Thursday, January 23, 2014

Some Tips For iOS Newbies

Trix Arena - If youre the owner of a new iPhone or iPad, congratulations and welcome to the world of iOS 7. If youve never used one of these devices, theres much to learn, but you dont have to take classes or spend more money to find what you need to know.Your new mobile device is essentially a computer, a communication tool, a compact camera, a virtual assistant, a notepad, and an entertainment center all rolled up into one. Our MakeUseOf Guide to iOS 7 explains the important features of the operating system in detail, but today well only be looking at the basics.

Theres much to learn, so lets get started.

Set Up An iCloud Account

Youve probably already registered your device, which in the process walked you through the steps of creating an Apple ID account. Your Apple ID is what you will use to make all your Apple software purchases. You will also need your ID for whenever you update or change to a new iOS device, so plan to keep your ID for as long as you use Apple devices, including Macs.
Bookmarking Websites & Articles

This article includes lots of links to other articles that you might want to read later. If youre reading this article on a Mac you probably already know how to save it to the Safari Reading List. The Reading List is a list of saved web pages, providing a quick way to mark something as interesting for later. You can do the same from an iOS device:

Open the Safari app

Find something interesting, then tap on the share button (a square and upward arrow)
In the share sheet, tap on Bookmark to create a permanent shortcut or Add to Reading List to save the article for later.

Note: You can also tap and hold (long press) a link, and choose Add to Reading List from there. Try it!

bookmark articles Received A New iPhone or iPad? Here Are Some Tips For iOS Newbies

You can access your Reading List and Bookmarks under Safari by tapping the Bookmarks icon at the bottom of the screen (it looks like an open book) then choosing the Reading List icon (which looks like a pair of spectacles).

Keyboard Shortcuts

Now lets do something practical with your email address. Because your email is something you will likely be typing on a regular basis, a shortcut can be created to type it faster.

Open the Settings app, which should be on the homepage of your device.
Tap on General then Keyboard and finally Shortcuts.
Tap the plus + button on the top-right.
In the window that opens type your email address in the Phrase field
Type a shortcut of two or more letters to represent your address, for example myem.

Now when you type myem it will automatically expand and replace it with the address you assigned it. You can create shortcuts for any words or phrases you type regularly, such as your address or difficult names.

iOS shortcuts Received A New iPhone or iPad? Here Are Some Tips For iOS Newbies

Know Your Settings App

The Settings app is one area of iOS that new owners need to become most familiar with. Spend some time getting familiar with all of the options available to you. For example, Settings is where you go to change the wallpaper on your device, ringtones and other sounds as well as advanced features like factory reset. Weve got a slightly older article about settings features in iOS 6, much of which rings true for iOS 7.

wallpaper Received A New iPhone or iPad? Here Are Some Tips For iOS Newbies

Setting Up Siri

Siri is a virtual assistant feature you should know about for issuing verbal commands on your device. The two links below explain in more detail how to get set up with Siri, but as a new iOS user you first need to make sure to let Siri know who you are.

Tap on the Contacts app and look for your own name
If you find it, skip to step 3 otherwise create a new contact for yourself using the plus + button
Add or correct contact information and save the contact
Open Settings and tap on General then Siri
Make sure Siri is enabled, then tap on My Info
Select the contact you found (or made) earlier.

Siri my info Received A New iPhone or iPad? Here Are Some Tips For iOS Newbies

Now you can issue a verbal commend to let Siri know who you are. Press and hold on the Home button until you hear a beep, and then say, Call me [your name]. If Siri does not pronounce your name correctly, you will need to add a phonetic spelling of your name, using the Nickname field in your contacts info.

See our other articles about iOS 7 Siri commands and other features you should know about.

Point and Shoot Camera

Though the iPads camera is not as good as the iPhone, both devices can shoot great-looking images with ease. You should check out Matts article about Apples refreshed camera in iOS 7, and we also have beginner and advanced guides to getting more out of the iPhone camera.

iPhone camera 12 Received A New iPhone or iPad? Here Are Some Tips For iOS Newbies

Smartphone photography and iPhoneography in general has earned a large cult following on the web. The device in your pocket is compatible with hundreds of accessories, has thousands of purpose-built camera apps like filter-happy VSCO and Camera+ which gives you more control. Youll also want to consider changing your approach to photography while shooting with a smartphone
Send Photos

When you want to share photos, do the following.

Open the Photos app
Tap on Albums and then Camera Roll
Find a photo you want to share, then tap the Share button (a box with an upward arrow)
Choose any additional photos, then tap Message, Mail, iCloud, Twitter and so on to share via that protocol.

iOS sharing Received A New iPhone or iPad? Here Are Some Tips For iOS Newbies

The MakeUseOf Guide to iOS 7 includes more information about sharing images and documents, similar to how I describe above.

Downloading From The App Store

You can choose from tons of free and inexpensive apps to add to your iOS device, and the App Store app is how. The various tabs outline Featured and top apps, and to download simply tap on an icon, tap the apps price for paid apps or Free for free apps, then input your password.

The app will download and appear on your homescreen. You can find past purchases under Updates then Purchases on the iPhone, or just the Purchases tab on the iPad.

app store Received A New iPhone or iPad? Here Are Some Tips For iOS Newbies

Dont forget our Best iPhone and iPad apps pages introduce dozens of recommended apps, and you can also use the search bar above to find many other recommendations.

Find My Phone or iPad

Find my Phone is Apples location service for lost or stolen devices. You should ensure the setting is enabled in the Settings > iCloud > Find my Phone menu. Should your device be lost, you can head on over to and mark your device as stolen.

Find my phone Received A New iPhone or iPad? Here Are Some Tips For iOS Newbies
Much to Learn

While this article should get you acquainted with many useful iOS features, our free PDF guide explains a lot more. You can download our iOS 7 guide and more over on our MakeUseOf Guides page. You can also download the official Apple manual user guides for the iPhone and iPad.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

5 Of The Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy

5 Of The Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy - The USB drive is one of the coolest inventions to happen, especially for those who love computers. Its made our lives so convenient with its many applications, both obvious and uses you wouldnt have thought of. It just makes sense to have a flash drive or two with you at all time. So we started checking out reviews of USB 3.0 flash drives from across the Web, figuring out the best (and fastest) ones you should buy without spending a crazy amount of money. Heres what we came up with.

1. Fastest: Sandisk Extreme 64GB (around $63)

Sandisk Extreme USB 3 5 Of The Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy.
Just like our last round-up of flash drives confirmed, theres no doubt about it, the Sandisk Extreme is the fastest USB flash drive out there, by a distance. Every reviewer out there who tested it says it blows away the competition, registering read and write speeds of over 200 MB/s. Youd expect it to cost a pretty penny with that claim, but the Sandisk Extreme is surprisingly affordable at around $63 for the 64GB version. By contrast, the next fastest drives are the Toshiba TransMemory-Ex and Lexar JumpDrive P10, which cost $85 and $120 respectively. Plus, the Sandisk Extreme has a slider so you dont have to worry about losing a cap either. For around $63, this is a steal! And even the lower-priced versions and lower capacities are worth every dollar.
Read speed: Over 230 MB/s
Write speed: Over 200 MB/s
Price per gigabyte: $0.98

2. Budget: Silicon Power Marvel M50 32GB ($21.99)

Silicon Power Marvel M50 32GB 5 Of The Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy.
The true power of USB 3.0 cant be felt with the lower end flash drives, but hey, its still a significant step up from USB 2.0. So whats the least you can spend for that boost? For $22, you can pick up the Silicon Power Marvel M50 32GB, which has a read speed of 90 MB/s and a write speed of 60 MB/s. Its not extraordinary, but its still far better than any of the other flash drives at this price. Plus, the M50 has a nice aluminium body that will last longer than plastic, with a metal cap protecting the plug. But theres one problem: the sides of the drive are large and it usually blocks USB ports next to it, so you cant plug something in both ports at the same time. Still, given its price, its the perfect USB 3.0 flash drive to have with you in the office, primed with our office workers 101 guide to a thumb drive.
Read speed: 90 MB/s
Write speed: 60 MB/s
Price per gigabyte: $0.68

3. Rugged: Lacie XtremKey 32GB ($79.99)

Lacie XtremKey USB3 5 Of The Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy.
The LaCie XtremKey could probably take a punch from Chuck Norris if it had to. Yup, its that tough! There are plenty of rugged flash drives around that offer shockproof and waterproof designs, but the XtremKey takes it to another level. The drive is encased in a metal cylindrical case that protects it from all kinds of things. A drop from 10 metres high? No problem. Itll take temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius and as high as 200 degrees Celsius. Even if its got 10 tons of pressure on it, the XtremKey will soldier on. The rubber seal keeps it waterproof even at depths of 200 metres. And LaCie does all of this without sacrificing on performance, with read speeds of 230 MB/s. Now just make sure you dont lose it.
Read speed: 230 MB/s
Write speed: 90 MB/s
Price per gigabyte: $2.50

4. Stylish: PQI i-mini 32GB (around $45)

PQI imini drive 5 Of The Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy.
Good things come in small packages, and the PQI i-mini USB 3.0 flash drive is as small as they come. Put this tiny flash drive next to a penny and the coin will be the larger of the two. PQIs got some patented technology to make this micro-sized thumb drive and managed to encase it in a zinc-alloy unibody with a sand-blasted matte finish. Pop it into the USB port of your Macbook Air or any ultrabook and it will sit flush with the device. In real world tests, the read speeds are at an acceptable 80 MB/s, but unfortunately, like all of these sleek drives, it suffers in write speed, managing only about 10-13 MB/s in all reviews. If you need to copy data off your drive more often than on your drive, its great.
Read speed: 90 MB/s
Write speed: 40 MB/s
Price per gigabyte: $1.40

5. Secure: IronKey Workspace W300 64GB (around $190)

Imation Ironkey 5 Of The Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy.
You want to keep your data secure and private? Youll want to make sure that if your pen drive falls into the wrong hands, they cant do anything about it. Then you should be using Imations IronKey Workspace W300. This bad boy was developed in coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is actually the flash drive used by people for whom privacy is everything. Apart from 256-bit AES full disk encryption to protect all your data, the W300 uses Windows 8s Windows-to-Go feature to make itself a bootable drive, so you can use your own version of Windows on any computer, ensuring your security. But like with most security products, all of that comes at a really steep price, so you have to want it!
Read speed: 400 MB/s
Write speed: 316 MB/s
Price per gigabyte: $2.96
How Do You Use USB Drives?

There are several ways to put a pen drive to use. You might play games directly off it or run a whole operating system from it. So we want to know, how do you usually use flash drives? How much storage do you need on the go? Comments are open!