Posted tagged ‘iPad’

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.

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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.

 

Fake Music

April 4, 2015

pianoOnce upon a time, a friend was visiting me and we were talking about music. You see I play the piano and once in a while I play an organ. About a dozen years or so ago, I became our Lodge musician in my Masonic Lodge in Massachusetts. Now I am the musician for LA Harbor Lodge and San Pedro Chapter OES.

How does one become the organist or pianist for such an organization. First, you have to be able to play the piano. You don’t have to be an Rubenstein or Van Cliburn. You just have to like to play the piano or organ and competent enough to play some simple and straight forward tunes. Typically, I need to be able to play the “Star Spangled Banner” and other patriotic tunes, some bit of sacred music for opening and closing of the Bible and a variety of march music when the members are perambulating around the lodge room.

Second, the lodge or OES chapter has to have a need for a musician. I got the job because the guy who did it before me died. Sometimes the previous appointee had moved or lost interest in doing the job.

So my friend had seen some of my music books that I had at the time. One such tome was a book titles “Hymn Fake Book“. He asked me what a “Fake” Hymn was. I said no, not a fake hymn but hymn fake book. A fake book is a music book with the sheet music with only the music for your right hand. You have to improvise the accompaniment. So in addition to the hymn fake book there are fake books for Broadway, Show tunes, folk music, etc.

Lucky for me that I had learned this skill as a young lad from a music teacher that I worked with while I was in high school. He taught me how to play chords and to improvise an accompaniment. At the time, I didn’t think this skill would be particularly useful. Or that one day I would become a lodge organist.

So i have at least a dozen or so fake books covering a wide range of genres. They were a getting a bit heavy to carry to lodge for the evening’s meeting. I would eventually Xerox the particular music and add to my loose leaf notebooks. Even that began to get unwieldy.

Enter Apple. in 2010, Apple announced the iPad. I said to myself, I have to have one of these. So i drove up to the local Apple store in Nashua, NH and got an iPad 1. So I began the process of scanning my music pages and loading them on my Dropbox account in the Cloud. At first, it was a bit crude. I had files organized into folders according to genre, eg. hymns, patriotic, broadway, pop, etc.

People would look at the iPad and ask can you read music on that thing? In fact, I can and do. Although there is rumblings that Apple is working on a new iPad with a 12.5″ screen (current iPad has a 9″ screen, measured diagonally). I would buy one in a heartbeat if Apple came out with such a device.

As it stands right now, I am working on my third iPad. I had the iPad 1, then an iPad 3 and now an iPad Air.

My system of filing my music on Dropbox was getting cumbersome. So I got an app called “Forscore” that is designed for organizing sheet music. This app is absolutely worth the $9.99 I paid for it. I now have close to a 1000 different scores on my iPad. The music is organized by genre and keywords. New music is imported as PDF files from my Dropbox account.

I also buy music from Musicnotes.com which is a web site that sells sheet music. They have an extensive library of tunes from classical to pop to country. They also have a wide range of arrangements. I typically prefer to buy “Lead sheets” (which is the content of a fake book) because they are shorter and I don’t usually have to turn pages. Some of the arrangements come in multiple keys which is handy when you are working with a soloist.

When purchasing from Musicnotes, you download the music for printing. You get one chance to print it. But I have a printer driver that “Prints” to a PDF file that then can be uploaded onto my iPad. Musicnotes also has a free iPad app, but it is not nearly as capable as Forscore.
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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.

iOS V6 Tips and Tricks

December 31, 2012

Okay, you’ve got your shiny new iPhone or iPad and you’re trying to figure out all it can do. Right? Or maybe you’re thinking of upgrading to iOS v6.0. Here a few neat features and/or tricks.

First here’s a trick that showed up in iOS a while back. I don’t know when it first appeared. Maybe v5, I’m not sure. Sometimes it is useful to get a screen shot of your device. To do this, simultaneously push the start button and the power button. If you’ve done it correctly the screen should briefly flash solid white. Then bring up your pictures app. You should see the the screen shot image in the camera roll. Then you can copy to the clipboard or email the image. All of the screen shots in this post were generated using this method.

Do Not Disturb

V6 added a “Do Not Disturb” feature. To turn on this feature, go to the “Settings” app. You should see something like the following:

2012-12-30 14.41.52

Swipe the switch on “Do Not Disturb” to on. Now your iPhone will only alert you for incoming text message, email, or phone calls from people on your “VIP List”.

To add someone to your VIP list, start your Contact App. Search for the person or company that you want to add.  Now suppose we wanted to add ‘Mickey Mouse” to out VIP list. Search for Mickey. You will see something like the following:

2012-12-30 15.19.55

At the bottom of the screen, tap on the “Add to Favorites” button. You should then see a screen something like the following:

2012-12-30 15.20.46

Tap on each phone number or email address listed. When you add a phone number, it will ask you if it is for voice call or FaceTime. If there is only one address or phone number left to add, the iPhone will simply add it. Once completed, you will see little blue stars next to the phone or email address, like so.

2012-12-30 15.34.03

There’s an App for that

December 17, 2012

First, some administrivia. This is my 100th post. How’d that happen?

I thought I would write about some of my favorite iPhone/iPad apps. As many of you know (or may not) I own a 3rd gen iPad and in iPhone 4s. Here in no particular are some of the apps that I use a lot. Note, most of the hyperlinks takes you to the iTunes store.

Shazam

Shazam is in app for identifying music. Push the button and the app will listen for about 30-60 seconds and report to you what you are listening. It is truly amazing. Even works with classical music. BTW, it’s free.

GroceryIQ

An app for managing grocery lists. Sync’s with your grocery list in the cloud. So you can add something on the iPad list and it shows up your iPhone list. There is also a web version. Free. There is also an Android version.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud file storage service. I pay $10 a month for 100Gb of storage. There are Dropbox apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. You selectively sync folders on to your device.

Sheet Music Apps

When the iPad first came out, I decided it would be an excellent platform for storing my collection of sheet music. I had hundreds of pages of sheet music stored in loose leaf binders. This was a killer app for me.

Readdledocs and PDF Expert

At first I used Readledocs together with dropbox to put my sheet music (stored as PDF files on Dropbox) on to my iPad. I also used a similar app called PDF Expert. I believe that both apps support Google drive (another cloud storage service). Both apps support annotation of the files. Readdledocs is $4.99 and PDF Expert is $9.99.

Forscore

Forscore is a sheet music management app. One loads music scores in PDF format into the app. Then one can assign to a genre (eg. Classical, Pop, etc.)

But there’s more. You can create ‘Set Lists’ then organize according to the way you plan to play the music. You can import from Dropbox and other cloud storage services. Then add other meta-data related to each score (author, tags, etc.)

They also sell music scores. Price $4.99. Well worth the money.

Musicnotes

Musicnotes is another sheet music app. The difference here is that it is primarily for viewing scores bought from their service on musicnotes.com. The app is free, but you have to buy music from them.

They have an option for loading PDF files that you have created. But this costs $9.99 and doesn’t work very well. I either scan the music on my flat bed scanner or use an app called DeskPDF to create the PDF file. For my money, Forscore is way better.

PWsafe

PWsafe is an app for managing usernames and passwords. The app is free, but for a couple of dollars you can add the function to sync password files on Dropbox or other cloud file services. In my online world I have many accounts on many different services. (eg. Banking, Shopping, Social media, Subscriptions, etc.). Using the same password on all of one’s accounts is a bad idea. So remembering multiple passwords is (at least to me) impossible. PWsafe encrypts the file that stores your passwords. Now you only need one master password to open the file. IOS devices and Android supported as well as Windows PC.

That’s enough for now. More later…