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After using the iPhone for well over a decade, stumbling across a new iOS feature or setting I wasn’t aware of isn’t all that common. Still, with Apple rolling out new iOS updates with dozens upon dozens of new features every single year, the simple reality is that iOS is brimming with features that can even catch seasoned iPhone users by pleasant surprise.

As a prime example, just a few months ago I came across a simple way to record video footage while simultaneously playing music in the background via Spotify or Apple Music. For years, it was a feature I was wishing for, and little did I know Apple already had it baked into iOS.

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As another example, Gadethacks alerted me to the fact that you can easily stop your iPhone from offering up irrelevant Siri Suggestions. Siri Suggestions, as the name implies, is a feature that offers up simple shortcuts for actions that your device, based on previous behaviors, thinks you might want to do.

A few examples listed by Apple include:

  • Create email and events: When you start adding people to an email or calendar event, Siri suggests the people you included in previous emails or events.
  • Receive calls: If you get an incoming call from an unknown number, Siri lets you know who might be calling—based on phone numbers included in your emails.
  • Leave for an event: If your calendar event includes a location, Siri assesses traffic conditions and notifies you when to leave.
  • See your flight status: If you have a boarding pass in Mail or Wallet, Siri shows your flight status in Maps. You can tap the suggestion when you’re ready to get directions to the airport.
  • Type: As you enter text, Siri can suggest names of movies, places—anything you viewed on iPhone recently. If you tell a friend you’re on your way, Siri can even suggest your estimated arrival time.
  • Search in Safari: Siri suggests websites and other information in the search field as you type.
  • Above the keyboard, Siri also suggests words and phrases based on what you were just reading.
  • Confirm an appointment or book a flight on a travel website: Siri asks if you want to add it to your calendar.
  • Read News stories: As Siri learns which topics you’re interested in, they’ll be suggested in News.

While this is all well and good, and typically helpful, some Siri Suggestions just miss the mark entirely. And as it turns out, if you see a Siri Suggestion that isn’t something you’re interested in, you can long-press on the shortcut whereupon you’ll see a “Suggest Shortcut Less” option that you can select.

You’ll see that prompt for shortcuts on the home and lock screen. This trick works the same for contact suggestions in your share sheet, but the prompt here is “Share Less” since the suggested contacts aren’t shortcuts.

You can also adjust where Siri Suggestions appear entirely by going to Settings > Siri & Search and then toggling on or off any of the following options:

  • Suggestions while Searching
  • Suggestions on Lock Screen
  • Suggestions on Home Screen
  • Suggestions when Sharing

From my own experience, Siri Suggestions are typically helpful. Still, the tweaks above can come in handy on the rare occasion that a suggestion is way off-base, or even outdated. As an illustrative example, you might not be too thrilled to see Siri Suggestions giving you a quick shortcut to message a significant other you recently separated from.

And while we’re on the topic of interesting iOS features, make sure to take a look at our list of awesome iOS 15 features Apple didn’t have a chance to highlight during its WWDC keynote last week.

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Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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Technology

Facebook is making glasses with Ray-Ban — but don’t expect AR features

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Over the past few days, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have talked about building an all-encompassing virtual world,  a ‘Metaverse‘ if you will. The hypothetical universe will live across AR, VR, PC, consoles, phones, and more.

While we don’t know what kind of devices the company will release under the program, it told The Verge that it’s planning to launch a pair of smart glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban. However, there won’t be any integrated display, so don’t expect any AR shenanigans.

Facebook told the publication that these glasses would be a step in its overall AR work. The company’s VP of reality labs, Andrew Bosworth, gave a statement describing a vision of the smart glasses, but it doesn’t tell us much: 

We’re passionate about exploring devices that can give people better ways to connect with those closest to them. Wearables have the potential to do that. With EssilorLuxottica we have an equally ambitious partner who’ll lend their expertise and world-class brand catalogue to the first truly fashionable smart glasses

Last year, Facebook gave us a glimpse into its AR vision through prototype hardware called Project Aria. However, because of the lack of a display, the firm called it a “sensor platform,” instead of calling it a pair of AR glasses.

Project Aria hardware prototype
Facebook Project Aria hardware prototype

In contrast, the new Facebook and Ray-Ban glasses are unlikely to host too many sensors. My hunch is that they might have only as many functions as Snap Spectacles, which capture video and take images. These glasses could be the first step for Facebook to gauge how people react to smart glasses and their features, and tune their first AR glasses product accordingly. 

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

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How to create an activity trail for your school

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Want to transform your tired schoolyard into a play haven?

With the school holidays approaching, now is the perfect time to start looking at new school playground equipment and asking your pupils what apparatus they’d like to see, come September.

Whilst you could choose a challenging climbing frame with a slide to whizz down, more and more primary schools are opting for adventure trails. Perhaps you could do the same?

These trails can be tailored to suit your exact specifications and allow pupils to practice a broad range of skills. For example, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) can develop low-level balancing and coordination skills whilst Key Stages 1 and 2 can challenge their physical and mental strength with climbing activities.

In this article, you can get some pointers on how to create a fun-filled activity trail for your school children.

Four factors to think about when designing an activity trail

  1. Space

Though trails can be linear in shape, they are great for joining irregular spaces in the playground. That means, if you have any unused spaces, you can transform them with exciting new school playground equipment.

How much available space you have can also determine what type of components your trail consists of, which leads us on to the next point.

  • Activities

From balancing beams and stepping logs to scrambling nets, rope bridges, monkey bars, climbing walls, and tunnels, you can make your activity trail as challenging as you like.

Of course, you want to encourage youngsters to set themselves targets – but you need to be realistic, so keep in mind their ages and abilities to ensure they can use the activity trail safely.

When investing in any new playground apparatus, you need to think carefully about how much you can afford to spend.

It’s worth arranging a meeting with the board of governors to explain your ideas and to explore your fundraising options. Alternatively, you may consider applying for a grant.

  • Safety surfacing

Although it’s perfectly possible to install an adventure trail directly onto grass, it’s advised that you opt for some type of safety surfacing – i.e. rubber mulch, synthetic grass, rubber bark, mats, or matting.

In doing so, you can relax knowing that your students can play safely in wet weather, without the play area becoming flooded or waterlogged.

Seek expert advice

By far the best thing you can do when investing in new play equipment for your school – be it a single unit or an activity trail – is to arrange a consultation with playground specialists, like Setter Play.

They have been designing, manufacturing and installing playground equipment for schools in Bedfordshire and the surrounding area for more than 20 years, and consider no job too big or too small.

During the consultation, you can share your initial ideas with their design team, and they will create a plan – taking into consideration you and your pupils’ requests. They can even offer tips and recommendations in this appointment to ensure that you create the most exciting activity trail for your students.

So, why not get in touch with them today?

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Technology

This is the Marvel-DC crossover movie that James Gunn wants to make

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There’s a new Suicide Squad movie coming out next week, and people seem to love it. Many reviews are praising James Gunn’s work on the famous team of DC villains. Now that Gunn is done with his Suicide Squad reboot, he’s returning to the Marvel universe, where he will end his Guardians trilogy with Vol. 3, which is set to launch in May 2023. Gunn might work on other comic book projects in the future. We have no idea what his schedule entails. But the writer/director just revealed that he would love to do a Marvel-DC crossover movie. That might sound impossible right now, as these are two separate universes belonging to two different corporations. But Gunn already knows what his Marvel-DC film would be. And he even pitched the idea.

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There’s no question that Marvel’s MCU is the more exciting superhero ecosystem right now. Warner Bros. stumbled along the way, rushing out its own superhero team-up movie before it even introduced all of the heroes. But DC still has plenty of potential, as Gunn’s The Suicide Squad seemingly shows. And Warner has several DC movies in the works, including its own big multiverse story that might rival Marvel’s.

Bridging the two worlds with a Marvel-DC film or a series of movies would give fans the kind of event that we’d never expect. Marvel and DC superhero teams could fight teams of Marvel and DC supervillains. The sky is the limit. Bu the red tape makes it sound nearly impossible.

Gunn’s Marvel-DC movie pitch

Talking to YouTube channel Jake’s Takes, Gunn explained that he pitched a Marvel-DC film to the heads of the two studios. He said that he would love to do a Harley Quinn and Groot movie:

Well, I would be really happy to do a Harley Quinn and Groot movie. That would be exciting for me. And not only have I thought about that but I’ve actually talked about that to the heads of both Marvel and DC. But, you know, it’s like, they… you know, everybody’s open to everything, but whether anything would ever happen, who knows? But the idea of being able to bring Marvel and DC together in a movie is, that would be really fun for me.

Gunn acknowledged the “Berlin wall of lawyers” that he and other people partial to the idea of connecting Marvel and DC heroes via films:

And I know it’s exciting for even the heads of Marvel and DC to think about. Kevin Feige over at Marvel and Toby Emmerich over at Warner Bros. You know, it’s something we all like to dream about. Whether we could ever get through the barrage, the Berlin Wall of lawyers we would need to get through to ever make something like that happen, I don’t know, but it would be a blast.

Gunn also put forward a second idea that he could get behind for a Marvel-DC movie: A team-up between Rocket and Groot for Marvel and King Shark and Weasel for DC.

While we wait for these pipe dreams to come true, The Suicide Squad launches in theaters and HBO Max next week. Gunn’s interview with Jake’s Takes follows below:

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