The Gadgets Page

September 16, 2015

Apple Might Let You Delete Those Stupid Preinstalled Apps

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals,PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 8:42 am

Please Let Me Delete These Apps from The Gadgets PageThere is an entire junk folder full of apps on my iPhone and iPad. They are apps that I can’t delete, no matter how much I want to. The undelete-able apps include: Calculator, Reminders, Game Center, iTunes Store, App Store, FaceTime, Notes, Contacts, Voice Memos, Stocks, Tips, Weather, Newstand, iBooks, Compass, and Passbook. Some of those apps are useful and some of them are not. It depends on who you are and how you use your phone. I find it so irritating that I can’t get rid of them on my devices.

According to BuzzFeed, it looks like Tim Cook is looking at isolating each of these apps and allowing some of them to be deleted.

20 min car ride with Tim Cook from Buzzfeed

“This is a more complex issue than it first appears,” he says. “There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren’t like that. So over time, I think with the ones that aren’t like that, we’ll figure out a way [for you to remove them]. … It’s not that we want to suck up your real estate; we’re not motivated to do that. We want you to be happy. So I recognize that some people want to do this, and it’s something we’re looking at.”

I am glad they’re “looking” at that option. Honestly, they should have been looking at that a long time ago. I seriously don’t want a junk folder where I have to shuffle those apps that I never use. Just let me delete them.

Update 09-17-15

With the new operating system, you can now delete the Newstand folder as long as you don’t have any apps in it. Unfortunately, they have added Find My Friends and Find My iPhone to the can’t delete list. One step forward, two steps back…

August 17, 2015

Coverage? App – So Helpful

Filed under: PDAs and Phones,Software — Laura Moncur @ 9:27 am

My contract is almost up. I have been unhappy with AT&T ever since I was forced to change over to them to get that very first iPhone so long ago. I used to use Sprint and I loved them, so it was hard to accept that changeover. It’s time to make another change and I had no idea which company to go with.

Fortunately, the Coverage? app really helped me decide. Here is a quick video describing how the Coverage? app works.

I have been using Coverage? for years in order to tell whether I would be able to use my phone when I travel, but today I used it to decide what company I should go with.

The MOST important coverage is how it works where I LIVE, so I looked at the map for each of them:

St. George Coverage Maps from The Gadgets Page

Sure, there were a few dead spots in the Sprint and T-Mobile coverage, but Sprint offers virtually unlimited data, so that seemed like a really good option for me. It did until I decided to check some of my favorite vacationing spots, like Quartzsite. That map told a VERY different story.

Quartzsite Coverage Map from The Gadgets Page

Sprint and T-Mobile were useless in Quartzsite, so our annual trek with the camper would have me go completely dark every year. That wasn’t good. Then, I tried the holy grail of phone coverage: Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. For years, we have wanted to camp there, but have avoided it because we had no phone coverage. When I checked the map today, I was shocked to see that Verizon had the entire park covered! AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are no where to be found in Valley of Fire State park.

Valley of Fire Coverage Mapfrom The Gadgets Page

It’s amazing how quickly all my opinions can change just based on a few snapshots. I hadn’t even considered Verizon when I was thinking of switching, but now it is the only one I’m interested in. Coverage? has helped me numerous times when we have planned our camping trips. It’s why I reviewed it on Starling Travel instead of here:

This is the first time I’ve used the app to help me decide which company to choose. I am additionally grateful for Coverage? for helping me all these years.

January 20, 2015

Magzter: It’s Great If You Like Elle India

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals,PDAs and Phones,Software — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

It sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it? All you have to do is download the Magzter app, pay the $9.99 a month fee and you can have access to over 2000 magazines and comics!

But I’ve been burned before… so I looked at the list of magazines and I thought I found paradise. All of my favorites were listed on their website! I got so excited.

Magzter It's Great If You Like Elle India from The Gadgets Page

I added the magazines and signed up for the Gold account. Then I tried to download one of my favorites. Oh… that one isn’t included on the Gold account. Oh well, I’ll try another one… That one isn’t included either. Sure, it LOOKS like I can read the magazine, but the only thing that downloads is a preview issue that has about 6-10 pages from the latest issue.

Okay… well… what magazines ARE included?

When I went to the Gold Magazines and chose the ones from the U.S., there were only 34 magazines. THIRTY-FOUR. Not even one magazine in my favorites was included. NOT ONE. When I allowed the magazines to be from any country and chose the ones that were in English, there were a bunch more added to the total, but I’m really not interested in reading Elle India or New Zealand Women’s Fitness.

So, yet again, I cancelled the introductory subscription and deleted the app. Why do I keep falling for these things?

Via: Magzter launches “all you can read” magazine subscription for $9.99 per month | TUAW: Apple news, reviews and how-tos since 2004

December 17, 2013

Misunderstood: The Best Xmas Commercial of the Year

Filed under: PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 8:02 am

I adore this commercial.

All those people who say that technology is ruining our society are WRONG.

Via: Apple airs new holiday ad “Misunderstood” featuring iPhone 5s and more | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

September 16, 2013

Gold Is The Best! Best! Best! Best!

Filed under: PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 6:09 am

I was too enamored with the blue iPhone 5C to really be distracted by the iPhone 5S in gold, but after watching this funny clip from Conan O’Brien, I’m pretty sure I ordered the wrong phone!

iPhone 5C comes in five colors from The Gadgets PageIt has been two years since I updated my phone, so I immediately jumped on the iPhone 5C. I’m counting down the days until it will show up on my doorstep. How does Apple do it? How do they make a phone that fills me with such excitement and joy?

I just wish the cool camera was in the 5C as well as the 5S. It was the only thing that attracted me away from the beautiful blue of the iPhone 5C. Honestly, I’ve been pretty happy with the camera on the 4S, but I liked the new features like image stabilization and the dual color LED flash.

Of course, how do I argue with “Gold Is The Best! Best! Best! Best!”?

Video via: Conan O’Brien talks with designer of Apple’s gold iPhone 5s | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

October 10, 2012

How Owning An Apple Product Feels Sometimes

Filed under: PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 7:21 am

My phone wants me to update to iOS6I haven’t upgraded to iOS6 on my iPhone. The new operating system came out almost a month ago, and that little indicator on my Settings icon is quite irritating, but not nearly as irritating as losing my Google Maps app would be. I haven’t run into any problems yet, but I suspect I will and eventually, I’ll have to upgrade.

It used to be that I looked forward to Apple product updates, but the last few OSX upgrades have made my computer slower and LESS useful than before. Now, I have the choice between iOS5, which works wonderfully and I have no problems with it or iOS6, which feels as if my favorite feature has been RIPPED from me. I use Google Maps EVERY day. The Apple maps with Yelp enhancements just aren’t going to help me find the post office or the library.

Sometimes, owning an Apple product makes me feel like they care more about their concerns than mine. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, I thought, “Yes, finally a phone that was designed for ME.” All of that good karma has worn off and now, I with this new update, I feel as if they are so embroiled in screwing Google that they have completely forgotten about me.

In fact, this video shows EXACTLY how I feel, with less urgency, of course.

I suspect I’ll have to start looking at other phones, computers and operating systems in a few years. Hopefully, we won’t enter another dark age where we have to build our computers from components like we did in the mid-90s.

October 5, 2012

I Can’t Believe Steve Jobs Died One Year Ago

Apple is memorializing the death of Steve Jobs on their website. You can see the video here:

Here is what’s on their website:

A message from Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

Steve’s passing one year ago today was a sad and difficult time for all of us. I hope that today everyone will reflect on his extraordinary life and the many ways he made the world a better place.

One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple. No company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself. Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We share the great privilege and responsibility of carrying his legacy into the future.

I’m incredibly proud of the work we are doing, delivering products that our customers love and dreaming up new ones that will delight them down the road. It’s a wonderful tribute to Steve’s memory and everything he stood for.

  • Tim

Here is Jonathan Ive’s tribute to Steve Jobs:

When we found out that Steve Jobs died, Stacey, Dan, Michael and I were driving on our way to a quickie trip down south. We listened to Steve Job’s Commencement Speech.

I think Apple hasn’t been the same since Steve Jobs died. I don’t know what it was Steve did that made everything they did great, but whatever it was, the world is a worse place for his loss.

via Apple Marks One-Year Anniversary of Steve Jobs’ Death – Mac Rumors

July 3, 2012

Eco-Amp: If They Really Cared About The Environment

Filed under: Green Gadgets,PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 8:58 am

Eco-Amp is an eight dollar piece of recycled cardboard that amplifies audio on your iPhone. Watch this video to see how it works.

The problem that I have with this product is that if they REALLY cared about the environment, they would have a template that you could download and print up on your used cereal boxes. THAT would really be an environmentally sound product. EVEN if they charged a couple of dollars for the template download, I would believe that they really cared, but since their only option is to pay them eight bucks for their recycled cardboard, I’m not buying their “green.”

In fact, here is a video of someone who has designed his own.

iPhone amplifier (Cardboard, do it yourself) from Alexei Konovalov on Vimeo.

Here is a bunch of free DIY iPhone amp techniques and their registered decibel levels:

I’m sure you could design something very similar to the Eco-Amp by cutting out your own cereal box. I urge all of you to do that instead of shelling out money and paying a mail truck to spew fumes and deliver an Eco-Amp to your doorstep.

Via Eco-Amp: environmentally smug sound | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Update 08-21-12

After thinking about this for a while, I realized that a screen shot from the video might be good enough if printed at the right size.

Click for full sized Eco Amp Screen Shot

When I printed this image at 93% on card stock, I was able to recreate the Eco-Amp.

Eco Amp Template from Starling Fitness

The disappointing thing, however, is that it doesn’t really WORK. I didn’t notice much amplification at all from this little piece of cardboard and I’m wondering if the original would do any better. The audio from the video sounds as if it was electronically made louder, so even that demonstration is suspect.

I filmed the lack of difference in sound here:

Sure, you can print up your own Eco-Amp, but the difference in sound was so minuscule that it’s hardly worth your bother.

June 21, 2012

DecalGirl Skins: Second Verse Same As The First

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals,Laptops,PDAs and Phones,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Decalgirl Skin from The Gadgets PageBack in March 2009, I wrote a review for DecalGirl Skins. You can see it here:

Because I had written a review, I was surprised when DecalGirl contacted me and asked if I wanted some free samples to do another one. I gladly agreed and waited for the skins I had selected to arrive in the mail.

I dug out my old gadgets that were still adorned with DecalGirls skins. My Acer Netbook computer was being stored in a box of outdated gadgets. Here’s a current picture of it: (Continue Reading…)

May 10, 2012

How EA Games Ruined Bejeweled Blitz

Filed under: PDAs and Phones,Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you give EA games a button to press to make more money, they will keep pressing that button until they piss off their customers so much that they will stop playing the game. That is what has happened with Bejeweled Blitz [iTunes link].

I loved playing Bejeweled Blitz. I had one minute to match as many jewels as I could and I got REALLY good at it. I even wrote an entry telling people how to do as well as I did.

When EA Games bought Pop Cap, I didn’t think it would be a problem, but I was sorely mistaken. Here are the many ways that EA Games keeps pushing the “Make Money” button over and over.

  • They added Coins, which could be earned when I play the game.
  • They allowed you to buy coins with real money.
  • They added boost where you can buy extra time or other advantages with the coins.
  • They added special gems that players can buy with coins at random times.
  • They added the Special Gem blowouts where EVERY game you play, you’re offered a Special Gem.
  • They added discount days on coins, so you can buy them for less money.
  • They notify me when they are having Special Gem Blowouts of Coin Discounts using the push feature on my phone.

When they first started offering coins for sale, I vowed to NEVER pay to buy them. I would only earn coins by playing the game. Dan, however, eagerly welcomed the change and uses boosts and special gems on every game, gladly paying the extra money in an attempt to beat Nicole and me.

The day they started offering the coins for sale was the day that Bejeweled Blitz stopped being a game of skill. Now, whoever is willing to pay the most money will end up on the top of the list every week.

This has made me a tad bitter…

I know this, because this is the Facebook Post I made when I was temporarily at the top of the list with my high score.

It reads:

I just scored 356,600 and earned a 350K Star Medal in Bejeweled Blitz. No boosts or Special Gems. Suck that, EA GAMES!

I was playing in the middle of a Special Gems Blowout Thursday morning and didn’t buy any of the gems offered to me. Now, 350K isn’t that high of a score (Nicole and Emily regularly get 700K), but I did it without any of the artificial boosts and Special Gems that had been added. I got the high score (albeit temporarily) without paying a penny to EA GAMES.

How did I go from “Thank You, Pop Cap Games!!” to “Suck that, EA GAMES!” in a little over two years? I was so grateful and happy for my $5 game and now I HATE them and have decided not to play. All because someone gave EA games a button called “Make More Money.”

How To Make Money From Me Without Pissing Me OFF!

There are lots of ways that they could have made more money from me without ruining my beloved games. Here are a few:

  • Offer a notification feature for a monthly fee. Each time one of my friends gets higher than me on the Facebook high scores, they push me a notification.
  • Offer an All-Time High Score List for an extra fee. If you pay for this feature, you get a list of all your friends’ ultimate high scores and see how you rank against them.
  • Offer better score tracking. Right now, you can see how you rank against each friend over the last five weeks. Why can’t I see that data from two years ago when I got that 500K score (without the help of boosts or Special Gems, BTW)? I’d pay an extra fee for that.

Instead of offering features like that for me, they have literally ruined the game for me. While some people may see the addition of paying for extra boosts and Special Gems as a way of leveling the playing field, winning games isn’t about leveling the playing field. Just think how that rule change would RUIN basketball. If the Utah Jazz could have just PAID an extra fee to get three more players on the court, Larry H. Miller would have done that in a second. We might have been able to beat Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls back in 1998. That’s not how basketball works. And it CERTAINLY shouldn’t be how Bejeweled Blitz works.

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