YouTube w/o Ads …. for a Fee. Meet YouTube Red

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 7.47.42 AMOn October 28, Google will be launching YouTube Red for your iPhone and iPad. YouTube Red will cost you $12.99 a month. ($9.99 for Android devices)

So what is YouTube Red? Here is what you’ll get:

* Ad Free YouTube videos. (Those ads are pesky …. but is it worth $12.99 to eliminate them? Not for me.)

* The ability to download videos and watch offline. (Now, THAT is quite excellent. But still… $12.99?)

* The ability to have YouTube videos run in the background while you use other apps.

* Included is free access to Google Play Music.

Learn all the details, here, on the YouTube Red Faq page.

Apparently, Google is also planning some of their own programming for release on YouTube (following the winning examples of Netflix and Amazon).

It will be interesting to see if this takes off. It sounds expensive to me (compare Amazon Prime at $99 a year to this Google service which will cost you $158.99 a year).

Personally, I have Prime, and love it. YouTube Red does not tempt me even a tiny bit.

But I’ve been very wrong before:
(conversation with son in the late 80’s:
“look Mom, I can leave a message on the internet and someone will answer it.”
Me: “why on earth would anyone want to do THAT?”
) :shock:

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Here We Go Again! New Operating System Coming Soon. iOS9

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 7.14.47 PMFor the techy people of the world, a new operating system is probably a good thing. For me (and, I’m guessing, many of you…) a new operating system means that I get a little shaky in the knees as I worry about updating my devices and anticipate the glitches-that-will-most-likely-happen. :shock:

Yes, once again we are about to get an update for our iPhones and iPads. iOS9. September 16.

If you’re a long time follower of this blog, you know that I’ve always suggested waiting a while before updating. If there are bugs and glitches, I’d rather have someone else suffer through them as they are worked out. Hopefully the nasty bugs on release day should be few since iOS9 has been public-tested for a while. But I’m very conservative when it comes to “new” stuff, and so I’ll be taking my time as usual.

It always seems that just as I get used to the system I have …. they change it. So what’s new this time? I did some googling to find out what would be “new and improved” in version 9. Here is what I learned:

1. Battery Life. We all tweak our devices to help save battery power. Apparently iOS9 will help us do that. Today, when you set your phone face-down, and you get notifications, your phone lights up, using battery power. In iOS9, your iPhone will KNOW that it is face-down, and it won’t bother lighting up, conserving battery power. There are several other battery-saving additions as well, such as a low-power mode. Apple says that by using the low-power mode you will be able to boost your battery life by as much as 3 hours.

2. Siri improvements. I’ll admit I don’t use Siri very often. Mostly I use her in the car, when I want to call someone hands free (very convenient!), or when I ask her to read text messages to me (also in the car). Apparently Apple wants to make Siri smarter, and has strived to do that with this update. With iOS9, you should be able to ask Siri to show you all the photos you took at your nephew’s birthday party or on your last trip to Chicago. In other words, the search options are expected to be greatly improved.

3. In iOS9, Apple has gotten rid of Newsstand. (I never ever used this, did you?) They have replaced this with a news app that you can personalize to your interests. The app will also make recommendations for you, based on your preferences.

4. Multi-tasking on the iPad will make a debut. iOS9 will give users of the newer iPads the ability to use two apps at once or watch a video while using an app. This is an iPad only improvement. iPhone = nope.

5. Notes app. This app has been improved with some new tools.

6. Keyboard letters. With iOS9, when you are using lower case letters, the keyboard will show you lower case letters. Once you hit the shift key (to use caps), the keyboard will then show capital letters. (Now the keyboard always shows caps, regardless of whether you are using the shift key or not). Although this not-changing thing has never bothered me, it seems so obvious and simple, I’m surprised that it hasn’t been done long before now.

And so, although it looks as though the new iOS9 won’t be too dramatic, it will bring with it some sensible changes.

I’ll wait a little while as I usually do before I install this new operating system, but once I do I’ll be sure to go through each and every change, here on this blog, one at a time. S-l-o-w-l-y. :)

Test Driving Apple’s iOS9

iOS 9 will be available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch September 16th

iOS 9 will be released on September 16th

iOS 9: The new and notable features in the open beta (hands-on)

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“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. :)

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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?

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Technology + Neighborly Cooperation = WOW

A group of neighbors in Yucaipa, California, worked together to put together this amazing holiday display of lights. Uploaded to YouTube earlier this week, it immediately went viral.

I can’t imagine the effort that had to go into this. Filmed by a drone, and set to music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, it is well worth three+ minutes of your time.

Sit back and enjoy!

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The Solarbox: Great idea! More, please!

London is full of iconic red telephone booths. Unfortunately, since the invention of mobile phones, most of the phone booths are now useless.

From SkitchHere is a photo of my hand, holding up the remnants of what used to be a real phone, and clearly over time it was duck-taped and mended …. but never actually repaired.

It didn’t work. Boat ride to Greenwich - 28 - Version 3

I never found a working phone inside a red phone booth (and I did look …. I was curious!).

and so ……

Enter the solarbox!

The solarbox is an old red phone booth with an upgrade. It is painted green and has solar panels on the roof.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 6.17.18 PMStep into the solarbox and you can plug in your phone or tablet to get power. FREE power. You’ll have to watch a few ads for the privilege, but I think most people would agree that that’s ok. A fine trade-off. A few ads for a power-up. Yay!

The solar box webpage sums it up with a single sentence:
“Transforming disused telephone boxes into free solar powered charging points for phones”

The first solarbox just ‘went live’ a few days ago, with plans to add 5 more around the city by April 2015.

Congratulations to the solarbox designers. A clever, clever idea that I’m guessing will spread to other cities as well.

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