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3 reasons your conference room needs a new Apple TV 4K

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Although manufacturers regularly refine products, the tweaks don’t always justify upgrading. Three new Apple TV 4K innovations, however, warrant replacing older versions in office conference rooms.

New Apple TV 4K models feature the robust A12 Bionic processor for better performance and a newly designed remote control for greater ease of use.

Apple Corp.

As part of its April 2021 Spring Loaded virtual event Apple announced a new generation of Apple TV 4K devices. Featuring the A12 Bionic processor and multiple improvements, three innovations justify replacing aging conference room Apple TVs with the new model.

1. A truly user-friendly remote control

While Apple TVs are among the easiest-to-use audio/video accessories, and the flexibility and content options the devices add within office environments are impressive—you can use an Apple TV to extend Mac desktops, display presentations, access subscription channels, view photos and videos and more. Let’s be frank: The remote control was an exercise in frustration. Just picking up the old remote often resulted in unintended functions being executed due to the top quarter of the remote serving as a touchpad. The new remote eliminates such trouble.

apple-tv-4k-fig-b-remote.jpg

The new remote on the Apple TV 4K

Image: Apple

In place of the touch pad, Apple’s designers have integrated intuitive navigational controls with the clickpad. The new design, which uses raised buttons for common functions and the new clickpad control, decreases the likelihood of inadvertently entering a variety of commands when simply picking up the remote and attempting to orient the control within one’s grip.

Content navigation is improved, too. The new clickpad control leverages a raised outer ring that enables “jog” controls, or the ability to rotate the ring to advance through or rewind video.

With a separate mute button, the new remote adds other helpful capabilities you may find useful every time a meeting occurs. The Siri button’s been moved to the side of the remote, while a power button’s been added to the more traditional top-right location, thereby enabling powering down a conference room TV display using a single remote.

Officially labeled a Siri Remote due to the remote’s increased adoption of Siri command support—Austria, Ireland and New Zealand join 13 regions supporting the functionality—the remote’s one-piece aluminum design make it easier to use and more comfortable. Seeing as wrestling with controls, volume and content selections should be the least of concerns when returning to conference room meetings following the pandemic, the new Apple TV 4K remote eliminates those lesser worries.

2. Color balance technology

Having worked in and supported multiple industries the past three decades, I understand that for some organizations, not all conference room presentations are the same. For example, the needs for a plumbing firm that uses its conference room to coordinate projects solely among its own internal staff will have drastically different requirements than a marketing firm pitching a multimillion-dollar broadcast media ad campaign to a prospective new client. 

Regardless, the new color-balancing technology baked into the Apple TV 4K helps everyone. Even small firms with equally small budgets will appreciate color-accurate representation when performing such common tasks as reviewing proposed letterhead and business cards, approving advertising slicks or simply completing regularly required video training.

Assuming there’s an iPhone with Face ID handy using iOS 14.5 or later, the new Apple TV 4K’s color balancing process uses the iPhone’s light sensors to compare color representation within the room and adjust playback to match commonly accepted industry standards. By receiving the iPhone’s sensor data, the Apple TV 4K can automatically adjust color output and contrast to provide more accurate, higher-quality playback, which is just one more way Apple devices commonly work together to make life a little easier. Those small wins add up, of course.

3. Studio-quality playback

I understand audio and video presentations serve different purposes, as just mentioned, for different firms. For those working in industries where just a large display and basic audio capabilities are nowhere near sufficient—we’re talking about advertising, marketing, audio and film production, graphic design and similar functions in which surround-sound, subwoofers and high-end displays are the norm—high-quality playback is more than a luxury, it’s a requirement, one that transcends simple color balancing.

Thanks to the new Apple TV 4K’s A12 Bionic processor, graphics performance, video playback and audio processing all benefit. The new-generation set-top box supports 4K HDR video playback up to 60 frames per second. High frame-rate support for AirPlay, too, means firms can also stream video content at the same quality from Apple iPhone 12s to the Apple TV 4K, thereby extending the box’s functionality within conference rooms.

Add in the fact the new Apple TV 4Ks also now support Dolby Vision video playback, as well as Dolby Atmos audio performance, and the upgrade costs become easier to justify. The 32GB models cost $179. The 64GB version is $199.

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How to access information offline anywhere on the globe with these apps

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If you have sufficient storage space, you can carry Wikipedia, maps, translation and weather apps with you wherever you go—even if there’s no internet connection.

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

The rise of remote work means more people will travel to places that may not always provide reliable internet access. Modern office apps, such as Google Workspace, can store email and documents offline, then sync new and changed content when you reconnect.

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However, you might be surprised just how much information can be stored and accessed offline on a smartphone. Wikipedia, maps, translation and weather information can all be downloaded to your device for your reference, regardless of your ability to connect to the internet. Additionally, the apps identified below will work anywhere in the world. That can be immensely useful not only for traveling professionals, but also for students.

SEE: 5 collaboration apps you can use without an internet connection (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to use Wikipedia offline

Thanks to Kiwix.org, you can download Wikipedia and use it offline for free: no need to rely on an internet search engine when you want to know more about many people, places or things. In addition to Wikipedia, you can download Wikinews, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikispecies, Wikibooks and WikiMed Medical Encyclopedia, as well as many other reference works.

Install the Kiwix app, download one or more archive files (in ZIM format), then search and browse these files offline. Kiwix periodically updates their directory of data files, so you may want to update your data files every now and then when you have access to a fast internet connection

However, your device will need a decent amount of storage. On my iPhone, the English version of Wikipedia with images requires roughly 90 GB of storage (Figure A, left). In other languages, Wikipedia often contains less content, so the file size may be smaller. To save space, you also may download an edition that omits images (typically about 50% of the complete edition size) or one that omits details and provides truncated entries (typically about 15% of the complete edition size). On my phone, I have all of the Wiki files named in the first paragraph of this section installed and they take up about 110 GB of storage.

Figure A

Three screenshots: (left) 7 files listed, with sizes, ranging from 260 MB for Wikinews to 88 GB for Wikipedia; (middle) Home screen with search box

The Kiwix app lets you download Wikipedia and related resources for offline reference.

How to use maps offline

OsmAnd Maps & Navigation lets you explore OpenStreetMap information for regions around the world. This includes overview maps for continents as well as more detailed street maps, contour maps, hillshade and slope maps, site-specific Wikipedia data, as well as OpenSeaMap nautical maps. You’ll want to download overview maps for much of the world and likely more detailed maps for specific areas (Figure B). 

Figure B

Three screenshots: (left) Maps Arizona, California, and Los Angeles, in sizes ranging from roughly 70 MB to as much as 1.5 GB; (middle) Available plugins: Ski map, nautical map, track recording, parking position, Wikipedia, Contour lines, trip planning, and OpenStreetMap editing; (right) Sample map shows an area southwest of Sante Fe.

The OsmAnd Maps & Navigation app provides offline maps.

Pricing varies on Android and iOS, but a subscription that allows unlimited downloads is typically less than $10 per year. Storage requirements will vary with the maps you install. For example, on my phone, 29 maps—the world overview map, nautical maps and detailed data for four U.S. states—take up just under 10 GB of storage.

People who travel outside of cities and towns might also find a few other apps helpful. PeakVisor (Pro subscription about $30 per year) helps you identify prominent hills and mountains. The built-in compass app on an iPhone or a simple compass such as Just a Compass (free) on Android both work offline, since they rely on GPS signals, which operate independent of an internet connection. If you’re interested in more advanced sighting and navigation options, the Spyglass app (about $6) offers a compass, elevation, angles as well as speed data. Make sure to test these apps in a setting where you know the directions with some certainty before relying on them in an unfamiliar area.

How to use translation offline

The free Apple Translate app offers offline translation between 11 distinct languages—or 12, if you count U.K. English as a different language than U.S. English. Select languages to use offline, then you may type or talk and have the words translated. Typically, you’ll need 100-200 MB of storage space for each language you want to use offline.

Both Google Translate (iOS and Android) and Microsoft Translate support translation between many more languages all at no charge, and allow you to download languages to enable offline translation (Figure C). 

Figure C

Three screenshots: (left) Apple Translate, showing all available languages downloaded for offline use, except U.K. English, (middle) Microsoft Translator, showing English and Spanish downloaded, and several other languages lists, with file sizes from 95 to 212 MB, (right) Google Translate list of languages that may be downloaded (no file sizes shown).

Apple (left), Microsoft (middle) and Google (right) all offer translation apps that allow you to download languages for offline use.

Unlike Apple Translate, both of these apps also include offline camera-based translation that lets you open the app and point your camera at text, which the app then translates in real-time with overlay text in the target language. This is extremely useful for signage and menus. However for real-time voice translation input, both of these apps require an internet connection.

How to use weather offline

A surprising number of weather apps don’t work offline. Typically, that’s because weather apps pull in recent observations from ground observations, radar and satellites, among other sources in order to deliver up-to-the-minute forecasts. Sailors and weather professionals examine and compare weather model projections with apps such as LuckGrib (approx. $25 one-time purchase fee on iOS) or Flowx (Android, with annual subscriptions about $5 to $20 per year) (Figure D, right). LuckGrib is intended for offshore and offline use, while Flowx caches content for any models you’ve loaded and displays it until you’re again connected. Both apps show forecasts from several different weather models.

Casual weather watchers might explore Meteoblue (iOS and Android), which caches several days of forecast details ($0.99 per year subscription required) (Figure D, left). The app also displays a visual confidence indicator next to forecast data to give you some sense of how reliable the forecast for a day might be. The higher the forecast bar, the greater the degree to which the various models used by Meteoblue agree.

Of course, another offline alternative is to use an app to access your smartphone’s barometer data. Barometer Plus (iOS and Android; free with about $3-4 upgrade for premium features and ad removal) or Starpath Corporation’s Marine Barometer and Barograph apps (Barometer apps are free; Barograph is about $15 on iOS), all obtain barometer readings thanks to hardware in your smartphone. Rising barometer levels may indicate nice weather, while falling barometer levels can signal the potential onset of a storm.

Figure D

Three screenshots: (left) Meteoblue, shows conditions for 8 days, (middle) Flowx, shows 6 different forecast model projections, (right) LuckGrib, shows GFS model parameters, such as wind, precipitation, temperature and cloud cover percentage selected.

Meteoblue (left) shows the time of the last update, forecast agreement bar indicators, and, with a paid upgrade, caches data offline. Flowx (subscription required) lets you compare several forecast models and caches recently accessed data. LuckGrib (right, one-time payment required) is intended for offline use, such as while sailing, and gives you very granular access to GRIB data files.

What offline apps do you rely on?

When I upgraded my phone recently, I opted for 512 GB of storage because I wanted space for Kiwix, OsmAnd+ and translation apps and files. I’ve found local/offline access to lots of information a nice reminder that not every question needs to turn into a web search.

Do you use apps to access Wikipedia or OpenStreetMap? What apps do you rely on for information when you lack an internet connection? What circumstances prompted you to seek out apps that work well offline? Let me know what apps you rely on that work without internet access, either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).  

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6 tips for improving typing speed and quality on iPhone

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Increase your typing accuracy by learning some shortcuts built into iOS that give quick access to the number keys, undoing and redoing entries and more.

Image: CNET

Apple wowed the world when they announced the first iPhone would rely solely on the on-screen keyboard for typing. Fortunately Apple had a bit of magic working behind the scenes to ensure that the correct letters were typed by increasing the tap size based on the completion of a word the user was typing.

Apple’s on-screen keyboard has become the quickest way to input text on a mobile device, and they’ve improved the experience significantly over the years through some software advancements in iOS.

In this tutorial, we’ll walk through six different ways you can improve your typing speed and accuracy on iOS devices using some shortcuts that you can implement in your own daily workflows. By doing this, you can easily increase your typing speed and quality on iPhone.

SEE: How to migrate to a new iPad, iPhone, or Mac (TechRepublic Premium)

1. QuickPath

QuickPath (otherwise known as swipe typing) is a tool that was released with iOS 13. It lets you quickly type (one handed in most cases) by just swiping your finger between the letters of the word that you want to type; iOS will then figure out what word you’re trying to spell and will type it for you once you release your finger from the screen.

This is one of the quickest ways to get text into a document on your iPhone. This feature also works on iPad, but when typing on the iPad, we prefer to use the nearly full sized, on-screen keyboard or a physical keyboard connected to the iPad.

Whenever you lift your finger after typing a word, QuickPath automatically inserts a space between words, so there’s no need to tap the spacebar. Give QuickPath a try and see if you can improve your typing speed by swiping around the keyboard.

If this QuickPath feature isn’t enabled, then you can enable it by performing these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select General | Keyboard.
  3. Ensure the toggle for Slide To Type is enabled.

2. Quick number access

One of the downsides of the iPhone keyboard has been that there is no dedicated number row keys on the QWERTY keyboard. As a result, you must tap into the number keyboard by selecting the number button, then tapping the number you want.

However, there is a quicker and easier way to enter the number keyboard and select the number you want and quickly get back to the QWERTY keyboard.

To do this, in one swipe tap the number key on the QWERTY keyboard and without lifting your finger, drag it to the number key you wish to type. When you release your finger from the screen, the number keyboard will disappear and will automatically return to the QWERTY keyboard to start typing again.

This is great for when you just need to enter one or two number digits from the number keyboard and then quickly return back to typing text.

3. Slide to undo or redo

When you accidentally type something, you can easily undo it by tacking three fingers to the screen and swipe to the left on the screen. This performs the Undo action in the text editor on iOS.

If you didn’t mean to delete something, then take three fingers and swipe right on the screen. This will perform the Redo action and bring the deleted text back.

This quick-and-easy undo-and-redo swipe action will save time over Shake to Undo, or tapping three fingers on the screen to bring up the edit bar.

4. Move the cursor

This feature has been one of our favorites since Apple released it alongside Force Touch in 2014. Now all iOS devices can take advantage of the text cursor when typing (Figure A).

Figure A

typingimprovements-figurea.jpg

When using cursor mode on the keyboard, the keyboard will turn into a trackpad that lets you move around the insertion cursor with ease.

When you’re in a long document and need to move the cursor, there’s no need to try to tap around on the text to place the insertion cursor: Instead simply tap and hold on the spacebar on the keyboard. When you do, the keys on the onscreen keyboard will disappear (Figure A) and you can use the keyboard area as a trackpad. Move your finger around and it will move the insertion cursor around in the text area, allowing you to place it exactly where you wish to begin inserting new text.

5. Use predictions and text replacement

One of the ways to improve reliability of text is to use the prediction toolbar above the keyboard to easily correct misspellings while typing. You can show the prediction bar by tapping and holding on the Emoji key on the keyboard, then tapping Keyboard Settings from the menu that appears. Ensure that the Prediction toggle is enabled (Figure B). With this enabled, predictions will appear on the gray bar above the keyboard while you are typing. Tap any of the words to complete and insert the word into the text area.

Figure B

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When the “Prediction” toggle is enabled, then the prediction bar will offer suggestions as you type.

In addition to the prediction keyboard, you can use text replacement shortcuts to transform shorthand into longer-form text. Learn more on our previous iOS Keyboard tips and tricks article.

6. Reset the keyboard when things aren’t quite right

The iOS keyboard learns from you as you type, but if you’re experiencing some oddities with the iOS keyboard, such as buttons pressing accidentally when typing, or predictions spelled incorrectly showing up, then you can reset the software keyboard back to default.

To reset the iOS keyboard, perform these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select General | Reset.
  3. Select Reset Keyboard Dictionary and then type in your iOS passcode to continue with the reset (Figure C).

Figure C

typingimprovements-figurec.jpg

Resetting the keyboard dictionary can often solve issues where incorrect spellings of words have made their way into your typing, or you find yourself hitting incorrect keys.

After resetting the keyboard dictionary, your iOS keyboard will begin retraining itself on the way that you type. You may need to add custom words back to the dictionary: When typing and a prediction appears that is incorrect, tap the left-most word in the prediction bar to accept your spelling, then it will suggest that spelling in the future.

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How to browse and administer iOS files using Path Finder 10

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Cocoatech has updated its macOS Path Finder file management app to include several new features. One new capability in version 10 is browsing and administering files on an iOS device using a Mac.

Image: flydragon/Shutterstock

Although Finder isn’t the only file management application available to macOS users, its comprehensive capabilities and elegant integration make it tough justifying purchasing an alternative. But Cocoatech’s Path Finder 10 makes it easier, especially for novice users, to access hidden files while also servicing other needs. The program supports viewing low-level file hex information and more using a variety of modules—as shown in Figure A—that can be loaded directly within the app.

SEE: Research: Video conferencing tools and cloud-based solutions dominate digital workspaces; VPN and VDI less popular with SMBs (TechRepublic Premium)

Figure A

pathfinder10-fig-a.jpg

Cocoatech’s Path Finder supports loading a variety of helpful modules that drastically expand the file management application’s capabilities.

The $36 program also permits viewing two file management windows simultaneously, thereby simplifying file copying and transfers. To enable the dual-pane browser within Path Finder, as shown in Figure B, open the program, select View from the Path Finder menu bar and select Dual Browser, for which a few options exist. You can choose to position the dual browser horizontally or vertically, and you can even swap the windows using the provided Swap Panes option.

Figure B

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Path Finder’s dual-pane browser makes it easier to drag-and-drop files between windows.

Another Path Finder 10 feature macOS users will find helpful is the program’s ability to assist browsing and administering iOS files. With Path Finder loaded on a Mac, users can connect iOS devices via a USB-to-Lightning cable, then browse the iOS device’s file system within Path Finder, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

pathfinder10-fig-c.jpg

Path Finder permits browsing and administering files on an iOS device using a Mac.

Using Path Finder’s simple, user-friendly interface, it’s easier for users to display and access hidden iOS files, too, than having to resort to Terminal commands. From within Path Finder, you need only click View from the menu bar and select Show Invisible Files. Once specific files and directories have been located on the connected iOS device, Path Finder users can delete files, which bypasses placing the deleted information in the Trash.

To delete files on an iOS device using Path Finder, connect the device, open Path Finder, then navigate to the iOS directory containing the file or files you wish to copy, move or delete. Once the file or files are located and highlighted, click Commands from the Path Finder menu bar, then select the corresponding action: Copy To, Move To or Delete.

SEE: Edge computing adoption to increase through 2026; organizations cautious about adding 5G to the mix (TechRepublic Premium)

Users can also copy and transfer files between the iOS device and the Mac, sort files and quickly find the largest files on the iOS device using the Size Browser and search files options. Traditional right-click copy-and-paste and drag-and-drop actions permit copying and moving files between Path Finder and the Mac.

More accomplished users confident in their actions can also rename iOS files, although Cocoatech warns against performing such actions unless you are sure you know what you are doing. Renaming the wrong files could result in an inoperable iOS device.

The same warning applies to moving and deleting files. Although a tool or application permits doing so, only perform such actions when you’re confident you’re proceeding as intended, and you understand the ramifications of any changes you make.

During my tests, I found I could also perform the same functions as in iOS on an iPad Mini 4, too. Browsing, copying, dragging-and-dropping, moving and deleting files proved straightforward using Path Finder. The program also made quick work toggling hidden files on and off, too, on the iPad. While not officially supported within the Cocoatech literature, the ability to use Path Finder to navigate and clean an iPad certainly adds to its value.

A helpful $36 utility

While Apple’s integrated Finder permits performing many of the same functions, Path Finder simplifies the process, while also adding the ability to load various modules that enable accessing Terminal commands directly from within the file management app. Loading the Hex module, as mentioned earlier, and other modules that assist viewing permissions and active processes are but a few examples. Mac users who enjoy poking around under the hood will find Path Finder 10’s capabilities well worth exploring.

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How to create notes anywhere in iOS 14 with back tap and Shortcuts

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Harness the power of the Shortcuts app to build a workflow that allows you to take notes anywhere inside of iOS 14 without opening a secondary app.

Image: CNET

Apple has improved the power of the Shortcuts app tremendously with the introduction of compact UI and the ability to run the workflows built with Shortcuts anywhere in iOS 14.

One of the neat workflows that I recently built was a note-taking shortcut that could run when I use the back tap feature in iOS 14. (The back tap feature lets users trigger an app, action or Shortcuts workflow by tapping the back of a compatible iPhone three times. You can also assign a back tap action when tapping the back of a compatible iPhone twice.) When this workflow is run, it shows a note field overlaid on the screen, allowing you to create a note from anywhere in iOS without losing your place or train of thought.

Learn how to create this shortcut on your iOS device and assign it to a back tap action to trigger it from anywhere.

SEE: How to migrate to a new iPad, iPhone, or Mac (TechRepublic Premium)

How to build the Shortcut workflow in iOS 14

You can skip the steps involved below to create the workflow by downloading the workflow we created using this iCloud link.

To begin building the workflow, open the Shortcuts application (or install it from the App Store if it’s not available on your device), then select the + button to create a new workflow. Tap the search field, and then search for and add the following actions in this order:

  1. Ask For Input action with Text selected with a prompt of Add A Note.
  2. Create Note action (the Input to the Note action should automatically set to Provided Input; if not, tap Body and then set it to the Provided Input variable).

When you’re finished laying out the workflow, it should look like Figure A

Figure A

notesanywhere-figure-a.jpg

The completed Create Note workflow will create a note by first asking you to supply text to input into the note.

The final step is to name the workflow. Tap the … in the titlebar and then provide a name and optional icon. We named our workflow Create Note with Tap for easy identification. 

How to assign the Shortcut to back tap in iOS

Back tap is a feature that allows you to tap the back of a compatible iPhone with your finger to run an action. You can add a back tap action to a double or triple back tap.

To assign the workflow that we just created to a back tap action, perform these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Accessibility | Touch | Back Tap.
  3. Select Triple Tap.
  4. Select Create Note With Tap from the Shortcuts section, or whatever you named the workflow just created (Figure B).

Figure B

notesanywhere-figure-b.jpg

Adding a Shortcut workflow or other action to back tap is easy with the selector. Choose from the action running when it’s a double or triple tap.

Once the back tap is assigned, it will appear in the list under Accessibility | Touch | Back Tap. You can remove the action here if you ever decide to no longer use this workflow to create notes.

How to create a note

To run the workflow and create a note, simply tap the back of your iPhone near the Apple logo with your finger three times. The Shortcuts UI will spring to life no matter where you are at in iOS (Lock Screen, Home Screen or in another app). It will ask for input by showing a text field that will allow you to type the text to create a note (Figure C).

Figure C

notesanywhere-figure-c.jpg

Triple tap the back of your device to create a note from anywhere–even your Lock Screen.

When you’re done typing, press the Done button, and the text will be added as a new Note to the Notes app in iOS and will sync to your other devices. Triple tapping the back of your device will allow you to create another new note.

As you can see, this feature allows you to not miss the moment and forget what you need to remember. You can draft a new note from anywhere in iOS quickly and easily without opening another app.

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A security flaw in AirDrop found by users

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A security flaw in AirDrop found by users

Length: 9:03 |
May 3, 2021

Someone who knows how can obtain your phone number and email address when you try to share a file from your iPhone, say researchers at the University of Darmstadt.



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A closer look at the new iMac with M1 chip

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A closer look at the new iMac with M1 chip

Length: 8:51 |
May 3, 2021

With a 24-inch screen and a 4k display, the computer is a compact and high-tech desktop.



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How to safely add folders to iCloud in macOS

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If you’re looking to add non-standard folders to iCloud, for backup purposes, Jack Wallen shows you how to do this safely.

Image: Dimitri Otis/DigitalVision/Getty

I only use iCloud for very specific purposes, specifically as a backup for documents I write on my MacBook Pro. Because of that, I disable all syncing but specific folders to iCloud. Given this is an Apple product, you’d think this process would be as simple as right-clicking a folder and choosing Sync to iCloud. 

It’s not that easy.

Don’t get me wrong, the process isn’t all that hard; but Apple hasn’t done us any favors in obfuscating the task.

Fret not, I’m going to show you how this is done.

SEE: Research: Video conferencing tools and cloud-based solutions dominate digital workspaces; VPN and VDI less popular with SMBs (TechRepublic Premium)

What you’ll need

I’ll be demonstrating this process on an M1 MacBook Pro, running Big Sur 11.2.3. You should be able to successfully follow these steps, even with earlier versions of macOS.

How to remove sync items from iCloud

First, let’s narrow down what iCloud syncs. I do this mostly because I don’t use iCloud to sync between devices. As I mentioned earlier, for me iCloud is nothing more than a fail-safe backup for specific folders (that are also backed up to Google Drive). One reason I opt to not sync most of the default options in iCloud is to simply save that cloud space for more important files. Before disabling the majority of sync items, I was always receiving the out-of-space notification from iCloud. This solved that problem.

To remove items from syncing to your iCloud account, click on the Apple menu at the far left of the top bar and then select System Preferences. In the System Preferences window, click Apple ID (Figure A).

Figure A

icloudfoldera.jpg

The Apple ID entry within System Preferences.

In the resulting screen (Figure B), click Options associated with iCloud Drive.

Figure B

icloudfolderb.jpg

This is where you configure what is synced with iCloud.

Uncheck everything you do not need to keep in sync with iCloud. Make sure you leave Desktop & Document Folders unchecked, otherwise

iCloud will move anything from within Documents to the cloud.

How to add folders to iCloud

This is where it gets a bit tricky. You can’t just open Finder and drag a folder to the iCloud Drive listing in the left pane, because that doesn’t copy, it moves the folder. So, instead of dragging the original folder, you must first create an Alias of the original folder. To do that, right-click the folder in question and select, Make Alias (Figure C).

Figure C

icloudfolderc.jpg

Creating an alias for a folder, named DATA, in Documents. 

The alias is a link from the DATA folder in Documents to a new folder, named DATA alias. Everything in DATA alias will be in sync with the original DATA, even when you move DATA alias to iCloud. 

Once you’ve created the alias, click and drag the new alias folder to the iCloud Drive entry in the Finder left navigation.

And that’s all there is to safely adding folders to sync with iCloud. As long as you’re only adding the alias folder, you won’t bother the original.

Subscribe to TechRepublic’s How To Make Tech Work on YouTube for all the latest tech advice for business pros from Jack Wallen.

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Founder of ChekMarc: New social media platform is all about human connection

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It’s different because it’s not about scraping data or selling ads; it’s about authentic connection between people, founder says.

TechRepublic’s Karen Roby spoke with Marc Kaplan, founder of ChekMarc, a social media platform, about why he created the app and why it’s different from other platforms. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Karen Roby: We’re going to expand on your online global platform called ChekMarc. This is a place that people can go when they need help. When they’re looking to connect with someone that may be able to help them with really just about anything. I’m going to let you expand on that here in just a second, but just tell us what’s involved here. If you had to give a 30-second overview of what ChekMarc is, how do you describe it?

SEE: Hiring Kit: Video Game Designer (TechRepublic Premium)

Marc Kaplan: I think you did a nice job of it Karen. ChekMarc really, it’s a global platform. It’s in 35 languages. The purpose of it is to build a global community that facilitates connections between people who are looking to achieve something in life that’s impactful for them and people who are looking to provide help to them to achieve those things. And as you said, it’s really on anything that’s important to you. We don’t define what it is. It could be career, it could be fitness, it could be travel, it could be hobbies, it could be pretty much anything as long as you’re 18 and above and have access to the internet or your iPhone or your Android, you can be on ChekMarc and you can achieve things in life and help others achieve things in life.

Karen Roby: Marc, let’s just say I want to say, “Hey. I have a goal, a dream, of running a marathon,” or “I’m going to take my family,” we talked about this earlier, “On safari, possibly in Africa.” Going to Facebook, I could put that out there. What’s the difference? What’s the premise behind this, of what separates this from things like other social media platforms?

Marc Kaplan: I think there’s some pretty big differences and appreciate you asking that question. A lot of the things you can do on the internet is to connect people to information to get help. But very few things actually connect people to people for help. So a lot of the sites out there connect you to information, whether it’s Google or Quora or Reddit, Yahoo answers, which I think is shutting down I heard, and other things. Then you have Facebooks of the world that largely facilitate things in groups. And it’s more known as a social media site. It tends to be more about sharing, sharing things about you with the world versus sharing yourself with others to get help for things. Our purpose is really focused on facilitating that one-on-one connection.

We also do it with some principles that are pretty different. Privacy is huge for us. We don’t sell ads, therefore you’re a member of our community, you’re not a user of our community. We’re not running algorithms, scraping data to try and keep you on the site or to sell the data about you. Our intent is purely to bring people together for connections to do good for each other, full stop. Unlike other places where you could request help or provide help, we don’t allow exchanges of money. It is a free service for people to use. If you want to raise money for yourself, that’s great, but GoFundMe is a better platform for you. If you want to get paid for your services, that’s great, but Angie’s list or Craigslist or Yelp is a better service for you than ours. Privacy is very important to us, and the purity of the connection is important to us.

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We also have a very trusted community and identity verification is something that we offer, unlike a lot of the other platforms where it’s difficult to get that. We offer that to everybody who wants it because we believe that having you as a verified member will help build trust in our community. That’s another really important component of our community. And then along with privacy, we allow you to be anonymous, even when you’re verified. We allow you to post anonymously up until the point when you and somebody else are willing to connect. You can be anonymous. At a certain point we facilitate an introduction, but up until then you can be anonymous and also nobody can bother you.

People can’t randomly direct message you or contact outside of the request that you are placing to the community. So, at its heart privacy, safety, trust, kindness are part of our community. And lastly, it’s a very positive community. We moderate our content. We don’t apologize for that. Whether it’s the artificial intelligence that we use for that or the self-regulation of the community and the manual process, we want to keep the discussion positive and we want to bring people to the community where they do their good. So, it’s a place really to get help, to give help, not so much a place to be heard.

Karen Roby: When you talk about there’s no advertising on this, what was your inspiration for this? How did this come together? Was it from a certain experience? You were looking for help, couldn’t find it, or how did it all come together?

Marc Kaplan: I’ve thought about that. What sparked that for me? Because the idea came to us a while back and candidly, for me, it was I was working at a big company, big well-known global consulting company. Had a very successful career, very stable, doing very well. And I just stepped back and said, “There’s a bigger impact I want to make in the world,” number one. And then I asked myself, “What do I really enjoy doing over the years? What’s the one thing I’ve really enjoyed doing the most?” And it was changing people’s lives for the better. Digging in and making a difference in their lives personally or professionally. I said, “How can I scale that? There’s a kazillion Marc Kaplan’s out there that can provide that to people. And so how can I scale that?” I wasn’t on social media other than LinkedIn, which I use professionally.

I didn’t have Facebook account. I didn’t have Instagram account. I didn’t even know barely what Twitter was. So, I wasn’t a big social media consumer. I just knew that I wanted to create a platform for people to connect and all of the things that I talked about that we built it wasn’t because I saw them lacking somewhere else. They were just consistent with our own value system and what we wanted to build. Only later on did I realize that that actually solved some problems for people, but it was that simple. And it started with that kernel of an idea. And we said, “Let’s use technology to enable people to connect in different ways.”

Karen Roby: And how do people find you Marc? How do you get the word out there about what you’re trying to do here?

Marc Kaplan: Hopefully through conversations like this. We haven’t done any proactive marketing yet quite frankly. We released our first product on Feb. 23 I think it was. And we wanted to learn. And so since that time, we’ve kind of let it grow organically and through word of mouth and through people seeing a couple snippets on it, but we haven’t put any marketing behind it proactively because we really focus on listening to the community.

So if you go on and you join, we want to hear from you. Text me, email me, email my co-founder, give us feedback on the site. We’ve made so many changes to it based on what people want to see. And in fact, we have a new release that we talked about a little bit earlier, that should come out on three, four weeks from now that’ll greatly expand this scope, all consistent with what we just talked about today, but expand the scope because that’s what people wanted on the site. We’re hoping that people spread it word of mouth and it gets out there that way and at some point we’ll start to put a little bit more proactive marketing around it when we feel comfortable. We want our community to grow slowly right now.

Karen Roby: You mentioned this, but 18 and over, that’s really the only requirement and just people that are looking to get help about really anything, looking to connect.

Marc Kaplan: Yeah. Impactful things. It could be I want to run a marathon. I love to connect with somebody one-on-one about that. I want to write a novel. I want to go on a safari to Africa, and my parent is in a wheelchair and I want to connect this so I can plan a great vacation. I’m stuck in my career. Could really connect to somebody about it. For a lot of people, you can get information, but it’s hard to get to somebody and that’s what we do. For a lot of people we can see the doors and ChekMarc will have opened that door. And then there’s a whole group of people in this world that can’t even see a door. They’re just stuck because of their situation and ChekMarc will build that door for them.

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TechRepublic’s Karen Roby spoke with Marc Kaplan, founder of ChekMarc, a social media platform, about why he created the app and why it’s different from other platforms.

Image: Mackenzie Burke



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ChekMarc: A global community based on helping each other achieve goals

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ChekMarc: A global community based on helping each other achieve goals

Length: 8:41 |
Apr 28, 2021

Founder said he wanted to do something with his life that would help others, so he created this social media platform to facilitate human connections.



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