Category Archives: iOS

Automation with IFTTT

Image result for IFTTT

“If This, Then That”, or IFTTT, is a powerful and easy to use automation tool that can make your life easier. IFTTT is an easy way to automate tasks that could be repetitive or inconvenient. It operates on the fundamental idea of if statements from programming. Users can create “applets”, which are simply just scripts, that trigger when an event occurs. These applets can be as simple as “If I take a picture on my phone, upload it to Facebook”, or range to be much more complex. IFTTT is integrated with over 300 different channels,  including major services such as Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, and many others, which makes automating your digital life incredibly easy.

Getting Started with IFTTT and Your First Applet

Getting started with IFTTT is very easy. Simply head over to the IFTTT website and sign up. After signing up, you’ll be read to start automating by creating your first applet. In this article, we will build a simple example applet to send a text message of today’s weather report every morning.

In order to create an applet, click on “My Applets” at the top of the page, and select “New Applet”.

Now you need to select a service, by selecting the “this” keyword. In our example, we want to send a text message of the weather every morning. This means that the service will be under a “weather” service like Weather Underground. Hundreds of services are connected through IFTTT, so the possibilities are almost limitless. You can create applets that are based off something happening on Facebook, or even your Android/iOS device.

Next, you need to select a trigger. Again, our sample applet is just to send a text message of the weather report to your text in the morning. This trigger is simply “Today’s weather report”. Triggers often have additional fields that need to be filled out. In this particular one, the time of the report needs to be filled out.

Next, an action service must be selected. This is the “that” part of IFTTT. Our example applet is going to send a text message, so the action service is going to fall under the SMS category.

Like triggers, there are hundreds of action services that can be be used in your applets. In this particular action, you can customize the text message using variables called “ingredients”.

Ingredients are simply variables provided by the trigger service. In this example, since we chose Weather Underground as the trigger service, then we are able to customize our text message using weather related variables provided by Weather Underground such as temperature or condition.

After creating an action, you simply need to review your applet. In this case, we’ve just created an applet that will send a text message about the weather every day. If you’re satisfied with what it does, you can hit finish and IFTTT will trigger your applet whenever the trigger event occurs. Even from this simple applet, it is easy to see that the possibilities of automation are limitless!

App Review: Glitché

Fun fact: You can type the “é” character on Mac OS by holding down the “e” key until the following menu pops up:

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From there, simply select the second option with your mouse and you’ll be right as rain. I’m only telling you this because the application I’ll be discussing today is called Glitché, not “Glitche”.

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Glitché is an app that provides users with “a full range of tools and options to turn images into masterpieces of digital art.” That description is from the app’s official website; a website which also proudly displays the following quote:

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Either this quote is outdated or Mr. Knight is putting more emphasis on the word “compared” than I’m giving him credit for. While yes, one could argue that contextually a 0.99¢ application would comparatively seem like a free download to someone purchasing a nearly $400 post-production suite, I might be more inclined to ask how you define the word “free”.

You see, Glitché is actually 0.99¢…unless you want the other features. Do you want Hi-Res Exports? That’ll be $2.99. Do you want to be able to edit videos? Another $2.99, please. Do you want camera filters? $2.99 it is!

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So Glitché is actually more like $9.96, but that doesn’t sound as good as 0.99¢, does it? You might argue that I’m making a big deal out of this, but I’m just trying to put this all in perspective for you. From here on out I want you to understand that the program I’m critiquing charges $10 for the full experience, which is fairly expensive for a phone application.

Another issue I have with this quote and the description given by the website is that Glitché isn’t trying to compete with Adobe Photoshop. Glitché isn’t a replacement for your post-production suite nor is it your one-stop-shop for turning images into masterpieces of digital art; rather, Glitché strives to give you a wide selection of tools to achieve a very specific look. This aesthetic can best be described as a mixture of To Adrian Rodriguez, With Love and a modern take on cyberpunk. Essentially the app warps and distorts a given image to make it look visually corrupted, glitched, or of VHS quality. It’s a bit hard to describe, so here’s a few examples of some of the more interesting filters.

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Unedited photo for reference

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The “GLITCH” filter. Holding down your finger on the screen causes the flickering and tearing to increase. Tapping once stops the flickering.

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The “CHNNLS” filter. Dragging your finger across the screen sends a wave of rainbow colors across it. The color of the distortion can be changed.

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The “SCREEN” filter works like the “CHNNLS” filter, only it distorts the entire image.

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The “GRID” filter turns your image into a 3D abstract object akin to something one might see in an EDM music video.

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The “LCD” filter lets you move the colors with your thumb while the outline of your image remains fixed.

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The “VHS” filter applies VHS scan lines and warps more aggressively if you press your thumb down on the image.

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The “DATAMOSH” filter. The direction of the distortion depends on the green dot you press in the center reticle. The reticle disappears once the image is saved.

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The “EDGES” filter can be adjusted using both the slider below your image and with your thumb.

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The “FISHEYE” filter creates a 3D fisheye overlay you can move around on your image with your thumb.

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The “TAPE” filter works in a similar fashion to the “VHS” filter, only moving your thumb across it creates a more subtle distortion.

Listing off some of the individual filters admittedly isn’t doing the app justice. While you are able to use a singular filter, the app also allows you to combine and overlay multiple filters to achieve different effects. Here’s something I made using a combination of five filters:

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You can also edit video in a similar fashion (after paying the required $2.99).

The interface itself is simplistic and easy to navigate, though the application lacks certain features one might expect. You can’t save and load projects, you can’t favorite filters, and you can’t perform any complex video editing outside of applying a filter. The app has crashed on me a few times in the past, though this is a rare occurrence. The app is regularly updated with new features and filters.

So, 0.99¢ gets you 33 filters and limits you to Lo-Res exports and GIF exports. $9.96 gets you 33 filters, the ability to export in Hi-Res, the ability to export to GIF, the ability to edit videos, and the ability to record video in the actual application while using said filters.

I keep bringing this back to the cost of the app because that’s really the only place where opinions may vary. The app does what it sets out to do, but the price for the full package leaves a lot to be desired. There are definitely people out there who would gladly pay $10 for this aesthetic, and there are plenty more who would shake their head at it. If any of the filters or images I’ve shown you seem worth $10, then I think you’ll enjoy Glitché. However, if you think this app is a bit too simplistic and overpriced for what it is, I recommend you spend your money elsewhere. It really all boils down to the cost, as the app itself works fine for what it is. In my opinion, the app would be a great deal at $3 or even $5; however, $10 is a bit much to ask for in return for a few nifty filters.

 

Fitbit, Machine Learning, and Sleep Optimization


Photo: Fitbit Blog

My big present for Christmas this year was a Fitbit Charge 2. I’d wanted one for a while, but not for anything Fitness related. While I do like to keep track of my active lifestyle choices, I didn’t desire one with fitness in mind at all. My model Fitbit’s key feature (the reason I ditched my reliable $10 Casio watch for it) is its heart rate monitor. The monitor on my Charge 2 takes the form of two green, rapidly flashing LED lights. Visually and technically, it’s similar to the light you may be familiar with seeing underneath an optical mouse. Instead of tracking motion, though, this light’s reflection keeps track of the subtle changes in my skin’s color as blood pumps in and drains from my capillaries. It sends the data on time between color changes to my phone, which sends the information through a proprietary algorithm to determine my heart rate. Other algorithms take into account my average heart rate and my lowest heart rate to calculate my resting heart rate (55).

But in the end, these are all just numbers. Some people (like me) just like having this data, but what can you actually do with it? Well, the Fitbit has another interesting feature. It uses your heart rate and motion information to determine when you’ve fallen asleep, when you’ve woken up, and whether you’re sleeping deeply or restlessly. I can check my phone every morning for a graphical representation of my sleep from the previous night, and determine how well I slept, how long I slept, and how my sleep fits in with my desired regular schedule (11:45 to 7:45). Kind of cool, right?

With a new market emphasis on machine learning, and sleep researchers making strides in answering fundamental questions, things are about to get a lot cooler.

Everybody has experienced miraculous three-hour slumbers that leave them feeling like they slept a full night, and heartbreaking ten-hour naps that make them question whether they slept at all. Although most of us consider those simple anomalies, scientists have caught on, and are actively studying this phenomenon. From what I’ve gleaned online, scientists that study sleep find that allowing a sleeping subject to complete REM cycles (lasting about 90 minutes, with variation) results in fuller and more restoring sleep. In other words, 7 hours and 30 minutes can result in a better sleep than a full 8 hours. It sounds like quackery, but the evidence is widely available, peer-reviewed, and convincing to the layperson.

Machine learning has been a buzzword for at least the past year. The concept itself is worthy of an entire post, but to summarize it for my purposes, it’s a broad term that refers to programming algorithms that adjust their behavior based on data input. For example, programs that predict what a customer wants to buy will show ads to that customer on a variety of platforms and decide where to show those ads more often, based on how much time the customer spends on each platform. Machine learning is essentially automating programs to use big data to improve their predictive or deductive capabilities.

Let’s bring this all together for a look into the future: If my Fitbit can keep track of my heartbeat to a precise enough degree to determine when I am in REM sleep — or can use an intelligent, learning-capable algorithm to set alarms that give me an optimal amount of sleep — I can have a personalized, automatic alarm that adapts to my habits and improves my quality of rest. Would that convince you to buy one?

Finally Making the Switch: Android to iPhone

By now, as you’re reading this, I have made a life altering decision.

A decision not about school, work, stupid purchases, etc., but for the single thing I use everyday when I stumble out of bed in the morning and crash into the same bed at night. That’s right; I switched my brand of cellphone. Yes, I caved into an Apple technology dominated landscape and now own an iPhone.

I should premise this by saying that I am not anti-Apple or anti-Android. Not only have I owned at least 4 other Android phones before I got myself an iPhone (ranging from Samsung to LG to HTC), I also have a PC, Macbook Pro, iPad… you get the picture. So its safe to say I have been a mixed-technology kind of guy my whole life, I just (used to) prefer my phones be Android, sort of like how people prefer their eggs scrambled, shirts tucked in, black cars, how ever you compare it.

On to the good stuff…

The iPhone 6S Plus (source: three.co.uk)

This sexy piece of technology now sits snug in the pocket of my jeans or the pouch in my jacket every day, and follows me wherever I travel to. Being an owner of this device for the past two months, having never personally owned an iPhone, this device has completely blown my expectations out of the water. On the outside, a sleek design is highlighted by its large display, curvaceous edges, brushed aluminum that’s cold to the touch, and yes, that seemingly annoying camera bump.

I count on this thing to do EVERYTHING for me. My whole day is logged in to it. From schedules to work out plans to messages to health logging, this phone does it all for me. [Unpopular opinion trigger warning]: The iPhone is the better device. Over any Android phone, give me the S7, Note 7 (RIP), LG V20, G5, anything you name and I will surely be impressed with the function of my iPhone over them all.

Apple has done something right. For the past ten years, Apple has shown why they are the top dog in the smartphone department. People keep coming back to buy their newer iPhones and continue to be impressed. And this isn’t an opinion guys; this is fact.

U.S. Smartphone brand marketshare for 2015 (source: statisa)

U.S. Smartphone brand market share for 2015 (source: statisa)

According to statisa, the iPhone dominates the current smartphone market littered with many different brands, devices, and companies. Why has Apple, a company with one line of smartphone that comes out continue to have this much of a share over companies cranking out multiple smartphone lines every year? The answer is simple: Apple has perfected the smartphone.

The design, the operating system, the hardware inside, the features of the phone, you name it. All of these aspects continue to make the iPhone great (making iPhones great again). Yes, some Android devices may have stronger components, bigger storages, better cameras etc., but its the perfect blend of all the pieces together that makes the iPhone tower over the weaker competition. All of this, and I leave out the most important thing: functionality.

Functionality in an iPhone is much better than any Android phone I’ve ever used and owned. The iPhone is simply a smoother operating experience in its transitions, animations, multitasking, battery life. Its like upgrading to a brand new Audi, what a smooth ride, every time you hop in the driver’s seat and take it for a spin. After weeks of ownership, you can start to see a weakening in operation and delays in use on an Android phone. A couple months in, my iPhone shows now signs of slowing down.

Let’s face it folks, the iPhone is the best device you could buy. Sure, I’ll miss my expandable storage of my G4 (which is getting phased out of Android phones too), but for the best experience of a phone your money can buy, I’ll take it.

Today’s Virtual Reality Headsets

The world of Virtual Reality has had a dramatic increase in popularity in recent years. The technology that people have been waiting for has finally arrived and it comes in the form of a head-mounted display (HMD). There are many brands of HMD which range in their ability to achieve total immersion. The low-end forms of VR use a smartphone and a pair of lenses, like Google’s Cardboard:

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The Google Cardboard costs $15 and is about the cheapest form of VR you can find, assuming you already own a compatible smartphone.

The cheapest versions of VR use the same same lens-enclosure method of delivering VR. Users are limited to apps they can find on their phone’s app stores, which are buggy at best. Still, if you’re unsure whether or not you want to buy a more immersive HMD, this is a great way to get an idea of what you’ll be buying. The real immersion begins when the display and the technology inside is specifically designed for VR gaming.

The best VR experience while still keeping your wallet happy is from Samsung Gear VR, but it requires that you already own a recent Samsung Galaxy smartphone:

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Samsung Gear VR

AT $60, the Samsung Gear VR has some more intricate technology than the Google Cardboard allowing for a better experience. You could also add the Gear 360, which allows for “walk around the room” immersion for $350 but if you find that price point reasonable you may be better off in the high-end territory. The Gear VR has its own app store with games designed for use with it.

If you don’t have a Galaxy Smartphone, but you do have a PlayStation, you may be interested in what 25818482705_8a1bb716bf_bSony has been working on. Their VR HMD is the Playstation VR. At $400, the PSVR connects to your PlayStation for use with VR-enabled games. The PSVR is meant to be used with the Playstation Move Controllers which will add another $100 to your total. A Sony executive says plans to make PSVR compatible with PC may be in their future.

The high-end forms of VR include the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive:

HTC Vive

These HMDs are designed with PC games in mind. They provide an experience far superior to the cheap options but will run at a high price of $599 for the Rift and $799 for the Vive. The Vive includes two hand controllers which allow the user to have virtual hands for interacting with VR objects. Oculus is working on a similar device, the Oculus Touch, which is available for pre-order as of October 2016.

Oculus Rift

Many companies are investing in virtual reality and creating their own devices to compete with the front-runners. It is expected that the VR market will expand much further, especially once the price point of the high-end HMDs comes down. Virtual Reality is in a state of great potential; the applications of these headsets goes well beyond gaming. The military is interesting in them for training purposes. Educators can use them to teach students. Doctors can use them to treat psychological conditions. I have no doubt that Virtual Reality will eventually become part of our everyday lives.

iOS Programming with Swift

Want to develop an iPhone app? How do I start?

First, If you want to develop anything about Apple, you need a Mac. The only IDE(Integrated Development Environment) for developing apps on Apple platform is Xcode. Xcode is compatible with OS X and doesn’t support Windows. If you want to be a good programmer, starting with swift programming is a pretty good idea. Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. Writing Swift code is interactive and fun, the syntax is concise yet expressive, and Swift includes modern features developers love. Swift code is really easy to understand and produces software that runs lighting-fast. You even can learn Swift on iPad. Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary new iPad app that helps you learn and explore coding in Swift. Built-in lessons and challenges teach fundamental coding concepts as you write real Swift code in an interactive environment designed for touch.

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Basic syntax of Swift 

Constant and Variables

Constants and variables associate a name (such as maximumNumberOfLoginAttempts or welcomeMessage) with a value of a particular type (such as the number 10 or the string “Hello”). The value of a constant cannot be changed once it is set, whereas a variable can be set to a different value in the future.

letmaximumNumberOfLoginAttempts = 10

varcurrentLoginAttempt = 0

This code can be read as:

“Declare a new constant called maximumNumberOfLoginAttempts, and give it a value of 10. Then, declare a new variable called currentLoginAttempt, and give it an initial value of 0.”

In this example, the maximum number of allowed login attempts is declared as a constant, because the maximum value never changes. The current login attempt counter is declared as a variable, because this value must be incremented after each failed login attempt.

Functions

When you define a function, you can optionally define one or more named, typed values that the function takes as input, known as parameters. You can also optionally define a type of value that the function will pass back as output when it is done, known as its return type.

Every function has a function name, which describes the task that the function performs. To use a function, you “call” that function with its name and pass it input values (known as arguments) that match the types of the function’s parameters. A function’s arguments must always be provided in the same order as the function’s parameter list.

The function in the example below is called sayHello(_:), because that’s what it does—it takes a person’s name as input and returns a greeting for that person. To accomplish this, you define one input parameter—a String value called personName—and a return type of String, which will contain a greeting for that person:

funcsayHello(personName:  a href=”” String /a ) ->  a href=”” String /a  {

letgreeting = “Hello, ” + personName + “!”

returngreeting

}

 

Create a simple iOS app

1. Open Xcode and go to New -> Project

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2. Select Single View Application and click Next. Then you can set your project name, your team name and language etc. Click Next again, and you should be all set to start creating a iOS project.

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3. There is a navigation file bar on the most left side, and you should be able to see “Main.Storyboard” (graph 1). Storyboard is the place where you can do designs as well as interactions. There should be a default rectangular like iPhone screen showing up if you are in Storyboard. That is the default ViewController which basically is interface user can see in the real iPhone. If the app you are creating needs three interfaces, you need to create three ViewControllers. On this simple example, I just want to create an App called switchColor. There are two ViewControllers corresponding to two interfaces on this app. And there is one button on each ViewController to be used for switching background color. Let’s start do it.

                                 Graph 1

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4. Click the default viewController. On the right most sidebar of Xcode, you should see View setting (Graph 2).  Then you can change the background color to Blue.  Let’s also add a text on the screen. Type Label on the right bottom corner (Graph 3),  then drag the label to your blue background view controller. By double clicking that label, you can change text to whatever you want. Let’s change it to “ Hello World ! ” .

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Graph 3

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5. Let’s create another ViewController to represent another interface on the app. You can simply copy and paste old ViewController by pressing Command C + Command V or add a new viewController as the way we added Label. Then let’s change the background color of new viewController to Green.

6. You should see two different background color viewControllers in Storyboard now. Let’s add some interactions on it. Type button on the right bottom box and drag a Button to your Blue ViewController (Graph 4). Do the exactly same step again for the Green ViewController. Double click those two Buttons on the Storyboard, and you can change the texts on the buttons. Let’s change the text of Blue one to “Switch to Green”, and change the text of Green one to “Switch to Blue”.

Graph 4

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7. Final Step ! How do we add reactions for buttons ? Hold ‘control’ and click the Button you just created. If you try to drag the button to another ViewController, there will be an arrow showing up. You just need to point that arrow to the different ViewController (Graph 5). For example, you should click the “Switch to Green” button and drag the arrow from blue background ViewController to the green background ViewController as I show picture above. Then you need to do the same step for another ViewController such that your Storyboard should be like the picture I showed below.

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Graph 5

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The switching color App is done. You can run this app by clicking run button. If you click “Change to Green” button, the background will be changed to green. If you click “Change to Blue” button, the background will be changed to blue.

If you are interested doing Swift Programming and iOS app development,  you can check Apple Swift Guide on https://developer.apple.com/library/content/documentation/Swift/Conceptual/Swift_Programming_Language/index.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40014097-CH3-ID0 .

Working towards Perfect Information in the Digital Age

Voting with your dollar has been an idea since the earliest days of economic theory. It goes like this: In the absence of government intervention, ethical standards will be upheld by consumers, who will — being moral people — refuse to buy from companies that violate what they see as important rules and standards of ethical conduct.

As great as this idea sounds, for most of human history, it’s been a bit of a fantasy. After all, who but the most devoted of humanitarians with the most leisure time would take the time to research and evaluate every one of the companies they patronize? Like everyone interested in technology, you’re probably looking at this problem and wondering… Isn’t there an app for that? The answer is YES (http://www.buycott.com/): there IS an app for that. Multiple, in fact, but Buycott is my favorite. They crowd-source everything, and create a collaborative knowledge database on companies both in America and abroad, noting everything from corporate family trees to campaign donations.

Here’s how it works: You create an account, and the app immediately prompts you to choose from a number of causes that you feel strongly about. Be that GMO labeling or Female empowerment in developing countries, or even acceptance of Bitcoin, you can probably find a campaign that suits your interests. The idea is that you select support for multiple campaigns, then use the in-app barcode scanner to check items you plan to buy, and see how the companies you support stack up to your dearly held beliefs. If they don’t (which is a probability if you’re like me and buy a lot of cheap products from large, monolithic corporations), the campaign suggests an ideology-safe alternative.

Can’t find a cause you’re looking for? Make your own! All campaigns are user-generated and user-maintained, and on the off-chance you scan a product Buycott hasn’t yet heard of, it prompts you through a simple module to enter it into their database for the benefit of other users.

Never before has voting with your dollar and living according to your beliefs been so easy. Through technology, Buycott has created a community of consumers, dedicated to giving the buyer more bargaining power to engage in activism without giving up quality of life. As technology advances and people become more open to the idea of sharing their thoughts and activities with the world, we can move closer and closer towards a perfect market, in which all parties to an exchange know of alternatives, of each party’s activities, and of the moral character of those with whom we trade, and make redundant the clunky regulation of government intervention.

 

PS: There’s also a Chrome Extension

iOS 9, What To Expect

Apple announced iOS 9 this past June at it’s 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference. This year’s tagline, “A better experience with every touch” confirms the speculation that iOS 9 intends to focus on improving stability over the introduction of new features. The last two or so versions, especially iOS 7, focused heavily on features (along with iOS 8 which was expected to further refine the iOS 7 experience), but overall stability has since diminished with more recent releases. So for this release, the average user could reasonably expect improvements to speed, the ever more relevant battery life, and overall stability. iOS 9 is expected to be released autumn 2015, most likely around mid to late September following previous release trends.

iOS 9 Public Beta 1

Apple released the first public beta of iOS 9 to the masses on July 9th. It contained the following improvements to existing apps, and new features:

The News application (which may not be uninstalled) adds a native reddit styled system to iOS devices. It works based on topics a user indicates interest in, and touts its ability to condense information from multiple sources negating the need for a user to switch apps. News also focuses on “the rich and immersive design found in print with the interactivity of digital media.” (Click on photos to zoom.)

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Similarly to the OS X 10.11 “El Capitan” beta that is running concurrently, the Notes application is seeing some rather significant function overhauls. Notes may now contain photos, maps, and URLs, and users may also include drawings and native checklists. Users will be able to add content from basically everywhere, and the previous iCloud functionality will allow Notes to be by synced to other devices.

notes

Maps will now be able to provide public transit information (Note: Public transit information is currently limited to the following select cities: Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC, internationally in London, Toronto, and Berlin). Along with enhanced nearby location searching to find points of interest.

Maps (Transit)

Passbook has received a re-brand as Wallet and now has greater integration with Apple Pay introduced in iOS 8. Wallet will have integration for store specific cards, and reward cards (Dunkin’ Donuts Perks included). Users may now double-home-click while on the lock screen to access Apple Pay.

wallet

Siri has once more received an update to find information on a widening range of subjects. Siri is now able to return results faster, along with a small GUI change. Siri can (in a limited way) interact with some apps to create reminders. Siri is also now powering a search system referred to as Proactive. Proactive appears as a new search area that can be found by scrolling through the apps screens all the way to the left beyond the home screen (Basic search is still available if you pull down on an app screen). However, when Proactive is used the system is already pre-populated with frequent contacts, nearby points-of-interest, news, and suggested apps. Proactive also permeates elsewhere within iOS 9. Plug in headphones, and the podcast you left off on will resume where you left off, email will suggest contacts that are frequently emailed together, received messages that include events will be pre-loaded into your calendar, and unknown callers whose numbers have appeared in messages will get a “Maybe: <this person>” tag. Overall a lot of small features that end up being pretty slick.

siri proactive

Performance & Security

In the context of performance, iOS 9 is expected to streamline the update process by reducing the storage footprint required to perform the update. Users installing iOS 8 on top of the latest release of iOS 7 were required to have 4.58GB of storage. Users installing iOS 9 will only require 1.3GB of free storage, and if this is not available iOS 9 will be able to uninstall and reinstall applications to create adequate space.

Apple has touted extended battery life as part of the benefits to updating to iOS 9. Settings now includes a “low power” mode to extend battery lifetime when critically low. What is unsatisfactory, so far, is that even with optimizations and this low power mode, Apple is boasting extended lifetimes of only one hour.

iOS 9’s focus on security changes the default system passcode from four to six digits, or 10,000 to 1,000,000 possible combinations. Two-factor authentication will also see greater integration regarding AppleID based services.

Users of Android devices who desire to migrate to an iPhone will be able to use a Migration App that will securely copy a user’s contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free books. It will also suggest apps based on android downloads.

Android-Iphone

Other changes include:

  • System font change from Helvetica Neue to San Francisco
  • Settings are now searchable from within the settings application
  • Keyboard capitalization is now decidedly less ambiguous
  • Battery widget
  • Apps can take greater advantage of Metal graphics APIs

iPad Productivity (Finally)

iPad-only productivity features include Split View, Slide Over, Picture in Picture, and new features to the QuickType keyboard.

iPad (certain models) will now have the ability to multitask beyond the double-home-click to quickly jump between apps. Users will be able to pin two separate apps to half the screen (Split View, only confirmed on iPad Air 2) and/or open a second application without exiting the one a user is already in (Slide Over).

splitview

Slide over works by sliding a small tab from the right edge of the screen while in landscape orientation.

slideover

Picture in Picture will allow users watching video or Face-timing with someone to be able to open other applications underneath a floating miniaturized version of the video screen.

Picture in Picture

QuickType (if you were not already aware) is the name given to the default keyboard iOS uses. The next release includes three additions to functionality: a shortcut bar, easier text selection, and keyboard shortcuts. The new shortcut bar enables easy access to functions like bold or italicize. Using two fingers while typing allows you to quickly move the cursor along text. Shortcuts will work across all keyboards (onscreen + wireless) and shortcuts will vary by app but common ones include search or app switching.

Compatibility

According to Apple iOS 9 will be available on the following mobile devices:

  • iPod Touch 5th generation
  • iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6+
  • iPad 2, iPad 3rd generation, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad Air, iPad Air 2

Sources:
Apple Software Beta Program: https://goo.gl/1p2iTZ
Apple iOS Preview: http://goo.gl/NVOGpi

Stream services for TV and Movies

From cable-cutters to college students, nearly everybody is interested in video streaming services. You may be tempted to use torrenting software to get your TV shows and movies, but this software is notorious for landing people with copyright violation notices and occasionally some hefty fines. There are many legal alternatives to torrenting software, and I will discuss them here. Continue reading

Digital Education

ibooks_itunesu_ios7-600x300In today’s world, it seems that we have an application for everything. We have apps for managing our schedule, listening to music, and creating and editing video. We have apps for helping us watch what we eat and making sure we get enough exercise. We have apps for entertainment and we have apps for productivity. Within an application market filled to the brim with apps to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, it would just make sense to have an application dedicated to education. As of right now, this market resides as a largely untapped resource. Many of our readers have probably owned an iPhone at one point, and many of these owners have probably noticed an application called “iTunes U”, which they have probably ignored, myself included. iTunes U is Apple’s attempt at an app dedicated to education – populated with courses and integrated with iBooks and the cloud, iTunes U is a work in progress that has the potential to kick start the digital education market, and help revolutionize how we learn in this day and age.

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Listen to YouTube on iOS

YouTube has tons of uses – primarily video watching, but often podcasts and music can be found on the great video behemoth. While iOS 7 has plenty of music players, sometimes you want to listen to something you’ve found on YouTube without killing your battery by leaving the screen on. But when you want to listen (and not watch) a video on your iPhone, what do you do?
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iOS Apps: Comic Book Readers

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Reading comic books has been a cherished pastime since the 1900s, and comic strips  were even getting published as early as in the 1800s. As technology advances, the way we read comics changes – while some still buy physical comic books, many of us have opted to go digital. There are plenty of programs to use to read comics on your computer (check out this LifeHacker article for a few good recommendations), but what if you want to read comics on the go? There are a lot of options out there, but we’re going to go over a few that are widely considered to be the best iOS apps for reading comics.

If you’re an Android user, check out our article Android Apps: Comic Book Readers.
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How Does the “Cloud” Really Work?

cloud

Cloud Computing is becoming increasingly popular among both businesses and consumers; but what is the “Cloud” and how does it work?

A Cloud Computing System can be divided into two parts: the Front End and the Back End.  The Front End consists of either a user’s computer or a network of computers connected to the Internet.  The Back End is comprised of many different servers, computers, and storage databases that are all interconnected; these components, functioning together as a whole, form a “Cloud”.  A central server exists to administer the entire system, constantly monitoring it to prevent failures.  All these different components interact and communicate with each other through the Internet, forming a web of inter-connected, redundant devices.

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Reddit on the Go

Reddit is a popular online website that allows sharing of user created content as well as other material found online via articles, pictures, text based stories or comments, and videos. If you use it, you might want to access Reddit from your mobile device, as Reddit isn’t optimized for mobile browsers.

There are a lot of Reddit browsing apps available for mobile devices, and most of them are fantastic. But how do you choose which one to use? The easiest way to figure out which app works best for you is to try them, and here are a few free suggestions that might be worth checking out.

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Note Taking on a Touch Screen Device

It seems more and more that paper is on its last legs of usefulness. Most readings are posted online and books can be read on anything from your computer to your phone. One of the few things remaining is taking notes in class. Most touch screen devices don’t have the sensitivity or the speed to take down notes as fast as you can put ink to paper, at least until now. Touch screen devices now have the capability to nearly match paper, with the obvious benefits of having a digital copy of your notes and even helping the environment. Many professors post lecture slides online before class and having a touch device makes it easy to write on them without wasting tons of money on prints (and if you’re taking Organic Chemistry it is incredibly helpful). With that said, there are a couple options to choose from.

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5 Apps Every College Student Should Have

Most students on campus have these devices called smart phones, but what makes them so smart? Most people would tell you it’s because they are able to do more than just call and text, you can check Facebook, Twitter, reddit, and watch all the cat videos you want from a device that fits conveniently in your pocket. These phones have other features too, and some of them could help make your college career a more enjoyable experience.
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