I THINK ALL objects should have a visual identity strong enough to tell their stories to an interested public. Krug's mobile app provides that functionality--but I'd prefer to be able to find the stories by merely scanning a product label through my Lumia's software.
I REMEMBER READING how Cherie Blair installed DVD screens in the headrests of the family car for her kids. Today, we have plus-oned her tactic by offering connected tablets to our lot.
This tactic is actually a necessary intervention because of our 24-minute homeward commute. At the end of a normal day, our kids often fall asleep between the ninth and tenth mile and then they don't eat a proper evening meal. This sometimes leads to less restful sleep patterns for the entire household.
While they're still young, I want to record both Mis and Dylan when they're deeply immersed in their tablet adventures. There's good value in simply recording the audio portion of their touchscreen actions. This week we are heavy on Toca Boca.
AT THE FRIDAY CESI Meet, more people retweeted Joe Dale's app recommendations than any other item. That's telling on several levels.
Although there's obvious financial concerns surrounding decisions to put iPads into primary schools, the early adopters find eager listeners when sharing tips about apps that just work. Joe Dale's list spun my head around because his suggestions will immediately improve the workflow of every primary school teacher I know. I plan to update this blog post with a full listing of the apps he breezily described in a brief five minute presentation he made during the CESI Meet on the Thurles campus of the Limerick Institute of Technology.
I GET SOME OF THE MOST life-changing announcements about my family through the iOS app Life360--like today's short text giving details on the arrival of a new grandson.
Life360 is like Path on steroids. If you let it run in the background, it shows your location as well as an electronic tag on a person's leg. I've told Life360 where "home" and "work" are on the map and the app accurately puts me in those places at appropriate times of the day. It's remarkable to see two daughters in different States move around their day as pinpoints on a map.
Red and black icons on Life360 shows more information than many Irish viewers might want to see. The red dots correspond to items from police blotters (i.e., traffic violations or more serious criminal offenses) and the black icons represent the last known address of registered felons or sex offenders.
Another part of the app lets me send direct or mass text messages that appear in iOS notification screens. And best of all, I get the direct (and often updated) phone numbers for my extended family living eight time zones away.
Life360 is on a steep adoption curve. As a premium user, I can see a lot of value in the information the app shares to a private audience. And unlike the broadcast conversation style of Twitter or Facebook, I like the personal dimension guaranteed by the way Life360 is engineered.
"TODAY MY TEACHER wanted to take some things off my iPod."
At first we thought that meant Mia had kept her mom's iTouch out on her desk but that wasn't the case. No, Mia was being asked to describe what she used on the little screen so the same apps might be put on the primary school's iPads. Mia has watched us move files around with cables and Bluetooth. She wondered if she might carry a white cable in her pencil case so she could swap things around on the iTouch like she sees me do with our laptop and peripherals. It's not that simple, we told her.
The concept of cloud storage, file permissions, digital rights management and incompatible formats will wait for another day. We mark today as the significant first time that our junior infant was asked for advice by her teacher. At least it felt that way for our five year old daughter.
Bernie Goldbach in Cashel | Screenshot from Felix on iTouch.
ONE REASON MY contributions to online social networks has declined is because of an explosion of new gestures. I have to learn those gestures while watching our 18 month old attempt them.
I give my touchscreens to little Dylan because he likes to pull down and refresh content on screens. However, he also interacts with the screens from both top and bottom simultaneously and that sometimes results in unexpected actions.
Dylan has sent garbled tweets on my behalf. He has sent blank direct messages and he unfollows several people every week. Surprisingly, it is the unfollowing that fosters a string of emails between me and online friends.
So if you know you've been deleted or unfollowed by me, blame the gestures of a digital native.
I THINK NEW FILTERS added to Instagram can cause memory problems that result in the Instagram iOS app crashing.
I run an old version of Instagram on an 8GB iTouch and encounter no problems even though the device has less than 20 MB of memory free. But when I run the updated app on a 32 GB iTouch with 50 MB free, the app crashes. This happens with 2MB images and with 50 kb images.
I have rebooted my iTouch and also deleted and reinstalled Instagram to no effect. Thankfully the Android version of Instagram works fine. I will use it for occasional uploads during the Christmas holidays, with most of my content automatically headed to Google Plus and Dropbox.
If you're interested in the visual side of an American in Ireland, check out Irisheyes on Flickr.
Bernie Goldbach wishes Instagram had fewer filters. That way, things in visual journals would be more authentic.
Bernie Goldbach in Cashel | Screenshot from iTouch.
WAKE N SHAKE for iOS (€0.89) is the alarm I needed to get up in time to meet the first morning train to Dublin. Although Rise is a nicer interface, Wake N Shake is the ruthless real deal.
If you are a career snoozer--and you want a dominatrix characteristic for your phone alarms--you need Wake N Shake. However, I wouldn't buy this app if your iPhone does not have a shock-resistant case. That's because you may want to throw your phone across the room if your shaking fails to turn off the phone's alarm. I can't turn Wake N Shake off when I'm groggy but I can turn down the volume.
There is no snooze button on Wake N Shake. It is not easy to shut off Wake N Shake when you're groggy. You must shake your iPhone to turn off the alarm. And it needs a mixmaster's energetic gesturing to shake the alarm into the off mode.
Have you ever tried to shake your arm vigorously for a solid 30 seconds while laying in bed? That's the default setting for Wake N Shake.
I bought the app because I cannot afford to miss the early morning taxi rides.
Part of the reason is related to limited storage space. The iTouch used by our five-year-old won't update unless more than two gigabytes are free on its small 8GB operating system. This means I need to delete heavy apps like Brave if I want over-the-air updates for the rest of her favourites. With my 32GB iTouch, I need to update one app at a time, starting with the App Store icon and then completing the update with the app itself. When things work perfectly, I can tap the app, watch it switch from Waiting to Loading and then finally download the update over the air. But a lot of the time, the update doesn't work. As a result, no fewer than 50 of my apps always need to be updated all the time.
I might delete all apps and start again, keeping fewer than 100 apps on my iTouch at any one time.