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Apple iOS 15.2 Release: Should You Upgrade?

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Apple 15.2 has arrived and it has a big job on its hands. Little has improved for iPhone owners with the iOS 15.1 and iOS 15.1.1 releases following the dumpster fire iOS 15 launch. Are things finally looking up? Possibly. Here’s everything you need to know.

Tip: bookmark this page because I will keep it up to date if/when new problems are found. I will deliver my final verdict in a week.

Who Is It For?

Apple iOS 15.2 is available for all iOS 14-compatible devices, aka the iPhone 6S and newer. You should be automatically notified to upgrade but, if not, the update can be triggered manually by navigating to Settings > General > Software Update. If you are running a newer iOS 15 beta (see ‘The Road Ahead’ section at the end), you must unenroll your iPhone first before iOS 15.2 will show up.

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Note: this guide is not focused on older iOS updates or iPadOS, but I will touch upon pertinent issues in these guides. 

The Deal Breakers

Jailbreakers continue to be locked in stasis. Unc0ver and checkra1n have not yet cracked the later iOS 14 releases, let alone iOS 15. So if you want your iPhone to remain jailbroken, you will have to stay where you are. iPhone 13 owners, having launched with iOS 15, have yet to benefit from a supported jailbreak.

For everyone else, 24 hours after release early user reports are promising. Yes, users are complaining about existing bugs not being fixed like the interminable Storage Full bug, hotspot issues, (now typical) Apple Music glitches and isolated problems with the new Legacy Contacts feature (more below). There have been no show stoppers yet, though based on the short history of iOS 15 to date, I stress yet.

So What Do You Get?

iOS 15.2 is the most feature packed Apple release since iOS 15. Here are Apple’s official release notes:

“iOS 15.2 adds Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription tier that provides access to music using Siri. This update also includes the App Privacy Report, new safety features for children and parents in Messages, and other features and bug fixes for your iPhone.”

Apple Music Voice Plan

  • Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
  • Just Ask Siri suggests music based on your listening history and likes or dislikes
  • Play it Again lets you access a list of your recently played music

Privacy

  • App Privacy Report in Settings lets you see how often apps have accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts and more during the last seven days, as well as their network activity

Messages

  • Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity
  • Safety warnings contain helpful resources for children when they receive photos that contain nudity

Siri and Search

  • Expanded guidance in Siri, Spotlight and Safari Search to help children and parents stay safe online and get help with unsafe situations

Apple ID

  • Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death

Camera

  • Macro photo control for switching to the Ultra Wide lens to capture macro photos and videos can be enabled in Settings on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

TV app

  • Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place

CarPlay

  • Enhanced city map in Apple Maps with road details like turn lanes, medians, bike lanes, and pedestrian crosswalks for supported cities

This release also includes the following enhancements for your iPhone:

  • Hide My Email is available in the Mail app for iCloud+ subscribers to create unique, random email addresses
  • Find My can locate iPhone for up to five hours when in Power Reserve
  • Stocks allows you to view the currency for a ticker and see year-to-date performance when viewing charts
  • Reminders and Notes now allow you to delete or rename tags

This release also includes bug fixes for your iPhone:

  • Siri may not respond while VoiceOver is running and iPhone is locked
  • ProRAW photos may appear overexposed when viewing in third-party photo editing apps
  • HomeKit scenes that include a garage door may not run from CarPlay when your iPhone is locked
  • CarPlay may not update Now Playing information for certain apps
  • Video streaming apps may not load content on iPhone 13 models
  • Calendar events may appear on the wrong day for Microsoft Exchange users

Strangely, the highlight in iOS 15.2 is not listed. Navigate to Settings > General > About and you will find a ‘Parts And Service History’ for your device. This brings much needed transparency for buyers of second hand iPhones as it will flag any replaced parts and label them ‘Genuine Apple Part’ or ‘Unknown Part’.

The flipside to this, is historically genuine parts have on occasion still been flagged if they were not installed by an approved Apple repairer. It remains to be seen if this will happen again following Apple’s expansion of its repair program, but the change is likely to push more iPhone owners to Apple for fear that any ‘Unknown Part’ will affect second hand sales prices.

 

Elsewhere, App Privacy controls will further reduce third-party tracking while the company continues to introduce elements of its child safety program despite its controversial CSAM image scanning software being delayed for now.

Interestingly, Apple has also revealed a number of fixes in iOS 15.2 though by far the biggest is conspicuous by its absence. That said, Apple regularly omits bug fixes in iOS release notes (you may draw your own conclusions about this) and there are isolated cases that suggest the Bluetooth car connectivity problems seen in iOS 15.1 and iOS 15.1.1 might have been quietly patched.

As for security, Apple’s official security page reveals that iOS 15.2 has no less than 42 security fixes. These cover the widest range of security vulnerabilities I can remember in a point release, with flaws found in audio, FaceTime, Password Manager, Preferences and seven alone in Webkit — the browser engine used by Safari. Apple doesn’t explicitly state any of these are zero-day hacks but the sheer number makes iOS 15.2 an important update.

Apple iOS 15.2 Verdict: Running iOS 15? Upgrade; Running iOS 14? Hold

iOS 15.2 is a big release full of new features, fixes and security upgrades. Unless any major gremlins appear in the coming days (I will keep this guide updated), this looks like the most promising iOS 15 release so far and a no-brainer — especially due to the security patches.

Those still on iOS 14 continue to receive security updates so you do not need to rush to upgrade if you are still understandably hesitant about moving to iOS 15. But (whisper it) this could be the one.

Note: bookmark this guide, I will continue to update it with any relevant flaws or features I find and you will receive my final verdict here in one week. 

The Road Ahead 

At the time of publication, Apple has yet to release the next iOS 15 beta version. I would expect iOS 15.2.1 to arrive without public beta testing (there are still plenty of bugs in iOS 15 to fix) with iOS 15.3 being released to developers soon before 6-8 weeks of public tests. Watch this space.

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A Quick Guide to Better CMM Maintenance

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CMM

A coordinate-measuring machine, also known as a CMM, is a specialized piece of equipment common in high-precision manufacturing. It uses coordinate technology to measure and replicate the dimensions of particular objects.

CMMs are a lot more accurate than regular measurement gauges. This characteristic makes them the equipment of choice for quality assurance in certain industries, like aerospace, defense, and medical manufacturing.

Despite being a powerful piece of equipment and the most versatile measuring tool in the metrology industry, CMMs can also be quite delicate. They require the right environment and proper maintenance practices to maintain accuracy and reliability.

The Importance of Proper CMM Maintenance

It’s essential to clean and inspect each part of your machine to ensure it stays efficient and accurate. Preventative maintenance ensures that your CMM remains accurate and performs at its best. It also improves your machine’s longevity.

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Without proper CMM maintenance, you could risk damaging your CMM. Repairs would involve operational delays and additional costs.

CMM Preventative Maintenance Tips

Preventative maintenance practices are ones your team could do by yourselves. It’s best to schedule regular maintenance checks for your CMM daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. These checks can alert you immediately to possible problems with your CMM.

Remove dust and dirt regularly

Clean and well-maintained air bearings ensure your CMM works as it should. These frictionless and stable bearings help ensure accuracy and efficiency. Dust and dirt can clog your machine’s air bearings, affecting its overall performance.

Aside from your machine’s air bearings, dust could also get into other surfaces and crevices. These tiny particles could affect your machine’s accuracy.

Handle Stylus Tips Properly

The stylus is the tip that makes contact with the object you want to measure with your CMM. Despite this significant role, the stylus can be fragile and require careful handling. Too much force could cause it to bend or break.

Clean your stylus with a cleaning agent and a lint-free cloth. Make sure to remove any residue from workplace materials.

Ensure Good Air Quality

Most CMMs use air bearings, and good air quality is essential to keep them running smoothly. Various air quality issues could affect machine performance and even burn out machine motors.

For air quality maintenance, ask and address the following questions:

  • Do the lines have condensation, oil, or other contaminants?
  • Is the airflow constant?
  • Are you using the proper pressure?

When To Call a Professional

Most preventative maintenance practices are simple enough to be performed internally. However, some issues require professional attention. You can also conduct regular professional maintenance checks to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Below are some procedures that require professional assistance. Many CMM suppliers also offer maintenance services alongside their machinery.

Conducting CMM Training

CMMs are highly specialized pieces of equipment. To handle them properly, your staff needs professional training.

Training courses allow you to get trained by CMM experts on the tools and knowledge necessary within your industry. Regular training sessions also help keep you updated on industry trends and standards.

Sensor Malfunctions

CMM sensors are critical to your machine’s speed and accuracy. They should be professionally inspected and calibrated annually.

Routine sensor maintenance can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of your machine. CMM sensors include the following:

  • Scanning probe
  • Single point laser
  • Line laser
  • Electronic touch trigger probe
  • Video camera

Faulty Bearings

Neglected air bearings could cause them to falter in their accuracy and stability. Properly maintained air bearings ensure a smooth, stable, and accurate measurement process.

A professional metrology company can thoroughly inspect your air bearings to prevent further machine damage.

A CMM is a significant investment for any business. Good maintenance practices help your machine last and perform at its best, thus making the most out of this investment.

 

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Nintendo’s discounted Switch game vouchers are back

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Nintendo’s Switch Online service has become a better deal over time, offering more perks than just the ability to play games online. On top of getting access to SNES and NES classics, and cloud save backups (for most games, save a couple dozen), Nintendo announced an even bigger perk yesterday: discounted game vouchers.

All subscribers can buy a two-pack of these vouchers for $99.98, and a huge range of first-party (in other words, typically discount-averse) Nintendo games are looped in. I encourage you to check out the full list, but some highlights include the brand-new Fire Emblem Engage, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Metroid Dread, Splatoon 3, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Important note: you both have to be a subscriber to buy and use these vouchers.

It’s great that this list is more expansive than Nintendo’s first swing at this deal in 2019. But this perk could actually turn Switch Online into a must-have service because it allows you to pre-purchase up to four sets of vouchers (totaling eight games), and keep them for 12 months from the date of purchase. With $20 in savings with each pair of vouchers, buying four bundles will save you up to $80, assuming that each title normally costs $59.99. If you buy a lot of games, this is a smart way to save a little bit of money on every forthcoming purchase.

I know what you might be thinking: “Can I use one on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?” Nintendo has not currently listed the deliriously anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild, which is set to release on May 12th, 2023. Polygon has reached out to Nintendo to see if it’ll eventually become eligible, but did not hear back in time for publication.

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You can get a free seven-day trial for Switch Online here, and you can easily subscribe to the service directly from the Switch’s eShop (it costs $3.99 per month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 per year). However, you can purchase (or gift) a one-year subscription with a digital code via Best Buy for $19.99. With a family subscription that costs $34.99 per year, up to eight Switch accounts can reap the perks of Switch Online.

For players who want all the perks, access to Goldeneye 007 and other N64 and Sega Genesis games, and complimentary DLC for some Switch games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’ll need Nintendo’s Switch Online plus the Expansion Pack tier, which costs $49.99 per year for one account, or $79.99 per year for a family subscription.

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Canadian discovery could help batteries last longer

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A chance discovery in a Canadian laboratory could help extend the life of laptop, phone and electric car batteries.

According to scientists from Dalhousie University in Halifax, common adhesive tape in batteries may be the reason many devices lose some of their power while off or not being used, which is a phenomenon known as self-discharge.

“In our laboratory we do many highly complex experiments to improve batteries, but this time we discovered a very simple thing,” Michael Metzger, an assistant professor in Dalhousie University’s physics and atmospheric science department, said in a news release. “In commercial battery cells there is tape—like Scotch tape—that holds the electrodes together and there is a chemical decomposition of this tape, which creates a molecule that leads to the self-discharge.”

The solution is simple, too, Metzger says: replace the polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, plastic tape commonly used inside batteries with something more durable and stable.

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“It’s a commercially relevant discovery,” Metzger said. “It’s a small thing but it can definitely help improve battery cells.”

Metzger and his team have been trying to understand why lithium-ion battery cells in inactive devices tend to lose some of their power and self-discharge, something that has long frustrated consumers and manufacturers alike.

“Every manufacturer of lithium-ion cells in the world wants to make self-discharge as small as possible,” Metzger told CTVNews.ca in a joint statement with graduate student Anu Adamson. “In every battery there is a small rate of self-discharge that slowly drains the battery. This is very inconvenient for users and a big headache for industry.”

The electrodes that power batteries are separated by an electrolyte solution that is usually a form of lithium. After exposing several battery cells to different temperatures, researchers were surprised to see that electrolyte solution had turned bright red when it normally should be clear, which was something they had never encountered. The discovery was made by Adamson and two other students.

Chemical analysis of the red electrolyte solution revealed that at higher temperatures, a new molecule had been created inside the battery through the decomposition of common PET adhesive tape, which is often used to hold components together inside batteries. Strong and lightweight, PET is also frequently used for plastic packaging, drink bottles, clothing fibres and more.

Researchers realized that the red molecule, dimethyl terephthalate, was acting as a redox shuttle, meaning that it can transport electrons between a battery’s positive and negative electrodes, creating self-discharge and depleting power even when a battery is not in use. Ideally, the shuttling of electrons within a battery should only happen when a device is on.

“It’s a very simple thing—it is in every plastic bottle and no one would have thought that this has such a huge impact on how the lithium-ion cells degrade,” Metzger said in the news release. “It’s something we never expected because no one looks at these inactive components, these tapes and plastic foils in the battery cell, but it really needs to be considered if you want to limit side-reactions in the battery cell.”

The findings are outlined in a pair of studies published on Jan. 20 and Jan. 23 in the peer-reviewed Journal of The Electrochemical Society. The researchers are now testing PET tape substitutes.

“Since the PET in the tape is the culprit that creates the redox shuttle, we need to replace it with a polymer that is more stable and does not decompose in the harsh chemistry of a lithium-ion battery,” Metzger and Adamson told CTVNews.ca. “So far, the results look very promising, and we plan to publish a new research paper on improved polymers for lithium-ion battery tapes soon.”

According to the researchers, their work has been attracting interest from “some of the world’s largest computer hardware companies and electric vehicle manufacturers,” which are eager to reduce self-discharge and improve battery performance.

“We visited some of these companies and they are planning to implement more stable polymers in their battery cells,” Metzger said.

In the release, Metzger noted: “One of the engineers said, ‘I heard you guys found out something is wrong with PET tape.’ So, I explained to him that it’s causing this self-discharge and asked him, ‘What are you using in your cells?’ He said, ‘PET tape.'”

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