Life comes at you fast. In January, after spending a few weeks using Microsoft’s Surface Pro X, I wrote a story detailing which features I thought Apple should borrow from the Pro X and bring to the iPad line. Most of my suggestions involved an improved keyboard experience, more viewing angles, backlit keys, and trackpad support.
Recently, code in an unreleased build of iOS 14 indicated Apple was working on an iPad keyboard that included a trackpad.
Then, on Wednesday, Apple announced a new iPad Pro and, perhaps more importantly, that iPadOS 13.4 would add true trackpad support. Also, in May, a new iPad keyboard with a trackpad will go on sale. The only downside? The new Magic Keyboard for iPad starts at $299 for the 11-inch model or $349 for the 12.9-inch version. Yikes.
But with iPadOS 13.4 adding system-wide support for trackpad and mouse control, you don’t have to wait for the Magic Keyboard to use a trackpad with your iPad. Apple will release iPadOS 13.4 on March 24.
I have a beta version of the update installed on my 12.9-inch iPad Pro and have been using a Magic Trackpad 2 for the last day or so, and I have to say: This is exactly what the iPad needed.
The somewhat hidden mouse support that Apple included in iPadOS 13 in September was half-baked, lacking gesture support and a refined mouse pointer. Even the setup process was buried in the Accessibility settings.
The current implementation takes full advantage of gestures to quickly switch between apps, go to the home screen, scroll, or select text. Setup is a breeze; if you’ve paired headphones to your iPad, you’ll be able to pair a trackpad or mouse.
As you can see in the animated image above, the mouse pointer changes based on whatever it is you’re hovering over. For example, it will highlight a button that you’re hovering over. Move to a text field, and it turns into a cursor. Slide over an app icon, and the icon gets bigger.
Apple provided a video walkthrough to The Verge of the gestures you can use on the Magic Keyboard’s trackpad, which also works on the Magic Trackpad 2 I’ve been using.
But there are hidden features, as well. Moving the mouse cursor to the right side of the screen will bring out any Slide Over apps. Going all the way to the bottom of the screen will pull up the app dock, or if you keep going, you’ll go back to the homescreen.
I’m still getting used to the new gestures and using a trackpad with the iPad as a whole. For the past decade, I’ve trained my mind to view the tablet as a touchscreen device, requiring taps and swipes at first, then using keyboard shortcuts, and now using a trackpad.
That said, as soon as I started to use the trackpad, it made sense. There wasn’t a moment of hesitation or questioning whether I should be using the trackpad.
It’s unfortunate the Magic Keyboard won’t ship for a couple of months still, as the iPad is a portable device and carrying around a mouse or trackpad is cumbersome and inconvenient. Even if I’m only carrying it around my house (something we can all relate to right now, I’m sure).
I can’t wait to test out the Magic Keyboard in May. It’s exactly what I asked for earlier this year. I only hope it lives up to expectations.
5 Android apps you shoudn't miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly  – Android Authority
Welcome to the 312th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from the last week:
- After months of uncertainty, HQ Trivia is back for the time being. The story is actually fairly interesting. The app shut down in February 2020 after an investor backed out at the last minute. A new, unknown investor showed up, brought the game back, and everything is back to normal. You can download the game for Android and iOS and play again if you need something to do during quarantine.
- The Wall Street Journal says the US government is tracking people through mobile advertising. The effort is apparently a massive collaborative effort between a variety of companies to help track the spread of COVID-19, how well people practice social distancing, and other such metrics. There is obviously an ethical issue here and the conversation is only just getting started. Hit the link for more details.
- Zoom is one of the most popular online video conferencing apps right now and it has a slew of privacy and security concerns. The developers responded by putting a freeze on new feature development for 90 days while it deals with those concerns. It’s a smart move because the service has ballooned from 10 million active users to nearly 200 million. Some changes include a better bug bounty, more transparency about what data it shares, and security audits by third parties. Hit the link to read more about it.
- The app Houseparty by Epic Games became an overnight success in the wake of social distancing and quarantines. However, it too has a slew of privacy issues coming to light. The app apparently collects a hilariously large amount of personal data from users for no specific reason with rumors of hackers compromising account data. Houseparty denies all the claims and is offering up a $1 million bounty to anyone who can prove it. Hit the link for more details.
- Apple purchased the popular Dark Sky weather app this week. Unfortunately, it’s all bad news from here. Apple intends to shut down the app for Android users as well as web users. In fact, even the API is shutting down at the end of 2021. We have no idea why Apple wanted to do it, but a significant portion of our readership liked the app and now has to find an alternative.
Eternal Sword M
Price: Free to play
Eternal Sword M is an action-RPG with some MMORPG elements. The game boasts decent graphics, smooth game play, and a ton of skills and abilities for characters to learn. It plays like a fairly standard ARPG. You build a character, start questing, and you don’t stop until the story is over. The game also includes co-op multiplayer, online PvP, and guilds where you can play with friends or engage in guild wars with other players. There are some flaws, such as a daily level cap to prevent player growth that limits the play of some of the more hardcore player types. However, by and large, this one has a lot of potential.
Removed for reddit
Removed for reddit is one of the more interesting Reddit apps of the recent past. It lets you view comments previously removed by moderators. The app is fairly easy to use. You simply find a removed comment on Reddit, hit the share button, select to share it with Removed for reddit, and the app shows you the original comment. It uses pushshift.io, a Reddit stat tracker website. The app is also free with no advertising and it’s open source. It should be a good tool for Reddit fans.
GRIS is a visually excellent platformer with visual novel and puzzle elements. Players navigate Gris, the titular character, through a variety of painful life experiences cleverly disguised as game obstacles. Gris receives a number of upgrades in the form of clothing and experiences personal growth as you continue through the game. The game also features clean, simple controls, smooth game play, and some visually appealing graphics. There is almost no text or dialog and even the soundtrack is quite good. You can pick it up for $4.99 with no additional ads or in-app purchases to worry about.
One Shade: Custom Notifications
Price: Free / Up to $6.49
One Shade is a custom notifications and custom quick settings app. It basically lets you create your own notification shade and then uses it instead of the one already on your phone. The app includes some decent customization features, including full color customization along with the ability to snooze any notification. There are also more advanced music controls, auto-bundled notifications, and some quick settings layout customizations as well. The pro version adds even more customization options. This app isn’t half bad for the themers out there who want something a little different than Android’s regular notification shade.
Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall
Price: Free to play
Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall is finally out after a lengthy pre-registration period. The game takes place nearly 50 years before the events of the show and novels. A Lord Commander goes missing and it becomes your job to take command of the Night’s Watch. Players can collect various characters from the show and battle them with foes and other online opponents. The game honestly uses a lot of elements from various genres, including adventure, RPG, gacha, strategy, and others. However, the game lacks depth in some game play mechanics and the free-to-play elements come off a little strong early on.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!
Zoom will enable waiting rooms by default to stop Zoombombing – Yahoo Tech
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Zoom is making some drastic changes to prevent rampant abuse as trolls attack publicly shared video calls. Starting April 5th, it will require passwords to enter calls via Meeting ID, as these may be guessed or reused. Meanwhile, it will change virtual waiting rooms to be on by default so hosts have to manually admit attendees.” data-reactid=”12″>Zoom is making some drastic changes to prevent rampant abuse as trolls attack publicly shared video calls. Starting April 5th, it will require passwords to enter calls via Meeting ID, as these may be guessed or reused. Meanwhile, it will change virtual waiting rooms to be on by default so hosts have to manually admit attendees.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The changes could prevent "Zoombombing," a term I coined two weeks ago to describe malicious actors entering Zoom calls and disrupting them by screensharing offensive imagery. New Zoombombing tactics have since emerged, like spamming the chat thread with terrible GIFs, using virtual backgrounds to spread hateful messages or just screaming profanities and slurs. Anonymous forums have now become breeding grounds for organized trolling efforts to raid calls.” data-reactid=”13″>The changes could prevent “Zoombombing,” a term I coined two weeks ago to describe malicious actors entering Zoom calls and disrupting them by screensharing offensive imagery. New Zoombombing tactics have since emerged, like spamming the chat thread with terrible GIFs, using virtual backgrounds to spread hateful messages or just screaming profanities and slurs. Anonymous forums have now become breeding grounds for organized trolling efforts to raid calls.
Just imagine the most frightened look on all these people’s faces. That’s what happened when Zoombombers attacked the call.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The FBI has issued a warning about the Zoombombing problem after children’s online classes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and private business calls were invaded by trolls. Security researchers have revealed many ways that attackers can infiltrate a call.” data-reactid=”31″>The FBI has issued a warning about the Zoombombing problem after children’s online classes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and private business calls were invaded by trolls. Security researchers have revealed many ways that attackers can infiltrate a call.
The problems stem from Zoom being designed for trusted enterprise use cases rather than cocktail hours, yoga classes, roundtable discussions and classes. But with Zoom struggling to scale its infrastructure as its daily user count has shot up from 10 million to 200 million over the past month due to coronavirus shelter-in-place orders, it’s found itself caught off guard.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Zoom CEO Eric Yuan apologized for the security failures this week and vowed changes. But at the time, the company merely said it would default to making screensharing host-only and keeping waiting rooms on for its K-12 education users. Clearly it determined that wasn’t sufficient, so now waiting rooms are on by default for everyone.” data-reactid=”40″>Zoom CEO Eric Yuan apologized for the security failures this week and vowed changes. But at the time, the company merely said it would default to making screensharing host-only and keeping waiting rooms on for its K-12 education users. Clearly it determined that wasn’t sufficient, so now waiting rooms are on by default for everyone.
Zoom communicated the changes to users via an email sent this afternoon that explains “we’ve chosen to enable passwords on your meetings and turn on Waiting Rooms by default as additional security enhancements to protect your privacy.”
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The company also explained that "For meetings scheduled moving forward, the meeting password can be found in the invitation. For instant meetings, the password will be displayed in the Zoom client. The password can also be found in the meeting join URL." Some other precautions users can take include disabling file transfer, screensharing or rejoining by removed attendees.” data-reactid=”42″>The company also explained that “For meetings scheduled moving forward, the meeting password can be found in the invitation. For instant meetings, the password will be displayed in the Zoom client. The password can also be found in the meeting join URL.” Some other precautions users can take include disabling file transfer, screensharing or rejoining by removed attendees.
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 18: Zoom founder Eric Yuan reacts at the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony on April 18, 2019 in New York City. The video-conferencing software company announced it’s IPO priced at $36 per share, at an estimated value of $9.2 billion. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
The shift could cause some hassle for users. Hosts will be distracted by having to approve attendees out of the waiting room while they’re trying to lead calls. Zoom recommends users resend invites with passwords attached for Meeting ID-based calls scheduled for after April 5th. Scrambling to find passwords could make people late to calls.
But that’s a reasonable price to pay to keep people from being scarred by Zoombombing attacks. The rash of trolling threatened to sour many people’s early experiences with the video chat platform just as it’s been having its breakout moment. A single call marred by disturbing pornography can leave a stronger impression than 100 peaceful ones with friends and colleagues. The old settings made sense when it was merely an enterprise product, but it needed to embrace its own change of identity as it becomes a fundamental utility for everyone.
Technologists will need to grow better at anticipating worst-case scenarios as their products go mainstream and are adapted to new use cases. Assuming everyone will have the best intentions ignores the reality of human nature. There’s always someone looking to generate a profit, score power or cause chaos from even the smallest opportunity. Building development teams that include skeptics and realists, rather than just visionary idealists, could keep ensure products get safeguarded from abuse before rather than after a scandal occurs.
13 things to avoid doing on Zoom – TechRepublic
Experts weigh in: Should you use Zoom filters, how to best light yourself, and how not to get hacked, among many other tips.
It’s easy to get caught up in a Zoom meeting and forget to do simple things like end the session if you’re the host, or turn off the camera if you leave the room for a moment. There are certain things to avoid doing if you want to use Zoom and keep your professional reputation intact.
Given the shelter-at-home edicts, working from home will be the norm for at least another month. And, “Zoom has become the platform for pretty much every meeting,” said William Mandara Jr., CEO of Mancini, a tech-first design firm. “Technology in general has been and will be the reason we all make it through this.”
The digital transformation agency Blue Fountain Media first used Zoom for clients and those who work from home, but now, with the entire staff working remotely, “We use it for all team meetings, and I’m on Zoom meetings no less than six hours-per-day,” said Brian Byer, vice president and general manager of the agency.
SEE: Policy pack: Guidelines for remote workers (TechRepublic free PDF download)
Zoom is essential for tech’s best-known companies. “Zoom is a core part of GitLab’s tool stack,” said Darren Murph, head of remote at GitLab.
“We use it daily to communicate with our all-remote team of more than 1,200 people across 65+ countries,” Murph said. “We use it for one-on-ones, stand-ups, team meetings, as well as informal communication. We build relationships via coffee chats, and even encourage parents with kids who are home from school to schedule ‘Juicebox Chats’ for children around the world to connect with one another. We routinely host company wide AMAs, with hundreds of people involved simultaneously. We use Zoom to bond with colleagues, recently hosting 130+ people in our marketing team for a Global Talent Show, replete with judges and prizes.”
TechRepublic asked experts to provide advice on what not to do during company Zoom meetings. Here are their best tips:
1. Don’t check yourself out. “Especially when you’re talking,” warned Dave Aizer, a media coach and TV host. “When you’re speaking, your eyes should be on the camera to enhance the impact of your presentation. If you look at yourself, especially when speaking, it diminishes your power and—if you don’t like what you see—may even make you feel self-conscious. You can minimize the image of you [on your own device], if that helps.”
2. Don’t apologize. Colleagues now get glimpses into each others’ homes and personal lives. “Do not apologize,” said Steve Pemberton, chief HR officer at Workhuman. “If your child interrupts your video conference, don’t shoo them out, embrace the moment, and welcome them into the frame, introduce them to your colleagues. Not only will this make your family members feel special, it also helps to increase employee engagement, as it keeps humanity in the workplace.”
3. Don’t overexpose your life. While it’s inevitable the aforementioned “glimpses” are bound to happen, or to reference a sound from a pet or child, don’t hijack the meeting by flipping your camera around to allow everyone to see a messy room or worse.
4. Don’t be wiggly, you’re not in second grade. “Zoom is mostly great, however we’ve found the video can sometimes struggle when there is a lot of movement,” said Sam Williamson, owner of CBDiablo. “This can cause freezing issues. Restrict movement as much as possible during video calls. For some this means resisting the urge to ‘talk with your hands.”
5. Don’t avoid the camera. “To avoid embarrassing situations, tell everyone at home you’re going live and will be on video,” said Debra Locker, president, Locker PR. “We are all crammed into our homes right now. If you are in a room with a door, close it. Consider a note on the door. Find a quiet area. Engage your children and/or partner in assisting with entertaining pets, babies, etc.”
6. Don’t forget your manners, no matter how feral you’ve become sheltering at home. On Zoom, “Use the ‘raise hand’ or similar function, rather than interjecting or interpreting facial cues,” said Ben Christensen, co-founder of Handshake, a business social-media platform for college students. Have somewhere to ask questions before the meeting, a chat function, or dedicated Q&A at the end of the meeting. This ensures everyone feels included and heard, and allows for a more productive meeting.
GitLabs’ Murph added, “It feels rude in video calls to interrupt people. This is because the latency causes you to talk over the speaker for longer than during an in-person meeting. We should not be discouraged by this, the questions and context provided by interruptions are valuable. This is a situation where we have to do something counterintuitive to make all-remote meetings work. At GitLab, everyone is encouraged to interrupt the speaker in a video call to ask a question or offer context. We want everyone to contribute instead of a monologue. Just like in-person meetings, be cognizant of when, who, and how you interrupt. We don’t want ‘manterrupting.'”
7. Don’t abuse filters. “Don’t play with filters,” emphasized workplace consultant Ashira Prossack. “By now we’ve all seen the memes of people with their video turned into a potato or a kitten. While that’s good for a laugh and friends, it’s not good for credibility. Leave the filters to Snapchat and Instagram.”
While Collins said, “Don’t use quirky backgrounds” for business calls, some bosses welcome a fun background. Fishbowl co-founder and COO Loren Appin said: “Switch up the virtual Zoom backgrounds. This has become a bit of a competition across our team, and helps kick off the meeting on a positive note.”
8. Don’t forget security. Never publicly share online meeting IDs or meeting URLs, stressed Aaron Zander, head of IT at HackerOne. Despite the increasingly productive tools, “they come with a caveat.” Zander explained that sharing “allows people to drop in and listen to sensitive conversations, record your voice or video, and infiltrate a virtual workplace. With the Zoom boom taking over social media, be careful how much you share in your screenshot. It’s important to understand the link sharing options for file sharing; this includes video links and services like Zoom. The last thing you want is an intruder—external or internal—to drop in on sensitive meetings.”
9. Don’t forget to hit “mute” when you’re not talking. The fully remote Flexjobs is reliant on Zoom, and Kathy Gardner, senior director of PR and media, said: “Some of our best practices include muting yourself when you’re not talking, and using a headset for the best audio quality.” Gardner also recommended using the “raise hand” feature or, for the host to come up with an equivalent to indicate “when to speak, such as a chat comment that you want to chime in. It lessens people talking over each other.”
10. Don’t be too far from your router. A “culprit to extended buffering times and spotty connections, is your Wi-Fi. To boost performance in every room, routers need to be centralized—avoid cabinets or closets,” said a rep from Best Buy’s Geek Squad. “The more materials the signal must travel through, the weaker and slower the connection. For certain homes, a Wi-Fi repeater, or mesh network may be needed.”
11. Don’t forget good lighting. “Zoom is great, but if you’re sitting in the wrong spot, no one can see you. Try and pick a spot where the lighting is on your face or above you.” Just “make sure your room is well-lit,” said Calloway Cook, president of Illuminate Labs. “I’ve been on many calls where some of the members were in a room so dark you couldn’t make out their face. This looks unprofessional and gives the impression you’re not good at planning.”
12. Don’t use the brightest setting on your laptop or monitor. “If you’re wearing glasses, the bright monitor can reflect in the glasses and be distracting,” said Victoria Elder, owner of Victori Solutions.
13. Don’t forget to say “goodbye!” Gardner reminded: “Be sure to say ‘goodbye’ when you leave a video call. That may seem unimportant, as people will likely see your image leave the screen when you hang up, but good etiquette is never a bad idea.”
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