A few years ago, I needed to get to Hamburg urgently. I didn't know my way around the city so I depended on my navigation device—and was thoroughly disappointed. The display stayed black and has remained this way ever since. In my distress, I turned to Google Maps, for the first time, and boy was in for a shock. The app sucked by battery dry like an electric blanket and I ended up in some shady harbor district, with even more shady characters eyeballing my factory-fresh rental car. The whole time, Google Maps advised me to turn around. Eventually, I was just as lost as the navigation service. It was a friendly local who ultimately came to my rescue. A lot has changed since then. Google Maps is now celebrating its 15-year birthday and, what started as a digital map, has become a powerful exploration tool.
Imagine playing a resource-hungry, visually highly demanding game—on your cellphone, TV or in your browser without dedicated hardware. All you need is a display, internet connection and controller! That's exactly what Google have in mind with Stadia, and they're not shy on large-scale expectations: "If we reach only 100 or 200 million people, we have done something wrong", said Jack Buser, head of business development at Google. The projected figure went as high as 2 billion future Stadia users. It's been a good two months since Stadia launched and all hopes around the hype have faded. Too much went wrong!
Some experiences are exceptionally formative. I had one of them on my birthday in 1985, when my heart was racing as I opened my presents. An elongated box immediately caught my eye. I tore it open and stared at the magic letters that said Commodore C64 MicroComputer. A bunch of disks and two joysticks were also included. It was a life-changing moment! This intriguing "bread box" would teach me the value of patience and the fundamentals of the BASIC language. The fascination for technology and the drive to explore I felt that day would take a firm hold and stay with me for the rest of my life. Now, the C64 is back, kind of. Same design but contemporary hardware. Naturally, I had to try out this homage to a milestone of home computing.
Our web developers at Ashampoo are quite pleasant fellows. Gentle folks with fawn eyes. But even their looks turn to stone once the I word is dropped, i.e. Internet Explorer. For years, IE set the standard, being both a bane and blessing. Whether unadventurous private user or member of an IT staff, Internet Explorer was the gateway to the world-wide web for many. And web developers in their quest to have their websites render correctly more often than not suffered the many awkward development decisions by Microsoft. During my time as a QA clerk, I had to report time and time again that sites that were working fine in Firefox or Safari didn't behave as expected in Internet Explorer. But that's all in the past, since Edge is now built on Chromium! Old name, new underpinnings! So what's new?
Many a one proud owners of Android cellphones know the story: You boot your device up for the first time, go through the setup procedure—and are faced with a welter of unexpected apps. Depending on the manufacturer, a large portion of your screen may be plastered with them. This bloatware scourge is especially prevalent in the lower price range. Some retailers even openly advertise the "extensive software bundle". Not all of these apps are useless or dangerous, customers simply would like to have a choice! Uninstalling is often barely possible, which is especially vexatious with resource-hungry memory and performance hogs that eat away at your battery. Time for Google to take action!