Mary’s X Files, August 2018

Improve Siri Functionality in iOS
Siri has its own dedicated section in Settings where you can enable functionality for individual apps. You can also educate Siri about yourself, including key locations and family members. Here’s how it’s done…

1. Open your Contacts app and then find your own personal contact card in your directory. Tap to open it,
2. Add More Details – Tap the ‘Edit’ option in the top-right corner and then add in as many details as possible, including family members.
3. Select Card – Go to Settings>Siri and tap on the ‘My Info’ option. Now simply locate and select your personal card for Siri to use.

Lauch Wireless Diagnostics on Mac
How to Locate and Launch your Mac’s Built-in Signal Scanner – If you suspect that the wireless connectivity issues you are suffering are the result of a poor signal then your Mac’s Wireless Diagnostics app can help. Strangely, this mythical app doesn’t reside in your Launch Pad by default and locating it is almost akin to summoning spirits! Once open, the app will scan your wireless network and highlight any issues that arise.

1. Access the app – The easiest way to launch the Wireless Diagnostics app is to hold the Alt (option) key before clicking on the Wi-Fi menu bar icon and choosing ‘Open Wireless Diagnostics’.

2. Check Performance – Before clicking on ‘Continue’, go to Window>Performance (or hit Alt+Cmd+5) and three graphs will be generated that gauge your Wi-Fi connection.

3. Monitor Graphs – Leave the app running so that your Wi-Fi connection can be monitored over time and the graphs should highlight possible dips and spikes.

Your Wi-Fi performance charts
While in the Wireless Diagnostics app, you can bring up the following Wi-Fi performance chart by going to Window>Performance. Here’s a guide to what the graphs mean…

1 This graph displays the data rate of your wireless network in Mbps. Monitor this graph over the course of a few hours and if you see noticeable dips or a complete drop of signal then it indicates that there is a problem somewhere.

2 The middle chart, labelled ‘Quality’, displays the ratio of signal to noise. All being well, this line should be relatively straight with slight spikes and dips. If it frequently dips then it indicates that something is interfering with your Wi-Fi signal.

3 The lower graph, marked ‘Signal’, highlights both the signal strength and measured noise, both of which are measured in Decibel- milliwatts (dBM). Ideally, you should be looking at a signal of between -60 to -10dBM and noise below -75dBM.

4 Monitor all three graphs over time to get a clearer picture of how your Wi-Fi is performing. In the lower graph, the two lines should be close together if all is good. If they’re not then try to eradicate the noise by repositioning
the router.

Change the navigation icon in Google Maps
Although Apple Maps has improved greatly since it made its debut six years ago (and let’s face it, it could hardly have got any worse), many still swear by Google Maps. We won’t go into the ins and outs of why that is but if you do make use of this wonderful app on your iPhone, then you’re in for a little treat.

Rather than follow a blue navigation arrow while you’re driving, you can now add some fun to even the dullest of journeys by swapping it out for a vehicle instead. While it’s admittedly cosmetic, there are currently three to choose from (a saloon, truck or 4×4), each of a cartoon-like nature. We reckon we’ll see more of them in the future as word gets around about their inclusion.