An Update about Updating to iOS9…..

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 7.00.00 AMSo ……. I still have not updated to the next iOS system. And for those of you who are not techy, and happy enough with the way your phone is working, I recommend that you wait a bit longer, too.


Well, apparently, as usual, there are bugs. But a few of these bugs are a bit more challenging than the typical variety of inconvenience. THIS time, your iPhone could crash during the install (requiring a full restore :shock: ) and another “helpful” change is messing with people’s data plans.

Interesting, too, was the impact of this update on this blog. Usually gets about 500+ hits a day. Suddenly, after the update was released, the daily hits nearly doubled. I could not understand why, but I did see that most of the hits were landing here because of a search for turning off game center pop ups. Apparently that is another issue with the new update …. a very pesky pop up.

I’m going to wait a while longer. I have done a full restore before (more about that on another blog post to come) but I would certainly rather avoid a full restore, so…… waiting.

Bottom line: For me, and the rest of you regular folks who like to USE your smartphone, but NOT tinker with it, I suggest you do nothing right now.

Yes, I am going to wait a bit longer to update, and to Gina, Mona, Trudi, et al. …… if you haven’t done it already, I suggest you wait, too.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.17.31 AM

The Apps I found to be Most Helpful for Cross-Country Driving

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 5.15.22 PMLast July we took a month-long road trip. I live on the east coast and we drove all the way to the west coast, passing through 15 states. Being an east-coast person, where facilities exist at every highway exit, and internet access is everywhere, I anticipated fretted (just a bit) that there would be times on this drive where I would find myself in pockets of “no service.” Like many of you I have come to rely on my iPhone for directions, recommendations, reservations, information and reviews and so I did what I could to prepare for “life without” my smartphone. :shock:

To my surprise, I never found cell service to be a problem. I got the dreaded “no service” occasionally, but not nearly as often as I had expected. Even on remote route 2 in northernmost Montana, cell service was surprisingly available.

Before leaving, I loaded my iPhone with apps that I thought might be useful. I didn’t dig too deep, so most of the apps I used were pretty mainstream, and their usefulness varied according to where-in-the-world I was.

It goes without saying that the Camera and Photos were both used a LOT.

And Weather. I have several weather apps on my phone, although three of them are local. So I turned to the standby Weather Channel app to check forecasts for the places we were going.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 6.52.15 PMAnother weather app that I found to be most helpful was Radar US.

By keeping an eye on the radar, we were able to time some outdoor events in between approaching storms.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 6.40.15 PMI used Google Maps constantly. I used it for navigation and I used it to look ahead for traffic.
However, I soon learned that “traffic” was really not a problem in most of the areas we explored. (True story: The very WORST traffic of our entire adventure happened as we arrived back in our own area, about 20 minutes from home. 30 days of driving, and we got stuck during the last half hour.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 7.03.30 PM When you’re a stranger in a strange land, Yelp is a treasure. There was a time that Yelp was most helpful only in cities, but I am here to report that even in the smallest of towns I found that folks had reviewed the (very) few eating establishments thoroughly. We had several delicious meals in places that we would have missed without turning to Yelp for advice.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 7.29.18 PMiExit was wonderfully helpful. There is nothing better when riding down a highway than being able to look ahead to determine when and where you might stop for gas or food.

I found that this app was even useful in the sparsely populated areas, because I was able to see at a glance how many exits ahead had nothing …. making a stop “now” even more imperative. As someone who lives on the busy East Coast, I live in a world where EVERY exit of EVERY highway is populated with numerous motels, gas stations and eateries. It rapidly became clear that this is not the norm for most of the country, and while looking ahead down a highway on this app I was delighted when I was finally able to report an exit with facilities.

Entertainment: I had anticipated that there would be some long and rather dull stretches of road, so I loaded up some entertainment on my phone to keep us awake occupied as we drove.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 7.51.07 PMOf course I loaded my iPhone with many favorite Podcasts for listening as we drove. To my surprise, we didn’t listen nearly as much as I thought that we would. But they were available to fill some time if we needed them, and that was good.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 7.48.55 PMMy husband is a great fan of trivia, and so I selected a new trivia app for the drive, ExQuizit. We used it often, and found it delightful. There are many options available within the app. You can choose a single category, or two or several, and you can choose the number of questions you want, as well. You also have the opportunity to select from Normal, Hard, or Expert questions. The game has an option to play with friends, but we never used that. We played “solo” and just tried to conquer the questions together. I am not a trivia fan, but I actually found this an enjoyable way to pass some time.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 7.59.33 PMNo drive across country can be accomplished without looking for a license plate from each state. And of course… there’s an app for that. Although pen and paper would do just fine, this was actually kind of fun and convenient. State Plate Hunt includes not only the 50 states of the USA, but also the states, provinces and territories of the USA, Canada and Mexico. When you see a plate, just tap the state and the app will mark it as “found.” (How did we do? 47 states. 47! grrrrr. We missed Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont. I understand Hawaii, but wasn’t anyone from Rhode Island or Vermont riding around this summer?)

Before leaving home, I would have guessed that Waze, AroundMe, and GasBuddy would all have been favorites, but I used those apps rarely. I’m sure there are some great road-trip apps that I missed, so if you have some you enjoy, please share!

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.17.31 AM

“Words of Astonishment” don’t cut it for the new Apple sales numbers

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.15.47 PMI tried to think of “words of astonishment” to adequately express my …. uh …. astonishment at one of the numbers that Apple released this week.

“Holy Cow!” << not strong enough

“Holy Mackerel!” << sounds like a flashback to decades ago

“Good Heavens!” << too tame

“Holy Smokes!” << ( interesting sidebar: lots of these phrases contain the word “holy”.)

“Great Caesar’s Ghost!” << I think this comes from Perry White of Superman fame

“Goodness Gracious” << wayyyyyy too calm

I give up.

I can’t find a phrase to adequately express my astonishment.

For what, you ask?

For this astounding fact that Apple released a few days ago:

(read slowly, now, to digest this, fully)

For the last quarter (that’s THREE MONTHS), Apple sold 34,000 iPhones an HOUR.


That’s 34 THOUSAND iPhones EVERY HOUR!!!

I just can’t get my head around that number. :shock:

If you have any words of astonishment that suits …. I would appreciate it. :)

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

How to Turn Off (the evil) In-App Purchases

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 6.49.05 PMAlmost two years ago, I blogged about turning off in-app purchases, after a child in the UK racked up a whopping bill of $2500.

Since many folks have recently subscribed to this blog after (probably) getting a new device for the holidays, I think it’s time to talk about this again.

First, my rant. Bluntly, I think in-app purchases are (usually) evil. It’s a model designed to get you to pay more and more just to finish whatever it is you are doing. In-app purchases often appear in games, encouraging you to acquire extra powers or lives or turns or whatevers. In the heat of the moment, many normally-sane people find themselves wracking up charges for…… well, lots of nothing.

It just seems to me that the vast majority of in-app purchases are simply designed to, uh, ‘get’ you.

If you have children using your devices, you should absolutely positively turn OFF the ability to buy these extras.

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 7.00.17 PMBut I’d like to take this a step further and suggest that all of us boomers do the same. Those in-app purchases are pretty darn sneaky (and getting sneakier all the time). They can pop up and be confusing, and you might find yourself buying something you never intended to buy at all.

I recently downloaded a well-reviewed match 3 game, a Disney product, and was flabbergasted at all the “do you want to buy an extra turn/power/etc” that the game kept throwing at me. I’d MUCH rather pay for a game, and use it cleanly without any hidden costly surprises.

Here is how to turn off your in-app purchases on your iPhone or iPad:

Go to your Settings > General > Restrictions.

To enable restrictions, you’ll have to enter a passcode. Be sure to remember this, because you will need it if you want to change it later.

Once you have enabled restrictions, just slide on down and find “In-app purchases.” Slide the switch to off (not green) and you’ll be all set.


Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

No-Tech Tinsel

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 2.25.33 PMIf you’re looking for a technology related post today on this blog…. you’ll be disappointed.

I can’t resist linking to an article about TINSEL.

Why? you ask? (good question!)

Three reasons:

Reason number one: It is an interesting article about the history of Tinsel. For all of us of a certain age….. remember the beautiful stuff that hung from our trees back in the 50’s? It was heavy, and made the tree look just wonderful. But did you know that that tinsel of yesteryear was made of lead? I didn’t. Whodathunkit. LEAD!!!!

Reason number two: My dear talented daughter-in-law wrote the article. :)


Reason number three: The article includes a photo of yours truly, back in 1950, eating said LEAD tinsel. Yum. It was delicious. :shock:


What Is Tinsel Made Of, And How Has It Changed Over The Years?

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM

Thanksgiving = Blogging Break

As Thanksgiving approaches, we often reflect on the many things for which we are thankful. I am so very grateful for every individual in this blogging community. I appreciate each and every reader, and I want you to know that. :)

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate the day and a Happy Last-Week-in-November for everyone else.

I leave you this week with these directions for cooking your Thanksgiving Turkey.

( I dedicate this to a certain group of friends….. you know who you are :) )

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 8.19.29 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.01.13 PM