The Newest iPhone Makes Life Interesting

Oh, dear iPhone, you certainly make life interesting!

A few months ago I purchased the newest iPhone 6s, and it has been an interesting experience! There are frequent system upgrades that I have to perform on it. If I don’t run the upgrades, it does not allow me to make and receive calls, or texts, and acts crazy in general. Even if I do run the upgrades, it still runs crazy. I try to blame it on solar flares, giving Apple the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not really sure if it is solar flares, or hackers, or if the phone haunted by evil spirits, or if it is simply poorly designed. I wish that Apple would send me a text when an upgrade is needed – sometimes I don’t know an upgrade is needed until I am far away from home, and in the middle of something, and need my phone to be working properly. When performing an upgrade, I can’t use my phone. Sometimes the updates only take ten or twenty minutes, but sometimes they take hours! It would be nice to be able to schedule an automatic time for updates to happen, like in the middle of the night, when I’m asleep. But no, I only find out when I’m trying to use my phone, and it is acting crazy! Very inconvenient!

Speaking of crazy behavior, one example is that many times, (several times a day!) when I have the phone resting on a nearby counter, or in the console of the car, I notice, out of the corner of my eye, that it has decided to initiate a phone call with the last telephone number that either called me, or that I had called! I usually notice it fast enough to disconnect the call before it goes through, but sometimes the call is to someone with caller ID, and they will call me back to ask me why I was calling them. When I explain what happened, sometimes I get the impression that they don’t believe me! I wonder if this happens to anyone else……

The dictation feature of the phone gets crazy sometimes, as well. In fact, many times, it stops working completely and I have to reboot the phone, or turn the dictation feature off, then on again. Sometimes that is an indication that it needs an upgrade. Many times the dictation feature does not understand what I am speaking, and types something completely different! For example, once I said “Facebook” and it typed “Face butt.” Yesterday, I was using it to dictate a text message to someone, telling them that I was just getting ready to go into the Giant Food store in Warrenton. This is what it actually typed:

Giant orange zombie
Giant orange zombie

I almost hit “send” before proof-reading it! I can only imagine what the reaction would have been from the person I was sending the text to! What I had actually said was “We are heading into the Giant Food Store in Warrenton.”

Never a dull moment with my iPhone, that is for sure!

Donating Items To Goodwill or Salvation Army

Over the past several weeks, my sister and I have been putting items in bags and boxes that we wanted to donate to charity. We normally donate items of that type to the Goodwill facility in Culpeper, and the friendly (and helpful) employees give us a receipt for the items, which we can use as proof of donation at tax-time, should we need proof. They also give us a coupon for a percentage off of the items in their store. The drawback (in my mind) to donating the items to Goodwill, is all of the bad press that Goodwill has gotten for how their executive makes a huge amount of money, while the employees are paid very little money. In contrast, the Salvation Army has a better reputation. So, this time we decided to donate my items to the Salvation Army, which has a location in Warrenton. We go to Warrenton more often than Culpeper, so we thought that donating items to the Salvation Army would work out just fine.

The process started out as a challenge. Although we already knew how to get to the Salvation Army location, we thought I’d use my smartphone’s Google Maps app to guide us there. I was thinking that maybe Google Maps would have a creative way to get us there faster, or with shorter distance involved. With my sister driving, we were following the Google Maps directions, zigzagging through town (instead of a direct route that we normally would have taken) up until it told us to turn the wrong way down a one-way street. At the time that it told us to turn, we immediately realized that Google Maps was taking us the wrong way, and we didn’t turn. But, that was rather a scary thought that we might have blindly turned down that road if we didn’t already have a good idea of the roads in town!

So, we ignored the Google Maps directions at that point, and continued on the way we already knew how to get there. Upon arrival at the Salvation Army’s location where they accept donations, we saw a very small loading dock, with the words “employees only” painted on the edge of the dock. On the walls beside the loading dock we saw a lot of “No Dumping” signs. There were several items on the ground beside the walls, and in front of the loading dock, and some items on the loading dock. We could see some employees inside the facility, but they did not seem to realize we were there. We could not see any kind of buzzer, or bell to activate to get their attention, but we decided to start unloading the car.

I put a few items on top of the loading dock, and my sister put a few boxes on the ground in front of the loading dock. Before we were finished unloading the car, a lady came out of the facility and before we could even say “Good Morning,” she started to scold us for putting items on the ground. She told us that there was “No Dumping” allowed. We told her that we were not “Dumping,” we were “Donating.” Continuing her scolding, she pointed to the “No Dumping” signs on the side of the walls, and told us that any item not placed on the loading dock itself was considered “Dumping” and that the employees were not allowed to touch anything that was not left on the loading platform. She said anything left beside the walls would simply be hauled away to the dump!

We said “oh, we had no idea, but the loading dock was full and there is no room for the items we wish to donate, so we were leaving the items on the ground in front of the loading dock.” At that point, a couple of more employees walked up behind us and started to move items off of the loading dock, making room for our items. My sister picked the boxes off of the ground and put them on the loading dock. My sister encouraged the employees to take care with putting their hands in one of the boxes, as there were some sharp kitchen knives in the box, and she did not want them to cut themselves. These employees simply said “OK” and started to remove our items from the platform.

None of the employees (volunteers?) at any point, smiled, or said “hello” or “good morning” or “thank you” or offered a receipt. They were all quite abrupt. This was very off-putting. About four hours later, we found ourselves driving past the facility again, and say a huge amount of black trash bags and items of furniture lined up against the wall, under the “No Dumping” signs. We wondered if the people that left those bags and items there realized that the Salvation Army would not even touch any of those items. How many people have been taking their items to the Salvation Army, thinking that they are doing a good deed, leaving them beside the tiny loading dock platform, expecting the Salvation Army will put those donations to good use?

Next time we decide to donate items, I think it will be somewhere else. I’d at least like to see a smiling face when I am donating items!

White Noise Helps Us Sleep

Ozeri fan (photo by L Bradshaw)
Ozeri fan (photo by L Bradshaw)

I don’t know about you, but I have a very hard time sleeping if there isn’t a fan running in the room. I’ve never been able to sleep if there was a television on, or music. That keeps me awake! I need that white noise so badly that I often travel with a small fan in my suitcase! The hotel rooms heat and air-conditioning units never ran constantly, and often would have other noises that surge, which makes it hard for me to sleep. If we lose electricity during the night, what wakes me up is the loss of the white noise.

One of the challenges of having a fan in the bedroom, is exactly where we could put it. In the last house we lived in, my devoted husband installed a ceiling fan, trying to help me out with space-saving and white noise. Unfortunately, the motor of that fan surged with a very disturbing rhythm that prevented me from sleeping at all!

Over the years, we have had a variety of fans in our bedroom. Some were the large square fans that you could put in a window, or on the floor (but they were easily tipped over by pets.) More recently, we used pedestal fans, to keep the spinning blades further away from making contact with pets, or small children that may come visiting. A few weeks ago, the good folks at Ozeri asked me if I would be interested in receiving a fan from them, in exchange for trying it out for a couple of weeks and then writing a review on Amazon for them. Looking at the description of the fan, it appeared that it would take up less floor space than the pedestal fan we have been using for the past year, so I agreed.

When the Ozeri fan arrived, I wanted to assemble it myself. I like to assemble things. I ended up asking my husband for help with the base – it was two pieces that snapped together. I found that difficult to put together – the instructions were not clear, and it was resisting being snapped together. The material used for the base was a very thin plastic-type of material that seemed as if it would easily break with very little applied pressure, and I was afraid that I was going to break it. My husband agreed to help, and he ended up having to stomp on the thing to get it to snap together. I heard a very loud crack as it snapped together, and I almost freaked out, thinking that he had broken it. But, it was not broken, and once that was snapped together, the rest of the assembly was easy, even though the assembly directions were really rather vague.

We’ve been using the fan for almost two weeks now, in our bedroom, and so far, we both like it. The fan is quiet, but not completely silent, and it moves a good amount of air. I like the slim style that takes up less floor space. When oscillating, it is very quiet. I read another review that someone else wrote on Amazon that complained that their unit made a clicking sound during the oscillation, but my unit does not do that. I like the remote control, and the fact that the remote control can be stored in a compartment on top of the unit. To me, that is important, as we have a gremlin that steals our remote controls……

I don’t know how long it will last, so I can’t speak to durability. I saw some people mentioning trouble with the buttons on the remote control. So far, I have not had that trouble. If I were to make a suggestion for improvement, I would suggest some LED lights to dimly illuminate the controls on the fan, and on the remote, because when the bedroom is dark, I can’t see the controls (and I like to change the speed of the fan sometimes in the middle of the night.)

Bathroom Scales

Digital scales (photo Linda Bradshaw)
Digital scales (photo Linda Bradshaw)
For years I have used an old-fashioned bathroom scale that has the dial that moves back and forth for a few moments before it would stop at a number. I’ve never played roulette, or slot machines, but I often thought about how that action must resemble something like a slot machine or roulette wheel, wondering when and where it would stop!

About a year ago my husband brought a digital scale home, declaring that the old-fashioned scale was not accurate, and he wanted to use this digital scale. It was a large, black scale, and I didn’t like how much space it took up in the bathroom (compared to the smaller size of my old-fashioned one.) I was not crazy about the black color (I don’t know why….) I also didn’t like that this new digital scale told me that I was four pounds heavier than my old-fashioned scale! And, I especially didn’t like how I had to tap it several times with my toes to “wake it up” before I could step on it to find out the results. Often, the results were an “E” which apparently meant that it thought I was stupid in some way!

So, when the good folks at Ozeri reached out to me and asked me if I would be interested in reviewing (an honest review) their bathroom scale that didn’t require any “toe-tapping” on my blog, in exchange for being able to keep the scale, I was happy to accept their offer! I was flattered that they reached out to me. I was happy to be able to use a digital scale that didn’t require any “toe-tapping” before stepping on it. And, I thought that maybe I would give it as a gift to one of my friends/relatives that didn’t have a bathroom scale. I accepted their offer, and they sent me a scale.

When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at the pretty green color – perfect for my guest bathroom! I was expecting a white scale – not sure how it happened that the one I got is this pretty light-green color! Anyway, I think it is much prettier than a standard black or white scale! The Ozeri scale is smaller than the black scale that my hubby had brought home. I’ve included a photo that I just took, that shows the two scales, side by side. The Ozeri is the one on the right. I like that it takes up less floor space! The scale is slim enough that I can tuck it under a wire rack that I use to store extra towels, so it tucks out of sight when I am not using it. When I step on it, it gives me the results quickly.

Today, before writing this post, I decided to put both scales beside each other and see if they gave me the same results. I had to tap that black one many times before it would “wake up” and not give me an “E” result. So aggravating! The Ozeri scale did not need to be tapped – I just stepped on it, and it quickly gave me the results. I don’t know which scale is more accurate – the black scale told me that I weigh .2 pounds more than the Ozeri scale. They both told me that I weigh more than my old-fashioned one…..

So, my honest review is that I like the Ozeri Precision digital bathroom scale. And, I’m going to keep it for myself. Sorry, friends/relatives…. get your own!

Frustration with photos

About a year ago I got a new iPhone. (No, this is not a sponsored post, or endorsement of their product.) I had an old Blackberry Torch, and although I loved it, there just was not the modern types of apps available, or support available on the Blackberry Torch to meet my changing needs. I hated giving it up, but the charging port wasn’t working right anymore, and there just was no getting around it – I had to get a new phone. My friends were all encouraging me to get the newest iPhone. The reputation for great security convinced me to go with the iPhone instead of an Android. So far, it has been a challenge to learn how to use it, but I seem to be adapting. There is a learning curve, that is for sure!

My biggest frustration is with handling the photos & videos. There have been times when I wanted to email, or text, photos and videos that I had taken, but the file sizes were too large. I found this frustrating! A few times I managed to plug my iPhone into my desktop computer and move the photos to the hard drive of my desktop, which worked pretty well, most of the time. I liked freeing up the space on my phone!

Having said that, last night I realized that there were some photos that I had moved from my phone to my desktop that I would really like to have back on my phone – just for a day or two. I wanted to show the photos to someone that I was going to see today. Darned if I could copy those photos back to my phone! I tried everything I could think of doing, but nothing seemed to work. No, I have not tried contacting any support forum – I didn’t have time for that. So, the person that I wanted to see the photos ended up not getting to see them. Sigh…..