Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Technology Lesson: Emoji

Emoji is a system of emoticons that is currently very proliferate and popular with smartphones. Old People with iPhones are probably already familiar with emoji, or have received texts displaying the small adorable graphics.

Here is a description from New York magazine, which interviewed William Van Lacker, who helped bring emoji to the iPhone in America: "This visual alphabet, which includes much of the animal kingdom, the produce aisle, and the range of human emotions (plus a pile of feces with a face), now comes preloaded on the iPhone and presents a new frontier in texting, equally enticing to small children and slow-typing septuagenarians."

(New York's Joe Coscarelli received a text from his mother, which was, simply a birthday cake.) Van Lacker told NY Mag that Japanese texters used the emoji keyboard to communicate full sentences because it was easier than the regular keyboard, and I am willing to respect emoji for that reason alone. It is, however, not as efficient in the Western world.

Ipod Touches (iTouches), iPhones, and iPads are emoji enabled, provided the operating system is up-to-date. To get emoji on your iDevice:

Open SETTINGS. (It's the grey icon with the cogs on it.)
Click GENERAL. (It has the same icon.)
Click KEYBOARD. It is under DATE & TIME on my iTouch; you may need to scroll to find it.
Scroll to EMOJI. Press EMOJI.

You'll access the emoji keyboard in iMessage by pressing the globe icon next to the space bar. Here is a message you'll get on your Apple device the first time: "Tap the globe keyboard once to switch to the last used keyboard. Continue tapping to access other enabled keyboards. Tap and hold to show all enabled keyboards."

The clock at the bottom of the emoji keyboard will display your most recently used characters. You'll need to click the other icons to access all of the characters, which include animals, flowers, faces, hand symbols, miscellaneous symbols, and more.

You might knock the socks off your savvy children.

Additional Resources:
The Proliferation of Emoji, NY Mag
Emoji, Wikipedia 
iOS: Understanding emoji, Apple support 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Technology Lesson: Downloading Purchased Material WITHOUT Your USB Cable

We live in the future! If you have a wi-fi capable iPod, you can transfer files without your USB cable. I realized this the day after I bought the Nashville soundtrack on iTunes, and left my USB cable at the office. (This should have occurred to me, I download via wi-fi all the time!) If this happens to you, here's how to retrieve your iTunes purchases with the iTunes app and your wi-fi connection.

Turn on your iPod. If your wi-fi is not turned on, or you're not connected to a network, do that.

Launch iTunes via the iTunes app on your iPod.

Go to PURCHASED. It is the bar of icons at the bottom of your touchscreen.

Click MUSIC, the top bar on your touchscreen. It is followed by MOVIES and TV SHOWS. (These instructions will work with other media too. If you bought an episode of Justified, and wanted to download that, and not the Nashville soundtrack, then by all means, click TV SHOWS.)

You have some options. You can click RECENT PURCHASES if you just bought something.

The default listing is ALL.

I have 234 song purchases (this seems obscene, but the bulk of it is free playlists from hipster boutiques, thankfully), so the alternatives are faster. I know Old People are savvy, and expect your list is probably quite lengthy as well.

Another option is NOT ON THIS IPOD. Since your purchase is obviously not on your iPod, this is a very good choice.

Find the desired purchase. Click DOWNLOAD ALL in the top right corner.

You'll see a small red number at the bottom right corner on your touch screen, where it says DOWNLOADS.

You can press DOWNLOADS if you want to watch the transfer.

When the download ends, you'll find the music (TV show, or movie) in your iPod.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Technology Briefing: Kobo

Kobo is an e-reader. I don't own one, and am not affiliated with Kobo Inc., but a Brooklyn Based e-mail made me feel like I should shared with the well-informed, highly literate Old People.

You're probably already familiar with e-readers, which include the Kindle and Nook. (You probably already one one!)

What I wanted to share about Kobo is that it's partnered with independent booksellers and Indiebound. You can buy Kobo at independent book stores and support those stores when you read:
The bookstores keep a small percentage of each Kobo title you purchase for the life of your device, and on any Kobo e-book sold on their site or directly through Kobo; you just need to register your Kobo account with either Word or Greenlight first, for the store to get credit for your e-books.
(WORD and Greenlight are two Brooklyn book stores.)

It's a nice idea, right? (I'm feeling overly positive in 2013.)

Additional Resources:
Indiebound/Kobo program

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vocab lesson: Streaming Media

Streaming media ("streaming," I stream, you stream, we all scream for streaming), is when media is transferred continuously; a more technical definition is when data is "received as it is delivered." The affect is similar to watching something live, and is often considered an alternative to downloading media. In theory, this should cut down on buffering, but not always.

A more jargon-laded, and complete explanation, from Webopedia:
For streaming to work, the client side receiving the data must be able to collect the data and send it as a steady stream to the application that is processing the data and converting it to sound or pictures. This means that if the streaming client receives the data more quickly than required, it needs to save the excess data in a buffer. If the data doesn't come quickly enough, however, the presentation of the data will not be smooth.
Some examples of this are:
  • Watching videos on Youtube
  • Listening to NPR, live, on an app on your iPhone or your web browser
  • Watching Netflix on your computer or television
  • Watching a presentation online
(Skype is also sort of streaming.)

Additional Sources:What is streaming (streaming media)?, Webopedia