Find Safe, Healthy and Socially Responsible Products with Good Guide

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 8.23.48 AMThis app was promoted on our latest Earth Day. I learned about it then, and downloaded it immediately.

I’m delighted!

With a massive database of over 210,000 products, this app rates them on a scale of 1 to 10 on health, environmental and social impact.

You can search for a product or you can browse through categories such as pet products, oral care, food, household cleaners and more. I especially like seeing the ingredients listed with ratings on EACH ingredient about its safety (or not). You can even scan the barcode of a product while you are shopping.

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I searched for several products that I use regularly and was surprised to see a very low rating for one in particular that I use all the time (oh my ….. a change will happen.:) ).

This app has been featured in the NY Times, USA Today, TIME, Oprah, InStyle, Newsweek, TechCrunch, ABC, CBS, and more. Truly a valuable resource at your fingertips.

Good Guide is FREE in the iTunes store.

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Use the “Near” Feature on Google Maps to Find What you Want

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 6.05.37 PMNot a day goes by that I don’t click on Google Maps. I use it ALL the time.

I use it for directions, of course, and daily for traffic. I use it to look for shortcuts, and I use it for street view so that I can recognize my destination when I get there.

Another great feature of Google Maps is the “near” feature. I was not very familiar with it, but now that I’m using it …… well, it’s simply invaluable.

Let’s say you are standing in Manhattan, near the Empire State Building. You want to visit a book store, but you have no clue of the name of any local book store let alone where one might be.

Google maps to the rescue.

Simply search for “book stores near (your location)” In this example case, I searched for “book stores near the Empire State Building” and the map below shows the result of that search. A bunch of book stores to explore!

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This is obviously a great feature to have when you’re away from home, but lately I find myself using this trick at home, too, to discover unknown-to-me restaurants and other places.

Just search using your own address (or “me” if Google maps knows your home address):
“Mexican restaurants near me,” for example, and, poof! All kinds of new places to explore.:)

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Weekend Distraction: Bonza: An Addictive Word Game

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 6.00.18 PM Bonza is a word puzzle game that’s a bit hard to describe.

The finished puzzle looks like a crossword puzzle, but that’s not how it starts.

You are presented with assorted pieces of the puzzle and it is up to you to slide those pieces around until you make the words that match the theme.

This quick video will show you clearly what I struggle to explain.

Once you download this app, you will get a set of ‘starter’ puzzles to complete. After that, if you want more, you’ll have to buy packs.

** OR **

you can return to the app each day and find a new puzzle …. for free. This is the one-free-puzzle a day model that is also used in the Daily Crossword. I like this. One a day is enough for my rather short ‘game-attention’ span.

Bonza works on your iPhone or iPad and is free in the iTunes store. (I downloaded this a while ago and paid 99¢ for it. As I write this blog post, it appears to be free.)

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How to See All the Photos You’ve Sent via Text

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 10.09.57 AM Text picture sending is something we all do. A lot.

It’s so easy to send a text photo that today most people share not only the extraordinary moments of their lives, but also the most ordinary everyday stuff. (Food pics? We’ve all done it.:) )

I was astonished to learn that you can SEE all the pics you’ve sent to an individual without scrolling back through eternity.

Just open a text thread, and take a look at the TOP, next to the person’s name.

See the word “details”? Tap on that. Poof!!!

A collage of photos, both sent and received!

From Skitch

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How to Answer a Text without Unlocking your iPhone

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 7.47.47 AMThanks to my sweet daughter-in-law for bringing this tip to my attention. It’s a way to answer a text WITHOUT unlocking your phone.

This could be very handy.
In spite of fingerprint-recognition, I find myself tap tap tapping my lock code many times each day, usually just to answer a text message. This little hint shows us a way to answer without the unlock.

However...… old habits are hard to break. I think it’s going to take some conscious effort for me to make this change. The first few times I’ve done this, it has actually slowed me down:) . I guess time will tell if I adopt this method, or continue on tap tapping my code.

How to answer a text without unlocking your iPhone: (iOS8 and up)

When the text comes in on your locked iPhone, it appears like this:

From Skitch

Put your finger on the text and slide the text to the LEFT ……

From Skitch copy

Tap reply and type your message.

From Skitch copy 2

Old habits are hard to break. But it’s always fun to learn something new.

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In Case of an Emergency……………… (If you have an iPhone, you should definitely do THIS. It could save your life.)

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 8.28.28 AMYears (and years) ago, I remember putting the contact “ICE” (in case of emergency) in my contact list. I thought this was so clever. In an emergency, a health care person could find this on my phone and know who to contact……

Duh. Now our phones are locked. Although my ICE contact is still listed, in an emergency the professional who picks up my phone will find nothing but a lock screen.

HOWEVER ……

There is an emergency “work around” and this is far better than the mere ICE contact.
(and I thank dear friend Trudi for bringing this to my attention).

By setting up your Medical ID information in the “Health” app on your phone, you will give medical professionals the opportunity to see your emergency contact and any health info that you would want them to know in case of an emergency.

All you need to do is:

1. open your health app, and add the medical information that you would want known.

That’s it!

In case of an emergency, this information will be accessible on your locked iPhone.

To access this medical information from the locked numeric code screen, just tap “Emergency”

and then, “medical ID”

Click on this link to see this laid out, step by step:
Hospital Employee Shares iPhone Tip That Could Save Your Life In An Emergency

****

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My Laptop was Sluggish. My iPhone, iPad not connecting. Problem…. Solved!

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.36.04 AMI have a Macbook, and it’s getting old….. So, when it started acting up (gradually), I took it to be a symptom of my computer’s age, and began to slip $ into a cookie jar to save for a new one. The problems were sporadic. A page would load sluggishly. Or not at all. Then it would work fine. Then it would slow down. I’d do all my housekeeping (emptying the trash, deleting desktop clutter, rebooting the computer) and it would get better. And then, after an all-too-short while, give me problems, again. Sigh. Computers are expensive. I wasn’t happy about the impending expense.

And then there was my iPad. It is new-ish, not quite two years old. It worked fine for all off-line activity, but had a terrible time staying connected to my home wi-fi. It often dropped the connection. Not a huge problem for me since most of my internet browsing is done on the computer, but it was still annoying. I would have to go to the settings, and tap on my home internet to reconnect several times a day. I didn’t give it tons of thought. I kind of wondered if I had a dud of an iPad, but I never bothered to take the next step to troubleshoot…..

And this same situation frequently happened with my iPhone as well. I would look for the wifi tornado on my phone, and although it is supposed to automatically connect to my home wifi when I am in the house, it usually didn’t. Again… I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I just ‘noticed’ it….

Throughout all this time, I must point out that our streaming service on the television was working fine. We stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Acorn and Hulu with no troubles. And this is why I probably never connected the dots and looked to my router. After all, the internet couldn’t be the problem (I thought). The streaming was flawless.

I NEVER deduced that any of this was an internet problem. After all, the wifi in my house was clearly “fine” (I thought). The streaming was working, and the tornado symbol was visible on my computer….. It was “ON” (wasn’t that enough?)

And then, one day, I turned on my Macbook, and had no internet at all. I checked with my internet service provider, and learned that there were no disruptions in my area. So it had to be a problem on my end.

My troubleshooting expertise for an internet problem consists of ONE action, and one action only. Unplug the router, wait a minute or so, and re-plug. Magic! Everything was working again, as usual.

But, remember, my “usual” was not-so-good. Sluggish Macbook and disconnected devices. This had gone on for so long, I was just accepting this as normal. Duh. It’s not.

When I needed to unplug and re-plug the router a few more times, it s-l-o-w-l-y dawned on me that maybe I needed a new router. With a son coming home for Christmas, I thought this would be the perfect time to replace it …. after all, isn’t that what these young people do? Help their parents with these techy installs?

I did a quick internet search, and since I don’t understand this technology at all, I simply depended on the recommendations of websites like CNET, and selected a router in a reasonable price range that was in stock at our local Best Buy. I brought it home, and waited for my son to arrive and install this new mysterious device.

And now I’ll skip to the GLORIOUS outcome: Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.58.56 AM

After installing the new router, I learned that:

My Macbook is NOT failing. It is NOT sluggish. Its poor performance was entirely due to a failing router.

My iPad is NOT defective. It is firmly attached to the internet, now. Again….. the failing router was responsible.

My iPhone is NOT finicky. When I walk in the door, it connects to my wifi. And stays there until I leave, again. The failing router was totally responsible.

and so ….. My message to all of us un-techy people: Routers do NOT last forever. They fail, and they can fail gradually. If you are having problems, your router MIGHT be your issue. After the replacement, all of our devices are now working flawlessly.

If you want to know more about this, here is a REAL article (as opposed to my uninformed ramblings) from the NYTimes about wifi and router issues:
If your wifi is terrible, check your router

Bottom line, routers don’t last forever. If you are having internet issues, and your router is more-than-a-few years old, consider the possibility that it might need replacement.

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