Sunday, September 20, 2015

Reader View for Safari in iOS 9 Has New Tools

Whenever you visit a webpage on your iPhone or other iOS device using Safari, check the url or address bar for the "Reader View Available" message that will show briefly. You can then tap the icon in the upper left corner to enable Reader Mode. This will strip the site down to just text and images and remove most ads and other details of a website that distract from reading the text of the article. Once you're using Reader Mode, tap the "aA" icon in the upper right. New in iOS 9, you can now change the text size, typeface, and background. Pretty nifty!

Here's a GIF showing the steps.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Adorable Little App Review: Find Adventure, Alfie Atkins

My very artistic 5-year-old son loves, loves, loves this app! It kept him completely entertained during our summer cross-country road trip. There is something very, very soothing about this app. (Besides playing it myself, I've witnessed my husband play it and become completely enamored with it for a long time.) There is no language barrier so children from any background or most any age could play with it. There is something so gratifying about completing these little building projects, exploring the make-believe land, and feeding little fruits to friends along the way. The app promotes creativity, exploration, imagination, compassion, and calmness. The incentive for completing the imaginary project builds is a new color dab or pattern. These can be used to color and design future builds.

I was amazed to check the progress my son was making as he earned new color dabs and bonus patterns. It's just a cool, entertaining app that reduces stress and gets imaginations going!

My only concern is the large footprint it takes up on our iPad. It's always up there at the top of the usage list. It would be great if the app developers found a way to reduce the size the files take up. Other than that, we love it and my son wouldn't dare delete it to save room! If you have room on your iPhone or iPad, I recommend it. Play it with your child and they will love showing you how to color the creations you can make together. You may find yourself playing it by yourself sometime just to relax!

Here is a link to the App Store where you can download it or put it on your Wish List for later. It would be a cool gift for a friend.

Thanks to the App Developers over at GroPlay for giving me this promo to review for you. They have some other amazing apps you should definitely check out!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How To Update Adobe Flash Player: A Walk-Through

Hand-Made Mac Tip:
How To Update Adobe Flash Player On A Mac — A Walk-Through
with Step By Step Pictures

I get many requests for how to do this, so I thought I'd make a tutorial.
I hope this is helpful and helps keep you SAFE from hackers!

So, you're surfing along on the Internet in Safari or whichever browser you choose and all of the sudden, this window pops up out of nowhere! It seems to do this fairly frequently!

Why? Because Adobe is constantly patching its software to keep the bad guys out and they need to send you an update. While you don't want to ignore these updates, you don't want to get tricked into putting something harmful on your computer by the bad guys pretending to be Adobe either.

Follow these steps to do it the safe way:

Here is the window that pops up. Even though this one may be legit, lets pretend it's not and go get it from the source making sure we are the one making all the calls.

You may have to repeat these steps if BOTH of these plugins have updates. Most times it's just one or the other. You will see a message that says you're up to date if none is needed. If an update is available, it will say so like shown in the next image.

Wow. 14 steps! They sure don't make it simple, do they  Why do we even need Adobe Flash anyway? 
It's one of those necessary evils that's called a plugin. It's like a supplement for our computers. Without it, we wouldn't be able to process certain multimedia content like videos or interactive graphs. Lots of banking websites still require it to make their websites function the way they were designed to be viewed by the visitor. They want to display information in a chart and it may have some type of animation. To you it may be overkill, but to the web designers, this is the choice they made. 
What if I don't care about updating it? Can't I just skip it? 
Sure, but you do so at your own risk. You could be allowing the plugin you are currently using to operate with a "hole" in it — one the bad guys could get through to compromise your security. Better safe than sorry.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

Google has a new tool to check your website to see if it is mobile-friendly. Just click the link and enter your site"s url into the box and view the results.

This example shows that my blog is mobile-friendly.

What happens if your site isn"t mobile-friendly? Your site won"t get listed at the top in google search results which means less visitors. Contact your website designer and let them know. If you need a website designer, let me know and I can put you in touch with my friends and colleagues in the business.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Add A New Chrome Search Widget

Hey there Information Junkies, this one's for you!

Got Chrome installed on your iPhone?
(if not tap on this App Store icon to install first)

Swipe down from the top of your iPhone screen to reveal the Today View and Notifications. Now you can add a handy-dandy search tool using the Chrome widget where you can either type or speak your query!

Here's how to get it to show up there:

Look for Chrome in the list then tap the "+" to add it to your widgets. Long-press then push with your finger to rearrange the order in which they appear when you pull down in the Today View.

When you tap the Voice Search button, it's initially configured to speak the results. If you want to turn off the audio, tap the little "i" icon for more information.

Look to the bottom to slide off "Speak answers back"

If you don't have the Chrome app, get it here:

Happy Searching!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ditch Annoying Ads In Safari on iPhone

Did you ever go to read an article on a website using your iPhone only to feel completely frustrated when an advertisement hijacks your screen and takes you somewhere else because you accidentally tapped an ad while scrolling?

Don't put up with that! Use Reader View!

Not all sites support it and if they don't, shame on them! When a site supports Reader View, it will briefly display it in the same place where the URL or website address appears before returning back to the website name. If you miss it, don't worry, just look for the little icon located in the far left of that website address field. It will look like the symbol for a paragraph.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What's On My iPhone

People always ask me what apps they should install on their iPhone or iPad. I've been wanting to make a mini catalog like this for a long time and I finally started to scratch the itch. I've created a "What's On My iPhone" Pinterest board. I've embedded it below using a script. If for some reason it doesn't load properly, just click this link. For each pin I've included a short and sweet reason for why I chose to install the app and what purpose it serves. I started getting punchy after pinning for a while so some of them are a little silly. Several of them I wrote as if my great aunt were asking me about apps on her very first smartphone.

I'm hoping I can use it as a point of reference because I get asked this question so many times and I always feel like it's more of a needs-based answer. This way the viewer can just skim through and see what might apply to them or maybe find something they hadn't even considered.

Follow Melissa Davis's board What's On My iPhone on Pinterest.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How To Make an iPhone Wallet

It's 7:38 AM and I'm tired, haven't yet brushed my teeth, the kids are fighting over a toy and dragging their feet trying to get out the door to go to school on time. I'm rushing to get organized while throwing on something that resembles clothes and I'm lucky if I manage to slip on some matching shoes because thank goodness I only need to look presentable from the waist up during the morning drive-and-drop-off at my eldest son's school. Do you know this dance?

I'm here to tell you that rushing out the door to run errands without grabbing a purse now is so liberating! My iPhone in its new case is now my new wallet and it's the only thing besides my water bottle and keys that I grab while dashing out the door. It's rugged, durable, stylish, and convenient now that it's protected by the NewerTech NuGuard KX combined with a Kena Kai iROO phone pouch on the back. I get so many compliments on this case and pouch combo.

I love buying my computer parts and accessories from Other World Computing and always recommend them to friends, family and clients. When they asked me to review one of their cases, I couldn't say no. They provided me with this NewerTech NuGuard KX case along with the KXs Screen Armor to put through the paces. When I saw what a rugged case it was, I knew it would be my new full-time case. I had already been using a regular TPU case with a pouch on the back, but wasn't wild about the color combo. When they sent me this case in the Darkness color, I just had to get another iROO pouch for the back in the same black color and now I have the most awesome iPhone wallet!

The NewerTech NuGuard KX iPhone case by itself is some serious protection for your iPhone. Add to it the KXs Screen Armor (screen protector) and you've got something really rugged that even the kids can play on without fear of having your precious iPhone damaged.
Here is a description from the manufacturer: "Unlike common military-impact test grade iPhone® case materials, the NuGuard KX uses state-of-the-art X-Orbing gel technology to absorb and evenly distribute kinetic energy. This revolutionary technology is then engineered into an effective one-piece design that's available in eight attractive color combinations."
Here is a photo of the two products I combined to make my perfect "iPhone Wallet."

The NuGuard KX is very tough, but not too thick and bulky. It feels good in your hand and has a great grip to it. It has a tire-tread look to it on the back. At first I thought it a bit masculine for my own tastes, but in a color like Darkness, it's actually very unisex. I also like to think of it like that little black dress mother tells you that should always remain in your closet. I so rarely wear dresses much anymore, but with a little black iPhone case, I feel like I'm stylin!

Normally I like purple, but I'm very picky about the shade of purple. Black makes it easier and it always looks great no matter what you're wearing — if you're fashion-conscious. I suck at fashion, so this really is the best color for me because it just goes with everything. The other really great thing about this case is that when I upgrade to the next iPhone, my husband will get this one and he's already excited about this case and pouch combo.

One of the design features I really appreciate is the lip around the front perimeter. I was quite surprised at how it doesn't get in the way when trying to move apps around like a lot of cases I've seen. I have been using this case for over a month now and love it. It has been drop-tested by accident several times now by both the kids and I and it holds up wonderfully.

Having my iPhone dropped is one less thing I panic about because of this case. It has landed straight onto the glass on hard surfaces with absolutely no damage whatsoever. The NuGuard KX case is totally mom-approved! 

Of course, I wouldn't recommend testing this for yourself, so just take it from me — I've taken one for the team here several times over! This is important for parents who let their little ones play with their iPhones. Let's admit it, this happens to us all and maybe more than we'd like at times. This would be a great iPhone case for a kid's phone if they're old enough to have one of their own. It's so rugged, just watch this video of an iPhone inside this case being drop-tested from a wind turbine! My son LOVES this video and it's all he would talk about when I first started using this case.

The ports are all accessible and I have no issues plugging things into the bottom.
One of my biggest areas of concern when it comes to cases is the camera cut-out. I always worry about flash halo. Shiny plastic too close to the flash can result in a funky halo or ghosted edges on your photos because of how the light bounces off the inside edge. This case does not present that problem at all. As you can see here, there is plenty of room around the camera while still protecting that area because of how it's raised up. My one and only critique here is that I only wish they could have designed it so that there were just a few more millimeters of space to the left of the camera hole so that I could still use my magnetic lenses and ring set. If there were just a teeny bit more space, I could have kept the metallic ring affixed and still be able to attach my macro lens without needing to remove the case. Luckily the case does remove easily enough so I can clip on my top-loading 3-in-1 lens kit to take creative shots.

I hope this review of the NewerTech NuGuard KX iPhone case is helpful when you're looking for a protective case for your iPhone 5 or 5s. They come in several colors besides Darkness, including: Roulette Red, Midnight, Rose, Trooper, Eagle Shield, Buzz, and Nubar Forest.

Although this is primarily a review for the iPhone case, I highly recommend getting the iROO pouch and putting these two products together. It has suited my needs really well and is a winning combination. Let me know if it works for you!

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