Enjoy a Simon’s Cat Halloween Special: Scaredy Cat

Love love love Simon’s Cat!!!

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Kindle Voyage improves the nearly perfect Paperwhite

IMG_4795 It’s here! This is a photo of the box of my new Kindle Voyage. (And as a happy start ….. the box was wrapped in “frustration free” packaging.)

This Kindle comes with the usb cord, but no adaptor. I don’t view that as a problem, however, because after years of living with mobile phones, iPads and Kindles, well, I have quite a collection of those little plugs.

When you order a Kindle from Amazon, it arrives fully registered and ready to go. It takes maybe a minute or two to get through the setup, adding it to your wireless network, and adjusting the time.

I immediately downloaded the book I am now in the middle of reading, and it opened to my “last page read” within seconds.

The screen is absolutely brighter and sharper than the Paperwhite. The print is crisp and sharp. The Voyage is noticeably lighter, too. But the BIG draw for me …. was the side push buttons.

I do a lot of reading in bed, and much of that is done on my side (rather than on my back). This one-handed position makes screen-swiping nearly impossible. As much as I loved the Paperwhite, I missed the buttons on my Kindle of yesteryear.

And now the Voyage brings them back. Amazon has taken the just-about-perfect Paperwhite and moved it up a notch!

The push areas are on the side of the screen. They are not raised, they are not buttons. The area is indicated by a line and a dot on the edge of the screen. When you give the spot a push to turn the page, you feel an ever-so-slight vibration. It’s perfect. I can turn pages with the touch screen when I can…. and push the sides when I can’t. Perfect!

The on/off button is in the back (that’s different) and (to me) irrelevant. Other than that, most everything else feels very familiar if you have used a Paperwhite. Control panel at the top, touch controls, etc. The lit screen is as wonderful as ever (even brighter) and now adjusts automatically to the lighting in the room.

Bottom line…. if you have a Paperwhite and don’t miss the button-ability, I don’t think there is any reason to upgrade. The Voyage is better, but it’s not cheap, and a Paperwhite is still a great eReader.

But if you do upgrade to the Voyage….. you’ll love it!!

I’m not alone in my praise. (“Best eReader in the market” shows up in reviews over and over again.)

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Kindle Voyage review: Amazon’s e-reader is too good to be merely a Paperwhite 2

Review: Avid Readers Will Love Kindle Voyage

Amazon’s best e-reader yet

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How to Send a Voice Message in iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 6.11.49 AM iOS8 has brought lots of changes. Several of these changes improvements are to the Messages app.

We have already discussed the new answer-from-the-banner ability.

Another new feature is Voice-messaging to other iMessage users. In other words, this feature is an iOS to iOS ability only. If anyone learns that it works from iPhone to Android, please let me know.

Notice that next to the typing space, the “send” has been replaced by a little microphone.

From Skitch-28

Here is how to send a VOICE message in iOS8:

When you get ready to compose your message, instead of typing, put your finger on the microphone to the right of the message space.

As you press the icon (keep your finger on it) you can record your message.

When you are done, lift your finger up to listen to the recording. To send it, tap on the arrow. To delete it, tap on the X.

From Skitch-27

If you want to use this feature, I suggest you practice a little bit. It sends quickly and if you make an error, you can’t get it back…… so use with caution. :shock: :)

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Weekend Distraction: Spooky Box

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.33.17 AM Halloween is fast approaching and if you participate in all the spookiness, you might find this app to be very helpful.

It is FREE and full of creepy scary noises.

There are lots of haunting favorites, including cackling witches, deep ghostly laughs, spooky forests, roaring monsters and creepy organ music.

You get three pages of … eeeek! (and advertisements at the top to ignore)

And you can play with these sounds, a bit, too. You can press a single button for a brief scary-something, or you can choose to LOOP the noise and keep it going. By doing this you can customize the creepiness. :shock:

For instance, I played a little of the “horror organ” and added a “female scream”. A recipe for: GASP!

Hooked up to a speaker, these noises could be a lot of fun for a party or just plain fun. You never know when you might need a ghostly wail. :) This brings back memories of setting up a spooky house for tricker-treaters oh-so-long-ago and getting scolded for being “too scary” (remember that, Trudi?)

Spooky Box is FREE in the iTunes store.

From Skitch-2

From Skitch-3

From Skitch-4

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A Quick Post about Quick Reply in iOS8

If a text appears at the top of your device while you are involved with something else, you no longer have to leave whatever-you-are-doing to head over to messages to answer it.

When the text comes in, just pull it down.

You’ll have the opportunity to reply right then and there, and then go back to doing whatever it was that you were doing.

From Skitch-25

From Skitch-24

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How to Name that Tune with iOS8

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 7.32.44 AMI remember having great fun several years ago when my son introduced me to Shazam, an app that let’s you identify music that you hear playing. We sat there testing it with all sorts of tunes and found ourselves amazed at the capability of the (then) new and extraordinary app.

I never installed that app (it went from “free” to a pretty hefty charge) and I didn’t really see the need. It was fun, but not worth the $$$.

In iOS8, Apple has just given us that fun… for free!!

Siri has been been teamed up with Shazam and can now identify songs for you …….. and it’s pretty darn awesome I think. (I continue to be blown away with all the things that new tech can do.)

If you hear a song playing from ANY source (a cd, the radio, the television, a speaker in an elevator) just ask Siri: “What song is playing?”

Siri will ask to be left alone for a moment while she listens … and then she’ll name that tune.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time :shock: a little while testing Siri’s new abilities. (in my defense….it’s fun!)

I pulled up songs on my computer and asked Siri to identify the song. I was selecting pretty common stuff, so I decided to go deeper into my library. Trick her, I would!

I found a soundtrack from a very limited run Broadway show from 1962. I looked through the songs, and selected a random basically-unknown song. I was sure I got her on this. After all…an obscure song from an obscure show from 52 years ago? Ha!

“What song is playing?” I asked with devilish glee. Seconds later …… Siri named the tune AND the singer. Whoa!

I NEVER “got” her. She named the tune 100% of the time. Even classical music.

I can’t help it. I find this amazing.

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Weekend Distraction: Jimmy Kimmel tests Siri on iOS8

I do believe this will cause a giggle or two …. :)

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Real Time Dictation in iOS8

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 7.47.05 AMThis was a pleasant surprise.

Before iOS8, I would dictate notes, emails and text messages, BUT this process often resulted in frustration for me.

I could dictate, but after every few sentences I would have to click on “done” in order for the dictation-gremlins to catch up. And then I would proof-read to fix errors. I used it, but it was buggy.

iOS8 has changed this …. significantly for the better.

Now, when you dictate, you will see your words appear as you speak them. Now you can speak your entire text, and not have to hit ‘done’ until you actually are (done!).

For those who are new to the iPhone/iPad, or for those who have never used dictation before, here is …..

How to dictate text in iOS 8:

Tap the spot where you plan to type (in notes, email, texts, etc) and a keyboard will appear.

Touch the microphone that is next to the space bar.

From Skitch-22

Start talking. Speak clearly and watch your words appear as you talk.

When you are done, (REALLY done) hit “done.” :)

REAL TIME!!!

MUCH better. I’ll now be doing a whole lot more talking-to-text rather than finger tapping the keyboard.
(however……. typing on the iPhone 6 Plus is a WHOLE lot easier with the bigger everything keyboard!)

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iOS 8 will now SLOWLY come to this blog

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.24.52 AMReminder: This is a blog for EVERYDAY people. If you are a tech-person or have advanced skills, you are in the wrong place.

I find that when I read tech blogs or articles they are often filled with lots of things I don’t understand or need, and I have to sift down to get to the nitty gritty (dating myself with that term!). :shock: Often there is a nugget of precious info that can help me enjoy this word of tech-wonder, but I have to look for it.

Or …… sometimes info on a tech blog can be simply overwhelming with too much information. Too too too much at once. If I see too much at once, it jumbles together. That won’t happen here.

So, I am taking this opportunity to remind you that I GO SLOWLY.

I have placed a special link to an “iOS 8” page up at the top of this blog.

I will GRADUALLY start exploring iOS 8 features one at a time. And as I do, I will group them on that page, above.

One at a time. Slowly. Step by step. Bit by bit.

This approach helps this regular person understand what she’s learning, and I hope it helps you, too.

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My thoughts after 24 hours with my iPhone 6+

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 7.44.17 PMSo it’s been 24 hours since I have started using the iPhone 6+ as my phone.

My first thought … it’s BIG.

Second thought …. it’s BIG.

Third thought … it’s really really REALLY BIG.

I knew it was going to be big, so this shouldn’t have been a surprise to me, but yet somehow it was.

Holding it in my hand as MY phone, it just felt awfully, uhhhh …. big.

I’ll admit to some concerning thoughts. Did I make a mistake? Should I return this?

But I think it wasn’t just the size that was throwing me off a bit. Whenever we get something new, and it’s a bit different from our old-and-familiar, I think we always need a little time to adjust. I needed some adjusting time.

My first wacky moment came when I tried to put it to sleep. I have a habit of clicking the top of my iPhone and sending it to sleep (dark) before putting it in my pocket. To my surprise, there is NO sleep button on the top of this phone. They moved it to the side.

So, once I learned that the button was on the side, I noticed that my case maker had left one of the side buttons exposed. Without giving it a thought, I pushed it. Nothing happened. Pushed it again. Nothing. This is when I realized that I was pushing the mute button and that the sleep button was on the OTHER side. Sigh. (This experience should once and forever squash the rumor that I know what I’m doing. :) )

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As I worked through some of my apps today, I was once again pleased with my decision to update through iTunes. So far, every single app with “data” moved over without any problem whatsoever. Passwords, lists, a weight tracker and a grocery list all arrived on my new phone in perfect order.

The only app that gave me trouble was the Overdrive app. On my iPhone 5, I was in the middle of listening to an audio book from my library through this app. I needed to put the same book on my new phone. Let me be clear: this is an app issue, NOT a phone issue. Nevertheless, this was an inconvenience albeit something you have to expect when changing phones. On my last attempt, I managed to download the book again from my library, and now all is well. Yay!

The size of the phone makes the screen a wonderful sight to behold. Texting is a pleasure with more room and some additional perks (which are part of iOS 8 and will also be addressed later). The screen has room for photos of your texting friends, and it looks very nice.

The iPhone+ turns to landscape, and the icons move with you, just like on an iPad. This is a delightful option, and I like it! The ‘tray’ icons, the ones you leave at the bottom, move to the side in landscape. Nice! Your mail and texting appear as they do on the iPad. All good. There is plenty of room on the screen for these extra arrangements.

The phone I just gave up was a 5, which was “before” the Touch id, so I had no previous experience with this fingerprint technology. It was another thing I had to get used to. It was easy to set up. The phone took me through the process by having me tap my finger on the home button several times. I did this with my thumb. Half a day later I realized that I rarely use my thumb, and I kept having to awkwardly unlock my phone with an odd posture (for me). So I easily added an extra fingerprint (my index finger). I was also mildly annoyed that the phone locked “immediately” and I had no ability to change that. BUT with just a tiny bit of practice I learned that a mere tap with my finger now unlocks the phone in a fraction of a second, and so all in well once again. I guess I adapt quickly. This morning I found the touch annoying, but this evening, I love it.

Battery life is not something I can address, yet. Apple claims that the battery life of this phone is quite good. I can tell you that I’ve run through most of it on Day One. :shock: However …. I’ve been using the phone constantly today. If I haven’t been exploring it, I’ve been listening to an audio book or music, so it has been “running” all day. That said ….. I was hoping for a better battery life than a single day. We’ll see.

The Kindle app looks gorgeous on this iPhone. Yes indeed, this will be an awesome device to carry for all-reasons. You can call, text, play (you can SEE the solitaire cards!), listen and READ all on the same piece of equipment. I frequently carried my Kindle AND my phone. Now the phone will often be enough.

Overall … I am happy with the iPhone 6+. I do think that if you are a tight-pants wearer you will find this phone a bit large. My mom-jeans are fine for the phone, but other carrying-places might be tight.

(Message to my friend who carries her phone in her bra: this phone is not for you. :) )

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