iphone

You can now unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask if you have an Apple Watch

Go grab the iOS 14.5 update in Settings > General > Software Update if you have an Apple Watch… and welcome to our mask-wearing longterm future!

iOS 14.5 will let Apple Watch owners unlock their iPhone while wearing a mask: Another oft-requested feature, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Apple doesn’t support Touch ID in it is newest iPhones, which can make unlocking with Face ID while wearing a mask a pain. But Apple is helping with that. Apple Watch owners will be able to confirm unlocking their iPhones while wearing a mask with iOS 14.5.

Source: Apple releases iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and watchOS 7.4 with Apple Watch iPhone unlock and more

In Honor of Beloved Netbooks

I absolutely adored my eee PC 701 and used it all the time. I’ll add a gallery here later.

There were two products that arrived in 2007 that fundamentally changed computing: one, of course, was the iPhone. The second, obviously more important product was the $399 Eee PC 701. It originally ran a custom Linux operating system that reviewers loved (Laptop Mag’s Mark Spoonauer said it was “ten times simpler to use than any Windows notebook”) and was generally heralded as a new kind of computer with tremendous mass appeal. Spoonauer: “Pound for pound, the best value-priced notebook on the planet.”

Source: Let’s remember netbooks – The Verge

10 most downloaded iPhone apps in the world

It might be surprising to Americans, but neither Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube is the most downloaded app on the iPhone anymore. As we continue to move into the 21st Century, we’re seeing the rise of Chinese apps and companies. This will only escalate in the coming years, especially as the US seems more preoccupied with tribalistic policies.

“Known as Douyin in China, Tik Tok is a music video and social media app. The app lets you shoot and edit short clips, then add music and special effects to them. Tik Tok is owned by the same parent company that bought social video app Musical.ly for $1 billion last year”

Facebook-owned apps dominated the App Store charts during the first three months of the year, but a Chinese-made music video app called Tik Tok took first place – Business Insider

Iris Hospital Alert App

Once installed, Iris automatically detects you in a hospital. After remaining there for 10 minutes, Iris reaches out to confirm if you’re okay or not via a push notification. If everything’s okay, perfect, just hit the the button to confirm and Iris will go into the background again. If you’re not ok and Iris doesn’t get a confirmation from you, the emergency contacts you chose upon sign up will be informed via text message. Iris will also present your personal health card on the lock screen of your iPhone so ER staff can access your important health and personal data including your name, health status, spoken language, daily medication, and more. ER staff is also be provided your emergency contact”s information and will be able to reach out themselves if they haven’t heard from your contacts already.

via Say hello to Iris, your modern day emergency alert – Iris App – Medium

I love apps like this that utilize the most seemingly mundane features of our constant carry smartphones to achieve good.

Our AI Assisted (Near) Future

jarvis

Courtbot was built with the city of Atlanta in partnership with the Atlanta Committee for Progress to simplify the process of resolving a traffic citation. After receiving a citation, people are often unsure of what to do next. Should they should appear in court, when should they appear, how much will the fine cost, or how can they contend the citation? The default is often to show up at the courthouse and wait in line for hours. Courbot allows the public to find out more information and pay their citations

Source: CourtBot · Code for America

Merianna and I were just talking about the implications of artificial intelligence and interactions with personal assistants such as my beloved Amy.

The conversation came about after we decided to “quickly” stop by a Verizon store and upgrade her phone (she went with the iPhone SE btw… tiny but impressive). We ended up waiting for 45 mins in a relatively sparse store before being helped with a process that took all of 5 minutes. With a 7 month old baby, that’s not a fun way to spend a lunch hour break.

The AI Assistant Talk

We were in a part of town that we don’t usually visit, so I opened up the Ozlo app on my phone and decided to see what it recommended for lunch. Ozlo is a “friendly AI sidekick” that, for now, recommends meals based on user preferences in a messaging format. It’s in a closed beta, but if you’re up for experimenting, it’s not steered me wrong over the last few weeks of travel and in-town meal spots. It suggested a place that neither one of us had ever heard of, and I was quite frankly skeptical. But with the wait and a grumpy baby, we decided to try it out. Ozlo didn’t disappoint. The place was tremendous and we both loved it and promised to return often. Thanks, Ozlo.

Over lunch, we discussed Ozlo and Amy, and how personal AI assistants were going to rapidly replace the tortured experience of having to do something like visit a cell provider store for a device upgrade (of course, we could have just gone to a Best Buy or ordered straight from Apple as I do for my own devices, but most people visit their cell provider’s storefront). I said that I couldn’t wait to message Amy and tell her to find the best price on the iPhone SE 64 gig Space Grey version, order it, have it delivered next day, and hook it up to my Verizon account. Or message Amy and ask her to take care of my traffic ticket with the bank account she has access to. These are menial tasks that can somewhat be accomplished with “human” powered services like TaskRabbit, Fancy Hands, or the new Scale API. However, I’d like for my assistant to be virtual in nature because I’m an only child and I’m not very good at trusting other people to get things done in the way I want them done (working on that one!). Plus, it “feels” weird for me to hire out something that I “don’t really have time to do” even if they are willing and more than ready to accept my money in order to do it.

Ideally, I can see these personal AI assistants interfacing with the human services like Fancy Hands when something requires an actual phone call or physical world interaction that AI simply can’t (yet) perform such as picking up dry cleaning.

I don’t see this type of work flow or production flow being something just for elites or geeks, either. Slowly but surely with innovations like Siri or Google Now or just voice assisted computing, a large swath of the population (in the U.S.) is becoming familiar and engaging with the training wheels of AI driven personal assistants. It’s not unimaginable to think that very soon, my Amy will be interacting with Merianna’s Amy to help us figure out a good place and time to meet for lunch (Google Calendar is already quasi doing this, though without the personal assistant portion). Once Amy or Alexa or Siri or Cortana or whatever personality Google Home’s device will have is able to tap into services like Amy or Scale, we’re going to see some very interesting innovations in “how we get things done.” If you have a mobile device (which most adults and growing number of young people do), you will have an AI assistant that helps you get very real things done in ways that you wouldn’t think possible now.

“Nah, this is just buzzword futurisms. I’ll never do that or have that kind of technology in my life. I don’t want it.” People said the same thing about buying groceries or couches or coffee on their phones in 2005. We said the same thing about having a mobile phone in 1995. We said the same thing about having a computer in our homes in 1985. We said the same thing about ever using a computer to do anything productive in 1975. We said the same thing about using a pocket calculator in 1965.

In the very near future of compatible API’s and interconnected services, I’ll be able to message this to my AI assistant (saving me hours):

“Amy, my client needs a new website. Get that set up for me on the agency Media Temple’s account as a new WordPress install and set up four email accounts with the following names. Also, go ahead and link the site to Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and install Yoast to make sure the SEO is ok. I’ll send over some tags and content but pull the pictures you need from their existing account. They like having lots of white space on the site as well.”

That won’t put me out of a job, but it will make what I do even more specialized.

Whole sectors of jobs and service related positions will disappear while new jobs that we can’t think of yet will be created. If we look at the grand scheme of history, we’re just at the very beginning of the “computing revolution” or “internet revolution” and the keyboard / mouse / screen paradigm of interacting with the web and computers themselves are certainly going to change (soon, I hope).

 

Apple fires back against Spotify

“We find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers, and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service,” it reads. “Spotify’s app was again [i.e. after being resubmitted on June 10] rejected for attempting to circumvent in-app purchase rules, and not, as you claim, because Spotify was simply seeking to communicate with its customers.”

Source: Apple returns fire on Spotify, calling out ‘rumors and half-truths’ over App Store rejection | TechCrunch

Ouch.

Thoughts on Evernote’s price hike

Evernote

Evernote has been one of the leading note-taking services for some time, with clients for the Web and every major OS. The company recently announced sweeping changes to its “freemium” pricing strategy, which puts a big limit on the “free” tier and raises prices across the board for new and existing users.

Source: Evernote limits free tier to two devices, raises prices 40%

I’ve been an Evernote user since March 28, 2008 (got in before it launched in beta in June 2008) and immediately signed up for their Premium option when it opened up.

I was eager to support the app / service early on, because I saw the utility of being able to access my notes and create new ones from whatever device I happened to be on. That was already possible with the early iterations of services like Google Docs that had previously been Writely, but Evernote felt “new” in the sense that it was post-iPhone and looked ahead to a world where apps became the driving force of interaction, especially on mobile (after Steve Jobs relented on allowing apps to be installed and an app store for the iPhone).

Over the years, Evernote became more things to more people than just a note taking app. There were checklists, and document syncing, and PDF OCR, and business card storage. As a result, there were more and more calls for Evernote to get back to its roots and avoid bloat. I know I suffered through some of the “bloat” in 2011 and 2012 when Evernote seemed to really take off and started acquiring smaller and focused apps such as Penultimate, Skitch (still one of my favorites), Readable etc to round out their offerings. Then, there were the partnerships with the “offline” world such as Moleskine and Post-It Notes. We even saw an Evernote branded line of coffee mugs, backpacks, and lifestyle gear.

It was all too much.

I welcome this new period in Evernote’s story. I’m hoping they do “slim down” to some extent and even focus more on things like the current web version’s Google Drive integration (rather than being a document storage platform themselves). I’ve always thought of Evernote as more of an “Operations HQ” that ties into other apps I use like Trello or 1Writer on the iPad than a place to store all of my documents, pictures, and files.

I use Evernote everyday, and more so now that I’m trying to use iPad Pro as my main computer. It serves as my note repository, the place where I put PDF’s that I need for OCR, and a quasi-database of ideas for clients and research. It’s indespinsible to me, and I’m not sure how something “free” like OneNote or Google Keep could replicate that. I’m hopeful they continue to push forward on the excellent web version as well (and that doesn’t affect free members, which is a nice incentive for people to give it a try).

It’s painful when anything “goes up” in price. But the economic reality is that costs go up as we demand more from services and companies compete for skilled developers. Evernote did see the loss of a number of devs over the last few years, but I’m hopeful they’ll get their mojo back.

So, sign me up for another year of Premium.

My Laptop’s Operating System

I have a school issued (white) MacBook 13′ that I’ve been using the last few weeks when I need a computer (besides my iPhone). It’s great that we have MacBooks for teachers and students. However, since we are also transitioning to Google Apps (thankfully) and everything I do is mostly cloud-based, I don’t see much of the shiny Mac OSX operating system.

Instead, this is what I see and use as my main operating system (Firefox).

Hey, You! Get Off of My Cloud! (Or The Rise of Anti-Social Media)

I’ve fallen in love with Pinboard (for bookmarking) and Simplenote (search for it on the iPhone app store) this week. I’ve been testing out both services for a little while but decided to take the plunge this week and use them more heavily.

And they rock.

Pinboard is Delicious from 2004 with more goodness baked in. It’s fast, easy and private.  That’s right… in an age of rival-bookmarker Diigo’s communities, Evernote offering sharing of notebooks as a Premium feature and RememberTheMilk touting their social features, I’m finding myself leaning back towards sites like Pinboard that take advantage of the web2.0 goodness with a nod towards those of us who want to bookmark without worrying about what the neighbors might think (not that I’m bookmarking anything scandalous, but I don’t have to worry about crossing the education/tech/marketing/science/music streams with Pinboard). 

Simplenote does exactly what I want a note taking app to do… it takes notes quickly, easily and syncs automagically. I love Evernote, but I’ve found myself overwhlemed there as of late since there are so many features (and since I do have so much data there).  Simplenote is… well, simple. And that’s refreshing.  The same with Pinboard vs Diigo. I love Diigo, but I honestly don’t make use of all their community and bookmarking features enough to pledge allegiance. 

So, will we see a rise of anti-social media apps that take us back to a “much more civilized time” of elegant and simple lightsabers rather than social blasters? I’m not sure. But the evolution of media is definitely fascinating to participate in and ponder.

Anti-Social Bookmarking


I joined Delicious back around the Holiday Season of 2004 and soon started bookmarking with regularity.  Aside from GMail, Delicious was one of the first web2.0 sites I really got excited about. And for good reason. Delicious changed the way we all thought about bookmarking. 

"A long long time ago, I remember how that music used to make me smile…"

However, Delicious eventually caught on, found a solid userbase and got itself acquired by Yahoo. Despite a site-wide user interface revamp, things have been stagnant on Delicious for the last couple of years. The original founders left Yahoo, the rabid community seemed to dissipate and folks like myself went off searching for other places to bookmark our web finds. One of those places was Ma.gnolia.com. We all know how that went (#FAIL)  I've been trying Diigo since I'm teaching and there's a heavy concentration of educators there (and great tools for us), but I still wanted a place where I could post my bookmarks in a quick, easy and thoughtless manner.

I might have found that in Pinboard.

Not only is it what Delicious was in '04, it includes a nifty "Read Later" function (hello Instapaper!). Best of all, Pinboard is "antisocial bookmarking" that gives me exactly what I want – bookmarking without having to worry about who is following, subscribed, in my network, etc. Clean, simple, fast and antisocial are sometimes good qualities.

This mentality even shows itself in the sign-up process. Rather than having an "open beta" program, you have to pay an increasing fee to join Pinboard. In other words, as the service becomes more popular, you have to pay more to join.  I had to pay $2.91 via Amazon Payments to join. I love that thinking. Revolutionary. Look for more copycats very soon.

So will Pinboard replace Delicious for me? Already has. Will it replace Diigo? Time will tell. Will Pinboard replace Instapaper? Not sure. I'd need an iPhone app or some way to save things on mobile Safari (iPhone browser) to make that happen.

But for the time being, I'm excited 2004-style. Fingers are crossed that roadmap goal at the top of this post doesn't happen

What’s On My iPhone? Or How My iPhone Has Become My Computer

My iPhone has become my primary “computer” over the last few weeks, replacing my Macbook, a Windows 7 laptop and an older Ubuntu box that I keep around for fun.  They are all great computers but I love the reality of having my computer in my pocket or bag at all times (with most of my data always present and/or accessible) no matter where I am.  That accessibility is worth the trade-off of eye-strain and learning to type again on such a small (and virtual) keyboard.

As wonderful as the iPhone is, I have to thank the third party application developers for allowing me to use the device as an actual computer. 

So, here are the apps that I currently have on my iPhone…

Page 1: The Essential Stuff

We’ll start with the “dock” at the bottom since that never changes. I keep access to the phone, mail app and iPod down there as well as OmniFocus, which is my default organizer (more on that later).  I use these four apps almost constantly, so having them in the dock on every page is a must.

Above them are the other communication and most-used apps on my device. Most of these apps will be familiar.  However, this is where I keep the apps that I need quick access to or use the most often when I’m on the run. So, my Google Tasks (which I’m still not sure how useful this will be long term, but I keep trying to fit it into my work flow with OmniFocus), BeeJive (fantastic IM application complete with Push notifications), Evernote (my 2nd brain) and Voice Memos are all there.  I use Voice Memos to do audio podcasts on here every now and then since I can simply email a recorded mp3 to Posterous. Love that functionality.  I also keep Pandora, WunderRadio, Facebook and a link to GReader there for quick entertainment/info access. 

You might also notice I have three Twitter apps on the first page.  Yes, it’s a waste of space but I really can’t decide which Twitter app I like the most.  Tweetie and Birdfeed are fast and elegant whereas Twittelator is the pic/GPS workhorse app.  I actually use all three of them on any given day and am finding that I use Tweetie when I just have a few secs to check Twitter and Twittelator when I want to spend more time in the stream.  I actually have TweetDeck on my iPhone as well, but it’s been relegated to the last page since it constantly crashes on me.  Fingers are crossed for a fix soon.

From Safari, I can get to all of my docs on Google Docs or anything saved in DropBox just to name a few.  The web really is my primary OS so Safari is in a prime place on the first page.

Page 2: Processing and Games

I can’t say enough about InstaPaper. It’s a fantastic app that allows you to save material for reading later as long as you have access to a browser. I wasn’t sure how I’d use this app, but after a few days I realized I needed to go “Pro” and get the paid version.  It’s becomign one of my most used apps. 

QuickOffice is a life-saver.  Basically, it is a word processor and spreadsheet app that integrates with any format file I might need to edit, view or create.  It’s expensive, but well worth it. 

GV Mobile integrates with Google Voice and provides me with all I could ever ask of that service. I don’t use it everyday, but I like to know it’s there when I need it. The other apps there are for trips, quick posting on the GriffinScience blog and making audio posts to Twitter.  Not essential, but handy.

The bottom two rows are the current games I have on the iPhone. RS09 Soccer and TapDefense are downright addicting.

Page 3: Books, Music and Science

Entertainment apps (Stitcher is fantastic for random podcast discovery) on the first three rows and science apps I use on the last row.  The Kindle app has actually replaced my physical Kindle device to the point that I’m considering eBay.  We’ll see.  The bottom science apps are all useful to me but probably not for most folks. I do teach 8th Grade Physical Science, though.  If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend EleMints as a great Periodic Table app.  Formul8 is also a must-have for me since it provides a great database of science formulas I might not know off the top of my head. Very handy when you’re in my line of work. 

Page 4: The Kitchen Sink and Triathlon Training

The first two rows are for apps that I’m really not sure how to integrate or just want to keep around. However, when I’m traveling I do use WiFiFoFum a great deal since it allows you to find wifi networks in a pinch.  The bottom row of apps are for my triathlon training and are fantastic. I keep them on the bottom row there because the last page includes the “Settings” app that I use to turn off wifi while exercising to save power.  I can’t stress how useful and handy Run Keeper Pro is if you’re into cycling, jogging, etc.  It’s changed the way I look at staying fit. sendGPS is great for just bookmarking a particular geographic location since I can quickly send an email to myself with specific coordinates and elevation that I can see on a Google Map and archive in GMail (such as a particular hill where I fell while biking this past Sunday).

Page 5: Settings

These are the apps that come standard with the iPhone that you can’t delete.  So, I banish them to the last page of my device so I don’t have to deal with them.  I use the Settings and App Store apps the most since I update apps from the device itself rather than through syncing to one computer. 

So there you have it.  Those are the apps that are on my iPhone and allow me to use the device as my primary computer.  Of course there times when I need to use a laptop and I still do that at least once a day.  However, I’m increasingly relying on my iPhone for everything (including word processing thanks to Google Docs and QuickOffice).  The web is my OS and the iPhone is my node. 

Any other apps I need that you love or use?

Todd and Sam’s Geeky Podcast

Todd Crawford and I recorded our first (in a series) of weekly podcasts focused on all things geeky (gadgets, web2.0, new sites, etc).

The show runs about an hour and I thought it was one of he best podcasts I’ve done in a while.

http://www.hipcast.com/playweb?audioid=P3b69097de17a55471ec5e2b493ca1b5ebF98QFREYmN2&buffer=5&shape=6&fc=FFFFFF&pc=CCFF33&kc=FFCC33&bc=FFFFFF&brand=1&player=ap27
MP3 File

Here are the topics:

– New iPods (and 2.1 software)
– iPhone apps
DropBox
Yammer
BearHug Camp
chi.mp
– Netbooks and the culture of streaming
– Macbook Batteries
– Two Fingers

Give it a listen and let us know what you think. Shows will be published every Friday and run about an hour in length.

GeekCast 22: Won’t Get Fooled Again

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We (Shawn Collins, Lisa Picarille, Jim Kukral and myself) recorded GeekCast this afternoon and it’s a great show…

GeekCast 22: iPhone 2.0 and It’s Still Useless : GeekCast.fm: “The show kicked off with talk of the iPhone 2.0, and the virtues like 3G speed, as well as the negatives, such as the keyboard, lack of copy/paste, etc.

The rumored ability to capture video didn’t pan out (did RIM start that rumor?), which was a letdown for your loyal GeekCasters.”

This is one of my favorite episodes yet because Jim and I basically come to blows over Zobzee and mandles.

New iPhone Unanswered Questions

There’s an interesting thread going on at FriendFeed around VentureBeat’s piece on what Steve Jobs didn’t say today in his SteveNote announcing the new iPhone 3G:

iPhone 3G questions unanswered: AT&T subsidy, 3G data price, no video? – FriendFeed: “iPhone 3G questions unanswered: AT&T subsidy, 3G data price, no video? 1 hour ago”

FriendFeed is really (rapidly) becoming a place for interesting discussions. Sure, that takes away from blog comments, but getting upset over that is like a band getting upset that kids are remixing their songs on GarageBand. Be thankful that people like your content and keep playing.

iPhone 3G

Want (no video, no IM client, no cut and paste… but still hot):

234F6EE7-DA7D-499D-BD56-9C40C7C4EB21.jpg
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