A Map App for Fun and Fitness: Map Draw for the iPad

 

If I had to whittle my apps down to just a few, Map Draw would definitely be on my “must keep” list.

I think this is an awesome app.  I use it to check out distances all the time. Any Boomer will remember that on the back page of a big paper atlas, there was always a chart that allowed you to check the mileage between cities. Well, with this app, checking mileage between cities is just the start. The real fun is all the OTHER ways to check mileage. Want to know how far it is from your house to the grocery store? Want to know the shortest route home from work? Want to know exactly how far you are walking/running when you zig zag through your neighborhood? Is the restaurant close enough from your hotel to walk there? You can do all that, and once you start using it, you will find many more routes to measure.

It is very easy to use. Just open the app, and zoom in to the area that you would like to measure. The app allows you to zoom right down to street level very quickly …… anyplace in the world.  Once you have your starting spot visible, just touch the screen. Then touch any other spot and the app will show you a line and measure the distance. You can continue tapping to add a zig this way and a turn that way, until your total trip is measured. I was surprised to learn that one of my “short cuts” home, wasn’t that short at all. (I changed my route!)

There are some more bells and whistles to this app, but just the distance-tapping alone makes Map Draw well worth the $2.99.

Make an Icon for Any Website for Your Homescreen: How to Add an Icon to Your iPad or iPhone for Easy Access to Any Website

An update for this post can be found here.


There are those websites that we visit often. Bookmarks are a valuable way to access them easily. We can store them in the dropdown Bookmark menu, put them directly on the Bookmark Bar, or collect them into Folders in either place.

But sometimes this isn’t enough. Sometimes we have a special website we want to visit often, and even navigating to the Bookmark area is an extra step we do not want or need.

There is another way to have speedy access. You can turn your favorite place into an icon and this icon can sit right on your homepage. A tap on it will always bring you right to the website that you want to keep close.

Here is how you do it: Bring up the website that you wish to put on your homescreen. Tap on the action arrow. (This arrow is at the top left side of the iPad, and down at the bottom of the screen on the iPhone, and looks like a curved arrow coming out of a little box.)

Once you tap the arrow, a drop menu will appear, listing options like “Bookmark” and “Print”. Go to the option “Add to Homescreen” and tap on that. A message will appear, telling you that this website is about to be added to your Homescreen with an icon. Tap on “ADD” in the upper right hand corner, and the deed is done! Take a look at your screen. Your new icon is right there, waiting to be tapped, and it can be moved around like any other icon so that you can arrange it any way you choose.

Video Freeze on Your iPad: How to Get It Running Again

Sometimes the videos on my iPad stutter and stall. Netflix and the ABC apps specifically. I might be watching Modern Family, for example, and a reminder from another app disrupts the video by popping up on the screen. Or maybe I’m watching Lost on Netflix and I have to stop and restart it several times for the doorbell or for another distraction. Although the video often resumes with no problems, there are times when it freezes.

This quick fix is usually effective: Close the app. Now double-click the home button so you can see the string of running apps across the bottom. The video app that you were watching should be the one all the way to the left. Touch and hold it for a second. It will start to wiggle and have a little red minus sign on its corner. Touch the minus sign, and the app will disappear. Now double-click the home button and you will be brought back to your regular screen. Launch your video app again, and it should work just fine.

( Remember that occasionally you should do some housekeeping and close all your apps this way in order to keep things running smoothly. )

Solitaire Card Fun for your iPad or iPhone: Play Fairway Golf!

You might be hitting the real golf courses on today’s “here comes the summer” holiday, but if the temperature or the humidity keep you out of the sun, here is a great fun game of Solitaire Golf for your iPad and/or iPhone.

This is a game from Big Fish, a company known for it’s huge inventory of games, mostly hidden picture and puzzle adventure games. In a similar fashion to all those other games, this Solitaire game is free to download and try, but to “unlock” the full game, you will have to pay $2.99. They give you a nice long try, however, so it’s easy to decide when the time comes if you want it or not.

It is basically the Solitaire game of Golf, where you remove cards from the playing field as you match them with another that is one number higher or lower. However, this standard card game is given a great boost of fun with a silly gopher, chatty announcers, and play with goals, obstacles and achievements.

When you start, you will play a game with full instructions, and you will completely understand the game before you “step off” onto a course on your own.

It’s a fun game and one I find myself going back to often whenever I am in the mood for a quick round of golf. Fairway Solitaire HD by Big Fish Games.

iPad Safari Folders on the Bookmark Bar: How to Make Folders

Once you start putting bookmarks into your Safari Bookmark Bar, you will quickly find yourself running out of space. This is easily solved by making folders for your Bookmarks Bar. A few simple steps will get this job done:

Open Safari, and then touch the open book symbol in the upper left corner. This will open a menu. If this menu says “Bookmarks” at the top, just look down the list to find “Bookmarks Bar”. If the menu already says “Bookmarks Bar”, then you are already at the spot you need to be.

Looking at this menu titled “Bookmarks Bar”, touch the word ‘edit’ on the right. This will put red delete symbols in front of all your bookmarks, but it will ALSO give you a new spot to touch. Look just to the LEFT of the words “Bookmarks Bar” and you will see the words “New Folder.” Touch “New Folder” and you will be given the opportunity to name the folder.

After you type in the name of your folder, touch “Bookmarks Bar” at the TOP of the menu. This will bring you back to your bookmark list, and you can touch DONE, because you are, well, done!

Look at your Bookmark Bar, and you will see your bookmarks and your new folder, sitting along the top. The next time you bookmark a website, you will have the choice to select a spot on the bar, or to drop your saved website inside the folder you just created.

iPad Bookmark Bar: How to Keep Your Favorite Websites in Easy Reach

With the release of iOS 7, this post has been updated, and can be found, here.

I enjoy using the Bookmark Bar feature as part of Safari on my computer, and I’ll admit I missed it for the first few months I had my iPad. I didn’t think that the feature was included, and so I worked around the loss, grumbling as I went.

However, I was completely wrong. The Bookmark Bar IS part of the iPad, I just didn’t know it. I’m delighted to have “found” it, and to share it with you.

The Bookmark Bar is very handy. Once you have it set up, whenever you go to Safari, you will see your favorite websites (ones that you have bookmarked) right across the top of the screen. Just touch one and you will be whisked right to the website.

So let’s set up the Bookmark Bar. We start by activating it in Settings.

Open Settings > Safari. Look for “Always Show Bookmarks Bar” and turn it “on”.

Close settings, and launch your Safari app. Go to a website that you visit frequently. Now, touch the sharing arrow up at the very top left of the page (it will be just to the right of the open book). A menu will drop down and one of the choices will be “Add Bookmark”. Touch “Add Bookmark” and then “Bookmarks Bar.” Finally, tap “SAVE”.

That’s all there is to it. The next time you launch Safari, look up at the top of the page, (just under the search boxes) and you will see the names of all the websites that you have added to the Bookmark Bar. Tap any of them to zap yourself straight to their website.

Next we’ll make folders for the Bookmark Bar, so you can group your favorites and still keep them close.

Put 6 Apps in Your iPad Tray: (part of the) Very Beginner Series

* Occasional posts will contain how-tos and/or hints for VERY new users of iPads, iPhones or Kindles. All new users welcome! Non-tech speak, not terribly detailed, just basic device-enhancing goodness. All part of this Very Beginner Series.

Please share with any beginners (Mom? Dad? Grandma?) in your life.*


The iPad gives you a place down at the bottom (the tray) to store several of your most-used apps. The apps you place at the bottom remain on the screen even when you swipe pages. Typically, people choose their favorite go-to apps to put in the tray. Perhaps email, or Safari, or contacts, or reminders will find a home at the bottom of your device. You personalize your iPad for yourself the way you want it.

Because many people who own an iPad also have an iPhone, they might assume that only 4 apps can sit in the tray, as they do on the iPhone. Also, when you originally fired-up your new iPad, there were only 4 apps in the tray. However, you can add more. You can store up to 6 apps in the tray of an iPad.

To bring an app to the tray, touch the app until it jiggles, and then drag it down to the bottom. When the apps are arranged as you would like, just click the home button and they will stop wiggling.

Emoticons on Your iPad Keyboard: How to Access A Whole Bunch of Emoticons and Lots of Other Things


If you are writing a text message, an email or a note and want to add a emoticon, it is as simple as a tap on your keyboard. You don’t need to copy and paste from other sources. There are a host of smiley faces, creatures, flowers, shapes and assorted what-nots all built into your iPad/iPhone keyboard. They just hide well.

So let’s find them. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > International Keyboards > Add a New Keyboard > Emoji.

Now let’s type some text.

Pull up a blank email, and start to type your message. Now look at your keyboard. See the globe on the bottom, to the left? Tap the globe. You are now looking at a multitude of smiley faces. Swipe the screen and you’ll see more, then more.

Now look at the bottom of this new keyboard. You’ll see a clock, a smiley face, a flower, a bell, a car and some punctuation symbols. Tap the clock to see the last symbols you have used. Tap any of the others and you will find pages and pages of cars, sporting equipment, animals, food, symbols, etc. Swipe each page to the left for more.

To insert them into your text message or email, just touch the symbol that you want. Then, to return to the regular keyboard, tap the globe.

One important note: These will only work when sent to other iOS devices….to other iPhones and iPads.

QR Code: What Are Those Dotted Squares, and How Do I Use Them?

You’ve probably seen them. They are turning up everywhere. Little squares of black and white dots. They are on business cards, in newspaper ads, in libraries, on buses, in train stations, brochures, magazines, product packaging and countless other places. They are called QR code (quick response code) and by scanning this code box you will be zapped to some sort of information. Perhaps a web page for product advertising, or perhaps to a municipal resource or contact information.

Here is how you scan the code. Step one: you need a code reader app on your iPhone or iPad. There are many of these available, some are free and some others charge for a few extra bells and whistles. I’ve been using NeoReader. It is free and works just fine.

Once you have a scanner app on your device, you are ready to face any QR code that comes your way. Just launch your app, hover it over the code and soon the content will be delivered directly to your phone.

These code boxes are popping up everywhere. Keep your eyes open …. you may be surprised at some of the places you see them. If you would like to practice, the QR code you see with this post is the QR code for this blog. Scan it with your phone, and you’ll be brought right back here.

Touch to Save: How to Save Web Images with a Touch or a Click

You’re cruising the internet on your iPhone or on your iPad and you see a photo you would love to keep. Maybe you’ve just stumbled on a picture of an old friend, or a photo of a sailboat that is on your dream list, or a picture of an awesome cake that inspires you to bake and decorate. Saving that photo to your camera roll is as easy as touching your screen. That’s it. Just touch the picture and wait a moment. A menu will appear with the option to SAVE the image. Touch SAVE. The image is now in your camera roll. To find it, go to your Photos app (with the sunflower). Choose camera roll, and take a look at the last picture. There is your cake!

Another great way to grab what you see is to take a screenshot. This is the way to take a picture of the whole screen. Just put one finger on the on/off button, and your other finger on the home button. Push them both at once. Hold for just a second and then let go. Click! A picture of the screen is now in your camera roll. Now go to the Photos app (Sunflower) > camera roll. You’ll find your screenshot waiting for you as the last picture in the camera roll.

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