Did You Know This About the Apple Watch?

Last month, I went to Macstock in Crystal Lake, IL. It was my first time at this conference, which is in its fourth year. This year’s topic was productivity. It was very informative.

One of the things I learned was in Dave Ginsburg’s “Creating a Productive Workflow with iOS” talk. I never knew you could change the dock on your Apple Watch from “Recents” to “Favorites.” This function is more useful to me. You can find this setting under “Dock” in the Apple Watch app. Since I may not be the only one who didn’t know about this I thought I would share the knowledge here.

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Pictures for the Facebook Challenge

Back in November, there was a 7-day challenge on Facebook, “Seven days. Seven black-and-white photos of my life. No explanations,” where people had to share black and white photos of your life. The only rules were that the pictures couldn’t have people in it and you couldn’t explain the pictures.

There is an author, Stacey Longo, who participated in the challenge then wrote a blog post about the pictures she posted. You can find her blog entry here.

I decided to post all the pictures I used in the challenge in this blog post. I will also post ones that never got used. When I decided to do the challenge, I started thinking about what types of pictures I could take.

I took all the photos on my iPhone 8 Plus and changed the color on them through the native photo app on the phone. I did use the Metapho app to strip the meta data off the photos.

The seventh day I posted two pictures. The pictures were of the same object, but I liked both of them. For me, it’s tough to decide what ones to use.

There is one picture I had taken for the challenge that was never used because the turtle pictures took its place. The below picture was taken in Hamden, Connecticut during my travels as a merchandiser and was never processed for the challenge.

I love taking pictures with my phone. Sometimes, I wish there were more reasons to do just that. I love it when these types of events come up.

Battery Cases

I’m always looking for more battery power for my iPhone. It’s not like I need it though since as a merchandiser I’m in my car a lot and can charge my phone in it. This has’t stopped me from buying battery cases though.

The last one I bought was the Nohon 7500mAH iPhone 7 Plus battery case. I had it for a month when it started acting up. It stopped charging my phone and the case itself wasn’t charging either. It’s too bad it started acting up because I was going almost two days without having to charge my phone and the battery case.

The design of the Nohon case isn’t the greatest. The placement of the button to turn the case on is on the back of it. This isn’t the worse placement since other battery cases have buttons there as well. The problem is that it only takes one press to turn on the case. This can cause the case to be turned on accidentally when it isn’t needed.

I have gone back to the Mophie Juice Pack Air. It has never given me any issues. With Its design, it can’t be accidentally turned on either. Wireless charging works with it as well.

Beware of Information within the Flixster app (updated 12/4/17)

The other day I was using the Flixster app to see if Justice League was playing at some local theaters.

I noticed two things with the app. The first thing was that my theater settings had been changed to only show “ticketing theaters.” This probably came about with the recent update to the app.

The second thing I noticed is the worse offender. Somehow certain movies are not showing up in the app. Two theaters I was checking in the app were not listing Justice League as one of the theater’s options. You would think that maybe the theater hadn’t updated the listings. This wasn’t the case. Coco which came out this week was listed at those theaters. I had to go to the theater’s websites to find out if the Justice League was playing there. It looks like Flixster can’t be trusted with its information. I will have to find another app to get my movie information from.

Editor’s note:

I noticed this weekend that my local theater’s listings had Justice League in them. Maybe the issue or problem has been fixed.

An App for Movie Watchers

By Jason Harris

Reelgood launched its app yesterday. Reelgood is a service that aggregates content from over 250 streaming services. The Reelgood website came out of beta in July, according to a TechCrunch article.

Once I heard about this app, I downloaded it. I know it will come in handy. I’ve been wishing for an app like this. I’m always looking to see where movies are being shown. Just this week, I was looking to see if Congo was available through a streaming service. A podcast, How Did This Get Made?, watched and discussed this movie , which made me want to see it again. I searched for Congo in the app and found out it’s available on Showtime.

To use the Reelgood service, you can use your Facebook credentials or sign-up using your email. You can sign-up through the app, which you can check out here.

Sinvitron® Bluetooth Audio Receiver Revisited

I first talked about the Sinvitron® Bluetooth Audio Receiver at the end of January. In the last few weeks, I have felt like revisiting it since there have been a few issues I felt like bringing to your attention.

There are battery issues. After less than six months of use, the battery doesn’t charge to 100 percent. It stops charging at 90 percent. The battery also doesn’t discharge to zero. It shuts off when it’s only at 30 percent.

The other issue I don’t like is that I have to physically connect the Bluetooth every time I get in the car. I wish it would automatically connect like my Soundbot SB517 Extreme Bluetooth Waterproof Wireless Speaker. When I turn the Soundbot on my iPhone connects to it within 15 to 30 seconds.

Gboard is a Great Keyboard

I started using Gboard a few weeks ago after hearing about this iOS keyboard on a podcast. I believe it was episode #131 of Connected.

I had heard about Gboard when it was first released back in February of 2016. I didn’t try it then. I didn’t care to. I looked down on it because of one of its features. The feature was glide typing. I thought this way of typing was useless. I was wrong. I absolutely love glide typing. It’s not perfect all the time, but overall it works for me.

Another thing that comes in handy with this keyboard is the ability to conduct searches. Someone mentions a song on Facebook and you can find the YouTube video of that song to share it on the person’s post.

The keyboard also has a dark theme. This is the one I use so I know what keyboard is installed in those incidences where I’m not using Gboard.

I love this keyboard. I would suggest everyone give Gboard a try. Here is a Cult of Mac article stating “10 things you should know about Google’s Gboard keyboard,” you

The keyboard was updated last month. You can read a Mac Stories article about it here.

Review: AXGIO Dash Bluetooth Headphones

I have been using the AXGIO Dash Bluetooth Headphones since Jan. 23. These are the first wireless headphones I have ever owned. I went with this pair because they were less than $40 at the time I bought them through Amazon.

The headphones come with three earbud tips (S/M/L). The ones that came on the earbuds were uncomfortable so I switched them. I tried both sets, but it turns out the small tips worked best with my ears. The headphones also come with a nice case to keep them in.

The headphones synced with the phone in less than a minute. It was very easy. A few times after turning on the earbuds, they say “connected” after connecting. This happens more when using both together.

The product description states the headphones get “8 hours of talk or music playing time (at 50% volume).” Using them together to play podcasts and music, I seem to get 5 hours, which is how I use them at the gym or while shoveling snow. Using them one at a time, I seemed to get 6 to 7 hours, which is how I mainly use them while working as a merchandiser.

You will have to charge them every day, especially if you are using both at the same time. This could be a negative, but not unusual—there are other things people charge every day, from phones to watches. What is one more device to add to the list? Charging these headphones took around 75 minutes.

It seems music quality is of a lesser quality than what comes through Apple’s earbuds. This doesn’t bother me.

Some negatives I have noticed with the AXGIO headphones is it seems while playing music the units have a hard time keeping both buds synced together at times. The music will go to each individual unit instead of staying synced. This will happen a few times before becoming synced again. This happens occasionally while listening to podcasts. The voice prompts for Apple Maps and Google Maps don’t work with them while listening to podcasts. Facebook video audio doesn’t come through the headphones.

Overall, I am happy with the AXGIO Dash Bluetooth Headphones, but when I need to upgrade I will go with something different.

Review: Sinvitron® Bluetooth Audio Receiver

Back at the end of December, I bought the Sinvitron® Bluetooth Audio Receiver V4.1 A2DP Portable Multipoint Wireless Connection Adapter with 3.5mm AUX Port. You can find the device here.

I wasn’t looking to go wireless, but when my 3.5 port on my car radio stopped working I had to look for a different way. Even after I bought the Bluetooth unit from Amazon, I didn’t think it would work in the port since the cord wasn’t working and even a pair of my earbuds didn’t work in the port. It did work though.

I have an iPhone 7 Plus so by using this Bluetooth receiver has helped me ditch the dongle I was using so I could play podcasts and charge my phone at the same time in the car.

Another good thing about the receiver is I’m getting more than five hours of use out of it before having to charge it. I have only charged it twice in the three weeks that I have owned it and it gets used every day.

There are only two negative things about the Sinvitron® Bluetooth Audio Receiver. The first is that I have to occasionally re-pair the Sinvitron® Bluetooth Audio Receiver with my phone to get it to work since it won’t connect otherwise. The other issue is when I start playing a podcast through the phone or through my earbuds and it keeps switching to the receiver.

Overall, I am satisfied with the Sinvitron® Bluetooth Audio Receiver.

Switching From Apple to Google

I have gone back to Google Maps from Apple Maps. The reason for the switch is lately I have been having issues with Apple Maps. I had gone back to Apple Maps when I started using the iOS 10 Beta back in July. Lately when using the maps app, I would be following the directions when the voice dictation would start over again from the beginning of my trip. I would fix it by canceling the trip and just starting over again. It was annoying, but workable. It didn’t take long before it got worse. I switched back to Google Maps when this past Friday Apple Maps wouldn’t even give me directions to the place I needed to go to. I tried three times and gave up. I needed something that worked for my job so the switch happened.

There were a few reasons why I switched back to Apple Maps in July. One of the reasons was because of the upgrade and new look it got with iOS 10. Since I’ve been wearing glasses for over 30 years, I loved the bold, new look, which comes in handy for quick-glance information on the phone screen.

The biggest reason I switched back to Apple and it wasn’t something new with iOS 10. It’s the fact that when using Apple Maps while listening to podcasts it doesn’t talk over the podcast. I would never want to miss hearing any part of the podcasts I listen to.

When I started using Google Maps again I was happy to find out that it doesn’t give directions over podcasts any longer. I’m not sure when that changed, but it’s a welcome change. At the moment, I’m not sure if I will go back to Apple Maps if it gets fixed or even better. Time will tell. -Jason Harris