Thursday, May 24, 2012

Being Legally Blind is a Challenge but Instapaper Comes to the Rescue.

I am legally blind but Instapaper helps me read.

I can't read websites as the text is simply too small. No, it's not the sites fault--I have a vision disability which means things have to be really big in order for me to see them. I have 20 / 200 vision(legally blind). To put this in perspective--I can only see the first giant letter E in standard eye charts. Yup, the first letter only. I need large print in order to read and the program Instapaper allows me to enlarge text to make things readable on the iPad.

Once I find web site articles or blogs that appear interesting, I use a "Instapaper-Read Later" bookmark to save them for later reading in Instapaper. Instapaper not only allows me to make the text larger but it strips out advertising and other columns of information on the page. Reading in Instapaper is very efficient and pleasing. If the article is something I'll use for a future blog or something to use later I can save it right in Instapaper. I use Instapaper every day.

Instapaper is available for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, Android and computer and FREE. First create an account at and follow the on screen instructions which is just one step after creating the account.

Create an Instapaper account at their website. It is absolutely FREE and necessary for Instapaper to work as expected.

I also have Instapaper on my iPad and Android smartphone. I do virtually all of my reading on the iPad. However, sometimes I will find articles on my Android smartphone. I choose Share and select Instapaper and the article is saved for me for later reading in Instapaper. I just love this.

Instrapaper is $4.99 for iPad but FREE for Android smartphones.

Note below a CNN News article with small print and the same CNN article in Instapaper.

As seen in the browser
As seen in Instapaper

There is a competing program called Pocket (formerly know as Read It Later). The principle is exactly the same as Instapaper but completely FREE. However, I prefer Instapaper because Pocket doesn't allow me to increase the text as large as I need but it has a nice look.

Instapaper is one of my 10 Most Useful Apps. See the rest.

Please write comments about this article or recommend other tech topics. Thank you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How to find a restuarant near you using Yelp

The other day my brother-in-law asked me to share how to find a restaurant with a smartphone. What a great idea Ross. There are many apps but I've stayed with Yelp for about two years now.

Here are some typical questions Yelp can answer quickly and easily.

  • Where can we eat out tonight but some place different, close, and not too expensive?
  • What are the best buffets within five miles of me?
  • The food was terrific at XYZ Diner tonight. What are other people saying about XYZ Diner?

Since Yelp uses the phone's GPS, it will search for places close to you. Very convenient when traveling or just driving around. You can choose Yelp to find restaurants based on reviews or distance from you. In other words, the best places near you or simply those those nearby.

Search for more than restaurants. Many categories to choose from.

Create a Yelp account if you want to write reviews but this is not required for simply finding restaurants.

The Yelp app is available iPhone and Android smartphones, iPad and even has a web site.

Choose Nearby first
Other Categories to Find
Fine tune the search
iPad View of Yelp

Please leave comments below or submit ideas for future articles.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Getting National, US or Local News with AP Mobile

Having a vision disability makes reading difficult at best and sometimes impossible. I can no longer read a newspaper nor a magazine. Text is simply too small and the contrast between text and background is not sharp enough. I know many who enjoy reading the Sunday paper--I was one of those, but no longer. I use AP Mobile on my iPad and smartphone.

AP Mobile on the iPad
AP Mobile on the iPad
The iPad has changed the way and what I read. With the ability to increase text to be very large and the sharp text on the screen, I can still do some reading. Adam Mills, a blogger from says,

I can say, without a doubt, that the Retina Display found on the new iPad is the most gorgeous display that I have ever used on a mobile device. Seriously. You have probably read about how digital magazines look like real magazines or that comics look gorgeous or how e-books look like the real, paper deal.
For regular news I use AP Mobile. The main reason is that I can enlarge text to make it readable. There are many news sources on the iPad but I just cannot read them as the text is too small. USA Today, FOX News and CNN apps don't allow me to adjust the text size large enough for me to read. AP Mobile has US, World and even local news. Of course there is Sports and even Entertainment. I check AP Mobile once or twice per day.

AP Mobile on an Android smartphone
AP Mobile is FREE and available for smartphones too.

I read magazine type articles and blogs bu subscribing to them via an RSS Reader (really simple syndication). Another blog post on this coming soon. I can read and listen to books on the iPad too. I'll tell you how in another blog post from Tablet Grandpa.

AP Mobile is one of my 10 Most Useful iPad apps. Check out the others.

Please write a comment or suggest a future topic. Thank you.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Evernote - A Top 10 Most Useful App

Hands down one of my Top 10 most useful apps is Evernote. Anything I need to remember I create a note in Evernote. I can even speak to Evernote to create notes--no typing required. And, I have Evernote on my phone, my iPad and my PC...all for FREE.

Evernote is simply an app to create and save notes. I have notes for things I need to remember and might need anywhere in an emergency. Examples of notes are: lists of my medications, picture of my passport in case it gets lost, Ideas for my blog posts and the models of printer cartriges I use. Even though I have many notes I can search for a word in the note and Evernote brings it to me quickly and easily.

Evernote notes can be viewed from any computer in the world. Just go to and log in to your account to see your notes.


How to begin.
  • Create an Evernote account. Don't worry it's FREE.
  • Download the Evernote app for your smartphone, PC, Mac or iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch.

There is a Pro version that is pay but the FREE version works perfectly for me.

Please write a comment about this post or suggest a future topic. Thank you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Copying photos from phone to PC quickly and easily.

One of the most useful apps I have is SugarSync for my Android smartphone. It can copy photos to the cloud quickly and easily. SugarSync then copies those same photos to your PC. Here's an example. I'm on vacation and have been taking beautiful pictures with my smartphone and I want to make sure nothing happens to these irreplaceable photos. Do I e-mail them to myself or what? E-mail can work but not very effective.

A little background on SugarSync. SugarSync is a backup program for PCs and I've used it for over 2 years. I will write an article on the other powerful features of SugarSync but back to photos shall we.

SugarSync can wait until your smartphone connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi and will begin copying all photos up to the SugarSync service. Once there is will copy those same photos down to your PC. This is the power of SugarSync. Don't worry, SugarSync won't make duplicate after duplicate each time you connect to Wi-Fi. SugarSync remembers photos that were previously copied. NOTE: You can tell SugarSync to immediately copy pictures without Wi-Fi. Please be aware that if you are in another country this data usage can be very expensive.

  • First create a SugarSync account on your PC. This is FREE and necessary. This will create a Mobile Photos folder within your My Pictures folder on your Windows PC. (You get more than adequate space with the Free account but more space can be purchase for a monthly or annual subscription)
  • Then get SugarSync from Google Play on your Android smartphone. (SugarSync is available for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch too.)

No longer worry about accidentally loosing photos from your phone.

There are many services and programs that do what SugarSync does and I'll share in a future article. There are also photo sharing services that are a little different and I will do an article about these as well. I use Picasa but there are many others.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Connect the iPad to a TV

Want to show photos or home made videos from your iPad on your TV? Here's how.

I know of three methods but I've only tried two. The first two methods require a type of connector made by Apple. The las use the Apple TV device. NOTE: I am assuming the TV is somewhat new--no more than 5 years old and has a VGA (video graphics array) and/or HDMI(high definition multimedia interface) ports.

  1. Apple Digital HDMI Adapter and an HDMI cable
  2. Apple VGA Adapter and a VGA cable
  3. Wirelessly using an Apple TV device

Apple Digital AV Adapter. $39.00 Pt your slides, movies, photos, and everything else that fills your iPad or iPhone 4S screen on an even bigger screen — your HDTV. The Apple Digital AV Adapter mirrors exactly what you see on iPad or iPhone 4S so that everyone in the room can enjoy it on your wide screen TV, video projection screen, or other HDMI-compatible display.*

The Apple Digital AV Adapter also supports video out for iPad, iPhone 4, or iPod touch (4th generation). Requires a HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) cable which can be purchased from a consumer electronics store or on-line.

NOTE: Sound DOES go to the the TV.


Put your slides, movies, photos, and everything else that fills your iPad or iPhone 4S screen on an even bigger screen — a VGA-equipped TV, monitor, or external projector for video mirroring. The Apple VGA Adapter mirrors exactly what you see on your screen so that everyone in the room can enjoy it.

The Apple VGA Adapter supports video mirroring on iPad 2 or later and iPhone 4S; and video out (only) on iPad (1st generation), iPhone 4, or iPod touch (4th generation). Request a VGA cable. $29.00 from the Apple Store. VGA cable can be obtained at any electronics or video store or on-line.
NOTE: Sound does NOT go to the TV.

The last method I am aware of is to use the Apple TV. I don't own an Apple TV device and have no experience with it.

Watch 1080p HD movies and TV shows from iTunes. Play Netflix, YouTube and other videos. Enjoy your music and photos from iCloud. Stream from your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch devices (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) via AirPlay. It features high speed Wi-Fi and an Apple Remote.
Again, I have not tried the Apple TV method.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My 10 Most Useful iPad Apps

Evernote. Available for iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, PC and Windows Phone. This is where I keeps notes for anything I need to remember. Examples, monthly vehicle mileage, prescriptions, copy of important documents (passport and drivers license). Lately I use Evernote every day to jot down thoughts for blog posts. I begin my blog posts in Evernote and copy the text to my blog software.

E-mail. iPad and iPhone. I use Apple's e-mail app that comes with the iPad. It allows for multiple e-mail accounts that can be seen all at one time. This saves time. I check e-mails many times throughout the day. FREE. No charge for this one.

Nightstand Central for iPad. Available for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. Since I charge the iPad every evening, what not leave it on the nightstand propped up to show a really large clock.  Virtually all alarm clocks are too difficult o red or too bright. Nightstand Central allows or easy dimming. Alarms are easy to set and one can have pleasant sounds to fall asleep by. It even shows updated weather. I use this app every day. . FREE for iPhone and iPad.

Informant HD. This is my integrated Calendar, Contacts and To Do list app. Because all 3 are in a single app, it saves me time and energy. I look at my calendar about once per day. It fully integrates with Google Calendar, Google Contacts, iCal for Mac and Toodle Do. I have used this app for many years dating back Pocket PCs. $12.99 for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, $11.69 for Blackberry, $12.99 for Android.

AP Mobile. This is the Associated Press and my favorite news source since I can enlarge the fonts to make it readable for me. I read the AP news once or twice a day. Available for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch and Android. FREE.

Echofon for Twitter. This is a twitter app this is easier for me to read as I can enlarge the fonts and get a white background. I read tweets on Echofon multiple times per day.

Kindle. In my opinion the best book reader since it saves your place to the cloud. This means you can resume your book at the same page on any device that has the Kindle app. iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, PC, Mac and Windows Phone. Books are purchased on the site.

eWallet Go. The easiest password saver program for me as I have a copy on my PC, Android smartphone and iPad and they are all in synch. I simply cannot remember all my passwords.$4.99 for Android, iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, Windows Phone 7, PC and Mac.

Instapaper. I love to read by my vision disability makes it virtually impossible to read things with small fonts or with normal contrasting backgrounds. This means web sites are impossible to read. Instapaper allows me to send the website context, excluding ads, to the Instapaper site. The iPad Instapaper app brings the sites together in a single place where I can then adjust the font size and background so I can read them without effort. I can surf the web or tweets and share them to Instapaper for later reading. I read in Instapaper about once per day.$4.99 for iPad/iPhone/iPod TouchFREE for Android and FREE for Safari, Chrome and Firefox browsers.

Movies by Flixter. This is where I check for movies at my local theater. It shows movie times and trailers. It even shows theaters wherever you are. I look at Flixster once or twice per week. for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch and Android smasrtphones.

Words with Friends. I have to admit I am hooke on Words with Friends. This game is almost identical to Scrabble except Words with Friends is FREE. After each move your opponent is notified it is their turn. They open Words with Friends to see what your last move was. It is addicting. FREE for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, Android and within Facebook for the PC and Mac.