Future Tech to make Smaller Screens Practical: SkinTrack

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I’ve never been good at “seeing” the future.

80’s me: (to my son, sitting at his Commodore 64) “What are you doing?”

Son: “Leaving a message on a computer bulletin board. If another computer dials in, they can read the message … and then leave one for me!!”

80’s me: “What’s the use of that?”

Duh.

Yes, that was me, dissing the whole possibility of the internet. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t see it.

So, it is with open eyes from that lesson learned that I look at this new fangled invention: SkinTrack.

SkinTrack is a way of using your skin as a touch screen.

So, if “future you” has an Apple watch on your wrist, and the screen is just too darned small to tap on things, with SkinTrack you’ll just use your skin as the touch screen.

Small screens can be difficult to tap on, yet small devices are popular. Obviously the inventors of SkinTrack see this as a way of solving the small screen problem.

It boils down to this: The user wears a ring. The ring communicates with the device as you move your finger around on your arm. It even works if your arm is covered with clothing.

So will this become a real thing? A common thing? Don’t ask me. I didn’t see the whole internet brouhaha as any more than a curiosity.

(if you’d like to learn more, here’s a link with a detailed video: SkinTrack Turns Your Arm Into a Touch Screen )

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Wow and Thank you!

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This blog has officially been visited over 500,000 times. My goodness! That’s a LOT!

And it is with the deepest gratitude that I say thank you to each and every one of you.

I jumped into the blogosphere with blinders on. I did not know what to expect or even how it “worked”.

But now, looking back, I can say sincerely that my life has been deeply enriched by the friends I’ve made here…… blogging friends who live all over the world. Some I’ve happily had the opportunity to meet in ‘real life’ and others I plan to meet someday.

What a wonderful experience this is, and thank you, THANK YOU, for sharing it with me.

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Weekend Distraction: Atari Nostalgia

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 2.10.15 PMRemember Atari? Pong? Super Breakout? Missile Command?

I just enjoyed a brief game of Pong, and a bit of Super Breakout.

Remember how exciting it was when we first had the ability to manipulate a single pong-paddle on the screen? The nostalgia of that memory still makes it fun (briefly).

It won’t hold your attention for very long. But, still…… :)

You can play some of these original games (Pong, Super Breakout, Yars Revenge, Centipede, Asteroids, Missile Command, Combat, Lunar Lander) …. for FREE…. online, by clicking this link:

Atari Arcade

Enjoy!

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iPhone 7 (coming in 2016) rumored to have NO earphone jack

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 7.37.35 PMTime goes so fast. (At least it feels like it)

Our gadgets keep changing. They are never “cooked.” They are never “done.”

Just when I get comfortable, the tech gadget world jumps forward another few steps. We have to keep moving along so we don’t fall too far behind. In my mind it’s like an old cartoon, where the poor mouse wants the cheese, but the cat has rigged that cheese on a string and keeps moving it JUST out of the mouse’s reach. With every step, the goal moves further away. 😯

A while back, we all had to adapt to the new lightning cord. There was lots of grumbling, because we all owned so many of the ‘old’ cords, which were quickly relegated to the garbage pile. That hurt.

Well, now, looking ahead at the iPhone 7 …… it is rumored that the earphone jack will be gone. This improvement will make the phone lighter and thinner. (Yay) But what about our earphones? (Boo)

Again, speaking RUMOR only, the thought is that Apple will be presenting us with new earphones, earphones that connect with a lightning jack instead of the standard earphone plug we are all so familiar with.

This begs the question: Will our favorite earphones be useless with the new phone? I hope not. I hope they at least make an adaptor…. of course, an adaptor means more $$, and I’m not happy about that…

And, if the earphone goes in the charging port, does that mean we can’t charge and listen-via-earphones at the same time? They would never do that, so….. Hmmmm…. could this mean wireless charging is on the horizon?

Rumors. Rumors.

I know. Change is good. But sometimes it just seems that it comes so fast

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My Laptop was Sluggish. My iPhone, iPad not connecting. Problem…. Solved!

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.36.04 AMI have a Macbook, and it’s getting old….. So, when it started acting up (gradually), I took it to be a symptom of my computer’s age, and began to slip $ into a cookie jar to save for a new one. The problems were sporadic. A page would load sluggishly. Or not at all. Then it would work fine. Then it would slow down. I’d do all my housekeeping (emptying the trash, deleting desktop clutter, rebooting the computer) and it would get better. And then, after an all-too-short while, give me problems, again. Sigh. Computers are expensive. I wasn’t happy about the impending expense.

And then there was my iPad. It is new-ish, not quite two years old. It worked fine for all off-line activity, but had a terrible time staying connected to my home wi-fi. It often dropped the connection. Not a huge problem for me since most of my internet browsing is done on the computer, but it was still annoying. I would have to go to the settings, and tap on my home internet to reconnect several times a day. I didn’t give it tons of thought. I kind of wondered if I had a dud of an iPad, but I never bothered to take the next step to troubleshoot…..

And this same situation frequently happened with my iPhone as well. I would look for the wifi tornado on my phone, and although it is supposed to automatically connect to my home wifi when I am in the house, it usually didn’t. Again… I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I just ‘noticed’ it….

Throughout all this time, I must point out that our streaming service on the television was working fine. We stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Acorn and Hulu with no troubles. And this is why I probably never connected the dots and looked to my router. After all, the internet couldn’t be the problem (I thought). The streaming was flawless.

I NEVER deduced that any of this was an internet problem. After all, the wifi in my house was clearly “fine” (I thought). The streaming was working, and the tornado symbol was visible on my computer….. It was “ON” (wasn’t that enough?)

And then, one day, I turned on my Macbook, and had no internet at all. I checked with my internet service provider, and learned that there were no disruptions in my area. So it had to be a problem on my end.

My troubleshooting expertise for an internet problem consists of ONE action, and one action only. Unplug the router, wait a minute or so, and re-plug. Magic! Everything was working again, as usual.

But, remember, my “usual” was not-so-good. Sluggish Macbook and disconnected devices. This had gone on for so long, I was just accepting this as normal. Duh. It’s not.

When I needed to unplug and re-plug the router a few more times, it s-l-o-w-l-y dawned on me that maybe I needed a new router. With a son coming home for Christmas, I thought this would be the perfect time to replace it …. after all, isn’t that what these young people do? Help their parents with these techy installs?

I did a quick internet search, and since I don’t understand this technology at all, I simply depended on the recommendations of websites like CNET, and selected a router in a reasonable price range that was in stock at our local Best Buy. I brought it home, and waited for my son to arrive and install this new mysterious device.

And now I’ll skip to the GLORIOUS outcome: Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.58.56 AM

After installing the new router, I learned that:

My Macbook is NOT failing. It is NOT sluggish. Its poor performance was entirely due to a failing router.

My iPad is NOT defective. It is firmly attached to the internet, now. Again….. the failing router was responsible.

My iPhone is NOT finicky. When I walk in the door, it connects to my wifi. And stays there until I leave, again. The failing router was totally responsible.

and so ….. My message to all of us un-techy people: Routers do NOT last forever. They fail, and they can fail gradually. If you are having problems, your router MIGHT be your issue. After the replacement, all of our devices are now working flawlessly.

If you want to know more about this, here is a REAL article (as opposed to my uninformed ramblings) from the NYTimes about wifi and router issues:
If your wifi is terrible, check your router

Bottom line, routers don’t last forever. If you are having internet issues, and your router is more-than-a-few years old, consider the possibility that it might need replacement.

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You have a Level in your Pocket ….. twice

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 4.41.05 PMApple included a level on their iPhones way back when. But if you don’t need it often, you might forget that it’s even there. Or if you remember, and need it ….. you might forget where to find it. (It is part of the “compass” app on your iPhone. Open the compass, and swipe the screen to the right, and you’ll find the level.)

But thanks to my DDL, I’ve learned of another level. I actually prefer using this new one, after a situation where I was holding up a rather heavy item and while doing so, tried to access my iPhone level. To the horror of my balancing arm, I was forced to ‘recalibrate’ my compass before I could even access the level, and the heavy item won the battle with gravity.😯

So here is a quicker way to summon a level, thanks to Google (and my DDL).

Just bring up your search engine on your iPhone. (I prefer google, but this works with Safari, too.)

Type in the words: bubble level

and …….

there you have it!

A bubble level. Just ask and you shall receive…..:)

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Happy New Year!

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