Oct 17

A serious and very real threat to your WIFI network

It has been reported that a vulnerability in every wifi network has been discovered and can be easily exploited and used to devastating affect. This is regardless of how secure your password is, in fact the hacker doesn’t even need to know what your password is, to snoop and steal information and take control.

To illustrate just how dangerous this is Apple  – who are normally rather relaxed about news like this – have already come out and stated that the latest versions of iOS (11), macOS (High Sierra) and tvOS (11) are already patched against this issue. I can only assume that firmware updates for their Airport modems will be coming soon and we will be keeping an eye on this and posting on our website and Facebook page accordingly.

So what does this all mean?

Well the guy who found and reported this issue has stated that all devices need to be patched and the first most important step is upgrading your iPhone, iPad and/or Mac to the latest OS. And this might cause some issues with your older software but whatever they are it is worth it because this is a serious and widespread breach with all kinds of consequences.

In the case of your Mac this might mean a ram upgrade or if it is a late 2009 or older – a new mac which in turn will mean data transfer.

In the case of your iPhone/iPad if it is older than an iPhone 5s you are out of luck but anything else needs to be upgraded to iOS 11 asap.

If you think you need help with any of this please drop us a line. But in any event please don’t ignore this threat because unlike most other exploits this is targeting something as widespread as your water supply without needing to care, if I can continue with the analogy, what kind of taps you have in the bathroom.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/a-serious-and-very-real-threat-to-your-wifi-network/

Oct 05

SOS feature in your iPhone

There is a very good chance that you have never actually opened the Health App on your iPhone and that is OK because detailing every KG lost or gained or graphing every bowel movement for the amusement of your doctor is not for everyone.

However, it does have one feature that is rather important and is vital for what comes next so I encourage you to grab your iPhone and read on.

1. Open your iPhone and tap on the Health app.

2. Tap on Medical ID in the bottom left hand corner and then Edit in the top right hand corner.

3. Ensure that the Show When Locked feature is set to ON and scroll further down the screen.

4. In the spaces provided fill in all the important details, the kind of details you might include in a Medical ID bracelet – the one you’ve always thought might be a good idea but have never gotten around to buying.

5. Tap on Done when finished.

This information can now be viewed by anyone – regardless if your iPhone is locked at the time or not – if they press the power button 5 times in rapid succession.

Now of course it’s worth pointing out that if you don’t want medical professionals (or anyone else) to see this info then please do the following:

  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on Medical ID in the bottom left hand corner and then Edit
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap on Delete Medical ID

The SOS feature has another very useful function and that is the Emergency SOS feature.

The same rapid pressing of the power button and then sliding the Emergency button to the right will allow the phone to quickly contact the emergency services via 000 and via a text message with your current location in times of need or distress.

It is worth setting up and making your family aware even if it is a feature that is -hopefully – never used.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/sos-feature-in-your-iphone/

Oct 05

Using the magnifying glass hidden in your iPhone

I cannot tell if Microsoft are sadists or not but they seem to enjoy making life difficult.  Not only do they insist on adhering to charging for their Windows 10 operating system (or as I like to call it, 335 reasons to switch to a Mac) but they insist on using a serial key that is practically impossible to see without the use of the Hubble telescope. But, as we mere mortals don’t have access to the Hubble telescope, the magnifying function on your iPhone will have to do.

If you are running iOS11… and if not, you should be…

  1. Tap on Settings
  2. Tap on Control Centre
  3. Tap Customise Controls
  4. Scroll down until you find Magnifier
  5. Tap on the + button
  6. Tap on the Home button

From now on, you can access it quickly by swiping up from the bottom of the iPhone and thus revealing the Control Centre. Tap on the magnifying icon to fire it up.

So, now that we have access, how does it work?

When the magnifying feature is activated,  the camera is in high focus and it be increased even further with the slider under the main viewing screen.

The lock icon will freeze the auto focus which can be a bit annoying in low light because the camera will be constantly trying to focus on your subject and the net result is always frustration. Speaking of low light, the lightning bolt icon will turn on the torch if what you  are trying to magnify is in bad light.

Finally there is the Filters icon which will give you access to the contrast and colour filters that can give you a better result depending on what you are looking at. There is also an inverting icon that will give you a negative image and this can be very useful if the thing you are trying to see is faded.

It’s typical of Apple to bury little gems like this but I for one, when battling with Microsoft, am glad it is there on hand.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/using-the-magnifying-glass-hidden-in-your-iphone/

Oct 05

Apple watch series 3 – first month

Regular readers of my website or FaceBook page will no doubt recall the unparalleled hell I experienced at the hands of Telstra when attempting to set up my Apple Watch S3 to a mobile network.

I get that this is a new product and I understand that challenges are to be expected but there is very little justification for the misinformation, the disinterest and the general lack of imagination when trying to get help from Australia’s largest telco. The staggering lack of knowledge that was displayed by all facets of Telstra and their support staff often reminded me of the kind of precision displayed when a monkey flings its own dung at a wall.

But there were flowers amongst the weeds in the form of Joseph and his team at Telstra Woden. Not only did he have the knowledge to find an answer to a problem that had left Telstra Tuggeranong performing like the aforementioned monkey, but he followed up and took ownership of some of the issues that followed. He genuinely made me feel he was in my corner and when dealing with a monster like Telstra this is priceless.

However, now that it is all said and done with 15 phone calls, three trips to a Telstra store and countless hours online later, I finally have my Apple Watch S3 on a mobile network and I can, at last, tell you all about it.

Set up

If you buy a series 3 – and if you have an older Apple Watch I would highly recommend you do – the first thing you’ll notice is that it is, in every practical way, identical to all previous models. In fact, if you have already bought a new wristband from Apple or elsewhere, these identical dimensions will allow you to attach it your new watch without any hassle at all. Thats right – as soon as I unpacked my brand new $600 watch I slapped on my $50 band!

Your new watch will connect to your iPhone in much the same way as the old one. One significant difference is the option to connect to a mobile network. If you have already been through the process of binding your Apple Watch to your mobile phone account – and this can be done at anytime before or after the watch has arrived on your doorstep (and I highly recommend you do so) then the final step is revealed to you during the set up process and its very straight forward. If you haven’t spoken with your provider yet – or don’t want to use the mobile function – then this can be skipped.

The rest of the processes of introducing it to your phone, setting up Apple Pay ect couldn’t be easier unless every watch came with a freeze dried Apple Tech that – once correctly hydrated – set it up for you.

Once it is on your wrist, and ready to make and receive phone calls, the first thing you’ll notice is the speed of the watch. When you tap on an app the response is immediate and this instantly makes this device feel like a proper extension of your phone – even before you’ve ventured phoneless into the world. 

If this is your first watch, please head over to my previous article on the original watch. For those that have already owned and used a watch, as well as those that are now re-joining us after reading my previous article, here is what is new.

What’s new

Now, admittedly while some of these features are courtesy of watchOS 4 and are available to all watches, there is a good chance you won’t have accessed them before so it makes sense to mention them here.

Torch. (Well, its called a flash-light but I refuse to stoop to an Americanism)

Looking at your watch face,  you swipe up from the bottom of the screen and this reveals the Control Centre, similar to the one found on your iPhone.

Tap on the torch icon and the whole screen lights up and will get brighter when you face it away from your body. Slide to the left and you get a flashing light and slide again and you get a red light, presumably for emergencies. 

While in the Control Centre you can tap on the Theatre icon and this will prevent your phone from waking up when you move your wrist as this can be a distraction  (not to mention a battery drain) when in a darkened cinema or theatre. You will also notice what looks like a tear-drop icon and this is used to eject water from the microphone after swimming.

It also comes with new watch faces that include Buzz and Woody (cute but useless really) and some much improved health and workout apps that I’ll get to a little later.

So now lets imagine that you have paired your watch with your mobile phone plan and you’ve taken a stroll out of the house, leaving your watch to charge on the kitchen bench.

Making a phone call can be done in several ways, holding down the crown and asking Siri to call such and such, using the phone app to list your contacts or revealing a small keypad to type out the number manually. The microphone is exceptional allowing you to talk with your hand down by your side but the speaker is still too small or weak to be heard effectively at the same distance.This forces you to walk around Dick Tracy style or use wireless headphones. But hey, it is a watch and you are using it to call someone and I for one think that’s awesome and this is especially true (and I mentioned this here a few weeks ago) that being able to do this when on a walk or run as well as receive texts is of particular importance. 

Sending a text, like the phone call, can be done in a few different ways. Holding down the crown and telling Siri to do it is one way.

(I have found the best way is to say – for example –  “send a text to Stephen, don’t worry the rash won’t last forever.”)

The other way is to use the Messages app and use the microphone to dictate your message or the Scribble function to eek out our tiny missive one letter at a time. (this works surprisingly well actually)

The new mobile function will also allow you to use Siri when its just you, the watch and the great out doors to ask a question or settle an argument. Not only that but she will now talk back to you. 

The new watch, like the series 2 before it, is waterproof allowing you to swim with it as well as walk and run with it. This function also unlocks a few new workout functions for swimming in a pool or in the open water. And speaking of exercise, the new health monitor watches your heart with a little more deference than in the past. It will now tell you what your recovery rate is – which is a very useful indicator of health, and will alert you if your heart rate increases while you are not exercising… possibly alerting you to an impending heart attack.

So, in short is it worth it? Well if you have a Series 2 and you don’t care about the mobile phone function I would say no. But if you currently have a series 1 then it is a must, even if you don’t care about making phone calls on the worlds most convenient mobile phone.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/apple-watch-series-3-first-month/

Oct 04

Telstra and the Apple Watch Series 3 is a bad mix

As I sit here and write this I am ready to kill someone, something, anything. Figuratively of course.
I have been dealing with Telstra all day and I have to say this has been one of the few days where my British upbringing of never expressing dissatisfaction has completely abandoned me.

My big mistake, and I agree there is a fair amount of hindsight here, was signing up with a business plan with Telstra. That is not to say that, to date at least, I have had very little to complain about. The reception has been good, the service fast and reliable. The only time I have ever felt blood starting to bubble was whenever I tried to use their support either over the phone or in person. Like today. And in spades. No, not spades, spade loads are too small. Let’s say in dump truck loads of bile and confusion and frustration, the kind of frustration that makes you want to detonate a hand grenade inside your own mouth to make it all go away.

I won’t make this any more tedious than it needs to be, needless to say a Telstra Business plan is not, currently, able to be linked to the new Apple Watch with LTE. Consumer plans, sure, but a business plan… no.

When I asked the dead eyed, sneeringly disinterested meat puppet behind the service desk what they were going to do to fix this issue I was given several different options, all of which contradicted each other as soon as we scratched beneath the surface of the brochure.

“Yes, you can move your business account to a private account. Just fill in these forms”
“What about all my services and conditions.”
“All the current plans are the same between business and private.”
“So what is the advantage of being on a business plan?”

A shrug of the shoulder and something glib about business really being for businesses that have lots of phones. So I guess my “small” business isn’t really a business.

So, I filled in the paperwork and and handed it in and I was told to sit down and wait for someone else to service me but before I did I made the point to ask again… “this will happen straight away and all my current services will be ported.”
“Yes”
But one scratch on the surface later and “no” it wasn’t going to happen today and “no” your services will not be ported over and in fact you’ll need to move to a new plan.
“But I don’t want a new phone yet… I will need a new phone in December but not now.”
Another shrug of the shoulder. Then a light bulb. “If we fax the paperwork over they can put you on a week to week account and then you’ll be able to pick a new phone when you are ready.”
“Great” says I.
“Ok, but it will take 16 days to process.” Says disinterested Android #2, forgetting. – which is most unlike an Android – that I have just finished saying I need this done today.

Honestly, this could go on for hours, it certainly did for me, but at the end of the day this is what Telstra was offering a business client in 2017.

So it came down to a) wait until – God knows when – for Telstra business to support the Apple Watch S3 or b) sign up for a new contract with a new phone and be locked into it for two years even though you don’t need or want a new phone until December.

A few phone calls later have seen yet another story and yet another possibility come to light that I will explore when I feel like I can unclench my teeth and speak in a fashion that might be understood.

My local Telstra store didn’t give a rats nostril about my plight and never once tried to find a workable or creative solution to the problem. They had a price list and set of guidelines and, like lemmings, followed it right to the edge. And all of this is in the face of me being able to simply wait until the 11th (when my contract expires) and then go to an Optus Sim only plan which is month to month and then deciding on a phone in December.

My hope was to have, by now, written an article explaining how good the new watch is on LTE. But I can’t because Telstra don’t care.

So I will leave you with this thought… If you are thinking of buying a new Apple Watch and you have a business plan with Telstra… wait or better still, go elsewhere.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/telstra-and-the-apple-watch-series-3-is-a-bad-mix/