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Powerbeats Pro: 9 tips and tricks to master Beats’ completely wireless earbuds

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The new Powerbeats Pro offers everything Apple’s AirPods ($199 at Amazon) do, but design for those who are more active. They’re sweat- and water-resistant and have Apple’s H1 chip for easy pairing, Hey, Siri functionality, extended range and long battery life.

Apple began taking preorders last week, with deliveries of the black Powerbeats Pro expected May 10. The remaining three colors won’t ship until later this summer.

With nearly the same feature set as the AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro go beyond being just another pair of Bluetooth earbuds. Learn how to master your Powerbeats Pro with pairing, battery life, and physical controls.

Pair to your iPhone, iPad

Pairing the Powerbeats Pro with your iPhone is way too easy. Jason Cipriani/CNET

Pairing the Powerbeats Pro with your iPhone takes two seconds — literally. Unlock your phone and open the charging case. An animation will show up on your phone; tap Connect.

This same process will also work on an iPad or iPod Touch ($200 at Walmart) running the latest version of iOS. As with Apple’s AirPods, the initial pairing of the Powerbeats Pro will sync across all Apple devices using your iCloud account. So that two-second process just paired it with your iPhone, Mac, iPad and Apple Watch ($349 at Amazon).

Pair with an Android phone

Of course, you can still use the Powerbeats Pro with a non-Apple device. If you haven’t already paired the earbuds to another device, open the case next to your Android phone and go into the Bluetooth settings menu on your phone.

If you have paired the earbuds with another device already, place both earbuds in the case and then hold in the button near the front of the case until the status light begins blinking white.

‘Hey, Siri’

Thanks to Apple’s H1 chip that’s used in the Powerbeats Pro, the earbuds support the “Hey, Siri” wake command out of the box. Whenever you’re using the earbuds, just say “Hey, Siri” followed by a command to play music, check messages, or ask Siri questions. You don’t have to wait for Siri to respond after the initial wake phrase — just keep talking.

Turn off Automatic Ear Detection

Powerbeats Pro auto ear detection
If you’re not a fan of auto-play or auto-pause, you can disable it. Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Powerbeats Pro will automatically detect when they are put in or taken out of your ears. If you’d rather not have audio pause or start automatically, you can disable it.

While using the Powerbeats Pro, open the Settings app on any iOS device and select Bluetooth. Tap on the “i” next to the Powerbeats Pro name > toggle Automatic Ear Detection to the Off position.

Rename your Beats

If you want to personalize the name used in Bluetooth menus for your Powerbeats Pro, you can do that in the same Bluetooth settings. On any iOS device go to Settings > Bluetooth > tap the “i” next to the Powerbeats Pro name > Name. Type in your custom name and exit the settings app.

Physical controls

Both earbuds have volume controls as well as a button that can trigger Siri and control media playback. The Beats logo is a multifunction button, with various presses triggering different controls. Here are the actions we’ve discovered so far:

  • Long press: Triggers Siri
  • Single press: Play/Pause
  • Double press: Skip track
  • Triple press: Go back one track

And yes, the physical controls even work on non-Apple devices. 

Check battery life

Powerbeats Pro has some of the same features as Apple’s AirPods, such as easily checking battery life. Jason Cipriani/CNET

Checking the battery life of your earbuds and the charging case by placing the earbuds in the case and opening it next to your unlocked iPhone. A pop-up similar to the initial pairing prompt will show up, detailing the battery life for all three pieces.

Another option is to enable the Battery widget in the Today view and viewing battery life when you’re actively using the Powerbeats Pro.

Get a better fit

Inside the box, under the charging case, you’ll find an instruction booklet, a USB Lightning cable for charging the case, and three additional sets of tips for the earbuds. Each set is a different size, which should help you find the best fit for inside your ears.

The Powerbeats Pros wrap around the back of your ear, and that, too, is adjustable. The ear hook bends in every direction, so you can position each earbud for a tighter or looser fit based on your comfort.

Fast charging

beats-powerbeats-pro-23
Place the earbuds into the charging case for a quick top-off. David Carnoy/CNET

The charging case can fast charge your earbuds. A 5-minute charge gives you 1.5 hours of use, while a 15-minute charge gives you 4.5 hours of use. In total, the Powerbeats Pro has a battery life of up to nine hours.

In case you’re curious: Charging the earbuds is done by placing them in the case. The right earbud needs to go on the right side of the case, and the left goes on the left. As you place the earbuds into the case, magnets will guide the earbud into the right spot. The charging case is charged via a Lightning port on the back of the case.

Android Messages for Web makes texting so much better: Google’s answer to iMessages for typing texts on your laptop will save you time.

Your smart bulbs aren’t dimming the way you think they are. Here’s why: Dim a bulb down to 50%, and you might only get 25% of the lumens you’d get at full blast. And guess what? That’s a good thing.

Source: Powerbeats Pro: 9 tips and tricks to master Beats’ completely wireless earbuds

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Microsoft Teams will stop working for millions tomorrow

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Microsoft Teams is undergoing a big change, with the popular web conferencing service set to stop working on Internet Explorer 11. On Monday November 30 the web-based version of Microsoft Teams will stop working with IE11, so if you’re an Internet Explorer fan you’ll have to switch to Microsoft Edge to use Teams in a browser. The Windows 10 makers announced this big Microsoft Teams change earlier this year, and it appears to all be part of a push to move Internet Explorer 11 users onto Edge.

Besides IE11 losing Microsoft Teams support at the end of November, the veteran browser will also no longer be able to access Microsoft 365 services in the future.

On August 17 2021 the remaining Microsoft 365 services will stop working with Internet Explorer 11.

While this comes just a few months after the Legacy version of Microsoft Edge reaches its end of support on March 9 2021.

These changes were announced over the summer in a Microsoft blog post where the Redmond-based tech giant said they “want to be clear that IE 11 isn’t going away”.

However, the amount of mileage you’ll get from Internet Explorer 11 is greatly reducing, and with Legacy Edge reaching its end of support it’s clear the Chromium-powered version of Edge is the basket Microsoft is putting all its eggs in.

Announcing the news previously, Microsoft said: “We’re announcing that Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) by this time next year.

“Beginning November 30 2020, the Microsoft Teams web app will no longer support IE 11.

“Beginning August 17 2021, the remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support IE 11.

“This means that after the above dates, customers will have a degraded experience or will be unable to connect to Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE 11. For degraded experiences, new Microsoft 365 features will not be available or certain features may cease to work when accessing the app or service via IE 11. While we know this change will be difficult for some customers, we believe that customers will get the most out of Microsoft 365 when using the new Microsoft Edge. We are committed to helping make this transition as smooth as possible.”

Internet Explorer has long been a staple of the Windows experience, with the first iteration of the browser launching back in 1995.

However, as Control Panel and Paint have shown, Microsoft are not afraid of deciding to make huge changes to long-running features or software that customers have grown to know and love.

Besides this major Teams change, there is another big difference that Internet Explorer 11 users will notice this month.

Some of the most popular websites in the world no longer open in Internet Explorer 11, with users being redirected to Microsoft Edge version 87 instead.

This change kicked into effect recently, and affects hugely popular websites such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

But that’s just scratching the surface, with Express.co.uk previously reporting that over 1,000 websites will stop working in IE11.

When IE11 users try to access a blocked website they will get redirected to Edge and see this message appear: “You’re now browsing in Microsoft Edge.

“This website doesn’t work with Internet Explorer. Microsoft recommends continuing in Microsoft Edge to experience better speed, performance, and security.”

For those that still are having difficulty saying goodbye to the veteran and popular browser, Microsoft will allow users to enable ‘Internet Explorer mode’ in Edge.

If this is all part of a push to try and move users onto the Chromium-powered version of Microsoft Edge, then it’s having the desired effect.

Stats from NetMarketShare have shown since the start of the year, Edge has grown its market share by over two percent and managed to leapfrog Mozilla’s Firefox and become the world’s second most popular web browser.

And with more and more great features getting added to Edge, such as vertical tabs and an autofill for money-off coupons on online retail stores, whose to say Edge won’t continue to slowly but surely close the gap on Google Chrome in 2021.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/1365641/Microsoft-Teams-will-stop-working-for-millions-Internet-Explorer-11-block

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Android might separate emoji from OS updates so you can get new ones faster

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Emoji are important. Heck, they were the biggest reason I wanted to write about the recent iOS 14.2 update. More emoji = better expression.

Whenever Unicode consortium, a non-profit organization that handles dissemination and approval of emoji, releases a new set, there’s palpable excitement to start using them in our favorite apps and devices as soon as possible. However, we often need to wait it out till Apple, Google, or your phone maker releases an OS update with the new set.

This process may change for Android users. Sleuths at XDA Developers a clue in Android code that suggests the Big G is thinking about separating emoji from the system update, so you can get them faster.

Here’s what’s happening: until now, font files containing emoji were stored under the /system/fonts directory. So refreshing them has been possible only through an over-the-air update.

The new code commit suggests that they are to be stored under a new /data/fonts/files directory, which allows for a server update to these files. That means Google or other manufacturers can push a font file update to push new emoji to users anytime.

The new code also indicates that this will help other apps read these files and import new emoji directly into their system.

As folks at XDA noted, this code hasn’t been merged to the Android open source project, so it’s not final yet. But we can hope that this update makes the cut and we get new emojis without waiting for an over-the-air update.

Source: https://thenextweb.com/plugged/2020/11/25/android-might-separate-emoji-from-os-updates-so-you-can-get-new-ones-faster/

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How COVID and an unexpected 17-hour time difference forced us to master asynchronous work

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As my co-founder and I roll into the eighth month of our “one-week visit” to Australia, it amuses me how a company so focused on meeting efficiency ended up being one of the strongest examples of effective asynchronous communication.

Like many, we were surprised by the sudden grounding of our entire team. In particular, we were two co-founders of a San-Francisco based company stranded down under, putting a 17-hour time difference between ourselves and our headquarters.

Fortunately, we already had processes around asynchronous communication alongside our already unique meeting culture. To adapt to our new situation, we moved more of our day-to-day collaboration to asynchronous modes. Sure, it’s been a (major) adjustment, but it’s just accelerating our arrival to somewhere we were already heading.

The pandemic shifted companies to more synchronous collaboration

Our experience hasn’t been the norm. Many teams have replaced face time with another form of synchronous communication: Meetings.

While most teams made adjustments to accommodate remote work back in March, they were often short term solutions. A common issue since then has been too many meetings — a drain on productivity and time. When you can’t tap a co-worker on the shoulder, you might pop a “short sync” on their calendar instead. The result is a surge in meetings, many of which are unnecessary (or unnecessarily long).

Now, we make software that powers meeting workflows for Adobe, Netflix, Spotify, and thousands of others, so we don’t think there’s anything wrong with meetings. That said, meetings are expensive when poorly used.

The obvious cost is the hour that people are in the meeting, but that’s only a portion of the time spent. Research shows that switching one task to another costs between 10 minutes to 2 hours. Meetings may interrupt productivity, but despite the cost, the data still shows a natural tendency to reach for the calendar invitation.

Research across our customer base shows a large increase in the average number of meetings per person since the onset of the pandemic.

 

 

In other words, companies haven’t embraced asynchronous collaboration. Despite so many ways to share information — chat, email, documents, video recordings — meetings appear to be the go-to communication channel for socially-distanced teams.

Analysis of the titles of these meetings is even more revealing. Updates, syncs, weekly status meetings, check-ins, demos, and reviews dominate. In other words, most meetings aren’t for decision-making; they’re for sharing information. As such, they could have been just as effective when performed asynchronously.

 

 

Mastering the async: Assessing your choices

At Hugo, we have a 4-hour per week limitation on synchronous, internal meetings. This is to protect everyone’s productivity. We only use meetings for the 3Ds: Debate, Discussion, and Decision-making. All of our other collaboration is asynchronous.

Perhaps ironically, one of the most important forms of asynchronous information is the documentation around meetings: agendas, notes, and tasks. If an agenda is shared or collaboratively prepared prior to a meeting, attendees can intelligently choose whether to attend or skip a meeting. If they get the notes, takeaways, and tasks assigned, they can find out what’s happening on other teams without attending their meetings too. And even, if we find ourselves in a meeting, being well-prepared means we can get through a lot of Ds in short order and we often end early.

But, how do we choose whether to have a meeting or do something else?

Think about the way you communicate at work as a continuum between synchronous and asynchronous, which in both cases range from low to high nuance. What we mean by nuance is the density of the non-verbal cues, such as body language, voice tone, the position at the table, etc.

 

 

Generally, we go from high-nuance to low-nuance when choosing the means of communication. While you’re probably well-versed in the synchronous methods of working together, we also owe our success in building a strong, aligned team to these asynchronous channels.

  • Video — A three-minute video often replaces a 30-minute meeting. That’s why we love tools like Loom and Vimeo Record. It’s easy to record videos talking through an idea and sharing a screen. We can use whiteboarding, images, anything. Even when we’ve written up a document, we might talk about it through a video, highlighting specific information or ideas. I’m known to send late night videos conveying my excitement for an idea, or concern about a challenge in the same dynamic way that I like to communicate in meetings.
  • Voice — Voice gives a level of personality and tone. With humor and empathy especially, voice is usually better than text. The disadvantages of voice and video are that people don’t tend to keep and review them.
  • Email and notes — Email is great for long-form information. Email and documents give you more time to consider your wording and put things together in an organized fashion. Written communication also allows you to reference links and other docs.
  • Threaded chat — Chat apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams allow people to have asynchronous group conversations and we use them heavily. Most companies are making great use of these tools. When any of the chats reach the point where they are a Debate, Discussion or Decision-making need, then a synchronous conversation (aka a meeting) may be called for.
  • Text — Text is best for short, logistical communications. Text can also be important as a supplement to other communications. For example, if you have an urgent deadline, you might want to tell someone by text to watch your video right away.

Take a week to consider the different kinds of communications in your organization. How many synchronous meetings could be replaced by one of these asynchronous methods? Are people communicating in ways that lack nuance, such as via text, when it would be faster and more effective to send a video?

It’s natural to lean on habits simply because that’s how we have always operated. But a silver lining to this crisis is that it’s also an opportunity to assess whether there are better ways to work — both in and out of the office.

Even if you’re not on the other side of the globe from most of your team, you can still benefit from combining synchronous and asynchronous methodologies of communication. Find that balance, and you’ll see for yourself how it reduces fatigue and distraction, increases effectiveness, and makes your organization more productive.

Source: https://thenextweb.com/growth-quarters/2020/11/25/how-covid-and-an-unexpected-17-hour-time-difference-forced-us-to-master-asynchronous-work/

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