• There have been several stories around the upcoming Samsung S9, its hardware, features and how the new Samsung flagship phone is ready to battle it out with the iPhone X.

    Here’s a roundup of everything we know about the Samsung S9.

    What does it look like?

    A rumoured leak of the S9 and S9+ from popular mobile tipster Evan Blast.

    The back of the upcoming S9 and S9+ (notice the dual rear camera).

    The upcoming Galaxy S9 phones imagined in a variety of colors. 

    The Galaxy S9 is also said to look very similar to the Galaxy S8, perhaps with slightly smaller bezels.

    Launch Date

    Samsung will launch its next flagship phone -- now confirmed to be called the Galaxy S9 -- on Feb. 25. The debut will go down next month at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

    The Technology Features

    While the debate rages over Apple’s decision to replace Touch ID with Face ID on the iPhone X, Samsung appears to have its own Face ID alternative ready, while also maintaining the Fingerprint scanner at the back.

    Samsung's Face ID alternative is called ‘Intelligent Scan’ and it combines both facial recognition and iris scanning in an attempt to create something as fast and accurate as Face ID (if not more so). A code hidden in Samsung’s Android Oreo beta software uncovered the feature for the first time and now LetsGoDigital has discovered more information about this in a newly filed Samsung patent (PDF link).

    Filed in English (usually Samsung patents are in Korean), it explains how the system will combine an iris camera, a light source module (IR LED) and proximity sensor. As LetsGoDigital explains: 
    “Once a user is located at a certain distance from the device (measured by the proximity sensor), the infrared light source module and the iris camera will be switched on to take a picture of the iris. The camera is able to register both eyes, as well as a part of the face.”
    Interestingly, Samsung says this technology can be integrated not just into smartphones but also cameras, e-readers, tablets, PCs and TVs. Consequently, the company may treat it like ‘Samsung Pay’: a form of universal functionality across Samsung devices designed to lock users into the company’s ecosystem.
    As more pieces of the puzzle continue to fall into place, we also hear a rumor of a virtual fingerprint reader, a feature that made its debut on the Vivo phone at CES 2018. Bolstering these reports are the things we know about Qualcomm's next-generation Snapdragon 845 processor, which is likely to power the Galaxy S9, and which has the potential to drive serious advancements in camera and security technology.

    Camera: Two back camera plus one front camera

    Judging by rumor volume, the Galaxy S9 Plus -- and maybe also the Galaxy S9 -- are due for dual cameras on the back. A Reddit user's photo, first published by SamMobile, of a Galaxy S9 retail box lists dual rear-facing 12-megapixel cameras and a single-lens 8-megapixel front cam in addition to a 5.8-inch Quad-HD+ super AMOLED screen.  

    The Galaxy S9 could also have the company's new Isocell sensors, which support fast autofocus abilities that help it hone in on fast-moving subjects, even in dim light. This technology allows for super-detailed slow-motion video recording with 1080p resolution at 480 frames per second, meaning the video should be both crisp and buttery smooth. And the Snapdragon 845 may give the Galaxy S9 some other advantages -- including making it the first to record 4K Ultra HD video. 

    Maintaining the headphone jack

    The once-mundane 3.5mm headphone jack has become an increasingly rare, "vintage" feature that could make the Galaxy S9 that much more attractive to people who aren't ready to ditch their collection of wired headphones. Apple walked away from the legacy port with its iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and hasn't looked back, and the Google Pixel 2, Moto Z, Essential Phone and others have followed suit. 

    When can we get it?

    The devices will be announced on the 25th. There are reports that the devices will be open for pre-orders in the first week of March, and shipping will begin towards the middle of March. Last year the local launch event for the Galaxy S8 was in the third week of April, with the device becoming available at the end of April. If Samsung Gulf speed up the process and wrap up their countless bundle deals with local brands a little faster, we could get it in early-or-mid April.

  • Have you ever wanted to convert an Image or PDF into text, without having the right tool to do the job? Well, not to worry anymore. Google Docs has a powerful Optical Character Recognition feature built right in. Here's how to make it work.

    There are many instances where one might need to gain quick access to the text within a file, only to find out you cannot locate the editable version of the file, or where copying and pasting is failing you? Perhaps, you need to convert a PDF or image into an editable Word or LibreOffice document.
    Sure, there are lots of software you could purchase to do the job for you, however, if you're a Google Drive user, you can just skip that purchase. That's right, Google Docs does a pretty impressive job of converting PDF documents to regular Google Docs. It's not perfect - it's more an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for PDFs and images - but if you're looking for a means to get to that precious text, this is a handy way to do just that.
    How do you do this? Out of the box, it won't work. Fortunately, the trick to making it function is incredibly simple. Let’s get down to that.
    Enabling the feature
    Open up Google Drive and then click on the gear icon. From the drop-down, click Settings. In the resulting window (Figure A), make sure Convert uploads is checked.
    Figure A
    Enabling upload conversion.

    Using the feature
    Upload either a PDF or an image to Google Drive. The uploaded image doesn't automatically convert. In fact, it will remain exactly as uploaded. Once the file is in your Google Drive account, right-click it and select Open with | Google Docs (Figure B).
    Figure B
    Converting an uploaded image to text.

    The file will then convert to text and open in a new Google Docs document. I've created a sample image (Figure C), using text from this article, and uploaded it for conversion.
    Figure C
    My sample image.

    The resulting conversion will include both the image and the extracted text. (Figure D).
    Figure D
    A successful conversion.

    You can judge for yourself how well Google Drive did on the conversion. In this case, it hit the nail on the head Word-for-word, Google Drive extracted the exact text from the image. I can now copy and paste that text, without having to type it out manually. That's a time saver we could all use.

    The one caveat

    If you expect Google Drive to successfully open a PDF document, such as a W9 tax form, as an editable document, you'll be disappointed. Certainly, you can upload the document and Drive will extract the text, but it will be just that, text, the document structure would most likely come back scattered. Google Drive conversion from PDF or image is just a very powerful and accurate form of OCR.Even with that caveat, this feature will go a long way to make your daily workflow much more efficient—especially if you spend a lot of time typing out text from PDFs or images.

  • While a lot has been said and written about digital etiquette, i still feel the need to address this topic more considering the number of ways technology is being misused in this current digital age.

    Digital etiquette also referred to as netiquette is the basic set of rules every technology user needs to follow in order to make the digital community (internet/intranet) better for oneself and others. The basic rule behind digital etiquette is the same that applies to our everyday lives which is “treat others the way you would like to be treated”.

    As a participant of a technology driven society, one is expected to demonstrate appropriate behavior and choices in the digital community as well as understand the impact and consequences of those choices. There are few set rules that everyone can agree on when it comes to using social media, emails and text messages, and all digital technology users must be aware of others when using technology while also understanding how this technology use can affect others.

    Think about being in the movie theater and a person's cell phone rings. Instead of turning the phone off, the person engages in conversation with the caller during the showing of the movie. This scenario is a common, yet inappropriate use of technology. Today, technology is everywhere. While technology offers many amazing opportunities for its users, it also requires users to follow etiquette guidelines. Turning a cell phone off during a movie is just one basic example of digital etiquette.

    Digital etiquette also relates to adults who have a responsibility to be an excellent role model for people of younger ages. Not very many people are aware of any rule(s) that have been enforced in using new technology so people are unsure how to exactly use their technology devices today. There are rules set out for people to take note of and follow, this way, the internet becomes better for every of its user.
    Some years ago, the American Red Cross got some unexpected attention on Twitter—you would think it is for their good deeds. An employee in charge of managing the organization’s social media made the mistake of mixing up his/her personal account with Red Cross’s corporate account, thereby accidentally tweeting about “getting slizzerd” on beer. Like most corporate social media mishaps, this one was quickly followed by an apology. Less common is that the mistake struck a chord with followers and resulted in a rush of donations, however, not all digital fumbles have such a happy ending.

    Most big brands often have hundreds of thousands of followers, we’re more likely to hear when they make a mistake that damages their digital reputation, but that’s not to say that what happens on your private accounts can’t come back to haunt you. From inappropriate tweets and Facebook status updates to lewd Instagram posts, and phone calls taken at the very worst moments, the list of what’s considered a tech-related blunder is nothing if not lengthy—and it’s growing every day as the digital landscape continues to change. So, how do you know if you’re being polite?

    Every time we post something online, we leave behind a permanent digital footprint. Sure, posts can be deleted, but they can also be preserved with a screenshot before we get the chance to self-edit. Additionally, we can never be sure that the information we share with your friends and coworkers won’t be seen by a supervisor or future employer. Companies now use social media as a tool to monitor employees as much as to promote their own brands, meaning that complaining about work or venting online could actually cost us a career.

    While digital etiquette is based around the idea that it’s just as important to treat people with courtesy and respect online as if you were in the same room with them, there are nuances depending on which platform you use. After taking an in-depth look into the 'dos and don'ts' of tech etiquette, I have put together some tips and guide to manage our online reputation correctly.

    • Don't overshare on Facebook, Instagram or any of your social media platforms.
    • Check your Privacy settings
    • Check your facts before sharing
    • Consider your audience
    • Stop being too Aggressive
    • Avoid sending messages or posting on social media when emotional, angry or drunk
    • Avoid chatting someone up on LinkedIn or other professional platforms except when its really necessary
    • Be strictly formal when sending messages or emails to clients and work colleagues, i.e. avoid adding kisses, love or other smileys when exchanging business emails.
    • Build Quality Relationships
    • Curate your photos like a museum
    • Respond to emails in a timely manner and know that every word matters
    • Be Accountable for Your Actions
    • Don't steal another person’s information
    • Be Nice, just like in any social interaction

    Through today's media, the topic of digital etiquette has been discussed in many different ways. From websites, to national television news programs, to our local schools, offices and public events, the importance of digital etiquette is apparent.

    Practicing digital etiquette isn’t only about being polite. Instead, it encompasses all aspects of human interaction, including respecting the privacy of others, paying for what you use, being an active participant, and carefully considering your permanent digital footprint. Today's digital platforms are creating best practices and policies through the use of a policy known as an "Acceptable Use Policy." These policies offer guidelines for its users to follow including the expectations of digital etiquette, the rules for technology use and the consequences for violating the rules.

    Don’t know if something is considered good digital etiquette? When it comes to manners and technology, follow the above rules and your instincts. If you’re second-guessing whether you should pull out your phone or send that bawdy tweet, chances are you shouldn’t do it.

    Technology is readily and freely available to us all, it is now left to us as users to make good and appropriate use of it and not to the detriment of oneself, others or our community.