Trending February 2024 # Towards Trusted And Open Solutions # Suggested March 2024 # Top 10 Popular

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As articulated several years ago, the mission of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) is to ensure that storage networks become efficient, complete, and trusted solutions across the IT community.While this is a noble goal for a vendor association, it implies that SANs have not been efficient, have been incomplete, and have not established widespread trust within the broader end user community. While all of these assumptions are still valid, significant progress has been made over the five years of the SNIA’s existence.

Efficiency of SANs

Efficiency is a broad category that spans everything from performance to ease of implementation and management. SAN technology has demonstrable efficiency in terms of performance. Host bus adapters (HBAs) operate at wire speed and with minimal CPU utilization. SAN fabrics offer high performance 1 and 2 gigabit per second (Gbps) switching, as well as the ability to aggregate interswitch links to optimize throughput in a multi-switch fabric. SAN-attached storage devices offer multiple 1 and 2 gigabit ports and high performance RAID controllers and caches that minimize the latency of read and write operations.

New IP storage technologies have also demonstrated efficiency in terms of wire-speed throughput and optimum utilization of local and wide area IP networks. With 4 gigabit and 10 gigabit interfaces on the horizon, even greater performance is expected, making SAN technology the obvious choice for efficiently moving block data from servers to storage assets.

The same level of efficiency has not been reached, however, in terms of ease of implementation and management. Beyond the underlying transport, storage is a complex discipline that has required manual administration to create, assign, and monitor storage resources. This inherent complexity is exacerbated by a storage network, since the ability to share storage assets between multiple servers also requires close monitoring of asset assignment.

Installing and optimizing a SAN configuration is far more complex than a comparable direct-attached solution, but once established, SANs offer significantly more value in terms of consolidated storage, backup, and other applications. The result is that while customers may feel some new pains in implementing SANs, many old and familiar pains thankfully disappear.

Making SAN solutions efficient requires addressing all the remaining inhibitors to configuration and management. The SNIA Storage Management Initiative (SMI) is attempting to resolve inefficiencies in storage networking by offering a uniform management interface that spans all vendors and all aspects of storage transport and placement. This goal has been central to the recent activity of the SNIA and a major beneficiary of SNIA funding and volunteer effort. The SMI effort has been elevated as an official SNIA Architecture, with shepherding by SNIA through ANSI and the appropriate standards bodies.

In the long term, a viable SAN will offer the dual benefits of efficient performance and efficient management. In the near term, customers frustrated with the current inefficiencies of SANs can expect steady progress towards resolution, but no immediate remedies. SMI and virtualization initiatives are attempting to mask the complexity of SANs and simplify management, but these are intricate problems that cannot be fixed overnight. Multi-vendor cooperation between storage, switch, and software suppliers is at least accelerating the development of new management solutions, particularly compared to the sluggish performance of vendors on this front a few years ago.

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Google Translate, Towards Better Understanding And Favoring More Language

Google Translate and its users

Has 230 million consumers in India.

Neural Machine Translation to auto-translate much of the Internet at 11 among the most popularly utilized Indian languages available on Chrome browsers: Urdu, Sindhi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi.

Google Maps supports Hindi, Kannada, Punjabi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Nepali.

Voice navigation in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, and Gujarati.

Gboard now supports 50 Indian languages through text input. Adding Tulu, that has less than two million Gboard users.

Offline Translation and Gboard voice input encouraged in Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.

If you can not speak Tamil, then you’re better off with Ola or even Uber. But there are times when you want to jump in an autorickshaw without needing to await a taxi. For example, obtaining an autorickshaw out of Elliot’s Beach into Indira Nagar channel in Chennai are a great deal faster than reserving a taxi. ‘Automobiles, autos everywhere. But maybe not a ride .’

Lately I used Google Translate’s sound translation attribute to communicate with all autorickshaw drivers. What originally appeared quite bizarre to the two people, finally was quite funny and quite powerful. It helped reserve an autorickshaw ride metre and $10 additional. That’s a deal I will take daily.

Before and now

In a country where 23 languages are constitutionally recognised, technology like Google Translate offers a great way to bridge the linguistic barrier and understand each other.

Launched in 2006, Google Translate initially translated text into English, before translating into the selected language using predictive algorithms. In 2010, it was added as an app on Android devices and in 2011 on iOS. The tech had improved so much that the platform was seen as a portable personal interpreter. By now, Google Chrome could pronounce the text, recognise words in the picture and spot unfamiliar text and languages.

Now, the Google Translate program offers enhanced translations with the camera, sound and handwriting, due to NMT’s profound learning capacities. Because of this, more individuals can get the Android operating platform, Google Maps and Google Pay services.

When you have not tinkered with all the Google Translate program in some time, I suggest testing your mobile personal interpreter’s abilities. The enhanced speed and precision will probably surprise you.

Also read:

Top 5 Automation Tools to Streamline Workflows for Busy IT Teams

Calibrating expectations

How To Add And Remove Trusted Devices For Apple Id Two

A trusted device is an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, where you have previously signed in using your Apple ID. Trusted devices are used to verify your identity when signing in and keep your Apple ID secure with two-factor authentication.

In this tutorial, we will go over trusted devices for Apple ID two-factor authentication, their requirements, and some other pieces of valuable information that you should know.

What’s two-factor authentication in Apple ID?

A computer or system can identify you by asking one of these:

Something you are (like your fingerprint or your face)

Something you know (like Apple ID email and password)

Something you have (physical device or code that’s only with you)

Using at least two of the above factors to confirm identity is considered excellent. This way, the computer verifies your identity at a multi-level, ensuring it’s genuinely you who is trying to gain access. This is called two-factor authentication (2FA). Source: Tom Scott’s must-watch video

Apple uses two-factor authentication to secure your Apple ID and its data.

Suppose you try to log in to your Apple ID from a friend’s computer. You enter your Apple ID email and the correct password (something you know). As an additional layer of protection, Apple will send you a six-digit code on your trusted device or trusted phone number (something you have). Once you enter this code, you have successfully verified yourself at two levels. After this, you are logged in.

In summary, two-factor authentication protects your Apple ID and ensures no one can get unwarranted access to it, even if they have your Apple ID password. 2FA is built into the core of Apple operating systems like iOS and macOS.

Must read: How to set up Two-Factor Authentication for your Apple ID

What’s a trusted device?

A trusted device is an iPhone, iPad, or Mac that Apple knows is yours. Apple can send a verification code to these trusted devices to confirm your identity when you try to sign in from a new/different device or browser.

Trusted devices can also generate offline verification codes.

What’s a trusted phone number?

Like trusted devices, trusted phone numbers are added to your Apple ID and verified by a code received on this phone number (via text or call).

When you can’t receive the verification code on your trusted devices, you can choose to get them on your trusted phone number.

To ensure you aren’t locked out, make sure you add more than one phone number to your Apple ID. You can use your number and that of a close person like a spouse or parents. This way, if you lose your phone, the verification code can be sent to your spouse’s number.

Requirements to set a device as a trusted device

iPhone or iPad running iOS 9 or later

iPad running iPadOS 13 or later

Mac running OS X El Capitan or later

Apple Watch running watchOS 6 or later can receive verification codes needed to sign in to your Apple ID. But it can’t be used as a trusted device to reset passwords.

How to add a trusted device to your Apple ID

To add a trusted device to your Apple ID, simply sign in to a new iPhone, iPad, or Mac with your Apple ID. You will receive a 6-digit code on one of your already trusted devices. Once you verify the new device entering the code sent to your other device, this new iPhone, iPad, or Mac will be added as a trusted device. Now, it can receive two-factor authentication codes too!

If you didn’t sign in with your Apple ID during setup, you can do it later from the iPhone, iPad Settings app, or Mac’s System Preferences.

To check if your Apple device is trusted or not, follow these steps:

Open Settings on iPhone or iPad.

Tap your name from the top.

Scroll down and tap a device.

In tiny letters, it will say, “This device is trusted and can receive Apple ID verification codes.”

You cannot see this information in Mac’s System Preferences. But you can do that on the web.

Go to the Manage Your Apple ID page and sign in using your Apple ID.

For a trusted device, it will display a checkmark and say, “Can receive Apple ID verification codes.”

How to generate 2FA login codes for Apple ID

Suppose you’re trying to sign in using your Apple ID but can’t receive the code Apple sends to your trusted devices or trusted phone number. Maybe there’s a network issue, or the popup with the code disappeared quickly. In these cases, you can generate the login verification code from your trusted iPhone, iPad, or Mac. You can get these codes even if the device is offline! Here’s how:

On iPhone or iPad

Go to Settings and tap your name.

Select Password & Security.

Choose Get Verification Code. Use this code to authenticate your Apple ID sign-in process.

When your device isn’t connected to the internet, tap Password & Security and tap Get Verification Code from the popup.

On Mac

Pick Get Verification Code.

You can get the code even when your trusted Mac isn’t connected to the internet.

How to remove a trusted device from Apple ID

To remove a device from your list of trusted devices, you will have to remove it from your Apple ID. After that, it’s delisted from your Apple ID and, therefore, won’t receive 2FA codes.

Additionally, after removing a device, you can’t use iCloud, Find My, and several other Apple services on it. You can, however, sign in to this device using another Apple ID. Or, if you change your mind, you can sign in with the same Apple ID.

Here’s how to remove trusted devices for Apple ID two-factor authentication:

Using iPhone or iPad

Open Settings and tap your name from the top.

Scroll down and tap a device.

Tap Remove from account.

Confirm by tapping Remove.

Using Mac

Select a device from the bottom left.

Choose Remove from account.

Select Remove to confirm.

Using web browser

Go to the Manage Your Apple ID page and sign in using your Apple ID.

Select the desired device.

Managing trusted devices

This is how you can add and remove trusted devices from your Apple ID. Use this only to delist old devices you no longer use.

Once you remove a trusted device, it should not show up in your list of devices under Apple ID. But if it does, that is because you’re using this Apple ID for App Store or some other service on that device. To fix this, sign out from these services or erase the device.

Must see: 15 things you must do (and not do) before selling, giving away, or trading your iPhone or iPad

Finally, if you have only one Apple device added to your Apple ID, you may not see the option to remove it from your account. In that case, if you wish to remove the device from your Apple ID, sign out of your Apple ID.

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Kiran Smart: Breaking Industry Barriers And Propelling Towards An Autonomous Future

Kiran Smart is the first 





 Humanoid Robot Company in Kuwait. It offers customized Computer Networking and System Integration solutions to the local market. Being a

top IT c


with locations 

in Kuwait, Dubai, and India, it provides an industry-standard integrated solution, 






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With a

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with multiple robotic manufacturers and companies 


, the company 


pioneered the robotic


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almost every 








owards an Exemplary Success

Kiran Smart was built in 2005, with a mission to provide innovative, reliable, and high-quality services to clients throughout GCC and globally. Initially


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the company’s





the Hospitality sector 


to the


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Being a master

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Kiran Smart 







Humanoid Robotic Solutions and Services 



all industries. 

In the last few years, Kiran Smart 


 delivered many robotics projects for schools, malls, Govt., Research Institute, Telecom, and Bank l

ocally and internationally via 

various manufacture


s and suppliers. 

Currently, due to COVID


 the demand 





more than 100 percent

To capitalize on this,

 Kiran Smart 

developed and launched robotic solutions and services for 






19 and post-pandemic period

It is



the company’s

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 loyal employees who work as a team to anticipate, identify, and respond to the client’s/


needs. Operating in a highly competitive environment, Kiran Smart continuously strives for excellence, aimed at 


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s of the project at the lowest possible costs, passing the benefits to its client.

A Dynamic



alancing Technology and Business

As the market and business 

grew, the company


 and witnessed

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assistance for

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different industries. His major contribution is in the hospitality industry where he was involved in developing HSIA products called Surfsonix patent under Interlabz Technologies. This product brought 



revolution in the Guest Wi-Fi solution seamlessly. Surfsonix was marketed in entire GCC and 

actively in


adeshows, seminars, 


events. T



 Kiran Smart has become 

Global Distributor of Surfsonix for the MENA 

region under his tutelage.



passage of time




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2024 on Humanoid Robots Services and Solutions




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Gulf Countries were known to 



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him entering the field of robotics. After intensive research, 



transitioned as

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a f

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sia, China, Singapore, Finland,

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At first



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 it was tough to convince people and explain 

about it



Innovating Through Client-First Approach

Contributing and benefiting to the industries as well as 


the community as holistic services bring 


 actual success 


 the company where the clients are happy


 and the nation looks forward to innovative solutions that can bring changes in the country and have







means serving

 to the industries where customers are happy to implement the solutions for education, warehouse, banks, shopping malls, heal

thcare, and hotels which create high

 customer satisfaction level.

This encouraged 

Kiran Smart to have

 the availability of services 24/7 and procedure



are made easy on certain repetitive tasks. As the demand is increasing everywhere


 especially due to COVID-19


 robotics industries are in high demand. Every industry is looking forward to have business continuity during COVID-19 and 



. Starting from logistics, warehouse, tours, and travels, public places, religious places, home, 

there is no place



robots are not employed to do

 jobs without 

the risk of 

getting infected. By deploying robots as per COVID-19


the industry

 is helping and benefiting all customers and public


 maintaining social distance, hygiene, business continuity, disinfecting the areas, and many more 



Expanding Market 


each with Key Partnerships

Kiran Smart always 


hard to have unique ideas and use innovation to grow the business. 




new ideas are crucial to improve 


processes, bring new and improved products and services to market, increase efficiency and, most importa

ntly, improve its profitability along with k

eeping track of market trends and demand while introducing innovative solutions to resolve customers








 always combines the latest technology with unique ideas to 

remain innovative


the market. 

The company 


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 the demand of 




Kiran Smart has 



leading companies in 

software, cybersecurity, robotics, hardware, and manufacturers 





services and solutions


. The company engage



innovative companies, 

innovators, i

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participates in 

trade shows



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Meeting Industry Demands with Disruptive Technologies

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, automation, cloud computing, virtual reality, 3D printing technologies have entered the mainstream in every industry. 

Enterprises are adopting them

 all over the world. While these technologies 


 hold the potential to 

improve the quality of operations in the corporate sector by a huge margin

, they also stand to disrupt many existing markets as well the society that we live in. 





 can straightforwardly be prolonged, adapted, and applied to various business operations and in 

our daily activities

. The reason 


 has been

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to its capacity to bring intelligence to 


tasks that 




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very technology that 

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compared to a decade ago. Secondly, not every innovation is equal in terms of its implications for disruption. 






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, which is currently coming on stream across most sectors of the economy, is a game-


innovation and is set to become one of the most disruptive innovations ever.

Overcoming Business 


Commenting on the challenges faced 


 says, “Honestly speaking every day is a challenge for us as the world is evolving so rapidly in terms of technology. Innovation has been so widespread now and then you see something different and unique. Keeping up the face of the company with the latest trend in technology is the major challenge”. Additionally, he mentioned a few more business challenges which include:

Uncertainty about the future

Hiring the right talent

Research and development of the right solutions 

Customer service

Market acceptance 

If one has to consider the


 situation, then the company feels that COVID-19 and following



 Pandemic situation of tomorrow are key hurdles for them.

Awards and 


Kiran Smart is overwhelmed to have a loyal customer base and their recommendation to their networks and contacts. 

The company has been praised by its customer for the “Never say ‘NO’ and Kiran Smart can do it” attitude.

Insights into 






every robotic company has been actively working to provide solutions and services to save the human from 

the current 


19 and post-pandemic environment. 

Kiran Smart is optimistic



growth in robotic business and 


 the robotic industry 


 flourish in the future without any doubt. 

This implies that v

arious types of robots would appear in the market

. For instance,

 logistic robots for warehouse and factory, shelf inventory robot for super-market, food delivery robot for restaurant, 


-in robots for hotel, 


service robots for hotel, 


and promotion


 robot for event companies, teaching robots for schools, disinfection robots, cleaning robots, cooking robots and the list would continue. 

Pixel 3A Problems And Solutions We Know So Far

Google’s return to the mid-range market is not as smooth sailing as we thought. Pixel 3a users are complaining about how the phone keeps shutting down randomly throughout the day. It’s even worse because the phone just won’t turn on again without a hard reset.

While we marveled over how Google managed to put an $800 camera into a $400 phone. Maybe it did come at a price and the phone is unable to cope with this massive adjustment. Nevertheless, we’ve looked into problems that users are facing, here they are along with a possible set of solutions as well.


Random Shutdowns

This particular has been plaguing Pixel 3a users at an alarming rate. The Pixel 3a is shutting down randomly at any time of the day or night when it’s not active and it repeats this behavior every time it’s switched on again. If you’ve been using it in Safe Mode and still facing this issue then it’s time to return it to the vendor and get it exchanged.

If you’re unsure about how Safe Mode works, here’s how:

Press the Volume down+ Power key together for about 10 seconds or until the screen goes black.

Release them once the phone turns on again.

Press and hold the volume down button when you see the logo till device reboots successfully.

You will see safe mode written in the bottom left of the screen.

A Reddit user has also suggested that the bug could be WiFi related. In which case simply switch off the Wifi as a temporary respite till you can RMA it and get a replacement.

Stuck in bootloop problem

This is one of the most recent problems that many Pixel 3a users have been complaining about. The Pixel 3a is shutting down unexpectedly at any time of the day and the only way you can restart it is by performing a soft reset (aka restart).

Since the device is stuck in bootloop, you can restart normally from Android. So, you need to force restart it.

How to force restart Pixel 3a

 Consider running the phone in safe mode in case it’s happening because of a faulty third-party app. Here’s how you can activate the safe mode:

Press the Volume down+ Power key together for about 10 seconds or until the screen goes black.

Release them once the phone turns on again.

Press and hold the volume down button when you see the logo till device reboots successfully.

You will see safe mode written in the bottom left of the screen.

If you still have the boot loop problem even after dealing with the apps, then you’ll have to perform a factory reset. See the link below for help.

How to factory reset Pixel 3a

If your Pixel 3a should work just fine after you’ve performed these steps.

Touchscreen not responding

Reddit users are reporting that the Pixel 3a’s screen is not responding to touch. It’s also either ghosting on users or completely stops responding entirely. If you are facing a similar issue, there are two ways to solve this problem:

Restart your phone using the power button. The phone should start functioning normally after this.

If the issue still persists, perform a factory reset.

If your phone is still acting up, then you’ll have to RMA it as a final resort and get a replacement.

‘Black Crush’ screen issue/ Gradient issue

Are various dark shades being displayed inaccurately in your Google Pixel 3a? It’s facing what is popularly known as a ‘Black Crush’ screen issue. In this scenario, parts of videos or images can appear with blocks or black, pixelated, or grainy. XDA developers have also picked up on a similar gradient issue reported by another Pixel 3a user. Also, the visuals rendered with this “black crush” issue are with significantly less detail, like the video is playing in low resolution. Check out how you can rectify this particular issue:

A ‘Black Crush’ screen can be rectified with a software update. To ensure that you are running the most recent updated version available, here’s a step-by-step.

If you’re still facing this issue, then there is another option.

Download the Screen Balance app for free from the Google Play Store.

Install the app and grant the Screen Balance app Accessibility permission to work.

With the app now enabled, set the Fluorescent to “warm”.

Use the slider to set the Strength to “60%”.

Set the Contrast to “100%”.

Once you follow these steps, the ‘Black Crush’ issue should be rectified. However, it’s only a temporary solution and Google still needs to send you a dedicated update to solve this problem.

Crooked USB-C and misaligned speaker cutouts

In an unfortunate recent development, YouTuber Erica Griffin shared a tweet with an image of her Pixel 3a’s crooked charging slot and speakers and asked followers if they noticed a misalignment in their phones too. Unfortunately, people are facing this issue even with their Pixel 3a XLs. While there is nothing that can be done about this particular issue, make sure to check the alignment on your Pixel 3a and 3a XLs so that you can get a replacement for the same from your vendor.

Storage issue

Is your Pixel 3a showing more space consumed than it ideally should be? This could be a minor bug that needs to be addressed. You could also be dealing with a hidden cache that is consuming space. In such cases, we recommend the following steps:

Go to the Apps and notifications section from the Settings panel.

Tap on an app that you suspect and select clear cache.

Repeat this process for all the apps and check your storage. This process should fix the issue.

Performance problems and slow down

Reddit has blown up with this particular issue and many Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL users are facing this one. While Google’s Digital Wellbeing app is a great way to keep track of your phone usage and set up a system to maintain a healthy relationship with technology, it’s crippling the Pixel 3a’s performance by slowing it down.

Follow these steps to partially disable the app:

Go to the Settings panel and navigate to the Digital Wellbeing app from the Apps and notifications sections.

Tap on turn off Usage access.

This way you can still enjoy ‘downtime’ functions with a phone that’s not slowing down.

You might also need to clear cache in which you can clear it up by following the steps we gave earlier.

Battery drain problem

The Pixel 3a is equipped with a 3000 mAh battery but Google has optimized the phone to sustain itself comfortably on this much fuel. However, if you think your Pixel 3a’s battery is draining at an irregular pace then there could be other issues that need to be looked into. Here are a few things you can do to optimize the Pixel 3a’s battery:

Uninstall any third-party phone manager or cleaning applications. Most third-party phone manager applications run in the background and drain the battery of the device rather than help saving battery.

Check the battery usage stats. This would help reveal any app which is misbehaving and draining the battery from the device.

Go to the Settings panel and look for the Battery section.

Check to see if any app is responsible for using up more battery than usual.

If you spot an app draining battery, simply uninstall the application.

You could also perform a hard reset by following the steps mentioned in the Boot loop problem section.

Bluetooth issues

The Pixel 3a is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 + LE (HD codecs: AptX, AptX HD). Users haven’t reported any issues about the Bluetooth so far however, if you are facing connectivity issues, here are possible solutions for the same:

Remove the Bluetooth cache by following these steps:

Head over to Apps and notifications and press the three-dot button to select Show system apps. Scroll down to find Bluetooth and use the Clear Cache button to erase all of your pairing histories and start afresh.

If you’re unable to stream audio over Bluetooth, then check the Bluetooth device manual to make sure which Bluetooth audio codec is supported by the device. Once you’ve figured that out, simply follow these steps:

Unlock the developer options on your Pixel 3a

Scroll to the Networking section and then tap on Bluetooth audio codec and select the audio codec which is supported by the device.

If you aren’t able to figure out which audio codec is supported by the Bluetooth device, then simply select All codecs. 

Remove and then pair again the given Bluetooth device profile from your Pixel 3a.

Reset the network settings on your device.

Go to Settings and look for Reset till you find the option Reset network settings.

Tap on Reset.

Cellular network issues

Is your Pixel 3a giving you network trouble?  This trouble could range from signal drops and LTE not working to poor reception

In such situations, the best thing to do is to manually select the network provider.

Go Connections from the settings panel and select the Mobile networks option.

Tap on Network operators and choose the Select manually option.

Wait for the device to scan for all the available networks and then try to connect to your carrier’s network.

Reset the network settings as a last resort. Here’s how to do so.

This should definitely help with the network issues you’re facing on the Pixel 3a.

In any of the above situations, remember that a Factory Reset is still an option that you can turn to as the last option. Make sure to follow this guide when you’re performing it. Also, there are chances of a hardware issue cropping up in such scenarios and you will know that after you’ve tried these solutions in which case you can and should RMA the phone and you will be given a new phone.


Microsoft Business Solutions Sells Itself

Every once in a while, even hardened cynics like me have to wipe the sneer from our faces and admit that some hapless vendor might be getting something right. In this case, the vendor is Microsoft, and the thing they may be getting a little more right is the subject of last month’s column: Microsoft Business Solutions and its enterprise software product line.

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone soft on MBS. I promise I’ll still hide behind the columnist’s traditional safe harbor statement — they still have to execute against the new strategy — but at a minimum MBS deserves credit for addressing a host of issues that have plagued them for the last two years.

Lets start with Project Green: Green was originally intended to be a complete rewrite of the code base for the four main products that make up MBS: Axapta, Navision, Great Plains and Solomon. The vagueness of the effort’s goals and timetable left Microsoft’s partners in the untenable position of trying to sell today’s products against the prospect of a much more perfect and undeniably interesting future. A very bad idea.

Microsoft has wisely scaled back Green in a number of substantive ways. The most important change is that, instead of a complete rewrite, MBS is going to focus on Web service-enabling the four products so that their respective functions can be used — somewhat interchangeably — as the platform for a composite application solution that would be independent of any individual product. This makes much more sense and will be not only easier to do, but easier for customers to make use of.

Then there’s the channel. The channel has been a mess, with channel partners competing against each other while interesting add-on products remain unavailable to the wider MBS customer base or are unsupported by small, resource-strapped VARs. To remedy these problems, MBS later this year will launch two services: one to help find these solutions and bring them more into the mainstream of the sales process, and another to make sure that channel partners aren’t competing with each other for the same customers. And the biggest and best of the partner products will be folded into MBS’ new Industry Builder program, which will ensure that they are well-productized and well-supported throughout MBS’ burgeoning global empire.

Meanwhile, MBS executives outlined some important areas where the synergy between MBS and the rest of the Microsoft world would take place. The most important in my mind is in what MBS calls the “user experience.” The basic premise is that Office and Outlook constitute the core of the user experiences of many millions of customers and prospective customers. Leveraging that familiarity in the MBS product line is something that can add tremendous clout to MBS sales efforts in the training and IT-resource constrained mid-market.

So far the report card looks good. The one place where the strategic overview did fall short was on the revenue and profitability picture. Doug Burgum, MBS top gun and chief history buff, claims that profits aren’t in the plan, and that revenues are growing consistent with the industry. That’s one place where no columnists’ safe harbor is justified. This is Microsoft we’re talking about, not “the rest of the industry.” Doug needs at a minimum to articulate how the above changes in channel and product strategy might translate into more revenues, or show how something else he has up his sleeve will.

We’re no longer expecting MBS to be a $10 billion company in 2010, something that Doug’s sales pal Orlando Ayala spent 2003 claiming was a real possibility. But we still expect some degree of greatness to justify the Microsoft brand, the many billions in investments, and the fear and loathing that MBS still generates across the enterprise software industry. At least at Convergence, we could see that the beginnings of a comprehensive plan. And not a moment too soon.

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