phone-dependency

iphone6 The old lady in me occasionally utters phrases that make me cringe, but I don’t know what we did before smart phones? With two near-death phone experiences this month the phone finally was put to rest. And a day and a half of no texts, no calls (I guess I should figure out what my voice-mail password is before it dies again), no Uber, no bus prediction, no maps, no music…

And then, decisions, decision… I was kind of waiting for the iPhone 6 but who knows for sure when that’s coming and whether the enhancement is worth it. Throwing caution to the wind I went 5s (in gold) and then with the swipe of a credit card (and a new industrial case to protect from dropping) I was back in business.

Lessons learned, you know how they say to back things up, well ya. Fortunately I had backed up after the last near-death experience so I just seem to have lost latest interactions (for the three people who text me on a regular basis this apology applies to you for anything ignored). The only other trick? Passwords. Between my five email accounts and my various apps apparently it helps to know what those are.

So next tech pursuit, password manager?

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cooking with…

onestsp

I’m not known amongst my friends and family as a big cooker, but we do try to do family dinners more Sundays than not, so my sister and I tend to swap on cooking duties. Since we’re often not cooking in our own homes we’ve gotten in the habit of bringing recipes back and forth which can create a challenge with shopping and just keeping track of printouts.

I decided that getting recipes online was the best next step. At the start of my evaluation I wasn’t sure what my criteria was but as I looked at the myriad of options I started tracking it all down.

  1. Ease of recipe input – Trumping all, I want to be able to cut and paste ingredients and directions in one big lump rather than individual fields for quantity/item for each, an extra perk is if the program can automatically import based on common recipe sites/formats; I would like to be able to edit the info input as well as add misc. notes; I don’t want there to be mandatory fields that I don’t want to use. 
  2. Categorization or tagging – I want to be able to search based not only by ingredient or kind of meal (main, side, etc.) but I also want to be able to search based on whether the recipe is one that is mine (vs. say sis’s) and whether I’ve cooked it or not.
  3. Web based – I wanted something that I wouldn’t have to own specific software or an app to view on a particular computer or be a mac specific thang.
  4. Public – Ideally I was interested in something that I could share my recipes with others.

The other nice to have would be a specific printing format, while things I don’t care so much about are an existing database of recipes and the ability to meal plan and do shopping.

After registering for a myriad of free sites and trying them out, it turns out I’m almost final on going with One tsp. They were the easiest to input and with a menu bar addition it “clip”s recipes. You can have up to 150 recipes and for $5/yr unlimited. The things it lacks are the public aspect, which isn’t that big of a deal (you can email your recipes to others), and the nice printing format (though of course the web page view is printable).

I’ve got a start with eleven recipes that I’ve used, input with a combination of clipped, cut & pasted from digital format, and typed from a hard copy. So far so good. Have you gone digital? Any thoughts or reccos?

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name that tune…

spotifypandoraitunesMy days of avid music collecting ended somewhere around high school. Although I didn’t stop wanting to have something good to listen to my cds started rolling in less and less. And then with the transition to digital tunes I finally made the move, downloaded, and started purchasing via iTunes. Along the way either radio stations got less good, or I just couldn’t find something that worked for me I still felt like I was missing an intro to new tunes.

And with a couple of new services I’m wondering if it’s time to make another move:

  • iTunes – I have an iPod and an iPhone and on each of these lives a bounty of playlists, music I’ve downloaded from my very own, music I’ve purchased, I like the ability to purchase individual songs and search related, and I like the fact that I own the music and can take it with me.
  • Pandora – Along came this little item that could create a radio station based on the music I was listening to and introducing new tunes; new tunes, why that’s just what I was missing, but like radio although I can skip songs, I don’t always dig what it’s throwing down, I can’t play music from my collection, and even with the no ads upgrade ($3.99/mo or $36/yr) it depends on a connection so no offline.
  • Spotify – The latest to my plate, I like the fact that I can listen to both my own personal music as well as a pretty good availability on music I can pull into a playlist for free; it’s a great way to sample new bands I’m not on board with yet, and listen to playlists created by others, $4.99/mo for no ads, and $9.99/mo for all devices and offline (not sure of the limits on this), plus rumor has it they’re increasing the radio type options, so perhaps this is where to go next.

For now I’m staying tuned to the constant evolution and who will be the breakout technology. Did I mention that I find monthly fees infuriating? So what’s a gal to do?

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there’s an app for that…

Someone I know has just made the big switch to the iPhone, which of course led to the ‘what apps do you use’ conversation. I’m not a huge app person, but I’ve downloaded a smattering that I don’t use and a few that I do. In addition to standard email, web, phone, camera, clock, and text functions here’s where I spend my time:

System Options:

  • Calendar, Notes, Contacts – Sync with my Outlook so all my info is at my fingertips.
  • ITunes – I’m dabbling with Pandora and Spotify but on the phone this is still my go to for tunes.
  • Maps – Who doesn’t want to know where they are and how to get places?
  • Weather – Who doesn’t need a weather report?

Social Networking:

  • Twitter and Facebook – These are great time killers when you’re stuck somewhere or desperately need to tell people what you’re up to, right now.

Entertainment:

  • Fandango – Movie times with reviews and all that.
  • IMDB – Having a conversation that starts with something like ‘you know that guy who was in that movie,’ look it up.
  • TV Guide/Comcast – On occasion I haven’t memorized the TV schedule and for some reason need to check it, haven’t developed a preference to one or the other of these.
  • Yelp – Love the search where I’m at option on this.

Transportation:*

  • Routsey/Transporter – I recently tried using Transporter when Routsey had times wrong for muni but I think it’s just muni, so I’m back to Routsey for quick checks on next bus, train, bart.
  • Taxi Magic – Want to call a cab?
  • Uber – Want to pay a little bit more for a car that will actually show?

Functional Stuff:

  • Dictionary.com – I swear they don’t always have a lot of words but sometimes the easiest lookup.
  • Evernote – I’m pondering greater embracing of this system, love the possibilities but still have some stuff on straight up Notes.

Misc:

  • All Text Picture/ASCII TextPics – A friend of mine got into texting ascii pics so I had to return.
  • Groupon/LivingSocial – I do occasionally purchase these so having this on my phone is user friendly when I want to redeem.
  • Lotto – When I remember that I have a lotto ticket in my wallet that I haven’t checked I need to check it immediately.
  • Mustache – My first received recommendation, pick a stache and hold up to your face for fun filled talking.
  • RL Classic – I occasionally need to view a bar code, but you know, almost never.

There are a myriad of apps that I have downloaded for one reason or another but don’t actually use… What apps am I missing? Tell us in comments what apps you can’t live without.

*My transportation stuff is SF focused but I’m sure there’s local action for each locale.

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