Categories
Computing

How To Use The Quick Note Feature In MacOS Monterey

Apple brought a slew of new features with MacOS Monterey, including updates to Safari and the option to use Shortcuts. Another convenient feature is the ability to use Quick Note with the Notes app.

First introduced with iPadOS 15, Quick Note lets you capture a note while using any app on your Mac. Not only that, but you can start a new note with a keyboard shortcut or Hot Corner and easily save links and create persistent highlights when you use Safari.

How to create a Quick Note

You have a couple of easy ways to create a new Quick Note while performing any task on your Mac.

Option 1: Use the keyboard shortcut Fn + Q. This opens a blank note ready for your thoughts or ideas.

Option 2: Move your cursor to a Hot Corner. If you don’t have a shortcut set up for your lower-right Hot Corner, one will be added for Quick Note when you upgrade to MacOS Monterey.

To check or change the location, go to System preferences > Desktop and screen saver > Hot corners.

When the Quick Note appears using either of the above actions, you can move it wherever you like on your screen. You can also resize it by dragging in or out from a corner or edge.

Of course, you can also create a Quick Note directly in the Notes app if you like. Select Quick note on the left and choose the Create a new note button in the toolbar.

Add a Quick Note using the Share button on Mac.

How to save a link in Safari to a Quick Note

When you use Safari, you can easily create a Quick Note there as well. This is handy if you want to save the website or page you’re visiting.

To save a link to the site, select the Share button in the toolbar and pick New quick note or Add to quick note. This saves a link to the site with the page or article name.

Persistent highlight and Quick Note in Safari.

How to save content in Safari to a Quick Note

Another great feature for Safari is that you can highlight and save content to a Quick Note. This creates a persistent highlight so that when you revisit the site, the text will remain highlighted for you.

Step 1: Select the content on the page you want to save by dragging your cursor across it.

Step 2: Right-click and select New quick note or Add to quick note.

Step 3: The note will display the text you selected in a quote and a link to the web page.

When you revisit the page, you’ll see a thumbnail of the Quick Note pop up, and the selected text will still be highlighted.

Check the box for Resume last Quick Note.

How to always use your last Quick Note

One feature of Quick Note you may want to adjust is to always resume the last note. For instance, if you have a note with websites for research, you can continue to add to that same Quick Note rather than create a new one each time.

Step 1: Open the Notes app.

Step 2: Go to Notes > Preferences from the menu bar.

Step 3: Check the box for Resume last quick note.

If you change your mind later, head back to this same spot and uncheck the box. You’ll then see a new Quick Note each time.

View Quick Notes on Mac.

How to view your Quick Notes

All Quick Notes you create are available in the Notes app. Select Quick notes on the left, and you’ll see your notes on the right. If you sync the Notes app with your iPhone or iPad, you’ll see them in the same spot on those devices as well.

You can edit, delete, add images, and insert tables in a Quick Note just like any other note.

All of this makes Quick Note a terrific addition to MacOS Monterey.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

Windows 11 Gains Back A Highly Requested Taskbar Feature

Microsoft has confirmed the weather widget that was initially introduced via Windows 10 will be integrated into Windows 11. A new voice access feature for the operating system has also been added.

The latest Insider preview build for Windows 11, dubbed . 22518, displays live weather content on the left side of the taskbar. Users will also be able to open the widgets board by hovering over the entry point.

Another addition to Windows 11’s latest preview build is voice access, which allows users to control several aspects of their PC and author text through voice commands.

The new feature lets you open and switch between apps, browse the web, and control the mouse and keyboard. For example, you can click an item like a button or a link by saying “click start” or “click cancel.”Similarly, you’ll be able to open an application by saying “open Edge” or “open Word.”

Other elements that can be interacted with through one’s voice include searching and editing text, as well as interacting with overlays. Microsoft provided a full list of commands for voice access, but pointed out that it only supports the English-U.S option in the display language section.

Microsoft has also made it easier for new users to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux through the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft is also introducing the Spotlight collection to Windows 11, which will “keep your desktop fresh and inspiring.” New desktop pictures from around the world will be offered every day, accompanied by various facts pertaining to the picture itself.

Besides Insider preview build 22518, Microsoft recently released a redesigned Notepad. An updated user interface brings changes like rounded corners, but the most exciting inclusion is a dark mode component. The new-look Notepad also addresses a “top community feature request” by adding support for multilevel undo.

There’s currently no timeline for when all these changes will become available for all Windows 11 users, but expect a rollout sometime during 2022. As for the latest preview build that’s been released in the Windows 11 Dev Channel, Microsoft stated that it won’t be offered to ARM64 PCs due to an issue that it’s currently working to fix.

Regarding Microsoft’s plan for Windows 11 in 2022, one area of focus for the company largely revolves around performance, with the tech giant highlighting how improving the responsiveness of the new operating system will be a priority.

Editors’ Choice




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Security

Firefox’s latest security feature is designed to protect itself from buggy code

Firefox 95, the latest version of Mozilla’s browser that’s rolling out starting today, introduces a new security feature that’s designed to limit the damage that bugs and security vulnerabilities in its code can cause, Mozilla announced today. The feature, called RLBox, was developed with help from researchers at the University of California San Diego and the University of Texas, and it was originally released as a prototype last year. It’s coming to both the desktop and mobile versions of Firefox.

At its core, RLBox is a sandboxing technology, which means that it’s effectively able to isolate code so that any security vulnerabilities it might contain can’t harm the overall system. Sandboxing is a widely used security method across the industry, and browsers already run web content in sandboxed processes to try to stop malicious or buggy sites from compromising the overall browser.

RLBox differs from this traditional approach, however, and doesn’t have the same costs to performance and memory usage. This makes it possible to sandbox critical browser subcomponents like its spell checker, effectively allowing it to treat them as untrusted code while still running in the same process. This places limits on how code can run or which memory it can access.

As of today’s release, Firefox is isolating five modules: its Graphite font rendering engine, Hunspell spell checker, Ogg multimedia container format, Expat XML parser, and Woff2 web font compression format. Mozilla says this means if bugs or vulnerabilities are discovered in one of these subcomponents, the Firefox team won’t need to scramble to stop them from compromising the entire browser. “Even a zero-day vulnerability in any of them should pose no threat to Firefox,” Mozilla says.

Mozilla admits that it’s not a catch-all solution and that the approach won’t work everywhere, such as particularly performance-sensitive browser components. But the developer says it hopes to see other browsers and software projects implement the technology and that it intends to use it with more of Firefox’s components in the future. Mozilla has also updated its bug bounty program and will now pay researchers if they’re able to bypass the new sandboxes.

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Categories
Computing

Windows 11 Adds Highly Requested Taskbar Feature

Microsoft is making it easy for you to mute your microphone when you don’t want to be heard on Microsoft Teams calls. Rolling out in the latest Windows 11 Dev Channel build is a new mute icon in the taskbar for when communications apps like Microsoft Teams are in use.

The initial iteration of this icon works as you’d expect, though it is currently only for select Windows 11 beta testers. Instead of having to manually search for the mute button in Teams, you can click the Microphone icon in the Windows 11 taskbar and choose the Mute option. You also can use the icon to see your call audio status and which app is accessing your microphone. The icon will be present all throughout your call, no matter how many windows you have open or what is on your screen.

“No more awkward or embarrassing moments when you forget to unmute or mute your microphone. You can now communicate and collaborate with confidence and ease using the new call mute feature on Windows 11,” wrote Amanda Langowski and Brandon LeBlanc, who head the Windows Insider Program.

This initial mute button only works with the desktop version of Microsoft Teams with school or work accounts, and not all Windows 11 Dev Channel insiders might see it. Microsoft is planning to ramp up the rollout of the icon over time and also bring support for it to the Windows 11 chat app soon. Other communication apps like Slack, Zoom, or Google Meet can tap into the feature and add the capability as well, though it appears to be up to those app developers to enable it.

Once beta testing is complete, Microsoft is planning to roll out the mute icon to the regular version of Windows 11. It says this will be done in a future servicing update. When everyone has it, this would be the latest time-saving feature to be added to Windows 11. Other features include Snap Layouts, the Widgets app, and the centered Start Menu that shows links to the most recent files and apps.

The Windows Insider build, which brings this new microphone mute icon, also addresses several other issues in Windows 11, ranging from the File Explorer and taskbar to search. If you really want to experience this for yourself, you can opt your Windows 11 PC into the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider Program to get it. But, as Microsoft said, not every Windows Insider will be seeing this. And keep in mind that Windows 11 Dev Channel builds are known to be unstable.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
AI

AT&T and H2O collab on feature store for AI developers

Telecom giant AT&T and Mountain View, California-headquartered AI cloud company H2O have jointly launched an artificial intelligence feature store for enterprises.

The repository, available as a paid software platform, enables data scientists, developers, and engineers to discover, share, and reuse machine learning features to speed up their AI project deployments. According to the companies, it can be used for work on personalization and recommendation engines as well as models that are aimed at forecasting, as well as the optimization of dynamic pricing, supply chain, and logistics and transportation.

The development comes as more and more organizations turn to AI implementation to generate actionable insights and predictions from a huge trove of data. AT&T originally had this solution in production use for network optimization, fraud prevention, tax calculations, predictive maintenance, among other things.

Features in machine learning

When it comes to building machine learning models, data is of the utmost importance. However, raw data is not the key to a well-performing algorithm. The information gathered first must be cleaned and enriched with features — individual independent variables or characteristics that act as the input for the system. The quality of these features defines the quality of the model as well as the accuracy of its predictions.

Typically, AI experts apply domain knowledge of the data and engineering tools to extract and create features. The entire process takes months and has to be repeated for every new AI project (adding to the cost), even if it is under the same organization.

A feature store strives to solve this challenge by serving as the home for commonly used features. With this solution, experts could create new features for a project and then add them into the store, ensuring they could be reused if required at a later stage. Databricks, Tecton, Molecula, Hopsworks, Splice Machine, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are the leading players that offer feature stores to accelerate MLOps.

Additional capabilities

The latest offering from H2O and AT&T not only performs the core function of a feature store, but also comes equipped with multiple additional capabilities. The store offers integration with multiple data and machine learning pipelines, which can be applied to an on-premise data lake or by leveraging cloud and SaaS providers. It is integrated with Snowflake, Databricks, Apache Spark, H2O Sparkling Water, Python, Scala, and Java.

Then, the solution also offers an automatic recommendation engine that learns over time and recommends new features and feature updates to improve the AI model performance of the user. This way, data scientists can simply review the suggested updates and accept the recommendations best suited for their model. FeatureRank scores all the features on the store based on their popularity and value.

“We are building AI right into the feature store and have taken an open, modular, and scalable approach to tightly integrate into the diverse feature engineering pipelines while preserving sub-millisecond latencies needed to react to fast-changing business conditions,” Sri Ambati, CEO and founder of H2O.ai, said in a statement.

The company says any firm engaged in AI development can adopt its store, starting from financial services and health organizations to pharmaceutical makers, retail, and software developers.

“Feature stores are one of the hottest areas of AI development right now because being able to reuse and repurpose data engineering tools is critical as those tools become increasingly complex and expensive to build,” Andy Markus, chief data officer at AT&T, said.

“With our expertise in managing and analyzing huge data flows, combined with H2O.ai’s deep AI expertise, we understand what business customers are looking for in this space and our feature store offering meets this need,” Markus added.

According to a PwC study, AI will $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Leading this growth are China and North America, which will drive the greatest economic gains at $10.7 trillion.

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Categories
Game

Apple Music lands on PlayStation 5 with an odd feature

If you’re an Apple Music subscriber who happens to own a PlayStation 5, then here’s a bit of good news: Apple Music is available on the PlayStation 5 as of today. While the app functions mostly as you’d expect a music streaming app on a console to function, it seems the Apple Music app on the PS5 has some interesting functionality to it.

As Sony explains on the PlayStation Blog, Apple Music can be used both independently and to play music in the background while you’re playing a game. That’s par for the course for music streaming apps on console. For instance, Spotify, an app that has been available on PlayStation 5 for some time already, offers that same functionality. However, where things get interesting is in Apple Music’s recommendations.

To play music in a game, either open the Apple Music app before you start playing or, if you’re in the middle of playing, hit the PS button on your controller and then navigate to the Music Function card in the Control Center. When you’re there, Sony says you’ll be able to see recommendations that match the game you’re currently playing. What that specifically means is a little ambiguous, but music recommendations based on the game that’s currently being played certainly make for an intriguing feature.

Subscribers will also have access to their own playlists, Apple’s curated playlists, and Apple Music Radio. In addition, PS5 users can use Apple Music to play music videos on their consoles and even continue playing those music videos in the background to resume playing games.

All in all, it sounds like Apple Music might be the music app to use on PlayStation 5. If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, you can find the app on the PlayStation Store beginning today, though as with most apps, you’ll need to link your Apple Music account to your console by following the on-screen instructions the first time you boot up the app.

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Categories
Game

Returnal 2.0 Update Finally Adds a Long Requested Feature

Returnal‘s new 2.0 update is live right now and brings a new quality of life feature to the game in the form of Suspend Cycle. This update also brings a photo mode to the game, a feature plenty suited to the game and its unique visuals.

Returnal released as one of the first PlayStation 5 exclusive titles in April. While the game was met with positive reception, many players voiced problems with the roguelike nature of the game and not being able to finish missions, due to how long runs can last. This update fixes that problem by allowing players to suspend their run.

Suspend Cycle allows players to pause mid-cycle and return to it later. That means it’s possible to exit the game, play something else, or turn off the console completely and still return later exactly where you left off. This feature isn’t to be confused with the typical Save option, as you’re only allotted one suspend point at a time.

There are also limitations to Suspend Cycle. Players won’t be able to suspend during cinematics, first-person sequences, intense combat scenarios, and boss battles to keep the challenge intact.

The 2.0 update also adds a highly-requested Photo Mode, which many gamers have come to expect from most AAA games at this point. At any time, besides first-person sequences, players can pause the game and enter the new Photo Mode. Like with Photo Modes in other games, players can change the focus, filters, coloring, and more.

Returnal and its free 2.0 update are available now for the PlayStation 5.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Returnal version 2.0 update adds a long-requested feature

Returnal made some waves when it launched for PlayStation 5 earlier this year, and now the game is being updated to version 2.0. Returnal developer Housemarque detailed the version 2.0 update today, and while it doesn’t seem to be an extensive update, it does add two big features. The first is a “Suspend Cycle” feature that will allow users to save their progress in the middle of a cycle and return to it later.

To be clear, this is not a traditional save system, so you won’t be able to save scum your way to victory if you encounter a cycle that’s giving you problems. Instead, the Suspend Cycle feature will create a single suspend point that is deleted once you resume playing. It’s good for people who have to walk away in the middle of a cycle and don’t want to lose their progress, but beyond that, it has pretty limited functionality.

For instance, Housemarque says that you won’t be able to suspend a cycle during boss battles, cinematics, intense combat scenarios, or the game’s first-person sequences. Housemarque noted that this approach to suspend points allows it to “keep the roguelike spirit and ‘high stakes’ commitment to your run intact, while still providing some quality-of-life convenience for players who like to experience Returnal in shorter bursts.”

In addition to the new Suspend Cycle feature, Returnal version 2.0 adds a Photo Mode to the game. Even though Returnal can be a dark game, there are plenty of visually impressive moments, so Photo Mode allows you to capture those moments. With the exception of first-person sequences, it sounds like Photo Mode can be activated at any time by pausing the game.

Players can use the analog sticks and triggers to change the camera angle, and then after finding the right angle for the shot, they’ll be able to change settings like focal distance and saturation before applying filters and effects. After that point, all you’ll need to do is hit the Capture button to take the screenshot. Returnal‘s version 2.0 update is live today on PS5, so give it a download and take these new features for a spin.

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Categories
Computing

The MacBook Pro’s Fast Charging Feature Will Cost Extra

Apple finally introduced its redesigned MacBook Pro line that brought many features that professionals and prosumers alike will definitely enjoy. One of those features is ability to get at least 50% charge after only 30 minutes of fast charging. However, the catch is that the ability to fast charge comes at an additional cost.

The base model 14-inch MacBook Pro ships with the 67W USB-C adapter. The problem is that it isn’t enough to actually fast charge the base model. To take advantage of Apple’s impressive fast charging, buyers must pay an extra $20 for the 96W USB-C power adapter. While $20 doesn’t seem like much (especially if you’re paying $2,000 or more for a laptop), it’s disappointing that one of the marquee features of the new MacBook Pro is still an extra charge.

Many customers who purchase Apple’s base model MacBook Pro may not realize that the included 67W charger won’t fast charge their shiny new laptop. Apple’s website says that the 96W charger is a “free upgrade” if customers opt for the model with the 10-core M1 Pro chip, but that’s a $200 upgrade. The irony is that because Apple’s M1 chips are so powerful and efficient, many people may opt to just get the base 8-core M1 Pro instead of the more powerful 10-core.

This isn’t the only time Apple removed an important feature in base Mac models. The base 24-inch M1 iMac does not have the power adapter with the gigabit ethernet jack built in. That upgrade will set you back around $30. Again, it’s not that $30 is particularly expensive given how much the iMac already costs, it’s the principle of removing such a basic feature and selling it back as a paid “upgrade.”

By all accounts, the new MacBook Pro models provide the best price to performance out of any laptop out there. The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips are game changers that vastly outshine even the already impressive M1 chips. Early benchmarks for the M1 Max reveal a nearly 60% increase in performance compared to last year’s M1 chips. It’s just a shame that Apple continues to nickel and dime customers for access to advertised features.

Editors’ Choice




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Security

1Password gets its own ‘hide my email’ feature

1Password is launching a new feature to let users create unique email aliases for logins, much like Apple’s iCloud Plus Hide My Email function. 1Password is partnering with Fastmail to bring its masked email feature to the password manager, giving all users the option of hiding their email addresses from apps and services.

“Your email address is your online identity,” explains Bron Gondwana, CEO of Fastmail. “If your credentials are compromised in a data breach, having a randomly generated email address adds a second line of defense because it can’t be associated with your primary email address, and therefore, your identity.”

1Password will let you sign up to services with a unique email and password.
Image: 1Password

This new masked email feature will be ideal for registering accounts for temporary purposes, like a free Wi-Fi network. But they can also be used to hide your personal email address from any app or service as the aliases don’t expire unless a 1Password user manually deletes them.

Email aliases already exist in Gmail, Outlook, and other email services. If your regular email address is hello@gmail.com, you can simply use hello+secrethere@gmail.com and emails will appear in your hello@gmail.com inbox. Aliases are a good way to cut down on spam, but the 1Password Fastmail integration takes it a step further by making it impossible for scammers to figure out your actual email address.

Masked emails will never expire in 1Password.
Image: 1Password

Attackers often use leaked databases of reused passwords and email addresses to phish people, but they need both your email address and password to access a service. Victims of a leaked data breach are at less risk if both their password and email address are unique.

Services like Have I Been Pwned have been tracking data breaches for years, and affected email addresses often appear in more than just one breach. “My service is now tracking 5 billion email addresses with each one appearing in an average of 2 data breaches,” says Troy Hunt, the founder of Have I Been Pwned and strategic advisor at 1Password. “It’s more important than ever that we protect our privacy; and protecting the primary key to our digital lives – our email address – will have a really positive impact.”

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