Pass the Phone with Piece of Mind: Guided Access

If you’ve never heard of guided access and ever have the need to pass your phone around (to share a photo in a small group, a phone number, etc…), then you’re missing out. Guided Access is built in to iOS and might as well be called Phone Lockdown – it lets you lock the user into a specific app, disabling any control you choose (in fact, you can disable all controls and buttons) ensuring that when your phone gets back to you, no one has stolen a glance at your email or done that tempting slide over to see other photos. You simply turn it on and set a passcode. Then anytime you want to freeze the screen, triple-tap the home button, set whatever options you like (disable controls, set a time limit, etc…) and hit “Start”. No more snooping!

Never Got Game Programming? Check Out This Book!

This last spring and summer I was fortunate enough to work on a great project – I was the technical reviewer for a book by Arjan Egges – “Building JavaScript Games for Phones, Tablets, and Desktops”. As a programmer who never really “got” game programming, I was really excited to see how it was done with a language that I’m pretty familiar with. The examples throughout the book, and the finished demos that you create, are some of the most intricate and well planned apps I’ve seen come out of a “follow-along” type of book (Much better than my own!). If you’re thinking of jumping into game programming, want to develop something cross-platform, and know even the tiniest bit of JS, you’ll love working through the book.

What Millennials Do and Don’t Do

Our generation is an anomaly. We refuse to do things their way, so they call us entitled. We refuse to sit in cubicles, so they call us spoiled. We refuse to follow their plans, so they call us stubborn. What they are slowly realizing, however, is we’re not lazy, stubborn or entitled. We just refuse to accept things as they’re given to us.

Ran across the quote above from a list entitled “50 Things About Millennials That Make Corporate America Sh*t Its Pants”, and while I don’t completely agree with the entire list, I think it makes some valid points. Often we evaluate that the current “young people” generation’s behavior by previous generation’s standards: If they look like they’re not working, then they’re not. They complain but ultimately will do nothing, when in reality they actually might. As someone who is “between” generations (1982, my birth year, is at the end of Gen X), I see a lot of my beliefs in this list, but also see the value in previous generation’s points of view. Yes, it may seem strange to wear a suit and tie (I don’t wear ties), but to previous generations this was the same status symbol message that newer generations crave by ditching them. In other words, your parents and grandparents wanted a job where a suit and tie were required because that meant they were doing well and making decisions that mattered. Today we want a job without one for the same reasons. 

Love or hate Millennials, but like every generation before them, they’re going to change the world. Perhaps not as radically as they (or others) think, but it’s each generation’s job to shake things up a bit!

Common Sense and Apple Earpods

While I bought an iPhone 5 2 years ago when it was released, I only recently started using, and enjoying, the Apple Earpods that came with it. They’re decent low-cost headphones, and I like the volume rocker / built-in mic. What I was confused on, though, was the carrying case. Specifically, how to get those little pods back in properly. I watched a few YouTube videos, which basically started with “Put the headphone jack on the upper right, start winding around, and when you get to the control / earpods, lay them in…”
Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the worst suggestion I’ve ever seen. You always end up with slack cable, and never a perfect fit. Then tonight I ran across this article and realized… You can just put them in Pod First.
Basically start with the pods in their correct places, coil the cable around until you place the rocker switch in (Placing the other pod’s cable below it) and then wind it up. No excess slack. No problems. No time consuming “lining up”. And… it’s just common sense.
I’d love to say that it’s because I’m tired I never figured this out, but I’ve used these off and on for a few months now… and just never thought to do the winding in reverse!

Is Blogo the New Windows Live Writer

Back in the day (“the day” being 5 years ago), I used to use Windows Live Writer to compose updates for my blog(s). Loved it. Then I switched to a Mac, and Microsoft more or less abandoned Windows Live Writer. Now I’m trying a new piece of desktop software for blogging named Blogo. We’ll see if this gets me writing more. No idea, but I suppose I will get at least 1 post out of my $14.99 investment: This one.

So far the interface looks pretty clean, and easy to use. I worry I might miss my thousands-of-customizable-widgets thing on my generic WordPress installation, but maybe ditching those is a good thing. This actually reminds me a lot of the WordPress app on iOS – simple, clean, easy to post. 

So perhaps a new chapter of blogging on JonWestfall.Com is upon us. Or more than likely, I’ll still stay busy, and forget to blog!