Archive for the ‘iPhone’ category

My New Gadget

December 26, 2019

This Christmas I got a new electronic gadget called a “Nixplay”. It is an electronic display for one’s favorite pictures. It connects to your WiFi and you can upload your favorite pictures. Then it cycles through all of your pictures 10 seconds each.

There is an app for your iPhone or other smart device that is used to select pictures to send to the device. You can also adjust setting to your liking. Set the time spent on each picture, for instance. You can set it to shut off at night.

This is the 10” version (measured from corner to corner). It runs about $150 and be had at Amazon and other retailers. There is 13” version that of course costs more money.

It’s pretty easy to setup. Plug it in, connect to your WiFi. Then download the app from the app-store, then pair with your nixplay. Then start selecting photos. Takes about 10 minutes

You can adjust settings to auto off/on, it can display current time on lower right corner.

Hearing Aids

December 14, 2019

Not long ago I looked at the sign at church about parking for the elderly and people with small children. I have never thought of myself being “elderly”, but I guess I am at the age of 71. I parked in the spot.

So over the last 6 years my hearing has steadily been getting worse. I bought a set of hearing aids at Costco up in Torrance. They have an excellent hearing aid center there.

So recently, I saw my doctor who scheduled me for a hearing test at Kaiser. No surprise, my hearing is getting worse. The technician gave me a report that I took to the folks at the Costco hearing aid center.

They didn’t try to sell me any new hearing aids although hearing aid life is somewhere about four years. So I might be due soon. The technician adjusted my hearing aids and they made a big difference.

One of my problems is that the hearing aids raise the sound level of everything, not just the people talking to me. Noise gets amplified too. So I have become sensitive to loud environments. We went to a kids Christmas party last week. They were playing loud Christmas music and people were talking loudly to make up for the music. I almost left.

So my hearing aids are made by Resound. I have an audio streaming device connected to our TV so that I don’t need the volume turned up real loud. I also have an interface that connects to my iPhone by blue tooth.

Hearing dialogue at movie theaters continues to be a challenge for me. Some movie theaters have head phones that one can borrow. Some times they help, sometimes not.

I need to train people to face me when you talk so that I can see your lips moving.

IPhone 8 plus

October 21, 2017

It’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve been neglectful. Time to get going again. 

I upgraded my phone from an iPhone 6 Plus to an iPhone 8 Plus about three weeks ago. I had the 6 plus for about three years, so time to upgrade. I didn’t feel like waiting another month to get the iPhone X. The new phone has 256Gb which means more tunes than I will ever load on to it. Here are the features that I particularly like:

  • Wireless Charging – Apple isn’t selling  a wireless charger yet, but you can get one from Amazon for about $16. Just take the phone out of your pocket and drop it onto the charger. Neat. I’m sure that Apple will come up with one for more money.  Also, it works fine with the phone installed in its case.
  • Camera – Much improved camera. It has two lenses. You can change from wide to tele with the touch of your finger. It also has some interesting controls. It has a “Portrait” mode that allows changing the lighting ambiance. Here is a picture of Paula that I took today shown with the different portrait choices. It can do a black and white portrait. In this case it brightens the face and blurs the background. Kind of cool. 
  • Another feature added was “Do Not Disturb” mode. This actually is a feature of iOS 11. So if you have iOS 6 or 7 all you have to do is upgrade. The phone detects that you are moving and it sends a stock reply to an incoming text message. Message says something like “I’m driving, I will get back to you later”. You can disable it but this is a good thing. Helps prevent distracted driving. You can also customize the message.
  • IPhone 8 and 8 plus is same form factor as the 6 and 6 plus or 7 and 7 plus. That means that you don’t need to buy a new case. I just popped my 6 plus out of the case and put the 8 plus in.  I mean you can buy a new one if you want, but why throw money around.
  • The back of the 8 is made of glass. This is done partially to allow the wireless charging. But it looks cool nevertheless. Too bad one doesn’t see it because of the case. Too much money to run the risk of running around naked (the phone that is, not me.)
  • One of things that I don’t like about it is that Apple removed the headphone jack. (That actually happened in the iPhone 7.) Apple wants you to buy their Bluetooth ear buds. Too pricey and too easy to lose. The headphones that come with it have a lightning plug. You can either listen to head phones or charge but not both at the same time. The phone comes with an adapter so that you can use your old headphones.
  • Of course, the innards are all better and faster (not necessarily cheaper). More memory of course.

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

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.