I get soooo frustrated with Apple products

I have been a user of Apple products for years. I bought, I think it was, a G4 laptop years ago when I was a student studying for my Masters. It was brilliant. I had no problems with it and I loved it. It got a bit old so with a teary farewell I sold it on eBay. The battery lasted FOREVER and in those days I didn’t mind squinting closely at the screen to see what I needed to do. These days I want my technology to bend to me not it. Afterall I pay for my gadgets they don’t pay for me!

Apple iMac

I bought an Apple IMac with a 27″ screen and absolutely loved it when I bought it. I really bought it for the screen and when it works it is amazing. Unfortunately it fails on m e at the most frustrating times.

I was busy putting together my Gmail book, happily creating screenshots and pasting it into my Word doc when, BAM, the screen goes black. WTF?!?!? I scream for Nick, my in-house tech guy also known as The Husband. He remote  desktops into the iMac and he is able to save it. Thank God! This happens whenever I use the computer for more than three hours – which is when I write or make book covers – most of my leisure time!

We have an appointment at the Genius bar – I hope they can’t fix it – it IS still covered by the Care thingy.

Software

I tried using solely the iMac for a while but it drove me crazy and I kept getting headaches. The problem is I have some graphics software only available on the Mac. I cannot upgrade to LION because if I do then I can’t use this software which is the only reason I use the Mac operating system. Today it kept force-closing on me and I couldn’t get it to work. Why oh why can’t I use my iMac without encountering problems!

Reasons why I can’t get an IPhone

I’m clumsy, I’ll admit it. Two days ago I managed to drop my Samsung Galaxy SII FOUR times in the same day. I forgot to put my cover on after a recent software upgrade so it slid out of my pocket and bounced on the ground while I got out of the car. I’m just lucky Nick didn’t drive over it on the way to HIS work! The phone has scratches on the corners but with the Bumper on you can’t see them and it is in full working order.

Why do I say I can’t get an iPhone? Take a look at this Youtube video an you’ll understand why a clumsy person like me can’t use one!

Font Size

I simply can’t see them on the iPhone, I’ve tried but no good. I have discovered BigFont on Android however and my quality of life has improved dramatically.

Conclusion

So you see, I do try to use Apple products but they are so badly designed for my needs. I’m like a moth to a flame. I can’t help buying the things and i suffer the consequences. Still there is always MIcrosoft and Google…

 

Oi App Developers, not everyone has good eyesight!

The BBC has an article in their technology section talking about a new app which should be available in the future on iOS and Android devices. I’m all for Apps to make my life easier which is why I originally wrote A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps (my attempt at keeping track of the useful ones!)

The app on the BBC website is primarily designed for blind people so that they can type on touchscreen phones but the article mentions the designers hope that people with full sight will use it for when they want to type but are busy watching something at the same time. …teenagers in their maths lessons? Sorry cynicism kicking n.

Regular readers of my blog will know of my despair with app developers who assume everyone has 20/20 vision when designing their apps. Although the worst offenders, (Google+ app for example) have no way to increase the text size on their apps there are others who would get ‘could do better’ on their school reports. These are the developers who limit their text size options.

An example of a ‘could do better’ app is Docs to Go. I love this app, it is very useful, but it also has its problems. The designers in their infinite (*lack of) wisdom have decided to limit the text enlargement to 200%. I’m sorry, but that is just not good enough. I need bigger. If you have bothered to put the ability to enlarge text you should allow your customer to know what their vision needs are. There are so many types of sight problems and vision levels that you should design your apps so that they can be enlarged to an extent where one word fits the screen. There is probably a lot of people out there where even this extreme size would help.

My point for this article is that people with sight problems are customers too. There are a lot of people ageing out there and a lot of them with cash burning a hole in their pocket. By making your app difficult to use you are alienating a demographic with money to spend. I’m not a businessman but to me that just sounds silly.

Developers, pretty please, make your apps accessible…?

A Simpler Guide to Gmail, Second Edition: Getting the most out of Google’s free email is now only available on Kindle

A Simpler Guide to Gmail, Second Edition CoverDue to changes in Gmail by Google in 2013, A Simpler Guide to Gmail is now half price until the new edition is ready for publication.

Buy the Kindle format from Amazon

This second (2012) edition of A Simpler Guide to Gmail is a fully revised, illustrated,straightforward and no-nonsense approach to a how-to guide for setting up your Gmail account. With twice the information of the first edition there are step-by-step guides to opening the account and sending email, to the more advanced features including Chat and Labs. Also now includes an introduction to Google+!

Buy the Kindle format from Amazon

The Chapters included are:

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Getting Started

Chapter 3 Security

Chapter 4 Sending and Receiving Emails

Chapter 5 Address Book (Google Contacts)

Chapter 6 Sorting Emails – No More Folders

Chapter 7 Searching for Emails

Chapter 8 Changing the Look and Feel

Chapter 9 Google Accounts and your Profile

Chapter 10 Introduction to Google+

Chapter 11 Chat

Chapter 12 Tasks

Chapter 13 Netiquette

Chapter 14 Gmail on your Android Device

Chapter 15 Advance Features – Google Labs

Chapter 16 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why i love Android and can’t use iOS

image

I have to be honest every now and again I am influenced by the Apple advertising. I see shiny and new and like a magpie, I want.

The problem is I can’t use it. As frequent readers of my blog know, I cannot see very well. In fact I am partially sighted. I love writing and I bought my Galaxy Tab to write while I am travelling, during lunch breaks and after work. Every now and again we pass the Apple store and I am lured in, but playing with the device after only a minute reminds me why I cannot use an iPad. Sure there is the three finger tap but it’s basically a magnifying glass. I don’t want to move around the screen to read a page, that’s making do with second best. I want to have bigger icons natively. I want bigger menus and I want bigger fonts to the size I want them not what some designer has deemed big enough. My eyesight doesn’t change on the whim of a designer, the interface should be designed to allow choice. Text flow is an amazing but achievable thing!

I am not saying Android is perfect, far from it. I am constantly frustrated with Google’s own spps. They appear to believe that everyone has eagle eyesight. However there are third party suppliers that can take advantage of the openess to make it easier on us souls with poorer sight.

ADW is such an app. I couldn’t use android without it. As you can see from the photo, I have large icons, widgets and folders.

It is very customisable. You csn enlarge icons text size, the behaviour of the application drawer snd home screens. In fact of all the launchers I have tried it is the best – no contest.

Along with Spare Parts this app makes Android usable. I recommend these apps for anyone who is visually challenged like me.

Samsung Galaxy Tab for Writing

I’ve recently bought the Galaxy Tab 10.1. I primarily bought this as a reading device but I wanted something that wasn’t too heavy but which I could write on.

Hardware:

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (running Android with ADW)
    Samsung bluetooth keyboard case (the official one)

I can’t praise the tablet enough. I wanted something that was flexible, with a good battery life and which was light enough to carry oround. I usually charge the tablet every couple of days and I am an intensive user!

The tablet is light and if don’t want to use the keyboard for any reason I can hold it one-handed for a loooooonnnng time. 😉

The keyboard is also just what I need. It isn’t noisy and while it is heavier than a rubberised bluetooth keyboard it is nicer to use. It feels like a quality product and has all the features I need.

Software

The tablet comes with Polaris Office. This is amazing. I am using it to write the second book in the Elerian Chronicles (Elementi).

I save it as an Office document format and back it up to my Skydrive using Sorami. I know with Docs to Go I can back it up to Google (I also have this)  but I rather use Skydrive for my writing. I do find it frustratng that you can only back up files to Box.net with Polaris but I hope this will improve with time. May be they will do some sort of sync option?

For those who are short sighted like me, you can increase the font on Polaris to 200%! Simply reflow the text and you can edit in comfort.

Of course the question now is do I really need a laptop now my Samsung is so good?

Time will tell…

A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps: 100+ apps to inform, entertain and organise (now on Kindle)

 

Finding useful apps on the marketplace can be daunting. A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps is not just a list of over a hundred free Android Apps but contains summaries and a rating system which helps you decide whether you want to download an application or not.

The book covers information on security, how to find more apps and discusses permissions. Each app has either a 0, red or green permissions rating based on the risk level of the permission requested. This means you can see at a glance what the ‘risk’ is and get a feel for what is normal for a particular type of app. These permissions are explained at the beginning of the book to help in any future search in the ever expanding marketplace.

A special section ‘For Children’ contains apps especially suited for younger android users.

This book includes:

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION

How to use this Guide
Rating Systems in this book
Star Rating
Permissions
What are the permissions?
A note about Security
Finding Apps
Apps
Games
My apps
Other ways to search for Apps
AppBrain.com
AndroidZoom.com

PART TWO: APP CATEGORIES

Browsers
Business
Communication
Education
Entertainment
Finance
For Children
Lifestyle
Security
Tools
Travel

Alphabetical list of Apps

A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps at Amazon US

A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps at Amazon UK