Author: brianradio2016

September 21, 2018 brianradio2016

Another day, another digital banishment for Alex Jones and InfoWars. This time, it’s PayPal, which informed InfoWars of the ban on Thursday, saying the site violated “acceptable use policy” by promoting “hate,” The Verge reports. Among other digital platforms that have recently banned Jones—infamous for promoting conspiracy theories, harassing…

September 21, 2018 brianradio2016

Apple’s iPhone XS and XS Max have arrived. Customers have lined up across the world in anticipation of the launch day Apple Store experience, all the while delivery trucks with countless identical boxes are delivering new phones globally.

Also: Want a new iPhone or Android smartphone? Here’s how to sell or trade

My FedEx box arrived about an hour ago. Inside was a review sample of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. I plan on more thoroughly testing both devices in the coming days and weeks, but until then, I thought I’d offer some of my first impressions of the iPhone XS Max — the biggest iPhone Apple has ever made.

It’s not that big

iphone-xs-max.jpg (Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Apple iPhone XS event

Skimming through my Twitter timeline after the iPhone XS review embargo lifted earlier this week (I refuse to read reviews of a product until after I’ve reviewed it), I got the impression that the iPhone XS Max was too big for most reviewers.

And while, yes, it’s a big phone, it’s not earth-shattering big. It’s marginally smaller than the Samsung Note 9, despite having an ever-so-slightly larger display. If the iPhone XS Max is too big, then the Note 9 is also too big, and by extension, the iPhone 8 Plus is too (it’s taller and wider than the XS Max, but barely).

Also: Apple tries to wipe AirPower from the history books

I actually feel as if the iPhone XS Max is more comfortable to hold than the Note 9. There’s something about the way the two curved edges meet on each side of the Note 9 that, by itself isn’t noticeable, but when holding the iPhone XS Max at the same time, just feels weird.

I don’t have big hands and have resisted the trend of bigger phones as much as I possibly could over the past few years. The Note 9 was the first overly big phone I felt comfortable using, and I hope after some more time with the iPhone XS Max, I feel the same way.

Reachability makes a comeback

One of the complaints I saw this week was that reaching for the notification shade when using the XS Max with one hand was difficult and uncomfortable. I agree.

Also: Best smartphones for 2018 CNET

For me, it’s just not possible to reach the top of the phone and swipe down to reveal notifications or Control Center with one hand. As frustrating as that is, iOS does offer a workaround. It’s called Reachability.



(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Reachability lowers the top-half of the display, putting it within reach. The feature has been around since the iPhone 6, when Apple increased the size of its devices and screens. Users activated the feature with a double-tap on the home button. But with the iPhone X, and now the iPhone XS and iPhone XR ditching the home button, there’s also a new method to access the feature.

Also: Best smartphones of 2018 for tech experts TechRepublic

To use Reachability on modern iPhones, you need to place a finger at the bottom of the display and quickly swipe down. When done right, the screen will move down, putting whatever is at the top of the screen within thumb’s reach.

In my brief time with the iPhone XS Max this morning, it’s clear to me I once again need to get used to triggering Reachability and start using it more often.

More to come

Outside of the phone simply being bigger, it’s the same ol’ iPhone X form factor and design I’ve used for the past 11 months. The buttons, cameras, ports, and finish are all the same.

I haven’t had time to get a good feel for battery life or the camera, but I will say that the adjustable Portrait Mode photos is seamless to use, and I can’t wait to test it outside of my office, where it’s possible to take more than a couple photos of a HomePod or my dog.

Also: iPhone XS and XS Max reveals some battery surprises

I will have a full review of the iPhone XS Max in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. Much more to come.

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September 21, 2018 brianradio2016

Next week is Microsoft Ignite (disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author) and a whole bunch of us are flying into Orlando on Sunday to spend the week with Microsoft. In anticipation of this sold out event, I thought I’d list my expectations for this event which is largely focused on enterprise customers. (You can stream many of the sessions if you want to attend this thing remotely. As an aside, I wonder when we’ll be able to attend events like with Mixed Reality?)

Let’s get to it. 

Push to the cloud

While I expect there will be sessions that cover the breadth of what Microsoft provides I also expect that most of the focus for this show will be on Azure and the cloud. Azure is Satya Nadella’s baby and he takes incredibly good care of it. With the coming of 5G, I’ve been expecting a big pivot from Microsoft toward even more comprehensive cloud services, and my expectation is that is exactly what we will see at the show. There is very little you can’t do in the cloud these days with the only limitations, at least when it comes to personal technology, being bandwidth. With 5G networks starting to get lit up in a few short months (2019 event), the ability to truly pivot to the cloud is near, and I’m looking forward to seeing just how far that pivot will be at Ignite.

While it may seem a tad early, given there is no 5G yet, companies like Microsoft tend to anticipate these advancements at shows like this. This is so that when they come all the elements are lined up to begin testing, and were it makes sense, deploying solutions based on the technology. This means they need a lot of lead time, and given the proximity to the roll out, I believe we are now in that window. 

September 21, 2018 brianradio2016

Apple is dropping the Back To My Mac remote access feature, and in a recent support document they urge you to be prepared by looking for alternatives.

RemotePC by iDrive is a full-featured remote access solution that lets you connect to your work or office computer securely from anywhere, and from any iOS or Android device. Right now, their 50 computer package is 90% off or just $6.95 for your 1st year. So if you need an alternative to Back To My Mac, or have been thinking about remote access, now is a good time to consider RemotePC. Learn more about it here.

This story, “Apple’s dropping Back To My Mac Remote Access. Here’s an Alternative, Currently Discounted.” was originally published by PCWorld.

September 21, 2018 brianradio2016

A few million Apple customers are likely to be unboxing their brand-new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max devices today. So, what do they need to know?

But I didn’t get a new iPhone

You don’t need to actually have a new iPhone XS to get a sense of what they are like – Apple has published a little microsite in which you can toy with an interactive 3D model to get a sense of them. You can also compare the sizes of the new devices with those of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. You must be using mobile versions of the Chrome or Safari browsers for this to work. 

Without further ado, the new features:

Motion sense

I’ll assume most new iPhone purchasers remembered to back up their old devices and figured out how easy it is to just hold your new iPhone beside your old one and use QuickStart to transfer all your stuff. But once you create your Face ID, you must spend time getting to know the new gestures.

September 21, 2018 brianradio2016

​iPhone XS and XS Max, torn down

iPhone XS and XS Max, torn down


It’s once again that time when the iFixit team get their hands on the new iPhones and carry out their usual detailed teardown. And as is the case, the teardown of the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max has revealed some interesting details that Apple didn’t tell us about during the unveiling.

Must read: iOS 12 features you should try today

The first interesting revelation is that the iPhone XS has a smaller battery than the one found inside last year’s iPhone X — 10.13Wh compared to 10.35Wh. According to iFixit, the reason for this is that in moving from a design that featured a dual-battery, the iPhone XS uses a single-celled L-shaped battery. In order to create a battery with six corners, Apple had to add notches to the corners to handle thermal expansion, and this in turn reduced the capacity of the battery.

The iPhone XS Max continues to make use of a dual-battery system, and this has a capacity of 12.08Wh.

​iPhone XS battery removal

​iPhone XS battery removal

iPhone XS battery removal


This gives the new iPhones battery capacity that’s similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, but nowhere near that of the Galaxy Note 9.

As for the waterproofing of the new iPhones being bumped up from IP67 to IP68, the iFixit team couldn’t find any signs of additional seals or gaskets compared to last year’s models, leading them to believe that Apple may have erred on the side of caution and undersold the waterproofing capabilities of the handsets.



iPhone XS front camera array


iFixit also found a new Apple chip inside the iPhone XS Max — the Apple 338S00456, which is a new power-management chip.

iFixit gave both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max a 6 out of 10 on the repairability scale, down in part to how easy it is to replace the display and battery, but breaking the back glass still leaves you in a world of hurt.

See also:

September 21, 2018 brianradio2016

Samsung’s Note 9 flagship enterprise smartphone has arrived with a bunch of hardware upgrades that make it one of the most advanced smartphones ever, but enterprise users might be more interested in a clever upgrade for DeX, the innovative Samsung software that allows a smartphone to be paired with a TV or monitor for a virtual desktop.

galaxy note 9 s pen Christopher Hebert/IDG

The Galaxy Note 9’s S Pen comes in new fashionable colors to match the phone.

A better DeX experience

With DeX, Samsung came up with a neat way to harness the significant power of a modern smartphone. Connected to an external monitor or TV, DeX redraws the phone home screen to make it much more like a conventional PC desktop. Coupled with a mouse and keyboard, it strikes a compelling proposal for travelers who don’t want to carry a laptop but find a phone a bit too small for everything they need to do.

The first and second generation versions of DeX required a cradle and a dock respectively but that’s history. DeX in the Note 9 connects directly to a TV or monitor using the phone’s USB-C connector.

I used an off-the-shelf Cirago USB-C-to-HDMI adapter and successfully ran DeX on a TV through the HDMI input and a monitor, using an HDMI to DVI cable.

September 21, 2018 brianradio2016

Zeit’s open source Next.js framework for static and server-rendered React applications compiles faster and improves error reporting with the new Version 7 release. Support for the WebAssembly binary format—via the Webpack 4 module bundler—is a key addition as well.

The new features in Next.js Version 7

Next.js 7 boots up 57 percent faster during development, Zeit says, thanks to optimizations in the code base and the use of both Webpack 4 and the Babel 7 JavaScript compiler. And an incremental compilation cache lets code changes build 40 percent faster.

For debugging, Next.js 7 uses react-error-overlay to improve the stack trace with accurate locations for server and client errors. Source highlights are provided for context. It also is now easier to open a text editor by clicking on a specific block of code.

By being powered by Webpack 4, Next.js 7 gains the following benefits:

September 21, 2018 brianradio2016

Running out of things to do with Alexa? Don’t despair. Soon, you’ll be able to tell your Amazon personal assistant to heat a mug of water, defrost a chicken, or prepare some popcorn. It’s all thanks to the new AmazonBasics microwave that connects to Amazon’s Echo device so you can…