Posted in Opinion, Review

iPhone X – Way Cool


Credit Apple Inc.

I have been playing around with my new iPhone X since the Friday launch date. Here are some quick thoughts about using it.

  • No Home Button – No Problem – I have forgotten about missing a home button. Opening the phone is as easy as picking it up, tilting it towards you and swiping up with your thumb. The phone automagically opens with the facial recognition.
  • Quitting Apps – One thing that I could not figure out was how to quit apps. On older phones, you double tap on the home button and then slide the open apps up to quit them. To accomplish this now, from the home screen, you slowly slide your thumb up and leave it about half way up the screen for a moment. Then, you will see your running apps in a stack to the left. Tap and hold on one and a red “-” will appear at the top left of each app. Tap on the red “-” over each app you want to quit that and the app will quit. If you are in an app, at the bottom, you will see a small line. Tap on that line and swipe up to the middle to accomplish the same thing.
  • Battery Percentage – I am used to seeing the percentage of battery at the top left. There appears to be no way to make that percentage number appear and stay. The 2 work arounds are to plug your phone into a charger and you will see the charge. The second way is to swipe down from the top right to access your control panel. There, you will see the battery percentage.
  • Update Apps – Make sure you update the apps for compatibility with the new iPhone. A few apps did not work. I also found that if I had a problem that deleting the app and reinstalling seemed to help.
  • QI Charger Not – Last, I chose not to get a QI charging pad to lay the iPhone on at this time. All of my cables currently work and I think I will hold out until Apple comes out with their version that will allow the Air Pod, Apple Watch and iPhone to charge.

If you happen to be near an Apple store, check the availability with the Apple Store app. An iPhone X may be closer than you think.


Posted in Commentary, Opinion

iOS Battery Issues ? Try These Tips

Battery Percentage

If you find your iPad or other iOS device won’t charge or hold a charge, here are some tips from Apple.

Will Not Charge – Change Power Sources, Adapters or Cables

Plug into the USB power adapter that came with your device. A third party adapter may not work properly. If that still does not work, try plugging into a different source of power: wall power outlet, computer, etc. Also, consider trying another cable in case the one you are using is bad.

As your device charges, you should see a battery icon with a little lightning bolt next to it in the status bar or a large battery icon on the lock screen.

Will Not Fully Charge – Force Restart, Try Again

Try this: force restart your device by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time for at least 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo. Then, let your device charge for another half hour or longer and see if it will fully recharge.

Maximizing Battery Life and Lifespan

  • Software Update

Always make sure you are using the latest version of iOS. Go to Settings > General > Software Update. If one is available, you can plug in your device to a power source and wirelessly download and install the latest version.

  • Screen Brightness

Optimize your screen brightness settings to help preserve battery life. You can dim the screen or turn on Auto-Brightness. To adjust your brightness, while your device is on, swipe up from the bottom of any screen to open the Control Center and drag the Brightness slider to the left. You will see your screen get dimmer. You can drag the slider to the right to make the screen brighter.

To turn on Auto-Brightness which will adjust your screen to lighting conditions automatically, go to Settings > Display & Brightness and set Auto-Brightness to on.

  • Use Wi-Fi

Using Wi-Fi to access data uses less power than a cellular network connection. So, turn on and use a Wi-Fi network. You can turn on your Wi-Fi by swiping up to open the Control Center and tap on the Wi-Fi icon and log into a Wi-Fi network.

Low Power Mode

When your battery power starts to get low, you can turn on Low Power Mode. You may receive an alert when your battery is low and turn it on then or in Settings > Battery. Apps may then begin to perform less background tasks to save power.

The chart below shows many of the battery functions discussed in this article.

Battery Settings

What’s Using The Power?

If you phone is not charging, you can view which apps are using the most power. To view the power usage, go to Settings > Battery and then you can tap on Last 24 Hours or Last 7 Days to see a list of the guilty apps.

You can read more about maximizing battery performance on this Apple Support page.

Posted in App, Commentary, Opinion

How to Scan from Your iPad or iOS device – The Basics

Scanner Pro 7 icon Evernote icon onenote-icon-ios acrobat-reader icon

There are times when you are out and want to capture images of documents to use later. These documents could be receipts, tests, business cards, brochures, handwritten notes, etc. This is not an app specific post. Instead, the basics of how to scan are discussed. Also, different options to consider when choosing a scanning app are briefly mention.

There are many apps that help you with the task of capturing images to use later. These apps include: Evernote, Adobe Acrobat, Scanner Pro (a personal favorite for capturing multipage documents), ScanSnap, and OneNote, which can also capture whiteboards you may have created or seen in class.

Here are the basic steps of capturing documents using apps on your iOS device:

  1. Open app and give it access to your iOS camera
  2. Take a picture of the document (take another if more than one page)
  3. Edit it for clarity and perform optional steps like OCR, image correction, rotation, etc.
  4. Name it
  5. Store it on the device, in the cloud, or in another app or share it.

You need to select an app that will be capturing the document. As to which app to select, think to yourself, how do you want to access that document later on? Will you want to access if from the cloud, from your device, from a different app on a different device or computer, etc. There are many different apps and opinions on which apps do those tasks the best, you should find one that you feel works for your workflow.

Theoretically, you can just use your Camera app, take a picture and then share the image using various methods like email or send it to a cloud service or another app.

Below is an image of a receipt captured using just the Camera of my iPhone.


You will notice several things. First, it is always better to have the document you are attempting to capture against a contrasting background or surface. That makes it easier for apps like Scanner Pro, Evernote, etc. to attempt to automatically distinguish the document from the background and capture only document as is seen below. There are apps that actively try to distinguish and find the document or receipt and capture only the document instead of everything in the camera’s eye.  Basically, it attempts to find the borders by comparing the document to the background it is against.

Also, the app may use the flash from your iPhone or other methods to try to eliminate shadows or crumple marks from the document or receipt. To get the best results, it is always best to try to use wrinkle free documents and good lighting when capturing the document.

When that is not possible, different apps use various methods to try to boost the image quality and readibility. Be careful using the flash, because it cam throw too much light and cause the text of the document to become unreadable. Experiment and try to find the right combination of natural light and try to avoid creating shadows when you hold your camera over the document.

Below, Scanner Pro shows you the edge border it has detected and allows you to wait to take the picture or adjust the camera angle until the border is properly detected.


Once the app has captured the image, you may be presented with what the app believes is a good version of the capture. If you like it, you can keep it. If not, you can edit it by moving the little dots to a different place to have the app capture all of the document’s details and edges that you may want. This is shown below.

Find Borders

After you have adjusted the image or modified the color to make it look its sharpest and cleanest, the next step is to save the document. Once the document is saved, you can then store it in the cloud with services like Dropbox, iCloud, Box, etc.

Some apps have additional features that are very handy like OCR (optical character recognition). The app will perform OCR from the information in the document or receipt itself to make searching and retrieval easier later.

The purpose of this post was to walk you through the basics of capturing documents using your iOS device. Hopefully, this information can help you better understand the process so you can make a good decision as to which app works best for you.


Posted in App, Opinion, Review

OmniOutliner 2

OmniOutliner for iPad icon

OmniOutliner, a great app that helps you outline your ideas, projects and thoughts, has been updated. If you are looking for a way to create a variety of lists, including to-do items, OmniOutliner by the OmniGroup is worth checking out. It has recently been updated to provide some fixes and improvements.

One of the advantages of the iOS app is its ability to store documents in iCloud so you can access them from your Mac desktop version. Literally, you can start, continue or finish projects on the go or at your laptop.


A nice feature is the ability to drag and drop items in your list to help you modify your ideas on the fly without having to retype or copy and paste. There are built in templates to help you get going. The drop down triangle allows you to collapse lists to make them more manageable.

With multiple columns available you can check items off, keep up with assignments of the list items, add dates and more.

The OmniGroup has been making great Mac and iOS apps for years. If you are looking for a way to create simple or more complex lists or outlines, you should check out OmniOutliner.


Posted in Commentary, Opinion

Location Services Draining Battery?

Location Services icon

Location services, the use of your location by apps can be a great tool. However, if apps are using your location services when you are not using the apps, your battery life can be lowered because the location of your device is being refreshed all the time.

home location services

To see if location services are being used, look at the top right of your home screen. If you see the little directional arrow, at least one app is using location services. To see which app it may be, tap Settings.

Then tap Privacy and then Location Services.

settings location services privacy


On the right column, in portrait view, you will see a list of apps. Tap on one that says always and see if you want to change the setting. For example, below, Replay is set to always use location services and the purple icon indicates that it is currently using the service.

Location Services

To turn off or modify the service, tap on the app and modify the allow locations access to never or while using the app if you prefer.

Modify location access

Note also that as soon as Never is selected, the location services icon goes away.

Never Location Services

Repeat this process for each app you do not want to access location services when not in use.

Separately, to see which apps may be using the most battery, tap Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage. Then, you can review which apps are guilty of the most battery usage and adjust your usage accordingly.

from Apple Inc.
from Apple Inc.

For other tips on maximizing the battery performance of your iOS device, go to Apple’s page on battery usage.

Posted in App, Opinion, Review

2Do: Tasks Done in Style Updated

2Do: Tasks Done in Style icon

2Do: Tasks Done in Style is a universal task manager app that can be used to keep up with projects, tasks, notes, reminders and more.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Whether you are on your iPad, iPhone or computer, this app has the ability to sync between all of your devices so you can check on your progress or create a task no matter where you are.

The app was recently updated to version 2.8.35 and promises to be better when the iOS 7 update arrives. You can learn more about this app from their web site.


Posted in Opinion, Review

Timeline 3D for iOS

BEEDOCSTimeline 3D

If you have ever wanted to create a beautiful timeline that provides unique visual reference points, you need to check out this app – Timeline 3D. It is brand new to the iOS family and is a universal app. The price is $14.99.

Screencasts online did a screencast on this product recently as well and you can learn more about the app by watching.

A Mac version has been around for several years. If you have never tried this app and use timelines, you are missing out.

This app is highly recommended. Do not think that the lack of commentary here means this app is not worth every penny. Rather, you should watch the demo videos and begin thinking about new ways to convey timeline information using this app.

Posted in Opinion

New York Times Digital Sale

The New York Times has joined in the cyber Monday fray. It is offering 50% off a 26 week digital subscription. You can read about the deal here. You can buy it for yourself or give it as a gift.

The fine print states:

Gift subscriptions can only be purchased for users who are not currently subscribed. Please allow 24 hours for gift subscription order processing.

Smartphone and tablet apps are not supported on all devices. Subscriptions do not include e-reader editions, Premium Crosswords or The New York Times Crosswords apps. Prices shown are in U.S. Dollars. Gift subscription period begins the day of redemption. Redemption codes expire five years after date of purchase. Other restrictions apply.

If you have been waiting to get your subscription, now may be the time.

Posted in App, Opinion, Review

MindNode Update to 2.0

MindNode, a mind mapping program for your iOS devices has been updated to version 2.0. If you use mind mapping to help you organize your thoughts, this program, in conjunction with MindNode Pro, allows you to create and share mind maps between your iPad and Mac.

iPad Screenshot 1

The program is a universal app and works on the iPhone and iPad. However, on the iPad, the larger screen real estate makes for a better experience. You can watch a short screencast of the app in action here.

According to the developer, this is a major update and the following features have been improved:

• Folding

Hide and unhide entire sub tress directly on the canvas or in outline view.

• Smart Layout
Automatically keep your canvas organized.

• Node and Branch Styles
Change the font, text size, text color, shape and line style of your nodes and branches.

• MindNode Pro features
MindNode touch will now correctly display images and cross connections create on the mac. It’s now also possible to exchange documents between the two platforms without loosing attributes.

• Document List
New grid based document list to browse documents more easily.

Many more features and enhancements:
• Resize nodes on the canvas
• Zoom level independent node well
• Create nodes via an accessory view when in edit mode
• Duplicate documents
• Multiple selection in document list

iPad Screenshot 4

This app is recommended if you want to use mind mapping to organize your thoughts. The ability to pinch to zoom in and out makes reading and working with this app a pleasure on the iPad. The added benefit of syncing with a Mac allows you to take your work in the office or on the go. If you are looking for a Mind Map program for your iPad, this is a great product.

Posted in Commentary, Opinion

iTunes and App Stores Down? [Update]

It appears that the iTunes and App stores are down. At first, I thought is was me…But, there are posts appearing on Apple’s support site. That does not bode well for downloading Lion in the next couple of days.

Here are a couple of links to discussions about iTunes being down. Site, site.

If you are having problems connecting to the stores, you are not alone.

UPDATE [2011.07.13 6:30 a.m. EDT]MacRumors is reporting that Apple sent developers an email to let them know the store may be down. Purportedly, the email states:

“iTunes Connect will be undergoing scheduled maintenance on Wednesday, July 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT.

During this time, iTunes Connect will still be available. However, pricing changes made between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. PDT will cause the app to become unavailable for purchase until maintenance is complete, at which point the app will become available at the new price. To avoid interruptions to the availability of your apps, do not make price changes during this time.

Lastly, customers may not be able to purchase apps in the Mexico, U.K., Australia, Switzerland, Japan or Norway storefronts during the scheduled maintenance.


The App Store team”

Does this mean Lion may be released soon?  We’ll have to wait and see.