Bookmark it: COVID.gov. A one-stop shop website for all Covid resources, including vaccines, boosters, masks, test-to-treat locations (no need to go to your doctor and potentially delay treatment, as Covid treatments work only when administered early on), and general info on Covid in your area.
ProjectN95.org provides N95 masks that are vetted to be real. (Stay away from fake ones, and there are many fake ones online, including Amazon, unfortunately. You cannot usually tell a real and a counterfeit one, just by looking.)
iOS and Apple news
Recall that WWDC Conference will be June 6-10. The Keynote will be on Monday June 6. Our next iPUG Meeting will be the next day and we will have lots to discuss.
Apple's global smartphone market share surges 20% YoY leaving competitors behind, reports Burga. `Despite the global technology sector facing constraints related to semiconductor shortages and uncertain economic prospects, Apple has made the most significant gains in the smartphone market share over the past year as competitors struggle to catch up. The tech giant’s growth seems to be a direct impact of the company's focus on innovative devices targeting different markets. '
Joanna Stern on Duckin’ Autocorrect: Why Your iPhone’s Keyboard Doesn’t Always Get You. This is a funny but very informative video and interview of the original lead for the Autocorrect function at Apple.
Here is the article on Autocorrect, by Joanna Stern.
(cont'd) `When you type, the autocorrect algorithms are trying to figure out what you mean by looking at various things, including where your fingers landed on the keyboard and the other words in the sentences, while comparing your word fragment to the words in two unseen dictionaries:'
(cont'd) - Static Dictionary: Built into iOS, this contains dictionary words and common proper nouns, such as product names or sports teams. There were over 70,000 words in this when the first iPhone launched and it’s gotten bigger since then.
(vont'd) - Dynamic Dictionary: Built over time as you use your phone, this consists of words that are unique to you. The system looks at your contacts, emails, messages, Safari pages—even the names of installed apps.
(cont'd) It’s also where new words unique to your vocabulary get logged: By the third time you type an unknown word, the software will typically add it to the dynamic dictionary and stop trying to turn it into something different, said Mr. Kocienda and others.'
Apple's Self Service Repair service is now available. It provides repair manuals and genuine Apple parts and tools through SelfServiceRepair.com.
Longtime Ford Engineer Joins Apple Car Team, reports Macrumors. `Ujkashevic has been with Ford for over 30 years, and she has expertise in safety systems, engineering design deliverables, body interior engineering, and more.'
Have a look at a visit at Apple Fitness+ Studios in Santa Monica, CA. As part of the tour, YouTube vlogger Ezarik interviewed Apple's head of fitness Jay Blahnik and a few Fitness+ trainers.
VisRef lets you create inspiration boards. Let's say you are working on some design -- maybe to remodel your kitchen or to plan party decorations or you are writing a fictional story, or anything that can be helped by visual references. This app lets you grab images from any source to create a board. It supports animated GIFs and view the panels on the board. It supports split-screen on your iPad so you can drag and drop ideas from websites. It's $4.
ThinkDrop lets you capture the random thoughts and ideas that might pop into your head that you probably will forget when the moment passes. You can enter an idea quickly and easily: using your voice, or if you jotted it on a napkin or sticky, you can take a picture and enter in in ThinkDrop. Of course, you can also type it. You can create threads of ideas, stringing them together. You can pin some ideas to the top. The app gives you stats and sentiment analysis (if you use emoji). You can sync ideas across devices (premium version $24/year). You can lock it with FaceID.
Use your iOS device of your watchOS with the app NowPlaying to turn your device into a display for all your speakers. It works on iPhone and iPad and it's even nicer on iPad, as it can display a lot of info on the screen. It can seem similar to having an LP with all the extra info to peruse: info on the song, the artist, the album, etc. A good example of using this is if you have an Apple HomePod (or a HomePod Mini) and you ask Siri to play music for you. This app uses Shazam in iOS to `listen' to the music playing, it identifies it, and it automatically displays all the info on your iPad/iPhone screen. It also works on your Apple Watch. It integrates very well with Apple Music, so you can add a song to one of your Apple music playlists, you can favorite it, etc.
Portal shows you some beautiful scenery from nature and plays sounds from that scene. It describes itself:u ` bottle up the essence of the world's greatest locations and make them accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime`. It lets you immerse yourself in a visual and auditory environment so you can focus, or fall asleep or escape. Olga tried it and recommends it. The visual and audio is high quality, with HD video and spatial audio. You can also enable the clock on the screen and set it next to you while you work. It works really well with headphones.
If you are curious about the recent news about Twitter and Elon Musk, you can get a lot of good factual info from the discussion on the episode: Is Elon Musk About to Be the `King of Nothing'?`. `In this conversation, recorded live on Twitter Spaces, Kara Swisher talks with the journalists Casey Newton, Anand Giridharadas and William Cohan about how Elon’s reign will impact the platform and its users — and how the deal could still fall apart.' You can find transcripts and more information for all episodes at http://nytimes.com/sway.`
The One Recipe is a short and fun podcast series. Each episode is only about 10 minutes long. It's about the one dish that you keep in your back pocket. The one you send to friends, the one you entirely depend on and know it’s going to work every single time. The One Recipe podcast is about building that library, one recipe at a time. Host Jesse Sparks, Senior Editor at Eater talks to chefs and gifted cooks from all over the world about their One and the story behind it. From the team that brought you The Splendid Table at APM Studios.
The past couple of years with Covid in the news, we have often recommended episodes from In The Bubble podcast. A few days ago, the podcast won a Webby award:
We are so excited to share that In the Bubble has won a #Webby Award in the Health & Wellness category! Thank you to everyone who voted and congratulations to @ASlavitt and the entire production team pic.twitter.com/GQDJh09Qmv— In the Bubble (@inthebubblepod) April 27, 2022
tips & tricks
Mary Anne told us about using iOS Message to text the flight info (airline and number) results in an automatic lookup. A very useful feature.
Roger S. points us to `20 Hidden iPhone Messages Features', an excellent tutorial & overview of many of the Messaging features built in to iOS. You will likely learn something new:
This comes up from time to time -- remember How to turn on the LED notification light on your iPhone.
gadgets & accessories
Looking for your dog? Want to be able to know where it is at all times? This Personalized Premium Leather Apple Airtag Dog Collar lets you locate your dog by securing an Apple Airtag in the dog's collar.
Olga showed us her Elago Ice Cream AirPods 3 Case.
Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter review : USB-C dock can house an SSD. It's a dock that also includes storage, combining a drive enclosure plus extra ports.
Amazon is offering some significant discounts: iPad Mini is $100 off.
Likewise, the Apple Airpod Max headphones are usually $100 off. Sometimes the price varies by color and by the day.
[ RUMOR ] The new Apple Watch Series 8 might be able to take your temperature, reports iMore.
Mayo researchers use AI to detect weak heart pump via patients’ Apple Watch ECGs, reports Mayo Clinic. `Single-lead ECG tracings from an Apple Watch interpreted by an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm developed at Mayo Clinic effectively identified patients with a weak heart pump.'
(cont'd) `Approximately 420 patients had a watch ECG recorded within 30 days of a clinically ordered echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, a standard test to measure pump strength. We took advantage of those data to see whether we could identify a weak heart pump with AI analysis of the watch ECG. While our data are early, the test had an area under the curve of 0.88, meaning it is as good as or slightly better than a medical treadmill test. AI analysis of the watch ECG is a powerful test to identify a weak heart pump.'
Apple is now selling Refurbished Apple Watch Series 7 models.
general apps & services
The Brooklyn Public Library announced Books Unbanned. Any teenager across the US can access their e-books for free. `For a limited time, individuals ages 13-21 can apply for a free BPL eCard, providing access to our full eBook collection as well as our learning databases.`
Our next meeting is on Tuesday, June 7.