Apps

What I learned about myself using Android Pie’s Digital Wellbeing Dashboard

Am I on my phone too much?

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When Android Pie was unveiled and released last week, I pretty much craved pie because everyone was talking about the delectable dessert. But, I was also very excited about one particular feature: The Digital Wellbeing Dashboard.

Image of me actually eating pie the day after the Android Pie unveiling

Announced earlier, this dashboard was supposed to be a ticket to a healthier lifestyle — well, at least in theory. In an effort to curb unhealthy phone user habits, a dashboard that tracks app usage is built in to Android’s newest operating system. Although not available to everyone as of writing, Pixel users (like yours truly) are able to try out the beta version of the dash. Since I’m a sucker for self-actualization and information that may potentially heal (and hurt) me, I tried it out for the last week or so and here’s what I learned.

I’m on my phone — a lot

No sh*t, Sherlock.

I know I’m always looking at these tiny screens but I didn’t realize I was literally living my life in front of it. A record day saw me looking at the screen for — get this — 11 hours and 55 minutes. That’s half a day! Legitimately, that’s the whole time I’m not sleeping. And take note, I review phones so this isn’t the only screen I look at in a day.

Given these numbers, I’m honestly unsure how I get anything else done in my life.

I get a ton of notifications

I mean sure, technology connects people, but I didn’t realize just how connected we are.

According to my data, I get around a minimum of 250 notifications per day and this number varies. At some point, there was a whopping 620 notifications. Let’s think about that for a minute; that means around 51 messages per hour in a 12-hour day. There are only 60 minutes per hour so that means almost a message for each freaking minute.

On average, Facebook Messenger tops the list for these notifications followed by Gmail and Telegram.

I check Instagram more than I should

Now, this is funny because as you just saw, Instagram isn’t on that list of top app notifiers. But, this might also be because I turned off IG notifications because they were distracting me (yay for being self-aware?). This health dashboard tells me that I unlocked my Instagram app most, with as many as 153 times in one day. This was, on average, followed by Facebook and Twitter.

The top three apps I spent time on are Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, which just tells me that I’m ‘gram crazy and I’m on social media too much (which isn’t really news to anyone).

Grayscale is annoying and I hate it

Part of the dashboard is a feature aimed at curbing being on your phone before bed (which I do a lot 🙄). Wind Down allows you to set such times and then gives you an option to turn on Do Not Disturb and a Grayscale that makes browsing less desirable for people who should be sleeping and not looking at their phones.

The mess of an app IG becomes on grayscale

Reading tweets on grayscale is weird and browsing through Instagram is just plain wrong. I guess, in that way, this function is effective in getting me to stop being on my phone — until I turned it off the next day and never turned it on again.

I refuse to turn on the app timer as I justify social media use as work

Say what you want because it’s true. 😅

See, there’s a timer option on the dash that allows you to limit app usage time. Thing is, I’ve never turned it on. Why? Because I work on the internet and turning it on may amount to catastrophic consequences.

I will keep using this to justify my action of disallowing app time limits, so what’s your excuse?

It must be noted that, as mentioned earlier, I use more than one phone on a daily basis and am on social media on my laptop a lot, too. That being said, it’s worth pointing out that this still isn’t a complete picture of my daily phone and internet habits. Even though this data only shows a fraction of the grand picture, it already says a lot.

As with everything in life, the choice is in your hands (er, on your phone). Though I am ultimately left to decide what to do about my phone habits, knowing is always the first step.

Apps

Zoom CEO apologizes as privacy concerns continue mounting

Hackers have been able to exploit multiple loopholes

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With the rapid rise in its usage amid the forced work-from-home setup due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Zoom has found itself having to apologize over legitimate concerns about the app’s privacy and security.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan admitted his team made missteps with his company’s video-conferencing platform. “We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations,” Eric Yuan said in a blog post. “For that, I am deeply sorry.”

The company shall focus on addressing these privacy issues first, and all new feature updates will be paused for the coming 90 days. The company will also periodically release transparency reports to build confidence. The practice is followed by giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to show how they’ve complied with local enforcement with regard to user data.

However, Zoom came under attack after a man alleged the company illegally sold user data to Facebook and filed a lawsuit. It opened Pandora’s box. The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), as well as independent cybersecurity experts, raised questions over its level of encryption.

Over the past week, “Zoombombing” was trending on Twitter, as unauthorized people have been able to access meetings and share hate-speech or pornographic images.

Moreover, the company clarified that its target audience was large institutions that had full IT support. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, the platform has seen a humungous rise in users, reaching 200 million active users from just 10 million within a month.

The pandemic has forced people to stay indoors and companies are trying their best to adopt the “work from home” model. Zoom became the most preferred platform for everyone. Keeping that in mind, most users are new to the platform and range from schools to even remote house parties.

Yuan has also assured that all chat messages are safe, their password authentication protocols haven’t been compromised, and they’ll continue to ensure these loopholes are fixed on priority.

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18 things you didn’t know your iPhone could do

Use your iPhone to the fullest

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Every smartphone user wants to take full advantage of their device. It’s one way of getting the most value for your money. This holds particularly true for an iPhone since it doesn’t come cheap.

If you are an iPhone user,  there’s always something you can look forward to. iOS is being refined each year to add new features to your iPhone.

Some features are big changes you might notice quickly. However, there are also other features that you might not know until you come across it. Some of these features are really helpful, while others are just for fun. Here are the 18 things you didn’t know that your iPhone could do:

1. Search for photos in your Photos album by what’s in the photo

If you always get tired of sorting through photos of your favorite pet, then worry no more. The Photos app automatically detects places, faces, and objects in your pictures. Plus, it can automatically group them for you. You can know more about it
here.

2. Add a dictionary to iOS so it appears in spotlight search

Do you know that iOS comes with a built-in dictionary? Every iPhone has one, and it supports multiple languages too. Adding a dictionary is as simple as going to Settings > General > Dictionary, then tapping the dictionary you need. Now, you can easily find a word’s definition by swiping down from the home screen and entering the word.

3. Turn a whole webpage or email into a shareable PDF

You can easily create a PDF of a webpage or an email in iOS. Take a screenshot of a document, tap the thumbnail that appears, and tap “Full Page” on the right.

4. Use your iPhone as a tape measure

Through the power of augmented reality, you can turn your iPhone into a measuring device. To do this, simply head to the Measure app and follow any setup instructions. After setting up the app, you can now use your iPhone to measure any objects. This should come in handy when you don’t have any measuring tool lying around and you need to measure on the go. To know more about this functionality, visit this website.

5. Change your WiFi connections in Control Center

You don’t need to go into Settings to change your WiFi connection! You can change it on the fly through the Control Center. To access it, swipe down from the right-hand corner of your iPhone. If you have an iPhone 8 or older model, then swiping up from the screen will reveal the control center. Long-press on the panel that includes airplane mode, cellular data, WiFi and Bluetooth icon. Long-press again on the WiFi icon to show all the connections within your iPhone’s range.

6. Change your Bluetooth connection in Control Center

You can also change your iPhone’s Bluetooth connection right from the Control Center. After accessing the Control Center, long-press on the Bluetooth icon to show all the available devices within range. This feature is a godsent especially when you love to connect to other multiple peripherals like wireless speakers and earbuds.

7. Swipe left to quickly open the Camera

There’s a way to quickly access the camera without unlocking your iPhone and searching for the Camera app. Swiping left from the lock screen will take you straight to the camera.

8. Quickly delete a digit if you make a mistake in the Calculator app

There must be a moment when you accidentally delete a large number because you thought that hitting the “C” button would only delete a single digit. With this tip, those moments will soon be a thing of the past. By swiping to the left or to the right over the numbers, you can now delete a single digit without ever hitting that “C” button by mistake again.

9. Turn your keyboard into a trackpad

There’s a handy feature in the default iOS keyboard that turns it into a trackpad. To take advantage of this feature, you must long press on the space bar until the keys disappear. You can now drag your fingers on the keyboard to change the position of the cursor.

10. Swipe with three fingers to undo or redo

Having an undo or redo function is really handy especially on long typing sessions. To undo on an iPhone, swipe left with three fingers. Alternatively, swipe right to redo. Older iPhone models implement a shake-to-undo function, which is a great exercise for the wrist.

11. Double-tap the space bar to end a sentence with a period

Another handy editing feature built into the default iOS keyboard is double-tapping to insert a period. After finishing a sentence, just double-tap on the space bar to insert a period and save time.

12. Play games with friends in iMessage

The iMessage app comes with a plethora of features to level up the conversation. One great feature is the ability to play games with your friends right from the app itself. Simply head over to iMessage, select a conversation and tap the App Store icon located on the bottom. Find a game that you want and start playing with your friends.

13. Express yourself with new Memoji stickers

Memoji stickers are a fun way to express your virtual self in a conversation. The latest iOS version — iOS 13.4 — introduces nine new Memoji stickers. Now, you have more ways to express yourself to your friends and family. You can roll your eyes in disgust, scream in fear, or even make it appear that you’re behind a computer to remind your nagging friends that you’re busy working at home. Here is the full list of new Memoji stickers:

  • Screaming in fear
  • Party horn
  • Rolling eyes
  • Face with steam
  • Folded hands
  • Gesturing no
  • Person with a tipping hand
  • Smiling face with three hearts
  • Person behind a computer

You can find out more about using Memoji on iPhone and iPad here.

14. Quickly reply to friends in iMessage

Got no time to reply to your friends? There’s a quick reply function within iMessages. To take advantage of this function, you simply have to touch and hold a conversation from the messages list, then tap on one of the automatic replies.

15. Filter messages from people you didn’t know

Spams are an annoying part of life, whether as an email or as a text message. Luckily, the Messages app comes with a built-in filtering system for blocking contacts who like to send spam. The filtering system can also be automatically set to block unknown numbers. Just head over to Settings > Messages and turn on “Filter Unknown Senders” to take advantage of this feature.

16. Never forget where your car is parked with Maps

As you grow older, you tend to be more forgetful. The last thing that you would want to forget is the location of your car in a parking spot. Thankfully, Maps is here to save the day. Your iPhone will actually remember where you last parked your car if you turn it on in the settings. Turn on Location Services for Maps, then toggle Significant Locations, and finally, turn on “Show Parked Locations”. The next time you connect your iPhone to your car’s dashboard, Maps will remember your car’s location after you disconnect.

17. Video call for up to 32 people with Facetime

If you really are cautious about Zoom for its privacy and security loophole, then one good alternative is Apple’s own Facetime. After all, the company promises built-in privacy and security features to the app. The only downside though is that your friends must have an Apple device to take advantage of Facetime. However, if your friends and family use an Apple device, you can create a group Facetime call by simply tapping the name of the contact or a group and hitting the call button.

18. Share folder with friends using iCloud Drive Folder Sharing

Up until iOS 13.4, iPhone users have no way of directly sharing folders through iCloud. However, since the recent update, you can now quickly share files and folders to your friends through iCloud. To do this, go to the Files app and select any folder that you want to share. From the share sheet, you can add people and specify how you want to send the invitation link for sharing. You can read more about the feature here.

Now that you know these, try them out on your iPhone and take advantage of everything iOS has to offer. A new iOS version is also expected this June, along with a new low-cost iPhone. So, this is your time to master these things before delving into a new iOS version for new features.

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Zoom’s security is tied to China

Opening access to Chinese authorities

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Days ago, Zoom’s status as an indisputable teleconferencing solution today blew out of proportion. Though its userbase is still on the rise, Zoom is constantly finding more and more flaws in its infrastructure. For example, a report has recently revealed the platform’s lack of true end-to-end encryption.

Today, The Citizen Lab, a research laboratory in Toronto, revealed another concerning flaw with the popular app. Apparently, the mostly American company employs “at least 700 employees in China. Though the company is still primarily American, Zoom’s Chinese presence can open it up to “pressure from Chinese authorities.” Even if a meeting’s participants are in the US, for example, Chinese parties can still access the meeting.

As we already know, Zoom’s encryption is lackluster, allowing Zoom employees to access private information if they need to. Of course, despite the revelation, Zoom has still claimed its respect over its users’ information.

However, with potential Chinese interference, who can really tell? In the report’s conclusion, The Citizen Lab does not recommend the platform for secrecy. Though a good chunk of users come from university settings, government officials, like UK’s Boris Johnson, have also started using the platform for official state meetings.

Additionally, the report goes into a potential flaw with Zoom’s “waiting room” feature. Before a meeting starts, a host can keep participants in a virtual waiting room before starting. Apparently, the feature can allow malicious parties to infiltrate the call. However, The Citizen Lab chose not to disclose the flaw to the public. Instead, they forwarded the flaw to Zoom; the company quickly turned the feature off for now.

Regardless, even without the feature, Zoom-bombing is quickly turning into a trend. All over the world, students have found ways to access meetings from other classes even without official access. Though disruptive, Zoom-bombing is still within the realm of jokes and pranks. Of course, the infiltrative method is easily exploitable by more malicious entities.

Despite its ease of access, Zoom is quickly losing its potential as a secure online platform for the quarantine era.

SEE ALSO: Zoom, Skype now used for virtual drinking parties

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