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Friday, June 29, 2012

Getting iCloud to Work on all of your MAC Devices

If you have more than one Mac Device (an iPhone or an iPad) you may be interested in keeping them all the same. Now you can do that without syncing. Syncing is connecting your device to your computer's iTunes with the cord that came with the device. Now you never need to connect your device to your computer. Everything that happens on one device is also recorded on all of the other devices.

One of the best things about this is that if you download a new app from the app store it is automatically downloaded onto all of your devices. Another helpful thing is that when you change your address book, or calendar on one device it is changed on all of your devices.

The thing you need to know is that all of this can be controlled and must be set up at the beginning. Each device has a System set up area that includes iCloud.

Here is how to get to each one:

On your MAC computer click on the black apple in the top left corner. In the list that appears choose System Preferences and then look for the iCloud icon. If you do not have an iCloud icon you need to upgrade your operating system.
When you find the iCloud icon you can click on it to set up what you want to automatically sync. You then need to do the same set up on all of the devices that you want to communicate with.

On an iPhone or iPad look for the Gear Icon that says Settings down below the icon. It will lead you to the area where you can set up your iCloud. In this way you can set up your iPhone in a different way than your iPad if you wish.

You cannot stream your photos through iCloud unless you have iPhoto 9.2 or later. So far I have not upgraded to a new version of iPhoto, so I still have to transfer my photos the old way. 


So, now you know two ways to sync your device to your computer; through the cloud or using your computer's iTunes and plugging in physically with the cord that came with it. Remember that the Cloud is actually a computer. In this case it would be one of Apple's huge servers. So all of the data that you sync to your devices is also saved on their server. Just be thoughtful about what you want on a public computer. If you have passwords or banking information you may not want to put it on the Cloud. You can choose to sync with the cloud for part of your data and to sync onto your computer for other things. You are able to set it up in whatever way works for you.

This week I helped "coach" at a training session on the iPhone at the Austin Computer Learning Center. ACLC runs mainly on volunteer work, but has had sponsorship from IBM in the past. Many people who teach the classes are retired IBMers. The classes are open to people who are 55 and older and are priced very reasonably. They try to have a coach for every two people in the class. The teacher is up front, but there is always someone next to you to help if you get stuck.  For more information including what classes they offer and handouts from those classes that you can download and print yourself look at:

So, this class was on the iPhone and I learned about several apps that are worth sharing. There are tons of lists of apps online for various subjects and interests, but I think it is still the best to have an app recommended by someone, so here are a few:

Icon for MapQuest
The reason that this is worth downloading for free is that it can actually talk to you and gives you directions! It also shows you, with the click of a button,  where gas, and many other things can be found. When I looked around the area where I live I noticed that some things were out of date, but it was pretty amazing!

This is a free app that keeps track of how many steps you walk and many other things. There is a paid version that keeps track of history also.

This is a panorama photo app! It can take 360 degree photos and stitch them together to be one picture that anyone who looks at it can drag to see the whole panorama!

This app reads regular bar codes. It gives you the price of the item online as well as in locations near you. It includes reviews if you sign up for an account. I used it to look up the bar code on a book I was reading. The book was found right away and then I was able to read reviews of the book.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Images as Answers to a Google Form

I have not been writing for a while. I took a job as a long-term substitute for the technology teacher at University of Texas Elementary and life just got too busy.
Picture of UT Elementary Website

If you want to look at the Digital Stories the kids created click on the image above.

I got a question at about creating a Google Form that allows people answering the form to include images. I decided that should be my first post as I return from my "sabbatical".

First, you may know this already, but here is what I do when a question like this comes up. I go to my search box and type in what I am wanting to know. In this case I used a Google search for "including images in Google Forms". I found lots of information on how to include an image into the form you are making, but none on creating a form that can receive pictures. Here is what I sent to the person that requested help:

"I could not find a way to do this.  You can add an image to your own Spreadsheet and I found lots of ways to change the code of a form so that it allows you to put in images. Teachers want this a lot when they are creating tests. There were suggestions that this be changed in the future in the discussion forum, but it sounded like it is not available now.

The discussion forum about Google Docs that is also a place to suggest ideas. It is possible your answer is here somewhere or you could suggest your idea.!forum/docs

The discussion forum was interesting and searchable! It seems like a good place to go to find things out about all of Google's programs.

picture of discussion groups on Google Forum
It is good to be back. Feel free to add your own knowledge to the comments or to email me any questions you have. Remember that I am available for one on one or group tutoring in Austin, TX.