Fresh off the IT Block, 24th August 2020
Hello all! Thanks for coming to read today's edition of fresh off the block!
Today's stories will be about whether Samsung's new S20 phone is worth it, Facebook's new desktop layout updates, and why do employees resist new technology?
Is Samsung's S20 model worth it? Let's talk tech...
If you're looking for the non-Apple equivalent of the ultimate 5G mobile phone, the Samsung Galaxy S20 might be what you're looking for.
The Galaxy S20 comes with a whole host of improvements and touch-ups from the Galaxy S10 released in 2019.
120Hz of refresh rates is very refreshing to see! (If you pardon the pun), not only that, but you'll be able to enjoy your favourite games, apps and movies on a 6.2 inch touchscreen.
Some of the best improvements this year come in the camera quality, and Samsung has really stepped up its game this time around. First up is the improved night time photography. Now you'll be able to get more light exposure when taking photos in the dark, thanks to night mode now using enhanced multi-frame processing, to combine 30 images into one clear photo.
Galaxy S20 owners can benefit also from a 3 x optical zoom, and a 30 x digital zoom. So all of you plane spotters and picturesque people, you'll love getting the true zoom feature - If you are 100 feet away from an object, you can now take a picture with the same quality as if you were 3 feet away.
Expect to record 8K video, with up to 64 MP on the telephoto camera. The aperture too is also improved, and is now 2.0 instead of 2.4. You'll now be able to benefit from more exposure when taking photos in any setting, whether in the light or the dark.
When it comes to the other types of media, i.e. watching videos and listening to music, you probably won't be best pleased. Due to the increased dimensions of the Galaxy S20 model, the headphone jack has been squeezed out. If you purchase the Galaxy S20 from a dedicated supplier however, you will receive a tailored set of earphones for the USB-C type slot.
For those who wish to stick to the classic 3.5mm jack headphone style, you're going to need a USB-C male to 3.5 mm jack female adaptor.
The Galaxy S20 is priced at $999 USD for the 5G version, and it comes with 128 GB of internal storage, as well as 12 GB of RAM. Meanwhile, if you opt to invest in a micro-SD card, it can boost your storage to a hefty 1 TB.
There is a 4G version on the market, but the countries you can access it in are more limited. This is simply to bring more 5G phones into the market as the 5G network becomes the new mainstream market for data speeds. The 4G version isn't available in countries like the USA, but if it is available where you are, expect to pay around 10-15% less than the advertised price for the 5G version.
The majority of the power within the Galaxy S20 comes from the high-end chip sets. Depending on where you are buying from, you could either get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990. These are really top of the range chip sets, so expect to multi-task without lag, or much battery drainage.
The Galaxy 20 is a very powerful phone, but it comes with a steep price tag. With the impressive, and almost world beating camera features, as well as the bulky storage and RAM, you can expect to do a LOT of things on this piece of hardware. We recommend you buy it if you're in the market for a top of the range smart phone that offers 5G connectivity.
Facebook's new layout update - Impressive or unnecessary?
You may have noticed over the past few months that Facebook has been trialling a new layout for its desktop website. Take this how you want, but the update is set to go permanently live in September, so say goodbye to the old layout (If you still use it that is).
The update was provided as an opt-in feature since earlier this year (Around March time), but now it is set to roll out to the Android and iOS apps on mobiles too.
So what's changed this time?
Let's start with the header - There's no more signature blue bar at the top, now the entire dashboard comes with a blank white background.
Instead of making posts from your timeline or profile, now you can use the convenient plus icon straight from the landing page when you reach the website. You can update your status, post a life story, make a page, a group, an event, and much more. The mobile layouts for posting updates and new status appear largely the same, with Facebook's developers keeping the "What's on your mid?" tab for users on the iOS/Android interfaces, as well as the desktop timeline.
On the desktop interface, users can expect to see their conversations align up the right margin, instead of across the bottom of their dashboard. The chat icons are user's profile pictures now, instead of their names. Your contacts list will stay the same, although it will look cleaner than before, and you'll get to see who's birthday it is at the top of your contacts list in the margin.
Facebook are definitely exposing their marketplace and groups features more now, as these are given more noticeable buttons on the dashboard header. Facebook's Android and iOS applications will display these on the footer.
Unsurprisingly, the desktop website and mobile applications now have a well placed COVID-19 information centre, where you can spot real and fact-checked updates from around the world. You can search for daily cases, WHO advice, such as the use of face masks, as well as links to national health departments for your local country.
Lastly, there is a cool feature that you might be used to on places like Microsoft SharePoint and YouTube, dark mode. In the same way you would access settings, you can now toggle on/off a dark mode, converting text to white, and turning the interface a grey-ish black.
Although these new changes and tweaks are fantastic to the development of the social media giant's services, it'll take a little while for people to get used to it. Although we should have seen it coming, people have been using social media a lot more frequently now - The impact of this increased activity means people will be so used to the old layout, that the new layout could take several weeks or months to embed into our minds.
It is necessary as these changes in some parts were needed (Such as dark mode and the COVID-19 information centre), but some people will have to warm to the new layout, as it is pretty different in comparison to the old layout.
Why do employees resist cloud technology?
The world's way of getting their stuff done is changing. In fact, it has been sped up by anywhere between 5 and 10 years. Within half a year, we have gone through some of the biggest transitions in our lifetime when it comes to working arrangements.
Do any of these applications ring a bell?
Skype For Business
The use of these kind of applications has soared as home working and remote collaboration become the new normal. But for some businesses, it has been a constant uphill struggle to adapt, at least for some workers.
Cloud-based applications like the list above require workers to adopt new procedures. These procedures generally involve a lot more automation, more AI, and more synced storage. The idea of throwing all of these new tools to someone is a big change. What makes it even bigger is that they are being given it while working from home.
Some employees rely on having a senior person in the same office as them, as they find help is best given in person. You can point and explain things on your screen with better accuracy, and you can show every part of your screen in person (Dual monitors). On applications like Microsoft Teams, this is also possible with one monitor at a time, but some employees never realise what extra features come with this amazing cloud-based collaboration tool.
Giving control, adding shared notes, as well as a whiteboard window, are some of the many screen sharing and collaborative features that come with Microsoft Teams. Companies can do so much with cloud services, but they simply don't do the research and planning to make employees feel at ease with these transitions.
Other companies find their employees running away from the idea of cloud technology. They believe it isn't secure for storage purposes (It's more secure than on-site storage in truth), and they will sometimes think it won't do its job. Cloud applications actually save a lot of the time it takes to repeat those boring and monotonous tasks.
Even here at IT Block, our website and services are centred upon applications formed in the cloud. We are actually all using cloud technology to some degree, we just don't realise it.