Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Crop Photos with an iPhone Without an Extra App

Unlike the iPad, cropping or editing photos on the iPhone is not possible at this time. There is a work around however.

Cropping is the ability to trim or crop off the sides to end up with more desirable photo. See the before and after examples below.

Follow these steps:

  1. Tap on your desired photo in the Camera Roll
  2. Pinch to zoom so the desired area is on the screen
  3. Take a screenshot by touching the Home and Sleep buttons at the same time.

The last step puts your newly "cropped" photo in the Camera Roll.

See Take Better Pictures with your Smartphone or other articles about get the most from your iPad or smartphones.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My 8 Most Used Smartphone Apps

I use my smartphone like a computer.

Notice: These are my personal favorites only. I have a vision disability so apps need to be readable.

MyWeather. FREE. I've become a bit of a "weather geek". I check the weather frequently for my area as well as where we might be going for the day. Since I love rain, radar maps are great fun to watch. iPhone and Android.

Seismic (Twitter). FREE. I read Twitter from my smartphone and iPad. I use Seismic because I can enlarge the text. For me, I use Twitter to See people I like and what they have to say in brief. I use Twitter much more than I ever thought. I read "tweets" about 30 minutes per day. Android.

DoggCatcher. $4.99. Podtcaster. Podcasts are simply recorded radio shows. I subscribe to a few weekly technology shows then listen at my leisure. This is one of the ways I keep up on tech without having to read. Android.

Calendar Pad for Android. FREE. I have control to enlarge the text so it is easy to read. In my opinion most calendars have about the same features...daily, weekly or monthly views. For me however, I need to be able to increase text size so I can read it. Android.

Camera. Included FREE. I don't use anything other than the included camera app. No need to as i just take, share and save pictures. For simplicity sake, I believe avoiding those other camera apps is a good thing to do.

Gmail for Android. FREE. Although there is a generic mail app on all smartphones I use Gmail. It is easy to read and use. Look, I'm not married to Gmail or anything but it's the e-mail app I use for now. Android and iPhone.

Flixster. FREE. A terrific app to find out movies playing at theatres near me. Yes, Flixster works when I am away from home. It will find theaters near me wherever I am. I use this app more than once per week which actually surprises me. I'm very glad it is readily available though. Android and iPhone.

Grocery IQ. FREE. This is my grocery shopping list app. Not only is it a list but it has coupons you e-mail to yourself for printing and puts those items onto the list. list items are saved for selecting in the future. This saves time. A cool feature is you can save the order of shopping aisles for the stores you frequent. This way the list goes in order by aisle for the specific store you are shopping. Android and iPhone.

Check out my 10 most used iPad apps.

Please share your most used smartphone apps.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kindle is my favorite e-reader

I use Kindle on the iPad and do not have a Kindle device.

I've been reading e-Books since 2008 on my PC and later with a Sony e-Reader and it worked well for about a year. Unfortunately, as my vision degraded, I could no longer use the Sony e-Reader even though I could enlarge the text. The contrast between text and background was no longer adequate. Right about this time the first iPad came out and it's back-light was the primary reason for my purchase. I could read again!

Why the iPad and not Kindle's own e-reader?

The iPad has a back light providing terrific contrast between text and background. Early e-Readers, the Kindle included, used what is called e-ink. This is dark gray (NOT black) on a very light gray (NOT white) background. This technology works very well and provided for very long battery life, upwards of a month without recharging the book. Kindle and Nook are coming out with back lighted screens so the market is getting very competitive.

I decided on the Kindle software for the iPad right away even thought other reader apps were available. All e-Readers allow for text enlargement (which I require) but Kindle has had the unique ability so save your place in the book and send that to the cloud. Thus, I can pick-up the same book on the Kindle for PC or Kindle for my Android phone and continue reading right where I left off. This is a "wow" for me and got be hooked on the Kindle ecosystem of books from

Apple now has it's own e-Book store and reader program called iBooks for the iPad. It too has the ability to save your place so you can pick up on another Apple device, like the iPhone, with iBooks and continue reading. iBooks is a very good alternative but I have begun with Kindle and have a pretty large library of books there.

There are many good e-reader programs but not all are compatible with each other. The Banes and Noble Nook, for instance, can only have books in the format available from Barnes and Noble. Apple's iBooks books only work on the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch. The Kindle is a brand from Thus books purchased from work on the Kindle. There are a couple of exceptions however. There are some older, and still used formats but I won't go into detail as it is just more technical than it needs to be.

Kindle reader software is FREE and available for the PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, Android and Windows Phone. (Kindle), Apple (iBooks) and Barnes and Noble (Nook) have extensive book libraries of new releases as well as classics. You would not be disappointed with any of these 3 e-Readers.

Kindle is one of my Top 10 Most Useful Apps. Click Here to read about the others.