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Posts from the ‘Apps’ Category

Publix App

If you shop at a Publix supermarket, you should have the Publix mobile app on your phone.

Here’s why I like the Publix app (the last one on my list is my new favorite):

  • I can designate my closest store as “My Store.”
  • I can create shopping lists.
  • I can order sandwiches just the way I like them for later pickup.
  • I can check items in the “Digital Coupon” section for savings at the register, and I don’t have to remember to bring the coupons with me.
  • I can determine if the store has an item before I go.
  • I can look up where the item is in the store, before I get there or while I’m shopping.*
*Even if you know your store really well, there are some items you may not be able to find. And even if your Publix store has particularly helpful employees (mine does; they always walk customers to the items they need help finding), sometimes there are no employees in sight, or you just want to run in quickly to get one thing. The aisle designation in the app is great; look how many different places you can find nuts. And that’s just nuts!

You can download the Publix app for iPhone or Android here:

Note: there is also a separate Publix Delivery app for home deliveries. I haven’t tried it.

Weather App Setting

Most of us use the weather app on our smart phones or tablets and rely on it for weather information at home and elsewhere. But do you know the difference between the “local” and “home” settings?

If you allow Location Services on your weather app, the first weather report you see will be your “local” weather: where you are at that moment, which is most often your home city. When you travel, however, the first weather information you see will also be for your “local” location — where you are, not your home city. This is most helpful, until you are away and want to know what the weather is like at home.

To be sure you can easily check your home weather, include your home location in your list of weather favorites. It might take an extra swipe or tap to get to your home weather information, but at least you’ll know right away if your sprinklers are on when it’s raining!

Scan With Your Phone?

Can I scan a document with my phone and then attach it to an email? 


A scan is just a picture so you can take a picture of a document with your phone and share it by email or text.

Easy. But maybe not ideal.

The biggest difference between scanning a document with your printer and scanning a document with your phone is the format of the resulting file. When you scan a document with your printer, it is usually saved in your computer as a .pdf file, which is appropriate for a document. When you take a picture with your phone, the image file is a .jpg, which is appropriate for a photograph.

If you need to scan a document with your phone but save/send it as a .pdf, here is some help:

On an iPhone

  • In the Notes app, open an existing note or start a new one.
  • Tap the “plus sign” in the middle of the screen (just above the virtual keyboard).
  • Tap “Scan documents” and your live camera will open.
  • Snap the picture of your document (or pictures of a multi-page document).
  • Tap “Scan.”
  • Edit as necessary.
  • Tap “Save.”
  • The image is saved as a .pdf that you can email or text.

On an Android phone

  • Open the Google Drive app.
  • Tap your way to the folder to which you’d like your scan to be saved.
  • Tap the “plus” sign in the lower right corner of the screen.
  • Tap “Scan.”
  • Your camera will open. Snap the picture of the document.
  • Edit as necessary.
  • Tap the checkmark when you are ready to save the image.
  • The image is saved as a .pdf that you can email or text.

There are third-party scanning apps for both the iPhone and Android phones — and many work nicely — but you don’t really need them.

YouTube Shortcuts

I’ve written many times that YouTube videos are an excellent source for online education: cooking, crafting, fixing, decorating, exercising — even how to play the violin.

When watching YouTube videos on my computer, I use the following keyboard shortcuts:

Press the letter K to play (or pause) a video
Press the letter J to replay the last 10 seconds of a video
Press the letter L to forward a video 10 seconds

By design, these letters are grouped together.

There are other useful YouTube keyboard shortcuts. You can find them — where else? — on a YouTube video!

Check it out at


Have you ever needed a magnifying glass and couldn’t find one? You probably had one with you and didn’t know it. There’s one in your iPhone. And it just got easier to find.

The Magnifier tool is in the Accessibility section of the iPhone. The “old” (but still good) way to get there is to tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Magnifier, and slide it “On.” Then, to use the feature at any time from any screen, triple-click the Home button and your iPhone camera becomes a magnifying glass. (Try it, you’ll like it).

With the iPhone’s new iOS11 software, there is an even easier way to open the Magnifier: you can add it to the phone’s Control Center for “one-swipe, one-tap” access.

(The Control Center is the dashboard that you can swipe up from the bottom section of you phone. It’s like a window shade that comes up from the bottom. This panel already has some useful shortcuts: the Camera, the Calculator, and the Flashlight.) Now you can remove shortcuts you don’t want and add ones you do, including the Magnifier.

To customize the Control Center, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. The top part of the list shows the controls that already appear in your Control Center. To remove any of them, tap the red circle to the left of a specific shortcut. To add a control — like the Magnifier — scroll down the list and tap the green circle to the left of the shortcut.

Then, push the home button to return to your Home screen and raise the Control Center shade. You will see the controls you specified. If you added the Magnifier, tap it to use it.

Do you, um, SEE what I mean?

(Android owners: I do not know if there is a built-in magnifying feature in your phone but there are a number of good third-party magnifier apps available from the Google Play Store. Try one!)

3-Way Calling

Even with its many cool features, your smartphone is, at its core (no “apple” pun intended), still a phone. One of my favorite phone features is one I often forget to use: 3-way calling. Make one call on your phone, add another call, and then connect (“merge”) the two. Now all three of you are in the same conversation.

Since you initiated the calls, the open lines depend on you. Either of the other parties can hang up and leave you and the remaining party talking, but if you disconnect first, the other two parties lose their connection to each other.
Three-way calls are a fun social experience (talking with two of your kids at the same time or agreeing on what restaurant three couples prefer), and a practical business tool (agents, attorneys, buyers, sellers, clients, spouses in different places, etc.).
Here’s how you do it on either an iPhone or an Android phone:
  • Once you are talking with the first party, tap “Add Call.” This will temporarily put the first party on hold.
  • Tap in a phone number or choose a number from your Contacts or your Recent Calls.
  • Once the second party answers, tap “Merge calls” and the two parties are connected to you and to each other.
Don’t forget about this feature. You’ve had it all along and probably rarely, if ever, use it. Try it soon!

What the Store Stores

If you shop online, you know that specifying the correct shipping address and the correct credit card are key. Take a minute to be sure these details are right for your purchase, especially if you keep this information stored in your online account.

Some examples from my clients:

I bought a gift for my niece and had it shipped directly to her. Unfortunately, the next few things I bought also went to her. Ugh!

I shop online for items for my business I and keep my business credit card number stored at the site as my “default” card. But occasionally, I’ll buy personal items so I also store a personal credit card number in my account. The last thing I bought was with my personal card and, without my permission, the site changed that credit card to my “default” card. The next business things I bought were charged to my personal card by mistake. I didn’t catch it until later.

I hear this kind of thing all the time.

Perhaps it is best not to keep any card on file, but if you do, be sure you are charging your purchase to the correct card and shipping the item to the correct address. It only takes a moment to review — and change — the order.

Also, beware of the return protocol. When I last returned something to an online store I was given the choice of crediting my credit card or receiving store credit …. and “receiving store credit” was already selected. Of course they’d prefer I do that, but that was not my preference. Pay close attention.

Yes, these online purchases are quick and easy, but too quick and too easy may not get you what you want.

Cloud vs. Device

Some apps have an option to show what is in the “Cloud” and what is on the “Device.” What does this mean?

When you purchase electronic media (music, ebooks, audio books, videos) from online stores (iTunes, Kindle, Audible, etc.), those songs, books, and movies are stored in your account on the store’s server. That’s your content in the “Cloud.”

If you want to watch/listen to your purchases, you must download them to your computer, tablet, or smartphone. That’s your content on the “Device.”
Fortunately, you don’t have to download every purchase to every device, but you can if you wish. Maybe you want audio books on your phone but not on your tablet. Or you want ebooks on your tablet but not on your phone. Your choice.

Downloaded media takes up space on your device; manage your content wisely. Download the book you wish to read next but delete those you have finished. They are still in the Cloud ready to be downloaded again if you wish to re-read them.

Note that downloading content requires an internet connection, but reading, listening, and watching downloaded content does not. Be sure to download the content you wish to have before you get on an airplane or away from a trusted network.


When I wish to delete a calendar event from my iPhone or iPad, I tap “Delete Event” and then “Cancel.”

And nothing happens.

While “Cancel” seems to make sense — I am canceling the event after all — “Cancel” does not cancel the event. I have to tap “Delete” again to delete my calendar event.

“Cancel” is a tricky computer term. In most applications, “Cancel” means “cancel this request and return me to the previous screen.”

But not always.

For example, if I wish to delete an email I am writing, I do it by tapping “Cancel.”

If you tap “Cancel” and nothing happens, look for some other option; you probably just “cancelled” what you were trying to do!

Video Selfie?

For my father’s 80th birthday, I invited his friends and family to record a short video message for him and send it to me electronically. I strung the videos together to make a video birthday card. It made for a fun celebration.

If you received an invitation to record a video and send it electronically, would you be able to do it?

Not everyone I contacted thought they could, but most got it done. Many even surprised themselves by how easy it was.

Record a Video

  • Use your smartphone or tablet. Using the Camera app, choose the camera that faces you, position yourself so you are in the frame, and start recording. Stop recording when you are done. Erase and do it again if you are not happy with it. The video will be in your Photo app.
  • Use your computer’s webcam. On a Mac, use the Quicktime program. On a Windows 10 computer, use the built-in Camera App. Save the file to your desktop or your Pictures folder for ease in finding it later.


Send a Video 

  • Video files too large to attach to an email, may be sent by attaching to a text. If the file is too large to text, upload it to a cloud-based service like MailDrop, iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Photos. Video files work just like any other files, but take longer to upload.


Or … ask for help! A friend can use your phone or tablet — or their phone or tablet — to record you. Anyone comfortable taking and sending videos should be happy to help.

Most importantly, look at the camera (not at your notes) and have fun!

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