iOS 11 Gets a Fast Patch

Apple today issued a small update to the millions of iPhones and iPads that have already upgraded to iOS 11. It fixes an Exchange connectivity bug in that release.

“You might not be able to send email with an Outlook.com, Office 365, or Exchange account until you update to iOS 11.0.1,” an Apple support document notes.

The bug impacts email hosted by Microsoft on Outlook.com or Office 365, or Exchange Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016. You’ll know you have the problem if you see the error message “Cannot Send Mail. The message was rejected by the server.”

As with all iOS updates, iOS 11.0.1 will be offered to you automatically. But you can install this update immediately by navigating to Settings > General > Software Update.

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Saving Your Battery in iOS 11

Like many people, I noticed a decrease in battery life after I installed iOS 11 on my iPhone.

This is actually a very common problem on all iOS versions. However it does seem that each new version of iOS brings complaints about faster battery drain. Some say it’s because you’re using the phone more as you explore all the new features and updates. I have also heard the argument that the new OS is doing a bunch of rewriting or caching or something, and that battery life will even out after the first couple days.

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With iOS 11, however, there may be another culprit.

Email Drag

If you’ve ever searched for tips on prolonging iPhone battery life, you’ve almost certainly encountered this one: turn off email fetch. The reasoning is that battery life suffers if your phone automatically checks for new mail every 15 or 30 minutes.

That’s why I always kept my accounts set to “manual,” as I prefer to retrieve mail when I want to retrieve mail.

However, after installing iOS 11, I noticed there were frequently new messages waiting for me each time I opened the Mail app. So I checked my email account settings (which, incidentally, are no longer found in Settings > Mail and, sure enough, all my accounts had been set to Fetch!

Needless to say, you are better off disabling Fetch. Here’s how: tap Settings > Accounts & Passwords > Fetch New Data and change it to Manually. You can also change this to check for email hourly, every 30 minutes or every 15 minutes. Try one of these if you iPhone battery is suffering.

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Watching Star Trek: Discovery Offline

With Star Trek: Discovery now airing exclusively on CBS All Access I was trying to find  way to be able to download the episodes so I can view them while flying. Unlike Netflix & Amazon Video CBS All Access does not (yet) have a watch offline feature. However – in the meantime…

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It looks like will there is a will – there is a way, even if it will cost a few bucks.

Streaming your favorite shows on a spotty internet connection can be quite the nuisance – but it doesn’t have to be. There is a handy app that lets you save any show for offline watching and the best thing is that it works with practically any streaming service, including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO and thank goodness CBS All Access.

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Available for Android and iOS, PlayOn Cloud makes it possible for users to record and download titles from a variety of leading streaming services, so they could still binge their favorite shows once they go offline – anytime and anywhere.

In addition to the previously mentioned content providers, the app also supports downloads from YouTube, Yahoo Views, CBS, PBS, CW, ABC, NBC and Fox.

The only downside is that you will have to pay for this privilege. PlayOn’s iOS and Android apps are free, but the company will charge $0.99 for each recording. The good thing is that PlayOn also offers various recording packs and bundles for as low as $0.20 a pop. You can look up pricing details here. I paid $4.99 for 20 episode downloads which should all me to watch Discovery’s Season 1 offline – no matter where I am, regardless of access to the internet!  You must, of course be a subscriber to CBS-All Access to access their content through PlayOn Cloud.

Considering that each recording is stored in the cloud – and therefore available to download locally on any device using the same PlayOn account – it’s not such a bad deal.

One thing to keep in mind is that Netflix already rolled out support for offline viewing for mobile last year. The disadvantage is that not every entry in its catalog is available to stream offline. Another upside to using PlayOn is that, unlike Netflix, downloaded recordings never expire – unless the user deletes them, of course.

Yes, recordings stored on the cloud will be deleted after 30 days, but they will still be available on your device locally.

For those wondering about the app’s legality: The PlayOn team claims their software is entirely “legal and protected by the same laws that allow consumers to use a DVR or VCR to record broadcast content.” They have explained this in more detail in a blog post on their website.

In all fairness, PlayOn Cloud has been around for a while now. But should you find yourself planning a faraway trip without any guarantees for a stable connection, now at least you know you have options to keep yourself entertained.

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Microsoft Set to Replace Skype for Business with Teams

Microsoft confirmed this morning that it will replace Skype for Business with Microsoft Teams, as had been widely rumored. But it will still release a new Skype for Business on-premises server next year for those businesses not ready to move to the cloud.

To be clear, only the Skype for Business brand is really going away, and then only in the cloud for the short term. That is, all of the capabilities that Microsoft’s business customers expect from Skype for Business will be rolled into Microsoft Teams. That latter product has been well-received by customers and has experienced exploding usage in its first six months of availability. And it’s about to get a lot better. Or at least a lot more capable.

Key to this move is delivering a single architecture—and, on each client platform, a single way to access these features—for Unified Communications. Now, customers will be able to place calls, hold meetings, collaborate with others, and communicate in other ways all from a single place. And that place is Microsoft Teams.

At the time of this writing, it’s not clear what the schedule is for phasing out Skype for Business across Office 365, Microsoft 365, and the software giant’s other cloud-based offerings. But Microsoft Teams will become the core communications client “over time,” Microsoft says, and it will be updated with numerous features and meeting enhancements during this transition. These will include features normally associated with Skype for Business, including inbound/outbound calls to PSTN systems, the ability to hold and transfer calls, voicemail, audio conferencing, universal presence, and messaging and calling interoperability.

Obviously, this is blockbuster news, but it’s a transition that will take some time. And I don’t believe this change impacts the consumer version of Skype in any way.

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Star Trek: Discovery Premiers Tonight

“Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS All Access is almost here. The newest series of the Star Trek franchise is a prequel that takes place about a decade before the five-year mission of the original 1960s “Star Trek.” “Star Trek: Discovery” is also set in the timeline of the original series, not that of the new films by J.J. Abrams. Here’s what you need to know to watch the new Star Trek show.

Star Trek: Discovery
Here are all the details on how to watch the premiere of “Star Trek: Discovery.” After Sunday, Sept. 24, all episodes will air exclusively on CBS All Access each Sunday.

Date: Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET/PT, 7:30 p.m. CT (time approximate following NFL football and “60 Minutes”)
On TV: Watch the premiere on CBS, check your local listings
Online: Watch the premiere and the second episode on CBS All Access

Star Trek: Discovery story
Star Trek: Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green of “The Walking Dead” as First Officer Michael Burnham. Michael is the first human to attend the Vulcan Science Academy, and the series starts with her serving as the first officer of the USS Shenzhou, helmed by Michelle Yeoh’s Captain Philippa Georgiou. She ends up serving on the USS Discovery under Captain Gabriel Lorca, played by Jason Isaacs, instead.

A special broadcast premiere of “Star Trek: Discovery” will tonight at 8:30 p.m on CBS. Immediately after the first episode airs on CBS, the second episode will be available exclusively on CBS All Access.

After premiere night, new episodes will only be available on CBS All Access each Sunday.

What is CBS All Access
CBS All Access is available on your mobile device, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, PS4, Xbox or Windows 10. If you don’t have CBS All Access already, you can watch “Star Trek: Discovery” with a free, one-week trial.

How to sign up for CBS All Access
Signing up is easy. You simply browse over to the CBS All Access landing page and pick the plan you want to purchase. The seven-day free trial available for new customers only.

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4 Things to Now About iOS 11

If you have an iPhone, this week’s iOS 11 brings a lot of changes. Here are 4 changes to be aware of before you upgrade yours.

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The iOS 11 update brings a variety of enhancements, including a new voice and functionality for the Siri virtual assistant and a new photo format to reduce file sizes.

I would consider waiting a few days in case unexpected problems emerge. The update will work with iPhones and iPads going back a few years, but older models won’t get all the new features.

Once you get iOS 11, here are four things to look for.

Look and Feel

The Control Center offers easy access to the flashlight and other tools with a swipe up from the bottom. It got separated into multiple pages last year to increase the options available, but the extra swipes got annoying. With iOS 11, it’s back to a single page. The extra options remain available, and Apple now lets you customize further, such as by adding an Apple TV remote or one-touch access to the voice recorder.

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After taking a screenshot, you’ll now see a thumbnail in a corner. Tap on it for the ability to quickly annotate and share it. Need to remember where you parked your car? Just screenshot a map and draw an arrow.

The update brings additional camera filters to tweak your photos. To find them, you can now swipe up as you’re taking the shot; swipe down when you’re done. With camera improvements, the iPhone 8 models automatically use an exposure-balancing technology called HDR and no longer save unadjusted versions. You can restore that in the settings, though it’ll use more storage.

Apple Maps now offers speed limits and lane guidance on highways and indoor maps for some airports and shopping malls.

And a new feature detects when you’re driving and keeps notifications from appearing on your lock screen, so you’re not tempted to check. You can override that if you’re in the passenger’s seat — or traveling by plane or train, both of which can make the phone think you’re driving.

New Types of Apps

Remember last year’s gaming sensation “Pokemon Go “? For many people, it was their first taste of augmented reality , the blending of virtual images with real-life settings. More augmented reality apps are coming with new tools Apple is including with iOS 11 . Among other things, you’ll be able to see how furniture will look in your real living room before you buy it.

Apple already has had artificial-intelligence software for cataloging photos and other internal features. It’s now making those tools available to third-party developers. Such apps might now automatically identify food in an image and offer nutrition information.

Speaking of apps, Apple has also redesigned its app store to separate games from other apps and make recommendations more prominent.

For the iPad

As Apple tries to market its iPad Pro tablets as a laptop alternative, the iPad’s software takes on characteristics resembling the Mac computer.

A Dock at the bottom offers quick access to recent and frequently used apps. The iPad gets new drag and drop capabilities to make it easier to move text and other content between apps. For instance, you can drag a location on a map into an email. Recent iPad models can now run three apps side by side, rather than just two.

Coming Soon

Apple’s payment system, Apple Pay, already lets people buy items at a retail store with a tap of the phone. It also enables web orders and charity donations. Coming soon is the ability to pay friends back for dinner or drinks, much the way PayPal and Venmo work.

Money you receive will go into an Apple Pay Cash account, automatically created if you don’t already have one. Apple is hoping you’ll use the balance to buy things with Apple Pay, though you can move money to a bank account. There’s no fee when using a debit card or an existing balance. To encourage its use, the Apple Pay option will appear when texting about owing money.

Also coming later is the ability to sync Apple’s Messages app between devices. Such syncing was previously inconsistent. Apple says that while syncing will now use its iCloud servers, it will keep all data encrypted and won’t have access to the keys.

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iPhone 8 Reviews Collected

I have not had any hands on experience with the new iPhone 8 as of yet but I will very shortly. In the meantime I have collected some of the reviews that are starting to appear. Most of them are very positive so I wanted to share them with my dedicated readers who are considering upgrading to the new iPhone. I hope to write an expansive review in early October.

So in the meantime check out these reviews of the iPhone 8.

The Verge reminds us that this IS an iPhone, and a very good one at that. However, the iPhone 8 isn’t the iPhone X, and therefore “it’s not the future, and it’s not the cutting edge”. It is, instead, “just the default”. Therefore, Nilay Patel “can’t think of a single compelling reason to upgrade from an iPhone7”.

Engadget describes the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as “familiar-looking phones that mostly operate the way people expect them to”. In other words, “they’re conventional”. Chris Velazco calls the iPhone 8 an “incredibly powerful machine” which will appeal to “fans who want a blend of classic Apple style and top-tier performance”. But again, it’s no iPhone X.

TechCrunch focuses on the camera of the iPhone 8, with smartphone cameras being the focus of Apple’s attentions. Unfortunately, Matthew Panzarino suggests that the iPhone 8 “sits in the shadow of the iPhone X”. However, “a bunch of internal upgrades and a nice new glass back” make the iPhone 8 “the easy traditional choice this year”.

Wired describes the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus as “virtually perfect phones” which do everything required of them. However, they’re “already obsolete” as “the iPhone X looms large over the 8, with its tiny bezel and Face ID and amazing cameras”. Which leads David Pierce to suggest that “if you want to be part of the future, save your money for now”.

Mashable claims that while “the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are meaningful upgrades for many of Apple customers […] they should have been called the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus.” So Lance Ulanoff is happy to advise anyone who owns an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus to “save up a few more bucks and wait for the iPhone X when it ships in November”.

There you go, are you considering an upgrade to the iPhone 8 or are you going to hold off for the iPhone X which is being released in late October?

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Viewing Your Credit Report for Free

With the recent Exuifax security breach now is a great time to start monitoring your credit. What is often considered to be an expensive and confusing task is actually quiet easy. In addition to many credit card company’s offering free credit monitoring services there are also straight up credit monitoring services like Credit Karma that do a great job that are free and can help you even improve your credit score.

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With all of these regular security breaches your best bet is to keep an eye on your own credit reports and scores and make sure nothing is going on there that you don’t already know about. In this article, I’m going to show you how to get your credit report for free, which you can do once a year. Secondly, I’m going to show you how to get your free credit score, which you can get pretty much on a daily basis.

While there are many ways to get a free credit report my favorite option today is Credit Karma.

Credit Karma uses the VantageScore which seems to be becoming more popular than FICO.

Credit Karma gives you the score from both TransUnion and Equifax. If you click on View score details, you get all kinds of details on the credit factors that are helping and hurting you. These include credit card usage, payment history, derogatory remarks, credit age, total accounts and hard inquiries. You also get two full credit reports, so it’s a really nice service that is completely free.

Credit Karma also has a great mobile app for both iOS & Android so you can have access to your credit history, two of your credit reports, access to credit alerts and more from wherever you are – on whatever device you are using.

I have been exclusively using Credit Karma to monitor my credit reports, help me improve my credit score and even apply for and receive very reasonable loans.

You can learn more about Credit Karma here.

Note: I am not affiliated with Credit Karma in any way. I am just a big fan of their service and with security breaches all around us I wanted to share this with all of you, my dedicated readers.

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Bing Joins War Against Fake News

Microsoft is jumping on the fake news bandwagon, adding a “Fact Check” label to Bing. Facebook enacted a crackdown on fake news months ago, and Google soon followed suit. And now, Microsoft is joining the party. And you’ll soon see the fruits of these labors in Bing search results.

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It’s getting increasingly difficult to tell fact from fiction. And we have the internet to blame for this phenomenon. Sure, false news stories, conspiracy theories, and urban legends were born and spread before the advent of the internet. However it’s much worse these days, mostly a result from the internet and social media.

Fake News Is a Serious Business

Fake news isn’t a new phenomenon, but it is now much more prevalent than ever before. Fabricated news stories are being written, spread, and perpetuated to actually affect people’s opinions on specific countries, politicians, and celebrities. And the whole thing is becoming a serious business.

Having watched Facebook and Google both do their utmost to help people separate fact from fiction, Microsoft is adding a new UX element to Bing search results. The “Fact Check” label, as it’s called, will add fact-checking information to search results without the user ever having to leave Bing.

Essentially, Bing will add a note where applicable to news stories and web pages. These will instantly show users that a claim has been fact-checked by an organization such as Snopes or Politifact, and reveal what their assessment of it is. Whether it’s True, False, or somewhere in-between.

Bing Is Bigger Than You Think

I can already hear that the Fact Check label on Bing is meaningless because no one uses Bing. But that simply isn’t true. In fact, as Microsoft was keen to point out in August 2017, Bing is bigger than you think. So, given Bing’s popularity, Microsoft’s efforts to fight fake news should be applauded.

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iOS 11 Arrives

The iOS 11 release date is today, Tuesday, September 19, and it’s a big update for your current iPhone and iPad.

Apple’s new software update gives your smartphone or tablet a refresh, even if you’re not upgrading to iPhone X or iPhone 8. Your device will feel as good as new thanks to several iOS 11 features.

If you upgrade, you’ll be able to enjoy augmented reality, even more editing and adjustment options in the Photos and Camera apps, an improved Siri, and an all-new redesigned App Store (though, a word of warning, some older apps might not work).

Here on the east coast the download will be available after 1pm.

Be aware that there is going to be a massive strain on Apple’s bandwidth. If you’re not absolutely desperate for the upgrade, it might be sensible to wait a few hours before pressing Update. You’ll be able to enjoy a faster, smoother, and less troublesome upgrade experience.

How to Upgrade to iOS 11 (after 1pm EST today)

Back Up

Before giving your iPhone or iPad a nice little makeover, be sure your data’s all backed up. Uploading data to iCloud secures the basics like contacts, settings, and messages, but storage can be costly and it won’t save things like app preferences. For a more complete (and free) back-up, iTunes will save all the basics plus your apps, log-in credentials, and even your home screen arrangement. Plug your device into your computer, open iTunes, select your device, and choose “Back Up Now” under the “Manually Back Up and Restore.”

Fully Charged

You won’t be able to get all of iOS 11’s sweet new features if your device isn’t charged. You’ll also need to plug into an outlet and connect to Wi-Fi before you can start your download.

Make Sure You Have the Space

You’ll need about 2GB of free space to download the new OS. Make some room by deleting photos and apps you no longer need. Google Photos has a cool feature that automatically uploads your photos to its servers, and you can tell it to clear all the photos on your camera roll once they’re backed up. Do it ahead of time to save yourself the headache of frantically deleting stuff.

Get Started (after 1pm EST today)

Once you’re plugged in, backed up, and have space to spare, you’re ready to go. Your phone should notify you when the iOS 11 update is available, but if you’re feeling antsy, jump into the General tab in the Settings app and hit Software Update to start the download.

You can read my previous iOS 11 articles here to learn more.

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