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Apple has officially left OS X behind as it welcomes macOS 11.0 Big Sur into the family. So here’s a look at some of the most exciting features coming to the desktop operating system.
Apple officially announced macOS 11.0 Big Sur earlier today during its special event keynote, lifting the curtain on the newest version of the operating system. macOS Big Sur introduces quite a bit, including small and big changes. There’s the ability to customize the start screen in Safari, for instance. Meanwhile, the company is refreshing and improving the Dock, while bringing Control Center to the software as well.
But let’s dig right in, shall we?It’s about the experience
Apple is going big with its latest update to macOS, jumping up to macOS 11.0 Big Sur. And, of course, that means quite a few changes for the desktop operating system. That starts with the most recognizable part of the software, the Dock. Apple redesigned it in Big Sur so that it now floats, and is even more translucent. App icons are getting redesigned in many regards, too, but still recognizable.
Speaking of translucency, the menu bar is getting tweaked, too. It’s taller as well, which Apple says a desktop background can now extend edge-to-edge. Words in the menu bar will lighten or darken depending on your desktop picture, and the pull-down menus are larger as well.
Apple redesigned Sheets in macOS Big Sur, removing the bezels and borders and putting more of a focus on the content. The Sheets will automatically scale in the background and dim when needed. Apple is also tweaking the system sounds that macOS Big Sur has, based on the original sounds, but refined and improved so they are more pleasing to the ear but also immediately recognizable.
Finally, new symbols. Users will find these new options across the system, including controls, sidebars, menus, and toolbars. This should offer up some needed consistency across the system.Adding Control Center
That’s right, Control Center is coming to macOS. The feature has been present in iOS for quite some time, but Apple is making some changes as it makes the leap to the desktop. It looks familiar, making things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, Do Not Disturb, and other system utilities easier to access.Streamlining Notification Center
The company is tweaking Notification Center, streamlining it to offer up all the information one might expect, but also including the new widgets experience. It’s a single view, showing off notifications from apps like Messages, Photos, Safari, Home, and other apps and services, while also showing full-featured widgets. Notifications are grouped by app, can be expanded, and many of the options are interactive.
The widgets will come in three different sizes, so users will be able to choose the right option for their needs. And developers can create widgets for their third-party apps.Safari’s improvements
Ever wanted to put a picture on Safari’s start page? Or customize it more than simply adding a few links? Well now you can with Safari in macOS Big Sur. The new start page is customizable to include options for adding a custom background image, and the ability to choose which sections show up at all, with options like Siri Suggestions, Favorites, iCloud Tabs, Privacy Report, and Reading List.
Safari in macOS Big Sur will show favicons in tabs, making it quick and easy to see which websites are open even when you have a ton of tabs. And Apple has redesigned the tabs toolbar as well, making better use of space so you can see more tabs at once. Hovering over a tab will give you a preview of the website.
Apple’s new translation feature, a prominent new feature in iOS 14, is present in beta in Safari for macOS Big Sur as well. It will make it possible to translate entire web pages quickly, which is possible thanks to a new translation button.
Extensions in Safari are getting revamped in a big way, with editorial spotlights and a new dedicated section within the App Store so potential customers can find them more easily.Better Messages experience
Messages is getting the revamp experience as well. It’s a Catalyst app to begin with, and Apple is bringing many of the changes it introduced with iOS 14 to the desktop experience. That starts with pinning conversations at the top of the messages list, so you can quickly and easily keep tabs on the most important conversations you’re having at any time. That includes the new group conversations as well, and pinned conversations will sync across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
The new Messages app is also getting threaded, inline replies. This makes it possible to reply directly to a message within a group conversation, and the app will automatically start a new thread under the original reply. This should make it easier to keep tabs on all the conversations within a busy group chat. Mentions will also help with this, too, as users will be able to type another person’s name, which will be highlighted within the chat. You can customize notifications to only be notified when you are mentioned as well.
Creating and editing Memoji within the Messages app on macOS Big Sur is possible, and searching for trending images and GIFs is also a new feature.An all-new Maps
Apple is redesigning the Maps experience for macOS with the Big Sur release. It’s basically on par with the iOS 14 version of the app and service, meaning you’ll find new features like Guides (pictured below), which will give you a quick and easy way to find all the best places to eat and visit in cities all across the globe. The information is gathered from trusted brands, and it is updated on a regular basis. Users will be able to create their own guides as well.
The new Maps will show congestion zones in cities like Paris and London and others, and Maps will also show license plate restrictions in areas like China.One more thing… Wrap up
There is quite a bit to like in macOS Big Sur, and plenty of additional new features coming to the desktop operating system. These are just a little more than a handful that are worth surfacing. But now that Big Sur is out there in the wild, in the hands of developers (and, next month, public beta testers), we’ll know even more about what’s coming down the pipe before macOS 11.0 Big Sur launches to the public sometime this fall.
Are you looking forward to this update?
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The latest version of macOS, Big Sur, has come with some nifty enhancements and a nice redesign. However, there are always users who decide they would really like to revert to the previous macOS. Maybe you have recently downloaded and installed macOS Big Sur, but for some reason or another, you want to go back to Catalina. This article will go through the steps you need to take to get back to Catalina.
Downgrading to a previous macOS is definitely more work than upgrading. Before you make the final decision to return to Catalina, if you are experiencing problems with the latest upgrade, we suggest troubleshooting the issues you are having first:
Ok, so you’ve decided you really want to downgrade. In order to follow these instructions, make sure you either print them or bring them up on your phone before you begin. In order to complete this process, you will need an external drive. Before you begin the process, make sure you are comfortable with all of the steps required for the downgrade.1. Backup Your Data
This isn’t just for safety in case something goes wrong. You will be erasing your hard drive and so all your files, data, photos etc. will be gone. You must have a copy saved somewhere else. Options include:
Use Time Machine to backup your Mac. Time Machine gives you a complete backup solution. If you recently installed Big Sur and haven’t done any work or changed anything you think you need to keep, you may use the backup you created before upgrading.
Save your important files in iCloud Drive or use other cloud based storage. It’s not nearly as quick or simple to save all your files this way.
Drag your files to a connected external drive using Finder.
Use one of many third party apps to backup files to an external drive.
See also: How To Upgrade & Downgrade or Cancel Your iCloud Storage Plan2. Install macOS Catalina on a Bootable Drive
If you don’t have a backup of your machine from when you were using Catalina, you should save a copy of macOS Catalina onto a bootable drive. If your Mac shipped with Catalina installed, after erasing your hard disk, you may also choose to reinstall macOS from Recovery Mode.
See also: How To Use macOS Recovery
To summarize, after erasing your disk, there are three options for installing Catalina: Recover from a Time Machine backup (only if you have a backup from when you were running Catalina), install Catalina from a bootable drive, or reinstall macOS Catalina (only if Catalina was your original OS).3. Erase your Hard Drive
Again, don’t do this until you have backed up your data.
Enter your Apple ID, if requested.4. Reinstall macOS Catalina
There are three options for reinstalling Catalina. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the process to complete. Make sure your Mac is connected to a power source and internet.4a. Recover from Time Machine Backup
If you created a backup using Time Machine before you upgraded to Big Sur, then you can use that backup to restore your Mac to Catalina.4b. Install macOS Catalina from your Bootable Drive 4c. Downgrade to Original macOS
You can downgrade to the macOS your computer shipped with. Make sure you are connected to the internet.5. Restore Data from Backup
Now that Catalina is reinstalled on your Mac, you can transfer files that you backed up before downgrading.Recover Data from a Time Machine Backup
If you made a Time Machine backup before downgrading, you can use Migration Assistant to transfer files from your backup.
Facebook has announced six new Facebook Live tools and features that publishers should find helpful.
Here are the six latest Facebook Live features and tools you need to know about.1. Go Live From Desktops & Laptops
Facebook Pages can now go live via a web browser on their desktop or laptop computer. This will make it easier for a variety of broadcasters, especially those with daily vlogs, according to Facebook.
We’re still waiting for the full rollout of Facebook Live on desktops for everyone, which we reported in September was just starting to roll out.2. New Role: Live Contributor
If you’re a Facebook page admin, you can now assign specific people to go live on your behalf.
Until now, only Facebook page admins were able to use Facebook Live. This was problematic if you had a large team of contributors because you had to make them page admins to allow them to broadcast live on Facebook.
But now your Live Contributors can simply start streaming live whenever something interesting or newsworthy is happening and you don’t have to unnecessarily give out Facebook page admin privileges.3. Pin Live Comments 4. Video Permalinks
Facebook said that viewers who visit the permalink for your page will be greeted with a live video if you’re currently broadcasting. Plus, they will see all your previous live and non-live videos.5. Crossposting After Your Live Broadcast Ends
After your Facebook Live broadcast has ended, you can now publish that video to multiple pages at once. Before this update, you could only crosspost your uploaded videos to pages that had the same business manager and pages with different owners.6. Video Insights for Profiles
Public figures (e.g., celebrities, journalists, politicians) who have 5,000 or more followers will gain access to some new metrics, for both live and uploaded videos, in the coming weeks. The Video Insights for Profiles metrics will include:
Total minutes viewed.
Total number of views.
In addition, these people will be get aggregated insights for every video they post on over 7-, 30-, and 60-day periods, including:
Total number of video posts.
Total number of Profile followers.
Image Credit: Facebook
When the update is eventually available, installation of this update will take a simple process. To install iOS 16, open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap General – Software Update. After updating your iPhone to iOS 16, you can experience the features of the system. Even before the official announcement of this system, we already have a list of features to expect. Now that the system is official, here are the top six iOS 16 new features that users may want to check out. However, it is important to note that the features are not listed in order of importance.Six iOS 16 features worth checking out 1. Customize the lock screen
The main new feature in iOS 16 is the ability to personalize the lock screen with multiple layers of wallpapers, widgets, custom fonts for date and time, and more. Users can also choose a set of photos to shuffle on the lock screen throughout the day. The new lock screen gallery showcases a range of lock screen options, including new weather wallpapers with real-time weather conditions and astronomy wallpapers that provide views of the Earth, Moon, and Solar System. iOS 16 includes support for multiple lock screen designs, allowing users to switch between favourites with a swipe.
The status bar will also change as the available space at the top of the screen increases. The cellular signal indicator will move to the left, and the notification center will redisplay the full screen. When the screen locks, the device also locks and there will be no display of the status bar. Notifications will be part of the always-on display experience. Like a normal lock screen, notifications will scroll in from the bottom each time and remain vaguely visible for 10 seconds. Once the display is woken up, the notification will animate from the bottom and continue with user-defined settings for how the notification is displayed on the lock screen (such as count, stack, or list).2. Edit or unsend iMessage Gizchina News of the week
Join GizChina on Telegram3. Use a full-screen music player
iOS 16 reintroduces a full-screen music player on the lock screen, with large album art and colour-matched wallpapers. Apple last offered a full-screen music player on the lock screen in iOS 10 in 2023. If users don’t like the feature, they can tap the bottom of the display to minimize the music player and revert to the standard lock screen wallpaper.4. Support Nintendo Joy-Cons gamepad
Apple’s iPhone supports many Bluetooth game controllers on iOS 16. This includes the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Cons and Pro controllers. iPhones running iOS 16 can be used with a single left or right Joy-Con, or as a single controller at the same time. This is a change from the iPhone’s existing compatibility with PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series X controllers since iOS 14.5 was released last year.5. Track Apple Pay orders
Apple Pay on iOS 16 provides new built-in order tracking information in the Wallet app. This tracking feature works for online orders that users complete through Apple Pay. The tracker provides an estimated delivery date for the order and indicates when the package will be delivered. This is a feature that many Apple fans will appreciate because of its convenience.6. Use fitness apps without an Apple Watch
Starting with iOS 16, all users can use fitness apps on their iPhones even without an Apple Watch. The app features a daily activity ring that relies on the iPhone’s motion sensor. This enables the phone to estimate how many calories and steps an individual burns each day. During the iPhone 14 event, Apple announced its Fitness+ service. According to users, it will be available to iPhone owners without an Apple Watch later this year. Also, this feature is currently available in 21 countries. A Fitness+ subscription is priced at $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.Conclusion
There is a long list of iOS 16 features and it will take some time for users to get details on all the upgrades. While some features are new, others only have tweaks that make them feel new. Either way, there is a whole lot to explore on the iOS 16 system.
Microsoft and Oracle are working together? Oh, wait. I guess that should be a statement instead of a question. The two companies have joined forces in a new cloud venture. It seems Larry Ellison has embraced the wisdom of that ancient Arabic proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
The nuts and bolts of the deal are that Microsoft and Oracle are teaming up to deliver Oracle software via Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure. Azure customers will be able to run Java, Oracle Database, Oracle WebLogic Server, and even Oracle Linux on Windows Server Hyper-V or Windows Azure, and Oracle will deliver full certification and support.
It’s a dramatic reversal for Oracle, to put it mildly. Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison has been on a one-man quest to crush Microsoft for years. It’s always seemed a bit Quixotic, though, because Oracle isn’t in the same league and has never come close to achieving Ellison’s goal.
So, why this partnership? Why now? In a nutshell, it just makes sense for both parties. It’s a win-win move that benefits Microsoft and Oracle; one positions both companies to compete more aggressively with their respective rivals.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group, told me the marriage isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. “Microsoft really had no issues working with Oracle—or Sun for that matter,” said Enderle. “it was the CEOs from both companies that decided they wanted to try to put Microsoft out of business.”
Enderle said that both companies have bigger fish to fry, and that the rank and file at Oracle have already been working closely with Microsoft for some time. Despite Ellison’s goal to destroy Microsoft, the reality is that Oracle can’t deliver for its customers without engaging amicably with Microsoft on some level.
Wes Miller, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, believes Microsoft’s Azure platform and Oracle are both winners in the short term. Over the long term, Microsoft wins and VMware loses as a result of the Microsoft-Oracle partnership. “Microsoft gains additional customers for Azure,” said Miller. “Oracle gains customers who use or want to use their technology, but want to do so in the cloud.”
Windows Azure customers stand to benefit from Microsoft’s alliance with Oracle.
As much as Ellison might want to best Microsoft, doing so would bite the hand that feeds him. Oracle makes software, and that software needs a platform to run on. Many of Oracle’s customers run Oracle software on Windows Server.
Al Hilwa, an IDC analyst, rationalized, “Since Azure now essentially runs virtual machines and provides Infrastructure-as-a-Service, it is effectively a cloud operating system. It only makes sense to see other popular technologies that need an operating system run on Azure.”
Hilwa added that he hopes this is just the opening salvo from Microsoft and Oracle. Ultimately, Hilwa thinks the two companies should partner at a deeper level and introduce added-value services that reduce the friction of migrating to the cloud and minimize IT costs for customers.
This new relationship between Microsoft and Oracle is good for all. Rivalries aside, many Microsoft customers rely on Oracle software, and many Oracle customers rely on the Windows operating system. Joining forces to ensure everything works smoothly in the cloud is the right thing to do for customers.
This post is intended turn you from a bystander to an expert user of these features in your account. I have carefully listed who each feature is best suited for and how long it will take you to learn and implement each feature.Callout Extensions
On the surface, they seem similar to sitelinks, but the difference is you don’t need a unique landing page for every callout. This frees up a lot of the restrictions you’d have with sitelinks.
24/7 Customer Service
Covers the metro area
Servicing Entire Florida
You can see a video of what callout extensions are, and how to best implement them here as well:Bid Strategies
Granted, bid strategies are one of the Google AdWords features that I’ve been very reluctant to implement. There are so many thoughts about how to do proper bid management, and I’ve tried many different tools to try to make it more effective.
AdWord Scripts gave me the best results while saving me time, as opposed to Excel sheets. However, it was still an awfully manual process and releasing scripts on many accounts with individual targets proved to be less than effective.
One of the things I saw during the Christmas season was fewer keywords with super high ROI and low amount of conversions. If combined with an average position lower than 3.0, it’s usually a sign of missed opportunity. Comparing campaigns with bid strategies turned on vs. manual bidding, I saw a bit lower pure ROI, but more sales, and thereby more money in the pocket of my clients.
I used the Target Return on Ad Spend feature.
When implementing bid strategies, be careful with assuming it will fix your account’s poor performance. Yes, the proper bid management will help you get the most out of your account, but if you are currently seeing low to no conversions, then you need to optimize your account as whole – not just the bidding.Remarketing/Audiences for Search
Can you guess what type of campaign was my top-performer throughout entire 2014? It was my remarketing for search (RLSA) campaigns/audiences.
My remarketing audiences brought in one case 20% of the revenue in at half the cost:
As I have said many times before, I sincerely believe as Google expands their AdWords platform, they will implement features such as audiences and other non-keyword ways of targeting users.
Start now and embrace the remarketing audiences for search opportunity you have. You will have to learn how to work with audiences throughout 2023, and there is no denying the results you can get from using audiences efficiently.
Want five use-cases for how to use remarketing for search? Check this SEJ article:
5 Ways to Use Remarketing for Search to Profit from Underutilized Areas in AdWordsImplement a Proper Mobile Strategy
Whether you’re a local business or e-commerce business, there are ways to benefit from having the right mobile strategy. The first steps to ensuring you are getting the most out of your mobile traffic is:
Have a responsive or mobile-friendly website
Implement bid adjustments for mobile users that match their ROI
If you don’t already have a responsive website (and I’m surprised by the number who don’t), then it’s time to move on this aspect. You’re putting money on the table every time you don’t have a mobile website. For example, I just bought an iPhone 6 Plus and even on its big screen I have a tough time navigating many websites.Start With the Basics and Work Your Way Up
Once you have the basics in place, it’s time to think about what goals your mobile users have verses users visiting from desktops. If they’re on the go, they’re much more likely to want to take action fast. Filling out huge forms isn’t attractive, so consider leaving your many form fields behind and focus on the basics.
There are many ways to improve your mobile website further, and it can seem like a daunting task. Just start with getting a functional mobile website that caters to mobile users. By doing that you will already be miles ahead of your competition.Third Party Tools
There are many third-party tools popping up designed to help you optimize your Google AdWords campaigns. In the past, when you wanted to work with a PPC tool, it meant leaving everything in the AdWords interface behind and using a brand new interface. Many tools come with a steep price stamp and comprehensive onboarding, which naturally stops people in their tracks.
I’m therefore happy to have tested several tools in 2014 and can report back on several of them:
Optmyzr from Frederick Vallaeys
Hero Pro from Hanapin Marketing
Adalysis from Brad Geddes
I have especially found great value in Adalysis. I must admit on the surface I wasn’t too thrilled about the interface (it reminds me of something from the early 2000s). But the workflow inside and the way it has streamlined my ad tests is unbelievable.I have an Evernote doc of the top features I wanted to add in our in-house ad testing tool, and Adalysis covers most of them. It’s an absolute godsend. I will cover a complete round-up of the tool next week, so stay tuned.
Until then, just know there are several providers you should take a look at to improve your success greatly
Note: I have no affiliation with Adalysis or any other tools mentioned on this page, other than being a happy customer.Ad Customizers
Some of the most common use cases are:
Countdown for a sale or event
One ad for hundreds of product keywords
It’s always been a challenge to constantly update and optimize hundreds or even thousands of ad groups. In the past, the best you could do was use Dynamic Keyword Insertion.
To completely understand ad customizers, this video does the trick pretty well:
For other resources, I suggest reading the following articles on ad customizers:How To Move Forward From Here
My best recommendation for getting started is to choose just one thing to do per month. Starting something new can be hard. If you’re only managing Google AdWords as a small part of your job (i.e. not an account manager), it’s difficult to take the time to get deep into new features.
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