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Twitter…where to go for the no-no

Twitter…where to go for the no-no

I am not ashamed. I am an Astro fan. It is not easy. There are highs and lows. But, as we sit in last place, I try to remember the good times. I remember 2005, when my husband and I used our son’s college fund to go to every home game of the World Series. I remember meeting some of the greatest players to ever play the game: Jose Cruz, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, Brad Ausmus, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, and yes, my all-time favorite Astro: Lance Berkman.

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Are textbooks obsolete?

Are textbooks obsolete?


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Fridays with your iPhone….Are you thinking about an upgrade?

Fridays with your iPhone….Are you thinking about an upgrade?

I don’t know about you but I am counting down the days to my upgrade to the iPhone 4. Unfortunately, it is looking like I am going to have to wait until October to stop counting. Meanwhile, I continue to enjoy researching all its new features. I thought I would share one of my favorite reviews with you today:

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It's Here! It's Here!

It's Here! It's Here!

Apple just released iOS4 for the iPhone and iPod touch, and now that you’ve downloaded and upgraded to the much-hyped iDevice update, here’s a look at the new shortcuts, settings, and features you’ll need to know—and want to use.

The New Shortcuts

On a little device with just one button and no major forms of interaction beyond tapping a screen, shortcuts can be serious timesavers. Here are the new shortcuts in iOS4 you’ll want to know:


  • Hold then drag-and-drop to create app folders: You can now create folders to store and organize the apps on your iPhone’s home screen, particularly handy if you’re a bit of an app junkie. To create a folder, tap and hold any icon on the home screen until they all start wiggling. Then drag and drop any application on top of another to create a folder with those apps together.


  • Double-tap home for quick app switching: The quick app switching shortcut pulls up your most recently opened applications whenever you double-tap the home button. Then just tap on any app you want to quickly switch to it without going back to the home screen. Note: You’ll need at least an iPhone 3GS or later generation iPod touch to use multitasking. Photo via Gizmodo
  • Hold to kill background apps: Currently in iOS4, if an application supports multitasking, it’ll run in the background by default—kind of a strange choice, considering Apple asks you to confirm push notifications for apps. What this means is that as more apps start supporting background processing, you may end up with a ton of apps running in the background that you don’t really need or want running. To remove an application from running in the background, just pull up your quick switch drawer (double-tap the home button), then tap and hold on an app (like you do when you want to delete an app from the home screen until you see a red minus sign (-) on the corner of the app’s icon. Tap it to kill the app.
  • Swipe to the left in the app drawer for iPod controls: For some quick app-switching access to simple iPod controls, double-click the home button to bring up the app switcher, then swipe to the left for pared down iPod controls. Note: 3GS and above only.

The New Features You’ll Want to Use

These are the handy new iOS4 in-app features you’ll want to get familiar with:


  • Unified inbox: If you access multiple email accounts from your phone but you’d prefer to be able to read through them in one unified stream, Mobile Mail now has a unified “All Inboxes” feature that does just that.


Mail Archives Rather than Deletes Gmail Messages: The whole archive vs. delete problem with Gmail on the iPhone has always been a bit annoying. In iOS4, the swipe-to-delete shortcut and regular old mailbox management defaults to Archive rather than Delete.


Name your new playlists: For years, creating new playlists on an iPod created a default “On-the-Go” playlist that you could later sync to your computer and rename from there. Now you can just create and name a proper playlist each time (rather than “On-the-Go 1″, “On-the-Go 2″, etc.).


Built-in spellchecker: The new spellchecker introduces those oh-so-familiar red underlines for words that your device thinks you’ve misspelled. That’s nice to have, but even better, tapping on a misspelled word will suggest proper spellings.


Smart links for dates: A lot of calendar events start off as email conversations. Now when you get an email with a date and time in it, Mobile Mail turns it into a link that can create a quick event in your Calendar and save the hassle of manually entering in that date that’s right in front of you. It’ll even automatically use the email’s subject as the event title. Handy!

  • Bluetooth keyboard pairing: One of the things that’s made the iPad extremely handy for writers is that you can pair it with an external Bluetooth keyboard for fast, hardware-keyboard typing. To pair a keyboard, go to Settings -> General -> Bluetooth, make sure it’s turned on, then walk through the normal discovery/pairing process. Note: Bluetooth keyboards are not supported on 3G and earlier devices.

New Settings You Should Know

Now that you’ve learned the need-to-know shortcuts and features, here’s a quick peek at the settings you should know:


  • Threaded email: Mobile Mail now has a Gmail-like threaded email option to keep related email messages close together. This feature was actually enabled by default when I upgraded, but just in case, you can find it by going to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars and making sure Organize By Thread is toggled to the On position.


  • Turn off your cell data: Now that AT&T’s moving toward metered data plans, you may have times that you get close enough to your limit where your best course of action will be to turn off your cellular data connection altogether rather than flirt with an extra $15 charge you don’t need. To turn it off, go to Settings -> General -> Network and toggle Cellular Data to the off position.


  • Change your home screen wallpaper: Okay, this one’s mostly for eye candy, but if you always ached for some personality in your home screen background, fire up Settings -> Wallpaper, pick an image you want to use, and set it as your home screen wallpaper. Note: We can’t really imagine what possible reason there is for this one, but you can’t set a wallpaper for the home screen on 3G or first generation iPhones. Photo via Gizmodo


  • Strong alphanumeric lock codes: A few months back we showed you how to add an alphanumeric passcode lock to your iPhone. Now to do the same, all you’ve got to do is go to Settings -> General -> Passcode Lock, toggle Simple Passcode to off, and enter your preferred alphanumeric pass.
  • Tethering: Okay, you’ll have to pay AT&T a whopping $20 a month for the privilege of tethering, but at least it’s finally an option. To turn it on, head to Settings -> General -> Network -> Internet Tethering.


  • Tweak your keyboard layout: If you prefer a different keyboard layout from the standard QWERTY, head to Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> International Keyboards -> English to try out an alternative layout for your software or connected hardware keyboard.

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IOS 4….Something all iPhone Junkies can get excited about

My husband called me today to tell me about the announcement of the new iPhone. I think he is ready for me to get an upgrade so he can have my 3GS. He has been a holdout on the iPhone. He even took one back worried that he would break it. Well, he has come a long way from calling it an iPhone thingy to making sure I am eligible for an upgrade on June 24. As I investigated the new iPhone 4, I stumbled across the announcement of the new iOS 4. This is something we can all get excited about. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Now you can run your favorite third-party apps — and switch between them instantly — without slowing down the performance of the foreground app or draining the battery unnecessarily.

Organize apps into folders with drag-and-drop simplicity. Get faster access to your favorites and browse and manage up to 2160 apps.

Even better Mail
See messages from all your accounts in a unified inbox, organize messages by threads, open attachments in third-party apps, and more.

More than a great ebook reader, iBooks is also an amazing place to browse and shop for books, day or night.

Create playlists
Create custom playlists right on your iPhone.

5x digital zoom
Get closer to your subjects by zooming in up to 5x.

Tap to focus video
While shooting video, tap the display to choose where to focus.

Faces and Places in Photos
View photos based on who’s in them and where they were taken.

Home screen wall paper
Change the background wallpaper on your Home screen.

Gift apps
Send apps as gifts to your friends or family.

Spell checking
A built-in spell checker works in Mail, Notes, and other apps.

Wireless keyboard support
Pair a keyboard based on Bluetooth wireless technology with your iPhone.

So, if you’ve been counting the days until your eligible for your next upgrade to the iPhone 4, you will soon enjoy many of its features for free. Stay tuned… next week we will look at some of the new features of the iPhone 4.

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