Skip to main content


Seems like Google is testing the new Ambient mode on Google TV

The long-awaited feature that Google announced in November 2021 could be nearing a release. I received the new Ambient Mode on one of Chromecast with Google TV and the update surprised me a bit.  As for what is present, there is Ambient Mode which takes you to a familiar screen, what seems to be recent apps, and the weather. This is personalized so what you see will be tailored to who is signed in and active. Unfortunately, the update does not include multi-user support. I noticed that a notification came with the update and it pretty much let you know what the update is. Right now the update seems early to me and hopefully more functionality is added in the near future. But I do like the look and believe there is potential here especially when multi-user support is added. I'm looking forward to how this plays out and we may hear more about the feature during I/O next week.

I need this re-imagined YouTube Android app on my tablet, now!

I came across this concept Youtube app on Google's own Material Design Twitter page and fell in love with it instantly. The app looks very modern and seems to be more functional or at least as functional. The navigation rail is on the left making it easier to dive into other menus on larger screens. Up next is on the right just like it always has and I would assume live chat and maybe even the description would appear as an overlay when selected in the same area.  But that's only half of the story. With Android 12L and beyond the OS will be more adaptable and will be able to adjust to the size of the display or in this case type of display. Here we have a foldable and the YT app splits in half to take advantage of the device being folded. I believe the idea here is to keep the content front and center while making the other touch elements more accessible for the form factor.  Google, can we get this now, please?  

Files by Google Android app gets improved tablet UI

 Hopefully, we will see more of Google's Android apps receive tablet optimizations.  With the introduction of Android 12L, Google has been focused on making better and more optimized apps for Android tablets and Chromebooks. I'm sure this has been in motion for some time but we are now starting to see the fruits of that labor. Earlier this year I noticed that the Google Podcast app received an update that better utilized the space with two rows instead of one podcast listing stretched across the screen. Now we're seeing the same thing with the Files app. Google is now using a navigation rail on the left side. Similar to the Google Photos Android app. This makes navigating Files by Google much easier and more importantly, the app is utilizing the space effectively. Elements in the app is not stretched across the screen creating a more aesthetically pleasing app to look at on a large screen and that's the goal with Android 12L. The tablet UI improvement can also be seen w

I recently switched to Google Fi and this is my experience in 2022

I've been with T-Mobile for 10 plus years and lived through a few data breaches. Unfortunately, one of the latest breaches got my information out there on the dark web. To say the least, I was not happy. I've been getting calls that I never received before and I even received a notice that my SSN was out there as well amongst other personal identifiable information. T-Mobile tried to make things right and sign those up who were impacted for a credit monitoring service for free for the next two years but that did not seem enough for me. So, I started looking at other cell phone providers in the US.  I'll save time and say that AT&T and Verizon seem way too expensive for me so I went with Google Fi. At the time I signed up 2 lines for $128 dollars per month. This was about the same amount I was paying so I was mostly fine with it. Although, I was hoping to save some money. I also like that I got the same features as I had with T-Mobile. The main ones being unlimited talk,

My time with the Sony WH XB910N

Today I am checking out Sony's premium headphones the WH-XB910N. See what I have to say about the sound, build, and my overall experience. There's a lot to like but it's definitely not all good.  

Now Playing | Pixel feature highlight

Some features should just be standard on a smartphone and Now Playing is one of them. Now Playing has been around for a while now but recently the Pixel exclusive feature picked up some new tricks. First, for the uninitiated Now Playing is a feature that scans for music that's nearby in the background and displays said music on the lock screen of the device. It is important to note that the feature is fully offline and does not require an internet connection. Additionally, Now Playing surprisingly does not drain the battery.  So, what's not new? Well, the functionality is mostly the same. Play some music your phone recognizes and it will display on the lock screen and in the notification area. You still get the song title and the artist's name which is very handy. So, what's new? The two new features are Now Playing search and Now Playing favorites. With Now Playing search, Pixel can search for songs not automatically recognized. This feature does utilize the internet s

I'm starting to see more of Google's apps optimized for Chrome OS and Android tablets

Google hasn't wasted any time getting some of its apps ready for Android 12L. For those unaware, Android 12L is the next point release for Android 12 with a focus on large screens such as Chromebooks and Android tablets. Over the past week or so I have noticed a few of Google's own apps have seen some updates that take advantage of the larger screen size. This is definitely a welcome change and one I hope to see further developed. Let's check out a couple examples... First up, we have the Google Podcasts app which is my current podcast app of choice. Over the weekend I received an update for the Google app and I noticed when I opened up the podcast app that things looked a bit different. Previously there was just a single row of podcasts on the Home and Explore sections making it quite the task to scroll through podcasts. Now, two podcasts are available per row making it twice as fast two navigate and it is also nice to see the app take up a proper amount of space on the sc

JBLs best sounding headphones might surprise you

When it comes to JBL and headphones you immediately think of great sound. I would even debate that all of JBLs headphones sound good to a certain extent. However, JBL best sounding headphones are not their most expensive offering and that really surprised me. Check the video for my thoughts and what I think JBL best sounding headphones are. You might be surprised too.