Pretend You Have A Personal Assistant – Use Siri

This is a good tip to utilize when you are driving or just feel lazy. It is an invaluable tip for those with severe visual impairments. Siri will read your messages and play your voicemail. Just give the appropriate command such as “Read my latest email”, or “Read my latest message”. Once Siri has read it, she will ask if you want to reply, and follow your directions accordingly.

Likewise you can say “Play my voicemail” and Siri will read them aloud and give you options to dictate a reply or ignore.

20141104nov2Let Siri Search Your Emails Or Notes

Speaking of being a personal assistant, Siri will even search your emails or notes and then open the one that matches your query. If there are more than one that qualifies, she will list them for you. Say “Find email about (name topic)”.  As an example I asked Siri to find email about huddle, saying  saying “Find email about huddle”. I got the following response. I tapped on the message to open it.


Then I asked her to find emails about response. I tried using Comment response, but she heard Comet instead of Comment, so I adjusted my request.


When I reviewed the list offered I just tapped the one I wanted and it opened for me to view.

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Siri Tips – Make Siri Wait For You and Launch Settings

In iOS 8 Siri is better than ever, if you know all the tips. Here are two more to use to make Siri your own.

Make Siri Wait Until You Are Finished Speaking

This was the one thing that really bugged me about using Siri. If I stopped speaking for even a second while I tried to remember that next word, Siri would assume I was through and act accordingly.

There is an easy solution. Continue to hold down the Home button until you are finished speaking and she will very politely wait her turn.

Launch Settings For Specific Apps

I particularly like this tip for launching settings for specific apps because it bypasses all the steps you have to take after you even find and open the main Settings app. You just tell Siri to open that specific setting.

Remember that you can launch Siri without even turning on your phone, but if you utilize a passcode, you will have to tap it in first. Once you see the microphone icon at the bottom of the screen that tells you Siri is on, say Open (application) settings and you will be taken directly there. As an example, I said Open Safari settings and got this screen.


Safari Setting Window

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Third Party Cables and Connectors Ceasing To Work in Devices Running iOS 8

Third party cables and connectors are those sold without Apple certification. You see them everywhere. A bright rainbow of colored cables in a basket at the counter of your local drug store. For sale on web sites and even accompanying new accessories for your Apple products. It is never wise to use third party cables and connectors that are not certified to meet Apple standards. Some have been known to catch fire and others have ruined connector ports.

Now Apple is taking a stand against these inferior products and in iOS 8 users will find that their product may not charge. Plug in one of these and you will see a message that says:  This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone.

So, buyer beware.

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Review: OxyLED T120 Desk Lamp

The OxyLED T120 desk lamp offers a small footprint, a flexible neck, and two levels of brightness. It operates with the touch of your finger and adjusts from full bright to dark. The lamps are available from Amazon in black and red. The MSRP for the T120 is $149.99 but it currently has a price of $59.99.



It also offers a choice between warm light that is easier on the eyes and cool light which provides the most brightness. It features zero radiation and six-grade touch dimming with a memory function. It has a ten year life span, offering over 25,000 hours of full lumen output and comes with a three year warranty. The package includes a small user manual.


The lamp weighs 2.8-lb (1-kg). Its length is 12.6 inches when fully extended. The footprint is only 3.5-in.

Using The Product

First of all, this is a very attractive desk lamp and I like the small footprint. If other desks look like mine, the smaller the better. Yet at the same time, it puts out plenty of light. My office happens to be half of my garage converted into an office and there is no ambient light whatsoever. Therefore, I have lots of requirements when it comes to a desk lamp. This one fits all my requirements. The neck is made from stainless steel and is quite strong, yet flexible. You put it where you want it and it stays put. It is also easier to adjust for user height than some I have seen. I am quite short, but it allows me to find the right height for what I need. At the same time, a much taller person should also be able to adjust it to fit their needs.

Personally, I would not pay the MSRP of $149.99 for it, but I certainly would pay the sale price of $59.99 and feel that I had a good product at an appropriate price.

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Block Advertisements Through iMessage

Today I had a notification that I had a new iMessage. Since I routinely use iMessage to correspond with several family members and friends I opened it expecting to find something important.

Instead, I found an advertisment for sun glasses from someone I never heard of! I was completely incensed. I even felt violated. iMessage is supposed to be the one place where I can control stuff.

Well, I can control this also. You can too. On your iPhone select Settings > Notifications > Messages. Scroll down toward the bottom of the screen where you see two options.

“Show Alerts from Everyone”

“Show Alerts from My Contacts”

Chose “Show Alerts From My Contacts” and then no messages will get through from anyone who is not in your Contacts list.


I feel better already.

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Why Won’t Those Darn Flags in Mail Go Away

This is a simple solution to a frustrating problem. In the Apple Mail app I have a folder that says Flagged. It’s not something you can throw away. It just appears if you have flagged messages and lists them for you.

That’s how is supposed to work. But for several weeks that folder was there and it said I had six messages. (By the way, this has nothing to do with the new operating system. The problem existed before I undated to Yosemite.) Every time it caught my eye I thought I had new mail. The folder was empty. I searched for flagged messages so I could unflag them and found nothing. It was really getting to me.

I consulted a friend for an answer and this is what worked. I opened every folder in mail one at a time. Be sure to do every one. I used Command A to select them all. Again, be sure to do it this way. Then I flagged every one and immediately unflagged every one. By the time I finished the Flagged folder had disappeared from the folder list in Mail.

This trick will also work if you have messages marked as  unread when you have read them already. To work with this problem do the select all and then select Message > Mark.

Now I can move onto really important stuff, like lunch.

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Built In Apps Missing From Your Phone? Here is the Solution

If you have an iPhone 6 or 6 plus it will have iOS 8 installed. You may find that suddenly some of your permanent apps, like camera, or safari are missing.  Try this:

Choose Systems > General >  Restrictions. Make sure your restrictions are turned off. If they are not, that is probably your problem.  As soon as your turn off the restrictions, you should see your “missing” app(s) reappear.


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