Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Look At Some of the Best MacBook Alternatives

Macbook
When it comes to laptops, there is nothing to beat the Apple MacBook range. However, if you do not like the macOS, then there are various other best MacBook alternatives you can choose from.

Why is the MacBook popular with the masses?


The Apple MacBook range consists of powerful laptops combined with beautiful design and macOS, making it popular among the masses. The Apple MacBook range comes with brushed aluminum, powerful components and software that make them the most sought after laptops.

However, there are many users who don’t like the macOS and instead prefer the Windows OS. Though the macOS has its own advantages, the Windows OS is a stable platform which has made regular improvements over the years. There are some best MacBook alternatives with comparable specs and are much cheaper than their Apple equivalents.

Let us take a look at some of the best MacBook alternatives



Dell XPS 13 Laptop


MacBook Alternatives
This laptop from Dell is slim and is considered better than the MacBook Pro. This laptop is one of the best MacBook alternatives as it offers a higher resolution (4K) display along with a longer battery life and touchscreen controls. This laptop weighs a mere 2.65 pounds. It costs $1,000 and up.

The Razer Blade Laptop


The new Razer Blade laptop is just 0.66 inches thin. Though all the Razer laptops are targeted for the gaming fans, the new Razer Blade Laptop can be used for everyday purposes. The mightiest Mac notebook is nothing in comparison to the Razer Blade laptop. The laptop comes with a 15.6 inch display and 4K resolution. The RGB-backlit keyboard,a six-core Intel processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 graphics make it one of the best MacBook alternatives. The Razer Blade laptop also has USB-A ports, Thunderbolt 3 and RAM that you can upgrade. The laptop costs $1,899 and up.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop


As an alternative to the slimmer Macs, you can go in for the Microsoft Surface Laptop. They come with the latest chips, a 13 inch display, a nice design and a wonderful keyboard. It is a premium notebook and as one of the best MacBook alternatives it is selling at $799 and upwards.

The Dell Precision 7820


This laptop comes with a six-core Xeon powered workstation. This laptop can be upgraded with powerful processors, with dozens of cores, latest graphics and up to 384 GB of RAM. For additional storage it offers an external caddy. This laptop is one of the best MacBook alternatives and there is a three year repair agreement for the Dell’s pro machines. You can purchase the Dell Precision 7820 for $1,659 and upwards.

Asus Zenbook UX330UA


This laptop is a great notebook and also affordable. This laptop is the best MacBook Air alternative with a great keyboard and display. It is packed with the latest 8 generation Intel i5 processor and has 11 hours battery life. The Asus Zenbook UX330UA is thinner than the MacBook. For $750, you get a powerful and long lasting laptop.

The Lenovo Yoga S730 Laptop


If you are looking for a laptop that is small and yet powerful, then go in for the Lenovo Yoga S730. It is 11.9 mm thick and weighs just 2.6 pounds. It comes with an 8th Generation Intel i7 processor and 10 ½ hours of battery life. This laptop is one of the best MacBook alternatives and retailing at $750 is much cheaper than the current Mac.

Google Pixelbook


If you mainly use the internet for your work and a few other applications, then the best 12 inch MacBook alternative is the Google Pixelbook. It runs on Chrome OS and you can access everything available in the Google Play Store app. The Google Pixelbook comes with powerful hardware, a beautiful screen and a long battery life that lasts through the day. The Google Pixelbook is selling at $883 on Amazon.

HP Spectre x360 15


In case you are looking for a bigger screen, then the HP Spectre x360 15 would be the best MacBook alternative. The laptop comes with an Intel i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce MX 150 graphics and 12 ½ hours of battery life. The screen could be folded backwards enabling you to use the Spectre x360 as a big tablet. It is selling at $1,400.

Dell XPS 15


The best MacBook Pro 15 alternative is the Dell XPS 15. It has an ‘Infinity edge’ display and more powerful hardware. The $1,200 model comes with an i5 quad-core processor, 8 GB memory, a 1080p display. The Dell XPS 15 also offers a hybrid hard drive with 1TB of storage and GTX 960M graphics.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Laptop


Though there is not much to look at in terms of design, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 makes up for with its features. This laptop has a carbon fiber chassis and a 14 inch QHD display with support for Dolby Vision. The other features include an 8thgeneration Intel Core i5 and i7 processor with 16 GB of RAM and up to 2TB of PCLe SSD storage. It comes with Thunderbolt 2 and 15 hours of battery life. It is selling from $1,709.

Surface Laptop 2


The second generation laptop by Microsoft, builds on the first version. It is a perfect laptop which is a best MacBook Pro alternative. It has a nice design and is available in lots of colors. The greatest advantage is that it is much cheaper than the MacBook Pro. It is suitable for students with a selling price of $999. It comes with 8th gen Intel Core processor, up to 16 GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage. The 13.5 inch display supports touch and Surface Pen. The Surface Laptop 2 by Microsoft has a 14 ½ hours battery life.

These laptops are some of the best MacBook alternatives. If you are looking for cheaper laptops and even better features than what is being offered by Apple, then you can choose the best laptop that will suit your budget.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Eavesdropping Using the FaceTime Bug

Eavesdropping  FaceTime Bug
You get irritated when you catch someone eavesdropping. It is a total breach of privacy and space. But what happens if your phone was the one caught eavesdropping? In an embarrassing situation for Apple- Users complained of eavesdropping. To be more specific, iPhone users can call another iPhone user via FaceTime and even when the recipient of the call does not pick up, the one calling can hear everything the other person is saying. Thus turning the iPhone into an Eavesdropping device.

iPhone an Eavesdropping Device:


Last week social media including Twitter and others blew up with Apple users complaining of eavesdropping. But this time it was their iPhone doing the eavesdropping.

An iPhone user can call someone up via FaceTime and get to hear everything said on the other side without the person even picking up the call.

What caused such an embarrassment?


The problem of eavesdropping may have been the result of a bug and until that is fixed, users are advised to disable the app or be eavesdropped on.

The problem of eavesdropping is not limited to just listening in on a person’s conversation but also obtaining a live feed of the person through their camera. FaceTime which is an online app allows users to make video and audio calls to anyone else using the internet. So besides getting a hear into what the other person is saying, you could also see them without them wanting you.

An Embarrassing Situation for Apple:


The Silicon Valley company prides itself on privacy and security of its users. But with this embarrassing situation it has now disabled Group FaceTime- the source of all the eavesdropping. Apple said in a statement that they have identified the issue and are going to fix it in a software update coming later this week.

The glitch has even earned Apple a statement form officials. The governor of New York has urged people to disable FaceTime till the problem is fixed. He went on to say that this was an enormous breach of privacy and put people at risk.

Replicating the Eavesdropping Bug:

 

You can replicate the eavesdropping bug by using two iPhones. You can place the FaceTime call with one and swipe on the screen to add yourself to the conversation. From there you will be able to listen in on the other person’s conversation. This happened without the other person even picking up. If the recipient hit the volume up and down button during a call that he was unaware of himself having, then the other person would also get access to their camera.

What should you do?


If you don’t want to find yourself in an embarrassing situation, then the best you can do for now is to disable FaceTime. This is a short and temporary fix till Apple is able to launch a software update that they say will be coming in a week’s time.

You can disable FaceTime by going into the iPhone’s settings and tapping on FaceTime and Toggling off.

How to Add Videos in Unsupported Formats to iTunes

If you’re an avid iTunes user you probably really like the fact that all the media that you purchase from the iTunes Store is added automatically to its Library. That makes it easy to browse through the content that is available and find what you need.

However if you download videos from other sources or record them yourself – they won’t appear in iTunes automatically and will need to be added. That is where you may run into difficulties if your video is encoded in an unsupported format.

“What Formats Does iTunes Support?” 


Unfortunately iTunes has fairly strict restrictions on the formats that it supports and that it will allow you to add to the Library. The requirements are that the video must use a MOV, MP4 or M4V container, MPEG-4 or H.264 video codec, and AAC audio codec.

Anything that does not meet those requirements will not be able to be added to iTunes. In most cases either an error will appear that tells you the format is unsupported, or it simply won’t appear in the Library even after you try to add it.

Convert to a Supported Format


The only real solution to the problem is to convert your video to a format that iTunes does support – i.e. one of the options listed above.

The good news is that is a lot easier than you might think, and there are many video converter software and online platforms that can convert the videos – especially to MP4 with H.264 as it is the most popular format right now. For example you could use Movavi Video Converter for Mac (www.movavi.com/videoconvertermac/) to convert practically any format to MP4 with H.264.

It should be noted that you can use any other formats if you prefer, but MP4 with H.264 is the most versatile format that iTunes supports.

Import the Video to iTunes


After the video has been converted into a format that iTunes support, you can try to add it to the iTunes Library.

That just takes a few simple steps: 

  1. Launch iTunes. 
  2. Open the ‘File’ menu. 
  3. Click on the ‘Add to Library’ option. 
  4. Select the video and click ‘Open’.
If you want the video to automatically be stored in the default iTunes media folder after it has been added, you should check the ‘Copy files to the iTunes media folder when adding to library’ option. It is located in the iTunes Preferences, under the ‘Advanced’ tab.

Once you have imported the video, you can check that it is listed in the Movies section. If it is then you’ve been successful, but if it is not then there may be an issue with the format still.

Assuming everything checks out however, you can customize the metadata of the video so that it has all the details that you want.

Final Words


Aside from converting videos to an iTunes-friendly format, there is simply no other way to add unsupported video formats to iTunes. In fact your options are pretty slim if you don’t want to convert the video, and you may have to use a different media player instead.

On the bright side it really isn’t that difficult to convert videos into iTunes-friendly formats – even if the original video is in a fairly obscure format.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Things to know about the New iPhone XI and iPhone XI Max

iPhone XI and iPhone XI Max
It’s been hardly a few months since the iPhone X and the iPhone X Max released, but rumor mills are already afloat with what the new iPhones will have to offer. Last time around there were a lot of rumors on what the iPhone X and X Max had to offer, most of the time these rumors were true. Rumor mills were churning out more truths than falsehoods. But now enough of what was said and done, and to concentrate more on what the new iPhone XI and iPhone XI max have to offer, at least by the rumor gurus.

New Models to talk about: 


Rumor has it that Apple will launch 3 new iPhones that will be successors to the current lineup in stores. These three new iPhones will come out late 2019 and will follow the XS, XS max and XR iPhones.

New Names for the New iPhones: 


There may be no rumors regarding the naming of the new iPhones but it’s an almost sure thing that the new iPhones will be named where their predecessors left off. The iPhone XI and iPhone XI max will follow the XS and XS max.

Important Dates to Look out for: 


It’s not sure as yet when the new iPhone XI and the new iPhone XI max will be released let alone when the phones will reach markets. Date leaks mostly come out weeks before the actual release. But if last year was anything to go by, we may be looking at a late 2019 release with sale being a few days later.

The last iPhone models were announced on September 12th with preorders starting from September 15th and a release on September 21st. The Plus models have similar release dates.

Storage with the New iPhone XI and iPhone XI Max models: 


At present there are no rumors surrounding the storage with the iPhone XI and iPhone XI max models. But According to last year’s models the new iPhone XI and iPhone XI max may come with 64 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB for both models. There will also not be any expandable options with the new iPhones.

Let’s Talk Prices with the New iPhone XI and iPhone XI Max: 


Prices could be very similar to what the current iPhones have going on. AppleCare+ will also be offered as an option with the same monthly and fully paid up plans.

Design on the New iPhone XI and iPhone XI Max models: 


There has been no information regarding the new iPhone XI and iPhone XI max models design. But like last year’s model, the new iPhones could have glass surfaces on both sides as well as rounded edges. Although, there was talk of the new iPhones having no rounded edges.
You may get the same finish options for the new iPhones in space grey, gold and silver options although Apple usually switches up at least one color for every new release.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

How to Prevent Apps from accessing your iPhone's Microphone?

How to Prevent Apps from accessing your iPhone's Microphone?
Are you wondering how to prevent apps from accessing your iPhone's microphone? Then you have to go through this post.

Recent times, the biggest concern while giving any apps with full access is PRIVACY. Apps with full permission can able to access your personal information that you would never want to share with anyone. The only way to stop getting things worse is to take them into your control.

Knowing about your personal information can make some companies into billionaires. So, here is the article on "How to Prevent Apps from accessing your iPhone’s Microphone?”

In present days, privacy is becoming a more and more important aspect. And, when it comes to providing security, Apple has always been applauded for their privacy settings. Where Android is still lacking behind, because of its ease of developing the applications by almost anyone and update them to the Play Store.

Now if you want to know about How to Prevent Apps from accessing your iPhone’s Microphone? then you can do that with the help of these useful steps in this post.

How to Prevent Apps from accessing your iPhone’s Microphone?

Here is the step by step procedure to follow in order to limit the access to applications that use your microphone.

1. Open the settings app from your home screen menu.

2. Locate and tap on "Privacy" option.

3. You will find an option called "Microphone".

4. Click on the Microphone.

5. All the applications will be listed one by one.

6. Toggle the button to Off for whichever application you want to prevent accessing your microphone.

Wondering what's the big deal in switching off your microphone access to few applications?

For example, there are many applications like Whatsapp, TikTok and more.. that uses your microphone to send messages and record your voices.

There won't be much of a deal with well-established applications, as they might maintain some strict rules and will not misuse your voice data.
But, all companies will not be the same and you will end by paying much loss by providing full
access to those applications. Well, we are not against the usage of different applications, but keeping present technology in mind, privacy is all that matters the most.

Let's discuss about the few important preventions to be taken to improve your privacy.

1. Stop Giving Microphone Access to Apps:


For the very first time when you download and use an application, it will ask you to grant access to your Smartphone’s microphone. While it makes some sense to do it for apps like WhatsApp, but it may not be necessary for a few apps that seem to have more risk factors. If an application asks you for access to the microphone, click on "Don't Allow". Don't worry, even if you do provide access to any application, you can always go into the settings and remove access whenever you want.

How to Prevent Apps from accessing your iPhone's Microphone?

We have to remember that stopping the complete access for an application might break its functionality to perform its fullest. For example, if you are using the Amazon application, if you limit microphone access, the voice search feature wouldn't work. If this is your main concern, you can always re-enable microphone access by repeating the steps mentioned above.

2. Disable 'Hey Siri' Feature: 


Not all applications will appear on the same "Microphone" window. Applications like Siri will not show up in those settings and you will need to turn it off using the below steps.

If you want Siri to stop listening for the "Hey Siri" voice all the time, you need to manually disable the feature.

1. Go to the Settings app and tap on "Siri & Search".

2. Go down and turn off "Listen for Hey Siri".

Remember, Siri will use your microphone only when you turn it on, it won't actively listen to all your voices in the background.


How to Prevent Apps from accessing your iPhone's Microphone?

3. Virtual Assistant: 


As, Virtual assistants are becoming popular and handy, but we should remember that they’re always listening. Almost all the applications are providing access to either voice search or voice controls. Yes, definitely they make life easy, but one thing we should not forget is that they are active and can track all our voice data. Question yourself as what happens to the audio files they gather?

Like we mentioned before that Apple's biggest strength is the security. Apple has the right to fire a developer’s account promptly upon notice for engaging in outlawed behavior, including but not limited to misusage of user data. Even though Apple provides the uttermost security, they stated that they cannot monitor what developers do with the user's data that they have collected, or cannot prevent the onward transfer of data collected.

Also, all the applications are screened thoroughly before they appear on the App Store. But still, Apple will not take any risk and wants to offer their customers an option to disable the access to your iPhone/iPad’s microphone.

Conclusion: 


And there you have it! Mainly remember that even when you gain full control over the applications you want and set your app permissions the way you like them, the damage can still be unsure about what the third party application developers will do with the info they collect. People will not take this into big notice, because we will not see something very serious so often.

But when it does, the thing will become worse than what we can imagine. So, the safest way to be aware of is not to download applications you don't trust. Many young people nowadays try almost all the applications as they are curious to know what all the applications offer irrespective of popularity. This might cause all the damage in the future, as data is what all that matters us the most on the internet.