Translate with Google

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 9.08.35 PMThere are many features to Google that are tucked away and neglected.

“Translation” is one of those.

Just ask Google to translate whatever word you need:

Translate (insert whatever word) to (insert whatever language)

Here are my screenshots after asking Google to translate the English word “bread” into German, Spanish and French.

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It’s so easy and quick. And you never know when it might come in handy :)

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How to Force-Close Apps in iOS 7

Screen shot 2013-09-20 at 7.36.56 PMThere are so many changes in iOS 7, we will be tackling them here on this blog one-at-a-time. Slow and easy.

Knowing how to force-close an app is important, not only so that you can stop an app that might be frozen, but also so that you can see and stop all of the apps that are running in the background.

(Up until now, if you wanted to close running apps, you double clicked the home button, touched an icon until you saw the red “-“, and then deleted those apps on the bottom of the screen.)

I’ve talked about the importance of this before:
Is your iPhone (iPad) Sluggish? Give it a Clean Sweep. (With iOS 7, you should not need to close all your apps all that often. The developers claim they are using very little of the resources.)

This “how to” has changed in iOS 7.

To force-close your apps in iOS 7, double click the home button (as before)…. but this time, instead of seeing a row of icons at the bottom, you will see a screen that is new to you.

This screen will show you the open apps (the ones that used to line up across the bottom) AND, in addition to those icons, you will also see a snapshot of the app as it appeared when it was open. Move to the left and right to see all the open apps.


If you touch the screenshot of any of these open apps, you will return to it, and the screenshot becomes the actual screen. If I had touched that peaceful alarm clock screenshot, for example, I would have been taken back ‘into’ the alarm clock app.

To close each app, put your finger on its screenshot and flip it up. Whoosh! Gone.

To summarize:

Closing open apps in iOS7: Double click the home button. Flip the screenshots UP.

ta da …. done!

I don’t know if it’s ‘better’ than the old way, but it is kind of fun. :)

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How to Split your iPad Keyboard (and find Hidden Keys)

As part of my month-long anniversary series, some posts will include information covered previously. Hopefully this way new readers get to see things they missed and older readers might be reminded of things they have forgotten. (This “forgetting” thing happens to me, too!)

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Balancing the iPad while you type can be difficult. Holding it with one hand as you type with the other feels a bit unbalanced and the thought of dropping it is just too costly to even consider.

If you split the keyboard, you can hold the iPad securely, and, yes, type with your thumbs. This might not be your choice for all-the-time, and many people don’t like it at all, but for those who do, you may also be interested in some HIDDEN keys once the keyboard has been split.

Before we find those secret, invisible keys, let’s split your keyboard.

Here is how to split your iPad keyboard:

Bring up an email, or notepad or something else where the keyboard appears.

Look for the key with the picture of the keyboard on it that is next to the 123 button on the lower right side. If you tap on that button, the keyboard disappears. But we don’t want to make the keyboard disappear, we want to split it.

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Screen shot 2013-05-21 at 8.46.11 PMTo split the keyboard, touch and HOLD that button (that looks like a keyboard). You’ll see a little menu appear that gives you two options: undock and split.

Tap on “split” to split your keyboard. As soon as you tap on “split”, you will see the keyboard separate, and rise up into the lower middle area of the iPad screen. It will also get a bit smaller to fit your thumbs.

Now you can hold the iPad securely with two hands while you type. :cool:

The hidden keys are in the blank areas on either side of the keyboard. Just stretch your thumb out a little further beyond the ”t” and you can type a “y”. Tap the blank area next to the “v” and you’ll get a “b”.

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This also works if you split the numbers keyboard. Tap the empty space next to the “5” and get a “6” and so on.

Touch and hold the button again to merge the keyboard and re-dock at the bottom of your screen.

Even though I personally don’t use this feature, I just enjoy doing it occasionally to find those secret, hidden, invisible keys. (Yes, I’m that geeky :) )

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How to Set Bookmarks on your iPhone

Yesterday’s blog post covered how to set bookmarks on your iPad. I was going to include the iPhone in that post, but the bookmarking process is just different enough to deserve its own post.

How to set up bookmarks on the iPhone:

Go to your favorite website in Safari. For this example, I chose Goodreads.

Tap the action-arrow at the bottom of the screen.


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Several choices will pop up. Select Bookmark.


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This new screen (below) will pop up. It gives you the opportunity to re-name the bookmark. Once you do (or don’t do) this, just tap ‘save’.


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When you want to SEE the websites that you have bookmarked, just open Safari and tap on the BOOK symbol on the bottom of the page.


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You will see all of your bookmarked websites (and a few that Apple has already bookmarked for you). Tap on any of them, and you are taken to the linked website.

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How to Set Bookmarks on your iPad

As part of my month-long anniversary series, some posts will include information covered previously. Hopefully this way new readers get to see things they missed and older readers might be reminded of things they have forgotten. (This “forgetting” thing happens to me, too!)

photo credit: wikipedia

photo credit: wikipedia

I use “bookmarks” on my MacBook all the time, and back in the early days of using my iPad, I greatly missed this feature. I soon learned, however, that you can bookmark on your iPad, and it is easy to do.

(You can also set bookmarks on your iPhone, however it works differently than the iPad, so another post will be dedicated to setting up bookmarks on the iPhone.)

The Bookmark Bar on the iPad is very handy. Once you have it set up, whenever you go to Safari, you will see your favorite websites (ones that you have bookmarked) right across the top of the screen. Just touch one and you will be whisked right to the website.

So let’s set up the Bookmark Bar on the iPad. We start by activating it in Settings.

Here is how to use the Bookmark Bar on your iPad:

Open Settings > Safari. Look for “Always Show Bookmarks Bar” and turn it “on”.

Close settings, and launch your Safari app.

Go to a website that you visit frequently.

Now, touch the sharing arrow up at the very top left of the page. A menu will appear and one of the choices will be “Bookmark”.

Touch “Bookmark” and a new box will pop up. Make sure “Bookmarks Bar” is your choice, and tap “SAVE”.

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That’s all there is to it. The next time you launch Safari, look up at the top of the page, (just under the search boxes) and you will see the names of all the websites that you have added to the Bookmark Bar. Tap any of them to zap yourself straight to your favorite website.

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3 Gestures to Use on your iPad (and save your home button)

As part of my month-long anniversary series, some posts will include information covered previously. Hopefully this way new readers get to see things they missed and older readers might be reminded of things they have forgotten. (This “forgetting” thing happens to me, too!)

tumblr_ldl5vjLN5s1qdd7bwo1_500If you know anyone who has used an iPad (or an iPhone) for an extended period of time, you might have heard complaints that the home button can get sticky or less responsive. Using gestures in place of the home button can make the iPad an even better experience. The gestures are easy and intuitive.

First make sure that your iPad has its gesturing ability turned ON. Go to your Settings > General > Multitasking Gestures. Make sure this is switched to “on”.

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Here is how to close an app on your iPad without using the home button:

Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 7.28.28 PMOpen an app.

Spread your fingers wide and gently place them all on the screen.

Now, pull your fingers together, dragging them across the screen.

Poof! Your app is closed, with no home-button-usage. :)

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Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 7.40.18 PMHere is another gesture for your handful of fingers. This works with four or five fingers, and on the iPad only, not the iPhone (the iPhone’s screen is too small for so many fingers.)

The purpose of this gesture is to move from an open app to another open app without having to tap your way through the “close > navigate to the next app > open” sequence. This is awesomely helpful if you are working with two or three open apps and want to go back and forth between the them.

Here is how you can move between apps:

Let’s practice with two apps that came with your iPad (but it will work with any two apps).

Tap to open the Clock app. Now close it.

Tap to open the Photos app. Now close it.

Go back and open the Clock app again. Now place four or five fingers on the screen and swipe to the left.

Here comes the open app, Photos, from the right. (If you swipe to the left again, you’ll see the last app you had open before you tried this trick).

Now swipe back in the other direction, and you have returned to Clock. Spend a moment flipping back and forth. You can see how easy it is to move between your open apps. Try again with two apps of your choice.

This may not be a gesture you’ll need often, but when the day comes that you need to work with two or more apps, this gesture will be golden.

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Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 7.33.10 PMAnd last but not least … the “Swipe UP”.
Simply place four fingers on your iPad screen and push UP. This exposes the task bar and makes visible all of the running apps. (More on “running apps”, soon).

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How to Add Assorted Smiley Faces to Your WordPress Blog or Comments

Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 7.22.22 PMWhen commenting on a WordPress blog, you can enhance your words with smiley faces. As I read through comments, I see the ‘typical’ smiley face used a lot. But did you know that you can ALSO add lots of other expressive faces to punctuate your comment? :shock:

Here are SOME of the codes that you can use to add a variety of faces to your words. I’m putting the actual code in quotes, but when you use it, don’t use the quotes. (if I didn’t use the quotes for this post, they would simply show up as the smiley faces themselves). Also, when writing, remember to leave a space between your words and the codes.

Feel free to try these out in the comment section of this post.

:) This is the typical smiley face made by typing: “:)” or “:-)” or “:smile:”

:D Grinning face: “:D” or “:-D” or “:grin:”

:( Sad face: “:(” or “:-(” or “:sad:”

:o Eek! face: “:o” or “:-o” or “:eek:” (this is made with a small case letter “o”)

:shock: Shocked face: “8O” or “8-O” or “:shock:” (this is made with a capital letter “O”)

:? Questioning face: “:?” or “:-?” or “:???:”

:cool: Cool dude face: “:cool:”

:x Mad or angry face: “:x” or “:-x” or “:mad:”

:neutral: Plain, neutral face: “:neutral:”

;) Winking face: “;)” or “;-)” or “:wink:”

:cry: Crying face: “:cry:”

:evil: Evil face: “:evil:”

:lol: Laughing face: “:lol:”

:oops: Embarrassed face: “:oops:”

And last but not least, my favorite, the Rolling Eyes: :roll: “:roll:”

Have fun!

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Look for Amazon’s New “Send to Kindle” Button on a Website Near You!

Screen shot 2013-03-20 at 8.47.07 PMAmazon has just announced a new exciting feature for Kindle owners.

This new “send to kindle” button allows you to send the content that you see on the web directly to your Kindle to read later at your own leisure.

(There are many apps that do a similar deed for the iPad (I use Instapaper), but the idea of sending a web page directly to my Kindle is very exciting.)

So far this magic button has only been added to a few websites, but the Washington Post is one of them, and is a great place to try this out. I did, and it worked GREAT.

Here is all I did to send a Washington Post news story directly to my Kindle:

I pulled up a random news story, and there, on the side, were a list of buttons, among them, a new “K“.

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I tapped the  “K” and another pop up appeared, asking me where I would like it sent.  I chose to send it to my Paperwhite.

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That’s it.

The next time I went to my Paperwhite, the article from the Washington Post was waiting there for me to read it.   Wonderful!

I thoroughly expect this “K” to quickly start showing up on websites all over the internet. It is available from Amazon, now, for all websites and also for WordPress blogs.

(Note to WordPress bloggers: Of course I immediately wanted to add this Kindle button to my own blog, however, it is my understanding that at this point it is not possible to add it to the free-version of wordpress blogging, the kind with in your address. I’m hoping WordPress allows us to use it, soon. But in the meantime, if you have upgraded your WordPress blog, know that you can now add a kindle button and allow your readers to read your blog posts on their Kindles.)

How to Turn Off In-App Purchases on your iPad, and Avoid a $2500 Bill

Screen shot 2013-03-03 at 7.37.01 PMLast week the Kitchen family in the UK got a shock: A bill from Apple for approximately $2500.

No, they didn’t buy 5 iPads. They merely handed the one they had over to their 5 year old son.

Apparently, Dad downloaded a ‘free’ game for his son, and gave him the iPad to play with for just 15 minutes. In those 15 minutes, the little boy managed to tap an in-app purchase button enough times to rack up the huge bill.

You can read more about this story, here.

Many apps use the “free, but with in-app purchases” approach. Sometimes this just means free-to-try for a while, and if you like it, you can buy it from within the app. Other apps charge you for ‘things’ within it. A painting app might charge you for new brushes, while a gaming app might charge you for new levels or tools to use within the game.

Personally, I don’t mind the type that lets you try before you buy. But I tend to stay away from the apps that encourage “extras” from within. Just seems a bit greedy to me.

Anyway ….. if you are an adult who finds himself/herself handing over your iPad occasionally to your child, your grandchild or any other child who wanders into your life, you should fix the settings so that you do not find yourself opening a surprise bill in your inbox.

Here is how you fix your settings to prevent in-app purchases:

Go to Settings > General > Restrictions. (if you have not tapped on restrictions before, you will be asked to enter a pin. Remember this!!) and then slide down to where you see “In-App Purchases”

Tap the button to turn it OFF.

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Happy ending for this family. Apple refunded the parents. But if your iPad finds its way into the hands of a child, it would be very wise of you to make sure the in-app purchase ability is switched to ‘off’. :)

Is your iPhone (iPad) Sluggish? Give it a Clean Sweep.

photo credit: kaiton via photopin cc

photo credit: kaiton via photopin cc

Basically we need to do nothing to maintain our iPhones and iPads. They just chug along and work brilliantly. They entertain us, they remind us, they inform us, and they help us accomplish stuff.

But actually, they DO need a little maintenance sometimes. Some TLC (don’t we all? :) )

You see, when you open an app, and then leave it, it continues to run.

Before very long, you can have dozens of apps running in the background, slowing down your iPhone and/or iPad.

In order to prevent this from happening, you must periodically close all those running apps.

Here is how you do it:

Double click your home button.

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Once you have double-clicked, you will see a line of apps appear across the bottom of your iPhone/iPad. If you swipe to the left, you will see there are LOTS of apps in that row.

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This row of apps are all the ones that are currently running. The ones on the far left are ones you most recently opened. You can see that I last used Google Maps, played Words with Friends, tinkered with my Settings and looked at some photos.

So now…. let’s close them!

Put your finger on any one of those, and hold.

The icons will start to wiggle AND you will see a red minus sign on the upper left hand corner.

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Now start tapping those red minus signs. By doing that, you will CLOSE the running app. Keep going until you have eliminated the entire row.

Then tap your home button one more time to return to your regular screens.

That’s it! Do this regularly to keep your iPhone and/or iPad from getting sluggish.


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