I Really Really REALLY Don’t Like This

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 8.41.58 AMI usually love all gadgets. I love my iPhone, my iPad, and my Kindles. Other tech stuff is fun too. I have some remote gadgets, step-counting gadgets and kitchen gadgets. I rarely meet a gadget I don’t like.

But I don’t like this one.

This is just plain creepy.

The Narrative is a clip on camera that you wear. It automatically takes a picture every 30 seconds.

The point? To create a “narrative” of your life. All the regular moments. The things you don’t remember… remembered.

I don’t want to be on either end of this device. I don’t want all those photos of …. ???? and I sure don’t want to be talking or working with a person who is wearing this little camera. I know I’d find it highly distracting.

(I suppose there is an argument to be made for wearing it to capture candid photos of your children, or maybe at an event …. I’ll go with that. But it’s the “all day” and photographing unsuspecting people that just seems yuchy. Bye bye privacy.)

You can read more about it in this article, and view examples of the photos that this gadget takes:

Cool or Creepy? A Clip-On Camera Can Capture Every Moment

If you’re interested, the Narrative sells for $279.

Just don’t visit with me if you’re wearing one. :roll:

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How to Switch your Camera on your iPhone for a Selfie: (part of the) Very Beginner Series

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 8.36.40 AMOccasional 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.

Recently one of the readers of this blog asked me about this, and I realized that there are probably other new users who also are unaware of how to switch the perspective for your camera. After all, when you FIRST get a new device, everything is new to you, even the most basic. And THAT is the purpose of this VERY Beginner series….. :)

How to switch the perspective of your camera, so that you can take a picture of yourself (a selfie) :

Open your Camera app

Look to the TOP of the screen. You will see an icon that looks like the outline of a camera with two whirly arrows in it.

Tap that icon, and the camera will switch it’s direction, and take a picture of you. Just tap the same icon to switch it back.


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Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013 is …….

Screen shot 2013-11-20 at 6.56.12 PMWhat is the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year (WOTY)?
The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word, or expression, that we can see has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date. Every year, candidates for Word of the Year are debated and one is eventually chosen that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.
(Oxford Dictionaries.com)

And so, this year’s Word of the Year was recently announced, and the winner is …….. drum roll, please ……. “selfie.”

Yes, that’s it. The International Word of the Year.


What is it? Here is the Oxford definition:

noun, informal
(also selfy; plural selfies)
a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website

The word Selfie can be traced back to an Australian online forum wayyy back in 2002.

Do you use this word? (I haven’t)

Do you take selfies? (I have, a few times when traveling, and quickly deleted the result. Clearly selfies are not a friendly form of photography for folks-of-a-certain-age :shock:)

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Amazing Cat Face: Photoshopped? or NOT?



I just couldn’t help myself. I had to show you these pictures. And since this blog has a “tech” theme, I stretched the title with the “photoshopped” tease…… :)

But I do think this fellow’s face looks, well, fake. The line down the middle is just so straight!!!!

He is a feral kitten (no lectures, please) and he just showed up at my back door on Saturday. I tapped the window and when he looked up I used my iPhone to take his picture.

Have you ever seen such an amazing face?

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How to Access the New Control Center in iOS 7

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 4.50.18 PMOn this blog we will be exploring one feature of iOS 7 at a time, and so every few days I’ll toss another here on the blog to look at more closely.

Just ONE at a time.

Slow and steady.

That’s how we “everyday folks” can cope with all this stuff. :)

The iOS 7 designers decided that it would be helpful to have an easily accessible Control Center with many frequently used functions …. and so they made one.

I guess this is one of those things that some people really love and can’t live without. I am not one of those people.

It’s ok. Maybe I’ll grow to love it. But for now, it’s just ok. I suppose if you are someone who needs to adjust many of these things frequently, then you’ll feel differently and will embrace this new feature.

The Control Panel enables you to access things quickly instead of navigating through a bunch of steps (like getting to Wifi, for example).

Here is how to access your new Control Center:

From any screen on your iPhone, swipe UP from the bottom of the screen. There it is! Your official Control Center.


Take a careful look at the control center screen. From here you can quickly access all kinds of things: wifi, bluetooth, brightness, the clock, the camera, just to name a few. Just tap any of the representative symbols to do the deed.

The beauty of this is that you can call it up from where ever you are. If you have 9 pages of icons, for example, and you’re on page 9, you can bring up the control center in an instant and use the Camera that might be living way back on page one. I’ll admit, that’s kind of handy. You can even access it from the lock screen, and apps.

However, it may possibly interfere with some apps, so you might want to tweak this.  If you go to Settings > Control Center, you can disable access from the lock screen or from within apps.


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Try on Glasses … on your iPad

Screen shot 2013-07-24 at 9.40.46 AMI am a glasses wearer, and every time the prescription changes I dread shopping for new frames. Selection is always an issue, but another problem for me (and others, I’m sure) is that when you try on the frames, you can’t see (which is why you are getting new glasses in the first place :) )

So, when I came across this app that allows you to virtually try on glasses (both regular frames and sunglasses), I thought I would give it a try. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much.

But to my surprise, this is a pretty gosh darn amazing app for your iPad.

The app “begins” by taking you step by step through a filming process to get YOUR face onto their screen.

After following the steps, your face appears, not just as a still photo, but as a virtual representation, a 3D custom model, that you can turn from side to side, and see how the frames look on you from all directions. (I apologize for the screenshot of their screenshot, but I’m too shy to use my own face :shock: )

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You view the frames in groups of four, as you see above. But tapping any one will bring that single face up full screen.

And that’s it! Start flipping through thousands of glasses, and view them on your face. See what you would look like with large frames, retro frames, designer frames, frames in color and more more more.

There are a few other tweaks within the app. You can bookmark favorites, edit the 3D model of your head, and of course, buy glasses if you choose. You can also sort by price.

It’s easy, it’s FREE, and it’s fun … so why not?

Glasses.com is FREE in the iTunes store

Note to Parents: Have a chat with your kids about Snapchat

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 3.38.55 PMThe Message is loud and clear:

The Internet is NOT private. Anything you put out there, stays out there.

This is the message that parents are trying to get across to their kids. It’s a tough message to sell, however, because “youth” is often reckless, and the future is just a misty never-land. Few young people can imagine themselves 20 or 30 years into the future, when the vetting for a new promotion turns up some lack-of-judgement moment from years gone by.

Enter the very popular app, Snapchat. I guarantee that if you have a teen or twenty-something in your life, they are well aware of Snapchat. Just ask. You’ll see.

So what is it? It is a picture sharing app. Snap a photo and send it. The twist? The photo will self-destruct, will disappear, in just a few seconds.

Several worries, here. First of all, there is the obvious (uh-oh) sexting consideration. If the picture is going to disappear in just a few seconds, even a usually level-headed soul just might zap off a photo in a wild and crazy moment, comforted by the knowledge that it will quickly disappear.

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 3.49.29 PMIt is this self-destruct design that is a real worry. “Disappear” is just an illusion. First of all, the receiver could take a screenshot. (The app is supposed to notify the sender if a screenshot is taken, however there are many hacks available so that function is basically useless). It is also possible for the receiver to simply take a picture of the screen with another device. Click. So much for ‘temporary’.

I came across a wonderful news story about Snapchat. If you have teens or twenty-somethings in your life, you really should watch it so that you can understand a bit of what is going on in their world. Unfortunately, I was unable to embed it into this post, so if you would like to watch the story, you’ll have to follow this link:


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Macro Photography on your iPhone: How to Lock the Focus

Photo Skitch Document-5Although the iPhone isn’t a replacement for a “real” camera, it can take excellent photos.

In addition to general photography, it can do an amazing job on close-up (macro) photos.

Just hold the iPhone about 4 inches from your subject, and you will be surprised at the detail you can capture.

However, while you are trying to get your subject into focus, you may be frustrated because every time you move a bit to recompose the shot, (even ever so slightly), the iPhone camera adjusts and refocuses. Argh!

There is a way to “lock” the focus in place and solve this problem, but the feature is a little hard to find.

Here is how to lock your macro focus on your iPhone:

Move your iPhone to within about 4 inches from your subject.

Put your finger on the screen on top of the subject of your photo.

You will see a square appear under your finger. Hold your finger in place against the screen and the square will start pulsating. Take your finger off the screen.

As you lift your finger, you will see the words “AE/AF Lock” appear at the bottom of the screen. This means that the focus is now locked and you can make your small adjustments to the photographic composition without the camera shifting out of focus, again.

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The lock is ‘released’ after you take a shot, so if you are going to take more photos, you will have to put your finger on the screen each time to enable the lock.

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Tiny Bit of Tech at the Philly Flower Show

Screen shot 2013-03-07 at 8.43.40 AM The Philadelphia Flower Show is the largest indoor flower show (longest running, too) and a glorious extravaganza that I look forward to every year. Not only does it signal the entrance of Spring, but in its own right, it fills the Convention Center with sights and smells and displays and artistic design beyond the imagination. Each year is built around a theme, and this year the theme is “Brilliant” with exhibits focusing on the landscapes, culture and beauty of Great Britain.

And yes. There was Tech. No escaping that. Tech crops up everywhere, even when it’s time to stop and smell the roses. :) (More on that, later)

But first…. let’s look around.

The entrance gates ….


The grand centerpiece, Big Ben …


Of course there were acres of displays, and fields of flowers …


But with all of that, I find that some of the “other” entries really astound me. For example, the miniatures. The miniatures are presented in a wall with rows of little windows, each with an incredible miniature version of a scene, complete with appropriate plants. I took photos of every miniature, and there were many beauties … cityscapes and countrysides. The details are extraordinary. Choosing one to share here was difficult, so I picked a grand prize winner: The Herbology Greenhouse at Hogwarts. (There are 25 varieties of plants in this one, and I have the list if anyone is particularly interested, just email me through the contact link.) Click on the photo to enlarge it and enjoy the detail.



Another entry which astounds me is the Pressed Plant Art.


Just look at these amazing pictures, all made with flowers and plants.



So where was the tech?

Apps, of course. Always apps. This sign showed up everywhere around the floor:


And then there is the “Tech” of Big Ben.

Every hour, on the hour, the clock face alters and becomes a video screen (on all four sides), with a potpourri of British goodness. I did not film this, but turning to YouTube, I found many people had uploaded their videos. And so I just picked one to share here.

Presenting the Techy Centerpiece of the Philadelphia Flower Show: :)

How to Save a Photo that You Receive in a Text Message: (part of the) Very Beginners 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.*

DSC00005The other evening I was having dinner with a friend, a new iPhone user, and she wanted to show me a few pictures …. but she had to find them first. These photos had been sent to her in text messages, and she was going back through the messages to find the photos.

And so, as I watched her scroll back through her messages, the blogging bell went off in my head. “This should be a beginner post!” So here we go.

Here is how you save a photo that you receive in a text message:

Tap on the photo or the arrow area to make the photo larger.

Photo Skitch Document-14

Once you see the larger photo, tap the action arrow up at the top of the phone.

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A new screen will pop up with all sorts of choices. Select “save to camera roll”.

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That’s all there is.

Now when you want to look back at the photos that you received, just go to your Photos app (the sunflower) and select “camera roll”. The newly saved photos will be there at the end of the photo page.


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