Wednesday, December 16, 2015

You can weigh things with 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s without even installing an app

3D Touch is the hottest new feature on Apple’slatest smartphones, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Using a combination of special hardware in an iPhone’s display and new software features in iOS, the latest iPhones are able to read the amount of pressure a user applies when pressing on the screen. Then, the phone can perform different functions based on that reading.

It’s a very cool feature that took five years to develop and as you might imagine, Apple rivals like Samsung are already hard at work copying it, as you undoubtedly already assumed. What you might not know, however, is that 3D Touch has some pretty nifty features that Apple doesn’t support on its iPhones out of the box.

In order to function effectively, Apple’s 3D Touch hardware needs to be remarkably precise. How precise? 3D Touch can measure pressure so accurately that it can actually weigh items that you place on the iPhone’s screen. Apple apparently has no desire to let people use the iPhone 6s as a digital scale though, so it doesn’t allow apps with scale features in the App Store.

Of course, there are ways around that little obstacle and one developer has already found one.

As OS X Daily points out, there is a cool new website hosted on GitHub that utilizes Safari’s access to 3D Touch data to offer users a surprisingly accurate digital scale feature. The site can weigh items up to 385 grams, which is the most pressure 3D Touch can sense, and it gives out readings to the hundredth of a gram.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Open this site in Safari on your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus
  2. Place your iPhone on a flat surface with the screen facing up.
  3. Place a spoon, a small cup, or anything else that can hold whatever you’d like to weigh on the screen and press the Tare button to zero the scale.
  4. Place the item you want to weigh in the spoon or cup.

Of note, you may have to set your iPhone’s 3D Touch sensitivity back to its default setting to get accurate readings if you’ve changed it in the past.

Friday, December 11, 2015

OneDrive users get option to retain their original free storage quotas

The community spoke loud and clear and Microsoft heard them.

Just over a month ago Microsoft announced a sweeping and very unpopular change to their OneDrive cloud based storage.

They indicated that the previously offered unlimited storage for Office 365 subscribers would no longer be offered and all subscribers would be reverted to the original 1TB of storage per subscriber.

At the same time, they also announced that all current OneDrive users would see their free storage tier reduced from 15GB to just 5GB. On top of that the 15GB Camera Roll bonus, which many users had for connecting their smartphones to OneDrive for camera roll storage, would be completely eliminated.

Many of you will recall that this news did not go over well and resulted in a OneDrive UserVoice feedback item entitled Give us back our storage that garnered over 72,000 upvotes.

There is a catch to retain your free storage levels and it is a step that must be done prior to the end of January 2016.

You can wait for an email from Microsoft to your eligible accounts or you can just go ahead and visit and opt into keeping all of that free storage.

OneDrive Free Storage Opt In Page

After clicking on the button you should be logged into your OneDrive account and see this screen:

OneDrive Opt In Success

Note: Be sure to follow these steps for each OneDrive account you have so that all of them retain their free storage.

Of course, anyone who fails to opt in will see their accounts dropped to just 5GB of free storage and no camera bonus shortly after 31 January 2016.

That will likely result in Microsoft actually recovering some resources because there will be a lot of users who never opt in to retain the storage for some reason.

Office 365 subscriber will not return to their unlimited storage option but will still revert to the standard 1TB that is already offered with the subscription. This change is targeted directly at the free storage tiers.

This is a very positive move on Microsoft's part and I am sure it has taken a month for this opt in program to be announced because the entire process of OneDrive storage and the decisions that were announced last month has been scrutinized from within the company.

I suspect, since the cut off to opt in to retaining your storage is 31 January 2016, that after that date new users signing up will only receive the 5GB of free OneDrive storage that was announced as a change last month.

What do you think of Microsoft's decision to restore the free storage tiers for current users on OneDrive?