Day: October 15, 2019

Google Nest Mini hands-on

Two years after the release of the Home Mini, Google’s back with the sequel. Well, “sequel” might be a bit strong. The Nest Mini is more like one of those 1.5 movies they release on home video with a little extra footage than the theatrical release.

That’s not a compliant, exactly. The truth is there are some improvements here, but honestly, Google didn’t really need to do much. The $49 Home Mini sold like hot cakes and is a big part of the company’s rapid growth in the smart home space.

google nest mini

It was a low barrier of entry for those who were curious, but perhaps not fully on-board. And, like the Echo Dot before, it’s been an inexpensive way to outfit an entire home with smart speaker functionality.

Google has smartly kept the price the same with the Nest Mini. The device may not be a loss leader, exactly, but it’s the easiest and cheapest way of hooking users into the Assistant ecosystem — one that will theoretically lead to more smart home purchases, and, perhaps mobile device decisions.

The Nest is nearly identical to its predecessor. That, too, is fine. It’s simple and with a choice of four pastel colors (Chalk, Charcoal, Coral and Sky), it should fit most interior designs reasonably well. Bonus points for the new fabric covering, which is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Google says one half-liter bottle will cover two Minis. Interestingly the new cloth doesn’t negatively impact the sound.

google nest mini

Speaking of, that’s the biggest upgrade on-board. Sound has been improved over the original with a louder max volume and twice the bass. I’ve been listening to music at home on the new device, and while it gets pretty loud, I can’t recommend it as a standalone speaker. There are much better options for that. It serves Assistant and voice playback pretty well, but it gets a bit distorted at louder volumes.

I do quite like the music playback controls, however. Tap the center to play or pause music and either side to increase and decrease volume. When your hand approaches the speaker, two dots will illuminate on the edges to show you where to touch. Paired in stereo mode with another, better speaker (like, say, the Home Max) and it serves as a cool little touch control. The recent addition of stream transfer, meanwhile, makes it easier to keep listening to music as you change rooms.

Another interesting tidbit that didn’t get a lot of mention at today’s event is dynamic volume adjustment, which adjusts the sound based on background noise. It’s similar to the feature the company teased with today’s Pixel Buds reveal and could come in handy if you happen to live or work in a loud environment. Take that, neighbors.

google nest mini

The new Mini presents one of the more compelling use cases I’ve seen for Duo thus far (and honestly, I haven’t seen a ton). You can use the device as a kind of speakerphone with the app. I can certainly see this coming in handy for things like work calls at home. If you’ve got a big home, you can also use it as an intercom to communicate with other Home/Nest devices.

One other bit worth mentioning is the smart addition of a wall mount on the bottom of the device. It’s something small, but handy. Using a nail or thumbtack (well, probably just a nail, given the size/weight), you can now hang the Mini on a wall. Apparently this was a pretty heavily requested feature for those with limited shelf space. I could certainly imagine sticking it in my kitchen, where counter space is at an extreme premium — though dealing with the cord is another question entirely.

The Nest Mini arrives on retail shelves and walls October 22.

5 Things To Do After Failing An Exam

“I’m doomed.”

This is probably your thought after failing an exam. It’s just like the world coming to an end. Then, you begin to imagine the worst, like you not being able to graduate or get a better job. You start to think that your dream of going to college is simply kaput or that your dream promotion is never going to be within your reach.

How distressing it truly is if you didn’t make the grade in an exam, especially a major one.

Fortunately, there are ways to pick yourself up if you have failed an exam. Here are the things to do after failing an exam:

Don’t lose your nerve

There is actually no need to panic because failing an exam happens to everybody. It’s basically part and parcel of an individual’s academic life. Losing control of yourself is going to take you nowhere.

Know two crucial facts when it comes to this scenario:

1) You’ve got a great deal of company (of exam “failers”).

2) You have another chance to make a better grade.

Charge it to experience, they say. Failing one exam is just one obstacle to hurdle, one story to tell, and another stepping stone to pass with flying colors.

It’s alright to grieve

what to do after failing an exam

Grieving is one of your basic rights if you have failed. You can even celebrate it, but just for a day. Stay in your bed until lunch time, indulge in eating your favorite chocolates, go shopping with your friends or drink more than you are used to.

Let the disappointment sink in and then throw it to the wind. After that, you tell yourself that you have to move on. You have to get back on track.

Put things in the proper perspective

Analyze the situation and where you are at after your grieving period. Mull over where the circumstances had gone wrong. Look back on your attitude, habits, and approach when you were studying.

Where could you have faltered in your test prep? Did you pick the right books and online study guide? Maybe you didn’t know how to effectively use your practice tests? Perhaps you could have adhered to a better study schedule. Worse, you might have procrastinated many times that you weren’t able to cover all the pertinent topics.

The next time around, you should know what to do to make your test prep more motivating and less boring. Try asking for help as well. Form a study group, join a review class or hire a mentor or tutor. Think about why you might have failed your exam and look for ways to rectify it.

Think about what you should do in the future

This time around, get the future into the picture. Devise a better strategy, such as a better time frame and action plan.

When is the best time to retake your exam? Put that in priority consideration. Decide on a more conducive test prep program at the same time.

Do you go to an academy or study online? What study materials are you going to utilize?

To get ample ideas, you can join a group or community online and interact with fellow test-takers.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help

to do after failing an exam

Humbling yourself and asking for help is definitely better than taking pride in being ignorant. Acknowledging that you need assistance means that you’re smart enough to realize that you need to understand something. If you have the resources, you can hire a tutor or enroll in an online study program where you can avail of the guidance of a mentor.

Organizing a study group works, too. Or if you’re joining a class, don’t be embarrassed to raise your hand and ask your teacher if you don’t understand a topic.

Otherwise, if you’re really uncomfortable, you can ask him or her in private. Even superheroes need help sometimes, and so do mortal test-takers!

There is hope after an academic fall

You don’t stay down after failing an exam. Remember, life goes on. You wouldn’t want to be left behind. These tips about how to recover after failing an exam aims to steer you away from doom and gloom and lead you toward propitious second chances.

See Also: Ace Your College Exams: Tips On How to Study for A Test In College

The post 5 Things To Do After Failing An Exam appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Surfing the reverse mullet with Alexis Ohanian

For many years the allure of Silicon Valley was contingent on the ability to move here. Its ecosystem didn’t work remotely. “We see a very strong indication that where you’re located does matter… come to Silicon Valley,” intoned Joe Kraus of Google Ventures at the first Disrupt conference I ever intended, speaking for essentially all VCs, including Y Combinator.

Easy enough if you’re American. Much, much trickier if you need a visa to get there. Is it still true that the Valley doesn’t work remotely? Or is there another path for startups from faraway countries these days? Last week I sat down with Alexis Ohanian in his ancestral homeland of Armenia to discuss this.

Every nation seems to have its own set of incubators and seed investors these days. Armenia is no exception: I met Ohanian at the launch event for Aybuben Ventures, a VC fund “for Armenia and The Armenians.” (As I wrote last week, the Armenian diaspora is a big deal.) But what happens next, when you need to raise a serious Series A, but your local market realistically isn’t big enough to support your company?

Even five years ago you would have had a lot of trouble tapping into the Valley. Since then, though, things have changed. The price of Bay Area talent — and real estate — has led to the rise of “mullet startups,” as coined by Andreessen Horowitz’s Andrew Chen. Such comapnies have their headquarters in the Bay to take advantage of the Valley, but their tech teams somewhere cheaper and more spacious. “Business up front, party out back.”

Ohanian’s point is that there’s no reason the mullet model can’t work backwards: launch a company with a strong tech team in some remote location, then, when you hit the inflection point, open a Bay Area office, move the executive team there, and turn yourself into a mullet startup. (Aided by the fact that if coming as a company, your visa options widen to include e.g. the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa.) Call it the “reverse mullet,” exemplified by e.g. PicsArt.

This model is especially viable for nations which have deep engineering / tech talent, so that the “party out back” tech team becomes an ongoing competitive advantage. (This is part of why Ohanian keeps hammering home the importance of learning to code during his visits to Armenia, something which is probably easier in a nation which already features compulsory chess education.) All of which sounds great in theory —

— but it’s not like we see a herd of unicorns with reverse mullets out there … yet. If we do, though, that will be an exceptionally interesting new growth model, with significant ramifications — a way for Silicon Valley to essentially metastasize to the rest of the world. This in turn will, ironically, reify its primacy as the center of the global tech industry, the sun around which all the faraway planets orbit, after so many prophecies of decentralization. Count the reverse mullet unicorns in three years, and if there are more than a mere few, we’ll know the answer.