Late by 7 Seconds.  Shame on me!

Late by 7 seconds

Late by 7 seconds

To follow-up on yesterday’s blog in reference to the iPhone 7 I did order one.  

As you can see by the confirmation email above I ordered a new Apple iPhone 7 Plus exactly 7 seconds (is that a coincidence?) after ordering began at 3:00 AM EDT this morning.

Apple said that they will begin shipping on September 16th (next Friday).  As you can also see by the second blue circle above, my order – 7 seconds into the ordering process – will not ship until sometime between September 23 and September 30.  Sigh… I guess that happens if you are 7 seconds late.

I ordered through the AT&T app.  Perhaps I would have made the “cut” if I would have ordered using the Apple app.

Maybe mine is delayed because I ordered one of the new colors.  I ordered “Black” (like a matt black), not the “Jet Black” (like a piano black) color.

Oh well, being a senior geezer I’ve learned to be patient, and I’m far too old to stand in line at the Apple store next Friday to pick one up.  My luck I would be 7 seconds late standing in line and they would all be gone.

After I get the thing, and have a few days to play with it (I’m really looking forward to the new dual lens camera), I’ll post a review here on itechgeezer.com

Missing headphone jack? much ado about nothing!

Apple iPhone 7
Apple iPhone 7

Much ado has already been made about the “missing” iPhone 7 3.5mm audio (headphone) jack when Apple introduced the two new iPhone 7’s yesterday.

Apple claimed that the reason they removed the jack was to make room for new technology in future iPhones.  I also suppose that the jack will be missing when Apple introduces new iPads in late 2016 or early 2017.

Sure, Apple saved a few pennies and gained a bit more room by removing the jack, but they spent more than they saved by including a set of earbud headphones with a lightning connector – and also included a little device that lets you continue to use your analog headphones by connecting them to the convertor and then onto your lightning connector.

Most folks would say that a digital headphone sounds crisper and clearer than an analog headphone.  So where is the harm or foul?  You can enjoy your new iPhone 7 with the included digital earbuds – or connect your existing Beats, Sennheiser, Sony, Motorola or other studio headphones to the phone with the included adapter. In addition Apple and Beats (owned by Apple) introduced new wireless headphones that can be used with the iPhone 7’s.  And finally there are dozens of Bluetooth wireless headphones already on the market that will work with the iPhone 7’s.  

Tell me again why you are unhappy?

Early on Friday morning (3 AM EDT) I’ll be placing my order for a new iPhone 7 Plus.  Am I disappointed that it won’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack. Nope!

River Cruising for the tech savvy geezer

Viking River Cruise
Viking River Cruise

We just finished our first river cruise and it was fabulous!  If you watched “Downton Abbey” on PBS you saw commercials for Viking River Cruises. Those beautiful long ships cruising up and down famous rivers in Central Europe with vineyards, castles, palaces and beautiful German maidens passing you down a beer from off a bridge as you sail under it.  Ahhhh…

It was a great voyage – made even more fun with Apple mobile technology. I’d like to share a few techno things to help on your next vacation cruise – regardless if it is an ocean or river cruise. This is an update to my January 2015 ocean cruise review.

The good news is that practically all my gear worked on the plane and on the ship. The bad news is that it is not inexpensive and connections are slow and not very reliable. I brought along my iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Air, Apple Watch, Beats headphones, Sony Alpha 55 DSLR camera, a few cables and one power “brick” that had five USB outlets. I have a great custom backpack that is designed to hold all my gear – it even has a special storage section for the iPad.  

Before leaving I went to AT&T (my cellular provider) and signed up for the $30 per month International travel option.  This gave me $1.00 per minute calls, unlimited texting and a whole 150MB of data (for checking email, etc.)  It wasn’t until the second day of our trip that I checked my account status and I was already way over 250MB of data. What?!? I had forgotten that being a tech guy I had my iPhone set to do automatic uploads from my Photos app, nightly backups to iCloud and other assorted syncs and backups.  Ouch!  I quickly changed my settings.

We flew Delta and in the United States most planes now have WiFi which runs about $8 – $10 for a 24 hour “pass.” Speed is acceptable, and reliability was very good. On the river cruise ship Viking offered free WiFi (we paid Royal Caribbean about $225 for a similar WiFi service on our last ocean cruise.)  Speed was very slow, and reliability was just “OK.” Don’t plan on streaming video or uploading photos. Audio streaming was just “OK” with a few disconnects. Email and dial-up type web browsing were “OK.”

During our vacation I took over 1,000 of photos with the Sony DSLR, the iPhone, and the iPad.  I backed them up to my iPad (just in case…) using an Apple Lightning SD card (from the Sony) connector and used “AirDrop” to transfer wirelessly from the iPhone.  When we arrived at our AirBnB rental apartment in Amsterdam at the end of our trip (where we had decent WiFi) I backed everything up to iCloud.

Our trip took us to Hungary, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands.  When we were on shore it was easy to connect to low-cost or free WiFi services. You may want to use a VPN (virtual private network) service while you travel when use use foreign WiFi services so that you don’t get hacked. 

Before we left home I downloaded some music and a few movies to my iPad and that made travel time on planes, and quiet times on the ship enjoyable. I also downloaded a couple of books both digital and audio through iBooks and Audible.com
I carried my iPhone in my front pocket (to avoid pick-pockets) and left the iPad on the ship in our cabins provided safe.
I must admit that I was amazed at the number of fellow passengers who used digital devices on the plane and on the ship. Mobile technology has really caught on for vacationers.

Here are a few cruising tips:

  • Pack one USB charger that has multiple USB connections.  Mine supports five devices.
  • Make sure that the ship and rental apartments support US 110 volt AC cords.  You may want to invest in a lightweight set of travel plugs. Our ship did.  Our rental apartment did not (we needed a converter plug).
  • Bring a second rechargeable battery and charging block for your DSLR camera.
  • Get a “Y” audio connector – so that you and your spouse can share music, books, or video with two sets of headphones to one device.
  • Bring along a second RAM storage card for your DSLR camera
  • Use an app like “Day One” Journal 2 to record your daily vacation notes so you can remember the name of that church or cathedral – and the name of that fabulous German beer was. Keep up with your journal everyday!
  • Shoot a mix of photos and short videos (30-60 seconds) and build an iMovie show from them.
  • In larger European cities use Uber or Lyft to get around.  More reliable and cheaper than regular taxi’s.
  • Use AirBnB for apartment and home rentals to save significant dollars over standard hotels.  Look at the owner reviews before making commitments. 
  • Carry a money belt or one of the around the neck security bags with RFID protection.  There are many pick pockets in larger European cities and they hang around cathedrals, airports, museums, concert venues, train stations and more.
  • Most of the countries we visited accepted Euros. Most museums, restaurants and shops accepted credit and debit cards as long as the card has a Visa or MasterCard logo on it.  Most ATM machines accepted debit cards for cash advances – spitting out your new funds in Euros.
  • Check with your cellular provider in regards to using your phone overseas.  If you don’t you could come home to hundreds of dollars worth of charges for calls, texts, and email checking.  Have your provider help with turning off settings that have to do with backups and auto uploads and auto synchronization.

Bottom line – traveling with digital devices can be entertaining, informational and useful. Just make sure you take precautionary steps in advance. 

APPS: What’s on my iPhone/iPad right now.

Favorite IOS Apps
Favorite IOS Apps

A lot of my friends – and a lot of you readers – have asked me what apps do you recommend?  As an Apple “fan-boy” since 1978 I’ve used hundreds of apps on every Apple device imaginable. Over the years my long list of devices have included the Apple ][, Apple ///, Apple Lisa, Apple Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

Quite frankly there is no such thing as the perfect app.  Every app developer thinks their app is the best.  Few are.  Even great ones like Numerous for the iPhone/iPad which had over 150,000 active users recently died an untimely death due to a lack of customer funding.  The history of computer apps (from an earlier term: applications) is littered with a few standouts and thousands of little purchased and little used want-to-be’s.

To give you an idea how big the market for apps is, consider that Apple has over 1,500,000 apps available for the iPhone, iPad, and the iPod Touch. There are more than 15,000 apps available for the Apple Watch. In less than a year the Apple TV 4 has grown from 40 apps to over 5,000. Apps range in price from free to a thousand dollars or more! The average price for an IOS app for consumer use is $1.99. I’ve never understood how a person who spends hundreds of dollars on a new iPhone or iPad complains about the cost of an app that costs only a couple-of-bucks and has a lifetime of free upgrades.

I’ve compiled a list of my all-time top ten favorite apps for your consideration. Each app I use almost daily and each provides a good mix of features, performance and reliability. Note that some are free, some require a monthly or annual subscription, and a couple are reasonably priced. The list is in no particular order.

All of these apps work on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. Some also work on the Apple Watch, Apple TV and the Apple Mac.

Check out my Top Ten Favorite Apps by clicking here:  Tom’s Favorite Apps

You will be taken to my app page where you can read a brief overview of each App and then click on a link to open the app in the Apple App Store.

Enjoy! Comments and questions are always welcome. Tech support is available from each developers web site.

Here’s Why Image Counts: Tesla 3 vs. Chevy Bolt

 

Tesla 3
Tesla 3
  
Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt
 

If you were in the market for a pure electric vehicle and the cost was the same would you buy a Tesla 3 or a Chevy Bolt?  A third of a million Americans just voted with their pocket books and the answer for them was a Tesla 3.

In comparing the two vehicles consider the following:

  • Both cost about $35,000
  • Both are total electric vehicles (no supplemental gas engines)
  • Both are made in the USA
  • Both have an electric range of about 215 miles
  • Each has a different “style” or “look” – I’ll leave which is more attractive to you, the reader
  • The Chevy Bolt will be available in late 2016
  • The Tesla 3 will be available in late 2017

If we are to believe that the two vehicles are so similar (except for that “style/look” thing) why are the following facts so dissimilar:

  • In the first week of ordering availability in late March of 2016 the Tesla 3 garnered over 325,000 pre-orders requiring a deposit of $1,000 each.
  • Since its January 2016 unveiling the Chevy Bolt’s parents (GM) has projected that it will sell 20,000 in the first year.

What?!?  How can that be??? How did the Tesla 3 beat the pants off of Chevy Bolt without any struggle at all?

Tesla basks in same sort of consumer “glow” as Apple.  Its high-end design, engineering, construction, fit and finish and a reputation for overall quality are admired by owners, and non-owners alike.  Consumer Reports magazine reviewed the original Tesla Model S vehicle and gave it the highest marks of ANY car ever reviewed.

The Chevy Bolt looks like it was designed by a committee on both the exterior and the interior.  While this is the company that brought us Corvairs and Vegas, it also brought us inspired vehicles like the Corvette Stingray. 

The Tesla 3 looks like a coordinated effort of a team that believes in synergy of both the exterior and the interior of the vehicle.  The Tesla 3 interior is of a minimalist design and the cockpit dash panel looks like an oversized iPad. 

To be successful in the long term, EV’s (Electric Vehicles) will have to be more than “boxes with wheels” that are re-engineered gas vehicles with batteries.  Only “clean sheet” electric vehicles that are designed from scratch will succeed.  And to totally succeed there will need to be nationwide electric recharging stations that can handle ALL the connectors from different EV’s and not just proprietary ones from one or two manufacturers.

We need to start thinking of personal transportation as “computers with wheels.” Those with out-of-box thinking like Apple and Tesla will most likely be the winners.  Can Detroit make the change?

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.  Thanks for reading Tom Gordon’s – The iTechGeezer blog.

“Say Hello To A Good Buy!” Definitely My Journal of Choice: DAY ONE Journal 2

  

I have well over 150 apps on my iPhone and iPad. Although, you may ask, how many do I really use? The answer: about a dozen. I’ve been using apps on Apple IOS devices for about eight years. I consider myself a software explorer and I’ve tried hundreds of different apps – some with the same purpose. For example, to find a solution for the best word processing app on my mobile devices, I’ve tried Apple Pages, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs. After more than a few attempts to find the perfect word processing app (by the way, there is no such thing), I’ve found the one that is “perfect” for me.

Over my lifetime of computing (since 1978), I’ve tried to find the perfect journaling software application for both “regular” computers (Mac and PC’s – desktops and laptops) and “mobile” communicators (IOS, Droid, and other smartphones and tablets). I love to record day-to-day events, as well as life, and, of course, traveling experiences. Although my diary (i.e., journal) contains my personal thoughts and pictures, I’m not too worried about security; yet I still employ a simple security system.

Here is what I look for in a journaling software application:

 1. The same basic software features in both versions (traditional computer and mobile computer)

 2. A graphical look and feel to the user interface, as well as what I can record and save on the application. I’m a visual person. I love photos, videos, and a certain look and style to my stuff.

 3. Easy, nearly automatic, journaling. “Click” a button, add some words and photos, save, share, back-up, done.

 4. Security that is safe and reliable, while not requiring a lot of effort to access my stuff.

 5. The ability to share my journal entries with others, (via email, Twitter, Facebook, or messages) or, rather, to keep them entirely private.

My absolute favorite journaling software program (App) is DAY ONE Journal 2 by Bloom Built, LLC. Here is a link to their website: DAY ONE Journal Web Site Home Page

Bloom Built, LLC released its latest version, DAY ONE Journal 2, just a few weeks ago and it is a standout! Here’s why:

 • Extremely graphical. You have the ability to associate up to ten photos with any journal entry. You can take photos within the app or add them from your photos library.

 • Excellent entry security. Use a four digit pin, or use the iPhone/iPad fingerprint sensor.

 • Journal entries can be GPS location-based. Use the associated photograph GPS or your physical location at the moment. There is a map icon that shows you where all of your entries have been made. This is incredibly useful if you travel often.

 • Entries can be tagged for easy grouping.

 • Entry dates are automatically added, but can be modified for both date and time.

 • Weather temperatures and conditions are automatically added.

 • You can have multiple journals. Personal, business, projects, organizations, etc.

 • Activity tags like stationary, walking, running, biking, eating, etc.

 • Step count (from iPhones)

 • Music, or rather, what is playing on your Apple Music player (note that this is the only player supported) at the moment you made the entry.

 • Entry URL lets you share this journal entry by providing the user with a link.

 • Standard IOS sharing menu for sharing to Twitter, OneNote, Pocket, Facebook, Apple Notes, and dozens of other sharing apps. You can also save to Dropbox, copy, print, and view as a PDF.

 • Organize entries by map location, date(s), and photos.

 • Entry is synced over iCloud to all devices. Backup is daily and automatic. It is date and time stamped as well.

 • Text styles, as well as, type formatting, lists (bullet and numbered), HTML view, and other styles.

 • The Apple Watch is supported and journal entry is easy by using user defined “stock” entries, or voice dictation into the watch and even photo journal entries can be made using the watch.

 • DAY ONE Journal 2 is available for IOS: $4.99, or the Mac: $29.99 – A reasonable price for pretty much the ultimate in journaling (“Say Hello To A Good Buy!”)

If you like journaling, this is the app you need. Start a journal entry on any device, and then edit and update the entry from any device, anywhere!

If you have a question or thought, post it in the comments section . Thanks for reading, come back soon! Best, Tom Gordon

I’m an autodidact.  Are you?

  

A phrase that I hear often from a senior in regards to learning about new technology is “I’m too old to learn a new thing.”

That’s crazy thinking.  Most of us are autodidacts (sort of pronounced “auto-die-dact”)  What the heck is an autodidact?

A dictionary would describe an autodidact as:

“A person who has learned a subject without the benefit of a teacher or formal education; a self-taught person.” (For more information click here Dictionary.com reference).

By the way… Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Malcom X, Benjamin Franklin, David Geffen, Jane Goodall and John D. Rockefeller are all autodidact’s.  That doesn’t mean you can drop out of school – or not go on to higher education. There are simply two (or more) ways to become educated about a particular subject – formal (school) and informal (self-taught.)

Two things that as a geezer (look that up!) I missed out on in college were – learning about (1) stocks and bonds, and (2) information technology.  The first, even though I was a business major, I simply didn’t take in college – it was offered.  The second, quite frankly, wasn’t offered because it had not been invented yet!  The two Steve’s (Jobs and Wozniak) had not invented the Apple personal computer in 1969 when I graduated from college.

It is often said that the things we have the strongest feelings about are the ones that we are curious and passionate about.  For me that is absolutely true.  As a kid I was “into” CB and Ham radios, kits that let you build electronics, photography and gadgets of almost any kind.  I was always reading books like “How Stuff Works…” My dad bought me subscriptions to Popular Science, Popular Electronics, Popular Photography and Popular Mechanics.

When the two Steve’s started Apple (1976) and invented the Apple Computer I had to have one of the first ones (the Apple ][ in 1978.)  My passion for gadgets and electronics and reading everything I could on the new subject of personal computing has led to a forty year love affair (the only one my wife lets me have) with digital devices.  As a baby boomer (1946 – the leading edge of that movement – yikes I’m almost 70 years old!) I’ve got a leg up on most folks my age when it comes to knowledge of personal computing.

My point of all this is that I’ve never taken a formal high school or college class on computing, photography or electronics.  But I AM a autodidact – a self taught person who has read thousands of magazine articles, DIY (do-it-yourself) books, and Internet on-line “webinar’s.”  In addition I’ve simply pushed myself to learn personal computing by “doing.”  Trying new things by pushing buttons, opening programs, and just plain exploring the hardware and software that I’ve owned.

I’m not sure that we are ever to old to learn new things.  If we have a curious mind, and a high degree of interest about something new I think it is possible to learn about something that previously we didn’t know too much about.

As my last official “job” (before retirement) I worked at Barnes & Noble for six years. The first three years I sold music and videos.  The last three years I sold, serviced, supported and trained mostly “oldsters” (fifty plus years old) how to use Barnes & Noble “Nooks” electronic book readers.  The oldest person I trained during those three years was a 94 year old woman who had a passion for reading and wanted the immediate gratification of being able to buy electronic books that were cheaper than paper ones, and that she could do at home.  If she could do it, so can you!

My advice?  You are not getting any younger!  If you haven’t bought your first smartphone or tablet do it now.  Don’t buy a desktop or laptop computer – for what you will be doing 95% of the time a large screen smartphone or tablet will be easier to learn and to use. My preference is Apple.  Why? – read some of my past blog articles.  After you purchase a device sign up for an adult class at your local high school or library or the Apple Store.  Next go to a Barnes & Noble, Schuler’s Books, or any good bookstore and look for books about the device you have just purchased.  Look for titles like: “iPad’s for Seniors.”  Open the first few pages and look at the published date.  If the book is over 1-1/2 years old – look for a newer one (yes, things change that fast.)  Look for books with lots of pictures and drawings and not page after page of just text.  Look at the index in the back – make sure it’s several pages long.  Now after all that you are NOT going to read it cover to cover.  You are simply going to stick it on a shelf and use it as a reference book when you are “stuck” and can’t remember how to make text larger, or make text bolder or ??? (whatever.)

Last, you are NOT going to learn how to use your new digital gadget in a day, or a week, or a month – not even a year.  I’ve been using digital devices since 1978 and I learn something new almost every day!

Happy computing older person (myself included)!  You are also an autodidact – and darn proud of it!

– Tom Gordon, the iTechGeezer

Mobile Technology for Today's Savvy Geezer!

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