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 Share a Contact from your iPhone in a Message or Email

Screen shot 2013-07-07 at 12.32.12 PMThe other day I was asked to share a phone number that I had in my contacts. Since this is not something I do often, I did what I thought I’d have to do…. I brought up the contact, gazed at the number trying to commit it to memory, and then typed it into an instant message. (I was hesitant to hold it and ‘copy’ it, because that same touch … just a bit briefer…. would automatically call the person in question.)

There is actually a much easier way to share contacts on your iPhone. (This method will share all the information you have added to this contact’s page, so be cautioned that all the info goes … not just the phone number).

Here is how to share a contact on your iPhone:

Tap on Contacts.

Tap on the contact that you want to share.

Scroll all the way to the bottom, and tap on the “Share Contact” button.

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Select “message” or “email”, depending on how you wish to share the information.

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Depending on which you selected, an email or a message will pop up with a contact file attached to it. Just enter the name of the person you want to receive it (in the “to” field).

Tap “send” and the information is on its way.

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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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Keyboard Hints for your iPhone and 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!)

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 8.22.37 PMTwo of the earliest posts on this blog were quite simple but also quite helpful.

First, how to lock the caps key on the keyboard of your iPhone or iPad, so you don’t have to keep tapping it in order to type a series capital letters.

Although no one likes to read a “shout” (typing in all caps), sometimes it is necessary to type that way. And when you do, it is as simple as a double-tap.

To type in caps, just double tap the up-arrow. It will turn blue. When it is blue, any typing you do will be in caps. To return to regular-type, just tap it again.

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Another handy hint that I often forget about (until I need it!) is how to find an umlaut or tilde or other little letter-symbols on your iPad or iPhone keyboard.

Here is how to find an umlaut et al:

Just tap and HOLD your finger on a letter. If there are surprises to be found, they will pop up and you can select them. Here is a screen shot as I held the “U”.

Try it yourself and see what you find. Not all letters harbor surprises, but many of them do. 🙂

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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 Much Space do You Have Left on Your iPad or iPhone?

Photo Skitch Document-16Have you ever tried to download an app and been told that there is not enough space?

Or perhaps you want to download an app and the app (a big one) warns that you should be sure you have plenty of space on your iPad or iPhone….

Or maybe you’re just curious. All those apps and songs and videos. How much space do they take? What kind of space do you have left?

This is easy to find out.

Here is how you can check your available space on your iPhone or iPad:

Go to Settings > General > About

Slide down and you will see lots of information. You’ll see how many songs you have on your device, how many apps, and lots of other stuff.

Among it all you will see “Capacity” (that is the GB size of your device).

And you will see “Available” (and that is how much space you have left) :).

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How to Stop Annoying Game Center Pop-ups on the iPhone and iPad

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***** This post is nearly FOUR years old, and most likely will no longer work with your current iOS *****

Chances are you’ve seen it. You launch a game and before you can start, up jumps a green screen from “game center” asking you to sign in or invite friends or some other game-center-type thing.

Let’s be clear, here. I have NEVER used Game Center. I don’t know exactly what it does. I don’t want to know. I just don’t want to see it pop up all the time. It is annoying.

Over time, I tried several things to make it go away, but nothing worked and I resigned myself to tap-tapping that nasty little screen with ‘no’s’ and ‘disables’ until it vanished ….but only temporarily. It is a determined little fellow and it always popped back.

Now I think I have found something that works. At least it works for me. Perhaps it is dependent on other settings, I just don’t know.

But for me, for now, I am delighted to say that I have NO MORE game center pop ups popping up. 🙂

I hope it works for others, although I certainly can’t guarantee it. I can only hope it works for you as it has completely eliminated the pop ups on my iPhone and iPad.

Here is how I disabled the game center pop-up:

Go to Settings.

Tap on General.

Look down to Restrictions.

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Tap on Restrictions. You will be asked to enter a passcode. REMEMBER IT.

On the next screen, look all the way down at the bottom.

You’ll see a spot that says “game center” with two tabs that are set to “on”. Tap them, and turn them “off”.

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Go back out of the settings.

Re-boot your phone.

Hopefully …… I can’t promise ……. but hopefully, you won’t be bothered by the pop-ups anymore. 🙂