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8 ways the iPhone 8 can beat the Galaxy S8

The Galaxy S8 might be the best phone of 2017, but the year’s not over until the next iPhone makes its debut. Here’s how Apple can take the crown back from Samsung.

If there wasn’t already a mountain of pressure on Apple to deliver something spectacular with this year’s iPhone update, there surely is now. If you haven’t noticed, Samsung has released the Galaxy S8 and S8+, and they’re pretty remarkable. As a former iPhone 7 Plus user, the S8+ might very well be the best phone I’ve ever used, with a stunning screen, speedy processor, and, yes, a gorgeous design.

But what makes the S8 so amazing is how unique it is. For the first time in a while, Samsung is standing alone on the cutting edge with a phone that needs to be seen to be believed. From its barely there bezels to its brilliant wraparound screen, the Galaxy S8 truly gives Apple a run for its money. No joke, it actually makes the iPhone 7 look pretty stale.

But there’s still a lot of time between now and the release of the next iPhone. According to rumors, the lineup this year will consist of the usual S models along with a fantabulous iPhone 8, which looks to adopt a similar aesthetic to the Galaxy S8, with an edge-to-edge OLED display and the removal of the physical home button. But just because it might look similar doesn’t mean it can’t still be better. Here’s how Apple can still steal the crown from Samsung:

The Galaxy S8 has a killer camera but the iPhone 7 is no slouch.

Killer camera

The Galaxy S phones has always had a camera on par with the iPhone, so it was a little surprising that Samsung didn’t upgrade the S8’s all that much. The iPhone 7 Plus is already a step ahead here, with 2X optical zoom and the sublime Portrait Mode, but the iPhone 8 could really separate itself from the S8 by taking it even further. Along with a megapixel bump, Apple could add optical image stabilization to the second lens, which will go a long way toward increasing photo and zoom quality. But what would really set it apart would be a larger sensor and greater ISO range to make it a low-light leader.

The Gear VR is a big part of the S8, but AR could be the iPhone 8’s big play.

AR not VR

While Samsung is going all-in on virtual reality with the Galaxy Gear and the S8, rumors suggest that Apple is more interested in augmented reality. And that could be one of the features that sets the iPhone 8 apart. Smartphones have been slow to incorporate AR into the interface, but if Pokémon Go has taught us anything, it’s that people are way more interested in seeing the world through their screens than strapping a headset to their faces. An AR-fueled iPhone 8 could connect us to the world in fun new ways without separating us from reality.

The Galaxy S8’s fingerprint sensor is just in the worst place.

Well-placed fingerprint sensor

While the Galaxy S8 is one of the best smartphones ever made, one tragic flaw prevented it from being perfect: the placement of the fingerprint sensor. For some god-awful reason, Samsung put it right next to the camera, all but ensuring your finger will not only miss it, but also repeatedly smudge the lens. If the rumors are correct that Apple will also be removing the home button in the iPhone 8, it has two options: under the screen or on the back. A first-of-its-kind in-panel sensor would be revolutionary, but if it’s on the back, Apple needs to learn from Samsung’s mistake and put it lower, like on the Pixel.

Bixby hasn’t exactly exploded out of the gate, but it does a lot that Siri doesn’t do.

Expanded Siri

When Samsung unveiled the S8, a major part of the presentation was spent introducing its new AI assistant, Bixby. However, the new service wasn’t just a competitor to Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. Samsung integrated Bixby deep into the interface to let it access apps, fetch information, and cut down on how often we need to touch our phones. It’s a cool idea, except the only problem is it doesn’t really work. If Apple could do something similar with Siri and expand its reach to work inside apps while we’re using them, it could beat Bixby at its own game.

The Galaxy S8’s screen is pretty, but It also uses its software to accentuate it.

iOS 11

One of the biggest gripes people have had about Samsung’s phones has always been its TouchWiz interface. But that’s changed with the S8, as Samsung has crafted an intuitive, refined system that takes full advantage of its superb hardware. If Apple is going to release a radically redesigned iPhone with curved edges and a wraparound screen, the same old iOS isn’t going to do it justice. It might be time to rethink iOS for modern times and give it more than new features and a fresh coat of pixels.

Samsung’s wireless charging supports Qi and PMA standards, and the pad stands up or lies flat. But it’s not long range wireless.

True wireless charging

While Samsung has had wireless charging in the Galaxy S since the S6, Apple has been slow to adopt it for the iPhone. All signs indicate that’s going to change for the iPhone 8, but if Apple wants to top the Galaxy S8 and not just keep pace, it’s going to need something a little more exciting than a pretty charging pad. One of the rumors we’ve read suggests that Apple could adopt true long-range wireless charging for the next iPhone, which would power up the battery whenever you’re within range of the charger, even if it’s in your pocket. That alone would be an S8 killer.

The Galaxy S8 includes a pretty great pair of earbuds.

Bundled AirPods

Samsung didn’t just resist the trend to ditch the headphone jack on S8, it embraced the 3.5mm jack in a big way. Inside the S8 box is a pair of premium AKG-tuned earbuds that are a few steps above the usual build and sound quality you get for free—certainly better than what Apple gives us. But if Apple really wants to embrace the wireless future of the iPhone, it needs to stop including a wired set of EarPods, even if they are Lightning. A pair of AirPods in the box (or a cheaper Beats alternative) would really set it apart from the 3.5mm S8 and make a strong statement.

The battery life on the S8 is really good, but the iPhone 8’s could be even better.

Blow-away battery

Samsung has had its share of battery issues, but the S8 looks to put them in the past with a long-lasting battery that hopefully won’t blow up. But while it can get through the whole day for the most part, the S8 didn’t deliver the the real breakthrough we were hoping for. We’re still waiting for a phone that lets us completely forget about the battery until our day is over, and we’d love to see the iPhone 8 deliver something in the range of 12 hours and truly change the game.

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The 50+ best features in iOS 11

With new apps like Files, a desktop-like Dock and countless smaller tweaks and advances, Apple’s new mobile OS offers plenty of enhancements.

credit: Apple

Apple’s upcoming iOS 11, already in public beta and due out this fall in its final form, delivers numerous improvements and changes for iPad and iPhone users. These include a host of new enterprise-useful features — especially for the iPad — as well as a variety of tweaks that will almost any user.

Here’s a rundown of the 50 or so most important things you need to know to get the most from Apple’s mobile platform.

Augmented reality

Apple’s newly introduced ARKit framework lets developers create augmented reality experiences that can be accessed using compatible (A9- and A10-processor-powered) iOS devices — meaning iPhones and iPads released since September 2015. The software only recognizes horizontal planes today, but this will change in the future, and it’s expected to help companies explore new opportunities, from online retail to gaming to unified communications. Apple’s AR partners include Valve/SteamVR, Unity and Epic Games.

credit: Apple

What’s critical here is that hundreds of millions of devices will immediately support AR once iOS 11 ships, making this an extremely viable VR platform development opportunity.

Machine intelligence

iOS 11 carries numerous smart features, all wrapped up in Apple’s ultra-private secure shells, in which your identity is protected by technologies including differential privacy. That commitment to privacy means Apple has been crafting smart solutions that work on a device rather than by sharing data with the less secure cloud. Apple also introduced Core ML, a general-purpose machine-learning framework that developers can use to integrate machine learning inside their apps. Here are some of the ways Apple has applied A.I. and machine learning in iOS 11:

  • When you type, the keyboard will suggest words you may have looked at recently, such as restaurant or place names or locations viewed in Safari or Messages.
  • The People folder in Photos becomes more accurate, and information about your friends will sync across all your Apple ID logged-in devices.
  • Photos can now recognize even more “Memories” events, including things such as nights out and anniversaries.
  • Based on what you are doing in other apps, iOS 11 can provide personalized recommendations in Safari, Maps, Messages and News.

Siri is the voice assistant front end to Apple’s systemwide machine intelligence. The latter is what gives Siri the capacity to make recommendations based on what you’ve been doing. iOS 11 adds several Siri-specific improvements.

  • Siri translation: Siri can now translate conversation between English, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Siri Kit improvements: Developers can use the SiriKit framework to integrate Siri support inside apps for ride scheduling, bill payments, banking, messaging, image search, VoIP calls, workouts, car controls and to-do lists.
  • Type to Siri: You can now choose to type your Siri requests rather than speak them. To do so, you must first enable the feature in Settings>General>Accessibility>Siri. Then toggle Type to Siri to On (green).

iPad Pro replaces more PCs

Apple has called the PC a “truck” and declared the iPad Pro to be the “only computer” you need. That said, it’s fair to note that while Apple’s tablets can replace computers in some situations, they can’t yet do so in all cases. Apple’s response has been to introduce numerous iPad-only improvements in iOS 11 that make the device far more productive. That means you’ll likely see Apple’s tablets replacing PCs in more scenarios.

credit: Apple

  • The Dock: The new, customizable Dock holds up to 15 apps (or folders containing apps). Three additional slots to the right of the Dock show a trio of the most recently used apps. You get to the Dock by swiping up from within any application.
  • Drag and drop: You can select a single item by tapping it, and if you continue to hold it — and then tap one or more additional items — you can select a number of items. You can then bring up the Dock, tap an app and place those items you selected on/in the app. This feature also works with the newly introduced Files browser (see below). Together, Files and drag-and-drop make working on an iPad feel much more like working on a computer than on a giant iPhone.
  • Split View: Apple has refined Split View on the iPad, introducing a new feature it calls Slide Over. It works like this: Summon the Dock by swiping up the screen (from within any app); you can then tap an app icon and drag it to the right side of the screen to open a narrow version of it. This makes it easy to switch between apps using the Dock and Split View. (If you have a keyboard, you can switch apps using the Mac-familiar Command-Tabbuttons.)
  • App Switcher: When you look at Control Center (swipe all the way up) you’ll also see Apple’s revised App Switcher. Here you’ll find thumbnails showing all your most recent apps and workspaces, giving you easy access to those you want. You’ll spend less time in the Home screen and more time working in the apps you need.
  • Apple Pencil: Tap the screen to instantly open Notes and begin writing. In other Apple apps, you can tap the screen to create an Instant Markup that lets you annotate a PDF or screenshot.

credit: Apple

Files: iOS gains a file system

The new Files app delivers something we’ve been hoping for since iOS first appeared in 2007: a file system. Open it up and you’ll find a Search bar and three different areas: LocationsFavorites and Tags.

credit: Apple

Locations lets you access files held in iCloud Drive, on your device or the trash (if they were recently deleted). You can also bring in files held in third-party services such as Dropbox.

Favorites is self-explanatory, but Tags is interesting: When you tap the Share item for any file, you’ll find a new +Tag item to the right of the file name at the top of the screen. Tap this and you can assign a new tag to the file. If you haven’t started using tags, you probably should, since they will help you find items across all your Apple devices.

Files also provides several other features:

  • Create a new folder and use iOS 11’s improved drag-and-drop support to drag multiple itemsinto it.
  • Sort files by namedatesize and tags.
  • Skip between list and icon-based views.
  • Drag items to other apps.
  • Long-press an item and you can Copy, Rename, Move, Share, Tags, Info, or  Delete it in the popover menu that appears.

Enterprise deployment — simplified

iOS 11 brings changes designed to make it easier to deploy Apple devices across the enterprise. Meanwhile, enterprise-focused Apple partners such as Deloitte, IBM, Cisco and JAMF now provide iOS deployment expertise and technologies as a service.

Among the enterprise deployment highlights in iOS 11:

  • MDM services can push iOS updates to supervised devices, even if they’re locked.
  • You can add any device to the Device Enrollment Program.
  • MDM commands can be set to execute only when a device has a wired connection — saving on corporate bandwidth.
  • A new restriction forbids enterprise users from adding their own VPN.
  • You can now enable signing and encryption in Mail and Exchange separately; before you could only enable signing and encryption at once.
  • Sysadmins can now configure home screen layout and app installs on Apple TV.
  • You can easily integrate Cisco Spark and WebEx meetings into iOS 11 apps.

A faster, smarter Safari

Quick and easy browsing of the web has bolstered Apple’s success since the iMac arrived in 1999, so the latest iteration of Safari in iOS will affect millions of users. The focus this year is on speed (you’ll like the faster scrolling) and security.

The security enhancements will likely have the biggest effect on users. These include better, easier cookie blocking and Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which uses built-in machine A.I. to reduce cross-site tracking by identifying and limiting this practice.

Safari supports a new video codec, HEVC (H.265). This will mean higher-quality video at much lower file sizes compared to the older H.264.

The browser’s search bar now allows you to track flights and define words.

PDF creation using the browser is also improved: Just tap Share and choose Markup as PDF to make a PDF you can annotate.

Finally, like the High Sierra version of the browser, Safari on iOS adds support for WebRTC. This opens the doors to cross-platform, browser-based video collaboration.

Business Chat bots

Apple at WWDC 2017 in June announced a key partnership with Nuance to create a bot-based customer service ecosystem for Messages, called “Business Chat.”  Apple’s plan is to integrate Nuance’s Digital Customer Engagement Platform with Apple Business Chat. This will enable new breeds of A.I.-based intelligent assistants in Messages and means you’ll see a little messages icon pop up on brand websites and in search results. Nuance’s asynchronous messaging tech is already used across other messaging platforms that support bots. Major companies, including Bank of America, Domino’s, FedEx and USAA, already use Nuance’s solution.

Enterprises exploring B2C or B2B bot technologies will find that Apple’s solution lets customers find your business and start conversations from Safari, Maps, Spotlight and Siri using tens of millions of mobile devices.

Your iOS, your Control Center

Every iOS user already interacts with Control Center. Swipe up and you can invoke numerous items for quick access. iOS 11 sees significant improvements here, including a redesign that combines everything in one window, brings in a range of new functions, and lets users choose which tools are available in their Control Center (Settings>Control Center).

This customization is limited, however; you can’t add third-party widgets at this time, and you cannot remove certain tools, such as those for Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, AirDrop, Rotation Lock, AirPlay and Music.

Control Center has another handy talent: You get 3D Touch-like interaction even when using a device that doesn’t support 3D Touch. Force-touch the Torch widget and slide your finger to increase brightness, or touch, hold and slide the timer widget to very swiftly set a time, even if you’re using an iPhone SE.

Mightier Maps

Maps continues to improve, with features such as the introduction of new AR-like city flyover views. These use your iOS device’s camera and sensors to track your position and move you around 3D representations of key cities, such as London or New York. To explore these views, search for a major city and look for a Flyover button. Tap this to access the view. (Not every city is supported, so if the city you chose doesn’t have the button, keep trying.)

It’s an engaging feature that offers more potential as additional cities are added, but Apple has also worked hard to make Maps more effective for getting quickly from point A to point B. iOS 11 offers indoor maps for shopping malls, for instance, as well as airports and transit hubs. It also includes these key items:

  • A Do Not Disturb When Driving feature designed to keep you from getting distracted by incoming Notifications while behind the wheel.
  • A new Lane Guidance feature that shows you the correct highway lane to be in to make the turns you need to stay on course.
  • A speed limit display in Maps, beginning with those posted for U.S. roads.
  • A new “Light Guidance” mode that provides a bird’s-eye view so you can better scout out the journey ahead when using Maps for travel instructions.
  • A new way to access zoom mode: Just double tap a Map and, while keeping your finger pressed into the display, move your finger up and down to zoom in and out.

credit: Apple

Let’s work (better) together

No one really likes jumping through hoops to make devices work together. iOS 11 makes this a lot easier:

  • Automatic setup: Got a new iOS device? Just hold it near an iOS 11 device (or High Sierra Mac) you already own and are logged into using your Apple ID. Many of your personal settings, preferences and iCloud Keychain passwords will be carried over to your new device, so it is ready to use, fast.
  • Instant Wi-Fi: iOS 11 users can approve others to use their Wi-Fi network by holding the devices close together, authorizing them, and transferring the password automatically. This should help schools and enterprises more easily manage routine Wi-Fi password changes.
  • QR Code scanning: The Camera app will automatically scan and understand QR codes. Point your device at the code, tap to focus, and a notification box will let you respond to that code. This will come in useful for automatic setup of things such as Wi-Fi networks, HomeKit devices, contact cards, website URLs and more.
  • Core NFC: This new iOS 11 framework lets developers create apps that can read NFC tags. It’s a little limited at the moment — it only works one-way, so you can use it to access information about museum exhibits and visitor attractions rather than for more sophisticated payment systems.

The image thing

Apple’s been working hard to improve your images. Last year’s introduction of the bokeh effect in the iPhone 7 Plus was a great example of this, since it basically put a pro-photo portrait camera in your pocket. iOS 11 maintains this tradition:

  • The biggest enhancement is introduction of support for the HEIF photo format. Based on the video-focused HVEC format, HEIF is capable of saving images around half the file size of JPEGs but at much higher quality (up to 16-bit, versus 8-bit).
  • Apple has developed a way to transcode images from HEIF to JPEG on the fly, without performance degradation.
  • If you use an iPhone 7 Plus, Portrait Mode in iOS 11 supports optical image stabilization and HDR, so you can expect much better images in low light.
  • Apple has also added new filters to improve images, including one designed to make skin tones appear more natural.
  • Live Photos gains several improvements. Not only can you now share these live moments with others as GIF files (or as an mp4 on Android), but you get to choose the key image and can apply three new effects: loop, bounce and long exposure. (The latter blurs anything that’s moving within a frame so you can focus on the subject).

Document scanning and Notes

Apple’s Notes app spent years in the wilderness before getting much attention. By the time iOS 10 arrived, Notes had already become a sort of low-budget replacement for Evernote, but it gets much more versatility in iOS 11. Certainly, for business users it has become an excellent tool to keep receipts and other expenses in one place when traveling:

  • You can scan documents from within a Note; just tap the plus sign and choose Scan Documents, then point your device until the document is in focus and highlighted by a yellow tint. You can then keep, share or even sign the scan (the latter on the iPad Pro using an Apple Pencil).
  • Apple has added the capacity to draw inside Notes using the familiar sketch tools interface from the iPad.
  • You can pin notes to the top of your list, more easily search through your notes, and quickly place notes within subject folders.

A few more things

There are many more improvements within iOS 11, including a one-handed keyboard option, person-to-person payments within Messages, the capacity to record and broadcast what’s happening on-screen, and App Offloading, which lets you delete an app you don’t use often while keeping the app data. When you need it, just download the app again to use that data. You’ll also find improved screenshot annotation and significant additions to CareKit and ResearchKit, which provide a platform for health and medical equipment developers.

If this has whetted your appetite enough to try iOS 11 for yourself, you can register to join Apple’s iOS 11 Public Beta program. Otherwise, wait until the final version arrives, when the bugs should have been ironed out.

Have questions?

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10 Windows 7 tips to get the most out of your machine

If you’re one of the many business users who has not upgraded their computer to Windows 10, there are still resources to boost your experience. Here are 10 tips for getting the most out of the OS.

Windows 10 faced a controversial roll-out, with privacy concerns, bugs, and other issues plaguing many users. And as of August 2016, just 1% of business machines had upgraded to Windows 10, according to a study from Softchoice. Instead, 91% of the machines were operating with Windows 7—an 18% increase over the same period of time in 2015.

“It seems businesses don’t see an urgent need to move operating systems, so long as their cloud-based applications are still running fine on Windows 7,” Softchoice’s Microsoft director Craig McQueen wrote in a press release at the time. “In addition to the security benefits, I think once organizations grasp the user benefits—such as touch and Cortana—we will start to see a boost in adoption.”

While experts predict Windows 10 deployments will pick up this year, it’s important for those still using Windows 7 for business to get the most out of their machines. Here are 10  articles with Windows 7 tips that will help enterprise users operate the machines more effectively.

1. 10 ways to speed up Windows 7

While Windows 7 generally performs well, over time, the system can slow down and require some care to get it back up to speed. The OS also contains certain features that users can take advantage of to improve overall performance. Here, we outline 10 steps business users can take to enhance the performance of your Windows 7 system.

2. Use multiple monitors with Windows 7’s Remote Desktop Connection

Windows 7 allows users to connect to a remote computer and utilize the local system’s multiple monitors. Here is a step by step advice on how to configure and operate multiple monitors using Windows 7’s Remote Desktop Connection, as well as how to connect to and from Windows versions that do not support this feature.

3. Quick Tips: Flush the ARP cache in Windows 7

The Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) cache is an important part of IP networking on any OS, as it links Ethernet addressing to hardware addressing. Newly mapped addresses are saved in an ARP cache, which is usually fine, but can sometimes cause issues with internet connections and web page loading times. Here, are the necessary steps to clear the ARP cache, and how to manage it going forward.

4. 10+ Windows 7 services you may not need

While every version of Windows includes a core set of system services, business users can disable some that are not necessary in order to improve performance and security. In this article, we highlight 13 services that users can disable if they so choose on Windows 7 systems that will likely not have any impact on business operations, including IP Helper, offline files, and Network Access Protection.

5. 10 Windows 7 commands every administrator should know

IT staff who troubleshoot Windows 7 problems often have to dive into the command line. Here, are 10 fundamental Windows 7 commands that are useful for IT administrators, including System File Checker, File Signature Verification, and Driverquery.

6. Modifying the Windows 7 boot loader with the Boot Configuration Data Editor tool

In Windows Vista and later versions of Windows, the bootloader was moved from boot.ini to a utility called BCDEdit. This article walks users through how to modify the boot config data using this tool.

7. Change and customize Windows 7’s Logon screen wallpaper

Changing and customizing the Windows 7 Logon screen wallpaper is easy once you know the steps, as Microsoft built the ability to change the wallpaper right into the OS, as opposed to needing any third-party software. Here, we offer a tutorial on doing so.

8. Change the Processor Affinity setting in Windows 7 to gain a performance edge

Most applications have been designed for multi-core processors, and work with an OS to distribute their operations evenly across cores to enhance performance. However, you can sometimes achieve better overall performance from certain applications by configuring them to run on different processor cores, which Windows 7 allows via the Processor Affinity setting. In this article, we explain two ways to change the Processor Affinity setting in Windows 7.

9. Use Windows 7 Event Viewer to track down issues that cause slower boot times

Experiencing a slow Windows 7 boot time? You can use Windows 7’s Event View to investigate the source of the problem. The Event Viewer includes a category of event logs called Applications and Services Logs, which track key elements of the OS. Here, we explain how it is possible to find out how long it took to boot up your system every time, since the day Windows 7 was first installed, along with instances where boot time slowed down, all through these logs.

10. Tag your files for easier searches in Windows 7

This article, walks users through how to tag files to make them searchable via the Search filters built into Windows Explorer’s Search box in Windows 7. It’s possible to do this easily from many applications while saving a file. The ability to more easily find files is a boon for business users who want to enhance their productivity.

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Change the Processor Affinity setting in Windows 7 to gain a performance edge

Under specific circumstances and with careful tweaking, you can increase Windows 7’s performance using the Processor Affinity setting.

If you have a multi-core processor, chances are good that on the Performance tab in Windows Task Manager, you have noticed that the CPU Usage History graphs look about the same for each core, as shown in Figure A. The reason for this is that most applications you run these days have been designed with multi-core processors in mind and will work with the operating system to distribute their operations as evenly as possible across all the available cores.

Figure A

In most cases, you’ll notice that the CPU Usage History graphs look about the same for each core.

In most cases this even distribution provides you with the best performance possible. However, that’s not always going to be the case. For instance, older applications that were designed for single-core processors can behave irrationally — they may all of a sudden begin maxing out the CPU usage at 100 percent and appear to be locked up. In other circumstances, you might be able to achieve better overall performance from certain applications by configuring each of them to run on different processor cores.

Fortunately, Windows 7 allows you to configure applications to use only one, or several, of the processor cores in a multi-core system by using the Processor Affinity setting.

In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, Iwe’ll show you two ways to change the Processor Affinity setting in Windows 7.

From Task Manager

Changing the Processor Affinity setting from within Task Manager is a pretty straightforward operation once you know how to do it. To launch Task Manger, you can use the keystroke combination [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Esc] or you can simply right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu.

Once Task Manager is up and running, select the Applications tab, right-click on the application that you want to work with, and select the Go to Process command, as shown in Figure B. When you get to the Processes tab, right-click on the process and from that context menu, select the Set Affinity command, as shown in Figure C. (If the processes are jumping around, it may be hard to select the correct process, so you might just want to press the Application key or [Shift]+[F10].)

Figure B

Right-click on an application and select the Go to Process command.

Figure C

Right-click on the process and select the Set Affinity command.

After you select the Set Affinity command, you’ll see the Processor Affinity dialog box shown in Figure D. As you can see, the default setting is All Processors, which in the case of my example system are CPU 0 and CPU 1. At this point, you can clear the All Processors check box and then select the CPU on which you want the process to run.

Figure D

The Processor Affinity dialog box allows you to choose which processor(s) you want to use.

An example

To take a look at the effects of using the Set Affinity command, we launched two applications: Microsoft Security Essentials and Disk Defragmenter. Next we used the Set Affinity command to assign Microsoft Security Essentials to CPU 0 and Disk Defragmenter to CPU 1. We then started each application running — Microsoft Security Essentials performing a full scan and Disk Defragmenter defragging a 500GB disk.

Once each application began working, they started sucking up CPU time, so we went to the Performance tab in Windows Task Manager to look at the CPU Usage History graphs. When we did, we could see that each graph was showing different measurements, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

Each of the CPU Usage History graphs shows different measurements.

To specifically see how each CPU core was faring, we launched Resource Monitor and selected the CPU tab. Again, we could see that each CPU core was showing different usage measurements, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F

Resource Monitor’s CPU tab specifically identifies each CPU core and its usage.

Now, of course, my example combination is purely for the sake of showing each CPU handling a separate process. However, there are instances where running Microsoft Security Essentials on a separate CPU core would be beneficial.

From a shortcut

Now if you find that running an application on a specific CPU core works well, you might want to use it again in the future. If so, chances are that you won’t want to have to go through the Task Manager each time. Fortunately you can create a shortcut to launch an application with a specific affinity setting.

For example, to launch Disk Defragmenter so that it runs only on CPU 0, you would create a shortcut with the following command line:

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /C start /affinity 1 dfrgui.exe

To launch Disk Defragmenter on CPU 1, you would create a shortcut with the following command line:

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /C start /affinity 2 dfrgui.exe

The number that follows the start /affinity command is called the affinity mask and is defined as a hexadecimal number. However, the CPU core number can be calculated more easily using binary numbers. For instance, the command

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /C start /affinity 3 dfrgui.exe

will launch Disk Defragmenter on both CPU 0 and CPU 1. If you convert 3 into a binary number you will get 0011. Under the affinity mask system, processors are numbered from the right to left beginning with 0 and since there are 1’s in the first two places, this indicates CPU 0 and CPU 1.

Suppose you have a Quad core processor. If so and you use an affinity mask of 4, that will convert into binary 0100, which indicates CPU 2. If you use an affinity mask of 9, that will convert into binary 1001, which indicates CPU 0 and CPU 3.

For more information on the start /affinity command, open a Command Prompt window and type the command

start /?

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10 Windows 7 commands every administrator should know

The command line is often the best place to resolve Windows 7 desktop problems. These basic commands will help speed your troubleshooting tasks.

PC troubleshooting is becoming less common in larger organizations, but consultants and techs in smaller shops still have to get their hands dirty identifying and fixing desktop problems. Oftentimes, troubleshooting Windows 7 means delving into the command line. Here are 10 fundamental Windows 7 commands you might find helpful.

1: System File Checker

Malicious software will often attempt to replace core system files with modified versions in an effort to take control of the system. The System File Checker can be used to verify the integrity of the Windows system files. If any of the files are found to be missing or corrupt, they will be replaced. You can run the System File Checker by using this command:

sfc /scannow

2: File Signature Verification

One way to verify the integrity of a system is to make sure that all the system files are digitally signed. You can accomplish this with the File Signature Verification tool. This tool is launched from the command line but uses a GUI interface. It will tell you which system files are signed and which aren’t. As a rule, all the system files should be digitally signed, although some hardware vendors don’t sign driver files. The command used to launch the File Signature Verification tool is:

sigverif

3: Driverquery

Incorrect device drivers can lead to any number of system problems. If you want to see which drivers are installed on a Windows 7 system, you can do so by running the driverquery tool. This simple command-line tool provides information about each driver that is being used. The command is:

driverquery

If you need a bit more information, you can append the -v switch. Another option is to append the -si switch, which causes the tool to display signature information for the drivers. Here’s how they look:

driverquery -v
driverquery -si

4: Nslookup

The nslookup tool can help you to verify that DNS name resolution is working correctly. When you run nslookup against a host name, the tool will show you how the name was resolved, as well as which DNS server was used during the lookup. This tool can be extremely helpful when troubleshooting problems related to legacy DNS records that still exist but that are no longer correct.

To use this tool, just enter the nslookup command, followed by the name of the host you want to resolve. For example:

nslookup dc1.contoso.com

5: Ping

Ping is probably the simplest of all diagnostic commands. It’s used to verify basic TCP/IP connectivity to a network host. To use it, simply enter the command, followed by the name or IP address of the host you want to test. For example:

ping 192.168.1.1

Keep in mind that this command will work only if Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) traffic is allowed to pass between the two machines. If at any point a firewall is blocking ICMP traffic, the ping will fail.

6: Pathping

Ping does a good job of telling you whether two machines can communicate with one another over TCP/IP, but if a ping does fail, you won’t receive any information regarding the nature of the failure. This is where the pathping utility comes in.

Pathping is designed for environments in which one or more routers exist between hosts. It sends a series of packets to each router that’s in the path to the destination host in an effort to determine whether the router is performing slowly or dropping packets. At its simplest, the syntax for pathping is identical to that of the ping command (although there are some optional switches you can use). The command looks like this:

pathping 192.168.1.1

7: Ipconfig

The ipconfig command is used to view or modify a computer’s IP addresses. For example, if you wanted to view a Windows 7 system’s full IP configuration, you could use the following command:

ipconfig /all

Assuming that the system has acquired its IP address from a DHCP server, you can use the ipconfig command to release and then renew the IP address. Doing so involves using the following commands:

ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew

Another handy thing you can do with ipconfig is flush the DNS resolver cache. This can be helpful when a system is resolving DNS addresses incorrectly. You can flush the DNS cache by using this command:

ipconfig /flushdns

8: Repair-bde

If a drive that is encrypted with BitLocker has problems, you can sometimes recover the data using a utility called repair-bde. To use this command, you will need a destination drive to which the recovered data can be written, as well as your BitLocker recovery key or recovery password. The basic syntax for this command is:

repair-bde <source> <destination> -rk | rp <source>

You must specify the source drive, the destination drive, and either the rk (recovery key) or the rp (recovery password) switch, along with the path to the recovery key or the recovery password. Here are two examples of how to use this utility:

repair-bde c: d: -rk e:\recovery.bek
repair-bde c: d: -rp 111111-111111-111111-111111-111111-111111

9: Tasklist

The tasklist command is designed to provide information about the tasks that are running on a Windows 7 system. At its most basic, you can enter the following command:

tasklist

The tasklist command has numerous optional switches, but there are a couple I want to mention. One is the -m switch, which causes tasklist to display all the DLL modules associated with a task. The other is the -svc switch, which lists the services that support each task. Here’s how they look:

tasklist -m
tasklist -svc

10: Taskkill

The taskkill command terminates a task, either by name (which is referred to as the image name) or by process ID. The syntax for this command is simple. You must follow the taskkill command with -pid (process ID) or -im (image name) and the name or process ID of the task that you want to terminate. Here are two examples of how this command works:

taskkill -pid 4104
taskkill -im iexplore.exe

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APPLE WARNS OF WI-FI HACK: Could wipe out iPhones, issues fix

If you use Wi-Fi on your iOS device, get this security update

The tech giant says there is a new cyber threat, but has taken steps to thwart the attack.  According to the reports, “Apple has now issued a critical security patch for all iOS devices and for Mac computers against a potential hack that could come remotely via Wi-Fi.”


The virus is being considered a potentially serious threat, so the company is urging users to install the updates to protect their devices.

The latest cyber threat is also a risk to Android device users, but Google has taken steps as well to block the virus.

“The vulnerability also has the potential to attack Android devices, but Google issued its own security patch earlier this month.”

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New Website Design – Main Line Bike Race

The Website Design team of South Jersey Techies has been constantly working on developing great looking websites using the latest web technologies. The most recent website developed by our team is for an event organized by Narberth Ambulance, called, Main Line Bike Race.

The 1st annual  Main Line Bike Race of Ardmore to be held on Sunday, August 20th, 2017 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The team – comprised of volunteers from Narberth Ambulance, Human Zoom Bikes and Boards, Lower Merion Township, Ardmore Business Association, and many others – is working hard to ensure a successful presentation of a first-class event for a first-class township. Please consider supporting the First Annual Main Line Bike Race. Your support will not only help Narberth Ambulance; it will also assist us in bringing our communities together for an action-packed day of bike racing!

 

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