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Upgrades Abound!

September and October have traditionally been popular months for the release of new computer devices and software upgrades; 2013 was no exception. There is something for everyone:

September 18th
Apple iPad/iPhone: software version iOS 7 released

September 20th
Apple iPhone: 5s and 5c models went on sale

October 18th
Windows Computers: operating system 8.1 released

October 22nd
Apple iMac/MacBooks: operating system “Mavericks” released

October 22nd
Windows combination tablet/laptop: Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro went on sale

October 31st
Android operating system: “Kit Kat” scheduled to be released

When purchasing a new device:

  • Check that all the programs you currently use will work in the new device, and/or be prepared to buy new software or use another program
  • Inquire as to what data will transfer to your device and what might not
  • Delete all data from your old device if you are trading it in or giving it away

When upgrading to new software:

  • Confirm that your device meets the “minimum requirements” for the new software
  • Back up your data
  • Plug your device into its power supply when upgrading
  • Prepare yourself to wait until the upgrade completes before using the device (download/install times vary from minutes to hours)

In all cases:

  • Know your wireless, email, and Apple/Microsoft passwords; you might need to enter them to initiate your new system
  • Be patient with your new/upgraded device; the new looks and features will take some time to get used to

Enjoy your new stuff!

Leave ‘Em Prepared

Last week a friend of mine died unexpectedly. His death reminded me of the importance of making arrangements for your surviving spouse (or family members) to have access to information they might need.

This man was the primary computer user in his house. He kept spreadsheets of household budgets, legal documents, and albums of family pictures. He knew the passwords to the wireless network, the online banking sites, the email accounts, and his computer devices.

Fortunately, he made this information available to his wife.

Would your spouse or family members be able to access what they might need of yours? Would you be able to access the information your spouse manages?

Please think about it.

What’s a “Pilcrow”?

If you are formatting a Word document with specific paragraph, tab, and word spacing intentions — or you just don’t like the way your document spacing looks — click the “Pilcrow” icon to view the hidden “architecture” of your work.

A “pilcrow” is a typographical mark that represents the forced return of text to the next line; whenever you hit the “Return” or “Enter” key on your keyboard, you are telling your computer to insert a pilcrow. In word processing programs, the pilcrow symbol icon (a backwards capital “P” with an additional leg) represents more than the forced paragraph return; it displays a number of hidden characters in your document — forced paragraphs and others.

Try this: open a Word document that contains a few paragraphs of text. Click once on the pilcrow icon at the top of your screen. Notice the appearance of:

  • Dots between words: every time you hit the “Space” bar, you left a “dot” on the screen
  • Pilcrow symbols: every time you hit the “Return” or “Enter” key you left a pilcrow on the screen
  • Right-facing arrows: every time you hit the “Tab” key, you left an arrow on the screen

Viewing these non-printing characters shows you how your text is organized, and helps you correct formatting you don’t like. At a minimum, revealing these non-printing characters will show you where you have — or don’t have — two spaces between words. (You may wish to increase the screen magnification to see the dots between words).

Additional notes about hidden characters:

  • To hide these characters, click once on the Pilcrow icon.
  • These characters are non-printing; even if you send this document to the printer with the hidden characters showing, they will not print.
  • You can leave these non-printing characters on while you work, or just turn them on as needed.

Even if you think you won’t need to see hidden characters, it’s nice to know they are there if you ever do.

Duplicating Photos

Common sense dictates that you duplicate a picture you wish to edit and then make the changes to the copy rather than the original. Most photo editing programs make that quite easy. Surprisingly, the native iPad/iPhone photo program is not one of them.

Yes, you can easily revert back to the original image if you don’t like the changes you made, but if you want the original and the edited version as separate images, you are stuck. I am not sure why this seemingly desirable option is not available, but I have discovered a work-around.

  • Select the picture in your iPad/iPhone Camera Roll that you wish to duplicate.
  • Tap the action button and select “Email” from the list of choices.
  • Address the email (with the attached photo) to yourself and tap “Send.”
  • Go to your Mail program inbox and open that email.
  • When the attached image appears, tap and hold on it until you see a menu of choices. Tap “Save Image” (or “Save to Camera Roll”).

When you return to your Camera Roll, you will see the original image and the new saved image. (The new saved image will be at the bottom of the Camera Roll). You can now edit one of the images and still have the original.

Note that there are other photo-duplicating options that involve third-party apps and/or using computer-based photo storing/editing programs, but to duplicate a photo using only the iPad/iPhone as is, this might be the easiest way.

Let me know if you know any others!