Apple announces release of new Mac and iPad products at October 2018 event

Apple announced the release of several new products on October 30th 2018, including new iPad Pro and MacBook Air models with Retina display, and a new Mac Mini.  These devices use a more secure Apple T2 chip, use Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports, and are made of environmentally-friendly recycled aluminum.  They will be publicly available for retail sale on November 7th.

Apple has a comparison of all iPad models on its website.

A new Apple Pencil will also be available at the same date.  This pencil will magnetically snap to the iPad for storage and wireless charging.

iOS 12.1 will be available on October 30th and includes Group FaceTime for up to 32 users, camera depth control, dual SIM card support, and new emojis.

New DMCA government rules allow third party repairs of some technology products

The U.S. Copyright Office issued a new ruling effective October 28th 2018 that allows exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA).  Section 1201 of the DMCA was used by some companies to restrict consumer and third party use of products containing software, including smartphones, computers, motor vehicles, and home appliances. This ruling allows greater legal protection for consumers and third party companies to repair and diagnose rightfully owned technology products.

Answers to some frequently asked questions on this ruling can be found at www.copyright.gov/1201/2018/faqs.html.  General information on U.S. copyright laws is available at www.copyright.gov/help/faq/index.html.

Digital rights groups such as the Repair Association and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have issued their own responses regarding this ruling.

Recuva can recover deleted files from Windows PCs or memory card devices

Recuva is a program that can recover deleted files from Windows computers, external hard drives, and memory card devices such as USB flash drives, digital cameras, or MP3 players.   Piriform, the maker of the popular CCleaner Windows cleaning tool, also developed Recuva.

Recuva is available as a free download or as a paid full version.

Additional information regarding installing and using Recuva is available at www.ccleaner.com/docs/recuva.

Windows Sysinternals Suite of system information tools

Windows Sysinternals are a free set of utilities originally written by Mark Russinovich to display and diagnose system information for Microsoft Windows.

Web browsers and websites should be upgraded to TLS 1.2 standard

Most major web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer should already be using TLS 1.2 (Transport Layer Security protocol) if the latest versions are installed.

Windows devices can be updated by selecting Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Internet Options.  Under the Advanced tab, TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 should be unchecked.

 

To verify if your browser meets TLS 1.2 security requirements, you can access these links:  www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/viewMyClient.html and www.howsmyssl.com

Websites and servers that have not recently been updated may still be running TLS versions 1.0 and 1.1, so web browsers and apps may display error messages or block access to them.

TLS 1.3 is currently the latest version, which was published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in August 2018.

 

Apple releases iOS 12.0.1 update to fix iPhone and iPad issues

Apple released iOS version 12.0.1 on October 8th 2018 to fix some recent issues on iPhones and iPads, which includes iPhone X battery charging problems, as well as security updates.

A full list of Apple device security updates is available at support.apple.com/en-us/HT201222.  Instructions on how to install updates on Apple iOS devices are available at support.apple.com/en-us/HT204204.

Airtable is a cloud based hybrid of spreadsheets and databases

Airtable is a cloud database that allows users to design databases in a spreadsheet-like format.  It allows collaboration with multiple users and can be accessed from MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android devicesMultiple templates are available to download including calendars, project management, etc.

Airtable can be accessed for free for databases smaller than 1200 records.   Paid versions with additional features are also available.

Google+ social network will no longer be available for non-enterprise users

Google announced the scheduled end of the Google+ social network for non-enterprise users. Users have the next 10 months to move their data from Google+.

As part of this announcement, Google also stated that there was a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs that could have allowed data access to user data marked as private.  This bug was noted and fixed by Google in March of 2018 and there was no evidence that this data was misused.  Some of the optional user fields in this bug included name, email address, occupation, gender and age.

Google+ users who access it through G Suite will not be affected by this change.  More information is available at the Google+ FAQ page.

Wi-Fi Alliance announces Wi-Fi 6 designation and new wireless naming conventions

The Wi-Fi Alliance is now designating Wi-Fi 6 as the latest generation of Wi-Fi.   This change was made in order to make IEEE 802.11 wireless computer networking standard names easier for consumers to understand.

The new standards are as follows:

  • Wi-Fi 6 = 802.11ax standard support
  • Wi-Fi 5 = 802.11ac standard support
  • Wi-Fi 4 = 802.11n standard support

Wireless network standards prior to these will still use their current names.

Windows 10 October 2018 update now available

Update: Microsoft paused the installation of update version 1809 temporarily while it investigated reports that some users have lost files after installing it.  As of October 9th 2018, Microsoft stated that the prior issue was fixed and this update was now available to Windows Insiders.

Microsoft released the Windows 10 October 2018 update (version 1809 build 17763) on October 2nd 2018, and it will be automatically downloaded as part of regular Windows updates.   One of the new features is better integration between smartphones and Windows 10 devices using the Your Phone app.

A more complete list of changes for version 1809 is available at the Windows IT Pro Blog. The Windows IT Pro Center site also includes a list of removed features for this update.