Online photo frames, social media meltdown, iPhone Magnifier
Bob's Tech Talk
August 1, 2023 | View PDF
Q. I want to gift someone an online photo frame and update it myself remotely. Is that possible?
A. Yes, it is possible, but you will need luck and perhaps some patience. The frames that I have experience with are from a company called Nixplay (nixplay.com), and I recommend them without reservation.
Online photo frames require wireless internet, obviously. Make sure the recipient already has a Wi-Fi network.
Whenever connecting a new device to Wi-Fi, there is always a chance that it will not work at first. Ideally, you can deliver your gift in person. That way, you can troubleshoot any difficulties directly. However, connection and setup problems are less likely nowadays, so don't shy away from trying a remote setup with a less tech-savvy friend.
Nixplay has a feature called Preload that will allow you to set up a new frame with your photos. With luck, all the recipient needs to do is turn on the device, then enter your gift code and their email address.
If the recipient shares their Nixplay account information with you, it's possible for you to log into their account in a web browser and make changes.
I have had a Nixplay frame on my desk for nearly three years. Since then, a number of other family members have added Nixplay frames to their households. They are great way to share memories.
Q. What is happening in the world of social media?
A. Twitter, the social network that depended on short text messages, was sold in late 2022 and became a privately held company. Since then, it has undergone significant changes. Management has changed, the business model has changed, and many of the apps that used to work with Twitter are no longer supported.
In late July, they replaced the blue bird logo with the letter X, as part of the company's new identity, X.com.
Twitter (X) is not alone. This year the entire social network space is going through a period of rapid change.
Facebook renamed itself Meta a few years back, but everyone still calls it Facebook. Nevertheless, Facebook, which also owns Instagram, used Instagram as the launchpad for a new service similar to Twitter called Threads.
Meanwhile, Mastodon and other less well-known social networks vie for attention and new users.
I do not know how social media is going to look in a few years, or even a few months. Clearly the upheaval will result in more disruption in the coming days.
My advice for now: Try to ignore it and wait to see how the dust settles. If this summer's social media meltdown has taught me anything, it's that the connections we build on these platforms can disappear or become something entirely different in the blink of an eye.
Q. My eyesight is not what it was, especially in darker places. Can I use my iPhone as a flashlight?
A. Not only does the iPhone make a great flashlight in a pinch, it can also transform into a powerful lighted magnifying glass. When you pick up an iPhone, before it's unlocked, there should be two small icons in the bottom corners. The icon on the right opens the camera, the icon on the left illuminates the LED camera flash like a flashlight.
But wait-there is more. Tell Siri to "open magnifier" and it will present you with a lighted magnifying glass. The light may be off by default, but all you need to do is tap the flashlight icon on the right to bathe the subject in light.
This setup is perfect for reading a restaurant menu or deciphering the small type on a medicine bottle. If your hands are not steady, tap the large double circle icon to "hold" the viewfinder still.
These suggestions will get you started. I have added a link in the box with tips on how to do more with iPhone's built-in magnifier.
Wander the Web
Here are my picks for worthwhile browsing this month:
iPhone Magnifier Tips
A list of tips and tricks you can do to customize and quickly access the iPhone Magnifier app.
Old School Web Directory
Remember the early days of Yahoo? It's like that, except for quality blogs.
The whimsy makers online still have fun occasionally. Caution: might whet your appetite!
Bob has been writing about technology for over three decades. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.