How to Use your iPhone’s Health App

It’s true.  You can now use your iPhone’s Health App (and equipment connected to your iPhone) to track many of your body’s functions.  For example you can track your heart rate, the Oxygen saturation in your bloodstream, or the number of steps you walk.  If you have the iWatch, it can also track how far you swim, how long you stand, and other activities.

How to Use Your iPhone's Health App with Sleep CycleActivity

The iPhone’s Health App will automatically track your steps, flights of stairs climbed, and how many miles you’ve walked, but you do need to always have your phone with you in order for the data to be accurate. If you synch your iWatch with your iPhone, you have access to additional data that is much more accurate.

Mindfulness

There are a number of apps that you can connect to your iPhone’s Health App to help you meditate and practice mindfulness.

  • Calm: Calm has a few options available for free.  Most of the meditations require a monthly, annual, or lifetime subscription.  Calm also has bedtime stories to calm you down and help you to get a more restful nights sleep. Calm is rated 5 stars with 1482 reviews.
  • 10% Happier – Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: 10% Happier also has a few meditations available for free, with an option to purchase a monthly or annual subscription.  It also has a meditation to help you wind down for sleeping.  10% Happier is rate 5 stars with 676 reviews.
  • Headspace: Guided Meditation: Like the other two apps, Headspace requires a paid subscription to gain access to most of the meditations.  It is rated 5 stars with 592 reviews.

Try them out and see which one works best for you.  You may find that you don’t even need to sign up for a paid subscription

Nutrition

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any great apps to track your food intake.  The iPhone’s Health app does allow you to manually enter data which is very easy to do.  If you take vitamin supplements, you can also enter the amount of Vitamin A, B, etc., that you are consuming. Don’t forget to drink lots of water every day!

Sleep

Getting a good nights sleep is very important to your overall health. And collecting sleep data is the first step in understanding how your productivity is impacted by your sleep.  I looked at several different sleep apps, but only Sleep Cycle seems like it will work well:

  • Sleep Cycle doesn’t require that you place the phone under your pillow.  Instead it uses the microphone on your iPhone to track your sleep sounds to determine when you are sleeping and how deeply.  It even records you when you snore!  Sleep Cycle is rated 5 stars with 1340 reviews

Have you learned more about tracking your health with your iPhone? If you found this helpful, please forward it!

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 fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

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.  I’ll try that next!   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 (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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Mac OS Malware – What you need to know

It’s finally happened.  Mac’s have finally reached that magic threshold where more and more people are purchasing MacBooks and iMacs.  The “bad guys” have recognized that and are writing Mac OS malware, viruses, and ransomware.  Yes, they are specifically targeting the Mac OS.  They’ve had years of practice on Windows machines.  They know Mac users are a bit more discerning, so their malware needs to be even more subtle to trick those Mac users.  Their products look like the real thing – a real email from Dropbox, a real pop-up from Adobe.

It’s a jungle out there, so don’t think you’re immune just because you have a Mac!mac os malware

Two versions that are targeting Macs are MacSpy and MacRansom.  MacSpy does the usual data scraping, browser history harvesting, etc. MacRansom is a straight-up ransomware.  The cost to retrieve your data is about $650-750.  You can read more about them in this article from Dark Reading.

Another Mac OS malware that’s spreading is installed when you think you’re installing an Adobe upgrade.  You do get the upgrade, but you get a “snake” program as well.  For anyone interested in reading more, check out this article.

Another Trojan, named OSX/Dok, is also relatively new and spreads it’s program through a sophisticated phishing email.  So far, it seems to be targeting primarily European Mac users.  Checkpoint says that:

“This new malware – dubbed OSX/Dok — affects all versions of OSX, has 0 detections on VirusTotal (as of the writing of these words), is signed with a valid developer certificate (authenticated by Apple), and is the first major scale malware to target OSX users via a coordinated email phishing campaign.”

Have you learned something about Mac OS malware? If you found this helpful, please forward it!

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 fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

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.  I’ll try that next!   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 (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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iPhone 6 Touch Disease

Have you heard about the newest malady to affect the iPhone 6 and 6+?  It is something dubbed the “Touch Disease”, which affects the touchscreen of your iPhone.  You’ll notice a flickering grey bar and then your touchscreen will stop working.  This has primarily been impacting iPhones which are almost two years old.

This issue was reported by iFixIt on August 23rd in a blog post.  They did provide an image of the flickering grey bar at the top of the phone:

iphone 6 touch disease image from iFIXit

Gizmodo thinks the problem appears to be a part of the “Bendgate” issue:

“The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus flex more than other phones, which causes all of their guts flex too. The soldering beads connecting the chips to the logic board can’t handle the long-term repetitive stress of your back pocket”

Engadget reports that:

“Weirdly enough, replacing the screen isn’t a proper fix. The gray bar will creep onto a new screen even when it’s been swapped out because that’s not where the problem resides. It’s a problem with the Touch IC chips inside the phone, which separate from the logic board in a manner similar to the one that some claimed caused Microsoft’s Xbox 360 red-ring of death. They must be replaced for the problem to completely go away, and Apple’s in-store Geniuses are not equipped to do that kind of soldering work. Hence, the quandary. In a YouTube video cited by iFixit, repair specialist Louis Rossmann predicts that this “touch disease” malady could turn into a class action lawsuit if enough customers make a stink. “

MacRumors assures us that:

“The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are not affected by the same issue as Apple strengthened the body and changed the position of the Touch IC chips in those devices.”

Bottom line?  If your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus is still under warranty and you start to experience any of these issues, take it in right away for replacement. If it’s not, try not to store it in your back pocket or any place where it could flex easily.  Also, learn how to use Siri to open apps and to use its voice-to-text functionality. This may help tide you over until you can replace your phone or get the innards soldered properly.  Here’s a link to my blog on Top 10 Ways to use Siri.

And, I hope it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway!  Make sure you keep your iPhone backed up!

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 on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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 (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Wearables

I ambled down the rabbit hole and stumbled across this old PC Magazine article from 2008.  In the article, they look at futuristic devices introduced in movies and show how those ideas have come to fruition in 2008.

  • There’s the transformer cell phone.  Watch the Youtube here.
  • There’s the hoverboard and another Youtube.
  • And there’s this poor substitute for the universal translator/ babel fish and its cringe-worthy video.

The only gadget from the movies that has really taken off is the wrist watch communicator.  In just the past few years watches that alert you to phone calls and texts, track your steps and heart rate, and allow you to search the Internet, have evolved into wearables worth the investment.

Here’s my Fitbit  telling me that Chris is calling:

20160705 fitbit

Aside from the FitBit and the Apple Watch, other wearable gadgets available today include:

Thync: The first wearable for relaxation and energy  The Thync works by signaling nerves on the head and neck to act on the brain’s adrenaline system. These nerves then activate your body’s natural state of Energy or Calm.

Then there are Blacksocks Plus. These are truly wearables with a twist!  From their website:

Imagine your phone could communicate with your socks. Your phone would know:

    • which socks belong together,and could help sort them out,
    • how often you have washed your socks,
    • when your socks were produced,
    • when you ordered your socks and
    • when your socks were dispatched.

Your iPhone can also tell you if your black socks are no longer properly black and help you buy new socks.

If only they could tell you if it was the washer or dryer that stole one of your socks!

Coming out later this year are Jewelbots.  This adorable bracelet is aimed at teaching young girls to code.  The gender gap among boys and girls in science and engineering classes continues to widen, and the number of technical jobs continue to increase.  Getting our girls interested in the sciences at a young age, and keeping their interest through high school and college is so important!  Jewelbots is a just one step on this path.  For more info on this issue, check out Girls Who Code.

 

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 on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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 (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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iCloud – Valued Apple Feature or not?

iCloud

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about Apple’s iCloud recently.  iCloud is something many of us have been using for years.  But are you sure how to best take advantage of it?

If you have multiple devices – an iPhone, iPad, and iMac, for example, you can listen to your music whether you’re at home, a coffee shop, in your car, or on a trip.

If you don’t have an Apple computer, you can still access some of the iCloud features from your Windows computer.  Head over to www.iCloud.com and sign in with your user ID and password.  Some of the features available at the website include Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Photos.  Access to your music is not available here.

20160621 iCloud image

The “Find My iPhone” feature is available at the iCloud website.  Take a minute now to sign in.  Navigate around the site briefly, but especially take a look at the “Find my iPhone” feature so that if you do lose your phone, you’ll know how to use it.  (Make sure any folks in your family who are challenged in the area of knowing where their possessions are, have this feature turned on!)

When you sign in to the iCloud, your user ID is probably your email.   If you’ve forgotten your password,         it’s relatively easy to reset it.  Remember that the password for your iCloud account is different from the security passcode you may have set up to access your iPhone or your iPad.  If you have set them up to be the same, please change one of them now!

Another feature I’ve just learned about on the iCloud is the ability to share photos with other people.  When you click on the “Photos” icon, your pictures appear.  At the bottom of the screen there are three buttons – Photos, Share, and Albums.  Your Photos shows all the pictures you’ve taken from a given point in time organized by date.  Albums arrange your photos by different categories like Selfies, Panoramas, Videos, and Screenshots.

To share photos, click on “New Shared Album”.  Give it a title, and select who to share it with by entering their emails.  Once the structure is set up, you can then add photos to the album.

If you need help setting up your iCloud properly, check out Apple’s Help pages or the Genius Bar at the Apple store.

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 on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

Q&A with Chris Eddy (iMac’s, PDF’s and Windows 10)

Question:

I’m currently running window 7 professional on my work laptop.  Windows 10 want to upgrade computer software.  I have office 2003 and ms project software  2010 and I’m wondering if windows 10 compatible with these programs?  Also since I’ve been rejecting windows 10 computer seems to constantly upgrade software (daily) and is running slow.  Any way that not upgrading to 10 can be causing this?

Answer:

I think you should decline the W10 upgrade because W7 works fine for you, I don’t think that W10 has enough new and different and better stuff that you should run right out now (metaphorically) and get it.  Also, I’m seeing occasional strangeness with W10 becoming unresponsive or very disk intensive for long periods of time, and have seen occasional filesystem corruption after things like a graceless shutdown which causes the machine to require serious startup repair (not the automated one), but W7 would have recovered from that in stride.

Question:

An associate recommended PDFMerge as a great program to take individual pdf pages and be able to combine them into a document. I went to the website www.pdfmerge.com and downloaded it. …. Well now every pdf on my laptop is a soda pdf. This was not what I intended – will this cause me problems since they are no longer adobe pdf’s? Should I have you change it all back? Worried about this change. Recommendations?

Answer:

This is an easy thing to change.  Go to the file using Windows Explorer, right click on the file name, go down to “Open With”, select the Adobe Acrobat Reader program, and make sure you put a check in the box to use this program for this file type in the future.

Question:

Do you have an opinion on the iMac all in one?  The 21.5 ” most suitable for my space and I’d like to connect it to a TV and be able to watch TV at same time as using computer – is that possible or a pipe dream?

21.5" iMac

Answer:

In general, I like the iMac.  And, in a nutshell, yes.  But you’ll need an “Apple TV” device, which is a white hockey puck sized thing that connects to the house network and to the TV.  More here: http://store.apple.com/us/question/answers/appletv/can-i-use-apple-tv-to-mirror-my-imac-on-my-tv/QCFJP9Y472HAJP9YP

Do you have a quick question about your Mac or PC?  Send us an email to support@geekforhireinc.com

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

Windows 10 – Once more

It’s almost like it’s Groundhog Day. Again.  (The movie, not the holiday.)  Yes, we are still getting calls from customers who have upgraded to Windows 10 and immediately began to experience issues with their machine.

What are some of the issues?  Here’s a sampling of some of the questions we’ve received:

  • I can’t find any of my files! They all seem to have disappeared!
  • I can find my files, but my computer won’t let me open any of them
  • My applications don’t seem to work properly anymore
  • My computer can’t find my printer, or the network
  • I’ve got the dreaded black screen (or blue screen)
  • My computer won’t boot

The problems go on and on.  I am guessing that there are plenty of times that someone upgrades to Windows 10 with zero problems.  Those are not the people who call us!

We still have the same advice that we did in February:   http://geekforhireinc.com/windows-10-update/

  • If you have a Windows 7 machine, don’t upgrade unless you have a serious business need.
  • If you have a Windows 8 or 8.1 machine, you should be okay to upgrade, although you may still experience some issues
  • If you have a Windows XP or earlier machine, don’t (DO NOT!) upgrade.  Consider purchasing a new machine with Windows 8 or 10 already installed.

If you’re planning to upgrade do this first:

  • Back up your data.  Use an external Hard Drive if you have one, or upload to the Cloud
  • Make sure you have a list of all the programs and applications that you use.
  • Make sure you know what all of your passwords are, especially if you have asked your computer to remember them for you.
  • Make sure you know what your WiFi Router password is.

Please let us know if you experience any issues with your upgrade.  Call with any questions!

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 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

 

 

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

How do I … (fill-in-the-blank)…?

How-To Books:

Like a lot of our customers, I try to figure things out for myself before I call in outside support and training. That is doubly true for learning new software and applications. If my friends can’t help, I type my request into Google. If that doesn’t work, I head to the bookstore. With that in mind, here are some books we recommend:

If you’re trying to learn Windows 10:

If you can’t figure out your Windows 8 machine:

If you need help learning how to navigate on your new Mac:

Microsoft Office

Open Office:

  • I’m trying to find a great book to recommend on using OpenOffice, a replacement for the (fairly expensive) Windows Office Suite. If there is a book that you love, please share the title with me and let me know why it’s so great!

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. Links to products may provide a small commission to Geek For Hire.