iPhone 6s Plus blog postings

iPhone 6s Plus Postings

Earliest: October 20, 2015Latest: November 5, 2017Total: 31

May 22, 2016

Braided Cables

New Tech Junkies

If your looking for an additional Lightning cable for your iPhone 6s Plus or iPad, I highly recommend checking out the collection at newtechjunkis.com. They have a great selection of cables for all your needs.

What makes newtechjunkis.com better than standard Apple cables is that they last longer. There are a couple of Apple cables in my laptop bag that have stopped working. I think this is because the standard Apple Lightning cables aren't designed for traveling. They work perfectly fine if you just have them connected to the computer all the time.

The New Tech Junkies braided cables have done very well in my laptop bag. The hold up really well. I haven't encountered any problems with them. I recently placed an order so that I have an extra one for my living room.

The cables come in 10 different colors, which makes it easy to find the right cable when you need it. I like the flat-braided over the round-braided because the flat ones seem more sturdy.

There are a lot of dealers selling braided cables on eBay. New Tech Junkies is a better option because they are an American company and the shipping time is a lot less.

May 13, 2016

Disapearing Predictive Text Field

Today post is all about the disappearing predictive text field. For some reason sometimes when I restart my iPhone 6s Plus, the predictive text field goes missing. Here's a quick reference to the field I am talking about:

Predictive Text Fields

Predictive text is a technology that suggests word that a user may want to type. Predictions are based on the previous word and the first few letters typed. The goal of predictive type is to make typing much easier on portable devices. The user can just click on the box to finish typing a word.

Apple predictive text is called QuickType and was first introduced in iOS 8. QuickType has a learning functionality which allows the software to remember the language style and makes better predictions.

When using QuickType, If users have setup text replacements, the text replacement will show up as one of the suggested words in the predictive text area.

SwiftKey is the worldwide leader of predictive text. It's so good that Microsoft spent $250 million to acquire the company. The suggestions are spot on and the interface is a bit smoother than QuickType.

Sometimes the field will disappear and all you see is the keyboard:

Missing Field

Why did the text field suddenly disappear? This recently happened to my iPhone and I was at a lost to figure out where it went. I played with all the setting trying to figure out where it went, then I saw the white dash. Here's the same image as above, but with the line in red:

Red Line

To make the predictive text field appear again, simply hold down the white line and drag up. The predictive text field will re-appear. You can hide the field by clicking on the line above the predictive text field and dragging it to the keyboard.

Something Fun

See what crazy sentence that QuickType has in mind, send a text using only the text in the predictive text field. This kind of gives you a glimpse of what artificial intelligence is thinking of.

Hope this helps someone else that is trying to figure out where the field went.

March 14, 2016

Big 16 iOS Apps

Big 16 ios Apps

My 'homepage' of my iPhone 6s Plus contain the top applications that I use every day. I try to keep this page short so that when I turn on my phone, I am not overwhelmed with a bunch of applications. This is what my default screen looks likes:

Brief description of the Applications

Messages - The default text message application. When I get a text message, it usually needs my immediate attention, so it has earned its spot at the top left application.

Google Maps - The best map application on the iPhone 6s Plus. The driving directions are good, and it's very easy to search for locations.

InstaWeather - Best weather overlay image application. I use this every morning to tweet the train arrival and weather before getting on the commuter rail train to Boston. This way I can look back to see how bad the winter was this year. (Paid Version)

Camera - iPhone 6s Plus default camera. I tried many others, but I always end up using the system camera.

YouTube - Best App to watch any video online. I usually add content to YouTube on my home computer, but there are times where I'll shoot a video clip and want to share it with the largest possible audience. I use it enough to justify it being on the first page.

Videos - All my commercial videos from the Apple Store are here. I have a couple of movies that I'll watch when I have some downtime and my internet connection is bad.

Wunderground - Very good weather application. I can easily tell what the weather will be like today and when the chances of it going to rain. The forecast chart is a quick update on what the weather will be like in the next six days. Certainly better than Apple's weather app. (Free Version)

Photos - Standard iOS photo library. If I take any photo or video on my phone it will end up here.

Evernote - This is my go-to application for text writing. Recently, I started using this to take a picture of my restaurant receipts. Now I don't have to worry about having lots of paper receipts in my wallet. The next time I eat at the restaurant I can search for what I ordered and decided if I want to try something different.

AnyList - AnyList is a perfect application for any couple that needs to share any type of list. While the initial focus might be on sharing shopping list, it's perfect when you need to share a list of ideas with anyone. I like it that I can put together a shopping list and add to it whenever I need to. So the next time I am at the hardware store, I'll remember to get the electric tape.

Everyday - I use this app to take a random selfie everyday. The app has the ability to combine the photos to a very cool movie. (Paid Version)

Pixelmator - Great application to edit photos. This works great on the iPhone 6+. Great if you want to combine photos or add special effects. (Paid Commercial Application)

Twitter - Very useful social media application. I can quickly find out what's going on and get some great daily motivation.

MBTA Trains- This is just a bookmark of a website that shows the status of all the trains on the MBTA. I use this in the mornings to get the status of the incoming train to Framingham and to see if I need to run to the station. For example, today's train was running 5 minutes early, so I knew I had to Sprint to get the train.

Day One - A journal application. Every night, while waiting for the train, I will use this application to comment on what happen today. It's a quick recap of the events of the day. What makes this application better than EverNote is that I can attach a photo to the day and it includes the current temp. (Free Version)

Your Chain! - I blog content everyday and the 'Your Chain!' application makes sure that I don't break the chain. I get a reminder that I need to post something useful to the blog today. The application is based on the "Seinfeld strategy" and that is to write something every day. When the task is completed simply cross the day out on the calendar. The idea is to not break the chain.

iPhone Overview

I currently have 84 applications on my iPhone Plus. Many of the applications are buried in folders. I usually end up using the search tool to find them.

It would be great if Apple had some functionality that showed you the most used Apps. This way I can be certain which apps are safe to remove.

March 7, 2016

iPhone 6s Plus Dash Camera

Dash Cam

Last September, I purchased a iPhone Dash Cradle (CyonGear Car Windshield & Dashboard Phone Holder) from a vendor on eBay. At the time, I had an iPhone 5s and wasn't thinking of getting an iPhone 6s Plus. The main reason for getting the cradle was to use the phone on my car dashboard to video some of my trips. I figured that my new phone could be used for navigation, and the iPhone 5s would be to video recording.

Here's the description from the eBay sales page:

Mount your phone in your car with confidence with the CyonGear Car Windshield & Dashboard Phone Holder. Featuring heavy duty arms, a detachable phone holder head, and 360* rotation capability your phone can be positioned to any desired angle. The attached suction cup with strong adhesive and suction cup release lock button allows you to mount your phone easily and securely on the dashboard or windshield. More colors are available.

It turns out that my iPhone Dash Cradle works perfectly with my iPhone 6s Plus. I can use Waze or Google Maps to navigate to my destination successfully. When I want to connect my iPhone 6s Plus I have to remove the phone holder to properly put the phone in. I have never been able to successfully put the phone in with the holder in place.

I have been able the base as a Dash Cam using the OsmAnd DVR application. My commute is very short, so I haven't purchased the full version. The application works pretty well and shows the speed that I am traveling and other useful information along with the video.

The base has a very strong sticky connection to the car. It does take some effort to remove it. I don't feel the need to removed it constantly. I keep the base connected to the car and remove the phone holder clamp so people wouldn't be tempted to break in the car looking for a GPS device.

If you have an iPhone 6s Plus I would highly recommend getting the CyonGear Car Windshield & Dashboard Phone Holder. The one I purchased only cost $7.49 with free shipping. Simple search for iPhone 6s Plus car mount on eBay for dealers selling it.

February 29, 2016

Location Base Alerts on the MBTA Commuter Rail

Location Base Alerts

One of the downsides of taking the MBTA Commuter rail is that they don't always inform riders of the stop. Often times the train will stop at a station with no announcements to where the train is. So if you're new to the area, or a regular commuter, you could be missing your stop.

This isn't a problem if you have an iPhone and use the Location Base alerts. You can easily set up a location base alert to notify you that your stop is next. This is a good idea for all commuters because there are times where you can loose track of the stops and forget where the train is. When the train is crowded, I'll end up at the back stairs and can't see where I am. Usually, when the train is packed is when they don't announce the stops. (In some cases the PA system is broken and you can't hear the stop name.)

My short term solution was to use Google Map on the phone, but it isn't aways reliable because the cell phone signal isn't that strong. The graphics in the application take a while to load. Location-based alerts don't require a strong signal to trigger an alert.

Location base alerts are easy to setup. I would recommend setting up an alert at the train station before your stop. This way you have plenty of time getting your things together and walk over to the door.

There is a small downside to the alerts as they aren't time-based. For example, if you setup an alert to when you arrive at the West Natick station. Your phone will go off anytime you go by the station, including when you drive down 135. You can't set up the alerts for a particular time period.

Location Based alerts is a powerful way to make use of your smartphone.

February 22, 2016

Apple vs FBI

Last Week, a federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI hack into an encrypted iPhone used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people in December. Specifically, the government wants Apple to bypass a self-destruct feature that erases the phone's data after too many unsuccessful attempts to guess the passcode. Apple has helped the government before in this and previous cases, but this time, Apple CEO Tim Cook said no and Apple is appealing the order.

One of the reasons that Apple has said no is because this is one of the rare times that a court has ordered the technology company to take action. The court has ordered Apple to bypass a feature that thousands of users have used in case they loose the phone.

Apple FBI Graphic

I am going to agree on Apple on this one. The FBI shouldn't force a company to manipulate their technology for a government back door. (Didn't we learn anything from the whole Edward Snowden fiasco?)

I don't think that the FBI needs the back door that they are making for. They already have an incredible amount of control here. Here are some of the options that they have at their disposal:

  • Subpoena AT&T/Verizon for the phone records, which in some cases would include data transfers and phone number. They could find out all incoming and outgoing calls, websites they visited, and who their email provider is.
  • Subpoena the email provider of any records. - Not everyone will delete emails that get downloaded from their provider.
  • They have the physical phone in hands, which means that they can physically duplicate the flash drive to another source and then try 1,000 passwords without worrying about losing any data.
  • What about videos/photos and voice memos on the phone? They can get that from Syed Farook's computer. (Perhaps Syed never connected it?)

If you have an iPhone 6s Plus, you should be aware of the security aspects of your phone and take full advantage of them. That includes enabling the Passcode and Touch ID on your phone. Make sure to use a complex password too, don't use 12345 or 11111 as they are the two most common passwords.

Also keep in mind that just because you're using a secure phone, doesn't necessarily mean your data is secure. In many ways, the Levenger Circa is more secure than an iPhone. No one can read your Circa unless they are holding it.

February 15, 2016

4K Videos on the iPhone 6s Plus

I have found that taking pictures of children can be a bit difficult since they move around a lot. They are usually uncooperative when asked to sit still and smile, and when they do the camera shutter snaps a bit late. This is why taking videos can be handy.

Collage.jpg

Photo of the Day

I use my iPhone 6s Plus camera every day to take photos of my daughter. I send the Daily Photos to grandparents with a story of the morning. I try to keep the photos entertaining and some creativity. Sometimes, its easier to take a video than to snap a bunch of photos.

When I take a screenshot of a video on the iPhone 6s Plus the file size is 2208x1242. For me, this is a perfect size to deal with because I use PicMonkey and create a collage. I tend to keep the final image size to around 700x700 so the emails are nice and small.

I recently been exploring the option of taking 4K videos from my phone. I have encountered two critical issues:

Videos are way to big in size - The file size for a 1 minute 4k Video (3840x2160) is 433.7 MB. Where as a regular 1 minute clip (1920x1080) is 198k. I havent found the real quality advantage of using the 4k option.

Videos cant be backup to an iMac - If you have an iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011) computer and an iPhone 6s Plus, you shouldn't bother taking videos in 4k. That's because you can't download the video clips to your iMac. Basically, the only advantage of taking 4K is if you want to take screenshots of the clips.

Request for Apple

Apple should add an Info to the Photos App so that iPhone 6s Plus owners can, at least, see which files are taking up the most space. This would make it so much easier when it comes down to determining which video clips to remove.

February 8, 2016

USB Power Bank

One of the lessons that I learned from using the commuter rail during last year's winter is to always carry a fully charged USB power bank. Not only has this has come in handy when waiting for the train but also for those delays while on the train.

Here's What Happens

When it's freezing cold the iPhone can go into shut off mode. Yes, this happened to me several times. There were times when I would be using the phone on a really cold day and then without warning the phone would shut off. The iPhone 6s Plus operating temperature is above freezing (32 degrees or 0) This means that the phone will shut off when the temperature reaches the extreme temp. I have found it happens when the "feel like" temperature is 0.

As the temperature gets colder, the phone battery charge doesn't hold as well. This means that even if you don't use the phone, the extremely cold temperature will actually shorten the battery charge. I encountered this issue also.

Power of the USB Power Bank

USBCable.jpg

This is why having a USB power bank is critical to carry in your laptop bag. In addition, I find keeping a small cable with the power bank makes big the difference. I always know that the cable is there.

On eBay you can get a small 8" flat Braided cable for about $5. This can help justify having a "just in case" cable. What's more, you can get different tips for different devices - for example if you want to charge your Kindle or camera.

I recommend getting a short length cable so it doesn't take that much space in your bag. I find that the 8 inch is the perfect length.

I purchased two cables in different colors. I have a red one for my phone and a green one for my Kindle. I select red as important, as my phone is pretty important. I selected because that was the color of Amazon's logo.

How the USB Made a Difference

Last winter, on some of the coldest days, I found that when I got on the train that I had to energize the phone by connecting the phone to the USB power bank for about 5 minutes. Once it got enough juice, the phone was back to normal.

The iPhone 6s Plus battery size is 2750 mAH. So it's best to get a USB Power bank at least 5000 mAh so that you have enough charge for those long delays.

February 1, 2016

Optical Image Stabilization

One of the reasons that people may select the iPhone 6s Plus is the unique Optical Image Stabilization (also known as OIS) that is only available in the iPhone 6s Plus. However, What does "Optical Image Stabilization mean? How can you see the functionality in action?

Both the iPhone 6s and the Plus have Digital Image Stabilization (DIS). DIS relies on software to help stabilize your camera to compensate for potential shakes. OIS will rely on actual sensors built into the camera to offset any shakes while taking photos.

The big advantage that the Optical Image Stabilization functionality gives you is less camera shake when you take videos, especially you are shooting 4k. Parents with young children will like this feature when they are shooting videos. iPhone 6s Plus takes much smoother shot when your recording your children running around.

The good thing about this functionality it that it is always on, you simply record the video and the phone does the rest.

My Advice Tip

If your video clip still has a lot of camera shake, you can use the post production Stabilization feature in iMovie to fix the shot. I found that the Stabilize Shake Video at 30% gives a nice smooth picture.

Google video has a stabilization feature, but Apples iMovie and Final Cut does a great job.

For better video quality, make sure that the subject of the shot is in the center. Basically, the stabilization will be cropping out the outer part of the video.

When your shooting video on the iPhone 6s Plus make sure to close out of any application and put the phone in airplane mode. This is so that you dont get any notifications while shooting. I have found that some notifications can stop the recording.

January 25, 2016

InstaWeather App

New England is predicted to have another rough winter, that is according to many weather analysis. This is because of the El Nino effect, where warmer than normal waters in the Pacific Oceans causes more moisture in the United States. This past weekend the mid-Atlantic States got a glance at what's to come.

Last year was a tough winter for New England, especially to those that rode the MBTA in the mornings. Because of various issues, there were lots of delays and cancellations.

This year I want to better record the experience and part of doing that involves taking pictures and perhaps videos. I wanted to add a weather overlay on the picture just to give a bit more understanding of the temperature. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but sometimes the picture doesn't grasp how cold it is, especially the wind chill factor.

This past weekend I found a really cool ios application that puts the weather on any photo. Here's my tweet from this morning:

Adding the weather information on the image gives it a little zing. To get the weather overlay, I am using InstaWeather by byss mobile, they have a free version and paid version. It's the perfect tool for photo needs.

The free version is good as they have 10 unique weather overlays. When you share the image you will see an InstaWeather logo on the top right corner. You can see some of the options available in the paid version, you just need to purchase it to remove the extra overlay that they put on because you didn't pay for it.

The paid version is only $1.99, has 100 cool layouts which are sorted by 14 categories. In addition, you can turn off the logo. There is a nifty video functionality where you can take a short video with a weather overlay. One of the categories names is called 'Weather Wars' which allow you to do weather wars between two locals. Here's one I did this past weekend during the snow storm hitting the east coast:

Weather Wars

They are overlays for different seasons and InstaWeather offer all sorts of different effects including animated graphics. According to their website they are always adding more design.

The application is very popular all over the world, and byss mobile has a instaweather map website where you can see photos from other users from around the world. In order to get your photo on the map, you need to enable Photo Map option in Instagram and use the #instaweatherpro tag.

I would certainly recommend getting InstaWeather and trying it out. It's a cool way to tag weather to your photos. The paid version is a good addition to the iPhone 6s Plus library. I don't imagine that I would be using this all the time, but it seems something that would be neat to use when the extreme weather hits. It's a cool use of the Smart Phone technology, bring together the power of the photo and Internet applications.

Advice to Byss Mobile developers

It would be great if you could add a drop shadow or glow effect to some of the temperature numbers. In the winter time, it can be hard to see the white numbers on top of the white snow.

I would like some support landscape mode images. It would be nice to see a lot more of the landscape in the photos.

Whatever happen to SnapStory?

SnapStory2.jpg

This weather overlay came about because of theSnapStory iOS app, by Chengdu Everimaging Science and Technology. They had a weather overlay section where you could easily put the current weather over an image. They had a few designs to choose from, but it was basic enough for my needs.

For unknown reasons, sometime in the last year or so they quietly removed the weather option. You can no long add weather overlay in SnapStory. I don't know what happened as they actually still promote the weather overlay on their website.

The application hasn't been updated for nearly two years, perhaps Chengdu Everimaging Science and Technology Co., Ltd has focused more on their Photo Editing Software.

The image on the right is a photo that I took using SnapStory back in 2013 using my iPhone 5s.