Category Archives: iOS

iOS – Manything

IMG_0093I came across the Manything App a short time ago. The Manything App is currently free and allows you to set up an iOS device as a remote video monitor using the device’s built in camera, then view it remotely on another iOS device. With Manything you can record video to the cloud or watch the stream live (image is of App on iPad Air 2 viewing video from iPod). Viewing can be through an iOS device with Manything installed or through a browser on any computer (Flash is required) through their web interface. Monitoring can be either full video, or a stills taken at configurable intervals. Manything also works with IFTTT so you can automate actions when Manything detects motion.

Advanced features of the App include:

  • motion detection zones
  • continued operation even without power (as long as device battery lasts) or network connection
  • detailed metadata (timeline showing periods of sound and motion)

Manything works with any iOS device that runs iOS 6 or later. This includes iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices. I tested this out using an 4th generation iPod Touch that has been collecting dust since I got my iPhone. I updated the software on it and then installed Manything. I configured it to be in ‘Camera’ mode. I then installed the Manything App on my iPhone 5 and set it in ‘Viewer’ mode. I started the Manything App on my iPod and placed it in the front window of my office, then hit the record button to activate the stream. I could then start the App on my iPhone and go anywhere in my home viewing out my front window using
Manything.

I can see this as a great App to use when traveling to monitor your home, or to check on children who are at home before you are able to get home from work. It has many possibilities. It is also a great way to put your old iOS devices to use.


See my other iOS articles


Mac OS X & iOS – Dropbox

I have been a Dropbox user for a few years now. What is Dropbox? Dropbox is multi-platform (Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, Blackberry) tool for file sharing. Install Dropbox on two or more of your devices. All of the files you then drop into the shared Dropbox folder on one device is available on all of your other devices that have Dropbox installed. You can also log into your Dropbox account through most browsers from any device. If you have Neato installed on your iOS device, you can create notes and save them directly into the Dropbox folder.

I have a old MacBook that I sometimes take into the living room to edit documents (such as these articles) while watching TV. I can work on documents on my MacBook, but when I am ready to use my Mac Mini for final editing and posting, I can just open the Dropbox
folder and the document is at my fingertips. I don’t need to do anything special to transfer the document between my systems.

Not only can you use it as a shared private folder for your devices, but you can also use Dropbox to share photos, videos, documents or other files with friends, family and co-workers. You get to control who sees which files. Using Dropbox also gives you a backup of your files. If you lost your lap top where you were working on a critical file, the file would be available on your desktop in the Dropbox folder.

Basic Dropbox for individual use is free and provides 2GB of space. Dropbox Pro at $9.99 per month increases the storage to 1 TB. Dropbox for Business is available for multiple users with unlimited storage, and it allows the users to collaborate on documents. The
cost is $75 a month, or $750 a year for 5 users. Additional users can be added for $150 per year.

If you are a Mac OS X user using Dropbox and are still back on OS X Leopard or earlier you need to start thinking about upgrading. Dropbox announced in late January that it is going to drop support for those older versions of OS X on May 15, 2015.


See my other Mac OS X and iOS articles


iOS – iFixit

We have all heard of iFixit. They have done teardowns of Apple and other products for years. They have also offered various tools, parts and, most important, repair guides on their web site. Recently they released a free iOS App that gives you access to their repair manuals from your iOS device. 

iOS - iFixit1089 iOS - iFixit2 iOS - iFixit3

I downloaded the App to my iPad Air 2 a few days ago. The App lists repair guides for 15 categories:

  • Media Player
  • Apparel
  • PC
  • Electronics
  • Household
  • Skills
  • Computer Hardware
  • Appliance
  • Game Console
  • Tablet
  • Vehicle
  • Mac
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Car and Truck

Under each of these are many subcategories and specific products listed, with various repair guides for each. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of individual repair guides.

If you make DIY repairs, or want to start, this is an ideal way to have a wealth of information at your fingertips.


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Do you have Broadband?

On Thursday January 29, 2015 the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set new standards for the
classification of “broadband”. To qualify as “broadband” a service
provider must provide download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. This was done because the FCC felt that the US was not keeping up with available speeds in much of the rest of the world.  By the FCC’s estimates, 17% or 55 million Americans do not have access to the newly defined “broadband” capability. Are you one of the few who has “broadband” per the new standard?

There are many sites that you can use to test your connection. One
of these is http://www.speedtest.net/, this website will test your connection (NOTE: The site does require both Flash and JavaScript). If you have an iOS device, then you can install the FCC Speed Test App from the Apple iTunes store. The App is free and runs on iOS 7.0 or later and is compatible with both the iPhone and iPad.

I used the FCC app on my iPad connected to my home network over Wi-Fi and the results were 7.61Mbps down and 1.44 Mbps up. To verify that the Wi-Fi connection was not limiting my bandwidth, I duplicated the test from my Mac Mini which has a cat 5 hard wired connection to my ATT Uverse router. Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.53.37 PMI visited the SpeedTest URL mentioned above in the Google Chrome browser. That test gave nearly the same results: 7.61 Mbps down and 1.43 Mbps up.

Clearly my home internet connection is FAR from the new “broadband” standard. That hardly surprises me when the US shows up ranked number 26 on a list compiled by OOKLA of countries by network speed (the US is rated at 32.65Mbps, we are tied with Bulgaria). The speeds that I measured actually puts me with the same connectivity as Bangladesh, which is ranked number 112 on the list.

iPhone Tip – The Built In Level

I have used the built in Compass App a couple of time on my iPhone, but recently I came across a feature of that App I was not aware of. The Compass App has a built in level!

If you have iOS 7 or later on your phone, then open the Compass App, then once you see the compass on the display, swipe the screen left. That will bring up a level.

ece46f02f4d92f79eb6dd5226a9cf516976aeac5Lay your iPhone flat on a surface and you will see a pair of disks that shows the angle of the surface the iPhone is laying on and the slope of the surface.

2f4ab3881dd1f47b537bd184fdf651f8ac983071If you set your iPhone on edge on a surface, you get a display that is more like you are used to on a bubble level.

This isn’t something that I will use every day, but it adds one more feature to my iPhone.


See my other iOS articles


iOS: Khan Academy

I have recenly begun picking up my 6th grade granddaughter from school and occasionally helping her with her homework. Working with her made me notice an announcement a few days ago that Khan Academy now has an iPad App that allows free viewing of it’s videos.

What is Khan Academy? As Wikipedia says:

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere”. The organization produces micro lectures in the form of YouTube videos. In addition to micro lectures, the organization’s website features practice exercises and tools for educators. All resources are available for free to anyone around the world.

In the past few days the free Khan Academy iPad App has become available with access to over 150,000 exercises. I downloaded the App to my iPad and watched one of the videos yesterday (6th grade Algebra on inequalities). I think the video was well done and will be of value to my granddaughter or other students. There are many videos in each grade level to choose from including math, science, history and art.

I plan to watch some of the history videos as that is a subject I am interested in and had far too little of in school. If you are wanting to supplement formal K-12 education, or you are interested in learning just for the sake of learning, Khan Academy is a great place to start.


See my other iOS  and Continuing Education (CE) articles


The Evernote App

Updated 3/7/16

I have been an avid user of Evernote now for several years. What is Evernote?

Evernote is a way to collect and organize notes, ideas, web articles, handwritten notes, photos, and much more. Best of all it is cross platform – Mac OS X, iOS, Windows and Android. Evernote has a Free, as well as a Premium ($5/month) and Business ($10/month) plan. I have been using the Free plan thus far and I have been very satisfied with it.

Evernote allows you to set up Notebooks, then add notes to those notebooks. The Notes can be Notes created within Evernote, photos or clippings from web pages. I have the Evernote Web Clipper installed in Safari (it is also available for Firefox and Chrome). That gives me a button added to the Safari header which allows me to clip (anything from just the URL to the entire Web page) from web pages that I visit. This is a great way to collect information for later use. I save recipes, technical articles, and just sites that I am interested in.

I have a separate Notebook for each of the topic areas that I am writing about so that articles I find can be saved for later use. The great thing is that everything I save while I am on my Mac Mini is also available on my iPad and iPhone.

One of my Notebooks is just for Books and Reading. I have a Note there that lists all of the books that I own and that I have read. That makes it easier on the rare occasion that I go into a used book store. I can easily look up what I have and have not read by an author. I have also seen books at the brick and mortar stores that I am interested in, but want the eBook. So I just use the camera within the iOS Evernote App to take a picture of the book cover with my iPhone and save it to my Book Notebook. That way I have all the information I need for later to try and find the eBook.

All in all I find this to be one of the most essential apps whether for OS X or iOS.

I came across this article on how to use templates to make Evernote even more productive. If you use Evernote, these are good ideas.


See my other Mac OS X and iOS articles


iOS – Neato

Screen-Shot-2014-11-04-at-9.59.37-PM-640x556I came across the app Neato today and gave it a try. This app installs into Notification Center as a notepad. This is the first widget I have added to my iPhone since updating to iOS 8.1. I have played with this app a little now and I think it will be useful. I often go for walks and listen to podcasts. This little app will let me jot down anything that I hear and want to remember – no longer will I have to remember pen and paper. It is also useful to make notes at anytime regardless of what else you are doing on your iPhone.

A further advantage is that Neato integrates with Evernote and Dropbox (both of which I consider essential applications to iOS and OS X devices), allowing notes to be sent to either of those for later use. You can also send tweets, emails or text messages from the App. The app is currently free on the App Store and I highly recommend it.


See all of my iOS posts