What’s new at the 2018 Apple WWDC?

San Jose, California, recently hosted WWDC 2018. Apple’s engineers interacted with the developers in attendance, while everyone at the event got a sneak preview at the computer manufacturer’s upcoming products and software. Check out the highlights from the event right here!

A more personal, faster iOS 12

Apple has focused on improving the operating system’s performance so that iPads and iPhones become more responsive and work faster. The good news is that older devices that can still run iOS 11 will be compatible with iOS 12.

Developers tweaked the software to make apps launch quicker, especially the keyboard and camera. The latest version of iOS is designed to optimize its system when it is under load, so that Apple products run faster when the user demands higher performance.

Fresh features aimed at impressing consumers include the Memoji, an Animoji that users can customize to their preferences. Group Facetime supports video conferences of up to 32 individuals, and these fun tweaks can be used in both Facetime via the Effects camera and in Messages.

A smarter Siri

Apple’s signature digital assistant can now answer queries about motorsports, food, and famous people. There is a new Shortcuts feature integrated in the Workflow app, which allows users to automate various tasks in first- and third-party apps, to be triggered through Siri voice commands.

Both Shortcuts and suggestions by Siri appear on the Lock screen, and third-party Shortcuts integration will let Siri do more when the user pulls the Lock screen down to search. A dedicated Shortcuts app will be available later this year to give users a quick way to build Shortcuts from dozens of preset options.

An alternative to Google Photos

The iOS Photos app may be useful to Apple product users, but it may seem too basic for some. Once iOS 12 is released however, a clever Photos app will showcase most of the features that Google Photos has.

The Search feature has been improved – users can look for images based on general terms such as “park” or even business names, and multiple terms can be searched (such as images from Africa during a particular month). All pictures will be arranged by place and time in case the user wants to perform searches with those variables.

A new tab labeled “For you” will contain the auto-generated albums which Photos makes, and is sorted with any shared albums. Speaking of sharing, the enhanced Photos app will proactively advise users on what images to share according to who is in the pictures.

A refined WatchOS

Apple’s upcoming WatchOS 5 will introduce users to new ways of connecting to the world while staying active. It may not be a radical revision for the wearable device, but the apps and features it provides will be more helpful and fun for the user.

The highlight of WatchOS 5 is the Walkie-Talkie app, an innovative method of communicating by combining the natural flow of messaging with real-time voice discussions. Just like the conventional product that the app is based on, users simply press and hold down a virtual Talk button to converse with friends and family.

Hiking and Yoga have been added to the list of workout types, while users can keep track of their Outdoor Runs more effectively with support for cadence, the custom pace alert, and the rolling mile pace. Automatic workout detection will make sure that the Apple Watch will always stop or start recording user activity while exercising. This feature works with Open Water Swim, Pool Swim, Rower, Elliptical, Indoor Walk, Outdoor Walk, Indoor Run, and Outdoor Run.

To get users motivated to work up a sweat, WatchOS 5 has a Competition feature that allows friends and family to challenge each other in a contest to see who can get the most activity points within a week. The watches will post regular progress reports to let contestants know how they are doing, and the winner will get a special award.

These updates can change at any time, and will be released by Fall this year. If you need more information on making use of Apple devices and software, or if you have other computer-related concerns, feel free to contact us today!

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Highlights from the Apple WWDC 2018

Apple’s yearly Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) has come to a close. Engineers from Apple met and exchanged ideas with developers in the event, while consumers looked forward to updates on existing products and news about future innovations. Here are the highlights that stole the show.

A more personal, faster iOS 12

Apple has focused on improving the operating system’s performance so that iPads and iPhones become more responsive and work faster. The good news is that older devices that can still run iOS 11 will be compatible with iOS 12.

Developers tweaked the software to make apps launch quicker, especially the keyboard and camera. The latest version of iOS is designed to optimize its system when it is under load, so that Apple products run faster when the user demands higher performance.

Fresh features aimed at impressing consumers include the Memoji, an Animoji that users can customize to their preferences. Group Facetime supports video conferences of up to 32 individuals, and these fun tweaks can be used in both Facetime via the Effects camera and in Messages.

A smarter Siri

Apple’s signature digital assistant can now answer queries about motorsports, food, and famous people. There is a new Shortcuts feature integrated in the Workflow app, which allows users to automate various tasks in first- and third-party apps, to be triggered through Siri voice commands.

Both Shortcuts and suggestions by Siri appear on the Lock screen, and third-party Shortcuts integration will let Siri do more when the user pulls the Lock screen down to search. A dedicated Shortcuts app will be available later this year to give users a quick way to build Shortcuts from dozens of preset options.

An alternative to Google Photos

The iOS Photos app may be useful to Apple product users, but it may seem too basic for some. Once iOS 12 is released however, a clever Photos app will showcase most of the features that Google Photos has.

The Search feature has been improved – users can look for images based on general terms such as “park” or even business names, and multiple terms can be searched (such as images from Africa during a particular month). All pictures will be arranged by place and time in case the user wants to perform searches with those variables.

A new tab labeled “For you” will contain the auto-generated albums which Photos makes, and is sorted with any shared albums. Speaking of sharing, the enhanced Photos app will proactively advise users on what images to share according to who is in the pictures.

A refined WatchOS

Apple’s upcoming WatchOS 5 will introduce users to new ways of connecting to the world while staying active. It may not be a radical revision for the wearable device, but the apps and features it provides will be more helpful and fun for the user.

The highlight of WatchOS 5 is the Walkie-Talkie app, an innovative method of communicating by combining the natural flow of messaging with real-time voice discussions. Just like the conventional product that the app is based on, users simply press and hold down a virtual Talk button to converse with friends and family.

Hiking and Yoga have been added to the list of workout types, while users can keep track of their Outdoor Runs more effectively with support for cadence, the custom pace alert, and the rolling mile pace. Automatic workout detection will make sure that the Apple Watch will always stop or start recording user activity while exercising. This feature works with Open Water Swim, Pool Swim, Rower, Elliptical, Indoor Walk, Outdoor Walk, Indoor Run, and Outdoor Run.

To get users motivated to work up a sweat, WatchOS 5 has a Competition feature that allows friends and family to challenge each other in a contest to see who can get the most activity points within a week. The watches will post regular progress reports to let contestants know how they are doing, and the winner will get a special award.

These updates can change at any time, and will be released by Fall this year. If you need more information on making use of Apple devices and software, or if you have other computer-related concerns, feel free to contact us today!

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Apple WWDC 2018: News and updates

The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) has developers meeting and joining discussions with more than a thousand engineers from Apple. What new products did the computer manufacturer have in store for consumers? Read on to find out!

A more personal, faster iOS 12

Apple has focused on improving the operating system’s performance so that iPads and iPhones become more responsive and work faster. The good news is that older devices that can still run iOS 11 will be compatible with iOS 12.

Developers tweaked the software to make apps launch quicker, especially the keyboard and camera. The latest version of iOS is designed to optimize its system when it is under load, so that Apple products run faster when the user demands higher performance.

Fresh features aimed at impressing consumers include the Memoji, an Animoji that users can customize to their preferences. Group Facetime supports video conferences of up to 32 individuals, and these fun tweaks can be used in both Facetime via the Effects camera and in Messages.

A smarter Siri

Apple’s signature digital assistant can now answer queries about motorsports, food, and famous people. There is a new Shortcuts feature integrated in the Workflow app, which allows users to automate various tasks in first- and third-party apps, to be triggered through Siri voice commands.

Both Shortcuts and suggestions by Siri appear on the Lock screen, and third-party Shortcuts integration will let Siri do more when the user pulls the Lock screen down to search. A dedicated Shortcuts app will be available later this year to give users a quick way to build Shortcuts from dozens of preset options.

An alternative to Google Photos

The iOS Photos app may be useful to Apple product users, but it may seem too basic for some. Once iOS 12 is released however, a clever Photos app will showcase most of the features that Google Photos has.

The Search feature has been improved – users can look for images based on general terms such as “park” or even business names, and multiple terms can be searched (such as images from Africa during a particular month). All pictures will be arranged by place and time in case the user wants to perform searches with those variables.

A new tab labeled “For you” will contain the auto-generated albums which Photos makes, and is sorted with any shared albums. Speaking of sharing, the enhanced Photos app will proactively advise users on what images to share according to who is in the pictures.

A refined WatchOS

Apple’s upcoming WatchOS 5 will introduce users to new ways of connecting to the world while staying active. It may not be a radical revision for the wearable device, but the apps and features it provides will be more helpful and fun for the user.

The highlight of WatchOS 5 is the Walkie-Talkie app, an innovative method of communicating by combining the natural flow of messaging with real-time voice discussions. Just like the conventional product that the app is based on, users simply press and hold down a virtual Talk button to converse with friends and family.

Hiking and Yoga have been added to the list of workout types, while users can keep track of their Outdoor Runs more effectively with support for cadence, the custom pace alert, and the rolling mile pace. Automatic workout detection will make sure that the Apple Watch will always stop or start recording user activity while exercising. This feature works with Open Water Swim, Pool Swim, Rower, Elliptical, Indoor Walk, Outdoor Walk, Indoor Run, and Outdoor Run.

To get users motivated to work up a sweat, WatchOS 5 has a Competition feature that allows friends and family to challenge each other in a contest to see who can get the most activity points within a week. The watches will post regular progress reports to let contestants know how they are doing, and the winner will get a special award.

These updates can change at any time, and will be released by Fall this year. If you need more information on making use of Apple devices and software, or if you have other computer-related concerns, feel free to contact us today!

Posted in Apple, Business, General Articles A | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Google Pixel 3 news and early predictions

Google has been hitting their stride with their smartphones in recent years. When the first Google Pixel was released, many tech experts and consumers were impressed by the phone’s capabilities and features. In 2018, Google is expected to release the Google Pixel 3, and everyone seems to have even higher hopes for it.

Design
What we’re hearing through the grapevine is that the Pixel 3 will look a lot like its predecessor, featuring its classic backside shade, a USB-C port, and speakers in the bottom bezel. However, the larger Pixel 3 XL model could have a notch for the front-facing camera just like the iPhone X. The Pixel 3 will be around 5.3 inches, while the 3 XL version will be around 6.2 inches.

Google also hinted that there might be a third model released this year that could be a more compact, mid-range model for consumers on a budget.

Wireless charging
Leaked images show that the Pixel 3 has a glass back like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 series. Although nothing is set in stone, this could be an indication that the Pixel 3 will have wireless charging features.

Improved camera
While several other companies’ smartphones come with two rear cameras, it looks like Google is sticking with one. However, the single-lens rear camera will probably be powered by Google’s AI camera technology to take higher-quality photos with more background blur.

Faster hardware
Experts anticipate that the Pixel 3 will have significant improvements in its internal components. One leak has revealed that the Pixel 3 model will have at least 4GB of RAM and a modern, 2.8 GHz smartphone processor. That’s as fast as some mid-range laptops today, making the Pixel 3 an attractive option for executives who need a bit more power in their mobile devices.

Release date
Google has typically unveiled Pixel phones in early October, so look for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL sometime this autumn. It’s also expected to be the first device to come with the highly anticipated Android P operating system, so think of it as an early Christmas present.

But remember, Google is still working on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, so there’s plenty of time for more changes and more updates.

To follow all the updates about the Pixel 3 and be the first to hear about the release date, stay tuned to our blog. We stay on top of the latest tech trends to help you sharpen your competitive edge.

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What we know about Google Pixel 3 so far

In terms of hardware and features, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL gave other smartphones like the iPhone a run for their money. This year it looks like Google will roll out Google Pixel 3 to compete with the best smartphones on the market. Here’s what we know about the Google Pixel 3 so far, plus a few predictions.

Design
What we’re hearing through the grapevine is that the Pixel 3 will look a lot like its predecessor, featuring its classic backside shade, a USB-C port, and speakers in the bottom bezel. However, the larger Pixel 3 XL model could have a notch for the front-facing camera just like the iPhone X. The Pixel 3 will be around 5.3 inches, while the 3 XL version will be around 6.2 inches.

Google also hinted that there might be a third model released this year that could be a more compact, mid-range model for consumers on a budget.

Wireless charging
Leaked images show that the Pixel 3 has a glass back like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 series. Although nothing is set in stone, this could be an indication that the Pixel 3 will have wireless charging features.

Improved camera
While several other companies’ smartphones come with two rear cameras, it looks like Google is sticking with one. However, the single-lens rear camera will probably be powered by Google’s AI camera technology to take higher-quality photos with more background blur.

Faster hardware
Experts anticipate that the Pixel 3 will have significant improvements in its internal components. One leak has revealed that the Pixel 3 model will have at least 4GB of RAM and a modern, 2.8 GHz smartphone processor. That’s as fast as some mid-range laptops today, making the Pixel 3 an attractive option for executives who need a bit more power in their mobile devices.

Release date
Google has typically unveiled Pixel phones in early October, so look for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL sometime this autumn. It’s also expected to be the first device to come with the highly anticipated Android P operating system, so think of it as an early Christmas present.

But remember, Google is still working on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, so there’s plenty of time for more changes and more updates.

To follow all the updates about the Pixel 3 and be the first to hear about the release date, stay tuned to our blog. We stay on top of the latest tech trends to help you sharpen your competitive edge.

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Google Pixel 3 rumor roundup

New Google smartphones are expected to be released in late 2018. So far, details of the new device — which will most likely be dubbed Google Pixel 3 — have been scarce, but we’ve rounded up all the latest leaks. Read on to find out more.

Design
What we’re hearing through the grapevine is that the Pixel 3 will look a lot like its predecessor, featuring its classic backside shade, a USB-C port, and speakers in the bottom bezel. However, the larger Pixel 3 XL model could have a notch for the front-facing camera just like the iPhone X. The Pixel 3 will be around 5.3 inches, while the 3 XL version will be around 6.2 inches.

Google also hinted that there might be a third model released this year that could be a more compact, mid-range model for consumers on a budget.

Wireless charging
Leaked images show that the Pixel 3 has a glass back like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 series. Although nothing is set in stone, this could be an indication that the Pixel 3 will have wireless charging features.

Improved camera
While several other companies’ smartphones come with two rear cameras, it looks like Google is sticking with one. However, the single-lens rear camera will probably be powered by Google’s AI camera technology to take higher-quality photos with more background blur.

Faster hardware
Experts anticipate that the Pixel 3 will have significant improvements in its internal components. One leak has revealed that the Pixel 3 model will have at least 4GB of RAM and a modern, 2.8 GHz smartphone processor. That’s as fast as some mid-range laptops today, making the Pixel 3 an attractive option for executives who need a bit more power in their mobile devices.

Release date
Google has typically unveiled Pixel phones in early October, so look for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL sometime this autumn. It’s also expected to be the first device to come with the highly anticipated Android P operating system, so think of it as an early Christmas present.

But remember, Google is still working on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, so there’s plenty of time for more changes and more updates.

To follow all the updates about the Pixel 3 and be the first to hear about the release date, stay tuned to our blog. We stay on top of the latest tech trends to help you sharpen your competitive edge.

Posted in General Articles A, Google | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Hide & Seek malware: What you need to know

What’s the worst thing that could happen to your Internet of Things (IoT) devices? If you guessed ‘getting infected with malware,’ you’re right. Many users think IoT gadgets don’t need the same protections required for PCs, laptops, and smartphones — but they do. There’s a new malware strain that attacks IoT-enabled devices, and you need to secure your IoT devices now more than ever.

What is the Hide And Seek malware?

The Hide and Seek (HNS) malware has created a “botnet” by quietly infecting thousands of devices using advanced communication methods. Without getting too technical, a botnet adds or “recruits” computers to their network to carry out malicious acts, such as overloading a network by telling every infected device in the botnet to try and connect at the same time.

The new HNS can’t be removed by resetting the infected device, which is the solution for most IoT malware strains. The new strain can also exploit a greater variety of devices and in less time than its predecessors. Experts believe it has already compromised more than 90,000 IPTC cameras and other devices.

IoT devices are easily hacked if they connect to the internet, which is home to opportunistic cybercriminals. And because businesses and consumers are expected to acquire and use more IoT devices (the market is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020), it’s imperative to take cybersecurity precautions.

How can I protect my IoT devices?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your devices — and ultimately your network and data — safe from HNS and other forms of malware.

  • Turn off your IoT devices when not in use to reduce their exposure to fast-spreading malware.
  • Take simple precautions to keep your WiFi networks safe, like changing your network’s default settings (including your network’s name), and using complex passwords that are changed from time to time.
  • For those who use a large number and variety of devices, install a threat management system that will block intruders and secure common threat entry points.

With HNS and other malware strains expected to increase in number and complexity, it’s more important than ever to take a multi-layered approach to security. Call us today to learn more about which cybersecurity solutions are right for your business.

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Should you worry about the new IoT malware?

A malware infection is one of the worst things that could happen to your Internet of Things (IoT) devices. But some users don’t even know there are IoT-targeted attacks that threaten computers, networks, and data. Rebooting an IoT device is a simple way to remove malware, but for those already infected with the latest strain, it’s not that simple.

What is the Hide And Seek malware?

The Hide and Seek (HNS) malware has created a “botnet” by quietly infecting thousands of devices using advanced communication methods. Without getting too technical, a botnet adds or “recruits” computers to their network to carry out malicious acts, such as overloading a network by telling every infected device in the botnet to try and connect at the same time.

The new HNS can’t be removed by resetting the infected device, which is the solution for most IoT malware strains. The new strain can also exploit a greater variety of devices and in less time than its predecessors. Experts believe it has already compromised more than 90,000 IPTC cameras and other devices.

IoT devices are easily hacked if they connect to the internet, which is home to opportunistic cybercriminals. And because businesses and consumers are expected to acquire and use more IoT devices (the market is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020), it’s imperative to take cybersecurity precautions.

How can I protect my IoT devices?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your devices — and ultimately your network and data — safe from HNS and other forms of malware.

  • Turn off your IoT devices when not in use to reduce their exposure to fast-spreading malware.
  • Take simple precautions to keep your WiFi networks safe, like changing your network’s default settings (including your network’s name), and using complex passwords that are changed from time to time.
  • For those who use a large number and variety of devices, install a threat management system that will block intruders and secure common threat entry points.

With HNS and other malware strains expected to increase in number and complexity, it’s more important than ever to take a multi-layered approach to security. Call us today to learn more about which cybersecurity solutions are right for your business.

Posted in Business, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Hide & Seek: New IoT malware to watch out for

You probably think your Internet of Things (IoT) devices don’t need as much protection as your PCs or laptops. Newsflash: They’re actually even more vulnerable to hacking. In fact, researchers have discovered a terrifying strain of IoT malware that can infect your devices.

What is the Hide And Seek malware?

The Hide and Seek (HNS) malware has created a “botnet” by quietly infecting thousands of devices using advanced communication methods. Without getting too technical, a botnet adds or “recruits” computers to their network to carry out malicious acts, such as overloading a network by telling every infected device in the botnet to try and connect at the same time.

The new HNS can’t be removed by resetting the infected device, which is the solution for most IoT malware strains. The new strain can also exploit a greater variety of devices and in less time than its predecessors. Experts believe it has already compromised more than 90,000 IPTC cameras and other devices.

IoT devices are easily hacked if they connect to the internet, which is home to opportunistic cybercriminals. And because businesses and consumers are expected to acquire and use more IoT devices (the market is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020), it’s imperative to take cybersecurity precautions.

How can I protect my IoT devices?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your devices — and ultimately your network and data — safe from HNS and other forms of malware.

  • Turn off your IoT devices when not in use to reduce their exposure to fast-spreading malware.
  • Take simple precautions to keep your WiFi networks safe, like changing your network’s default settings (including your network’s name), and using complex passwords that are changed from time to time.
  • For those who use a large number and variety of devices, install a threat management system that will block intruders and secure common threat entry points.

With HNS and other malware strains expected to increase in number and complexity, it’s more important than ever to take a multi-layered approach to security. Call us today to learn more about which cybersecurity solutions are right for your business.

Posted in Business, General Articles A | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Chrome to mark HTTP as ‘not secure’

Google Chrome currently marks HTTPS-encrypted sites with a green lock icon and “Secure” sign. And starting in July, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.” Google hopes this move will nudge users away from the unencrypted web. Read on to learn more about the forthcoming changes.

For several years, Google has moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt the Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) encryption. And last year, Google began marking some HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) pages as “not secure” to help users comprehend risks of unencrypted websites. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of a Chrome update, Google’s browser will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.”

Chrome’s move was mostly brought on by increased HTTPS adoption. Eighty-one of the top 100 sites on the web default to HTTPS, and the majority of Chrome traffic is already encrypted.

Here’s how the transition to security has progressed, so far:

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

HTTPS: The benefits and difference

What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? With HTTP, information you type into a website is transmitted to the site’s owner with almost zero protection along the journey. Essentially, HTTP can establish basic web connections, but not much else.

When security is a must, HTTPS sends and receives encrypted internet data. This means that it uses a mathematical algorithm to make data unreadable to unauthorized parties.

#1 HTTPS protects a site’s integrity

HTTPS encryption protects the channel between your browser and the website you’re visiting, ensuring no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what you’re doing.

Without encryption, someone with access to your router or internet service provider (ISP) could intercept (or hack) information sent to websites or inject malware into otherwise legitimate pages.

#2 HTTPS protects the privacy of your users

HTTPS prevents intruders from eavesdropping on communications between websites and their visitors. One common misconception about HTTPS is that only websites that handle sensitive communications need it. In reality, every unprotected HTTP request can reveal information about the behaviors and identities of users.  

#3 HTTPS is the future of the web

HTTPS has become much easier to implement thanks to services that automate the conversion process, such as Let’s Encrypt and Google’s Lighthouse program. These tools make it easier for website owners to adopt HTTPS.

Chrome’s new notifications will help users understand that HTTP sites are less secure, and move the web toward a secure HTTPS web by default. HTTPS is easier to adopt than ever before, and it unlocks both performance improvements and powerful new features that aren’t possible with HTTP.

How can small-business owners implement and take advantage of this new interface? Call today for a quick chat with one of our experts to get started.

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