new video highlighting the Galaxy Fold’s bending abilities.The video is pretty mesmerizing on its own — there’s something almost soothing about watching all the phones fold open and shut in perfect synchronization, but more importantly, the stress tests are giving us what might be the best look yet at what the Galaxy Fold actually looks like when its folding.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/3/27/18284071/samsung-galaxy-fold-stress-test-robot-folding-bend-crease-video


Samsung’s US marketing chief abruptly leaves company after internal investigation

Samsung conducted an internal investigation of its US marketing operation and laid off a number of employees as a result, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The timing is notable given that Samsung’s chief marketing officer of nearly four years, Marc Mathieu, abruptly left the company last week. Mathieu’s name may not be familiar, but he was instrumental in pushing Samsung to invest in the YouTube creator community and steered the company through several difficult periods. These include his handling of the Galaxy Note 7’s disastrous recall in 2016. Mathieu also helped launch the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus the following year — phones that did much to restore the company’s battered reputation.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/22/18277171/samsung-marketing-audit-probe-report-marc-mathieu-wsj

Epic Games Store chief says they’ll eventually stop paying for exclusive PC games

Developer Epic Games has been shaking up the industry in more ways than one since launching the massively popular and influential Fortnite in 2017. Starting last December, the company has been using its newfound wealth from the battle royale hit to fund its PC marketplace, the Epic Games Store, which offers game developers a more generous 88-12 percent revenue split than the competition.

In addition to that, Epic has been paying out large sums of money to developers to launch their games exclusively on its store, creating a particularly heated point of contention between PC game fans and the company. As a result, the store has grown to 85 million users, thanks largely to Fortnite’s active player base, Epic announced today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. (The software used to launch Fortnite on PC also contains the Epic Games Store, making users of the game also registered users of the store.)

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/21/18276181/epic-games-store-exclusives-pc-gaming-fortnite-steve-allison-gdc-2019

Today’s AirPods launch underscores Apple’s latest AirPower misfire

Today, Apple finally announced its second-generation AirPods, most notably adding wireless charging to the popular headphones. Apple is even selling the wireless charging case separately, so that existing AirPod owners can join in the fun. The move brings Apple in line with its main competitors, whose phones and earbuds support similar Qi charging functionality, but there was one piece missing: Apple’s long-absent AirPower charger. If there was ever a moment to re-announce AirPower, this was the moment — instead, it’s a missed opportunity for Apple.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/3/20/18274842/airpods-airpower-apple-product-delay-issues

Keycap O-Ring Dampeners for Mechanical Keyboards - Introduction

Product Knowledge-base

Thanks for looking. Here is a basic intro to help you understand what Keycap O-Rings Dampeners do for your mechanical keyboard.



Basic intro: Your mechanical keyboard, regardless of brand uses some type of mechaincal switch. These switches vary greatly on sound, travel, resistance and overall feel. For example Corsair uses Cherry Switches. Logitech uses Romer G Switches. And although you might like it Team Green, even your Razer uses Cherry Switches (made in house by Cherry in Germany). ALl that matters is your experience and personal preference.

I personally use a Corsair K95 RGB with Cherry Red Silent switches.

Now the noise (loud) noise you tend to hear is your switch bottoming out. Bottoming out is when a key stroke is pressed all the way down where the stem of the switch hits the inside of the switch casing. Esentically you’re causing the switch to buckle. Its designed to, dont worry. Though your key press is already registered before the buckling occurs.

So where do these O-Rings come into play and why do you care?

Keycap O-Rings help do multiple things based on your selection. Some of the more common considerations are as follows.

  • Reduces key press travel from 0.2MM - 0.4MM

  • Reduces noise from preventing buckling of the switch

  • Allows for a bounce back effect due to the natural response of the O-Ring Material Type (Rubber/Silicone).

Other things to consider the the thickness, hardness and o-ring material. The two most common types are NBR (Nitrile Rubber) which is naturally black in color. The other is VMQ which is a Silicone Polymer. VMQ can be clear (opaque) or colored (Red, Green, Blue).

The thickness will determine travel reduction. Typically either 0.02MM or 0.04MM reduction. At 0.04MM, that is around a 50% reduction in travel.

Hardness is based on the Shore Hardness Rating (scale). You will typically see Shore Ratings on O-Rings between 40-80. More commonly 40-45 and 60-65. Meaning nearly all products will have a slightly varying percentage of hardness as a product cannot be produced that strict for such a cheap price.

Pandora now lets you change its algorithm for selecting music

Pandora is giving listeners more control over what songs their customized radio stations play with a new feature called Pandora Modes. Pandora’s classic algorithm has long chosen what plays when you start up a new artist station, but these alternative modes let you switch to other types of curation for different experiences. Modes work better the more you interact with the service while listening. Every thumbs-up or down on a song further informs what tracks Pandora will send your way.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/19/18272808/pandora-modes-algorithm-music-selection-radio

Qualcomm is working on standalone wireless VR headsets that can also connect to PCs

Qualcomm’s new VR headset will be one of the first to work as a standalone mobile headset and also connect to PCs wirelessly. The headsets will be demoed at the Game Developers Conference that’s currently going on in San Francisco, and they could arrive in stores in Asia as early as later this year, as spotted by CNET. Most mobile VR headsets don’t let you plug into your PC for a connection to additional VR gaming libraries, but Qualcomm envisions it to be possible in its new reference design called “Boundless XR.” The new headset reference design Qualcomm has laid out will work on its own as a mobile standalone headset with six degrees of freedom which also links to PCs for PC VR gaming through a 60GHz connection. The headsets are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processors.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/18/18271385/qualcomm-wireless-vr-headset-standalone-connect-to-pc

Turtle Beach is buying PC gaming accessory brand Roccat for $19.2 million

Turtle Beach is known for gaming headsets, but it’ll soon be adding an entirely new roster of PC gaming peripherals to its catalog: it’s purchasing Roccat, a fine purveyor of mice, keyboards, mouse pads, and headsets, for $19.2 million in cash, stock, and earn-out payments, according to the press release. These days, Turtle Beach is known more for value rather than quality, so Roccat will probably be a valuable, higher-end brand that the company can take advantage of. We wouldn’t expect to see the respected Roccat name disappear anytime soon.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/14/18266156/turtle-beach-roccat-acquisition-pc-gaming-accessories

Twitch streamer Ninja reportedly earned $1 million for promoting Apex Legends launch

When Electronic Arts’ battle royale shooter Apex Legends surprise-launched early last month, it seemed like the entire gaming community started paying attention at once. Part of the reason for the immediate surge in interest was that EA paid top Twitch streamers to promote the game. And, in fact, one of those streamers, Fortnite extraordinaire Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, may have earned as much as $1 million for doing so, according to Reuters. Ninja’s live-streaming and social media promotions helped Apex Legends gain traction among his 13.6 million-plus Twitch followers, as well as his Twitter following of over 4 million and Instagram audience of over 13.2 million. Now, an anonymous source tells Reuters that his efforts were reportedly worth the seven-figure sum.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/13/18264366/ninja-ea-apex-legends-1-million-dollars-promoted-stream-fortnite-sponsorships

Google Chrome’s dark mode is now available on Mac

Chrome 73 has officially rolled out to all users today, bringing with it several new improvements, including the long-awaited dark mode for macOS. (“Windows support is on the way,” the release notes read.) Dark mode was first announced for Chrome last month, but today’s release has made it official. It works pretty much as you’d expect: if dark mode is enabled on your computer (see here for macOS and here for Windows 10), Chrome will automatically theme itself appropriately to match, in what essentially looks like the browser’s regular darker Incognito Mode menu bars. (Incognito Mode while using dark mode on Chrome looks virtually identical, save for a new icon in the menu bar.)

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/12/18262480/google-chrome-dark-mode-now-available-mac-os-mojave-windows-10

Mophie’s Palm battery pack may be the most niche charging accessory ever made

The Palm phone is not a good phone. It is not a good replacement of a phone. But it is now a phone to join an incredible rare club: it now has a $59.95 Mophie Juice Pack battery case, making it the only device to get a custom case from the accessory company other than an Apple or Samsung phone. Now I get why someone who actually bought a Palm phone would want a Mophie case for a Palm phone — the device itself has just an 800mAh battery, delivering battery life that my colleague Dieter Bohn best described as “downright atrocious.” At 900mAh, the Mophie Juice Pack for the Palm phone is actually larger than the one in the phone, so it should help with that, and it adds wireless charging support, which the regular phone doesn’t have..

Source: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/3/11/18260713/mophie-palm-phone-battery-pack-charger-keychain

The Apple Watch Series 3 is $199, and the LTE-enabled version is at its lowest price yet

The Apple Watch Series 3 isn’t the latest model, but it’s a good place to start if you’ve been looking for an affordable wearable for your iPhone that has a lot of features. Best Buy’s deal starts at $199 for the 38mm model with GPS capabilities. This matches the best price that we’ve seen, and while it pops up about every month or so, it usually sells out. According to my colleague Dan Seifert’s review of the non-LTE model, “It’s fast, has by far the best support for third-party apps and integrations, and its battery life is reliable enough that I don’t have to charge it every single day.”

Source: https://www.theverge.com/good-deals/2019/3/11/18259791/apple-watch-series-3-lte-best-buy-price-sale

Slack is rolling out a dark mode to iOS and Android beta users

Workplace collaboration app Slack is starting to test a dark mode for users, joining others, like the mail app for Windows 10 and Facebook Messenger. It’s not available to everyone just yet, but it is rolling out to beta testers. 9to5Mac and 9to5Google spotted the iOS and Android updates, noting that the feature is currently being tested, and helpfully points out how to activate it for yourself. To get it now, you have to be part of Slack’s beta testing program — something you can join. You can join by heading over to the app’s settings, and scroll down to the “Join Beta” section, which prompts you to provide your name and e-mail address. Once approved and you update your app accordingly, you’ll then have a toggle that will allow you to turn the mode on in settings. 9to5Google says that the Android app will prompt you to restart the app, whereas the iOS version will automatically switch.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/9/18257801/slack-dark-mode-how-to-enable-android-ios-apple-google-beta-tester