Apps

Posted November 7, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Apple, apps

Tags: , , ,

I thought it might be worth writing about how I use my iPhone and iPads. I currently have an iPhone 8 plus and an iPad Pro. I was thinking of upgrading to an iPhone 11, but decided to put it off for a while. Primary reason for upgrading for me would be improved camera. Maybe next year.

My wife has an iPhone 7 and an iPad Mini. We are not an all Apple family. I still have a Windows laptop.  Last time I was looking for a new laptop, I couldn’t justify paying the exorbitant price of a Mac Book. I am pretty much the head of IT in our family. If something is not working right on her iPhone, she hands it to me and says “Fix it, please”

Having all Apple devices makes it easier to keep them all working and sharing data and apps between devices.

So here are some of my favorite apps.

ForScore

ForScore is an app for managing sheet music. I play the piano for our OES Chapter and my Masonic lodge. I primarily use this app on my iPad Pro. I first started using this on my iPad with the 9″ screen. When Apple announced the iPad Pro with the 12″ screen, I I bought one right away. The old iPad got handed down to one of my sons. I keep a backup on my wife’s iPad mini, just in case.

Evernote

Evernote is an app for storing documents. I use it for storing everything from bills and tax documents to recipes. Recipes storage is particularly handy in the grocery store. My wife will ask me to look up a recipe to see what ingredients are required. I also use a companion app called DayEntry that enters daily notes in diary fashion sorted by date. Evernote has a companion app for Windows PC. Makes it easy to store PDF’s direct from the scanner.

Microsoft Office

Gone are the days of my using Powerpoint, but I still use Word and Excel. Shares nicely with Windows. Click here for Microsoft Office for iOS

Games

First and foremost, I do crosswords. The New York Times has a decent app for the Times crosswords. For other crosswords, I use app called “Crosswords” by Stand Alone, Inc. I can start working a puzzle on iPad and continue on my iPhone.

I use a solitaire app called “Solitaire Deluxe“. It does all of the standard solitiare apps like Canfield, Klondike, etc..

I am fond of doing Sudoku puzzles.  I have several variations. Nothing to write home about here. Here’s my favorite Sudoku game by Boy Howdy.

Grocery Lists

For grocery shopping, I use an app called “Grocery IQ“. It allows me to share our shopping list with multiple devices. I’ve tried other grocery lists apps. This puts the others to shame. It can be customized to set order for all the aisles in the store.

I would usually provide a link, but it seems that Coupons.Com is no longer supporting the app. Not found on iOS app store.

There still is a link for Coupons.com

Banking

Nothing much to write here. All the major banks have apps to access and manage accounts. Functionally they all do pretty much the same things like check balances, make payments, etc.

Social Media

Also not much to write about. All of the social media sites have free apps. Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Entertainment

Lots of stuff here. IMDB is a really useful app for looking up movie information, both historical and current movies in theaters. IMDB stands for Internet Movie Data Base and has been around for a long time, even pre-iPhone. Free.

SeatGeek is a handy app to show you where your seats are for a show or game that you might be going to. Available for PC, iOS and Android. Free.

Sports are covered pretty good on iOS. Major League Baseball has a decent app and NFL does, too. Other sports probably do but I pretty much only follow baseball and football.

That’s enough for today.

Wild Fire Update

Posted October 31, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: California, Los Angeles

Tags: , , , , ,

Time for an update for all our East Coast friends.

We arrived back home in San Pedro on Sunday afternoon. The drive southbound through the Central Valley was very smoky. Visibility was about 1/4 mile or less.

I have screen grabbed two maps of So. Cal from the Wildfire App to show where the active fires are as of today (Thursday 10/31).

The little red dots indicate where the active fires as of today. We live in San Pedro which is down near Long Beach. No fires really close to us.

Wild fires get named kind of like hurricanes. The names usually denote something about the origin of the fire.

The big ones around here are the “Getty” fire which is near the Getty Center in West Los Angeles. The other big one is the “Easy” fire in Simi Valley, so named because it started on Easy Street.

Simi Valley is the home to the Reagan Library. You know that they’re not going to let that one burn.

The third fire is the “Riverside” fire that is in Riverside County east of Los Angeles.

And finally, don’t forget to download the Wild Fire App. It’s free.

Wild Fires

Posted October 27, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: apps, California, Technology

Tags: , , ,

Screen of “Wildfire Info” app

This is sort of intended for my East Coast friends. I often get asked whether my wife and I are in harm’s way on any of the wild fires that are rampant out here on the west coast. They for the most part ignorant of California geography. It has been said that the four seasons in California are Fire, Flood, Earthquake and Drought.

So for the most part we are rarely near any of the roaring fires that are active these days, We live in a fairly built up urban area that is not particularly close to the trees and grasses that are fuel for the fires. The only thing that tends to bother us is the smoke generated by the fires.

Here’s a picture that I took on our trip this week from San Pedro to Visalia in Central California.

Gorman CA

As you can see, It’s all brown. The only places that you can see with green grass is typically golf courses that are heavily watered. In the spring time in April much of these hillsides will be green especially after a wet winter.

If you looked at my iPhone you would see a few apps that are particularly appropriate to West Coast going’s on. This stuff is probably more appropriate for West coast folks.

First are the “wildfire” apps. I have them on my iPhone and I believe they are available on Google phones. The other thing is that they are free.

First app is called “Wildfire Info“. Clever name, huh? When you open the app it drops you into a map with little red dots for each active fire. Tapping on the red dot gets you up to date info on the particular fire.

Second one is called “Fires“. Similar info. I found it a bit less useful. But it’s free so try it and see if you like it.

So while I’m talking about apps. I might as well talk about earth quake apps.

Researchers out here are trying to develop apps that can give users about 10 seconds of warning when the big one is about to hit. To that end, the researchers have installed sensors around all of the major fault lines.

Here are the apps that I use (all are free). I know they are available on iPhones and probably on Google-Play. (Click on title to get to the Apple App Store):

Install them all and give them a try.

One more thing. Sometime it takes you a while to get your brain around an earthquake. A couple of years ago there was 7.something about 150 miles northeast of us. Felt some trembling. It takes you a little while to say “Hey, we’re having an earthquake”.

Heber Valley Railroad

Posted October 7, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Travel, Utah

Tags: , , ,

Our major excursion for today was riding on the Heber Valley Railroad. The Heber Valley Railroad is located in ESE of Salt Lake City.

img_1379-1

Heber City is located ESE of Salt Lake City.

We arrived just in time for the 11:00 AM departure. To say that the passenger cars are old, is definitely an understatement.

Once everyone was on board, the train sets off rumbling through the countryside with a toot,toot,toot every time we came to a RR crossing. Halfway to our destination somewhere in the middle of nowhere stopped to allow a few train robbers to board and harass all the passengers with a “hands up!!”.

So we were rumbling along at a speedy 15 mph (I checked my phone’s GPS app). I can’t imagine what it would feel like to speed along at 40 mph. We lumbered along through the Provo canyon. Lots of beautiful views.

After an hour and 15 minutes we reached our destination at Vivian Park. Most folks got off the train to stretch their legs and then lined up at the two bathrooms. All that bouncing around got my kidneys going good. It felt good to pee.

So the engineer detached the locomotive and headed down a siding to get to the other end of the train for the return trip.

So the engineer gave us three toots of his whistle at 12:40 to tell everyone to get on board or risk walking home. Then, another three toots and we were off back to whence we came. Great fun.

Here are some pictures:

Road Island Diner

Posted October 5, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Travel, Utah

Tags: ,

Today we left out hotel at 8 AM with Neil and Laura to visit the Heber Valley Railroad. But first, we had to have breakfast. Coming up next will be the post tho the railroad.

I have no idea how Neil finds these places. The “Road Island Diner” is in the town of Oakley UT, which is a good ways north of SLC.

We drove on I-80 heading northeast towards Evanston, WY. I-80 is also known as Parley’s Canyon, named after a Mormon pioneer named Parley P Platt who was exploring for a better route through the Wasatch mountains other than Emigration Canyon. It is a truly beautiful stretch of roadway.

It was chilly up there in those hills. I haven’s worn my winter jacket in years.

As one can see, the diner is a classic Art Deco like many others of the same type. It was prefabricated in 1939 in Elizabeth NJ. It measures 60’x16′.

We all had a delicious breakfast. So I decided to order my usual bacon & eggs, over medium and sour dough toast. The hash browns were not that great, otherwise everything was great. Here’s an inside view.

Here we are at our table in the diner.

Neil & Laura [note: the New England Patriot’s shirt]

Kennecott Copper Mine

Posted October 4, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Travel, Utah

Tags: , ,

Today we started off meeting our son Neil and his wife Laura for breakfast at Ruth’s Diner on Emancipation Canyon Road. This has been one of our favorite diner’s that we have visited on many of our trips to visit Neil in Salt Lake City. In the summer months they have outdoor dining in a court yard. It was a little chilly for that today.

Neil took for a brief driving tour of the area around Ruth’s. Here is a picture of the Utah State House.

After we finished breakfast we headed back to Neil and Laura’s house to pick up her two sons and then headed out to visit the Kennecott Copper mine. We had reserved tickets in advance for the tour bus that would take us up to the mine’s viewing area. Kennecott is one of the largest if not the largest open pit mining operation in the world. It is located about 25-30 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

Here are some of my pictures:

Finally, we met Laura’s Dad for dinner at the Bohemian Brewery and Grill in Midway, UT. Great food and company.

All done for today. Tomorrow we have more stuff planned. Then we will be heading home on Sunday.

Salt Lake City Tour of Temple Square

Posted October 2, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Travel, Utah

Tags: , , , ,

We arrived yesterday in the SLC area. Today we had breakfast and then took the UTA train to Temple Square. Our tour guide was Bob Lunt who is Laura Lunt’s Dad (Laura is Neil’s wife). Temple Square is the geographic center of the city of Salt Lake City. Click here for the Wikipedia entry.

We met Bob at the Temple Square train stop. Our first event was a free organ recital at noon. They have a huge pipe organ. It was about a 30 minute recital. Outstanding.

Then we did a tour that started at 1 pm. The tour was led by two lovely young ladies that were serving the Mormon church. Bob would add his knowledge to the discussion. There are many beautiful buildings. Non-Mormons are not allowed into the main temple. Here are some of my pictures:

Then we went to the 10th floor of what was once the Hotel Utah and is now LDS offices. They have a couple of restaurants on the 10th floor. Here are a few pictures from up high.