iPhone-killing software update

iPhone-killing software update

Christina Commisso, CTV News

Some iPhone and iPad users have watched in horror as their costly device is rendered useless after upgrading the operating system.

Apple users are reporting that their iPhones and iPads are disabled and display an “error 53” message after upgrading to the latest version of iOS 9.

The problem affects devices that feature its Touch ID fingerprint recognition, Apple says, and can occur after an “unauthorized” or faulty screen replacement. In other words, if an iPhone user has their device repaired somewhere other than an Apple Store or Apple service centre, they could run into smartphone-crippling problems when they update it.

The company says, when a system check during a software update reveals the iPhone or iPad Touch ID sensor doesn’t match the device’s other components, the update fails.

Technology experts say it “bricks” the devices – meaning they are rendered as useful as a brick.

“If the check on Touch ID fails, your update won’t finish,”Apple says on its support website. “You’ll see a Connect to iTunes screen on your device or a message like this in iTunes on your computer: The iPhone [device name] could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (53).”

Apple suggests that users who encounter an error 53 message should force a restart of their device. If that doesn’t work, they should contact Apple Support.

The company suggests that if the screen or any other part of the iPhone or iPad was replaced somewhere other than an authorized Apple dealer, users should contact Apple Support about “pricing information for out-of-warranty repairs.”

Some iPhone and iPad users have reported that they’ve lost all of their data after the error 53 message popped up on their device and they were told there’s no way to fix the problem. Some users say they’ve either brought their disabled device into an Apple store, where they’ve received a new one, or have simply gone out and purchased a new one.

“After an hour and 15 minute phone call, the ‘senior’ technician told me to take it back to the store and get another one. I guess 53 = DEAD,” one iPhone user wrote on an Apple support website.

In a statement to The Guardian, Apple said: “This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support.”

As anger over the disabling of iPhones and iPads grows, lawyers in the U.S. and the U.K. have reportedly said they’re considering bringing forward a class action lawsuit against the technology giant, claiming that the company may be acting illegally.

Simplifying producer access to drone data

By Jennifer Paige | Manitoba Co-operator

So you want to utilize drone technology on your operation but aren’t sure where to start? A Winnipeg tech company may have an option for you.

Alpha Technologies is looking to offer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveillance services.

“What we are working on is offering very accurate ground assessment as far as altitude, height and 3D topography. That data can help farmers to level fields or take care of low-laying spots, water damage or conduct real-time crop health assessments,” said Alan Castell, owner and operator of Alpha Technologies.

Castell has personally been flying for more than 20 years. A few years ago he decided to combine his tech knowledge and his passion for flying into Alpha’s drone services and he quickly saw the potential for the service in the agriculture industry.

“This is something we know is going to grow and grow intensely over the next two years, especially as the laws come down and people understand more of what you can and can’t do,” said Castell.

While many producers are eager to use drone technology, the complicated equipment and software can seem overwhelming and capturing high-quality data can be difficult for inexperienced operators.

“This is not a simple piece of equipment, there is a lot to it. Also, a lot of producers may want this data but aren’t interested in investing in the equipment themselves,” said Castell. “In that case, it makes a lot more sense to get someone with the equipment and experience to provide this data.”

Flying a UAV also comes with the requirement of acquiring a licence from Transport Canada and insurance, which varies depending on the situation.

“We have spent close to two years now staying in contact with Transport Canada so that we can make sure we are aware of what we can and cannot do. We also carry half a million in liability insurance and that allows us to do agricultural work without having to go through the application process every time,” said Castell.

Producers may also have to deal with the roadblock of poor or slow Internet connections in rural areas, which can dramatically slow the processing of imagery.

“Data from a drone flight can range anywhere from two terabytes and up. A farmer in a rural area will likely not have the speed or server capability to upload these files without taking days.”

Castell says he is able to capture some of the highest-resolution imagery and virtually anywhere, including areas that are inaccessible by ground transportation.

“We took a bunch of footage from behind the combine and you can actually see the sprayer’s nozzles turning on and off. That is the kind of resolution you have on these things,” said Castell.

Partnering with an equipment manufacturer

Alpha Technologies is also looking at partnering with an agriculture equipment manufacturer to combine data collected from drone surveillance with variable-rate sprayers.

“There is the ability to program these sprayers to turn on and off,” said Castel. “We are looking at being able to provide the data that the farm equipment guys need in order to program that equipment effectively.”

Castell said they would be able to merge the NDVI data (normalized deferential vegetation index) collected by the drone, which looks at chlorophyll production in healthy plants, to guide equipment operators in programming when and when not to spray.

The ability to combine this data and pinpoint spray areas with GPS technology creates a system that is more efficient for both the producer and their wallets.

“I think the benefits are massive. We have the possibility of helping producers save 30 to 40 per cent of the chemical protection products that they use,” said Castell. “That is potentially tens of thousands of dollars.”

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Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act

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Fiat Chrysler recalling 121,603 Dodge Darts worldwide for brake issue

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 121,600 Dodge Dart small cars worldwide _ including nearly 12,000 in Canada _ because of a defect that could affect their brake systems.

The recall affects 2013 and 2014 model year Darts with 2-litre and 2.4-litre engines.

dodge-dartFCA says it’s aware of two minor injuries and seven accidents possibly related to the defect.

It says it will contact owners and dealers will fix the cars for free.

FCA says oil can get on parts of the braking system and if the oil degrades those parts, the brakes could be more difficult to use.

It could also take drivers longer to stop their cars.

The recall affects 105,458 Darts in the U.S., 11,996 in Canada and 4,149 in Mexico and elsewhere.


Alberta premier says farm bill is about dignity, basic rights; stands firm

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley moved December 3, 2015 to quell a maelstrom of discontent over her farm safety bill by saying it’s foremost about safety and dignity.

“I will never be able to accept the fact that injuries and deaths caused by workplace accidents (on the farm) are simply a fact of life,” Notley said at a media availability.

“I could not _ and cannot in good conscience _ and will not ignore the lessons of their losses.

“We will pass this bill this fall. Those wage-earning farm workers will receive compensation (if injured) and will have the right to refuse unsafe work.”

Notley added that the government will talk to farmers in the coming months about how to “tweak the other newly applied rules in a way that respects the family farm, just as has been done in every other province in the country.”

Notley once worked as a Workers’ Compensation Board injury claims lawyer and, in response to a question, agreed that the farm safety bill has special meaning for her.

“It is a little bit personal.”

She said she has long been disturbed that in a province built on the ethos of people helping people, “we somehow have this little exclusion, where paid farm workers, who are often the most vulnerable workers we have, are somehow exempted from the most basic of employment protections.”

It was Notley’s first day back at the legislature following a trip to Paris for the UN-sponsored climate change summit.

There have been several protests and demonstrations by farm groups over the proposed farm legislation. The bill calls for injury compensation benefits and occupational health and safety rules for 60,000 farm workers across Alberta. It also introduces workplace standards on commercial aspects of farming as well as the right for workers to bargain collectively.

Farmers, and opposition leaders, have argued the bill is trying to do too much too fast, threatens the viability of family farms and could rip the cultural fabric of rural life.

They are asking Notley to pull it pending further consultation.

Earlier on December 3, 2015 more than 1,000 protesters rallied on the steps of the legislature as a singer mocked Notley to the tune of the popular children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”

“Now a Bill 6 here and a carbon tax there. Here a tax, there a tax. Everywhere a tax, tax. Naughty Notley runs the show,” sang protester Becky Hull.

The crowd then shouted: “E-I-E-I-O!”

Opposition Wildrose Leader Brian Jean promised the crowd he will stand with them.

“We want a premier and government that No. 1 represents the people and does what they want _because they’re the boss!” Jean said to cheers.

In Lethbridge, hundreds of farmers arrived on tractors, in trucks and aboard big rigs to express their concerns to Labour Minister Lori Sigurdson and Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier at a public consultation meeting.

Alan Kormos, a Cardston area farmer who organized the convoy, says he doesn’t approve of mandatory Workers Compensation Coverage for paid farm employees.

“I disagree with that, because I carry insurance. If they want to impose workers comp on us, let it be an option,” Kormos said.

The bill remains in the middle of the second stage of debate in the house. The government has sat late into the night in recent days to discuss it.

The government plans to introduce an amendment as early as next week to make it clear the bill is not intended to cover children who help out on family farms or neighbours who volunteer to pitch in when things get busy.


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