Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In With The New - Out With The Old - Ways Internet Changes Our Lives

Technology is finding its way into the most basic chores and activities of our day-to-day lives.  Time has become the most precious commodity.  The quest for knowledge is pushing man to try newer and faster ways to address questions.  The internet has become the largest store house of information with easy access in most cities of the world.  Now it holds the key to a whole new world of knowledge and a different life altogether.

The use of the internet is different for different individuals, and internet habits are influenced mostly by the age of the person.  There are amazing things the internet has to offer.  The following are some of the ways that the internet has changed our lives:

Internet Gaming:  Playing games on the internet is perhaps the most common activity people of all ages utilize.  Social gaming is also gaining popularity these days.  This results in empty parks and playgrounds, as both children and adults alike find gaming at home, far more attractive than going out for a walk or playing with friends.

Educating Children:  With a variety of knowledge available on the internet, parents find it easy to use the internet resources to educate their children.  It is far easier to show them a picture of a butterfly, than to go looking for one in the park, though the latter would be far more interesting.

Social Networking:  Gone are the days when a college reunion or a town get-together is a must attend event to see old friends and classmates.  With the advent of social networking sites, connecting with friends is far more convenient via uploading pictures, sharing one’s status on one’s profile and an occasional hello, chat or instant message to long-lost friends.

Online Dating:  Internet dating has become a wonderful way for many to find their soul mate.  The process of going up to a prospective partner and asking him or her out on a date has been replaced by contacting the person online, looking up their profiles and then if everything goes well, meeting in person.  The internet gives a person the opportunity to meet a larger number of persons, thus providing more choices for the perfect soul mate.

Shopping:  People shop on the internet for basic items like groceries to expensive items like furniture.  It is considered fast and convenient.  One disadvantage is that it replaces the fun of having a girls' day out window-shopping, gossiping and chilling out with your girlfriends, which most women find therapeutic and enjoyable.

Sending Greetings:  The days of sitting together with the family, addressing holiday cards and mailing them to distant relatives and friends are gone.  Internet greetings make this task simpler by the use of e-cards, but this also takes away the fun of the holiday spirit of personalized hand-written cards arriving at our doorsteps.

Sending Letters:  Waiting for letters from loved ones, no longer means rejoicing at the site of the mail man's arrival.  Just one beep on your computer lets you see new mail from your dear ones without any wait.  Emailing has never been simpler than what it is now, sending everything from hugs to kisses.

Organizing Parties:  Planning an event becomes an easy task these days.  With just a simple click of the mouse on the computer, you can plan huge events.  Communication and payments to caterers and decorators can all be taken care of via the internet.

Searching Places:  Internet map access is a popular tool, that allows you to find the exact location rather than asking friends for directions or information.  With internet maps there is little need for hardcopy maps in our cars and fighting the task of refolding maps.

Sending Gifts:  Many people make their presence felt at an event, by simply ordering a gift and having it delivered to someone to make up for their absence at the event.  Most commonly, such events are weddings.  One does not need to even take a step out of the house for gift hunting or delivery service.

Selling Old Stuff:  Yard sales are becoming a thing of the past.  Selling old and used items over the internet is much easier and offers security.  So it is possible, that 'yard sale' signs in the neighborhood may disappear in the future.  One can buy or sell anything over the internet, from small items like collectible toys to larger items like cars.

Buying and Selling Real Estate:  Want to buy a house? No need to step outside.  Just log on to the internet and one will find a whole list of houses for sale.  People who want to buy or sell their real estate can use real estate sites as a secure option and with wider exposure for their properties.

Watching Movies:  Sitting in the comfort of one's home, people can buy or rent movies online and even watch them on their computer. The market for online movies is huge.  So the next time you want to watch a movie with your family no need to run to the DVD store, just go to the internet, set up an account and have the movies delivered to your doorstep or downloaded from an online streaming service like Netflix or Hulu.

Talking on the Phone:  Sounds unbelievable, but it is true.  The latest innovation to hit the consumer market is the use of internet phone services to talk to your loved ones living in a foreign country or next door.  This is a wonderful innovation, as it greatly reduces the distance between people and one does not have to wait for months to hear from their loved ones staying in a different country or on a different continent.  You can use Skype or iChat or similar VOIP type sites to communicate and even view your love ones and friends via computer.

Working from Home:  Earning money from a home job or having an internet job is the most convenient way that you can find employment.  This is made possible because of the internet.  This is most useful for people who can't leave their homes every morning, because of obligations to small children at home or elderly people who need constant attention.  So having a job, now does not necessarily mean one has to leave home and travel to a different location.

Adult Education:  Online education is a wonderful way in which people may use their free time to improve their educational skills and to earn diplomas and degrees.  This greatly reduces the effort of having to travel to and from a college or university.  People who find this most useful are those who want to work part-time, while studying.  Learning transcription, sewing, and cooking are just some of the many things one can learn online.

Exercising:  Online yoga and workout lessons are the best way to stay in shape without leaving the comfort of one’s home. Many women use the internet for online gym lessons to get back in shape, especially after child-birth, when it is not possible for them to leave their small children at home while at the gym.

Makeovers: Every person likes to change their looks once in a while.  The internet is used by many to get tips and ideas for styling and fashion.  There are many websites which offer a trial look before one goes for a makeover, so that many fashion disasters are avoided.

Finding a Job:  Job hunting over the internet, preferred by many, offers access to multiple job search websites, connections to many people and to many available jobs in your preferred area of expertise.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Odd Problem on My iPad

As I have stated before I like to checkout the new apps and have a habit of installing many apps (sometimes 1000+)  on my iPad.  I load on about 20 apps a day, then sending myself an email of the names of the newly added apps for the day.  I then take the time when allowed to view the loaded apps and decide if they are worth keeping.

I always let my granddaughters play with my iPhone/iPad devices and try to find games for them that are suitable and educational.  Now that I have word of a new grandchild arriving this summer, I have also been loading up on the toddler type games, that my other grandchildren have outgrown.   Downloading apps for all the personalities and ages of family members, makes for a large app collection.

If I am looking for an app, I use the spotlight search page and usually type the first letter for the game or app into the text field.  Lately, however, I have found that the search itself crashes or causes the 'Apple Screen' to appear on my iPad.  It does not bring up the list of apps, contacts, email results.

I have searched the support pages for iPad device in the Apple Forum and see that others have experienced the same problem.  There doesn't seem to be any resolution on this problem.  I suspect that it is caused by either a rogue app that is not compatible with the iPad or by the large number of apps that I have installed on my iPad.  It is frustrating as I am not able to run some of these latest apps.  It is also very frustrating to have to wait for the 5 minutes while my iPad restarts.  I have tried restoring the iPad, which did not help.

Has anyone else come across this problem? Does anyone have a solution or suggestion?

I was also having a similar problem on my 3GS iPhone which also had 1000+ apps and would on occasion reboot when I tried searching via spotlight.   The problem has not reappeared now that I have installed the latest iOS 4.0 for iPhone and also put my apps in a folder.  I have also narrowed the number of apps that I have installed on the iPhone to approximately 6 pages of folders.

Not sure but some things that I have done have cleared the problem up for a couple of days now.  I took off an app that had brackets around the name '[ PhotoPuzzle ].  I also made sure that I ran updates on all my current apps before syncing to my iPad.  These both seem to have cleared up the problem ... but haven't tested the theory by loading on the [ PhotoPuzzle] app.  Also made sure that I unchecked any apps that came up as unable to load onto my iPad (due to iOS 4.0 requirements) and then re-synced with these apps removed.  Seems to have helped the situation.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Making Photo Mosaics, App for iPad Review

Last week I downloaded an app called "Theme Mosaic" for the iPad.  I am testing the app today on my iPad.

The app is simple in general setting options, using small icons in the upper left hand corner of the screen.  The first icon option allows the user to use a photo from their photo albums on the ipad or select the sample photo at the bottom of the screen.

The second option icon allows the user to select the theme for the mosiac (that is, the pictures used to recreate the original photo with tiny mosaics of other photos from the theme).  There is also an additional means to obtain more themes: Nature, Men, Cars and More, Women by purchasing from the creators of this app. 

The third option icon gives the user the ability to email the resulting mosaic, save to photo album or to use as wallpaper on your ipad.

Below is  a photo from my personal library that I selected to test the app:
I then selected 'singers theme' from the three theme options (animals, singers, paintings) in the app to produce the "photo mosaic" below:
The transition from photo to mosaic was very fast and the results were ok.  Using the pinch  finger movements to view the individual mosaic pieces, did indeed reveal that all the tiny mosaic pieces were indeed small photos of singers.

This app is a free app and available in the iTunes store by clicking this link:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

iOS 4.0 Part 2

Some people are concerned that when they double-click their  iPhone home button under iOS 4.0, they loose the ability to access their favorites.  I would note that by clicking the phone icon and then the favorites sub menu you get the same result.  This is not a big deal for me as I would definitely rather have multitasking assigned to the double click of home button.

There are also free apps available such as QuickContact app where you can put your most frequently dialed contacts in the app with with a photo to quickly call.  Suggest checking some of these type of apps for quick connection for calling. 

There are some accessibility features found by clicking the Settings icon, General, Accessibility to set up a larger font size for email, contacts,  notes and text messages by selecting 'Large Text' and then selecting the desired text size.  For us older adults, this is great for reading emails in larger font.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I've Been Organizing and Multitasking ... iOS 4.0

As most dedicated and addicted iPhone users, I anxiously waited yesterday for the 'midnight hour' (which ended up to be about 1PM Cupertino time) yesterday.   This was the time that the new iOS 4.0 for the iphone/ipod touch devices was made available for updating.  I was able to install and update without any problems and within less than 8 minutes was up and running iOS 4.0.  I had preplanned for days, backing up and syncing my iPhone on days prior to the release, so that everything was fast and without problems.

I immediately started arranging my apps in folders.  What a nice feature and long overdue.  Not sure if I can wait until September to have that feature as well on my iPad.  I arranged most of the apps and then tested the resync to iTunes and that worked as well.  I then, did the fine tuning in iTunes of the folders and apps, and was amazed at how smoothly the opening, editing and moving of folders, apps and folder names and all worked smoothly.  I choose to arrange my apps by category on the left-hand side of the Apps Tab (with iphone connected) in iTunes.  It was easy to select a folder on a page, open the folder and then click on a similar type app in the left-hand side and see it drop seamlessly into the folder.  I feel that I am becoming OCD playing with this new feature.  I decided to tackle the multitasking feature this morning and it was not so apparent or visible as to how this would work on my 3GS iPhone.  Once I had gotten it working, I realized that I had 20 apps actually available in the multitasking mode that I had been running.

To access multitasking:  Run a few apps, then from any of the pages including the search page, you can push the home button quickly two times (the home button is the round physical button on your iPhone) and you should see below a dock (not to be confused with the duck I was viewing from the photo album on my iphone).

In this dock you will see the apps, that you have available and are currently running.  You can swipe left to see more apps also running if you have more than the default 4 icons on the dock visible.

If you wish to close any app, you merely touch the icon of the app in the dock, until it wiggles and a minus sign will appear.  This is the means to close the apps you wish to close up.

Along with these two features, the new all email inbox is nice.  I like being able to access all my incoming emails from all my accounts on my iPhone at once.  It is also nice how you can move them to the folders for each particular account. 

I haven't tried but understand that I should be able to hook my bluetooth keyboard for my iPad to my iPhone.  Now that is novel.  A keyboard that is bigger than the device.

There are supposedly 100 new features in iOS 4.0 (not all available for all devices).  It will be fun finding them.  Let me know if you find any interesting features.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why I Love Touch Devices, Especially My iPhone and iPad

Today I was thinking how nice it would be to have a land line telephone, that had the same touch screen capabilities as my iPhone and iPad.  One gets spoiled with the touch screen technology and one finds that other devices in her life seem archaic at most.   Most younger adults would say, why have a land line?  And I do agree that most land lines could and should be eliminated and replaced by a smartphone or cell phone or a voip device.  But I want one that has a touch screen. 

Granted there are a series of menus and buttons on the cordless phones in my house, that do perform some of the same simple touch operations found on my iPhone.  I just find that as I get older, the eyesight becomes infinitely worse for reading small print and distinguishing buttons on a cordless phone.

Alas, it would be nice if all current analog-type devices could be magically transformed into a touch device.  Will that be in our future?  Will I be able to operate most devices in my home and office with touch sensitive buttons and screens that can be read without dragging out a magnifying glass and turning on a near by lamp?  

Do you know how spoiled you get, when you can have one hand held device to perform so many of the frustrating tasks that seniors face as they get older?  Have you tried to set an alarm clock on an old  device that has push buttons?  Do you fear that you will miss your doctor appointment or oversleep for that flight to Paris on the vacation you planned and paid hard earned big bucks?  Do you find yourself unable to call someone on your land line, due to the fact that you mis-dial their phone number, pushing wrong buttons because they are so small or you are unable to see the redial button icon?

I love the ability to use that one device, be it my iPhone or iPad to do so many of the tasks that other devices perform.  It is nice to know that I can carry one compact device, to serve as a book, research tool, library, alarm clock, game machine, photo slideshow frame, post office, phone, recipe book, bible, sound machine, streaming radio, CD player, remote for my piano, shopping cart, GPS device, still and video camera, educational tool for grandchildren, weather station, stock manager, answering machine, just to name a few.

I can't help but thinking that even with all the advancements, I have seen in my lifetime, I still want to see and experience more of these technical strides.  I sort of feel like Wilma in the first animated situation TV comedy, The Flintstones ... with some of the best technology around, but so wanting more. 

Flintstones... Meet the Flintstones,
They're a modern stoneage family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They're a page right out of history. 

Let's ride with the family down the street.
Thru the courtesy of Fred's two feet. 

When you're with the Flintstones,
have a yabba dabba doo time,
a dabba doo time,
we'll have a gay old time. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Toddler Apps for Learning ABC's FREE for iPhone Today


Search for 'ABC' in iTunes app store to find all the toddler type applications that are available for free to check out. Some other apps that are free today include:

Tetari (puzzle game), Tower Bloxx Deluxe 3D FREE (stack some blocks game), Pizza Shop Mania FREE (run a pizza store), Beargo_Free (get polar bear through a maze), Portland Way (excellent travel app aid for Portland OR visitors and residents), T Raiders (game), HELLKID: hook & jump (game), LineLearner (for those who need to practice lines from a play or skit).

Also you might want to look at 3 GPS - altimeter,speedometer and compass for 3G capable iphones.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Finally an App that is So Cool I Have to Buy It - Ping Pong Battle

I remember the days when as a child, we sat on the porch and played monopoly for weeks or jacks with a golf ball and metal jacks. We didn't have air conditioning and it was always hot in Texas, but we still enjoyed the outdoors and all the activities from playing 'work up' baseball with all the neighborhood kids. We played football and did hand stands in the front yard. In the evening after dinner we would lie on the grass and look up at the stars.

But my all time favorite activity was probably ping pong. I grew up playing ping pong on the breezeway in my childhood home. I would go to the local recreation center located in the junior high and play in tournaments all summer long. I was an excellent player and to this day, I could probably beat most people.  I was even city champ.

Today, I ran across a new app for the iPad called Ping Pong Battle. It turns your iPad into a virtual ping pong table. The iPhone app called Ping Pong Paddle allows you to sync (via bluetooth), two iPhones to the app to serve as paddles. How cool is that! There is also a finger mode, if you want to play the game without iPhones.

Here is a cool demo video of the game and website for what I believe will certainly be an app hit!

Check out the app at this link in iTunes:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pocket Parrot - Free App - Talks to Granny


Pocket Parrot is a great app to put on your iPhone or iPad. You can teach him to talk. There are several games in which you train him to ride a unicycle or balance beam. By playing these games you can unlock some other treats and tricks that Pocket Parrot performs. This is an excellent, cute, funny and entertaining app.

There are some pretty cute things I have discovered: you can play music from the radio and he will dance to the music, you can put a photo in his home, you can turn the light off and he goes to sleep, when the close strikes he shows funny gestures. He is very talkative.

Anticipating OS4 for iPhone ... Just an Update on My iToy Apps and Life


Friday, June 11, 2010

How to Keep Track of Apps Added Today on iPad or iPhone?

Each day I decide to investigate new apps, by loading them via iTunes on my Mac.  I then sync these new apps to my iPad, usually keeping a running note of which apps I loaded.  I normally type each apps name into 'TextEdit' and then email this note to myself.

When time allows I open the email, usually when I am relaxing on the sofa or from my bed just before dozing off,  I check out the newly downloaded apps.

Today I was so busy that as I loaded in the new apps, I failed to comply with my procedure of keeping track of these newly added apps.  I really hated the idea of going through the thousands of apps in the tab of iTunes to figure out which ones were newly added.  I then realized that there was a way to do this.  By adding the 'Date Added' option from the View menubar to my apps tab view in iTunes, I was able to quickly see those newly added apps.

With the apps window sorted by Date Added, I could then select the apps for the day and then select 'Services' under the iTunes menubar and then select 'New Email with Selection' to send the list of new apps added to myself.

Are You Missing Images in Newsletter Emails on iPad?

If you receive a newsletter from a company that you follow and are unable to see the newsletter photos in that email, you need to make sure that you have your mail settings on your iPad set to 'Load Remote Images'.

Click on the 'Settings' icon on your iPad, scroll to the 'Mail, Contacts, Calendars' setting on the list in the left-hand column.  Scroll down to the option 'Load Remote Images' and click the ON setting.

Now when you view an newsletter email with mail app on your iPad, you should see the full newsletter within the email.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Safari 5 Update - Reader Button and Bookmark All Tabs Features

One of the new features of the latest Safari 5.0 upgrade is the 'Reader Button'.  The reader button appears next to the URL of the webpage that you are viewing.

The Reader button allows the user the ability to view the page in a simple mode where all ads and unnecessary visual distractions form online pages.  Safari automatically detects if you are viewing a page on the web that is an article and the reader button appears next to the URL.  Once you click on this button, you can see pages of the article in one continuos clutter-free view.  You will be able to zoom to control the size of text in this reader, which will be automatically remain as default the next time you view an article using Reader button.  You can print and email this onscreen view.

Another feature that I find very handy is the new option under the Bookmark menubar, which allows the user the ability to 'Bookmark All Tabs' at once.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Stickies Tips - Mac Virtual Notes without the Goo

Occasionally I use the sticky note application that is part of the Snow Leopard System to store a tidbit of info. 

Sticky notes can provide a place to store media other than text.  The contents are automatically stored and restored to the screen when the application is run again.  If you wish to store text from a cocoa-based application, say Safari Browser, use the command- shift-y key sequence to quickly copy the text selection to a sticky note.

You can quickly add a Quicktime movie, pdf, or image to a sticky note, by utilizing the drag and drop to that note.

Sticky notes can be made translucent by using the command option T keys.  This allows you to see other icons that might be present under the sticky note on your desktop. 

You can also change the format of text, the color of the note, auto-format lists and create templates of styles you might wish to use.  In addition you can export the text notes preserving the style or plain text.

Sometimes the simplest apps, provide some quick and amazing alternatives for keeping track of tidbits of information.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Removing and Decluttering iPhone/iPad Apps - To Keep or Not

As I continue to add more and more apps to my iPhone/iPad choices to sync, it seems to become harder and harder to manage the thousands of 'free' and 'lite' apps. 

First I decided to copy the list of apps from iTunes.  I transferred this list to an Excel spreadsheet, so that I could maintain a running list of apps, versions, genres and notes about each app.  To initially build the list, I selected the Apps tab in iTunes and then did a select all.  I then selected 'Create a New Note' under the iTunes/Services Menubar.

From that note I was able to select all info and then paste into an Excel Spreadsheet.  Each day as I downloaded new apps, I would update my spreadsheet with the info for each app.  I would highlight the newly added apps in a different color, so that I could evaluate the new apps as added.

I would then send myself a copy of the Excel document as an email attachment, that I could access on my iPhone/iPad to search for various apps using the 'Spotlight' function of the devices.

I hate to let go of some of the apps that I don't keep on my iPad or iPhone, that I might want to use in the future.  I have been collecting 'toddler apps' in the event of new grandchildren.   I just imagine that having a cute iPad storybook will come in handy on those occasions, when the new grandchild arrives.  I don't want to delete these apps, so I tested a theory today.  If you wish to cut down the long list of apps to a manageable number, but wish to keep some apps for future use, you can do this:

Basically, you can delete the apps from your iTunes apps tab list, but still keep those files in the mobile applications folder on your Mac.   When you get ready to cleanup your list of apps in your iTunes Apps tab, select the ones you wish to 'archive so to speak', hit the 'delete key',  Remember to select the option to 'Keep Files' rather than 'Move to Trash'.

If you need to restore these apps at a later time, you can find the apps still resident in your  username/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications  folder.  Merely, drag the file that you wish to restore, back into your Apps Tab in the iTunes application.

You may also wish to find the apps you remove, in the  username/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications  folder, select them and use the label option in the finder menu to set these apps that have been removed for future use to a shade of your choice.  This will make it easier in the future to know which apps you 'archived' and may want to reinstate.