iPhone Clutter

Does your phone look like this? Did you know iPhone clutter is a real thing? I can’t imagine how people function with all the extra “stuff” on page 1, page 2, page 3 …. ūüė≥ūü§Ē

There are a couple of principles I operate by phone by: 1) No clutter and 2) My iPhone will not dictate my actions. How does this work you might ask? First, I don’t keep apps on my phone that I don’t regularly use (the Internet icon still works for one-off tasks) and secondly, alerts/notifications/badges are kept to a BARE minimum. I don’t want to pick up my phone and be given “directives” (i.e. check your email, respond to this notification or that notification). There are a couple I do allow: phone rings (obviously) and calendar alerts (THAT’s IT! no, not even text messages!)¬†¬†Note: My default response for all notifications is “No”. This is important because if I’m bored and pick up my phone, I get to decide what to do (i.e. read a book, watch a video, check my email).

My main page is kept very simple and each app is intentionally placed with the things I want to encourage myself to do. Some are entertainment-related, most are not. You’ll notice a simple black background (makes it easier to identify apps) and NO directives. These are all applications I use on a daily basis so they warrant “home screen” placement. Please note, it’s not full…. this is intentional. Similarly, my lock screen is a simple white background. I can easily see the time and date which is usually what I need to see quickly (if I’m not wearing my Apple watch).¬†Another screen I use often is widgets (swipe left). My chosen info is weather, calendar and activity.

HOW TO TURN OFF IPHONE NOTIFICATIONS

Now, I have exactly two screens of apps to flip through. The main page above and a second page with nice to have apps that I do use pretty frequently. These apps are placed into folders to further reduce clutter. I intentionally made the image below as big as possible so you can see the “no clutter” principle still being applied to this page…

It’s almost Spring – start your cleaning routine by decluttering your phone!

Easy Photo Storage

 

 

 

 

 

Photo storage has never been easier (and free)! If you’re like me, you often get those annoying pop-ups on your iPhone that say your iCloud storage is full and to fix it you need to purchase more storage. Not so!

Google Photos is the answer that provides unlimited photo and video storage (all backed up in the cloud). All you need to do is download the Google Photos app to your device (iOS, Android) log into your Gmail account and let it do the work for you. Note: On your first login, all photos on your phone will be backed up, so this may take some time. Once done, every photo and video  will available online at: https://photos.google.com/. You can then delete everything from your phone and avoid those annoying messages/alerts.

With Google Photos, you can create albums, share them with others (via email, Facebook or Twitter), make a video or keep everything for your own personal viewing pleasure. Whether working from your cell phone, iPad or desktop, all your images will be fully accessible to you anytime, anywhere (and others if you so desire).

This tip has been added to Bri’s Commandments aka Tech 101.

You can also preserve old by photos scanning them (the high tech way) with Photo Scan (watch).

 

Instant Photo Printer

Taking selfies¬†and usies can be fun; but, sometimes you capture¬†an extra special moment – one so special that you want to hold it in your hand. As in print it out! Some people have actual printers in their homes ūüôÄ and keep photo paper on hand ūüôÄūüôÄ. My hunch is that most of us don’t. So what options do we have? Sure, you can go online to CVS¬†or Target’s photo lab, upload your¬†picture, wait¬†an hour (or several hours), then skidaddle (sp?) on over to the store and pick it up. Who has time for all that???¬†I want a¬†small, simple and handy device to keep nearby in case I decide I want to an actual copy of that¬†fabulous pic I took. I also want it right then and there – no waiting!!!! ūüĎäūüŹĹ

Urban Outfitters has¬†all kinds of¬†gadgets and trinkets, like the Prynt Smartphone Photo Printer¬†– just the thing I had in mind! The cost is¬†$150 and it works just like you’d imagine; but, with an added feature – video.¬†“Print instant photos from your iPhone 6/6s! Simply attach the Prynt case to your phone, take a photo plus a video. Then, print it out! When you hand your photo to a friend, they can use the Prynt app to unlock the hidden video, magically bringing your Prynt photo to life.

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Sure there are similar devices¬†out there; but, this one is super cool with a vintage flare. It comes in 3 colors: white, black and turquoise. The photos print¬†to sticker¬†paper! You can use¬†it on birthday cards, in your planner or make it into a magnet!¬†Prynt is¬†a great Christmas gift idea for tweens – just be sure to buy them extra¬†paper! ūüėČ Prynt’s blog has many more ideas for this device. To see the Prynt case in action,¬†check out the video below. #HappySaturday

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Apple vs. FBI

The FBI ordered Apple to create a “backdoor” so it can break into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c.¬†Apple basically said no,¬†challenging the FBI on encryption.

Official_Apple_Logo_2013_Pictures_5_HD_WallpapersSurely Apple saw this¬†coming which is why CEO Tim Cooke¬†started his¬†appeal months ago. I’m 100% convinced that if we were¬†not living in a¬†post-Snowden world, Apple would have¬†never had the “balls” (pardon my language) to stand up to the FBI. Apple must think it has the support of the American people; however, most in the tech community would support its position. The average Joe? We can’t be so sure so an uphill battle is almost a given.¬†This case could make its way all the way to the Supreme Court... oh, wait, we only have 8. So in a tie breaker, the ruling of the lower court stands¬†<== important point here

Supreme Court: What happens in case of a tie? The high court’s ruling is rendered almost meaningless; it leaves the most recent decision intact, usually from a federal appeals court or a top state court. There is no new, national precedent created by the nation’s highest court. USA Today

fbi-sealThe FBI’s¬†case was¬†brought forth in the STATE of CALIFORNIA. Recently, a lawmaker introduced a law that would¬†ban encryption on ALL¬†phones in the state starting in 2017. In essence he wants all phones to be, “capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.” There’s also a similar bill in New York.

It remains to be seen where other tech giants like Microsoft, Samsung and Google will land in this debate.¬†You better believe if Apple is FORCED¬†to do¬†this, ¬†other cell phone manufactures will be on the hook as well. If¬†they all side with Apple, #GameOn. Either way, it’s an interesting dialogue to have! ¬†Regardless of your position on this issue, pay attention people! (I just turned notifications on for Eric Snowden on Twitter… can’t wait to hear what he as to say).

***BTW, do you know how much money do we spend on the FBI each year?? Wikipedia said the number was $8.3 billion in 2014 (2 years ago). If¬†breaking into an iPhone is the¬†only “chance” we have to catch a terrorist network/cell,¬†we may already be doomed.

Watch a preview of Tim Cooke’s 60-minute interview from December 2015 here:

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View the statement issued by Apple last night (click the image to read more)

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Encrypted Communications

m6BFtJQW_400x400Telegram is the Berlin-based competitor to Facebook’s WhatsApp. Using two layers of encryption, the app claims to be ‘faster and more secure’ than other messaging services.¬†Users can message and send files to friends, create group chats with up to 200 members, or opt for ‘special secret chats’ where messages self-destruct.¬†ISIS terrorists are turning to encrypted underground apps like Telegram to communicate. Laith Alkhouri, director of Research at Flashpoint Global Partners, called it¬†‘the new hot thing among jihadists.'”¬†(CNN Money)

(See also Encryption 101 by yours truly)

This is the EXACT type of communication¬†that continues to drive¬†the debate about privacy and¬†national¬†security in America. It also puts Silicone Valley (the tech community) against governments around the world, including the US,¬†and continues to come up in the Democratic & Republic Presidential Debates.¬†Here’s what Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said¬†in a recent 60-minutes interview:

I don’t believe that the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security.¬†If the government lays a proper warrant on us today then we will give the specific information that is requested. Because we have to by law. In the case of encrypted communication, we don’t have it to give. And so if like your iMessages are encrypted, we don’t have access to those.¬†There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door.¬†But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.

Remember when Carla Dean (Will Smith’s wife in Enemy of the State)¬†said, “Who’s going to monitor the monitors?” That’s exactly the point critics raise with spying on encrypted communications in general.¬†China actually just passed legislation that, “mandate[s] internet companies operating in China provide encryption keys and passwords to the government when requested.” Make no mistake, the US wants to go this way as well. The¬†TED talk¬†below argues against government spying and Rand Paul is one of the few presidential candidates that has consistently argued against NSA spying on Americans – it’s one of the points I DO¬†agree with him on.

The United States of America has THE strongest and most funded military in the world. Surely it can find a way to use all the intelligence information collected legally by the CIA, NSA, and Department of Defense, and pool both their resources and talent to STAY AHEAD of the curve without violating the rights of ordinary americans, no? #tobecontinued!

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