Saturday, September 21, 2013

IOS7 Highlights: Guest Blogger Ben Tignor

Tek-Ninjas, it should come as no surprise to you that my youngest son is an avid Apple user. Fanatical even. 

He and I have been engaging in debate about the pros and cons of the new IOS7. Ben has some good insights, and so I asked him if he wanted to guest-blog. He was excited, and I have learned some useful tips. I hope this is as useful for you as it was for me.

Ben is twelve years old, and currently in the seventh grade.

IOS7 Highlights, by Ben Tignor

Siri and Tools, swipe up to access
IOS7 is obviously a complete visual overhaul of the operating system, from the new lock screen, to the nice parallax effect in the background, but unfortunately, some users believe that the new look is all the update has to offer. While the animations and the sounds are nice, and the update for Siri is interesting (yet somewhat unnecessary), there are a few things that people have overlooked, so I have compiled a small list of changes that I believe are significant improvements.

New Tab System


In IOS6, when browsing, I was strictly a Chrome user, as opposed to in IOS7, where I enjoy Safari very much. Chrome for IOS6 was cleaner, and I liked to have my Google tools immediately available when I signed in. I had tried other browsers including Puffin, but none were as good as Chrome. In IOS7, first of all, Safari looks great! It has a new sleek, light design, and honestly, I would prefer a wood grain design to that weird faux-metal gradient thing they had going on before. It has a new tab system, which is similar to the multitasking of the rest of the OS. When you're on a page you want to read, as you scroll into the content, the menu shrinks, revealing more of the webpage for easier access. Like the rest of IOS7, Safari has been overhauled, and I deleted Chrome minutes after the update.


 Following the success of photo editing/sharing apps like Instagram/PhotoStudio, Apple has changed up the camera to fit the new style. While I am not crazy about how it looks, as Apple went for a darker design that most of the OS does not share, the new features are very useful, and I have found myself using other photo editors less and less. The classics are still there with a few tweaks. Video is more or less the same, but the classic photo system has two big improvements: Burst, and an increased shutter-speed. Burst is for the moments when you want to snap your picture at just the right time, because you know it's coming up, but you miss it by just moment. Now, if you hold down the button, your camera will take multiple pictures at once, and continue until you release the button. The camera can do this now, because of the other improvement. The shutter speed is very much increased. The camera also comes with photo-effects built in, so you can take your black-and-white grainy artsy pictures without using hipstogram or any other app. The Photos app also now organizes your pictures for you, organizing albums for where you were, and when you took it.

Air Drop, share data easily

I know this is not strictly IOS7, but I feel that Apple has really done their best work with their version of Airdrop. For those who don't know, Airdrop is a service Apple provides for all current devices, and it is similar to Dropbox or Bump in the sense of easy file sharing (but not in the sense of permanent storage). You turn on Airdrop in your device, while in Contacts or Photos, and you can see others in the area who also have Airdrop on, and you can then share contacts and files via Bluetooth in Airdrop, and they can share with you. It's easy to do, and very quick.

These are just a few of the new features that immediately grabbed my attention. I'm looking forward to learning more about the new operating system, and sharing what I learn with my dad.

Ben and I will continue to delve into the new tools that IOS7 offers, and I will think about how they contribute to the occupational  performance and relative independence of our students with special needs. 

If you have already discovered a stand out feature please don't hesitate to post here!

Happy iDevice-ing!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Did You Know Your iDevice is a Reader?!?!

Hey Tek-Ninjas! I made a discovery last night as I was running updates on my iPad. I may be the only one this was new to, but man it blew me away!

Settings Icon
Did you know that your iPad can read any text you highlight out loud? And with a quality voice? You can even choose various accents! I was stunned, and once again, I think that iDevices may be one of the BEST THINGS TO EVER happen to Assistive Technology!

It is remarkably simple to set up.

To begin with, go to your settings icon

Step 2, click on "General"
Step 2
Step 3, Scroll all the way down to "Accessibility" 
Step 3
Step 4, Click on "Speak Selection" 
Step 4
Step 5, Click on "On"
Note that in this section you can also change dialects, and the speaking rate. 
Step 5
Now, open any text, such as iBooks, or the internet and At this point, Step 6 is to highlight the selection and then press "Speak"
Step 6
 If mid-speech you wish to stop the reading, where it said "Speak" it will offer "Pause".  
 ...And that's all folks. You now have a great screen reader. It requires students to highlight every section to be read, which is nice... keeps them engaged a bit more.

Happy iDevicing!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion

Big River
Hey Tek-Ninjas!

So, if you've read my bio, you know that I am an artist as well as an Occupational Therapist.

Recently I've been merging my love of technology with my love of the arts, by creating artwork using my iPad. Taking it a step further, I'm venturing forth to sell some of my prints using an online service.

Please take a look at my site here, and share with your friends. I'm certainly not quitting my day-job, or stopping my blog here, but perhaps I can sell some work too!  Thanks for looking!