Learning to use applications on iOS

More art applications on my iPad

Yesterday I spent a lot of time working with various iOS drawing and painting applications. I bought a couple of new ones and I quite like them. I got one called Glaze which gives some very interesting effects that look quite painterly. I’m still trying to work out how to use the application. With some of the effects available I think it’s better to make some adjustments to the photo beforehand to boost the colours as the effects can make the picture go quite muddy looking. It’s quite a complicated interface and I need to have a look at the help system built into the application to find out how to make it work. It does this auto thing where it is scrolling through various styles and I’m finding it’s possible to swipe through the history. I do like to have an application that gives me layers I can work with, so I can put one effect across the top of another. I don’t seem to have layers with this Glaze, but what I can do is to save out an image and put into Procreate or Art Studio. So then I’ll be able to do any blending of images I need to do. There is a masking system which would be more useful if it was possible to change the size of the brush. I like the way that in Procreate it’s possible to get a marker on the screen showing the shape of the brush which makes it easier to do the painting, whether it is a mask, paint or an eraser.


Learning to use applications on iOS

The conventions we use for working with a touchscreen are still evolving. Designers of applications are working out what works and what doesn’t work in terms of touching the screen. There are some things like the pinch to zoom using two fingers that are now baked into the vocabulary of working with the touchscreen. There are other things that are new and untested and when you pick up a new application on the iPad you might have to read the user guide to find out how to use it. In this application Glaze there are five zones at top of screen and you can drag images into the zones. When you have one of these selected, you touch and hold on your main image. It is then possible to drag and adjust the region displayed in the saved styles. I still haven’t fully worked out exactly how this works, but I suppose if I spend more time with the application I will work it out eventually.


A strange application called Glitché

I found this application mentioned in a tutorial on a website all about creating mobile artwork. It really does have some extremely weird visual effects. The application is even more strange with some of the effects being three-dimensional in nature. After the effect is applied you can touch the screen and move the image around in 3-D space. Even when you’re not using it, it kind of moves around by itself. The effect called Scene with the Glass setting is like looking at a photo through constantly moving molten glass. When you click on Done at the top of the screen you can then go to a share screen to send to the usual social networks or to save to your device. The application is quite impressive in a funny sort of way.

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Updated my StartSSL Email security Certificates

Email security day

I got some reminder emails into tell me that my StartSSL certificates for three of my emails needed to be renewed. These certificates are free from this certification authority, but they only last for one year. If you want to pay you can make them last for longer. I haven’t found any need for paying as yet. You create the certificates through a process of validation of the email followed by certificate creation which is downloaded through your browser and added to your Keychain Access application on your Mac.

Book Cover Geeky Encryption  350After I’ve got the certificate into the keychain I then exported out as a .P12 file and then send it to myself as an email. I do this so that I can open the email in the mail application on my iOS devices. All you need to do is to tap on the attached file in the email and follow the instructions to install the certificate on your iPhone or iPad. So if somebody sends you an email that has been encrypted with the certificate you’ll be able to read it on all of your devices.

SSL certificates versus using PGP/GPG

The first time you make one of these SSL certificate it seems like a complicated process. It’s not that complicated although I do have to remind myself each time I do it. Well I only have to do is once a year and my memory is not brilliant. Once you have the certificate installed on all of your devices is easier to use than PGP in some respects. All you need to do is to exchange emails with somebody else using the same system and forever after that your emails will be encrypted automatically. The emails are also decrypted by your email client automatically and the main thing to know is that these emails cannot be read by anyone else while they are in transit through the Internet.

I use both of these systems so people can encrypt email messages to me whichever of the systems are using. The advantage of using PGP is that you can use it to encrypt files and folders on your computer as well as for sending emails. The technology behind both of these email encryption systems are pretty similar so the thing to do is to use whichever one you find best for you.

How Do You Protect Your Personal Info In Emails?

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Apple Prison, Ghetto or Holiday Camp

I heard on a podcast somebody suggest that we live in prisons of technology

While I get the point the person was trying to make, I don’t necessarily agree with the analogy. You could possibly say we are in ghettos of technology. A ghetto being a place you can walk into, a place you can get out of although sometimes it might be a little bit difficult. Then again, I like to think of my Apple products ghetto as the Apple holiday camp. I chose to walk into this technological holiday camp of my own free will and I am having a great time whilst within. The services provided are fun and entertaining, as well as productive and help me to get things done. It is easier to live just in this one holiday camp than it is to sit astride two holiday camps with a foot in each. I tried that scenario when I bought an Android phone and an Android tablet to go with it. I still had my iPad and my Mac, so you might say I wasn’t truly fully committed to living in that Android ghetto or holiday camp. It wasn’t impossible to jump in between the two places, but it wasn’t much fun either.

Happy Camper

Is one holiday camp better than the other?

After trying out the two different holiday camps I can unequivocally say that the Apple camp is much more fun and easier to live in than the Android camp. The Android camp was lovely, interesting and a diversion for the first six months of being in there, but over time there were more annoyances and niggles and in the end I couldn’t wait to get out of the place. Some people wouldn’t be bothered by the services and facilities that were annoying me and that’s okay. It all depends on what you want to do and whether you expect to have the latest and the shiniest of new possibilities in your holiday camp. In the Android holiday camp, the swimming pool water had turned green and the owners of the place had stopped repainting the walls. There were workers outside the holiday camp with a new operating system in a wheelbarrow waiting to come in, but the owners hasn’t noticed they were there. It’s as if they wanted you to pay for a complete new holiday camp in order to get the latest and greatest new toys. It’s no wonder I went back to the Apple holiday camp where the new toys get installed as soon as they are ready. Apple applies paint to the walls and cleans the swimming pool to keep everybody within as happy as can be.

Prison, ghetto or holiday camp

Do you feel you are imprisoned by your technology? Perhaps you have to go with the Android because that’s all you can afford, so it feels more like a prison or a ghetto. It’s difficult to get out of and you have to make the best of it. Perhaps you aspire to moving to the Apple holiday camp and joining the happy campers or have you given up. Or have you been taken in by that syndrome and you have now started to cheer on the prison guards or the kidnapper. This might make you feel better in the short term but in the end you know you’d prefer to go and live in the other holiday camp. The two businesses providing similar services are competing with each other and that’s a good thing. It’s like the nuclear arms race for the technological holiday camps. Both places get better over time and the inmates all get a little happier. This is not to say that everybody is happy in either of the places. Even in the Apple holiday camp there are grumpy hard to please people always looking for extra improvements. Some people are never happy and were born to moan and others are just seeing how things could be improved and are just making helpful suggestions. When it comes down to it, neither of the two places are perfect. All I can say is that I’m living the life of a happy camper and I don’t feel imprisoned by my technology choices. What about you, how does your technology make you feel?

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Day One of Record a Life

Record a Life the Good and Geeky Way

This latest Good and Geeky book has just been published on Amazon and is ready for you to buy. In the book I cover the how and why of journalling and recording your life using digital means. Why it’s good for your sanity and healthy to keep a journal close why did better to do it as a digital journal. I use the application Day One to bring together all of my life recording, life logging so I have just one place to go to search for anything. You can only put one picture in the post and it would be nice if you could have a slideshow or some way of having more than one picture. The answer to that is to create shorter posts each with a photo or to create a webpage with your photo using something like Adobe Slate. You can then make a post which links out to your webpage or slideshow from within Day One. Buy the Good and Geeky Record a Life book on Amazon.

Private or make it public.

Keep everything private within your Day One journal and have its password protected, whether you are using on your Mac, your iPad or iPhone. Then if you want to, from your iOS device it’s possible to send the post and to the world via Facebook and Twitter and also tumbler. It’s nice to have my private journal postings protected on my iOS devices by biometric fingerprint protection.


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Underwater ropes

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Drum and Crane

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Greasy Underground

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Dama my dog chatting with the neighbours

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Delving into the world of betas on iOS.

Joys of iOS 9 on iPad

I was quite keen to have a look at the new beta of IOS 9 to see how it would work out on my iPad. I was particularly looking forward to using the News Application to see if the news channels from my websites were working. I didn’t get to see that because the application is only available in the UK and the US. My main account to use for my Apple devices is based in Spain so I saw none of that. The other thing that I wanted to have a look at was the keyboard enhancements. These worked fine in the beta of the operating system and I enjoyed the new way of working, much better than what we have at the moment. I had the iOS 9 beta software on the iPad for approximately one week and for the most part it didn’t have much affect on my usage of the device. I wanted to use some of the iPad art drawing and painting applications and experienced a few crashes as well as non-functioning of the stylus I use. I then decided I must go back to non-beta operating system software. I have to do some creative drawing and painting on the iPad from time to time. The only other problem was having to wait between five and ten seconds for Siri to start working. Even when Siri had initialised it didn’t work quite as well as previously. I love using Siri, None of these are complaints, as it was expected some of these problems would surface during this test. So I’m glad that I gave it a try, as it was the first chance to put public beta software onto the iPad. It was really easy to set up in the first place, but a little bit more difficult to return the iPad to the previous version.

Keyboard enhancements

It really baffles me and many other people to as to why Apple couldn’t have the keyboard showing lower case letters on the virtual keyboard. At the moment, all we have to show when we are going to type with uppercase is a different colour on the shift key. I can never remember the colour that it’s supposed to be showing when I’m going to get a capital letter instead of small letter. The third-party keyboards like Swift Key and Swype were able to remedy that problem quickly and easily. You have to worry why Apple just couldn’t be bothered to fix it for so many years. Finally though, with IOS 9 we will get this enhancement and it will be welcome. We still need to use the default keyboard due to the Siri dictation not being available directly from the third-party keyboards.

In iOS 9 you can use the keyboard like a trackpad to move the cursor/insertion point wherever you want it to go in your text. There are already some extra row cursor movers on keyboards in certain applications allowing you to move the cursor either left or right in the text. One such application having this extra facility is Editorial Text Editor. You can’t move your cursor up and down, just left and right. I found using the trackpad like facilities on the keyboard in iOS 9 to be very useful and I’ll be looking forward to having proper use of that when the finished version of the OS is available in September. The other thing you can do with this trackpad function is to select text and I have to say that it does work very nicely indeed once you get used to it.

Slide the second iOS application over

iOS productivity

This is the other big update to the iOS operating system. Using more than one application on screen at the same time is going to be useful for many people. At the moment there are a selection of Apple applications you can use with this new function. So you can drag from the right side of your screen and bring in a list of applications available for use. You’ll be able to use Safari, Contacts, Notes Application and a couple of others. When you drag across first of all, you have about a third of the screen and it is easy to switch from the main application to the other. You may also drag the dividing line between the two applications across to the centre of the screen to give both applications equal amount of space. It’s going to be useful to make notes on one side while looking at a webpage on the other side. There will be enhanced productivity on iPad whenever you can use the information from one side in an application to help you work in another. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get used to having this available and to embed this new way of working into our iPad workflows.

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Fishy Lishy Metalishy

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