Philips Hue Wifi Switch Solved a Problem

Home Automation and Switches

It’s absolutely fantastic when you can use Amazon Echo, Siri or one of the other voice AI systems to control your home. The only trouble is, it falls apart when other members of the household switch off the lights at the wall switch. The next time you want to turn on your lights using your voice nothing happens because there is no electricity going from the switch to the device. My first attempt to get around this problem was to buy some Flic switches to stick on to the light switch in order to turn them on or off with a button. These Flic switches are small, round and work over Bluetooth. It has not been a success! Sometimes the switches work and sometimes they don’t. The switches use either a Mac or one of your iOS devices as a hub. If you are using your iPhone as the hub and you are out of the house then anyone left in the house will not be able to use the switches. This will lead to frustration and your significant others of the house will stop using the switches if they’re not working. So you end up with the same problem as before. I did try to use the Mac which is always running as the hub and I ran into similar problems. When the Mac goes to sleep the Bluetooth connectivity to the switches stops working. So same thing as with using the iPhone as the hub, if you don’t get 100% success they don’t get used. Whichever way you go with those Bluetooth switches you end up with a certain amount of swearing taking place when the home automation doesn’t work. Better off with a Philips Hue Wifi Switch.

The solution to the problem is switches that work over Wi-Fi

There are Smart Dimmer switches you can buy which embed into the wall and I haven’t tried those yet. I think there could be problems with Wi-Fi connections if the switches with the radios are inside the wall. Connectivity to the switches could be difficult because antenna like to have fresh air and to be waving around in the open. (Don’t we all!) There are Philips Hue Wifi Switch devices which magnetically fit to a wall plate you stick on the wall. It’s handy to have the removable switch in your hand and use remotely from time to time. I can attest to the fact that the switches work well when attached by the magnets. It’s not going to be often you need to remove the switch from wall and use it remotely because we have the voice activation available with Amazon Echo or Siri. Even so, it’s a cool feature of the Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switches.

Philips Hue Wifi Switch

So you go to the Philips Hue app on your mobile device to add the Philips Hue Wifi Switch. I bought the switches together with a Philips hue lightbulb in the packet and they are configured to plug and play. You screw the lightbulb into the light socket, pull the little bit of plastic out of the back of the switch so the battery connects to the contact and it starts working. Straightaway you have the on and off switches working plus the dimmer buttons – Easy as falling off a log! I wanted to have the switches working with lights already in place so it was necessary for me to use the reset button accessed through a small hole in the back of the switch. Press the reset button so the little light on the front starts to flash and then add the accessory with the application. It’s not difficult to do this, it only takes a minute. All you need to do then is to go to the Apple Home application and configure the Philips Hue Wifi Switch to work with the lights you have in your home.

Configuring the Switches in the Apple Home Application

I have two Philips hue light bulbs in my office and they are grouped together in a scene. I can still work them individually, but I prefer it if they both go on and off at the same time. With the Philips Hue Switch I was able to use the button number 1 to switch on the scene and then button number 4 to switch the scene off. The switches work immediately which is a huge improvement over the Bluetooth switches. The Flic switches had a small but noticeable delay so even when they were working correctly they were not perfect. With the Philips Hue Wi-Fi switch, press the button and the light either turns on or off immediately as it is supposed to. I can now put tape onto the old analogue wall switches to keep them in the correct position. I’m happy in being able to control how the system works and my significant other is happy because the lighting system is not tied to one user.

After setting switch number one and switch number four I still had two more switches to play with. Instead of using them to dim the lights up or down, I decided to use them for other lighting scenes. On the switch for the office lights I used switch number 2 to turn on all of the lights in the house and switch number 3 to turn all of the lights off. It doesn’t have to be just the lights controlled by the switch. I have a couple of Elgato Eve plug sockets switches, one of which I use to power my small office electric radiator. This plug socket switch for the radiator is in the same HomeKit scene as all of the house lights, it’s called “Good Night”. When I go to bed at night all I have to do is to press one switch and everything turns off. I still have the option of speaking to Siri and saying “Good night” to perform the same action. (These Elgato Eve switches don’t work with Alexa or Google Home) I will use the Philips Hue Wi-Fi switch on the wall if my wife is in bed sleeping because I don’t get the audio feedback from Siri by using that method. Happy wife, happy life!

Philips Hue Wifi Switch Solved My Problems

Some lights have more than one switch to control them. I have a light to illuminate the stairs to the garage with a switch at the bottom of the stairs and a switch at the top of the stairs. I put one of the Philips hue Wi-Fi switches at the bottom of the stairs so I can turn off the lights as I enter the garage. Don’t need one at the top of the stairs because there’s the option off turning the light off using Amazon Alexa, Siri or one of the other voice systems you might have. What I have done though is to use two extra switches available on the Philips Hue Wi-Fi switch just inside the living room to control that stairway light. So switches one and four control the living room lights while switches two and three (the dimmer switches) are there to turn on and off the stairway light. Excellent, we have a winner!

I have seen there is a system where you have a switch built into the wall to control one of a pair of light switches and then you have a separate Wi-Fi switch which controls the first one. This makes it easier to work with the wiring built into the house. The main Wi-Fi switch does the job and the secondary switch, switches on and off the first switch. That might sound a little complicated but I assure you it isn’t. For the moment I don’t need those devices as the Philips Hue Wifi Switches are working how I want them to work.

New Good and Geeky Book – SteadyCam Volt – New Amazon Echo

The Good And Geeky Week

I’ve been determined to get finished with the latest Good and Geeky book Dictation Expert Mac and iOS and I have made great strides with it during this week. I’ve made four videos to be included in the book which is about getting good with Mac and iOS dictation. I use dictation extensively and only use the keyboard when I really have to. If my wife’s asleep in the room next to my office I use the keyboard so I don’t wake her. She would definitely hear me talking to the computer as she’s light sleeper and the rule goes that if you have a happy wife you have a happy life. When you have a book of 30,000 words it’s inevitable there will be some grammar mistakes and one or two spelling mistakes. There doesn’t tend to be too many spelling mistakes because of using dictation for writing. DragonDictate is a far better speller than I am. Even so, it’s necessary to read through the writing to make sure that it all makes sense. It’s also necessary to rearrange paragraphs and chapters to try and make it as coherent as possible. I’ve got to the point now where got past the release candidates for the book. This is the process where I export out of Ulysses as an EPUB and I really through in iBooks. I also open it up in the Kindle Previewer application. The Kindle Previewer gives me a look at the book in the Mobi format and it also will give me a file I can send to my iPad for another read through. It’s quite possible to get completely sick of the work in progress when you have to read it so many times. I keep telling myself it’s going to be worth it in the end. So I published the book on Amazon and I will do a promotion next week to launch the book.

Get the Book for Free

For the second week the book is available I’m going to make it free. This is in the hope that readers will leave a review of the book on Amazon. The standard price for the book is going to be around about $3.99. If you’re standing on the fence as to whether you would like to use dictation instead of typing the book could help you decide. In the book I talk about whether it’s worthwhile spending the money on the best dictation software which is Dragon dictation from Nuance. I compare it with Siri dictation on the Mac and on iOS, Google typing, and a transcription app called Just Press Record. There are also online services where you send your audio to be converted into text. One way of using Dragon dictation is to use the transcription facilities. Personally, I prefer to dictate directly into the receiving application on my Mac – TextEdit. I like seeing the words appearing on the screen as I say them which gives me the opportunity to check it as I write. I like being able to make corrections using my voice as I go. The accuracy of the dictation using Dragon is excellent and I don’t have to make too many changes. One of the reasons it’s so accurate is because it learns from you as you have the speech converted into text.

SteadiCam Volt

I received the SteadiCam Volt and because of spending all the time working on the book I haven’t had the opportunity to properly test it out. I spent a few minutes with it giving it a quick run through with the balancing followed by a walk around the house filming things. It is kind of fiddly to get the balance correct, especially side-to-side. Getting the phone positioned in the centre is necessary to make sure the picture is level. Once the SteadiCam Volt is switched on the electronic balancing assists the manual balancing achieved with weights. I watched a couple of videos on YouTube where people have shown some pretty impressive video clips with people walking and even running and still managing to have smooth video. During the next week I have family visiting and I’ll probably have plenty of chance to test out the new video possibilities using the SteadiCam Volt. There’s also a connection on the stabiliser to use a Go Pro camera so that will have to be tested as well. The only thing with the Go Pro is that the audio recording is pretty poor and I’ll need to set up separate audio capture.

Looking forward to the release of the new Echo from Amazon

The new version of the Echo is being released on the 31st of October and will arrive at my mother’s house the day after. Then I’ll have to wait for it to arrive here in Spain. The Echo devices are still not available here in Spain. All of the services are in English and I don’t suppose they expect many people here in Spain speak English. I will be bringing the Echo Dot into the office and I’ll put the new one in the living room. I’m toying with the idea of trying out the £3.99 monthly subscription music service. It only works per device which is why awaiting for the new one to arrive with the better speaker before I give that a try. I’ll give it a month or two and see how much I use the service. Similar services for music are working out at around about nine or ten euros per month.

Amazon Echo Pro

Affinity Photo – Best iPad Photo Editing App

Affinity Photo – Best iPad Photo Editing App

Affinity Photo for iPad is an amazing app with great technical depth. So much so, I recommend watching all the tutorial videos available within the app. You could just try playing with all the menus and options, but you’ll be bound to miss a lot of what the app can do. It’s a Photoshop for iPad type of application. Affinity Photo can only be described as stunning and amazing. Let’s have a look at what can you do with Affinity Photo, the best iPad photo editing app?

Affinity Photo and iOS 11

The drag-and-drop facilities available in iOS 11 are put to good use in Affinity Photo. It’s easy to grab a number of files and bring them in to Affinity Photo for purposes of panorama creation, image stacking or blending with other images.

Dragging and dropping images

You might be the creative sort who likes to punish pixels and while it is possible to do that in Affinity Photo for iPad is also possible to do the fine level tweaking to images. Get images to a popping perfection rather than have them assaulting eyeballs and fly screaming into the viewers brain. Use the nondestructive editing process to apply filters to make fine adjustments to hue, saturation and levels. Work with the brightness and contrast with layers so you can go back later to further adjust your settings to achieve the perfect photograph. There are still lots of tools within the Affinity Photo for iPad application with which you can punish pixels if you want to. You don’t have to be subtle if you don’t want to be with the best iPad photo editing app out there.

Buy Affinity Photo for Mac
Buy Affinity Photo for iPad

Amazing Selection Tools in Affinity Photo for iPad

There’s a huge range of tools you can use to select any part of your image. Once you have done a rough selection using the tool which selects up to edges, apply further refinement to get even the smallest, finest edges of an image selected. For example, when you have wisps of hair to select you’ll do that with the selection tools in Affinity Photo for iPad with finesse.

best affinity photo editing for ipad

Intelligently Defined Interface

In Affinity Photo there are a huge number of tools and it’s well set up for using with your fingers or an Apple Pencil. There are gestures such as the double tap on the screen to go between full screen and zoomed in selections. Two finger tap to bring up an extra contextual menu. You can use that to remove or invert a selection for example when in the selection persona. You’ll get a different contextual menu when you’re working in the photos persona. It is the intuitive interface which makes Affinity Photo the best iPad photo editing app.

On Screen Modifier buttons

Go in to settings and set the application up to use on-screen modifiers. You could be making a selection and change from add to the selection to subtract from the selection just by pressing on the on-screen modifier key.

Adding text to your design in best photo editing app Affinity Photo

In the photo persona there is a text tool and you can choose from art text and frame text. The art text is for single one-off pieces of decorative text and the frame text if you want to put in a paragraph of text. Whichever of these two text tools you’re using you have a number of character and paragraph typography settings. Not just for setting the colour, size and the font of your text, you also have typography, spacing, justifications and positioning.

Best iPad Photo Editing App has magic

After you have seen the way the In Painting tool works a number of times you will be convinced it is black magic! This is a tool you use to remove items from within a photograph and once it’s been done you wouldn’t know there was anything there before. You just have to paint over the object you want removed with the overlay red colour and hey presto it is gone!

Warping, Swirls and Twirls

It’s easy to get creative with these tools for moving pixels around on the page! You can really go wild and yet still keep the original safe on another layer. You can even turn a frown into a huge big happy smile. The warp tool puts a mesh across the whole of the image and you can see how the pixels have been shifted within the picture.

A wealth of tools for creativity in Affinity Photo

It’s great fun to use the effects tools you can find them in the fx studio on the right-hand side of the screen. Any effects that you add are added to the whole layer and more often than not you use them on text. Some excellent effects with making them 3D, outer shadows, gradient overlays, outlining and others too. Each of the effects has a set of controls so you can get exactly what you’re looking for from the effects. Also on the right-hand side you’ll find the brushes studio. If you start using some of the strange effects brushes on a layer you’ve already added 3D or bevel and emboss you’ll get some interesting results. It’s great for making some weird textures.

Best iPad Photo Editing App

What do you use Affinity Photo for?

If you need to do any sort of professional work with photos Affinity Photo is the tool for the job on the iPad. There are all sorts of filters, effects you apply to the whole of the photo, channels within selections or inside masks. You have a selection of brushes for making subtle adjustments to your photos. The app is not a drawing and painting application as you find with Procreate and yet there is room for creativity in making an image from scratch on a white blank canvas.

Working with photos you’re going to make use of the In Painting Brush, Clone Brush and other tools designed to remove imperfections from your photos. You have various traditional type tools such as dodging and burning, smudging, blurring and sharpening. Affinity Photo is the photoshop alternative to use on the iPad and you won’t be left wanting for photo editing tasks. If you are serious about photo editing on the iPad then Affinity Photo is a must buy.

Buy Affinity Photo for Mac

Buy Affinity Photo for iPad


Get the Book – Good and Geeky iPad Artist

Good and Geeky iPad Artist

Choosing Apple Carplay

I’ve just come back from a long trip in my car. I’ve decided I have good reasons for choosing Apple Carplay. I went to Les Angles which is on the French side of the Pyrenees. It was about 300 km and was basically a drive to Perpignan and turn left on the road towards Andorra. An interesting drive up the mountain to get to the camping site by the lake to rent a lovely wood cabin. It’s like a home from home where the dog gets lots of freedom walks in the forest and we all get plenty of fresh mountain air. During the journey I was able to use my iPhone for the GPS navigation. The last time we went on this trip I wasn’t able to because of the cost of roaming with the phone in France. Since June of this year there are no roaming charges so I could use my phone just as if I was still in Spain. This was also useful because the GPS unit in the car doesn’t have the maps for France. This is a bit of a surprise since we are so close to the border and the car is a French made car, a Renault Clio. So it was really useful to have my iPhone technology to help me while driving. Today I’ve gone one step further and I’ve ordered a Pioneer Carplay head unit.

Installing a Pioneer Apple Carplay in a Renault Clio

In the box for the Pioneer SPH–DA120 apart from the unit and the cradle it fits into, there is a GPS antenna and a couple of other bits and pieces. For the connection to the car it’s necessary to get the wires to connect up the steering wheel controls. Pioneer make a cable specifically for this purpose which you have to pay extra for. It’s another €100, but while searching for this cable I found a company selling the same thing for a little bit cheaper. So I ordered that and hopefully it won’t take too long to arrive after the Pioneer Apple Carplay radio unit arrives this Friday. It will also take an input from a rear view camera so I ordered one of those as well. The rear window of the Renault Clio is a little bit small and so useful to have a good view out of the back with video. Another good reason for choosing Apple Carplay.

Choosing Apple CarPlay

Why get Apple Carplay?

With the standard radio that comes with the Renault Clio I’m able to connect my iPhone using Bluetooth or with the cable. The problem is that it doesn’t really work if I want to use Siri commands to do things. This is why I’m choosing Apple Carplay. Last week, for example I was driving into the city and I wanted to let my wife know I was nearly at the destination to pick her up. I don’t want to pick up the phone and make messages while driving because that’s dangerous. So I should be able to start Siri and do what I need to do. Basically, it just does not work. On the screen of the Renault head unit which comes with a car it shows the screen as if I was trying to make a phone call. I don’t want to make a phone call, I want to send a text message. If I want to make a phone call with the iPhone connected, once again Siri doesn’t work for me with this device.

A Better View of the Maps

A larger view of the maps will be possible with the Pioneer Apple Carplay unit. It isn’t too bad on a iPhone 7+ with a larger screen if I want to see the maps while driving. It will be better though if I have the even larger screen in the dash. I’ll also be able to use Siri to find places and set up the navigation. The only problem I run into will be the ability of Siri to understand the Spanish names of places. We often laugh ourselves silly listening to the English version of Siri pronouncing the Spanish names badly. I suppose at some point in time on have to change to the Spanish version of Siri and speak only Spanish to my Apple AI device. Then it will depend upon whether my Spanish pronunciation is good enough. It probably won’t be considering the difficulty Siri has in understanding my Spanish wife speaking English to it.

Apple CarPlay Maps

Another advantage of having the larger screen with the Apple Carplay device in the car will be the ability to zoom in with a pinch. The device I have in the car presently doesn’t allow zooming in using the pinch gesture. Neither does it allow me to scroll by swiping across the screen. To scroll through anything on the standard Renault radio it’s necessary to press buttons to make it happen.

Listening to Podcasts in the Car

I’ll have to find out if it’s possible to use my preferred podcasting application or if I will have to go with the Apple Podcasts app. I see that Overcast works with Carplay and it used to be my favourite podcasting app before I changed to Pocket Casts. So I just checked on the website for Pocket Casts and I’m in luck it does support Carplay. In the support area of the website it says “if you’re getting a shiny new car, or stereo for your old rust bucket, rest assured you can plug in and go. When you do you’ll be able to browse your podcasts and filters for episode to play as well as control playback at all without touching your phone.” Well that’s good news!

Pocket Casts for Podcasts

A Good Decision – Choosing Apple Carplay

All keep my hands in the original unit to put back in the car if I ever want to sell it. It is a good car and it’s costing very little to run. I would prefer to buy myself an electric car. The new Nissan Leaf looks very nice indeed but too expensive for the amount of driving I do. It wouldn’t save me any money to be using the much cheaper electricity due to the relatively small number of kilometres I drive. Ever since I bought my Renault Clio I have kept a log of all of the petrol put into the car. The cost per month is less than €50 even when I’m using the car more during the summertime when I’m working. For that reason I can see myself keeping the car for many more years and so choosing Apple Carplay as my entertainment/navigation technology makes good sense. At least there’s a possibility of us getting an electric car because my wife’s car is badly in need of upgrading and for the long-term and electric vehicle is the way to go.

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Let’s chat. Tell me about your experience with car play.

Art Photo in Topaz Studio

Messing about with photos in Topaz Studio

I couldn’t resist working with some of the photos I took while away in France in Topaz Studio. The last time I was using Topaz I spent most of the time just working with Topaz impression because I am used to the effects I can get from it. I thought I should spend some time with Topaz Studio to try and get used to it. I found a lot of functionality I didn’t know was there. I’m quite impressed with the masking possibilities available. I can mask each effect separately and it can get quite complicated. There are spot masks, gradient masks and I can also use a brush to get down to the dirty details. On my nice new iMac, Topaz is working fast and the images are working extremely well. I definitely need to spend more time with the application to see what I can come up with. I’d like to send some of the images back to the iPad and work with them in Procreate, Metabrush and iColorama. I wouldn’t mind getting some of the images printed onto canvas and put up around the house. I also have half a thought that I’d like to get some acrylic paints and go analogue painting some of the images onto canvas.

It’s not just about adding filters

Due to there being a range of controls I can delve into the pre-made filter artistic creations. Some of the filters are subtle and some are completely wild. It’s possible to create images based upon a HDR style and get really gnarly detail along with highly saturated colour. There are filters which remove all of the colour and turn into a line drawing. Other filters completely change all of the colours and go more into with artistic creation with a combination of settings and how the filters are applied. It’s like when you have layers and you can choose whether to use normal, multiply, colour Burn, lighten, glow, subtract and various other filter settings. It’s not just a bunch of boring filters you can’t do anything with. You can combine a huge variety of settings to come up with something totally unique. When you have something you like you can save the settings and use it again on other images. Every image is different and it’s safe to say that you’re more likely to use a saved or premade filter as a starting point rather than throwing it as whatever picture you come across next.


What is creativity?

Creativity is all about making choices and decisions. You don’t have to be stuck with whatever application gives you. Use one application to give a certain sort of effect, move into a different application in which you could manipulate by painting and drawing on the iPad with Apple Pencil. Then there’s no reason at all why you could move it into a completely different application to do some finishing off. During the last couple days I have been working with Affinity Photo, Procreate, iColorama, Metabrush and Topaz Studio moving images in between them to get my artwork just the way I want it.

Steel Etching

Black and White Drawing Style

Art in Topaz Studio

Hazy Dream World

Get the iPad Art Book on Amazon

Get the iPad Art Book on Apple Book Store

Flic Button Switches Part Two

Flic button switches Troubles

Not so happy with the Flic button switches this morning. I moved the office Flic Switch to the Mac App (It was connected to the iPad) and it’s giving me problems. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The bluetooth connection seems to be flakey, or it could be some other problem. I just pressed one of the switches and it took half a second or a whole second before it operated. Long enough for me to think I needed to press it again or to think it wasn’t going to work at all. The light did operate eventually, perhaps it was just too early in the morning. This is with a new 2017 iMac. It’s not as if it’s an old machine I’m working with! There shouldn’t be a problem.

Next is the Hub

The company who makes the Flic switches are working on a hub. With this hub you can connect all the buttons to it and don’t have to have them connected to one of your computers. They are also making an extra infrared connection to plug-in. With that you can set it so it will work with infrared television remotes and infrared for air-conditioning et cetera. This hub will cost around about €80 and isn’t ready yet. It is still a Kick Starter product at the moment. So who knows when that’s going to be ready. So my next trick for today is to verify whether my Flic button switches are the old version all the new version. I’ll send an email to the manufacturers. It’ll be interesting to see how restponsive they are with customer queries.

On a Brighter Note

The Flic button I have connected to the iPhone has been working a treat today. I have the button in my pocket even though I added the included clip to the back of it so I could clip it onto my clothes. With a single click I have it set to turn off or turn on Playing Now sounds coming from the iPhone. This is good when I’m working and I want to listen to something without any background noise. Easy to turn it off quickly. I have the double click button set to do a jump forward by the specified amount in the podcast application. The podcast application I use is called Pocketcasts. I like to set the jump forward by 45 seconds which will easily take me past any annoying adverts in a podcast. The click and hold I have set so that it does a volume control in case I want to have the podcast still playing but at a lower volume. It’s also possible to have a second action to each of the click options, or more, and so I’ve also set this up to be a native camera trigger. For that to work I need to have the camera app open.

Sort of good – Sort of disappointing

When these Bluetooth Flic button switches work they are extremely useful. A few more days later and I’m still testing and trying out how the switches work. When the Bluetooth connection is up and running they work perfectly. Sometimes the Bluetooth connection gets lost and I’m not sure of the best way to reconnect. Now and then pressing the button will make the connection again. Other times I need to press and hold on the button. Or I have to disconnect the Bluetooth by telling it to forget the item, then do a reconnect. Which is tedious because I have to reset up the actions for the switch. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend these to other people as it stands. I do think all be okay once the hub is available, so long as you don’t mind spending the extra money. The button I use for roaming, as in I have it in my pocket to turn on and off the audio from my iPhone, is pretty useful. I just used the search tool within the application to look for Siri and it did the job. So I do have the later version of the switch. I’m pleased to be able to confirm that and I don’t need to make contact with manufacturers now. I have just upgraded the iPhone to iOS 11. I did get a message from Flic to say that it might not work well with the new operating system and perhaps I should wait. Fingers crossed there will be an update within the next few days.

Logitech Pop

Flic button switches

I have just seen this Logitech Pop product on the Apple Store. It comes with a hub. The hub is connected through Wi-Fi and is HomeKit compatible. The kit rwith the hub and one button is an okay price. The price of the buttons by themselves is a little bit too expensive but if they work better than these Flic Switches then I’ll be happy to change. I’m thinking of getting one to try out. These Pop buttons also have the single click, double-click and A click and hold so you can program more than one automation into the button.

iPhone X Upgrading to the Newest from Apple

Apple iPhone X hype starting to die down

It was a good Apple event with the new Apple iPhones making their debut. I enjoyed watching the whole of the event on the day on my Apple TV. I got caught up in the marketing bubble and believed that I really needed a new Apple iPhone X. A couple of days later and it really didn’t take that long either, I have a realisation that I won’t be getting a new iPhone this year. I’ll be keeping my bitcoin safely where it is for the moment. The value of bitcoin has just taken a dive and it’s not a good time to sell any anyway. I’m sure next year will be the time for getting a new phone and I will prepare myself by saving money on a monthly basis so I can choose whichever phone I want. There will certainly be improvements to the iPhone X which was released just the other day. The other thing stopping me from biting the bullet and buying a new phone this year is because I’d rather save up for an electric car. This is something that is expanding horizons out into our future more so than a new iPhone. If money wasn’t an object then I would happily buy the latest iPhone X. Having a larger screen in a smaller body is appealing and the new cameras are also interesting. On the other hand, I am still extremely happy with my iPhone 7 as it does just about all I want from my pocket computer.

iPhone X

What about the Apple Watch?

I have series 0 of the Apple Watch and once again I’m happy with the way it works and what it gives me in terms of facilities. On the last upgrade to the Apple Watch I had no interest in getting the new version. I kind of feel the same with this one although it would be nice to have the GPS as well as the new mobile data connection. The mobile data connection is not yet available here in Spain. It seems it has to be working on the same phone number as you work with your iPhone. It’s not like you can buy an extra Sim card for a minimal amount per month. It’s something the mobile data providers have to set up otherwise it would be just kind of nice to share the data you’re already paying for on the iPhone.

Animated Emoticons – Talking Shit or maybe a chatty Unicorn

When you have a phone with facial recognition built in it seems the obvious answer is to create an application so you can have animated talking characters. It’s always good to have a bit of fun! It is often the silly but fun things which drive sales in high technology. It’s going to be pretty cool to send a message where the animated cartoon character you choose is delivering it with expression.

Facial recognition on the iPhone X

Apple have done away with the fingerprint recognition on the iPhone X. Apple claimed its more secure than fingerprints to have the biometric security of facial recognition. It’s able to recognise your face even if you are making changes by wearing or not wearing glasses. It can learn your face has changed because you’re now wearing a beard or a handlebar moustache. It seems it’s not going to have any problem either if you change your hairstyle. All this remains to be seen when it’s tested by by the millions of iPhone X users. Personally, I prefer the fingerprint recognition because she can do it with fingers from multiple people. This is useful if you want your wife to be able to open up your phone in an emergency. As it stands the facial recognition is just for one face. Whether it’s pretty or not!

Getting an iPhone X

I don’t think so, at least not for some time. In a years time when I have saved up sufficient money I might bite the bullet and get the latest and greatest. If I was to get myself a new phone then I’d want to pass my iPhone 7 onto my wife which is a good thing to do. The only thing is that selling her iPhone 6 will not bring me back much cash to put towards the new iPhone. This year would have been a good time to upgrade my wife’s phone because of the age of it. My own phone, the iPhone 7 is working well and in perfect condition and I was expecting to keep it for two years anyway. At least I will be getting plenty of benefit from the update to iOS 11 even if I don’t have the latest Apple mobile hardware. It would be lovely if the new photo lighting effects could be available in the iPhone 7. Maybe it needs the face recognition hardware to make it possible?

Would you believe it?

I’ve already heard podcasters speculating on what will come next year. Well I suppose there is the question as to whether there will be an iPhone 9??

Ready for the iPhone X Apple event

This latest Apple event is going to be streamed live from the Steve jobs Theatre in California. I’ve just worked out how to get the event streamed live through my Apple TV. I had to go into the Apple TV App Store and find the app for Apple events. It didn’t take much looking for it, it was there ready for me to click on and within a minute it was downloaded and ready to go. It’s still 20 minutes before the event is due to start and so the app is not allow me to start yet. We will finally find out all of the juicy details about the new Apple iPhone. Up until the last couple of days it’s been called the Apple iPhone 8 and possibly a couple of versions being called the Apple iPhone 7S. There’s been a leak over the last couple of days which people seem to think is correct where the premium version of the new iPhone is going to be called the iPhone X. It’ll be called the X because X is the Roman Numeral for 10 and it is ten years since the iPhone was introduced.

What can we expect in the new iPhone for 2017

There is bound to be a new processor. All the leaks seem to suggest that this is going to be less than bezel and the same amount of screen making the phone smaller all round. It’s probable that there’ll be no home button and so there’s going to be new ways of making the iPhone work. If you can’t press on a button at the bottom of the phone they’ll need to be a different way to get the fun started. Some of the rumours reckon there’s going to be face recognition. So as soon as you show your ugly mug to the phone it will open up. I don’t think there’s also going to be for print recognition still because otherwise there will be security considerations coming into play. Somebody could take your phone from you and what your still knocked out lying on the ground open your phone and steal your data as well as your wallet.

It’s going to be expensive and it will be available soon

A lot of the commentators seem to think the iPhone is going to cost more than $1000. The OLED screens are more expensive and possibly in short supply. Apple will be able to charge what they want, don’t they do that anyway! There will probably be larger amounts of memory and on top of all that all the new and sexy technology has to be paid for through the nose when you are jumping in as a first adopter. The Apple Store online has been closed for the last couple of hours and will open up as soon as the announcements have been made.

What else will be available?

IOS 11 is probably answers being ready for the general public. I’ve been running the public beta on my iPad for few weeks and it’s been working fine without any problem. I got as far as using iOS eleven beta 9 and those expecting the gold master version to be available before this event. Maybe because of the leak of the gold master version over the last couple days they decided not to bother until the actual announcements have been made.

It would be nice if there was new Mac mini. That handy little computer is always the last one to be updated. The iMac Pro could now be ready following the initial announcement at WWDC

Flic Switches

I really like having the Philips Hue light bulbs in the house. It’s cool to have the lights set so that when I wake up in the morning they are on already for me to have my breakfast and get ready for work. It’s also cool that they will switch off automatically when I’m finished and tell me when it’s time to leave the house and get in the car. It’s lovely when I’m sitting on the sofa and I want to switch off the lights in the office, I just tell Alexa to do that for me. I have the motion detector to go with the kitchen lights. When I walk into the kitchen the lights will turn on for me. I haven’t set so that if there is no more movement they will switch off after three minutes. I need some Flic Switches.

Getting Notified by Lighting

I use the lights as notifier. When I arrive back home in the car and I’m waiting for the gate to open I can’t always tell if the garage door is opening. So I set up the garage door with an Elgato eve switch which is used to automatically switch on the light at the front door. Naturally, I also use automation to turn that turn the light off when the garage door has closed. I can see from where I’m sitting in the car that they garage door has open. I cannot I get notifications on my phone every time the garage door opens and closes but I don’t really need that to happen when I’m away from home. It is good as a security feature when I’m away on holiday though! If any of the doors or windows open and I get a notification I can then use the cameras over the Internet to see if there are people in the house who shouldn’t be there.

I could do more automation

I’d like to do more automations with the lights. I would like to have it so that all the lights turn off when I leave the house. There is the possibility of setting controls based on location and it does work. I’ve tested it. At the moment I can’t use that because if there is someone still in the house then they would be left sitting in the dark. The automation controls need to have a little bit more intelligence built into them so I can set the automatic controls with more precision. Not a good idea to annoy the wife this way. Happy wife , happy life!

Alexa or Siri

Most times I use Alexa to control of the lights. This is because she is always listening and I only have to say her name and then the command. With Siri I need to press a home button to have Siri listen to me. That is unless I have a device plugged in with the lightning cable so she might hear and then do my bidding. My preference at night time and is to say “Good night” to Siri and know that all of the hue lights in the house will be turned off.

It’s not a perfect in this automatic household

Like I mentioned, there is still room for the controls to get more intelligent. The other problem in the house is the semi automatic humans. My wife has this thing where she likes to have the lights turned off and over many years has developed the habit of switching the lights off as she leaves the room. Trouble is, when the lights are turned off at the switch it’s not then possible to control them using the automation. So I’ve been looking at switches to add to my Hue lighting system. Phillips to make switches which will work with your Hue lighting, but so far I haven’t bought any because I don’t like the price.

Bluetooth Flic Switches

Flic switches

Yesterday I decided to place an order for some Flic switches these look like they could do the job. I ordered a set of 44 $99. I will stick these onto the switch or near to the switch on the wall. I will then add a small piece of tape to stop the switch from being used. Please switches work over Bluetooth. The battery lasts up to 18 months. It’s not just for controlling lights, they can also be used using IFTTT. There’s a whole range of items to use with including speakers, automated locks and cameras. It’s even possible to set it so that more than one action takes place at the same time.

Click, Click and Hold nd double click

Three Switches in one

Easy to order and soon to arrive

The day after I placed the order I got a message to say they had been sent out. Following day I will have the new switches in my house. I expect a delivery from UPS this afternoon. I’m really looking forward to having a play with these new devices. Look out for a new blog post or an addition to this post to see how I get on with them. I will keep it simple to begin with. I’ll use the single click on the Flic to switch the light on or off. I may use the click and hold to turn off all the lights in the house. I will still have double-click I can use for something else. Also be testing these Flic switches to see how they work inside my car. They also show it as possible to use the switch clipped to your clothing and used to control your mobile device.

iPhone Blogging Tips

There are huge advantages to blogging on iOS. The mobility you get from having the iPhone or the iPad with you and being able to write whatever you want and when do you want to. It’s easy to do something else quickly where ever you are. You don’t have to be tied to a desk with a desktop computer. What is the process actually like using the application is available.?

What are you going to use?

This depends on where you are doing your blogging. Whether you have a Blogger, WordPress or other type of blog. There are applications specifically made for blogging to Medium, WordPress and Blogger. Or is it better to use a blogging application like Blogo. Then there are writing applications such as Ulysses and Byword. These have publishing export possibilities to a number of different blogging platforms.

It’s all about the experience

While working on the desktop is a known experience and easy to deal with text and pictures. It’s not so defined when using something different like a an iPhone or an iPad. It’s not that it’s more difficult, it’s just that is different and you have to work out your workflows for dealing with text and pictures. Working on a small screen might seem like what it would be like opening your Christmas presents from outside the house through the letterbox on the front door. Fiddly and unsatisfying or is it the ultimate freedom for blogging?

Important questions for bloggers

How are easy it is to get the words onto the page. Can you do the dictation route for getting the words into your document? How easy is it to do the editing necessary to make sure your text reads properly. Will it be easy to get the pictures set the right size for your blog? Can you crop and size the pictures within the blogging software or does it have to be done beforehand? How are easy is it to add links and work with the meta data for the post? Can you work with the editor to set headlines and other page elements or do you need to work with HTML? Lots of questions to be looked at when it comes down to on your mobile device.

Using Blogo

Making Links

The text editor of choice

It’s may be you have a text editor you prefer using. I like using Ulysses for most writing but also have a number of other text that it is available. I will often write things in Drafts when I’m not sure where the writing is going to go eventually. You have some good ideas and start writing and later you think that will be good in a blog post. That is how this blog post started. I began in Drafts. I then downloaded blow go again. For some reason or other I had stopped using it previously. I think it was because I was able to make a blog posts in Ulysses. It’s very handy to have all of you are writing in one place. Ulysses is also very good for working with markdown which I prefer. It’s also easy to add images. I have had some difficulties in getting blog post to get published to WordPress. I’m not sure if that was a problem with Ulysses or if it was a problem with the WordPress set up.

Setting a header in Blogo

Blogging from a web browser

I have tried blogging in a Safari browser window. It is unsatisfactory unless you have an external keyboard attached. It is awkward to add links to your text if you have a long post. Specially if you are working on the iPhone with a smaller screen and you can’t see the buttons at the top of the post in order to click on them after you’ve selected some text for making a link. If you do have an external keyboard attached then you can use the keyboard shortcuts to get the job done nice and easily.

Creating links

Having internal links within your blog is a good idea and doing this within the linking facilities of the web browser experience is extremely easy. If you are using another application you need to get your links first and then paste them into the other blogging application. Working in split screen on the iPad it’s a simple job to do that. If you’re working on the small screen of the iPhone then it does get a little bit awkward at times. Having to switch applications quickly is not quite as easy. You do get used to it though. Quick double tap on the home button swipe across to get to Safari and copy the link from there. When you get back in to Blogo it asks you if you want to create a link from the URL it has detected. This just puts a link in without a proper link text, so it’s usually best to say no. Then all you need to do is to select the text you want to use for the link and paste your URL.

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