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Mockup Generators for Google Devices

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Mockup generators are tools that combine screenshots with renderings of the frames and bezels of the desktop or mobile devices they are taken on. The generators can also overlay the screenshots to photos of actual devices.
The combined images are used as illustrations or for promoting apps, ebooks, websites, or other digital products.There are several mockup generators for mobile and desktop devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. But they usually focus on Apple hardware. The few frames in the Google ecosystems like Android phones or Chromebooks, when available, are often out of date.Google's own Android device art generator is missing the latest generations of flagships. Chrome can take screenshots with device frames but, again, there are no recent Android devices. Yeah, the cobbler's children have no shoes.
List of mockup generators for Google devicesI use mockup generators for sharing Android and Chrome OS screenshots, so I’m always on the lookout for suitable too…

Running Linux Astronomy Apps on Chrome OS

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I got a Pixel 2 XL for its unique astrophotography features, along with a tripod for long-exposure photography with the phone. This is not enough, though. The workflow for producing images of the sky is best achieved with specialized astronomical image viewing and processing software.There are two good such Linux apps that work fine on my Chromebox in Crostini, Siril and SAOImage DS9. I can install the .deb files from the Chrome OS Files app or the Terminal.
Siril is an advanced image processing app. Although it loads all the major general-purpose image and video file formats, it internally works with FITS, the leading format for astronomical images and data. Siril supports calibration, stacking, background and noise removal, scripting, and many more features.With the Pixel 4 XL I take photos of the sky in RAW and export them as DNG files, the format the Google camera app that ships with Pixel devices saves RAW photos to. Siril can import DNG files and convert them to FITS.DS9 is a FIT…

A Tripod for Smartphone Astrophotography

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As an amateur astronomer, Astrophotography mode is one reason why I got a Pixel 4 XL.But there’s another essential piece of gear for taking long-exposure photos of star fields or astronomical phenomena, a tripod. The one I bought for the Pixel 4 XL is a Phinistec photo tripod.I do all my astrophotography from an apartment building in Milan, Italy, where I live. It’s a light-polluted urban area, but these days I can’t wander around much.I observe the sky from the apartment’s small balconies, which have the area of a medium-sized carpet. This constrains the camera holding gear I can use. I wanted a full-height tripod that can extend to at least waist level, not a tabletop tripod, as I can’t use tables or other elevated surfaces to set the photo equipment on.The Phinistec tripod can extend to a height of 125 cm. It’s cheap, compact, and very light. It comes with a smartphone adapter, a Bluetooth remote shutter, and a handy carrying pouch. There’s also a Gopro adapter I don’t need.Althou…

AppGyver Composer Review: First Impressions

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It’s not just non-coders who use no-code development tools. If anything, having some programming experience gives an appreciation of how much time and effort these tools can save.
This is why, despite having been a hobby programmer for decades, I’m interested in no-code solutions. The ones I tried in the past are App Inventor and Thunkable, for creating mobile apps, and Bubble for web apps.

A few months ago I discovered AppGyver Composer, an impressive app builder for developing both mobile and web apps that seems more powerful than the others I’ve seen. Here are some quick notes on my experience with the tool so far. Keep in mind I'm still exploring AppGyver, not using it for real projects.

About AppGyver
AppGyver Composer Pro is the best no-code, drag & drop app development environment I've seen. It allows to create both web and mobile apps for Android (even Android TV) and iOS, packs tons of flexibility, and offers most of the best features in a generous free plan. I can’…

Why I Got a Pixel 4 XL When Google Discontinued It

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Google discontinued the Pixel 4 in August 2020 and pulled it from the US Google Store. As soon as I learned of it, I ordered a Pixel 4 XL from the Google Store in Italy where I live and the phone was still in stock.

Why did I get it?
Because I like the 4 XL more than the current and planned Pixel models. I don’t mind the issues and limitations others criticize. And it’s not clear whether the Pixel 5 will ship with a telephoto lens, which I want.


My previous phone I had been using a Pixel 2 XL since January 2018.
This is no surprise as I always used Google-branded Android phones as my daily drivers. The Pixel 2 was the first of the Pixel family distributed in Italy. I was eager to try a Pixel and went with the 2 XL because of the higher specs, a more capable battery, and a better experience.
In October 2020, a couple of months from now, the Pixel 2 line will reach the end of life with no more system updates and support. Expecting the deadline, for a while I had been researching my opti…

Practicing Google Featured on The Slice

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Issue #008 of The Slice featured my newsletter Practicing Google. The Slice is a weekly newsletter to discover new and emerging creations such as SaaS products, podcasts, and newsletters. It offers actionable resources for founders and makers.

Listory’s interview with The Slice’s author Nic opens with «The Slice highlights the underdogs of the tech world». I love this characterization and focus because typical case studies and success stories highlight the most successful entrepreneurs, authors, or products. The outliers, the unicorns.
I’m actually more inspired by smaller, realistic achievements such as newsletters with a few hundred subscribers, or ebooks that make hundreds of Dollars a year.
They are closer to where I am in my journey, more approachable. These are goals I can see myself reach given reasonable time and effort. I don’t even bother thinking how to imitate the outliers.
Therefore, I’m extremely pleased Nic featured my newsletter. It’s a confirmation I’m doing something…

A List of Newsletter Directories

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Growing your newsletter can be challenging. Especially at the beginning, when few know you or your work.
Having your newsletter listed in specialized directories that attract potentially interested readers is a valuable discoverability opportunity.

These directories are databases that let readers search or browse newsletters by category. Sometimes the directories share the newsletters to their social channels or in email updates. The continuous flow of subscriptions coming from directories, even if small, adds up.
Maybe it's just an impression. However, I’ve been noticing a small but steady flow of subscriptions since submitting my newsletter Practicing Google to several directories. It's just a trickle right now. But noticeable.
I have been bookmarking and keeping track of directories since working on my newsletter. I share them here and I’ll keep the list up to date.
Open directories You can submit your newsletter to the following open directories, which approve all or most …