April 28, 2020

Zooming in the era of COVID-19

A few thousand years ago, it seems (i.e., last month), our iPUG meeting was held at Fronimo's. Welcome to our Zoom meetings, starting this month. Welcome to our remote members who can now join from afar. Welcome to all who are new to iPUG. The meetings are always free and open to all.

For now we will try Zoom and see if it works well for the iPUG meetings. All feedback appreciated.

Recall that FaceTime Video or Audio calls are recommended for better privacy and security over Zoom. For family members, it’s the way to go. Correction: in our last iPUG meeting, the max number of group video calls via FaceTime was incorrect: the max is 32 people on a video call.

Many organizations meet and work via Zoom now. Some have to clarify how to do it -- consider this A Letter from the Honorable Dennis Bailey, a judge addressing the Weston Bar Association. Read on to see what the judge has to say about attorneys and their attire during Zoom calls! ;-)

SNL Skit on Zoom meetings:

iOS & Apple news

Apple just released iPhone SE. It starts at $399. It is smaller than the large iPhone 11 and appeals to those who want the smaller form factor.

the new iPhone SE is a Shockingly Good Value, writes The Verge.

John Gruber reviewed the new iPhone SE. It’s a very good overview and review. He concludes: `The iPhone SE is an excellent value if you’re fine with the smaller display and Touch ID instead of Face ID. It’s an astoundingly good value if you flat-out prefer the smaller form factor and familiar Touch ID experience.’

John Gruber reviewed the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. It's a thorough review and he concludes by saying it's a brilliant device.

Jason Snell reviews the Magic Keyboard: Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro review: Living the dream, he writes.

Apple and Google announced partnership on COVID-19 contact tracing technology.

Some more info on this new technology, by MacRumors.

Apple adds COVID-19 testing sites to Maps across the US, and shares more mobility data, reports 9to5mac. The addition covers sites across the U.S., including all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The Maps update shows testing locations including hospitals, clinics, urgent care facilities, general practitioners, pharmacies and more, as well as dedicated COVID-19 testing sites, where tests are available.

TechCrunch also discusses Apple maps addition of COVID-19 testing.

Tucson transit info is now reflected on Apple Maps. Maps show SunTran and Amtrak.

photography & video

Tim Cook tweeted iPhone photos on Earth Day:

Side by side comparisons: iPhone SE camera vs. iPhone 8 and iPhone 11 Pro.

iOS and Watch apps

Wash Your Hands is another reminder app to wash your hands.

Petra and Lee told us about DoorDash which is an app and a service: they do food delivery to you from your favorite restaurants. Petra and Lee used DoorDash to get takeout from Fronimo's.

Your Apple Watch's complications are the itty bitty shortcuts you can add when you customize a watchface. Some are provided by Apple, some are provided by 3rd party apps you might have. Recall that you can customize your watchfaces in your iPhone's Watch app. You can set up as many watchfaces as you like, each with its own settings (colors, complications, etc.), and you can switch from one watchface to another by swiping left or right. Each watchface is static once it's set up. Watchsmith is an app that lets you customize and personalize your Apple Watch's complications beyond what is available via the Watch app on your iPhone.

(cont’d) Watchsmith starts with a large set of customizable complications, such as date, weather, astronomy. Each can be customized to your preferences. Then you can schedule their appearance to dynamically change, according to rules you define. For instance, a complication slot can be set up to display the weather first thing in the morning, then change to your calendar, then change to your Activity ring in the afternoon. Watchsmith also includes complications such as a weather app, a workout app, a timezone converter, games and a calendar. Take a look at this demo:

GoodNotes version 5 has been released! This is one of the very best iPad apps and it could easily be reason alone to get an iPad. It also works on iPhone and on macOS 10.15. If you buy the iOS version, you get the mac version bundled for free.

LoseIt is an app to help you lose weight. It helps you set goals and track them (food, exercise, and more) and it helps optionally connect you with a community of others. The app is free. For additional features, you can subscribe yearly.

In the age of COVID-19, here is a simple list of 11 Household Items That Make Perfect Weights you can use to work out at home.

online learning

SkillShare offers online learning for fun and creative activities. Now that we are staying mostly home, this is an excellent option to pick up a skill such as how to photograph flowers, how to illustrate cats on an iPad, and much more. Many classes are free. These are offered by creatives from around the world.


You can listen to podcasts via the iOS native Podcast app or use a 3rd party app, such as Overcast, which is very good and has additional features.

Kara Swisher's Recode/Decode podcast interview of Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield on coronavirus, working from home, and Slack’s redesign.

Kara Swisher’s Sarah Frier: The inside story of Instagram and how it has changed since the founders left is another interesting interview about Instagram. How it started, evolved, and why the founders left after the Facebook acquisition.

tips & tricks

Olga stopped washing her Apple Watch after a month. She now prefers and recommends the Apple-recommended approach below.

What are best practices for washing, cleaning, disinfecting against COVID-19? Here are the basics:

A). Wash your hands frequently and don't touch your face.

B). If you think about it, our `hands' have natural and constant extensions: they are the technology we constantly touch and bring to our face: our iPhones. And also our Apple Watches (smart watches of any kind are touched more frequently than a traditional watch). Don't forget your glasses, they touch yoru face too.

How to clean your Apple products, by Apple Support.

How to clean your Apple Watch, by Apple Support.

How to clean and Disinfect your Apple Watch, by AppleToolbox.

How to eject water from your Apple Watch

How to do a group FaceTime call.

gadgets & accessories

As we transition from USB-A to USB-C devices, these adapters can be very useful


Now that we all join so many Zoom meetings, having adequate lighting is a regular need. Ring lights such as this one is an example of an inexpensive option that helps people see you well. It attaches to your iPhone or iPad (or even your Mac screen) and lights up your face.

Bernie points us to the new AirCaddy by Waterfield for iPads and accessories.

 watch

How My Apple Watch Saved my Life: 5 people share their stories, `with fall detection feature, heart rate notifications, exercise tracking and even the ability to make a call from your wrist, the Apple Watch has made a mark in each one of these stories’, reports CNET.

privacy & security

Just a few days ago, Apple and Google Strengthen Privacy of COVID-19 Exposure Notification System, Targeting Next Week for Beta Release, reports Macrumors.

scheduling iPUG meetings

Discussion: During our previous meeting, we discussed holding slightly shorter meetings but more frequently: 2x per month. What days would work? First Tuesday of every month plus what other day? We want to avoid a scheduling conflict with TMUG (3rd Tuesday every month).