iPod Tips

Cool Apps – Shopper

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

Shopper is an app that I find particularly useful.  It's a paid app, but at a great price.  What does it do?  Well, it doesn't quite do the shopping for you, but what it does do is make the whole experience a lot quicker and simpler.  In fact, it has many features that I don't even use (yet) but even the basic features make it worthwhile.

You know when you need to go shopping - and I'm talking food shopping here - you generally need a list.  The old pen and paper job where you painstakingly write the list, not necessarily in the order that you'll find the stuff in the supermarket but more likely in the order that you don't find it in your cupboards and fridge.  Then off you go to the supermarket with your pen and paper, crossing things off as you get them, trying to hold the pen, paper and trolley all at the same time as you pile in the goodies.

Shopper takes the pain out of it and makes it a pleasure.  That's why I love it.  It does just what I want it to do.  The truth is, I was going to make this app myself, but these guys did such a good job I thought, why would I bother?  Pay them for their great work and get on with life!

Shopper has a fully customisable list of items, as well as the facility to add different supermarkets, even different pricing for different supermarkets and even different aisle layouts.  Personally, I use it mainly for one supermarket, but I've configured the items I buy, the aisles that they are in - in my supermarket - and I've ordered the aisles to match the general store layout.  I then use the Browse facility in shopper to quickly run through each item in alphabetical order, checking the ones I'm not sure about, adding what I need to my shopping list with a simple touch of each item.

Now that I have my list, Shopper has already prepared it for me in the correct order, each item in its appropriate aisle.  I don't really use the pricing facility, but I can see how great it could be to see the change in prices of different items from week to week.

Now for the best bit.  I head off to the supermarket, open up Shopper and literally start at aisle one, collecting the items as I go and checking each one off with a single touch.  The items I touch get added to my "basket" and once I'm done, I can check-out to empty the basket.  I never forget anything and even the things that are not in stock remain on my list for the next visit.

I can even share my list over the air with my wife, directly to her Shopper app, or even by email.  I can make the list, share it to her Shopper app while she's in town and she can pick up all the bits on her way home. What a marvellous app, well designed and fully functional!  It's a thumbs up from me!

Cool Apps – StumbleUpon

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, Mac Tips.

There's a very interesting website out there called StumbleUpon, which is kind of like a search engine (like Google) but it works in a completely different and innovative way.  So think about this - most of us go to Google (or another search engine) because we are looking for something, right?  We know what we want, we type it in and we (hopefully) get the answer.  But what about when you're bored and you aren't really looking for anything in particular, but you want something interesting? The key word here is interesting.

We all have our own interests, so what may be interesting to me might not be at all interesting to you.  That's what StumbleUpon is all about.  You register your own interests (by choosing a few from a list of categories and then later you can refine this by adding more or removing some etc.)  StumbleUpon then gives you a big Stumble Button to click which starts to present you with random pages from the internet that are related to your interests.  But that's not all!


With each page that appears, you can rate it with a thumbs up or a thumbs down.  It depends on whether you liked the content or not.  The thing is, this is like a community effort.  The more people that "thumbs up" a page, the more likely it is that StumbleUpon will display that page to others with the same interest.  It's like a rating system for pages, which is then used to try and present others with pages that were most liked by previous viewers.  It's a very clever system and the more you rate the pages, the more of the good pages you get to see.  It's actually quite addictive and you wouldn't believe some of the stuff you'll find, which you would probably never find if you hadn't used StumbleUpon, simply because you weren't looking for it!

To take it one step further and make it even easier for you to "stumble" whenever you feel like it, there is now a StumbleUpon app available in the App Store for free.  It allows you to log in and very quickly start (or continue) stumbling your favourite interests.  I have to say, I love it!  Give it a go today and drop me a comment to let me know what you think.

How To Move Apps Around On Your iDevice

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

We all download lots of apps, useful or otherwise, to our iDevices, be it for the purpose of testing them out to see if they're any good or because we've been recommended to try them.  Inevitably, we end up with a bit of a mess - loads and loads of apps on multiple pages, many of which we actually don't use or don't want.  And many more that we just can't find when we want them!

There are several things you can do to organise your apps.  Today I'm going to cover the first one - moving your apps.  When you download new apps, they fill the first available space on your iDevice home screen.  This is usually the last position, which could be on the 2nd page or the 20th page, depending on how many apps you have.  So what do you do if you want that app to be on the first page?  If it's an app that you like and intend to use often, you probably don't want to have to search through 20 pages of apps to find it.  The easiest thing to do is to move it to one of the first pages - but how?

This tip is something that many people find a little tricky, or a bit difficult to understand, but it's actually very easy once you get the hang of it.  The first thing to do is to locate the app that you want to move.  So flick through the pages until you can see it.  Now, press the app as if you are going to open it, but don't release your finger.  Hold your finger on it for a couple of seconds and you'll notice that all the app icons start to wiggle.  That's good news!  You've just put your home screen in Edit Mode so you can now move things around!

Now that you are in Edit Mode, you need to "grab" the app that you want to move and put it where you want it.  Since we have to go back a few pages to get to the first page, how do you move the app without losing sight of it?  It's easy.  You simply do the same as above, hold your finger on the app you want to move and start dragging it around.  You will notice that as you drag the app around on the current page, the other icons move around to make room for it.  This is what you will do, when you get to the page you want.  For now, you need to move the app to the very far left of your iDevice screen and then wait.  Keep holding your finger on the app while it is positioned against the far left of the screen and you will see that your iDevice suddenly starts flicking back through the pages of apps and the app you want is still there, held under your finger!

Once you see the page that you are looking for, simply move your finger (with the app still underneath!) into the page, away from the left side.  This will cause your iDevice to stop on that page.  Now all you have to do is move your app to the location on that page where you want it to be.  The other apps move out of the way for you and once you have the app positioned where you want it, just take your finger off it and it will drop into that spot!  Just like magic!

When you are finished moving your apps around, press the Home button to leave Edit Mode.  The apps will stop jiggling and you can no longer move them around.  They are now locked back into position.

One more little tip - if you go past the page you were looking for when you are moving your app, simply move the app to the far right of the screen and it works in reverse, your iDevice will start flicking forwards again through the pages.  A bit like a rolodex 🙂

Printing from your iPhone/iPad/iTouch

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

Printing from your iDevice has been made particularly easy, provided you are using a printer that supports AirPrint.  If your printer is supported, all you have to do is click the action icon (shown below) on the page that you want to print and select the Print option.


Simply choose your AirPrint compatible printer (which must be connected to the same network as your iDevice), choose your settings and hit Print.

AirPrint is available from many places, such as Photos, Safari, Mail etc.  It may also be available in apps that you download from the App Store.  For more information and a list of compatible printers, you can view this article from Apple's website which lists compatible printers by manufacturer.

As many older printers are not AirPrint compatible, there are also some other ways to print.  For example, if you are using a HP printer, have a look at the HP ePrint app from the App Store.  This will allow you to print to many more HP printers, directly from your iDevice.  To do so, you must use the HP ePrint App, not the action button above, to print.  The HP ePrint app is quite clever.  It can access your photo library and you can also load documents directly into the ePrint app to print them.  I've used it with my HP OfficeJet 4500 to print photos and it works a treat!

Kids And The App Store

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, Mac Tips.

One of the challenges of new technology, including iPhones, iPads and iTouch devices,  is that inevitably the younger generation are keen to get their hands on them, mostly for games.  Whether the games are free or not, you still have to have an Apple ID to be able to "purchase" and download them.  That's all very well, but if you have an Apple ID with your credit card attached, you certainly don't want to take the risk that the kids might download loads of stuff without your knowledge, or even by accident, costing you an absolute fortune!

There's a good way to deal with this, but first you need to know one of the tricks of the App Store.  When you first receive your iDevice (iPad, iPhone or iPod), you need to create an Apple ID.  Many people do this at the prompt during setup of the device.  Once you've filled in all your details, you are then asked for payment information.  At this point, there is no option to choose None as the payment method.  You are forced to enter some credit card information in order to be able to continue.  For some people, this is not ideal - maybe they don't have a credit card, or maybe they simply don't want to use it!

The best thing to do is to use a different means to create your Apple ID.  Simply skip the Apple ID at the setup stage and go directly to the App Store.  Find a free app, any free app, even the iBooks app that you'll automatically be offered.  When you choose to download it, select the option to Create An Apple ID.  At this point, because you are downloading a free app, you will be given the option to choose None as the payment method.  Now we're talking!

Of course, you can easily add payment information afterwards if you wish, but that's not the point.  The point is, for example, that you can create an Apple ID for your child with no payment information attached.  This means that they can never spend money by mistake.  This is most useful when they have their own iDevice and you want them to be able to download free apps.

But what if they then want to pay for some apps?  Simple.  You buy them a Gift Certificate from the iTunes store using your own Apple ID (which has payment information attached) and then credit it to your child's Apple ID.  Now they have a credit balance that they can use to buy apps, but they can never spend more than what you've given them.  This gives you excellent control over their spending and also helps them to learn the value of money!

One more thing to remember, and this is a really, really important one - when you download an app from the App Store, or you are asked at any point to enter your Apple ID and password, there is a certain period of time after you have entered the password in which you will not be asked to enter it again.  For example, you decide to update all the apps that have updates waiting, you hit the Update All button and you enter your Apple ID and password.  Once the apps are all up to date, you give your iPhone to your child to play on.  For a certain period of time (maybe as much as 30 minutes), you will not be asked to enter your password again, even if you decide to buy an app.  This means there is a period of time where your child could download anything they want, deliberately or otherwise, without needing to enter your password.  Be careful, it happens - A LOT.  I know people whose kids have spent €300+ in a very short time using in-app purchases, because the password had already been entered and the adult wasn't aware of this problem.  So watch out, be careful and - have fun!

Interesting iPhone Apps – Whatsapp Messenger

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

While there are many different messenging apps out there for the iPhone, of the ones I've tested I have to say I find Whatsapp to be the best by far.  It's very quick, very simple to use and has lots of nice features.  More importantly, it seems like virtually everyone with an iPhone is using it now, for business and personal use alike.

Using Whatsapp, you can quickly text your friends, share photos and contacts with them, or even send them your exact location!  This "location" actually interfaces with the Maps app on your iPhone so if you someone sends you their location and you tap it, the Maps app opens showing you their location as well as your location.  Now that, for me, is a really nifty feature that I've used many times.

It also integrates directly with your contacts on your phone, showing you who's on Whatsapp already and allowing you to invite those that aren't.

Of course, like most messenging apps, you need internet access to use it - but most of us do have internet on our phones these days.  The app costs only €0.79 and is worth every single penny in my opinion!


Free Credits at MacHelpline.net!

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, Mac Tips, MacHelpline.net Updates, News Articles.

MacHelpline.net, the net's top support service for Mac, iPhone and iPad users, is now offering all new customers a Free Credit to allow them to try the service at absolutely no cost! You can get straight through to a support operator who will be able to answer your question immediately.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain - why not register yourself today for free!  If you want to see what it's all about, just head on over to the registration page and see for yourself.............  You'll be glad you did!


Amazing Portable Scanner for your Mac, iPad & iPhone

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, Mac Tips, News Articles.

Now here is a really amazing product.  Someone really put some thought into this one.  I was recently looking for a scanner that might suit my requirement to scan all my existing photos (you know, the ones that we all have sitting in drawers and who knows where...) into my Mac.  What I was really looking for was something simple, not a flatbed where I have to scan each photo, crop it and save it etc.  I came across the Doxie Go portable scanner.


This scanner will connect to your Mac or PC via USB to transfer the scanned documents.  It can also connect via Wifi with an optional adaptor.  But that's not all!  You can even connect it directly to your iPad using Apple's camera connection kit or wirelessly to your iPhone or Android device.

The beauty of it is that it has its own battery.  It is completely stand-alone and it is a feed scanner which allows you to feed in any documents up to A4 size, such as standard A4 paper, photographs etc.  These are then scanned directly to the Doxie's internal memory and can be transferred to your iDevice as and when you are ready, via USB or any of the other means described above.  It takes about 2 hours to charge and the battery is good for about 100 scans.  Nice for on-the-go scanning!

What's more, it charges directly via USB, so you can connect it to your Mac to charge, or use a USB power adaptor to plug it into the mains for heavy duty scanning that will take a lot of time.  Doxie Go works with wireless SD cards from Eye-Fi™ and SanDisk™. With a wireless SD card, Doxie can transmit scans via Wi-Fi to your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, or Android device –  no wires!

Have a look at more detailed information and photos on their website at www.getdoxie.com.

Background Apps Menu – The Extras

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

So there are a couple of extra things that are useful in the Background Apps menu, i.e. the row of apps that appear across the bottom of the screen when you double-click the home button on your iDevice.  Swipe almost all the way to the left of these icons and you will find the iPod controls.

This hidden extra gives you quick access to a few different things.  Firstly, you have the Rotation Lock which is covered in a separate blog post, but very briefly this allows you to lock the screen rotation so that it does not rotate automatically when you rotate your iDevice.  This is the first icon that you see.

The next three icons are the "quick access" buttons to rewind, play/pause and fast-forward your iPod.  The last icon is a quick link to get to your Music.  These icons are all permanent and can not be removed or "closed" as this is a special utility menu added for your convenience.

If you are looking at the iPod Controls and you swipe one more time to the left, you will get to the Volume control for your iDevice.  Again, this is a quick access function so that you don't have to use the Settings app to access the volume.  This feature may not be available on all devices, it will depend on which version of iOS you are using.

Closing Apps Running in the Background

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

Following on from the post on Background Apps the other day, I wanted to share with you all how to actually close the apps that you don't want running in the background.  But first, let's ask the question - Why would I want to close them anyway?

When apps continue to run in the background, they are taking up RAM and processor time (albeit a small amount of each in some cases).  This can cause your device to slow down while you're using it, especially if you have every app you own all open at the same time!  Also, some apps, like Skype for example, actually stay connected in the background when the app is running and this might not be what you want.  If you thought you had closed Skype, but it's still running the background, people will see you are "Online" when actually you thought you were "Offline".  These are a few examples of why you would want to close apps that are running in the background.

So - how to close them?  Well, it's pretty simple really.  Double-click the home button to show the row of icons across the bottom of the screen - these are the apps that are currently open and running.  Hold your finger on one of these icons, it doesn't matter which one, and all of them will start to "wiggle".  You will notice that a red "minus sign" appears in the top left corner of each icon.  Just press it and that app will be closed immediately.  You can close as many as you want, even all of them.  It's a good idea to check this regularly and close most of the apps that you're not using.  It's good housekeeping 🙂