Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Website down

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: ,
0

Yesterday I went to check on my site here to find it was disabled. Cue minor freak out.

I logged in to JustHost, my provider, and found that the issue is I have too many files. Apparently there’s a 200,000 limit for my type of account. About 150,000 of them were sitting in my various email accounts. I figured it’d be simple enough to delete all those messages since I have them forwarded to another email client anyway.

Well, I should have known that things wouldn’t be so straightforward. It took me forever to get around to figuring out that I wasn’t logging in to the correct email account. Yet even when I managed to delete all those messages, my file count did not change. Seems like there’s quite a lag in when that number gets updated.

My site got restored just minutes ago, so if you tried to visit before and got an error, you know why. I need to keep track of this situation for the future so I don’t have downtime again! Because of this debacle, I haven’t been able to get in to edit posts, but hopefully I’ll have a spring break update soon. 🙂

My new iPhone 7 Plus

laelene Posted in reviews,Tags: , , , ,
0

This was the first time I can remember not ordering my new iPhone as soon as it came out. I was far too busy with school to pay much attention to it, plus I knew that I wanted to leave AT&T but I wasn’t sure for which carrier. A few weeks into it being released, I went to Sprint and T-Mobile stores to try to understand their options for plans and purchasing a phone. I still wasn’t decided at that point and I just wanted an unlocked phone, but those weren’t being sold yet so I went back to waiting.

Upon receiving the internship offer from my top choice of companies (more on that another time), I decided to check the Apple Store online to see what was available. At that point, unlocked phones were available, so I treated myself to one… to be delivered a month later, between Nov. 22-30.  -___-;

And so the wait began… until finally, I received my phone on the 22nd! I watched the updates as it shipped from China, made its way through Korea to Alaska, and took a break for the weekend. I thought it’d come straight down to California after that, but I shouldn’t have been surprised when it appeared in Louisville. Then it came over to California and eventually made its way onto a truck for delivery. It was so fresh from the factory when I got it that it still had a chemical smell. I immediately kept the box open to air it out so I could use the phone soon.

Somewhere along the way, I decided to purchase storage space on iCloud. I had not backed up my phone in months and I don’t want to risk losing anything. Plus, as the phone storage got larger, it started to become cumbersome for my computer to keep backups. So I opted for the 200 GB plan to ensure plenty of space for all my stuff. I then tried to back up my phone to iCloud so I could restore the backup for my new device, but it kept failing.

After many tries and nearly giving up, I finally went home where the internet speeds were a lot faster and completed the backup only to find that it was somehow incompatible with my new phone! At that point, it seemed like a sign to start my phone anew. So I downloaded only the key apps that I use and now my phone feels kind of empty. I’m using about half the space I was before, even with all my photos transferred over. I have nearly 100 GB to work with!!

With that, here are some pics of my brand new phone…

black iphone 7 plus box iphone 7 plus info sheets and apple stickers front of iphone 7 plus in black

back of iphone 7 plus in black

I got the 7 Plus for the dual camera, for that extra zoom capability!

iphone 7 plus headphones and charger in box

iphone 7 plus charging cable and headphone jack converter in box

So far I’m loving the much larger screen, though one-handed use is nearly impossible. That’s ok since I’m not a thumbs user. The home button that’s not a real button was weird when I first felt it in the store, but after having some sensitivity issues with my last phone, this actually feels great and is working well. I’ve tried my hand at 3D touch, but for the most part don’t remember to use it or some of the fancier response options that allow me to not have to jump between apps.

I’m enjoying some of the simpler updates, like how the screen turns on when I raise the phone, so I can check the time and recent notifications quickly. I also like being able to activate Siri without being plugged in and I hear that she recognizes my voice versus someone else who may try to use my phone.

Overall it’s less buggy than my phone was running before, which might partly be due to the newness and partly due to the fact that I didn’t restore it from that phone and carry over any legacy stuff. The battery life also works great, which I was having some trouble with on the last phone. It is rather slow to charge up though.

All in all, I’m always happy with a new phone and since getting it, we went out and got ourselves new phone plans too. I’m now on T-Mobile, which has decent service and is just as bad in the same areas as AT&T was (namely, parts of my apartment and the courtyard between buildings at school). I’m starting to consider whether I’ll move to an annual update with my phone at some point… 2 years is starting to feel long.

The digital world hates vertical media

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,
2

I’ve recently re-learned what a nightmare it is to try to deal with vertical (portrait-oriented) media, whether pictures or videos. Why is it so hard to get them to work?

I mean, I know that all our screens are wide and so is much of how we view the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times that a vertical orientation isn’t useful (if not better altogether). It’s so frustrating that when I do have portrait images, they don’t always render properly and for vertical videos, it becomes difficult to edit them.

food from rollplay vietnamese restaurantFor example, the past couple of months I’ve dealt with an annoyance using WordPress. When I upload a picture that is vertical, the image doesn’t show up (this might be happening to you with the one first image). This seemed to have happened with the update that had occurred around that time. Suddenly, every vertical photo uploaded would come out blank in my blog posts. It took a lot of research and testing to figure out that if re-uploaded the image, it would then work.

More recently, I came across the added issue that if I uploaded the original file from my phone, it doesn’t have the correct orientation and instead shows horizontally, as seen below. So now I have to open the image in Paint*, save it, then it will recognize it as a vertical image (shown on the left, if you can see it). What a nightmare! Strangely enough, if you are on an iPhone, you’d see the below image the proper way, but on a laptop browser and on an Android device it’s horizontal. Yet even odder, on an iPad, it tries to show vertically, but the image is stretched out to fit horizontal dimensions.

sample of broken vertical image that does not rotate properly

So to ensure images show proper orientation across devices means I need to edit the photo before re-uploading to WP, using an image editing program like Paint or Photoshop*. It doesn’t seem to help if I rotate the image first, I usually still need to do the replace media option. And literally all I’m doing in Paint is saving it so that whatever EXIF metadata WP needs gets translated through properly and allows images to show up vertically, as they should. I guess however Apple encodes that data is incompatible with the way WordPress reads/handles the info. For now it’s working, but if things act up again I’ll look into plugins like the iOS images fixer or the Image Rotation Fixer, both of which look like promising solutions.

Additionally, I ran into issues when I was trying to edit a vertical video. Any program I opened it up in would put those awful black bars on the sides so that it ultimately took up the space of a horizontal video. I wanted a final output that would keep the vertical orientation, making it a skinny little thing. All the searching in the world only seemed to lead me to tutorials on how to change the black bars to some background, but none actually addressed my issue.

In iMovie on my mobile devices, it would crop my video to a square. I’d shrink it down so the whole thing showed, but those black bars would come to haunt me. I tried rotating it so it fit the horizontal perfectly, make my edits, save it, then try rotating it, but again: ugly black bars inserted. So ultimately I gave up on such an endeavor, but these experiences leave me wanting so much more when it comes to media editing and rendering.

You’d think in this day and age of technology that they would have figured this out by now. Why is it still such a troublesome issue?

 

*Thanks to a comment on this thread for helping me figure out that solution.

I’ve found the only way to consistently see images with proper orientation on all devices is to edit the photo before uploading to WP in an image editing program like Photoshop. – Cindy Otty

The hidden gems of iOS 9

laelene Posted in general blog, reviews,Tags: , , , , ,
0

I just got around to upgrading my phone to iOS 9 today and there were some surprises in store for me! First was the new font, which is a bit… cuter, I’d say. It’s hard to describe but I feel like it’s a bit thinner, more rounded, and seems slightly more spaced out. Most people probably won’t even notice it.

The biggest shock was when the keyboard popped up and *gasp* there were lowercase letters! This seemed like such a basic thing, yet it took years to finally get it. In fact, I’ve already converted to Swiftkey as my default keyboard because the Apple one just doesn’t cut it.

ios 9 new safari bookmark icons and lowercase keyboard

As you might also note from here, Safari bookmarks now show a letter when there’s no custom icon from the site. Previously, they used the Safari compass icon as a placeholder.

ios 9 app menu redesign

Switching between apps takes on a new feel as you swipe in the opposite direction now. It glides more but I find it harder to close two apps at once.

ios 9 menu box buttons

Menu box pop-ups feel rounder and more spaced out.

ios 9 new photos folders for selfies and screenshots

New default photo folders group together “Selfies” and “Screenshots”

ios 9 new photo scrubber

Photos have a scrubber at the bottom, where you can quickly navigate through.

Other nice updates allow you to zoom on videos to get a better view, quickly select a bunch of photos by swiping across them (no more individual taps!), and swipe down on a photo to go back to the thumbnail view of an album.

ios 9 new notes with checklist, sketching, and image capabilities

Notes gets a lot more functionality, with the ability to create checklists, draw sketches, and insert photos.

Notes can also be put into folders, making it easier to organize.

ios 9 add webpage to notes

Now easily add a webpage to your notes too!

ios 9 search within settings functionality

Search within settings when you can’t remember where something like battery usage would be found (don’t we all have trouble with this?)

ios 9 view event showing schedule before and after event

Viewing events in Calendar show you a glimpse of your time before and after the event.

ios 9 reminders with number of reminders and overdue items shown

Reminders have nice summaries of how many items are in each list and which of those are overdue.

 

ios 9 text overlap

Sometimes text runs into each other though.

And then of course there are plenty of other changes that you probably heard about as well:

-directions for public transit in select cities

-smarter prompts from Siri: swiping right from the home screen pulls up suggestions for contacts, calendar events, apps, and more

-“Back to [previous app]” option in the top left now lets you quickly return to the app you just came from

-Low power setting to conserve your phone’s power usage

-Improvements to performance so battery life is extended

-Passbook is now Wallet and you’ll be able to add loyalty cards in addition to other forms of digital cards/tickets

-A News app for aggregating news that you might want to read

-“Remind me of this” prompts Siri to set up a reminder about whatever you are looking at

-Add attachments in Mail – not just for photos anymore!

So far I’m really liking the changes and I look forward to stumbling upon others that make the experience better in subtle ways. I’m not upgrading my iPad mini just yet because a coworkers told us that the version of Reflector we use isn’t compatible with it. I need to be able to show my tablet screen for demos and webinars and I’m not keen on paying for the newer version of the software just so I can have iOS 9 on my tablet. Have you upgraded to this new operating system? What do you think so far?

The DSLR plunge

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , ,
0

I finally made one of my long-time wishes a reality with the purchase of a Canon T6i bundle! I’m really excited about this and very pleased with the quality of images I’m seeing already. Funny enough, my dad had his eye on the very same one so we ended up both getting the bundle at Costco. For the longest time, I told myself I’d get a DSLR once I tried my hand at some manual settings on my regular camera. I did play around with the options, but not as much as I wanted. So I let many years go by before I decided to go ahead with it because I keep dreaming of the awesome photos I can take and I want to have something nice to vlog with.

At first I was going to look for a used or refurbished T3i, which seems to be what all those YouTubers use. But when I found that the price wasn’t nearly as cheap as I’d hoped, I figured I’d be better off getting a nicer one in a bundle. The idea of an extra lens and battery, along with some other accessories, really appealed to me. Turns out I like brand new things that are well put together for me. I’ll pay for the niceties and all just so I can experience that awesome fresh out of the box feeling. My dad’s the same way.

We both eagerly tore into our respective boxes and played around with setting up and using our cameras. I didn’t even get a chance to use it in daylight yet, but I’m very impressed with what came from the dim night lighting that looks soooo much better on this camera. I certainly wasn’t used to such good shots coming from low lighting like that. Call me a happy camper!

My first subject was Molly and I got an awesome string of shots of her walking!

My first subject was Molly and I got an awesome string of shots of her walking!

The items on the kitchen counter looked great in the photo, far better than with the naked eye.

The items on the kitchen counter looked great in the photo, far better than with the naked eye.

I’m very pleased with this camera and I can’t wait to try some outdoor nature shots.

An iPhone exchange mistake

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
0

It’s been a good nine months with my iPhone 6 and I only had one minor issue with the earpiece that required a replacement of the screen a few months back. While the physical hardware seemed to be ok, I was having a lot of crashing issues with it. It would sporadically restart when I was using it – sometimes when using an app, sometimes when trying to update a bunch of them. This Friday it happened again and since it’s been occurring almost regularly now, I decided to go get my phone checked out. I made an appointment for the Genius Bar after lunch, backed up my phone to iCloud, and went off.

A diagnostic couldn’t pinpoint what it might be, so I was offered a new device in case it was a hardware issue. If the problem persists, then we know it’s probably a software issue. I felt pretty confident swapping out devices since I’d done it so many times before. As we were setting up the new device, I remembered some photos from lunch that I had not backed up, so I made sure to do that. Once I felt good about it, I relinquished that device and went back to the office.

The rest of the afternoon I let my phone restore from backup. By the end of the day, the apps were all there and everything looked like normal. Except… why were my photos not syncing? I figured it would take more time. Later at night I checked again and not a single old photo was there. That’s when I realized that my iCloud backup didn’t back up photos. Since we only get 5 GB for free, I didn’t have room for them. I was so rusty when it came to this process that I hadn’t made a backup via iTunes (rookie mistake).

Luckily, I had done the photo backup to Flickr and Dropbox, so the photos are available, just not the way I want (in my Camera Roll). However, with more digging I found that some videos I’d taken last weekend were not backed up. My Dropbox had run out of space and Flickr doesn’t auto backup video files. Sad times! No matter what I did, I just couldn’t recover them anymore. It’s unfortunate and I’m not happy about it, but it was my own oversight.

Lesson learned.

From now on, I will be sure to back up to iTunes. While this is inconvenient, there’s not much I can do. The last iTunes backup I have is from December! It feels like too much lost data along the way if I restore using that version. So while I am happy to have a brand new device, I mourn the loss of the media that got lost in the shuffle.

How to: make a browser tab act as a desktop program

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
0

When I learned of this trick, I was so excited! I hope your inner nerd loves it too.

Are you like me and hate having certain tabs open in your browser because you want to be able to use a site as if it was a separate program? Well, with Google Chrome you can basically achieve that! As I discovered recently, you can pop out certain sites you want to have open without having to resort to new windows or tabs. This way, it gets its very own icon in your taskbar and when you close it, you can quickly re-open it by clicking the image. This is called an application shortcut and is particularly useful for sites you listen to music on (so it’s like having a music player program open), sites you’re messaging with (so it’s like having an IMing program installed), or even just your favorite sites (like your blog editor).

I think you really need to try it out for yourself to understand it better. It’s a lot like the Add to Home Screen option on iOS devices (but the Windows desktop version), if you’ve done that before. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1 – Go to the menu in the top right, More Tools, then Create Application Shortcuts…

google chrome browser application shortcut setting option

Step 2 – Choose one or both application shortcuts to create. You can create a Desktop shortcut and/or a Pin to Taskbar one.

google chrome browser create application shortcut options

Step 3 – Now your app shortcut sits on your desktop and/or your taskbar for easy access. Just click to open!

google chrome browser application shortcut on desktop

Here I set up Grooveshark so I can listen to music and quickly switch to it to pause my music. Behind it, I’m working on this blog post in the browser!

The death of email

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,
2

I hate email. I think it’s one of the most inefficient things out there. I mean, just look at how hard it is to maintain your inbox and keep everything organized. Sure, you can leave messages for all sorts of people, from those you actually know to those you want to. But the way that technology has evolved, there should be a better way. If we could only throw off the shackles of our habits and start anew, our interactions on the internet would be nothing like email as we know it.

Here’s how I envision it: we have what you can still consider an inbox. People can send messages to it and you can reply, but there is no need for including their original message. Everything is threaded in a flow like instant messaging. You can scroll through the entire conversation and collapse it for easy navigation. When you want to create a different string of conversation, you just click new and choose who to message and what to say. When you want to attach a file, it’s loaded for easy previewing and downloading right in a sidebar. No need to search through which email actually contained the attachment. If you want to loop someone in, you just add them to the conversation. They can scroll back to see what had already happened in the conversation. If you don’t want them to see that part, start a new conversation by copying the current one and choosing what to exclude.

For organization purposes, as you view these, you can choose to file them into folders of your choosing, give them tags for keywords that weren’t explicitly mentioned in the conversation, or archive them (like in Gmail). Of course you can also create filters to put certain messages into the baskets you like. You can search for anything within a conversation, file name, or person’s name. If you’re on a group email (such as “support@yoursite.com”) and multiple recipients get the message but only one needs to reply, you can easily choose ownership of one to indicate to others that you’ve got it. No need to reply all just to let them know NOT to reply as well. Ownership can be changed at any time and your copy gets archived away. Replies can also be public, if someone else may need to reply to the thread to help out the person next time (much like those support tickets work).

I think if you combine the best of email, messaging, and support ticket management services, you could have an awesome tool. Each on its own is rather lacking in a variety of departments and it makes me not want to use any of them. Where’s the consolidated place I can manage all the digital correspondence in my life? Why do I need to mash together texts and emails and what have you to try to have a conversation? I was really hopeful back when Google Wave was launched. I thought it could be a much better replacement for email, but it just didn’t take off. I’m still searching for that awesome new thing that will upturn our interactions on the web. Until then, I’ll keep on racking up thousands of unread emails in my personal inbox, just because it’s so cumbersome to use emails. The world may be willing to work in such an inefficient manner, but I’m not going to waste my time with that.

What I love about the iPhone 6 & iOS 8

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,
0

It’s been well over a month since I’ve had my new iPhone 6 and I’m very happy with it. Since this came with iOS 8, some of the new features might actually be from the operating system, so older iPhone users can update to iOS 8 to also get some updates functionality. Not only is it physically more comfortable to hold and use, there’s a lot of other things that make this iPhone better than ever. Here are some of my favs:

touch ID – easily the thing I most looked forward to ever since it was introduced for the iPhone 5S

-easier on the eyes (larger screen really helps!)

double tapping the home button brings down the screen for easier one-handed use

double tapping iphone 6 home button brings screen down for easier reach with one handed-use

new calendar (probably an iOS 8 thing) includes option to use current location for calendar entry location, add travel time, and great view of month and upcoming events of the day on single screen

camera video options now include slo-mo, time lapse, and timer

native keyboard options allow you to change the default keyboard to a third party one! I installed Fleksy and Swiftkey – so much better, though I wish the shortcuts I set worked with them (learn how to set your own shortcuts)

iphone 6 with swiftkey keyboard third party keyboard installed natively

battery usage shows me which apps suck the most energy on my phone!!

iphone 6 battery usage summary in settings

And other ones to note:

-location-based lock screen app suggestion

-email notifications (get notified when there’s a reply to an email thread)

-hiding email drafts (pull the draft down and keep working, then tap New Message below to resume drafting)

-AirDrop (not even new, but so useful for sharing files across devices quickly)

-scan a credit card to enter the info rather than typing it all yourself

-Siri taps into Shazam so you don’t have to pull up the Shazam app to figure out a song

-messaging details now include options to mute, share location, and quickly browse media you’ve sent to a person

-all kinds of photo editing options and even the ability to hide photos

iPhone 6 in pictures

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,
0

I’ve had my iPhone 6 for a week and a half now, but I’m already so used to it that I hardly recognize the iPhone 5. I’m absolutely loving it and I’m so happy with the whole experience. Here are some pics of it, along with a few side by sides with my old iPhone.

iphone 6 white box front of iphone 6 in space gray back of iphone 6 in space gray closeup of camera on iphone 6 in space gray iphone 6 power button on right side of phone iphone 6 volume controls on left side of phone empty open box of iphone 6 iphone 6 earpods and lightning charging cable and plug iphone 6 info cards from box collage of front and back of iphone 6 info card with basic instructions iphone 6 and iphone 5 in respective boxes with lids backs of iphone 6 and iphone 5 in boxes

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...