Review of the Word Flow keyboard for iPhones

Smartphone Keyboard

Last week Chris introduced me to a new keyboard app for the iOS. He thought it might help me have less.carpel tunnel symptoms while typing.  I’m trying it out by typing this blog with it. It is called Word Flow and was developed by Microsoft.
 
Mostly it is doing okay. It has good predictive skills, though not all that much better or different than the standard predictive text that comes with the standard iPhone.  It only has four punctuation marks available; period, comma, exclamation point, and question mark. (But, really, how often do you use a semi-colon?!)
 
One issue that I am experiencing is that when it thinks I’m done with a sentence, it will randomly throw in a period! Another issue is that it doesn’t “know” the shortcuts I’ve programmed into the phone to get a jumpstart on the predictive text.  For example, when I type “bou”, the iPhone will complete the word “Boulder.  Word Flow doesn’t do that.
Here’s an example of what the keyboard looks like and the predictive text errors:
Word Flow

Word Flow

 I think that for people who are one handed typers or thumb typers , this will be a great product.  For people like me who are used to typing with both hands and more than two thumbs, there aren’t a lot of benefits. 

As a person who is very much concerned with security and privacy, I did take exception to allowing Word Flow access to my data.  Take a look at the verbiage for the “permissions screen”.Word Flow Full Access Disclosure

“Full access allows the developer of this keyboard to transmit anything you type, including things you have previously typed with this keyboard.  This could include secretive information such as your credit card number or street address.”

Ummmm, no.  I think that is part of why the shortcuts I’ve programmed into my iPhone aren’t working with this app.

If you think this might be right for you, take a look at this, more positive review.

What keyboard are you using with your smartphone?  Is it the standard one that came with, or another app that you’ve installed?  Let us know what you are using, which phone you have, and how the keyboard is working!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted! Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

 

 

Virtual Reality

“The promise of virtual reality has always been enormous. Put on these goggles, go nowhere, and be transported anywhere.”

(source)

Virtual Reality is starting to get hot, again.  I remember a trip to Toronto about twenty years ago.  We went to the CN Tower and there was an arcade there that offered a “real” VR experience for about $20.  Chris couldn’t pass that up and thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in a totally different world.  Things sure have changed since then.  It’s getting closer and closer to a Star Trek Holodeck experience.  (Although I still don’t understand how Picard can ride a horse in the holodeck without bumping into the walls!)

Picard and Troi

Picard and Troi in “Penpals”

But first, what is Virtual Reality?  The website “How Stuff Works” describes VR as:

“using computer technology to create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were in that world. Scientists, theorists and engineers have designed dozens of devices and applications to achieve this goal. Opinions differ on what exactly constitutes a true VR experience, but in general it should include:

  • Three-dimensional images that appear to be life-sized from the perspective of the user
  • The ability to track a user’s motions, particula­rly his head and eye movements, and
  • correspondingly, adjust the images on the user’s display to reflect the change in perspective”

From what I’ve been reading the new Oculus Rift is essentially just for playing games.  When you head to their website, you can watch a video of the user interacting with some of their games.  Although new games are being added all the time, it makes me wonder if there really is an future in VR beyond games.

Never fear – Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Facebook and Oculus is all over that like white on rice.  At the F8 conference last week they introduced new ways of using VR. Huffington Post reports:

“Facebook hopes to one day connect the world through virtual spaces. It owns Oculus, perhaps the world’s best-known virtual reality company, and its intent is to use the technology to break down barriers separating people from one another. (You know, things like space and time and oceans.) In the not-too-distant future, you and a friend could don virtual reality glasses, create avatars of yourselves and meet up in digital environments to play games or just hang out and chat.”

Want to learn more?  Check out these links:

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted! Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

 

Review of Two Smartphone Battery Covers

Power and Protection:

If you’re like me, sometimes a little clumsy with your cellphone, you need to have a protective cover to keep the screen from cracking – or worse!  If you’re also like me, on your phone all day, sometimes watching Youtubes, and generally using up all the electric juice, you’ll also need to have an extra battery to keep your phone charged up.  Lucky for us, you can get both protection and extra juice in the same case.  Because I’ve only used iPhones, I’ve only reviewed iPhone cases, but I will provide a few links to cases for other brands as well.

I’ll start with my favorite.  The Mophie Juice Pack:

I’ve used a Mophie for my last two phones and have been very happy with them.  At family events when I want to take lots and lots of video’s, I can use it all day long and not worry.  Most days, running Geek For Hire from where ever I happen to be that day, I use all of the iPhone’s stored power and a little of the Mophie’s power as well.  It’s sleek, and I like the colors they have available.  My current one is blue.  The one for my last iPhone was red.

I probably drop my phone once a week or so and, sure, the Mophie has a bunch of scratches, but the phone itself is just fine.

The other protective case with battery pack available for the iPhone is the Lifeproof FIRE POWER case:

The Lifeproof case is exactly that.  Lifeproof.  It protects against submersion in water or mud. It protects against dropping from heights.  It fully encloses the iPhone in a bubble of protection.  Plus, the Fire Power model gives you extra juice for long days. The Lifeproof is the one both of our kids are using on the Appalachian Trail.  And that makes sense for people who are fording streams and hiking through rain.  It also helps their phones last through several days between recharging. It even has little O-rings so when you plugin your headphones the entire unit remains water-tight.  So, yes, if that’s how you plan to use your iPhone, get a Lifeproof.

Before I got my current blue Mophie, Chris talked me into getting the Lifeproof Fire Power.  It was big and boxy.  It didn’t always sense when the iPhone was running low on juice.  So it didn’t switch over to it’s battery and my phone ran out of power and turned off.  That was pretty inconvenient! It lasted about a week with me before I traded it in for another Mophie!

Other Phone Brands:

I haven’t been able to find protective battery cases for any other brand except the Samsung Galaxy.  Please note that I have not used this product so can not provide a review.  Here’s a link:  Galaxy S6 Battery Case

Have you used a protective battery case for your cell phone?  What brand of cellphone do you have?  Which case do you use? How was your experience?  Let us know in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted! Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial