iPhone 8 and iOS 11

iPhone 8 and iOS11 Blog - October 2017Almost three weeks now with iOS 11 and just over two weeks with the new iPhone 8 Plus.

There’s a new article or twitter feed almost every day talking about new features or the changes in the new phone and iOS so I thought I would add a few practical points that I’ve found.

Thoughts so far?

Positives

  • loving the quality of the display,
  • loving the speed,
  • loving the screen size on the iPhone 8 Plus
  • not noticing the increase in weight too much.

The bigger issue is that it doesn’t fit in my back pocket quite as nicely as my old 6 did, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact ran a 10km at the weekend and didn’t notice any difference having the larger phone strapped to my arm.

What’s making a bigger difference?

iOS 11!

  • Small touches such as the ability to hand draw an image into an email are a great addition.
  • Liking the new control centre.
  • Like the additional features for adding content to iMessages
  • Files App (though this is long overdue and I think of most benefit to those who also have a Mac laptop or desktop!)
  • Loving the new dock on the iPad for quick access to recently used apps
  • Liking the new Quicktype keyboard on a iPad, much easier for entering numbers and symbols, though does take some getting used to

Going from a 6 to a 8 Plus?

  • I love using ‘Hey Siri”, especially useful when changing the music in the car
  • I’m struggling with the emergency call feature when I’m putting the larger phone into my current car holder, I keep pressing the side button and a volume button at the same time (learn more about the emergency SOS feature)

As always there are the reports about battery drain but I haven’t noticed it, and as always you can tweak your settings to help, for instance you can adjust the displays brightness.

Other changes I’ve had to make since moving to iOS 11:

  • Moved to Outlook iOS app for Office365 email accounts due to an initial issue that iOS11 had with Office365 accounts.  It’s not a bad thing in that Outlook has a lot of nice features.  One thing that it does not do though is suggest where you want to move an email to.  Each time I want to file away an email I have to scroll through my folder list.  iOS’s native mail app has always been very good at suggesting where you want to move messages to.
  • The move to only 64bit apps has made me tidy up my app list.  Again not a bad thing and there’s only one app that I miss and that is simply because the provider has chosen to produce a new 64bit but it misses one major feature

Disappointments?

Major one is the lack of native support for the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro.  Finding that OneNote is my best app for using the pencil and fitting in with my current usage, rather than having to start using a new app and working how to integrate it with usage patterns.  Anyone else find it strange that Microsoft have the better writing app on an iOS device?

Accessories

As with every new gadget there’s always the accessories.  So far I’ve also had to buy, or am looking to buy, the following:

  • new case
  • new running arm band
  • new wireless charging mat to make use of the wireless charging
  • new wireless charging mat and phone holder to make use of the wireless charging in the car and still be able to use the phone for Sat Nav
  • new headphones

I’ve now moved to wireless headphones given the larger phone and the lack of headphone jack.  In the end I went for AirPods rather than Beats but that was a personal choice given the circumstances I use headphones in (generally only one headphone in place for running, and a need to use the microphone).  Read this great article about Beats versus AirPods. What’s taking some getting used to is the interaction between the phone, the watch and the AirPods, but that’s a learning curve which I’m gradually making my way round.

All in all?

Loving my iPhone 8 Plus, yes its costly and there is no cheaper middle ground with a 128Gb version, but it’s a great phone.

Will I regret not waiting for the X?  Time will tell.  But I love the Touch ID, and from what I have seen about the facial recognition it’s not there yet for me.  If I could unlock the phone with facial recognition and then get to the homescreen using Siri then I may have waited, but I still have to have my thumb on the screen to go to the Home screen, and in the summer I like to wear shades so facial recognition just wouldn’t work for me!

Timbuk 3 were right when they said “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades“, its just in this case Apple weren’t listening 😉

UK Hit by Ransomware Attack – What does this mean for me?

I guess we’ve all heard about this malware attack that’s hitting us now – very scary stuff – and I hear you ask yourselves:

  • Will this affect me?
  • What do I do if I get infected?
  • How do I stop myself getting infected?

Three very important questions I’m sure are on everyone’s tongue today – and where there are very definite answers:

It could affect everyone, but thankfully there are things that you can do that will reduce your risk, if not remove it all together.

So, what do I do if I get infected?

The answer to this isn’t all straightforward.  You will need someone who is experienced with reinstalling your data and Windows back to a state before the infection (a process called restoring) or someone who can do a complete re-install of Windows from scratch.  You will of course need a recent backup of your data (documents, pictures, music and videos etc.)  If you don’t have a backup, the question that pops up is why not?

One thing that you must not do is pay the ransom – this just funds the criminal(s) that perpetrated this hack in the first place and allows them to continue with further attacks in the future.  Most of these people are tied to organised criminal gangs.

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ParadigmIT can help you with some of these issues – get in touch with us!

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How do I stop myself getting infected?

This is easier than you think.  Here’s my list of top tips

Install Virus protection

This is a must.  ParadigmIT have seen many computers—especially home computers—that don’t have anti-virus/malware protection. This protection is a must-have first step in keeping your computer virus free – and this includes Apple Mac computers!  You also need to keep the virus protection you have installed up to date.  This is usually automatic whenever you connect to the internet.  There are many free virus checkers out there to download and you can look here for a review of some of the best from the Techradar blog.

Run Regular Anti-Virus Scans

Set up your software of choice to run at regular intervals. Once a week is good, but don’t wait much longer between scans. Your computer will run a bit slower while your anti-virus software is running. One thing to do is to run the software at night when you aren’t using your computer, but as we often turn off our computers at night, and so the scan never runs, set your anti-virus software to run on a specific night, and always leave your computer running on that day. Make sure it doesn’t shut off automatically or go to sleep.

Keep up with Windows Updates

Microsoft and Apple both supply updates to your operating system (Windows or MacOS) and you should make sure that when you get notified, you install any updates promptly – this will keep the security of your operating system current.

Secure Your Network (WiFi)

Make sure that when you get your broadband router that you follow instructions supplied with it to change your default WiFi password to something more secure.  Also make sure that you change the wireless encryption to at least WPA2 – this will make sure that all your data flying over your network in the house is encrypted and cannot be seen by hackers.  Also make sure that you change the administrator login to your router to a more secure password – don’t leave the default password in place!

Think Before Clicking!

Avoid websites that provide pirated material like bittorrent sites. Do not open an email attachment from somebody, or a company that you do not know. Do not click on a link in an unsolicited email. Always hover over a link (especially one with a URL shortener) before you click to see where the link is really taking you. If you must download a file from the Internet, an email, an FTP site, a file-sharing service, etc., scan it before you run it. A good anti-virus software will do that automatically, but make sure it is being done.

Backup your files (and… BACKUP YOUR FILES!)

This is the most important tip we can give you.  If you have a backup of your data (documents, pictures, music and videos etc.) then you can do a re-install of Windows or MacOS and copy your backed-up data into the correct place again.  This means that you can recover from a virus or malware disaster more quickly.  There are a lot of cloud based backup services available (Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, Box and Google Drive to name a few) and most of these will give you a free account and free storage that you can use to copy your data to.

For more information about backing up your data, there’s some good information from the QuickandDirtyTips blog.

I’m inherently lazy……that’s why some gadgets work for me

May 2017 - Gadgets Blog

The trick is choosing the right gadget, not just buying it because it’s the latest thing.

Let’s take my Apple Watch as an example.  What benefit is it to me?

Known to being partial to buying a new gadget and usually favouring an Apple gadget people were surprised when it took me almost 2 years to buy an Apple Watch.  In fact because I always carry my iPhone I’d even stopped wearing a watch.  Now I have one on my wrist every day, and to be honest it doesn’t even look like a watch, which was one of the things that originally put me off.

So why now?  What changed?

My sister-in-law bought one and after ‘playing with it’ I was hooked and bought mine a week later.

There are two major benefits so far:

  • The activity rings
  • The ease of using RunKeeper as my fitness tracker

As with all gadgets their usefulness is down to the user, and how they interact with it.

The Apple Watch, Fitbits, Garmins are all great in their own way, and all measure and prompt you to do various things really well.  But, they can’t make you actually do them, so you have to be susceptible to being prompted.

I’ve noticed a number of advertisements about the Apple Watch’s 3 activity rings over the past few months.

Apple Activity RingsThey’re a prime example for me.   The watch’s 3 starting goals are:

  • Burn 400 calories by moving every day
  • Do 30 mins of exercise every day
  • Stand for a minute every hour 12 times a day

I’ve been known to sit in front of my computer working for hours on end, not taking regular breaks.  As a result I’ve been a regular client at Knots Away Massage Therapy and In Touch Therapies due to pain in my shoulders.

As much as I know I should stand up and move away from the screen every so often I don’t, yet when the watch prompts me I actually do it.  So is there a link between me not having so much pain in my shoulders over the past few months?  If this continues then the watch will have paid for itself by the end of the year 😄

As an added bonus, having been in London for a couple of days I found the ease of using my Apple Watch as a means of contactless payment was great.  No longer did I have to have my phone out and ready, or a contactless card in hand.  It made getting off and on the DLR and the Tube so much easier!

It’s interaction with with Runkeeper means I can start tracking my runs and cycles by simply using the watch.  My phone sits in my armband and I no longer have to mess about trying to set the activity off when it’s already strapped to my upper arm.

What about other gadgets?

What other gadgets do I spend money on because I am too lazy to do things myself or to prompt myself?

Honeywell EvoHomeBritish Gas’s Hive – lets you switch the heating on and off whilst you are away from home.  Honeywell’s EvoHome does the same thing but also allows you to add individual radiator controls so rather than setting one temperature for the whole house you can control individual rooms.  The individual controls let me heat rooms only when I’m actually using them.  When I turn the heating up because it’s turned cooler I’m too lazy to go into other rooms and turn the radiators down, even though I know I won’t be using those rooms for a few hours.  With EvoHome I can turn up the temperature in just the room I’m using.  It took just 18 months for me to save enough on my heating bills to cover my initial investment.  Since then everything is a saving.

WeMoWhat else?  Using WeMo allows me to remotely switch on the light at my front door when I’m heading home after dark, no longer do I switch the light on in the daylight when I go out knowing I won’t be back until dark.

I replaced my kettle with a tap ‘gadget’ that provides instant boiling water.  I no longer get up to make a drink and then get distracted when the kettle is boiling so that in the end I’ve  boiled the kettle 2 or 3 times before I actually make that drink.  This gadget will probably take longer to pay for itself, but knowing I’m easily distracted then it’s perfect for me.

So, as I said, with all the gadgets out there, the trick is knowing yourself and buying the gadget that works for you, not just because it’s the latest craze 😉