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Apple Pay Can Now Be Used at Every NYC Subway Station

As 2020 comes to a close, New York City's Metro Transit Authority has officially finished its rollout of Apple Pay and other contactless payment systems across all MTA subway and bus stations in the five boroughs.

Use Apple Pay to Travel New York

Apple Pay was first trialled as a payment method for transportation at selected subway stations more than 18 months ago. That rollout process has now been completed, meaning that it's possible to pay for your transport using your iPhone or Apple Watch with the tap-and-pay OMNY (One Metro New York) system installed throughout the network.

"OMNY is available at all subway stations and on all buses, allowing you to tap and go throughout New York City," said MTA in a statement. "You can use OMNY with your own contactless card or smart device. OMNY currently supports a full-fare, pay-per-ride option for now, including free transfers."

While Apple Pay and other contactless options are accepted throughout subway stations and the bus system, they can only be used for purchasing individual journeys. That means that there is no equivalent of the unlimited ride MetroCard pass just yet.

In a Friday press conference, MTA executive director Al Putre said that the next aim is to bring OMNY to New York rail lines, along with increasing functionality so that it matches the MetroCard pass.

The MetroCards will continue to hang around until 2023. By then, MTA will entirely replace them with its OMNY system.

The Metro Transit Authority originally planned to have this OMNY rollout across New York completed by October this year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back those plans to December. Judging by the fact that this completed rollout was announced on the absolute last day of December, it seems that the MTA required every single moment it had at its disposal.

The Apple Pay Rollout Around the World

Apple Pay was initially announced by Apple in September 2014 at its iPhone 6 event. Since then, the service has continued to go from strength to strength. It is now available in close to 50 countries around the world, allowing people to buy items with their iPhone or other devices.

According to analysts at Loup Ventured, cited by the Financial Times, Apple Pay is currently used by 507 million people worldwide. That is approximately half of the people in the world who own an iPhone.

Apple Pay is also offered as a payment option on public transport systems in 13 countries. This includes Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland, and Washington D.C. in the United States.

Image Credit: Eddi Aguirre/Unsplash CC

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Checkra1n v0.12.2 fixes A10/A10X device crash on iOS 14.3, enables USB on Apple TV 4K

The checkra1n team released checkra1n v0.12.2 on New Year’s Even with a slew of improvements, including fixes for A10 and A10X devices running iOS or iPadOS 14.3.
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Checkra1n v0.12.2 fixes A10/A10X device crash on iOS 14.3, enables USB on Apple TV 4K

The checkra1n team released checkra1n v0.12.2 on New Year’s Even with a slew of improvements, including fixes for A10 and A10X devices running iOS or iPadOS 14.3.
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Get this mini 24W dual USB car charger for less than $9 right now

Everyone can always use another car charger, and today is a great day to grab one. Amazon has the Anker PowerDrive 2 Alloy, which features dual USB outlets and is small enough to sit flush with your vehicle's console, for just under $9 right now.
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Apple Patents System for Controlling Drones

For such a big company, Apple keeps its number of actual products fairly small. It makes computers, tablets, phones, smartwatches, and a handful of accessories. But that doesn’t mean it's not working with plenty more cutting-edge tech behind the scenes.

As highlighted by Patently Apple, the US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent application filed by Apple, describing a system for controlling drones.

Apple's Drone Patent Application

The application, which was published on the last patent day (and the last day, overall) of 2020, describes, "an apparatus of a drone, the apparatus comprising: sensors arranged to determine a geographic location and an orientation of the drone; a plurality of antennas configured to form a beam through which the drone communicates data and control signals with a serving cell using a carrier frequency; an application processor; and a wireless modem arranged to communicate with the serving cell through the antenna and with the application processor."

While that's pretty densely technical stuff, the patent application details how the drone's location, orientation, and flight plan in 3D space could be configured using messages exchanged between the drone's processor and a modem.

Related: How To Prevent Drones Infringing on Your Privacy

The reason this is interesting is because it is one of the first times it's been officially acknowledged that Apple is actively working on drone technology.

Don't (Necessarily) Expect an Apple Drone

This doesn't necessarily mean that Apple will eventually release a drone, however. It's highly possible that this is used for Apple's internal operations.

A previous TechCrunch report from 2016 said that Apple was considering using drones as part of its Apple Maps initiative. They could be used to update Apple’s mapping data. A January Bloomberg report also noted that Apple had recruited the services of a "drone specialist" to lobby Washington regarding aviation rules.

It is worth noting that Apple currently sells drone technology such as the DJI Mavic Air 2 UAV both online and through its physical, brick-and-mortar Apple stores. While that alone does not suggest the company has interest in creating its own line of drones, it does show that Apple considers there to be a crossover between its own customers and those seeking out drone technology.

Apple's rival tech giants Amazon and Google (the latter through its Alphabet Wing subsidiary) both have ongoing initiatives involving drones. These primarily focus on the considerable potential of using drones as tools for carrying out deliveries.

Apple's drone patent application was filed June 28, 2019.

Image Credit: Miguel Ángel Hernández/Unsplash CC

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Want to Keep Personal Data Secure? Here’s How to Encrypt a File

We all have particularly important and sensitive files: financial records, old family photos, or a hobby you would like to keep secret even from close friends.

But having your files on a laptop or PC is unsafe. Devices could get stolen and a simple mistake while browsing the internet could give a hacker complete access. Your best option to fully secure your files and folders is to encrypt them.

What Is File Encryption?

By encrypting a file, you scramble its content beyond recognition. You unlock it using a cryptographic key, i.e. a password or code. That way, only authorized individuals with the encryption key can access the data.

Encryption varies in speed, efficiency, and strength depending on various factors such as the length of the key and the type of encryption.

But all in all, instead of having to keep an entire file safe, encryption means you only need to safeguard your password.

Why Do You Need File Encryption?

There are multiple reasons you should encrypt one or more of your files.

On-the-Go

If you’re traveling with your laptop or occasionally use it in public places, encrypting your private files will keep them safe in case someone steals your device or hacks into it—using open Wi-Fi—and installs spyware.

Transferring Data

Whether you’re using cloud storage and online sharing services, a USB flash drive, or emails to share files with someone, they aren’t impenetrable. Encrypting your file before sending it ensures that it stays secure even if someone intercepts it.

Layered Protection

Cybersecurity works in layers. For a hacker to access any of your files, they need to pass through multiple barriers.

Encrypting a file that contains sensitive information adds another layer of protection, making the work of potential hackers much harder.

Maintain Integrity and Follow Regulations

If the file you want to scramble houses sensitive information, not encrypting it could make them useless in critical situations where data integrity is vital.

Which Files Do You Need to Encrypt?

Determining which files need more security is a subjective question. It depends on which type of information you value the most and the level of privacy you're after.

But that's not to say there aren't files that everyone should encrypt, some of which include:

  • Financial information and records.
  • Legal documents.
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
  • Confidential project files.
  • Backups and archives.

In short, consider encrypting content that could be used against you—that is, for anything from identity fraud to blackmail.

Why Not Encrypt Your Entire Drive?

Encrypting your whole drive, also known as full disk encryption, might seem like a great solution to protect all of your files and data regardless of importance.

But full disk encryption is not recommended for the average user. It can significantly slow down your device, complicates data backup and recovery, and doesn’t protect your files during transferring or sharing, leaving them completely exposed and vulnerable.

Unless all of your data is extremely sensitive and you have a powerful device you wouldn’t mind slowing down, full disk encryption is overkill.

How to Encrypt a File

Your best option for encrypting files is using specialized software, so let's take a look at how you do that using Windows and on Macs.

How To Encrypt Files on Windows

WinRAR is one of the best-known data services that often comes pre-installed with Windows devices. In addition to compressing files, it also allows you to encrypt them with a secure password.

To keep things simple and tidy when you extract your files, round up everything you want to encrypt into a folder, then follow these steps to encrypt it using WinRAR:

  • Right-click the file or folder.
  • Click Add to archive.
  • Select ZIP under Archive format.
  • Click Set password.
  • Enter a strong password and check the ZIP legacy encryption box.
  • Click OK on the Enter password window and the original window.

WinRAR will automatically compress and encrypt your files. The process may take anywhere from a few seconds to over an hour depending on the size of your files.

How To Encrypt Files on MacOS

When it comes to encrypting files and folders on your Mac, MacOS allows you to directly compress and password-protect data without needing third-party software.

Similarly, start by collecting the files you want to encrypt into a single folder on your desktop for convenience, then:

  • Press Command and Space simultaneously to open your search bar.
  • Search for "Terminal".
  • In the Terminal window, type the command cd Desktop then press Enter.
  • Type in the command ZIP -e [zip file name.zip] [file name].
  • Press Enter.
  • Type your password ahead of Enter password and repeat it at Verify password.
  • Press Enter.

Your OS will then encrypt your file or folder and save it to your desktop.

There are other ways you can encrypt a file on your Mac without resorting to the Terminal window, using third-party software like iZIP and BetterZip.

Other Essential Ways To Secure Your Data

Encrypting a file or folder is equivalent to padlocking a room or box you want to secure. On its own, it’s an excellent security measure that can stop and frustrate most attackers.

But stopping there means you're missing out on a lot of the benefits file encryption offers.

Vary Your Passwords

Similar to login passwords, the keys you use to encrypt your files need to be different, encryption to encryption.

Use a Password Manager

If you’re encrypting more than a handful of files and it’s becoming harder to remember their passwords, it’s time you use a password manager. Preferably, it'll be separate from the one you use to manage your logins.

Share With Care

Sometimes, you might want to give someone access to an encrypted file, which would require you to share your encryption key.

If you’re sharing the file online, make sure that you send the password through a different communication method to the one used to send the file in case it's compromised.

Protect Your Devices

With time—and the right tools—even the strongest encryptions can be cracked. Your first and last rule to keeping your files safe is to physically and digitally secure them.

Make sure you never leave your laptop or hard disk unattended in the open and do your best to avoid getting hacked through phishing emails or open networks.

Learn More About Cryptography

Encrypting your files may be your first step into securing your digital property. But that doesn’t mean encryption ends at using generic software.

You can start learning about the terminology of cryptography, what is a key, and what’s an encryption algorithm. Understanding the different types of encryption is a solid way to make sure you’re using the right one for your files.

Image Credit: Piqsels.

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6 Tips to Strengthen Your YouTube Channel and Videos

With YouTube being one of the most visited sites on the internet, it’s no surprise to see all types of channels attempting to master their YouTube marketing skills.

In order to reach out to more subscribers, you must make sure that the content in your channel is appealing and attractive. Read on as we explore some smart and effective techniques that will help you improve the quality of your YouTube channel.

1. Focused Video Content

A very effective method for attracting traffic to your channel and increasing your audience is by making use of specific topics and/or single keywords. Employing SEO best practices is crucial to the success of your YouTube channel and will enable you to maximize your appeal.

There are great keyword tools online that will enable you to identify the most searched keywords relating to your content. Moreover, this will guide you to structure your content based on these insights.

Related: Free Tools to Get the Best Keywords

By identifying your keyword or specific topic before creating the content, you focus your mind on a particular purpose. It is helpful to view other videos on that topic to ascertain if you are on the right track. This will enable you to learn what the competition has to offer, and give you the ability to add your own style to that topic.

Keywords should always be used naturally within your content in order for YouTube to identify it when closed captions are included. Always ensure that your title and descriptions are optimized, and keep your video to 5 minutes or less.

2. Rework Existing Content

A sure way to build your YouTube channel is through fresh and innovative content that you create. The content that you create, however, does not have to be produced off a blank canvas. Many YouTube channels have tons of success in reworking their existing content for relevance.

Although your content may be useful, engaging, and offers tremendous value, there are ways to isolate sections of that content that provide a perfect platform to create additional content. Most YouTube users visit the site for answers and how-to guides that help them to solve a multitude of issues.

Evaluate your written content on other platforms and identify existing topics that you can cover in a short video. Make sure that your video has innovative and appealing content that adds value to the people who take the time to watch it. This will ensure that your existing subscribers are kept engaged, and that people who are new to your content consider it valuable and are happy to subscribe to your channel.

3. Engage With Your Viewers

YouTube in its essence is a social media platform, and as such you must always make sure to engage with your audience. Social interaction with those who digest your content is critical. It is of paramount importance not only to post appealing content regularly, but also to actively engage with those who watch your content.

Positive comments and encouraging discussions are excellent ways to help grow your channel with the YouTube community. Furthermore, YouTube is known to reward those channels that engage with their subscribers. Some of the categories that YouTube evaluates are watch time, comments, likes and dislikes, and overall time spent on your channel.

It would be wise to respond to every comment that is posted on your platform, and get users to use audio visual prompts to engage. Always post content that encourages users to engage, and be sure to follow up on their engagement.

4. Brand Your Channel

Many YouTube channels have incredibly valuable content but don’t often attract the right numbers. This is because their platforms have very little visual appeal. In order to get users who visit your channel to subscribe, you must have a professional look by branding your channel. This will get users to take your channel seriously and immediately identify your content.

If you have existing branding on other platforms, it should be relatively easy to integrate that branding on your YouTube content. Alternatively, you can create a unique branding element that identifies with your channel. Your branding will subconsciously be associated with the quality content that you deliver, and your users will develop trust in your brand.

Together with your visual branding, it is vital that you add custom URLs to your channel header. Additionally, your bio is very powerful and you should include some fascinating words about yourself and what your content is all about.

5. Promote on Other Social Media Platforms

The beauty about social media is that users can promote their content across various social channels seamlessly. By promoting your YouTube channel and its content on your other social media platforms, you can quickly grow your audience and boost your subscriber base.

The most popular social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram provide a fantastic base to get your channel out there. If you have your own blog, this is a great place to share your content too.

Some social media platforms allow you to post a teaser of your video with a direct link to your YouTube channel. This encourages greater traffic to your channel and increases the chances of users that will subscribe.

6. Use Attractive Thumbnails

Many YouTube channels underestimate the power of thumbnails on their content. Thumbnails do, in fact, have a massive impact on the users who choose to view your content. Whenever your videos are advertised on YouTube, they appear in the sidebar as a thumbnail. Your thumbnail must be unique and stand out from your competition.

Even if a user is not on YouTube and does an internet search, your attractive thumbnail is bound to rank higher as you would be enjoying higher click-through-rates within YouTube. Some nifty ideas for boosting your click-through-rate include the use of arrows, big text, unusual images, and highlighted sections.

The Bottom Line

When looking to boost your YouTube channel, you must make a concerted effort and commit to improving your current offering. Although it may appear to be a daunting task when attempting to carve a niche on a platform filled with competition, the techniques that we have discussed provide the perfect template for your success.

Whilst some methods require more energy than others, each one compliments the other and you should actively incorporate all of these to get more views on your content and boost your subscriber list. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so examine what you have and build from there. Good Luck!

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What Does "Bash" Mean in Linux?

If you've been using Linux for long at all, you've no doubt seen the word Bash thrown around in forums and articles. It sometimes seems like a synonym for the terminal, but Bash and the terminal emulator are definitely two different applications. So what is Bash exactly? In this short article, we'll explore what Bash is, what it does, and how you can start using it.

Bash Defined

The name Bash is an acronym for Bourne-Again SHell, a pun on the name Stephen Bourne, creator of one of Bash's predecessors. The first beta was released in 1989, and, as of this writing, has seen its most recent update in December 2020: version 5.1.

Bash is among the most popular of shell languages, known for its combination of powerful capabilities and user-friendly commands. That's why it's so prolific across Linux distributions.

Bash operates not only on Linux, however; it's also available on macOS and BSD, and you can use it on Windows through Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Read More: How to Get the Linux Bash Shell on Windows 10

But to truly define Bash, we have to understand what a shell is.

A shell is an application that accepts input from a user and executes an action in response, typically communicating with the kernel to make that happen. In that way, it's like a "shell" around the kernel.

While shells do initiate other applications through commands, they also often have interactive features themselves.

For example, when you open a Linux terminal and press the up arrow button to retrieve the last issued command, that's a function of the Bash application. The cd command for changing directories is another very common Bash command.

In addition to being an interactive application, Bash is also a scripting language. Your Linux OS in fact uses many Bash scripts in the startup process to initiate various processes.

How Can I Use Bash?

You're using Bash anytime you use the terminal in almost any Linux system.

You can confirm that with this command, which returns the name of the shell in use:

echo $0

You should get only the word bash returned. If you do, you can see the version of Bash you're using with this command:

bash --version

Your screen should look similar to this:

Issuing single commands in the terminal, however, is only the beginning of Bash's uses.

Like those scripts your OS uses, you can learn to write Bash scripts that automate processes on your Linux PC that you often do manually. A skilled Bash scripter may have scripts automating hundreds of tasks a day!

So how can you learn Bash?

By writing scripts, either on your own or guided, such as in a Bash course.

For you gamers out there, you can also learn by playing a Bash game. One example is Bashcrawl, a text-based dungeon crawler that forces you to learn and recall Bash commands to progress in the game.

We also have articles here on Make Use Of that will train you to become a better Bash scripter. We can show you for example how to write for loops in Bash, or maybe turn your scripts into clickable apps.

Leveling up Your Linux Game

We've learned about what Bash is, its history, and how you can learn to put it to work for you.

Learning Bash is just one part, however, of getting the most out of your Linux operating system. There's a lot more you can learn to become a Linux power user.

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Reddit Alternative, Voat, Has Shut Down for Good

Voat, the Reddit clone where hate speech has been festering for years, has shut down for good. The platform has hinted at shutting its doors in the past, but this time it's official.

Voat Has Been "Sacrified" to the Internet Gods

If you head to Voat, you'll see a page that reads "Voat was sacrificed on December 25th, 2020." In other words, Voat is no longer.

Voat made its debut in 2014, and marketed itself as a Reddit alternative for free speech. However, the platform quickly became a safe haven for hate speech and toxic content.

Related: Free and Fantastic Alternatives to the Official Reddit Website & App

Voat co-founder, Justin Chastain, announced the closure in his final post on Voat. The platform basically ran out of funding, and Chastain noted that he "can't keep it up."

Chastain went on to explain his thoughts about the shutdown, stating:

Instead of feeling pity or vengeful, I’m instead going to celebrate the fact that Voat stayed up for so long. In my opinion, Voat is and will always be the biggest dysfunctional family on the internet.

According to the post, Voat lost funding in March 2020, and that's when things took a turn for the worse. Since then, Chastain's been paying for the site out of his own pocket, but he now admitted that he's "out of money."

The Struggle of Free Speech Social Networks

Voat proves that "free speech" social networks will always face a problem when it comes to hate speech. A free speech social network is fantastic in concept, but it's hard to control the toxic comments that will inevitably make it onto the site.

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Apple Tests And Passes Two Foldable iPhone Prototypes [Report]

Apple has tested and passed two foldable iPhone prototypes according to a new report. Here's everything you need to know about this.


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