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Office 365 Becomes Even No-Brainer-er

OneDrive Logo on Several Device TypesOn Monday, October 27, Microsoft announced that all Office 365 subscriber accounts would receive unlimited OneDrive storage.

A month ago, the software giant increased the maximum allowable files size from 2 GB  to 10 GB.This removed a major gripe many users had against the cloud storage service.

Meanwhile, this puts a lot of pressure on services like DropBox and BitCasa. It also further diminishes the value of Google Docs, which offers relatively lackluster productivity applications.

And while Microsoft officially charges $99 for Home (5 users) and $69 for Personal (1 user) subscriptions annually, you can easily find discounts in the form of Key Cards. Currently, I found them on Amazon for under $70 for Office 365 Home. The Key Cards are usually mailed to you as a credit card-sized card with a code printed on it. You enter the code in the Office 365 Web site to initiate your subscription. And you can renew the same way.

And this is legitimate. It’s how I got my family’s subscription.

 

Handoff Problem for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8

HandoffI was eager to upgrade my MacBook Air from Mavericks to Yosemite to give the Handoff feature a try. I downloaded the update and installed it.

And Handoff refused to work.

I checked all the settings. I searched the forums. I maddeningly checked the settings and forums again again. Everything was right, but nothing worked. At least not consistently.

Until I turned off Handoff in my iPhone and turned it back on. Bingo! It all came to life.

I also rebooted the iPhone (see how to do that the right way) and the MacBook. I even waited a while to test it again. No hiccups. Everything continued to work fine.

Here are the main steps:

  1. On iPhone, go to Settings > General > Handoff & Suggested Apps.
  2. Ensure Handoff is toggled on (this is the setting I turned off and back on to get everything working right).
  3. Make sure your iPhone Bluetooth is on under Settings > Bluetooth.
  4. On the Mac, go to Settings > General, then scroll down a bit and ensure that “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices” is checked.
  5. To be safe, reboot your Mac and iPhone (do this the right way).

I hope this helps someone else suffering the same frustration.

 

Buy Smart: Certified Lightning Cables Can Be Affordable

Lightning CablesWhen Apple started its “Made for i” (MFi) certification for Lightning cables, many thought it was an insidious way to get more money and raise costs for USB charge/sync cables for their iDevices. While that might be true, there are benefits to having high-quality cables for your high-cost mobile devices.

I’ve seen more than one friend ruin their iPhone and iPad with knock-off, low-cost Lighting cables. These experiences finally convinced me to toss out my cheapie cables. And thus started my pursuit of maximizing value when purchasing authentic or certified Lightning cables. And here is my advice to you:

Authentic Lightning Cables: You can find authentic Apple OEM Lightning cables on eBay. These generally come in a bag and not a retail box, but the item will be the same quality as the cable that came in your iDevice’s box. Be sure to look for a clear statement that the item is manufactured by Apple. Also be sure to buy from either a Top-Rated Seller or a seller with 98% or higher positive feedback.

Lately, I’ve been finding these authentic Apple OEM cables for less than US$10. Some are closer to $8 with free shipping.

Certified Lightning Cable: My favorite certified Lightning cable from a third party is Anker’s Lightning cable. I’ll even argue that Anker builds a better cable than Apple. They’re really that good.

I’ve found that Anker cables [Associate Link] sell for a relatively fair price on Amazon between $10 and $14 with free Prime shipping. If you’re shopping at Amazon for these, be certain to check the “Special Offers and Product Promotions” section. You might be able to save 10% or more on Anker products using codes right on the product page.

Amazon (as AmazonBasics) and Monoprice both offer their own branded certified Lightning cables, and I have every confidence these are fine products. These also come in varying lengths from 4 inches to 10 feet. I haven’t found anything but 1 meter cables from Apple and Anker.

On a Side Note

Back to Anker products, I recently replaced a cheap car charger for my iPhone. I chose an Anker 24W 2-port car charger [Associate Link], and I absolutely love this product. It was $10 with free Prime shipping from Amazon. I travel using Waze to get around Atlanta’s traffic, and the Anker charger charges my iPhone quickly without overheating it. It’s truly a terrific gadget.

Apple’s Touch ID is Finally Relevant

Apple Touch IDWith iOS 8, Apple is finally allowing third-party app developers to leverage Touch ID. This allows those apps to securely access the identity information stored in Touch ID-enabled devices. Now users of those apps can authenticate with their fingertips to gain access to information within those apps.

Touch ID first appeared in the iPhone 5s and iOS 7, but Apple chose to keep its use limited to securely accessing the phone itself. A year later, iOS 8 is much more open. And developers are free to add this powerful technology in their apps.

Now, password management apps like LastPass and 1Password can ensure that you are really you. Additionally, Apple has allowed extensions into Safari which allows these apps to more easily enter usernames and passwords automatically.

Other apps are starting to implement Touch ID for enhanced security options. Microsoft’s OneDrive was recently updated to support PIN access. Once enabled, the file storage and sharing app allows you to use Touch ID to bypass entering the PIN.

Of course, Apple Pay will use Touch ID with the new iPhone 6 phones. And that service offering might just be the killer feature of this generation’s iPhone. It facilitates credit card transactions without sharing card numbers or personally identifiable information.

Who said convenience must take a backseat to security? This sort of thoughtful approach is how technology can actually simplify life instead of just adding something else to it.