Archive for the ‘apps’ category

Apps

November 7, 2019

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 Fires

October 27, 2019

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”.

Nissan Rogue

August 22, 2018

So I have had my new Nissan Rogue for about a month now. Time to write about the things I like about the car and the things that are not so great.

2018-07-14 11.44.46

First, here are the things that I really like.

File Aug 22, 1 08 08 PMBlind spot detection. There’s a little light in front of each side view mirror. So when you are driving down the highway, the light comes on when there is a car in your blind spot. One has to get used to checking for the light before you change lanes. You can’t see it very well in the picture. I would need to be moving to get it to light up. That wouldn’t be very safe.

Automatic Seat Adjustment When you start the car up, the driver’s seat moves forward to your preselected spot. When you shut it down, the seat moves all the way back and down. Makes it easier to get in and out. There are two saved seat selections. So Paula can have her selection and I have mine.

Adaptive Cruise Control So I’m cruising down the highway on cruise control. The car detects that you have a car or truck moving slower in front of you. The cruise control detects the car in front of you and eases off on the gas. Pull out to pass and cruise control steps on the gas.

File Aug 22, 1 06 03 PM

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Automatic Unlock Push the black button on the door once, driver’s door unlock’s. Push it again, all doors unlock. All you need is to have the key fob in your pocket or purse. Getting out of the car, push the button, doors lock. There is a corresponding black button on the right front passenger door.

Color I love the color. I was getting really tired of choice of white or black. It seems to me that most cars these days are either black, white or silver. Boring.

2018-08-05 12.13.15Gas Mileage The car is a hybrid. Right now I am getting about 30 mpg. Much better than the Jeep. Not dropping $70 a fill-up at the gas station. It feels a bit weird to have the car shut off at a traffic light. Remember in CA, gas is running at about $3.75 /gallon for regular. It’s also taking a little getting used to having the filler pipe on the right side.

Rear View Camera Put the car in reverse and the rear view camera is turned on. Gives you a nice wide angle view of the space behind you. Has guidelines on the view to give you an idea about the path you will take. Great for getting out of tight spaces.

Here are things that I don’t care for.

Navigation I’d rather use Waze on my iPhone. So I am heading up to Hollywood. The route is to take I-110 north to Rte 101. Then head towards Hollywood. The GPS will warn me to make a left turn in 5 miles on the 110. Well, there is no left turn after 5 miles. What it is really telling me is to stay on the 110 and not take the I-405 exit. Confusing to say the least. So it is telling me to turn left when it really means keep going straight and not take the exit.

One nice thing is that it shows you the lanes you should be in before the turn or exit.

Nissan Connect App The free app is very clunky and not very intuitive on how to use. You can download a destination to the car or remotely unlock or start the car. Nissan gives you the service for free for the first six months, then they charge $8 or $9 a month. It does what it is supposed to do, but a struggle to figure out how to make it happen. Needs work. I doubt if Nissan will do it though. Next winter I will need to decide whether to keep the service.

Control Panel. Hard to see. I can’t make it bright enough. If I wear my sunglasses, the panel is impossible to see. Also, the buttons on the steering wheel are kind of small. Also, hard to see. I suppose eventually I will know them by feel. Muscle memory, etc.

One more thing. Last week my permanent license plates arrived. So I removed the dealer temporary plate and frames with the dealer’s name on it and threw them in the trash. I replaced them with my new Red Sox frames. I don’t feel that I need to give free advertising to the dealer.

 

1 Second Every Day – January 2018

February 1, 2018

Okay, this past month I started using a new app call “1 Second Everyday“. Click here for the pointer in the Apple App Store. And here’s the Android version. I upload 1 or 2 pictures every day and it produces a mashup video displaying each picture for about second. It is sort of a video diary, kinda sorta.

So every day, I push myself to take one or two pictures every day. I took pictures of people we met and places that we went. I took pictures of the baristas at Starbucks. I took picture in the supermarket. I have family pictures including our very cute grand kids.

Sometimes, I have to push myself to take a picture. I try to answer the question, “What did I do today?”.

It feels like monthly is the right size for the video (both in time and file size. Maybe in December I will do a whopper of a lookback.

Here is the video for January 2018. So sit back and enjoy.

 

 

1 Second Everyday

January 11, 2018

So I discovered a new app (new to me) a few days ago. It’s called “1SecondEveryday“. It’s an app for putting together a photographic timeline of whatever you have been doing. The app is available for both iPhone and Android. Here’s the link to Apple’s app store. Here’s the link for Android.

Where did I go and what did I do. The idea is that you take a couple of pictures every day and add them to the app. So that after a period of time (a week, a year or whatever) you can produce a video of the series of pictures with each one presented for 1 or 2 seconds. This becomes a video diary.

So I’ve started taking pictures of the people and places that I interact with every day from the barista at Starbuck’s to Pastor Jacques at church. So every day I intend to take a couple of pictures and add them to the app. Then from time to time, I will then post on FB a video.

COIN V2

August 26, 2015

IMG_2281Well COIN pushed an update to their app on iOS today. Part of the update was to add a feature to add a nickname to each credit card stored on the Coin device. Okay, to refresh your memory, Coin is a device that allows one to store up to six credit cards on the device. It has the same form factor as a typical credit or debit card. The deal is that you can reduce the thickness of your wallet from six credit cards to one.

The problem was that one had to remember the last four digits of each credit card so that one could select the one that you wanted to use. So for example, now you could assign a nickname like WF for a Wells Fargo card or BA for Bank of America. A feature that would be welcome and useful.

They also announced that would be a V2 version of the device. Current owners/users could upgrade for free. Well that’s nice. The V1 device seems to have some issues around acceptability at some merchants. ie. not everybody accepts it. That’s a big problem because it means that you have to have a real backup credit card in case the store can’t read the COIN.

The V2 COIN is also supposed to support NFC (Near Field Communication). This allows one just to wave the card on top of the POS terminal. This is the same feature that is used by ApplePay or GooglePay. If stores start supporting NFC, why would I need a card? I could just use my iPhone, Most stores aren’t anywhere close to accepting NFC,

Here’s the main problem. The V2 COIN won’t start shipping until Q1 2016. What they mean by that is the end of Q1 2016. Corporations often have a weird way of telling time. If I told my wife that I would be home by 9 pm and I walked in the door  at 9:55 she might be justifiably be upset. I said I would be home by 9. It’s still 9 o’clock. Time to duck. That’s seven months from now by my math.

Anyways, back to the update. I installed the update. I registered for the update. no problem. I am now aware of their method of keeping time. I managed to set one nickname. But I was unable to set another. At the same time my COIN seems frozen. No sync, Won’t turn on. I can’t prove that the update screwed up my COIN but it seems likely that it’s the culprit.

Time for another email to COIN support. They say to repeatedly push the on button until it unfreezes or let it sit for 24-48 hours. Sigh. My COIN is real close to being thrown in the back of the drawer with all of my other electronic gadgets that promised to change the world but didn’t.

If you’re thinking of buying one of these gadgets. Don’t.

COIN

July 5, 2015

  About 18 months ago, I paid $50 to join a crowd source funding for a new product called “COIN”. COIN is supposed to be a credit card replacement that could dynamically change the data on the credit card magnetic stripe. One would be able to store a total of 8 different credit cards on the device. The idea is/was to reduce one’s credit card bloat in your wallet.

It seemed like a good idea to me. I typically have about 6-7 credit cards including ATM cards, credit cards and the like. The developer was promising delivery during the summer of 2014. I guess the early beta didn’t go as well as they hoped. So last summer they scheduled a second expanded beta with expanded beta units going to those who signed on early in the funding process.

Everyone else would have to wait until full production ramped up this summer. Those who didn’t want to wait could get a refund. So a couple of weeks ago I finally received my unit. Better late than never.

Here’s how it works, You need to install the COIN app on your smart phone (in my case an iPhone 6 plus). The COIN comes with a plug in credit card reader. First you have to pair your phone with the COIN. The COIN uses Blue-Tooth to communicate with the app.

One loads the credit cards into the app by swiping the card on the card reader. Then the app prompts you to add the security code on the back of the card. Once you are finished loading credit cards onto the app you then sync the credit cards with the COIN, So far so good. Works as advertised.

The COIN is the exact same size as a credit card. It has a small display that shows the card type (AMEX, Visa, etc) and last four digits of the card number. You can load credit/debit cards, gift cards and some id cards that have a magnetic stripe (though I can’t see how much use that would be.) There is button that you press to wake up the card and select the card that one wants to use.

Supposedly the COIN is compatible with most credit card readers and ATM’s. Here is where the rubber hits the road (or not). I haven’t tried it on any ATM’s yet. I don’t need to go to ATM’s very much. I usually get cash back while I am at the supermarket.

I have tried to use the device about a half dozen time. This is certainly a very limited sample size to be sure. I have attempted and been rejected at two different restaurants. I have successfully used it at a grocery store and the Starbucks at the grocery store.

It does have some neat security features though. The COIN won’t work if you lose connection to your phone. And the app will warn you that your COIN has gone away. It shuts off after about seven minutes and you will need a pass code to turn it back on or be paired with your phone.

So I wouldn’t use at it the regular Starbucks. They have an iPhone App for that and it works quite well.

Much of my shopping is done online and this device is of no use for that type of shopping.

My end goal is to have Apple-Pay become more widely accepted. Then I could ditch the credit cards all together. As it stands right now, I have only seen Apple-Pay in use at one merchant establishment (Panera Restaurant).

If you are interested in learning more about the device from the developer’s web site, Go to onlycoin.com. As for me, I’m not quite ready to leave my credit cards at home (at least not yet.) The support pages has a list of merchants that accept COIN and a list that have been reported as rejecting it.