A Useful Tool to Help You Choose Your Next Great Read

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 7.24.14 PMAs much as I love to read, I must admit that I hate the feeling that I get when I FINISH a great book. It’s kind of sad to close the cover on characters you love (or hate), and a plot that kept you thoroughly engaged. The book ends, and the hunt begins. The hunt for that NEXT great book…….

I usually get my next book from one of several sources: a friend’s recommendation, a Goodreads bookshelf that matches my interests, or any one of the books that are “waiting” for me on my own Kindle bookshelf.

I recently discovered ANOTHER source, a website that lists books for you that are similar to the one you love!

As soon as I stumbled upon this site, I typed in some book names to see what kinds of suggestions it offered.

I was pleased with the results.
For example, I entered “Pillars of the Earth” and was delighted to see a list of books generated within seconds. Happily I can report that there were several books included in that list that I have already read and can absolutely agree that they belong there as suggestions for similar books. There were others listed that I haven’t read, and so, (🙂 happy time!🙂 ) I now have more books to explore.

If you are a reader, I think you’ll enjoy giving this a try:
(you don’t have to register or sign in to type in the title of a book and get a list of ‘similars’)

WHAT SHOULD I READ NEXT?

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Stickyboard 2 on Sale for …… FREE for your iPad

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 6.06.51 AM FREE is good!

FREE is now ……. but I have no idea how long this sale is going to last. Regular price: $9.99.

The reviews for this app are excellent, and so I downloaded it onto my iPad to look it over.

And I’m delighted!

Imagine a big white board and magic sticky notes at your fingertips.

It’s so easy to use. Just double tap the white board to add a new note. Slide them around with your fingers. Move the entire board with 2 fingers.

You can color code your notes, easily arrange them, even email entire boards.

An awesome tool for all kinds of planning.

When you first download it, you’ll get this screen, full of tips on “how to”. Within minutes you’ll be posting your notes.

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I like to plan and organize and arrange my thoughts, so I intend to give this app quite a workout. I thank the developers for making it FREE.🙂

Stickyboard 2 is FREE in the iTunes Store (for your iPad)

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Spotlight improved in iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 9.05.08 AMThere are so many new features in iOS 8, it will take us a long time with our one-at-a-time approach to work our way through them all! But honestly, when I read articles like “35 things you need to know RIGHT NOW” or “100 little known features…blah blah blah”, well, I get overwhelmed.

So I’m keeping my turtle pace, even tho we have a lot of territory to cover. Baby steps.

Next up: Spotlight.

Spotlight USED to be a feature where you could do a search on your device (only). I originally thought that was silly, but over time, I’ve found it useful to find an app buried in a folder. (I created those folders to organize and find stuff easily, but that seems to have backfired.)

In iOS 8, Spotlight has been improved. It will now not only search your device, but also the internet. And so … if I search “Enya” on my phone, the search will turn up music that lives on my phone and also a link to a Wikipedia article about her (which is NOT on my phone… that’s on the internet.)

To access Spotlight, go to your home screen (a page full of icons). Now, pull down on your screen from the top of your device. Stay ON THE SCREEN as you pull down. If your finger goes higher onto the white or black surface of your phone, you’ll get a different delight. Put your finger between some icons near the top and pull down.

You’ll see a screen that looks like this. The new Spotlight.

From Skitch-30

Below is a screen grab of the results after I searched for the word “card”, looking for the card game I use to play Free Cell. Notice here that not only did it find the app for me, but it also found “card” in my contacts for a cardiology doc, it suggested the St Louis Cardinals as something I might find interesting (that’s a stretch…. I don’t live anywhere near there, so ..?? ) and the search also brought up emails and messages that included the word “card.”

From Skitch-31

Now, all of this is rather useless information if I’m just looking for an app, but I can certainly understand that situations arise where this broader search is necessary.

So if you are a person who wants all this extra stuff, you’re in luck. But if you DON’T (and that means me), you have the option to turn it all off.

Go to General > Spotlight Search

There you will see a screen like the one below. Notice all of the things that are checked to search!!! That happens by default, so if you don’t want them, you have to deselect them.

As soon as I publish this post, I have some “de-selecting” to do. 🙂

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How to Narrow your Google Image Searches

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 7.54.12 PMI am always amazed at the power of Google. Type in almost anything and you have your answer in seconds.

I took an online course last year on Google searching. My purpose in taking the course was to experience an on-line course….NOT to learn how to search on Google. Oh, no. I thought I knew that. Silly, silly, me. There is SO much more to google searching than meets the eye. It is truly astounding. Much of what I learned I’ll never use, but some things are quite helpful. (Gradually I’ll include some of these things on this blog… like today.🙂 )

Almost anything you search for can be refined. Let’s look at a search for Astronauts.

If you google “astronauts,” and click on “Images”, you get a page that looks like this:

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Now click on “search tools.” A new row of options appear.

Select “type,” and a drop down menu unfolds.

Tap “faces,” and your images are suddenly limited to just the faces of astronauts.

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Perhaps you would like to see some clip art of astronauts?

Simply select “clip art,” and this is what you get:

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another choice is “line drawing”

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Narrowing your choices can save you a lot of time sorting through unwanted images.

Try it yourself with a search or two.

You’ll feel magically powerful in your image-searching ability.🙂

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How to Make an Icon for your Most-Used Bookmarks on your 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.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 9.39.32 AMI have LOTS of bookmarks on Safari, but it isn’t that easy to access them. You have to drill down a bit to get to what you want to see.

So, for those websites that I visit often, I skip the whole book-mark thing, and make icons for my home screen, instead.

This way, when I want to visit a favorite website, all I have to do is tap the icon.

How to Make an Icon for your Most-Used Bookmarks

Just go to the site of your choice, like “sharechair.wordpress.com”. Look to the upper left hand corner and tap on the ‘action’ box.

From Skitch-6

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After tapping the arrow-box, you will see several choices. Select “add to home screen”.

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From Skitch-7

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Finally, select “add”.

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From Skitch-8

All done!!

You now have a new icon on your home screen. Just tap it whenever you want to go to your favorite website. Enjoy this quick and handy option (instead of drilling down through your bookmarks).

From Skitch-9

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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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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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