Archive | September 2017

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!

1000 Words a Day

This morning on Medium I read a piece on the benefits of writing 1,000 words a day. Since I’m lucky to write every day at all, and most of the time only manage to hit 500 words,I decided I’d give it a try.

My favorite takeaway from the article?

This simple daily habit has literally a had a six figure ROI. It’s changed my life and my career.

I’m not writing for a living, and I don’t expect to be any time soon. But it strikes me that all of the advice given in the article makes sense, especially if I have any pretentions of calling myself a writer. (109 words at this point.)

Just when I was beginning to think I’d never make it as a writer, Medium once again pointed me in the right direction with an article entitled “Someone Is Going To Laugh At Your Dreams.”

I don’t believe in fate or coincidences, but I’m starting to wonder about serendipity. Or maybe what Jung called synchronicity.

So maybe—just maybe—someone or something is trying to tell me something.

So I’m going to put on my big-girl panties and get to work. I won’t always be writing on this blog, as I have a few other projects I’m working on, but at least I’ll report back now and then with a progress  report.

Robyn Jane

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.

My Writer’s Toolbox—Re-Tooled

Every now and then I reevaluate the apps and programs I’ve been using to write. The perfect suite would be one that I could use on all of my devices: my iPad and iPhone running (as of this writing) iOS 11, and my laptop PC running Windows. Add into that mix the fact that when my wife and I write something together, she’s on her iPad Pro and writing with Apple’s Pages.

For her, it’s easy: whatever she writes will sync automagically across all of her devices. For me, it’s another story.

The Previous Solution

It was something I cobbled together, based on the fact that Pages wasn’t available on my PC—which is where I do the bulk of my writing and editing. Since Pages will export to MS Word format, and LibreOffice will read and write MS Office files, it was a simple matter of Stacey exporting her efforts in .docx format and sending them as attachments in emails. I could then either edit them and send them back to her, or append them to the master document.

All of this was before the Cloud. After the Cloud, we used DropBox and iCloud instead of emails.

The Better Solution

Recent changes to Pages have made things even easier: I can now log into my iCloud account via my Windows browser, and use the on-line version of Pages to write and edit! My edits are saved, and both Stacey and I have access to them no matter which device we’re on.

It’s a Fact of Life

You’d think that after using computers since the early ‘80s, and having worked as both an educator and a service engineer, I would have learned my lesson: go big! But no. Which means that when it came time for me to make the jump from an Android phone to my new iPhone 6s Plus, I’d have maxed out the options. Nope. Just the basic 16 Gb memory.

Which means that I rely on the Cloud even more than before. Still, the iPhone X is almost here, but $1000 is a lot of money to spend. Would I be better off keeping what I have now and upgrade my iPad Mini to an iPad Pro? If I did that, I might not even need to use my laptop for writing anymore.

Decisions, decisions…

My Current Writer’s Toolbox

Three devices:

  • iPhone
  • iPad Mini
  • Lenovo laptop PC

Software:

  • Apple’s Pages (a free download)
  • LibreOffice Writer (also free)
  • Scrivener (free evaluation copy)
  • iCloud from Apple
  • Dropbox (because there’s no such thing as having too many backups. This is in addition to my daily automagic backup to my external hard drive.)

What About You?

Do you deal with different platforms and incompatibilities? If so, do you have a system that works for you? Let me know—I’m always open to suggestions.

Thanks!
Robyn Jane

My Newest Favorite Sandwich

Yeah, it’s been a while. I’ve been having serious health problems—I’m sick of the fascist, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic orange clown we call the president.

trump

enemies

I’ve often said that bacon is the only thing keeping me from being a vegetarian. Last week, I discovered a product that has eliminated that excuse.

I started reading about meat alternatives a few months ago when, for health reasons, I decided to cut down on my consumption of animal protein. The only alternative seemed to be tofu—and I didn’t like the texture (yes, I know: I’m a picky eater). And the recipes I found to alter the texture seemed like an awful lot of work. I mean, who wants to spend the better part of an hour just to fix breakfast?

Then I discovered tempeh (pronounced TEM-pay). Like tofu, it’s made from soybeans, but it has a much firmer texture. I looked around and found what I was looking for: a soy-based bacon substitute.

I was doubtful at first, but after reading several reviews, I decided to take the plunge. I headed to my nearest Wegman’s and bought a package of Lightlife® Fakin’ Bacon. As George Takei would say, “Oh, my!”

tempeh

Trust me on this: as a dyed-in-the-wool pork bacon eater, I can honestly say that this is the one food that has overcome my last objection to a vegetarian diet. Don’t believe me? Try my newest favorite sandwich—and the ultimate test for any bacon substitute—a TLT (tempeh, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich:

Robyn’s TLT

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 2 slices of Lightlife® Fakin’ Bacon (I use 2 strips cut in half. I find that gives me the perfect size forr my bread)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • A nice ripe tomato
  • Mayonnaise
  1. Toast the bread and lightly coat with the mayo.
  2. Tear a piece of lettuce to fit.
  3. Slice the tomato.
  4. Put all of the ingredients on one piece of toast.
  5. Heat the tempeh in a fry pan with a little bit of oil or butter until the edges are crisp.
  6. Remove the tempeh from the pan and put it on top of the other ingredients. Cover with the other piece of toast.
  7. Enjoy!

I’ve also enjoyed this sandwich with the addition of a fried egg and a couple of slices of cheddar cheese on it as well. Hey! It’s cooking! Use your imagination: if you can imagine it, you can make it!