December 9, 2018 brianradio2016

The Apple iPhone XR, see our full review, has been in our hands for more than a month and is our favorite iPhone of 2018. I like showing off the Coral color and know that many others like having cases with some style and flair.

Case-Mate recently launched many case options for the iPhone XR and sent along 10 for us to test out. There were leather options, protective cases in conservative colors, vibrant colors with sparkles and flowers, and others that let the Coral color shine through. Its iPhone XR cases range in price from $25 to $50 and I’ve seen many of them in US wireless carrier stores too.

I spent a couple of weeks with cases from the Tough, Barely There Leather, Protection Collection, Karat Petals, Waterfall, Wallpapers, and Iridescent series. My favorites were the Barely There Leather cases and the Tough case. I’m not the target audience for the flashy, colorful models, but the rest of my family preferred those variations.

Also: Apple iPhone XR review: Apple iPhone XR review: Lower cost comes with camera, reception compromises

December 9, 2018 brianradio2016

A former Miss Kentucky who is a teacher in West Virginia has been charged with sending nude pictures to a 15-year-old former student, the AP reports. News outlets report that 28-year-old Ramsey Bearse was arrested Friday and charged with four felony counts of distributing or displaying obscene matter to a…

December 8, 2018 brianradio2016

After a years-long pummeling, Microsoft this week surrendered in the browser war, saying that it will junk Edge’s home-grown rendering engine and replace it with Blink, the engine that powers Google’s Chrome.

With Edge pulling code from the Chromium project, the browser will also be able to run on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, as well as macOS.

“We intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers,” wrote Joe Belfiore, a corporate vice president in the Windows group, in a post to a company blog.

Belfiore’s announcement was a stunning humiliation for Microsoft, which in the early years of this century ruled the browser world after Internet Explorer (IE) had obliterated Netscape Navigator and achieved market share in excess of 90%.

Although Edge will survive, it will no longer be a Microsoft-made browser: It will exist as a UI (user interface) wrapper around core technologies developed almost entirely by Google engineers, in the same way Opera has existed since 2013, when it ditched its own internal engine for Chromium’s Blink.

Shed share at record rates

Microsoft cast the decision as affection for, and adoption of, open-source software that would, said Belfiore, lead to an application compatible “with other Chromium-based browsers.” That would “make the web experience better” for users, web developers and corporate IT, he argued.

December 7, 2018 brianradio2016

This may have been a crime of passion, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t premeditated. In fact, that’s exactly what a UK jury found the murder of Jessica Patel to be, meticulously planned by her husband, Mitesh, for five years so he could run away to Australia to be with…

December 7, 2018 brianradio2016

November’s patches initially appeared relatively innocuous, with a few catastrophic problems in 64-bit Office 2010, which is a bit of a standing joke anyway.

As the month melted on, we saw a Win10 version 1803 second cumulative update, KB 4467682, that caused havoc, including blue screens on Surface Book 2 PCs, and customized Start Menu bugs (thx, Günter Born). Microsoft yanked it on Dec. 6 — no small consolation to those of you who install everything as soon as it’s offered. Or even a week later.

We also saw a reappearance of the Windows 10 September-October-November-December 2018 Update, version 1809. This time, nine weeks after the original release, the new cumulative update seems pretty stable, although I’m seeing some reports of jiggered sleep states.

More Flash maladies

Meanwhile, we have an emergency Flash Player update (thank you, Adobe), KB 4471331, released a couple of days ago, that addresses a currently active exploit in the wild. Yes, it’s a December patch. Yes, you should install it now.

Think of it this way. The worst it’ll do is mess up Flash — and that’s doing you a favor.

Like so many other Flash updates, it screams for you to disable and abandon Flash entirely — something I’ve been harping about for years.

December 7, 2018 brianradio2016

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In early 2018, I did some math and came to the conclusion that I was paying AT&T too much for monthly service on my Apple Watch Series 3. The peace of mind, at that time, just wasn’t worth the $13 or so I was paying each month on top of my wireless plan.

Also: I canceled my Apple Watch Series 3 data plan and here’s why

I canceled my Apple Watch’s data plan and enjoyed the additional battery life that I gained from turning off the cellular functionality on the watch.

The feedback I received from that article was mostly positive, with fellow users echoing the sentiment that paying $10 a month for the minor amount of data a smartwatch uses is too expensive.

I kept the data plan disabled until the Apple Watch Series 4 was announced — when I once again ordered the cellular model. After it arrived, I reactivated my plan, and I’ve been paying for cellular connectivity on my watch.

My original thinking was that I would test out the watch and watchOS 5 (which improved the Music experience and added the Podcast app), with the added benefit of a cellular connection, and then, ultimately, I’d cancel the data plan again.

Admittedly, I haven’t used standalone connectivity on the Series 4 any more than I did when I had it the Series 3. In fact, I’ve probably used it less, if that’s even possible. But I don’t anticipate canceling my watch’s cellular plan this time around.

So, why the change of heart? It’s a combination of a few things.

Freedom from my phone

apple-watch-series-3-with-airpods.jpg (Image: Jason Cipriani/CNET)

It still fascinates me that a set of Apple’s AirPods and a watch on my wrist is all I need to leave my phone behind and remain reachable.

I mean, think about that: A watch and a pair of Bluetooth headphones — it doesn’t even have to be Apple’s AirPods, but they’re my choice — and you have what amounts to a smartphone with you at all times.

Text messages, emails, phone calls, even FaceTime audio calls, Facebook Messenger, music, calendar… it’s all there, on my wrist. But at the same time, the interaction dynamic between the watch and myself is different from the iPhone.

Also: Apple Watch’s Walkie-Talkie is practically useless

With the phone, I can pick it up at any time and get lost in Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or my inbox. The phone is always there, ready to waste my time.

With the watch, the experience is limited enough that the idea of managing my inbox or finding a third-party app to browse social networks on the small screen isn’t appealing at all. Instead, interactions with the watch are simply to react to notifications, which I have pared down significantly.

In the end, the watch eliminates my habitual routine of bouncing between apps just because my phone is there.


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I need to get into the habit of leaving my phone at home and being comfortable with communicating from the watch. I think my biggest hangup about doing that right now is having to talk to the watch like I’m Dick Tracy while out in public. Granted, I could use Scribble to reply to messages, but longer messages make Scribble feel laborious.

Fall detection

With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple added a new fall detection feature. Basically, if your movement mimics the motion of a person falling, then the watch will ask if you’re injured. After about a minute of no movement or interaction with the watch, it will automatically call emergency services and send a message to your emergency contacts with your current location.

Also: Apple Watch Series 4: How to enable fall detection CNET

I’m not accident prone by any means. Heck, I can’t remember the last time I slipped and fell, but knowing that if something did happen — especially while on a business trip, when I’m typically by myself — I would have the means to get help and let my wife know what’s going on. It’s reassuring.

Always connected peace of mind

Another reassuring aspect I’ve enjoyed about wearing an always-connected watch is knowing that, if my iPhone were to get damaged or the battery dies, I’m still connected.

Also: Does your iPhone need a new battery? Get it done now

It seems small, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out and about, realized my phone’s battery is draining without a charger nearby, only to find comfort in knowing that even if it does die, I can just use the watch to stay in touch.

Cost is still an issue

Don’t get me wrong, I still think the $10 a month for a watch that uses very little data is too expensive. I still want to see the monthly cost absorbed by what I already pay AT&T for my phone’s data plan.

Also: AT&T to launch 5G across 19 cities

Data plans are going to have to change, after all, with the launch of 5G networks.

The irony of carriers talking up the ability to download gigabytes of data at gigabit speeds on a 5G connection while charging $10 a month (before taxes) for something that sips on megabytes is not lost on me.

Here’s hoping 2019 ushers in a new way of thinking about connected smartwatches.

Previous and related coverage:

Apple Watch Series 4 review: Best for iPhone owners, but not the best smartwatch

Apple’s latest wearable improves exactly where customers wanted to see improvements; larger viewable area, longer battery life, and enhanced health and fitness functionality. It’s a marvel of technology, but Samsung does it better for less.

Apple Watch Series 3 review: Always connected, just without the guilt

Apple’s newest smartwatch is smarter in that it’s always connected, but is it worth the cost?

December 7, 2018 brianradio2016

Things have changed in the iOS economy.

While it’s still possible since the 2008 App Store launch for relatively inexperienced developers to create hit products, it’s a lot less likely. And while you still get stories of young developers making it, for the most part it’s all about the big dev firms.

I’ve been thinking about this for a bit, and thought I’d try to put together a few ideas that may help people thinking about making an iPhone or iPad app.

Start where you mean to finish

If you haven’t yet started building your software, then App Store optimization may not be particularly high on your list of priorities. But given this is where you will end up once you build your app, it makes sense to consider this first when you first imagine the idea for a new solution.

If you think about it, getting your apps near the top of the listings in the App Store is just search-based optimization like anything else.

At best, search means developing ideas people need and delivering it in forms people like. The search machines on an app store may work differently, but they really still are search engines and you can still try to optimize your position within these results.