Category Archives: iPhones

What’s In My Toolbox

clipart print of a re toolbox full of writing implements

My Writing Toolbox

Just like every other craftsman, a writer needs her own specialized tool kit. My tools consist of hardware and software, as well as reference books, websites, and whatever else helps me get the job done. Yes, I said “job.” If you don’t treat your writing with the same respect and dedication you would any other job, you’ll never get any better at it.

Let’s Start With The Hardware

(NOTE: Don’t worry about the specific hardware brands I use; when we start discussing software, I’ll cover iOS, Android, MacOS, iPadOS, and Windows applications.)

My iPhone

I have quite a collection of devices for writing. While there’s always good old pen and paper, my arthritis makes it all but impossible to hold a pen or pencil. Instead, I carry my electronic notebook: my iPhone. It’s small, fits into a special pocket in my purse, and crucially, I always have it with me. In fact, it could almost be called a toolbox itself, as I have 14 writing apps on it. Simply because of its size and the fact that it’s always with me, it has become my main writing tool.

iPhone X

My iPhone X

My iPad

Larger than my iPhone, the iPad still has its own pocket in one of my purses, so it’s also easy to carry around. Both devices sync with each other via the Cloud, so what work I do on one of them instantly appears on the other.

Photo of Apple iPad

My iPad

The AlphaSmart Neo

This device was developed for school students in order to give them a tool for doing their in-class writing and then sending the results to the teacher. It never really caught on, but a few writers discovered it and now it’s a hit with the writing community at large. It’s such a great tool that it deserves its own story, which I’ll be posting in the near future.

Photo of AlphaSmart Neo

My AlphaSmart Neo

My Laptop

Finally, we come to my Windows machine. This tool does all the heavy lifting. While so many mobile apps have great capabilities for composing and editing, there are still times when a more powerful device is required.

Here’s an example. I do a lot of writing on Medium. Medium has an app that runs on my mobile devices, but it’s quite limited when it comes to inserting pictures: it doesn’t allow you to resize them, add a caption, or insert photo credits. For those tasks, I have to switch over to my laptop.

Using Evernote, which I do to archive my stories, presents a similar problem: the Evernote Web Clipper doesn’t work on my mobile devices.

Given all that, I’m confident in saying that mobile devices have yet to reach the point where they will replace desktop or laptop computers.

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

Not really. But definitely to this blog: a review of my favorite writing apps for your mobile devices. Until then, stay safe!

 

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Filed under Blogging Tools, iPad, iPhones, Software

It’s Getting Brighter Every Day!

Especially since this week was when the days officially started getting longer. But when I said they’re getting brighter, I meant it in a figurative and not a literal sense. You DO know what “literal” means, yes? It’s one of those words that far too many people sprinkle their speech with, never realizing that they’re using it incorrectly. It also gets confused with “virtual,” which is the word they should use.

ANYWAY, after nearly 10 days without my iPhone, I was finally able to get a ride to the Verizon store, where I was informed that there was nothing they could do, and that I needed to take it to the Apple Store.

When I explained this to my driver (my landlord), he asked where the Apple Store was. “Eastview Mall,” I answered.

This will tell you what kind of a guy my landlord, Ed, is: Eastview Mall is about 15 miles from our house. Ed’s reaction? “Well, we might as well go there now.”

At the Apple Store, since I didn’t have an appointment, they told me there would be about a 10 minute wait—which turned out to be about 3 minutes. I explained my problem, and that I was unable to resolve it on my own, since none of the troubleshooting steps list on the Apple web site worked.

Dave (the technician) was able to resolve my problem in about 10 minutes. I was a Happy Camper!

Of course, once I got home, it took about 30 minutes to restore my files.

What I Learned

1. Always, always, always BACK UP YOUR PHONE! Of course, since I was already obeying Robyn’s First Rule of Computing it was no big deal. What’s that? Oh, right: Robyn’s First Rule of Computing states BE PARANOID AND COMPULSIVE when it comes to backing up your data.

2. When attempting to recover from iPhone problems, it’s always best to do so via iTunes on a Macintosh computer. I have a PC and iTunes, but that combination just didn’t work.

3. You can save yourself a lot of heartache and stress if you get it fixed immediately!

And thus endeth the lesson for today.

 

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Filed under Apple, Hardware, iPhones

I’ve Been Using My iPhone All Wrong

After nearly a year of owning an iPhone, I’ve finally learned what I’ve been doing wrong.

I discovered this quite by accident when I was researching battery life for the device. I was surprised to learn that Apple recommends not closing an app when you’re finished using it. That’s because iOS has algorithms that minimize battery usage by apps when you’re not actively using them. Closing an app and then later reopening it actually uses more power than just leaving it open. It’s as if you turned off your car at every stoplight: you use more gas restarting it than by letting it idle.

Another serendipitous discovery is that if you leave those apps open when you restart your iPhone, they’ll still be running when you restart it.

And talk about RYFM (Read Your Effing Manual): I struggled for weeks trying to get my phone to ring before Stacey showed me what was wrong: the side switch that used to control screen rotation is now the on-off switch for the sound. Duh!

Finally, some advice for anyone considering buying an iPhone:

  • Insure it from day one. Whether you do it through the dealer or a reputable third-party, it’s worth the cost
  • I also added a glass screen protector
  • Buy a good case or cover
  • Download and READ the manual or user’s guide for both your phone as well as the relevant iOS version
  • Download and install some kind of emergency app. First responders can access your information in case of an emergency. I use one called ICE.
  • Be sure to activate the Find My Phone setting! Settings–>Apple ID–>iCloud–>Find My iPhone
  • And if you’re kinda old like me, don’t get frustrated! You CAN get this!

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Filed under iPhones, Writing Tools

Why I Won’t Be Buying The iPhone X

Yes, it’s fancy. And yes, it’s beautiful. And yes, I love my iPhone 6S Plus.

But I’m going to give the X (which Apple says to pronounce “10”) a miss. There are a couple of reasons.

First, there’s the iPhone 8 Plus. In every way that’s relevant to me, it’s the same technology as the X…for a few hundred dollars less.

Second—and crucially—the iPhone X uses facial recognition to unlock the device. There is no alternative. The iPhone 8, on the other hand, still gives you the option of logging in with your fingerprint, a password, or a PIN.

Why is this important?

Courts have held that passwords and PINs are intellectual property. That means that you own them. Law enforcement officers (LEOs) cannot make you divulge them without a warrant, nor can they make you use them to log in without a warrant.

Fingerprints and faces, however, are not your property, plus they fall under the “plain sight” exception to any warrant requirement. In other words, if a LEO asks you to log on to your phone by looking at it or just touching it, you have no legal right to refuse.

And that, my friends, is something that may not have occurred to Apple.

Also, Samsung’s facial recognition on their new flagship smartphone has been shown to be fooled by a photograph of the owner’s face!

So yes, as soon as I pay off some bills and save some money, I definitely will upgrade to the iPhone 8 Plus. My only remaining decision will be 64 Gb or 256 Gb. My iPhone 6S Plus has 16 Gb. I wanted to save money, but it was a mistake. I should have gone with 32 Gb.

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Filed under Apple, iPhones, Writing Tools