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Spotlight on Spotify: A brief history of the music streaming site

posted Feb 12, 2019, 2:55 PM by James P DeVellis

Hello!  My name is James P. DeVellis.  I’m an IT consultant, techie, and industry insider.  Music, connectivity, and technology always make for an interesting mix and in this post I’d like to share with you the history of a powerful music app. 

 With the arrival of mp3s and mp4s in the early 2000’s, we have seen the rise of music piracy in the form of illegal downloading sites until a startup called Spotify, began to gain attention for being a music streaming site that allows users to listen and manage music, while discovering new tracks.  The service also allowed users to share their favorite songs and playlists.  The app promises music to users whenever and wherever they are.

 Spotify was established by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in Stockholm, Sweden.  After two years, they began to offer free service with ads and a monthly-fee for ad-free subscription.  Despite the competition, the app managed to gain millions of subscribers from all over the world. 

 In 2010, the headquarters moved to London but retained its R&D in Stockholm.  At this point, the service was made available to European countries.  In 2011, Spotify finally became available to US users which further intensified the competition for legal music streaming in the country.  As the years passed, the service became available in more countries, amassing millions of users and adding thousands of artists in their catalog. 

As industry insider James P. DeVellis, I think Spotify will continue to have breakthroughs in the digital music industry.  On top of being a streaming service, it is also providing opportunities for musicians to showcase their talents through exclusive events and partnerships with brands.  Thankfully, it also empowered users to pay for their music and support their favorite artists.

James P. DeVellis is an IT consultant who reviews gadgets and shares tech-related news. For similar reads, visit this page. 

The best mobile phones released in 2018

posted Jan 11, 2019, 10:12 AM by James P DeVellis

In just a few short years, companies like Huawei and Google have joined the ranks of top flagship phones of the year. Before, it was strictly a battle between Apple and Samsung. But now, these tech companies are pushing themselves to come out with better features. Here are some of the best mobile phones released in 2018.

Samsung Galaxy S9
The Samsung Galaxy S9 didn’t perform well in terms of sales which is why its price has been slashed by a few hundred dollars. With its current price point and features, it’s now one of the best phones you can get for around $600.

Google Pixel 3/Pixel 3XL
The Pixel 3 line has arguably one of the best cameras in the whole line of flagship phones that came out in 2018. While a lot of people made complaints about the large notch the Pixel 3 XL had as well as the scratch-prone material used on the phone’s back, the overall experience of the phone is undeniably pleasant.

HUAWEI MATE 20 Pro
If there’s one phone that can give the Pixel 3 a run for its money, it’s the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. With its triple rear camera, users are able to capture the best photos possible even in near-pitch black lighting. It also has one of the best screen to body ratios in terms of flagship phones.

Apple iPhone XS Max
The entry-level price point for the Apple iPhone XS Max comes at a whopping $1,000. However, users do get what they pay for as the phone has near-perfect scores in most reviews. With its terrific screen, great audio, and amazing camera, Apple proves it’s still the king of smart phones.

Hello, my name is James P. DeVellis. I work in one of the largest tech companies in the world. The tech industry is not the easiest industry to work in, but it has its perks. I get to know more about the latest technology innovations. For more insightful reads on technology and gadgets, visit this website.

Must-read tips before buying new headphones

posted Dec 4, 2018, 9:47 AM by James P DeVellis


Headphones are a meaningful hardware investment, given how they determine the quality of one’s music or streaming experience, contribute to work productivity, assist in online meetings, and help increase the fun derived from gaming. Here are some simple yet important tips to consider before buying your next pair.

Decide what you want and what you’ll use it for

It might be difficult to reconcile the two, but be clear about your desired headphones as well as what you’re going to use them for. Are they going to be used for work or personal enjoyment? Is the pair going to be stashed inside your bag and brought to the gym, or will stay in your computer area at home? Knowing what you need and want – and negotiating between the two – will influence other factors in your decision-making process.

Stick to your budget

Research on the price ranges on the models you’re eyeing. Stick to a lower price point if your headphones are for listening to music on the go. If you’re conscious about audio fidelity and quality, expect to cough up a bigger amount.

Determine the type and functionality

Choose from a wireless headset or a corded one, as well as one ear or both ears. Wired headsets, too, can be corded with the traditional audio 2.5 / 3.5 mm jacks, or with USB. If you’re buying a pair with the traditional stereo jack, your computer should have a sound card with the audio ports and with drivers installed.

Pay attention to performance

Good quality relies on the standard that’s used during manufacture as well as the materials used. In this case, it’s best to consider branded products versus the cheap, generic ones. Other considerations include noise canceling and added functionality such as readiness for Skype calls.

Consider compatibility with your hardware

Have a clear idea of your hardware’s specs that relate to headphones. You don’t want to purchase something only to find out that it isn’t the right fit for your existing hardware.

James P DeVellis is an IT consultant. His job entails testing new programs and apps, but on his own he loves testing new gadgets. More tips here.

An adult's guide to reducing time online

posted Nov 1, 2018, 12:00 PM by James P DeVellis

In the past years, I've seen parents complain about how much time their children spend in front of a screen.  Similarly, adults also need less time online.  As an IT consultant, I pretty much spend my working hours in front of computers and my off-duty hours with my personal devices.  For the sake of our health, here are some tips on how we could lessen our time online:

Set offline hours

We all have that friend who sends a funny video just when we're about to sleep.  If you're like me, a really good video can lead me into a black hole as I continue my search for similarly amusing stuff.  Focus on your tired body first and stop this cycle by being firm with your offline hours.  Have a schedule and disable your connection at least an hour before you go to bed.  Keep your device far from your reach so you won't be tempted to browse and respond during the wee hours.  Personally, my off hours are from 11 pm to 8 am.  So far, it has been helping me sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.

Catch up with chores and personal projects

Binge-racing a Netflix series doesn't count as a personal project. It could mean finishing that paperback collecting dust on your bedside table or going back to a creative pursuit such as photography, woodworking, or gardening.  Our homes could also use some TLC.  Instead of wasting two or three hours on Instagram, you could use it to wash the dishes, do the laundry, or prepare your meals for the week.  Doing this will surely ease your anxiety.

Stop messaging people and meet up with them instead

While the online realm has allowed us to connect with those who are far from us, it might have alienated us from the people we can reach. Instead of chatting on a messenger app, meet up with your friends or family.  You can just hang out, have coffee or dinner together.  You'll realize that it's still so much better when you're face to face with the people you care about the most.  Think about Facebook posts later and be present.

Spending less time online is a challenge for many of us.  Saying no to more hours in front of our screens is a discipline that we can all master.

 James P. DeVellis is an IT consultant who reviews gadgets and shares tech-related news. For similar reads, visit this page.

The most common iPhone X flaws and bugs

posted Oct 4, 2018, 2:44 PM by James P DeVellis

Each time a new iPhone is released, there is an undeniable hype from consumers. Everyone wants to get their hands on the new iPhone. The latest version, iPhone X, comes in a sleek design and is marketed as “the best iPhone” ever made with its OLED screen. While they were a recurring trend and demanded all over the world, iPhones aren’t always the most efficient smartphones.  In fact, they usually come with bugs and flaws. Here are some examples.

 

Face ID errors:  To ensure a high level of security, Apple launched the Face ID that only authorizes access to the owner of the device.  Numerous user reports state that this feature in the iPhone X won’t work properly.

 

Unresponsive screen:  The main feature of the iPhone X is its OLED screen. While it all sounds fancy, it’s nothing short of problematic.  Multiple users claim that the screen is unresponsive to touch.  Some users even reported that a green line appears on the screen, which is likely an issue with its OLED panel.

 

Crackling speakers:  When turned on at maximum or high volume, users report that the speakers let out an undesirable, crackling noise.  This has been an issue for iPhone 8 as well, and Apple is uncertain if this is a software or hardware issue.

 

Delay in incoming call display:  One more issue with the iPhone X’s OLED screen is the absence of any display or notification when an incoming call is happening.  The ringtone will release a sound, but the screen will be empty. 


James P. DeVellis works for huge tech company and gets a lot of IT-related questions. He wishes to share his wide knowledge by starting his own social media platform and blogs centered on tech. For more articles and reviews on gizmos and gadgets, visit this page .

Awesome Facts And Trivia About Amazon Alexa

posted Aug 20, 2018, 2:06 AM by James P DeVellis   [ updated Aug 20, 2018, 2:08 AM ]

Voice assistance is all the rage these days, and Amazon won’t be left behind in this service with Alexa. It’s capable of anything from voice interaction and making to-do lists to music playback and providing real-time news and information. Here are some facts and trivia about Alexa.

Image source: DigitalTrends.com  

Alexa can control several smart devices using itself as a kind of home automation system. Its capabilities can be extended by installing “skills,” which are additional functionalities developed by third-party entities. In most devices, there’s a wake-word used to activate the device, e.g., “Alexa,” while in others the user is required to push a button in order to activate Alexa’s listening mode.

What sets Alexa apart from first-gen voice assistants is its responsiveness, and there’s no longer any need to press an activation button. Just say the wake-word or trigger word followed by the command, and it’s usually done as long as the correct command is used and everything’s set up well.

The Alexa app has thousands of skills on the menu, with more launching every week. Back in April, Amazon released the Alexa Skill Kit to the public to make it easy for people equipped with basic programming abilities to create skills and add them to the menu.

Image source: ZDNet.com

Alexa can be one’s personal wine sommelier, with her smart recommendations based on what the user is eating. She also has all the rules to any board game, and her trivia is pretty much unrivaled – ask questions about absolutely everything and she’s likely to answer correctly. Those playing in the stock market can forget the ticket symbols: Alexa lets one ask for a company, by name, to get the current stock price.

If anyone’s wondering, Alexa’s most in-demand skill is actually setting a timer.

James P DeVellis is an IT consultant, techie, and industry insider. He’s sharing the latest innovations on this space. Learn more on this page.

Wired Or Wireless: Which Mouse Should You Get?

posted Jul 13, 2018, 12:08 AM by James P DeVellis   [ updated Jul 13, 2018, 12:08 AM ]

In the last decade, wireless mice have become more and more available. Many big brands from Razer and Corsair to Logitech and SteelSeries have been offering a wide array of options with improved dots per inch (DPI), LED-based eye candies, and ergonomic designs for both lefties and right-hand users.

Image source: laptops.reviewed.com

Choosing between a wired or a wireless mouse is often dependent on how flexible your gaming, work habits, and job requirements are. If you are always on the move, then getting not just a wireless mouse but wireless keyboard, headset, and a laptop is the way to go. Portability is the best advantage of a wireless device.

Also, having a wireless mouse can improve your productivity as the clutter of tons of cords jutting out and hampering your movement can make a fixed workspace unsightly and work-unfriendly. Enthusiasts find ways to work on cable management, but if that’s not something you fancy, you might end up having a negative mindset toward work. Yes, just because of the clutter.

One disadvantage of wireless mice is that they often rely on a tiny USB receiver which is easy to misplace. Not knowing where you’ve put it can greatly delay your work. Also, most of them operate on batteries, so you’ve to regularly replace them after a few months.

Image source: digitaltrends.com

Still, a wireless mouse is advantageous for convenience, flexibility, and portability. It costs more than the standard, wired variety, but it’s certainly worth the price, especially if you want to improve productivity. Or simply so you can operate your PC from far away, which might be enough to convince many to try one. And you certainly should. 

My name’s James P. DeVellis, a certified technophile. I regularly write about the latest news and tips on tech and gadgets. Pay a visit to this blog for similar posts.

Small Business Owner? Don’t Miss Out On These Mobile Apps

posted Jun 22, 2018, 4:29 AM by James P DeVellis   [ updated Jun 22, 2018, 4:30 AM ]

Running a startup or a small business venture is often an exercise in wearing too many hats. Let technology help you in this aspect and assist in business operations – from finance and accounting to inventory management to time tracking. Here are some mobile apps to get started with.

https://www.nerdwallet.com/assets/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/20-best-apps-small-bisomess-owner-2.jpg
Image source: NerdWallet.com

QuickBooks

This popular accounting software can make you a finance whiz in no time. Learn how to track those sales and expenses, view financial statements, attend to payroll duties, and track unpaid invoices, to name a few. The app also links to thousands of accounts and seamlessly uploads data from these outside sources. You can try the business app free for 30 days and then avail a monthly fee from there.

Dropbox

Keep those business files organized, secure, and synced at all times – without sacrificing collaboration and easy access among authorized team members. It downloads files only when needed for access, so it won’t be a pain when it comes to storage. While basic accounts are free, there are business plans that offer, say, 1TB of space for $9.99 a month.

Evernote

Be a superstar in keeping those business notes organized. Separate company information into different notebooks, use the Evernote camera to scan bills and receipts, and create an idea bucket through saving those tweets, reviews, and other materials.

Toggle

Track time and what gets done in an efficient way. This time tracker will log hours spent on various tasks and projects, as well as estimate project timelines and keep track of current program. It gives a good snapshot of what the team is working on right now, and if you’re about to meet deadlines.

https://www.biznessapps.com/frontendwp/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Toggl_Work_Time_Tracker_on_the_App_Store.jpg
Image source: BiznessApps.com

James P DeVellis is an IT professional consulting for a tech company. Outside of his work, he enjoys reviewing the latest gadgets and apps, recommending products suitable for the needs of family and friends. Learn more on this page.

Top PS4 games to play this year

posted Jun 6, 2018, 3:32 AM by James P DeVellis   [ updated Jun 6, 2018, 3:34 AM ]

2018 has already been a great year so far for the Sony PlayStation, especially with the recent release and overwhelming success of the fourth installment of its celebrated title God of War. Yet there are more fun and exciting titles you should get, some already out or releasing in the next months. Let’s look at these must-buy games for the PS4 in 2018. 

Image source: playstation.com

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom 

If you’re a fan of Japanese RPG, then Ni No Kuni is for you. The second installment of the acclaimed series takes you to the kingdom of Evermore, where tactics against evil monsters are not just the order of the day. You’ve to take time to build your city and manage it to progress. The game is incredibly immersive, driven by memorable characters and a solid story arc. 

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End 

Though this title came out two years ago in mid-2016, it’s still driving legions of fans to the PS4 this year. Uncharted 4 is an action-adventure game like the Tomb Raider series. It follows the escapades of fortune-hunter Nathan Drake in his final venture to search for a lost treasure. It’s not just a PS4-exclusive favorite, but a winner of a best gaming narrative award. 

Detroit: Become Human 

Scheduled for release at the end of May, this complex adventure game is much-awaited by gamers for its life-like graphics and how various decisions players make in-game will dictate how characters fare and how the game ends. The SF-driven story revolves around three androids trying to elevate their newfound sentience to full-fledged humanity. 

Image source: gaminginstincts.com

Hello, my name’s James P. DeVellis, technophile and your friendly next-door IT guy. I’ve always been fascinated with innovation, so it was my dream job to work in the tech industry. Now I’m happily working for a big tech company. For more tech news and insights, visit thisblog.

Augmented reality can now sell your home

posted Feb 5, 2018, 5:33 AM by James P DeVellis   [ updated Feb 5, 2018, 5:33 AM ]

Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, so much, so that entire industries have changed the way they go about their major business processes. The real estate industry is no different. Did you know that augmented reality can now help people sell homes and property? 


As opposed to virtual reality (VR), AR puts images amidst a real backdrop. Some AR programs nowadays can even transform 2-D blueprints into 3-D images. This translates to a more interactive and realistic tour of a property than merely looking at the blueprints and trying to imagine how it would look like. 

AR also saves time for both sellers and buyers. Looking at several spaces on different parts of the property can be time-consuming. However, AR makes it possible to view a single space, and with the swipe of a finger change the look very much like how people do it with simulation video games. 

But perhaps one of the, if not the most important advantage of AR in marketing is that it can keep people from seeing unfinished property in its completed form, without having to risk actually entering the structure. This helps sell in so many ways, and to so many prospective buyers.

James P. DeVellis here. I’m a self-confessed IT guy, and that means receiving tons of tech-related questions from family and friends. Follow me on Twitter to read my replies.

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