iOS 11 beta 8 thoughts

As you saw in an earlier post I think that iOS 11 is ok to use on your daily driver iPhone. We are a week on and there is another beta - 8.  

Apple have done a good job of providing regular updates and I can’t remember a time where we had this many beta before the GM.  

Beta 7 was pretty solid for me and in testing 8 the only thing I’ve noticed is slightly better performance. Not on par with iOS 10 but a step in the right direction.  

Still have the occasional app crash but all the apps I rely on work ok.  

Let me know if you are using the beta.  

How to delete your CEX account

If you've bought or sold anything using CEX then you've most probably had your details stolen. I received an email (along with grammatical errors) from their CEO letting me know about a hack. No timeline is being given and they aren't responding to emails so I'm a little concerned this happened quite a while ago.  

Personally I don't want to do business with them anymore so decided to delete my account. 

Here's how to do it from your phone browser 

 

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Setting up an iPhone without a home button

I’m writing this from my iPad because my iPhone 7 is currently out of action. Why? Well my capacitive home button has stopped working. Yesterday my iPhone 7 home button stopped working and the phone went into a boot loop.  I plugged into iTunes and did a restore, well not a total one. 

When you setup a new iPhone you are presented with a white “hello” screen that wants you to press the home button to setup. Well, without a home button this isn’t possible. 

I was busy yesterday so left my iPhone and got on with my day. Later last night I did some unsuccessful Google searching to find the answer. I then turned the iPhone off and on starting it iOS acknowledged a broken home button and took me to the next “set language” screen, therefore enabling me to set my phone up and use it again. 

My home button and Touch ID are non existent but I have a phone I can use.

Using TODOIST for GTD

I’m not a total advocate of GTD but I do use some of it’s principles to organise what I need to do. Switching to Todoist from OmniFocus/Reminders had me rethinking my workflow. How would I now incorporate some of the teachings of GTD into the app setup?

Here’s what I did

Inbox: Here’s where everything goes. If I have an idea or think of something I need to do whilst I’m on the move it goes here. When I sit down to organise I’ll move stuff out into projects or give it some context. One of the main drivers of GTD is getting stuff out of your head, it's not meant to hold information - it's great for ideas.

Projects: I used to have projects like wellbeing and home. Now I use context for these so I'm now using projects for anything that takes more than one step e.g. Tidy garden.

Contexts: A context is a way to categorise an item. It gives it some meaning. For example I have a waiting context so I can easily mark any tasks I’m waiting on someone else’s input on. Todoist doesn’t have context so use labels instead.

That's it for how I organise each task. Each day I then check my TODAY view in the app and move them around based on priority and move any to tomorrow if I'm not going to be able to realistically get to it today.

In setting this up and using Todoist daily I’ve found that it gives me the flexibility I need in setting a daily list or an item with a due date/time all in an app that lays out my tasks in a logical manner.

I’ll keep updating on my progress but I think I might have found an app that sticks with me.

Sleep++ gets a welcome update

I've been a fan of Sleep++ since launch but over the last few months it seemed to have been forgotten about. Reviews were negative and there were bugs, but today we have finally seen an update.

I'll be testing over the next few days and I'll report back on how I get on.

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IS PSVR (Playstation VR) worth buying?

I've owned the PSVR since launch and now we are over 9 months on I wanted to share my thoughts on whether it was a good purchase and if it's worth investing in yourself.

Spoiler: it’s not worth the investment.  

When it launched and for quite a few weeks afterwards I was loving playing job simulator and demoing it to visitors. I then started to notice very little being added to the catalog with VR support. 

With the exception of Resident Evil there wasn’t anything worth buying. Loading the store and trying to find VR games got a little demoralising and now PSVR has dropped in importance on the front page. 

This coupled with the feeling that no games makers are embracing the platform has me worrying for its future.  

The only game on the horizon that makes me excited is Ace Combat but I’ll get motion sickness. I’ve found slower paced VR games sit better with me .

I’m left with a device that’s sole purpose is to play job simulator.  

Sony haven’t invested the time and money it takes to get game developers on board and take it seriously. Unfortunately like a lot of Sony projects I feel this is destined for the scrap heap.  

Ambitious and a groundbreaking price for the technology but I feel strongly that it’s not living up to it’s promise and one to avoid.  

I may look back on this post with embarrassment in a few years but I’m confident in saying VR just isn’t mainstream enough.  

 

Imagining the new iPhone line up

There are leaks galore this year thanks to the HomePod firmware mistake from Apple so we know what the new iPhone is now going to look like. What we don’t know is it’s name so I thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts on this. 

My view is that with the addition of this so called flagship super expensive iPhone it’s time to rename the entire line up and bring it in line with something understandable. 

  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone
  • iPhone Pro

So this means

  • iPhone SE: the ‘affordable’ iPhone and for those that like a smaller form factor. Updated every two years but keeps same chassis  
  • iPhone: the core of the lineup. Available in 4.7” and 5.5”. Lose the Plus naming and brings the dual lens to the 4.7”. Just like iPad Pro, available in two sizes, pick the one that fits your needs
  • iPhone Pro: the new all screen fronted iPhone. Flagship technology and in personably lower production numbers

I feel that this naming makes sense, why would Apple release a 7s and 8 in the same year? For people looking at the numbers alone the 7s feels older than the 8 already. I also don’t like the rumoured edition naming, it’s elitist. 

I also feel that this would take some of the bad press off the supposed greater than $1100 iPhone.

If Apple single out the new all screen as a Pro model it will simplify the choice as it’s done to the iPad line over the last few years.  

What do you think? 

How to report spam in Instagram

Recently there has been a massive uptake in spam accounts liking my images and following me. These have become a problem daily for me now so I wanted to share how you can report these accounts. 

Instagram is really good at dealing with spam accounts quickly and makes it easy for you to flag them, here’s how.  

Tap the three dots in the top right, then REPORT

Tap the three dots in the top right, then REPORT

Tap ITS SPAM

Tap ITS SPAM

That’s it, you’ll get a notification letting you know what they have done about it within a day.  

Switching to Todoist

As you know I struggle with the concept of sticking to one system for any length of time. I admit it, I find it strangely satisfying switching. But, with my full time job, family and blogging it’s all become a bit too much to manage. I’ve been using Reminders sort of ok for the last few months but with the little attention show to it in iOS 11 I’ve given up.

I trust iCloud with my data so switching to something else had to win my trust. OmniFocus is my second go to but slow app performance and being too fiddly has me looking at other apps.

The default that most people seem to rave about is Todoist. I saw it is used by a lot of big organisations, people I trust and has encryption at rest and in transit meant it was worth a go.

I installed it on iOS 11 across all my devices and first off the iOS 10 version of the app works, phew.

First observations is that it’s quick to add new items to your inbox. It’s also straightforward to create new projects. I like the fact I can have an unordered list of items that I want to get done today but don’t need to set a time to exactly when I need a reminder. This is handy for some circumstances and is having a time associated with an item is available but personally I like a list for the day to work off.

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The associated watch complication is a nice reminder that I have stuff to be getting on with and enables quick check off when on the go.

Sync is lighting quick and reliable so far.

All in all it’s a nice experience and I’ll report back in a few weeks.

Fixing iCloud Photo Library upload issues

I have a very slow connection at home (less than 1MB up) and as you can imagine uploading my images takes an age. I’m actually in the middle of uploading images to iCloud Photo Library from an airshow and a holiday. I’m at 50GB to go and expecting to the leave the iMac on constantly uploading for another month.

The problem I have run into however is that the upload just magically gets stuck for no apparent reason. Here’s what to do when this happens to you.

In Photos on the iMac go to the app preferences and you will see an iCloud tab. Click on this and then you can see the status of your uploads.

The first thing to try is to click ‘pause for one day’. Then click ‘resume’.

If this doesn’t work after you have waited at least ten minutes then the only way I have found to fix this is to turn the iMac off completely then start it all back again.

Let me know how you get on with iCloud uploads.

Apple seemingly confirms iPhone Pro

It would appear that Apple have given us the first look at its next generation iPhone. 

 

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As usual, developer Steven Troughton Smith has dug into code and found evidence of the new design and face unlock. 

Here's the tweet.  

Either a leak or a massive cock up by Apple.  

Don't start blogging to make money - an update

I've been having a bit of a rethink of my writing over the last few weeks, especially when trying to build it as a viable business. I introduced sponsorship and a patreon account to try to help. In a nutshell it's been a disaster and made me realise that I can't sustain a good living by blogging. 

I have a full time job so for me blogging has always been a hobby but in the pursuit of trying to build the financial side of things I lost focus on actually enjoying writing. 

I can't compete with the numerous big publications that has a staff of writers so I need to refocus on what my blog was for in the first place. Sharing my thoughts on topics that interest me and helping others

It's also helped me realise that supporting independent writing isn't a priority for most people in the current climate. There are big issues and bills to be paid. Getting content from somewhere else is easy.  

If you follow my writing you will see some changes. 

  • Dropping monetisation of the site
  • Different topics, yes I've held off writing about other interests such as photography to focus on tech. This is going to change. I'll be writing about whatever interests me
  • A more relaxed feel, maybe even a redesign  

So, I'll be continuing to blog and building my audience and I hope you'll stick with me along the way. 

My iPad Pro (desktop) setup

Hopefully by now if you read my stuff or follow me on Twitter you will know I’m a huge fan of the iPad and use one as my main machine day to day. I recently upgraded to the 10.5” iPad Pro and had a 12.9” Smart Keyboard Cover lying around so I thought why not repurpose it. 

I plugged it into the iPad and although a lot wider it works great as a desktop keyboard for me, think of it as a docking station for when I’m at my desk. Personally I love the keys on the keyboard cover and having this extra space to use is nice. I just need to rig up power to my desk with lightning and I’m done on my desktop setup. 

When I’m out and about I’ll continue to use the Smart Keyboard cover for 10.5” but if I’m focussed on writing something at my desk this is what I’ll be using. 

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Apple drops the best feature of 3D Touch in iOS 11

I've been using iOS 11 on and off for a couple of weeks and I've reverted back on my iPhone because Apple has dropped 3D Touch's best feature. The feature that I'm missing is 3D Touch on the edge of the screen to invoke app switching. 

When Apple introduced this feature with the introduction of the iPhone 6S it's become a habit for me (especially on the Plus sized phones) and I'm left scratching my head on why they removed it.

There are a few schools of thought here for me. 

1. It's an error 

In the iOS 10 beta test phase Apple removed navigation with the Apple Pencil, which was reintroduced in the very next beta. This was either an error or the commentary from several outlets showed them it was a much used feature. 

I'm hopeful that as with this evidence we'll see 3D being reinstated in the next beta. I raised a radar with Apple on beta 1 so I'm keeping a close eye on feedback. At the moment it's left as open with no comments from Apple. 

 2. iOS 11

There could be a reason for it based on how app switching has changed on iPad in iOS 11. The app switching view has been completely redesigned on iPad and a cut down version could be headed to iPhone. 

 3. iPhone 8

There are a lot of rumours about the next iPhone but I think we can all agree it'll have a full screen on the front, removing bezels. This has me thinking about how removing this feature might play into that. I'd hate to see Apple sacrifice a great feature like this just to make app switching make more sense on their flagship model but you never know.   

If we have a larger screen we could potentially see a dock and some form of iPad like app switching.  

Are you a beta tester, do you miss this feature?

iPad Pro 10.5" after a week

It's a week on after putting in my order and picking up the new 10.5" iPad from my local store so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it so far.  

 In daily use

I'm using it for work mostly, writing posts like this and handwriting notes. ProMotion hasn't been the game changer for me as some reviewers but the increased screen size and CPU has been where I've noticed it the most. Everything flies and the smaller bezels really do make it feel roomier in day to day use.  

 Storage

I always get the biggest I can afford, typically this is 128GB. For the 10.5" I went for 256GB as there is no longer a 128GB option. I'll continue to download most of my music and a few films on my iPad's and not run out of space yet. I'd recommend 64GB unless you are really going to store everything locally.

 Portability

Dropping down to the 9.7" from 12.9" felt like I was freed up to take the ipad everywhere with me again so I'd gotten used to this. Going up a little to the 10.5" has made no difference to how portable I find it.  

Has it replaced my Mac?

For 90% of what I do, yes.  

I

still need my Mac for podcasting and updating the design of this blog.

Do I regret trading down from 12.9"? 

Nope, every now and again I'll think about the larger screen then remind myself how heavy and harder to carry around it was. It's a great device, just not for me.  

Accessory update 

The only additional accessory I picked up was the Smart Keyboard cover.  I had to take the first one back due to a manufacturing fault but the replacement is great. It's wide enough to type on comfortably and light enough to carry around with me.  

Happy with my purchase? 

Yes, the 10.5" iPad with it's amazing performance and improved Pencil latency might be the best product Apple has produced. It's up there with AirPods as my favourite product over the last few years. With the addition of iOS 11 it's turned the iPad into my go to device again and I'm excited to see what happens going forward.  

How to send your Watch in for repair to Apple

One of the great things about having a developer account is being able to test all the new software releases early. One of the downsides however is the ease of bricking a device or regretting updating. 

This happened to me with watchOS 4, the only way you can downgrade is to send it into Apple for servicing.  

Here's how I did it. 

First off this process isn't standard so be patient if the support representative needs to contact their manager. For me the offshore team redirected me to a manager within the Irish office. I explained that I needed to send my Watch in for restoring to watchOS 3 and once the process was found it was straight forward. So, stage 1 is call Apple Support.

Stage 2, once you have received your confirmation of contacting Apple Support via email expect a box from UPS in a couple of business days. 

Stage 3, packing up your Apple Watch is straightforward and you get everything you need in the package delivered by UPS. Remember not to post your watch band back, just take it off and put the watch in the white box. 

 

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Put it all in the supplied UPS bag and head off to your local UPS Center. Mine's only a few minutes walk away but if you don't have one locally you can simply get them to pick it up from your address.  

Now it's with UPS and on it's way to Apple expect a confirmation and status update the day after. This acknowledges receipt and that they are working on it.  

In my experience it's worked on and sent back the same day. You'll get it next working day. Pretty amazing service, from sending to getting it back might only take 3 days.