I got a Galaxy Tab S6 Lite recently, and I’m not looking back

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite shown alongside its S Pen stylus
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite shown alongside its S Pen stylus
Galaxy Tab S6 Lite — Photo by Samsung

I had my iPad Air for just over a year now. As much as I tried to love it, I just couldn’t. I tried, I really tried. I used it to sketch ideas in Affinity Designer before finishing off on the Mac. I took it with me to cafes (before and between the various lockdowns) to use it as a light & ready machine to write my articles without distractions. It worked, but time and again I found it limiting.

Mind you, the iPad is a very capable device. As long as you do things the way Apple wants you to, everything is peaches and cream. The problem is that it thinks different a bit too much, even compared to the Mac. From the way multiple apps are handled to how you access files, I always felt like I’m fighting against iPadOS every time I try to do anything remotely involved. …


An introduction to a free and secure alternative for your video parties, and some tips on how to make your calls safer

A dog wearing funny glasses
A dog wearing funny glasses
Photo by Braydon Anderson on Unsplash

“See that necklace on the nightstand? It’s a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation,” said Tracy to the man she had just met at the bus stop a few minutes ago. Before she knew it, she had brought him back to her house and was showing him around.

“I shouldn’t really leave it lying around like that,” she sighed, “but I’m just too busy to clean up! Most days I’m out of the house by 8am and I’m not back before dark!”

That sounds like the beginning of a cheap, trashy novel, perhaps a self-published thriller or love story. In any case, it’s such an absurd conversation that most people put it down as fiction the moment they see it. …


Maybe Microsoft is where it’s at now. Thoughts from Build 2020.

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Photo by Heidi Fin on Unsplash

Since at least 2003, I have been an avid Apple user. My first Mac was a second hand iBook G3 “Snow” with a 700mhz PowerPC processor. Those were the early days of Mac OSX, when the operating system was still rough around the edges. Still, I loved its simplicity of operation while retaining the ability to access a familiar UNIX-like command line for anything more involved.

Everything just worked, a far cry from the experience on my Sony Vaio running Windows XP. Gone were the days of driver installs, uninstalls and reinstalls, and of KB-123099 Tuesday patches. That’s the way it stayed for the next 17 years. In fairness, I carried on using Windows at work for a few more years. The quality of life difference between the two platforms was in my face every day. …


How to measure performance effectively, beyond the buzzwords

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Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

Everything was hunky-dory in Robin’s team. The engineers were always performing at their peak and sprints were regularly completed by their deadlines. The team’s KPIs were above 80%, and everyone looked happy. All seemed perfect, maybe too good to be true?

It wasn’t until a couple of quarters down the line that the proverbial mess hit the fan. Nobody saw it coming, especially not Robin. The truth was that the team had been rushing to complete those deadlines, taking shortcuts along the way. In the process, they accumulated a lot of code debt, and that eventually came back to bite them in the rear. …


It’s a good time to focus inwards, and emerge with beautiful wings

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Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

Earlier this week, I went out for a stroll. Butterflies roamed freely by the side of the road, chasing the smell of timidly blooming flowers. Suddenly, my thoughts went to my friends and family outside Hong Kong, especially those in Europe and in the US who, unlike these butterflies, were locked up at home.

Butterflies are beautiful. They dance around in the spring breeze flapping their delicate wings and showing off their colors. They seem free and carefree, but it’s not always been like that.

Not long ago, they were nothing more than a worm-like creepy-crawly. An insignificant, flightless bug that couldn’t be further away from the majestic creature of today. To become a butterfly, they literally went through a metamorphosis. …


Between global recession and technology advancement, we might be ready to move on

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Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash

The iPhone 7 is still my favorite Apple device to date. Specifically, in its Plus variant, I loved the big screen, thin design and overall build quality. It was also the last flagship phone from Apple to release with a sub-$999 MSRP (specifically, $649 for the standard version, and $769 for the Plus).

With the launch of the iPhone X a year later in 2017, Apple started the worrying trend of expensive flagship phones that’s still going to this day. Its competitors followed suit. Thanks to an ever-growing list of features, it’s now quite common to see top-of-the-line devices starting at $999, and only growing from there. Case in point, Samsung just released their 2020 flagship in February, the S20, starting at $999 for the base model, and going all the way up to $1,399 for the maxed-out version, the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. …


The iPhone and the MacBook are no longer the gold standard they used to be. Does it matter?

Two iPhone and an Android device on a desk
Two iPhone and an Android device on a desk
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

My Samsung Galaxy S10+ just got a software update. It’s now running the latest version of OneUI, based on Android 10. I haven’t felt so good using a phone since the days of the iPhone 7 Plus. Everything is fast, shiny and gesture-driven. When I change the brightness on my screen, the little “sun” icon rotates on itself. As it does so, its weight changes, becoming bolder and bolder as the brightness goes up:

Brightness slider from the Galaxy S10
Brightness slider from the Galaxy S10
The Brightness Slider in Samsung’s OneUI, captured from my S10+

What’s the big deal, you say? Let’s take a step back, cause there was a time when Android was horrible, Apple ruled the world and you wouldn’t catch me dead without my iPhone. …


It depends, here’s a story from baseball in Japan

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Photo by Brandon Mowinkel on Unsplash

Baseball is as popular in Japan as it is in the United States, if not more. Each game of the top professional league, the NPB, attracts rowdy crowds that somehow manage to band up together and cheer their favorite team in unison.

Today’s story is about two players from Japanese baseball who transitioned from superstar on the field to head honcho in the dugout, Kanemoto and Ramirez. Two similar accounts of former glory with a very different ending.

Kanemoto Tomoaki played in the NPB, for a grand total of 21 years. He split his time evenly between two teams in the Central league, Hiroshima Carp and Hanshin Tigers. His start in the pros was marred with poor batting performance due to lack of strength, something that the rookie worked hard to fix in his first three years as a pro. His hard work paid off. By the time of his retirement, Kanemoto had scored 476 home runs and 2539 hits, putting him in the national all-time top 10 for both stats. …


How to chase away the scary shadows of loneliness and depression

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Photo by Ivan Pergasi on Unsplash

Social distancing is one of the best strategies to curb the spread of the new coronavirus that’s found its way to every corner of the world in recent months. In fact, lacking a vaccine and a cure, a reduction in human contact is really all we can do right now to keep the number of cases down, and also alleviate the stress on an already thinly spread healthcare system that’s quickly running out of supplies.

However, social distancing itself can turn nasty: as contact with others is limited, loneliness starts to set in. Add to that a reduction in external stimuli since you’re stuck at home, and you have the perfect recipe for depression, which can bring about an array of health issues from chronic pain to an increased risk of heart disease. …


Once social distancing is no longer needed, maybe we should just carry on telecommuting

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

As the world is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of companies have rushed to deploy teleworking arrangements so that they can keep going in spite of self-quarantine and social distancing. Once the health crisis is over, does it even make sense to go back to work in a traditional office?

Talk to most old-style managers, and they’ll shrug at the idea of not seeing their team in person for weeks on end. They’ll tell you that remote work destroys the team and its culture, and that productivity takes a nosedive whenever teleworking is involved.

Sure, if a person hates their job, or their boss, that’s probably what’s going to happen: it’s so easy to skive off at home when we’re surrounded by the very environment we built to relax ourselves. But that’s not the normal behavior of a responsible person, and a manager assuming that’s what happens only goes to show their lack of trust in the team. …

About

Omar Rabbolini

Writing about life, technology, software engineering practice and startups | Website: https://drilbu.com

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