• Harrison Jones

Fresh off the IT Block 19th August 2020

Hi all, thanks for reading today's edition of fresh off the Block - Today's stories will be about; Why you (Probably) need to upgrade to Windows 10 if you haven't yet, the best alternatives to Apple's Airpods, and Tesla are finally set to release their two-factor authentication security feature to all of their models.

Why you (probably) need to upgrade to Windows 10 now

Owning a PC or laptop with a Windows operating system does you a lot of favours, you'll notice that you can integrate a lot of Microsoft's services, such as Microsoft Edge, Office 365, WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop), as well as Azure.

Why you (probably) need to upgrade to Windows 10 now

Although you can use these applications on Windows 7/8/8.1, it isn't really the best idea to just ride these things out forever. Ultimately, the support for these generations of operating system will expire by 2023 - In fact, the extended support for Windows 7 ended back in January. For Windows 8/8.1, this will end in 2023.

Even though "extended support" doesn't mean that security updates stop happening, it does mean that warranty claims end for Windows users on earlier generations than Windows 10. Not only that, but any community suggestions for changes to the layout or features within Windows 7/8/8.1 will not be responded to, so don't expect any noticeable changes...

Why you (probably) need to upgrade to Windows 10 now

Microsoft has been heavily encouraging existing Windows users to upgrade since 2015 - They have all of their newest services working in unison with Windows 10, with plenty of built-in security with the latest patches and fixes etc.

By upgrading to Windows 10, most users notice the benefits straight away, as most applications that you want to download can be supported. There's plenty of security fixes, and your device becomes much more flexible in choosing apps to run at start up, meaning your device should operate quicker than on older generations of Windows.

So, how many people need to upgrade?

It is estimated that in terms of Windows users globally, there are around 1 - 1.5 billion active Windows users across all generations. Shockingly, as many as 200 million of these users are said to still be using Windows in generations older than Windows 10, meaning they have no warranty and no minor updates. It is probably best for these 200 million or so people to upgrade as soon as possible, simply because using any other version than Windows 10 will soon be unsafe to do.

Why you (probably) need to upgrade to Windows 10 now

It is possible to use the product key entered for your Windows 7/8/8.1 installation for your installation of Windows 10 - Sadly this is one of the very few ways to upgrade for free now, as Microsoft ended the free upgrade scheme back in 2016. You can however, buy a Windows 10 license for S$269 (Windows 10 home) or S$399 (Windows 10 pro), and trust us, the upgrade is worth it, because you probably need it more than you know...

Best alternatives for Apple AirPods

Let's agree on something - AirPods aren't the only one of their kind, right? Although a wireless set of earphones is a fantastic way to listen to music and other audio, it shouldn't mean you just have to opt straight for a set of AirPods.

Here's a list of some of the best alternatives, so you can still flaunt a pair of wireless earphones without having to invest in an Apple product:

RHA TrueConnect

First on our list is a sleek black design, the RHA TrueConnect features a flip out case to store your earphones - This flip out case is also where the charging port is held. From a full charge, you can expect to get up to 5 hours of playback, and just a 15 minute charge can allow up to 2.5 hours of listening, thanks to the TrueConnect's fast charging capabilities.

Best alternatives for Apple AirPods

These earbuds can allow you to easily connect to your phone's voice assistant (Siri or Google), as well as make and receive calls with the RHA TrueConnect's Bluetooth 5.0 connection.

You can pick these up for an average of S$200, depending on where you choose to buy from.

Cambridge Audio 1 Melomania

Want to save a little bit of money? We recommend this as more of a budget option. Don't be put off by the low price however, the design isn't the best thing in the world, but the sound quality and battery life make this wireless pair of earphones a bargain!

Best alternatives for Apple AirPods

The battery case comes with 36 hours battery life, and a single charge of the Cambridge Audio 1 Melomania gives you 9 hours of listening time. That's a total of 45 hours of battery life, just a little more than enough time to find a power socket if you're on your travels!

It has a great bluetooth connection with an impressive range, and the sound quality is up there with the AirPods themselves, we guarantee that you'll be surprised by how good the quality is on these wireless earphones.

You can pick these up for between S$150 - S$200 on most sites online.

Sony WF-1000XM3

If there's one thing Sony are top of their game in besides their Playstation consoles, it's wireless audio.

Best alternatives for Apple AirPods

The Sony WF-1000XM3 is arguably better than Apple's Airpods - With 6 hours battery life (24 hours capacity in the charging case), and market-leading noise-cancellation, these earphones are definitely worth their S$250 + price tag.

Although they are a little bulky, they can definitely be used for exercise, although these would be ideal for either taking a quick snooze, or for using in the office, as the noise-cancelling audio capabilities make these better than most large headphones, without the hassle of having a heavy headset on your head and ears.

The long awaited release for Tesla's two-factor authentication - Plus why Tesla is one of the most secure cars in production

After embarrassingly long delays, Tesla are now finally set to begin rolling out their two factor authentication security feature. The feature will be made available soon to those people who use the Tesla mobile app in connection with their Tesla vehicles.

The long awaited release for Tesla's two-factor authentication

For all you Tesla drivers out there, you're probably familiar with some of the security features already available to you. Let's quickly run through what you can already access for the security of your Tesla vehicle:

- Security alarm: This alarm will sound whenever a Tesla vehicle has its doors or trunk opened without a valid entry key

- PIN to drive: By enabling PIN to drive, you'll be able to stop your vehicle being driven unless you bypass a 4-digit PIN lock.

- Sentry mode: When you enable this, your Tesla vehicle will closely monitor for any suspicious activity that occurs within close range of your vehicle, such as break-in attempts, as well as people who walk near your car for an extended period of time. Depending on how severe the threat is deemed to be, your vehicle will activate the alarm system, and may also begin to record the surrounding area using the built-in cameras.

- Manual/Auto entry: Within the dedicated Tesla vehicle app, you are able to choose whether you want to open your door manually, or automatically. Auto entry means that your Tesla will unlock itself as you walk towards your vehicle with the key fob in your hand.

- Tilt/Intrusion sensor: Whenever your Tesla vehicle gets picked up or put on a trailer for example - You'll be notified if the car is in a tilted position or has been touched from the outside as a security and safety measure. If you are away from your car, it will notify you in the app, and the vehicle's alarm may also sound.

The long awaited release for Tesla's two-factor authentication

The newest feature - Two factor authentication

Just like how you can login to social media apps, Elon Musk has announced two factor authorisation is now in the final validation stage, but he could not provide an exact date of release.

By having two factor authentication, it will further help prevent theft as Tesla vehicles will not start until either a special word or PIN has been logged onto either the car's dashboard, or the mobile device attached to it with the app available.

Tesla's range of electronic vehicles have been stolen before due to things like key hacks in the past, but they have the latest and highest quality security features. All Tesla models come with "always-on" GPS tracking, so you can see where your vehicle has ended up, in the event that it has been stolen.

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