Relaxing Puzzle Game: Block x 3

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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….

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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

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Improving the Paperwhite: Amazon Introduces the Kindle Voyage

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 7.17.56 AMLast week the tech world was all abuzz about the new iPhones. In the middle of all that excitement, Amazon quietly released a bunch of new goodies. (at least it seemed like it was “quietly” to me….)

I know that many of my readers are HUGE Paperwhite fans (me, too!!!).

Honestly, I could not imagine how it would be possible to improve that device. It seems darn near perfect.

And yet, as technology moves forward, so do the devices, and Amazon has now ramped up their Paperwhite to a new level, and they are calling this NEW eReader the Kindle Voyage.

So how did they improve ‘perfect’?

1. It’s THINNER.

2. TWICE as many pixels as the Paperwhite, making the text super-crisp.

3. Added tapping sensors on the edge so that you can gently press to turn a page.
(I like love this. I missed my buttons.) You can still turn the page with finger swipes.

4. Automatic light sensors will adjust the light according to the light in the room. It will gradually decrease in a dark room, as your eyes adjust to the dimmer light.

5. General re-design, including a flush-front.

Wifi only, with special offers, costs $199. Removing the special offers hikes the price to $219. (I have the “special offers” appearing on my Paperwhite, and it really doesn’t bother me at all.)

I thought long and hard about this, because I really love my Paperwhite. I did not feel the need to level-up ……. UNTIL I saw that page-turning sensor. That is the one thing I have always missed on the Paperwhite. I am a bed-reader, and when you are comfortably reclining on your side, holding the kindle with one hand, it can be awkward and inconvenient to try and swipe the pages. It’s a nightly struggle to position the Paperwhite just right, and usually I don’t. I missed the old Kindle buttons on the earlier models.

And so I am going to try it. Amazon’s generous return policy makes this a no-brainer for me, because if I don’t like it, I can easily return it. No harm, no foul.

To my surprise, MANY people must be ordering this, because when I tapped the “buy” button on Friday (just a short time after the quiet launch) …. I was told that I won’t be receiving my Kindle Voyage until NOVEMBER 28! :shock: (when it first went on sale, the shipping date was in October!). Wow. I guess the market is strong for this new eReader.

Amazon has also released 4 other products.

1. A Fire HD tablet for only $99. Cheapest tablet available.

2. Fire HD KIDS Edition. “If they break it, we replace it. No questions asked.” If there are Kids in your life, this is worth a closer look.

3. FireHDX 8.9 Big improvements to this tablet.

4. Basic Kindle. Touch screen. No light, but lots of other features. $79

For further information on all of these products, just go to Amazon. They are all displayed on their home page with links to more details.

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A New Word for you to Learn: Phablet

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.00.26 PMIf you haven’t heard it yet, you’ll hear it soon.

Phablet

Phablet – a phone that’s big enough to be (almost) considered a tablet.

Samsung has produced a phablet for years with it’s Galaxy Note. And do people like it? They seem to love it. So Apple is now jumping on that bandwagon with the iPhone 6 Plus.

iPhone 6 Plus = the newest phablet on the market.

There was a great review of the iPhone 6 Plus in the New York Times today. Written by a bona-fide big-phone hater, he talks about the time he spent with this new phablet, pros and cons.

I think he surprised himself.

He finds many pluses to make up for the lack of pocketability.

Read the whole article, here:

With Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, Phablets Get Serious.

Now I’m starting to get excited to get my hands on one.

I’ll not be in line at the Apple stores on Friday (I’m not THAT crazy ambitious :) )

But …

I placed my order! And I should get my iPhone 6 Plus (aka Phablet) in about 3 weeks.

If you are considering the iPhone 6 Plus, I would suggest you take a few minutes and read the NY Times review.

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Bold? Italics? Underline? Where are these hiding on my iPad or iPhone?

Over the last several years, “throwback Thursday” has become quite popular. Although it is really supposed to be about nostalgia (like old photos), I thought I’d stretch the point, and occasionally post an old (but updated!) “how to” on Thursdays, for the benefit of the many new-device-users who have joined our blog. (or to refresh the memories for those of us who forget!)

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Bold, Underline, Italics ….. you want to use them, but you can’t find them. Where are they hiding?

Here is how you find these options when you are typing on your iPad or iPhone:

Open a new email as though you are about to write a message.

Write a sample sentence for yourself. I’ll use this one: “Why do psychics ask your name?”

Touch the word “psychics” and you will see a magnifier pop up, and then a bar including the words “Select, and Select All. Touch the word “Select”.

From Skitch-15

The word “psychics” will turn blue and above it another bar appears. This time the bar includes the option “B-I-U” (bold, italics, underline). If you are looking at a smaller screen (the iPhone) you may have to touch an arrow on the side of the bar to extend it in order to see this option.

From Skitch-16

Tap the “BIU”, and your options of “Bold, Italics, and Underline” become clear. Tap on any of the three options and your word will now be cloaked in the emphasis of your choice. You can choose one, two or all three options.

From Skitch-17

This bar will remain on the screen until you dismiss it by tapping on a blank spot of the email to make it disappear.

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How to Change the Number of Preview Lines in your Email on your iPhone or iPad

Over the last several years, “throwback Thursday” has become quite popular. Although it is really supposed to be about nostalgia (like old photos), I thought I’d stretch the point, and occasionally post an old (but updated!) “how to” on Thursdays, for the benefit of the many new-device-users who have joined our blog. (or to refresh the memories for those of us who forget!)

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 8.10.11 PMWhen you bought your iPhone and/or iPad, the preview setting for your email was pre-set at 2. This means that before you open your individual emails on either device, you see not only the heading of the mail, but also the first two lines of text.

Consider your needs…. perhaps you want more privacy for your email? Then you can set it so that no lines preview at all. (As an added bonus, by setting your preview lines to zero, this frees up space so that more emails show on a single screen at once.)

Or perhaps you get a lot of email from a variety of sources and want more visible lines. When you see more lines, you can decide with a glance if you want to open a particular email, or just delete it. Poof! No opening necessary.

You can set these preview lines anywhere from 0 to 5. Out-of-the-box is set at 2, so if you haven’t changed it, your device is currently set at 2.

Here is how to change the number of visible preview lines: (Directions are the same for both the iPhone and the iPad)

Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars

Now select “Preview”

From Skitch-8

You will be shown a screen with the choices: None, 1 Line, 2 Lines, 3 Lines, 4 Lines, 5 Lines.

From Skitch-9

Select the number of lines you would like to see, and you’re done.

Return to your Mail, to see if you like your new choice. :)

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iPad Slowing Down? Try this Simple Fix, First

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 8.28.31 PMLast week my dear friend Mona had a sluggish iPad.

Really sluggish.

I watched as she tried to load a map, and it took
f o r e v e r.

Frustrating.

She did the housekeeping thing, and closed all the running apps. No difference. Sluggish, still.

So the next day she made an appointment with a Mac Genius.

They had the solution, and her iPad is speedy, once again.

What was the magic?

They told her to turn it off. Then on (of course :) ). Yes, that’s it.

Actually, the Genius suggested turning it off at least 3 times a week to improve and/or maintain the speed.

That was it. On and off. Remember this if your iPad gets sluggish (and iPhone, as well). It may not solve all your issues, but it can’t hurt.

Thanks, Mona!

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How to Assign a Unique Tone to a Particular Person’s Incoming Text Messages

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 6.25.38 PMOne of the first things most people do when they get their first smart phone is to link up special ringtones for certain people. You might have a particular ringtone to recognize (without looking) that it is your spouse calling, or any other special person.

But did you know that you can also do this for text messages?

Usually most of the text messages that arrive on my phone sound the same. I don’t necessarily look at my phone right away, so some messages might sit for a while before I respond to them.

Recently, though, I was having some work done on my house, and I needed to see the text messages from the contractor as they came in. The best way to do this was to assign a particularly loud and annoying sound specifically to the contractor so that when a message come in from that number, I would be sure to look at it.

This worked beautifully, and I never missed a message. :)

Here is how to assign a sound to a particular texting person:

Go to your Contacts and select the person you want to customize.

Tap on EDIT and scroll down… you will see “text tone” as a choice. Tap on that.

From Skitch-4

From Skitch-5

Now scroll through the sound choices, pick the one you want, and tap “done.”

From Skitch-6

That’s all there is to it!

From now on, a text message from your special contact will be identified with your uniquely assigned tone.

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Punctuation Shortcut for your iPhone and iPad

Over the last several years, “throwback Thursday” has become quite popular. Although it is really supposed to be about nostalgia (like old photos), I thought I’d stretch the point, and occasionally post an old (but updated!) “how to” on Thursdays, for the benefit of the many new-device-users who have joined our blog. (or to refresh the memories for those of us who forget!)

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 8.18.15 AMAnyone who has done any typing on the iPhone or on the iPad has noticed the multiple steps needed to insert punctuation.

You have to tap the 123 button, tap your punctuation, and then tap the ABC button to return to the letter keyboard. That’s 3 taps!

Doesn’t ONE tap sound better?

Here’s how you can add punctuation with just ONE tap:

When you get to the moment that you need punctuation, put your finger on the 123 button and HOLD. Now, SLIDE your finger to the punctuation you need, and then, RELEASE.

From Skitch-3

Poof! Your punctuation has appeared in your text, and your keyboard has returned to the letters so you can continue typing.

Easy, breezy. :)

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Alphabet Soup for the Tech Age

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