Posted tagged ‘iPhone’

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.

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.

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.

 

News from out West

September 13, 2014

Time for an update. It has been 3.5 months since Mary’s accident up in Salt Lake City. She is doing amazingly well. She is doing physical therapy twice a week. The therapist has been working on balance issues. She has started transitioning from the walker to a cane (the kind with four prongs at the base for additional stability). She uses the cane only at home.
 
 So physically she is doing fine. Mental issues are a different story. Short term memory is a problem. She will ask me in the morning what day it is. I tell her today is Saturday. Oh she says. Are we going to PT today? No that was yesterday.
 
 We are working hard on getting her to eat a healthy diet. If we weren’t her that would certainly not be happening. Sometimes though it is a struggle to figure out what she likes and doesn’t like.
 
 So she went with us last night to Eastern Star meeting at Lomita. I was filling in playing the piano for the chapter. Everyone was happy to see her and she them. It is often a struggle to get her out, but it is worth it when we do. It’s the initial struggle to get her started that is the problem. Once we get her moving she is fine. Overall, she is doing pretty good for 90.
 
 I seem to be seeing pictures of our friends back east wearing coats and jackets. So I guess it’s starting to get cold. It’s been in the 80’s all last week here in San Pedro. It’s been up in 100’s out in the desert. I still have a coat in the closet. I don’t expect to use it this winter either. It’s been almost three years since the last time I put the Jeep in 4-wheel drive. I seem to remember seeing an ice scraper in the back of the Jeep. Haven’t used it either.
 
 We are planning on driving up to Visalia for our friend Roger’s installation as Worthy Grand Patron for the Grand Chapter of California on October 18th. We asked Mary if she would like to go. She said yes, so we will drive up on Saturday (in October) and return the following day. Installation is on a Saturday evening.
 
 Our daughter in law in do to give birth to our second grand-baby this week. The baby is expected to be a girl and her name will be Sarah. We are very excited. We love being grand-parents. I will be posting pictures as soon as they are available.
 
 Apple announced new iPhones and the Apple Watch on Sept 9th. I have pre-ordered an iPhone Six Plus with 128Gb. I ordered the first day orders were allowed. I wasn’t nearly fast enough. Expected delivery is not until November. Sigh. I heard that orders for initial delivery sold out in minutes. Luckily, I don’t have to pay for it until it ships. Paula gets the iPhone 5S and I’ll try and find a home for the iPhone 4S that she is using now. I will post pictures and a review once I get the new phone.
 
 So you are probably wondering, Joe what about the Apple Watch? I am not getting an Apple Watch. I haven’t worn a watch in years. With an iPhone in my pocket, why do I need an iWatch? I would be wearing a watch that screams out “STEAL ME!!!”. Not going to happen.
 
 Our son Neil will be coming down from SLC to visit for week later this month. We are looking forward to his visit.
 
 That’s all the news that I can think of from Pedro. Stay warm (or cool) as the case may be.
 
 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.