I’m the kind of person who my entire family comes to with any tech or game related question. For my soon-to-be career in the IT world, I’ve probably already heard every silly computer related question I can think of; such as my parent’s worrying I deleted all of their email in their Yahoo! email account when I reformatted their computer to my uncle calling me to tell me how this site he saw on an infomercial cleaned up his PC. Every facepalm, of course to those in the know, was from lack of knowledge of computers and technology.
So when it came to my grandmother – who is old, fragile, and not in the greatest of health – needing an upgrade from her ancient Mac Book this year, I candidly suggested she go to an iPad instead of a new computer. “Why?” my family asked, “How can a tablet replace a computer?” To which I gave them a brief summary of all the reasons I could come up with to justify the purchase of a $500 tablet versus a $1200 MacBook. The iPad’s size, weight, cost, and usability were all crucial to my argument for the iPad versus another laptop.
Me with my grandmother at my wedding in 2010.
Eventually I won out in this discussion, thus beginning a sort of experiment to see if my dad’s mother could adopt to a mobile touch screen device. To many in our age group, the idea that someone may have trouble with an iPad sounds almost absurd. But keep in mind this was part of a family that I had to verbally instruct over the phone as to how to launch Skype on their MacBook.
The first baby steps of this experiment were to introduce her to popular apps, such as the iPad email interface, Safari, and Facebook. Facebook took great strides in 2013 to make their mobile app to have nearly all the functionality of the browser based version. I was even able to help her figure out how to hide the posts from a distant relative who’d post quite frequently about Justin Bieber and how much she’d spent on clothes. My grandma is cool like that.
Next up was showing her various forms of entertainment on the device. Now again, this amazing lady still owns two SD TV’s, so an iPad with it’s Retina display is by far the best visually striking screen in her house. I showed her various video apps; such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and even lesser known ones such as VUDU. Because I also deal with iOS games on a consistent basis, I introduced some simple but really fun games I thought she might be interested in trying. Two of them, which appeared to catch on with her, were games I considered to be some of the best but most overlooked games of 2013: 4 Thrones and FlowDoku.
There have been a couple of challenges in this adventure however, as anyone going from the familiar to the unknown can be a little daunted. My grandmother had issues figuring out her email, having been used to browser based clients. However, I was able to introduce her to the wide array of Google apps available on iOS, merging the Google and Apple worlds into one. She found the Google Mail client pretty useful for her needs, as well as Google Drive, so I could send her stuff such as wedding photos from the event that occurred some 3 years ago. Additionally, I was able to set her up with Skype on iOS so she could watch my sister’s wedding, as well as the TED Talks app so she could see the various topics discussed.
There was also a little trouble getting my elderly grandmother adept at using the on-screen keyboard. Luckily the keyboard on an iPad is relatively big with easy to read buttons, especially in comparison to any Android device. It also responds perfectly to touch, with little to no issues responding appropriately. Once she learned to adapt to using a touch screen to not only replace the mouse but the physical keyboard as well, things seemed to go much easier.
The farm I spent a lot of time on as a kid at my grand parents.
My grandmother means the world to me, and it’s absolutely devastating knowing she is nearing her final days on this Earth. But the notion that I could help simplify her life a little bit makes me feel a tad better. From helping her get a device that her frail body will be able to manage to setting her up with and showing her how to use some apps that were similar to what she was using on a MacBook, I feel as though my grandma has a great computing device, an awesome means of communicating with the outside world, and something that will help improve her life overall; regardless of how long or short that may be. Technology has many uses beyond business, entertainment, or whatever else. Sometimes it’s just as simple as using it to aid the ones you love.
Safari is an app that’s been around for a long, long time, having been on iPhones since the original one! It’s easy then to get into a rut where you use it and don’t consider what else it can do. Well, let’s go through Safari’s section in Settings to poke through some of the options that can tweak your Safari experience to be much better.
Search Engine allows you to set Bing or Yahoo as your search engine. Sorry, AltaVista fans and Pawnee residents.
AutoFill makes it easy to enter passwords and personal info in website forms. Enable Use Contact Info with your contact card, set as the iOS default but something that can be changed from here, to have names and addresses in forms filled automatically with your data. Names & Passwords will fill in usernames, passwords, and other info from your contacts in forms as appropriate. Tapping Clear All will reset this data.
Private Browsing changes a Safari session to not store any history or browsing data once completed. Open tabs can be saved or closed when switching back and forth. If anyone gets suspicious as to why you’re using private browsing, just tell them it’s for the sleek dark interfaced that indicates you’re in private mode.
Finally in Advanced, the Website Data section allows you to clear up some storage space by deleting saved data from websites. Web Inspector is a feature for developers who are working to optimize their sites for Safari on iOS.
Hopefully this guide has shown you some useful features for Safari that you never even knew existed or had no idea how to use!
A vulnerability has been found in iOS Safari after the new 5.1 update. The bug can be used to trick Safari into showing a URL in the address bar that’s different than the actual site being visited.
The problem has been tested and happens on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and the new iPad when they’re running iOS 5.1. Apple acknowledged the bug on March 3, so I’m sure an update with a bug fix is imminent. But until then, keep these tips in mind when browsing on Safari:
- Don’t open links from sites you aren’t 100% sure are from a trusted site.
- If you aren’t sure about a link, hop on to a computer and check it out there. If it’s a spoofed address bar, the address bar will probably say “about:blank” but will say the name of a trusted site on your iOS device.
- Go to TheNextWeb and try out the demo offered by David Vierra-Kurz from MajorSecurity. He reproduced the bug. Firsthand knowledge is always useful in protecting against security exploits (in a controlled environment, of course, like this demo).
Unlike the iPhone, the iPad is used in many households as a mobile computer that is used by many, if not all, members of a family. While many households have an iPhone per family member, it doesn’t seem nearly as common to have each person with a personal iPad. I don’t know whether it’s because of price, size, or a combination of both, but the iPad seems to be used as much more of a family device.
One thing that the iPad is sorely lacking is multiple user accounts. Having a family unit is great and all, but many want to have their own pictures in their photo collection, their own apps on their home screens, and their own websites in their favorites. Nobody has figured out solutions to the first two problems, but the third may have been solved by an innovative new app called Switch.
Switch, from Mechanical Teeth, offers users a browsing experience that lets each user their own password protected account. Each account gets its own history, bookmarks, and tabs, allowing each user to browse the web without everyone in the house knowing what they are doing. Of course, the inclusion of multiple accounts also allows personal iPad owners to switch between their own interests, giving you access to a work only account, a school only account, and a casual account for your few free moments.
Hopefully Switch will spark some interest into multiple user account development… enough to make Apple take notice. All the apps in the world are great, but if Apple would add some multi-user functionality to their next iOS update, the world would be a much better place (well… maybe just slightly better). In the meantime, be sure to pick up Switch from the App Store today.
The 4.2 update for iOS devices is rumored to be launching this week, and perhaps no machine is getting more fun new features than the iPad. While many of the additions merely bring the iPad in line with capabilities already possessed by the iPhone and iPod Touch, no one seems to be complaining. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s coming in the update.
AirPlay – Owners will now be able to stream their pictures, videos and music directly from their iPad to their Apple TVs and AirPort Express, as well as to other AirPlay-compatible devices from third-party vendors.
AirPrint: With AirPrint you’ll now be able to wirelessly print from your iPad by allowing iOS 4.2 devices to discover printers on the local network. The only catch is you seem to need the newest version of Snow Leopard to make it work.
Multitasking: Possibly the biggest new feature in iOS 4.2 is multitasking. Just like on the iPhone and iPod touch, a double click on the home button brings up a bar at the bottom of the screen with the last six apps opened. This allows users to switch between apps without having to go to the home screen first.
Folders: iPad users can now finally organize their apps into folders, with up to 20 apps in each folder.
Game Center: Now you can track Achievements and friends on any iOS device and brag about your amazing score regardless of what mobile device you’re carrying. The app is pretty much the same as what’s already available on other iOS machines.
Also just like on the iPhone, swiping to the right on the multitasking panel brings up screen brightness and volume. Apple turned the orientation toggle on the top right of the device into a mute switch, so this area of the multitasking bar now lets you lock your iPad into the desired orientation.
Safari: The ‘+’ button for bookmarking sites is gone and has been replaced with a share button that includes the bookmarking functionality, but also allows you to compose an email with a link to the current page and to print the page with the help of AirPrint. The tab button now also shows how many open tabs you currently have.
Also new is the ability to search for text inside a page. The search feature in Safari now doesn’t just display search suggestions but also tells you how often your search terms appear on the page you are currently looking at. After clicking on one of these results, a new bar appears at the bottom of the browser screen that allows you to jump to all the instances of this keyword and also to refine your search.
Unified Email Inbox: See all your email in one inbox, even if you sync multiple email accounts with your iPad. Gmail accounts can also archive messages rather than deleting them, but if you do want to delete a message it requires going through a couple extra menu screens in order to do so.
So plenty of new toys available for iPad users to check out, now we just have to wait for Apple to throw the switch and make the update live. Once 4.2 is in the wild we will be sure and let you know so you can download it immediately.
Like Flash but can’t bear to part with your iPhone? You’re in luck. There is a new browser, set to launch Thursday, that converts Flash from websites into HTML5 without too much of a hassle.
Skyfire first debuted on Blackberry and Windows Mobile back in 2008, and then was updated and fixed up for the Android launch back in May. The app has been downloaded more than 4.5 million times across all of the platforms. Needless to say, the Skyfire browser has been popular, but never has it been so necessary as it is now for the iOS platform.
To get around the Apple wall of hate and agony, Skyfire takes the Flash image from your page, downloads it, fully renders it, and than shoots you back a thumbnail that allows you to stream the video from their servers.
“We will attack those pesky blue Flash error messages,” said Jeffrey Glueck, Skyfire’s CEO.
Unfortunately, even with the external server rendering, Skyfire will still not display Hulu movies or let you play the billions of Flash games that plague the web. Even still, the developers think that their app will open up millions of web pages to iPhone users who were previously in the dark.
One concern that many have had with Skyfire is online safety. Instead of working on its own, Skyfire somehow works on top of Safari to render the video. Because of this, many users were concerned that online banking done via Safari would potentially be shot up into the Skyfire servers, but the folks at Skyfire say not to worry. Skyfire ensures that the information they receive will not be sold and that secured sites, such as online banking sites, will not be rendered with their servers.
Be sure to check the App Store on Thursday at 9AM EST to get your hands on this Flash rendering app monster. How it got approval from Apple is beyond me, but after a rigorous two month approval period, it looks like it’s here to stay.
Opera Mini is a web browser for the iPhone. A web browser? Why would you want that, you already have Safari, right? Good question…
Opera Mini seems to be an application that was built just because they could do it. It’s really only useful for a small number of people — those that only have access to really bad Edge data. And it needs to be really bad to make Opera Mini useful. The goal of Opera Mini is to speed up the rendering of web pages by doing all of the hard work on the server and then sending down low bandwidth images to the client on your iPhone. And, in theory it works, but in practice, not so much.
The plus is that Opera Mini is free to download, and does have some interesting features. The 3×3 grid of quick launch web sites called Speed Dial is great. The zooming and scrolling is wickedly fast. But overall, if a page doesn’t render properly, how useful is it?
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted January 13th, 2009 by Gary Lucero Our Rating: :: ABOVE AVERAGE
While Save My Docs is a one trick pony, all it does is save documents viewed within Safari and then allow you to view them within the app, it does it fairly well. Other viewers offer a variety of ways to get documents onto your iPhone, but Save My Docs is novel and useful.
We’ve been working the past couple weeks on an Mobile Safari version of 148Apps.com. It’s now ready for your mobile viewing pleasure. Just go to http://148apps.com with Mobile Safari to see it. We’ll still be making a few adjustments in the coming weeks but let us know if you see any problems with the mobile version.