Enable 2-Step verification on popular web services

Enable 2-Step verification on popular web services

Stephen Hackett:

Between losing an iPhone, never-ending security issues, and the NSA, having an account accessed by an outsider is more likely than ever. While having a good password is critical, enabling 2-Step Verification is a great way to ensure data you’ve stashed in an online service like Gmail or Dropbox is limited to your eyes only.

In a nutshell, 2-Step systems work like normal log in systems, but after entering your user name and password, the system in question will send your phone an SMS with a unique PIN. Only after entering the PIN are you allowed in:

A great reminder to take the time to enable this for your online services that support it. It seems every week there is a popular service that gets compromised and asks users to reset their passwords – Comixology is the latest one to suffer. So take the time to do it, protect yourself and sign up for any services that support this in the future.

Here are the links for more information for the most popular services;

Apple

Google

Dropbox

Evernote

Microsoft

Apple puts Siri in the driving seat with CarPlay

Apple puts Siri in the driving seat with CarPlay

CarPlay features can be controlled from the car’s dashboard or by using a button on the steering wheel to call up Siri. From there, drivers can make calls, listen to voicemails, have messages and emails read aloud, and access audio content from music, audiobooks, and podcasts. CarPlay also works with third party apps from Spotify and iHeartRadio.

Apple’s Maps app is another key component of CarPlay. According to Apple, ‘CarPlay makes driving directions more intuitive by working with Maps to anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts, and provides routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA. You can also simply ask Siri and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on your car’s built-in display.’

Apple Readying Fix for Issues with Touch ID Fading

Apple Readying Fix for Issues with Touch ID Fading

Kelly Hodgkins:

Apple is preparing an update that will improve performance of the Touch ID sensor on its iPhone 5s handset, claims AppleInsider. Apple has tapped its AuthenTec team to eliminate “fade”, a term coined to describe the increasingly erratic performance of the fingerprint sensor that is experienced by some iPhone 5s owners.

After launching iPhone 5s last fall, Apple has continued to work with the original AuthenTec team to improve its recognition software and will release an update relatively soon, the source confidently reported. However, AppleInsider could not verify whether the update will ship as part of iOS 7.1, which is expected to drop in mid-March.

Issues with Touch ID surfaced shortly after the iPhone 5s was introduced, with owners reporting an increasing number of failed scans shortly after they enter their fingerprints. Deleting and rescanning a fingerprint only temporarily fixes the issue.

This is definitely a wide-spread problem. In fact myself and my good lady have both felt the need to ‘retrain’ the finger print record multiple times since purchase. We both often just unlock our iPhones by typing our pass codes in rather than using the finger print recognition. Apple definitely needs to improve this, so it’s good to see a potential fix is coming.

OS X 10.9.2 Update Adds FaceTime Audio Calling, iMessage Blocking, Fixes Mail and Security Bugs

OS X 10.9.2 Update Adds FaceTime Audio Calling, iMessage Blocking, Fixes Mail and Security Bugs

If you have a Mac running OS X Mavericks, update 10.9.2 has been pushed to the Mac App Store, which adds several new features, fixes a variety of bugs, and namely fixes the SSL/TLS vulnerability that keep your web connections secure. On the feature side, 10.9.2 adds the ability to initiate and receive FaceTime audio calls, while also blocking individual senders on iMessage. Mail is named as having received a slew of bug fixes: compatibility improvements for Gmail’s Archive folder and labels are listed, as well as resolutions for a bug that prevented Mail from receiving messages from “certain providers.” The update will require a restart for installation.

Via MacStories

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S5

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S5

John Gruber:

The perfect phone for people with no taste. Garish design — both hardware and software. The gold version (shocker) is exactly what made people cringe when the gold iPhone was first rumored.

Water-resistance is a legitimate step forward in the state of the art, though. I know there’ve been other water-resistant phones, but none that will sell as well as the S5. This is one area where Apple is behind. A good solution to this problem, though, has got to involve something better than a flap over the USB port.

Plus issues with their storage:

Cult of Mac:

When you buy a 16GB iPhone 5c, you get 12.60GB of storage space left over after taking into account iOS 7’s default install size. Comparatively, the Samsung Galaxy S4 was the worst bang for the buck, storage-wise, in smartphones: a paltry 8.56GB of internal space was available to the user to store apps and media upon.

Even the S4, though, was roomy compared to the newly announced Galaxy S5. A 16GB Galaxy S5 comes with less than eight gigabytes of usable memory.

And what you can see is that on the 16GB model of the Galaxy S5, half of the on-board storage is used up before the owner even turns on the phone. It’s not quite as dire on the 32GB model of course (and remember that there’s a little bit of funky math anyway, and you never get as much storage as manufacturers say), and Samsung will quickly tell you that’s why you have the option to use a microSD card for expanded storage.

Which is true! You can install apps, media and more to the card in the Galaxy S5’s microSD slot. But they will never run as quickly or as well as they run on the Galaxy S5 itself. At the end of the day, a 16GB Galaxy S5 only has 7.86GB of usable storage to play around with.

WhatsApp To Add Voice Calling Later This Year

WhatsApp To Add Voice Calling Later This Year

Alex Heath via TechCrunch:

WhatsApp, the popular messaging service that was recently bought by Facebook, is adding a big feature in a few months: voice calling.

During a keynote at Mobile World Congress, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced that voice calling would be added in the second quarter of this year. The feature will be a free addition to the already free app.

WhatsApp has 465 million monthly active users, which is 15 million more than Facebook. The service’s huge international presence (it’s the largest mobile messaging service in Korea, for example) also helps explain why Facebook paid $19 billion to own it.

Just Do Something

Just Do Something

John Gruber reminding us on Apple’s focus in light of Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp:

This is the worst sort of advice, suggesting a complete ignorance of everything Apple stands for. (Jay Yarow loves it, of course.) Just buy something. Spend, spend, spend. Acquire. Buy all the spaghetti, throw it against the wall, see what sticks. Wrong. Apple’s model is about focus. Apple wasn’t joking about “a thousand no’s for every yes” — that’s really how they think, what they believe. That’s the DNA.

Only one thing Jackson suggests makes any sense: Apple perhaps acquiring Tesla. I don’t think that’s likely, but I think it’s possible, for two reasons: First, Tesla could be integrated into Apple’s core business — selling high quality, well designed products that work well together. If you can imagine Apple making a car (and I can), then you can imagine Apple acquiring Tesla to jump-start the initiative. Second, Apple and Tesla share a fundamental engineering problem; batteries.

But other than Tesla, who else would it make sense for Apple to acquire for billions of dollars? No answers come to mind. Certainly not WhatsApp — as I wrote last week, Apple already has exactly the messaging platform it wants: iMessage, with hundreds of millions of users.