Apps

4 tricks to help you sleep better at night

Your gadgets are making it hard for you

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson

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Most of the time, I find myself struggling to fall asleep even when I’m exhausted. This proves to be problematic especially when it interferes with my work, by being late in meetings and important presentations. Lack of a good night’s rest could also make an impact on the quality of your output.

Since I’ve been doing my research and tested them for weeks now, I can finally say I found a different way to shift my lifestyle so I can sleep better at night. I’m not going to say it will be 100% effective for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

Adjust your smartphone’s exposure

If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, your smartphone might be the reason why. Smartphones emit blue light that made it difficult for our eyes to fall asleep. To combat this effect, we need to increase bright light exposure and reduce blue light exposure.

Photo by MJ Jucutan

This can be done through your smartphone’s display settings. Some smartphones let you adjust the white balance, color mode, and temperature. Others have specific modes to help you sleep by filtering out blue light.

Fix your bed and bedroom environment

Some people sleep better in hotels, mostly because of the comfortable experience when it comes to bed and the room’s temperature. Sleeping is difficult if it’s hot, adjust your temperatures accordingly. Additionally, improving your bed quality such as getting new bedding, a comfortable mattress, and fluffy pillows can enhance the quality of your sleep.

Photo by Christopher Jolly

In certain occasions, I’ve experienced lower-back pain due to my mattress and an extreme abundance of pillows. Of course, this is purely subjective, as everything will be based on your preference. But if you can upgrade your bed, then do it for the sake of a good night’s sleep.

Relax and clear your mind

Another thing that you can do is to try out a relaxation technique that works for you. Clear your mind by listening to relaxing music, reading a book (that’s not a thriller), meditating, or doing yoga.

Photo by Aaron Burden

If these don’t work for you at all, try taking a hot, relaxing bath or shower. I find it easier to fall asleep faster and deeper whenever I cleanse myself and my thoughts in the shower.

Use a sleeping app

I used to listen to music at night as I overthink about my regrets, mistakes, wrong decisions and scenarios with my crushes until I fall asleep. However, that used to keep me up until 4 o’clock in the morning so I don’t recommend doing that. In my quest to sleeping better, I found an app that helps.

Photo by The Harmony Project

The Harmony Project is an app providing computer-generated music that you can rate if it helped you sleep better. Through artificial intelligence and user feedback, the app will determine which sound helped users sleep better, combining highly rated tracks to produce an even better track that will help us fall asleep faster.

The app recently launched last August after several beta testing and continues to be an evolving system. Take part in studying and developing the fastest way to better sleep. Download the app on the App Store and Play Store.

SEE MORE: SleepPhones lets you comfortably listen to music in bed

Apps

QuickShare will be Samsung’s alternative to AirDrop

It has cloud powers too

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Samsung is developing an alternative to AirDrop. It has a rather straightforward name of “Quick Share” and appears to carry all the functions of Apple’s offering.

Spotted by XDA-Developers, the feature lets Samsung users quickly share files, photos, and videos to other Samsung users. They can set to receive from their trusted contacts by selecting “Contacts Only”. Alternatively, they can receive files from any nearby user by choosing “Everyone”.

To differentiate it from Apple’s seamless file-sharing feature, Samsung will let users upload files to Samsung Cloud. Nearby SmartThings appliances will download the files and stream it to the user’s Galaxy device. However, there is a size limit of 2GB per day with this feature.

This feature will probably debut on Galaxy S20 when it launches on February 11th. It will likely remain exclusive to newer Samsung devices sporting OneUI 2.0. However, it is possible that this feature will roll out to other devices through over-the-air updates.

Samsung is not the only company developing its own nearby file sharing tool. Last August, rivals OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi announced an unprecedented partnership to develop an AirDrop-like feature for their devices. These are a welcome development for Android users longing for a decent AirDrop alternative.

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Apps

Apple isn’t encrypting iCloud backups because of the FBI

Public security is their concern

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One of Apple’s selling points for its products is encryption by default. For a long time, the Cupertino company advertised device encryption for its iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.

For users, it means better security and privacy against malicious hackers wanting to steal sensitive information. All device data is securely stored and encrypted so only the users can access them.

However, there is one thing missing from Apple’s encryption clause. By default, iCloud backups are unencrypted — Apple can see any data users store in the cloud service.

Privacy no more

While the company remained mum on the issue, a report by Reuters revealed why Apple didn’t encrypt iCloud backups for many years.

It turns out, the company planned on encrypting all iCloud backups last 2016. During that year, the company successfully fought a court battle against the FBI for unlocking the iPhone of a school shooter. The encrypted iCloud plan has the code name “Plesio” and “KeyDrop”.

Apple discussed the encryption plans with the FBI but the agency complained about its implications. Pressured by FBI and several US agencies, Apple later caved in and dropped plans to encrypt iCloud backups.

Sources gathered by Reuters also suggest one reason for dropping encryption: more users will find it hard to retrieve their data once they lost their password.

Implications and repercussions

With iCloud backups remaining unecrypted, FBI can easily request a court order for Apple to turn over precious data to the agency. As such, iCloud data became one of the preferred evidence for the agency, with more than 1,568 cases involving its use.

Apple has not yet commented on the issue. However, expect the fallout from this relevation to be swift and widespread, as more tech companies face the dilemma of balancing users’ privacy against the need for upholding public security.

Source: Reuters

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Apps

WhatsApp is finally getting a dark mode for Android

Currently available only in beta

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Android’s dark revolution is finally in full swing. Following the launch of Android 10, the operating system has slowly updated its supported apps to accommodate the much-awaited dark mode. Android apps are getting darker, potentially saving millions of eyes at night. The revolution has already swept the heavy hitters like Twitter and Instagram.

Now, the popular messaging service, WhatsApp, is getting the same treatment. More specifically, WhatsApp has rolled out the feature for its Google Play Beta Program.

On the updated app, users can access four types of display modes. The first two are the basic Light and Dark modes: dark text on a white background and white text on a black background. The third automatically switches between the two modes, depending on the time of day. The fourth, dubbed as Set by Battery Saver, switches depending on your current battery.

Unfortunately, the Beta Program is not accepting new members at this time. Only current members of the program can access the new mode. Currently, if you want a makeshift dark mode, you can change your chat wallpaper to a dark image.

Given the timeliness of the beta update, a public release will likely roll out in the near future.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp may soon get disappearing messages

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