Posted in Commentary

WWDC 2017 Today’s Announcements ?


Apple is holding its annual World Wide Developer Conference this week. During the keynote address today, it is expected that Apple will announce (and hopefully show) the upcoming iOS 11, MacOS 10.13 and some new hardware.

You should be able to watch it live streaming from here beginning 10 AM PDT.

Typically, shortly following the presentation, it is available to watch from the same site.

Posted in Commentary

iOS 10.3 Update


iOS 10.3 has just been released. It is a big deal. To download, tap on Settings > Software Update and then download and install. Don’t forget to backup first.

The list of features and abilities as set forth by Apple include:

iOS 10.3 introduces new features including the ability to locate AirPods using Find my iPhone and more ways to use Siri with payment, ride booking and automaker apps.

Find My iPhone
View the current or last known location of your AirPods
Play a sound on one or both AirPods to help you find them

Siri
Support for paying and checking status of bills with payment apps
Support for scheduling with ride booking apps
Support for checking car fuel level, lock status, turning on lights and activating horn with automaker apps
Cricket sports scores and statistics for Indian Premier League and International Cricket Council

CarPlay
Shortcuts in the status bar for easy access to last used apps
Apple Music Now Playing screen gives access to Up Next and the currently playing song’s album
Daily curated playlists and new music categories in Apple Music

Other improvements and fixes
Rent once and watch your iTunes movies across your devices
New Settings unified view for your Apple ID account information, settings and devices
Hourly weather in Maps using 3D Touch on the displayed current temperature
Support for searching “parked car” in Maps
Calendar adds the ability to delete an unwanted invite and report it as junk
Home app support to trigger scenes using accessories with switches and buttons
Home app support for accessory battery level status
Podcasts support for 3D Touch and Today widget to access recently updated shows
Podcast shows or episodes are shareable to Messages with full playback support
Fixes an issue that could prevent Maps from displaying your current location after resetting Location & Privacy
VoiceOver stability improvements for Phone, Safari and Mail.

More discussion on individual features to follow.

Posted in Commentary

iOS 10.2.1 Update


iOS 10

Apple has released an update to iOS 10. Version 10.2.1 offers various fixes and security enhancements. It is safer to make a backup of your iOS device before updating.

To update, while using a Wi-Fi network, tap on Settings > General > Software Update then download and install.

The security fixes include the following items:

Auto Unlock
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: Auto Unlock may unlock when Apple Watch is off the user’s wrist
Description: A logic issue was addressed through improved state management.
CVE-2017-2352: Ashley Fernandez of raptAware Pty Ltd
Contacts
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: Processing a maliciously crafted contact card may lead to unexpected application termination
Description: An input validation issue existed in the parsing of contact cards. This issue was addressed through improved input validation.
CVE-2017-2368: Vincent Desmurs (vincedes3)
Kernel
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: An application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges
Description: A buffer overflow issue was addressed through improved memory handling.
CVE-2017-2370: Ian Beer of Google Project Zero
Kernel
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: An application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges
Description: A use after free issue was addressed through improved memory management.
CVE-2017-2360: Ian Beer of Google Project Zero
libarchive
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: Unpacking a maliciously crafted archive may lead to arbitrary code execution
Description: A buffer overflow issue was addressed through improved memory handling.
CVE-2016-8687: Agostino Sarubbo of Gentoo
WebKit
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may exfiltrate data cross-origin
Description: A prototype access issue was addressed through improved exception handling.
CVE-2017-2350: Gareth Heyes of Portswigger Web Security
WebKit
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution
Description: Multiple memory corruption issues were addressed through improved memory handling.
CVE-2017-2354: Neymar of Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab (tencent.com) working with Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative
CVE-2017-2362: Ivan Fratric of Google Project Zero
CVE-2017-2373: Ivan Fratric of Google Project Zero
WebKit
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution
Description: A memory initialization issue was addressed through improved memory handling.
CVE-2017-2355: Team Pangu and lokihardt at PwnFest 2016
WebKit
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution
Description: Multiple memory corruption issues were addressed through improved input validation.
CVE-2017-2356: Team Pangu and lokihardt at PwnFest 2016
CVE-2017-2369: Ivan Fratric of Google Project Zero
CVE-2017-2366: Kai Kang of Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab (tencent.com)
WebKit
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may exfiltrate data cross-origin
Description: A validation issue existed in the handling of page loading. This issue was addressed through improved logic.
CVE-2017-2363: lokihardt of Google Project Zero
CVE-2017-2364: lokihardt of Google Project Zero
WebKit
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: A malicious website can open popups
Description: An issue existed in the handling of blocking popups. This was addressed through improved input validation.
CVE-2017-2371: lokihardt of Google Project Zero
WebKit
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may exfiltrate data cross-origin
Description: A validation issue existed in the handling of variable handling. This issue was addressed through improved validation.
CVE-2017-2365: lokihardt of Google Project Zero
WiFi
Available for: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPod touch 6th generation and later
Impact: An activation-locked device can be manipulated to briefly present the home screen
Description: An issue existed with handling user input that caused a device to present the home screen even when activation locked. This was addressed through improved input validation.
CVE-2017-2351: Sriram (@Sri_Hxor) of Primefort Pvt. Ltd., Hemanth Joseph

You can view more information about the various iOS updates here.

Posted in Commentary, Opinion

iOS Battery Issues ? Try These Tips


Battery Percentage

If you find your iPad or other iOS device won’t charge or hold a charge, here are some tips from Apple.

Will Not Charge – Change Power Sources, Adapters or Cables

Plug into the USB power adapter that came with your device. A third party adapter may not work properly. If that still does not work, try plugging into a different source of power: wall power outlet, computer, etc. Also, consider trying another cable in case the one you are using is bad.

As your device charges, you should see a battery icon with a little lightning bolt next to it in the status bar or a large battery icon on the lock screen.

Will Not Fully Charge – Force Restart, Try Again

Try this: force restart your device by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time for at least 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo. Then, let your device charge for another half hour or longer and see if it will fully recharge.

Maximizing Battery Life and Lifespan

  • Software Update

Always make sure you are using the latest version of iOS. Go to Settings > General > Software Update. If one is available, you can plug in your device to a power source and wirelessly download and install the latest version.

  • Screen Brightness

Optimize your screen brightness settings to help preserve battery life. You can dim the screen or turn on Auto-Brightness. To adjust your brightness, while your device is on, swipe up from the bottom of any screen to open the Control Center and drag the Brightness slider to the left. You will see your screen get dimmer. You can drag the slider to the right to make the screen brighter.

To turn on Auto-Brightness which will adjust your screen to lighting conditions automatically, go to Settings > Display & Brightness and set Auto-Brightness to on.

  • Use Wi-Fi

Using Wi-Fi to access data uses less power than a cellular network connection. So, turn on and use a Wi-Fi network. You can turn on your Wi-Fi by swiping up to open the Control Center and tap on the Wi-Fi icon and log into a Wi-Fi network.

Low Power Mode

When your battery power starts to get low, you can turn on Low Power Mode. You may receive an alert when your battery is low and turn it on then or in Settings > Battery. Apps may then begin to perform less background tasks to save power.

The chart below shows many of the battery functions discussed in this article.

Battery Settings

What’s Using The Power?

If you phone is not charging, you can view which apps are using the most power. To view the power usage, go to Settings > Battery and then you can tap on Last 24 Hours or Last 7 Days to see a list of the guilty apps.

You can read more about maximizing battery performance on this Apple Support page.

Posted in App, Commentary

Airtable Update


Airtable 3 icon

Airtable is a flexible cloud based database that you can use to organize simple to complex tasks and information. It was recently updated with the following features:

* Use the scroll handle to quickly scroll through all of your records! Gone are the days when it took hours to scroll to the bottom.
* Squashed some bugs.
REDESIGNED GRID VIEW
* See all of your fields without expanding a record via a completely redesigned layout, and take advantage of those big screens with a brand new look for iPad.
* Re-order and add fields directly from the grid view.
SUMMARY BAR
* Pull down to reveal the summary bar and view summary functions for each field.
* Tap on a field header to update the summary function.

The Airtable app can be used on your iOS device or you can simply use a browser to access your various tables. The power of this platform is its simplicity and ability to collaborate. You can create checklists, organize collections of documents, manage customers or contacts and so much more.

sortable collaborate

Screencastslonline has a good screencast on using the app. If you are not a member of Screencastsonline, it is worth joining if you want to see someone walk through and explain using various apps each week.

 

 

Posted in App, Commentary, Opinion

How to Scan from Your iPad or iOS device – The Basics


Scanner Pro 7 icon Evernote icon onenote-icon-ios acrobat-reader icon

There are times when you are out and want to capture images of documents to use later. These documents could be receipts, tests, business cards, brochures, handwritten notes, etc. This is not an app specific post. Instead, the basics of how to scan are discussed. Also, different options to consider when choosing a scanning app are briefly mention.

There are many apps that help you with the task of capturing images to use later. These apps include: Evernote, Adobe Acrobat, Scanner Pro (a personal favorite for capturing multipage documents), ScanSnap, and OneNote, which can also capture whiteboards you may have created or seen in class.

Here are the basic steps of capturing documents using apps on your iOS device:

  1. Open app and give it access to your iOS camera
  2. Take a picture of the document (take another if more than one page)
  3. Edit it for clarity and perform optional steps like OCR, image correction, rotation, etc.
  4. Name it
  5. Store it on the device, in the cloud, or in another app or share it.

You need to select an app that will be capturing the document. As to which app to select, think to yourself, how do you want to access that document later on? Will you want to access if from the cloud, from your device, from a different app on a different device or computer, etc. There are many different apps and opinions on which apps do those tasks the best, you should find one that you feel works for your workflow.

Theoretically, you can just use your Camera app, take a picture and then share the image using various methods like email or send it to a cloud service or another app.

Below is an image of a receipt captured using just the Camera of my iPhone.

camera-receipt

You will notice several things. First, it is always better to have the document you are attempting to capture against a contrasting background or surface. That makes it easier for apps like Scanner Pro, Evernote, etc. to attempt to automatically distinguish the document from the background and capture only document as is seen below. There are apps that actively try to distinguish and find the document or receipt and capture only the document instead of everything in the camera’s eye.  Basically, it attempts to find the borders by comparing the document to the background it is against.

Also, the app may use the flash from your iPhone or other methods to try to eliminate shadows or crumple marks from the document or receipt. To get the best results, it is always best to try to use wrinkle free documents and good lighting when capturing the document.

When that is not possible, different apps use various methods to try to boost the image quality and readibility. Be careful using the flash, because it cam throw too much light and cause the text of the document to become unreadable. Experiment and try to find the right combination of natural light and try to avoid creating shadows when you hold your camera over the document.

Below, Scanner Pro shows you the edge border it has detected and allows you to wait to take the picture or adjust the camera angle until the border is properly detected.

scanner-pro-receipt-with-image-finder

Once the app has captured the image, you may be presented with what the app believes is a good version of the capture. If you like it, you can keep it. If not, you can edit it by moving the little dots to a different place to have the app capture all of the document’s details and edges that you may want. This is shown below.

Find Borders

After you have adjusted the image or modified the color to make it look its sharpest and cleanest, the next step is to save the document. Once the document is saved, you can then store it in the cloud with services like Dropbox, iCloud, Box, etc.

Some apps have additional features that are very handy like OCR (optical character recognition). The app will perform OCR from the information in the document or receipt itself to make searching and retrieval easier later.

The purpose of this post was to walk you through the basics of capturing documents using your iOS device. Hopefully, this information can help you better understand the process so you can make a good decision as to which app works best for you.

 

Posted in App, Commentary

iAnnotate – How to Adjust Settings for Better Experience


iAnnotate 4 icon

iAnnotate is a great app to read and mark up PDFs. One of the best ways to use this app more efficiently is to adjust the settings to your way of working.

The settings can be accessed from a couple of different ways. First, from within the app by tapping the gear icon or tap the Settings icon from your home page. Then, scroll down to the iAnnotate icon and tap it. You will see several different settings specific for that app.

iAnnotate Settings

These settings control various ways the app behaves when you use it.

For example, if you have an Apple Pencil, you can have the app automatically recognize when you are using the Pencil to mark up the PDF.

Tap on Annotation and you will see several items to turn on or off. Slide the Apple Pencil Always Inks to on and when you use your Apple Pencil, it will automatically mark up your PDF.

iAnnotate Settings Annotation

There are other settings that you can use to make for a better experience. You can read the developers article on this here.

In short, no matter which app you may be using, try adjusting some of the settings to increase your productivity.