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

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 3.23.36 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

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!)

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

The Solarbox: Great idea! More, please!

London is full of iconic red telephone booths. Unfortunately, since the invention of mobile phones, most of the phone booths are now useless.

From SkitchHere is a photo of my hand, holding up the remnants of what used to be a real phone, and clearly over time it was duck-taped and mended …. but never actually repaired.

It didn’t work. Boat ride to Greenwich - 28 - Version 3

I never found a working phone inside a red phone booth (and I did look …. I was curious!).

and so ……

Enter the solarbox!

The solarbox is an old red phone booth with an upgrade. It is painted green and has solar panels on the roof.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 6.17.18 PMStep into the solarbox and you can plug in your phone or tablet to get power. FREE power. You’ll have to watch a few ads for the privilege, but I think most people would agree that that’s ok. A fine trade-off. A few ads for a power-up. Yay!

The solar box webpage sums it up with a single sentence:
“Transforming disused telephone boxes into free solar powered charging points for phones”

The first solarbox just ‘went live’ a few days ago, with plans to add 5 more around the city by April 2015.

Congratulations to the solarbox designers. A clever, clever idea that I’m guessing will spread to other cities as well.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

Relaxing Puzzle Game: Block x 3

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 6.46.51 AM

Sometimes “life” gets in the way of blogging. :shock:

This is one of those times.

and so….

as I take an unexpected blogging break, I leave you with a nice, relaxing puzzle game to keep you busy until my return…..

Block x 3 is FREE in the iTunes store.

No need for advice from me about how to approach this game. As you start from the beginning, they take you slow and easy and you learn as you go.

Be back soon….

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

Downloading Books and Audiobooks FREE directly to your iPhone or iPad

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 7.07.12 PMPreviously on this blog, I gushed about borrowing books from your local library for your Kindle. That post was over a year ago, and I still find it wonderfully exciting to sit in my home, browse through library books, and have them magically appear on my Kindle.

Recently, I tried another bit of library borrowing….. and I’m equally thrilled.

With the Overdrive app, you can download AUDIO books from your local library directly to your iPhone or iPad. Then you can take that audio book with you for a walk or to the gym. Wonderful! And all this is FREE.

It is quite easy to do.

First, of course, you must determine whether or not your local library participates with Overdrive. I’m guessing they do …. it seems quite popular. You can call and ask, or go to your library’s website and hunt around a bit. Chances are there will be an “ebooks” section, and you can see if they use the word “overdrive.”

Once you know your library participates, download the app.

You’ll be asked to “add a library.” I typed in my zip code, and my library magically appeared.

Sign in to your local library (probably with your library card number and a pin).

Find the book you want to download, and tap it to start the process.

All done! Your audio book is now on your iPhone and you are good to go.

From Skitch-19

From my experience, it is MUCH easier to browse books from my computer (rather than the phone). Once I’ve made my choice, I just “search” for it on the app on the iPhone, and tap it to download.

And so now…. from my local library, I can get books to read on my Kindle, and books to listen to on my iPhone. It’s a kid-in-a-candy-shop kind of experience to get books like this from the comfort of your own home.

It’s just as easy to download books to read to your iPhone and iPad with this app. I chose an audiobook because I don’t really enjoy reading on the small screen of the phone. (However…my iPhone 6 Plus …when it arrives… may change all that!).

Just to be clear: you can directly download books to read OR to listen to through this app.

Overdrive is free in the iTunes store

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

Apple Event on Tuesday. Rumors will continue until then…..

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 8.10.10 AMApple’s big event will unfold on Tuesday, September 9. And all the rumors will be put to rest.

But for now, the internet is buzzing with speculation.

It is generally agreed that the newest iPhone will be offered in several sizes. Personally, I’m hoping for a larger screen, but I know lots of folks want it to stay the same. So, the best solution (if Apple asked me :) ) would be to produce several sizes (like they do with the iPad). Let people have a choice.

And then there is the iWatch. This is interesting. Wearable technology is wildly popular, and personally, I think that Apple is a little late getting into this game.

Last Christmas, my son gave me a Fitbit. This is a little gadget that keeps track of your steps and sends you encouraging text messages to urge you on to meet your goal. It holds a charge for weeks, and when the battery gets low, it sends me an email to alert me that it needs a charge. Delightful. No fuss, just fun. And flawless. It just works…. and it is very popular. Other companies have similar products.

Now the rumor is that Apple will be unveiling it’s own piece of wearable technology, dubbed the iWatch (it probably will not be called “iWatch”). It is assumed that it will be health related, keeping track of steps, heart rate, etc. And then the speculation continues … what else will it do? After all, many companies are already producing health related wearable gadgets (like my Fitbit). Will there be apps for this iWatch? Will it access the internet? How on earth can you fit a keyboard on a watch?

I’ve also read about a possible mobile-payment-system on the iPhone…that should be interesting.

…also a new operating system (here comes iOS8).

and….. perhaps a new LARGER iPad.

All questions will be answered soon….

stay tuned….

The Apple event: What’s probably coming

What To Expect From Apple’s iPhone Event On September 9

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

Another Great Discounted Book Source: Early Bird Books

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 8.17.58 AM

Nothing better than great book deals!

In other posts, I alerted you to eReaderIQ (which I absolutely LOVE) and BookGorilla.

And now…. another discount-alerter for your browsing pleasure. :)

Early Bird Books will send you an email each morning with several book deals. Some expire quickly, some may be on sale for weeks, so check the expiration date. These books are limited to ones that are published through Open Road, so the model is a bit different from the other discounters.

It’s always fun to have bargains delivered to your inbox!

Just click on Early Bird Books to subscribe.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

Upgrading your iPhone? Time to start thinking about selling your old one….

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 8.09.10 AMIt won’t be long now until Apple unveils the iPhone 6. The event is scheduled for September 9.

And so ….. if you are planning to get a new iPhone, you’ll want to get rid of your old one. Of course you can always sell it on your own to a friend, or through CraigsList or eBay, but I prefer the no-hassle-to-me way, through Amazon or Gazelle.

It was two years ago that I sold two iPhone 4’s, as my husband and I upgraded at that time to the 5.

For comparison, I sold one phone to Amazon, and the other to Gazelle.

I am a BIG fan of Gazelle. Just last week, I sold an old iPad 2 to them. The experience was every bit as easy as it was two years ago when I sold my iPhone to Gazelle.

I clicked through their website to my model of iPad and indicated its condition. Then Gazelle did the rest. They sent me a box. I slipped my iPad in the provided amazingly-designed safety sleeve. I sealed the box. I sent it back (pre-paid by Gazelle). Several days later I had an email from Gazelle that my iPad arrived. Hours later the $$$$ appeared as an Amazon gift card (my choice. You can also get a check, or a deposit into a paypal account).

So easy. So well done. I got $145 for a very-well used iPad 2.

Of course, as easy and professional as Gazelle is, it is still wise to shop around. Amazon’s trade in program is also excellent. You might want to check with both to see where you get the most $$. One happy point to me with Gazelle is that I did not need to send back an original box OR any cords. That was a plus as far as I was concerned. Extra plugs are handy, so I was happy to keep mine.

Once the new iPhones are released, the price for the older phones will probably drop a bit. Gazelle is currently offering the opportunity to lock in the price (until October 10) of your iPhone, now. This is useful if you absolutely know that you are getting a new phone, soon.

I won’t be locking in my price now, though, because I’m just not SURE about a new iPhone, yet. I’m interested in the larger screen, and it is not clear whether Apple will be releasing such a phone at this time. I’ll have to wait and see.

I checked through Gazelle to see what I would get if I sold my iPhone to them. Answer: $160. That would be a nice chunk of change to apply toward the new iPhone 6. :)

note that the “locked” and “unlocked” refers to a carrier service, not locking in your price. Two different “locks”! :shock:

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 6.02.13 AM

Although I am only talking Apple products, here, Gazelle will buy all kinds of devices. If you’re not using it, this is an easy way to clear it out and make a few $, too.

This literally only takes minutes. Minutes-to-$. That’s a good thing.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 784 other followers