What the f$$$ #Apple, seriously…#WTF

lightning-adapter-connected-power-audioSo it is new iPhone time, welcome iPhone 7 and iPhone 7+

True to form the latest incarnation of the iPhone is pretty much an incremental upgrade from the previous – an industry trend now as even Samsung has no groundbreaking features that disrupt the existing very competitive and tired space.

So what’s new?  Water resistant is a great new feature as are new jumps in memory and processing BUT that’s not why we are here today folks.  The latest and most controversial feature is the omission of the trusty headphone socket.  Apple’s stance on this is that it is a brave move to go forward and innovate in new ways and adopt new technologies and form factors.  The problem is though, as usual they refuse to adopt industry standards or improve on their existing solutions.

The removal of the headphone socket means that to listen to music now you will receive a set of Earpods with the very recognisable, ubiquitous Lightning plug.  Should you have some nicer or favourite headphones using the now redundant 3.5mm jack Apple thoughtfully thought to include an adapter that converts from Lightning to the archaic jack plug – as shown on the left.

The issue becomes apparent immediately, for most, as there seems to be a design flaw or missed thought or use case……how do you listen to music while you are charging your new iPhone?  In short you cannot!  But wait!  There is a solution!  Coming soon Belkin, in partnership with Apple, will be releasing yes, you guessed it – an adapter for that!!!  Come October you will be able to spend yet another $40 on the Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar so that you can, as pictured above, both charge your phone and listen to music!

There are some other more immediate and/or other expensive options for you to get around this oversight on Apple’s part:

iphone-lightning-dockApple Lightning Dock – this spendy piece of kit, not exactly a portable solution, is available now for $49 and allows you to utilize both a Lightning port for charging AND a trusty 3.5mm jack for your audio listening pleasure.

apple-air-pods.PNGNext solution comes in the form of the newly announced Apple AirPods – release date also October.  At $159 these are a premium solution for sure!  Note that the Airpods are widely incompatible with non-Apple Bluetooth phones and devices.   They are geared as per most Apple products to solely work on their devices.  These new headphones utilize Apple’s new custom W1 chip which facilitates pairing seemlessly with your existing Apple devices.

 

 

A wireless solution be it Apple’s Airpods or any other Bluetooth device frees up the Lightning port for charging duties.

So why say ‘What the f$$$ Apple?’  as the headline screams?

This is why:

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Despite the millions of dollars invested in new phone technology, design work, manufacturing and testing you still cannot make a charging connector that is either standard or long lasting.

lightning-chip

The design of the connector seems to be the failure point itself.  The required or hacked ‘authentication chip’ that keeps Apple’s accessory and ‘Certified by Apple‘ program alive and well seems to be part of a major stress point in the design.

This is not a small problem, there is a WHOLE INDUSTRY around this epic design flaw:

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So the question has to be asked….why oh why Apple would you not take the time and resources to improve what seems to be a fundamental design flaw in your products?  As a company who prides itself on sustainability and green credentials, the poor design of cables and now headphone accessories will I guess have a twofold effect:

  • Increased profitability

    • Renewed interest and life to the Certified by Apple program as third parties create new headphones for the iPhone 7 devices
    • Constant rebuying of new leads and now headphones as the design flaw evident in charge cables is now inherited in the Lightning headphone technology.  Does the authentication chip exist in headphones too?
  • Increased Electronic Waste

    • Apple and third party companies will be warranty replacing these cables and headphones constantly
    • Connectivity of adapter to adapter, daisychaining cables will lead to more stress on the connectors and the phones themselves causing more damage to devices and accessories
    • The premium cost for original ‘certified’ cables will result in the continued purchase of imported, inferior (sometimes even dangerous) cables

lightning-bulk-cables

There is a need for a new design, a new solution, surely someone with the design chops of Apple with all of its creative talent, huge R&D budget and resources could come up with a better, more robust and cost effective solution?

THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY!!!

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Maybe new leads with right angled connectors BUT with a passthrough port would be a better design.  Headphones plug in first and the regular charging cable can slot into the bottom of the headphone connector?

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Solution for Pokemon Go battery drain


Pokemon Go has blown away everyone with its popularity. It is also as we speak blowing away your battery life!!  With the new updates and the removal of the battery saving function people are resorting to hunting for Pokemon armed with mobile battery packs to remain online;  after all you gotta catchem all right?

Anker offers one of the highest capacity battery packs available in a small form factor. Pocketable and ideal for taking on your Pokemon Go hunts. Offering up to 10 charges for your phones as well as QuickCharge to get your phones charged as fast as possible, you can also charge 3 devices at once making you popular with friends and fellow Pokemon fans with low battery warnings!!


Check out the Anker devices and grab one now to keep hunting and catchem all!!

Missed the #Windows10 Upgrade Deadline? You can still upgrade!!

The deadline of July 29th has passed and if you missed the Windows 10 free upgrade you now face a charge of $119 to upgrade to Windows 10.

A bypass (temporary for sure) has been found via the Microsoft Accessibility site to allow you to upgrade your existing license.

windows-10-upgrade-assistive-technologies

There is no end date for this additional grace period and the FAQ states they will publicly announce the end of this upgrade program at some point in the future.

So if you missed it, go to the website here: Microsoft Assistive Technologies and get upgraded now for FREE!  Also look out for the Windows 10 Anniversary update which is scheduled for release August 2nd!

Memorial Day Weekend #Hosting Special

If you are thinking of getting online, starting a website or blog now is the time to sign up for a great hosting deal with Bluehost!

 

Get a domain name, hosting package with email and one click installs for blogs like WordPress, Weebly for websites, eStores and more.

For the weekend only they are offering deals from just $2.95/month!! Yup just $35 for the year!!!

 

Back up your #WordPress #Blog with UpdraftPlus

This article you are reading is on a WordPress blog.  We all pour hours of time and effort into our creative sides to share articles, promote deals, share our feelings and experiences with others among a plethora of other things.

What if you lost it all?  What if your site got hacked and your content compromised?  It happens every day, it has happened to me and it cost me hours and lost time and revenue as well as some embarrassment that my site got hacked and my public face was compromised.

I very quickly learned that a compromised site can take hours to clean up, code is hidden in your pages, themes and plugins;  it is a complex troubleshooting and clean up process that requires technical know-how.

I realized that I needed a backup solution, a fail safe that should my site ever get attacked, hijacked, deleted or maybe just screwed up by me I could simply restore WordPress and them my data back from a previous time.

I researched many plugins but the reviews all came back to one.  UpdraftPlus.  I started with the free plugin but quickly realized that the more powerful functionality was worth paying for with the Premium version.

UpdraftPlus features

  • Is the highest ranking backup and restore plugin
  • Top 30 rating of ALL WordPress plugins
  • Proven to backup sites of 50GB – only limited by webhost file size restrictions
  • Scheduled backups with email reporting
  • One click and automatic backups before upgrading WordPress and/or plugins
  • Backup to email, to cloud services – Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Azure , Google Drive, Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, SFTP, FTP and more
  • Encrypted backups including encrypted transport to your cloud storage
  • Everything is backed up and to separate files so you may restore the database, plugins, themes all independently
  • Allows migration from one provider or site to another
  • Imports other common backup files
  • Supports WordPress Multisite and Network installations with ability to restore single sites within the network
  • Central monitoring of distributed sites running UpdraftPlus

I have  had to use the restore functions of UpdraftPlus and have found it to be the most easy to use plugin which has saved downtime and issues with failed plugin installations.

There are several versions:

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Paid versions give you free support via email and forums for a year, 1Gb of UpdraftPlus Vault storage for cloud backups, free upgrades and access to all of the UpdraftPlus add-ons.

ud-logo-256

Click here for more information on all versions and to purchase premium versions

No better time to get #blogging #WordPress 60% off #deal $2.95/month

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Click here to sign up for these amazing hosting deals, get your WordPress blog up and running in minutes and use the additional package options to get your blog registered with the popular search engines.

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#LinkedIn Hack – 117 Million Passwords up for sale

health-data-breachLinkedIn was hacked four years ago, and what initially seemed to be a theft of 6.5 million passwords has actually turned out to be a breach of 117 million passwords.

On Wednesday, the professional social network company acknowledged that a massive batch of login credentials is being sold on the black market by hackers.

 The worst part about it is that, because people tend to reuse their passwords, hackers are more likely to gain access to 117 million people’s email and bank accounts.

The advice for everyone who uses LinkedIn at this point is: Change your password and add something called two-factor authentication, which requires a text message every time you sign in from a new computer.

(via CNN Money)

You’re Compromised, in trouble – now what?

What happens with these data leaks?  A huge percentage of people use the same user name and password across many if not all of their accounts.  A hacker or someone who has obtained your information to say your email account can analyze your Inbox, see where you have bank accounts, statements, social media accounts and then plan their further attacks from there.  Maybe they empty your bank accounts, purchase high ticket items from online stores or maybe they plan a more personal attack on you via social media with a means to bribery and extorting money.  Those pictures in your email, messages, social media you thought were safe, they’re now up for grabs, for publishing, for shaming – what now?  Your passwords have been changed by the attacker, you no longer have access to your email or social media accounts you have been frozen out of everything and someone else has control.  This is a daily occurrence and a huge issue we face when we live online.

We trust.  We trust that the services we use are safe.  They are not.  Financial institutions spend millions on data security but still have leaks or hacks – data security is complex and  not all attack vectors can be assessed or tested for.  Other sites have zero spent on security, no updates or little understanding of what is required to sufficiently protect their user base.

So what do we do?

Strong usernames and passwords can prevent guesswork and dictionary attacks on your accounts BUT if the database of usernames and passwords is leaked publicly even the most complex password is not going to save you!  Unique usernames and passwords on all of your difference services will save you some heartache but it requires a mastermind to be able to remember a ton of different and complex passwords!  Using passphrases vs passwords can help but maybe the best tool to help with the security dilemma is a password manager.

Password Managers have been around for a while now.  Today most offer high levels of encryption to keep your personal information safe as well as synchronization of your password data across all of you devices so you can remain secure on all the platforms you use.  Is storing all of your password information all in one place a security issue in itself?  If it is stored locally vs in the cloud then you are pretty safe based on the encryption used and a strong password being required to further secure the data.

Here is a review of the best password managers for 2016 via PC MagazineThe Editors Choice was Dashlane.

Dashlane offers a unique option amongst the password managers available.  Dashlane has the option to change ALL of your passwords with the click of a button.  It will, should you find or suspect you have been compromised, change all of your passwords (on over 500 supported websites/services) using strong passwords – all of which are updated in your password database and all autofill when you access your websites.

Our recommendation

  • Get Dashlane, securely store your information with STRONG encrytion
  • Sync and use your passwords across your devices
  • Maintain and change at anytime long, strong and complex passwords
    (with site auto-login)

Click here to get the FREE version of Dashlane, with an option to upgrade to synced deviced and one touch password changing for $40!

dashlane-password-changer

Surface Dock issues – Display Port Multi Monitor

While the Microsoft Surface Dock may be the go-to device or more premium (read expensive) option for connecting your Surface Book or Surface Pro 4 to your desktop environment, it may not be the most efficient.

There are a number of issues with the Surface Dock that will only become apparent once you attempt to get things all connected and working.

Surface-Pro-Dock-HD-1024x576

  • The Surface Dock does not support dual 4K monitors
  • DisplayPort 1.2 MST and daisy chained monitors are not supported – a monitor must be directly connected to each of the ports on the Surface Dock
  • There are multiple monitors that are not supported or are documented as having issues.
  • The previously released DisplayPort to HDMI adapters for the Surfaces will not work due to the angled plastic shielding on the plug.

Microsoft has a troubleshooting guide for the Surface Dock here

The Surface Dock is a firmware upgradable device, the Surface Dock Update program can be found here and you can run this to attempt to update the dock to better support your monitors or to fix other potential issues.

Here is a list of currently unsupported monitors

Acer XB280HK
AOC G2460PG
Dell U2312HM (FW A05)
U2212HMt
U2412Mb (FW A01)
U2412Mc
U2414Hb (FW A00)
U2515Hc (FW A01)
U2715Hc (FW A00)
U2913Wm (FW A03)

Microsoft also recommends alternative cabling options and the use of Active adapters vs passive.

Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cableCable Matters Gold Plated Mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt Port Compatible) to DisplayPort Cable, Black, 6 Feet (101007)

Mini DisplayPort to HDMICable Matters Gold Plated Active Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Male to Female Adapter 4k support

Mini DisplayPort to DVI Male Active Adapter – Cable Matters Active Mini DisplayPort to DVI Male to Female Adapter

If you have no luck getting your monitor configuration working despite all of the support options listed above you could consider using an alernative display dock system utilizing DisplayLink via USB such as thr UD-5900 and UD-3900 by Plugable.  More information on these devices may be found here.  the Plugable devices offer the same functionality as the Surface Dock but connect via the USB 3.0 port vs the Surface blade connector.  Both options have networking and multi monitor support.

 

 

Surface Pro 4 & Surface Book CTRL+ALT+DEL Windows Key + Power in tablet mode

Such an simple issue but no obvious action!  If you are running your Surface Pro 4 or your Surface Book on a domain you need to always CTRL+ALT+DELETE to get to the login screen or to unlock your computer.

Windows 10 boot / lock screen requests you press CTRL+ALT+DELETE or Press and hold the Windows button then press the Power button to sign in or unlock.

Neither the Surface Book or Surface Pro 4 have a WINDOWS BUTTON!!

To get into your Surface you will need to press POWER + VOLUME UP

Maybe Microsoft could customize Windows 10 to cater for their own hardware devices when there is no known hardware button to support the onscreen instructions!

 


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