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In the world of wearables, the Apple Watch gets a lot of attention and deservedly so, given that Apple has constantly been adding meaningful hardware features such as swim-proofing, the ability to make and receive phone calls, ECG, and now blood-oxygen monitoring. However, each year the improvements to watchOS do go a bit under the radar, and this year is no different.

Having used watchOS 7 for a while now’s a time to highlight some features that we enjoy and others that we’re still waiting for.

1. You need iOS 14 (and an iPhone) to use watchOS 7

We’ve been waiting for watchOS’ dependence on iPhones to reduce and particularly with the cellular variants of the Apple Watch, which has reduced to some extent. However, it is a bit sad to see that the Apple Watch still can’t be paired with any device except an iPhone, even if you can use Apple Watch Family Setup to avoid buying multiple iPhones just to use the Apple Watch. It’d be nice to be able to pair Apple Watch to your iPad, if not a Mac.

Similarly, to download watchOS 7, you need to be on iOS 14. Given Apple’s excellent track record of supporting older iPhones (iPhone 6S, released in 2015, was among the devices eligible for the iOS 14 update), this is not a huge roadblock.

2. Wind Down and sleep tracking

With watchOS 7, you can now set up a bedtime routine to prepare you for sleep. With a raging global pandemic and lockdowns implemented in various regions worldwide, any tools to help you calm down before sleeping are welcome. Apple’s given you the ability to set a simple wind-down routine before bed, with a gentle customisable reminder that bedtime is approaching and shortcuts to quickly launch apps that will help you transition from wakefulness to sleep. Our routine involves a simple meditation, some stretching, and keeping the iPhone away from the bed.

Once the scheduled bedtime begins, the Apple Watch’s display is dimmed and your watch face is replaced with just the time and the alarm showing up on the screen. In the morning, the watch can wake you with a silent ‘taptic’ alarm or a tone of your choice. The Apple Watch is pretty good at sleep tracking too. In our experience, it’s been able to pick up the time when we actually went to sleep, when we woke up during the middle of the night (and how long we weren’t able to return to sleep), and finally when we actually woke up in the morning.

The only disadvantage of this addition to the Apple Watch is that you need to change your charging time. We used to plug the Apple Watch in at night, but since we began using watchOS 7, we’ve ended up running out of charge in the middle of the night more than once.

3. Battery health and optimised charging

Speaking of charging, watchOS 7 lets you monitor your Apple Watch’s battery health and optimised charging. It’s common knowledge that over time, lithium ion batteries degrade and that’s why your phone’s battery life reduces over time. watchOS 7 lets you check your Apple Watch’s battery health now (ours is at 97% of its original battery capacity) and you can enable optimised battery charging to reduce battery ageing, which is great too. Tap the digital crown > Settings > Battery to access these features on your Apple Watch.

4. Hand washing

watchOS 7’s ability to detect and guide you towards safely washing your hands for 20 seconds is a stroke of genius. Before upgrading to watchOS 7, we didn’t even realise that we were washing hands for barely 5 or 10 seconds, far below the recommended 15-30 seconds.

Apple says automatic handwashing detection works by using the motion sensors and the microphone on the Apple Watch. The moment we start washing hands, the 20-second timer begins. When we pause, the timer pauses too, and sometimes it even counts the few seconds you were washing hands before the handwashing timer shows up on the screen. Thanks to this feature, our hand washing habits have changed quite a bit.

However, there are a few times when the Apple Watch fails to detect hand washing, which can hopefully be fixed in future updates. Another limitation is that this feature only works on Series 4 or newer Apple Watch models, which is a bit of a shame given that Series 3 is still on sale. Apple says that this feature relies on the faster, more efficient processors on the Series 4 and newer devices, along with the Neural Engine that is missing on the S3 processor used on the Apple Watch Series 3.

5. Change your activity goals

Our favourite feature of watchOS 7 is the ability to change your activity goals. During this year, with strict lockdowns imposed in many places around the world, it’s not always possible to hit move, exercise, and stand goals on the Apple Watch. While you could always change your move goal, this is the first time you can change exercise or stand goals. You can now set an exercise goal of 10 to 60 minutes, while the stand goal can be between six and 12 hours. Just open the Activity app on your Apple Watch and scroll to the bottom to find the Change Goals button.

6. Other useful watchOS 7 features

There are several other features that may not be as big as the ones mentioned above, but these deserve a quick mention too. The ability to share customised watch faces is really useful. Just tap and hold any watch face and hit the share icon to get started.

Similarly, you can customise the Control Centre on the Apple Watch now. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the Control Centre, and scroll to the bottom and tap Edit. This lets you quickly reorder or change how the icons are laid out.

Finally, the ability to clear all notifications is now much more accessible. There’s a neat Clear All button right at the top of the notifications screen, which is great.

Which are your favourite watchOS 7 features? Let us know via the comments.


Are Apple Watch SE, iPad 8th Gen the Perfect ‘Affordable’ Products 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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How to install the FreeIPA identity and authorization solution on CentOS 8

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Jack Wallen walks you through the process of installing an identity and authorization platform on CentOS 8.

Image: CentOS

FreeIPA is an open source identity and authorization platform that provides centralized authorization for Linux, macOS, and Windows. This solution is based on the 389 Directory Server and uses Kerberos, SSSD, Dogtag, NTP, and DNS. The installation isn’t terribly challenging, and you’ll find a handy web-based interface that makes the platform easy to administer.

I’m going to walk you through the steps of getting FreeIPA up and running on CentOS 8. 

SEE: CentOS: A how-to guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

What you’ll need

How to set your hostname

The first thing you must do is set your hostname. I’m going to be demonstrating with a LAN-only FQDN (which then must be mapped in /etc/hosts on any client machine that wants to access the server). 

Set your hostname with the command:

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname HOSTNAME

Where HOSTNAME is the FQDN of the server.

After you’ve set the hostname, you must add an entry in the server’s hosts file. Issue the command:

sudo nano /etc/hosts

Add a line at the bottom like this:

SERVER_IP HOSTNAME

Where SERVER_IP is the IP address of the server and HOSTNAME is the FQDN of the server.

Save and close the file.

How to install FreeIPA

The installation of FreeIPA starts with enabling the idm:DL1 repository with the command:

sudo module enable idm:DL1

When that command completes, sync the repository with the command:

sudo dnf distro-sync

Install FreeIPA with the command:

sudo dnf install ipa-server ipa-server-dns -y

How to set up FreeIPA Server

Next you have to run the configuration script for FreeIPA Server. To do that, issue the command:

sudo ipa-server-install

The first question you must answer is whether or not you want to install BIND for DNS. Accept the default (no) by pressing Enter on your keyboard. You must then confirm the domain and realm name, which will both be detected by the script. Once you’ve confirmed those entries, you’ll need to set a directory manager password, an IPA admin password for the web interface, and then accept the default (no) for the installation of chrony. 

After you’ve taken care of the above, you’ll be presented with the details of your installation (Figure A).

Figure A

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The details of my installation of FreeIPA Server.

Type y and hit Enter on your keyboard. The configuration will begin. This does take a bit of time, so either sit back and watch the text fly by or set about to take care of another task.

When the configuration completes, you’re ready to continue on.

How to access the web interface

Open a browser and point it to https://SERVER_IP (where SERVER IP is the IP address of the hosting server). You should be prompted for a username and password (Figure B). The username is admin and the password is the one you set for IPA admin during the configuration. 

Figure B

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The FreeIPA login screen.

Upon successful login, you’ll find yourself at the FreeIPA main window, where you can begin managing your centralized authentication server (Figure C).

Figure C

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The FreeIPA main window is ready to work.

And that’s all there is to getting FreeIPA installed on CentOS. You can now spend some time adding users and other bits to make your identity and authorization solution work for your business.

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Targeting Aging is the Way to Treat Diseases of Aging

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Near all work to date on the treatment of age-related disease has failed to consider or target underlying mechanisms of aging, the molecular damage that accumulates to cause pathology. It has instead involved one or another attempt to manipulate the complicated, disrrayed state of cellular metabolism in late stage disease, chasing proximate causes of pathology that are far downstream of the mechanisms of aging. This strategy has largely failed, and where it has succeeded has produced only modest benefits. Consider that statins, widely thought to be a major success in modern medicine, do no more than somewhat reduce and delay mortality due to atherosclerosis. They are not a cure. The mechanisms of aging are why age-related diseases such as atherosclerosis exist. They are the root cause of these diseases. Attempted therapies that continue to fail to target the mechanisms of aging will continue to fail to deliver meaningful benefits to patients. This must change.

Targeting Aging is the Way to Treat Diseases of Aging

Image credit: Pixabay (Free Pixabay license)

Aging doesn’t kill people – diseases kill people. Right? In today’s world, and in a country like the United States, most people die of diseases such as heart attack and stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. These diseases tend to be complex, challenging, difficult, and extremely ugly to experience. And they are by nature chronic, caused by multifactorial triggers and predispositions and lifestyle choices. What we are only now beginning to understand is that the diseases that ultimately kill us are inseparable from the aging process itself. Aging is the root cause. This means that studying these diseases without taking aging into account could be dangerously misleading … and worst of all, impede real progress.

Take Alzheimer’s disease. To truly treat a disease like Alzheimer’s, we would need to identify and understand the biological targets and mechanisms that trigger the beginning of the disease, allowing us to intervene early – ideally, long before the onset of disease, to prevent any symptoms from happening. But in the case of diseases like Alzheimer’s, the huge problem is that we actually understand very little about those early targets and mechanisms. The biology underlying such diseases is incredibly complex. We aren’t sure what the cause is, we know for sure there isn’t only one target to hit, and all prior attempts to hit any targets at all have failed. When you start to think about how much of what we think we know about Alzheimer’s comes from very broken models – for example, mice, which don’t get Alzheimer’s naturally – it becomes totally obvious why we’re at a scientific stalemate in developing treatments for the disease, and that we’ve likely been coming at this from the wrong direction entirely.

The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s isn’t your APOE status; it’s your age. People in their twenties don’t get Alzheimer’s. But after you hit the age of 65, your risk of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years, with your risk reaching nearly one out of three by the time you’re 85. What if going after this one biggest risk factor is the best vector of attack? Maybe even the only way to truly address it? This isn’t about the vanity of staying younger, about holding on to your good looks or your ability to run an 8 minute mile. It’s about the only concrete possibility we have to cure these diseases. Instead of choosing targets for a single specific disease, i.e. a specific condition that arises in conjunction with aging, we can get out in front of disease by choosing targets that promote health. And we can identify these by looking at disease through the lens of the biology of aging.

Link: https://a16z.com/2020/10/07/aging-alzheimers-drug-discovery/

Source: Fight Aging!




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The Mandalorian Season 1 Recap Distills the Star Wars Series Into 89 Seconds

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Before The Mandalorian season 2 premieres Friday afternoon on Disney+ Hotstar (and Friday midnight on Disney+ in the US), Disney and Lucasfilm have given us an official 89-second recap of The Mandalorian season 1. That’s very brief, but it speaks to the fact that The Mandalorian wasn’t a narratively-heavy show on its debut last year.

Everything You Need to Know About The Mandalorian Season 2

The Mandalorian season 1 recap touches upon Mando’s (Pedro Pascal) profession (he’s a bounty hunter), his newest target (Baby Yoda), the people he meets along the way — Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), and Kuiil (voiced by Nick Nolte) — and the consequences of his decision to bring Baby Yoda under his wing.

“You have something I want. It means more to me than you will ever know,” the darksaber-wielding villain Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) says deep into The Mandalorian season 1 recap, as we are given a reminder of the Star Wars series’ action-heavy side. Gideon then declares: “It will be mine.”

The season 1 recap wraps by setting up The Mandalorian season 2, as tribe leader The Armorer (Emily Swallow) instructs Mando to reunite Baby Yoda “with its own kind”. Mando wonders: “You expect me to search the galaxy for the home of this creature?” Well, yes, otherwise what would we do in season 2, Mando.

In addition to Pascal, Carano, Weathers, and Esposito, The Mandalorian season 2 also stars Omid Abtahi as Dr. Pershing, Horatio Sanz as Mythrol, Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan Kryze, Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett, Timothy Olyphant as former slave Cobb Vanth, Michael Biehn as a rival bounty hunter, and Sasha Banks in an undisclosed role.

Jon Favreau (The Lion King, Iron Man) created The Mandalorian and serves as showrunner and head writer on the Star Wars series. Favreau and Weathers are among the directors on season 2 alongside Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, Peyton Reed, and Robert Rodriguez.

The Mandalorian season 2 premieres October 30 on Disney+ Hotstar in India. Episodes will air weekly.

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