Apps I Use Daily (Updated)

These are some of the Apple IOS apps that help keep an old man organized, on time, and secured.  I basically run my life off my iPhone, and these three apps help.  I have other apps I use daily and will follow up with some of them in future posts, in case they may be of interest to you.

GoodReader PDF Editor & Viewer by Good.iWare Inc
GoodReader 5 was released earlier this year and has a more robust interface, more security options, and other new features which make it well worth the wait. Every computing platform has its “must have, does it all app”, and for IOS, it’s this one. It houses files of all types in a standard folder and file structure, and I can transfer or download any of them to and from my desktops and laptops. I set up a sync arrangement within the app I can run to keep a folder on my iMac identical to a folder in GoodReader. It is a powerful PDF annotator and updater. I use an in-app security option to have all content in the app encrypted at the hardware level (requiring a password, finger print, of facial recognition to get into the app), and selected folders protected by a different password as well. See the app in the App Store and at GoodReader.com for a full list of its capabilities. It’s well worth the $14 one time price.

GoodTask Task Manager by haha interactive
This app manages my ToDo list in a very workable layout. The free version has all the usual functionality of a basic todo app (date and time settings, alerts, repeats, priority, etc) with a maximum of 99 tasks with their settings displayed in a customizable format and sort order. It provides a helpful widget with useful features, and GoodTask can manage multiple lists of tasks. Syncing with other iOS devices and a MacOS version (free) is automatic using the cloud. An Android interface and a web interface is also available. The Pro version ($10 annual subscription) adds an unlimited number of tasks and the option to have calendar events displayed and edited in the tasks list. Keep me honest and check this app out in the App Store or the GoodTaskApp.com for all the details. Feature for feature, I think it’s among the best in class.

mSecure Password Manager by mSeven Software
mSecure was my first full feature password manager for years before I moved to a newer product I used for only 1 year after it deleted a feature I could not run without. This brought me back to mSecure, now an updated and even more feature rich application. Call me naive but the one feature I demand from apps of this ilk is keeping the password database off of the web. With this app I am able to keep the DB local on my network only, encrypted and secured. The app automatically updates shared devices when they start the app if that is needed. All the standard features are available in this app and the interface for adding and maintaining password data is superb. mSecure is supported on Apple iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, WatchOS, Windows 10, and Android, The app has a 30 day free trial to get acquainted, leading to a single $30 purchase price (no subscription). To avoid confusion be sure to use the same account to install the free version to make the move to the purchase version as painless as possible. I strongly advise visiting mSecure.com Features for more information.

Talking to Robots

Recent experiences at trying to get to a blood pumping, lung breathing, skin draped human when I’m trying to resolve an issue with a large corporation have been mind crushing.

I will sometimes succeed when the robot voice answering the call offers numerical choices I can respond to with my keypad, but when they want me to actually speak to them about what I want, this technology all too often leads me to blast profanity, at high volume, that could get me incarcerated.

Sorry. I could not understand you. Please try again.

This morning’s call into my service provider was the best example yet proving we are still in the infancy stages of this technology. The large corporations using it do so to decrease their head count, and look hip. Twice in the first call I was redirected back to the very top of the question and response chain after spending 3 to 4 minutes trying to provide the reason of my call. If the police or federal agents knock on my door sometime today I will not be surprised.

Sorry. I could not understand you. Let’s start over..

On my second call in, I responded to every request for information with a 5 second hold down of my zero (0) keypad button. This finally led to being dumped into a call center, and after a 5 to 10 minute wait (no problem with that, my headset is on and I’m doing other things), I actually got to an actual live person. It wasn’t the right person (my bad for the hold down the 0 ploy), but a nice person who sent my call to the right place in less than a minute, where my issue was resolved in less than 2 minutes by another pleasant person.

I really do try to play nice with the bots when they present themselves, but the technology just isn’t there yet. And when it starts listing the different issues you may be calling about, I find all too often mine is not offered as a selection. I do use online services so I almost always search the target corporation’s web site for an answer on my problem, or specifically where to call.

Suggestions to our Corporate Czars? Back off a little with the reductions in headcount in the customer service area, until the bot voice technology catches up as a quality replacement. And the folks in your company managing the bot technology may need to understand the human interface a little better.

Sorry. I am not working well for you. I will transfer you to Margie. She will help you.

An Apple Relic Resuscitated

While in the continuous throes of ridding my home of junk, I found a very old Apple iPod in a drawer. The battery was dead but I was able to find a suitable charging cable in a box of cables, and hooked it up. It took over a minute, but the device came to life displaying the big battery, in the red. After sitting for a few hours the big battery was in full green.

At first power on, a logon prompt was presented, and I realized I was probably not going to get into this device. After trying a number of possible passwords, I was forced to give up. The trip taken over quite a few days to get the iPod working again was tedious, but seeing its out of the box Apple app icons on the main screen was worth the effort. The process of getting it recovered was documented in case it goes fully back to out of the box again. The iPod has been alive since January of 2019 due to making sure the battery stays charged, and that it seems to hold a charge well.

By the model number on the back, it’s a 4th Generation iPod Touch. I was unable to find a receipt or any other record of the actual purchase date, but believe it was purchased it in 2010.

My current iOS devices are on iOS 12.3.1. This iPod is trapped on iOS 6.1.6, the update being installed after it was up and running. This the last available release for this device.

There are zero apps in the App Store available for this iPod due to the iOS version. All Apple apps that came with this release still work as intended. I can see my iCloud email account, and have manually downloaded music from my iTunes library. It cannot interface with the sound system in my car other than with a direct USB connection. This means all music playing has to be initiated from the iPod after the connection is made, making playlists a must.

All the Apple supplied apps that came with the purchase still work: Calculator, Calendar, Camera, Clock, Contacts, iTunes, Notes, Photos (camera roll), Reminders, Videos, Voice Memos, Weather, Maps, and FaceTime. The listed apps may be missing features or settings added through the 6 iOS releases since the iPod’s version.

I have fun with it. Its small size (4.25′ by 2.13′) makes it easy to carry. With tethered ear plugs the music sounds good, and I often use the iPod on my walks. To prevent impacting my data, I don’t allow iCloud access from the device except for my Apple email account. I’m still amazed it can do as much as it does, and that the battery charges last as long as they do. This version iPod is selling on the web for as high as $250, so there must be other folks out there coveting this early device.

Unknown Caller Rage

I’m retired and have a lot of time on my hands.

I’m going collect as many phone numbers as I can, legally or not. I will then call these phone numbers every day and evening, often multiple times, using an unlisted phone number. I will change this unlisted number often. I will ignore the Do Not Call lists.

If you answer I will try to sell you insurance, a newspaper subscription, or play a recording that will tell you that you are in trouble with the government and you need my help to get out of it. I will keep calling, whether you answer or not.

If I get voice mail, I will leave you as long a tiring message as I can, every time. After a month or two, my voice mail will offer to stop calling if you wire a monthly fee to an account I provide.

How long would you put up with this? Would you call the police? Would you try to have me fined, or arrested?

You would probably succeed. And deservedly so. So why can’t we citizens, harassed daily by unknown callers, call the police and get them arrested?

Adding insult to injury, the Telcos make money providing these miscreants the bandwidth they use, and then have the audacity to offer us a priced, monthly service to stop only some of the calls.

Think about that for a while.