Apple Watch Design Flaw

I discovered this in church, which was pretty awkward.

A huge Apple fan, I was super-psyched to get an Apple watch as a birthday/Christmas/anniversary gift. The thing is that we were traveling here and there, and I hadn’t really gotten around to my online meeting to learn about the watch. And I hadn’t much time to research it.

This didn’t worry me since I find Apple products to be incredibly intuitive. And for the most part it was. But then it happened. While I was in church, I heard some news I knew someone in my life would want to know so I texted it to him.

Confession. Yes, I text in church sometimes. I’m a terrible role model for my children.

I was okay with that conscious choice until a few minutes later when we were in the middle of prayer, and I realized that person might text me back. My phone was off, but I had no clue how to silence my watch (panicking, I forgot I could just throw it into sleep mode).

watch

I did know to click the digital crown on the right side of my watch then to swipe from the bottom to the top to open my menu with battery percentage and such, but then I was stymied. See that little icon that looks kind of like this: (( [] )) ?

Well, that sure looked to me like an icon to put something on vibrate. Apparently it’s not. It’s a button to LOCATE a phone. Like even if your phone is on silent mode it will suddenly (and repetitively) start dinging loudly.

I tried to pretend it was someone else’s phone dinging, but my son betrayed me by dramatically turning and quirking an eyebrow at me. He is currently grounded 😉 jk.

Okay so this was bad enough, but as I checked it out more and looked it up, I realized that the icon above that one is the one that mutes the device. Say what? Not an icon three icons away? Nope. Right there on top so any time you want to be quiet, you have to be SUPER-duper careful to not let your finger slip and hit the shout-out by accident.

What’s up with that, Apple?

A Testimonial to a Tree

Yellow Transparent Apple Tree
IMG_20140704_170532230
See that beautiful yellow transparent apple tree over the shed, shading our kids as they play?

We almost chopped it down the year we bought our house. That was 20+years and un-countable pies and cans of applesauce ago. We had this large tree right smack where our driveway ought to be, and it didn’t even bear fruit.

Or so we thought.

An elderly couple stopped by and asked if they could continue getting fruit from the tree. Observing our baffled looks, they explained that we had a unique tree in our yard. It was the yellow transparent apple tree and bore fruit every other year. It was the key ingredient in applesauce such as you have never tasted before.

That tree inspired us to chop, peel, and puree and even inspired this high-powered applesauce gadget. When winter winds trapped us indoors, we could pull a frozen pie out and pop it in the oven. The aroma and slightly bitter taste brought back memories of blue skies and picnics up in the branches of this beautiful flowering treasure.

Two years ago we came home from a trip to my mother-in-law’s and discovered that the tree was so heavy with fruit that a giant limb fell. It was a sad moment for all. But time went on, and the tree still showered us with enough fruit to keep us super-busy at canning time.

This Tuesday morning was pretty uneventful. My husband and I were were at my mother-in-law’s house once again while the kids held down the fort at home. The phone rang, and when I answered, my son said, “Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that we are all fine. The bad news is that the apple tree fell during the storm last night.”

That tree gifted us right to the end. It blew down in the sweet-scented pile of its own blossoms. While it could have hit cars, the neighbor’s house, our house and/or our shed with kayak and canoe on top, it didn’t. It slightly scraped the neighbor’s house (and she didn’t care at all, bless her heart), and fell without damaging anything. I took pictures just in case we needed records of this in the future then put my phone away and moved on with life.

Later in the day, my phone chirped, telling me it put together a Life Events reel. I giggled a little at the dramatic impact music the device threw upon the saga of our fallen tree. But as I reflect, I do believe the phone was right. It was a life event. That tree gave us food and beauty, drew us closer to neighbors, gave our kids a hangout spot when they were younger, shaded our yard, and it will now provide warmth for my husband’s studio this winter. Thanks, tree.

How to Help Non-Techies Learn to Use the Internet

There are certain members of  my family who are amazingly smart and skillful in many arenas – just not the technological arena. This has become a bit of a problem since people try to send them information by email, and they want to order products online. We have tried numerous ways to help them become hip to the net (I know, my boys, eye roll time at my old-school word usage). At first it seemed like nothing would work, but recently I have begun to have hope. Here are some steps we are using to smooth the path to the Internet highway:
Offer the Proper Tools to Learn to Use the Internet
Time is in your favor here. Years ago we tried to teach our non-techie loved ones how to use the computer. It was sort of dismal. We literally drew arrows on the CPU and monitor to show how to turn it on and spent a ridiculous of time trying to explain how to use a mouse without clicking so many times that the computer would freeze. All it did was make them feel down on themselves, and now they are techno-phobic.
Then the iPad came along. Quite frankly, any tablet would do (sorry, fellow Apple fans, I just had to be real for a moment there). It is so much easier to tap a screen than it is to manipulate a mouse. It also helps if the person who is using  the technology can move around to a spot where they are comfortable. If you do choose to use a laptop or desktop, set it up to avoid as many pop-up screens as possible. They can really be overwhelming to a newbie.
Consider Unique Personalities
What will appeal to your non-techie the most, giving them incentive to use Internet tools? One person in my family is really into classic church hymns, so I set up the iPad to play George Beverly Shea and Gaither stations on Pandora. Now the family member can hear the music with only a couple of taps. Another family member loves to watch photos so we uploaded a bunch of family photos and turned them into the computer screen saver so now the person has incentive to boot the machine. It’s a start, right?
Set up Email and Other Accounts in Advance
While it’s nice to have a person have a say in what their email is going to be, this might be overwhelming to the techie novice. Before you lead them to the computer for email, set up an account and add a few close family members or friends to the address book. Don’t give out the email address to others until the person is more comfortable with the programs. Stick by them as they learn to compose, respond and forward as well as open attachments. Once they become comfortable with email, you can offer to change their email address if desired.
Explain How to Use Video Cams 
This might be a step that seems too advanced for a beginner, but it might be the most important. While the videos showing couples trying to figure out cameras might be amusing, it’s really better for everyone if you can make the process smooth. Video chatting can be invaluable, especially when you have elderly relatives who don’t see and type well. It’s also helpful for visual check-ins on relatives and friends who live far away.
These suggestions are the tip of an iceberg, but they really help non-techies get comfortable with the web, and that benefits everyone. Slow and steady. It’s a good way to go.

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Car Trouble – It's Okay. I have my iTouch

iPod Touch
Image via Wikipedia

Disaster struck this summer while my boys and I were away at camp. My husband, who stayed home to work, became very ill. Off I went to the rescue with fluids and fever-reducers tucked safely into my trusty steed (aka, our stunning electric-blue new-to-us “hope we make it through the summer” mini-van).
Two hours into the three-hour trip my steed faltered. Actually, it decided to travel no more that day. But it was kind enough to limp into a hotel parking lot for recovery. (Thank you, Hampton Inn in Geneva, for letting us store our car in your lot). I am fortunate enough to have one of those husbands who can fix anything. I knew that if he were there, he could fix it in a heartbeat. However, I am not my husband, and I didn’t have a clue. My husband was too sick to help with anything. While I was waiting for a friend to pick me up, I grabbed my iPod touch and filmed the damage.
Since I was recording, I could clearly describe what I was seeing and smelling at the moment (it smelled VERY hot) and a belt was clearly frayed. A few days later, my husband recovered enough to travel back to camp with me. Thanks to the video, he knew what the problem was and which part we needed to purchase to replace the old. He had it fixed in less that half an hour.
Here’s the Car Engine Video from last summer – it’s kind of boring, but it shows you how I did the recording. Please kindly keep in mind that I recorded it for information purposes only. If I had thought I would use it in a blog I would have tried to sound more vibrant (:
 

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