Posts Tagged ‘technology’

iPhone 6 countdown

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

It’s almost time to order the newest iPhone and I can hardly wait!! I’ve been waiting eagerly for a year, ever since hearing about the 5S and knowing that the 6 would only be better. Now we’re getting close to that 12:01 PDT deadline. I’m going to bed and hope l wake up to my alarm. Should have slept two hours ago, oh well! I just need to get through one more intense day and I can crash.

[update] Well, I set an alarm for 2:40 EDT and then foolish lay there thinking I had time. I ended up falling asleep until about 3:27 and then scrambling to go order. First I tried the Apple Store app, but it said my product was unavailable. I suppressed panic as I tried the AT&T app (stuck on a landing page about how they’ll be ready soon) and then pulled up the website. Things kept freezing, error messages cropped up a few times, and I started over half a dozen times. Ultimately the best path seemed to be logging in to my AT&T account and then clicking the prompt there to check my upgrade eligibility. The pages there looked a bit different, but I chose my space gray 64 GB iPhone 6 and was able to check out with no further glitches!

screenshot of ordering process for iphone 6 at at&t wireless

I have an order confirmation page, but I don’t see an email confirmation yet and when I go back to my account, the line upgrade doesn’t seem to register (so in theory I could accidentally double-order if I tried the process again). I’m paranoid that this isn’t totally official and/or I won’t get my shipment next Friday when they first go out. The confirmation page has a spot for the date and it’s blank, though when ordering it specified the Sept 19th date. I guess we’ll just have to see if I am fortunate enough to get it on schedule. I sure hope my order is early enough in the queue! Still, I’m not feeling confident enough to sleep just yet.

part of confirmation message from at&t for iphone 6 order

Snagging an iPad mini retina

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

For the past year or so, I’ve been thinking about replacing my iPad 2. I’ve had it since 2010 and it’s bulkier and slower than I’d like. A few months ago, Target was offering $150 trade-ins plus a $50 gift card. That would make the iPad mini retina 16GB only half its original price! I should have sprung on the deal then, but I missed out and the next week they were offering the iPad mini with the same type of deal. I thought the difference between retina and not wouldn’t be a big deal, so I went to check it out. Unfortunately, the instant I looked at a non-retina screen, I could discern the pixels and it was more obvious to my eye than I had hoped. I set my resolve to get an iPad mini retina the next time I could get it at the $200 price point, with trade-in value and gift cards earned and whatnot.

Finally, on Saturday Panda and I got back from our trip and saw the Target ad for this week – $100 gift card for the iPad mini retina! Between that and my trade-in value around $100 for the iPad 2, I was ready to finally get my new device. Sunday morning, I went in prepared to trade in my iPad and get the mini retina. Then I realized that I don’t have to trade in my iPad at Target, which would give me $91 for it. Since I’m just getting a gift card back, why not go to the highest bidder? Best Buy is quoting $126 for the same one. I’ll certainly be able to spend that sort of money there the next time I get a laptop, TV, or other electronics. So I went ahead and bought the iPad mini I wanted at Target without trading in.

Today I went to Best Buy to trade in my iPad 2 and got that $126 gift card, as promised. I’ll be getting a smart cover for my iPad mini when I figure out which color I like best. I also went by Target again since the first time I didn’t put the full charge on my Target RedCard and I missed out on nearly $15 in savings from the 5% off I get with that card! I had thought that any portion of the charge made on my RedCard would result in 5% off the purchase, but it’s just 5% off the amount charged to the card. Makes total sense, and I should have known that. Good thing I checked my receipt and noticed it, or else that’s a nice meal’s worth of money I would have missed out on.

So now I proudly introduce to you my new gadget, in case you’ve never seen Apple packaging before. Ready for the unboxing?

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Glad to see they had an info card instead of the whole pamphlet printed.

Glad to see they had an info card instead of the whole pamphlet printed.

Of course the plastic part is far more interesting to her.

Of course the plastic part is far more interesting to her.

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Just enough for one hand to hold.

Just enough for one hand to hold.

Trading in that old iPad... farewell!

Trading in that old iPad… farewell!

How to store your lightning charger

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , ,

For awhile, I’d given up on using the charging cable for my iPhone 5. It started to come apart and I had to tape it at the end near the lightning head. It would only work at certain angles and I had to either hold it in place or very delicately position it with the phone on a surface. So, I bought another charger from a third party, which I loved. Unfortunately, it wore down over time too and stopped working recently. I started using my Apple-made cable again, but it was always a precarious situation and I could never be sure my phone was charging.

Finally, this weekend I was talking to Panda about it and he mentioned the possibility of getting it replaced. I figured I have nothing to lose, might as well try, right? So while his brother was in town, all three of us went out to the mall and found a guy at the Apple store. When I showed him my cable, he started to tell me about how normal wear and tear is not covered on the warranty and since mine was all taped up, he couldn’t replace it. He said he personally goes through them all the time (um, that’s not saying anything good about your product…) and then he shared some tips on how to preserve your lightning charger and minimize wear on it:

1. Always ensure the cable is straight when plugged in, both on the end plugging into your device and on the USB end. The connection to those areas are the weakest, and consistent bending causes them to rip.

2. Make sure you pull the cable from the firm plastic head and not the actual cable. This will reduce strain on the cable.

3. Never loop your cable a few times to store it, since this bends the ends. Instead, fold it over twice, then loosely knot that, as shown in the picture. This keeps the ends from bending, once again protecting the weakest points.

example of recommended way to store lightning charger cable as shown by apple store rep

Did you know this is a better way to store your cable?

Now this is all fine and dandy, but why didn’t they explain it to me when I got my device? It’s kind of too late now. Panda’s brother immediately asked to speak to the manager and as we explained to him how the tips were helpful (but way too late), I suggested that this is the type of thing they as an organization can educate us on when we buy a device. Panda asked whether the fact that my issue is not covered in the warranty was outlined, so the manager pulled up the agreement and looked for where it said that. It was pretty ambiguous with language about normal wear and tear (which means what, exactly?) and he must have been in a helpful mood, because he decided to replace my cable *this one time* (they always say that).

Luckily, some persistence (and getting to the right person who could actually make an executive decision), a peppering of questions, and a polite but disappointed demeanor seemed to do the trick for us. I got my new cable, no other questions asked, and now I am better educated on how to take care of it. Hopefully, you’ve now learned something that will help you from damaging your cables too!

365great Day 316: Dropbox

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

365great day 316: dropboxCloud storage has become such a useful tool that seamlessly links files across my devices. When I take a picture on my phone, I can easily have it all uploaded and stored automatically in Dropbox so I never have to worry about manually doing it. All of that is automatically synced with my laptop so I can start accessing those files quickly and easily. With all the free storage I’ve earned, I have well over 20 GB of storage that is perfect for my needs. Dropbox was the first cloud storage solution I ever used and it still remains my favorite, though I had to find others for the times when I wanted to download a video onto my phone from the app (it doesn’t allow me to do that as of yet). In all other aspects, I find it to be the best option for my needs. They offer a great service!

Sign up with my referral link and get an extra 500 MB of free space in your account (I get extra space too!):

365great Day 311: external drives

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , ,

365great day 311: external drivesIt’s so useful to be able to store files on an external drive, whether a thumb drive or hard drive. It makes it easy to access certain files across devices quickly and allows for backup of important files. In my new laptop, I had the HDD replaced with a SSD, so I had the original hard drive sitting around. I recently got a case for it so I can use it to store all the older files I have. With 750 GB of storage space, my whole life’s worth of content can fit on there. It’s such a nice way to keep all my old files consolidated without cluttering up my current laptop’s hard drive. Of course, if I lost it or broke it I’d pretty much lose everything up until a year ago, so I’ve made sure to start backing up all that on various other storage options too. But for quick browsing of massive amounts of files, I prefer an external drive. I don’t need internet access like with cloud-based solutions and I can easily carry it around with me. It’s a great way to store my content.

Spiral cutting

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

We got an Amazon Prime trial this weekend, so I’ve immersed myself in taking advantage of that before it expires. That means tonight I’ll just share a quick video. I love machines that cut, slice, dice, and otherwise make food more manageable and fun. This one doe a spiral cut on potatoes, which I totally want! I also want the spiralizer that’s supposed to make zucchini noodles or something like that. Yum.

spiral cut potato machine from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

365great Day 299: touch lamps

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 299: touch lampsWhen my mom got me this lamp as a kid, it was so exciting. I was able to adjust it to multiple levels of light depending on my needs, all by tapping it! How cool is that? Technology has a way of making life easier and much more fun. I loved using my body as a tool to control this lamp and it kept it by my beside for years. I’d even take my cats paws and use them to help me change the lighting in my room at times, wondering if I could train them to control the light too. I never quite got around to spending the time to teach them because I liked doing it myself too much. I also liked the greater control it offered me, with varying levels of light for reading, sleeping, or whatever else I was doing. Maybe I’m just easily amused, but I think lamps like these are great!

November Favorites 2013

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

collage of november 2013 favorites including fall colors, touchscreen laptop, yoga, going home, bruins football, fun hair styles, revisiting new york, long sleeve v-necks, and pumpkin flavored

Well gosh, I better get my Nov favorites up before it’s time for the December ones!

1. fall colors – This was the month of gorgeous colors. Fall beauty was everywhere to be found and I loved it. It’s one of the things about having real seasons that I was looking forward to. I don’t know if it was the richness of the leaves, but I swear even the sky was more pigmented.

2. touchscreen laptop – I’ve been using my new ASUS laptop and now I’m used to having a touchscreen laptop. It’s a lot easier than trying to navigate the touchpad. It’s very convenient just to tap on what I’m looking at. Too bad not all my devices are like that – I’ve found I try to tap all other laptops now too, lol. It’s hard to remember when I’m using other laptops that they don’t have touchscreens. Hopefully everything will just have that in the future so I don’t have to keep track.

3. yoga – I’ve been going to yoga again and picking up my practice, which is wonderful. I like that I can choose from a range of levels depending on what I’m feeling. I’ve tried everything from Hatha Yoga for all levels to Power Yoga with some meditation thrown in too. I look forward to continuing with my practice and getting strong enough to do a handstand one day!

4. going home – It was so nice to return home for Thanksgiving and be reunited with my parents, cousin, and cats. It was the first time I’d been back since starting work out east and it was a welcome break. We also got a chance to get together my family and Panda’s!

5. Bruins football – UCLA’s program has finally been doing better and it was so thrilling to watch our team beat USC in our football showdown this year. Our crosstown rivalry is going strong and with the liberty bell securely in our possession, we can proudly say that we run LA. 😉

6. fun hair styles – For a long time, I’d just let my hair fall however it wanted. It’s the easiest to do and requires absolute minimal effort. I started to play around with some hair styles more recently, particularly a side braid, French braids, or a bun. I want to try a braid that wraps around my head, but I’m not quite sure how to end it so I’ll have to test it out.

7. revisiting New York (and the city) – After over a decade, I finally got a chance to return to one of my childhood homes. It was so nice to be able to share that with Panda so he can see some of what used to be my life. It also became an opportunity to explore parts of NYC that I’m not that familiar with. It’s the first time I’d been back to any of my old stomping grounds other than a brief visit to Penn State many years ago. I’ve never returned to my homes in Kansas and Missouri, but I sure do plan on it!

8. long sleeve v-necks – I find these to be so perfect to wear. They’re comfortable, warm, and flattering. I can wear them under another shirt or alone and throw on a jacket for extra warmth. I even use it during yoga if it’s an extra chilly night. It’s easy to dress them up or down and if I don’t want my neck so exposed, I just throw on a scarf. Simple, the way I like it.

9. pumpkin flavored – I almost never get pumpkin flavored stuff, but somehow I ended up trying a few this month and they were quite good! This was a pumpkin souffle I got at a happy hour. Very yummy. I also had pumpkin spice caramels and a pumpkin creme brulee snack. Maybe I should try more pumpkin things since I really enjoyed those foods.

What about you? What did you find yourself gravitating towards in November?

365great Day 288: Wolfram Alpha

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , ,

365great challenge day 288: wolfram alphaWolfram Alpha is a pretty cool computational engine. It’s my go-to whenever I have a factual question about a date, scientific information, data about our world, or things you might look up in an almanac. You can ask mathematical questions, historical questions, scientific questions, and so much more. It’s a powerful source of information if you know what questions to ask. I tend to use it most to learn more about dates, like what day of the week I was born (a Monday, which coincidentally is when it’s occurring again this year – I always thought it was a Tuesday though). I’ll sometimes reference it when I want to find out about moon phases or when sunrise and sunset were on a given day. It’s amazing the wealth of information you can draw from it and I’m glad to have it as a resource. It’s great for enhancing your learning!

How to: Configure Touchpad Edge Swipe Gestures

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

If you’re on Windows 8 with a touchpad that has edge swiping gestures, you might be itching to deactivate that annoying left side swipe. I’ve been using my new laptop for a few weeks and I inadvertently switch between apps whenever my finger accidentally swipes from the left side of the touchpad inward. I couldn’t find how to make it stop, so I scoured my settings until I figured it out.

1. Swipe in on the right side to access the charm bar (the menu bar on the right side of the screen). You can also hover the mouse over either corner on the right side of your screen to get it to appear.

2. Click on Settings (last icon).

3. Click “Change PC Settings” text at the very bottom.

4. In the General section, find the App Switching subsection.

pc settings section to enable and disable left edge swipe

5. Turn off “When I swipe in the from the left edge, switch directly to my most recent app” to disable that edge swipe. Now when you swipe from the left, you’ll get the menu of apps on the left.

6. To take it a step further, turn off “Allow switching between recent apps” and there will be nothing when you do a left edge swipe.

That’s it! Simple enough, but they sure make it hard to find. I searched through touchpad and driver settings for ages before stumbling across the PC settings page. Hope that helps you too. Happy swiping. 🙂

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