Scott's Column
iPhone/Siri Tidbits, The iPad and Photos

November 1, 2012
By Scott Lewis

This month is just about iOS. Well, some more tidbits on my iPhone and my iPad. But next month we will get back into Windows.

Current Topics:

iPhone/Siri Tidbits

As you know I have an iPhone 5, as well as the recently made obsolete iPad 3. I have been trying to use it more and more. I thought I would share some of the less glamorous features with you.

Using Siri for alarms is extremely easy. "Wake me up in 40 minutes" or "Wake me up at 6" is as easy as it gets, and very effective.

I wanted to try Location Based Reminders such as, "Siri, remind me when I get home to email my friend." Alas, to use Location Services you MUST enable Passcode Lock. I don't like this. I never did like having to put a password on my phone. And for the 5 times a year I might use the location based feature, I can't see having to put in a password every time I use my phone.

The camera in the iPhone is really quite a surprise. I am impressed overall with its results. I have yet to take my point and shoot Canon HS 300 out since getting the iPhone. Panoramas is an excellent feature. I have heard all the complaints on this one... that others have had auto panoramas for a long time. I have never had a feature like this before. The iPhone's implementation is amazing. It is so easy to use and the results are better than anything I have done manually with my DSLR. I use this all the time. I love it!

Find My Phone is another feature I will not use. To use this feature you must be using iCloud to backup contacts, messages, emails, etc. I am not sure of all of items that get backed up, but the contacts is the important item on the list for me. To use the Find My Phone feature you must backup to iCloud. Initially I found that my phone got ALL my son's contacts in with mine. It turned out that when I upgraded my iPad to iOS 6 and my son upgraded his iPhone 4 to iOS 6 we both had all of our contacts. Regardless, I turned off iCloud on my iPad and iPhone. I use GMail for email on these devices, which is very little (I prefer Windows Live Mail on my PC with my ISP provided email account for most of my email). With iCould you either backup to your PC or you backup to iCloud. I prefer to backup to my PC. That means I cannot use the Find My Phone feature. Kind of a shame, but typical of Apple's Daconian approach.

I am thinking about implementing the Find My Friends on my sons' phones. This is an extension of the Find My Phone and we could use it to know where our kids are. I am thinking about it. Yes, this is kind of an invasion of privacy... but they are not legal adults, so all's fair, right?!?

I was a little disappointed with Flipboard on the iPhone. Yes, Flipboard was ready to go with the new iPhone 5's larger screen when the iPhone 5 launched. I downloaded it immediately and it uses the entire screen. But it's just not much fun to use. Or I should say... it is not as much fun to use as it is on the iPad. I love Flipboard on the iPad. On the small screen... it loses something in the translation. I think it is because it is less like reading headlines and more like flipping through individual article titles.


The iPad and Photos

Something I always assumed I would use a tablet for would be to store & display photos. And I do just that with the iPad. In all the years of using computers I have fallen to collecting images to be used as desktop "wallpaper" on a computer screen. Don't lie... you have done it yourself, if only a little. My biggest guilty pleasure has always been cars. Imagine that... I like cars... and you would never know it from the two automotive columns I keep on this site.

I setup a folder on my computer to sync photos with my iPad. It works... but there are issues. Granted, I am a picky person (Read: Anal), and my complaints would be typical of a Windows PC user. The iPad sorts photos by the date on the file. This makes it nearly impossible for you to put them in a specific order.

I say nearly impossible. There are ways of doing it. But it is hard. This is typical of Apple. Things are either really easy, or really hard. Very little in the middle.

I bought two simple Picture Frame stands. One is on my counter where I plug my iPad in to recharge. When it is recharging I like to turn on the Picture Frame feature (from the lock screen just touch the little flower icon to the right of the slider). The other is at work on my desk. I turn the brightness of the screen down to about 20% and let it shuffle through pictures all day long. I love it.

I also do get to show off my own photographs. I have a friend at work that is also a photography buff. So I will show him pictures on my iPad. It is fantastic. But because of the limitations of the iPad's ability to display photos I will be looking for a solution that lets me organize my photos better. Not the wallpaper ones that get used in Picture Frame mode, but the photos I am manually showing.

I'll keep you posted as I research this more.



Next month I want to spend some time on Ultrabooks. I will probably not get an Ultrabook, but I still want to find that perfect MacBook Air Clone. A Windows Laptop under 3 pounds with a 14 inch screen of 1600 x 900 resolution for about $1,000.

Of course, there is Windows 8 and Microsoft's Surface tablets. I have a major change planned to fix Windows 8. If you want to know why it is already broken you will have to come back next month.