Help! My iPhone screen is zoomed in!

Yeah, I think I know technology.

And then I make the mistake of sticking my iPhone in my pocket without locking the screen first. I pull it out and go to enter in my pass code to unlock it and… I can’t. The screen is in this super zoom mode. I can’t see all the keypad to even enter my code. What happened to my phone? And how do I undo it so I can use my phone? Did I get a virus or break my phone?

Well two minutes of googling later and I learn my pocket somehow turned on “zoom” which magnifies the screen on my iPhone. Now that is a talented pocket, huh?

And how do you turn off magnification mode? Just tap with three fingers. Presto, no more zoom and everything returns to normal.

I have to confess I use zoom all the time now when I am reading tiny text on a web page on the iPhone. Have to get my daily dose of Dilbert, right? But say you don’t want to use zoom? Or if your iPhone gets stuck in zoom mode? Which from my Google search seems to happen to some people. How can you turn zoom off? Easy! Go to settings, general, scroll down to accessibility, click on zoom, and click it off. No more zoom!


Goodbye Posterous

Posterous had a good run, but after 6 years (is that right?) the service is shutting down April 30th. Back in February Sachin Agarwal, the Founder and CEO of Posterous, made the announcement. In his words they are shutting down Posterous " in order to focus 100% of our efforts on Twitter."

I made the migration from Posterous a little over a year ago now. Back in March 2012 I posted directions on how to migrate your posts. If you still have a blog on Posterous you have basically two weeks to figure out where to move your blog. This isn’t your taxes, don’t wait till the last day to migrate!


Are subscription services making Amazon Cloud Player , iTunes Match, and Google Music obsolete?

I recently wrote a review comparing Amazon Cloud Player vs. iTunes Match vs. Google Music. And honestly both Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player have been working fine – the sound quality has been great and I have had no issues listening to my music with either service (I decided to go with Amazon Cloud Player instead of iTune Match so I can’t say much new about iTunes Match). I love music and it’s been great that I have my complete music library with me at all times. I also feel better knowing that my library is backed up to a service.

But I was talking to a friend recently and he thinks I am crazy that I am still buying CDs or even MP3s. He subscribes to a streaming service (Mog) and has all the music he wants, on any device, at anytime all for $10 a month. So for what I spend on an album (maybe an album and a half or even two) he gets unlimited streaming on his laptop and smart phone all month. He can even download music to his device so he can listen to music when he doesn’t have access to wifi or cell service. And using the service he has been able to find new artists he didn’t know about before.

In the US we have Rdio, Spotify, Mog and many other subscription services. They all have their pluses and minuses, but it seems they all could meet your needs. The price plans are also all about the same between the services – $5 a month for streaming just on your PC or Mac and $10 if you want to also stream on your smartphone. So $120 a year for all your music needs? Guess that would save me some money…

Maybe I am just old school, but I still like feeling CDs in my hands or at least “owning” MP3s. I like owning my music. I just don’t think I can give that up and trust a service to meet all my music needs. Am I just missing something?


Amazon Cloud Player vs. Google Music vs. iTunes Match

Recently I was looking at the cloud based music storage services offered by Google, Apple, and Amazon. They all have cloud based music storage offerings finally. Google’s offering is free, but limited to 20,000 songs. Apple Match is $24.99 a year, but allows you to store 25,000 songs (unlimited songs that are purchased through the iTunes store) and, of course, it works seamlessly with iTunes.  And Amazon’s offer is also $24.99 a year but allows you to store up to an incredible 250,000 songs!

Google Music

  • First, it’s free!
  • 20,000 songs, which should be plenty for 95% of the people out there
  • Google has an app that automatically scans your iTunes and matches what is already on Google Match and then uploads what isn’t already there
  • On the Mac and PC you can download music from Google Match to your device
  • Google also brings over playlists and ratings
  • And of course Google has made it easy to share music via Google +
  • Songs purchased in Google Play are automatically uploaded to the cloud
  • Google has an app for Android, but there isn’t an app for iOS (iPhone or iPads) devices (but you can access it from Safari and use the “add to home screen” option)

Apple iTunes Match

  • $24.99 a year
  • 25,000 songs (unlimited songs that are purchased through the iTunes store)
  • Allows you to download songs to your device
  • Match only uploads the songs that iTunes can’t match to what Apple already has in the cloud.  Much faster then uploading your entire library.
  • Seamless with iTunes
  • Matched songs are upgraded to 256 kbps AAC DRM free

Amazon Cloud Player

  • 250 songs are free, or
  • 250,000 songs for $24.99 per year (10x more than the other offers)
  • US only right now
  • Amazon provides an export app that uploads MP3 songs and albums to the Amazon Cloud Player
  • The songs that Amazon can match are upgraded to 256 kbps, even those purchased in the past
  • MP3’s bought on Amazon are automatically uploaded to the Amazon Cloud Player and don’t count towards the limit
  • And now Amazon offers AutoRip – when you buy CDs with the AutoRip designation from Amazon they immediately give you MP3s automatically in the Amazon Cloud Player for no extra cost. You can start listening right away, you don’t have to wait for the CD to arrive and rip it yourself.
  • Amazon Cloud Player works everywhere!  As they say “on the web, Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android devices, Sonos, and Roku”

So I was thinking through how to decide which to go with and a couple of thoughts came to me:

  • If you have an Android smart phone and have less then 20,000 songs in your library then it’s a no brainer, go with Google Music! And did I mention it’s free!
  • If you have an iPhone and use a Mac (and use iTunes) and have less then 25,000 songs in your library then again, it’s kind of a no brainer to go with iTunes Match.
  • But, if you have more then 25,000 songs and live in the US, then you have to look at Amazon Cloud Player

I personally ended up going with Amazon Cloud Player for the capacity. Also, I rarely buy music from iTunes, it’s normally the most expensive. And Google Music isn’t even a thought when I am looking to buy an album.  Amazon has a huge library and runs specials and discounts all the time. The other selling point was I can get to my music from all my devices.


2-step verification for gmail

In my earlier post on my most use iPhone and iPad Apps in 2012 I mentioned that I hope by now you are using 2-step verification. Google provides us with this great free tool to help better secure your Google account, but you have to opt-in and set it up for it to do you any good.

Basically, once you have 2-step verification turned on and set up, you use your smart phone (android or iOS) as a key fob. The Google 2-step verification app provides a new 6 digit number ever minute. So now instead of just a simple user name and password protecting your Google account (ie your gmail), you now have your user name, your password, and the six digit number from the 2-step verification. Unless the bad guy trying to get into your account has access to your phone and knows your password it is now much much harder for them to get access to your account.

The official Google blog walks you through the process to set up 2-step verification and I don’t think I can improve on what they wrote, so just follow their simple directions:


Waze – a follow up to my most used iPhone / iPad apps in 2012

I wrote an end of year best apps of 2012 blog post and listed Waze among the iPhone apps I use / love. But having just used Waze to drive to see my family down in Florida and back I feel I need to elaborate a little more.

Some background first:
I use to own a Garmin GPS, then after getting a Droid I just used Google maps (which is still great BTW), then I switch from the droid to an iPhone and the old native Google maps for iPhone pretty much sucked on the iPhone for navigation. Loved the iPhone, hated the built in mapping application. Ok, no problem I just loaded up the TomTom app, bought an annual subscription to the live traffic service and I was off and running again – quite a bit poorer, but I had traffic and navigation again.

The TomTom application was fine and the navigation seemed accurate, but the traffic service seemed to be lacking. It would calculate a route then I’d run into traffic were TomTom had just said it was clear. Not just now and then, but all the time. Of course after I hit the traffic it would update – great for the next guy, but sucks for me. This is a pay service, first for the app then annually for the subscription, I felt used.

Then I found Waze. A free app and no subscription fees, but they do have unobtrusive ads based on your location. So far the ads haven’t been too bad and I hardly notice them. It’s community based so it’s expected that you help out everyone. And in my area (the DC metro area) there are a ton of users so it really works well. If you live somewhere with no other users I could see you wouldn’t have the best experience. The maps seem complete in the US cities I have used Waze in. And the navigation and routing has been spot on for me. They have made it a game basically, the more you drive and contribute the more points you get. You get new avatars as you move up in the rankings and you can track your ranking against others using the application or with your facebook friends. A little cheesy, but also kind of fun. Once you get into it, you start looking for ways to make points – it’s kind of addictive. So I am still contributing, but at least I expect it and I didn’t have to pay for the privilege. In the end the navigation works as well as TomTom and the timing and traffic reporting seems to work better. Oh, added bonus, Waze also provides gas prices.



My most used iPhone and iPad Apps in 2012

I won’t say these are the best apps or even the coolest apps out there, but they are the apps I use almost everyday. I have bought many apps that just didn’t pan out for one reason or the other, but here are the ones I find I actually use. For the iPhone:

  • Evernote – note taking app that sync’s notes between my laptop, iPhone and iPad
  • OmniFocus – awesome todo list app that sync’s with my Mac, iPhone and iPad
  • Google Search – love the voice search mode, much better than Siri
  • Googe Maps – was using the mobile browser version, but now they have a nice app
  • Google Authenticator – please tell me you have 2-factor security turned on for your gmail
  • Google Chrome – much better browser and it links up to my browser on my laptop
  • Waze – wish I had found this earlier – awesome navigation tool and it’s free!
  • TripIt – can’t be beat when traveling
  • Pocket – syncs up all the reading I should be doing between my Mac, iPhone and iPad
  • Kindle – don’t like reading on my phone, but works great on my iPad
  • Dropbox – online storage
  • Box – online storage
  • Just downloaded Dragon so I can’t say much about it yet…

And here are the apps I find I use the most on my iPad at work:

  • Keynote – Apple’s version of PowerPoint
  • Numbers – Apple’s version of Excel
  • Pages – Apple’s version of Word
  • Mindjet – best mind mapping app I have found so far and I have tried a few now and it syncs back to my Mac
  • Evernote – note taking app that sync’s notes between my laptop, iPhone and iPad
  • OmniFocus – awesome todo list app that sync’s with my Mac
  • Skype – IM and web calls
  • Adobe Connect – online meetings (we use adobe connect at work for our online meetings often when we need to screen share)
  • Google Search – love the voice search mode, much better than Siri
  • Google Chrome – much better browser and it links up to my browser on my laptop
  • Kindle – I love the feel of a real book, but this way I always have my ebooks with me
  • Dropbox – online storage
  • Box – online storage

And on my Mac I find I use:

  • Evernote – sync’s note between all my laptops, my iPad, and iPhone (also works with droid)
  • Mindjet – again the best mind mapping software I have found so far
  • Caffeine – let’s me turn off the auto sleep mode when I am giving a presentation
  • Window Tidy – allows me to have screens side by side in an easy quick way
  • Pocket – allows me to save articles I find to read later
  • Skype – with our distributed team at work we are on Skype all day every day for IM and calls
  • ClamXav – antivirus for Mac

Hope the list is helpful. Happy New Year!