Mobile apps and games have always had their share of problems, and it’s not going to stop any time soon. Exposure, pricing, cloning, advertising, cloning clones, freemium monetization, etc – there are a ton of little (and big) things to worry about every time you put something up on the App Store. Heck, simply getting noticed by review sites in the first place can be a monumental task.
The unfortunate reality is that there are no guarantees. Sometimes legitimately great apps and games will fade into obscurity before they even had a chance. It can be disheartening. It can be downright frustrating, even. Another unfortunate reality is that there are people out there who would use a developer’s desperation and frustration to make a quick buck.
Things have changed in Berk, the fantasy Viking village of DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon series. Dragons and Vikings, once mortal enemies, now must learn to live together in peace. Dragons: Rise of Berk lets players manage dragon-Viking relations first hand, and here are some tips for keeping everyone happy and prosperous.
Reign of Fire
Obviously, dragons play a pretty big role in a game named after them, and they’re good for much more than just flying and fire-breathing. Here’s how to put them to work.
To get started, level up Toothless by feeding him tasty fish. Once he’s strong enough, you can then send him out to search nearby islands for more dragons eggs. Get a Whispering Death on Bashem or maybe a Scauldron on Unlandable Cove.
After hatching an egg, place your new baby dragon wherever there is room and feed them until they level up and reach adult size. You can also train dragons by sending them to the academy for a few minutes.
Adult dragons can independently perform many tasks around Berk, and as they grow they learn new skills such as how to gather resources like fish and lumber. Having more dragons at your command also increases Berk’s ability to expand.
Now that the sequel to the widely lauded Civilization Revolution is finally upon us, it seems high time to fill you all in on the best ways to lay siege to the world for a second time. But as any diehard Civilization fan already knows, the long and winding road to victory can be fraught with countless twists and turns. Hopefully, if you take a few of these hints to heart, you might be able to alleviate a few of those first devastating defeats.
Research Unlocks All Doors
No matter what the objective in the specific scenario being played, research will eventually be the key to success. Here are a trio of key research concepts to keep in mind as the battle progresses:
In many cases, the other civilizations on the map are slow to expand outward. Take advantage of that time to pour extra gathering units into pulling in as many research points as possible early on. You will reap the benefits as the eras advance.
Though the game does tout its ability to shift gears throughout the research trees, it is still best to put focus one specific area, with specific end goals in sight. Only after exhausting one avenue of advancement in an era is it really beneficial to branch out into other paths.
There are great late-game payouts for each research tree, so make sure to check out the flowchart and find the payouts that will best compliment your playstyle.
The Evolving Role of Cities
As mentioned before, early on it is best to pour the most resources into research. But as time progresses and more cities are added to the empire, the roles of each province should change.
When more settlements are added to the empire, don’t be afraid to move the production of battle or defensive units out towards the borders. Unless roads link the entire empire, transporting units towards the front lines become far more cumbersome than necessary.
It is best to use the more internally located cities as resource mines for pulling in additional research points. The benefits of these advancements can then flow outward, further powering expansion
As cities expand away from the capitol, don’t be afraid to change the production role of a city to better match its geographical location on the map. Try to think about what resources in the area are most beneficial to the whole of the country and if the location should be more focused on offense, or defending the core of the empire
Don’t feel the need to establish settlements as soon as settlers become available. There is nothing wrong with idling these units until a more suitable location is found. Under most circumstances, patience will lead to far more beneficial locations becoming available from either a resource gathering or tactical sense.
Despite the game offering up to four different ways to win a match (cultural, economic, conquest, or scientific) it will be pretty much impossible to win without some form of moderate combat. When heading into battle, it may be best to keep the following things in mind:
Get rid of warriors as soon as possible. They are quasi-useful early on when grouped into armies of 3 units, but their effectiveness wanes quickly.
Evolve unit production along with technology. Don’t be afraid to move away from tried and true unit types you rode heavily (in the case of cavalry units, quite literally) early on in the campaign. All of the enemies will be doing the same, so don’t be the one bringing a catapult to a tank battle.
Don’t be afraid to sacrifice a unit or two if you don’t have any scouts available. There is nothing wrong with sending one of the worthless warriors you have hanging around to the slaughter if it means you will be able to get a read on the level of your opposition. Sometimes it is better to lose a level one troop instead of a mid-level army that could be more effectively used elsewhere. After all, warriors are much cheaper and quicker to produce than the disposable spy units.
Don’t forget to cover your back. Any city that doesn’t have at least one troop stationed within its borders is ripe for the conquering. This is essential to not lose sight of when in the throes of rapid expansion. An unprotected city is essentially like leaving the front door unlocked for anyone to walk in and claim for themselves.
As empires become less centralized, consider using roads as a way to ‘hotlink’ provinces for quickly transferring resources and troops. In the long run it can make the difference between victory and defeat.
Above all else, Civilization Revolution 2 will consistently provide a different experience for every single match. Don’t chain yourself to one specific play style, and you will ultimately be able to harvest far more hours of enjoyment than those intent on pigeonholing themselves into a gameplay corner. So get out there and explore; there’s plenty more to learn and enjoy!
To access it, go to No Save Mode. Access the level select by tapping S-E-G-A on the SEGA logo in that order, then tapping and holding with two fingers on the title screen. Go to the Sound Test, and play tracks 01,09,09,02,01,01,02,04 to unlock debug mode. Then, play 03,03,03,0B,10,10,10,04 in order to unlock Proto Palace, which is accessible by playing the Hidden Palace Zone from the level select. You only get one life and the level eventually warps out as it is incomplete, but now you can explore this beta level for yourself — and with the advanced exploration abilities of Tails and Knuckles. We also have hands-on video of how to enter the code and unlock the level below.
Often, incoming emails can feel like things to do – important items just kind of floating around the inbox until they’re finished. Want to add these emails to the iOS Reminders app so that they can be dealt with in an important place? Well, this is possible by using IFTTT. Here’s how to do just that.
First off, download IFTTT and register an account with the email address that you primarily want to forward items from. Now create a new recipe, which is what IFTTT calls the actions that it executes.
For starters, let’s choose the Mail option. You can choose to forward all mail from your registered email address to the IFTTT trigger email address, or only emails tagged with a certain hashtag.
For the second part of the recipe, choose iOS Reminders. By default, this will add the email subject as a reminder to a list called IFTTT. However, that is an option that can be changed from the IFTTT recipes menu.
Tap on the recipe to open up its options, then tap Edit Recipe. From here you can configure what the reminder title will be, which list it will be added to by manually entering the name of the list, and what, if any, priority the reminder will have. Tap the blue plus sign next to an option to add in specific dynamic text like sender, body text, and more.
Now, if you use Gmail you should use the Gmail channel when setting up your recipe. This adds more options for what can trigger the IFTTT recipe. This can include emails from certain senders, emails with certain labels, starred emails, and more.
What the label trigger can do is make it easy to manage emails using Mailbox. Create a list in Mailbox with the title of your choice. Let’s say it’s Reminders. In IFTTT, have the label that the recipe is added to be [Mailbox]/Reminders. Now, whenever you add an email to that list in Mailbox, that will trigger IFTTT to add it to Reminders.
Now, you have a convenient spot to do things like send replies to emails once they are cleared from reminders. You can create a recipe in IFTTT to send emails when a reminder is completed in that list, but you might want to send more personal replies. Still, it is an option.
Hopefully this helps you get your inbox under a bit more control by utilizing IFTTT’s powers of automation!
One of iOS 7′s new features is the iCloud Keychain. What this allows is for passwords and credit cards stored in AutoFill to be shared between iOS devices and Safari on Mavericks so that you can easily retrieve them without needing to type them in again. It is also engineered to protect your data through an additional security key and two-factor authentication. Here’s how to set it up, use it, and protect yourself.
iCloud Keychain can be set up when setting up a new device, when updating to a new iOS version, or from the iCloud menu in Settings. When setting up for the first time you’ll be asked if you want to enable iCloud Keychain and to create a security code. By creating a security code, this will store the data in iCloud; if you don’t create one it will still allow for data to be shared between devices, but it will not be stored in iCloud and you will need to authenticate a new device from another device with iCloud Keychain enabled on it. Authenticating from another device requires putting in the password to the iCloud account and choosing “Allow” on the dialog that appears.
To save a password or credit card to iCloud Keychain, just log in to a site or use a credit card in Safari. A dialog will pop up asking if you wish to save to the iCloud Keychain. Now, when you try to use a saved login or credit card from another device, Safari can automatically fill it in no matter where it was originally saved from.
It’s important while using iCloud Keychain to have a passcode of some sort on your device. This treats you physically using your device as secure, so make sure that there’s a security mechanism in place to ensure that your device is being used only by yourself or someone you trust. Otherwise someone can easily get access to your passwords and credit cards just by having your unprotected device.
What the security code for iCloud Keychain does is make it simple to sign in to the iCloud Keychain from a new device without needing to log in on that other device. This is a separate code or password from your login passcode, though it can be the same.
By default iCloud Keychain will prompt for a four-digit security key, though it’s possible to either have an advanced security key that can contain letters and numbers, and/or one that is randomly-generated for complexity. If you forget this key, then you can use a second device in order to approve it. It also provides security so that even if someone compromises your iCloud account and wants to set up iCloud Keychain, they still can’t get into your data unless they know the second password or if they have another device of yours that they also know the password to.
If you disable iCloud Keychain on a device by disabling it from the iCloud Settings, you can prompt to save the AutoFill data locally or erase it.
Hopefully this demystifies this very useful feature!
Apple has introduced a way to share files locally with other iOS users in iOS 7, called AirDrop. This allows for users to share photos, documents, and text with other iOS devices with ease. Here’s how to use it.
There are two important things to know about AirDrop: One, it only works with supported devices. These devices are oddly-selected: the original iPad mini can use AirDrop but the iPad 2 cannot despite identical – and technically slightly more powerful – internals. Two, this is different from AirDrop on the Mac despite being named the same, so don’t expect to send files from Mac to iOS.
To use AirDrop, it must first be enabled from Control Center. Swipe up from the bottom and tap on the AirDrop logo. Now, set it to Contacts Only or Everyone. Everyone will allow anyone within Bluetooth range to share files with you, whereas Contacts Only allows only people in your Contacts list to see you when sharing to AirDrop. Note that enabling AirDrop will turn on both wifi and Bluetooth.
To share a file via AirDrop, go to an app that uses the built-in iOS Sharing feature. This is generally indicated by an arrow pointing upward out of a rectangle. You should see the AirDrop description text first. After a short bit, any nearby AirDrop users will appear. They may need to have their device on and unlocked to be discovered. Tap on their picture that appears to share the file to them. Tap again to cancel.
On the receiving end of the AirDrop process, an alert will appear to Accept or Decline the AirDrop. If accepted, the AirDrop content will open up in the appropriate app.
Some uses of AirDrop include sharing photos from Photos, with the ability to share multiple at a time. All photos are saved to the Camera Roll.
Share contacts from Contacts – it’s possible to just temporarily view a contact card to call or email a person based on the contact info given (but not to FaceTime), or to save it to your contacts. This is great in lieu of business card trading. See a cool link in Safari? Share it with AirDrop.
You can share documents from iWork apps like Pages with others, in a variety of formats like PDFs.
More apps will start to use AirDrop as time goes on, particularly as it is an extremely handy way to send files without having to tap devices or share via the web!
The Clock app. Not much to it, right? Wrong. There’s some little tweaks and intricacies that you should know about that can help make this core system app better to use.
The World Clock section can display the times from various cities. Just tap the + in the upper-right corner to add a city. Tap the time to switch between analog and digital clocks. City searching is a bit frustrating in that it only supports a limited number of cities. Thus, for comparing where you are to other world cities, you may need to choose a city in your time zone that isn’t where you are. For example, Lubbock, TX isn’t in the list of cities despite being where I got my start, and the home of America’s dreamiest football coach, Kliff Kingsbury. So, you may need to put in a larger city near you in your time zone. You can also search by country, not just city name, if you just need to find a city in a country somewhere to compare your time to.
The Alarm section of course allows for various alarms to be set, but there’s a variety of options here. Repeat allows for one alarm to be used on a regular basis, so you can set an alarm for weekdays, and one for weekends, or any combination of days, and not have to worry about setting it before you go to sleep. You can also label alarms individually. The Sound function works with songs, alert tones, and ringtones, so you can wake up to whatever you so choose. Snooze can be disabled for those who know that they’d get up way too late if they snooze too much. However, now when you snooze, the lock screen shows how long the snooze is for.
The Stopwatch is a stopwatch. You can use the Lap timer to list any lap times, though the data can’t be copied and exported in any way, unfortunately.
The Timer can be used to set off an alarm a certain number of hours or minutes from whe it is set. It has one incredibly useful feature that you may not be aware of. Think that the When Timer Ends section is just for selecting which alert to play? Nope! Scroll all the way to the bottom and enable Stop Playing and when the timer ends, if you have a music app playing, sound will stop being played. Note that Spotify has a bug with it, but it works for the built-in music app and Pandora. This way, you can fall asleep to music without it wasting power your bandwidth.
And of course, the system time can be set by going to Settings->General->Date & Time. Here you can configure 24-Hour Time to show 13:31 instead of 1:31 PM for example, choose to have the network set the time automatically, and manually choose your time zone, though automatic time setting will try to locate which time zone you’re in automatically. You can enable or disable this in Settings->Privacy->Location Services->System Services->Setting Time Zone.
Hopefully you now know all the useful little things you can do with this otherwise-straightforward function!
Does your job have you responding to lots of emails saying the same basic thing? Create a shortcut with a good canned response to save some time and thought.
Fix common typos
iOS’ built-in autocorrect is useful, but sometimes its autocorrect can try to correct to phrases that aren’t what you want. So, make your common mistake the shortcut, and the corrected version your phrase. This will take preference over autocorrect’s suggestion so you can create your own autocorrections!
As well, autocorrect works for text shortcuts you’ve created. So if you make a typo for a shortcut, autocorrect will fix it to the correct shortcut and correct expanded text. You don’t have to be perfect – just close.
Only use the emoji you want
Like to use certain emoji but hate having the international keyboard button? Well, it’s possible to have only certain emojis be triggered by using a keyboard shortcut. Just enable the emoji keyboard, insert the emoji(s) in the phrase section, and then create a useful shortcut. Want to insert the US flag into tweets? Just create a usflag keyboard shortcut.
You can then disable the emoji keyboard and it will still work – it’s a system font, so it will work even if the keyboard is disabled. This works with any international keyboard, too, though emojis are more fun.
Insert frequently-used URLs
Constantly need to link to something? Set the URL as the phrase and set an easy-to-remember shortcut. This is perfect for reaction images or for, you know, more serious purposes. But mostly for GIFs.
What kind of shortcuts should I use?
Make sure that they’re phrases that don’t conflict with actual words. I like to make six-character shortcuts, usually making the first three relate to the topic of the shortcut, and the last three being something about the shortcut. It needs to be simple, memorable, and short enough to justify you saving time! Note that shortcuts do sync up between iCloud devices, so you don’t have to worry about having to recreate shortcuts when you pick up your other device.
Keyboard text shortcuts are a great way to save time – using them is a great way to make the use of your device more efficient! Go on and be short!
iOS 7 contains two new options for managing contacts: blocked contacts and short names.
Blocking a contact will prevent that contact from calling, messaging, or FaceTiming you. Blocked contacts can be added in two ways: You can do it from a message by tapping the Contact text in the upper-right corner, and then tapping the (i). From Phone or from FaceTime in the Recents list, tap the (i) icon next to the contact.
After tapping the (i), scroll down to Block Caller. Tap this, read the warning text, and then tap Block Contact. This will block the contact. They don’t inherently have to be in your contacts list, you just have to have received a message or call from the number or email address in order to add them to your list.
You can manage your blocked contacts not in the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars section, but from any of the Phone, Messages, or FaceTime sections in Settings.
You can remove blocked contacts from this section, and add new contacts to the list from contacts already in your book.
For the blocked contact, their iMessages will show as delivered, but will not pop up on your device. FaceTime calls will ring on their device, but not on yours. Same with phone calls – your device just pretends that they don’t exist.
Now, for the people that you do want to hear from, one of the new contact options in iOS 7 is the Short Name option. This controls the way that contact names are displayed in apps like Messages. It allows for names to be displayed in a brief way, as opposed to just displaying the whole name entirely.
You can configure Short Name by going to Settings and Mail, Contacts, Calendars. The Short Name icon is under the Contacts header. By default,Short Name is set to display just the first name only, and to prefer nicknames for contacts. The settings are all fairly self-explanatory: having First Name & Last Initial will show my short name as Carter D, for example.
These features should help you manage your contacts in a much better way and make sure the people you don’t want to hear from are ignored, and the people you do are shown in the way you want!
Notification Center may be nothing new to iOS users, but iOS 7 brings a bit of an overhaul to the veritable notification bar. Here’s a guide to what’s new, what’s different, and what’s been removed.
The first big change is that there are now three sections to Notification Center: Today, All, and Missed.
Today replaces many of the widgets that were originally displayed at the top of Notification Center. This shows the current weather in a human-readable forecast, saying what the weather today will be, what the current temperature is, and what the high will be. Below this, Notification Center will tell you what events you have today and show you which events are coming up in the next few hours. Below this, the Stocks widget is displayed. At the bottom, the summary of events for the next day is displayed.
All is the traditional list of notifications: based on how they are sorted in Settings, apps’ recent notifications will all display here as they come in. Tap the X next to an app’s name in this view to clear out all of that app’s notifications.
Missed shows notifications as well, but only ones that appeared while the device was locked. These are not sorted by app, but are sorted purely by when they came in. Clearing the app’s notifications out of All or opening up the app the notifications came from will clear it out of Missed.
As well, Notification Center is now available from the lock screen, so you can see the Today, All, and Missed notification views from this screen. As well, you must swipe on the notification itself to open it up – the bottom Slide to unlock bar will always unlock the device, not view the most recent notification.
Many of the settings for Notification Centerremain the same as they were in previous versions, particularly arranging notifications for the All view, but there’s new settings for the new features. You can control Access on Lock Screen to enable or disable access to the Today view and to view notifications while the device is locked. Disable both to disable the Notification Center pulldown on the lock screen entirely.
The Today View settings control which widgets appear in Notification Center. Most notably, the ability to share to Twitter and Facebook from Notification Center has been removed.
This covers the changes to Notification Center in iOS 7. Now go on, be notified! Be aware!
Perhaps the biggest addition to iOS 7 is the new Control Center, which makes common setting toggles available from anywhere with a simple gesture. Here’s how to use it and to configure its options.
To call up Command Center, just swipe up from the bottom of the screen, like you would swipe from the top to open up Notification Center. This works from the lock screen as well.
Many of the controls that were available by double-tapping and swiping left-to-right in previous iOS versions are available here. The new multitasking bar has no actual controls.
The top row of commands from left to right toggles Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Orientation Lock. The first four can now be toggled from any app, instead of having to open up Setting to specifically toggle the features. Below that is the brightness dial. Auto-brightness toggling is sadly not yet available from Command Center, which would be a handy toggle for saving battery life, like disabling Bluetooth is.
Below the brightness toggle is the music and volume controls. These are expanded from the standard music controls in iOS 6 and earlier, in that there’s more than just play/pause buttons. It’s possible to see track name, artist, album, and current play time, with the ability to seek to a different time. Of course, reverse/pause/forward buttons are available, with the forward and reverse commands changing to jump 15 seconds commands when Podcasts is playing a track.
The AirDrop setting allows you to toggle whether AirDrop, the new feature for sharing content from apps with other local users, is disabled, enabled for contacts only, or enabled for everyone nearby. This will enable both wi-fi and Bluetooth if they are disabled. The text will be black when disabled, and will turn white when enabled, and will display which setting is enabled when there’s not an AirPlay receiver nearby. This is the other option on this row, and it allows for audio, video, and/or mirroring playback to AirPlay receivers on the same network.
The bottom row has quick shortcuts to four built-in features. On the left: Flashlight, meaning that it’s time to dump that flashlight app for good. Second from left is a shortcut to the Timer in the Clock app. This means setting an alarm is just an additional tap away. Second from right is Calculator, and on the right is Camera. This makes these features easier than ever to activate.
Settings has a Control Center section, but there’s only two toggles: Access on Lock Screen and Access Within Apps. The former configures whether Control Center can be accessed from the lock screen, and the latter whether it can be accessed within apps. For some intense games, this may be a good setting to have, but much like Notification Center a quick inadvertent swipe will not open it up, it will just call up an arrow to swipe to open it up, so it shouldn’t open unless by the user’s volition. Still, that’s why this setting exists!
Control Center makes using an iOS device more convenient as many toggles are now available without switching apps. Settings just might feel lonely without all that attention now!
Powered by Find My iPhone, the still-misnomered service that tracks and locates a user’s iOS devices, Activation Lock makes a device that gets reset to be unusable unless it is logged in to with the iCloud username and password that was used to reset it. It’s the nuclear option that can make a stolen device unusable if the worst comes to worst.
Go in to Find My iPhone, either on an iOS device registered with the same iCloud account as the lost device, or on iCloud.com. Open up your device. Now, you need to choose whether you want to do Lost Mode or to Erase the device.
Lost Mode works the same as it did before: it automatically locks the device, and creates a temporary passcode if one is not set in order to make sure that the device can’t be used by someone who shouldn’t be using it. As well, it is possible to add a message that someone with the device will see on the lock screen. But they can still theoretically erase it and use it for themselves.
However, when choosing to erase the device from Find My iPhone, now what happens after it is erased is that not only is the Lost Device message that was input with optional phone number is shown:
But also, when trying to set up the device, the unlucky thief will now have to log in with the iCloud account that was set up with Find My iPhone to reset the device.
This makes it so that unless the person knows the Apple ID and password of the person they stole it from (which is highly unlikely), the device will be virtually unusable. Whether this helps to deter thieves is unknown, but it will help ensure that any thief not only won’t have access to data, but the device they stole will be a brick, too. Just remember to have Find My iPhone set up to begin with!
iOS 7 brings not only a radical new look to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, it also brings new tweaks and features that make the iOS experience better. Upgrading to the latest version on compatible devices is fairly painless, but there are things you need to know before you get started.
Which devices can upgrade to iOS 7?
The iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 can upgrade to iOS 7. The iPhone 5c and 5s will come with it preinstalled.
Only the iPod touch 5th generation (the widescreen model released in 2012) can be upgraded to iOS 7.
The iPad 2, iPad Mini, iPad 3rd generation, and iPad 4th generation can all be updated to iOS 7.
Note that not all features will come to all devices: the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and iPad 3rd generation won’t get AirDrop, for example.
How to update?
The easiest way is to just do an over-the-air update: go to Settings -> General -> Software Update. Once the update is live, the device will download the latest update and install it when ready. You will need to be on wi-fi, and eventually need to be plugged in, to install it.
You can also install from iTunes, but this may take longer as iTunes will download and install the entire update file. Update to iTunes 11.1, which should be available as iOS 7 launches. Plug the device into your computer and open iTunes. On the device’s summary page, click Check for Update. If the update is ready, then iTunes will download it and install it.
Now, Apple’s servers will most likely be absolutely hammered in the period after the iOS 7 release and as the new iPhones release later in the week. What you may want to do in order to make the process quicker is to download the file externally – find a trusted website with an externally-hosted version of the file, and install the update manually. It’s the same as installing in iTunes, just hold down Alt on Windows or Option on Mac and click the Check for Update button. You can then open the IPSW file that contains the update manually.
As well, with a new software update it may be a good time to do a fresh start on your device. In iTunes, you can click (or option-click if you have the file) Restore to start anew on iOS 7, or to even just restore from the backup, which may help clear out some lingering bugs and errors that occur over time.
Apple has made the installation process of iOS 7 to be very easy, so go ahead! Take the plunge!
iOS 7 is imminent. With Apple announcing new iPhone(s) this week, the final version of iOS 7 seems imminent. Thus, it’s time to prepare to upgrade in case anything goes wrong. Here’s what you can do to ready yourself for iOS 7.
If you download and install the update on your device, you will naturally want to make sure that you have room to download the file, of course. But you will also want to have plenty of room to update your apps. Many developers will be issuing updates to their apps to ensure that they are compatible with the released version of iOS 7. Many ensure that their apps work with the betas, but things can obviously change between now and then. Especially for large games, it’s recommended to free up some space around this time. As well, you need enough free space that’s double the size of the app in order to update it. Might be time to do a good spring cleaning?
Know how to update!
You can obviously update on your device itself since iOS 6 introduced this feature, but you may want to download and install the update via your computer. iTunes will let you download the file on to your computer, but you can also obtain it through other sources like downloading through a web browser or through a mirror (since Apple servers will likely be hammered) and install iOS 7 from the downloaded file.
Installation will take time. App downloads will take time. Developers may be slow to update apps because many developers are not large faceless corporations, but actually just individuals or small teams working part-time. So be patient: you likely won’t be able to get everything you want right away!
Have issues with firewalls on a local network? Need to connect to work networks for reasons of work? Just want to get privacy while browsing? Setting up a VPN is easy on iOS.
To set up a standard VPN connection, start by going to Settings -> General -> VPN. Tap Add VPN Connection. Choose the protocol that your VPN connection uses from the three protocol choices.
Use Description to create a name for the service. Server will be the server that gets connected to – this may be a URL or an IP address. RSA SecurID may be used by your VPN connection, toggle it if necessary. If off, then the Password section will appear. Put your password in this section. Encryption Level will determine just how much of the connection is encrypted. Send All Traffic will determine if all traffic gets sent to the VPN or not.
To enable the VPN, you can either turn on the connection by enabling it in the VPN section, or by turning on the new VPN toggle that appears in the main section of Settings. If the connection works, a VPN icon will appear in the status bar to indicate when you are connected to the VPN.
Some specialized VPN connections, like OpenVPN, require being set up in an app. For example, OpenVPN Connect, the official app from the creators of OpenVPN, works for opening those connections up. They require loading a file with the connection information in it, which can be added either by importing files from Private Tunnel, an OpenVPN Access Server, from iTunes local file storage, or by opening up a file from another app.
Once you input your credentials, you can sign in using the app you originally used to sign in with. The credentials will appear in the VPN section, but you must connect through the original app.
While many VPN services are paid, there are some free ones out there: a great way to try out the feature is through VPNbook.
In-app purchases, especially in regard to kids making them (often accidentally), remains a hot topic. Apple is poised to launch new restrictions on some apps that offer them, but for parents, it is important to know how to keep accounts secure by restricting in-app purchases.
Apple’s built-in parental controls, available in the Settings app under General then Restrictions, contain options for restricting in-app purchases.
The first of the two settings that you will want to consider is the In-App Purchases toggle, which will allow you to disable them entirely. Apps will either report that IAP is disabled or that the app is not connected to the internet.
As well, you can require Require Password immediately, which will make any new purchase from the App Store, in-app or otherwise, require the user’s password to be immediately re-entered. This way, you can make a one-time purchase without future ones being automatically approved.
Now, there’s not necessarily an easy way to disable these restrictions temporarily without going back in to the Restrictions menu and temporarily re-enabling them. As well, disabling Restrictions entirely will reset all settings. So, for someone loaning their device to their kids, it’s not the best solution.
Separate iTunes account with gift cards only
One other solution is to create a separate iTunes account that’s funded only by gift cards. Normally iTunes accounts must be tied to a credit card, but there is a way to create one that isn’t tied to a form of payment.
The trick is similar to creating an account in a different country. Go to the iTunes Store on your computer and log out of your current account. Go to download a free app. Choose to register an account and complete the process. When you put in your billing information, None should be the selected option, only available by trying to download a free app. You now have an account that doesn’t have a credit card tied to it. You can redeem gift cards on to this account to provide credit for IAP and buying apps without needing to be connected to an alternate form of payment. This is perfect for kids’ accounts.
To switch between accounts on the device itself, just scroll to the bottom of the App Store, tap on your account, and choose to Sign Out. Then the next user can sign in either through that same prompt or when going to download an app and/or make a payment. I recommend disabling automatic downloads – sometimes Apple will force an Apple ID to remain logged in to a device with them enabled.
Hopefully these tips make controlling in-app purchases much easier. Apple could still do a lot to make them less of a hassle for users who share devices, but in the absence of such mechanisms (or apps that target kids with expensive purchases), it’s up to parents to be educated about the features of the advanced technology they want their kids to enjoy and benefit from.
iCloud, much like life, is a scary and often unknowable thing that doesn’t always work the way it should. But much like life, if you know the little things and tweaks, you can make it work much better for you. I think that’s how life works, anyway. At least that’s how iCloud’s settings works. Here’s a guide to the iCloud settings menu.
The iCloud settings are available in the Settings app, under the iCloud section when you scroll down. Here, you’ll see a bunch of different toggles and sections to browse.
Account allows you to control which account is currently logged in to iCloud across the device. As well, you can change the description of the account, modify your storage plan and payment information, and set up advanced email options.
The various switches for Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Safari, Notes, and Passbook will toggle those features on or off for the iCloud account that’s currently logged in, for those who don’t want that info to sync. For certain features, a prompt will appear to have the current local data deleted or not.
The Photo Stream option will allow for uploading to Photo Streams and for Shared Photo Streams to be toggled as well.
Documents & Data will allow you to disable apps uploading data to iCloud, such as games that save to iCloud. You can also toggle Use Cellular Data to help save data fees when on the go. Find My iPhone’s toggle allows you to enable or disable finding your iOS device with the Find My iPhone service. Storage & Backup allows you to view how much storage you have left in your account. Change Storage Plan lets you pay for more storage. The iCloud Backup toggle allows you to enable or disable backing up to iCloud when plugged in. You can also force the backup by tapping Back Up Now.
The Manage Storage section lets you see which devices are being backed up to iCloud, and control what specifically gets backed up to iCloud and to delete the backup entirely. If you select the backup on the device you’re currently on, then toggles for each app’s backup will be shown, allowing you to disable backing up that app to iCloud. You can disabled syncing of Camera Roll photos and videos to iCloud to save storage space, for example. Or if an app uses a lot of local storage that you don’t necessarily need synced up, you can disable it. Scrolling to the bottom and tapping Delete Backup will allow you to delete that backup form iCloud, but you can’t restore from it in the future.
The Documents & Data section lets you see which apps are storing how much data in iCloud. Apps that just use key value data won’t be shown, but games that use save files to sync up between devices will be shown here, too. You can also delete any files as necessary.
Now you know how to properly use the iCloud settings menu, and knowing is half the battle.
Apple recently suffered a security breach when the iOS Developer Portal had information stolen from it, purportedly by a ‘researcher’. The point is, not even Apple is immune to hackers, and you need to protect your identity as best as you can because you never know who will get their hands on it. You need to secure your online accounts as best as possible.
One way to protect your information is to use an app like 1Password to generate and track secure passwords for all your accounts. There are other apps that can be used to similar effect, but 1Password is one of the most robust solutions and also is cross-platform, with support for syncing up to PC and Mac versions of the app, along with universal iOS support. Now, if you’ve got your hands on it, let’s begin.
You’ll first be prompted to set up and enter a Master Password. Make sure that this is something incredibly memorable and secure, as it is used to decrypt your 1Password info. Developer AgileBits has a handy guide toward ensuring that your master password is secure.
Now, go to categories, choose one, and hit the + button. For this, let’s choose Logins. You can rename the text that says Login to the name of the service. Put in your username. Now, for the password section, you can either put in your current password, or tap the combination lock icon to generate a new one. It’s possible to customize the length, and to customize the ‘recipe’ that comprises the password in order to make it pronounceable (and easier to remember) or to make it as random and secure as possible.
Now, if you go to this login once done customizing its details, tapping on the password will let you copy its data to the clipboard so that you don’t have to remember it, or reveal it to you as a reminder. As well, the app’s web browser lets you automatically input passwords for logins and other info. You can also set up 1Password in the settings to sync up to iCloud and Dropbox to make the info available on other devices.
Passwords, however, can still be cracked; so two-step verification is a great step to take toward ensuring that your identity is protected by giving you verification codes on a trusted device. Apple supports it, as outlined in this earlier guide. Google supports it as well, and it’s well worth setting up as it adds a trust element that’s more than just a string of characters. Stay safe out there!
Many people use Google accounts to get their email, contacts, and calendars on iOS. If these accounts were compromised, it’d be a bad situation. However, there’s one way to ensure account safety: by setting up two-factor authentication. Google supports it for accounts, and iOS can use it, but there are some special things to know for iOS users.
To set it up, go to your account dashboard and configure the Manage security section. Click Edit next to 2-step verification and then click to start the process. Put in your phone number. Google will send a text to this number with a 6-digit verification code. Enter it in. Then choose whether the computer you’re setting up 2-step verification from is trusted. Finally, confirm that you want to enable it, and voila! 2-step verification is now enabled.
Keep the page that it goes to open, there are a couple of settings worth configuring here. This page can be reaccessed from the 2-step verification section under “manage security” in the account dashboard. Yes, it’s a bit buried.
While codes by default will come in via SMS, if you install the Google Authenticator you can get codes over wi-fi to a trusted device.
Now, for things like the iOS settings for mail, contacts, and calendars, a special app-specific password will need to be generated, because these do not have the ability to redirect to a web page for the second step of the verification process. From the 2-step verification settings, click on the link to Manage application-specific passwords. Now here, it will be possible to name an application or device with a password that will bypass the second step of authentication. These passwords can be revoked at any time, but will also only be displayed by Google once. Generate a password and enter it in to your account’s settings on iOS immediately.
By enabling 2-step verification on your Google account, you have now helped to make it more secure by adding that trusted device and that extra step to get in. It’s a bit more inconvenient, but given all the important data on your Google account, isn’t it worth it?
Apple’s iMessage is great. Sending messages without using up text plan messages or over wifi? Brilliant! Plus, typing out messages on the iPad or from a Mac is so much better. But there’s plenty of little settings that can modify your experience, or make it difficult if you ever switch phones. Here’s our guide to helping clear up how to use iMessage.
From your device, to enable or disable iMessage, go to Settings -> Messages. The very first switch will allow you to disable iMessage if you’d rather not deal with it altogether.
Send Read Receipts will send a mark that a message was read to your conversation partners after you read a new message. Don’t want others to know? Turn this off.
Send as SMS will allow you to send messages as standard messages over cellular if data is not available. This way you can seamlessly transition between iMessage and SMS without a beat. If a message fails to send over iMessage, tap and hold on it in the Messages app. That will pull up an option to resend it as a Text Message.
Now, it’s possible to send and receive iMessages from not just your phone number but your email address as well. To add a new email address, go to the Send & Receive section. Tap Add Another Email… and then type in the email address you want to add. Open the email in your account to confirm the email. A notification will be sent when it is added.
If you want to customize which address your iMessages are sent from, choose the phone number or email address from the Start new conversations from: section. Now, when you send a new message, your message will be identified as the email or phone number that you’ve chosen. If you’ve just switched phone numbers, this can prevent confusion.
If you have an iPad, you can set your messages to be sent from your phone number once it is added from an iPad.
Now, let’s say that you switch over to an Android, and you want to make sure that when iPhone users send you a message, it is sent as a text message and not as an iMessage that you wouldn’t get on your phone. The easiest way to handle this is to go to Apple’s My Support Profile page and delete your old device. Open your device’s page and Unregister the device. You can also reset the password of your Apple ID account from the web which should cause iMessage to log out on your old device, not allowing it to be used for your old phone number any more.
Of course, you’d never leave the iPhone, would you? Right? Don’t tell anyone, but I won’t judge you.
Despite the apparent opulence of Deus Ex: The Fall’s world, it’s still a very dangerous place. Whether you fight back against your aggressors or sneak past them without any bloodshed is a matter of preference, but one way or another these threats will have to be dealt with. It’s the very reason we’ve put together this handy guide that includes suggestions for weapons, attachments, augmentations, and general tips that should help Ben Saxon live to get caught up in a web of corporate intrigue another day.
General Exploration and Hacking
There are lots and lots of worthwhile goodies to be found just laying around the environment, but you won’t be able to reach all of it without a little help. Oftentimes there will be a couple of different options available for getting inside of a locked room, but without the proper augmentations certain areas will be off-limits for the entire game. That’s why you may want to think about teaching Ben a few of these skills if you’re interested in scrounging every last inch of the world for gear.
Strength – Move Heavy Objects is a handy skill to have both for exploring and circumventing enemies. It boils down to shoving large boxes out of the way but it often reveals hidden access points or opens up new paths. Punch Through Walls can also be quite handy, even from a non-combat standpoint. With it Ben can essentially create his own doorways through specific points of the environment, although punching through solid concrete makes a fair bit of noise so exercise caution when using it.
Hacking – If you want to find all the hidden goodies, you’re going to need to get used to hacking. Aside from the general Capture skills that allow Ben to hack more and more advanced systems with each upgrade, he can also make use of Hacking Stealth to make him less noticeable when capturing nodes as well as Fortify to strengthen captured nodes and make a trace more difficult.
Combat Augmentation and Weapon Specializations
We can’t always avoid confrontation, and when that happens in Deus Ex: The Fall it can quickly turn into a kill or be killed situation. Thankfully Ben has more than a fair amount of combat experience, so by focusing on certain firearms and augs he’ll be more than capable of holding his own when things get dicey.
Armor – If you plan to get into a lot of firefights, you’ll definitely want to take points in armor. Not only will it increase Ben’s toughness but after a couple of upgrades he can also learn EMP Shielding, which will nullify the effects of EMP blast from grenades and mines as well as render him immune to electrified flooring.
Strength – Punch Through Walls is great for exploring, but it’s also handy for fighting. With the proper timing Ben can easily dispatch an enemy that would otherwise be difficult to sneak past simply by reaching through the wall they’re standing by. Recoil Compensation and Aim Stabilization are also important since there’s bound to be a lot of shooting (especially once he blasts a hole in a wall with his fist) and accuracy will be very important.
Weapons – With the exception of the Stun Gun, all the firearms are lethal. The Crossbow can silently take out unarmored enemies with enough damage upgrades while the 10MM Pistol and Combat Rifle can also be fitted with sound suppressors in order to take out targets from a distance without making too much noise. If subtlety isn’t an option (or desired) there’s also the Q Tap attachment for the 10MM Pistol that adds armor piercing. Then there are all the non-so-subtle weapons like the Tactical RPG, Plasma Rifle, and Shotgun. Ben also has access to Frag Grenades and mines, both of which can be devastating if used against groups of enemies. EMP Grenades and Mines are also worth considering as they’re useful when dealing with mechanical enemies as well as augmented humans.
Stealth Augmentation and Weapon Specializations
Not everyone is looking to start a fight or kill hapless guards. In fact, it’s entirely possible to complete Deus Ex: The Fall’s first episode in its entirety without killing anybody. It requires a lot of sneaking around and some very particular skill choices, but it’s also incredibly satisfying to pull off.
Cloaking System – Ben’s ability to cloak gives him a distinct advantage when it comes to sneaking past enemies. Its power usage is limited, but when used at the right moment it can make navigating a room full of guards a lot easier.
Multiple Take-Down – Since ammo is somewhat limited and the Stun Gun is for close range, you’re going to have to get really familiar with non-lethal take-downs. Each one uses up one of Ben’s energy bars, however, so being able to take out two guards in close proximity at the same time (and on a single charge) just makes good economic sense.
Radar System – Ben has access to the first stage of this aug right from the beginning, but upgrading it to improve its range will be very useful when it comes to planning a route through hostile territory. Although it can be tough to tell where each enemy is, exactly, since they’re only represented as little spots in an empty box.
Smart Vision – Smart Vision makes up for the radar’s shortcomings by showing enemy locations and orientations in real time. It can be tough to tell which direction the little green arrows are facing on the radar, especially when playing on the smaller iPhone screen, so being able to see exactly where each enemy is in relation to Ben through solid objects is a major help.
Energy Converter – Because so many of Ben’s essential stealth augs require energy to activate it’s important to sink some Praxis Points into this skill. Specifically the Energy Recharge Rates as the faster his batteries recharge the sooner he’ll be able to use more skills. Adding more bars through Energy Upgrades is handy, too, but it’s important to remember that Ben only naturally recharges a single bar by default. The rest have to be refilled using items. Of course with enough points in Energy Upgrades you can unlock a Recharge Capacity Upgrade which will allow Ben to refill two bars automatically.
Cybernetic Leg Prosthesis – Ben’s legs have a few enhancements that can make sneaking around easier. Run Silently allows him to move at top speed without making noise and drawing attention, and it works in conjunction with his Movement Speed Enhancements so he can pretty much zip around without making a sound. Stealth Dash is also useful for closing the distance between cover points in a hurry without alerting every guard in the room.
Weapons – Ben has a few less options when it comes to stealth-friendly weapons, but there are still more than enough tools to work with. The Crossbow is still a very viable option and can be fitted with tranquilizer darts for non-lethal sleep shots. The Stun Gun is also a handy option for saving on battery power but it’s close range only and doesn’t reload very fast. If you don’t have a problem with killing, both the 10MM Pistol and Combat Rifle can be fitted with a silencer for more quiet long-range options. Finally, Ben can make use of Concussion Grenades and mines to stun enemies while he makes an escape or beats them to a pulp.
iOS’ devices volume settings are anything but straightforward, what with the different volume levels, switches, and inconsistent rules of what plays sound and what doesn’t when it should be silent. Hopefully this guide will make controlling the volume more clear, so as to understand why some things are loud, and some things are not!
There’s two different volume settings to be aware of: the ringer volume and the sound volume. The ringer volume controls phone ringtones and notification sounds. The sound volume controls the output of sound from games, videos, and music.
Now, it’s possible to control the ringer volume either manually or to have it set to a specific volume. The latter might be handy for those who don’t want to accidentally make their ringer quiet, or just like to have one set volume. Go to Settings->Sounds. Set Change with Buttons to off. Drag the volume slider to your desired setting. Disable Change with Buttons to make the volume buttons always control the sound volume.
Now, music and especially videos run into a fairly annoying problem: they don’t respect the iPhone’s mute switch for playing sounds. Sitting in a meeting, and suddenly that baseball game’s sound starts playing? Awkward! The prevailing thought on Apple’s side seems to be that by playing one of these despite having the silent switch on, that the user wants sound to play. For music, sure, makes sense. For videos, especially live streaming of sports? Nope. Be careful: ensure that the sound volume is muted as well as the ringer volume before starting.
If you want to ensure that you are lowering the sound volume and not just the ringer volume if you have the volume buttons set to control both, double-tap the home button and swipe to the left until you see the volume control. This takes two swipes on iPhone and iPod touch, one on iPad.
This all gets especially confusing considering that the iPod touch and iPad have a virtual mute switch that is all-encompassing, meaning it will quiet music and videos as well. This is available from the multitasking bar as well by double-tapping and swiping left. This is not available on the iPhone, and it will not display on the iPad if your side switch is set to mute. You can configure what the side switch does in Settings -> General.
Finally, the Music section of Settings has some additional olptions for the built-in music app and volume. Sound Check will attempt to level the volume of all songs. Volume Limit will set a maximum volume for listening to music so as to ensure that you don’t blow your ears out with your headphones!
This should hopefully demystify what the different sound settings do. Turn it up to 11! Or don’t.
Why use a separate app to edit your photos? The built-in Photos app offers a variety of basic features for sharing and editing photos that may just handle most usage cases without needing to launch a separate app to make rudimentary changes to photos. This is how to use the Photos app!
Launch the app and choose one of the photos that you want to view and/or edit. You are first presented with the Share arrow for posting to various social networks, sending it to people, or other options. The Play arrow will start playing a slideshow of photos in the album the current photo is in. The AirPlay icon will send the photo to an Apple TV on the network. The trash can icon will delete the photo. Don’t expect this to look the same in iOS 7, what with the death of skeumorphism and all.
The real fun starts with the Edit button in the upper right corner. The rotate button will change the orientation of the photo, which is handy if photos have come out sideways. It rotates photos in a counter-clockwise 90-degree turn with each press.
The wand icon will turn on auto-enhance, which adjusts light and color levels in the photo automatically to try and make it look better. Tap the icon again to toggle it, and tap Save in the upper-right corner to save the change. The red circle with a line through it is the red-eye removal tool. Tap on a photo with red-eye and it will be removed if the app detects red-eye. Finally, the crop icon will allow for photos to be cropped. This is grat for making precise changes when wnating to share a photo to Instagram, or creating a new Twitter avatar. Use the Constrain option to force the cropping section to a certain ratio.
The forthcoming iOS 7 update will add new features like filters to the existing set along with a new design, so be prepared to do even more with photos, from Photos!
Apple’s AirPort routers are easy to set up and come with great compatibility with Apple devices. However easy to set up they are, it’s still important to know what you’re doing. Here’s a how-to guide on setting up an AirPort from your iOS device.
When you plug in your AirPort, go to Settings -> Wi-Fi, and choose to Set up an AirPort Base Station. Name the network and give it a password, and you’ll have it set up for basic usage.
But to configure settings on it, you’ll need the AirPort Utility app. Versions are available for Windows and Mac, but the iOS version makes it incredibly easy to configure from your iOS device.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-10-14 :: Category: Utilities
Launching the app will show all nearby AirPort devices, with images representing which model they are. Tap on yours.
From here, you can view the connection that your device has to the internet, its IP address, the firmware version, the name and basic information about the wireless network, the MAC addresses of connected clients, and other hardware info.
To edit the router’s settings, tap Edit in the upper-right corner. This will take you to the screen where you can edit various setting sfor your device. Depending on which AirPort you use, your settings listed here may vary.
The Base Station option lets you configure the name of your AirPort, and to change the hardware password to it. This is different from the wireless network password.
Network allows you to choose the Wi-Fi mode, whether you’d like to create a wireless network, join another device’s wi-fi network (which can be used to share internet from another router, or to use your AirPort as a wireless ethernet bridge), extend a wireless network (to extend the range of another AirPort device), or to turn wi-fi off entirely if you just want to use Ethernet. The Guest Network setting will create a private network that will be separate from your main network that has its own security settings.
The AirPlay setting for devices with an audio output allows you to configure what the audio output is used for. This is where the joining another wi-fi network setting comes in handy: an AirPort Express can be used as an AirPlay audio receiver with an output to powered speakers. AirPlay can also be disabled if you don’t use the audio output. This setting will not affect AirPlay transmission over the entire network, just for audio output from a compatible device.
Internet Connection lets you configure how your AirPort connects to the internet. You can set up a static IP address or a PPPoE connection if necessary, and add in your own custom DNS server options, which may be faster than the ones your ISP provides. Consider using an alternate set of DNS servers.
The Advanced section contains some of the router settings that may be best tackled by advanced users who know what they are doing. However, there are a few buttons of note here. The Add WPS Printer button will let you add a Wi-Fi printer to your network. The Restart Base Station button will restart your AirPort if issues arise. The Restore Defaults will let you reset your device to factory defaults.
Note that other AirPort models may have different settings for their different features. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll now have a hold on how to set up your AirPort and be routing like a champ.
Do you cower in fear that you’ll lose your iOS devices and never be able to find them? Well, Apple provides handy tools to make sure that you can at least have a lead on tracking them down and a way to protect the personal data contained within. It’s called Find My iPhone, but for it to be any good for you, it’s gotta be set up properly! That’s why this guide is here.
To set it up, start by enabling Find My iPhone in Settings. It may be automatically enabled from when you first set up your device with iCloud, but if not, or if you disabled it previously, it can be re-enabled. Go to Settings, scroll down to iCloud, and then scroll down to Find My iPhone. Set this toggle to On.
Next, download Find My iPhone from the App Store. Yes, it’s a misnomer for iPod touch and iPad users but it will find your devices as well.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-06-18 :: Category: Utilities
When you launch the app, you will be asked to log in with your Apple ID. If you have multiple Apple IDs, choose a common one to log in with on your other iOS devices.
After you do this, it will show any other devices that you have logged in with Find My iPhone, allowing you to see where they are, and to help find them.
Tapping on an individual device will open up a map view showing its current location. The battery life will be shown in the upper-right corner so you’ll know if it’s near shut-off or not if you are looking for it. Tapping on the device on screen will toggle to map mode where you can scroll around its location, and get directions to its location by tapping on the car icon on its location. By tapping the blue arrow next to its name, three options will be presented to you.
You can Play Sound, which will cause the device to play a unique sound that will help you find it by sound, which will keep playing until the device is found. This is handy if you ever misplace it where you live! The Lost Mode will allow you to protect your device by putting a temporary passcode on it so that no one can use it, even if there’s no security on it previously. You can also put a contact number and a message for the person who finds it. All of these options will send emails to the contact email on record for the account so you’ll know when someone is trying to use Find My iPhone features.
If you fear that your device is unrecoverable, the Erase Device option will erase all contents on the device. This is an option of last resort to protect your personal data. Hope you backed it up recently!
You don’t need an iOS device to find your iOS devices – these features are all available from iCloud.com as well. Fun note–iCloud.com still uses Google Maps, not Apple Maps!
Following this guide should help you keep track of your device if you ever lose your devices, be they in another room or in another city!
OneTrack is a great app for musicians who want to take their performance to the stage (review). Here’s a quick guide to help those bands get started.
First, bounce live versions of the songs down for play. The best way to do this is to mute the vocals and any other elements that will be performed live, such as guitars or synth parts. Drums are best left in, but much of that depends on the drummer’s skill level and how much control they want over their sound. For most drummers, it’s best to leave drums in as is, especially if the music relies heavily on loud 4/4 kick beats (at the very least, leave the kick drum in). This is all done in the DAW (digital audio workstation) and depends highly on the software the band uses to compose and record music.
It’s also nice to give the drummer a separate click track to help them stay on the beat. An off-beat drummer will completely ruin the show. This is done in the bounce stage within the DAW, and depends highly on the software the band uses to create music. The person responsible for bouncing the live tracks will have to hard pan the click to the left and the music to the right.
The right channel will feed directly to the PA. This is what the audience is supposed to hear. The left will feed to the drummer’s headphones. This helps them keep the beat and lead into each song.
After bouncing all live versions of the tracks, the next step is importing the songs to the iOS device. Add all the songs to iTunes and sync them to the iOS device as if adding any artist or playlist to the iPhone or iPod touch.
It’s best to add all of the band’s songs to the device. Once imported, the band can decide on a playlist for the show. It’s always cool do make a few playlists in the app.
The screen below shows the OneTrack playlists screen. The example below shows a sample playlist in progress. The top-right corner shows the total playtime so far, which is 12-minutes in this case.
The “Austin Show” was a special show, so it had its own playlist, but it’s good to make a few playlists. Perhaps two 30-minute variations, a 45-minute one and a one-hour set.
Hit the plus sign on the top-left corner and name the new playlist. I would likely go with “30-minute set – 1.”
Select a few great songs for the band to play (30 minutes isn’t a lot!) and tap the plus sign on the right column. Selected song titles will fade to grey:
There is room for several more songs. Do keep in mind that it’s worth adding a count-in to songs (below):
The count-in is basically the quiet space between songs (It’s most useful if the band doesn’t want to be tethered to the iOS device to queue up the show track-by-track). For instance, a five- to 15-second count-in time is ideal. Don’t go too long, or there will be a long, awkward silence between songs. On stage, a few seconds can feel like a long time. It can also add unnecessary dead air to and otherwise great live performance. It’s best to make count-ins just long enough for the band to introduce the song, “This next one is called …. ” and take a sip of water if needed.
When at the venue, and ready to set up, plug into the mixer. IK Multimedia has a couple of cool cables for this: RCA Output Adapter (right) and Mono Output Splitter (below). Anything similar should work. I carry both, because I never know what the venue will be equipped with.
The mono output splitter looks something like the one below.
Mono Output Splitter
A very basic setup should look something like this:
Turn on airplane mode if using an iPhone!
I prefer for the drummer to control the backing tracks, because they are sitting in one spot for the most part, and the drum set kind of covers them. This helps keep the iPhone or iPod touch out of view. It’s not a bad thing, but it kind of takes the audience out of the show for a second if they see the band queuing up the next song.
It’s important to keep in mind which channel is which as to not accidentally feed the click track to the PA system. Otherwise, the band’s epic show will kick off with “click – click – click – click.” Not a good first impression. Check, and double-check. Ask for a soundcheck if possible (before the crowd arrives) and leave things plugged in as is after soundcheck. Bands don’t always get to do this, but it’s nice to make sure things are running smoothly. I usually have a cheesy TV theme song intro, so that the front of house person can adjust levels before my music starts.
Once the music starts blaring through the PA, the show is on. Have fun, and don’t mess up too badly!
Most digital music nowadays sounds slightly worse than it does on CD, thanks to audio compression. This is great for quickly downloading music, but not best for audio quality. If you want to listen to music on your iOS device without that pesky compression, and are willing to give up some additional storage space to do so, we have just the guide to do so.
The easiest way to listen to lossless audio on your iOS device is to use the Apple Lossless Audio Codec. ALAC files can be played by the built-in Music app, providing the best support, and the format can be handled by iTunes.
Now, FLAC exists as another alternative. It’s the most popular lossless music distribution format on the internet largely thanks to its open source nature, though ALAC is now open source as well. Bandcamp artists frequently offer music in FLAC format, though ALAC is also an option.
Converters exist for going from FLAC to ALAC – as both codecs are lossless, there’s no degradation in quality in converting, but for using FLAC, a third-party app with iTunes file transfer must be used. The only real difference between the two is at a technical level. I’ll let the audiophile super-nerds fight this one out, but for iOS users’ convenience, ALAC is the better choice here.
Now, you’re going to want to start with your music in a lossless format. This means ripping from a CD, or finding FLAC/ALAC files. Converting from a compressed format to lossless is just pointless.
If you already have ALAC files, then just drop them in iTunes, and put them on your device. ALAC is natively supported.
If you have a CD (they still make those) that you want to make into ALAC files, just load the CD onto your computer and open it up in iTunes. Go to Preferences, and Import Settings on that first page. Set the Import Using dropdown to Apple Lossless Encoder. Now import the CD. It will be added to your library, which you can then add to your iOS device the same way that any other lossless audio file can be added.
If you have FLAC files that you want converted to ALAC, there are plenty of conversion software titles out there. Consider XLD for Mac, which has a drag-and-drop interface, and the cross-platform fre:ac.
If you just want to play the FLAC files on your device directly (such as if you have a large collection you don’t want to convert), then there are plenty of apps that will play FLAC files. Some free options: FLAC Player+, TuneShell, and MoliPlayer.
You should now be on your way to enjoying your music exactly how the creators intended it to be heard!
Ever notice that you’re running out of free space, and apps like Instagram, Spotify, and Vine are taking up a lot more space than they should be? Some apps like these take up over 500 MB of space for cached data, which can be a killer given the limited amount of storage space on most devices. As well, they don’t engage in a best practice of making it possible in the app itself to delete cached space. When trying to install a large app, this can be a real problem.
It’s time to take the power back, and your device’s free space. I’m going to show you two ways to clear up this cached space: the brute force way, and the way that’s a bit more clever.
Method number one: Just delete and reinstall the app
This will delete all the data for the app. It’s easy enough. The downside? You have to redownload and reinstall the app, not to mention needing to login again. Any special preferences will be gone too. This is a solution. It’s just not a very good one.
Method number two: delete the cache files using i-FunBox
The cache files stored by apps can be accessed by users with a little bit of savvy. Download an app like i-FunBox to access your device. Plug it in to your computer. Launch i-FunBox. Go to the “Applications” section of your device, and find the app whose cache data you want to delete.
Find the folder called Caches in the Library folder. Right-click on it and delete it.
This should work for most apps. See the results in the Usage section of Settings -> General:
See, with Spotify, deleting the Caches folder cleared up much of my recent cache usage, with the tracks that I saved for offline listening still in the app. You will notice that after using the app again, the Caches folder will be recreated, so this is non-destructive.
Some apps may use multiple or non-standard folders. The best way to discover where this cached data is hiding is to select all the files, copy them to your computer, and then poke through folders’ file sizes to see where large chunks of data are hiding. Then you can delete those folders safely.
In general, just deleting cached data is safe, because by definition it’s just temporary. As long as you don’t delete anything in the Preferences folder, you shouldn’t lose anything important. Feel free to back it up to be safe.
Not that you may need to do this whenever you need to free up some space as the cached data will add back up as you use the apps. Still, if you’re trying to install a large app, this can free up space without needing to delete apps themselves. So go ahead, install Infinity Blade II and keep it there!
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a huge game. Especially when starting out, you will get lost. Here’s some tips to help you out on your way early on.
Choose wisely, padawan.
Choosing a class and starting attributes without having ever gotten to play the game is rough, because it really takes getting in to the game and playing it a lot to realize just what is possible, and the path you might want to take with your characters.
If you’re the type that prefers beating people down and being the tank, then the Soldier class is for you. Scoundrels are best at most non-combat abilities like Persuasion and Security, meaning Jedi mind tricks and breaking in to doors. Scouts provide a balance between the two. However, there’s two things to consider when choosing a class early on: one, it’s possible to travel with a party of three, so even if one play style is preferred, it’s possible to have party members fill a different but useful role. Two, the main character is always gonna be there, and there’s certain skills like Persuasion that only they can really use. So, why not have them focus on that? Use the wookiee to beat stuff up.
Focus, you must.
Jack of all trades, master of none. That saying is a warning in KotOR. You’re going to get the best effects and stat bonuses by choosing to focus on particular paths, whether it be a certain set of combat skills, or going down the Dark or Light Side path. Have a plan and stick to it and you’ll get the best results. Again, if you’re worried about any deficiencies, remember that you have three party members and can control any individual character, so you can cover most any area of expertise at any time if your party is set up accordingly.
Blow it up like Alderaan.
Your first playthrough is going to be one giant mass of confusion. Taris, the first planet, is big and confusing and you will get lost often. Plus, you won’t quite know what everything in and out of combat is until you experience it in the game.
By the time you’re ready to leave Taris, you’ve gotten to experience the gist of the game’s elements, so this is time to make a decision: do you want to keep going with your selected main character? Don’t be afraid to start anew at this point. It will take significantly less time to get back to where you started, and odds are, you’ll be far more satisfied with the results. And if not, hey, there’s multiple save slots for a reason. Use them!
Exploit the game like the Death Star’s exhaust port!
Need a quick heal? If you can warp out the area on the map screen, you can get healed instantly and for free. And unlike on the Xbox, loading is so brief that you’ll save yourself thousands of credits on medpacks.
If you have a tough Persuasion roll, know that some characters can be re-rolled by going through the conversation again. This doesn’t always work, but consider it. Just quicksave before making any important decisions.
The structure of the game isn’t perfect – you’ll discover the gaps and how to take advantage of them as time goes on.
Of course, part of the fun of KotOR is the ability to dig in and find a lot of this stuff out yourself. Don’t just follow the guides. Experiment! The quicksave and multiple save slots are there for a reason. Explore! There’s a lot to find, and when you discover it yourself, it’s the most satisfying.
Bio Inc. developers DryGin Studios have announced that the game has been sold over 20,000 times since its release, creating 20,000 evil doctors in the process. To celebrate, the game is going on sale this weekend: lowering the price from its usual $1.99 down to $0.99. A small update has also come out, adding Russian and […]