Category Archives: iPhone & iPad

Square – A New Way To Accept Credit Cards

square

If you buy and sell antiques, art, or collectibles, you’ve probably wanted an easy way to accept credit cards when you were away from your store, without lugging a terminal and laptop around.

Or maybe you just wanted an alternative to PayPal’s virtual terminal – something that was just for credit cards and unconnected to PayPal.

This new gadget from Square may be the answer. It is a small swipe terminal that connects to your iPhone or Droid through the earphone jack. And it is free.

Square reminds me a lot of PayPal’s humble beginnings as a PalmPilot app. And it looks like it could have the same explosive, disruptive growth.

For those who don’t recall the misty, hazy days of the early PDAs – PayPal was introduced as a way to pay people and share money through the PalmPilot’s infrared port. I could beam you $20.00 as my share of a restaurant tab, for instance, and you could pay the bill.

Back in those days, PayPal even paid you $10.00 to sign up. Just open an account and like magic, it had $10.00 in it.

Of course, eventually eBay saw the wisdom of buying PayPal (took them long enough!), and it became the PayPal we know today.

Similarly, Square is starting as a person-to-person app as much as a small business app. (Think Craigslist payments…) The discount rate is a bit steeper than a real merchant account. Fraud may be a problem, as it was in the early PayPal days. And there will no doubt be hardware glitches along the way.

But it is built from the ground up for mobile users. It takes nice advantage of many smart phone features, like GPS, the camera, and email to protect buyers and sellers.

In fact, there are so many cool features, I can’t wait to start trying this out. If you have an iPhone or Droid – can you see a use for Square in your business?

Smartphone Quick Tip – Send Texts Via Email

smsYou can send an SMS text message to any mobile phone from your computer, not just from your cell phone. And the service is not only convenient – it’s free.

There are some situations that call for text messaging. It is briefer than email, more discreet than talkig on the phone, and occaisionally necessary to validate a mobile service.

If you have your cell phone handy, sending and receiving brief messages is usually not a problem. However, there may be a time when you need to send or receive a text and, for whatever reason, your phone is not available or you don’t want to tap out the message with a virtual keyboard.

No problem.

You can text from any email program on your computer.

Most cell phone carriers offer free Email to SMS Gateways. All you need to know is the cell phone number and the carrier gateway suffix of the person you wish to text. This information will go in your email application’s “To” field in the form of “10-digit-number@carriersuffix.com”

For instance, if you want to send a message to an iPhone user on Verizon whose phone number is 206-555-1234, you would send an email to 2065551234@vtext.com

NOTE: This service is not limited only to smartphone or phones that can receive email. It is available on any cell phone that can be used for texting.

HERE’S A LIST OF THE MAJOR US CARRIERS’ SMS GATEWAYS:

AT&T
[10-digit phone number]@txt.att.net
Example: 2125551212@txt.att.net

For multimedia messages, use [10-digit-number]@mms.att.net
Example: 2125551212@mms.att.net

Boost Mobile
[10-digit phone number]@myboostmobile.com
Example: 2125551212@myboostmobile.com

Nextel (now part of Sprint Nextel)
[10-digit telephone number]@messaging.nextel.com
Example: 7035551234@messaging.nextel.com

Sprint (now Sprint Nextel)
[10-digit phone number]@messaging.sprintpcs.com
Example: 2125551234@messaging.sprintpcs.com

T-Mobile
[10-digit phone number]@tmomail.net
Example: 4251234567@tmomail.net

Verizon
[10-digit phone number]@vtext.com
Example: 5552223333@vtext.com

Virgin Mobile USA
[10-digit phone number]@vmobl.com
Example: 5551234567@vmobl.com

HINT: If you need the address of a carrier that isn’t on the list, you can find the SMS gateway by sending or receiving a text msg from the phone to your email address. When you get the email it will include the SMS address it came from.

The Easy Way To Add Files To Your iPad

ADD ANY DOCUMENT TO YOUR IPAD
IT’S AS EASY AS 1-2-3

This article was originally written to demonstrate how to add The Home Run Guide Vol. 2 to an iPad, using DropBox. However, this technique will work with any file, whether it is a PDF, a text file, a photograph, or a spreadsheet. If you’d also like to learn how to add files to a Droid smartphone, please see this article: Adding New Documents to Your Android Phone With DropBox

You can add the Home Run Guide Vol 2 to your iPad in a number of different ways including emailing the PDF to yourself and then opening the attachment on your iPad or by syncing with iTunes on your desktop computer via USB cable.

But the simplest, fastest, and most convenient way to add the Home Run Guide Vol. 2 is with Dropbox.

SIGN UP FOR A FREE DROPBOX ACCOUNT

If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, sign up for one now.

It is absolutely free, with no hidden gotchas. Any document you keep in your Dropbox will be available to you on any computer, smartphone, or tablet that you use — whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac, an Android or an iPhone, an iPad or a Droid tablet — or any combination of these devices.

And did I mention it’s free?

Once you have a Dropbox account, download Dropbox to your computer and add a copy of the Home Run Guide Vol 2 to your Dropbox. Just drag and drop the PDF into the Dropbox folder.

Now open the App Store on your iPad and search for Dropbox.

Tap the Download button and the app will be added to your iPad.

Enter the email address and password you use for your Dropbox account.

BOOM!

You can now see every document you’ve stored in the Dropbox cloud. Best of all, the docs don’t take up every KB of available space on your iPad. They are only permanently saved to your iPad when you add them to your Favorites. (Tap the star icon at the top of the screen.) Otherwise, documents and pictures are just instantly available online whenever you want them.

You can read the Home Run Guide Vol 2 directly within Dropbox, but to get the most out of the Home Run Guide Vol 2, including bookmarks and instant search, use a dedicated PDF app.

GET THE FREE ADOBE READER FOR IPAD

If you search the App Store for “PDF Reader,” you’ll find a good selection. The Adobe Reader app is free and as good a place to start as any, so if you need a PDF reader, download and install the Adobe Reader. (If you’d like tips on using the search features of the mobile Adobe Reader, see this article: Get The Most Out of Acrobat Reader for AndroidsThe Android and iOS versions of the Reader are very similar.)

Your iPad is now ready.

Back in Dropbox, tap on the “Open In” icon (an arrow) at the top of the screen. If you have a number of different apps that can read PDFs, you’ll be able to select anyone you prefer.

Chances are you already had Dropbox and a PDF app on your iPad and you’ve been chomping at the bit to get started. Whether you are an old hand at installing and using apps or if this is all a new adventure, the next steps are the same for everyone:

1. Open Dropbox and sign in
2. Tap on The Home Run Guide Vol 2
3. Start reading in your favorite PDF reader

That’s it – as easy as 1-2-3.

10 Power Uuser iPad Tips

This article was originally written for iOS 6. However, most of these tips still work in exactly the same way.

Even though you can pick up an iPad and start using it immediately, without instruction, there are tips and tricks that will make you much more productive. This short article shows you 10 Power User Tips for the iPad.

1) TURN ON MULTI-TASKING GESTURES

If you don’t have multi-tasking enabled on your iPad, stop reading and enable it right now!

Tap the Settings icon, then go to General in the left hand pane. Scroll almost to the bottom in the right hand pane and slide the Multitasking Gestures switch to “On.”

This will enable a series of very useful gestures and functions.

2) PINCH TO CLOSE

Of course you can always return to the Home screen by clicking the Home button. But sometimes it is easier to just do it with a pinch gesture.

Open your hand wide, placing the thumb at the bottom of the screen and your other four fingers at the top. Now bring all five fingers together in the pinch gesture.

Whatever app is open will close and you’ll be returned to the Home screen.

3) SWIPE UP TO REVEAL THE MULTI-TASKING BAR

Use all four fingers (no thumb) to quickly swipe from the bottom to the top of the Home screen. The Multi-Tasking Toolbar will open along the bottom of the screen, showing the apps you have used most recently. Tap any app to open it. Scroll left to see more apps, scroll right to see basic settings and a media player. (Double tapping the Home button also opens the Multitasking toolbar.)

4) TAKE SCREENSHOTS

Sometimes you just can’t explain things with words. Luckily, the ability to capture a screenshot is built right into the iPad. Press the Home button and the Power button at the same time. When you release them, you’ll hear a click and your screen will flash. You can find the screenshot in your Camera Roll.

5) ADD EMOTICONS & CLIPART WITH THE EMOJI KEYBOARD

In Settings go to Keyboard. The select International Keyboard and then Add New Keyboard. Scroll down to the Emoji keyboard and tap on it.

Next time you use the on screen keyboard, look for the globe icon in the lower left. Tap it to bring up the Emoji keyboard. Tap the various icons on the bottom row to switch styles and layouts in the keyboard.

To return to the traditional keyboard, tap on the globe icon again.

Of course, you can add real international characters to your documents as well by enabling other international keyboards such as French or Spanish.

6) SPLIT YOUR KEYBOARD FOR EASIER TYPING WITH YOUR THUMBS

If you are used to using only your thumbs for typing quick messages, you can literally split the iPad’s keyboard, pulling it into two parts, one on either edge of the screen.

Go to Settings | General | Keyboard | Split Keyboard. Slide the switch to On.

Now just tap and hold with both thumbs on either side of the on screen keyboard and pull it apart. Tap, hold, and slide it back together the return to the full screen layout.

7) TAP TO RETURN TO THE TOP

When you read through a web page – or any long document – it can be annoying to scroll, and scroll, and scroll up again to return to the top. In the Apple apps such as Safari or Contacts, etc., as well as many third party apps you can immediately return to the top by tapping the top of the screen where the time is displayed.

8) CREATE A DESKTOP SHORTCUT FOR FAVORITE WEB PAGES

If you visit the same web page frequently, you can launch it directly from a desktop shortcut. When you are on the page in Safari, click on the Open With icon on the left hand side next to the address bar. A menu with several options including Add Bookmark, Email This Page, and Tweet will appear. Click Add To Home Screen to create a direct launch shortcut.

9) ADD A PERIOD & SPACE QUICKLY

At the end of a sentence, you can quickly add a period and trailing space to start a new sentence by just double tapping the spacebar.

10) TURN ON HOME SHARING IN ITUNES TO SHARE PURCHASED APPS AMONG ALL YOUR IOS DEVICES

Some apps are “universal,” meaning they will work on both the iPad and the iPhone. Some apps are designed only for the iPhone or the iPad. If you have multiple iOS devices, or if you live with someone who also has one or more iOS devices (it can be another iPad or an iPhone – duplication doesn’t matter), you can turn on Home Sharing in iTunes and only buy one copy of an app and use it on multiple devices. All devices must be synced to the same iTunes account. There is no need to buy a separate app for each device – which can be quite a money saver.

 

Eight Apps That Will Make Your iPad More Powerful

Although many people use them only for entertainment – watching movies, reading ebooks, checking in on Facebook – iPads are real computers that can do almost anything that a traditional notebook computer does, up to and including creating spreadsheets, presentations, and documents. Whether you choose to use Apple’s excellent iWork apps or a Microsoft Office mobile app like Word for iOS, you’ll have no difficulty in leaving your 7 lb. laptop as well as your desktop behind while you work in comfort on your coach, at the local coffee house, or on the road.

To harness your iPad’s productivity, you’ll need a few apps. Most apps are free.

Here are seven productivity apps (plus an additional Office Suite) that I consider essential. All can be downloaded through the App Store on your iPad.

A Typical iPad Home Screen

A Typical iPad Home Screen

MICROSOFT OFFICE APPS – WORD & EXCEL: My desktop is a Windows 7 machine, so I want my Office apps to be compatible with Microsoft Office 2010. Although there are many excellent apps to choose from, I use Microsoft’s free Office Apps for iOS. They can handle Word, Excel, andPowerPoint. The apps are downloaded individually, making it possible to pick and choose which one(s) you want. Office for iOS is now integrated with DropBox.

DROPBOX: I rely on DropBox to keep all my working files available and in sync across a number of devices, including a desktop, notebook, iPad and iPhone. DropBox is free.

EVERNOTE: Evernote keeps my notes and client information in sync and available across all my devices. Evernote is free.

ADOBE PDF READER: There are lots of ways to read PDFs on an iPad. The Adobe Reader is free and it includes many features available in premium PDF apps, such as bookmarks, notes, signatures, and drawing tools. You can use bookmarks and the scrubber bar to quickly navigate through long PDFs. And you can sign PDF documents and then email the signed document – no scanner or fax necessary. Adobe Reader is free.

GMAIL: Unless you rely on Exchange to keep your email, calendar, and contacts in sync, you need a reliable, cross-platform email app. If you have multiple devices and you want your email available everywhere, all the time, GMail is the perfect solution. You can use the default GMail address or you can configure GMail to fetch POP email from your other email accounts. There are so many different ways to use GMail – on the web through a browser, on your phone and iPad through the GMail app… you’ll never be out of touch when you are expecting important email. And you’ll never have to remember to close your desktop email reader if you want to be sure to get email on your phone. Like all Google products, GMail is free.

GOOGLE CALENDAR ON THE DESKTOP –  READDLE’S CALENDAR 5 ON THE iPAD: Google Calendar can keep appointments in sync, even though you use something else as your main iOS calendar app. You can sync Google Calendar with the iPad’s calendar, and of course it is the default calendar in all Android devices. If your goal is to note an appointment once and have it appear on all your devices, Google Calendar is the bridge you need to make that happen. Google Calendar is free.

LOG ME IN: LogMeIn is a remote control desktop application. You install it on the host computer (usually your home or office desktop) and then use a remote client computer to log in to the host over the internet. LogMeIn makes it possible to control a computer anywhere in the world exactly as though you were sitting in front of it. (It uses encryption and passwords to make the remote sessions secure.) While it is theoretically possible to use a remote control app on your phone, the screen is too small for this to be practical. However, the LogMeIn app available for the iPad works perfectly. Although your important documents will be available through DropBox, your notes through Evernote, your appointments through Google Calendar and your email through GMail, there will always be some bit of data sitting on a desktop somewhere that you can’t live without. The mobile app requires a paid subscription to LogMeIn Pro. Log Me In is a must have app. It fills the last gap in your portable office.

MORE OFFICE APPS

Apple's Pages

Apple’s Pages

IWORKS (PAGES, NUMBERS, KEYNOTE): If your main computer is a Mac, you may want to use Apple’s iWorks suite on your iPad. Each app – Pages, Keynote, and Numbers – can be downloaded individually. Even if you are a Windows user, you may find you prefer the iWork apps. (I have Pages on my iPad in addition to Microsoft’s Office apps.) They are beautifully designed apps. Pages can function as a simple desktop publisher. Keynote is definitely superior to other PowerPoint compatible apps if you create a lot of presentations.

The only drawback to the iWorks apps is their funky syncing. They stay on your iPad or they can be saved to iCloud. That’s it. They cannot be added directly to DropBox for instance. To get the document, presentation or spreadsheet into DropBox, you will need to email it to yourself, then open the attachment in DropBox and save it there. Not impossible – just unnecessarily dumb.

Although iWorks can save documents in Microsoft Office formats (i.e., docx, xlsx, pptx), the layout and formatting is not 100% reliable. For complex layouts or formatting, you may have to clean up the document when you transfer it to your desktop. (Beware of non-system fonts. It is unlikely that an unusual font on your desktop will be available on your iPad and vice versa. Use simple serif and non-serif fonts to avoid surprises.)

Look for more in depth reviews of these apps as well as short video demonstrations in the coming weeks.