Not getting the most out of your Android battery life? Jack Wallen show you how you can squeeze a bit more juice from that device.
When I first used Android, back in the 1.x days, battery life was abysmal. You were lucky to get four hours out of a full charge. This wasn’t just frustrating, at times it was a complete deal-breaker. Over the years, Android battery life has come a long, long way. Now, I can go an entire day and still have juice left.
That doesn’t mean, however, I always get a full day’s use out of a single charge, or that I can squeeze even a bit of extra juice from that battery. How is that possible? With the help of the Battery Usage tool, you can not only find out what’s gobbling up your battery, but you can force stop those guilty apps and even add them to the battery restrictions or optimization.
But how do you gain access to the Battery Usage tool? It’s neither difficult nor obvious–especially for those using Android 9 or newer. Let me show you how. I’ll be demonstrating with Android 10, running on a Google Pixel 4.
How to access the Battery Usage tool on Android
- Open your Settings app on your Android device.
- Locate and tap Battery.
- In the Battery window, tap the menu button in the upper-right corner.
- From the popup, tap Battery Usage.
- In the resulting window, take a look at what apps are using your battery.
You might find one particular app that is using more battery than it should. If so, tap the entry and you can tap to disable or even force stop the app, change the app’s battery restriction setting, or open the Battery Optimization tool and add the app to that feature.
And that’s all there is to accessing and using the Battery Usage tool on Android. Any time you find your battery does not last as long as you think it should, your first stop should be this tool. Used regularly you can eke out an entire day’s worth of battery from that device.
Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop: A cheat sheet
Cloud-based DaaS offers several advantages to a remote workforce. This smart guide to Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop assesses the platform and what it can offer.
Unprecedented conditions surrounding COVID-19 and the accompanying global pandemic have left many business enterprises scrambling to find ways to accommodate an increasingly remote and virtual workforce. Some businesses have discovered that workforce productivity is the same, if not better, under a virtual scheme. These enterprises are likely to adopt platforms like Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) going forward, even after the pandemic has subsided.
Cloud-based DaaS and VDI services are offered by a number of vendors including Microsoft through its Azure cloud platform. Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop is offered as a free service to certain Microsoft 365 and Azure subscribers. Licenses for individual Windows Virtual Desktops are also available with costs that vary with server location and type of virtual machine.
The are many advantages to Windows Virtual Desktop, but there are also several caveats to consider before your business decides to adopt the platform. Like all business decisions, planning and analysis before making any decisions is warranted and highly recommended. This Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop: A cheat sheet from TechRepublic will help you assess what the platform is and what it can offer, so you can make the best decision possible for your business.
What is Windows Virtual Desktop?
Leveraging the power of Microsoft Azure, Windows Virtual Desktop is an instanced virtual machine hosting a desktop and app virtualization service running on the cloud. Windows Virtual Desktop delivers a virtual desktop experience and remote apps to any device. Depending on how it is configured, the platform can bring together Microsoft 365 and Azure to provide users with a multi-session Windows 10 experience, which includes scaling and reduced IT costs.
Windows Virtual Desktop can be configured to run Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 7 Enterprise, or Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are not supported.
The following Remote Desktop clients support Windows Virtual Desktop:
SEE: Software as a Service (SaaS): A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Why is Windows Virtual Desktop important?
Whether out of necessity or as part of an overall productivity strategy, the modern workforce is increasingly a remote and mobile workforce. To gain access to the systems and applications it needs to do its jobs, the workforce grows more and more dependent on cloud platforms and virtual machines which can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, by any device.
Windows Virtual Desktop provides a workforce with access to a virtual Windows computer running whatever apps a typical IT-sanctioned Windows computer should be running for your business. By taking advantage of Azure’s cloud infrastructure, businesses can setup multi-session Windows 10 deployments optimized to run in multi-user virtual scenarios.
From a worker’s perspective, their Windows Virtual Desktop is exactly the same as a traditional PC setting on their desk. From the enterprise’s perspective, the cost of purchasing, setting up, deploying, and securing physical hardware can be saved by entrusting Microsoft and Azure to handle those specifics in the cloud.
SEE: Microsoft sees surge in demand for cloud services during coronavirus outbreak (TechRepublic)
What are the benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop?
Whether by choice or by happenstance, if your employees are working remotely, sensitive company data will likely be transferred and stored locally at some point, even if only briefly. Even with best practice security precautions, this transfer of sensitive data is risky. Add the variabilities of employees using their own personal devices and networks for work activity and you have a recipe for disaster.
Windows Virtual Desktop allows employers to deploy virtual machines, configured exactly how they need them to be, that are securely instanced in the Azure cloud. In essence, sensitive company data is never transferred out of the company’s control structure because any data transfers are merely between Azure cloud instances. Within the Microsoft Azure cloud, data is protected by all manner of built-in security protocols, including Azure Firewall, Azure Security Center, Azure Sentinel, and Microsoft Defender ATP.
SEE: How SMBs build their tech stacks (TechRepublic)
Under Windows Virtual Desktop, access to desktop instances is controlled by conditional access protocols, including multi-factor authentication. Azure infrastructure can be deployed to enable role-based access control (RBAC) and detect threats using Azure Security Center. Windows Virtual Desktop certified compliant with ISO 27001, 27018 and 27701, PCI, FedRAMP High for Commercial, and HIPPA.
If your enterprise already subscribes to Microsoft 365 or an enterprise version of Windows, it can establish a desktop instance for each user for free with Windows Virtual Desktop. Therefore, at no extra charge, your remote users can access a ready-made virtual machine running Windows from anywhere, at any time, from any device.
Because Windows Virtual Desktop is managed through the Microsoft Azure Portal, your enterprise can scale desktop instances to meet business needs on the fly. Admins can increase virtual CPUs, add virtual RAM, allocate more virtual hard disk storage, etc., with a few mouse clicks and an admin login account.
What are the caveats of Windows Virtual Desktop?
The primary caveat to consider when deciding whether to deploy Windows Virtual Desktop for a remote workforce is the quality of network connections. No matter how well you plan and design your virtual desktop instances, they are only worth the effort if your employees have the ability to effectively reach the cloud. Slow internet connections, intermittent connections, and no internet connections are all a real possibility, and all must be mitigated for cloud-based virtualization to work efficiently.
Beyond the technical aspect of network connections, employers must also consider how much employee training will be necessary. Tech-savvy employees and IT pros will likely have no trouble connecting to Azure and Windows Virtual Desktop servers, but some employees may need at least some instruction to complete the connection. Who will provide that help, how will they provide it, what if it is not effective? These questions must have acceptable answers.
Other questions to be answered include, once in operation, how will employees ask for additional resources if they need them? Will there be a ticketing system with IT department personnel responsible for their resolution? Is that infrastructure in place? Setting up procedures to handle the maintenance of a Windows Virtual Desktop system should be completed before deploying the actual virtual instances.
Who are the major competitors to Windows Virtual Desktop?
Competition among cloud vendors in the virtual desktop space is fierce and includes dozens of different companies, many of which are prominent and familiar. Obvious competitors include the usual major cloud services suspects of Amazon AWS and Google Cloud Platform. Other prominent competitors include Citrix and VMware. Other smaller competitors offer specialized desktop services for engineers, architects, artists, and scientists that require specific features.
SEE: Research: SMB IT stack decisions based on fulfilling business needs (TechRepublic Premium)
Here is a short list of virtual desktop competitors:
With all of this competition, Microsoft will continue to feel pressure to keep costs and fees low for its Windows Virtual Desktop service. This competitive pressure helps explain why Microsoft is willing to offer Windows Virtual Desktop free to existing customers already subscribed to Microsoft 365 or enterprise versions of Windows.
How do you get Windows Virtual Desktop, and when will it be available?
Windows Virtual desktop is available through the Microsoft Azure Portal. For current subscribers to Microsoft 365 and enterprise versions of Windows, desktop instances are available for each user at no extra charge. Non-subscribers will have to pay a subscription fee determined by the specifications of the virtual machines used for each desktop instance.
Subscribers to these existing services have free access to Windows Virtual Desktop instances running specific operating systems on a per user basis:
Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session or Windows 10 Enterprise
Microsoft 365 E3, E5, A3, A5, F3, Business Premium or Windows E3, E5, A3, A5
Windows 7 Enterprise
Microsoft 365 E3, E5, A3, A5, F3, Business Premium or Windows E3, E5, A3, A5
Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019
RDS Client Access License (CAL) with Software Assurance
For enterprises without a pre-existing subscription, the price of a Windows Virtual Desktop through Azure will depend on the specifications chosen for each desktop instance. For example, a pay-as-you-go instance with 2 CPUs, 8 GB RAM, and 50 GB of storage is estimated to cost $137.29 per month. A quote from the Azure price calculator that is significantly more than a Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscriber paying $12.50/month/user.
Scientists are getting closer to effective treatment for hair loss
Hair loss seems like a minor problem to many. You got bald, so what? Some people prefer this look. However, for many men going bald is a terrible experience and they would pay good money to avoid it. Now scientists at the University of Helsinki have identified a mechanism that is likely to prevent hair loss.
Many men lose their hair as they grow older. It is natural and hereditary – if your dad or one of your grandads went bald, chances are your head is going to be very shiny in the future. On the other hand, ultraviolet radiation and other environmental factors damage our skin as well.
Stress is another factor as well as various diseases and some treatments. Scientists in Finland now think that hair follicle stem cells, which promote hair growth, could live longer if their metabolic state was switched. And scientists already managed to demonstrate that in experiments with a Rictor protein.
Naturally, an average human sheds 500 million cells and a quantity of hairs weighing a total of 1.5 grams every day. If you are not going bald already, this tissue is replaced by specialised stem cells. If these stem cells become inactive or at least less active, lost tissue is not going to be replaced and hair follicles are going to become weaker and smaller. Normally, as a hair follicle becomes older and weaker, stem cells replace it with a new one and then return to their specific location and resume a quiescent state. If this cycle could be maintained, baldness would be essentially cured.
Scientists now found that stem cells need a change in the metabolic state in order to return to their specific location. Essentially, they switch from glutamine-based metabolism and cellular respiration to glycolysis – this switch is induced by a protein called Rictor. Scientists found that when Rictor is absent, slow exhaustion of the stem cells and age-related hair loss begins. Experiments with mice showed that Rictor deficiency results in hair loss.
Sara Wickström, lead author of the study, said: “We are particularly excited about the observation that the application of a glutaminase inhibitor was able to restore stem cell function in the Rictor-deficient mice, proving the principle that modifying metabolic pathways could be a powerful way to boost the regenerative capacity of our tissues”.
Baldness is a minor issue – it is not life threatening and some people can really rock that look. But it can be a serious drag psychologically and it would be worthwhile to fix it. Also, scientists can use this opportunity to learn more about stem cells, their function and regenerative functions. This could benefit the entire aging research field.
Source: University of Helsinki
Apple Offering Free Virtual Workshops in India on Photography, Art, Music, and More
Apple is hosting a series of free virtual sessions in India under its ‘Today at Apple’ initiative. Nearly month after the online Apple Store launched in India, the tech giant will be commemorating the occasion by offering free virtual workshops related to photography, music, art, and other creative fields. The workshops began on October 17, and will continue till November 29. Today at Apple was launched as a retail-focused initiative back in 2017, but this is the first time it is being extended to India.
While under ordinary circumstances, consumers visit Apple’s retails stores for the Today at Apple sessions, this year the workshops are being conducted online worldwide, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Starting from 2017, Today at Apple conducts hands-on sessions with experts on basics, how-to-learn, and professional-level programmes on topics ranging from art, coding, design, music, photography, and more. The workshops in India will kick-start with sessions from local photographers and acclaimed musicians, with tips on skills and techniques from Apple Creatives.
The photography workshops for the coming weeks include sessions with Siddhartha Joshi, Avani Rai, Anurag Banerjee, Prarthna Singh, and Hashmi Badani. Music sessions so far include a beginner’s course to Garage Band. The full schedule can be found here. The music skill sessions will also include sessions by Lisa Mishra, DIVINE, Aditi Ramesh, Raja Kumari, and Prateek Kuhad soon.
The first session of the Today at Apple series in India is Photo Lab: Faces and Places with Mumbai-based photographer Siddhartha Joshi, on October 22. He will be showcasing portrait projects he has taken across India, and giving professional photography tips.
You can head to Apple India and sign up for these sessions. To join a Webex session, you need a mobile/ laptop/ tablet/ computer, along with a stable Internet connection and the free Cisco Webex Meetings app. If you’re under 18, your parent or guardian can register for you, as per Apple. To recall, Apple Store launched in India in late September, and the company had that point itself announced plans to bring Today at Apple to India.
“We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level,” Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president, Retail had said at the time of launching Today at Apple in 2017.
Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
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