Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tablet Grandpa's Most Popular Articles of 2013

To close out the year I thought I would share my most popular articles. I based this strictly on the number of views for the article and not comments or my personal opinion. These are the top 5 for 2013.

  1. Do It Yourself VideoMagnifier
  2. My Top 10 Most Useful iPad Apps  Dec  June  Feb
  3. Misplace your phone -Find It Easily
Note that there are 3 links to My Top 10 Most Useful iPad Apps as I publish this a variety of times as new apps make there way to me. Check out what was added and what dropped out.

If you find these interesting, please share this web site with friends, relatives and neighbors. I do my very best to write without using technical jargon and deliver easy to understand explanations. Oh, and I work to keep these blogs short so they are quick and easy to read. Most are only four to six paragraphs.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Target Hacked - What Can You Do Now?

Yep, big Target got hacked and lot's of folks are concerned but you can take back some control with only some amounts of effort.

Many have heard to check your credit card statements to see if unauthorized purchases have taken place. To same time and energy, get email alerts notifying you that a purchase was made WITHOUT your physical card being present. Contact your Bank and/or Credit Card company or go online to see if alerts are available. Most hackers get your number and make online purchases with it. I like this feature very much and do it with my credit and debit cards.

Sometimes, hackers produce a new card with your number on it. This is a tough one. In this case you might have to get a replacement card. As time consuming as this sounds it is not all that bad and the alternative s might be even more troublesome.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

3 Critical Windows 8.1 Tips for Beginners

There are always those things one remembers that puts them over the top of whatever challenges them. Windows 8, and now Windows 8.1 is a challenge for many. These 3 Critical Tips will help tremendously.


Sure, there is much more and many of you may have other tips but I strongly believe these 3 will serve you well.

  1. Right click on the Start Button
  2. Just Start Typing to Search
  3. Hit the Windows Key to get back to the Start Screen

The Start Button (now a square) has returned! Hover the mouse pointer in the lower left corner and the Start Button will appear as if by magic. However, the magic happens when you right click it. It will reveal many options you have become familiar with. The most comforting is shutting down. A welcome feature that was hidden a few clicks into Windows 8 but now much easier to get to. The other options are for those more adventurous and that goes for many PC beginners. Control Panel is here, so is File Explorer (formerly File Manager) and even the Command Prompt. Oh, clicking on the first item, Programs and Features takes you directly to Add/Remove Programs. Enjoy!

I know everyone wants the old Start Menu, where one goes to find programs and files but the need to click away has been reduced to typing a few letters. That's right. Just start typing the name of the program you want and the Search box opens and there are your letters just like the keyboard typed them. And there too, is the program you wanted so click on it! If you want to open that letter typed a few months ago so you can revise it, just start typing words from the name of the document and it will appear below the search box. It's as easy as that. By the way, no need to invest in clicks to find the search box either but you can if you want. Just begin typing and that search box knows what you want to do.

The "new search" is quite good now. Take a peak and what else you can do with the "new search".

At lastly, I have heard many times that it's impossible to close a program or get back to where we began. Just hit that Windows Key in the lower left on your keyboard. This takes you back to the Start Screen where it all begins.

Like I said, there are certainly more tips to share but get these down now and you'll be off and running. Take a peek and these links so see more. Windows 8 has been tough--both for us and for Microsoft. Windows 8.1 is a welcome improvement to get us back to being productive and more comfortable with Windows.

Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera have a Windows 8.1 Book in progress and you can get it for only $2.00! Buy now and continue to get updates for FREE too. These two authors have written Windows 7 Secrets, Windows 8 Secrets and Windows Phone Secrets and those books have sold in the $30.00 range. Now they are "self publishing" and we consumers are the winners.

Microsoft, finally, has some very good documentation. I've enjoyed the clear and "non-technical" speech. Nice job Microsoft.

Windows8.1 in Detail

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Top 10 Most Useful iPad Apps - Dec 2013

To me, a most useful app is one that I use virtually every day. It helps me get something done or provides useful information to me in a manner I can use. Since I have a vision disability, I need larger print so the apps I choose have a bias to this required feature. As a result, many very useful apps are not on my list if I cannot see the text well enough.

Personal Productivity

Mail Apple's included Mail App. This is a FREE Choice

I am in and out of e-mail on my iPad, smart phone and laptop all through the day. I prefer the iPad's included e-mail app as I like the way it allows me to have all of my e-mail accounts appear in a single mailbox view. This is easy and convenient. The app also allows me to make the text larger so I can see it better. Included on the iPad.

Week Calendar HD $2.99 New to my Top 10.

This is new to my list as I've used Pocket Informant Pro for my calendar and to do list for many years. However, I've dealt with small text all this time since the calendar was so good. Well no more. Week Cal HD is a terrific calendar AND I can enlarge the text to my liking. What a joy. I don't mind paying the $2.99 price since I can see it well and use it every day. My favorite view is the weekly as the current day of the week is slightly wider than the rest.

Nightstand FREE

Since I have to charge the iPad and I need a nightstand alarm clock with very large letters; Nightstand for iPad fits the bill perfectly. I just set the iPad up as my night stand alarm clock and plug it in to charge. The numbers are 1 3/4 inches tall, shows the weather for my location and I can even dim the screen so it doesn't light up the room all night.

There is a pay version ($2.99) that allows for your own background photos as wall paper and eliminates the ads and this is the one I use.

OneNote FREE New to my Top 10.

OneNote is part of Microsoft Office and has been around since 2003 and I've used it since then. I was one of the testers of the app for my company in 2005 and used it daily. OneNote is a note taking and note organization app. The greatest value of the app is that all notes are searchable. This means I never loose anything since I can simply search for a single word in the note and I will get a list of all notes that contain that word.You can even hand write notes if your device can handle it like the iPad and Android tablet. I haven't worked for 3 1/2 years but I still use OneNote. One of the best features of OneNote is that I have OneNote on my PC, iPad, Android Smart phone and Android Tablet and all completely synchronized. I write in one and the note appears in all.

Social Media

Tweetbot Alternative Twitter app FREE

I am in and out of Twitter every day and post a link to this Tablet Grandpa blog on Twitter. It took me a while to understand and then love what Twitter provides. It shows short and easy to read quips, information and links to what people are saying and I get to choose the people. See my article on how Twitter is useful.

I gladly paid the $2.99 since I can easily read it throughout the day.

Facebook FREE

I have a love / hate relationship with Facebook and Facebook replacement apps. Replacement Facebook apps have some extra features beyond Facebook's own app and I like that but none of them have everything. What irks me most is that I cannot enlarge the text enough to make it comfortable to read. I put up with it because I really enjoy staying in touch with my friends and family and communicating with some of them. Eventually, someone will make that perfect blend of features and ability to enlarge the text for me. Until then, love / hate continues.

News and Information

Feedly FREE

For reading news, blogs and other articles on the web; I've used an RSS (really simple syndication) reader to pull articles into a single place where I can skim and go to the detail if I choose. I've used Google Reader for many years but Google has decided to discontinue it in July 2013. Feedly also works on my Android smart phone too.

Pocket FREE

I love to read but it so difficult with my vision disability. I require large text and a nice contrast between the task and paper in order to see properly. As a result, books and newspapers are out. However, Pocket saves me because I can "clip" web sites, web articles and other news on the web to Pocket where I have the text set to very large on a very white background. Via my smart phone, I can "share" tweets from bloggers that will put the bloggers article right into Pocket where I can read it comfortably. Pocket also strips out web and blog advertising and just shows you the text and included pictures.

AP Mobile (Associated Press FREE

There are many news apps for the iPad, some of which I like very much but none allow me to enlarge text enough to make them comfortable to read.  AP mobile allows me to enlarge the text enough for easy reading. Also available for iPhone and Android smart phones.

Flixster FREE New to my Top 10

I've used Flixster on my Android phone but now I also use it on my iPad. It is my "go to" app to see what's playing at my local movie theatre. No more Internet search or newspaper--I can simply see what's playing close by or even see which theatre has the movie I want to see right now.

I am a bit of a weather junkie and have used many free and paid weather apps for the iPad. Beyond being easy to read, I love looking at radar images of weather. I can see a 2 week forecast as wells as an hourly forecast over the next 24 hours. Many free weather apps limit you to one or just a few weather locations but Intellicast allows many cities. Intellicast is my current weather app of choice but I continue to look at the latest and greatest weather apps.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Try Flixster When Going to a Movie

Flixster isa FREE app for iOS and Android that is my "go to" movie and theaterapp.

Flixster for iOS

Flixster for Android

We go tothe movies about once per week, sometimes more and often at a moment's notice.While out and about my wife might say, "let's go to a movie, what'splaying?" All I have to do is lookat my smart phone and look at Flixster.

Flixster for Android


Flixstershows theaters close to you by using the phone's GPS. No searching needed. Youcan even choose a particular movie and see where it's playing and at what time.

  • Play Movie Trailers
  • Get Show times
  • View Photos
  • View and Add Ratings
  • Purchase Tickets
  • See Upcoming Movie Info

If you area movie fan, Flixster is a "must have" app regardless of mobiledevice.

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