Monthly Archives: November 2016

Windows Updates: Things you should Know

upgrade OS

Windows Updates: Things You Should Know

Let’s talk about windows updates. You will learn what they are and why they are so important to you. You will also find out how you should use update features in Windows.

So what are windows updates? To begin, we all know that all software we use needs to be regularly updated from time to time. Same holds true for windows.

Some updates are used to fix both bugs in the code as well as security problems. They can also be used to add functions or features not previously included with the software. Therefore, it is very important that you keep your drivers, applications and your operating system up to date.

Windows Update enables you to download and install recommended and important updates automatically, without having to visit Windows Updates website. To manage them you should go to the Windows Updates console in your Control Panel. “View update history option” will allow you to view a list of previously installed updates. This list will also show you updates that were not installed successfully.

If you hold administrative privileges, you can check for updates and change their settings. Typical settings you could choose from are as follows. You can install them automatically (by default), download and notify (without installing), check for them and notify (without downloading or installing) or check for them manually (not recommended). You are also able to review installed updates and view hidden ones. Choosing to hide an update equals declining it.

As a standard user you can only check for and install new updates. Please remember that Windows Updates rely on Windows Update service, set to start automatically by default.

Updates are classified as either Hot Fixes or Service Packs. A Hot Fix addresses one specific problem with the operating system or its related files. Hot Fixes, created periodically, fix code related problems.

Service Pack or SP identifies a set of hot fixes and other system enhancements. It brings your operating system (OS) up to its most current level. Service Packs are numbered such as SP1, SP2, SP3, etc.

You should be made aware of a couple of things. Hot Fixes and Service Packs are specific to the version of the operating system you are using. If you own a business with several computers, please test your updates before installing them on multiple systems.

There exists another classification for windows updates. They can be viewed as Important, Recommended or Optional.

Important updates address critical security issues. Recommended updates often address functionality issues. Optional updates include driver updates, language packs or updates enhancing or adding functionality to your system.

“Give me recommended updates” option allows us to treat recommended updates same as important ones.

Dynamic updates are downloaded during your Windows system installation. They check for critical updates, using them to patch the OS. They also try to find missing drivers to complete the installation.

Your default Windows Update settings attempt to detect and install important updates every day at 3 am. If your computer is not on at that time, the Windows Update process will start next time you turn your computer on.

Mission Repair Center wants you to remember that keeping your system updated is a part of regular system maintenance. When you experience a problem with a specific device or a program, your first step should be to check for updates and apply them.

Darius Romanek

Mission Repair Centre Team 🙂

Tips and Tricks for Mac users!

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Tips For Mac Users

If you own a Mac computer, then there is something you should know. The following tips will show you some alternative ways of doing things.

To begin with, when you don’t feel like speaking to Siri, command-space shortcut on your keyboard will get you to Spotlight search.

If you are interested in a quick conversion all you need to do is launch Spotlight and type the figure you wish to convert such as money or a unit of mass. However, you should be mindful that certain things like currency conversion will only work when your Mac is online.

If you wish to take a screenshot of a specific part of your screen, you just need to tap Command + Shift 4. After you do that a box will appear when you click; you should then drag the box to the location on the screen that you want to take a picture of.

How about exporting an image in a format that’s not listed? What you need to do here is hold down the Option key while clicking the Format drop down list; a selection of new image export options will be shown.

What if you try to fill in forms? The best and most efficient way is to go to System Preferences>Keyboard, clicking the All controls radio button for Full Keyboard Access.

When you resize your Windows using Split Screen view, hold down the Option key and that will enable you to see both windows clearly.

Next tip is useful if you are working with numerous documents on your Mac but need to find a specific one. You will get to it fast by just tapping the F3 button to obtain a minimized view of all your documents.

When listening to your favorite song or watching a movie, you can tap Option and Shift while raising or lowering volume for much more sensitive control.

Renaming files can be quickly accomplished by selecting them in the enclosing folder and right clicking on them. If you then choose an option Rename items, you will be able to assign them any name that you might want along with an appropriate number.

Now, let’s say you get stuck on a particular application. You can get out of it by tapping Command + Option and pressing Esc. Force Quit dialog box will appear when you do this.

Are you at times having trouble finding your work folders? You will resolve this by launching a new Finder window, selecting Show Sidebar and just dragging and dropping your work folder into the sidebar. That will also allow for easy access to the folder.

As a Mac user, you probably know how to navigate between apps using Command and Tab on your machine but do you know that you can also quit an app by simply selecting it and tapping Q? Other hidden features can be unlocked when you try using Command in your Menu bar.

You are also able to move Menu icons by clicking on one while holding down the Command key. However, you must be really careful while doing it in order not to pull it from the Menu bar.

Don’t feel like receiving any Notifications? In such a case, just press the Option key and tap the Notifications icon in the top right. The icon’s color should then change to light gray thus showing that it has been disabled.

The final tip is regarding the length of time it takes to back your data up on your Mac. Normally, such processes can be quite lengthy because they are designated as a background activity. It is in a way good for you as it is assumed that you are doing something else with your Mac. So how do you speed the process up, you might ask? By launching Terminal and pasting in the following:

sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=0

The process will be initiated when you type in your login password. Unfortunately, your data backup settings will revert back to their lengthy original state once you reboot your machine unless you follow the instructions found on the following website:

http://www.mackungfu.org/massively-speed-up-time-capsule-time-machine-backups

Mission Repair Centre is hoping that you found the above tips useful. However, if you are having any problems, please bring your Mac to us and we will try to assist you further.

Darius Romanek

Mission Repair Centre Team 🙂

 

 

Flagship feature of the new MacBook Pro

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Usefulness of the Touch Bar, Flagship Feature of the New MacBook Pro

Sam is finally home after a busy day at work. He has some time and as he is sitting down at his new computer, Apple’s latest MacBook Pro, he is thinking that he might explore the Touch Bar, its flagship feature.

What is the Touch Bar then? It is an OLED display strip replacing the physical row of function keys. As Sam begins his investigations, he quickly discovers that this dynamic zone at the top of his keyboard allows apps to display custom buttons, sliders, switches and scrubbers, thus adding a new way to his interaction with Mac applications that goes beyond text input and mouse pointers.

So what does he first observe? Well, he notices that the Touch Bar’s main interface is split into 3 sections: a system button, the area for variable app controls and the Control Strip.

The system button, controlled by macOS Sierra, displays a Cancel, Done or virtual ‘esc’ key.

The ‘app region’ in the middle will light up with contextual buttons and actions of different kinds, depending on the type of currently activated app. The keyword here is flexibility and some of the things Sam will be able to do are ones like expanding, contracting and customizing system controls, answering his iPhone or FaceTime call from the keyboard without moving his cursor, selecting palette and tap to choose a color for text and objects, getting quick access to text suggestions and emoji in apps like Messages and Mail or accessing the function keys by holding down the FN key on the keyboard among others.

The Control Strip on the right contains media keys and brightness controls. It can be expanded or collapsed depending on how much of the Touch Bar screen real estate Sam would wish to dedicate to app content.

Sam could also configure his Touch Bar to display a virtual set of normal function keys.

According to Apple, the Touch Bar contains a custom T1 chip powering the Touch ID and Apple Pay features.

Next, Sam notices that its controls always take up the full height so he is only dealing with a movement along the X-axis.

Then he realizes that the buttons appear with vibrant and saturated colors.

As his Touch Bar experience continues, Sam discovers that Apple’s Developer API enables third-party developers to create unique but relatively-static controls for their individual needs.

Sam feels that the Touch Bar is as responsive to his touch as his other device that he keeps carrying with him every day, namely his iPhone. He also sees that it blends in beautifully with the rest of the keyboard. His wide color OLED display is responsible for making his virtual keys appear real.

Mission Repair Centre recommends that just like Sam, you too should explore your Touch Bar feature on your MacBook Pro, if you have one. You will be happy to know that there are already many apps with Touch Bar support which are currently being developed and will be released before the end of this year.

Time will only tell if this flagship feature shall become an essential part of each future Mac. For now, it is something that is really worth exploring.

Darius Romanek

Mission Repair Centre Team 🙂

Wireless Charging for iPhone 8 !

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Foxconn Currently Testing Wireless Charging For iPhone 8

Are you aware that Foxconn has already started testing wireless charging for iPhone 8? Yes, the Taiwanese company also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is in the process of making wireless charging modules to go with the iPhone’s next release scheduled for 2017. However, success of this new feature will depend on company’s achieving satisfactory yield rate following tests’ completion.

What is a yield rate, you might ask? Well, it is a measure of the number of satisfactory or working units in the production of a batch of components. Therefore, for instance if Foxconn were to determine that their yield rate was 99%, that would mean that in a batch of 100 iPhones, only one would fail the wireless charging test.

If the yield rate of the wireless charging modules will not achieve expected or acceptable value, then their continued production could be deemed unprofitable. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen as this new feature will certainly prove handy for you.

Other than the yield rate, it is also yet unclear whether all iPhone models for release in 2017 will come equipped with this new function.

The introduction of wireless charging capabilities in an iPhone is part of Apple’s ongoing efforts to boost sales of the device during its upcoming 10th anniversary. New model’s name iPhone 8 may still be changed given the special occasion of its launch.

This special upgrade comes at the time of Apple’s first annual revenue decline since 2001 stemming from a saturated smartphone market and an increased need for innovative features.

It has been reported that iPhone’s current metal casing will be replaced by a glass back with a metal frame. It has also been stated that all future iPhones will employ curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen display although it is unclear when it will happen.

The concept of wireless charging is not new and it has already been introduced in other phones such as Android and South Korea’s Samsung and LG Electronics. Hence, in order to be competitive, Apple has decided to extend the wireless charging range meaning that now the device does not have to be as close to a charging source. Please think what it means for you, the user. Now you don’t have to seat yourself right next to the source, whether you are in a restaurant, a coffee shop or anywhere else in order to charge your phone. Therefore, it will simply prove much more convenient for you to get a new iPhone with a wireless charging option rather than any of the other ones, with a shorter range.

Apple’s extended wireless charging range will allow you to charge your new iPhone device up to 15 feet away.

The downside of this technology is that you will also need to carry a charging mat which needs to be plugged into a wall before you could commence your charging process.

Finally, it should be noted that the cutting edge features like wireless charging and OLED technology could, at least initially, be limited to high-end premium models only.

Darius Romanek

Mission Repair Centre Team 🙂

Moving from Apple-to-Android? Read this article first !

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Apple-to-Android Upgrade Comparisons 

 Bob is a happy owner of a new Apple phone (iOS 10 release). He has chosen it since it is “the biggest iOS release ever”, according to Apple. His sister Mary has decided to pick something different, namely Google’s Android phone. Now, Bob and Mary are wondering who made a better choice.

There are several factors they both must consider to determine which of the two options will be better for them.

Mary is happy when she finds out that Bob had to pay a lot more for his Apple phone than she did for her Android. However, iOS has a more uniform, stylish and simple interface than Android. As interface matters to Mary as well, she decides that her next phone will be made by Apple. She will wait though until she saves more money. If cost is of greatest importance to you, then you should probably stick to Android.

With Android phone, Mary gets more apps than Bob does on his Apple phone. If you are a gamer like Bob (which does not really matter to Mary that much), you will be happy to know that the best mobile games will appear on iOS but will not always come to Android. However, what matters to Mary is that the design of iOS apps is more uniform and stylish. So Android may have more apps but Apple has a higher variety and quality of them.

The Apple App Store offers advantage over Google’s Play Store in terms of its recommendations for new apps, sales on expensive apps and games and simpler interface. Apple Pay allows you to pay for apps and you get increased security by confirming downloads with your fingerprint.

Unfortunately, with all of its advantages, Apple is more restrictive as you can only stick to its own app store. With Android you are able to access alternative app stores but at the risk of being infected by malware. This particular advantage does not really matter to Bob and Mary as the apps’ and interface quality is something that they really care about. If you are interested in getting access to additional sources of apps, then Android might be a better option for you.

Android phone batteries can easily outlast Apple’s because they are bigger. In addition, Android phones can be very quickly charged whereas Apple phones cannot. These features make Mary very happy.

If you want consistent and timely software updates and security patches, then Apple’s iPhone is the only choice for you as you will not have it with any other.

As Mary continues to compare her Android phone to Bob’s Apple, she quickly realizes that her phone is much more customizable. For instance her default keyboard option is more developed and you can set third-party apps for things that are simply locked down in iOS. Again, it is something you may want to consider when choosing your system.

Mary also sees that her phone is great for getting the root access and complete control over her device as well as for determining how the operating system will load up on it. Bob’s phone cannot really do that. However, this is not something that Mary is particularly interested in so the type of phone Bob has still matters to her more.

Some of the other areas where Mary’s Android takes precedence over Bob’s Apple are email, cloud storage, photo backup, connectivity and maps. However, Bob’s iPhone cannot be matched on the arena of calls and messaging, accessories or peripherals, security and camera options; doubtless it is the simplest platform to use.

Therefore, Apple to Android (and vice versa) upgrade comparisons are meaningless as we end up comparing apples to oranges. Everything really depends on you and what is important to you. So it is Mission Repair Centre’s recommendation that you just pick what matters most to you and choose the phone with the greatest number of pros.

Darius Romanek

Mission Repair Centre Team 🙂

How Does a Normal Hard Drive Differ from a Solid State Drive ?

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How Does a Normal Hard Drive Differ From a Solid State Drive?

 We are all used to traditional spinning hard drives or HDDs. However, solid state drives or SSDs which are a newer technology are now becoming just as prevalent on the market as traditional ones. Therefore, it is only natural for you to ask yourself which one might be the right choice for you.

Both HDDs as well as SSDs utilize non-volatile memory or NVM for long-term data storage. What this means is that your information is retained even after your storage device has been turned off.

Knowledge of different mechanisms and methods by which they read, write and store data will help you decide which one to choose.

In essence, data storage on HDDs involves motion whereas it is motionless on SSDs. HDDs write data to a disc called a platter via magnetism. These platters spin fast and have billions of sections where data can be stored. Data is written to these sections by a read/write head which swings over the discs while supported by mechanical arms. In turn, SSDs use a motionless technology called NAND flash memory where data is stored in cells.

HDDs store much more data and are cheaper than SSDs.

How about the speed at which HDDs and SSDs read and write data? Well, HDDs will quickly read files which were written sequentially. As the amount of data stored increases, files start to be written across multiple sections (a process called fragmenting) leading to longer read times. SSDs will always read files quickly as cells are designed to be accessed simultaneously. As a result, this process is much faster in SSDs than any HDD could possibly achieve regardless of its level of fragmentation. Unfortunately, SSD cells do wear out but the good news is that the time it takes in order for it to happen is quite long. During this time you will probably upgrade your SSD due to obsolescence or a desire for more storage space.

SSDs are far more durable than HDDs as they lack mechanical parts. Therefore, if you carry a laptop or some other portable device, your risk of potential data loss due to physical damage is reduced if your machine comes equipped with SSD rather than HDD.

In addition, SSDs generate far less heat than HDDs drastically reducing the amount of power drawn by your device and leading to less chance of overheating and quieter performance.

High end HDDs can give you up to 8TB of storage at the prices you could still afford but with SSDs you are looking at between 128GB and 500GB of storage for a reasonable price.

So which one should you pick? If speed, power needs or portability are what you have in mind, then probably you should choose SSD. Conversely, HDD will probably be a better choice if you require a stationary system with a lot of memory.

Major disadvantages of SSDs which are cost and storage capacities will eventually improve in time, as these technologies evolve.

Darius Romanek

Mission Repair Centre Team 🙂