Four WordPress Events in the next two weeks

Written: October 14, 2014

I discovered the Portland WordPress Meetup group a few years ago after filling out a free profile at www.meetup.com. The genius behind Meetup is that it helps connect your personal or business interests with other, like-minded people. Our Portland WordPress Meetup started out with just one meeting per month, and the audience was a wide range of people from first-time bloggers, to start-up business owners, to geeky developers.

Meetup

Now our group has gotten into a monthly series of User and Developer meetings, so that attendees can fit into the group that fits their skills and interests. This October we’re having a record four meetings instead of the usual two, because another neat feature of Meetup is that any member can suggest adding a new meeting, assuming that they have a topic, speaker and location. So here’s what’s in store in the next two weeks:

 

Portland WordPress Meetup

Online our Meetup group now has some 1,313 members, although at a physical meeting you can expect up to 50 people attending. The meetings are free, except for your time, so why not learn something new about creating or updating your own blog or web site and attend one of our informative Meetups. There is always time for you to raise questions and get answers, on the spot without using Google.

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Grabbing Your Attention

Written: October 7, 2014

Motion certainly does get my attention, which is why many web sites today have rotating images along with words to draw us in, tell a story, and ask us to click for more information. Such is this case with author Roland Smith, where we promote his latest books on the Home page using a rotating slideshow:

Once we get used to motion on a web page, then all other pages with no motion look kind of plain and out of touch.

I recommend starting with a slideshow on your Home page, then measure with analytics how many visitors actually click through and land on the Read More page, you may be pleasantly surprised. Another good promotional idea that Roland does is to post a blog for each new book, which then automatically updates his Facebook page status and Tweets. Write once, see everywhere, no that’s marketing automation working for you, saving you time from having to login to each social media platform and copy/paste content.

Android Woes and a Fix

Written: September 14, 2014

The two largest cell phone operating systems are iOS from Apple and Android from Google, so you’re probably using one of these for your own cell phone. Both Apple and Google provide updates that provide new features and fix things like security bugs. The latest Android release was dubbed KitKat, or version 4.4.2 and it came out about a month ago or so. My oldest son had read up about the new features and encouraged me to upgrade, so I did.

KitKat 4.4

My upgrade to KitKat was flawed, because all of a sudden my bluetooth headsets started to crackle and disconnect. The only way that I could make my bluetooth headsets work was to hold the phone two inches away from the headset, so that was certainly not practical. A quick Google search revealed that hundreds of other cell phone users were experiencing the identical issue as me, Android 4.4.2 had effectively killed their bluetooth capability. I phoned the 800 AT&T support and they suggested, “Oh well, just wait for another release to fix this issue.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

What, and in the meantime, how do I operate hands-free?

Not satisfied with that answer, I phoned up the local AT&T Customer Service on Barbur Boulevard in Portland. They told me to come visit the store for diagnosis. The local tech asked some questions, then decided to re-image the phone by installing their master version of 4.4.2, and as a side effect it would remove all of my Apps. I signed the consent form, and waited maybe 12 minutes.

He handed me the phone back, and then paired my bluetooth headset, it now worked just fine.

I was so glad that my local tech support guy at AT&T knew what to do in order to make my phone work again, because I always use my bluetooth headset and it allows me to keep my hands free for typing or driving. I learned not to always follow the advise from the 800 number.

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My Take on the Apple Product Announcements Today

Written: September 9, 2014

In America the popular press talks almost non-stop about: Disasters, politicians, celebrities and Apple. Yes, Apple. Today I watched the live cast of the new Apple product announcements.

iPhone 6

Two new iPhones on the right

iPhone 6
First, the see things differently video started playing, then the live stream died so I had to turn over to CNET where they were live commenting. 30 years ago the first Macintosh computer with iconic mouse-based graphical user interface, and bit-mapped graphics was announced at the Flint Center. Today we heard about the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, like rumored, in screen sizes at 4.7″ and 5.5″, catching up to the Samsung Galaxy Note introduced in 2011.

The A8 chip has 2 billion transistors, designed in the 20nm process node, and a 64 bit architecture. The M8 is the new motion chip which allows Apps to measure acceleration, count steps, stairs, altitude and barometric pressure. About 28 minutes into the announcement the Apple Live cast came back to life.

Related: A Brief History of IC Design at Apple Computer

Apple-A8-Chip

The A8 processor chip

Usability improvements:

Apple fanboys can wait in line on September 19th, or just go online to pre-order on September 12th.

iOS8

On the software side iOS8 comes out on September 17th across most iDevices. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon did celebrity promo videos for the iPhone 6 and 6+.

Related: A Brief History of the Apple MacBook Pro

Apple Pay

Next up was how Apple is replacing physical credit cards with a new payment system called Apple Pay, based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 already use NFC for secure payments with the Google Wallet app. Expect to see Apply Pay launch next month and in a few dozen big-name retailers.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay holds your credit card info

 

Apple Watch

One more thing…. As expected, we heard about the new Apple Watch, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd.

Apple Watch

One of many looks for Apple Watch

The strap is detachable, allowing users to customize the look to fit their own taste. The user interface is new, using the crown dial to select and navigate by clicking or turning. The display is sensitive to both touch and tapping, in a 3D sense. A taptic engine provides physical feedback. The custom-designed chip is called the S1, and complements the Taptic chip. Fitness metrics like heartbeat allow you to track health. You get three Apple Watch choices: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch Edition. You’ll need an iPhone to operate your new Apple Watch (not stand-alone, or interoperable with anything else), and other features or apps include:

Maps

Zoom on maps with twist of watch crown

Health and fitness was the final topic and Tim Cook talked about how the new Apple Watch gives you daily and workout feedback using technology like:

Charging is required daily for the Apple Watch. This watch will cost you $349, and is available in 2015.

Summary

The new generation of iPhone 6 and 6+ are a step in the right direction, as Apple finally offers more than one screen size, following on the success of other consumer product competitors like Samsung and HTC. For me, bigger screen size is always better and I’ve been enjoying a 5.5″ display with my Galaxy Note and Note 2 devices for a few years now. The custom A8 and M8 chips make the iPhone 6 and 6+ possible, continuing the tradition of in-house, ARM-based design.

Apple Pay looks to be another promising merge of business deals and NFC technology to make retail purchasing easier. Apple Pay uses fewer keystrokes than Google Wallet on an Android phone to make a purchase, so that’s an improvement.

The Apple Watch isn’t first to market, but it certainly has the best marketing launch for a product in the wearable category, and I think that offering two different sizes makes more sense than one-size fits all. The $349 price makes this an instant, high-end, consumer status device. I look forward to learning more about the two custom chips inside of the Apple Watch family. As an Android phone user I am not compelled to buy an Apple Watch, and will continue to use my Cat Eye device to track cycling fitness.

Related: IoT Application – Road Biking Fitness

 

Full Disclaimer: I do own shares of AAPL stock and use an iPad Air plus MacBook Pro each day.

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