Airplane Mode: Apply Liberally

[In my January 1, 2015 post, I christened this the “Year of Learning” here on the blog. Each post, I’ll aim to share something recently discovered (or re-discovered) in the hope that you might add my learning to your own discoveries and make double-moves forward and upward this year!]

airplaneWhen I was younger, I was always amused at creams or ointments that would include in their instructions the phrase “Apply Liberally.”

It was permission — more than that, an urging — to be generously free-wheeling with the application of their product. Don’t cheap out. Don’t fear side effects. Go for it. If a bit is good, imagine what more might achieve!

I’ve learned that Airplane Mode might be treated the same way.

In case you need a catch-up, Airplane Mode is a setting on electronic devices like cell phones and tablets that provides a one-click cutting-off from all external signals. As the name suggests, it was designed with air travel in mind, so that we could all respond in a split second to the flight attendant’s request that all transmitting devices be shut off. This great feature provides the compromise humanity has longed for: We can now appease the flight attendant and keep playing Angry Birds.

My discovery: Use Airplane Mode more liberally than that.

Nights: I flip on Airplane Mode right before I determine it’s close-my-eyes time. Who needs a sound sleep interrupted by even the vibration of a not-quite-silent phone?

Meals: If you’ve ever determined that family suppers are being compromised by texts or tweets, treat your dining table as an airliner. Your spouse will love you, and you may well rediscover the pleasure of a beep-free meal.

Visits: Rediscover the luxuries of speaking with and listening to the people your Facebook page claims you love most. When anyone can interrupt any moment for any reason, something has been lost — mark that down. This available-at-all-moments access, once reserved for brain surgeons and rulers of nations, now proceeds to thin out every moment in which all of us live. Hit Airplane Mode for an hour, and re-establish your skills at attentively caring for one person at a time.

Movies: Theaters already warn customers to turn off their phones so as to avoid being pummeled by angry film buffs during the show. If powering off seems too extreme, use Airplane Mode to fully engage in your entertainment and save your skin.

Thinking: There are some tasks that can be achieved with the fringes of one’s attention. But there are other tasks (particularly creative work or focused study) that demand our uncompromised A-game. Why self-sabotage by holding or wearing a buzz-bomb through which any time-terrorist can detonate the device and blow your hard-earned train of thought right off the tracks? In the name of efficiency, use Airplane Mode. Flip it back when you need that mental breather later on, and grant yourself freedom to ride every wave of inspiration or concentration as far as you can.

Airplane Mode: Start applying it liberally. You may be surprised at its healing benefits!



Why Beavers are Better than Computers

Wily water-critters with their smacky tails, beavers can dam things.

Flashy control-centers with the wacky apps, computers can damn things worse.

Chunks of my past days have been spent trouble-shooting both my phone (Who knew IOS stood for “Your phone will become a paperweight”?) and my computer. The computer issue is not yet resolved, and it revolves around my Evernote application. I have nothing bad to say about Evernote, which is generally slick as can be. But my program seems to be locked up by a PDF I tried to upload on the weekend.  Multiple opens and closes have solved nothing. A re-load might be next.

Most of this is relevant to this blog only because I use Evernote to collect all my Six-Pack candidates.

And that’s why I’ve now missed a second edition of the struggling-to-be-weekly feature.

So I will continue to pound away at the Evernote elephant. And if that doesn’t work, I’m hiring out all my tech needs to beavers. If things are going to be this plugged up, there might as well be some buck-teethed furry fellows running the show.

Three iPhone Apps You Should Consider

The old adage encourages, “Shake what your mama gave you!”

Beyond the mamas and the shaking lies a sentiment about using what you are given.  But what if what has been given is not all that it could be?

This is the question for many iPhone owners: Which of those preloaded apps could be improved upon? Which upgrades are worth the change?

Here are three moves that I am glad I made:

1) Camera
One of the most significant upgrades from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S revolves around its photographic capabilities.  That said, why not push that progress even further?  My experience at trying to do this revolves around two apps:

This is one of the most highly-reviewed apps in both the official App Store and in other sources I have read.  One review I read said that Tap Tap Tap, the app’s developer is so skilled at advancing the photography of iDevices that Apple frequently incorporates their developments into later releases of their own stuff.  What’s that quote about that the highest form of flattery?

If you plan to use your phone for any form of image-capturing, spend the buck on this one.  Seven million people are already on the wagon!

Camera Awesome
If I didn’t already use Camera+, this would likely be my next choice.  For the cheapies out there, this one rings in at the optimal price of FREE.  I am not a huge fan of the generic “awesomize” feature, though if you are looking for a mindless way to improve most photos in a single click, this may meet your desire.  Something I DO like is that Camera Awesome allows you to toggle over to video mode, whereas my app of choice, Camera+, leaves you stuck in strictly-stills mode.

2) Calendar
Initially using the built-in Calendar on my 4S, I had no real issues with the app.  More than anything, it was the multitude of alternative calendar apps available that got me to wondering how many different ways there were to design a digital calendar.  Make no mistake, there are MANY, my friends!

After some online homework, I settled on Week Calendar, primarily because I agree with their premise that the primary look that most of use in day-timers or agendas is… wait for it… a WEEK.  Surprisingly, this feature is not available on many of the calendar apps.  With some minor tweaking of the settings, one can craft this app into exactly what you need to stay organized, without having any unnecessary features cluttering up the process.  I have continued to check out other apps but have settled quite happily on Week Calendar.

If you want other alternatives, you could start with investigating Calvetica Calendar or QuickCal Mobile, to name but two of the options out there.

3) Twitter
My Twitter frequency and  usage increased markedly when I purchased my iPhone.  For starters, Twitter is just a lot more enjoyable to use on my phone, so much so that I seldom even check it on my computer anymore.  A couple reasons come to mind: 1) I love being able to rifle through the latest tweets when I just have a minute or two to spare.  Those quick peeks, spread through the day, allow me to stay on top of the pile, quickly starring favourites for later, and never feeling much burden in the task of keeping up.  2) Tweetbot.

Like my journey with Calendar, I had no real beefs with the pre-loaded official Twitter app, aside from wanting the ability to schedule and disperse tweets over time.  The search for that feature led me to Tweetbot, which does NOT possess that feature at all!  (If Tweetbot ever adds the ability to schedule tweets, they will have perfected this creation.)  However, if there is a better app for my Twitter-life than Tweetbot, I have yet to find it.  The cheapskate in me balked at paying a couple bucks for an app to replace  the  free-and-not-obviously-flawed Twitter app.  The rest of me has never looked back since growing accustomed to the sleek design and smooth usability of Tweetbot.  If you’re looking to enhance your Twitter experience, join the Tweetbot team.  You will not be disappointed.

How about you?  Any “app upgrades” that you would deem most worthy?  Any moves you made that you ended up undoing afterward?

Comment below to share.  I would love to learn from you.


Tuesday Trick: Ten Awesome Things to Do with Gadgets You Already Own

In an age of rapidly changing gizmos and quickly accumulating gadgets, one may wonder what productive ventures can be pursued with such supplies.  Enter Lifehacker, with this Top Ten list of creative ideas.

I confess that I am not geeky enough to execute a number of the items on this list.

I also confess that I am geeky enough to have read the entire thing.

Why Texting Is Dangerous

While on the “hardly likely list”, this video shows one serious deterrent to texting as you walk.