Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves” – Albert Einstein.

Paying attention.  It is the most important thing to practice while driving, and often times hard to do, especially on a long drive, or an overly familiar one where your mind tends to wander.  The laws are trying to encourage it, and enforce it, but we all need to ignore the distractions around us, even the pretty girls.  Sorry Albert.

Technology can help with this, if used properly.

I drive a lot for work, going to new places all the time is one of the perks of the business, (if you like driving and exploring this vast country we live in) and quite often I forget to put the address into my car’s Nav system before leaving the office.  It is still a new-ish toy to me and I forget you can’t add an address once the vehicle is moving, so sometimes I rely on my phone to let me know where to go.  Other times I pull over and key in the address and use the Navigation system.
Today was one of those times I figured I’d just use my iPhone, and as it turns out also my Apple Watch, which I didn’t even know was a feature.  Driving along, I stopped long enough to click on the notification on my phone telling me of the meeting and the address and it launched “Maps” showing me where to go and how long, etc. and headed on my merry way.  Not too far along I felt the now familiar tapping on my wrist from my watch.  Assuming it was just a text message or my watch telling me it was time to stand up I didn’t think much of it.  Then again, as I neared my next turn, same thing.

I glanced over at my watch to see a very simple notification telling me of my upcoming turn, and ETA.  Cool.  The interface is simple enough a glance is all you need.  That is not to say the latest update to the Maps App for iOS is not well laid out itself,  but having the info on your wrist is pretty sweet, and less distracting.


Watch screen capture

iPhone screen capture

As I said, the watch lets you know when a change in direction is coming up, or as may be, a choice in direction is coming up and the app tells you to keep going the direction you are going.  Sometimes those notifications can be extremely annoying when traveling along a highway and constantly being told to keep going where you were heading like some sort of robotic backseat driver “continue on highway for 3 kms”, but I digress.
When I first thought of getting a smartwatch, honestly I did wonder how much I would use it, and how much I was getting one just because it was cool tech and I didn’t have it.  (seeing the keynote about the Apple Watch Series 2 pretty much hooked me)

I had stopped wearing a regular watch around the same time I started carrying a cell phone in my pocket.  Seemed silly to me to wear something that really only provided one purpose.  Well, two if you include the date function, which by the way, if I ever forget what day it is and I’m not retired already or on vacation, put me out to pasture.  But anyway, having a smartwatch actually makes sense for me, since there are many times my phone is either not in my pocket (at the office for one, around the house for another) or it is in my pocket but not convenient to access, for instance when driving, working outside, or on a job site.  Often the notifications are all that is needed, and no or minimal interaction is required.  Driving is a perfect example of this, and anything that can be done to keep attention on the road is a good thing.  The watch OS does a good job of this, and I can’t wait to see how it evolves, along with how many other ways the minimalistic approach of working with a smaller screen changes how we interact with technology.

Not to mention it is just cool tech, and in my opinion, smartwatches will become as standard as the iPhone has become.  Integrated into our lives so completely that in a couple of years we will wonder how we ever got along without them.

Getting back to good old Albert Einstein, who knew he was such a player.



img_7298I like to peruse the blogs, ads, links, and Kickstarter for new products, and have come across a few over the years where I got in early and got a good deal.  My Thermodo for instance.  (if you are not sure what a Thermodo is check it out here.) I was hoping this little charge cable would be one of those things…. sadly, it fell short.  No pun intended.

The HandyCharger is basically a really short lightning cable for charging my iPhone/iPad.  It is meant to be kept on a keyring so you always have one handy in a jam, as long as you have your keys with you.  Sound great in theory.  But in practice, not quite ready for primetime as the saying goes.

I should have known something was off when I ordered back in april and got an email saying it could be 3 to 4 weeks to arrive due to “massive global demand” which turned into 6 weeks, with no explanation, or even a response from the manufacturer until after I had sent a few emails, and got told I would be informed when it shipped.  Gee, thanks, not even an ETA.

Fast forward to beginning of august, now almost 4 months after ordering, and I get notified it had shipped.  Apparently via rowboat from china it would seem since it took over  2 weeks after that notification for it to finally show up, and when it did, it was not as expected.

As in the email above, It should be noted, it didn’t come with a keyring, and the packaging as I noted was terrible, basically non-existent.  I showed it on a keyring to give scale to the photo and to show its intended use.  Another issue is the size of the connector that plugs into the iPhone/iPad.  Its too wide for most cases, so you either have to charge your device caseless or cut the opening in the case to allow the oversized connecto.  Yuck.


This photo shows the packaging for it, a bubble wrap bag, not even a plastic bag inside it, or a piece of cardboard for rigidity and a little protection.  I emailed the manufacturer as you can see above, and did get a reply saying they were sorry, and to send photos of the damaged charge cable to them, but unfortunately I had already thrown out the faulty cable since it had to be held in place to actually work, and as luck would have it, the magnet on the ends of the cable that are supposed to keep it together are too weak and the darn thing fell off my keychain within a couple of days of receiving it.

Strangely, in searching around for info on the HandyCharger, I found a very similar looking product – like exactly the same looking product, by another manufacturer, InCharge.  ( Not sure which came first, but it makes me think the one I got is the poor rip-off version. Or maybe it did come first, but if so, the other company took the idea and did it better it seems.   At least it had packaging.  They even made a thin connector option.

handycharger-youtube incharge cable

Another thing to note is the look of the advertised product versus the actual received item.  The multi-colour cable, the actual name silkscreened onto it, etc.  Bait and switch anyone? Or just another example of a US company allowing their product to be manufactured in China and shipped direct to customer, and hoping it is done right without taking the time to inspect.

As I said, great in theory, terrible in practice.  That is my feeling on this one.  Waiting 4 months for a charge cable is ridiculous to begin with, but getting a faulty one after all that, as well as one that in my opinion is poorly constructed with respect to how it is supposed to stay together via the all-too-weak magnet, is enough for me to say stay away from this product until at least version 2.  If there is one.

PS:  I haven’t ordered an inCharge one yet, but probably will.  For one, it is cheaper, and says 2 day shipping with 6 to 10 days delivery.  So at least I won’t be waiting months to be disappointed.


So, as mentioned in my last post,  I sent in my iPhone 5 to be fixed.  Day after day of calling the local Apple Store paid off and I managed to get in there when they had a loaner iPhone available for me so I would not be phone-less.

The sending in to repair process is fairly easy, but the first thing to do and most important is to make sure you have a good back up before the whole process starts.  (Do this at home before you get to the store).  Then you will need to turn off Find my iPhone. Then basically they wipe the phone removing all your information and resetting it to factory.  You did a backup, right? (even so, a sense of panic sets in as you click the “erase and reset”)

The next step is for them to install a diagnostic tool that checks all the components of the phone. If anything fails they make note of it, and some things may actually stop them from continuing with the battery/wake sleep replacement and repair.  Basically the phone has to be in good condition prior to it being sent in for repair. After the diagnostic tool completes, the next step is them checking over the phone cosmetically which could take some time.  This is really a CYA thing for Apple and you.  Making sure you don’t get your phone back and come in ranting about how it now has a big scratch on the screen, etc.  Then you fill out a bunch of forms, signed a bunch of stuff, and surrender your phone to them.  Next step is doing the cosmetic inspection of the loaner phone. Which finally they set up with your Sim card in it and you can restore from iCloud, or another backup if you choose. Whole process took about 1.5 hours. Thankfully the Apple guy that was helping me was quite sociable and there was another guy at the table doing the exact same thing with the replacement/repair of his wake/sleep button. So my ambidextrous Apple genius did both at the same time only screwing up once when entering information, but caught it before anything was submitted.

It took a lot longer to restore from iCloud than anything else. But I couldn’t restore using my computer because my iPhone 5 is a 64 gig and the replacement loaner is only 16.  It kind of weird having a loaner phone.  Sort of like wearing someone else’s shoes.  Even if they are the same, they still feel somehow “off”.  It is a 7 to 10 day return period typically, which gives you just enough time to get really frustrated with the lack of storage and the missing apps and data you had to delete just so you could use the loaner.

A week later (i was checking the progress on, it was fixed and shipped back.  I followed that along with Fedex, which stated it was delivered to the local Apple store (after a few side-trips along the way – California to Memphis TN to Mississauga to London) so I called the store and was told it was still in transit.  “Um, no, its in your store and signed for at 4:10pm” after that I was told it needed to be unpacked and logged in as received, etc, and I would get notified shortly.  I ended up calling the next morning because I still hadn’t heard and again was told it was in transit, so again I explained that “no, in fact, it was in the store”.  Put on hold, then “what was the name again?” On hold again, and then “oh yes, it’s here.”  It took longer for them to receive and unpack it than it did to get from Memphis to London.  sheesh.


Strangely enough I actually got the email notification that it was ready for pickup while standing in the store at the genius bar about to wipe the loaner phone.

Anyway, I have it back, repaired and after a very lengthy restore from a combination of iCloud and then connecting to my MBA, it was back to where it was a week ago.  And just in time to throw caution to the wind and install iOS8.  I figure now is the time to potentially screw it up, since it’s all fixed and I have a good back up of it all just in case things go horribly wrong.  But that’s not going to happen, right?  After all Apple doesn’t make mistakes.  *returns to drinking the apple koolaid


Well, it seems my luck is holding up as usual. My iPhone 5 started to have problems with the “wake/sleep” button not working. At first I just thought it was a temporary thing, it was so random and intermittent in nature, but it quickly escalated to being nearly even time I try to use it.
A quick google of the issue and much to my surprise (sarcasm) I wasn’t the only one having the problem. Not only that, but there is a “wake/sleep button program” in effect right now.

current programs in effect

current programs in effect

If you go to and scroll down you will see the “programs” that are currently in effect.  And clicking thru to the site for it lets you put in your iPhone 5 serial number and check to see if you are one of the lucky few.  Guess what? I spun the wheel and won (or is it lost?).  Not only that, but there is another program currently in effect for the battery issue of certain iPhone 5’s.  “Woohoo, spin the wheel again, big money no whammies”… and much to my surprise (yes, more sarcasm) my iPhone is on that list too.  Guess it serves me right for wanting to be on the bleeding edge and getting my iPhone 5 as soon as they came out.

How’s that saying go?  “if it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have none at all“.

So I went into my local Apple store and booked an appointment to see a Genius, and after waiting to see the person I thought would fix my problems, was told yes it is broken but they had no loaner phones available.  I’m not sure about you, but I cannot be without a phone for a week for both personal and work purposes, and I don’t have a spare one lying around I can use as a backup.  My phone is my constant companion and used for so many things in my day-to-day life, that I wouldn’t be able to function and do my job without it.  It is sad its gotten that ingrained in some ways, but I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling that way.

I was told to just keep checking back to see if they have any loaner iPhones available.

I thought I’d go another route and check with, so after a lengthy chat session with a very understanding service rep in which I explained the situation and the problem with sending in my phone to be fixed and then being phone-less, (in which he said “if i could give you my iPhone I would“) it basically came back to being stuck waiting for my local store to have a loaner available.  My main concern was that my iPhone was not going to be fixed before the 2 yr period since I bought it was up and I’d lose the chance to have it fixed free.  He did state that he’d send me the transcript of the convo via email and to get back in touch if it got close to that magic 2 yr date and still was unfixed.  At least that is something, I’m hoping it doesn’t get that far though.

So, for now, I’m one of the many awaiting my turn to get my phone fixed and trying to be patient about it.

All I can say is that when the machines do rise up against us and take over the world, I hope that it is the first generation of devices that does it.  Making them wait for repairs on themselves will serve them right.


Magazines. The perfect reading material for a bathroom. Filled with short stories and articles, many of which take less than 2 minutes to read.  Sorta like most News sites’ articles on the web.  Which brings me to the recent practice of bringing iPads, other tablets or smart phones into the washroom/bathroom.  Sure its convenient, kinda, but sanitary?  Ewww no.  Not only that but just how safe is an electronic device in a wet environment like a washroom?

wr-ipadThe older iPhones/iPods for instance has a special piece of paper inside it to alert of exposure to water, well moisture really – but I’ll get to that in a minute.  This isn’t just with Apple products either, seems to be common place in one form or another in most cell phones from all manufacturers, and I’d have to assume tablets as well.  Some are using water-soluble materials, instead of materials that react and change colour.  Originally as a way of troubleshooting claims of dead or problematic phones that had actually been dropped into water, but recently Apple settled a lawsuit agreeing that moisture in the environment could give a false reading in older models.  Sweat, high humidity, sudden temperature change causing condensation, etc.  which would void the warranty.  Anyway, this begs the question, if the manufacturer is concerned with water and moisture affecting the electronics, why would anyone think its a good idea to use one in a washroom?

Aside from the possibility of coming in direct contact with water, lets face it, there is water everywhere in a washroom, there is the sanitary issue of carrying your device in there with you and then leaving with it afterwards.  (and no, before you ask, I didn’t just read a Howard Hughes biography).  Germs are everywhere in a washroom, just looking for a surface to cling to and will happily travel along with you when you go from the washroom into another room of the house.  Flushing a toilet for instance, spews bacteria into the air, which settles on every surface in the area, including your beloved tablet.

Hey, so now what about making dinner and using a recipe on that same iPad/tablet?

If you do feel the need to use your tablet in the washroom, you may want to invest in a waterproof cover, not only to protect the device, but also to make it sanitary.  Find one that can be wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes.  And please, don’t bring that same little touchscreen-petri-dish into the kitchen when preparing food.  Maybe invest in one device just for washroom use?  Seems a little extravagant perhaps, but so did indoor plumbing a hundred years ago.  Be a trend-setter and the envy of all your friends and neighbours.

I say, until Apple or some 3rd party developer comes up with disposable covers like the type you can get for public toilets, leave the tech outside of the washroom.  And maybe invest in a new toothbrush if you happen to leave that uncovered on the counter in your bathroom.  Eeewww.