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The Xperia XZ2 Is the Best Phone Sony Has Made in Years

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

The Sony that many people think of, the electronics giant that made the Walkman, the Discman, the Trinitron, all those Vaios, and even the first water-resistant phone back in 2013, it doesn’t really exist anymore. Sure, the Playstation 4 is doing great and Sony’s mirrorless cameras are some of the best on the market, but many of Sony’s other gadgets like Blu-ray players, TVs, and especially phones have been on the decline. And when Sony’s new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida talked to investors in late May, he said the future of Sony rests upon three main categories: services, semiconductors, and robotics/AI.

That message implies Sony could soon be on its way out of consumer tech, which would be a real tragedy from a gadget standpoint, but also a loss because after years of lackluster phones and an overly aggressive release cycle, Sony Mobile is finally turning things around, and the new Xperia XZ2 is proof.

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Xperia XZ2

SmartphonesSony

Xperia XZ2

Xperia XZ2

What is it?

Sony’s latest flagship phone

Price

£800

Like

Ridiculously strong vibration motor, solid specs and performance, slick curvy back

Don’t Like

No headphone jack, fingerprint reader location is awkward

Without completely abandoning the boxy, minimalist styling of previous Xperia phones, by shaving down its bezels and going with a new 5.7-inch 18:9 LCD display, the XZ2 looks relatively modern while avoiding features like a notch at the top. And around back, the phone feels even better, because the rear glass panel sports a subtle curve that stems from Sony’s new Ambient Flow design philosophy, which lets the XZ2 nestle in your hand as if it was always meant to be there. Sony has even switched up the placement of the phone’s fingerprint sensor, which now rests on the phone’s back instead of its side like on previous Xperias.

Unfortunately, its new home almost smack dab in the middle is so low down, that even after a couple weeks of using it, I still found myself trying to unlock the phone by touching the rear 19-MP camera instead of the actual fingerprint reader.

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Below the screen, a small speaker slit works with the phone’s earpiece to deliver true stereo speakers with impressive quality and ample volume, even if max output is slightly less than what you get from a Galaxy S9 Plus. But what might be the best part of the phone is Sony’s new haptic vibration engine that feels less like the weak ass buzz you get from typical phones, and more like the rumble you feel on a Playstation 4 controller. Obviously, it works when your playing games to add an extra level of immersions, but it also works anytime you watch a video or listen to music, and can be adjusted from a little wiggle to a full-on attempt to shake the shit out of your hands.

And on the inside, the XZ2 has all the important flagship phone areas covered. It’s got a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a microSD card slot, a USB-C port for charging and data transfer and even support for Qi wireless charging. Sony also made sure to include a decent-sized 3,180 mAh battery, which let the XZ2 last 10 hours and 42 minutes on our rundown test, far better than the 9 hours I got wit the LG G7, though not quite as good as the Pixel 2 XL’s 11:17 or the S9 Plus’ 12:27.

Click through for more close-up pics of the XZ2.I’m still a big fan of that dedicated shutter button towards the bottom of the XZ’s right side.1 / 8

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Really, the only feature the XZ2 is missing is a headphone jack, though with Samsung, LG, and OnePlus seemingly the only phonemakers refusing to fully embrace our Bluetooth audio future hell, it’s hard to fault Sony too much for not including a 3.5mm port.

Sony even kept the XZ2’s dedicated two-step shutter button, which remains an absolute joy to use for anyone like me who often longs for the tactile controls found on real cameras. And then there’s the XZ2’s camera quality in general. Despite Sony being the company that manufactures the lion’s share of camera sensors found in today’s smartphones, recent Xperias often had a hard time keeping up with image quality from phones made by Samsung and others.

But the XZ2 is different, because on top of sporting a 19-MP rear camera that’s higher resolution than the typical 12-MP cams used in competing phones, the XZ2 is the first phone that supports 4K HDR video capture, and like the Galaxy S9, the XZ2 also has a 960 fps slow-mo.

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More importantly, in a side-by-side photo comparison, the XZ2 was never far behind the Galaxy S9 Plus, and on a few occasions, produced pics with more accurate colors. Take for example a photo taken at a swanky outdoor working space where the XZ2 avoided the overly yellow color cast captured by the S9 Plus, or another shot in low-light at a local restaurant that made the food simply look more appetizing.

Note: Photos from the XZ2 have been cropped slightly to match the S9+’s 4:3 aspect ratio.1 / 5

However, during my testing, I noticed that the XZ2 also tends to amp up red tones, even past the already the saturated hues produced by Samsung’s cameras, a quirk that was most obvious when I snapped a pic of some strawberries at a farmers’ market. And in more challenging situations like a pic shot at sunset, the S9 Plus’ better metering and dynamic range did more justice to the swirl of colors in the sky.

In fact, my biggest pet peeve with the XZ2 is the way it doesn’t fully show details in the camera’s viewfinder until you press down on the shutter. It’s kind of like the texture pop-in you sometimes see when playing video games on a console, as if the photo is so sharp, the phone can’t display everything in full detail until you just before you snap a pic.

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But those are really only minor quirks for a phone that at £800, cost £40 less than a Galaxy S9 Plus. And even though it’s not as sleek or pretty as Samsung’s device, and its LCD screen lacks the vivid colors of the S9’s OLED display, there’s something attractive about the way the XZ2 feels like its found it’s niche.

When I first talked to Don Mesa, VP of Sony Mobile’s US division, he said the XZ2 “feels like a reset,” and it shows.

I really wish that fingerprint sensor wasn’t so low down.Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

The XZ2 demonstrates that Sony has finally latched onto important trends of modern smartphone design, but without chasing things like notches that often make it hard to differentiate a lot of recently released phones.

The XZ2 still has its own style, its own rumble-powered shimmy, and with Sony paying more attention to things like software updates (the XZ2 is even part of Google’s Android P Beta program) and photo processing, it’d be a damn shame for Sony to give up on phones now.

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And while I didn’t get a chance to fully review the XZ2’s smaller sibling, the XZ2 Compact, it’s important to mention that Sony is pretty much the only phone maker that still cares about making small phones with high-end components.

If there was an award for the most improved smartphone maker of 2018, it would have to go to Sony and the Xperia XZ2.

README

  • Performance, battery life, and storage options are all in line with what you’d expect from a flagship phone.
  • The phone’s design isn’t super exciting, but there are a number of nice subtle touches that give it personality.
  • The rear fingerprint reader is too damn low, and no headphone jack is sad, because it’s the only thing the XZ2 is really missing.
  • The XZ2’s rumble motor will shake the shit out of your hands.

SPEC DUMP

Android 8.1 o 5.7-inch 18:9 2160 x 1080 LCD display o Snapdragon 845 o 4GB of RAM o 64GB of storage o microSD card slot o 3180 mAh battery o IP68 water-resistance o 19-MP rear cam o 5-MP front camera o Qi wireless charging o available in black, silver, green, and pink

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The 7 Best GitHub Alternatives for Hosting Your Project’s Source Code

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Ever since Microsoft purchased GitHub Microsoft Just Bought GitHub: Pros, Cons, and What It Means for You Microsoft Just Bought GitHub: Pros, Cons, and What It Means for You Microsoft acquired GitHub in a £7.5 billion stock deal. Is this a good deal for developers, or is it time to leave GitHub? Read More , many people have been searching for alternative places to host and share their code. Is switching from GitHub absolutely necessary?

Probably not. But Microsoft brings with it a reputation for the occasional takeover disaster, as well as some privacy concerns. So if you’re looking to jump ship, we don’t blame you.

Whether you’re trying to evade Microsoft or you just want to try something new, here are some of the best GitHub alternatives that provide similar functionality. As one of GitHub’s most significant competitors, GitLab is having a field day with the GitHub exodus. They’ve even made it easy to migrate projects from GitHub:

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As it’s designed for the entire DevOps cycle, GitLab lets you do everything from plan to release to monitor your software. Powerful planning tools mean you don’t need to use another system to keep everyone on track.

And GitLab’s branching system makes it easy to design, test, and manage code. You can download an instance to host on your own server or use GitLab’s SaaS hosting. Both options have different price points ranging from £0 to £99 per user.

This pricing system gives you more flexibility than you get with GitHub, and allows GitLab to provide full DevOps capability to any company. You might end up paying more, but you’ll get everything you need.

Atlassian’s Git-based repository system integrates with its other products, like Trello and Jira. This can be a huge bonus to teams that are already using these apps (which are common in the development world). It also integrates with Slack and HipChat.

Developers can create their own integrations within the user interface, adding more flexibility. Two-factor authentication and Soc 2 Type II security keep your code secure. And if you’re already using GitHub, BitBucket has a walkthrough for importing your repositories.

BitBucket offers a wide range of pricing options for both self-hosted and cloud instances, including one-time and yearly payment plans. You can also pay extra to scale your build minutes and storage if you need more without adding more users. Also, BitBucket has a free plan for small groups.

With support for both Subversion and Git, Beanstalk is a versatile platform. And because you can create branches and edit directly in your browser, it’s good for developers on the go.

Beanstalk also has robust code review options and reports that tell you how much of your repository has been reviewed. This can be especially useful for teams that contract with outside coders. No necessary client means Beanstalk makes life easier for highly mobile teams.

And there are enough security features that large corporations like Philips, Intel, and Whole Foods feel safe storing their data on the company’s servers.
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Amazon’s Git-based source control service is a solid choice for companies that are already using other AWS services.

With scalable cloud storage and no size limits, it’s also a good choice for anyone who’s likely to need a lot more server space in the near future. CodeCommit has the advantage of an extremely straightforward pricing system. The first five users are free, and after that, you’ll pay £1 per user per month.

That comes with 10GB per month of storage and 2,000 Git requests per active user. If you need more storage of requests, you can easily pay for them. CodeCommit is also part of the AWS Free Tier, so you can try it out and get used to it before fully committing.

The 7 Best GitHub Alternatives for Hosting Your Project’s Source Code Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) lets you collaborate, store, review, and deploy your code. Of course, if you’re leaving GitHub because you don’t like Microsoft, you’re not likely to want to use Visual Studio.

Still, VSTS aims to help you with a wider variety of development tasks. It provides Kanban boards for agile planning How to Manage Tasks Using Japanese Kanban Technique How to Manage Tasks Using Japanese Kanban Technique Kanban is a Japanese recipe for getting things done. It’s an organization technique originally developed for Toyota’s production line.

We show you how you can implement it for yourself or in your team. Read More , support for Scrum, testing and deployment infrastructure, and package sharing. Guaranteed uptime, 24/7 support, and a regular update schedule are all perks of working with VSTS. Up to five users can work with VSTS for free, and you’ll pay a monthly fee based on the number of users beyond that.

The 7 Best GitHub Alternatives for Hosting Your Project’s Source Code If your organization uses different version control technologies, RhodeCode might be a good choice. It supports Mercurial, Git, and Subversion, giving you the widest variety of options on this list.

Code review, workflow automation, and permission management help you monitor and run DevOps in your group. And the built-in SVN-to-Git migration is a great help when transitioning your team. RhodeCode’s Community Edition is totally free, while the Enterprise Edition gives you integration with enterprise tools, premium support, more collaboration features and multiple instances.

The Enterprise Edition is £75 per user per year, and licenses are offered in 10-packs. There’s a good chance that you’ve downloaded free software from SourceForge sometime in the past. And if you’re working on an open-source project, it’s a great alternative to GitHub.

There’s not much in the way of features, and the site itself is pretty strange (there are articles about cloud storage and business VoIP on the front page), but it’s also free. So if you’re on a shoestring budget and developing an open-source app, it’s worth considering. SourceForge has caused some controversy The SourceForge Controversy, and the Ongoing Fall of Slashdot Media, Explained The SourceForge Controversy, and the Ongoing Fall of Slashdot Media, Explained Over the past few days, one of the world’s premier download portals has been in the middle of a controversy – and one of the web’s first geek communities is being dragged down with it. Read More in the past when they bundled their own software with open-source downloads.

They seem to have cleaned up their act, but it also appears to be somewhat cyclical. Check their current practices before hosting your code there.

Choosing the Right GitHub Alternative for You

With all of these choices, it can be tough to find the best alternative to GitHub. But because most services offer either a free plan or a free trial, you can check them out to see which one works best.

If you just want basic functionality, and you aren’t worried too much about the interface or enterprise features, choosing one based on your budget is a viable option as well.

And don’t forget that version control can be used for more than code Not Just For Coders: Top Version Control Systems For Writers Not Just For Coders: Top Version Control Systems For Writers The mention of version control or revision control makes it seem like something for geeks.

You will be surprised to know that version control systems have their place not only in academic writing but in… Read More .

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5 Free Medicine and Pill Reminders for iPhone and Apple Watch

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It’s amazing how easily you can forget to take your medicine. Whether you are just starting a new medication or are simply having trouble remembering, having a handy app that reminds you can be a huge help. With the gentle taps the Apple Watch provides along with your iPhone notifications, anyone who uses these devices daily can really benefit from medicine reminder apps.

For pills and medications you take regularly like heart medicine, birth control pills, blood pressure medication, or even vitamins, there is an app here for you.

1. Mango Health

Mango Health is a great reminder app that rewards you for taking your medications. Adding medicines and supplements is simple.

Pop in your quantity, frequency, and reminder time, and you’re all set. The app sends reminders to your wrist and even lets you know when it’s time for a refill. You can add healthy habits to Mango Health and earn rewards for those too. Get help with eating better, watching your weight, drinking water, and tracking your blood pressure.

Standout features:

  • Earn points for sticking with your schedule. From taking medicines to healthy habits, you can earn points and redeem them for gift cards or donations to charities.
  • Receive interaction information. When you add a new medication, the app will let you know if there are interaction concerns to check out.
  • Track your history. You can look back on how many days in a row you took your medicine and the percentages of success per month and overall.
  • Customize your reminders. Set follow-up reminders, last chance reminders, a snooze time, reminder time, and sound.

If you’re looking for a medicine reminder that also helps with your healthy habits, Mango Health is an awesome choice for your iPhone and Apple Watch.

And there are more sites and apps that reward you for being healthy if you like the reward idea. Download: Mango Health for iOS (Free)

2. CareZone

CareZone is similar to Mango Health in that it gives you some awesome extras with its reminders.

To add a medication or supplement, the app uses your camera to snap shots of the label. But if you prefer, you can enter the details manually. Along with the name, dosage, and schedule, you can include details like prescription number and fill date, pharmacy name and phone number, who prescribed it, dates for last ordered and filled, and much more.

Standout features:

  • Easily track additional items. Track your blood glucose, blood pressure, pain, headache, mood, temperature, weight, and other health elements all in one spot.
  • Get assistance with insurance. You can request help obtaining vision, dental, and life insurance along with pharmacy savings from within the app.
  • Add journal entries that can include photos. Record your environment, health effects, comments about your medications, and other important information with the in-app journal.
  • Use the handy notes and to-dos. The app provides Notes and To-dos sections for easily adding details or tasks you need to complete.

CareZone is more than a simple medication reminder for Apple Watch and iPhone.

With its host of extra features, you can track different aspects of your health and life. This makes it an ideal, all-inclusive tool. Download: CareZone for iOS (Free)

3.

Round Health

Another terrific app for remembering to take your medicine and supplements is Round Health. To start, just enter the name of your medicine, the strength, and the dose. You can also choose from As Needed or Scheduled doses.

Next, set your reminder window so that you take your medicine within a time range. Then, select the frequency and number of doses.

Standout features:

  • Use the flexible reminder window. This feature means you can take your medication any time within the window you set. You’ll receive a reminder at the beginning and another at the end if you haven’t taken it yet.
  • Set up a refill reminder. You can enter the quantity remaining and the app will remind you to refill it.

    Just remember, if you take more or less of your medication and don’t record it, the refill quantity may be incorrect.

  • Export the app data. This handy feature lets you send the data to your phone’s Files, Dropbox, Evernote, or other app you have set up for sharing. This is a convenient way to show your physician the records if needed.

If you want an easy-to-use reminder app for medicine and supplements, on both your phone and your wrist, Round Health is awesome. And remember, along with medicine reminders, your Apple Watch can perform many other tasks you might not even think about.

Download: Round Health for iOS (Free)

4. DrugStars: Medicine Reminder

DrugStars is an intuitive medicine reminder app that’s super easy to use. Add your medication name, time to take the dose, and that’s it.

Prepare to get reminders! You can view a list of your medications with a tap and edit them as needed. Plus, you can remove the times to take them if you switch away from a fixed schedule.

For instance, you may suffer from allergies but only take medication regularly during certain times of the year.

Standout features:

  • Receive stars for taking your medications. Those stars you get convert into donations from DrugStars and you can choose the charity.
  • Get entered in a monthly raffle. For stars that you donate, you receive tickets for the monthly raffle, which is a nice bonus.

For a basic, simple way to remember to take your medicine or vitamins, check out DrugStars. Download: DrugStars for iOS (Free)

5. Pill Monitor: Drug Minder

One more helpful and easy app for your medications is Pill Monitor.

Add the name of the medicine or supplement along with the dosage, form, route, and unit. You can include side effects, a quantity, prescription number, pharmacy, physician, and note for a detailed record.

Standout features:

  • Set up reminders separately from the medications. The app has a specific Reminders section to set up the date, time, and frequency per item. This is helpful for seeing your reminders and medications distinctly yet at a glance.
  • View your complete history with filters. You can review the medications and supplements you take by date or item, and by taken or skipped.
  • Email your medications. With a tap, you can create an email that contains the medication details you entered at the beginning.

    This is convenient if you are heading to a new physician’s office and need that list.

If you want an easy reminder app for taking your medications or supplements, Pill Monitor is a solid option. Download: Pill Monitor for iOS (Free)

Never Forget Your Medication Again

Each of these medicine reminder apps for Apple Watch and iPhone offers something a little different. From bonus features to help you with healthy habits and tracking to plain and simple reminders, there’s sure to be one here for you.

You should also be sure you’re knowledgeable on medical security. Take a look at how to safely buy medicine online Buying Medicines Online?

7 Safety Tips You Shouldn’t Ignore Buying Medicines Online?

7 Safety Tips You Shouldn’t Ignore Prescription drugs can be shockingly expensive. So what about buying online?

It’s certainly cheaper, but is it safe?

And how can you make sure you don’t get burned? Read More or how scammers and ID thieves are hitting the healthcare industry Healthcare: The New Attack Vector for Scammers & ID Thieves Healthcare: The New Attack Vector for Scammers & ID Thieves Healthcare records are increasingly used by scammers to make a profit.

While there are massive advantages to having a digitized medical record, is putting your personal data in the firing line worth it? Read More .

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