No Earphone Jack in the New iPhones

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You recognize the picture above as the bottom edge of your iPhone. Way over on the left is the place where you connect your earphones. But say goodbye to that spot ….. it’s gone in the newest model.

The rumor has been around for a long time. And now that rumor is confirmed. The newest iPhone (the 7) will be released with NO earphone jack. The iPhone 7 will be earphone-jack-less.

Huh? I am an earphone jack user. When I walk for exercise, I am connected to my iPhone with my earphones. I have not gone wireless (outside of the house) …. I still connect the old fashioned way.

Although I will not be getting the iPhone 7 (my 6 plus is a wonderful phone), and so I personally don’t have to fret about the change …… it did make me wonder about the whole switch to no-jack. What? How?

I realize that many folks connect to their phone through a wireless connection (bluetooth). So for them, this is a non-issue. But what to do for those of us who still go the “wired” route?

If you are getting the new iPhone, you should know that you will be getting new earphones packed with your phone. These will plug into your iPhone, but in a new connecting spot. You will plug these earphones into the CHARGING port of your phone. Obviously the connector end of these new earphones is specially made to fit into that spot.

Happily, you have another thing packaged with your new iPhone, and that is an ADAPTOR for your old earphones. If you have a set of earphones that are dear to you, you can still use them by plugging into the adaptor, and then plugging the adaptor into the charging port.

So it’s really ok…. but this is a change that will require you to bring that little adaptor with you for plugging in your favorite earphones.

And don’t lose it. A new one will cost you $9.00. 😯

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The Newest Craze …. Pokemon Go

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 3.03.13 PM I’ve been debating whether or not I should address this phenomenon in this blog. I decided not to mention it. Just a silly game (I thought).

And then, this morning I went to our local library. There is a big concrete area in front of our library, an area used for festivals, holiday decorations and concerts. As I walked through it, I was astounded to see many (MANY!!!) folks wandering around the area with their phones in front of their faces. What a sight. And so, for all of you (us) of-a-certain-age folks who don’t know what’s going on with all these zoned-out phone-holders, I thought I’d best sum it up here on this blog.

If you have anyone in your life under the age of 35, just go ahead and ask them. Chances are they are playing, and if not they will certainly know all about it.
It’s Pokemon Go, and it’s e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

What’s it all about? Well, it’s a game that you do out in the world (rather than on the couch). It’s kind of a combination GPS geo-caching thing / scavenger hunt / video game, all rolled into one.

If you’ve ever participated in geo-caching (THAT I’ve done!), you’ll find it is fun and strangely addicting. You learn of a ‘prize’ hidden at a coordinate, and you locate that spot with your phone’s gps. Geo-caching is like a treasure hunt, with a gps treasure-map.

Pokemon Go yanks this up a notch or two. Just as in geo-caching, you go out hunting for particular spots, but this time the prizes are virtual little Pokemon characters. They aren’t “really” there, of course, but if you get yourself to the appropriate coordinate, and look THROUGH the app on your phone, you’ll see the critter. And then you ‘catch’ him with a ball.

This screenshot shows you what a player sees. YOU …. the you without the app….you just see a tree. The player, looking THROUGH the app on their phone, sees this little orange fellow.

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Got it? There’s not much more. Except you want to catch as many as you can. The more you catch, the more you rise through the levels. After that it gets more complicated than I care to learn. (Something about fighting if you’re high enough in the game.)

So now you know. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll see them. Pokemon Go players are everywhere. In parks, downtown, most public areas. You’ll recognize them as they intently walk with their phones right in front of their faces. Sometimes they’re in a group. Surrounding….. nothing (to you). But they see a critter. Crazy, huh?

Although I can’t address this first hand, it seems all consuming. There have been reports of people being injured as they are completely distracted staring at their phones. Even while driving. Yes. You read that right. Even while driving.

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If you want to know more about this game just google “Pokemon Go”. You’ll learn everything you want to know.

And if you want to try it yourself, you can download it from the iTunes store. It’s free.

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A Cyborg isn’t just a Star Trek thing, anymore!

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 10.47.37 AMWhen I hear the word “cyborg” ….. I tend to think of Star Trek and that group of nasties, The Borg, that kidnapped and assimilated the Captain. Those were scary episodes!

But to my surprise, the future is now, and the whole cyborg thing is actually not scary at all, but a marvelous, wondrous leap into new frontiers right here on earth.

A cyborg, defined by Dictionary.com, is a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device.

And they do exist. Take a look at this video. At first I thought (unkindly) that this was a wacky fellow, but after watching the whole video …. well, technology is allowing him to experience the world with senses that he lacks. Amazing!

I don’t know that I would want to go to this extreme, but I don’t walk in his shoes, so I don’t really know.

And this kind of technology is being tapped for all kinds of things. I came across this article about Cyborg Locusts. Scientists might be able to use them to sniff out bombs. What a world we live in!

Cyborg locusts with tattooed wings can sniff out bombs

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Creating Art with a Bicycle Ride and a GPS

We are all familiar with the squiggles created as you map your walk/ride with a GPS app.

Stephen Lund looks at those squiggles differently. He carefully plots his ride, and creates images. HUGE images. He uses the entire city as his canvas.

Take a look at a few that I randomly pulled off the internet.

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Such a clever idea … and he challenges others to do the same.

To learn more, and see more amazing creations, explore these links:

Artist Draws World’s Largest Doodles By Riding His Bike With GPS

A Creative Spin: Pedaling My Art | Stephen Lund | TEDxVictoria

or click here to visit Stephen Lund’s blog.

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Safe Zones for your Internet Transactions

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 7.32.18 PMSelling things on the internet can be rewarding and fun. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it can also be dangerous. There are many terrible stories of horrible things happening during Craigslist transactions, for example.

I’ve used Craigslist myself probably about a dozen times, and I’ll admit I was a wee bit uncomfortable about completing the deals. I sold an old set of outdoor furniture, a large couch and even a hot tub through online ads. All of these sales were big items and the exchange took place at my home (not advisable, but I couldn’t move any of it to a different location). Happily the people who came by were all delightful, friendly folks and everything went smoothly.

Selling on the internet is a wonderful way to clear out your closets and downsize your life. The BIG worry is where to meet these strangers to complete the transaction? There are many articles and lists on the internet describing all the things you can do to keep yourself safe. Suggestions include meeting in a public place, sharing the location with friends, etc. etc. ….

But here is some GREAT news:

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 7.41.13 PM Recently many local police stations are now setting up SAFE ZONE transaction areas to deal with this problem. These spots are usually close to a police station (possibly in the parking lot), and sometimes the spots are actually IN the police station, in an area set aside for this very purpose. Recently, my local newspaper alerted our community of a new ‘safe spot’ for Craigslist, etc, transactions right next to a police station. This spot is well marked, well lit and under video surveillance.

And so …… if you plan to sell through the internet, and complete your transaction in person, please call your local police station and ask if they provide this service. More and more communities are getting on board and setting up these safe areas. It’s such a wonderful idea!!! I think it might finally be time to get rid of all those old 60’s LPs cluttering my basement …… 🙂

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Future Tech to make Smaller Screens Practical: SkinTrack

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I’ve never been good at “seeing” the future.

80’s me: (to my son, sitting at his Commodore 64) “What are you doing?”

Son: “Leaving a message on a computer bulletin board. If another computer dials in, they can read the message … and then leave one for me!!”

80’s me: “What’s the use of that?”

Duh.

Yes, that was me, dissing the whole possibility of the internet. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t see it.

So, it is with open eyes from that lesson learned that I look at this new fangled invention: SkinTrack.

SkinTrack is a way of using your skin as a touch screen.

So, if “future you” has an Apple watch on your wrist, and the screen is just too darned small to tap on things, with SkinTrack you’ll just use your skin as the touch screen.

Small screens can be difficult to tap on, yet small devices are popular. Obviously the inventors of SkinTrack see this as a way of solving the small screen problem.

It boils down to this: The user wears a ring. The ring communicates with the device as you move your finger around on your arm. It even works if your arm is covered with clothing.

So will this become a real thing? A common thing? Don’t ask me. I didn’t see the whole internet brouhaha as any more than a curiosity.

(if you’d like to learn more, here’s a link with a detailed video: SkinTrack Turns Your Arm Into a Touch Screen )

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