Top 5 smart speakers 2019

With new smart home speakers coming out frequently, the public needs a guide to the pros and cons of the different brands. You’ve probably seen ads for these speakers (Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomePod, and many more), but which one is actually the best?

Coming in at 5th place is the Amazon Echo Plus. It has an attractive fabric design, and has good audio drivers. It also has a temperature sensor. This speaker does have some cons, like it sometimes doesn’t work with Fire TV commands, and it has a premium price of $150.

The next best smart speaker is the classic Google Home. This speaker is great for music lovers, with it being connected to YouTube’s massive song library. It also has a customizable base, along with an affordable price of $99. A few downsides to this speaker are it misses some of Google’s own services and it sometimes requires precise phrasing for the speaker to pick up what you’re saying.

In 3rd place, the Amazon Echo has a great new look and a cheap price. It also has some new Alexa features, but it is pretty close to the old generations. Customers also have said that the Alexa app could be better, with some features being slow or sometimes not working.

The 2nd best speaker is the Apple HomePod. It’s compact, has spectacular sound quality, and has built in Siri (which is very responsive). There are a few cons though, including no Bluetooth feature, no Apple Music support, and a high price tag of $350 (or more, depending on where you go to purchase it).

The first place spot goes to the Sonos One, with a clean look, fantastic sound quality, built in Alexa, and an affordable price tag of $150. The only con that I found was there’s no Google assistant support.

All pictures taken from: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-smart-speakers

HP spring music events

Every spring, the Highland Park Senior High music program has a variety of events planned for students to participate in. This includes performances in and out of the school, with some being fundraisers that support Highland’s music program.

One spring event is the Police Patrol Parade on May 14th, in downtown St. Paul. The purpose of this event is to support and honor St. Paul police by playing songs and marching from Mears Park to CHS field. Schools from all parts of the Twin Cities attend this event. When the march is over, students are given a ticket to enjoy a Saints game at CHS field.

Another event coming to Highland on May 10th, 17th, and 18th is Trills and Thrills. This is where different schools come from all across the country to perform band pieces in the Highland auditorium. Typically, Highland band students help out with the performance throughout the day, moving chairs, stands, and instruments.

The most important event at the end of the school year is the Spring Concert. This event showcases all the different music programs at Highland. This includes orchestra, 9th grade band, varsity band, symphonic band, choir and jazz band. Every year, this concert is great for families to come and see their children showcase all the music they have learned and practiced that year.

The last band event of the year is the performance for graduation. Students from all 3 bands (9th grade, varsity and symphonic) come together to celebrate their senior classmates graduating. The band always plays the classic graduation song “Pomp and Circumstance,” along with a popular Highland anthem, “Highland Legend.”

 

the Highland Park Senior High marching band during Premiere Parade for Picturehouse’s “A Prairie Home Companion” at Fitzgeral Theatre in St. Paul, MN, United States. (Photo by E. Charbonneau/WireImage)

PlayStation 5 – news, specs and pricing

It has been more than 6 years since Sony released the PlayStation 4, so many people are asking for details on a next-gen system. Last week, PS fans got their wish. The PlayStation 5 will be released sometime in 2019.

In a recent interview, Mark Cerny (architectect of the PS4) said that the architecture of the PS5 will be similar to the PS4, which means that the new system will be backwards compatible (works with games from previous PlayStation systems).

The new console will have some significant upgrades with graphics and speeds, including 8K visual support (this will rely on upgrades from TV companies). The graphics will be driven by Raedons Navi line. This new graphics chip will support ray tracing, a fairly new chip that’s beginning to be used in many new movies and video games.

The new Sony console will not be inexpensive, but not as pricey as some devices coming out these days. At a starting price of $499, the system will be $100 more than its predecessor, the PS4. Hopefully, there will be significant upgrades and new specs that will make up for the $500 starting price tag. The system will probably also have more storage upgrade options, which will raise the price for consumers who want more storage for entertainment.

AT&T releases fake “5G E” – slower than other 4G networks

With the roll-out of new smart devices coming soon from various companies (such as Samsung’s foldable phone), there is a need for a faster network connection. The idea of 5G has already started at Verizon, where they claim their 5G broadband will be 20 times faster than current 4G LTE speeds.

The issue is, AT&T released “5GE” (5G Evolution), which is reportedly slower than Verizon and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE speeds. AT&T claims that 5GE runs on an “advanced” LTE network, but Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all currently run 4G on that network, making AT&T’s claim false and misleading.

Sprint took this false claim seriously, and filed a lawsuit against AT&T. They say that what AT&T is doing to customers is completely unethical and wrong. This is because what they claim is their 5GE network, is literally the same as Sprint’s advanced 4G speeds.

The fact that AT&T was able to release this network and call it 5G is concerning. This is because as technology develops, consumers need to be able to purchase reliable speeds for their devices, and not be lied to by powerful corporations. AT&T needs to accept what they did wrong, and actually work on a future connection with real 5G speeds.

Paul Manafort: Multiple sentences overview

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager and consultant, has been officially charged with multiple counts of tax and bank fraud. Manafort worked as a Republican party campaign consultant, and joined Donald Trump’s campaign team in 2016 (he was the campaign chairman from June to August 2016).

Manafort was officially convicted in August 2018, on eight charges (all of which relates to tax and bank fraud) in the Eastern District of Virginia. He was also charged on ten other counts, but the judge declared a mistrial.

Later, in the DC District Court, Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States. He also pleaded guilty to witness tampering.

On November 26, 2018, Robert Mueller released a statement saying that Manafort violated his plea deal by lying to investigators. In the DC District Court, Judge Amy Berman Jackson officially voided the plea deal, so Mueller advised the Virginia court to charge Manafort and have him serve 19 and a half years to 24 years in prison.

On March 7, 2019, Judge T.S. Ellis called Mueller’s sentencing guideline “excessive,” and sentenced Manafort to only 47 months in prison. Six days later, Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to an additional 43 months in prison.

Only minutes after this sentencing, New York state prosecutors charged Manafort with sixteen state felonies. This will almost double his sentence, making him serve 7 ½ years instead of 47 months.

Some of the United States presidential candidates running in 2020

The United States is currently in the third year of Donald Trump’s presidency. This means that next year 2020) is the next election for United State’s president. So far, there are a handful of candidates running for office.

Today, I will be listing a couple candidates and their backgrounds from both of the political parties.

Elizabeth Warren is one of the democratic candidates for the next presidency. She was formerly a Harvard law professor in Massachusetts. She is specifically known for advocating for more regulations on Wall Street and other big corporations.

Another candidate for office is democratic, New Jersey, U.S. Senator, Cory Booker. He was a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. He was elected as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, in 2006, serving until he was elected to the Senate, and assumed office, in 2013.

One of the republican candidates running for office in 2020 is the former governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld. His beliefs are very libertarian based (he was a libertarian nominee for Vice president in 2016). Even though he is running on the republican side of the political spectrum, he believes in LGBTQ rights along with being pro-choice.

Another one of the republican candidates running is the President, Donald Trump, himself. He will try to be re-elected for office in 2020.  According to the Washington Post, he was spending money on 2020 efforts as early as Nov. 24, 2016. Trump is also confident he will be re-elected, depsite his constant low approval ratings.

Scotapalooza 2019

Every year, Highland Park Senior High School hosts a musical event called “Scotapalooza.” It took place on January 27th, 2019, which was right before the 4 days off of school. This event featured many different bands that performed. This year, the line-up for music was: both the middle and high school jazz bands, the Highland Tour band, and other small ensembles including a rock band and the “Ben Jossi Combo.”

The event took place at the North Garden Theater, which had plenty of space for the bands and seating for guests.

Scotapalooza also had a wide range of drinks and snacks to attract guests. This included a full bar, and a food station with pretzels and cookies. This part of the event itself helped raise $247 for Highland’s music program.

Overall, Highland raised $4,213 in revenue for Highland’s music program. A lot of it came from donated gift cards, same-day purchased tickets, and from food and beverage sales.

In the past, the money raised has gone to purchasing a new drum set which the band needed for jazz band. This year, the money raised will go towards purchasing new instruments, sheet music, and more needed musical items.

Scotapalooza is a great event that brings everyone at Highland together with multiples genres of student music. It also helps the Highland community by supporting high school music programs.

The first foldable smartphone coming in 2019

Next month, Samsung is expected to release two new phones: the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy F. The F is the first foldable smartphone that will be on the market. Samsung is currently working on the physical and UI features at the Samsung Design Innovation Center (SDIC). The SDIC is responsible for the design of Samsung’s new products, services, and the report notes for new devices.

Just like many new smartphones these days, this one will be just as expensive, if not more, because of its new, unique design. The phone will have three screens when unfolded, including the primary panel that’s placed on the inside of the phone, as well as a smaller display on the outer shell.

“Our group here is working to reinvent and reimagine how we can create new experiences based on this new platform,” the Samsung executive said. “And of course we are very well situated here because the Android system has not been designed for that (foldable). We need to explore new ways to do so.”

Since Google is helping Samsung with the Android powered software for this new foldable phone, customers will probably see foldable Android phones from various companies in the not too distant future. This includes Huawei, Microsoft, LG, Xiaomi, and Oppo.

Apple is also rumored to be trying out some new design ideas for foldable smartphones, but there will for sure not be an Apple foldable phone in 2019.

Government shutdown: 2018-2019

Going into winter break, the government had been shut down. This was the 3rd shutdown of 2018, and it is now continuing into 2019. The main reason for this shutdown is the funding for President Trump’s border wall.

Trump wants $5.7 million dollars to fund the border wall, but it is not being approved. His only solution for this was to shut down the government.

Government shutdowns affect the people of the United States in many ways. Many agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Disease, Department of Defense, and Congress are all affected by this shutdown. Also, people on government aid and welfare will have scaled back benefits.

Luckily, over 150 Veteran Affairs hospitals will stay open along with most national parks (but with no working employees and buildings, such as information and research centers, will be closed).

As of early morning, on January 4th, 2019, House Democrats voted to reopen the government without the funding of the border wall. The bill would reopen funding for 8 closed United States departments. Congress would still keep 9 other departments closed, along with no funding for the wall.

The U.S. Capitol stands in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Congress returns to Washington Thursday with a new Democratic House majority gaining leverage over President Donald Trump, and the partial government shutdown first on the list of problems to solve. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New Music: released and coming soon

Every year, in November and December, a lot of music is released by many different artists. One of the main reasons music is typically released at this time is because of the Grammys coming up in early 2019. This is where awards are presented for best new artist, best album, best song, and many more.

Here’s a look at a few of the most popular artists, with new music that has been released, and that are slated to be released.

One popular new song that was just released is “Thank U, Next” by Ariana Grande. This is an upbeat pop song and so far has pretty good reviews from her fans.

An album that was just released is Everythang’s Corrupt by Ice Cube. Cube is an old school hip hop artist who was part of the famous Los Angeles rap group, N.W.A. Cube hasn’t released a new album in 8 years so his fans must be excited he is coming out with new music.

Another album that has just been released is SKINS by XXXTENTACION. Despite his passing six months ago, multiple new albums have been released with his recorded music, and SKINS is no different. This album captures more of X’s themes about anxiety and depression.

A few more artists with new music released are: Gucci Mane, Shoreline Mafia, Brett Young, Chief Keef, Coldplay (live album), and more.

There are also new albums being released soon by the following artists: Meghan Trainor, ZAYN, Cody Johnson, Backstreet Boys, Papa Roach, and many more.