HiTechMom.com http://hitechmom.com Wed, 22 Aug 2018 19:31:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 87615565 Let your friends and family know when you are too busy to answer a text (iOS) http://hitechmom.com/let-friends-family-know-busy-answer-text-ios/ Mon, 27 Nov 2017 01:37:56 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=2227 iOS 11 introduced a new feature called “Do not disturb while driving.” It’s a pretty cool feature that turns off notifications while you are driving. If someone texts you during that time, your phone automatically sends them a message that tells them that you’re driving and you’ll respond as soon as you get to your destination. Because you can customize ... Read More

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iOS 11 introduced a new feature called “Do not disturb while driving.” It’s a pretty cool feature that turns off notifications while you are driving. If someone texts you during that time, your phone automatically sends them a message that tells them that you’re driving and you’ll respond as soon as you get to your destination.

Because you can customize the message that this feature sends and you can control when it’s turned off or on, you can also use this feature to automatically reply to people when you’re too busy to get to the phone.

Let’s say you’re taking a nap. You could simply turn on do not disturb and you won’t be bothered with notifications while you sleep. If you don’t want your friends and family to think that you’re ignoring them, you can tweak the “Do not disturb while driving” feature so it will send them a message.

Start by going to Settings > Do not disturb

do not disturb settings

Set it to activate “Manually” (this will allow you to switch it off and on)

Decide if you want it to send an auto-reply to everyone, your recents or just those on your favorites list.

Now touch “Auto-Reply”

You might want to copy and paste this message into a note or something so you can get it back later

Now type in the message that you want it to send

Now turn on the “do not disturb” switch

Turn the switch back off whenever you are finished doing what you were doing

If you want an easier way to turn the feature off or on, you can put it in your control center. Just go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and add it. Now when you swipe up from the bottom of your screen, you have a button to turn this feature off or on.

To make this feature even more useful, you can write out a few auto-replies in your notes app (or add them to the Text Expander app) for easy copying and pasting.

SaveSave

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Stickers for Messages! How to install iMessage Sticker Packs in iOS 10 http://hitechmom.com/stickers-messages-install-imessage-sticker-packs-ios-10/ Mon, 08 May 2017 16:28:59 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=2072   Are you ready to use stickers in your iPhone text messages? Make sure you’ve updated your iPhone to iOS 10 or later and use this guide to get started. Accessing Your Stickers in iOS 10 Open an existing conversation or start a new one Next to the typing area, touch the App Store icon. If you don’t see the ... Read More

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Are you ready to use stickers in your iPhone text messages? Make sure you’ve updated your iPhone to iOS 10 or later and use this guide to get started.

Accessing Your Stickers in iOS 10

  • Open an existing conversation or start a new one
  • Next to the typing area, touch the App Store icon. If you don’t see the icon, touch the arrow button until you do.

  • Touch the button at the bottom left that looks like 4 ovals. This is how you access your app drawer and see all of the sticker packs that you’ve installed
  • Note: You may already see some sticker packs here if any of your regular apps contain stickers as an add-on feature

Getting More stickers

  • To get more stickers, touch the + button. This will take you to the iMessage section of the App Store.
  • You can browse through the featured stickers or search. I recommend searching for “Sticky Puns,” which just happens to be one of the best punny sticker packs ever made (and I’m not LION)
  • Install a sticker pack in the same way that you install regular apps. Just touch the price or the “get” button and then install.
  • Your new sticker pack will now show up in your app drawer. (Remember, you get to that by touching the A and then the 4 ovals)

Managing Stickers

  • If you’d like to delete a sticker pack, the easiest way to do this is to go to the “Manage” tab in the iMessage store. In here, you can decide if you want to automatically add stickers that come as add-ons from your regular apps or not. You can also use the switches to turn stickers off and on.

Using Stickers

  • If you want to send someone a sticker, just touch the app store icon next to the text entry area
  • You can swipe left and right until you find your favorite sticker pack. You can also touch the icon at the bottom left to go to your favorite sticker pack.
  • Once you find the sticker that you want, just touch it to add it to the text area and send it off!
  • You can also hold down on a sticker to “peel” it off and stick it on top of something else in the conversation, such as a text bubble, a photo or another sticker.

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In the Kitchen with Alexa http://hitechmom.com/in-the-kitchen-with-alexa/ Sun, 08 Jan 2017 20:48:14 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=2006 A while back I wrote an article about how Siri can help you out in the kitchen. Recently, I purchased an Amazon Echo Dot and placed it in the kitchen. I’ve found that it’s even more useful than Siri. This is quite a statement coming from an Apple fan such as me. In the kitchen, Alexa can entertain you, keep a grocery ... Read More

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A while back I wrote an article about how Siri can help you out in the kitchen. Recently, I purchased an Amazon Echo Dot and placed it in the kitchen. I’ve found that it’s even more useful than Siri. This is quite a statement coming from an Apple fan such as me. In the kitchen, Alexa can entertain you, keep a grocery list, order items, read recipes, do math and much more! Siri excels in finding answers to random questions on the web (that you then have to read with your EYES and not your ears), but Alexa’s built-in features along with the third party skills that you can add make it an extremely helpful completely hands-free device in a place like the kitchen, where your hands are typically wet or dirty.

If you don’t have an Echo device yet, the two most popular models are the Amazon Echo and the Echo Dot. The larger and more expensive echo has a larger built-in speaker. The smaller and less expensive Echo Dot has a smaller speaker, but otherwise, it has all of the functionality of the larger Echo. You can connect the Echo Dot to an external speaker if you’d like better sound quality for playing music, but it’s loud enough to hear over the dishwasher, faucet, and whatever is cooking on the stove. I personally have 2 Dots – one in the kitchen and one in the master bathroom.

Click here to purchase an Echo Dot (the smaller one)
Click here to purchase an Echo

Stay entertained while you work in the kitchen

While you’re cooking or washing dishes, you can ask Alexa to entertain you with music, talk or books. Here are a few of the things you can ask her to do while you’re working in the kitchen:

If you have Amazon Prime, Spotify, or Pandora you can ask her to play music for you.

  • “Alexa, play classic rock”
  • “Alexa, play music by George Michael”
  • “Alexa, play the song that has the lyrics, ‘I like big butts’”
  • “Alexa, ask Spotify to play my favorites playlist on Spotify”

She can also summon iHeartRadio to play many of your favorite local radio stations

  • “Alexa, play KRBE”

Want to play the latest episode of your favorite podcast? Ask her to find it for you.

  • “Alexa, play the Reply All podcast.”

If you have an Audible account through Amazon for audiobooks, you can listen to your favorite books while you cook.

  • “Alexa, play the audiobook, [book title]”

If you don’t mind her robotic voice, she can also read books to you from your Kindle collection.

You can also adjust the volume and tell her to start and stop without touching the device

  • “Alexa, set the volume to 6”
  • “Alexa, stop”

In the settings section of your Alexa app, you can choose your sports, weather and news preferences and she will give you a briefing.

  • “Alexa, give me my flash briefing”
  • “Alexa, what’s my sports update”

If you have kids running underfoot, you can keep them busy with a choose your own adventure game

  • “Alexa, open the magic door”
  • “Alexa, play 20 questions”

Let Alexa keep your grocery list

One of the most important jobs in the kitchen is keeping a running grocery list that everyone in the house can add to. Why bother using a handwritten list when anyone in the house can tell Alexa to add to the shopping list. When it’s time to shop, just open the Alexa app. It’s a very simple, straightforward to do list that you can add to and check off completed items.

  • “Alexa, add milk to my shopping list”

She adds the items to a checklist that you can view and manage in your Alexa app. You can also set it up to use apps such as todoist or any.do if you’d rather use a more robust list application.

It’s important to know that when someone adds an item to your list, Alexa is not actually making a purchase. If you want to purchase items, you’d use the word “order” or “reorder” as in, “Alexa, reorder a water filter.”  You can also set a secret PIN number to avoid allowing anyone in the house to order items on your behalf.

Find local business information

Don’t feel like cooking at all? You can order directly from your Alexa from certain restaurants such as Dominos and Pizza Hut (I’m sure more will come soon).

After enabling the Pizza Hut skill in your Alexa app, just say, “Alexa, ask Pizza Hut for a pizza.”

You can also find out of local businesses are open, what their hours are, and phone number.

  • “Alexa, what are Walgreens hours?”
  • “Alexa, where is the closest Whataburger?”

Let Alexa read recipes

Use the AllRecipes skill to read recipes to you, search for recipes that contain certain ingredients

  • “Alexa, ask AllRecipes for a recipe with chicken, broccoli, and rice.”

Ask her for unit conversions

  • “Alexa, how many cups are in a quart?”

She can set multiple timers

  • “Alexa, set a timer for 20 minutes”
  • “Alexa, set a timer for 10 minutes”

Let Alexa do the math

  • “Alexa, what is 3/4 times 2?”

Ask her for nutritional values

  • “Alexa, how many calories are in ice cream?”

Let her keep track of the dishes in the dishwasher

Enable the refrigerator skill. When you start the dishwasher say, “Alexa, tell the dishwasher that the dishes are clean.”

After you empty the dishwasher, say, “Alexa, tell the dishwasher that the dishes are dirty.”

If you do that every time, anyone can walk up and ask, “Alexa, ask the dishwasher about the dishes and she’ll tell you if they’re clean or dirty without even opening it.

Change the room temperature

If you can’t take the heat, don’t get out of the kitchen! Just tell Alexa to turn down your thermostat. The Echo works with popular thermostats such as the Nest, Lyric T5, Ecobee 3, Sensi and thermostats that are part of the Vivint Sky security system.

  • “Alexa, tell Vivint to set the thermostat to 70″

Change the lighting

Whenever the work is finished and it’s time for dinner or time to leave the kitchen, don’t worry about switches. If you purchase a smart light bulb kit that is compatible with Alexa, you can just say, “Alexa, turn off the kitchen lights” or “Alexa, set the dining room lights to 70%”

Some of the most popular bulbs and lighting kits that are compatible with Alexa are:

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Add a second Amazon Alexa device to your home http://hitechmom.com/add-second-amazon-alexa-device-home/ Thu, 29 Dec 2016 03:01:09 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1977 After purchasing an Amazon Echo or Tap and using it for a while, you might start to think, “wow, touching screens and keyboards and switches is for schmucks!” Soon, you find yourself with multiple Alexa devices throughout your home and maybe even your office. This article will show you how to add a second Alexa device to your Amazon Alexa app. Image of ... Read More

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After purchasing an Amazon Echo or Tap and using it for a while, you might start to think, “wow, touching screens and keyboards and switches is for schmucks!” Soon, you find yourself with multiple Alexa devices throughout your home and maybe even your office.
This article will show you how to add a second Alexa device to your Amazon Alexa app.
Open alexa app, go to settings
click on set up a new device
choose which device you want to set up
touch continue
touch connect to wifi
wait for your echo to tell you that it's ready, then touch continue
connect your phone to the amazon network and wait for the prompt
your alexa device will soon tell you that it's ready to use. All of the settings and skills that you've enabled for the first alexa will work with the new one
Image of “The Count” source: MUPPET.WIKIA.COM

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Calendar Spam Fix http://hitechmom.com/calendar-spam-fix/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 05:16:46 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1938 You check your iPhone calendar in the morning… Meeting with Bob at 8 am, soccer practice at 4 pm, and BUY CHEAP ROLEX WATCHES all day long!! In fact, you’re due to buy cheap Rolex watches, Ugg boots and Ray Bans for the next 3 days! Lucky you! Not feeling so lucky? That’s probably because you’re not. It means that ... Read More

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You check your iPhone calendar in the morning… Meeting with Bob at 8 am, soccer practice at 4 pm, and BUY CHEAP ROLEX WATCHES all day long!! In fact, you’re due to buy cheap Rolex watches, Ugg boots and Ray Bans for the next 3 days! Lucky you!

Not feeling so lucky? That’s probably because you’re not. It means that a spammer with your email address has taken advantage of a vulnerability in iCloud that sends calendar invites straight to your calendar, bypassing the junk mail filters that are present in your email.

You could just decline the invitations, but be careful. If you do that, the spammer will receive an email that says you’ve declined the invitation. To the spammer, this only confirms that your email address is a legitimate one, and they’re likely to send you more unsolicited invitations in the future.

We now have 2 problems: How do we delete the calendar events without sending the spammer a notification, and how do we keep from receiving future events?

Deleting the Events

To delete an event without notifying the spammer, we are going to create a new calendar called “Spam,” move the events to that calendar, and then delete the entire calendar along with all of the events.

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-59-18-pm

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-59-32-pm screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-59-42-pm screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-59-50-pm

Now go back to your calendar event…screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-59-58-pm screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-00-06-pm screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-00-14-pm screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-00-22-pm
Stop future calendar spam

To stop future calendar spam, we’re going to turn off the setting that makes these events go directly to your calendar. We are going to make them go to your email, where hopefully they will be caught by your spam filter, never to be seen again.

To complete these steps, you need to visit iCloud.com on a COMPUTER’s browser. If you try to go to iCloud.com on your iPhone’s browser, you will not have any access to the calendar settings.

On a computer, go to www.iCloud.com and complete the following steps:
screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-03-48-pm

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-03-56-pm

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-04-09-pm

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-04-20-pm

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Don’t share another post until you read this one http://hitechmom.com/dont-share-another-post-read-one/ Wed, 23 Nov 2016 17:41:59 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1896 We are exiting an era of journalism where the credibility of news agencies was taken for granted. A mere decade ago, it was safe to assume that the daily paper or the evening news was only publishing the most credible information. Today, when “news” can be created and shared by anyone with an internet-connected device, it’s more important than ever ... Read More

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We are exiting an era of journalism where the credibility of news agencies was taken for granted. A mere decade ago, it was safe to assume that the daily paper or the evening news was only publishing the most credible information. Today, when “news” can be created and shared by anyone with an internet-connected device, it’s more important than ever to hold ourselves accountable for the part that we take in sharing this information.

Back in the 1980’s, Heather Locklear could tell 2 of her friends about her Faberge shampoo, and they’d tell two friends, and they’d tell two friends, and so on, until we all had super-amazing, voluptuous hair. (Click to watch the video)

I dont need to. It agrees with my preconceived views and biases so it must be true

did you fact check this before posting it?

Today, when we read posts that align with our pre-conceived notions of what’s right and wrong, we decide to share them with our friends, who also read them and share them with friends. Within hours a post can go viral, regardless of its accuracy. In sharing these stories, we aren’t just affecting our chances of having a good or a bad hair day like we were back in the 80s. Today we are changing people’s lives, we are influencing political outcomes, and sometimes even jeopardizing the safety of others. It’s more important than ever to double-check the information that we are sharing to make sure it’s true.

I’ve put together a list of 10 things that you should consider before you share an image, post, or news article on social media:

1.Don’t just read the headline

According to mediashift.org, “many news organizations pair an article about a rumor or unverified claim with a headline that declares it to be true. This is a fundamentally dishonest practice.”

Is the headline sensational? Don’t share it before you actually read the article. Some websites are counting on the fact that you will not read the article and will take the headline at face value.

2. Cross-check the information

Especially if an article, post or image seems sensational or hard to believe, Google some of the keywords that describe it. Are other news sources reporting on the same facts? Is there an obvious bias or another side to the story? Consider this information before sharing it.

3. Do a reverse image search

A widespread trick that sites use to get you to share an article is to use an old or fake photo in conjunction with a sensational headline. Sometimes graphic or sensational images from another time or place are used to sway opinion regarding a current event, such as this picture from Woodstock that was used to influence opinions about the media coverage of the North Dakota pipeline protests. This post used an image from a different time or place and passed it off as a current photo.

fake photosSometimes the photo is an outright fake, as was the case with the photo of the shark swimming in the street after a Hurricanes Sandy, Irene, Matthew, and other flooding events around the world.

How can you keep from getting fooled by a fake image? You can do a Google Reverse Image search. Instead of typing in keywords, you can upload a picture to Google, and it will find other pages that feature the same image, as well as visually similar images.

Click here to learn how to do a reverse image search on Google

4. Who is the writer?

Is the author’s name listed in the article? If not, is it from a blog written by one person? What other types of articles does the same author write? Is it satire? Is there a political bias? Is it an advertisement? Is it overly sensational? If you answer these questions before you share an article, this can mean the difference between sharing an article that’s written to fool someone vs. one that’s intended to inform.

5. Is it from a legitimate, unbiased source?

One of the easiest ways to decipher whether an article is fake or biased is to look at the source. An article from theonion.com may seem real, but the entire site is satire. An article from foxnews.com is likely to have a conservative bias. An article from The Huffington Post is probably going to have a liberal bias.

How do you figure out which sources are biased or satire? Take a look at the language used in headlines. Does ever article seem to serve a  particular political agenda? If so, there is probably a political bias to the site. Do headlines seem silly or sarcastic? It may be satire. Is the site full of advertisements and is the article split into multiple pages? It might be click bait. These types of sources (satire, hyperpartisan or commercial/clickbait) tend to stretch the truth to carry out their agenda.

6. Is it fake or a hoax?

Websites exist that can help you figure out whether or not sites, articles, images, and rumors are real or fake. If something seems too good to be true, copy and paste the URL of the article in question, or plug in a few keywords to one of the following tools:

Myths, urban legend, hoaxes:

Politics:

7. Is the source biased?

You might not appreciate the importance of deciding if an article or website has a political or ideological bias. The reason that this is important to consider is because pages with a hyperpartisan slant to the right or the left tend to publish false or misleading information more than those that fall closer to the middle of the political spectrum. This is not to say that all information from these sites is untrue, but before you share an article, consider the bias and check for accuracy.

Bias is usually very easy to find by looking at the title of the site and other articles published, but if you are unsure, give this tool a try: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/

8. Did the author cite any sources?

Does the author make claims that are not backed by real data? Where does the writer get his or her information? Does the author link to or name the sources used in the article? Examine those sources and be skeptical of articles that do not cite any.

9. Are the statistics valid?

A recent study found that 74% of all stories published online use incorrect statistics. Double-checking all statistics for accuracy is important. If you were to double-check the statistics that I used in this paragraph by doing a simple google search, you’d likely find that I completely made up that 74% value. Gotcha!

Figure out if statistics are correct, and find the source that generated the statistics. You will want to consider any bias that the curator of the statistics may have.

10. What are the consequences?

Think about the implications of sharing before you click the share button. If you share a post that isn’t true, you’re contributing to the larger problem that we have concerning fake news and inaccurate information online. A 2016 study by Pew Research found that 62% of adults get news from social media. Like it or not, this is where people are getting information.

If you are sharing information that is untrue, you are contributing to a problem that can significantly influence people’s lives. We elect our government leaders based on information that we get online. People’s lives can be adversely affected by viral content.

Remember that there are always two sides to a story. If we are only reading one side in an article, we should seek out the other. If we continue to share information blindly without doing any investigation, we are contributing to a problem that can not only spread misinformation, but we can ruin people’s lives.

Think and research before you share a post.

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16 Things I’ve Learned While Pokemon Hunting with my Children http://hitechmom.com/16-things-ive-learned-pokemon-hunting-children/ Thu, 14 Jul 2016 23:49:40 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1861 Pokémon Go is super fun, no matter how old you are. As a 43 year old tech geek, I was initially impressed with how seamlessly the developers implemented augmented reality and location data into the game. Soon, I became completely immersed and addicted to collecting these little pocket monsters, checking for new Pokémon and Pokéstops everywhere I went. I urged my children to download ... Read More

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Pokémon Go is super fun, no matter how old you are. As a 43 year old tech geek, I was initially impressed with how seamlessly the developers implemented augmented reality and location data into the game. Soon, I became completely immersed and addicted to collecting these little pocket monsters, checking for new Pokémon and Pokéstops everywhere I went. I urged my children to download the game until they were addicted as well.

As we started trolling the neighborhoods and the local parks for our daily Pokémon fix, we started realizing that not only were we having a blast, but we were learning quite a bit about our town, one another and the people who inhabit it. Now, one week into the obsession, I’ve learned:

  1. That there are a lot of historical landmarks in our area that we did not know about
  2. That a neighbor has a DeLorean in his garage! (I don’t think there’s room for a lab and a crazy doctor to make it into a time machine, though.)
  3. That there is a pretty sweet park a couple of miles away that we’ve never visited with a big pool, splash pad, volleyball, basketball, and all kinds of cool stuff. (There is also a spot where you can sit and reach 2 Pokéstops and a gym at the same time!)
  4. That there is a family who hangs out in our neighborhood park every night. It looks like several generations. The parents sit and talk or walk around the trail while their kids play together. Every night!
  5. That the pool is closed on Monday
  6. That my youngest daughter is obsessed with the idea of walking and pet-sitting my older daughter’s dog
  7. That squirrels are fond of my daughter’s boyfriend
  8. That there is a family in the next town who really know how to throw a super-amazing amazing birthday party (I wanted to crash it). They were talking in Spanish, so I wasn’t sure what they were doing, but it looked like the most fun party in the history of parties.
  9. That grown men play soccer in the middle of the day on weekdays?
  10. That there is a cow statue around the corner with paintings of dogs on it
  11. That there is a really scary spider in our garden
  12. That Walmart is infested with Rattata and Pidgeys
  13. That my middle daughter can submit a resume to the game store around the corner (we met the owner), that the games there can be used as leverage to make my youngest daughter do yard work, and that my husband is a legendary Galaga player.
  14. That the guy on team Valor at the park really needed this game as an outlet for… something. Man, he’s really into it.
  15. That “those brown rattata” aka real-life squirrels, might bite, according to a stranger at the park
  16. That our shared data MIGHT just make it until the end of the billing cycle without going over…
  17. I’ve also learned a little bit about Pokémon, and why my kids loved it so much when they were younger.

Before you go, be sure to take a look at Pokémon Go: A Guide for Parents

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Easily choose sound inputs and outputs on Mac http://hitechmom.com/easily-choose-sound-inputs-outputs-mac/ Mon, 11 Jul 2016 12:03:03 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1849 Mac Tip: Do you frequently change your sound input or output on your Mac? Did you know that you don’t have to go to system preferences to do this? When you click on the speaker icon in your menu bar, usually you get a volume slider: (If you don’t see this slider, go to system preferences – sound and check ... Read More

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Mac Tip:

Do you frequently change your sound input or output on your Mac? Did you know that you don’t have to go to system preferences to do this?

When you click on the speaker icon in your menu bar, usually you get a volume slider:
Mac volume slider

(If you don’t see this slider, go to system preferences – sound and check the “show volume in menu bar” box)

Now go back to that menu bar icon and hold down your option key while you click on it.

option click sound menu bar

Instead of a volume slider, you’ll see all of the sound inputs and outputs that are available on your device and you can choose a new one. You also have a shortcut that will take you directly to the Sound preferences.

Want more tips like this? Be sure to sign up for the newsletter

 

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Pokémon Go: A Guide for Parents http://hitechmom.com/pokemon-go-guide-parents-dangers/ Sun, 10 Jul 2016 17:45:03 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1814 Have you heard any of the following phrases lately? “Mom! There was a Pidgey in the restroom with me!” “Dad, you really need to call an exterminator. This house is full of Rattata.” “Mom, dad, I’m going out Pokémon hunting” (and they’re gone for hours) “Can you drive me to the mall or the park so I can battle?” If ... Read More

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Have you heard any of the following phrases lately?

“Mom! There was a Pidgey in the restroom with me!”
“Dad, you really need to call an exterminator. This house is full of Rattata.”
“Mom, dad, I’m going out Pokémon hunting” (and they’re gone for hours)
“Can you drive me to the mall or the park so I can battle?”
If you’ve heard similar phrases, your child might be playing the new, extremely popular “Pokémon Go” game, which has caught on like wildfire since it’s release. As a parent, you will want to know what this game is about so you can talk to your children about how to stay safe while playing it.

Game Basics:

 

pokemon goIn Pokémon Go, you are a Pokémon trainer. The game uses your phone’s GPS location to plunge you right into the middle of the the game. When you open it up, you’ll see a map of your current location superimposed with your character and all of the game elements. Your job is to find wild Pokémon that are near you, capture them, make them more powerful, and later battle your Pokémon to take control of local gyms.

 

The game is exceptionally immersive. The gameplay takes place in your exact location. As you move, the game moves and changes. When you attempt to capture a Pokémon, the game uses augmented reality to superimpose the character over your current environment. If you’re standing in the kitchen when you see a Pokémon on the map, you’ll actually see the character jumping around your kitchen while you capture it.

 

To be successful in the game, you have to get up and move around. If you remain in one place, wild Pokémon will eventually show up and you can capture them, but you’ll soon find that you’ll want to get out and find pokestops where you can get more supplies and gyms where you can battle others. Different types of Pokémon will be found in different types of terrain. “Water type” Pokémon will be found next to water for example. Some types are easier to find in certain geographical areas.

 

Benefits of the Game:

 

Pokemon hunting

“Pokémon Hunting”

The most obvious benefit of playing this game is that it forces you to be more active. You have to move to different locations to get supplies, battle, and find more Pokemon. Sure, you could cheat and drive to some of these places, but once you’re there, you’ll usually find that you have to walk a little in order to get what you want. If you want to hatch an egg, you MUST walk around. Each egg requires a 2-5 km walk before it will hatch.

 

Another benefit of this game is interaction with other players. There is no built-in chat or anything that you see in the game that allows you to interact with other players, but as you get out and walk around, you’re highly likely to encounter other players (actual humans in the wild) trying to get supplies from the same pokestop, battling at your local gym or just out wandering around catching Pokémon in the same area.

 

If your child is playing this game, chances are, you’ve heard them ask to go outside and walk around, ride their bike, or ride their skateboard. Chances are, they were out there for a few hours getting lots of exercise. Your young child may have asked you to accompany them and you inadvertently got to log a couple of miles of exercise while you spent time with your child. If you’re like me, you are a grown adult who has convinced her children to play so that you didn’t have to go Pokémon hunting at the park alone. My 18 year old daughter and I spent about 2 hours doing that last night.

 

What should parents be concerned about?

 

gotta catch em allIn my opinion, this is a great game for your kids to play. It will make them exercise and they might make new friends while they’re out. However, as a parent, there are things about this game that you should be aware of so that you can make sure your child is staying as safe as possible while playing.

 

What happens when kids who usually sit in front of a computer screen all day start walking around hunting Pokémon in the real world while completely immersed in a game? They start running into things, falling, and wandering into places where they shouldn’t be. How can you make this less dangerous for your child? If you learn a few tips about the game, you can talk to your child about how to be safe while using it. I’d recommend playing it yourself, or walking around with your child while he plays it and you ask questions. You will both have a blast if you play together.

 

You don’t have to stare at the phone while walking around.
Let your child know that as long as the game is open on their phone, they can hold the phone in their hand or even put it in their pocket while they walk. If a wild Pokémon appears in their immediate area, the phone will vibrate to let them know. They don’t have to walk around while staring at the map on the screen.

pokemon go at astros game

Captured from club level!

You don’t have to walk to a Pokémon’s exact location to capture it.
When a wild Pokémon is nearby, they can stop in an area where it’s safe to capture the Pokémon. As long as it appears on their game map, they can capture it. They don’t have to walk to the exact location.

For example, your child is walking, the phone vibrates, they look at the screen and see a wild Pokémon in the middle of an intersection. They don’t have to physically stand in the middle of the intersection to capture it. They can stand right where they are, or even walk a short distance to a place that might be safer. This feature was purposefully programmed into he game to keep players safe.

Bring a buddy and be aware of your surroundings
They will need to be conscious of their surroundings while they capture Pokémon. They’ll see a live view of the area where their phone is pointed, but they need to be aware of what real-world dangers might be lurking over their shoulder. My recommendation to keep them safe is to always bring a buddy while out Pokémon hunting.

Choose a username that isn’t identifying
There is no built-in chat feature in the game, but if your child captures a gym, their username will appear to anyone in the area who touches the gym to see the details of who is in control of it. Since your child will have to physically be near that gym to do battle, it’s probably not the best idea to have their actual name as the username.

pokemon gym pokestopBe cautious when visiting Pokestops and gyms
We have 3 Pokestops and 2 gyms in our neighborhood. Whenever my daughter and I are out playing the game, we ALWAYS see other players hanging out near gyms and Pokestops. Check out what happened at this local park.

So far, the people who we have run across have been harmless, but you never know who might be waiting at a gathering place ready to take advantage of a kid immersed in a game. Your child might actually make some new friends at these places, so I wouldn’t suggest forbidding them from going there at all. Just like any place that your child will hang out in the real world, there are benefits to being there and there are also dangers. Make sure you know where your child is going, make sure that they are accompanied by someone who can help keep them safe, or even better… take them there yourself. You can drive up to a Pokestop or gym and stay inside of the car to take advantage of these places (as long as you can get close enough to it in your car).

Pokemon LureBe even more cautious at Pokestops with “lures”
There is an item called a “lure” that players can purchase with in-game tokens. They drop it at a Pokestop and wild Pokémon are lured to that area for a certain amount of time (30 minutes in our experience). Other players can also benefit from the lure and they can go to that stop and catch a bunch of Pokémon at the same time. You’ll know that someone has dropped a lure at a Pokestop because that Pokestop will have confetti flying out of it on the map. Hurry up and get over there and capture lots of Pokémon, but know that you’ll run into other people there. You might make some new friends. However, even my teenager was skeptical about how safe it is to have the power to lure a bunch of kids to a certain spot for 30 minutes. I’d personally want to accompany my child to one of these stops. Use your own parental judgement and set rules with your child about how to handle this specific situation when they run across it.

Don’t play while driving
Playing the game while driving is the worst idea. If teens are driving from one Pokestop to another, they need to put the phone away while they’re behind the wheel. Let them know that the game is set up so that it doesn’t log miles where you’re traveling at driving speeds. Make them take a buddy who can hold the phone while they drive to further limit the temptation.

Your battery is gonna die
The game uses a lot of the phone’s resources, which include constant location tracking and constant use of the screen, among others. Playing the game will make your phone die faster than normal. You don’t want your child to be several miles from home with a dead phone. Make sure they check their battery level often and that they know to start heading back when it’s low. If you have external batteries, keep them charged and make sure that your child takes them on their hunting expeditions.

Tell them about the battery saver mode that’s in the game settings. This mode will dim the screen and use fewer resources while they’re walking around. Once it’s turned on, they just point the top of the phone at the ground while they’re walking around. It will use less battery and it will vibrate to let them know when there are Pokémon in the area. They can also make other adjustments to the phone settings, like dimming the screen brightness and turning off the AR mode when capturing Pokémon.
Find external batteries on Amazon style=

Watch your gmail password
Players can sign into the game using their gmail account or a Pokémon account. After quitting the game or when trying to log on after the server goes down, you’ll be asked to enter your account credentials. If you’re waiting on the server, chances are you might enter those credentials many times in a public place. If you’re using your gmail address, be extra careful about blocking the screen from people in your immediate area. Giving a stranger access to your gmail address and password can cause you all kinds of misery.

Instead of attempting to login over and over when the server is down, try this website, which will tell you whether the servers are online, unstable or offline. If you use this, be sure to come back every now and then to report how the server is working for you.

My list of benefits was quite a bit shorter than my list of concerns, but don’t let that worry you. I think this game is wonderful. The benefits are so great that I don’t think I need to explain them in as much detail as the concerns. It makes kids exercise and talk to each other. It’s a great, new way to spend time with your kids that BOTH of you will enjoy. As a parent, you know how important those things are. I am not a Pokémon fan, but I have been having a blast playing this game with my kids since it came out. Give it a try!

You may also like: 16 things I learned while Pokémon hunting with my children

 

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How to Split Screen on Mac http://hitechmom.com/split-screen-mac-2/ Sun, 08 May 2016 03:34:30 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1797 Don’t you hate moving and resizing your windows so that you can see everything you’re working on? Resizing windows is soooo 2010. El Capitan (version 10.11 of Mac OS X) introduced a new feature called Split View, which allows you to quickly arrange 2 apps side by side without the need to manually resize your windows. If you have El ... Read More

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Don’t you hate moving and resizing your windows so that you can see everything you’re working on? Resizing windows is soooo 2010.

El Capitan (version 10.11 of Mac OS X) introduced a new feature called Split View, which allows you to quickly arrange 2 apps side by side without the need to manually resize your windows.

If you have El Capitan, you can give it a try. Here are the instructions from Apple.com:

Enter split view:
1. Hold down the full screen button (green button) in the upper left corner of a window
2. As you hold the button, the window shrinks and you can drag it to the left or right side of the screen.
3. Release the button, then click another window to begin using both windows side by side.



This is great, but I found an even better way to gain this functionality on a Mac. It’s through an app called Magnet.

Why Magnet?

Apple’s split view only gives two options – side by side or full screen. Magnet lets you quickly snap your windows into your choice of 8 different positions, plus centered or minimized.

Apple’s split view takes several clicks to get the windows arranged the way you want them. To snap a window into position with Magnet, you just pick it up and drag it to the top, bottom, side, or corner of your screen and the window will snap into place.

You can even use keyboard shortcuts with Magnet! Hold down the option and control keys along with one of your arrow keys to quickly snap a window to half screen at the top, bottom, right or left side of the screen. Hold down the option and control keys with U, I, J or K to snap to the top, right, bottom or left quarters.

magnet split screen mac

If keyboard shortcuts aren’t your thing, you can make a shortcut to Magnet live in your menu bar. Just go up there and choose which position to snap your windows.

magnet mac split screen

Don’t have El Capitan? Never fear, Magnet works on your Mac if you have 10.8 or later.

Give it a try today: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/magnet/id441258766?mt=12&at=10lSkY

mac split screen

Interested in Home Automation? Check out HiTechMom’s companion site, SmartHomeRecipes.com where you can find “recipes” to make your smart home devices work together. Similar to the way that a traditional recipe can make plain ol’ chicken taste better by mixing it with a pinch of salt and a dash of lemon juice, our smart home recipes make your current smart devices even better by creatively mixing products together or adding a dash of a service like IFTTT.com.

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iOS tip: Drag to erase bad memories http://hitechmom.com/ios-tip-drag-erase-bad-memories/ Sat, 23 Apr 2016 22:44:21 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1766 Select and delete many photos at one time on your iPhone Did you take 20 photos on a date only to realize later that he eats his fries with mustard or that she pronounces cole slaw as, “cold slaw?” It’s time to go home and watch Seinfeld and just forget that this night ever happened. It’s also time to delete ... Read More

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Select and delete many photos at one time on your iPhone

Did you take 20 photos on a date only to realize later that he eats his fries with mustard or that she pronounces cole slaw as, “cold slaw?”

It’s time to go home and watch Seinfeld and just forget that this night ever happened.

It’s also time to delete those photos.

how to drag to select multiple photosGo to your photos and touch “select” at the top right to select several at once.

Now don’t be a chump and tap each and every photo. Just drag your finger diagonally from the first photo to the last and it will select the first one, last one, and everything in-between.

(If you have trouble making it select and it just tries to scroll, drag to the right and then downward)

I hope you enjoyed that tip! If you’d like to see more tips like this every week, sign up here: https://goo.gl/tGtA8O

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Night Shift will help you sleep better http://hitechmom.com/night-shift-will-help-you-sleep-better/ Mon, 18 Apr 2016 21:09:19 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1754 Have you updated to iOS 9.3 yet? The reason I ask is because it contains a cool new feature called Night Shift. At sunset, Night Shift will change the color of your display to a warmer hue and then back to normal in the morning. This shift from looking at a screen with a bright blue tint to one with ... Read More

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Have you updated to iOS 9.3 yet? The reason I ask is because it contains a cool new feature called Night Shift.

At sunset, Night Shift will change the color of your display to a warmer hue and then back to normal in the morning. This shift from looking at a screen with a bright blue tint to one with a warmer, yellowish tint, is supposed to make it easier to fall asleep at night.

(I find myself turning it on in the daytime sometimes as well – I personally find it to be easier on my migraine-prone eyeballs).

Give it a try. You can turn it on in Settings – Display and Brightness – Night Shift
night shift settings in iOS 9.3

If you leave the “Scheduled” switch off, it will automatically change whenever your phone determines that it’s sunset in your area. If you’d rather schedule it for a specific time frame, just turn the switch on and choose the time frame.

You also have the choice to “Manually enable until tomorrow” and it will ignore your schedule and just stay on until the next day.

Down at the bottom, you can adjust how warm you want the screen to be with the slider.

(Night Shift is available on iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, and iPod touch-6th generation.)

And of course, you can pair Night Shift with the super-awesome and free white noise app, NiteFan, for the best night sleep ever. NiteFan simulates the sound of a fan and allows you to mix and match sounds until you find the perfect one. Developed by yours truly.

Download NiteFan: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nitefan-white-noise-fan-app/id1011621168?mt=8

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Are you a Windows user who wants to learn how to use the Mac? http://hitechmom.com/windows-user-wants-learn-use-mac/ Tue, 15 Mar 2016 21:53:23 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1694 Switching from PC to Mac? Need Help? Are you proficient on a Windows® computer, but want or need to switch over to the Mac®? I’ve created a course just for you. You can try out 3 of the videos from the course and get a couple of pretty cool freebies in the FREE mini-crash-course. Click below to sign up: How ... Read More

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Switching from PC to Mac? Need Help?

Are you proficient on a Windows® computer, but want or need to switch over to the Mac®?

I’ve created a course just for you. You can try out 3 of the videos from the course and get a couple of pretty cool freebies in the FREE mini-crash-course. Click below to sign up:

How will you learn about the Mac?

In this class, you’ll learn how to apply what you already know about Windows to the Mac, making it much easier and faster to learn and much less painful when switching from PC to Mac. The goal of this course is to give you an overview of how the Mac operates, how to change important settings, and how to manage your files. We will go over the Dock, the Menu Bar, window behavior, the mouse and the trackpad, keyboard shortcuts, managing applications, creating and removing shortcuts, understanding file management, finding your way around, making selections, using an external hard drive, changing preferences, and file sharing.

At the end of the course, you will know enough to be dangerous, and you’ll be ready to start learning all about the different applications that came with your Mac. You’ll start to see how by just learning a few basics, that you become a Master of your Mac!

This course is designed for those who were comfortable using Windows and are now switching over to the Mac. It’s also for those who are considering making a switch but haven’t taken the plunge yet. It’s helpful if you already have a Mac, but if you don’t, you could certainly just watch the course and decide if this is something that you want to dive into.

Take a sneak peek:

Click here to view on YouTube

Sign up below:

Microsoft, and Windows are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
HiTechMom.com is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft or Apple Inc.
Apple and Mac are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

 

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Mac Basics: Learn to use the Mac’s Dock http://hitechmom.com/mac-basics-learn-use-mac-dock/ Thu, 03 Mar 2016 04:17:09 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1684 This is a video from my new course on Udemy that covers Mac® Basics for those who are used to using a Windows® computer, Mac OS X Fundamentals for Windows Brains. The Mac tutorial is an introductory course for people who are thinking about switching over, or for those who have recently switched and are feeling a bit confused. We ... Read More

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This is a video from my new course on Udemy that covers Mac® Basics for those who are used to using a Windows® computer, Mac OS X Fundamentals for Windows Brains.

The Mac tutorial is an introductory course for people who are thinking about switching over, or for those who have recently switched and are feeling a bit confused. We will start at a blank Mac desktop and talk about what you see on that screen and then dive deeper into things like file management and system preferences. Along the way, I will help you use what you already know about Windows to learn how to use a Mac.

Take a look at the video below and learn about all of the things that the Dock can do for you! If you want to continue learning, sign up for the FREE crash course, which will get you 3 videos from the course, a couple of freebies, plus a 50% off coupon for the full course. Click here to sign up.

Video transcript:

Mac Basics Tutorial – Learn the Dock in the Mac Operating System

In this lesson, we’re going to learn about the bar at the bottom of the screen that’s called the dock. First, let’s learn what it does and then we’ll make some comparisons to Windows.

Shortcuts

The dock does a lot of things. What you see on the dock are shortcuts to apps. You have a dividing line on the dock and on the right side of it you have shortcuts to different files and folders. If I click on it, there are actually files inside a folder. Down here at the end is your trash can and down at the other end you have your Finder. The Finder is where you go to look for all your files and organize your files, but we’ll talk about that a little bit later.

Application Launcher

You can launch applications from the Dock. I can click on Contacts to open that up. It bounces to let me know that it’s loading and then you see a black dot underneath that icon. That black dot signifies that that the program is open. I’ll close the window and the black dot disappears. Now I know that Contacts is not open.

Launchpad

It also gives you a way to get to all of your programs here with Launchpad. What I’m seeing here on the Dock right now is not everything that I have installed, but if I click on Launchpad this is going to show me everything. Notice that there’s two dots right here signifying that there’s a page one and page two. You can click on the dot or you can swipe with two fingers on a trackpad or swipe with one finger on a mouse and see both pages. If there’s something in here that you don’t have a shortcut to on the dock, such as Google Chrome, you can just drag it down, and that’s how you make a new shortcut on the dock.

Windows Equivalents

The Dock is comparable to the Taskbar in Windows in that it lets you open applications and switch between applications. It shows you which applications are open with the little dot, and it lets you pin an unpin things to it like when we dragged down the shortcut to Chrome. The Dock is also comparable to some of the functionality in the Windows Start menu because it gives you a quick way to get to all of your applications with Launchpad. Launchpad is also very similar to the Windows 8 Start screen.

Shortcuts to files

Notice that I can take a file and drag it down here to the right to the right side of the line and I can make a shortcut to that file right here on my dock, similar to the way you make a shortcut to files on the Desktop in Windows. So it’s also similar to Desktop shortcuts in Windows.

‘Pinning’ Application Shortcuts to the Dock

Just a few more tips about using the Dock. If I go to my Launchpad and I open up something that’s not currently in the Dock like Microsoft Word, the program is going to show up here at the end of the dock. It’s bouncing to let me know that it’s loading. So now when I quit Word… so I’m gonna go to the menu bar and quit Word. It’s icon is going to disappear from the dock because I didn’t originally have it there as a shortcut.

So let’s say I open up Word and I think, well this is a shortcut that I would like to keep in my Dock. I could have just gone to Launchpad and dragged it down here like it did with the Chrome icon, but since it’s already open, I don’t have to go through that. I can just do a two finger click on the trackpad or right-click on the mouse, go to options and tell it to keep in Dock. This is kind of similar to ‘pinning’ something to the Taskbar in Windows. Now that I’ve told it to keep it in the Dock, this time when I go to Word and quit, the icon is actually going to stay in the dock after the program closes.

Resize and Change Behavior of the Dock

Another tip about the Dock is that you can resize it, and you don’t have to have it at the bottom of the screen. You can move it either side of the screen. Let’s look at resizing it. You have this line right here that divides the shortcuts to files and folders from the shortcuts to applications. Whenever you hover over it, you see two up and down arrows. If you hold down and move up and down, you can resize it you can make the Dock bigger smaller just by dragging on top of that line.

If we go up here to System Preferences in the Apple menu… System Preferences, which we will talk about later, are like Control Panel in Windows, there are preferences for the Dock. Here we can also resize it. You can make it smaller, make it larger. Magnification: notice how right now with magnification turned off, when I hover over the icons, it just shows me the name. If I turn on magnification now and I hover of the icons, they get a little bit bigger as I move over them. I can decide how much bigger they get by using this slider. Or I can turn it off again. I can decide if I’d rather have it on the left side of the screen or the right side of the screen. There are other system preferences here for the dock that you can experiment with and see how you like it.

Want to Learn More about the Mac Operating System?

Want to learn more? Click here to take the FREE mini-crash course!




Microsoft, and Windows are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
HiTechMom.com is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft or Apple Inc.
Apple, Mac and Launchpad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

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So you want to learn how to make an app? http://hitechmom.com/so-you-want-to-learn-how-to-make-an-app/ Wed, 04 Nov 2015 01:47:39 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1621 How to Make an App Are you itching to create the next greatest app in the app store, but you’re not sure how to get started? In this article, I will give you ideas and resources that will help you bring your first app from your brain all the way to the app store. My Story I know where you ... Read More

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How to Make an App

Are you itching to create the next greatest app in the app store, but you’re not sure how to get started? In this article, I will give you ideas and resources that will help you bring your first app from your brain all the way to the app store.

My Story

I know where you are coming from. I’ve dreamed of creating my own app for many years. I struggled to read technical books about Objective-C and iPhone development. I found training videos online that put me to sleep. I went back to school and studied basic programming and was overwhelmed with the amount of time that it was going to take. I learned the basics of object-oriented programming as I jumped around through all of these different training materials, but I never learned enough to actually create anything.

Last summer, bored with my procrastination and tired of jumping down rabbit holes, I decided that I was going to come up a super-simple app idea, figure out how to create it, and take the plan from start to finish. I did it. I started in late June and had an iOS app in the App store by August. That was a HUGE hurdle to overcome, but I was surprised at how easy it was once I set a goal and found the right resources. I’ll share what I’ve learned so far.

Your App Idea

How to make an app, your app idea

The most fundamental part of developing an iPhone app is having an idea. Have you ever thought, “man, that would make a great app”? Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have at least one great idea that you’d like to develop. You may also have an idea about how you can make an existing app even better.

Cultivate that thought process. You can develop a mindset of generating ideas. Any time you have an app idea, pull out your phone and jot down that idea in a note. I recently wrote an article about how you can use Siri to make this process easier.

You’ll be surprised how many ideas you’ll come up with after starting your list. As you learn to code, you can go through your list and figure out which ideas are possible to create at your current skill level. This will give you projects to work on while you sharpen your coding skills. It will be easier to execute your super-amazing app idea if you have a few smaller projects under your belt first.

Be sure to take a look at this document from Apple while you’re in the idea stage. This is written by the people who will eventually review your app to decide if it can be submitted to the iOS App store and lists the most common reasons that an app will be rejected.

Plan – Design

Before you start a single line of code, you should have at least a rough sketch of what your app should do. There are many tools that will allow you to do this digitally, such as:

  • AppCooker: Build prototypes of your app on your iPad
  • DevRocket: This tool helps you create mockups and app icons right inside of Photoshop. If you’re already a Photoshop user, you might check this one out.
  • OmniGraffle: You can create wireframes, outlines and more with their tools. They have tools for Mac as well as for iPad.

how to create a app, Refurbished MacBooks 300 x 250

My personal favorite way to plan an app is using 3×5 notecards. You can scratch out a rough sketch of what should be on each screen of your app. This will allow you to refine your idea, make notes on the back, and change things that don’t work well. If you realize that a big change needs to be made, you can just toss a notecard away and draw a new one. After your notecards are created, take a photo of them so you’ll have a digital copy. Now you’re ready to learn how build your app.

To code or not to code…

how to make an app, gamesaladYou don’t necessarily have to know how to code to create an app. There are websites and software available that will allow you to create simple apps and games without coding, but you will have to pay for this convenience. Most tools will allow you to build for free and then charge whenever you are ready to submit your app to the app store. Here are a few of the better ones that I’ve run across:

GameSalad: I really like this platform. Drag your graphics into the program and then you create rules that tell them how to behave. This is a great way to develop 2D games with simple mechanics. You can download and use the software for free and pay when you’re ready to submit to the app store. You can publish to pretty much any app store, not just Apple.

Unity and Unreal Engine: When you’re ready to dive in deeper, have more control over your game, and create more complex games, these are great options. Both have a graphical interface to create your games, but allow you to also dive into the code (C++).

AppsZero: If you just need to create a simple app for your business, check out the templates at AppsZero. You can build your app for free and then pay monthly depending on how many apps you create. The prices are very reasonable. I signed up for this at the beginning of my app-venture, but then I decided to create an app that didn’t fit into their templates. Their customer service was wonderful about giving me a refund after I explained that to them. I’d give it a shot if your app fits into of their templates.

Sploder allows you to make your own free games and share them online. I’m not mentioning this tool because of that, obviously, since you can’t publish your games to the App Store, but what I love about this site is the little graphics editor. You can easily create and save graphics for your games.

Learning Swift or Objective-C

how to make an app, swift-screenshotIf you’re not creating a game, if you want the ultimate control over every aspect of how your app looks and behaves, or if you aspire to be a professional developer someday, you’ll want to learn how to use Swift or Objective-C to create apps.

iPhone apps are coded using Objective-C or Swift using an IDE called Xcode. Objective-C is a language that was developed in the 1980’s and is used in Apple’s OS X and iOS operating systems. Swift was introduced by Apple in 2014 and is touted as a more concise, contemporary and easier to program language. While Swift is easier to learn, because of it’s youth, you will find more resources on Objective-C. However, more and more information is being introduced all the time.

There are tons of online resources to help you learn to program. Some people will tell you that it’s important to learn the fundamentals of programming before you get started on your app. While this may be great for some, I found that personally, I needed to work toward a smaller, more attainable goal to stay motivated.

If you want to know how exactly how I learned to create my app, this is how:

Udemy.com Udemy has TONS of courses on Objective-C and Swift. Most of them are project based, so you will be creating apps as you learn to code. My favorite Swift courses are taught by Nick Walter and Rob Percival. You will build several apps by the time you finish one of their courses and they are very easy to follow. They also go into some of the foundations of Swift programming so you’ll understand what you’re doing. Sign up for Udemy, take a look around and put your favorite courses on your wishlist. With a bit of tweaking, you may be able to turn one of your Udemy projects into an app that you can submit to the App store. While you’re browsing around on Udemy, be sure to add my “Mac OS X Fundamentals for Windows Brains” course to your list if you’re brand new to Mac.

Don’t be discouraged if you still really don’t “get it” after going through a project-based course. At some point, you just have to sit down and learn the fundamentals. I am very impressed with this free iTunes U course from Stanford University. I have not found a video course anywhere on the web with a teacher that explains these concepts as well as he does. This course assumes that you know some object-oriented programming already, so this is one that you might save and come back to if you’re just starting out in the programming world.

Lynda.com is the granddaddy of all video tutorial sites. For one monthly fee, you have access to their library of Swift, Objective-C, Xcode, and programming tutorials, plus tutorials for everything else under the sun. If you learn enough Swift and then you need some Photoshop help, it’s all going to be on this site.
Get a 10 day free trial to lynda.com: Get 10 days of free unlimited access to Lynda.com.

Unfortunately, I have not found an iOS developement book that I’m really happy with. If you have any that you’d like to share, leave a comment below.

Perhaps the most important resource for using Swift and Objective-C is developer.apple.com. The documentation here will be a valuable resource as your coding and it also contains step-by-step instructions on creating an iTunes connect account, creating certificates, uploading to the App store, etc.

Submitting to the App Store

how to make an app, submit to the app storeOnce you’ve created your app, it’s time to submit it to the app store! Many of the tutorials above will take you through the process of submitting to the app store. If not, just check out developer.apple.com for instructions. Once submitted, apps can take as few as a few hours to be approved to several weeks. This site will give you the current average time that’s being reported: appreviewtimes.com

Don’t be discouraged if your app is rejected the first time. You may have to go back and make some changes. Be sure to read the documentation and follow the instructions for re-submitting your app, otherwise you might be like me and send them the same build twice.

My app was rejected the first time because it was too simple. It was just a switch that played a fan sound. I went back to the drawing board and added several other sounds that could be mixed together and played in the background while the phone was asleep. That version was approved. I’m currently working on an AppleTV version of the app that was just rejected by the app review team. I’m back to the drawing board again, but I’m hoping to submit an even better version of it very soon. I have several other app ideas in the works. The ideas are more complicated and I’m constantly learning more about Swift so I can create my super-amazing app idea at some point.

I hope you’ve found this guide helpful. I’d love to hear your own app developer stories. You can leave them in the comments.

Remember, the most important part of all of this is to do SOMETHING. Don’t just keep that idea in the back of your mind. Find a way to make it happen!

The post So you want to learn how to make an app? appeared on HiTechMom.com.

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How to make your iPhone remember things for you http://hitechmom.com/siri-iftt-reminders-remember-things/ Thu, 22 Oct 2015 02:20:54 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1591 The best ideas tend to come when you’re driving, taking a shower, or doing some other mindless task when there’s not a place to write anything down. Am I right? So how’s a person supposed to remember these mind gems at these inopportune times? It’s not like you can grab a notebook and a pen while you’re flying down the ... Read More

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The best ideas tend to come when you’re driving, taking a shower, or doing some other mindless task when there’s not a place to write anything down. Am I right?

So how’s a person supposed to remember these mind gems at these inopportune times? It’s not like you can grab a notebook and a pen while you’re flying down the highway or grab your phone when you’re in the middle of a shower to record your brilliance!

ideas while driving

I just had the best idea! But I have no place to write down this idea! OMG life is RUFF.

In this article, I’ll give you a couple of very simple ways to remember random thoughts by using your iPhone with Siri. Plus, you’ll learn an automated (and awesomely nerdy) way of taking those reminders and moving them into Evernote.

“Hey Siri”

Did you know that you don’t even need to touch your phone to activate Siri? You can set it up so that you simply say “hey Siri” instead of grabbing the phone and holding the home button.

turn on hey siri feature

Make Siri listen to you all the time

Activating this feature will make the suggestions in this article easier to perform. As long as your phone is plugged in whenever you’re driving or doing other things, you can just say “hey Siri” and she’ll start listening.

(On some newer iPhone models, your phone doesn’t even need to be plugged in, just close enough to hear you.)

To turn this feature on, go to settings – general – Siri – and switch on “Allow Hey Siri”

turn on allow hey siri

Settings – General – Allow “Hey Siri” and follow the prompts

“Siri, make a note”

When inspiration strikes, you can simply say, “hey Siri! Make a note” and Siri will ask you what you want to make a note about. Siri will then create a new note in the notes app that contains the text of what you said.

siri take a note

Take a note!

“Add to my — list”

You can also tell Siri to add to a list that you have set up in the reminders app. You’ll need to have a special list set up just for this purpose. Go ahead and open reminders and create a new list.

Let’s say you called your new list “random thoughts.” Just say, “hey Siri! Add to my ‘random thoughts’ list.”

She will then ask you what you want her to remember.

siri add reminder to list

Make Siri add a reminder to a list

Using IFTTT

I found that using Siri to keep track of my random thoughts was very useful. The only problem was that I rarely opened my notes or reminders app to look back at the thoughts. I actually considered setting a reminder that said, “remember to look at your reminders.” It’s just not something that I do on a regular basis.

However, I use Evernote on my Mac all the time. It’s open all day and I keep track of almost everything in this application. I thought, “hmm, wouldn’t it be great if I could just get Siri to put these thoughts into Evernote?”

IFTTT.com to the rescue!

IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It’s a website were you can automate certain processes to make things happen automatically. Learn more about it here: www.ifttt.com/wtf

I have a recipe on IFTTT that performs the following action:

IF This: I add a reminder to my the list in my reminders app that’s called “Evernote list”

THEN that: Take that reminder and copy it to the end of a note in Evernote.

Why is this cool? Because you can’t use Siri to add something directly to Evernote, but you can make Siri add something to your reminder and then let IFTTT move it over to Evernote for you automatically. To use this recipe, create a free IFTTT.com account, add the “reminders” and the “evernote” channels, and then edit this recipe to your liking:

IFTTT Recipe: Add reminders to Evernote connects ios-reminders to evernote

You can also experiment with other channels and have your reminders save to a google doc, a spreadsheet, or any of their other connected services.

I hope that using Siri will allow you to remember all of those important thoughts that would otherwise forget! If you would like to receive an email whenever a new post is written on HiTechMom.com, be sure to subscribe below:

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How to save or follow Facebook Posts without adding a comment http://hitechmom.com/save-facebook-posts/ Sun, 27 Sep 2015 22:08:15 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1515 Facebook Notifications Have you ever run across a post on Facebook that looked interesting, and you wanted to save the post for later or get notifications of new responses? Some people do this: They respond to the post with a period or with the word “save” or “follow” so it will show up in their notifications later. Did you know ... Read More

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Facebook Notifications

Have you ever run across a post on Facebook that looked interesting, and you wanted to save the post for later or get notifications of new responses?

Some people do this:

save Facebook posts

They respond to the post with a period or with the word “save” or “follow” so it will show up in their notifications later.

Did you know that there’s a better way?

save Facebook posts

What’s under the arrow?

Near the title of each post, you will see a downward facing arrow. Click on that arrow and you will see some cool options:

Save a post to read later, kind of like a bookmark

save Facebook posts for later

You can save the post for later without publicly posting to the comment thread for the entire Facebook world to see.

To retrieve your saved posts, first click on the “more” button at the bottom of the Facebook app’s screen (on the Facebook website, the saved section is on your sidebar)

save Facebook posts - touch more button

And now scroll down until you see “saved posts”

saved-section2

You will see all of the posts you’ve saved and you can delete them with the … button.

saved-post-list2

Get notifications whenever others comment on a post

Do you want to follow a conversation and receive a notification whenever someone new comments on a post? You can do this without commenting with a . or the word “follow,” which interrupts the conversation.

get Facebook notifications

Just click on that little arrowhead again next to the person or group’s name. If you want to be notified whenever someone new comments, choose “turn on notifications for this post.” You can also turn OFF notifications to a post here in this menu.

Be a Facebook hero and share this post when you see someone do this.

And while you’re on Facebook, be sure to like the HiTechMom.com facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hitechmomdotcom/

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Choosing the best laptop for college http://hitechmom.com/choosing-the-best-laptop-for-college/ Sun, 14 Jun 2015 14:28:25 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1353 Congratulations! Your child and your money are getting ready to go to college! It’s time to start shopping for dorm room decor, college supplies, and all of the other things that a young man or woman needs to embark on their new adventure. A computer is probably at the top of this list. If this purchase seems overwhelming because of ... Read More

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Congratulations! Your child and your money are getting ready to go to college! It’s time to start shopping for dorm room decor, college supplies, and all of the other things that a young man or woman needs to embark on their new adventure. A computer is probably at the top of this list. If this purchase seems overwhelming because of the hundreds of choices that you have, this article will help you get started with the process.

Be sure to scroll to the end of the article and download an abridged “cheat sheet” version of this article that you can take with you while you’re shopping!

Choosing the best laptop for college

Laptop or Tablet?

Your first question might be whether to purchase a tablet or a computer. Two of a tablet’s greatest strengths are taking notes and reading. You can use a stylus to write handwritten notes directly on the screen, type notes on the on-screen keyboard, or purchase an external keyboard for easier typing. Most college textbooks have an electronic version that can be purchased or rented for viewing on a tablet or computer. Carrying around a tablet instead of multiple books and folders can make walking around the campus quite a bit less grueling.

Tablets also have several disadvantages. They are less powerful than a computer, the apps that you can run are more limited, and saving a file generally requires using cloud services. In my opinion as a mom in college with a husband and daughter in college, and as a technology specialist in a high school with an iPad program, I would not recommend a tablet as the only “computer” that you send your child to college with because of it’s limitations. If you are considering this, I would recommend talking with an advisor at the college first. You want to make sure it will work for all of the services that your child will need to interact with, and you’ll want to know if your child will have access to a computer in a lab or library if the tablet limits them from completing certain assignments.

If you purchase a tablet, click here to check out my article about the essential apps to download for college (or high school)

Laptops

A laptop is larger than a tablet, but is still portable enough for students to bring to class. The correct laptop should run any software that’s required, will allow students to read ebooks, type notes, access the internet, and should meet all of the requirements of college studies.

Mac or PC?

If you chose to purchase a computer, your next question might be whether to purchase a Mac or a PC. Your greatest consideration should be your child’s field of study. Many general studies courses will only require that your child have a laptop capable of running Microsoft office and accessing the web. Both Macs and PCs can do this. However, as your child advances into courses that are specific to his or her major, they may be required to use specific programs that may not run on every computer. A graphic design student may be required to use a Mac. An architecture student may need a PC to run AutoCad. It is very important for you to check with the school and find out which programs you will need to purchase. You can do a google search to find out what the recommended computer specifications are for running that software.

Refurbished MacBooks 300 x 250

If you find that your child would be successful on either a Mac or a PC laptop, you will want to consider your child’s comfort level and knowledge of a particular operating system. What does your child know how to use already? You want your child to be able to use the computer to learn, not struggle to learn to use the new computer.

What do the specs mean?

CPU / processor:

CPU processor specs

What is it?

This is the main “brain” of your computer. It processes all of the information.

How is it measured?

The speed of your processor determines how fast it can process information. Modern processor speeds are measured in Gigahertz (GHz). A CPU with higher GHz will process data faster.
You will also see reference to how many CORES a processor has. Back in the old days (a few years ago), computers only had one core to process all of information that needed to be processed. Everything went to that one core. Today, almost all computers boast “multi-core” processors. Each core divides up the work that the processor has to do and processes it faster. So, in theory, a 1 GHz DUAL core processor can work twice as fast as a 1 GHz SINGLE core processor. (I say “in theory” because the software you’re using has to be written in a way to take advantage of multi-core processors for you to see a difference).

Can this be upgraded later?

Yes and No. You can upgrade this, but it’s cost-prohibitive. It’s almost always less expensive to purchase a new laptop if you feel you need to upgrade this.

RAM:

RAM

What is it?

RAM (which stands for Random Access Memory) is like a computer’s short-term memory. It remembers all of the things you are doing on your computer RIGHT NOW, such as how many applications are open, which pages are open in your browser, the most current changes to your word processing document that haven’t been saved yet, etc. The contents of your RAM are wiped clean each time you restart your computer (or quit an application, close a window, etc).

How much do I need?

If you like to keep a lot of applications open at one time or if you use applications that require your computer to temporarily remember lots of information, you’ll want more RAM.
Examples of applications that require a lot of RAM:
Photoshop, 3D games, movie editing, 3D modeling, graphics work.
Examples of applications that DON’T require a great deal of RAM:
Word processing, basic spreadsheets, web browsing, email.

Can this be upgraded later?

After some time, if you find that you need more RAM to make your computer run better, it’s one of the more inexpensive upgrades that you can make. You may want to find out how easy it is to upgrade on the particular computer that you’re looking at. You’ll also want to know what the total amount of RAM is that you can put into that particular machine (they have limits).

Hard drive (SSD or HDD):

Hard drive

What is it?

The computer’s hard drive is like it’s long-term memory. This is where you save things permanently. Typically, you’ll save files such as word processing and spreadsheet documents, photos, movies, music, things you download from the internet, and things you create and save in different applications.

How much hard drive space do I need?

Files that contain text are much smaller than photo files. Movies are even larger. Think about how many of these types of files you’ll want to save when you consider the size of the hard drive your computer will have.

Megabytes and Gigabytes and Terabytes, Oh My!

1024 Kilobytes (KB) = 1 Megabyte (MB)
1024 Megabytes (MB) = 1 Gigabyte (GB)
1024 Gigabytes (GB) = 1 Terabyte (TB)

What’s the difference between SSD and HDD?

Traditional hard drives (HDD) write your data to a metal platter that spins at a high speed. Most computers today still use these types of hard drives.
SSD stands for solid-state drive. This type of disk contains no moving parts and is faster and more reliable in a laptop than a traditional HDD. A popular example of an SSD drive is a USB thumb drive. Because SSD technology is more advanced, the price for this kind of storage is typically higher for a smaller amount of storage. A computer with an SSD will be able to fetch files from the hard drive faster and you will experience faster performance.
Some computers also boast a “fusion drive” which is a combination SSD/HDD drive. System files are saved to the faster SSD section of the disk, giving you better performance, and you save files to the HDD portion, giving you more space.

Can this be upgraded later?

If you run out of hard drive space, you can always buy a relatively inexpensive external hard drive, or you can upload files to cloud storage. You can also replace the hard drive that’s currently in your computer with a larger one down the line.

Video card:

Video card

What is it?

A video card is a piece of hardware inside of your laptop that takes information from the main processor and turns it into a picture that you see on the screen.

Integrated vs. Dedicated

When you’re shopping for a computer, you’ll see references to “integrated” and “dedicated” GPUs. (GPU stands for graphics processing unit.) An integrated GPU uses your computer’s main RAM and CPU to process data. A dedicated (or discrete) GPU is a graphics card that has it’s own little processor and memory on the card that’s used just for processing graphics. You will get better performance when using graphically-intensive applications such as games or 3D graphics with a dedicated GPU. Most users are just fine with a cheaper, integrated GPU.

What do you need?

If you are a gamer or if you work with 3D graphics, you’ll want to do more research and get a laptop with a high-end graphics card that suits your needs. For the rest of us, just don’t sweat this specification.

Other specs:

There are other things to consider when buying a laptop, such as screen size, how many USB ports it has, etc. These are simple specs, but don’t underestimate their importance. A large screen is great if you’re gaming or doing graphics, but if you’re carrying it around campus all day, you might prefer a smaller, lighter screen.


Get a FREE Laptop buying guide cheat sheet when you sign up for our newsletter. Print it out and take it shopping with you!
laptop buying guide cheatsheet
[optin-cat id=”1348″]

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Protect your kids on your home network http://hitechmom.com/protect-your-kids-on-your-home-network/ Thu, 07 May 2015 21:19:49 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1301 The post Protect your kids on your home network appeared on HiTechMom.com.

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Block your kids from inappropriate websites

You have kids at home. You probably also have lots of gadgets that access the internet in your home, such as computers, tablets, phones, game systems, streaming boxes, and even devices that your kid’s friends bring to your house.

How do you protect your kids from accessing inappropriate content when it’s so accessible? You could set restrictions on ALL of those devices individually, but there’s actually a really cool, free solution from a company called OpenDNS that will set restrictions on your entire wifi network. You can block a site (or a category of sites), and they will be blocked on every device that connects to the wifi in your home.

What can this service do for you?

OpenDNS filtering options (click image to zoom)

OpenDNS filtering options

Once it’s installed, you log in to your dashboard at OpenDNS.com and you can choose entire categories of websites to block, such as adult websites, chat, drugs, etc. A complete list of their categories can be found here.

You can also block specific websites in addition to, or instead of, entire categories.

I’ve used it at times to temporarily block access to distracting websites such as YouTube during times when the kids should be doing homework. Once the homework is done, I turn the access back on.

When your child encounters a blocked website, they’ll come to an OpenDNS block page that you can customize with your own messages and graphics. There is a link on the page that they can use to plead their case if they think they should have access to it. It will send you an email to let you know that they’ve requested access to it and you can make the decision to unblock it or leave it.

How do you get started?

Setup is relatively easy. You just change a setting on your wifi router. They have instructions available for most of the common wifi routers and they have a support team who can help if you get stuck. The first step is to set up a free account:
https://www.opendns.com/home-internet-security/parental-controls/opendns-home/

OpenDNS setup

Choose “Home Routers” when you get to this part

When you get to the “change your DNS” part, you’ll want to select “Home Routers.” On the next page, you can search for the type of router that you have and get setup instructions.

If you need help at any point, you can visit this page: https://support.opendns.com/home
Search their help topics or “submit a request” for support.*

This isn’t the only solution

This is a great content filtering system, but it’s not the whole solution. There are ways to get around it, which I will not talk about here because I do not want to aid and abet the enemy… I mean the children. Also remember that whatever you block from the kids will be blocked from your own devices, unless you use cellular data or you set up a way to bypass it.

However, especially for younger kids, this is one step closer to controlling what they can access on the internet and keeping them safe online. This, in addition to parental restrictions on their devices (for when they are not connected to your network), established rules, and parental monitoring will give you a more controlled environment. If you have any other suggestions to keep kids safe on the internet, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Photo credit for this article’s featured image, Lars Plougmann

*This article is for informational purposes only. You will need to contact OpenDNS for any issues that arise with their service or setup. See my disclaimer

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6 Apps that will motivate you to work out http://hitechmom.com/6-apps-that-will-motivate-you-to-work-out/ Tue, 05 May 2015 02:47:26 +0000 http://hitechmom.com/?p=1229 There are some people who require no extra motivation to work out on a consistent basis. I am not one of those people. It’s very easy to say, “I’ll skip that workout today.” If you are like me and could use an extra push to get your fanny in gear, check out these apps. I’ve picked out 6 of my ... Read More

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There are some people who require no extra motivation to work out on a consistent basis. I am not one of those people. It’s very easy to say, “I’ll skip that workout today.”

If you are like me and could use an extra push to get your fanny in gear, check out these apps. I’ve picked out 6 of my favorites ones, chosen because they are either superior to other apps in their category, or they take on the issue of motivation in a fun, new way.

Would you be more motivated to run if Zombies were chasing you? Then try Zombies, Run!

workout motivation app
Free – iPhone/Android

Would you run fast if you were being chased by zombies? I’ll bet you would! This app will immerse you in the storyline of a zombie apocalypse…

“You tie your shoes, put on your headphones, take your first steps outside. You’ve barely covered 100 yards when you hear them. They must be close. You can hear every guttural breath, every rattling groan – they’re everywhere. Zombies. There’s only one thing you can do: Run!”

If you are motivated by games, great storylines, or if you are a fan of zombie shows, this app will make exercise feel like you’re living out your own personal episode of The Walking Dead.

Click here to download Zombies, Run! from the App Store
Click here to download Zombies, Run! 5k Training from the App Store

Would you be more motivated to workout or eat healthy if it caused you to earn or lose money? Then try Pact

workout motivation app
Free – iPhone/Android

Would you skip a serving of veggies if you knew it would cost you $10? Would you be more motivated to exercise if you were going to earn a few dollars for doing it consistently? Well put your money where your mouth is…

“Pact is the most effective way to keep your fitness and weight loss resolutions in 2015! Earn cash for staying active, paid by members who don’t. Stick with it, and Pact will motivate you to hit your health goals week-to-week!”

Pact integrates with other apps, such as RunKeeper, Fitbit, Jawbone Up, MapMyRun, and MyFitnessPal.

You’ll like this app if you are motivated by cold, hard cash, achieving set goals, and community support.

Click here to download Pact from the App Store

Are you motivated by using one of the best fitness tracking apps available? Then try Runkeeper

workout motivation app

Free – iPhone/Android/Apple Watch

“Track your run pace, measure workout distance, chart weight loss, crush training goals and more with LifeHacker’s Best Running App! RunKeeper is the simplest way to improve fitness, whether you’re just deciding to get off the couch for a 5k, biking every day, or deep into marathon training. ”

 

  • track many different kinds of workouts
  • plan your route ahead of time
  • share with your friends – keeps you motivated – leaderboard
  • get audio updates during your workout, or see updates on your pebble or apple watch
  • create a training plan to help you work towards a goal
  • share workouts with friends to compare your progress or compete with them
  • sync with many different apps and devices

 
You’ll like this app if you are motivated by: Statistics, earning small rewards, achieving set goals, challenges with friends, integration with other health and fitness gadgets, apps and services

Click here to download RunKeeper from the App Store

Are you motivated by a training plan that helps you reach an attainable goal, one small step at a time? Then then try the official C25K app

workout motivation app

1.99 – iPhone/Android

C25K stands for “Couch to 5K.” The C25K program was created to help beginner runners gradually work their way into running a 5K. The training is divided by weeks. For the first week of the program, you jog for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds, and repeat this for 20 minutes. The next week, you jog for 90 seconds and walk for 2 minutes. After 9 weeks of gradually increasing your running time, you are able to jog the entire distance of a 5K.

The C25K app helps you through the program by giving you voice cues when it’s time to jog and time to walk. It also gives you motivational tips and records your stats. You’ll find quite a few of these apps in the app store, but this is the official one, created by the folks who created the program.

“Get off the couch and get running with the OFFICIAL Couch to 5K® training app from Active.com! This oft-imitated program has helped thousands of new runners move from the couch to the finish line. Spend just 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week, for nine weeks, and you’ll be ready to finish your first 5K (3.1-mile) race!”

This app is great for those motivated by: training plans, gradual & attainable goals, statistics, virtual coach, community, achieving set goals

Click here to download Couch to 5K® from the App Store

Are you motivated by a community committed to helping you reach your goals, or by one to one coaching? Then try CoachMe

workout motivation app

Free – iPhone/Android/Apple Watch

“Coach.me users have succeeded in more than fifty million goals. Choose your goals. Track your progress. Get any question answered instantly.”

CoachMe will hold you accountable to any goal, not just fitness goals. Get advice, motivation and reminders from over 10,000 different communities. You can get motivated from the community or choose to have in-app one-to-one coaching from a real person for $14.99.

For those motivated by: community motivation, 1:1 coaching, goal tracking, achieving set goals

Click here to download Coach.me from the App Store

Are you motivated by all-day fitness tracking and challenges? Then try FitBit

workout motivation app

Free – iPhone/Android/Windows Phone

You may be familiar with some of the FitBit activity trackers that you wear:
Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, Blackworkout motivation app
Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband, Black, Largeworkout motivation app
Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband, Black, Largeworkout motivation app
Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black

The FitBit app that works with these trackers can be used with the gadgets or without. Stay motivated by participating in challenges with your friends or by keeping track of the amount of activity you are completing each day.

“Use this app on its own to track basic activity and runs, or connect with Fitbit’s line of activity trackers and the Aria Smart Scale to get a complete picture of your daily stats—including steps, distance, calories burned, sleep, weight, and more.”

This app is great for those motivated by: fitness accessories, community, challenges with friends, all day activity tracking, achieving goals

Click here to download Fitbit from the App Store

HiTechMom’s Favorite Things (Oprah ain’t got nuthin on these)

When you are running around and exercising with these apps, you don’t want to hold your iPhone. These are 2 of the products that I’ve used that I just LOVE that hold your phone for you.

The first one is an armband, which allows you to easily look at your iPhone if you need to, but keeps it out of the way when you don’t. I like this particular one because it’s cheap, lightweight, and water-resistant enough to allow my phone to survive a light rainfall. I’m including links to the one I use for the iPhone 5s, along with links to the one made for the 6 and 6+:


I JUST found this, and I just love it! It’s like a stylish fanny pack! You can even use this when you’re not working out to hold your things:

FlipBelt holds your things when you work out

FlipBelt holds your things when you work out. Look how “flippin” cute it is!

FlipBelt – The World’s Best Running Belt & Fitness Workout Beltworkout motivation app


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The post 6 Apps that will motivate you to work out appeared on HiTechMom.com.

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