Month: November 2015

Photos on Your Phone

Are you having trouble managing all the photos on your iPhone? An app called Gallery Doctor can help. It analyzes all your photos and groups them into categories for cleanup: Bad Photos, Similar Photos, and Photos for Review. This gives you a quick and easy way to delete a bunch of photos. Here’s a more detailed description of the app. The app cost $2.99 and it’s definitely worth it.

IPad Pro

Apple’s new iPad Pro is a big, beautiful, powerful iPad. It’s been rated faster than the Microsoft Surface. And like the Surface, you can purchase a keyboard, and unique to the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil.

Walt Mossberg gives a balanced review here. As he points out, it is not quite a laptop replacement. However, I know that for many of my clients, an iPad with the right apps, provides 90% or more of the functionality they need on an everyday basis. If you fall into this category, this may be an option for you to consider—if you are not daunted by the price.

When Your iPhone is Lost

It’s a heart sinking feeling when you realize that your iPhone is gone—left on the back seat of a taxi, on the table at the restaurant, or stolen from your hand bag. You may not get it returned but there are steps to take to protect yourself and your data.

First, you should have your iPhone set for automatic backup to iCloud. You do this in Settings -> iCloud -> Turn on iCloud Backup. Also, turn on Find My Phone.

These two steps assure that you have a copy of all your phone data so that it can be restored to a new iPhone, if need be. And you can prevent others from accessing your data.

When you discover that your iPhone is missing, immediately go to and login with your Apple ID. Go to Find My Phone and put your phone into Lost mode. You have a few options. The first option is to lock the phone and display a message for the person who finds it to contact you. This works well if an honest person finds the phone. If it has been stolen, or if no one contacts you, you can take the next step and fully erase the phone of all your data. Find my Phone will also show you the location of your iPhone. Unless you recognize the location, for example, your doctor’s office, the cafe where you had lunch, it’s probably a bad idea to go knock on a strangers door and demand your phone be returned.

You can read more about locking and erasing your iPhone here.

Photos in the Cloud

I continue to be frustrated by all the cloud solutions for photo storage. I really don’t find any of them completely adequate as a total replacement for local storage. Plus there is the all important issue of trusting one company to store and preserve all your precious family photos, presumably, and hopefully forever. You can read reviews of the most popular options here and here.

I’ll tell you my preference, but first, a little background. There are two types of cloud storage: the first is the type discussed in the above two articles, real-time file access. This is what you find with services like DropBox, Google, Flickr, One Drive and iCloud. The cloud files appear like other files in Windows Explorer or Finder and are immediately accessible.

The second type of cloud storage is backup storage. Services like BackBlaze, Crashplan and Carbonite offer this. These are pure backup services that are for use when you need to restore lost data but not for real-time access.

If you want to implement a near full-proof system for your photos I suggest that 1)you keep all your photos on your computer or on an external drive connected to your computer; 2) You backup all your photos locally to another external hard drive either with Time Machine (Apple) or Windows Backup. Another option which I like is Carbon Copy Cloner; and 3)Subscribe to a cloud backup service like one of the three mentioned above.

If you have other solutions that you like, I’d love to hear about them.

Upgrade Your Old OS

I’ve written about this before—if you still have a computer with Windows XP or Vista, you really need to upgrade. Microsoft no longer supports XP, they will end support for Vista and other software makers are ending their support. Google will also be ending support for Chrome on XP and Vista. But it’s not only Windows users that need to be concerned. Google is also ending support for OS X 10.8 and older. The risk of not upgrading to a supported OS is that security flaws will be discovered and not fixed leaving your computer and you vulnerable to hacking. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about upgrading.

To see what version of OS X you are running do this: click on the Apple on the top left of your screen, select About this Mac. The OS version will be displayed.

Shrink that PDF

Honestly, I had not run into this issue before, but a client contacted me about having a PDF too large to upload to a website. This is the site we found to accomplish the task of shrinking a PDF. If you go here you’ll see that they also do many other PDF tricks. You may have questions, like I did about privacy issues. You can read their privacy policy here. I found it acceptable. This is a good tool for your digital toolbox.

Google Keep

Google Keep is an app that falls into the same category as Evernote and Apple Notes. It has recently become available for iOS. Now it is supported on Android, iOS, as a Chrome add-in and as a Web app.

These apps give you the ability to loosely organize information from different sources. You can group together web links, photos, lists, written notes, scanned pictures, etc. into categories, and to access the information from any device.

As an example, I use Evernote for my business. I keep “notebooks” in Evernote for each client. Each client notebook contains my notes from visits and calls, web links to products I may have recommended, emails we exchanged, scans of receipts,if I purchased equipment, and anything else of interest to that client. And everything is available to me on my computer, my iPad and my iPhone. I find it incredibly useful. Google Keep and Notes can be used much the same way.

Spark Mail

I have tried a number of alternative mail apps on my iPhone including the Gmail App and Acompli—which then became Outlook. I never found any of them significantly better than using the iOS native Mail app—until now.

I’m one of those people who actually like the native Gmail web interface for its functionality, though, admittedly, not its looks. I can create a unified inbox, I can highlight email as important for follow-up, and I can segregate newsletters and updates from more important email. (Of course, THIS newsletter is as important as all your other mail!)

I have recently discovered Spark. It’s an iPhone mail app that does all of this for me.

Spark is free, does all of the above, and is highly customizable. You have more options for the right and left swipe functions, you can easily integrate mail with other apps like Evernote and DropBox, pre-program quick responses, quickly review, archive, delete or file email, and view your calendar within the mail app.

With all of this going for it, there is one big fault. There is no iPad version available yet. The company, Riddle, claims to be working on both an iPad and Mac version.

As of this writing, I have used Spark for a week and have no thoughts of stopping. I am anxiously awaiting the iPad version.

So Many Duplicates

I know that many of you have very large Photos libraries. If your libraries are like mine, you probably have lots of duplicates or lots of very similar photos. How many times have you taken three photos in row thinking you’ll only keep the best but you keep them all?

A $10 program called PhotoSweeper can help. It has settings that let you decide how similar two photos should be to be considered duplicates. You can read a review of it here. This is a nice app for decluttering your photo library and freeing up disk space.