iPhone 6s Plus blog postings

iPhone 6s Plus Postings

Earliest: October 20, 2015Latest: August 4, 2019Total: 37
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.


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


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?


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.

January 18, 2016

Anker Multi-angle Portable Stand

If your looking into a good desk stand for the iPhone 6s Plus, consider the Anker multi-angle portable stand. It works very well holding up the stand in both landscape and portrait mode.

I have the tech21 case on my iPhone 6s Plus and the stand holds the phone just fine. There's no hole in back, so your not able to change the phone when you have it in portrait mode.

Anker Portable Stand

The only thing to be aware of is that the stand weight is 6.1 ounces which is a bit heavy for a portable stand. In comparison, the iPhone 6s Plus weighs 4.55 ounces. This would be an issue if you plan to take the stand to use on an airplane.

I did use this stand when I was traveling and found it to be very handy. The weight didn't bother me too much, and I didn't have to worry about the phone falling out of the stand during some heavy turbulence.

Eskimo Crabble

A few years ago the Seskimo Crabble was all the rage. On YouTube you can find about 500 videos of people unboxing and reviewing the foldable adjustable phone stand. I found this brief explanation on another website:

The Seskimo Crabble will hold the iPhone for you when you are watching the movie with it. Then you will have free hands for your popcorn. Watch in portrait or landscape, this stand can be folded flat and keep to wallet like a credit card. The silicone rubber on the holder gives extra stability in place like plane or train. The Seskimo Crabble is available at $5.

It appears that the company has folded, as the seskimo.com domain point to a "this domain is for sale" page. You can still find the Crabble on eBay or various outlets. I happen to have one and tried it with my iPhone 6s Plus:

Seskimo Crabble

The stand is not very secure and the phone would probably would fall over if I was to use it on an airplane tray. It's good for a desktop, but you only have a couple of angle choices.

January 11, 2016

Google Photos App

Google Photos iOS application is awesome because you can backup all your photos and images to the cloud automatically. If you have the 'High Quality' setting enable it doesn't cost you anything to backup your data. Sure Google will slightly reduce your images and videos but that's better then no copy of your data.

The only downside to Google Photos app is that it starts using up a lot of valuable storage space. This is a screen shot of my Storage & iCloud usage on my iPhone 6s Plus after a few months of using Google Photos:

Google Photos App Size

As you can see, Google Photos App is using a ton of disk space. This is because it's keeping a copy of any images anf videos that I view in the app. When I click out of the app, it doesn't clear the cache. While for performance reasons it's good that it keeps it around, however at some point diminishing returns set in. There should be some type of clean up, either by the application or by the user.

To fix the disk space issue, I tried to restart my iPhone 6s Plus to see if that would help and it didn't make any difference. So then I deleted the application and then re-installed it. That worked and now I have my space back! The Google Photos app now appears much lower in the application storage list:

Google Photos App Better

The lesson learn is that I need to remove the application on a regular bases so that it doesn't use up my disk space. The good thing is that when I reinstall it, I don't need to enter my login information since it saved.

January 4, 2016


I was checking out some productivity sights and found some people saying some good things about DayOne by Bloom Built, LLC. I was intrigue and decided to check it out.

The best way to describe DayOne is using their own words:

Day One is a journal app for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Record life as you live it. From once-in-a-lifetime events to everyday moments, Day One's elegant interface makes journaling your life a simple pleasure.

I am an avid EverNote user and store all my tips and tricks in Evernote. So it only makes sense to use it as a journal right? Wrong.

The cool thing about using DayOne as a personal journal is that it separate my work life from my personal life. In addition, the Journal stores the weather info with each entry. That would have been awesome to have during last winter MBTA commuter rail debacle. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two apps, note I am using a premium version of SwiftKey Keyboard:

Click on image for a larger version.

I have used the DayOne iOS app for a couple of weeks, and I come to like it. I like the that I can put my thoughts and ideas and include a cover photo which I can describe my thoughts on the picture. I have set up the reminder service to remind me to write down something while I wait for the evening train. I take this opportunity to reflect on what I did at work and if there's anything special about today worth remembering.

I'll still be using Evernote to store my productive thoughts and tips. It's an awesome app that is very handy to have and worth paying for the 'plus' price. (I use the offline feature on my Kindle to read various Internet articles while traveling to/from work.)

Having a separate Journal application is an awesome way to stay organized. Having that bit of separation just makes me focus more on recording accomplishments and challenges that I faced that day. The Photographic entries allows me to put a story behind a picture. Now I know why I took a picture of my lunch or Beer bottle, it was yummy and I should get it again.

I am not going to purchase/download the OS version of DayOne, cost $10, as I don't see that I would get as much value as using it my iPhone 6s Plus. Perhaps as I have more records in my journal, I may reconsider, but for now the iOS version works perfectly fine for me.

Seems like DayOne has a big fan base; 489 users rated the App in the App Store and DayOne has a 4.75 rating.

December 28, 2015

OlloClip Active Lens

I got an OlloClip Active Lens for Christmas. This is a cool camera accessory that makes your camera see a whole lot more. Their is an attachment that goes on top of your camera that, depending on how you put it on, gives you wide angle or micro lens.

Great Lens!

Here's a comparison of two wide angle shots taken with the camera. The top shot is a standard picture whereas the bottom one shows more in the shot.

iPhone 6s Plus camera
Click on image for a larger version.

OlloClipview Sample
Click on image for a larger version.

Maybe Another Brand

Unfortunately I have to return the "OlloClip Active Lens" because it doesn't work very well with my iPhone 6 Plus configuration. The Active Lenses clip only works with the bare version of the phone. It will not work with any camera case or if you have a screen protector. I have thetech21 iPhone 6s Plus cover and the amFilm screen protector.

OttoClip clearly state that on the box:

Not Compatible Text

When I tested it, I had to take off my tech21 cover and peal down my screen protector just to clip the device on. I didn't like doing this because when I put the screen protector back on there were all sorts of bubbles in the screen that I had to squeeze out. I was able to take the case off and on again with no difficulties. If I removed the screen protector enough, I am sure I would loose the cling effect.

It seems weird that they would make a camera snap device without supporting any cases or screen covers. Everyone that I know has some kind of case or screen protector to protect their device. In fact, according to NPD Group that 75% of all iPhone users have a camera case. Basically olloClip is targeting a very small market.

I did a quick search this past weekend to see if anyone manufactures an adjustable lens for the iPhone and I didn't find any. Seems that manufacturers have to make sure that lens is tightly on in order for it to work correctly.

I'll keep looking, I really like the pictures that the OttoClip made. Hopefully there's a manufacturer that can make it work! The "OlloClip Active Lens" seems like a great product, they just need to make the clip be more adjustable to camera cases and screen covers.