September 26, 2013

Making iOS 7 work for you

Last week iOS 7 came out.  Some people loved it, other people hated it.  Most people were grumbling because, as usual, stuff changed. This means we have to learn new things.  Most people don't want to learn new things, they like things the old way. Witness the meltdown any time facebook changes their news feed. 

Since I feel that learning new things is good for your brain, keeps it from turning to sludge at an early age, I am bringing forth a few tips to help you make the transition a little bit easier. 

In older devices the airdrop feature is not available.  The dividing line seems to be that big 30 pin connector.  Older devices with this connector will not be able to use airdrop.  My phone which is a 5 can use it, my iPad which is a 2 can not.  The interesting thing is that it can only work idevice to idevice not idevice to Mac. At the moment it appears to be a feature with more cuteness and battery drain than actual functionality. 

Let's get started with something near and dear to my heart, or head, as the case may be.  The new fonts in iOS 7.  If you are over a certain age, let's just say (kindly)  the default font sucks pond water. Apple really needs to have people over the age of 30 doing font development for them.  *sigh* 

To get round this bit of irritation (yes the font is pretty, no I can't see it without squinting) here are things that might help: 

1. Go to Settings --> General --> Accessibility

This is a lovely area with many things to tweak the phone and make it easier to see stuff.  Here are my settings, you may want to vary yours.  

I have the the "zoom" feature off.  For some reason it was on with my old phone and just having it in my purse would cause the screen to unexpectedly zoom even though it was locked.  Disconcerting.  That's the only one I wanted to warn you about since it can get you, even with the screen locked. 

I turned on "bold text".  This requires a restart of the phone, but it is worth it.  Just do it when you aren't in the middle of something else. If you don't like it, turn it off.  It made a huge difference for me. 

I also turned on Increase Contrast.  This gave things a bit of boost in those areas where the so called "flat" design just fades into the background and can NOT be seen.  (gray on gray for navigation in an app... thanks Apple, that's just peachy...) 

I also turned on  the reduced motion.  While it's pretty cool that the screen background can move on the new phones, I have better ways to waste battery life.  

2. Find a contrasty wallpaper for your home screen.  Something like this one.  Very little white in it so your labels on icons will show up better. But have a look through the whole site and see if there are others that work for you. 

The Unofficial Apple Weblog has more in their Don't Panic Guide.  They go through other things you might not have found with your new iOS that will be fun to use. 

One of the big things, as with every phone, is how to conserve battery life.  TUAW comes to the rescue again with a post on things you can do to help preserve battery life.  The only one I question is turning off wifi when you are out of the house.  


I have found the GPS feature in my phone (and likely in most every phone out there) uses wifi, even when it is not connected to a wifi spot, to help the phone locate itself.  This is a city thing, if you are in the country or a sparsely populated suburb, then do turn off wifi when leaving the house.  

As for me, I am very happy to be able to swipe up from the lock screen and turn bluetooth on and off.  That does suck battery. While I use it in the car, I don't use it much in my house. 

Check out the links, make a few changes and I hope the new iOS 7 will be easier for you to work with. 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 08:34 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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September 24, 2013

About a week

That's when the regular hockey season starts. Yay!  But whether you like hockey or not, this video of Patrick Kane doing some fancy stick handling is amazing.  

Of course after it went viral, his teammate Brandon Bollig had a go at it too.  Have a look and a laugh. 

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 01:01 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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September 23, 2013

Observations while traveling

More jottings from my people watching while on the road. 


White Cotten sundress with spaghetti straps? It's only about 50 degrees outside... you look ridiculous! 

Whew screaming baby during boarding. That kid wants down NOW.  Poor mom! 

Boarding pretty smooth. Didn't have to check my bag. Always a bonus. 

Sharing a row with a flight attendant.

The video screens have been raised and lowered 4 times now all before take off. They are like yoyos or they are flapping to get us started.

Great view of Boston harbor on takeoff. First time I got a chance to check it out from the air. Cool thing to see all the buouys and islands from above. Much better than a map. 

Too bad AA doesn't do an inflight flight tracker on their wifi page like Southwest does or pilot chatter like United.  Oh well. 

All in all a fairly painless flight.  

Boarded the wrong train when leaving O'Hare (it wasn't going anywhere!).  Found a train that was leaving, good, sweltering car, bad!  Had a moment of panic thinking I hadn't taken the right train, only to realize there is only one direction for the train to go once leaving the airport... alrighty then.  Got off at next stop and waited for next train... whew a/c is nice!  

And headed back home again...

Dude on the train - all you had to do was say "excuse me" and I would have moved to allow your fat ass to sit down. Sitting on me, even partially - is bad form.  

Woman in a purple velour track suit - awesome.

Ink - 4 girls with lots of it... scanty clothes to show it off.  Ummm... okey dokey. 

Wine bar at O'Hare... damn it's way too early to get a drink, especially as I had a migraine yesterday.  *sigh*

It's not the workout studio. Really. Exercise tank and leggings for flying? Even if your shoes match the top... No. Just no. 

Aaaaaaand I get to wait an hour for the shuttle bus to get my car.  Joy. 

Lady... Either silence your stupid ringer or answer your phone. Don't just let it ring. It's irritating. 

Full bus and I get stuck behind the big overweight guy who has to recline his seat. Ugh. 

Can we get these people on board and get going? Good grief. Clueless.  

The woman next to me is making tiny scared noises every time the bus driver turns a corner.  Holy smokes!  

And made it to the car without resorting to barbed sarcasm.  I think this is a major accomplishment. 

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 09:43 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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September 18, 2013

Travel Fun

I'm in Chicago for a couple of days for work.  So far I have managed to get one thing done I was worried would be a huge problem.  Turned out to work fine (a server issue).  Enormous relief!  Second, even more worrisome server gets dealt with tomorrow... Ugh.

Got back to the hotel in time for a storm to break.  Decided to stay in for dinner and not play hide and seek with the rain and lightning.  Met a delightful woman from New Zealand at the hotel bar. She is in Chicago sight seeing for a few days.  A most excellent way to round out a day of travel and tech. 

I may even have a new travel observations post when I get back.  We shall see.  I did manage to note a few things on the way here.  Stay tuned. 

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 10:21 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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September 12, 2013

On a lighter note

Saw this posted on G+ today.  It's been quite a while since I heard it but it still makes me laugh. 


Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 10:49 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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September 10, 2013


This photo has been making the rounds on facebook over the last few days. It wasn't until it was posted today that I decided this would be my September 11th post for this year.

Today it was posted by George who is trying to make a going business of his cooking website Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations. George has just recently left the Marines after 12 years due to medical issues.

This is what he has to say:

What a Difference a day makes. As soon as I saw this photo, I immediately teared up. After spending 12 years as an active duty Marine and leaving for boot camp shortly after 9/11, this will always tug heavily on my heart strings. Cheers to all my fallen brothers and sisters who I had the honor of serving next to and thank you to all members of all the armed forces who continue to serve.

Perhaps you could have a look and see if you like any of George's recipes. On this day, it seems fitting to remember the fallen and celebrate life. Hard as the enemy has tried to change it, we're still here. That is a victory.

Posted by: Teresa in Current Affairs at 10:55 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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September 06, 2013

On a bit more serious note

I cringe when I see those commercials on television for one of the home alarm systems. The commercials where people are setting their house alarm from their phone and watching their kids come home from school via camera. The company advertising is not the same as the company in this story, but this would be the reason.

And yes, I put small pieces of post-it notes over the cameras on my computers.  Cameras make me uncomfortable when they are connected to the net and I'm not specifically using them.  

Me?  Paranoid? 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 09:12 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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September 04, 2013

A little news you can use

It looks like expedited boarding is back via the TSA. Just give them your finger prints and you can leave your shoes on. But only if you are a frequent flyer.

I must say, I'm glad I only have to fly a few times a year.

Even if you don't care to read about astronomy and various studies of galaxies, the link still has a pretty picture of a nebulae.

Mark your calendar! September 10th is the date for the announcement of the newest iPhone among other goodies.

In an effort to grab some media attention, Samsung has a new gadget.

Hmmm... not really grabbing me, gotta say.

Wonder if this is any good. I will wait for word from the encryption community. It would be interesting to know if anyone is listening in... then again it would also be good to know who is listening instead of guessing.

Last of all, let's have a glass of wine. So far one glass isn't forbidden.

You are now informed.  Have a lovely evening. 

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 08:45 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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