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Monday, March 28, 2016

Atlanta youth athletics leader Jane Wilkins reflects on 40 years by Arielle Kass

When Jane Wilkins began as a team mother for her son’s Northside Youth Organization football team some 40 years ago, she never could have pictured where it would take her.

Now, after 35 years as the executive director, Wilkins will step down in May. But not before the organization fetes her with a celebration following its big parade Saturday.

Wilkins is modest about the work she’s done to help expand the youth sports program over the years — the tens of thousands of students who have passed through the program, the millions of dollars raised. She’s helped lead the NYO from a football-centric program with a few hundred boys to one that has nearly 5,000 children sign up each year for football, baseball and basketball, as well as girls’ basketball, softball and cheerleading.
Atlanta youth athletics leader Jane Wilkins reflects on 40 years photo
After her divorce, with young children, “I needed a job, they needed a me,” Wilkins said. “It was a nice marriage.”

Leaving the NYO, at 75, is bittersweet, she said. Over the years, the group has become a community of friends.

“It is my social life. I’m blessed to be a part of these families,” she said. “I thought I’d put my head on my desk one day and die here. I’m going to have to close a door and open a window.”

As the group’s first emeritus board member, Wilkins expects to stay involved with NYO, which she said has been “a thrill.” Over the years, she has smiled with 4-year-old athletes who couldn’t tell whether they won or lost their games, and watched some of the students who got their start in her program move on to big-league careers. She’s seen children grow up and bring their children back to the fields, and alumni without kids sign up to coach.

“I get a lump just talking about it, even,” she said.

Former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson once told her NYO was “the best volunteer situation in the city, with the exception of the symphony,” she said.

Mark Croswell, the president of NYO’s board of directors, said Wilkins’ ease with volunteers is her biggest strength. He described her as magnetic, and said she had a skill for interacting with people like none he’d seen before.

“Her ability to bring you in, put you to work without you even knowing it….” he said. “She cares so much for the organization.”

Wilkins said she’s worked hard to ensure the programs offer something for everyone. For her, it’s been a utopia, even as there have been challenges like a drop in participation in the football program as parents grow concerned about the effect of concussions. She has worked hard to ensure players are taught proper blocking and tackling so that children can continue to play, safely.

Her only regret, Wilkins said, is that with the exception of one grandson who played basketball for a year, her own grandchildren did not participate in the NYO programs.

“Would you believe I have four granddaughters, all of whom are soccer players, and we don’t have it?” she said. “It would have been nice.”

The Northside Youth Organization will celebrate the career of retiring executive director Jane Wilkins at the Opening Day ceremonies for baseball and softball on Saturday. The ceremony will be held around noon in a tent in the parking lot at 140 West Wieuca Road Northwest in Atlanta. Anyone who has been involved with NYO is welcome to attend.

HTHC Notes: NYO is one of my very dear clients. I will miss working with Jane.

7 tech myths you believe that you shouldn't By Komando Staff

Technology used to move forward like a freight train (literally at one point), but now it's more like a 300 mph bullet train. You just have to blink and you'll miss the latest smartphone, processor upgrade, new type of connector or any dozens of other developments that never seem to stop.

With technology arriving this quickly, information about how to use it correctly can come and go just as fast. Yesterday's standard operating procedure is tomorrow's mistake. And what used to be good advice for avoiding danger might not be relevant anymore.

Today, we're going to tackle seven persistent tech myths that started out good, but that you really shouldn't believe anymore. These cover the range from battery charging to data disposal to privacy and general tech buying. How many of these did you already know?

1. You shouldn't charge your gadget overnight

Many people are afraid to charge their phone or tablet overnight because they think it might overcharge and destroy the battery. I also field this question from people worried about leaving laptops plugged in 24/7.

Fortunately, you can stop worrying. Modern electronics automatically stop before the battery overcharges. As long as you don't put your smartphone under your pillow, or stab a battery with a kitchen knife, you're OK. Learn more about battery safety and how to make your batteries last longer.

2. Don't use third-party chargers

There is a difference between knockoff chargers and third-party chargers. A third-party charger is an Apple- or Android-compatible charger from a reputable company like Belkin or Monoprice.

Third-party chargers are OK to buy. Just know that, in general, they won't charge your gadget as quickly or reliably as a maker’s official charger.

Knockoff chargers usually don't have a brand name, or they say they're from Apple, Samsung, HTC, etc., but have a ridiculously low price. Knockoffs are often responsible for the horror stories you hear about gadgets bursting into flames or electrocuting users. Avoid them at all costs.

Your safest choice is to buy your charger directly from the gadget manufacturer. You should also know the signs of a shady gadget charger.

3. You have to let your battery drain to zero before charging

Nickel-Cadmium batteries, which used to be a staple of home electronics, had a "memory effect." That meant if you didn't drain them fully before each charging, they'd eventually stop holding as much electricity.

The Lithium-ion batteries that have replaced them in modern gadgets don't have that problem. In fact, Li-ion batteries last longest when you keep them between 40% and 80% charged. Also, if you let Li-ion batteries discharge completely for too long, they can be permanently damaged or become dangerous as we explain here.

But Li-ions do have one challenge. The batteries have a built-in sensor that tells your gadget how much electricity is left in the battery. Over time, that stops matching up with the battery's actual charge. To reset it, you have to charge the Li-ion battery to full, let it run down to the point where your gadget gives you a serious battery warning and then charge it back up to full again. However, this only needs to be done every three months or so.

For some gadgets, you might not need to do it at all. Apple used to recommend this process but now says it is no longer needed. Check your gadget's manual to see if it has any specific directions.

4. Always shut down your computer at night

This myth goes all the way back to the early days of computers. Back then, computer parts, especially hard drives, wore out much faster than they do today. So, the idea was that to make your computer last longer, you should always shut it down at night. Some people still cling to that concept, and there is a little grain of truth in it.

However, modern computers have more-robust parts, which means you can let them run with little to no problem. Whether you shut down your computer nightly now just comes down to personal preference. If you want your computer to do things like back up, update or other intensive tasks, you can schedule them at night while you are not using your system.

If you're concerned about saving energy, turn it off. Or you can use one of your computer's many power-saving modes, which are faster for getting it going again in the morning.

5. You need to defragment your hard drive

This is a myth that used to be true, but no longer is. Given the way conventional magnetic hard drives read and write data, over time bits of data that should be next to each other get jumbled. So, to pull up a file, the drive would have to travel to 15 different places instead of 1 or 2, which slows down your system.

It used to be that you'd occasionally need to manually run a utility to defrag your system. Now, that function is built into Windows and other major operating systems, and it's run it automatically as needed. There's no need for you to do a thing.

In fact, defragmenting can even cause a problem if you're using a solid-state hard drive. Not only do SSDs not have fragmentation problems, the memory cells are only good for a certain number of reads and writes. Running a defragmenting program just wears out your drive faster.

6. You can completely wipe data

Hopefully, you know that when you delete a file from your computer it isn't gone for good. It's still hanging around on your hard drive waiting for another file to overwrite it. Until that happens, you can recover it.

That's a problem if you're selling or giving away a computer; you never know what information a computer-savvy person can pull from the system. You need to make sure the data is gone for good, but how?

In the olden days of magnetic media with early hard drives and floppy disks, waving a magnet over the drive or disk would do the job. However, modern hard drives are much more resistant to magnetism, so that won't work.

The generally accepted way to wipe your information is with a program that overwrites your hard drive with random data several times. That way, there isn't anything to recover. Learn the detailed steps to wipe your computer or mobile gadget here.

That's fine for conventional drives, but because of the way solid-state drives work, both in computers and mobile gadgets, you can never be sure you've gotten everything. Mobile gadgets do include a reset feature, and many SSDs come with their own wiping software. However, something might get missed.

In most cases, no one is going to go looking for what's been left behind, or get anything too important. However, if you're really worried, you can keep your gadgets at home and use them for other projects. You can also remove your hard drive from the computer before giving it away and store it, turn it into an external drive, destroy it, or make art with it.

Interesting fact: Since 2007, the federal government mandates that for hard drives and other media that have contained classified material, the only option is to completely wipe and then destroy them.

7. Private browsing is totally private

Every Web browser has a private mode. When private browsing mode is on, the browser won't record where you go and it wipes most of the information someone using the computer could use to piece together your online travels.

In Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari, you enter private browsing mode using the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + P (CTRL + OPTION + P on Mac). In Chrome, you use CTRL + SHIFT + N (OPTION + SHIFT + N on Macs). Click here to learn more about private browsing and how you know you're in private browsing mode.

What you might not know is that private browsing isn’t foolproof. It doesn't hide your browsing from your Internet service provider, the sites you visit or any law enforcement that happens to be watching. Ditto if there’s a logger on the computer or the router is set to record sites visited. Like most things in tech, private only means that it’s harder to find.

Bonus: More is always better

This is a general myth that tech manufacturers love because it boosts sales. However, it isn't always true, and sometimes more can even hurt you.

You might be deciding between a laptop with a 256 gigabyte solid-state hard drive and a 1 terabyte conventional hard drive. A 1TB drive is four times larger, but an SSD is much faster and more reliable. Plus, most people rarely even fill up a 256GB hard drive.

Similarly, you shouldn't automatically buy the camera with more megapixels or the smartphone with the highest-resolution screen. In a camera, image quality is as much about the size of the image sensor as the number of megapixels.

With smartphone screens, after a certain point you can't tell the difference in resolution (and most high-end and mid-range smartphones are past that point). However, a higher-resolution screen burns battery life faster.

How much money you get for recycling your iPhone by John Wenz, Popular Mechanics

From Popular Mechanics                                                                                                                                                   Maybe you had an iPhone 4 then jumped to an iPhone 6. Maybe you were the first in line for the iPad Pro and left your old tablet in a drawer somewhere. Or maybe you gave it all up and left an iPhone behind for the arms of the Android Army. Whatever the reason, you may have an old Apple product sitting around, and if it’s in decent shape, Apple may just take it back and give you a little money (or more accurately, Apple Gift Cards) for it.
The Apple Renew program and its Liam recycling robot were a big part of the Apple event this week. It’s essentially a recycling program in which Apple will take your devices and scrap them for parts. It’s a partnership with Brightstar, and phones in good working shape will catch some decent money. Be warned, though, that if your phone or tablet or computer has anything beyond normal wear and tear, you’ll be able to recycle it for free but Apple won’t give you any trade-in value. (That leaves me without a dime for the iPhone 5c I dropped on the bathroom floor, shattering the screen.)
Head on over to this site Apple set up where you can arrange to turn in your phone and see how much you’ll get for it. The value ranges from $50 for iPhone 4s in good shape to $300 for a 6S Plus. Apple will take your old iPads for anywhere from $65 to $225. Renew also will accept some MacBooks and even newer Windows computer-probably part of the big push we saw this week from Apple, which wants Windows users to upgrade to iPad Pros. Trade-in values for those can vary wildly.

If your device is broken, never fear. At the very least Apple will recycle it for you in any of their stores, leaving you with an easy way to avoid putting your device in the garbage and letting it become e-waste. There are other sites online where you can get a little cash for them, too, but only a little. So it’s up to you whether you want to try to get rid of it by Apple recycling or by an online store. Either way, please don’t just throw it away.

Why you shouldn’t buy an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus Daniel Howley

Apple’s new iPhone SE hits the market next week. With a starting price of $399 unlocked, it’s going to be one heck of a deal, especially if you’ve been looking for a new smartphone that actually fits in your hand.

Of course, if you do want something larger, there’s the equally powerful, though more expensive, iPhone 6s. And if you’re looking for a really big-screen handset, you can opt for the iPhone 6s Plus.

Updated to reflect that the iPhone SE has a 1.2-megapixel front camera.
Which leaves the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple’s oldest smartphones were already looking a little long in the tooth, thanks to the 6s and 6s Plus. And now with the SE, they look positively ancient.
In fact, at this point you’re probably better off avoiding the 6 and 6 Plus altogether. Here’s why.

They’ll get slower faster

OK, so the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are old, but they’re basically the same as the 6s and 6s Plus, right? Actually, they aren’t. While the 6 and 6 Plus look exactly like those newer offerings on the outside, they’re far different on the inside.

The 6 and 6 Plus come with Apple’s A8 processor and M8 coprocessor; the 6s and 6s Plus come with the company’s A9 processor and M9 coprocessor. That might not seem like a big deal right now. 
But if you’re buying a new phone and you’re going to stick with it for two years or more, buying one with outdated innards like the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus means that, by the time you’re ready for a new phone, your current one will likely be slowing to a crawl.

Sure, the 6s and 6s Plus will eventually become slow and outdated, too. But two years from now they’ll be running far better than the 6 or 6 Plus.

Camera envy

The iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and SE all come with the same 12-megapixel iSight camera. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, on the other hand, still use Apple’s older eight-megapixel camera. Naturally, photos should look a bit crisper when taken with the 6s, 6s Plus, or SE than those shot with the 6 or 6 Plus.

The iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, come with improved 5-megapixel Face Time cameras. The 6 and 6 Plus come with Apple’s older 1.2-megapixel Face Time cameras.
If you’re the kind of person who loves taking selfies, then the 6s and 6s Plus are far better choices than the 6 and 6 Plus. Not only will images look sharper and offer more detail.

The iPhone SE, as well as the 6s and 6s Plus also also have Apple’s new Retina flash, which uses the display as a flash to light up shots taken in low-light settings.

Display differences

Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, like the 6s and 6s Plus, come with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays, respectively. The only difference between all those screens is that those on the 6s and 6s Plus support Apple’s 3D Touch technology, which lets you press harder on the phones’ displays to access secondary app menus.

Sure, images and videos will look exactly the same on the 6 and 6s and 6 Plus and 6s Plus. But 3D Touch is a genuinely helpful feature that more and more app makers will likely take advantage of in the coming years. If you buy a 6 or 6 Plus, you’ll lose out on those advantages.
On the flip side of things, if you were thinking about upgrading to the iPhone 6 from your iPhone 5s because you wanted a faster phone but not necessarily a larger screen, you’ve now got the iPhone SE. So you can get your faster phone without having to upsize.

The price is … wrong

Price is the real reason the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are now pointless. With the introduction of the $400 iPhone SE, consumers now have a high-powered, low-cost iPhone.  
If you want a bigger screen on your handset, you’ve got the $650 iPhone 6s. And if you want the biggest possible screen, you can opt for the $750 iPhone 6s Plus.

The iPhone 6, meanwhile, costs $550, while the 6 Plus costs $650. Yes, they’re still $100 less expensive than the 6s and 6s Plus, but you’re getting a lot of added functionality and longevity for that extra cost. If you really want to save some cash, you’re way better off buying the relatively inexpensive iPhone SE, with its improved performance and camera.

In other words: There really doesn’t seem to be any good reason to choose the 6 or 6 Plus over one of Apple’s other phones.

Email Daniel at; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

Review: iPhone SE puts the same engine in a smaller exterior by David Pogue

On March 31, you’ll be able to buy the newest member of the iPhone family: the iPhone SE.

What does SE stand for? Apple says Special Edition, but you could also sum it up this way: Same Engine, Smaller Exterior. Because Apple has crammed the chips, guts, and camera of the iPhone 6s into the crisp-cornered body of the tiny iPhone 5s.

On one hand, Apple now seems to be following the Samsung model of spewing out phones and tablets in every conceivable size, rather than innovating in more substantial ways.

On the other hand, Apple is correct that a certain chunk of the population doesn’t like the jumbo-ification of smartphones, such as the big iPhone 6s and even bigger 6s Plus. Some people, small of hands, still cling to the three-year-old iPhone 5s (with its 4-inch screen) despite the gigantic improvements in speed, camera power, and wireless abilities in the newer phones.
Three things about the SE are newsworthy: First, the battery life is about 30 percent better than the iPhone 6s’s (good for 13 hours of Web browsing, Apple says) — a side effect of having a screen the same size as the 5s.

Second, at $400 without a contract (for the 16GB model), the iPhone SE is the least expensive iPhone that Apple has ever offered. Finally, with its 4-inch screen, the SE is now the smallest brand-name smartphone sold in America.
The SE is loaded with features (Apple Pay, Live Photos, fingerprint unlocking, 4K video recording, hands-free “Hey Siri” voice commands, and more), but not a single one of them is new in the SE.
It actually lacks one modern feature of the iPhone 6s: It doesn’t have 3D Touch, which makes shortcut menus pop up when you apply additional pressure to the iPhone 6s’s screen. (Compared with the 6s, the SE screen isn’t quite as colorful, the front camera not quite as good, and the fingerprint reader isn’t quite as fast, either.)

In other words, a review of the iPhone SE would, for all intents and purposes, be a re-review of the iPhone 6s. Therefore, to save us both time and effort, here’s what I said about the 6s, in lightly updated form. After all: If Apple can recycle its finest ideas, why can’t I? (You can skip to the final paragraph for my final thoughts on the new phone.)

Things you’ll appreciate all day long

The biggest new thing is speed.

The  processor inside: Apple says it’s “up to 70 percent” faster than the iPhone 6. Opening apps, switching apps, processing things — it all happens faster.

Apple also says that it has tuned both its Wi-Fi and its cellular (LTE) antennas to make them faster. This, too, is screamingly obvious when you call up websites side-by-side on the old and new phones. Who doesn’t like faster Internet?

Things you’ll appreciate occasionally

Apple makes much of the iPhone’s new camera. It takes 12-megapixel photos, up from 8. And it can capture 4K video (that is, four times the resolution of high definition).

But as Apple itself has pointed out many times, having more megapixels does not mean you take better photos. More megapixels can be useful when you want to crop a wide photo down to a smaller subject and still have enough resolution for a print. Otherwise, more megapixels just means bigger files — and your phone will fill up faster.

I’ve been taking lots of pictures in lots of lighting situations with the old and new cameras side by side, and I can’t tell any difference. Can you?
(Hint: The iPhone SE photos are on the right.)

Now, it’s not a slam to say that photos taken with the SE don’t look any better than those captured on an iPhone 6 or 5s; the iPhone’s camera was already among the best ever put into a phone. But you shouldn’t expect a leap forward in most of your shots.

As for the 4K video: Once again, not much to write home about. First, because more pixels in a video doesn’t mean it’s a better video; the only guarantee is that it eats up more storage on your phone. (Fortunately, you can turn off 4K recording in Settings.)

Second, because you probably don’t have anywhere to play the 4K video you’ve captured with this phone! Paradoxically, iPhone itself doesn’t have enough pixels to play 4K video. And don’t think you can wirelessly beam them to your television using an Apple TV; even the new Apple TV can’t handle 4K programming.

(You can post your 4K video to YouTube, although very few people can play them back in 4K.)
But there is one camera enhancement that’s pretty awesome: the selfie-screen flash.

The new iPhone offers a “flash” for taking selfies. At the moment you take the shot, the screen lights up to illuminate your face. Better yet: It samples the ambient room light and adjusts the color of the screen’s “flash” to give your face the best flesh tones.

This trick — flashing the screen — is inherited from the Photo Booth app on the Mac. It’s been flashing MacBook screens white to light up your face for years.

Of course, the iPhone screen is too tiny to supply much light, even at full brightness. So Apple developed a custom chip with a single purpose: to overclock the screen. In selfie situations, the screen blasts at three times its usual full brightness, just for a fraction of a second. It is crazy bright.

(It’d be cool if you could turn that on manually — to improvise illumination for an emergency plane landing, for example. But you’d burn out your screen and eat up your battery charge.)

Anyway, it works fantastically well. Compared with phones with no front-facing flash, or compared with other phones’ noncolor-corrected flashes, the iPhone 6s’s front-facing screen flash is clever and effective. Every time you take a flash selfie, the results are as clear-cut and dramatic as this comparison:

And one thing that’ll make you scratch your head

The other much-touted feature is something called Live Photos: still photos that play back as three seconds of video, with sound.

What you’re getting is 1.5 seconds before the moment you snapped the photo, plus 1.5 seconds after. (During this 3-second capture period, a LIVE indicator glows on your screen.) In the phone’s Camera app, there’s a special icon at the top; that’s the on/off switch for Live Photo capturing. (The factory setting is On.)
Your obvious concern might be: “Whoa, Nellie! 12-megapixel photos? At 30 frames a second, that’s 90 frames, each 12 megapixels — 90 times as much storage as a still image!”

Well, no. The actual photo you snapped is a full 12-megapixel shot. But the other frames of the Live Photo animation are only screen resolution — not even one megapixel per frame. Overall, Apple says, an entire Live Photo (still, video, sound) takes up about twice as much space as a still photo.

(The downside of that clever compression scheme: You can’t extract a full-resolution still image from one of the video frames. That’d be cool.)

Behind the scenes, a Live Photo has two elements: a 12-megapixel JPEG still image and a 3-second QuickTime movie.

When you try to share a Live Photo, a special icon reminds you that you’re sending a larger-than-usual file. You can tap to turn it off (and therefore send only the JPEG):
If you decide to proceed with the Live Photo turned on, what happens next? Depends on what kind of device receives it. If it’s running the latest Apple software (iOS 9 or OS X El Capitan), the Live Photo video plays on that gadget, too. Facebook accommodates Live Photo playback, too.

If it’s a device or software program that doesn’t know about Live Photos — you send it as a text message, for example, or open it in Photoshop — only the JPEG image arrives at the other end.
This whole three-second video business isn’t new. HTC’s version, back in 2013, was called Zoe; Nokia’s, last year, was called Living Images. Pocket cameras like the Nikon 1 have a dedicated button just for capturing them.

Maybe Apple was inspired by the popularity of animated GIFs, or 6-second Vine videos, or 15-second Instagram clips. I’m not exactly sure what you’d use Live Photos for, or how they’re an improvement over a video clip you’ve shortened yourself — but then again, I’m not one of those crazy snake people.

A new era of pricing

You can get the iPhone SE for “free” with a two-year contract from Verizon or Sprint. It’s available in four colors of metal back: silver, gray, gold, and rose gold.
“Free,” of course, is a subsidized price; you’re paying off the phone’s actual price over the two years.

Nowadays, more people prefer to buy the phone outright and pay monthly only for cell service. For that, it’s $400 for the iPhone SE; add $100 to get four times the storage (64 GB). You should definitely do that; 16 gigs won’t get you far. (And why doesn’t Apple offer the most logical, in-beween capacity, 32 gigabytes? Insert your own evil conspiracy theory here.)

But there’s a third way to do it: Rent the phone. Each cell carrier — and now, Apple itself — is prepared to lease you your phone. You pay nothing up front, and then you pay a monthly equipment fee of around $16.50 a month. (That’s T-Mobile’s and AT&T’s price for a two-year rental. The other carriers haven’t yet announced their pricing.)

What SE really stands for

The $400 for this Smartphone Extraordinaire is a Smart Expenditure. On one hand, it still has the Sharp Edges of the iPhone 5s, and its addition to the lineup will remind critics of Samsung’s Excess. On the other hand, its 1.5-day battery life means that it only Sips Energy. This is a piece of very Solid Equipment, even if it is a Special Edition for people with Small Extremities.

iOS 9.3 isn’t trouble free: Links crashing, Activation issues, and more by Julian Chokkattu, Digital Trends

With every update to a new operating system comes a few kinks and bugs. However, iOS 9.3 seems to be causing a lot of problems for some users. Last week, some people who updated their devices to iOS 9.3 had trouble getting into their phone. This week, devices seem to be crashing when you try to open links in apps like Safari, Notes, and Chrome.

We’ve put together the common problems that keep cropping up in iOS 9.3 in this post, as well as common iOS 9 problems and how to solve them (read the iOS 9 troubleshooting guide here).

Crashing links

Hundreds of users have posted in an Apple Support thread that they are able to open links in various apps. The app will even freeze afterward. For some, nothing happens when they click a link, and for others, tapping and holding links causes the device to crash.

@AppleSupport I have a problem with opening links in Safari in iOS 9.3 iPhone 6S.
— ieYee (@ieYeeM) March 28, 2016

Many of the people who are reporting the bug seem to be having issues on the iPhone 6, 6S, and 6S Plus, but there are some people having the same problem on earlier devices and some iPad models. The bug isn’t solely restricted to iOS 9.3, either, as some people on 9.2.1 and other versions are having similar issues.

Some users are saying that turning off Javascript in Safari fixes the problem in the browser. However, the bug still persists with other apps like Mail and third-party apps.

9to5Mac reports that the problem may be caused by installing third-party apps, as the issue only appeared after a third-party app was installed on an unaffected iPhone 6 and iPad Pro and the problem lingered after the app was uninstalled.

@AppleSupport received a lot of tweets from frustrated people citing the same issue and is asking those who’ve been affected to direct message the support team, so it can better assist them.

According to some users in the support thread, the Cupertino company is aware of the issue and is working on an update within the next two days. We have reached out to Apple and will confirm if this is true.

Activation issue

Apple has already released a fix for the activation issue in a new version of iOS 9.3, build 13E237, which you can download over the air or via iTunes. We’ve also put in a work around for people who are still having trouble or have yet to download the update.

The bug affects iPhone 5S devices and earlier, as well as iPad Air devices and earlier. Your iOS device will essentially ask for a password to authorize your account and complete the update process. For some people, they couldn’t get their devices to activate, and the message, “activation server is temporarily unavailable” appeared onscreen.

Apple addressed the issue in a support page on its website, offering steps for users to get around the problem, as well as a firmware update. The build number initially changed from 13E233 to 135236, and now it’s on 13E237. It should solve the problem and allow easy upgrading for those with older devices.

If you’re having trouble, try signing into iCloud and confirm that your device is listed in the My Devices section. If that doesn’t work, try connecting your device to a computer and open iTunes. If you have the latest version of iTunes, select your device and there should be an Activate button near your device name. You then just need to enter your Apple ID and password.

We’ll update this post as we hear about more iOS 9.3 bugs and fixes for them.

Free photo editors turn your pictures into masterpieces By Komando Staff

Capturing a great photo is like capturing lightning in a bottle. You don't get a second chance at it so you better get it right the first time.

At least that's the way it used to be. Thanks to digital photo editors, you can fix little mistakes and turn ho-hum pictures into fantastic photos.
The programs listed here range from user-friendly to advanced. They're all free, so you can find the right one for you. Here we go: was originally created as a free replacement for Microsoft's Paint. Like Paint, is really easy to use, and it's extremely useful.

It lets you add text, paint, patterns, shapes and gradients to any photograph. It also includes tons of features that let you sharpen, blur or remove grain and noise. But the best part about is that if you mess up, you can revert back to your original photo.

Note: Google is phasing out its photo-editing program Picasa. Now, you can edit all your photos on the website Google Photos.

GIMP was designed as a free alternative to Photoshop. In case you don't know, Photoshop is a powerful and expensive photo-editing tool that's widely used by professional photographers.

GIMP can do almost anything Photoshop can do, including adding layers, filters, and more. It can save files in Photoshop's PSD format. Plus, it's open-source software, which means it's being updated and improved all the time.

RawTherapee is a free, full-featured RAW editor that lets you do the same things as pricey programs such as Adobe Lightroom. You should double check to make sure that your camera's file formats are supported by RawTherapee and that you download the correct version of the software.

If you have a DSLR camera, you may be taking photos in a RAW file format. These are sometimes called "digital negatives" because they contain the unprocessed data from the image sensor of a camera.

These files have more detail and a wider dynamic range. You can also edit white balance and exposure after you've taken a photo. But you'll need special software to view them and to edit them.

Luminance HDR was designed to create high dynamic range photos from multiple photos of one image taken at different exposures. You'll be able to tone map (adjust colors), rotate, resize and much more.

Film captures a wider range of luminance than most digital devices. You can achieve that same look for digital photos using HDR imaging found on some cameras, or photo-editing software like Luminance HDR.

Fotor is a free download for PCs, Macs and smartphones that can turn basic snapshots into colorful masterpieces. It just takes a few clicks and there's hardly any learning curve. You can add effects to any photo, create brilliant collages or customize photo cards for the holidays.

What’s the best free scanner app for your smartphone? by David Pogue

There was a great Huffington Post post a couple years ago: a Radio Shack ad from 1991, accompanied by the comment that every single product in it has now been replaced by the smartphone. You know: camera, radio, clock, calculator, camcorder, and so on.

One particular 1991-era appliance wasn’t in that Radio Shack ad, but should have been: a scanner.
Turns out your iPhone or Android phone is fantastic for “scanning” contracts, articles, book pages, receipts, sheet music, driving directions, recipes, and anything else on paper. All you need is the right free app.
Now, do me a favor: Don’t reply, “Why would I need a scanning app? I can just take a photo with my phone!”

It’s really not the same thing.

A good scanning app can recognize when a page is framed properly and snap the shot automatically. It can straighten, rotate, and un-warp the image to produce a tidy, perfectly rectangular page. It plays with the color, brightness, and contrast to eliminate shading and shadows, leaving you with a PDF that you can email or upload to Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, or another storage service.

Some of these apps can even perform OCR (optical character recognition) on the scan — meaning they can convert a picture of text into actual text, which you can then edit, copy, or paste into another app. This is fantastically useful if you’re a student, researcher, lawyer, or any other kind of literate person.

It’s hard to express how happy people are with their scanning apps; I mean, they rave about them. Look at these reviews on the iTunes app store:

What to look for

I’ve just spent several days testing no fewer than 18 of these scanning apps. (Correct: I have no life.) In the course of that testing, I came up with a master list of 14 features that I think those apps should have — and I discovered that it’s very hard to find one app that offers all of them. Ready?
  1. Free.
  2. Automatically finds the borders of the page.
  3. Automatically straightens, rotates, and de-skews the page.
  4. Lets you readjust the cropping later.
  5. Lets you specify the page size for the result (letter, legal, A4, etc.).
  6. Rapid-fire batch mode (snap one page after another without pausing to process each one).
  7. Password-protects documents.
  8. Generates multipage PDFs.
  9. Provides brightness/contrast adjustments.
  10. Supports annotation (draw on or sign a document).
  11. Exports to all the usual places (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, etc.).
  12. Faxes directly from the app.
  13. Automatically saves each scan to a chosen location (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.).
  14. Converts the picture to actual typed text (OCR).
Life is short, so I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of my incredibly boring journey through Genius Scan, Genius Scan+, Google Drive, Scanner Mini, Scanner Pro, iScanner, iScanner Pro, Scannable, DocScan, DocScan Pro, TurboScan, CamScanner, CamScanner Premium, iScanner, ScanBot, ScanBot Pro, JotNot Pro, and Fast Scanner.

Instead, I’ll just share with you my findings:
  • There are lots of terrific scanning apps. Many come in both free and paid versions. Sometimes the differences are minor: For example, you can email scans from any of them, but often only the pro (paid) versions let you save your scans to Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on.
  • The more features it has, the more complicated it becomes. Just try figuring out how to add pages to a scan you made yesterday, for example.
  • Step count matters. Some of these apps do a lot, but you have to tap your way through them — and there are lots and lots of taps. And each of those taps is another decision point for you, another pause, another moment of having to think. Automated is better.
Compare here, for example, the manual, tap-when-you’re-ready apps (like Genius Scan) to the ones that automate the procedure (like Evernote Scannable):

That said, for the sake of simplicity, here are the apps that offer the best combination of simplicity and automation:

Best free app (iPhone, Android): ScanBot

This app can do finger-free scanning: Just aim and wait as ScanBot auto-detects, auto-straightens, and auto-snaps each page.

Further distinguishing this app is the fact that you can set up one-tap “workflows” such as Send by Email or Save to Dropbox. In fact, you can specify an auto-upload folder on those services (Dropbox, iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Evernote, OneDrive, OneNote, Box, WebDAV, FTP, and others.)

You can use the LED light on your phone to illuminate your page; there’s built-in Help; you can specify file size and resolution, and there are one-tap buttons for naming your scans (after the time and date, your location, and so on).

You can upgrade to two levels of Pro, each of which adds even more Holy Grail.
For $6, you get impressive OCR; annotations; a truly superb signing feature (for contracts); automatic file naming, and Quick Actions (tap a phone number in the scanned text to dial it, a URL to open that Web page, or an address to see it in your Maps app).

For $8, you get all that, plus auto-upload; the option to password-protect the app (or, on the iPhone, protect it with your TouchID fingerprint); and automatic smart file naming.

Two peculiarities to note: First, on the iTunes app store, if you search for the name ScanBot, the name of the app that comes up is different:
But yes, that’s the app you want.

Second, you won’t find Pro versions listed in the app stores. Just get the free one, and then use in-app purchases to upgrade.

ScanBot has more “Please Wait” messages between steps than some rivals, and it lacks the rapid-fire, uninterrupted batch shooting of CamScanner (described below). But overall, this is the smartest, most complete free scanning app you can install.

Most polished app (iPhone): Evernote Scannable

This is a beautiful, fast, idiot-proof scanning app. You point the phone at page after page — without ever touching the screen — and marvel as it auto-recognizes the page, snaps it, straightens and parses it, all by itself. You don’t have to tap at all until all your pages have been snapped. And even then, all you do is tap a little checkmark to finish.

Easy to use? That’s for sure. There are only two screens in this app: The one where you snap things, and the one where you look at the resulting documents:
Scannable gives you the option of turning on your phone’s LED for better lighting, or making your phone vibrate for scan confirmation.

You can send your scans to any app listed on the standard iOS Share sheet: Send by Mail, Messages, Notes, Dropbox, or iCloud Drive.

And, as you’d expect, every scan can be auto-saved to Evernote, the powerful free note-keeping app.

There is, however, one very weird limitation with this app: It auto-deletes every scan after 30 days. Because Scannable was designed to be a hungry, hungry hippo for feeding Evernote, that shouldn’t matter; everything you scan can be safely stashed the moment you take it — in Evernote.
But if you’re not an Evernote person, the 30-day thing means that you should export or email each scan while you’re thinking about it.

The most features (iOS, Android): CamScanner

If I were a spy, having to snap multiple pages of the enemy’s secret nuclear plans with only 30 seconds in their vault, this is the app I’d want. Its batch mode lets you snap page after page with no intermediate screens, no pause to save, and no “processing” cursor. It’s great at scanning lots of pages fast.

It doesn’t snap the pages automatically, though — you have to tap the shutter button for each capture.

Otherwise, though, this is an elaborate system, full of features that no other app offers. You can invite colleagues to comment on your scans, sync your scans across devices, send people a link to download your scan, add notes to a scan. There’s a full-blown drawing tool, so that you can sign or annotate a screen.

Incredibly, there’s even OCR. CamScanner can analyze the scan and turn it into typed text. In the free version, alas, all that gets you is the ability to search your scans for a certain phrase. To export or edit the OCR’d text, you have to upgrade to the Premium version.

Distressingly, that Premium is a subscription: $5 a month, or $50 a year. (Rival apps, like Scanner Pro, have a one-time cost of just $4.) In addition to the OCR export feature, CamScanner Premium gets you 10 GB of online storage, the option to auto-upload every scan to Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, or OneDrive, and more.

The heartbreaker is that the free version stamps “Scanned by CamScanner” at the bottom of every page. If it weren’t for that, CamScanner would easily be the best free cross-platform scanning app.

Honorable mention (iPhone, Android): Scanner Mini, Scanner Pro

Here’s another free app that stands out for its fully automatic snapping. It’s super cool to watch the app find the page you’re scanning and then auto-frame it:

The app is also easy to figure out, gives you the option of using flash, and the scan quality is great.
Unfortunately, the free version offers only two export options: send the resulting PDF or JPEG by email, or save it to your camera roll.

If you’re willing to pay $4 (ooh! scary!), though, you can upgrade to the new Scanner Pro 7, which gets you the whole enchilada: the ability to upload to Evernote, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox, and very good OCR.

Free OCR through Google Drive (iPhone, Android)

If you use the Google Drive app on your phone, you already have a scanning app — with OCR! But you’ll never find it without some directions, so here we go:

In the app, tap the round red + button, then tap Scan. (On the iPhone, there’s no Scan button; try tapping Use Camera, which works almost as well.)

The scanning process is very basic: nothing is automated, and you can’t adjust the crop or perspective of the result.

But here’s the great part: Everything you scan automatically and instantly appears on your Google Drive, your free 15 GB “hard drive in the sky.”

And here’s the really great part: Once you’re looking at your Google Drive list, you can right-click the scanned document, choose Open with -> Google Docs — and read the interpreted, OCR’d text!
The words OCR never appear anywhere (probably because most people don’t know what that is). But yeah, that’s all you have to do: Open with -> Google Docs.

Now that you know about this trick, you know that you can, in effect, add OCR to any scanning app. Just direct the result to Google Drive, and boom: You can use Google’s online OCR feature for free.

Microsoft Office Lens

Here’s the world’s simplest scanning app — a perfect solution for the easily overwhelmed. It’s free and it’s available for iPhone, Android, and (of course) Windows Phone.

The app automatically finds and frames the page, with excellent precision and very cool animation. You tap the Snap button, then you tap Done. You can then send the scanned page to OneNote, or convert it to a Word or PowerPoint file. (If you scan a business card, there’s some basic OCR that extracts the contact info into a VCF file — which you can, with some effort, add to your contact list.)

But there’s no way to capture a multipage document, and there are no security features, no option to edit borders manually, no brightness or contrast adjustments, no annotation or signature features, and no additional export options.

Scan these options

If you’ve never tried a scanning app, you’re in for a real treat.

For occasional use only, grab Evernote Scannable (iPhone only); it’s so simple and fast, it doesn’t matter if you only use it once every couple of months.

Otherwise, check out either Scanner Mini or Cam Scanner, both free and available for iPhone or Android. You’re already carrying a camera, radio, alarm clock, calculator, and camcorder in your pocket; surely there’s room in there for a scanner.

David Pogue is the founder of Yahoo Tech; here’s how to get his columns by email. On the Web, he’s On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s He welcomes non-toxic comments in the Comments below.