Archive for the ‘iPhone’ category

My Rules for Answering Calls

June 26, 2017

download (1)Is it just me or are the number of robo-calls greatly increasing. I think that they are. So, my little effort in my corner of the world, I will be implementing the following rules with respect to getting me to answer my phone:

  1. First and foremost, if my caller-id screen says “NO Caller-ID” I will not answer the call, EVER. Furthermore, if you manage to leave a message in my voice mail, I will not respond. Delete before listening. If you don’t have the common decency to let me know who you are, I don’t feel the urge to answer the phone or call you back. I pay AT&T a huge amount of money every month. It is for my convenience, not yours.
  2. If your phone number comes up in my caller-id screen but your name is not in my iPhone’s contact DB, I will not answer. Leave a message and I will get back to you. If you are pitching some vacation or money saving offer, don’t bother with the message, I won’t be calling back. I promise to add you name and number into my contact DB.
  3. Actually, rather than a voice mail, I would rather you send me a text message. Voice mail is so last century. If my dentist can figure out how to use text messaging, so can you.

Oh, by the way, we finally got a land line, but you can’t have the number. We got it just to allow us to reach our caregivers while we are traveling. The number is unlisted. If the phone rings, I don’t answer it.

I keep hearing that robo-callers are going direct to voice mail. I haven’t seen that yet. If that happens I might just let my voice mailbox fill up so noone can leave any voice mails.

One last thing. If you are calling me from an east coast area code (eg. 978 or 781) and you call me 8:00 AM east coast time, I won’t answer. I live in the LA area where there is a three hour time difference. Do the math. CVS was doing that to us for a while before with Rx refill reminders. CVS fixed the problem. They send SMS reminders now.

TTFN

Joe

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iPhone 10th Birthday

June 26, 2017

downloadHappy birthday to the iPhone. It has been 10 years since the introduction of the iPhone 3.

I wasn’t on board at the beginning. Back in 2007, I had some kind of Blackberry. I don’t remember the exact model. I got my first iPhone (a 3GS) in 2009. I bought it not long after we had flown to LA to attend Paula’s father’s funeral. Our friend Andrea had a new iPhone. I got to play with it for a few minutes. From that moment on, I have been hooked.

So then I got an iPhone 6 Plus. Paula then got my old 4S and the 5S went to my sister-in-law Mary in Hingham.

This spring, Paula upgraded to an iPhone 7. Paula liked the improved battery life on her 7 and a bigger, brighter screen. For once, she has a newer phone than me. I am waiting for the next generation iPhone that is expected to be announced in September.

Oh and by the way, we have two iPad’s. Paula has an iPad Mini and I have a 12″ iPad PRO.

One of the reasons, that we have stuck with all iPhones is that app data is consistent across all devices. In particular, contact data and calendar data. And it makes my job of keeping the devices working smoothly much easier.

iOS 10 Update

September 13, 2016

2016-09-13-2Well, today is the date that Apple released its latest version of iOS for iPad’s and iPhone’s. So I not being someone who waits on the fun, I got started this morning after I delivered Mary to the Assistance League luncheon.

I started the OTA (Over The Air) install on my iPhone 6 Plus first. I made sure that my home WiFi was working and that I had a recent backup in the iCloud. I was quite surprised to see it done in about 15-20 minutes. Seems pretty good for a major release. I figured that was going to take an hour easy.

Next up was my iPad Air, also completed in about 20 minutes. Then did Paula’s iPad Mini 2. No problems. Only device that I couldn’t do was Paula’s iPhone 4s. The old trusty 4s is not supported for iOS 10.

After I had finished the updates, I read that some people were having major problems with the update. (ie. devices turning into bricks). According to the CNN article, the problem has been resolved by Apple. Which of course everyone should be reminded, do your backup.

So what’s new? Well the first thing that I noticed was changes to the messaging system. Incoming email and text messages are displayed differently on the lock screen.

So I brought the app store app and found that I had something like 40 apps that needed updating. Wow, usually every day had about 5 or 6 apps to update. So there are a load of apps that will be supporting iOS 10. I suppose that makes sense.

There’s a new app called “Home” for interfacing with devices in your home that can be controlled by a computer. Click here for information about “The Internet of Things”. It can be used for smart devices (thermostats, lights, etc.) I don’t have any of those devices (yet), so I don’t know how well this would work.

It’s going to take me some time to digest all of the stuff that has changed. On a related issue that auto manufacturers are going to do OTA updates to autos to upgrade and sometimes fix issues with cars. So someday you will be able to fix your car without having to go the dealer. GM already has some of the infrastructure in place with their OnStar service. Expect more news about this sort of thing in the near future.

 

Oyster

January 11, 2014

I found out about a new ebook service by the name of “Oyster“. It purports to be the “Netflix” of eBooks. Here’s the concept. For the price of $9.95 per month, you get access to an unlimited number of books to read. It starts with a 30 day free trial, then they bill your credit card $9.95 every month.

So what the heck, I thought I would give it a try. I signed up for the free trial. Of course you have to give them a credit card number to establish your account. So far so good.

The web site advertises apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod. No Android. So far so good. I don’t think you can read book from the PC web applet. You can browse and add books to your reading list. To read you need to go to your iPhone or iPad. Not a big problem but something to consider.

You can search for books or authors from the iPad or iPhone app. Sorry Richard Bowker, your books aren’t available.

So I browsed their collection. There certainly isn’t anything available from current books from any best-seller lists. Most of the material is at least a few years old if not more. They do have some classics available. I got several hits for “Charles Dickens” and “F Scott Fitzgerald”.

So the $64,000 question is. Is it worth it? For me, probably not.

Cons:

  • The books that I download, can’t be viewed on Paula’s Kindle.
  • You can’t read on a laptop.
  • You would have to read at least 3 or more books per month to compete with Amazon. I started reading a book from 2010 by Dennis Lehane that sells for $7.59 on Kindle. Charles Dickens books on Amazon are either free or $1 – $3.
  • Scrolling on the apps are up-down rather than left-right. Perhaps this is a nit. It’s just my personal preference for reading eBooks. No option to change.
  • No note taking or book-marking features.

Pros:

  • Actually I’m having trouble thinking of any. Perhaps if the price were a tad lower, like $4.50 per month.

So I will finish the book that I started (Dennis LeHane’s “A Drink Before the War”) then cancel.

Apps, Apps, Apps

January 2, 2014

I thought I would write about my favorite apps that I use on both my iPhone and iPad this past year. These are the apps that I use most every day. So in no particular order. The hyper links in each section will take you to the appropriate iTunes App Store location.
 
 Waze
 
 Waze is a GPS app for iPhone and iPad. Though I use it primarily with my iPhone. Waze uses the internet to provide real-time traffic updates. The only major drawback is that it needs a network connection to provide routing information. This happened to us last fall up in Kern County, CA which is in the middle of nowhere. The app is free that is to say it is supported by ads. When you pull up to a traffic light, it will let you know where a nearby business is.
 
 Evernote
 
 Evernote is more than just a note taking app. It is an total environment. The app itself is free, however you can get Evernote Pro for $5 per month or $45 per year that provides additional features like syncing with the cloud.
 
 There are Evernote apps for iPhone, iPad, PC, and Mac. So with syncing to the cloud you can seemlessly move a note from iPhone to PC, for example.
 
 There are many companion apps that integrate with Evernote. Recipe app called “Food” for managing recipes and restaurants. Sketch for doing drawings. There is a journaling app for keeping a daily journal.
 
 You can create multiple notebooks. You can create tags for easy search and retrieval. There is also a handy email connection that allows one to forward an email to your Evernote account on the network. There is an web clipping for all of the major web browsers.
 
 Crosswords
 
 Where would I be without access to crosswords. There are several crossword apps available, but my favorite is Crosswords by Standalone, Inc. It provides many free subscriptions to quality crossword providers. You can also get subscriptions (for a fee) to NY Times. Difficulty levels range from easy to very difficult.
 
 Dropbox
 
 Dropbox is cloud storage. I use it to store all of important files that I don’t want to lose. I use it for storing pictures, insurance files, financial documents, and sheet music files and much much more. Files get automatically stored in the cloud including pictures taken with your iCamera. If I recall correctly you get either 5 or 10 Gb for free. I get 100 Gb for $10 per month. There are dropbox apps for iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android.
 
 ForScore
 
 ForScore is my music score management app. When I got my first iPad, I just used a PDF app for keeping my sheet music PDF files. I then discovered “Forscore”. I upload each PDF file from Dropbox. Then I add composer info, tags, genre (eg. pop, country, classical, etc.), key signature.
 
 I can create set lists for songs that I typically play during various parts of lodge meetings.
 
 ForScore is only available on iPad. Sorry Android fans.
 
 GroceryIQ
 
 GroceryIQ is a shopping list app. It’s free, which is to say that it is ad supported. It is available for iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. It allows you to sync shopping lists between devices. You can scan barcodes in order to add items to your list. Only downside is you can’t scan is store brands.
 
 You can customize the app for each store’s aisles so that items appear in the proper order that you might find them in each store. It’s real handy to add items to the PC app and then have them available on the iPhone version.
 
 My only complaint is that when you add items for one store, and then go to a different store it is difficult to changer all of the items to the different store.
 
 PWsafe
 
 PWsafe is an encrypted Pass Word Safe. Today it is very difficult to remember all of one’s passwords to a multitude of web sites. This app makes it easy and secure. You can secure with a password safe database on Dropbox. All you need to remember is the password to the Password safe. I must have usernames and passwords for over one hundred different sites. None of the passwords are the same. Apps for iPad, iPhone, PC and MAC. App is free, except for feature to sync with Dropbox.
 
 BlogPress
 
 BlogPress is the app that use to write my blog posts. This post was written using BlogPress. It connects to my account on WordPress. It works for me. Drafts can be stored online and later edited on the PC App.
 
 That’s about it for now. Maybe later I’ll do a post on apps that I despise. But for now this is my list of favorite apps.
 
 TTFN,
 
 Joe
 
 
 
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

September 11, 2013

I am getting the urge to upgrade my cell phone. For the past two years I have had an iPhone 4S. This was my second iPhone. The first being a 3GS model.

So Apple has announced their new iPhone models yesterday. New top of the line 5S and a 5C (the C doesn’t stand for cheap, btw,) Apple didn’t say what the “C” stood for but I think it stands for “Color”. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter much.

Samsung has also announced some new products. The one that I am particularly interested in is the “Galaxy Note 3″. This is what folks are calling a PHablet. ie. a mix of tablet and phone. It has a 5.7″ screen compared to the iPhone 5S’s 4”. It would be a bit large to fit in my shirt pocket. So here are a couple of pictures.

The iPhone 5S at its launch in California on Tuesday

Samsung Galaxy Note III preview

Price for both devices is similar. The 32GB iPhone 5S is $299 and the Galaxy Note 3 is $299. There has been tons of stuff written about both devices. So my question for everyone is which would you choose and why?

Here’s some of my thoughts.

Staying with Apple would make the upgrade real easy. Just back up the 4S and download onto the 5S. All of the apps that I have purchased would work with the new phone. Data compatibility with my iPad.

But screen size is a big one. If I got the note 3, there would be less occasions that I would need to bring my iPad. The Note 3 has a replaceable battery which is cool.

So what do you all think?

VPN Anyone?

August 19, 2013

You might say what the heck is a VPN? VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. VPN’s were originally developed to allow internet users access to the web from behind corporate firewalls. It was also used to allow home users access to corporate networks that were hidden by firewalls. Here is a much more detailed explanation of VPN’s on Wikipedia.

Okay, all well and good. Now VPN’s are used for several other purposes. Here’s a list. (by no means exhaustive).

  1. Security on public networks. If you use public internet access, say at your local Starbuck’s or local library, you are using a public internet. This means that other people with some clever tools can listen into what you are doing. The can see what sites you are visiting. They sometimes see the data you are transmitting. Using a VPN on public internet is a very good practice.
  2. Access to sites that are blocked. Some sites are blocked. Sometimes by governments (eg. China, Middle East), sometimes by corporations, and sometimes by ISP’s.

So there are private VPN’s operated by corporate IT departments and there are VPN’s that are public where you can purchase a license to use their service. I will be talking about the latter case, because that one is the most useful for the average user.

I first started thinking about VPN’s recently when CBS and Time Warner Cable (TWC) started a very public fight. The fight is over fees that CBS wants TWC to pay for the right to provide CBS to TWC’s customers. TWC customers could no longer watch CBS shows on their TV service. TWC also blocked access to CBS web sites on their internet service. I can’t do anything to fix the former problem (unless I buy an antenna or switch providers).  But I can do something about the internet service. I could of course switch TV and network providers, but that is a giant PITA.

The solution is to install a VPN on my laptop. There are several providers available. Most of the providers try a free “try before you buy” license, typically good for a few days. Currently, I am trying out “Avast Secure Line”, Seems to work. I can view the CBS sites. I need to try on MLBTV by attempting to watch games that are typically blacked out. It has free three day license. Then $42 for a year.

Here’s the screen shot of the Avast Secure Line:

avast secureline

iOS solution is a bit different. There are several iOS apps available. Search the App Store for “VPN”. Installation seems to be straight forward. The apps tend to be free. They typically limit initial free bandwidth to 300mb. So you get to try before you buy. After that you have to do in-app purchase to buy bandwidth. The privacy needs for my iPAD and iPhone are more important than my PC. I don’t take my laptop travelling very much. Most of the time it is plugged in to my home wifi. Here’s the link to the app store entry for “VPN Express“. There are other VPN apps. Try them and see what works.

2013-08-19 11.17.01

So my recommendation, get a VPN. Remember that freedom isn’t free, and neither is security. There is way too much snooping going on, Both by the government(s) and others. This is one additional way to keep people from snooping. Plus, now I can watch “David Letterman” and “Big Bang Theory”. VPN’s won’t prevent mail providers like Google or Yahoo giving the NSA the admin passwords to the mail servers. But it does plug an important hole in internet security.

I still need to try the VPN apps with MLBTV games that are blacked out for being local. For me that would be LA Dodgers and LA Angels. Not a real big deal. I only care about them when they’re playing the Boston Red Sox.