The one thing I still can’t crack the code on is how to get books from the library. I know people far less tech savvy than me who have figured it out, but it still baffles me. Here’s the problem. The electronic connection to my library CLEARLY was written by database administrators, not people who read and love books.
I love to read, especially using a Kindle. Like many of you, a part of me misses “real” books. I miss going to the bookstore and judging a book by the cover. I miss trading in my used books to Dave’s Olde Bookshop and getting store credit to buy more used books. I miss having friends hand me books at the gym that they loved. Book discovery was easier for me back then. I miss the library.
There’s a lot I don’t miss about real books. I don’t miss those paperback books that had the binding too tight so you had a hard time reading the inner edge of a sentence and you swear you’re ONLY going to buy Penguin books from now on because they have easier bindings. I don’t miss reading the beginning of a hard-cover book when I’d lay on my side and the whole weight of the book was on top (or the end of the book when it flipped the other way). I don’t miss the weight of carrying 5 books on vacation. I don’t miss finishing a book and realizing that I don’t have a new one with me. I don’t miss reading books where the text was too small. I don’t miss having to read with the lights on, keeping Steve awake.
On this week’s segment of Chit Chat Across the Pond, Shelly Brisbin is going to demonstrate how to use VoiceOver for the blind on iOS. We needed a way to record just our voices, but we also wanted to be able to record (in high quality audio) the audio coming out of our phones. I figured out how to do this with a combination of the new QuickTime in Yosemite plus Soundflower and Audio Hijack 3 from Rogue Amoeba.
I used it to capture VoiceOver but you could use it to record any sound from your iOS device – games, songs, podcasts, even a phone call!
You couldn’t call me a gamer by any stretch of the imagination which is why you rarely, if ever, hear me talking about a game on the show. Bejeweled was a long time favorite from back in my Sony Clié days and onto my iPhone, and 2048 has captured me for the most recent year but other than that most games don’t intrigue me. There have been a lot of complaints lately about the annoyance of in-app purchases and how they work so I wanted to weigh in and describe a game that I think has done it right.
Before I describe it though, I’d like to explain what I hate in games. I tried playing Candy Crush which is a lot like Bejeweled with some interesting twists. You start out for free but the games go from easy to hard in a sharp cliff. One day you’re toodling along happily solving puzzles, and the next day you hit a level that is impossible without buying your way out of it. Same thing happened with Two Dots for me. Fun…fun…fun…impossible, now give us money. I abandoned both games.
Now let’s talk about how to do in app purchases just right.
A few weeks ago Eric from Durham, NC noted that we hadn’t had any Dumb Questions in a long time so he sent me in an assortment and told me I could use any of them I wanted. I thought this was a delightful idea, so of course I procrastinated on answering him for a few weeks.
Let’s start with his first question:
I have a 2010 Mac Book Pro with a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo and 4GB of RAM running Yosemite. With the exception of buying an SSD which I cannot afford right now, is there any other way to speed it up?
If you’re any kind of geek at all, you’ve probably jumped on the paperless bandwagon. Maybe you’re a high end paperless fanatic like Barry Porter, Jim Sewell, Georg Conant, Allister Jenks and George from Tulsa using Hazel rules and all kinds of other cool automation techniques to move your scans around. Or maybe you’re like me, you bought a scanner and you do some scanning from time to time but mostly you look at that giant pile of paper and find an excuse to do something more interesting like clean the grout in the shower.
In the old days we used flatbed scanners, which worked ok but the workflow was so slow with lifting the lid, flipping the page and pushing buttons that the whole idea of paperless didn’t really take off. It did take off with a vengeance, at least in the tech podcasting community with the advent of the Fujitsu Scansnap scanners. I caught the bug too and bought the Fujitsu Scansnap S1300. It lets you scan multiple pages at once, does duplex scanning (meaning it can scan both sides in one pass) and it’s pretty small. Technically I bought it for Steve, but then I stole it and kept it near my computer because I really was going to scan in all those darn documents sitting on top of the file cabinet. I really was.