"> Control Archives - Engr Kabir Saleh

Posts Tagged

Control

With Patch Tuesday arriving tomorrow, get Windows Automatic Update under control

December was a remarkable patching month. For those of you who use Windows Update, there were few surprises. (Manual updaters had it rough, though.) If you’ve been following along, you’ve already installed the December updates. Great. It’s time to get ready for January by temporarily turning off Windows Automatic Update.

If you’re a member of the “Get patched as soon as they roll out” team (a shrinking cohort, from my observation, anyway), my hat’s off to you. We need all the cannon fodder we can get. Be sure to keep us updated on AskWoody.

But if you figure there’s more danger from Pavlovian patching practices than from malware immediately following a Patch Tuesday, there are reasonably easy alternatives. Wait while we all watch the unpaid beta-testers take one for the Gipper.

Blocking automatic update on Win7 and 8.1

If you’re using Windows 7 or 8.1, click Start > Control Panel > System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the “Turn automatic updating on or off” link. Click the “Change Settings” link on the left. Verify that you have Important Updates set to “Never check for updates (not recommended)” and click OK.

Yes, this month’s Patch Tuesday brings the last free security patches for Win7. No, you shouldn’t let them install by themselves. We’ll have a lot of coverage of Win7 weaning worries in the coming weeks.

Blocking automatic update on Win10 1803 or 1809

Not sure which version of Win10 you’re running? Down in the Search box, near the Start button, type About, then click About your PC. The version number appears on the right under Windows specifications.

If you’re using Win10 1803 or 1809, I strongly urge you to move on to Win10 version 1903. Microsoft released it (to some consternation) in May of last year. It had a shaky start before plunging into a four-patch debacle in September/October, but now appears to be relatively stable. There are detailed step-by-step instructions for moving to Win10 1903 in “Why — and how — I’m moving Win10 production machines to version 1903.”

If you insist on sticking with Win10 1809 (thrice bitten, thrice shy, eh?), you can block updates by following the steps in last month’s Patch Tuesday warning.

There’s a better way with Win10 versions 1903 or 1909

In version 1903 or 1909 (either Home, Pro, Education or Enterprise, unless you’re attached up an update server), using an administrator account, click Start > Settings > Update & Security. At the top, click the Pause updates for 7 days button. 

1903 pause 7 days 4 Woody Leonhard/IDG

That button changes so it says, “Pause updates for 7 more days.” Click it two more times, for a total of 21 paused days. That defers all updates on your machines until 21 days after you click the button. Once set, you can’t extend the deferral any longer unless you install all the outstanding cumulative updates to that point.

Historically, 21 days has sufficed to avoid the worst problems, although the aforementioned Keystone Kops IE 0day patch bugs persisted for more than three weeks. 

If there are any immediate widespread problems protected by this month’s Patch Tuesday — a rare occurrence, but it does happen — we’ll let you know here, and at AskWoody.com, in very short order.

We’re at MS-DEFCON 2 on AskWoody.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



Source link

Running Win10 version 1803 or 1809? You have options. Here’s how to control your upgrade.

The older versions of Windows 10 are growing long in the tooth. Microsoft officially released its last cumulative update for Win10 version 1803 (Home or Pro editions) on Nov. 12. It’s scheduled to kill off Win10 version 1809 on May 12 of next year. If you currently run either 1803 or 1809 you should think hard about moving on to one of the next versions, either 1903 or 1909. The good news is that you can control your future version. 

If you leave your version migration up to Microsoft, you’ll get pushed, ready or not. Fortunately, there are relatively easy ways to take matters into your own hands — yes, even for Win10 Home customers.

Which version are you running?

Start by determining, for sure, which version of Win10 you’re running. Down in the search box, type About and click About your PC. Scroll down a bit and you should see a Windows specifications pane like the one in the screenshot.

1809 about Woody Leonhard/IDG

That will tell you, crucially, which version of Win10 you’re running right now, and which edition you’re using — Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, LTSC, or a handful of variants. In general, the instructions here for Pro also include Pro for Workstations, Education and Enterprise, providing you aren’t attached to a network with an update server. (If you are so encumbered — er, privileged — you have to talk to your network admin to get upgraded.)

Which version do you want?

Each of the three available versions has significant features — and they aren’t the ones you’ll read about in the documentation:

Version 1809 — By far the most stable version at this point. It’s been baking out in the wild for almost a year and, in spite of a horrendous rollout, has had few hiccups lately.

Version 1903 — Has been in final beta testing (er, release) for six months, and in Microsoft’s nebulous “ready for broad development” corral for two months. Each cumulative update still contains enormous numbers of small fixes, combined with a few epic, lingering bugs. That said, 1903 has the single most important feature improvement ever in Win10: The ability for everyone to Pause updates. That’s powerful incentive for all Win10 users, especially Home users, to move to 1903.

Version 1909 — The minimally invasive “service pack” version — has a few bugs of its own, mostly Explorer Search related, but it’s only been available for a few weeks. If you trust Microsoft’s patching ability, there’s no reason to delay moving to 1909. On the other hand, if you want to wait and see what happens, you’d be well advised to wait a couple of months or more.

If you’re on 1803, you want to move with some due haste to either 1809, 1903 or 1909. 

If you’re on 1809, you can wait and see whether Microsoft’s 1903 (and 1909) patches break more things before you’re forced to jump ship.

Most importantly, if you’re running Win10 Home — either 1803 or 1809 — you want to jump ahead to 1903 right away. All of the known and unknown problems with 1903 pale in comparison to the ability to pause updates. 

In the past, I and many other experienced Windows victims have recommended that Win10 Home users pay $100 or so to upgrade to Pro. With Home 1903 (and 1909) and the pause update feature, I no longer recommend upgrading to Pro — Home should be just fine for almost everybody. With Win10 1903 Home, you’re no longer a beta-testing guinea pig.

How to upgrade Win10 Pro

If you’re running Win10 Pro (Education, Enterprise, etc.) and you want to move on to a later version, here’s how to land where you want.

Step 1. Back up

There’s a chance that changing versions will completely hose your computer, or leave your machine tied up in automatically installed knots. Make a full system image backup before you venture down any path. 

I have long recommended both Macrium Reflect Free and EaseUS Todo Backup. Don’t rely on the built-in Windows backup, which dates back to Win7 days and is notoriously unreliable.

Step 2. Set feature update deferral

Upgrading Win10 Pro version 1903 to 1909 is quite straightforward; I have “Download and install now” recommendations in an earlier Computerworld post.

From Win10 Pro version 1803 or 1809, it’s relatively easy to adjust Windows Update to have it land on the version that you want. Using an administrative account, click Start > Settings > Update & Security. Then click Advanced Options at the bottom. See the screenshot.

1809 sac 240 Woody Leonhard/IDG

You’ll see the same screen regardless of whether you’re running Win10 1803 or 1809.

The mathematics is a bit hairy, but you want to set the feature update deferral days so Windows Update will land on your chosen version. 

If you’re running Win10 1803 and want to move to version 1809, choose Semi-Annual Channel and 240 days feature update deferral.

If you’re running Win10 1803 or 1809 and want to move to version 1903, choose Semi-Annual Channel and 180 days feature update deferral. You’ll end up with a version of Win10 Pro that has a “Download and install now” offer to upgrade to 1909.

If you’re running Win10 1803 or 1809 and want to move to version 1909, choose Semi-Annual Channel and 10 days feature update deferral. Or you can skip the middleman and upgrade online using the Windows Media Creation Tool. (Yes, the “Windows 10 November 2019 Update” is version 1909.)

“X” out of the Windows Update advanced options settings dialog.

Step 3. Wait

Don’t do anything else. In particular, don’t click “Check for updates.” Just use your PC as usual, possibly turning it off then on again to awake the upgrade genie. You may have to wait a day, but sooner or later you’ll get upgraded to the version you’ve chosen. 

There’s a tiny chance that your PC will be proactively blocked from upgrading, usually as a result of recently discovered hardware, driver and software incompatibilities. Those are usually listed on the Release Information Status page. At least in theory, you don’t have to sweat the details — Microsoft should hold off on the upgrade until your machine passes muster. 

How to upgrade Win10 Home

If you’re already on Win10 version 1903 Home, you’re in good shape. Simply avoid clicking on the 1909 Download and install now link (screenshot) and you’ll stay on 1903 until the end of time. Or until Microsoft changes its mind, anyway.

1803 download and install now 1 Woody Leonhard/IDG

For those of you on Win10 version 1803 or 1809 Home, there are some additional hoops. Note that I strongly recommend Win10 version 1809 Home folks upgrade to 1903, skipping 1809, specifically so you have access to the new Pause Update feature.

Here’s how to choose the version you’ll get.

Step 1. Back up

Just as in the Pro/Education editions, there’s a chance that changing versions will completely hose your computer, or leave your machine tied up in automatically installed knots. Make a full system image backup before you venture down any path. 

Once again I recommend either Macrium Reflect Free or EaseUS Todo Backup. Don’t rely on the built-in Windows backup, which dates back to Win7 days and is notoriously flaky.

Step 2. Let Windows Update run its course, if you can

If you’re already on Win10 1903 Home, you have full access to the Pause Updates feature. I talk about the proper settings every month on the day before Patch Tuesday. (November’s alert looks like this.) Follow those recommendations, and you’ll stay patched without getting thrown to the beta testing wolves. When you’re ready to move to Win10 1909 Home, you can click the link to Download and install now.

If you’re on Win10 1803 or 1809 Home and moving to Win10 1909 Home, you can simply remove any updating blocks you may have (such as setting your internet line to a metered connection) and let Windows Update run its course. Alternatively, you can use the Windows Media Creation Tool page and get upgraded directly.

Step 3. Install from a saved ISO, if necessary

The  other permutations aren’t so simple.

  • Moving from Win10 1803 Home to either 1809 Home or 1903 Home requires the use of an ISO file — an image of a Windows upgrade disk. 
  • Moving from Win10 1809 Home to 1903 Home also requires the use of an ISO file.

There are tricky ways to avoid using the ISOs — you can even manually block the 1909 upgrade — but for most people, the ISO approach is convoluted enough already.

Step 3a. Retrieve the correct ISO

If you’re moving from Win10 1803 Home to Win10 1809 Home, you need to get an ISO for Win10 version 1809. If you’re moving from either Win10 1803 or 1809 to Win10 1903 Home, you need an ISO for Win10 version 1903.

There’s a chance you already have an ISO in your hip pocket. Back in September, I recommended that you download and squirrel away a copy of Win10 version 1903 and in April I recommended that you store a clean copy of Win10 version 1809. Those will work.

If you don’t have a clean ISO to work from, there’s a phenomenal batch program from AveYo available on pastebin that lets you choose and download (from Microsoft!) the official older ISOs. Go to AveYo’s MediaCreationTool site on pastebin. On the upper right, click Download. With an administrator account, right-click on the downloaded MediaCreationTool.bat file and choose Run as administrator. You may need to click through “Windows protected your PC” screens (click More info, Run anyway) but in the end you’ll have a list of ISOs to choose from (screenshot).

media creation tool bat Woody Leonhard/IDG

Click on the version you want. Windows takes a while to download the package, but in the end, you’re tossed directly into the Win10 installer, as described in Step 3b.

Step 3b. Install Windows from the ISO

If you have an ISO file and want to use it to upgrade your Win10 Home version, using an administrator account, double-click on the ISO file, then right-click setup.exe and choose Run as administrator. The Win10 installer kicks in and will guide you through the process. You have the option to either install clean, or to keep your files and settings (“Choose what to keep”) and install the new version. 

Step 4. Reboot

Restart your machine if you haven’t been forced to do so already, and you’ll be running that new version.

You can double-check that the upgrade succeeded by typing About in the search box and looking for the version number.

Remember that you have 10 days (by default) to roll back to your previous version of Win10 — just click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Go back to the previous version of Windows 10.

It’s funny how something so simple — controlling your upgraded version — has turned into something so horrendously complex. 

If you have any suggestions for this procedure, or need help, skilled volunteers await on the AskWoody Lounge.

Thx, @PKCano, @abbodi86.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



Source link

You Can Now Control Roku With Your Apple Watch

The Roku app now supports Apple Watch. This means you can use your Apple Watch to control your Roku device, launch channels on your TV, issue voice commands, and even find your Roku remote. All from the smartwatch wrapped around your wrist.

What Can You Do With the Roku App on Apple Watch?

Roku announced that its free app is now available on Apple Watch in a post on The Roku Blog. The company outlines what you can do with the Roku app on your Apple Watch…

You can use your Apple Watch as a remote control for your Roku. This works in the same way as the remote from the mobile app (available on Android and iOS). However, you can also use the Apple Watch’s circular crown to control the volume on your Roku device.

You can also launch channels on your TV using the Roku app on your Apple Watch. Channels are listed in order of the most recently launched, keeping your regular channels at or near the top. Simply tap on a channel once to launch it on your TV.

If you own an Apple Watch Series 1 through 5 you can also issue voice commands using the app. Simply tap the voice icon and speak into your Apple Watch. Voice commands include “Launch Hulu,” “search for comedies,” and “switch to HDMI 1”.

Last but not least, you can use the Roku app on your Apple Watch to search for your actual Roku remote control if you lose it down the back of the sofa. Unfortunately, this feature is only available on the Roku Ultra and select Roku TV models.

How to Install the Roku App on Your Apple Watch

You should be able to install the Roku app on your Apple Watch by updating the Roku app on your iPhone to version 6.1.3. The app will then appear on your Apple Watch. However, if you have disabled automatic installs you’ll have to install the app manually instead.

Installing the Roku app on your Apple Watch is a no-brainer. Especially as it’s free. And while we’d probably still use the Roku remote over the Apple Watch app, if your Roku remote has stopped working


8 Fixes for a Roku TV Remote That’s Not Working




8 Fixes for a Roku TV Remote That’s Not Working

Is your Roku remote not working? Here are some useful fixes that’ll get your Roku remote working again.
Read More

, the Roku app on your Apple Watch is a solid backup.





Source link

5 Chromebook Parental Control Apps to Monitor Your Child’s Activity

A Chromebook is a great option for your kids. They’re cheap, portable, lightweight, and the software doesn’t cost anything, either. When your kids start using technology, you want to keep tabs on what they’re up to.

Because of their focus on kids, students, and education, Chromebooks and Chrome OS have a decent range of parental controls. Some are integrated with Chrome OS, while others come from the Chrome Web Store or Google Play.

Here are the best parental controls for your child’s Chromebook.

One of the best-integrated Chromebook parental control tools available is Google Family Link. The Google-designed app lets parents monitor their child’s Chromebook session from their Android smartphone. Family Link is the replacement for Chrome Supervised Profiles. Existing Chrome Supervised Accounts still work, but you can no longer edit their settings, or create a new profile.

Google Family Link allows parents to:

  • Set Chromebook use time limits
  • Control daily time limits manually
  • Set individual app time limits
  • View app usage and make time activity reports for the kids
  • Approve app downloads and other online activities
  • Add education and exploration focused apps remotely
  • Lock the Chromebook remotely, with a specific unlock time
  • Locate your child via Family Link on their Chromebook

You can also control your kid’s Chromebook from another Chromebook, so long as you can install Android apps. (Some Chromebook models can only install Chrome Web Store apps, rather than Android operating system apps.)

Google Family Link has the same functionality as a Chrome Supervised Profile, with some handy extras.

Christian Cawley has explained precisely how to install Google Family Link on Android devices


Protect Your Child’s Android Phone Using Google Family Link




Protect Your Child’s Android Phone Using Google Family Link

Google Family Link provides a simple and sensible solution for parental control on Android devices. Here’s how to use it.
Read More

and the process is the same on a Chromebook.

Mobicip Parental Control with Screen Time (the app’s full title) is a remote parental control app. It is one of the most popular and comprehensive parental control apps that work for Android, iOS, and Chromebooks, as well as macOS and Windows.

The Mobicip Parental Control Standard Plan includes the following features:

  • Schedule and limit Chromebook screen time
  • Lock Chromebook remotely
  • Review recent browsing history
  • Block and control social media, video, and gaming apps
  • Manage internet content filtering
  • Send messages to the Chromebook; reminders, homework checks, and so on
  • Track the location of the Chromebook when switched on

Mobicip Parental Control is easy to use and feature-packed. It is a premium parental control app. A year’s subscription to Mobicip’s Standard Plan will set you back $49.99 per year, offering protection for five devices. Mobicip also offers a free seven-day trial to figure out if the parental controls suit you and your kids.

Download: Mobicip for Chromebook | Windows | macOS | Android | iOS

WebWatcher is a long-standing player in the parental control market. The WebWatcher Chromebook offering isn’t as comprehensive as Google Family Link or Mobicip Parental Control. But it does allow decent remote Chromebook management and some handy content alerts. With WebWatcher Chromebook monitoring, you can:

  • Monitor website and search history
  • Keep tabs on social media URLs
  • Create word alerts with automatic screenshotting
  • Use continuous screenshot mode for constant updating

WebWatcher’s Alert Log tool is highly recommended. The Alert Log continually scans data on the Chromebook, using advanced filtering to catch any dangerous behavior or content. If your child engages in any nefarious behaviour on their Chromebook, you receive an email update complete with a screenshot of the issue.

The WebWatcher Chromebook monitoring model respects the privacy of the Chromebook user while keeping parents informed about any dangerous activity.

WebWatcher for Chromebook is a premium parental control app. You can opt for a monthly payment of $3.32 or pay $39.99 for a 12-month subscription. WebWatcher also offers a free trial to test the parental control system before buying.

Blocksi Manager Home is a comprehensive Chromebook parental control option, with a wide range of monitoring and management features. There are several Blocksi versions. The free Blocksi option offers a handy but standard array of URL and content filtering, whitelisting, and website ratings.

The best option is Blocksi Manager Home Premium, which gives you:

  • Internet, social media, video, gaming access time controls
  • Additional YouTube keyword and channel filtering
  • Customizable filtering policies
  • Near real-time analytics, search, and web history
  • Notifications on attempts to access dangerous or illicit content
  • Screen time enforcement

Blocksi Manager Home Premium costs $59.50 per user per year. Comparatively, Blocksi Manager Home is one of the pricier Chromebook parental control products. However, it is also one of the most comprehensive. Like the other Chromebook parental control options on this list, Blocksi offers a free trial.

Apps like Blocksi stop kids turning them off using a password. Check out the other ways your children will attempt to skirt your parental controls


7 Ways Your Children Might Bypass Parental Control Software




7 Ways Your Children Might Bypass Parental Control Software

Just because you’ve installed a safety net in parental control software doesn’t mean your children won’t find a way to navigate through it. Here’s how they’ll do it!
Read More

!

Download: Blocksi (Free Trial)

mSpy is a parental control app with a focus on constant tracking. In that, mSpy gives you a constant view into your kid’s Chromebook world, so long as the Chromebook is switchd on or in use. mSpy provides an extensive range of parental controls, including:

  • Social media monitoring, including WhatsApp and Snapchat
  • Web browsing and search monitoring and reporting
  • Email tracking and analysis
  • Location tracking when the Chromebook is in use
  • Geo-fencing alerts; if your child accesses the Chromebook outside the fence, you receive an alert
  • Installed application control, monitoring, and blocking

mSpy is extremely comprehensive, but it is also the most expensive parental control app on this list. Geo-fencing, website blocking, and other features fall under the Premium subscription, which costs $53.99 per month. You can reduce the monthly cost with a 12-month subscription, dropping the price to $12.49 per month.

Download: mSpy (Free Trial)

What Is the Best Chromebook Parental Control App?

If you want something free and relatively easy to use, look no further than Google Family Link. It works straight out of the box. You can install it on almost any Chromebook, so long as it is compatible. It uses your existing Gmail account to monitor your kid’s Chromebook usage, and the app itself is intuitive.

The other options are all handy, with different strengths for parental control. However, as they all come with a price tag, the free option wins.

Want to understand more about parental controls? Check out our guide to parental controls of every kind


The Complete Guide to Parental Controls




The Complete Guide to Parental Controls

The world of internet-connected devices can be terrifying for parents. If you have young children, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about setting up and using parental controls.
Read More

to decide what type of parental control suits your situation.



Source link

How to Reclaim Control Over Your Email Inbox

In the digital age, we’re receiving emails almost constantly, and at a certain point you just can’t keep up with deleting them all. Eventually, there’s a little red circle saying “1,506” over your email app icon and the thought of even beginning to clean your inbox is daunting. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it manually.

Clean Email is a web-based client that lets you effectively and efficiently clean your inbox using easily defined rules and filters. With its tool, you can segment your emails into groups so you can separate work from personal emails, sort specific project emails, or organize emails from different teams.

If you’re not even sure where to begin, Clean Email gives you smart views of your email inbox. You can quickly apply bulk actions like deleting automated emails or sorting everything from specific senders. With defined types, you can isolate important emails and distill them further into “Teammates” or “Friends and Family” lists so you know where to find everything. Clean Email even provides you tools to help you mass-unsubscribe from promotional emails you no longer want and block additional messages.

Get back control of your email inbox. A lifetime subscription to Clean Email is on sale today for just $29.99.



Source link

The Most Useful iPhone Control Center Widgets by Apple

You should already know how easy it is to launch an app on a personal computer: by clicking the icon on the desktop. Well, that’s the same kind of convenience offered by iPhone Control Center widgets.

All newly purchased iPhones come with built-in widgets in the Control Center. Some of the most practical widgets include screen recording, magnifier, and low power mode, among others.

But before delving into what these widgets offer, we will explain how you can gain access to them from the Control Center.

How to Enable/Disable Control Center on iPhones

The Control Center on iPhones was a feature introduced by Apple in its iOS 7 update. Gaining access to the Control Center is as simple as swiping up from the bottom of your screen.

However, this easy access to the Control Center has its drawbacks. An example is when you find yourself accidentally pulling up the drawer while playing a game or performing an action.

To disable the Control Center and prevent these kinds of accidents from happening, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down until you see Control Center.
  3. Look out for the option Access Within Apps.
  4. If the toggle is green, then it means the option is enabled, so tap it to disable.

For more information on how to personalize the Control Center, see our article on customizing the Control Center for iOS 11 and above


How to Use iOS 11’s Customizable Control Center on iPhone and iPad




How to Use iOS 11’s Customizable Control Center on iPhone and iPad

Wondering how to disable AirDrop, enable Night Shift, or change AirPlay output for the song you’re listening to? We’ll show you how.
Read More

. On the other hand, if you are thinking of the widgets to include while customizing the Control Center, we round up the most practical ones below:

The Most Useful iPhone Control Center Widgets by Apple

1. Screen Recording

iPhone Control Center Widget

Do you have something on your screen you would love to share, but a simple screenshot won’t do? Then, try screen recording. As the name indicates, the screen recording widget, when activated, allows you to record actions taking place on your screen.

When you swipe up the iPhone Control Center widgets drawer, look out for the icon of a circle with a white dot at the center. Tapping this widget begins the 3-second countdown to record your screen.

As your screen begins to record, a red banner displays at the top of the screen showing the duration of the recording. When you’re done, tap the red banner to gain access to “stop record.”

For more information on how to add audio to your screen records, see our article on how to record your iPhone screen


How to Record Your iPhone Screen




How to Record Your iPhone Screen

Here’s how to screen record on iPhone with the built-in screen recording tool, as well as some great third-party apps.
Read More

.

2. Flashlight

iPhone Control Center widget

Stuck in a low light area or need to access something in a dark location? No need to wander around for a torch when your phone can provide an adequate source of light.

The flashlight is another must-have among iPhone Control Center widgets. What it does is to turn on the flash connected to the phone’s camera. The widget is represented by a torchlight icon, and activating it requires a simple tap.

A good thing about the flash is you can determine the level of brightness you want by force pressing the widget. See our article on how to turn on and off your phone’s flashlight


How to Turn On and Off Your Phone’s Flashlight




How to Turn On and Off Your Phone’s Flashlight

You have several ways to turn on your phone’s flashlight. We show you ways to open the flashlight on both Android and iPhone.
Read More

.

3. Magnifier

iPhone Control Center widget

Want to gain a better view of something? Then, make use of the Magnifier in your Control Center. It is akin to having an actual magnifying glass in hand.

The Magnifier widget utilizes your camera’s lenses to zoom in on an object. All you have to do is drag the slider to adjust the zoom level. When you get the desired zoom level, click the white shutter.

What the shutter does is to grab the current view and lock it in the viewfinder. But the image is not saved to the camera roll.

4. Assisted Hearing

iPhone Control Center widget

If you have a Made for iPhone hearing aid or an AirPod, the Assisted Hearing widget allows you to transmit the sounds picked up from your phone to your ear.

This function enables individuals with hearing difficulties to selectively tune in to the audio within their environment when the microphone is optimally positioned. However, there have been reported cases of this iPhone Control Center widget being used to eavesdrop.

5. Scan QR code

iPhone control center widget

With digital modes of payment now being heavily integrated into daily society, it is essential to have a QR scanning tool. But, the good news is there is an iPhone Control Center widget for this.

What the QR code widget does is to open up your camera to scan any visible code. Also, after scanning, you get a notification on the QR code’s contents at the top of your screen.

If the QR code has contact information, the notification provides you with the opportunity to create a new contact on your phone. On the other hand, if it is a link, you get redirected to Safari.

To learn more about how to use QR codes for various functions, check out our article on uses for QR codes and how to generate yours


7 Great Uses For QR Codes & How To Generate Your Own For Free




7 Great Uses For QR Codes & How To Generate Your Own For Free

Quick response codes, or QR codes for short, have been used for a few years now to provide rapid access to URLs, messages or contact information. Marketing and advertising departments love QR codes, as with…
Read More

.

6. Low Power Mode

iPhone Control Center widget

Activating the Low Power Mode iPhone Control Center widget enables the provision of notification when your battery goes below 20%.

With the notification, you are given the option of activating low power mode where certain background functions get disabled. This, in turn, reduces battery drain and extends the battery life.

Other Useful iPhone Control Center Widgets

Apart from the six iPhone Control Center widgets by Apple listed above, there are other options you can consider. They include:

  1. Calculator: To quickly launch the mathematical app.
  2. Alarm: Want to set a timer, start a stopwatch, or get ready for bedtime? Use the quick launch widget.
  3. Apple TV Remote: Turn your phone into your remote with this widget.

Also, if you are interested in getting third-party widgets, check out our article on the best iPhone widgets and how to use them


The 10 Best iPhone Widgets (And How to Put Them to Good Use)




The 10 Best iPhone Widgets (And How to Put Them to Good Use)

iPhone widgets let you access app information at a glance and can be extremely useful. Here are some of the best iPhone widgets.
Read More

.

Your iPhone Serving as an Essential Life Tool

With the constant innovation by tech giants such as Apple, phones are no longer just tools for communication. The iPhone Control Center widgets are an example of the multiple things you can achieve or do with a phone. The widgets serve various purposes for business, lifestyle, and daily life management.

It therefore can be said that in the foreseeable future, with automation coming into play, smartphones will become a must-have. See our article on devices and tools which your smartphone can replace


Less is More! 7+ Devices & Tools Your Smartphone Can Replace




Less is More! 7+ Devices & Tools Your Smartphone Can Replace

Phones have gone through an incredible evolution over the past few years. Besides serving as mobile phone and a tiny window into the world wide web, the modern smartphone accommodates a multitude of tools. The…
Read More

.



Source link

How to Hands-Free Voice Control Your iPhone With iOS 13

Have you ever wanted to control your iPhone or iPad with only your voice? Well, the powerful new Voice Control feature introduced in iOS 13 lets you do just that, and you can use it even if you don’t have Siri enabled.

While it is primarily intended as an accessibility feature, Voice Control can also be a very useful option for those of us who frequently find ourselves unable to physically touch our phones, whether we’re holding a baby, playing games, or washing the dishes.

Sounds cool, right? And it’s easy! Here’s everything you need to know on how to set up true hands-free operation of your iPhone using Voice Control in iOS 13.

How to Set Up Voice Control in iOS 13

Setting up this awesome accessibility feature in iOS 13 is quite an easy process to do. We’ll show you just how to get it working in no time:

  1. First, open the Settings app.
  2. Locate and open the Accessibility section.
  3. Scroll down until you see Voice Control. Tap on it.
  4. Select Set Up Voice Control.

And you’re all set! You now have Voice Control enabled on your iPhone or iPad. While it is on, you’ll see a blue microphone icon at the top left of your screen.

Within the Voice Control menu in settings, there are a couple of ways you can tailor this feature to your needs, such as customizing commands with Customize Commands and teaching your device new words with Vocabulary.

You can also customize the way command feedback works for you. To play a sound after Voice Control recognizes your command, simply toggle Play Sound Upon Recognition. This will give you aural confirmation that your command was followed just in case you aren’t looking at your phone. And to show hints so as to help you maneuver your phone faster, just turn on Show Hints.

How to Voice Control on the iPhone Home Screen

Now that we’ve set up Voice Control, it’s time to start using it in a practical and productive manner.

There are a couple of commands essential for navigation. Let’s begin with the home screen. Here are the essential voice commands to know when you want hands-free interaction with your iPhone’s home screen:

  1. To swipe right, say “Swipe right.”
  2. To swipe left, say “Swipe left.”
  3. To open Notification Center, say “Open Notification Center.”
  4. To open the Control Center, say “Open Control Center.”
  5. To open a specific app, say “Open [app name].” (e.g. “Open Instagram.”)
  6. To go back to the home screen from an app, say “Go back.”

And there you have it! These are the basic commands you can use to control the iPhone home screen with your voice. Again, you can set up custom voice commands for all of these options if there’s something that you find easier and faster to say.

How to Voice Control Within an iPhone App

To show how Voice Control can be used for navigation within an app, here’s an example of Voice Control being used for Instagram. Instagram is a complex app in which there are lots of different options, controls, and menus to choose from, so it’ll teach you quite a bit about how to master Voice Control.

Let’s start with the “Show Numbers” command. Show Numbers is an integral part of Voice Control: wherever you are on your phone, it will provide you with different numbers all over the screen, each corresponding to a certain on-screen action. Then you can say a number out loud and Voice Control will execute the on-screen action corresponding to the number.

Let’s try it out:

  1. In Instagram, say “Show numbers continuously.” Various numbers, starting from one, will appear on your screen. These numbers are attached to specific on-screen actions. As you can see in the screenshot above, 21 designates the search button.
  2. Say “Twenty-four” to open the Search section.
  3. Repeat the process and choose your desired number option.

These are the basics of controlling your favorite apps using only your voice, thanks to Voice Control. Easy as pie.

How to Type and Edit Text With Voice Control

What if you’re too busy re-arranging your furniture, but you need to jot down stray thoughts in the Notes app, such as items for your grocery list this week?

  1. On the home screen, say “Tap Notes” to open the Notes app.
  2. Create a Note by saying “New Note.”
  3. On your new note, say “Single tap.” This will simulate a single tap and launch the keyboard.
  4. Speak what you want to write down.

Easy!

To change words and fix typos, just say “Change [word] to [new word].” If there are multiple versions of the same word, you’ll see each one represented by a number, so just choose the word you want to change by saying its corresponding number.

You can also select, delete, cut, copy, and paste words:

  1. Say “Select [word]” or “Select this [item]” to select it. You can also select all content by saying “Select all.”
  2. To delete what you have selected, you can say “Delete that.”
  3. Say “Cut that” to cut or “Copy that” to copy. To paste, just say “Paste.”
  4. To capitalize or lowercase a selected letter, say “Capitalize that” or “Lowercase that.”

You’re now one step closer to mastering Voice Control!

More Ways to Use Voice Control

There are various other ways to make use of Voice Control. Here’s a really quick list of other commands you can say:

  1. “Take screenshot” to take a screenshot.
  2. “Turn up volume” or “Turn down volume” to raise and lower volume, respectively.
  3. “Search web for [phrase]” to open Google on Safari and search what was said.
  4. “Go to sleep” to disable Voice Control temporarily.
  5. “Wake up” to re-enable Voice Control.
  6. “Long press” or “3D Touch” to simulate a long press or 3D Touch on an item, depending on your device’s capabilities.
  7. “Lock device” to lock your iPhone or iPad.

And that’s about it!

You are now a master at maneuvering your iPhone with only your voice! Just be careful to keep the Voice Control feature asleep while you’re out and about—unlike Siri, Voice Control will listen to and obey any voice it hears, not just yours.

Want to take it further? Start using Siri! We’ve got a master list of Siri commands


The Master List of Every Siri Command and Question




The Master List of Every Siri Command and Question

Siri can do a lot for you, but did you know she could do this much? Here’s an exhaustive list of commands Siri will take.
Read More

to get you started. And if you enjoy speaking to your tech to get things done, check out our best HomePod features


12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One




12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One

Don’t have a HomePod yet? We round up the coolest Apple HomePod features that will make you want to pick up the smart speaker.
Read More

.



Source link

How to use Voice Control in macOS Catalina

Apple’s introduction of Voice Control in macOS Catalina is life-transforming for many users, a convenience for some, and a little fun for others. Here is an introduction to using Voice Control on a Mac running macOS Catalina when it’s released.

How to enable Voice Control on your Mac

Apple says Voice Control is more capable of understanding the context of what it is asked. Built on Siri’s accurate voice recognition engine, it’s been tweaked for use in dictation and can be used with all your applications.

One example highlighted by Apple is when a person using Messages on their Mac dictates, “Happy Birthday tap send.” Voice Control should be able to tell where the message ends and the send instruction begins – and then send the message “Happy Birthday.”

This makes Voice Control a much better dictation system than the Enhanced Dictation Apple provided in previous editions of Mac OS/macOS.

Voice Control is disabled by default. To turn it on, go to System Preferences>Accessibility>Voice Control and click the Enable Voice Control checkbox.

Voice Control will use the language you’ve configured for your Mac by default, but you can select another language if you are dictating in a different tongue. (You may also need to select a microphone; the internal one will be chosen by default.)

How to reach Voice Control

Once you’ve set up Voice Control, you’ll find a new microphone icon on the lower right of your Desktop, just above the Trash. Click it to wake Voice Control, click again to put it back to sleep. The icon shows you the current language and instructions to Wake Up or Sleep.

Once you have enabled Voice Control, your Mac will listen for your commands. You do not need to be online for Voice Control to work.

Here are some essential commands

There are a variety of commands that should come in handy for Voice Control, but there are some you really need to know about:

  • Open
  • Quit
  • Hide
  • New item
  • Search
  • Open Spotlight
  • Zoom
  • Close
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Format text
  • Delete That – Voice Control understands this to mean delete what you have just typed.

You should review all of Apple’s available commands in System Preferences>Accessibility>Voice Control – tap the Commands button. Here you will see all the commands for different functions and can click on each one to see options for what it does.

Recognized Open Siri-related commands include Open Siri, Show Siri, Launch Siri and Switch to Siri, for example. You will also see that in each case there’s a checkbox beside each command. You can use this to uncheck a command you don’t want Voice Control to understand.

macos catalina voice control Apple

How to replace words and phrases

You can replace phrases by name, so you might say: “Replace ‘I will be late’ with ‘I’m not going to make it.'”

You can also get more accurate in your word selections using phrases like “Move up two lines… Select previous word. Italicize that.”

How to add new commands

You can create your own commands, similar to how Keyboard Shorcuts are set up. You might want to do this in order to create a shortcut for placing a letterhead or writing specific phrases. I have one I use in order to write ¯_(ツ)_/¯ in those apps that support this.

You can also add commands for specific phrases or actions you prefer:

  • Tap the Commands button in Voice Control.
  • Tap the plus button underneath the list of commands.
  • Enter the command phrase in the ‘When I say box.
  • You use the While Using dropdown menu to define whether this works in a certain app or all of your applications.
  • In the Perform item, you can choose which actions take place in response to the command you create:
    • Open Finder Items.
    • Open URL.
    • Paste Text.
    • Paste Data.
    • Press Keyboard Shortcut.
    • Select Menu.
    • Run Workflow.
  • Tap Done and the new command will be made available.

Voice Control also lets you navigate.

How to use Voice Control to navigate your Mac

We’ve learned how to use Voice Control to open apps and initiate commands, but Apple has figured out an effective way to use voice to replace touchpad/mouse navigation on your Mac. This is a system based on three things:

These work with navigation commands, accessibility labels and voice gestures (open, close, select, and so on).

Numbers: When you say “Show Numbers” you will see numbers appear beside all the clickable items on your Mac’s screen. You can use a number to select a Menu item, open it, and then choose the newly-appearing numbers that mark each selection in the contextual menu that appears.

So, to open a new document in Word you could say “Show Numbers,” speak the number that appears above the File menu item, and then choose the digit denoting the New Document command in that application. (Or just say “Open New Document in Word.”)

Grids: The problem with numbers is that these only appear next to clickable items on screen, but not everything we do on a Mac is clickable – selecting elements of an image or using a color meter, for example.

If you ever need to access part of the display that is not numbered, the “Show grid” command puts a grid on your screen. Each grid is numbered, so you can use that number to select the area containing the item you want to touch.

A new grid will be created comprising the area of the chosen grid, and smaller grids will appear in that space. Just keep selecting from these increasingly accurately placed grids until the item is clearly selected; then you can choose action commands such as tap, zoom and drag for that item.

Names: Catalina supports Accessibility labels for buttons, links and other on-screen elements. If you’ve not used these before, you can ask Voice Control to “Show Names” and these will appear on your Mac.

You can also record sequences of gestures to create recorded commands.

What about when I don’t want to use Voice Control?

Voice Control supports four Interaction Modes that help you control when it’s used:

  • Dictation Mode: Use this to dictate and use voice commands.
  • Command Mode: Voice commands only (no dictation).
  • Go to sleep: Pause.
  • Wake Up: Resume.

What about security?

Apple says that Voice Control handles all the audio processing it needs to understand your different commands on the Mac. Nothing is shared with Apple or over the internet. (It is important to note that the older Enhanced Dictation/Dictation features are not protected in this way; these actually do send what you say to Apple for processing.)

You can only use one of these systems at any one time, so if Voice Control is active, the older Dictation software is not.

Let me know if you make use of the powerful voice first feature, and eb sure to share any useful tips or how it helps you.

Further reading:

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





Source link

How to use Voice Control on your Catalina Mac

Apple’s introduction of Voice Control with macOS Catalina is life-transforming for many users, a convenience for some, and a little fun for others. Here is an introduction to using Voice Control on your Catalina Mac.

How to enable Voice Control on your Mac

Apple says Voice Control is more capable of understanding the context of what it is asked.

It is built on a Siri’s accurate voice recognition engine, tweaked for use in dictation and capable of being used with all your applications.

One example of this the company provides is when a person using Messages on their Mac dictates, “Happy Birthday tap send”.

Voice Control should then be able to tell where the message ends and the send instruction begins, and send the message “Happy Birthday”.

This makes Voice Control a much better dictation system than the Enhanced Dictation Apple provides in previous editions of Mac OS/macOS.

Voice Control is an Accessibility setting enabled in System Preferences>Accessibility>Voice Control where you click the Enable Voice Control checkbox. It is disabled by default.

Voice Control will use the language you configured for your Mac by default, but you may need to select another language if you are dictating in a different tongue. (You may also need to select a microphone, though the internal one will be chosen by default).

How to reach Voice Control

Once you’ve set up Voice Control you’ll find a new microphone icon on your Desktop.

This lives at the lower right of your Desktop, just above the Trash. Tap it to wake Voice Control, tap it again to put it back to sleep. The icon shows you the current language and instructions to Wake Up or Sleep.

Once you have enabled Voice Control your Mac will listen out for your commands. You do not need to be online for Voice Control to work.

Here are some essential commands

There are lots of commands that should come in useful when using Voice Control but there are some most users really need to know:

  • Open
  • Quit
  • Hide
  • New item
  • Search
  • Open Spotlight
  • Zoom
  • Close
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Format text
  • Delete That – Voice Control knows this to mean delete what you have just typed.

You should review all Apple’s available commands in System Preferences>Accessibility>Voice Control — tap the Commands button.

You will see all the known commands for different functions and can click on each command to see options for what it does:

Recognized Open Siri-related commands include Open Siri, Show Siri, Launch Siri and Switch to Siri, for example.

You will see that in each case there’s a checkbox beside each command. You can use this to uncheck a command you don’t want Voice Control to understand.

macos catalina voice control Apple

How to replace words and phrases

You can replace phrases by name, so you might say “Replace I will be late with I’m not going to make it.”.

You can also get more accurate in your word selections using phrases like “Move up two lines… Select previous word. Italicise that.”

How to add new commands

You can create your own commands. In a similar way to Keyboard Shorcuts, you might want to do this in order to create as shortcut for placing a letterhead or writing specific phrases. I have one I use in order to write ¯_(ツ)_/¯ in those apps that support this.

You can also add commands for specific phrases or actions you prefer:

  • Tap the Commands button in Voice Control
  • Tap the plus button underneath the list of commands
  • Enter the command phrase in the ‘When I say box
  • You use the While Using dropdown menu to define if this works in a certain app or all of your applications.
  • In the Perform item you can choose which actions will take place in response to the command you create:
    • Open Finder Items.
    • Open URL.
    • Paste Text.
    • Paste Data.
    • Press Keyboard Shortcut.
    • Select Menu.
    • Run Workflow.
  • Tap Done and the new command will be made available.

Voice Control also lets you navigate your Mac.

How to use Voice Control to navigate your Mac

We’ve learned how to use Voice Control to open applications and initiate commands, but Apple has figured out an effective way to use your voice to replace touchpad/mouse navigation on your Mac. This is a system based on three things:

These work with navigation commands, accessibility labels and voice gestures (open, close, select, and so on).

Numbers: When you say “Show Numbers” you will see numbers appear beside all the clickabole items on your Mac’s screen.

You can use a number to select a Menu item, open it, and then choose the newly-appearing numbers that mark each selection in the contextual menu that appears.

So, to open a new document in Word you might say “Show Numbers”, speak the number that appears above the File menu item, and then choose the digit denoting the New Document command in that application.

Or just say “Open New Document in Word”, I guess…

Grids: The problem with numbers is that these only appear next to clickable items on screen, but not everything we do on a Mac is clickable – selecting elements of an image or using a color meter, for example.

If you ever need to touch part of the display that is not numbered, the “Show grid” command puts a grid on your screen.

Each grid is numbered, so you can use that number to select the area containing the item you want to touch.

A new grid will be created comprising the area of the chosen grid, and smaller grids will appear in that space. Just keep selecting from these increasingly accurately placed grids until the item is clearly selected when you can choose action commands such as tap, zoom, drag for that item.

Names: Catalina supports Accessibility labels for buttons, links and other on-screen elements. If you’ve not used these before you can ask Voice Control to “Show Names” and these will appear on your Mac.

You can also record sequences of gestures to create recorded commands.

What about when I don’t want to use Voice Control?

Voice Control supports four Interaction Modes that help you control when it is used:

  • Dictation Mode: Use this to dictate and use voice commands
  • Command Mode: Voice commands only (no dictation)
  • Go to sleep: Pause
  • Wake Up: Resume

What about security?

Apple says that Voice Control handles all the audio processing it needs to do to understand all your different commands on the Mac. Nothing is shared with Apple or over the ‘Net.

It is important to note that the older Enhanced Dictation/Dictation features are not protected in this way, these actually do send what you say to Apple for processing.

You can only use one of these systems at any one time, so if Voice Control is active, the older Dictation software is not active.

I hope this short guide helps you make use of Voice Control on your Mac once macOS Catalina is available.

Please let me know if you use Voice Control, share any useful tips, or let me know how it helps you if you make use of the powerful voice first feature.

Further reading:

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





Source link

Wireless Brain-Machine Interface Allows for Remote Control of Robots, PCs – Review Geek

Wireless brain computer interface electrodes.
Georgia Tech

Researchers have developed a new non-invasive brain-machine interface (BMI) that can be used to wirelessly control an electric wheelchair, robotic vehicle, or computing device by reading signals from the human brain.

While most brain-machine interfaces consist of unwieldy headgear that is loaded with electrodes and wires for scanning brain activity, this latest creation leverages the power of wireless sensors and compact electronics. The device is made of newfangled nanomembrane electrodes with flexible electronics and is paired with a deep learning algorithm that helps analyze the electroencephalography (EEG) signals.

Created by researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Kent and Wichita State University, the wireless BMI is comprised of pliable electrodes capable of making direct contact with the skin through hair and flexible circuitry with a Bluetooth telemetry unit. Electrodes are placed on the subject’s scalp, neck and below their ear, and they’re held in place with a fabric headband.

When EEG data is recorded from the brain, it’s sent to a tablet computer up to 15 meters away via Bluetooth. That’s when the deep learning algorithms come into play. The researchers noted that it’s challenging to minimize interference because the signals they’re working with are in the range of tens of micro-volts, which is similar to electrical noise in the body.

Deep learning is used to parse through that noise and drill down on the EEG signals that are most relevant for BMI purposes. This approach to filtering unwanted signals also contributes toward minimizing the number of electrodes required.

So far the system has been tested with six human subjects who have been able to control an electric wheelchair, a small robotic vehicle, as well as a computing device without using a keyboard or any other conventional controller. Going forward, the researchers aim to develop a method for mounting the electrodes on a hairy scalp without wearing a headband, as well as shrinking the electronics so more electrodes can be implemented in the same size package.


This research comes as countless startups and tech titans including Facebook are vying for a piece of the market. In Facebook’s case, the company announced in April 2017 that it was working on a method that would allow users to type with their minds at 100 words a minute, while more recently it spent an estimated $500 million to $1 billion on neural interface startup CTRL-Labs for its mind-reading wristband.

[Source: Nature.com]





Source link