Mike's Favorite Blog Posts of 2012 - Part 2

As we start to close out 2012, I figured I would share some of my favorite blog posts that I have written this year. Over 100 people now receive my blog posts via email and there are over 450 unique visitors to my website each month. Hopefully, this gives people who missed some of these blog posts the first time that they were published a chance to catch up!

Check out Part 1 of Mike's Favorite Blog Posts of 2012 if you missed it!

30 SECOND TIPS

In these blog posts it is my goal is to show you how to do some neat stuff in 30 seconds or less!

INTERNET

IPHONE & IPAD

MAC

TECH I USE

In these blog posts I share a piece of technology that I personally use.

HOME SCREENS

David Sparks over at MacSparky has been doing this for a long time and I thought it would be interesting to ask my friends, family, and former co-workers what is on their Home Screens!

RANDOM

The name says it all. Some random topic that I thought was worth writing about!

Mike's Favorite Blog Posts of 2012 - Part 1

As we start to close out 2012, I figured I would share some of my favorite blog posts that I have written this year. Over 100 people now receive my blog post via email and there are over 450 unique visitors to my website each month. Hopefully, this gives people who missed some of these blog posts the first time that they were published a chance to catch up!

30 SECOND TIPS

In these blog posts it is my goal is to show you how to do some neat stuff in 30 seconds or less!

5 THINGS

In these blog posts I share various articles, websites, and apps that I found interesting in the previous week.

TECH I USE

In these blog posts I share a piece of technology that I personally use.

HOME SCREENS

David Sparks over at MacSparky has been doing this for a long time and I thought it would be interesting to ask my friends, family, and former co-workers what is on their Home Screens!

RANDOM

The name says it all. Some random topic that I thought was worth writing about!

Home Screens - Jen Biscoe

This is the 26th post in a series called Home Screens. David Sparks over at MacSparky has been doing this for a long time and I thought it would be interesting to ask my friends, family, and former co-workers what is on their Home Screens!

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I have been a lifelong PC user that loves technology with a passion for pictures.   I had an Android phone for years and even purchased an Android Toshiba Thrive.  My Thrive was hardly used as it was not easy to deal with my music, pictures and apps.  It had all the expandability that iPads didn't, I mistakenly chose expandability over intuitive operation and functionality.  i wanted an iPad and finally got one in August.  It was intuitive, easy to transfer my info and awesome.  I quickly decided to get the iPhone 5 and now recently purchased a MacBookPro to manage my large photo library.  I have my pictures more organized upon importing, that I have ever had before.  I love all my Apple products, I could have never imagined how simple Apple/Mac products are to use.  I still have a lot to learn, but I wish I would have made the switch years ago.

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What are your most interesting home screen apps?  

Scanner Pro, 3M Cloud Library, One Click Digital and iPhoto.

What is your favorite app?  

My PCFirst Credit Union App that allows me to deposit checks in seconds by taking pictures of it and sending it electronically.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?  

Spell Tower & Pintrest

What is the app you are still missing?  

One that would allow a friend to send me a playlist and purchase the songs that I don't already have, while using the songs that I already have.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?  

Too many to count ;)

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

I love the integration of all of my Apple devices.  My iPad and iPhone allow me to be more connected, more organized and more productive than I ever imagined.  I have had them for a while now, and I continue to be surprised when my photos are streamed to all my devices without touching anything.  That is purely amazing to me.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?  

I would have an program that would allow PC owners try an Mac and give it back no strings attached if they don't love it.  I don't think that they would get very many back.

Home Screens - Ian Spinelli

This is the 25th post in a series called Home Screens. David Sparks over at MacSparky has been doing this for a long time and I thought it would be interesting to ask my friends, family, and former co-workers what is on their Home Screens!

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My name is Ian Spinelli. I’m a 25 year old marketing and sales professional in the mobile tech space living in the Twin Cities. I’ve spent 5 years working at Apple Retail and have been interested in Apple for around 10-11 years. I currently own: 2010 27” iMac, 3rd Gen iPad, iPhone 5, Apple TV, and my work provides a 2012 13” Macbook Air. It’s a good, Apple-filled life for me :-)

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WHAT ARE YOUR MOST INTERESTING HOME SCREEN APPS?

I’m often very picky about my apps. I typically restore my phone every 6 months to a year, so I download only the apps I continue to use (they tend to collect on the other screens and in folders). Most notable are: Path, CycleMeter, Gas Cubby, Air Video, PlicPlic, Spirit, and Darkside.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE APP?

TweetBot is by far the most used and favorite application. I know, I should say Bible, but social media is part of my job, so it’s expected.

WHAT APP IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

There is a game called Qonqr. Qonqr is the GeoSocial Game of World Domination. It’s addictive. It’s location based capturing of location directly against others all over the world. It’s fun to be at a new place, and try to capture as many places as possible. If you haven’t played it, check it out. It’s easy to play casually, but choose a faction and stay loyal! (I’m Legion)

WHAT IS THE APP THAT YOU ARE STILL MISSING?

That’s a really good question. I’ve tried to find an app that combines grocery list, budgets for food (grocery and eating out), and calorie intake. I don’t want 3 apps, I want one that does it really well, and syncs with iCloud to my Mac or iPad with great stats.

HOW MANY TIMES A DAY DO YOU USE YOUR IPHONE/IPAD?

Multiple times an hour. My iPhone is my main tool of connection to the world. If I had to set a numeric value to it, I’d say 150-200.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FEATURE OF THE IPHONE/IPAD?

Siri. Siri is constantly working for me. I step into the car, plug my iPhone into the FM Transmitter, and after that pretty much everything I can do is done by voice. I can play music, send a text message, ask a sports score (or a movie time), set location-based or time-based reminders, and get turn by turn directions, and everything fades flawlessly from one to the next. Siri never ceases to astound me.

IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE AT APPLE, WHAT WOULD YOU ADD OR CHANGE?

This is an interesting question. There is a micro response, and a macro.

On a micro level, I’d set more 3rd party integration into the iOS platform. 3rd party apps should be able to have widgets placed in Notification Center, and I should be able to choose what app is my main camera application when I open from the lock screen. For the Mac, I’d love my dock to be able to have folders of active applications.

On a macro perspective, having been staff, I know they are underpaid. Their love for the culture and the brand blinds them from this. Yes, they get paid more than average retail. They also sell 2.5x more than typical retail employees, and get more efficient every single day. I know they just got raises, but it’s still not enough.

I’ll end this, and many other rants I could have in response to this question with this: Nothing. Apple is what it is today because of the journey and decisions it’s made. It is an entity that takes its own path. For me to alter it based on my own thoughts and agenda would most likely result in either less success (since they’re the most successful company in the world), or some sort of alternate reality that I don’t want to be responsible for :-P

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?

I’d like to thank Mike for the opportunity to type this all out. I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t owned an iOS device to get one. Yes, Android is cool just don’t judge iOS until you’ve owned it. All technology devices have their flaws. Some will be better for certain people than others. But the beauty of iOS is that it fits the greatest number of people to the closest degree. Buy one. They have a return policy for a reason. Have Mike or someone who understands Apple show you around it. Keep an open mind, and remember that what you already know might need to be relearned.

To see what others have on their Home Screens click HERE!

Home Screens - Kyle Puelston

This is the 24th post in a series called Home Screens. David Sparks over at MacSparky has been doing this for a long time and I thought it would be interesting to ask my friends, family, and former co-workers what is on their Home Screens!

Transient

I am 30 years old, married with two kids age 1 and 3. I made the complete switch from PC to Apple a couple years ago because I saw the functionality and ease of using their products. I don't ride the cutting edge of technology but I do keep up with the trend of things.

Transient

What are your most interesting home screen apps?

I'm a Bible guy so Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary and the DesiringGod app would be unique ones that I have. Paper by 53 is a neat app I found for doodling.

What is your favorite app?

The ESV Study Bible app is very helpful for my Bible studies. It allows me to search words that are throughout the Bible and link verses to Facebook. The other app I use often is Feedly for reading the blogs that I follow.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

The iTunes Movie Trailers app. I am beginning to realize that I like most trailers more than the movies! It allows me to save trailers to a favorites page and will show movie times at theaters near me.

What is the app you are still missing?

One that I'm not sure exists. I need an RSS app that allows me to read blog posts offline.

How many times a day do you use your iPad?

Multiple times for news, weather, reading, Bible study, email and Facebook.

What is your favorite feature of the iPad?

Ease of use.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

Try and market the iPad to law enforcement. That is my profession and I see a lot of potential use for this product in my squad car.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I stayed away from Apple products for years because of the price. After getting so frustrated with a high quality laptop I bought I jumped ship. I realized that although their products cost more they are easier to use and last longer. Financially I think it is a wash or maybe a little in Apple's favor even.

Kyle's wife Johanna shared some of the apps on her home screen a few months ago. Make sure to check it out!

Home Screens - Matt Myers

This is the 23rd post in a series called Home Screens. David Sparks over at MacSparky has been doing this for a long time and I thought it would be interesting to ask my friends, family, and former co-workers what is on their Home Screens!

I am a Pastor in Kenosha Wisconsin. I enjoy all things tech. I play a lot of games (strategy, family, computer, video). I am married with three sons, and love my family. I really like food and especially eating or sharing a meal with others. I love Jesus Christ and sharing Him with others.

What are your most interesting home screen apps?

I really enjoy an app called Paper (by 53) it is a drawing app. It allows me to take notes and brainstorm and doodle. Sometimes while taking notes and things, I don’t want it to be typed text, but I need to draw examples, or draw things out while I brainstorm. This has been a great app for that. It is free, although the free version only comes with some basic features. If you want more pens and brushes, you will need to shell out a couple of bucks.

What is your favorite app?

I love Flipboard (especially for the iPad). It is a social magazine app. It connects to Facebook and Twitter, but is also the way that I read my news, blogs and tech updates. It makes all the news sites and even Facebook read like a magazine and I absolutely love it. I use it multiple times a day. They have an iPhone/iPod Touch app as well as iPad app. The iPad app is is a lot better as you have a lot more screen real-estate, but I use the iPhone app as well. This is hands down my favorite and most used app.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

I cannot stop playing a game called Fairway Solitaire. I have beat almost every level and it is extremely addicting. Before that, I was stuck on a game called Spice Bandits.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?

I constantly use my iPhone and iPad. I have everything sync through iCloud so I use it for everything work related / home related from shared calendars with my wife to shared calendars with staff members. It has become an extension of me.

I also use it to read books, read the news and stay connected socially. As a pastor, it helps me keep tabs and stay connected with my congregation.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

Without a doubt, it’s the iCloud. I love how everything syncs and when I add things, they sync with all my devices as well as others that I am connected to. It has single handedly changed the way in which I communicate and work.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

Apple seems to do things that are almost perfect at every step. Small things like limiting the amount you can download while not on wifi. That should be between a user and their mobile service provider. If someone pays for unlimited service, they should not get errors saying you need to connect to wifi to download this item.

With Apple, it is always the small things that are annoying. It works really great, except for this one thing. For example, I hate the way Pages saves files. I would like to be able to integrate it better with Dropbox, but that will not happen, because they want it to integrate with their cloud and they will not play ball.

These are not deal breakers, they are just small annoyances.

Home Screens - Luke Nomeland

This is the 22nd post in a series called Home Screens. David Sparks over at MacSparky has been doing this for a long time and I thought it would be interesting to ask my friends, family, and former co-workers what is on their Home Screens!

Luke is a sophomore studying Computer Science at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He works at COUNTRY Financial as a Systems Engineer. He enjoys riding his bike and motorcycle. In his down time he tends to his pigeons.

What are your most interesting home screen apps?

I keep a relatively clean home screen so most of my apps are not on it. My most interesting though would have to be SoundHound. It lets me know what songs are playing on the radio if for some reason I don't know what song the song is.

What is your favorite app?

My favorite app has to be Twitter. I always like seeing what the Timberwolves are up to or just to see how my friends are doing. I feel like it breaks up my day a little bit when I check to see what other people are doing.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

Facebook. I know I shouldn't be addicted to it and I wouldn't like to say I am addicted, but I always seem to find myself clicking that button out of habit before I even realize what I am doing.

What is the app you are still missing?

I feel as of now I am up to date on my apps, but new apps are coming out constantly and I know I am missing good ones every day.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone?

Countless number of times to check various social media sites, make calls, or send texts.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone?

I would have to say my favorite feature of my phone would be Siri. She helps you find what you need when you ask her a question. I enjoy when she cracks little jokes.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

I feel like they do a good job of producing their products, the only downside I have found to my iPhone would be when I minimize Youtube while listening to a song it pauses the song.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Overall I am very content with my iPhone. Well worth the price considering I use it as an MP3 player, GPS, phone, and as a computer when I need to find a tidbit of information.