TagiPhone

Home screens

Sitting around the Water-Cooler this morning, talk turned to home screens. I uploaded a photo of mine to compare with others.

Home screen, iPhone 5

There was surprise at Settings being in my dock.

settings huh?
thats interesting – how often are you in there?
pretty often it seems.

I said:

I don’t know… my phone is all muscle memory. I have apps on my 3rd screen because that’s where they are mentally.

I had forgotten Settings was even in my dock. My phone is set up to match where things are in my brain. Ever since I got my first iPod touch, I’d guess not many of the things on the home screen have changed. I may have moved them around slowly, but there is a method to how my phone is set up.

My messages app live in the upper left. That’s where I look for it. And I access it daily. A browser lives next to that. It was Safari. Now it’s Chrome. Next to that is a Calendar. Currently Fantastical since it handles my unholy alliance of Gmail/iCloud/Office 365-pushed-to-the-web-as-an-ICS-file-so-I-can-access-it-on-my-phone. The top of my phone is rounded out with a camera. First was Camera. Then Camera+ and not VSCOCam.

The app changes, but the function stays the same.

Second screen, iPhone 5

My phone has always been about the same. ByWord used to be something else, but it was a writing app in that spot. Twitter has always been just right of mail. I keep track of where the important things are on my phone by muscle memory. For everything else, I search.

Using a binder clip tripod to shoot time-lapse video

Instagram’s new Hyperlapse app is a lot of fun. It will allow you to shoot time-lapse videos. It will also smooth out the video with stabilization built into the app itself. I tried it out while walking and riding the Metro. Walking was too jarring for it to capture smooth video. But the Metro ride worked just fine. I’ve posted them to my Instagram account.

After seeing the hyperlapse video of Harry Mark’s morning commute I thought about other places to shoot some video today. While I don’t think I’m good enough to reshoot House of Cards, I did venture out to the Capitol Building and the Reflecting Pool there.

Before I went, I needed a tripod of sorts. Something to hold the phone upright and steady at the very least. Ideally, I wanted to angle the phone. I’ve been looking for a reason to buy an iPhone tripod of some kind. But I needed something now.

I looked through my desk and found two binder clips. They worked perfectly. I have no photos of the setup in action since I was using the phone to film. Here it is recreated at my desk.

iPhone held at an angle
Note the angle. This worked nicely for capturing the tall Capitol Building.
(Yes, it’s a portrait video. Deal with it.)

iPhone held sideways

It works nicely in landscape mode. I appreciated it more than the ducks did.

iPhone held upright
And of course, it will stand upright like a tiny soldier at attention.

A phone for everyone

What phone should I buy? That’s how it always starts. The question is always followed by, should I buy the new iPhone?
Should I buy the latest Android Phone Of The Week? I heard the new iPhone is going to have… and come out…

I get these questions a lot since I work in IT, I use Apple products and I am seen as the computer guy to a group of friends and acquaintances. They’re always looking for a short answer. Buy the iPhone. Wait for the new iPhone. Buy the Samsung Galaxy Whatever. They want a recommendation, one that’s hard to offer.

Everyone wants a phone for something different.

Some people talk on their phones all day everyday. To them a stellar battery life and pristine call quality are vital. Other people use their phones as pocket-sized media players. They want movies and music at their finger tips from the cloud or locally so they want great connectivity and larger storage sizes. There are others who use their phones as cameras. They shoot, edit and share video and photos with friends and the world so they’ll want a great camera and huge storage.

Everyone has different needs so recommending something to someone is harder than saying go buy this.

A recommendation comes with information. Otherwise you’re guessing.

I don’t recommend buying a rumor! Stop shopping for what Apple’s new phone might be and shop for something you can actually buy.

Blind Choice

I’ve read a couple of stories this week about people choosing their own devices in the office. This was true at the media company where I used to work. Even within our small IT department we had 1 Palm Pre, 1 iPhone, 2 Androids and two “dumb” phones.

The rest of the company was a mix of Blackberries, Androids, iPhones and the occasional Palm or two. I think there was even a Window Phone I saw once or twice.

I take issue with the claim that people buy their own devices because they chose it and it is what they want to use. People who are not tech savvy ask their tech savvy friends, co-workers, spouses, family members. They don’t do much choose what is best for them but what is recommended to them by a person they trust who is good with computers.

For a little background I’ve worked in ground-level IT since 2004. I’ve worked as a Desktop Support Technician ((That guy who shows up at your desk when you call the Help Desk.)) and Help Desk Technician ((Those people you love to scream at when something break.))

Lately, as policies become more lax and there is a better variety of smartphones on the market ((Remember when there was no Android or iPhone?)) people have gravitated towards a variety of devices which I can sum up as this.

  1. iPhone. Because they’re on AT&T already, or Verizon and want one because everyone has them and they’re easy to use.
  2. Android. Because they’re on T-Mobile or Sprint or don’t want to spend the money on an iPhone and associated contract.

The iPhone people are usually set once we setup their corporate email for them. They have few questions overall.

The Android people… look out! They’ll be waiting for you. The biggest frustration in trying to help with Android phones is trying to find which version of Android they actually have.

What dessert powers your phone?

After that, the next step is looking at the device, who made it, and which candy coating they slapped atop Google’s stock Android interface.

I used a Motorola Droid for over a year and was very comfortable with Android. I had a Google Experience phone which was code for “Stock Android phone.” There was no glossy, clunky UI over it.

The Android phones in the wild today could be running Android 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, or 3.0 and have HTC Sense, Motorola Blur, Touchwiz, or Timescape UIs running on top of that.

Now we’re at two layers of confusion for the user.

As an exercise, try walking someone through adding a Gmail account to their shiny new Android device over the phone. They’re at the store, or at home or ((My personal favorite)) about to board an airplane and they need help.

Maybe this will help you.

Android is a wonderful OS and has a lot of power and potential and offered a low-cost alternative to Apple and a freed a lot of people from Blackberries.

However, trying to support them in a business setting can be very time-consuming and frustrating for all involved.

The phone’s owner expect the IT staff to be experts on their phone. Having to learn the basics of navigation and naming on the user’s phone slows down the support process. ((Count the number of ways to get access to “Corporate Email” there are on Android phones.))

Normal people do not make technology purchases without consulting the trusted source. Whether it be their spouse, family member, IT Guy at work or ((God help them!)) the salesperson at the store, they will ask someone for advice. In many cases, they’ll follow that advice blindly.

They don’t know what they want. They’re not sure how to figure out what they want. They’ll follow the advice of the trusted source or sales rep and hope for the best.

How to sync multiple Google Calendars to an iPhone or iPad

My wife and I use Google Calendars to sync and share events and information. Ever since we setup a Bills calendar, it’s annoyed my that it won’t sync to our iPhones. Today, I decided to sit down and figure out how to make it happen for my iPhone and iPad. ((Just replace “iPhone” with “iPad” below.))

By default, only the main Google Calendar is synced to the iPhone. To select secondary calendars, open Safari on your iPhone and go to Google’s iPhone Select page.

Select calendars to sync.

Second, still on Safari on the iPhone go to Calendar Sync page and select the additional calendars to sync.

Manage the devices syncing to Google Calendar.

Force quit the calendar app and reopen it or reboot the iPhone. Once that is complete, you should see the additional Google calendars available to sync. Check the ones you want on your iOS device and you’re all set.

Calendar selection in Calendar app on iPhone.