Safeguard family stories; Exiting group chats
Also: My favorite watchband
May 1, 2022 | View PDF
Q. I love making printed photo books on my computer. Is there a way to make something like a photo book, only with text instead?
A. There are dozens of different tools for creating printed books on computers, but most of them are complex and hard to use. One exception I am very intrigued by is a Web-based service called Storyworth (www.storyworth.com).
For a one-year subscription of about $100, Storyworth will email you (or a gift recipient) a weekly question. After a year, the questions and answers are collected in a printed hard cover book.
As I have written about many times before, storing very important data only on a computer is a challenge, especially when you want the data to be handed down from one generation to the next.
Storyworth has found a way to build family stories into something like a photo album without requiring any computer expertise beyond email messages. They provide the starting points (although you can also add your own), a working structure and a final printed product. You or someone you know provides the stories.
You can collaborate with others as the stories are written during the year, while at the same time creating a family keepsake that will last.
Q. How do I quietly leave a group chat inside the Messages app on my iPhone?
A. Because of the nature of how instant messages work on cell networks, there is no single answer. The chats where messages appear inside green bubbles are especially difficult to manage.
The Apple Messages app uses the color green to denote “original” SMS-style text messages.
When the Messages app first appeared years ago, blue bubbles usually meant that the message did not incur a per-message fee, compared to green bubbles, which did. Those cellphone plans are mostly gone, but the blue and green bubbles have adopted a fresh meaning: messages sent from an Apple device are blue and those that do not are green.
The sender’s device matters because it affects how you manage incoming notifications.
At the very top of each chat in the center of the screen is an icon and a name. If the chat is with one person, that person’s name appears below their image. If the chat is a group, the text will show the number of people inside the group or the group’s name. Tapping the name and icon will reveal an Info panel.
The Info panel’s content varies depending on the chat. The easiest situation is when all the message bubbles are blue. In that case, one of the choices inside the Info panel is a button titled “Leave this Conversation.” Tap the button and confirm to leave the group. The other members of the group will “see” that you left.
If the Leave button is not present, it means the group chat contains at least one member who used a traditional text message and leaving is not possible.
However, there is one remaining option. And while it does not stop group messages, it will stop the unwanted alerts and allow you to quietly ignore the group. Reopen the Info panel, and turn on the switch labeled “Hide Alerts.”
Q. Do you have a favorite Apple Watch band?
A. I adore the Braided Solo Loop. I think it is a wonderful product. Over the years I have tried a number of different bands, both from Apple and third parties, but I was happiest with the Sport Band that came with the watch.
Last summer, I switched to a Solo Loop. I liked the Sport Band, and the Solo Loop was a nice upgrade. It was very lightweight and it did not have a clasp to scratch against the keyboard tray on my desk.
The Solo Loop was my favorite until my wife bought me a Braided Solo Loop as a gift. It is as comfortable as the Solo Loop, but its blend of materials feels like a natural fabric.
Watch band selection, like any jewelry or clothing choice, is deeply personal and one size never fits all. For me, the Braided Solo Loop is the perfect blend of form and feel. It stands out as the best band I have ever used.
Wander the Web
Here are my picks for worthwhile browsing this month:
Smartphone History Uncovered
A 30-minute documentary about Handspring Inc., an early pioneer in handheld computers.
Where is Webb?
This portal explores the journey of the James Webb Space Telescope.
According to scientists, Cosmic Latte is the average color of the universe. Seriously. They can call it whatever, it looks like beige to me.
Bob has been writing about technology for over three decades. He can be contacted at email@example.com.