Spectre and Meltdown – The low down.

All the major tech players including Google, Apple and Microsoft, have at this stage released updates for the security flaws that are present in computers, mobile devices and tablets.

The vulnerabilities (Spectre and Meltdown) were reported by IT security researchers at Google, Graz University and Cyberus Technology. The bug in the hardware allows programs to steal data which is currently processed on the system. Typically software programs are not permitted to read data that belong to other processes, but a malicious program can exploit Spectre and Meltdown to get hold of valuable information such as passwords stored in a browser such as Internet Explorer and Chrome, emails and personal photos.

Meltdown effects all Intel processors shipped since 2005 and possible but unconfirmed other chip manufacturers. Spectre is more wide-ranging impacting cloud servers, desktops, laptops and phones and is more difficult to exploit.

Microsft has release updates, but there are reports that the updates are not playing nicely with anti-virus software leading to BSOD crashes. It is recommended that you update your AV (Anti-Virus) software before applying the patch.

Google has issued updates to its Android devices and Apple claims that all iOS and MAC systems are vulnerable so it has released iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2 and tvOS 11.2 to defend against attacks.

Reports are also surfacing of an up to 30% hit on performance after applying the update, however, benchmarking website Tom’s hardware say preliminary tests are indicating there is very little performance regression in most systems worldwide.

Jon.ie recommends that you check your devices for updates and apply them if available immediately if you have not already done so.

Windows 10:

To check for updates now, select the Start button, and then go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update, and select Check for updates. If Windows Update says your device is up to date, you have all the updates that are currently available.

MAC:

To check for Mac software updates, open the App Store app on your Mac. Click Updates in the App Store toolbar, then use the Update buttons to download and install any updates listed. Updates installed in the last 30 days appear below this list.

Andriod:

1. Open the Settings app.
2. Tap About device at the bottom of the menu.
3. Tap System updates.
4. Tap Check for update.
5. Tap Download if an update is available.
6. Tap Install after the update finishes downloading.

iOS devices:

1.Plug your device into power and connect to the Internet with Wi-Fi.
2.Tap Settings > General > Software Update.
3.Tap Download and Install. If a message asks to temporarily remove apps because iOS needs more space for the update, tap Continue or Cancel. Later, iOS will reinstall apps that it removed.
4.To update now, tap Install. Or you can tap Later and choose Install Tonight or Remind Me Later. If you tap Install Tonight, just plug your iOS device into power before you go to sleep. Your device will update automatically overnight.
5.If asked, enter your passcode.

What is Ransomware and what steps can you take so you don’t become a victim

Yes, Ransomware may sound scary, and that’s because it is!

Trend Micro define Ransomware as “A type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files unless a ransom is paid.”

Ransomware can put users into a very tricky situation indeed. How much do you value your data? Do you value them enough to risk paying for access to get them back again? The keyword here being risk. Do you trust the cybercriminal to hand him over your hard earned cash to possibly give you access to a decryption key or decryption tool? Well, some individuals and even large organizations are indeed doing this.

These most recent examples that we have recently seen include WannaCry, Petya and CryptoLocker but there are many more examples.

The malware distribution chart here by Malwarebytes.com from Q1 2017 shows exactly how fast the growth is.

The ransomware attacks on companies have trebled since last year. It is reckoned an attack now occurs once every forty seconds. That is an incredible statistic. As for attacks on induvial consumers, this is also on the rise, but the cybercriminals are targeting more businesses with the ambition of getting their sights on a bigger score.

How much does it cost to get my files back?

The cost of getting your files back can run into the hundreds depending on the ransomware variant and the rates of exchange for digital currencies. The most common payment method is Bitcoin due to the perceived anonymity. You also have the option of employing the services of recovery firms. This could however not prove successful and end up costing far more than the actual ransom.

Again please note that paying the ransom does not guarantee that you’ll receive your software to decrypt your files. Furthermore, if a ransom is paid, it is possible that the attacker still has access to your machine and could again hold you to ransom.

If you have been a victim already, then we recommend first finding out which exact strain of malware has encrypted your files. After this run some online searches and see if any free decryption tools exist. We have some more helpful tips down below.

Ransomware the malware of choice. 

So how does Ransomware get into my system? These are the three common methods.

  • The malicious software can be downloaded unwittingly when you visit a website that has already been compromised by hackers.
  • Via Email. You could be sent an email that contains a Trojan download which in turn attempts to install the Ransomware. This email could be from somebody already on your contacts list. ALWAYS scan attachments no matter who the sender is.
  • Network sharing. Recent ransomware, for example, WannaCrypt exploits the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. It has worm-like capabilities which allow it to spread to other computers on the network.

 

Ransomware is one of the fastest growing online crimes and here are five steps that we recommended you implement to reduce your chances of infection.

  1. Backups. I’ll repeat it again backup your files people. All the files that you can’t afford to lose back them up. If possible to multiple locations. I use the following. Microsoft Onedrive. All my files, pictures and documents get synced automatically to the cloud. This includes my phone, tablet and laptop. I don’t stop there. I also use a Kingston USB HyperX Savage memory dongle. It’s small, easy to carry and has excellent transfer rates (It also looks great). You can find a link here.
  2. Be vigilant. Malware relies on human vulnerabilities. If you receive an email or a link from a friend or client that seems like it might be harmless double check. If you are in any way suspicious then don’t open it this includes social media sites.
  3. Software Updates. Yes, I know this is more common sense but really, think about it. When is the last time you went and checked if your windows updates were checked recently or your virus definitions for that matter? Have you been getting alerts and just hitting that remind be later icon! Now might be the time to stop and update your system’s software regularly or face the consequences. Keep an eye for our upcoming article on what we recommend antivirus solutions.
  4. Disconnect the infected system. The ransomware can spread as we have mentioned. It can travel from one PC to another be that in the home or office. Doing this will limit the spread of the infection until you have cleaned the infected workstation.
  5. Using a Limited account. By this I mean don’t always log in as the system administrator account. For doing daily tasks, you will not require administrative functions so don’t use the admin account. Doing this will limit the ability of malicious software to run under administrative credentials.

In summary, protecting against ransomware can be difficult. The criminals are always coming up with new ways to try and defeat anti-virus software. Use the steps we have recommended, be smart online and try not to become a victim!

If you’re looking for a fast, trendy and cool looking USB to store those important files we have tried and tested the Kingston Digital HyperX Savage. Click here to view on amazon.

 

Guide to VPN’s

The VPN guide for beginners

So what is a VPN?

The goal of this article is to give you an understanding of what a VPN is. What does a VPN let you do? Should I be using a VPN? I’ll also be recommending a VPN service provider should you decide after reading this that you want one.
Firstly VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and they’re used to keep your connection to public or private networks encrypted and secure. So all that traffic that comes from your laptop, mobile or tablet to the VPN server is in a word scrambled. If somebody happened to capture any of your communication traffic, it would be of no use.

Who uses VPN’s and to do what?

  • Large enterprises and the SMB (Small Medium Business) use VPN technologies to allow their remote employees to connect back to the office when away on business or when working from home. Once the secure connection is established it’s effectively like that employee is sitting at his/her desk in the office. They can access the file, print and email server and be on the opposite side of the world. The key being it’s highly secure. This reason is why VPN’s first came into existence.
  • The security conscious internet user who values privacy. We see a lot in the media about government snooping and ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) keeping logs of their customer’s internet traffic. Well, VPN’s help with this. As we will explain shortly, you’ll be going undercover when you connect to the net.
  •  Bypassing Restrictions. Today this is a common reason for using the technology. If you wish to access a service or even a website that is blocked based on your geographical location, then you need a VPN to help you out.
  • Hackers. Hackers use VPN services to remain anonymous. It helps them to hide their location and evade getting caught when carrying out illegal activities.
  • When connecting through free public Wi-Fi zones such as internet cafes. If a malicious user is snooping on network traffic from a free Wi-Fi area, you’ll be kept secure through the use of encryption.

I’m sure there are lots and lots of more reasons, but for now, these are the main ones that spring to mind.

How does a VPN connection work?

When you connect to the internet, you are assigned an IP (Internet Protocol) address by your service provider. This address is unique, and it’s just for you (Aren’t you special). So maybe you can tell already by that sentence that identifying you if required would be relatively easy, right?
When you connect to a VPN server that you have chosen, you are forming what is called an encrypted tunnel. All your traffic passes through this tunnel before it hits the final distinction. Now my ISP cannot see my traffic (It’s encrypted), it cannot see the websites I visit because my chosen VPN provider is routing my traffic for me. I can appear as though I’m in an entirely different country altogether. Most VPN providers have options that allow you to select which county you wish to route your encrypted traffic through. An attractive choice if trying to access streaming serveries that would be otherwise unavailable. At this point, I’d like to mention that Jon.ie does not in any way condone the illegal use of VPN service providers.

Do I need a VPN provider?

Well, that all depends. Do you want privacy when surfing the net? Are you trying to access a resource that’s unavailable due to your geographical location? Do you use lots of public Wi-Fi spots? Do you want to avoid logs being kept of your traffic and sold to the highest bidder? If you have answered yes here then maybe yes, it’s time to get a VPN service. You will have plenty of choices.

Who we recommend for VPN services.

  • When choosing a VPN service provider keep an eye out for the following:Cost. Naturally, this will be a significant factor. Limited vs. unlimited usage. How much data allowance will you require? How many simultaneous connections can you have running together?
  • Software used to establish the connection. How easy is it to get up and running? Read the Reviews.
  • The number of servers at your disposal. Does the provider offer lots of server in multiple geographical locations?
  • Speed. A VPN service will slow your connection down to a degree. Again, do some research and see how the reviews stack up.
  • Customer Support. When it all goes wrong, do you have a support agent to contact to get to the bottom of the issue you’re having?
  • Operating System Compatibility. Is this software support by the OS (Operating System) that you use, e.g., Windows 10, Ubuntu MAC, etc.

Bearing all this in mind Jon.ie recommends the following VPN service provider:

Provider: Express VPN
Website: https://www.expressvpn.com/

Reasons:

  1. Compatibility. With apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Routers, and Linux. ExpressVPN works with any internet connection including wired, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks.
  2. Easy to setup. Sign up, install, and press connect. Straightforward for the least technologically savvy of us.
  3. No Logs. Express VPN never share your details with anyone.
  4. Unblock Websites. Easily unblock sites and services like Facebook, Twitter, Skype, YouTube and Gmail. With ExpressVPN you can keep on accessing the sites, you love.
  5.  Speed. With unlimited bandwidth, you can enjoy your favourite videos and video chat with your friends and family without waiting for videos to buffer.
  6. Censorship. When connected to ExpressVPN, your ISP only sees encrypted traffic passing to our VPN servers, but they cannot decipher the data or know the websites you have visited.
  7.  Customer Support. We’ve used it, and it’s excellent.
  8. Cost. Different plans to meet your requirements. See here: https://www.expressvpn.com/order
    ExpressVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

To Conclude

We hope that you have found this brief VPN guide informative. You should now know what a VPN is, what it does and who uses VPN’s. Should you decide to use one, we have our recommendation but don’t be afraid to try several until you find the one that meets all your requirements.

 

Five steps to secure your home wireless network

We here at Jon.ie love wireless communication technologies. The freedom that it allows us from our wireless audio systems to wireless internet access that extends around the home. However wireless internet connections come with some security vulnerabilities that you don’t see with wired connections. But don’t fear we’re here to help. We have some basic yet essential steps that you can implement to keep any potential attackers at bay.

1 – Change the default SSID.

What’s an SSID you might ask? Well, it stands for Service Set Identifier. When you plug in your router that is supplied to you by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), it will come with a default network name which is broadcasted to the outside world.
When you want to connect your laptop, phone, games consoles or tablet, etc. to the wireless network you click on your network name or SSID. Now, while this doesn’t just allow attackers onto your home network connection, it can give them valuable information, for example, the manufacturer of your router or who your service provider is. When picking your SSID don’t include any personal information that identifies you.
It is also good practice to change the SSID regularly. But it can be annoying. Each time you change your SSID, you must reconnect each device to the wireless network again.

2 – Change Default Credentials.

All routers will come with a default username and password. If you purchase a new router from your local IT store or if your ISP supplies it, it doesn’t matter it will have a default username and password. Let’s change that straight away. In fact, some manufacturers will force you to modify the default password before you can even log in to configure your router.
The default username’s and passwords are publically available on the internet. Different manufacturers will use different credentials, and the reason they’re publically available is that if you ever need to troubleshoot your hardware, it might need to be reset to the factory default settings.
Not changing these settings can be very dangerous and allow somebody who has physical access to your device to make whatever changes they wish. It could also allow them to remotely connect to your router if your encryption has been compromised but more on that next.

3 – Encryption Standards.

All routers will offer different encryption standards. You will want to pick a standard that provides the best level of security but also one that’s supported by all the devices that connected to your network router.
If you take away anything from this article, it’s, please use the best encryption standard that’s available to you. It’s crucial in locking down your home wireless network.
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is an old standard so don’t use it. What you want to be looking for is WPA2, or you may see WPA2-PSK. If you don’t see these options maybe it’s time for a router upgrade!
Remember to make this password a good one. It’s what you’ll be entering on all your devices to connect to the net. We recommend a mix of Upper, Lower, Numeric and special characters.

4 – Disable Remote Administration.

If you don’t plan on managing your router while you’re away from home turn off remote administration function when outside the LAN (Local Area Network) if it’s an option on your device.
If it’s enabled, you can enter the public IP address of your device and reach it from any location in the world via a web-based management interface. It’s a handy feature for the small business that requires troubleshooting done on the device, but for the average home user, it is not a requirement. If you see Remote Administration support in the settings, disable it. If it is something that you will require consider a VPN (Virtual Private Network) instead.

5 – Update your hardware firmware.

It’s good practice to check for firmware upgrades regularly. Every couple of weeks or so will be okay. Vulnerabilities are continually found and when they are just like with Operating Systems updates patches are released to close down the exploit. It’s worth nothing some routers will check for firmware upgrades automatically. You can check the manufacturer’s website for details on the lasted firmware releases for your particular model.

To Conclude.

I hope that you have found some of these basic steps of use. Nobody wants to share their internet connection with the neighbours (one would assume), and indeed, we don’t want anybody eavesdropping on our web connectivity. By implementing these steps outlined here, you will significantly decrease your chances of becoming a victim.

Happy and safe surfing!

 

PC running slow? 5 helpful tips to increase performance

Yes I know it’s a sad fact but computers just don’t get any better with age. Applications are hanging, the computer taking an age to boot, error message after error message. We hear you, and we would like to help.

Here are five steps to help improve your PC’s performance.

1 – Looking at the start up programs.

“My PC takes forever to start up”. If only I had a Euro for every time I heard this being said.
Well, have you considered exactly what you have been installing on your PC over the past
months and years for that matter? Only so much one’s hardware can take before it impacts
performance significantly. Having a look at what exactly is loaded up once your PC boots is a
great starting point. For most programs starting them when Windows boots is simply just a
waste of time, you may not require them for use, yet they sit in memory. Such a waste.
If you do not require the program to be loaded into memory immediately once your PC boots
then simply just disable it! Be careful though, don’t go unselecting everything. Only disable
what you are sure you don’t need running. Make sure the anti-virus software is left enabled.
On Windows 8 and 10 this is how you edit the startup options:

1. Open up Task Manager by right-clicking on the Taskbar.
2. Select the “Startup” tab.
3. Use the disable button on unwanted start-up services.

On Windows XP, Vista and 7 this is how you edit the startup options:

1. From the start menu Type MSConfig in the search box and hit enter. Click the
msconfig.exe.
2. Click on the “Startup” tab.
3. Unselect the startup item boxes that you would like to prevent from starting when
Windows boots.
4. Click OK and restart now or wait until you are ready for a reboot.

2 – Free up some disk space.

The more free space that you have on disk, the
better your Operating System (OS) will function. Besides your files, folders, videos, etc.
remember that your system is regularly downloading updates for operational and security
purposes as well as read/writes. The recommendation from Microsoft is to keep a minimum
of twenty percent of your disk space free for maintaining performance.
How can I free up some disk space quickly in three steps?

1. Go through your installed programs and uninstall those that you know longer require.
Think all those apps and games you never play anymore or software where the trials have
expired.
2. Run a disk clean-up. Once it runs a calculation, it will tell you exactly how much space
you can free up by deleting temporary/system files that you may no longer require. It's fast
and efficient way of quickly freeing up some space.
3. Download CCleaner. It’s a more aggressive method of cleaning out temporary junk files
and has been around for some time and is a well-trusted piece of software. CCleaner will also
delete those junk files you know longer require from any third party applications that you
have installed, something which Microsoft disk cleanup would not do.

Here is the download link: CCleaner

3 – Check for updates and more.

Two fundamental steps are coming up. Firstly, check that you have the latest operating
system updates installed. Are automatic updates enabled? Unsure well this is how to check:

  • How can I check for system updates on Windows 10?

1. Select the Start button, and then go to Settings icon.
2. Select Update & security than Windows Update.
3. Select Check for updates.
4. If Windows Update says your device is up to date, you have all the updates that are
currently available.

  • How can I check for system updates on Windows 7 and 8?

1. Click the Start button in the lower left corner.
2. In the search box, type “Update”, and then, in the list of results, click Windows Update.
3. Click Check for updates.
4. If you see a message telling you that important updates are available, or telling you to
review important updates, click the message to view and select the important updates to
install.
5. Choose the check boxes for any updates that you want to install, and then click OK.
6. Click Install updates.

Secondly, check for malware. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the
very nasty types of malware, but you could have some annoying software that’s just eating up
all your memory and slowing things down to a halt.
Consider running a scan with an application such as Malwarebytes (Jon.ie only
recommend programs that we have personally tried and trust). Malwarebytes will scan your
system and report back on the following. It has the following features which come with a free
14-day trial.

  • Real-time protection – Detects malware automatically, before it can infect. (14-day free
    trial).
  • Anti-exploit – Shields vulnerable systems and software from exploit attacks. (14-day free
    trial).
  • Anti-ransomware – Stops ransomware attacks before your data is held, hostage. (14-day free
    trial).
  • Malicious website protection – Prevents access to and from known malicious web pages.
    (14-day free trial).
  • Anti-malware/Anti- spyware – Detects and removes malware and advanced threats. (FREE).
  • Anti-rootkit – Removes rootkits and repairs the files they damage. (FREE)

You can download and learn more here: Malwarebytes

4 – Consider a reinstall.

If you are running Windows 8 or Windows 10 then this option could be the one for you. With the reinstall and refresh options built in you
could save yourself a lot of time and bother and just sit back have a coffee and wait. You’ll
have the options of keeping your important files such as pictures, documents and videos, etc.
or what could be the better option of backing up those files yourself first and then doing the
complete reinstall of windows. It sure does save time as it will do all the leg work for you,
getting rid of those troublesome programs, junk files and malware, etc.
If you want to go for the "Refresh" option this is what you do:

1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
2. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
3. Tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Recovery.
4. Under Refresh your PC without affecting your files, tap or click Get started.
5. Follow the instructions on the screen.

If you want to go for the “Reinstall” option this is what you do:

1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
2. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
3. Tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Recovery.
4. Under Remove everything and reinstall Windows, tap or click Get started.
5. Follow the instructions on the screen.

5 – Add some new hardware.

If all else fails, you could always add some hardware! Hardware for laptops and desktops is
getting cheaper and cheaper, and you don’t have to spend the earth to add a few upgrades.

Some hardware update considerations could be:

RAM. Standing for Random Access Memory. Adding more RAM will help deliver an instant
performance boost for slow running PC’s and help feed those memory hungry applications
that like to use it up. The more, the better. We recommend first though a visit over to this
website: http://www.crucial.com/. It will tell you the max amount of memory that your
system supports and then suggest some suitable upgrades.

Five easy ways to clear up disk space on your MAC

Five easy ways to clear up disk space on your MAC

1 – Removing Unwanted Applications.

Over time, if you’re anything like me, you will install apps and only use them once or twice. It might be a trial that has expired, a program that you required for a particular reason and no longer need it or just simply software that you don’t find any use. Whatever the reason this software is taking up space on your disk drive. Especially if you’re using an SSD drive, these tend to be smaller than regular disk drives so don’t allow the disk to fill up with unwanted software.

Have a look through what is installed on your MAC, uninstall those unwanted applications. It is an easy process:

  • Select “Applications” in the sidebar. Right-click the application’s icon, choose “Move to Trash.”.
  • You can also just do a drag and drop of the application’s icon to the trash can icon on your dock.

Note: You might be prompted for a password during the uninstall process. Unfortunately, this process can leave behind system preference files (they tend to be small in size), if you wish to remove the application along with all system files we recommend an application called “AppCleaner”. LINK:

2 – Delete temporary file data.

A lot of temporary files can build up and consume your precious disk space during day to day use. Chances are that these are files that you no longer require, so they’re just sitting there and of no use.

One program that is excellent at doing a clean-up of useless junk files, popular with windows OS users and also available on for MAC is called “CCleaner”. Yes, MAC does try itself to clean up temporary files but this program goes much deeper and gets great results.

At Jon.ie we only recommend programs that we have tried and tested and this is definitely a program that tops our list of must have’s on you MAC and Windows computers. CCleaner is free and you can get your hands on it here: LINK.

3 – Non-required mobile device backups.

If you have a MAC, chances are you might also have an iPad and iPhone. Well, as you might already know when you connect these devices to your MAC for syncing purposes, backups of certain files are also made and stored on your MAC. You only need the newest backups and it is safe to delete the old backups or the backups of the devices that you don’t have or use anymore.

If you are unsure of what you’re deleting just move the file to external storage before deleting.

Have a look in this location on your MAC: “Home”> “Library”> “Application Support”> “MobileSync”> “Backup”. Have a look at the dates and see what can be safely deleted. Select “iTunes”> “Preferences”> “Devices”> Pick the file you wish to remove> Select “Delete Backup”.

4 –Removing the language files.

The chances are that you use only one language on your MAC device. Applications come with language files for every language that they support. If you wanted to, it’s possible to switch between these languages. These files use quite a bit of space (several hundred megabytes) and are of no use if you’re not using them! If you’re running low on space then deleting them will give you a dig out and would be risk-free. Monolingual, which is a free application can help you reclaim the space used by these files. It can be downloaded here. LINK.

“Monolingual is a program for removing unnecessary language resources from macOS, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least macOS 10.12 (Sierra).

I don’t know about you, but I use my computer in only one (human) language — English. And I’m willing to bet that you do too, albeit perhaps not English. So why do you have a bunch of localization files for the operating system filling up your hard drive? Enter Monolingual — a handy utility for reclaiming your space for more useful things… like international mp3 files, email or whatever you like.

Version 1.7.3 is the last version for OS X 10.11 (El Capitan). Version 1.6.7 is the last version for OS X 10.10 (Yosemite). Version 1.5.10 is the last version for Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and OS X 10.9 (Mavericks). Version 1.4.5 is the last version for Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) which also includes PowerPC support. Version 1.3.9 is the last version for Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). ”

5 – Empty the trash.

This can be an effective way to clear up some free space. When you delete content from your MAC it goes to the trash can, similar to Recycling bin on the Microsoft Windows OS. Sending to trash rather than permanently removing immediately gives you the option to restore files that you may have deleted by mistake.

To empty the trash for your user account one can simply right-click the trash can icon that’s on the bottom-right of the dock and select “Empty Trash”. Doing this action deletes the files that you sent to trash via the finder. Simple yet effective.

 

 

Apple apologises for iPhone slowdown

It’s a little too late for an apology – as far as annoyed  Apple iPhone customers are concerned. A long-suspected theory that Apple purposely slows down iPhones has come to fruition. Unfortunately, this acknowledgement did not initially come from Apple, but rather an Apple developer, and then later acknowledged by Apple. A real embarrassment to the company!

Since then Apple has issued a letter to their customers (available on their website) apologising for the ‘misunderstanding’.

In it’s carefully worded letter to Apple customers, Apple states “Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”

Statement

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

Apple states in its letter that batteries are “consumable components,” and is offering anyone with an iPhone 6 or later a battery replacement for $29 starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Apple Also states in their letter in “early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance. As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.”

The full letter is available to read here.

RTE to shut down RTE News Now

According to the Independent Newspaper yesterday, RTE may seek to shut down it’s rolling news channel, the article is reporting the reason for abandoning the channel may be due to “the organisation seeks ways to cut costs amid continuing financial pressure“. It seems the channel is expensive to run, with very little viewership.

From a consumer perspective it’s a real shame RTE cannot make this channel work, at the very least as a public service it’s very useful.

But, it’s not entirely surprising. In terms of content, it seems investment on the station is low, with the news bulletins from RTE 1 on a loop with the odd report from the Irish Government. The channel is also hidden very high up on the SKY channels list, well into the 500s, although it does have a more prominent position on the Virgin Media platform.

SKY Q adds a favorites function

When early adapters took up the new SKY digital box, aptly named Sky Q, they were impressed.

That is, for the most part, that’s not to say there weren’t teething issues, there were lots! But one glaring omission from the software on the box was the lack of channel favourites.

There is a lot of channels on SKY, and let’s be honest, many of them are purely concentrated shite! There has to be a way to sift through all the channels so you don’t have to remember SKY News is on channel 501, why can’t it be on channel number 5?

Well… last month, SKY launched a software update to SKY Q to allow easy organization of channels.

Assuming you have the lasted SKY Q firmware, you can now program your own channel line up! You can add up to 99 Channels. It works really well. Here is how to set it up!

  • Go to the TV Guide, followed by Favourites and then select Setup favourites.
  • Once you select the Channels you require, you can then recognise them.
  • If you want to change them after you initially set them up you can – Go to your TV Guide, followed by Favourites and then select Manage favourites which are at the end of the list of channels.

One thing we noticed, if you make too many changes the list can become a bit muddled, a restart of the SKY Q box seems to fix this.

Apple reveals 2017’s most popular apps

Apple apps

Apple has today announced the most popular apps of 2017 across their iOS platform. Apple stated “ the introduction of AR (augmented reality) apps and games, the rise of real-time competitive gaming, apps focused on mental health and mindfulness and apps transforming storytelling and reading” were amongst the four breakout trends.

The list of Top Apps of 2017, it has to be said, is somewhat underwhelming, containing mostly the usual suspects.

Never the less we have curated the list of Topp Apps of 2017, below, for your viewing pleasure.

  • Bitmoji
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream
  • Messenger
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Google Maps – GPS Navigation
  • Netflix
  • Spotify Music
  • Uber
  • Gmail – Email by Google
  • Pandora Music
  • Amazon – Shopping made easy
  • WhatsApp Messenger
  • Wish – Shopping Made Fun
  • Twitter
  • SoundCloud – Music & Audio
  • Google Chrome
  • Waze Navigation & Live Traffic
  • Lyft