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.

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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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Map Draw – Route Tracking: 2+ years on my iPad and Still a Favorite

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” (or favorite app) on Thursdays, for the benefit of the many new-device-users who have joined our blog.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.22.02 AMGenerally, my throwback posts will be “how to’s”, but today I’m resurrecting my old post about this map-drawing app.

I first posted about this app in May of 2012. And at that point, I had used it for quite a while. Here we are, 2 years later, and I STILL use this app regularly. As we all know, many apps get downloaded, used for a while and then discarded. Not this one!!

First of all … it just works great. It’s quick and clean and easy. Just zoom in to the area of the map where you want to draw, tap your starting spot and continue on. The app will give you the distance. This is so very useful for plotting walking/running/biking trips and travel, but it has many other uses, too.

Here is what I said about it 2 years ago:

If I had to whittle my apps down to just a few, Map Draw would definitely be on my “must keep” list.

I think this is an awesome app. I use it to check out distances all the time. Any Boomer will remember that on the back page of a big paper atlas, there was always a chart that allowed you to check the mileage between cities. With this app, checking mileage between cities is just the start. The real fun is all the OTHER ways to check mileage. Want to know how far it is from your house to the grocery store? Want to know the shortest route home from work? Want to know exactly how far you are walking/running when you zig zag through your neighborhood? Is the restaurant close enough from your hotel to walk there? You can do all that, and once you start using it, you will find many more routes to measure.

It is very easy to use. Just open the app, and zoom in to the area that you would like to measure. The app allows you to zoom right down to street level very quickly …… anyplace in the world. Once you have your starting spot visible, just touch the screen. Then touch any other spot and the app will show you a line and measure the distance. You can continue tapping to add a zig this way and a turn that way, until your total trip is measured. I was surprised to learn that one of my “short cuts” home, wasn’t that short at all. (I changed my route)

Kudos to the developers of this app. It has definitely withstood the test of time.

Map Draw is $1.99 in the iTunes store and well worth the $

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Ask Siri to Open your Apps

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When I first got my iPhone (and then my iPad), I learned about the ‘search’ feature, and thought it was extremely silly and unnecessary. After all, I thought, all you have to do is just glance over your apps and touch the one you want to open. How hard is that?

Well, fast forward several years, and my devices are now LOADED with apps, folders full of apps and pages full of folders. I’ll admit that I’ve used the search feature many times to find a particular app that was hiding deep in some folder.

(if you need a refresher on how to search your device, just click here.)

But now I’ve found an even easier way to open an app that I can’t find……

I just ask Siri to do it! Easy, breezy.

Just ask her: “Open ‘name of app‘”. The device will close the black Siri screen, briefly flash a page of apps, and then open the particular app that you asked for. Like magic. :)

Try it!

Ask Siri to “Open Pandora” or “Open Words with Friends” or whatever other app you’d like to try.

Thank you, Siri. I’ll never have to hunt for anything on my iPhone or iPad, again. From Millan.Net

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Weekend Distraction: iOrnament (beautiful AND relaxing)

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 2.47.08 PMSometimes I enjoy mindless entertainment on my iPad. I like to sit down with something that requires not too much thought, and is relaxing to use. iOrnament is all that. Relaxing, fun, productive, AND creative. :)

Although iOrnament is ‘do-able’ as soon as you download it, if you want to get better at it, there are some things to learn.

There is a very handy pop-up tutorial that appears as you go, and this is quite helpful as you learn how to get the most enjoyment from this creative design delight.

I included here a picture of my very FIRST doodle with this app. I really love how you can zoom in to add detail. Then…… zoom back out. Wow. When that detail is repeated all over your pattern, you look like a design genius.

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If you like to doodle, this is a doodler’s delight.

You can save your creation as a photo, use it as wallpaper, send it to others or publish it on social media.

Enjoy! (and have a relaxing weekend :) )

iOrnament is 99¢ in the iTunes store.

(there is also a free version, but it does not include the glow feature and it does not allow you to save your creations to photos or share with others)

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New Year’s Resolutions? Streaks can help keep you motivated

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 6.47.23 PMDid you make any New Year’s Resolutions?

Among the most popular resolutions are exercising, eating right, and losing weight. But maybe you chose something else? Are you going to try to stop smoking? Are you starting a blog? Or maybe you are going to write a novel and have promised yourself some writing time every day?

One of the simplest things you can do …and the most motivating…. is to X off your successful days on a calendar.

Keep up a streak! And then track your streak with this app: Streaks – Motivational Calendar

You can have several calendars going at once. Just tap a day to mark it. You can easily toggle between calendars, take notes and keep track of your streaks.

It’s simple. And effective.

Please excuse my screen shots of their screen shots, but my personal streaks for 2014 are just getting started! :)

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I enjoy apps designed to help me improve myself, and this app has not been a disappointment (altho I think the price is just a tad too high).

Streaks for your iPhone or iPad is $1.99 in the iTunes store

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Empty your Wallet with Key Ring

Screen shot 2013-12-01 at 3.45.01 PM Every once in an app comes along that can be really truly helpful to simplify your life. Yes …. Simplify. Your. Life. :)

This is one of those apps.

Let’s back up a bit. Do you have any reward cards? Loyalty cards? I sure do. It seems like every single store that I frequent is now using some kind of card system. These are the cards that sometimes offer you points toward merchandise, or discounts, or coupons based on your buying history.

Over the years, I have collected so many that they have become quite cumbersome. I’ve tried to manage them the best that I can. I have the ones that I use frequently dangling from my keyring, the ones I use often-ish in my wallet, and another set in their own zip pouch buried somewhere in my purse.

So many cards! I frequent three different pet stores which means three cards just for one dog. :shock:

Enter this app. Key Ring.

Simply download it (it’s FREE) and open up your wallet. Tap the “plus” sign in the upper right corner of the app and start scanning those cards. The scanner screen is very sensitive and your cards will scan easily.

Once they are scanned, each card will exist inside this app.

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When you arrive at the checkout, just tap the title and the bar code will appear on the screen of your phone. Show your phone to the cashier.

I’ve been using this for several weeks and trying it out in different stores.

I can report that in Lowe’s my loyalty card scanned right off this app. Perfect!
This was also true in two of my local grocery stores. Only one store was not able to scan it, but the cashier didn’t miss a beat. She just typed in the number that appeared above the bar code and I was good to go.

All cards have now been removed from my keyring, wallet and purse-pouch.

Very very handy!

Key Ring Reward Cards is FREE in the iTunes store (Note: you will need iOS 7 on your device to use this app.)

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iOS 7: Text Time, a Secret Goodie in iOS 7

Screen shot 2013-10-14 at 8.20.36 AMOn 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. :)

There is a little “secret” buried in the new iOS 7.

And it’s a goodie!

You can now see WHEN a text was sent. This can be very handy ….. Maybe you’ve missed an “I’m on my way” or an apology, or countless other issues. The “when” the text was sent can be quite important….. and now you can see that “when”.

Here is how to see when a text was sent in iOS 7:

This is how you see a typical text.

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If you would like to see the TIME this text was sent, you can now do this in iOS 7.

Just put your finger on the text, and slide to the LEFT.

The time the text was sent will appear on your screen from the right side. :)

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Doodle on Photos with Photo Editor-

Image-1Early last year I recommended Skitch as a great app to use for drawing on photos. I used it often and was excited about sharing it. Recently they “upgraded” it and have rendered it almost useless. I assume they will fix it again, but in the meantime, I needed another easy-to-use photo editor. And I found a great one! Yay!

So now I’m enjoying this new (to me) photo-editing app, called Photo Editor-. It is free, although you can buy extra tweeks. So far, I have bought nothing, and I’m very happy with the functionality of the app exactly the way it is (w/o extras). I can crop, enhance, eliminate red eye, and do many other common photo-things.

AND …..With this app you can also easily add text, change the color of the text, resize the text and place it anywhere on the photo.

AND…… You also have the ability to draw on a photo, changing the thickness of your line and the color, as well.

AND … for extra fun, they have “stickers”. A beginner “pack” is included with the free version. I grabbed a plain picture of the Simpsons off of the internet, and had fun adding all kinds of little extras on them. I added the speech bubble and text, Bart’s hat, Maggie’s Groucho face, Marge’s glasses, Homer’s tie and 3D glasses and Lisa’s sombrero. Imagine the fun with your own family photos. (I almost used my own family for this post, but I thought better of it. :shock: )

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Once you finish editing your photo, you are given many options of what to do with your masterpiece. You can email it, tweet it, facebook it, or save it.

I’m delighted to have a good draw-on-it photo app again.

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 7.12.12 PMPhoto Editor- is free in the iTunes store.

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Do You Wordle?

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 3.15.29 PMIf you are not familiar with Wordle, I think you’ll be delighted to make its acquaintance.

Wordle is simply fun. Easy, happy fun. It is a website that takes your words, and develops word clouds with them … for free.

It takes only moments to make your word cloud. However, you also have a great deal of creative opportunity. You can select fonts and color schemes, shapes and layouts.

For this example, I just typed in some animals, and Wordle created this word cloud for me:

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I decided that I wanted to see another color choice, so I simply dropped the menu ….

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and changed my color selection…

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Wordle is fun and free. There are quite a few tweaks to try, and advanced options as well.

But a simple … and interesting …. word cloud can be yours in just a few clicks.

Your creations are yours to use as you wish. You can print them out, use them for cards or whatever else your mind can dream up.

Visit Wordle and have fun!

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Weekend Distraction: Beatwave for iPhone and iPad

Screen shot 2013-07-26 at 7.24.31 PMBeatwave is not new. It’s been in the iTunes store for years. So, by app-standards, that makes it ancient.

But, it’s free to download, so … why not?

What you get is a grid. Touch anywhere on the grid to fill in a square. This is where the magic begins.

A bar will continually move across your screen from left to right, over and over again. As this bar comes into contact with the dots that you filled in …..  sound!  Arrange them well, and you create pleasant noise, i.e. music.

You have a few extra buttons to tweak, selecting layers and tones.

Basically …. you play with it, and create interesting sounds.

It’s a sound-doodle! :lol:

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There are extra sounds and controls that you can buy to make this more powerful, but the free version is just fine for a bit of a Weekend-Distraction.

Beatwave is FREE in the iTunes store.

Even this dog likes to play …..

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