Category: Operating Systems

You can set your iPhone or iPad to update iOS overnight

Article

Automatically Install iOS Software Update in the Middle of the Night | OS X Daily

My Comments

Those of you who run an Apple mobile device i.e. the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch will end up keeping iOS which is the device’s operating software updated. But you may find that the software update will have your device out of action while it is downloading or installing.

Why can’t this be possible for that iPhone to be updated to the latest iOS version while I am asleep? You can achieve this goal.

What does your iOS device need?

Backing up device data

You need to back up your iOS device’s data, preferably to the iCloud incase something goes awry during an update such as a bad download. Here, you cam manually backup the device to iCloud over-the-air or to iTunes on your regular computer. Or you can set up iCloud to automatically backup your iOS device every night.

The backup will save your device’s app list, local data held by your apps, user credentials associated with online services where you use a native-client app, your email setup details and, most importantly, your Camera Roll.

Setting up your device

Power

Your iOS device needs to be connected to an AC power source as if for charging. You may think that you may get away with an external battery pack but you are never sure if they are in a position to last the distance, so it is a better idea to stick with an AC charger.

Wi-Fi

As well, your would have to connect your iOS device to your Wi-Fi network. If you are dealing with a public-access network that implements Web-based login like the one in your university’s residence hall / dorm or your favourite hotel or B&B, make sure your iOS device is logged in to that network with the “login-confirmed” page kept open in Safari. With these networks, you could enable both the “Auto-Join” and “Auto-Login” functions so that you stay logged in on the networks.

Similarly, if you make a habit of shutting the Wi-Fi or Internet off overnight, either to save money or protect yourself from perceived radiation dangers, you would need to keep the Wi-FI and Internet on to facilitate this update.

Start overnight updating

When you see the “Software Update” reminder screen pop up, select the “Later” option.

This will offer you an option to remind you later or install the update tonight. Select the latter option for overnight installation to commence.

Your iOS device will commence downloading the latest version of the iOS operating software at a time between 2am and 5am and then deploy that software. This will involve the iOS device power-cycling so as to fully “cement” the new operating software.

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Apple AirDrop has a compatibility mode to cater to older Macs

Article Apple MacBook Pro running MacOS X Mavericks - press picture courtesy of Apple

AirDrop Not Working? Use Compatibility Mode for New Mac to Old Mac AirDrop Support | OS X Daily

My Comments

You have two Macintosh computers with one running an older version of MacOS X. Then you want to try that AirDrop file-transfer lark that Apple encourages for its platforms.

Here you may find that your Macs can’t “see” each other on AirDrop. What can you do?

You may have to run AirDrop on the newer Mac in a “compatibility mode” that allows it to behave properly for older interations of Apple’s file-transfer utility.

  1. To do this, you have to open a Finder window on the Macintosh running the latest OS X version.
  2. Then you choose AirDrop on that same Mac and make an attempt to discover older Macs that are enabled and “exposed” for AirDrop. A quicker way in would be to press Shift+Command+R together to start your AirDrop session.
  3. The result will be that AirDrop will show up Macs and iOS devices running suitable versions of their operating systems and open for discovery. If you don’t see the Mac you are looking for – the one which is running an older operating system, click the “Don’t see what you are looking for” text. This will pop up a dialog box with an option to “Search for an older Mac”.
  4. Clicking this will place your Mac in to “compatibility mode” which allows it to discover older iterations of AirDrop. Here, you wait a moment and your newer Mac will show up the Macs running the older operating system as an AirDrop target (destination). Then you begin your file transfer.

If you intend to transfer files between newer Macs or iOS devices, you need to disable compatibility mode. Here, if you are performing a subsequent AirDrop file-transfer and your Mac says that it is looking for older Macs, you just click “Cancel” then look for targets that are based on the new OS X or iOS operating systems.

I would recommend using the Compatibility mode if you are in doubt about the version of OS X the Mac you want to transfer files to or from to is running and you are not sending or receiving files from an iPhone or iPad.

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Moving between Macintosh and Windows

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Use these resources together if you are working both Windows systems and the Apple Macintosh.Working on both Macintosh and Windows

Microsoft

Making The Switch: MacBook to Microsoft Surface Book

Apple

Switching PC Habits

My Comments

Increasingly Windows computers have reached or eclipsed the kind of aesthetic and stability calibre associated with Apple’s Macintosh computers especially the MacBook portable-computer family.

But a person who works on the Apple Macintosh platform will typically find it hard to move their computing life over to a Windows-based computer. This situation may also be of use for anyone who is working a “multi-platform” environment where they maintain a Macintosh and a Windows-based computer.

Microsoft’s article is focused on their new Surface Book but the instructions apply more or less to anyone who is moving from MacOS X to Windows 10 or a Mac user who is wanting to be familiar with the new Windows 10 operating system or know how it works.

Apple does provide similar resources for people who are used to the Windows platform moving towards the Macintosh platform ever since people moved from Windows because of Windows Vista.

Most of the basic keyboard shortcuts are:

Apple Windows
Undo Command-Z Ctrl-Z
Select All Command-A Ctrl-A
Cut Command-X Ctrl-X
Copy Command-C Ctrl-C
Paste Command-V Ctrl-V
Save this document Command-S Ctrl-S
Print this document Command-P Ctrl-P
Refresh Webpage / screen Command-R Ctrl-R or F5
Switch between open programs Command-Tab Alt-Tab
Hide current program Command-H
Command-M (Minimise)
 Windows-(Down Arrow)
Hide all programs  Command-(Mission Control) Windows-M
Stop current program Command-Q Alt-F4
Force a program to stop Command-Option-Esc

Macintosh

The Command key on the Macintosh is the one with a snowflake and / or Apple symbol on it.

The “Mission Control” key will be the F3 key on recent equipment or F11 on older equipment.

Windows

The Windows key on Windows computers has a window icon and / or the Start word on it.

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Could the Android and Windows platforms strengthen each other?

Article

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 smartphone

Android moving closer ti Windows as a platform for one’s personal computing needs

A Mobile Crossroads – Android and Windows 10 Mobile | SuperSite For WIndows

My Comments

The Android and Windows platforms do have some things in common such as the ability to share URLs and contact cards via NFC or Bluetooth. As well, these platforms offer native out-of-the-box support for various industry norms at the hardware and software level like USB Audio device classes, DLNA network media acces, FLAC audio codecs, and MicroUSB connections for power and data.

This is augmented by another facture that people who value open-frame computing setups that are vendor-agnostic are likely to run a Windows-based desktop, laptop or tablet computer alongside an Android-based smartphone.

But there are some questions about whether both these platforms are coming to a crossroads in both the desktop and mobile contexts. Issues that have been raised is the availability of mobile-platform software for the Windows Mobile platform as well as Microsoft developing for the Android platform.

Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10 in its desktop and mobile phones will tie in with Android for stronger open-frame computing

This disparity is being addressed by Microsoft releasing the so-called “Project Astoria” software to reduce the effort needed by a software developer to port an Android app to Windows 10 and have it work on both desktop and mobile setups and the XBox One games console.

Another attempt that Microsoft was trying is to include the ability to sideload Android app APK files as part of a leaked preview build of Windows 10 Mobile. Here, these files would run in a sandbox of their own so as to assure system stability and security.

On the hardware side, manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Sony including the VAIO personal-computing spinoff, and Lenovo are increasingly targeting Apple’s customer base by offering 2-in-1 notebooks, tablets and smartphones that have that same luxurious cachet and performance level as the iPhone, iPad and MacBook.

It is also in conjunction with Microsoft porting an increasing amount of their productivity software to the Android platform along with writing Android-specific native clients for their online services. A good question that may be worth answering is whether Google will write native clients for their online services as Windows 10 Universal apps.

I see this ending up where Microsoft and Google could effectively give their mobile operating systems equal functionality for “home” and “work” use and support a tighter integration with Android, ChromeOS and Linux to increase the number of choices for personal computing options. Here, these platforms will end up forming a strong “open-frame” computing beach-head that competes effectively with the vertically-integrated platform that Apple offers.

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Google brings a natural-language personal assistant to ChromeOS

Article

OK Google - Google Now - on your Chromebook at last

OK Google – Google Now – on your Chromebook at last

Turn On “OK Google” In Chrome OS To Start Talking To Your Chromebook | Gizmodo

My Comments

First it was Windows, now it is ChromeOS. This is about integrating a natural-language personal-assistant program in to a desktop operating system so you have the same kind of functionality that the mobile platforms are offering on your regular computer.

With ChromeOS, Google had integrated this functionality as part of the Google Search website once you enable it in the Chrome menu. It can be used in the New Tab page and in the Launcher (magnifying glass icon) in this operating system. Google also baked this functionality in to the latest iteration of the Chrome browser for other operating systems.

The question is whether these natural-language personal assistants will just earn their keep on smartphones or whether people will use them at the desktop and for which applications. Similarly, it will be interesting to know whether an operating-system vendor will use API hooks to extend the functionality of these assistants with other applications.

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How to “save as” on Mac OS X Lion and newer versions

Article

How to enable “Save As” in Mac OS X Yosemite | AppleWorld.Today

My Comments

Those of you Mac users who worked with a previous version of Mac OS X may have been able to use the “Save As” command to save that document under a different name or in a different Folder. But this feature is missing on Lion and newer versions of Mac OS X and may confuse those of you who “climbed the operating-system ladder” by installing subsequent versions of MacOS X on your Macintosh.

But you can bring back this function through a procedure that is very simple. Here, you bring up the File menu as normal then press the Option key on your keyboard where the option that was previously “Duplicate File” becomes “Save As”. Click on this or subsequently press CommandShiftS together to bring up the Save As dialog box so you can save it under a different name.

This function is important if you have to create a new different version of that document or wish to save it in a particular location like a removable drive or a special folder and you realise you needed to do this after the fact.

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The effort has paid off for Candy Crush

Previous coverage

It is now simple to port iOS and Android apps to Windows 10

My Comments

Candy Crush Saga gameplay screen Android

Candy Crush Saga on Android

I have played the Android version of Candy Crush Saga and this has performed very smoothly on a variety of Android phone devices that I owned.

But Microsoft and King, the developer of this popular casual game, have worked together and used this game to approach the idea of porting an app from a mobile platform like iOS and Android to a regular-computing platform like Windows 10 along with the XBox One games console. The goal is to make an app or game take advantage of what the subequent platform has to offer without destroying the usage experience that the software is know for.

In the previous article, I cited the computing scene in the 1980s where there was a requirement for games developers to have a game on as many platforms as possible with the best examples being Atarisoft, Sierra and Broderbund. Atarisoft made a strong effort to port the legendary Atari games like PacMan, Asteroids and Centipede to a larger number of popular 1980s home computers while Sierra and Broderbund had games like the Kings Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry and Carmen Sandiego franchises on platforms like the IBM PC, Apple II and Macintosh platforms and Commodore’s legendary games machines of all time. It is also very similar to how Minecraft has been ported between Windows, Macintosh, the mobile platforms and XBox One yet is still very playable.

Candy Crush Saga gameplay on Windows 10

This same game as ported to Windows 10

After installing Windows 10 on my computer, I downloaded the Windows 10 port of Candy Crush Saga to assess how this port was to turn out, especially for mouse-based play. After playing a few rounds, the experience was very much similar to what it was like on the Android version. It had reminded me of the late 80s with Boulder Dash where I had played that game on the Commodore 64 and the Apple IIe where the game yielded the same “boulder-shifting” user experience with the same graphics, sound and gameplay on both those platforms.

But the game’s interface didn’t depend on whether you used a touchscreen or a mouse, Nor did it depend on whether you had the game in a window or in a full-screen mode. Candy Crush Saga was still as playable on the Windows 10 platform as it was on the Android platform.

Microsoft is on a winner with their Project Islandwood and Project Astoria software-development kits in that someone could get a casual game across the mobile platforms and Windows to the same expectations as the late ‘80s home-computing era. This is where each platform’s assets can be taken advantage of very easily yet the user experience is kept consistent.

If Microsoft, Google, Apple and others use their software-development knowhow properly, they could encourage app developers, especially games studios, to have apps and games that maintain a consistent high-quality user interface no matter the computing platform they run on.

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Windows 95–20 years old

Previous coverage

Special Report – Windows 95 now 15 years old and a major change to the PC computing platform

Video

“Start Me Up” video ad

To sum up

Windows 95 launch campaign billboard poster

Start It Up campaign billboard for Windows 95

Windows 95 was an operating system that led to a revolution as far as PC-based computing was concerned and was treated as such when it was launched. It actually revised how one thought of the Microsoft DOS / Windows computing platform towards something that was on a par with other computing platforms.

One of the key features that was highlighted was to have the Windows GUI front-end and MS-DOS integrated in to one package. Firstly, you didn’t have to buy Windows as a program nor did you have to type WINDOWS to pull up the graphical user interface. As well, there wasn’t the need to run various menu utilities to provide a user-friendly operating interface where programs are easy to find and run.

Instead, you used Start Menu to find programs and Windows Explorer to know your way around the computer’s file system. There was even the ability to give files and folders a meaningful file name rather than a very short name that wasn’t meaningful at first glance.

Another key feature was to do away with the need to run extra software to add functionality to a computer. Previously, if you were to run a CD-ROM, network abilities or any type of added functionality, you had to run certain memory-resident programs and this became very awkward for most people.

This led to an operating system that was “ready for the Internet and the network” out of the box, thus opening up the possibility for small organisations and households to set up easy-to-administer networks for sharing files and printers, and gaining access to the Internet.

Happy 20th Birthday, Windows 95! Start Me Up!

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Regular operating systems and their vulnerability to security threats

Article

Which Is More Vulnerable To Viruses And Hackers: Windows 10 or Mac OS X? | Gizmodo

My Comments

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon – an example of a laptop based on a regular computing platform

During the 2000s, the personal computing scene focused on so-called “regular” personal computers i.e. desktop and laptop computers that ran a desktop-grade operating system. The main platforms were the Windows platform heralded by Microsoft and with hardware made by plenty of other manufacturers and the Macintosh platform that was made by Apple. Of course, there were a few personal computers that ran one of many open-source Linux distributions which were effectively UNIX.

There was the issue of security risks magnified due to an increased amount of personal and business computing time spent online through the Internet. In most cases, especially with the Windows platform, these risks were mitigated using a desktop or endpoint security program installed on the client computer. Although I have constantly seen the Apple Macintosh platform at risk of security exploits, that platform wasn’t at risk because there were fewer computer users using that platform.

Enter Windows Vista. This operating system had improved security features like operating as a regular user unless necessary but these were tacked on to the Windows XP codebase. This led to poor performance and computer users saw the value of switching to the Apple Macintosh platform for regular computing needs with some even using Apple’s iWork office tools as a way simply to dump Microsoft.

This led to the Apple Macintosh platform becoming more vulnerable due to its increased popularity and the use of “write once run anywhere” code like Java. Apple had to pull their finger out to improve the Macintosh platform’s security and, like Microsoft, engage in regular software updates and patches.

Improvements

Major upgrades for pennies’ worth or free

Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10 – a free upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

Microsoft and Apple had even started to offer newer iterations of their operating systems to home users and small businesses at prices that would represent chump change or, later on, offer these iterations for free.

Apple started the ball rolling with Mac OS X for pennies’ worth starting with OS X Lion and for free starting with Mavericks. Subsequently Microsoft used Windows 8 to facilitate a software upgrade for pennies’ worth and used Windows 10 to instigate a free software upgrade program.

The major upgrades typically had security improvements like creation of app stores and newer secure codebases.

Blind updates for security patches

A way software developers keep their software going strong is to deliver updates and patches that rectify software bugs and allow the software to improve in performance. The delivery of these updates is being used to harden the software against known security exploits, often as soon as these holes are discovered.

Windows Update - one stop shop for software patches along with automatic delivery

Windows Update – one stop shop for software patches along with automatic delivery

This process typically involved users finding patches or newer code on the developer’s Website but Microsoft and Apple have put an end to this. Initially they set up a “one-stop-shop” program for downloading these updates including any peripheral-driver updates but have improved on this by providing for “blind updating”. This is where the operating system automatically downloads and installs these patches as soon as they become available.without you needing to do anything except, perhaps, reboot the computer when prompted.

Microsoft and Apple are even working on having these patches become effective once they are installed without you needing to reboot your computer. This is being achieved in the newer operating-system variants and with some newer patches.

The option for secure boot

Apple implemented in the Macintosh standard firmware a way to only let MacOS X boot on their Macintosh computers and this provided a sense of security because it can only allow these computers to run Apple-authorised code.

Microsoft and Intel are now implementing this through UEFI and Secure Boot which allows for authorisation of operating systems and pre-boot software that runs on a computing device. This has been considered controversial because it would wrest control of the computer from uses who may want to deploy Linux, especially a custom Linux distribution or wish to run with a dual-boot setup.

App stores and walled gardens

Windows 10's own app store

Windows 10’s own app store

Another weapon that Microsoft and Apple are deploying comes from the world of mobile computing where mobile operating systems implement an “app store” which is a one-stop software “shopping mall”.

Like a suburban shopping mall with its physical goods, these app stores have tight controls on who can sell their software there. Here, the software has to be provided by an identifiable developer and approved and audited by the operating system developer who runs that app store.

There is also a requirement for the software to be sandboxed and have access to certain parts of the operating system rather than having full run of your computer.

Another factor that is also considered important is that if an application “does the right thing” by its users and the operating-system vendor, it is typically highly recommended or featured such as being given an “editor’s choice” or put in the “spotlight”. This gives the program increased exposure which attracts more installations and more purchases. As well, there are user-review mechanisms where people can uprate or downrate the software.

But both the Macintosh and Windows platforms require the ability to work with established software deployments that are typically installed via removable media or a download from the developer’s site. This is due to their legacy where people installed software from floppy disks or CDs or downloaded software from bulletin boards and download sites.

Windows 10 is providing a way to harden things further when it comes to this software in the form of Device Guard. This is a form of sandboxing which allows only certain programs to run on a computer but is made available to the Enterprise Edition only. It is because the process for setting up this whitelist would be considered very difficult for householders, small businesses and community organisations.

Steam - one of the most common games managers

Steam – one of the most common games managers

For games, major games studios are implementing their own app stores and games delivery systems in order to allow for cross-platform game and supporting-content delivery. Here, they want regular-computing gaming to have that same level of confidence associated with console or mobile gaming. This is although Apple and Microsoft deliver games through their app stores. The best example of this is Valve’s Steam online games shop but there are others like EA’s Origin.

Conclusion

What is happening is that for both the Windows and Macintosh computing platforms, they are being made more secure and malware-resistant and it is becoming a race between Apple and Microsoft to keep the regular computing environment as safe as a mobile computing environment.

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Windows 10 Start Menu–not your father’s old station wagon

Windows 10 Start Menu

Start Menu in Windows 10 – the pop-up look from Windows 7 with the tiles from Windows 8

Windows 7 and its predecessors had a traditional pop-up start menu with an option to see all the programs or the frequently-used programs on your computer. This was presented in a list rather than a cluster of icons or tiles.

But Windows 8 headed down a totally different path with a dashboard-style layout hat has all of the programs or a user-defined set of programs represented as tiles. This had thrown many computer users off the operating system and caused some unnecessary worry.

The Start Menu

Windows 10 brought back the pop-up Start Menu that looks like a combination of the traditional Start menu and Windows 8’s tile-based look. This includes the famed “Live Tiles” that are always updated with new content thus working like a dashboard.

In the early days of your experience with Windows 10, you can mess around getting that tile-based Start Menu area looking how you want. If you run Windows 10 on a touchscreen laptop or a computer with a touchscreen monitor, this menu style can work just as well for you.

Getting it right!

You can organise your tiles in to groups by dragging them in to the space between two groups to create a group or dragging them in to a group to have them part of that group. This can be done in both the traditional pop-up view and the Tablet Mode view mentioned later on at the end.

Then you can name each group by right-clicking or “dwelling” your finger on the group name then typing in the name you want to give it.

Browsing for that program

Windows 10 Start Menu - All Apps highlighted

Looking for that program – click All Apps on the Start Menu

This will be a situation for those of you who have held out with Windows 7 or its predecessors, where you will be wanting to know where all of your programs have gone even though they aren’t on the Start Menu or Taskbar.

Browsing for that particular program? Click on “All Apps” to see a list of all programs on your computer. Then, click on any of the letters to bring up a list of alphabetical letters. Subsequently, you just need to click on the first letter of the program’s title to be sent straight to a list of the programs beginning with that letter.

You then have two options to have your program readily accessible. One is to “pin” your program to the Taskbar so it is always accessible and this setup may remind you of the station-preset buttons on your car radio. On the other hand, you could “pin” your program to the Start Menu where it will appear as a tile which you shift around until it is in the right place for you.

Tablet Mode

Windows 10 Tablet Mode

How Windows 10 looks when you use Tablet Mode

The Tablet Mode gives you a view that is not dissimilar to how you have operated your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 computer. It is automatically selected if you detach a keyboard from your detachable-style “2-in-1” tablet or fold over a convertible notebook so the screen becomes a tablet. But you can manually select this mode on any Windows 10 computer.

Windows 10 Notification Menu buttons wiht Tablet Mode highlighted

How to select Tablet Mode manually

As I have said just before, this doesn’t just those of you who work with tablet computers or 2-in-1 devices. You can use it with a laptop or desktop computer and it doesn’t need a touchscreen to benefit from this function. Rather you would use your mouse or trackpad to navigate around the screen and a scroll-enabled mouse earns its keep by allowing you to scroll downwards. In the Notification Menu, you have a button labelled Tablet Mode which you can use to toggle between this mod and the regular Desktop Mode.

I would recommending having your screen in the Tablet mode if you are trying to sort out the Start Menu groups after an upgrade because you can use the whole of your screen’s real estate to do this.

Search Bar

There is an always-visible Search Bar on the Taskbar which you can fill in your search requests for local or Web-hosted resources. This works with Cortana which is the personal digital assistant in the same vein as Siri or Google Now.

Here, ordering a search is as simple as clicking or tapping on the search area and typing in what you are after.

Conclusion

Anyone who has worked with any of Windows’ incarnations will find the Windows 10 Start Menu as something that doesn’t daunt you but allows you to get more out of the operating system.

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