Take Better Selfies with the new Timer in iOS8

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 7.16.27 AMYour Holiday Selfies just got more interesting. Unless you have REALLY long arms, you may find that your Selfies are often not very flattering ….. a little TOO close for comfort.

Now you can prop up your iPhone, and using the timer, step back a bit. This will allow you to include MORE folks in the photos, and you can include that backdrop for the holiday or travel. (What good is your selfie in front of the Colosseum if all you can see are your teeth? :shock: )

How to use the timer on your iPhone camera:

To use your timer, bring up your camera and tap on the clock icon which is up at the top of your screen. Once you tap on the clock you have options to use either a 3 second or a 10 second timer.

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After you have selected either the 3 or 10 second option, tap your photo button. You’ll see a countdown on your screen… 10 .. 9 .. 8 .. 7 .. 6 .. 5 ..4 ..3 ..2 ..1…. and then your photo happens.

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Your photo(s) will occur in a burst. This is set by default to give you a burst of photos when you use the timer. (A great idea, I think. You get to choose your no-blinking best.)

When you are done, make sure you turn the timer-selection off by tapping “off” at the top of your screen (otherwise the next time you go to take a photo, it will still be set to timer mode.)

Have fun!

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See what apps are draining your Battery Life in iOS8

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 7.15.22 PMI’ve been pretty happy with the battery life of my iPhone 6 Plus.

Although I keep the brightness turned down a bit, I’ve made no special adjustments other than that. I have bluetooth turned ON all the time (so when I get in the car it pairs up right away), and I keep wifi ON all the time, as well.

I usually plug my phone in each night, and start the day with 100% power.

I’m a text-er, not a talker, but I do have my phone working a LOT during the day, playing podcasts or audio books or music for long periods of time.

If you are finding that your battery is draining too quickly, you can now see which apps are doing the damage.

Here is how to check on your battery usage:

Go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage

By tapping the tabs, you can see which apps have used the most battery power for the last 24 hours or for the last 7 days.

Here is a screenshot of my battery usage for the last 7 days. There is nothing surprising, and I’m not having any troubles, so the information is merely interesting to me.

BUT … if I was having a big battery drainage issue, this would be awesome information, because I could see the offending app and delete it.

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This is a good thing to remember in case your battery starts to take a dive! Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 7.22.15 PM

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Let your iPhone or iPad read to you (part one)

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 7.45.56 PMThere are so many things that you can tweak on your iPhone (and iPad). But, we all don’t need everything. For example, some people love the flashing light notifications (an old post, but still generally accurate), while other people don’t need that flashing feature and don’t care one bit that it is available.

Today we are going to explore another one of those “extra” things. For some people this will be a life-saver. For others ….. it’s just a curiosity (but kind of fun to fool around with!)

Let’s look at turning on Speak Selection on your device.

By turning on “Speak Selection”, you can have your phone read selected text to you.

To turn on “Speak Selection”, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech > Speak Selection

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Once you have turned it on, select any text, and the choice to “speak” it will appear as an option when it is highlighted. Tap on “speak” and your phone will read the text to you.

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And now that you know how to do this, I can’t wait to post “part two”. Stay tuned!

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Saving some memory in iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 7.27.21 AMSaving memory is a big issue for some people, especially if you have a 16GB phone. Memory gets eaten up by all kinds of things.

One of those “things” is the collection of photo-messages, video-messages and voice messages that you acquire over time.

I never realized this until doing the research for this post, but apparently your messages are saved for… well….. forever. :shock: (that’s a long time!)
And if you get a lot of pictures, etc, via the messaging app, your memory could be taking a serious hit.

iOS8 gives us the opportunity to have a little control over that.

Here is how to make your own choice about message-saving:

Go to Settings > Messages

Slide down, and you will see a place for “message history.” The default is to keep messages FOREVER.

From Skitch

Tap on “forever” and you will be given two additional choices: 30 days or 1 year.

From Skitch

By nixing the “forever” choice, you’ll be saving memory that would otherwise be lost. Every little bit helps!

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Weekend Distraction: How Smart is your Smartphone?

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Thank you to the Laughing Housewife for sending this to me. Linda is my humor “muse”. She shares laughter on her blog, and I’m so glad that she also shares it directly with me (to share with you). :)

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Saving Favorites in Safari with iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.07.56 PM Safari changed a bit in iOS7 and a bit more in iOS8. Not a lot, but enough to mention, here.

When you bring up a web page on Safari, and you would like to save it as a favorite, there is a really easy (visual) way to do this…… but it’s kind of hidden.

So let’s go and find it. :)

Let’s start by using Safari to bring up a website that you would like to save.

Here I have summoned the website for one of my favorite podcasts, A Way with Words.

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To save it as a favorite, just touch the search bar, again. Suddenly, you will see several “squares” representing the websites that your iPhone thought you might like favorited, like Disney and ESPN.

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Now, pull DOWN on the page. Two hidden buttons appear, “Add to Favorites” and “Request Desktop Site.”

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Tap on “Add to Favorites” and your website will be saved with its own little square icon, as you can see, here.

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(The other option allows you to view the regular desktop site instead of the abbreviated mobile one.)

If you need to delete a “Favorite” in the future (or delete the “favorites” that Apple chose for you), just tap and hold a square. “Delete” will appear above the square as an action-option. Now touch “delete” and the square-favorite vanishes. Poof! Gone!

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App Bundles Save $$$

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With iOS8, you can now download a bundle of apps from the same developer at a bargain price.

They have apps bundles, games bundles and kids bundles. Simply put, a group of cookbooks is cheaper than buying them each separately.

Here is a screen shot of the “Where’s My Puzzle Pack” bundle.

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To take a look at all the bundles that are available, just head over to the app store, where you will find “Bundles” featured on their front page.

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My Impressions After One Full Month with my iPhone 6 PLUS

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It’s big. (I think I may have mentioned that before :) )

and …

it’s big.

I will admit, when I first got it, I felt a little “off” with it. The phone is so much larger than my last one, that I questioned its portability. I am a person who keeps my phone with me at all times, and this was a legitimate concern.

But after a month of full-time use, I’m happy to report that it fits in all of my regular pockets. My sweatpants, my mom jeans, my jackets and assorted other pocketed clothing all include pockets that are able to easily accommodate this super-sized phone. (so sorry to use the word “pockets” so much. I racked my brain, but could not find a suitable synonym. Pockets pockets pockets.)

In the beginning, as I said, it felt a bit odd. One month later…… not at all. I absolutely love it.

The screen is stunningly beautiful. Everything is clear and sharp and easy to see. Following my blue dot on a map is so much easier, obviously, with a bigger screen.

I have found myself using the phone more often for googling and other internet searching. In the past, I would turn to the internet only if I “had” to when I was out and about. But with this phone, I find myself doing it more, and sometimes even searching on the phone from home, just because it’s so handy, even though I could go to a real screen on my notebook computer. The bigger phone makes it that much easier to see and search.

And READ. You can read on this phone. It is just big enough to make reading comfortable on the device. I’m not just talking about books… but websites as well. I NEVER looked at websites on my smaller phones. But on the iPhone Plus, website-browsing is possible.

And this was a surprise: easy link-touching. On the smaller phone, I would always have to zoom and wiggle a bit so that my finger could appropriately touch and ‘work’ a link. On this PLUS phone, my fingers and the links match perfectly, and I navigate around without any awkwardness.

I’ve had absolutely no issues with the operating system.

The touch id was new to me, because it was not available until the 5S (my last phone was a 5). It took me a little bit of time to get used to it, but now I find it seamlessly perfect, just a fraction of a second pause and my phone unlocks to my touch. (Unless I’ve recently gotten out of the shower. I have learned that wet, prune-like fingerprints are not a match to dry ones. :) )

If there is ONE thing I DON’T like on this phone, it is the location of the sleep/wake button. They moved it over on the side. When I squeeze it, I find that I am simultaneously squeezing the volume buttons on the opposite side … not good. And the side sleep/wake button also makes it a little trickier to do screen shots. Clearly this is not a deal-breaker, but I am still fumbling with that I wish they hadn’t button move.

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It takes great pictures, but of course, that is nothing new. Look at this lovely sunset that I grabbed through my bedroom window one evening last week.

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and again, a few minutes later, as the colors changed ……

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All in all….. I’m delighted with my choice of the PLUS phone. Once I get the case that I’ve enjoyed for years on my previous phone (the manufacturer has been slow on the making of this size case) … I’ll have the just-about perfect phone for me.

 

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Weekend Distraction: Peggle

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 6.46.24 AMI can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for several years now, and have never mentioned Peggle!

Peggle is a wonderful mix of “fun” plus “addictive-enjoyment” plus “challenging-but-not-too-challenging” plus (again) “fun”.

Not much of a learning curve. The basic premise: you release a ball and it bounces around on the screen, bumping into dots of various colors. Your job is to aim that ball as it is released in a way that will maximize its collision with orange dots. Your main goal is to clear the screen of orange dots before you run out of balls.

There will be a few obstacles tossed your way (of course). But you’ll learn as you go.

When you start, you have a choice of several different “modes” of play. I recommend “Adventure” as this will move you along gradually, screen to screen, learning as you go.

It really is addictive fun. There is something rather hypnotic watching that ball bounce around on the screen.

Here are two random screen shots. The arrangement of dots will change with each screen, and sometimes some of them are moving targets.

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Peggle is 99¢ in the iTunes store

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Spotlight improved in iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 9.05.08 AMThere are so many new features in iOS 8, it will take us a long time with our one-at-a-time approach to work our way through them all! But honestly, when I read articles like “35 things you need to know RIGHT NOW” or “100 little known features…blah blah blah”, well, I get overwhelmed.

So I’m keeping my turtle pace, even tho we have a lot of territory to cover. Baby steps.

Next up: Spotlight.

Spotlight USED to be a feature where you could do a search on your device (only). I originally thought that was silly, but over time, I’ve found it useful to find an app buried in a folder. (I created those folders to organize and find stuff easily, but that seems to have backfired.)

In iOS 8, Spotlight has been improved. It will now not only search your device, but also the internet. And so … if I search “Enya” on my phone, the search will turn up music that lives on my phone and also a link to a Wikipedia article about her (which is NOT on my phone… that’s on the internet.)

To access Spotlight, go to your home screen (a page full of icons). Now, pull down on your screen from the top of your device. Stay ON THE SCREEN as you pull down. If your finger goes higher onto the white or black surface of your phone, you’ll get a different delight. Put your finger between some icons near the top and pull down.

You’ll see a screen that looks like this. The new Spotlight.

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Below is a screen grab of the results after I searched for the word “card”, looking for the card game I use to play Free Cell. Notice here that not only did it find the app for me, but it also found “card” in my contacts for a cardiology doc, it suggested the St Louis Cardinals as something I might find interesting (that’s a stretch…. I don’t live anywhere near there, so ..?? ) and the search also brought up emails and messages that included the word “card.”

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Now, all of this is rather useless information if I’m just looking for an app, but I can certainly understand that situations arise where this broader search is necessary.

So if you are a person who wants all this extra stuff, you’re in luck. But if you DON’T (and that means me), you have the option to turn it all off.

Go to General > Spotlight Search

There you will see a screen like the one below. Notice all of the things that are checked to search!!! That happens by default, so if you don’t want them, you have to deselect them.

As soon as I publish this post, I have some “de-selecting” to do. :)

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