Need Inspiration to Spruce Up your Home? Enjoy Houzz

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 8.35.13 AM This is the time of year that many people use to fuss around the inside of their homes.

A little paint … or little renovation … or maybe more. Walls, floors, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, windows, they all need attention. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot.

We Boomers know that in years gone by, when we needed inspiration, our only source was magazines and decorating books borrowed from the library.

But today, the internet offers vast opportunities to explore.

Enter HOUZZ. A website where you can explore in one place …. and save those ideas for later. (Giving a little order to the chaos of the internet.)

This website allows you to search for photos of the rooms you are interested in viewing, or for windows, or flooring, or basically anything home related. I have a 1959 bathroom covered in bright yellow tile, and when I searched for “yellow bathrooms” I was treated to pages and pages and pages of inspiration to update and alter the look.

You can search for anything at all ….. and if you register (free), you can create albums of the photos that interest you. This is your own “idea book,” where you save the photos that you like in one place so that you can refer back, later. Very, very nice!

If you are doing anything at all to your home, and need a bit of inspiration, give HOUZZ a try.

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Smartphone Fail

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A Better Way to Look back at your Browsing history on your iPhone and iPad

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 8.23.54 AM I only recently found this “better way” to look back at my safari searches on my iPhone and iPad. But it’s SO much better, I will use it exclusively.

Before this discovery, when I wanted to return to a web page that I had previously viewed, I would tap on the ‘back button’ on the bottom left side of the screen. This ‘back button’ would scroll back through the web pages that I had viewed recently, one at a time.

I would tap, tap, tap.

Nope, nope, nope…. yes.

Tap tap tapping to find the elusive webpage of yore.

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The “better way” is this:

Put your finger on that back arrow and HOLD IT.

A LIST of your recently viewed web pages will appear, and to return to any, just touch it.

SO much better!!!

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A Very Useful App… and it’s Free! Tymer

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.10.59 AMOne of the reasons I love my smartphone is that it makes my life easier.

And whenever I can add another helpful app, I just get happier.

Tymer is one of those apps, and (at this moment in time) it is FREE in the iTunes store.

This app is beautiful in its simplicity. It is a multiple – timer app, allowing you to set numerous timers at once. Obviously wonderful for cooking, but also good for all sorts of multi-tasking.

It is very easy to use, with a minimalist design. When you first open it, you will see …. nothing. Nothing but a black screen with the word “tymer” on the top left and a plus sign on the top right.

Tap the plus sign to add a timer. Swipe the timeline to set the time.

Tap the plus sign again to add another.

and again…. you get the idea.

To delete a timer, you just swipe to the left.

This app has earned a permanent place on my iPhone.

Tymer is FREE in the iTunes store. (this may change, so if you are interested…. hurry!)

a screenshot of their screenshot:

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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.

EACH DAY, 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK, FOR THREE MONTHS ……

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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Are you in the path of the Blizzard? Power-Up!

Preparing for a Blizzard means lots of things….

But from the perspective of this blog…. Charge your devices! Wind + snow = power outages. So start the storm with fully charged batteries.

One of the other rituals of snowstorm preparation is the bread and milk run to the grocery store. I joined the fray this afternoon and I can personally report …. the stores were mobbed.

I came across this short video which pretty much sums up the sentiment thoughout the Northeast US today….. :)

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Weekend Distraction: Crosswords for your iPad and iPhone

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 7.42.38 PMIt’s looking as though this is going to be a snowy stay-in kind of weekend here in the Northeast US.

Snow + ice = slippery roads. No thank you.

It’s been a while since I looked through the App store for a new game.

But with the snowstorm looming, it seemed like a good time to find some kind of something to play with in between the many movies and oodles of comfort food that come together to make up a cozy stay-at-home snow day.

I didn’t have to browse the store for long. I downloaded Crosswords, and I’m not disappointed.

Basically, I am a Crossword-doer-Wannabe. I’m just not very good at them. But I’m always willing to try.

This Crosswords app is made by a company that has been producing crossword books for years (Dell Magazine and Penny Press). Now these are not New York Times quality puzzles, but for a Wannabe like me, this is all I can handle. :)

You get to download this app for free, and you get a nice bunch of puzzles for free, too. If, after completing them all, you want more, those are available through an in-app purchase system.

The board is large enough to easily see the squares and the clues. There is no learning curve. Just tap anywhere to type in your word. Or delete. It’s very intuitive …. you’ll be playing within minutes of downloading it.

This screen (from my iPad) shows you all the free puzzles you get with your download.

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And here is the game screen (also on the iPad). Easy-peasy to use.

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Crosswords is FREE in the iTunes store

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Are Your Passwords on this List?

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Every year, Splashdata publishes a list of the “worst passwords,” and this year’s list was announced a few days ago.

The number ONE worst password? “123456”

The word “password” has topped the chart for a while, but was unseated last year by “123456.” The very-bad-choice-of-a-password……. “password” …… remains at number 2 for this list.

I assume no one reading this blog is using either of these two passwords (am I right?)
BUT…..
are you guilty of using any of the others on this list?

Take a look…. and give a thought to your own password safety. A safe password should have a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols. It should not contain personal information. You should have unique passwords for different accounts. And, you should change your password often.

Worst Passwords 2014

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Serial is pretty darn addictive

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 8.32.16 AMI heard about Serial quite a while ago, but I didn’t listen on purpose.

Let me back up a bit.

Most people are familiar with This American Life. A spin-off of that series hit the airwaves last year, in the same general style, but with a twist: For the entire season, the show would tell only ONE story. Week by week. A serial. And so they named it… Serial.

I enjoy books in a series. It’s a happy day when book one concludes, but I can pick up the story with book two. Or three. Unless the author hasn’t written it, yet. Then, I’m frustrated.

And so, when Serial began, I decided to wait until I could binge-listen. Season One is now complete, and you can listen to all twelve episodes whenever it suits you.

Season One tells the story of a murder in Baltimore, Maryland, back in 1999. A high school student is found dead, and her ex-boyfriend is arrested for her murder. Did he do it? He says he is innocent.

Once I started listening, I was hooked. Whenever possible, I listened to Serial.

I listened to it as a Podcast which I downloaded to my iPhone. But there is also a website, which you can find, here: Serial Season One. You can listen through the website, as well, and there you can also find photographs and copies of the documents, etc, which are mentioned in the story.

Serial was so popular, so well received, that there will be a Season Two. Next time, I will listen as it airs, week by week. It’s too good to wait.

Serial, Season One

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Real Time Translation on your iPhone with Google Translate

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 7.50.12 PMThis is the kind of technology thing that makes me go “WOW.”

Google Translate just updated their app today to allow REAL TIME translation.

Imagine that.

You can now speak into the app, and it translates whatever you said into the chosen language. The other person can then talk back in that language, and you will hear a translation that you can understand. Although you tap the button in the beginning, once the conversation gets going the app will learn that a conversation is happening and no more tapping is necessary.

So …. am I right? Wow.

AND….

Google bought Word Lens, and its technology is also built into this app.

Just tap the camera icon and point it at any text (a street sign, a menu…) and it will translate the text onto the screen for you. And apparently it will work even without a data connection. More WOW. (Please pardon the screenshot of their screenshot)

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This Word Lens translation is so awesome, that even if you don’t need it, you should download it just to try it! :)

Google Translate is FREE in the iTunes store.

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