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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It’s here! My new iPhone 6 Plus!

It’s here. It was scheduled to come today…. and it did. Right on time.

I’m excited that it’s here, but a bit anxious about setting it up. :shock:

So, tomorrow’s the day. I’ll open the box and begin. I’m determined to set it up myself.

Just me.

At least that’s my plan. Without the help of Apple or ATT. (fingers crossed!)

stay tuned……

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You CAN wash and dry some wearable tech. But I wouldn’t do it on purpose.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 8.12.11 PMLife has been a little busy in my house these past few days. (The excitement involved an ambulance ride, emergency room care and considerable discomfort ….for my spouse. )

My end of the deal was to caretake and do all the things that are usually shared by two.
But as we all know, when you’re very busy, and distracted, mistakes happen.

My mistake?

I washed (and dried!) my Fitbit. argh.

A Fitbit is a delightful piece of wearable tech that keeps track of your steps for each day. It’s wonderful, motivating, and I use it every day.

But because I was distracted, I did not remove it from a pocket before I threw some laundry into the machine. So my Fitbit was washed. Then rinsed and spun.

And then, adding insult to injury, it went in the dryer. :shock:

This morning I looked for my Fitbit and with a sudden shock I realized …… uh oh. Did I? (you know that feeling. A moment of weak-in-the-knees)

I went to the dryer and there it was. Nestled among the fluffy socks and warm towels was my Fitbit. I reached into the dryer, and pulled it out.

I expected to find a soggy mess, water inside the screen, and maybe a frozen display.

But nope.

It’s perfect!

It looks fine. Every screen is clear and sharp. It’s working perfectly.

wow. Washable tech. Who knew?

Have you ever had a similar accident? Or (gasp) washed your phone?

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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:

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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.

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New Survey: Cellphones ONLY for 2 out of 5 in the US

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 5.33.04 PMThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been watching the evolution of cell phones vs landlines for the last several years in the US.

They recently released a new report which boils down to the news that 2 out of 5 homes in the US have ditched the landline and are cellphone only.

That’s twice what it was 5 years ago, but in spite of that, the trend seems to be slowing down.

You can read more about this report from several links I will put at the end of this post.

But …..

This made me wonder about those of us here in the blogosphere … worldwide, not just in the USA.

So let’s weigh in!

Here at my house, we have both. However, we don’t use the landline anymore. It’s there, and it collects all the telemarketer calls (and a lot of dust), but we don’t use it as our phone. I would dump it, but it comes “bundled” with cable TV service and internet, and basically costs nothing, so…… we keep it and let the answering machine pick up any stray calls that come through there.

My children, however, are all adults with homes of their own, and there are no landlines for them. Cell phones only in those households.

How about you? Are you a cell phone-only house?

Or do you have a cell-phone(s) AND a landline?

4 in 10 US Homes Are Cellphone Only, Skip Landline

Two in five U.S. homes have only cellphones: survey

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World Book Night, USA, is ………………………….. (cue tears) Ending

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Anyone who has followed my blog knows that I have been an enthusiastic supporter of World Book Night. Looking back through my posts, I had at least 7, gushing over the awesomeness of the project and encouraging folks to join me, leap in and pass out books.

Sadly, today when I looked at my email, there was a new one from the World Book Night Organization.

Bottom line: It’s over. Too costly.

After three years in which thousands and thousands of you distributed over a million and half specially-printed World Book Night paperbacks across America, we are sad to announce that we are suspending operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, shippers–and you, our amazing givers!–are too high to sustain.

From World Book Night U.S. Board Chairman Michael Pietsch: “World Book Night’s first three years have been a profound experience for everyone involved. The altruistic spirit of the givers and of industry supporters have reminded us all of the transformative impact books have on people’s lives, and of the power of a book as a gift. The World Book Night Board joins me in extending their deep gratitude to all who have taken part.”

So that’s that.

No more World Book Night.

It was a marvelous experience, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate for all three years.

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Amazon’s New Fire Phone: Will you give up your iPhone?

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 3.43.56 PMToday Amazon announced their new product: A smartphone. Called the Amazon Fire Phone, it will be released on July 25 (pre-order, now).

So …. is this the phone that will make you give up your iPhone?

It seems that the iPhone has lost its WOW factor for many. When it first exploded into our world, it was an incredible leap of technology. But today, there are smartphones everywhere, and many folks no longer look at the iPhone as the one-and-only.

And today marks another new entry into the Smartphone universe. The Amazon Fire Phone.

The promo for it looks quite good. I think it all boils down to what do YOU want from your smartphone?

This new phone has several features that are standouts:

Mayday: For us un-techy types, this is HUGE. The Mayday button was introduced on the latest version of the Amazon Fire, and it has been a raging success. With the Mayday button, if you want to learn something about your phone, if you need some instruction, or if you are having a problem, you just tap the Mayday button and a LIVE person will appear on your screen to help you. Instantly. Just like that. This feature is a keeper, and I have to say, if I was considering my first smartphone, this would be a really big selling point. The helper can draw on your phone (arrows, etc) showing you exactly what to touch and how to do it. This is a major goodie to have on your phone.

Firefly technology: This is a ‘bell and whistle’ kind of thing, but also cool. Firefly will instantly recognize music, products, ads …. oodles of things in the world. With a touch of a button you get useful information and the ability to act on it as well.

One-handed reading: Just tilt the phone to scroll. (Why didn’t Apple do this? It’s brilliant!)

And how about this: With the purchase of the new Amazon Fire Phone you get one whole year of Prime, FREE. Prime gives you lots of perks in addition to the postage and quick mailing for items bought via Amazon. You also get access to a huge video streaming library, a library full of Kindle books to borrow and free music to stream and/or download. AND … if you are already a Prime member, if you purchase the Amazon Fire Phone, you get your Prime membership extended an additional year. That’s excellent!! That’s one year of Prime for EACH phone you buy. Three phones on one account? That’s three YEARS of Prime. Details, here.

The 32 GB phone will be $199 with a 2 year contract through AT&T. Other options also available.

You can learn more about the phone, and an in-depth look at all the features (MUCH more than I described) by clicking here.

So will you consider a change? Will this Amazon Fire Phone convince you to leave your iPhone behind?

There are a few things about this phone that tempt me. Me. A bona-fide Apple fan-boy-girl-lady. The Mayday button. The year of Prime. Yelp shows up directly on the maps. A larger screen. The one-hand tilt scrolling screen.

At this moment, I’m not sure. But to my own surprise, I’m considering it. Anyone who knows me (in real life) or through my blog knows that I like to take my time when approaching technology-changes. I always wait for a while, for example, before downloading the latest software update.

So I’ll not be jumping in right yet. I’ll wait and see. I’ll let others test the waters.

I’ll be trolling the internet for comparisons in every area for the iPhone vs Amazon Fire Phone. When I find a great comparison, item by item, camera vs camera, etc, I’ll be sure to link to it on this blog.

If this new phone lives up to it’s hype, a change for me is not out of the question. There are a lot of features here that I would appreciate.

This just might be my iPhone Waterloo.

How about you?

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Off Topic Post: ARGH!!

Yesterday was June 5. That’s the FIFTH day of JUNE.

JUNE!

I entered a local store (Hobby Lobby). Workers were busily rearranging their shelves and updating their stock.

With what kind of merchandise, you ask?

CHRISTMAS!

Good grief. It isn’t even summer yet. Kids are still in school. My air conditioners are still in storage.

CHRISTMAS???????

Anyone else think this is a tad early?

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Cool or Creepy?

Reading some internet chatter on this, I’d say it is coming down on the side of creepy.

But I think it is kind of cool.

If you haven’t seen this, take 2 minutes and take a look.

You’ll see Michael Jackson, singing and dancing, at an award show this week.

Yes, I know that he is dead.

This is a hologram. Watch him dance (if you’re in a hurry you can fast forward to the 1:00 mark).

I think the technology is amazing. (and a little bit creepy)

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