Search

the blonde byte

Empowering Women Through Technology

Month

June 2018

How to: Call 911 from Your Apple Watch in Case of an Emergency

 

 

By Justin Meyers of ios.gadgethacks.com

When you can’t reach your iPhone or don’t have it on you, how do you get help from emergency services? Unless you have one of those life-alert mobile triggers, someone nearby, or some amazing telepathy skills, hope might be the only answer — unless you wear an Apple Watch, that is.

No matter which model of Apple Watch you own, one of the biggest benefits it has is its “Emergency SOS” feature. In the United States, once activated, the Apple Watch will automatically call 911 emergency services and send emergency contacts the coordinates to your current location, if possible.

If you’re traveling abroad, your Apple Watch will call whatever local emergency service there is. However, in some countries, such as China, you have to set it to call either the police, fire department, or an ambulance beforehand.

 

How Different Apple Watches Call Emergency Services

If you have a newer Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) model, you don’t need to have your iPhone nearby to make an emergency call. Technically, you don’t even need to have a cellular carrier to call 911, just like you don’t need to with an iPhone, but it it doesn’t work as smoothly though. Aside from being able to record your runs and make calls, this is the number one reason to invest in a Series 3 model with cellular capabilities, not just GPS.

For other Apple Watch models, you’ll need to be connected to your iPhone, which also needs a cellular connection. Alternatively, if there is no cellular signal, an Enhanced 911 (E911) call can be made over Wi-Fi as long as you have “Wi-Fi Calling” enabled on your iPhone. Also, as long as you have “Wi-Fi Calling” turned on on your iPhone, you don’t need to be near the iPhone to call E911 either — your Apple Watch just needs to be connected to a known 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network.

• Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular): Can make 911 calls over its own cellular connection. Can make E911 calls with Wi-Fi calling enabled, with or without iPhone nearby, as long as connected to a known Wi-Fi network.
• Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS): Can make 911 calls over connected iPhone’s cellular network. Can make E911 calls with Wi-Fi calling enabled, with or without iPhone nearby, as long as connected to a known Wi-Fi network.
• Apple Watch Series 2: Can make 911 calls over connected iPhone’s cellular network. Can make E911 calls with Wi-Fi calling enabled, with or without iPhone nearby, as long as connected to a known Wi-Fi network.
• Apple Watch Series 1: Can make 911 calls over connected iPhone’s cellular network. Can make E911 calls with Wi-Fi calling enabled, with or without iPhone nearby, as long as connected to a known Wi-Fi network.
AT&T, C Spire, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless all support E911 calls over Wi-Fi. However, emergency calls over Wi-Fi might not be supported outside of the US.

Making Sure Wi-Fi Calling Is Enabled on Your iPhone

No matter if you have an Apple Watch with cellular capabilities or not, you’ll want to enable “Wi-Fi Calling” in order to make E911 calls when there is no cellular connection available. This is especially important when you don’t have your iPhone nearby during an emergency, because your Apple Watch can use an existing trusted Wi-Fi network nearby, if one is available, to call emergency services.

To make sure this is set up, on your iPhone, open up the Settings app, then select “Phone,” followed by “Wi-Fi Calling.” After that, tap “Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone” to toggle it on, if not already enabled.

After tapping the toggle, you’ll be greeted with a confirmation prompt giving you more details about what this setting does. Hit “Enable” to finish things up.

Once back on the “Wi-Fi Calling” screen, it’s a good idea to select “Update Emergency Address” to make sure the address matches where you will be, since emergency technicians may use this as a basis if they can’t find your exact coordinates. If you’re in your hometown, your home address is likely best here. If traveling, maybe your hotel information.

 

Make Sure ‘Hey Siri’ Is Working on Your Apple Watch

As you’ll see in a bit, one way to call 911 with your Apple Watch is to use the “Hey Siri” command, but that will only work if you have “Hey Siri” enabled. To make sure it’s on, go to the Settings app on your Apple Watch, then tap “General.” Next, select “Siri,” then make sure “Hey Siri” is toggled on.

If you cannot toggle it on, you likely have Siri turned off on your iPhone. While “Hey Siri” does not need to be enabled on your iPhone, Siri itself does need to be in order for it to work on your Apple Watch. On your iPhone, open up Settings, then select “Siri & Search.” On the next screen, make sure “Press Home for Siri” or “Press Side Button for Siri” is toggled on. If not, tap it, then “Enable Siri” on the popup. Then try enabling “Hey Siri” on your Apple Watch again.

Set Your Emergency SOS Preferences

When it comes to actually calling emergency services, there are two ways you can go about it, depending on how you set things up. On your iPhone, open up the Apple Watch app, tap on the “My Watch” tab, then select “General.” From the list of options that appear, select “Emergency SOS.”

Here, you have two options. If “Hold to Auto Call” is toggled on, you’ll just have to hold down the side button on your Watch for about five seconds. When this is toggled off, you will only be able to long-press the side button to bring up the option to activate an emergency call by swiping.

On is probably the best option because, in some emergencies, such as struggling in the water, press-holding is a surefire way to make the call, while swiping on the screen may not work properly because of the capacitance.

If you’d like a close relative or friend to be contacted automatically about the emergency, you can set up an emergency contact in the Health app on your iPhone.

After a call to 911 has finished, this contact (or contacts) will receive a text message with your current location — even if “Location Services” is turned off — though, you can cancel this if it’s nothing too serious. They may also get periodic updates if your location changes, which can help them find you at the hospital when you get there, if that’s the case.

Calling 911 from Your Apple Watch

With everything set up and ready to go, calling 911 or another emergency service is super easy, and there are a few ways to do it, depending on how you set things up.
If you have “Hold to Auto Call” enabled above, long-press the side button on your Watch. Keep long-pressing it until a successful call has been made. The power menu will appear briefly, then a countdown from “3” will begin, alerting you with a sound and vibration. When the countdown is over, the call will be made.

This other way works whether or not “Hold to Auto Call” is enabled. Just long-press the side button, then when the power menu appears, swipe the “Emergency SOS” slider to the right to immediately make the call.

Alternatively, if you can’t reach the button on your Watch for some reason, you can also use Siri to call 911 for you. After saying “Hey Siri, call 911” to your Apple Watch, a countdown will begin, and the call will go through after five seconds. You can also tap “Call” to make it right away or “Cancel” to stop it.

If you can’t speak, emergency services still may be able to locate you after making the call. You can also try using Siri to text 911 a distress message, but very few call centers in the US can handle emergency texts, and you’ll like get a response saying to call 911 instead.

 

How Emergency Services Can Track You Down

After placing a call to 911, the first thing you should do it tell them where you’re at so they can locate you even if the call gets cut off. If you can’t speak, though, how do they know where you’re located?

There’s no easy way to say exactly what will happen in every scenario since different carriers utilize different technologies to communicate with public-safety answering points, and those call centers may or may not be equipped to handle wireless enhanced 911 calls for each carrier, if at all. Keep in mind, when making cellular calls to 911 from an Apple Watch, the call may use the Watch’s cellular capabilities, if any, or use your nearby iPhone’s cellular network.

• If you’re using a carrier-branded hotspot to call over Wi-Fi, the 911 call will likely be made to the 911 communications center that services that hotspot’s area, and that hotspot may serve as a basis for locating you.
• When making a Wi-Fi call using another trusted network, the call center may use your “Emergency Address” that you added when setting up Wi-Fi Calling, so always make sure this is up to date.
• When making the call over a cellular network, they may or may not receive a general location based on which cellular tower the call came from.
• In some cases, the call center may “re-bid,” or refresh, the data to receive a more accurate location thanks to AGPS and other technologies, if making the call over a cellular network.
• When an approximate location is unattainable, the call center may use your “Emergency Address” that you added when setting up Wi-Fi Calling, so always make sure this is up to date.

You can visit AT&T, C Spire, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, or Verizon Wireless to learn more about how each carrier handles 911 calls on their end.

If you’re unresponsive when the police or emergency medical technicians get to you, they can use your “Medical ID” on your Apple Watch to see basic information about you, such as age, weight, medication allergies, etc., if you previously added that info in iOS. You can add Medical ID information via the Health app on your iPhone.

After the 911 call has ended, your emergency contacts, if any, will get texts with your location data, and they may continue to get updates on your location until you cancel.

Real-Life Examples of How Apple Watch Saves Lives

John Dovgin’s muscles gave out when about to take his boat out on Lake Michigan with his wife in late-April 2018. He fell into the cold water and was at risk of drowning. John’s wife, Mary, threw a life ring at him to hold onto, but also went into the water to make sure he did not drown. She was able to get emergency crews there to help pull John out of the water after using Siri on her Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) to call 911 using its cellular connection.

A few months before that, Kacie Anderson was stopped at a red light when her car was struck by a drunk driver. She and her child were flung around inside the car before it came to a stop. Unable to find her iPhone after the crash, she then used the side button on her Apple Watch to call 911 for help. The child only had minor injuries, but Kacie suffered a severe concussion, brain swelling, and bulging disks.

In April 2017, Casey Bennet was driving to class when he was hit by another driver, which flipped his Jeep over and caused him to be trapped by the seat belt and the deployed airbag. His iPhone was out of reach, but he was able to use the long-press shortcut on his Apple Watch to call 911 for help.

These are just a few instances where the Apple Watch has saved lives.

Preventing Accidental 911 Calls from Apple Watch

As helpful as Emergency SOS is, it does have a downside. If the “Hold to Auto Call” option is toggled on, which is the default position, there’s a chance you could accidentally call 911 when you’re sleeping. If you’re a light sleeper, the loud sounds and vibrations during the countdown should wake you, but if you’re a deep sleeper, you may make an unintentional emergency call.

There are plenty of stories of Apple Watch owners having the police show up unexpectedly. Some triggered the call while sleeping, while others have triggered it when changing Watch bands. To keep this from happening, just make sure “Hold to Auto Call” is disabled.

 

 

 

How do you feel about using the iPhone and the Apple Watch as Personal Safety Devices? Sound off in the Comments below!

Advertisements

Weekly Round Up 6/15/18

 

Um, anything more sophisticated than the Self-Check out lines in Walmart will be hard for the American Public to master, guys.
No more grocery checkout lines: Microsoft may rival Amazon with tech that cuts out the cashier

 

Well, if nothing else is working….
Using tech to stop phone-wielding drivers

 

We don’t hear enough good things about Tech these days….
6 ways tracking tech is changing the world for the better

Whatever happened to just going to camp and being a kid?
NDSU summer tech camp designed to encourage young girls to pursue a career in technology

My favorite story of the week…
Apple closing tech loophole police use to crack iPhones

Please God, No. Make it Stop.
Drone swarms are the new fireworks lighting up China’s skies

 

Trump will never be able to wrap his tiny, barely used brain around this….
The Guy Who Created Oculus Has Now Made Surveillance Tech That Acts As A Virtual Border Wall

Literally what they do best….
Apple Shuns the Tech Industry’s Apology Tour

Tales From the Orchard: Apple Just Made Safari the Good Privacy Browser

 

By Lily Hay Newman of Wired.com

APPLE ANNOUNCED A slew of new software features at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, including an augmented reality upgrade and animojis that can stick out their tongues when you do. But the company’s latest desktop and mobile operating systems contain a more subtle, yet more radical, innovation. The newest version of Apple’s Safari browser will push back hard against the ad-tracking methods and device fingerprinting techniques that marketers and data brokers use to monitor web users as they browse. Starting with Facebook.

The next version of Safari will explicitly prompt you when a website tries to access your cookies or other data, and let you decide whether to allow it, a welcome step toward explicit choices about online tracking. Safari will also make a dent in defeating the so-called “fingerprinting” approach, in which marketers use publicly accessible information about devices—like the way they’re configured, the fonts they have installed, and the plug-ins they run—to assign them an individual, trackable ID. In macOS Mojave and iOS 12, Safari will scrub much of this data, exposing only generic configuration information and default fonts. The browser will also stop supporting legacy plugins. The idea is to make your Mac indistinguishable from millions of others, muting the fingerprinting effect.

“Data companies are clever and relentless,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said on Monday, explaining why Apple pushed to add these features. The company calls the set of tools “Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0,” and they feature WebKit changes, like eliminating a 24-hour grace period that gave trackers a day of cookie access.

The new version of Safari will also help improve password hygiene by offering to generate, autofill, and store strong passwords. It’s a well-intentioned approach, although one that can be problematic depending on how it’s deployed. The browser will now also audit password reuse to try to discourage people from using the same password for multiple services—a crucial way consumers can reduce their risk of being impacted by data breaches.

The antitracking features continue Apple’s assault on ad tech; last year’s Safari update prevented video and audio from autoplaying, and the then-nascent Intelligent Tracking Prevention Webkit tool worked to identify and block tracking cookies. This year’s updates, though, take things a step further by significantly expanding the tracking techniques Safari can block or warn users about.

Apple’s not the only company to toughen up its browser against privacy and security menaces. As with Chrome’s Do Not Track mechanism, Apple seems to have based some of the new Safari protections on research from Mozilla, which offers its own protections in the Firefox browser. In February, Chrome also started offering native ad-blocking measures to bring more comprehensive protections to users based on standards from the Coalition for Better Ads. There are also browser plugins like Ghostery, Privacy Badger, and Adblock Plus to help stymie various tracking techniques. But Apple’s efforts in Mojave and iOS 12 appear to be the most prominent and comprehensive yet.

Though the new privacy mechanisms will potentially hinder all sorts of tracking, Apple specifically called out Facebook’s massive ad network—which is known for employing an array of user tracking strategies, like its ubiquitous “Like” buttons. In one of the slides depicting an example of how Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 will work, Apple’s Federighi showed a Safari page open to Facebook with a popup notification reading “Do you want to allow ‘facebook.com’ to use cookies and website data while browsing ‘blabbermouth.net’? This will allow ‘facebook.com’ to track your activity.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request from WIRED for comment, and the platform is certainly not the only large ad network incorporating these techniques. But it’s a prominent player that has received extensive criticism for letting a variety of user data tracking tools run rampant. The company’s chief information security officer Alex Stamos noted on Twitter that it doesn’t seem like the new Safari will block tracking pixels or Javascript components, which are notorious for being exploitable as trackers or by bad actors for malicious activity.
Stamos seemed more focused on blasting Apple’s attempt to single Facebook out, but it’s true that this generation of Intelligent Tracking Prevention will inevitably have limitations. It’s difficult to fully block online tracking methods without also eroding website usability, and different privacy initiatives have approached dealing with this conflict in different ways.

“The consent popups will be a big deal to people. It’s more visual so you know that they are attempting to track you versus it just happening in the background silently,” says Will Strafach, an iOS security researcher and the president of Sudo Security Group. “I guess the real test will be how well these measures work and how advertisers and trackers will react.”

Google and Firefox already offer plenty of solid ad-blocking and antitracking mechanisms, and offer a host of other features that may make them more desirable than Apple’s browser. But if privacy matters most to you, it might be time to give Safari a try.

What’s your preferred browser or method for protecting your privavy online? Sound off in the comments below!

WIT: Helen Dixon-New Privacy Rules Could Make This Woman One of Tech’s Most Important Regulators

With Europe’s sweeping new data privacy law, Ireland is in the middle of a standoff between regulators and tech companies.

By Adam Satariano of the NYTimes

DUBLIN — If Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t know who Helen Dixon is, he will soon.
From an unassuming townhouse in the Irish capital, Ms. Dixon, the country’s data protection commissioner, leads an agency that was once a bureaucratic backwater. Employees share offices and have few of the perks available in Facebook’s building nearby: The main free amenities here are water, coffee and tea.

Yet Ms. Dixon will soon gain vast new authority to investigate and fine Facebook, as well as an array of other technology giants with regional headquarters in Ireland. Amid increased concerns over online privacy, a sweeping new European privacy law could make her one of the world’s most consequential regulators.
She is eager to test her newfound power. But the question remains whether her tiny agency is able — or willing — to stand up to tech behemoths of Silicon Valley.

“There’s a wave coming toward us that we need to push back against,” Ms. Dixon, who spent the first 10 years of her career working for tech companies, said in an interview.

Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation is seen by experts as the world’s most aggressive set of internet privacy rules. It is expected to come into force on May 25, and it will give more than 500 million people living in the European Union the right to keep companies from collecting personal data, or to have it deleted. Regulators like Ms. Dixon will be able to fine companies up to 4 percent of global revenue — equivalent to about $1.6 billion for Facebook.

The privacy law highlights broader skepticism of Silicon Valley in Europe, where regulators have punished companies for violating tax and antitrust laws, not doing enough to stop the spread of hate speech and misinformation online, and intrusively gobbling up data on consumers.

Ireland in particular is taking center stage in the wide-ranging battle. The country is the European headquarters for data-hungry companies including Airbnb, Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn.

If companies do not comply with the law, Ms. Dixon said, “they will suffer consequences.”

But for all the tough talk, the reality is that her agency subsists on an annual budget of 7.5 million euros, equivalent to $9 million. That’s roughly as much revenue as the companies she oversees generate over all in 10 minutes. Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, has hundreds of people globally working on data protection regulation alone, including lawyers and privacy experts hired in Dublin.

The data protection office was once an afterthought. During an effort by the Irish government to move less-critical agencies out of Dublin, it was relocated in 2006 50 miles west to a town called Portarlington, population 8,368. Its power was so limited that it could not publicize investigations.

Ms. Dixon, whose father was an army officer and mother a schoolteacher, grew up in a small town in central Ireland before moving to Dublin for university. She worked for companies including the business software firm Citrix Systems before moving into government. She later received a postgraduate diploma in computer science.
Fittingly for her current position, Ms. Dixon guards her privacy. She will not share her age, other than saying she is in her “40s,” and she has become more careful with data since taking the job. She does not use Facebook or Instagram (though she does have a LinkedIn profile).

Since taking over in 2014, Ms. Dixon has successfully lobbied for more funding and got the headquarters put back in Dublin. A move to a bigger office is in the works. She has hired lawyers, investigators and engineers. The staff will total 140 this year, up from 30 when she joined, with plans to reach 200 in the next few years, if budget increases are approved.

But if data privacy is truly a priority globally, Ms. Dixon said, more resources are needed. Her office is actually among the better funded privacy agencies globally, but is still a minnow compared with, say, Ireland’s financial services regulator, which has a budget about 40 times greater.

“The question for governments is, how much enforcement do we want to do, how seriously do we want to take the risk to our fundamental rights and freedoms in this area?” said Ms. Dixon, carrying a bound copy of the new law. “We need the funding and resources commensurate with the level of importance. This office would suggest it should be far more highly resourced.”

Budgetary constraints are not new to regulators overseeing powerful industries. But privacy groups worry that without strong oversight, the European rules, years in the making, will do little to crimp the power of Silicon Valley.

There is evidence those concerns are well founded. In a Reuters survey of privacy regulators in 24 European Union countries, 17 said they did not have the needed funding or legal powers to enforce data protection regulation. Ireland did not participate in the survey.

Ms. Dixon must also contend with skepticism among privacy advocates, stemming largely from Ireland’s history of lax oversight of the technology industry.

Her predecessors are faulted for not taking earlier action against Facebook, even when complaints were filed years ago about data-mining practices similar to those eventually used by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The European Commission in 2016 also ordered Ireland to recoup about $15.6 billion in unpaid taxes from Apple. (The decision is being appealed.)

“The culture has to be changed,” said Max Schrems, a Austria-based lawyer and online privacy advocate who filed the earlier complaints against Facebook. “You can have the best law, but if nobody enforces it, then you’re not going to go anywhere.”

Advocates of the new law say it is already having a positive impact and that oversight is spread out. A new European Data Protection Board will help coordinate investigations and pool resources across European Union countries, giving regulators outside Ireland the ability to bring action. The data protection regulation also allows private groups to recruit consumers into class-action-style complaints — not as common in Europe as the United States — that could result in sizable damages against businesses.

A looming question, however, is how much people really care. Ms. Dixon cited Facebook’s most recent financial report, which showed growing user numbers, revenue and profit, despite the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

“We should be acting as data protection authorities in the name of data subjects, but you often as a regulator in this space have the feeling that you’re not mandated by the general public,” she said. “Either they don’t care or they actively oppose what we’re doing.”

Representatives from the technology industry have made regular visits to the converted 18th-century Georgian home used by Ms. Dixon’s team. Aware that a public backlash is putting pressure on regulators to rein in Silicon Valley, Facebook and others have been courting Ms. Dixon, putting forward their case that their data protection policies comply with the new European law.

“We’ve really leapt into explaining what we’ve done and the thinking that’s gone into that,” said Stephen Deadman, Facebook’s global deputy chief privacy officer. “I’ve got faith and confidence that the way Helen Dixon’s office will perform its function will be true to the spirit and requirements of G.D.P.R., rather than being blown around by whatever is happening in the media.”

Google and Twitter declined to comment.

Even with limited resources, Ms. Dixon is studying her adversaries.

When Mr. Zuckerberg testified before Congress last month, she stayed up late at home despite the time difference to watch as the Facebook chief executive answered questions.

Asked if she had a message for him and other tech executives, she said they should expect her to use her new powers “to the fullest.”

App of the Week: Actions by Moleskine

Moleskine’s productivity app is as addictive as its notebooks. The legendary notebook maker’s third app is the epitome of simplicity.

By Jesus Diaz of fastcodesign.com

The infinite descending spiral of chaos that I call “my life” is always in dire need of organization. While I should probably give up and embrace the madness, from time to time I’ve tried different task managers, apps, and tools in an effort to reign in the four horsemen of my personal apocalypse (work, family, friends, and hobbies).

Today, I gave Moleskine’s new Actions app a shot.

Moleskine–the manufacturer of the popular paper notebooks of the same name–has been trying to gain a foothold in the digital space for years. Its first app, 2015’s Journal, tried to mimic the feel of real-world Moleskine journals using a terrible skeuomorphic interface. It never made it big and got lost in a sea of journal apps and bad reviews. By 2016, Moleskine had seemingly realized that replicating physical products in the digital world was pointless. It released the
Moleskine Timeline app, an elegant and clean calendar application with a minimal interface that reviewers call simple and effective.

The company’s new Actions app builds on its success, integrating with Timeline (as well as Siri) to keep you on track. It’s a to-do list that turns your items into “actions,” whether that means errands, homework, or something fun. And just like Timeline, its interface is so clean, simple, and precisely laid out that using it feels a little like unwrapping a real Moleskine journal and smelling it with a deep breath–though it doesn’t try to literally replicate that feeling with its design.

Unlike plenty of other to-do apps, Actions doesn’t try to nest tasks, establish any multi-step processes,  or organize your actions in any way except by time and category. It simply allows you to create to-do items in the form of cards that get clearly laid out on a timeline.

On the app’s home page, you’ll find the “Schedule,” with your pending tasks organized on a linear weekday timeline: Today, I have to go buy some bonito for Saturday’s lunch. Tomorrow, finish that illustration of David Bowie. Sunday I have to fix a chair and Monday get a blood test. Each of these tasks can belong to a color-coded category, so I can see what I’ve to do at a glance.

 

Actions also has a “Logbook” section, which keeps a record of all the tasks you’ve completed. At least for me, it’s a necessary thing for personal satisfaction and mental closure; I get a kick out of completing tasks and striking them off on a list, and I also like to look back to savor it. Your completed actions pop up in your Logbook after you’ve completed them, and you can set exactly how long it takes for them to be logged.

Finally, there’s the “Lists” view. Here you can set up the categories to classify your actions (and see the latest tasks in each category). Each category can be color-coded for easy identification (all my Co.Design-related tasks are a nice gray, for example). Picking a color is a nice playful touch that contrasts with the general sobriety of the interface: colored circles appear on the screen like moving molecules, stopping for you to make your pick. If you press on one of the circles and throw it, it will bounce around like a ball for a second.

And that’s it. The actions are always shown in card form, color-coded by category. With a right swipe you can mark an action as complete, and with a left swipe you can reschedule it. You can also set them to repeat, but instead of pre-filling the rest of your life with repeated actions (like “Laundry”), the app will only add the recurring task once the previous instance is complete or expired. The latter is a nice touch that avoids adding unnecessary clutter to your digital life.

There are many task managers out there. Many of them are very good. I’ve tried most, and they always seem to do too much. Eventually, they complicate your life more than simplify it. There’s a point at which organization can turn into its own arduous task. On the flip side, some of these apps try to be simple–like Apple’s Reminders–but end being confusing and limiting.

Actions gets it right, avoiding the pitfalls of either side with good UX and clean design. A tight set of features coupled with simple UI forces you to unclutter your tasks, mentally, as a first step to tackle them in your daily life. After all, refocusing on the bare necessities is the key to a better life–online and off.

Download Actions foriOS
Not available for Android as of this posting.


Do you have a favorite Task Manager App? Tell us about it in the comments below.

How to: Enable Markup Annotation Tools in MacOS

 

 

 

By Tim Hardwick of MacRumors

Recognizing the utility of Markup annotation tools, Apple has extended their availability in recent versions of iOS, but it’s worth bearing in mind that you can access a similar and equally useful annotation toolset within several native Mac applications.

In macOS, accessing an application’s Markup toolbar lets you draw on and annotate images or PDF documents within the app using arrows, shapes, and text. You can also use it to quickly sign a document with your digital signature.

We’ve highlighted which native apps support Markup in this article. But before you can access the toolset in desktop apps, you’ll need to check that the relevant extension is enabled on your Mac. Keep reading to learn how it’s done.

How to Enable the Markup Extension in macOS

  • Click the Apple () symbol in your Mac’s menu bar and select System Preferences….

 

  • Click the Extensions preference pane.
  • Click Actions in the left column of the Extension pane.

 

  • If it isn’t already ticked, Click on the box next to the Markup extension in the right column.

One of the most useful Markup integrations can be found in Mail. Once you’ve dragged an image into your message, hover your mouse cursor over it, click the arrow button that appears in the upper right corner, and select Markup from the dropdown menu.

Your attached image will be foregrounded with the Markup toolbar across the top, ready for you to apply your annotations.

Markup can be accessed in the same manner within TextEdit as well as some third-party document editors. To test whether it’s available, simply hover your cursor over the image once it’s inside your document and look for the arrow in the upper right corner.

In Preview, the Markup toolbar has its own button next to the Search input field on the right of the taskbar. You also get a few extra Markup tools here, like Adjust Color, Adjust Size, and Crop, so if you can’t annotate an image within your application of choice then Preview should be your next stop.

Finally, the Markup toolset is also accessible in Apple’s Photos application: Next time you’re editing an image, click the Extensions icon (the three dots in a circle) and select Markup to enter annotation mode.

 

Do you find Markup useful? Tell us in the comments below!

How to: reboot your router following urgent FBI warning about viruses.

Hundreds of thousands of Routers could be infected.

 

By Daniel Paez of Inverse.com

Even if your internet is running smooth and speedy, you still need to restart your router. On May 25, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a public service announcement to everyone with a router in their home or office warning that an unidentified group of cybercriminals may have mounted a large-scale attack on networked devices across the globe.

The FBI advised people to reboot their routers to “temporarily disrupt” the malware that could be infecting your device. The government agency also recommended you make sure your device is fully updated, secured using a strong password, and is encrypted.

Here’s a breakdown of what the FBI said happened and how you can reboot or reset your router, just in case your network was compromised.

 

In its warning, the FBI said that the agency didn’t yet know how or where the initial infections began, but the scope of that attack has grown significantly. Hundreds of thousands of home and office routers have been infected with malware known as VPNFilter.

“The actors used VPNFilter malware to target small office and home office routers,” stated the announcement. “The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device exploitation, and blocking network traffic.”

Cybersecurity firm Symantec recently published a list of devices that are known to be more vulnerable to this type of attack. It went on to say that most of the devices that are targeted are known to use default passwords or have not been updated to the latest version of its firmware.

If you’ve ever had problems connecting to the internet and have called tech support, the person on the other end of the line likely had you unplug your router. Rebooting — or power-cycling — your router gives it a fresh start and is generally one of the first steps recommended when troubleshooting your network device.

The FBI states power-cycling could interrupt VPNFilter, though Symantec states that this type of attack can persist even after a reboot. If you own one of the devices that are known to be susceptible to VPNFilter, you might want to reset your router to factory settings. This will require you to set up your WiFi all over again, but better safe than sorry.

 

How to Reset Your Router to Factory Settings

  • Rebooting: Unplug your router from its power outlet, don’t just turn it off. Wait about thirty seconds before plugging it back in. Finally, give the device a couple of minutes to turn back on.
  • Reset: You’ll find a small button on the back of your device that is labeled “Reset.” Holding this down will remove all customizations including passwords, usernames, and security keys, effectively wiping everything other than the latest version of firmware from the device. This will restore your router to its factory settings. From there you’ll need to follow your router’s set up instructions or call your internet service provider for assistance to get back online.

 

How do you feel about the FBI’s warning? Do you have tips on protecting your router and home network? Sound off in the comments below!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: