Real Time Dictation in iOS8

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 7.47.05 AMThis was a pleasant surprise.

Before iOS8, I would dictate notes, emails and text messages, BUT this process often resulted in frustration for me.

I could dictate, but after every few sentences I would have to click on “done” in order for the dictation-gremlins to catch up. And then I would proof-read to fix errors. I used it, but it was buggy.

iOS8 has changed this …. significantly for the better.

Now, when you dictate, you will see your words appear as you speak them. Now you can speak your entire text, and not have to hit ‘done’ until you actually are (done!).

For those who are new to the iPhone/iPad, or for those who have never used dictation before, here is …..

How to dictate text in iOS 8:

Tap the spot where you plan to type (in notes, email, texts, etc) and a keyboard will appear.

Touch the microphone that is next to the space bar.

From Skitch-22

Start talking. Speak clearly and watch your words appear as you talk.

When you are done, (REALLY done) hit “done.” 🙂


MUCH better. I’ll now be doing a whole lot more talking-to-text rather than finger tapping the keyboard.
(however……. typing on the iPhone 6 Plus is a WHOLE lot easier with the bigger everything keyboard!)

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iOS 8 will now SLOWLY come to this blog

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.24.52 AMReminder: This is a blog for EVERYDAY people. If you are a tech-person or have advanced skills, you are in the wrong place.

I find that when I read tech blogs or articles they are often filled with lots of things I don’t understand or need, and I have to sift down to get to the nitty gritty (dating myself with that term!). 😯 Often there is a nugget of precious info that can help me enjoy this word of tech-wonder, but I have to look for it.

Or …… sometimes info on a tech blog can be simply overwhelming with too much information. Too too too much at once. If I see too much at once, it jumbles together. That won’t happen here.

So, I am taking this opportunity to remind you that I GO SLOWLY.

I have placed a special link to an “iOS 8” page up at the top of this blog.

I will GRADUALLY start exploring iOS 8 features one at a time. And as I do, I will group them on that page, above.

One at a time. Slowly. Step by step. Bit by bit.

This approach helps this regular person understand what she’s learning, and I hope it helps you, too.

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How to Delete an App from your iPad or iPhone: (part of the) Very Beginner Series

* Occasional posts will contain how-tos and/or hints for VERY new users of iPads, iPhones or Kindles. All new users welcome! Non-tech speak, not terribly detailed, just basic device-enhancing goodness. All part of this Very Beginner Series.

Please share with any beginners (Mom? Dad? Grandma?) in your life.*

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 8.11.07 AMI received a message from a reader today asking how to delete an app. I can’t believe that I neglected to include such a basic “how to” on this blog! Let me correct that, right now. 🙂

Any new iPhone/iPad user will soon find themselves loaded with apps. While some of those apps will be useful, you will probably find that others are not-so-good and you would like to get them OFF of your device. It’s very easy to do.

How to delete an app from your iPhone or iPad:

Hold your finger on the app that you want to remove from your device.

It will start to wiggle, and you will see an “x” in the corner of the icon.


Tap on the “x” and you will be given a message that asks if you are sure that you want to delete this app.


Once you tap “delete”, the app disappears. Poof!

FYI … it’s not gone forever. You bought it. You own it. If you ever want it back, just return to the iTunes store and download it again. Apple will remember that you already bought it, so you will download it without charge.

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How to Save Web Images to your iPhone or iPad

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.13.26 PMOver 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 “how to” on Thursdays, for the benefit of the many new-device-users who have joined our blog.

Perhaps you’re wandering around the internet on your iPhone or on your iPad and you see a photo you would like to keep. Maybe you’ve just stumbled on a photo of a sailboat that is on your dream list, or a picture of an awesome cake that inspires you to bake and decorate.

How to Save a Web Image to your iPhone or iPad:

If you see a picture that you would like to keep, just touch the picture and wait a moment. A menu will appear with the option to SAVE the image. Touch SAVE.

You’re done. Yep. That’s all there is.

The image is now in your camera roll. To find it, go to your Photos app. Choose camera roll, and take a look at the last picture. There is your cake (or boat 🙂 )


From Skitch

Another great way to grab what you see is to take a screenshot. This means that you will actually take a picture of the whole screen. Just put one finger on the on/off button, and your other finger on the home button. Push them both at once. Hold for just a second and then let go. Click! A picture of the screen is now in your camera roll. Now go to the Photos app > camera roll. You’ll find your screenshot waiting for you as the last picture in the camera roll.

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How to Quickly Silence an Incoming Call on your iPhone: (part of the) Very Beginner Series

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 9.43.21 AMOccasional posts will contain how-tos and/or hints for VERY new users of iPads, iPhones or Kindles. All new users welcome! Non-tech speak, not terribly detailed, just basic device-enhancing goodness. All part of this Very Beginner Series. Please share with any beginners (Mom? Dad? Grandma?) in your life.


It has happened to all of us.

You are in an inconvenient place to receive a call.

Suddenly your phone rings, you can’t answer it, and you want that ring tone to stop, NOW.

My story: I was in a packed elevator when my phone went off, blaring a peppy obnoxious tune. So embarrassed was I. 😳

How to quickly silence an incoming call:

Just press the wake/sleep button at the top of your phone. The ringer stops. With the ringer silenced, you can still answer the call, OR you can just let it go to voice mail.

(pressing one of the volume buttons will also do the same thing, but I find the wake/sleep button on the top of the phone easier to hit quickly.)


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Careful! The infamous Polar Vortex can hurt your phone!

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 8.14.37 PMMy goodness ….. it has been COLD around here, today. I live in the eastern US, and the term “polar vortex” has been on everyone’s (frozen) lips.

When I glanced at my iPhone during the night, one of my apps had thoughtfully left a chilly notification on the screen “temperature has gone below 0.” 😯

Schools were closed and reporters were on the streets, tweeting pictures of bank-temperature signs announcing numbers like -7 and -3.

Made me wonder: Can iPhones work in that kind of cold?

Turns out that the answer is: Nope. Your iPhone will fail in sub-zero temps.

Apparently the screen display and the battery can not handle these extreme temperatures. Apple tells us that the iPhone battery functions best between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. (-2 is a long way from 32!). When the phone starts getting sluggish, it’s your signal to warm it up. Put it in your pocket or tuck it in somewhere against your body for warmth.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 8.16.41 PMIn 2012, the Mikro PC (PC World Finland) put some phones to the temperature test. They started in a room of 32 degrees and started lowering it in steps of 9 degrees until eventually all phones stopped working.

The iPhone 4s that they tested started acting odd at 23 degrees and and at 9 degrees it stopped working altogether. Some other phones kept functioning as the temps continued to drop. Non smartphones made it all the way to -40, but that was the limit for any phone. You can read all about this test by clicking here.

I heard one newsperson announce that compared to being outside, you would be warmer if you climbed into your freezer. Yep, it’s pretty cold.

When you venture out, remember to bundle up … good advice for both you AND your iPhone.

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Amazon’s Mayday Button will be a BIG help for “Everyday Folks”

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 7.17.37 PMI think probably everyone has experienced a tech-support-horror-story.

I do believe that many people who avoid getting smart phones or tablets stay away because they are afraid that if they run into trouble, they won’t know where to turn.

Amazon seems to really understand “support.” They have always had an outstanding reputation for help-calls.

However, even when support is excellent, following directions can sometimes be difficult, especially if your device is new to you. The tech person might use vocabulary or refer to functions and buttons that simply sound like jibberish to a newbie.

Enter the Mayday button on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HDX. This makes support for the “everyday person” completely ….. well, close to perfect.

Let’s say, for example, you have a new Kindle Fire HDX and you want to set up your email on the device, but you have no clue how to do it.

Just tap the Mayday button and a tech support person appears on the screen. And, even better, they can actually SEE your device screen, and access your controls. They can teach you how to do whatever it is that you need to do. They can circle the button, draw arrows and explain while they show you exactly what to do. Imagine that!

And… this Mayday person will be available to you 24/7, 365 days a year. You need help, help is always right there.

Amazon is promising that the Mayday person will show up on your screen within 15 seconds (wow, huh). They must be planning a full house for Christmas because I can just imagine all the new Kindle Fires being opened on Christmas morning and a deluge of people pushing that Mayday button (if for no other reason than just to see how it works).

I have an old Fire (no Mayday button), and I can tell you that there have been many times where assistance would have been wonderful. Not major issues, mind you, or I would have called the regular suppport line, but just a “I wonder if I can…or how do I…” How nice it would have been to tap a button and get an instant answer!

Here is a video with a few short commercials showing the Mayday button in action.

(fyi ….when you push the Mayday button, you will see the person, and they will see your Kindle Fire’s screen, but they will not see you.:) )

The Mayday button may actually convince you to get a new Kindle Fire HDX

Amazon adds ‘Mayday’ button tech support to new Kindle Fire HDX tablets

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How to Lock your Screen Orientation in iOS 7

Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 7.46.47 AMOn this blog we will be exploring one feature of iOS 7 at a time, and so every few days I’ll toss another here on the blog to look at more closely.

Just ONE at a time.

Slow and steady.

That’s how we “everyday folks” can cope with all this stuff. 🙂

When you flip your iPhone or iPad from portrait mode (home button on the bottom) to landscape mode (home button) on the right or the left, usually your screen will change with you. (Some apps don’t allow the switch). If you look at a photo, you’ll get a good idea of the flip. Just twist your device and watch the photo change orientation.

Some people prefer using their device one way or the other. (Personally, I prefer to use my iPad in landscape, and my iPhone in portrait. Why? I have no idea. Just do. 😆 )

If you have NOT updated to iOS 7, then you can find your method(s) of locking the screen in this old blog post: Flipping Your iPad: How to Lock Your Screen in Landscape or in Portrait

For those of us who have updated, or perhaps got a brand new iPhone :), iOS 7 has changed the way to access the screen “lock”.

Here is how to LOCK your screen on your iPad or iPhone in iOS 7:

From ANY screen (even if your phone is locked), swipe UP from the bottom.

This is the new Control Center. (More on this, later…)

Tap on the lock screen button. It will be black, but it will turn white once you turn it “on”.



To “undo”, just tap the button, again. Easy, breezy.

For iPad users: you can also use your mute button to lock the screen by going to Settings > General > Lock Rotation

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Hurray! Kindle App Adds Collections

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 4.27.44 PMI love how the Kindle app keeps getting better. With this new update, the Kindle app now adds Collections. Yay! It’s about time.

There has been lots of chatter about this for months forever :lol:. Many people feel this is long overdue, and are celebrating this new feature. Collections helps you organize and makes it MUCH easier to browse through your books in the Cloud.

Photo Skitch Document-1

Once you have updated your app, you will discover that some Collections have been made for you. Just tap on the three lines on the upper left of your screen, and a menu will pop out from the side. You will see “Collections” on that list.

Photo Skitch Document-2

Tap on Collections, and see all your books appear in default categories such as “free” or “reading now”.

Touch and hold any book, and you will have the opportunity to Add to Collection. Tap on a book within a collection and you can remove it from a collection and put it into another. It is very intuitive and easy to use.

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To create a new collection, just tap on the + sign on the Collections page.

I enjoy being organized, and this is a wonderful way to organize all of my Kindle books. I plan to spend the rest of the evening sorting through my library and placing books into Collections. 🙂

****** Creating Collections on your Kindle App will sync across other Kindle Apps (iPad to iPhone, for example), but will NOT sync to your Paperwhite or other Kindle device at this time.

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How to Automatically Update Apps in iOS 7 (or not)

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 3.45.31 PMI have always been a lazy app updater, and my update badge was often an annoying reminder that I had to do the deed and update a bunch of apps.

There were times that it got as high as 80-something.
(yes, I’m THAT lazy, and as an app-junkie, it can get quite messy. 😯 ).

And so, one feature of iOS 7 that I think I will enjoy is the opportunity to now set your apps to automatically update.

Many people choose NOT to use this feature, because sometime app updates can be undesirable. (They might take away a feature that you enjoy, for example). But in my experience, I’ve only had a problem one time, back when I was updating regularly. So, considering those odds, I’ve decided to go ahead and activate the automatic update feature.

Here is how to automatically update your apps in iOS 7:

Navigate to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Automatic Downloads

Here you will find the switch for UPDATES.

If you DO want to have your apps update automatically, slide the switch to the right to make it green.

If you want to continue to do it yourself, slide to the left (off).

Photo Skitch Document

For now, I’m automatically updating. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

Important note: Just under the this automatic download area, there is a “cellular data” button. I have that turned OFF. I don’t want my apps updating using cellular data, that might run into $. I want them only to update over wifi. Therefore, I have this cellular button turned OFF.

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