Fix an Apple Notes ios 11.3.1 Problem

Apple Notes App Description in App Store

Introduction

After updating my 9.7” iPad Pro to ios 11.3.1, I began experiencing a frustrating problem with Apple Notes. Mind you, this wasn’t the first Apple Notes problem that I’ve encountered with ios 11. It was in fact at least my third. The others were so bad that I basically stopped using any iPad that I’d updated to ios 11 until the Notes problems were fixed.

The main ios 11 Notes problems seem to primarily impact users who have a large database of Notes. I for example, have around 4000 Notes. I take a lot of notes and had switched from primarily using Evernote to primarily using Apple Notes about a year ago due to a problem I was having with Evernote’s speed. Ever since Evernote released version 8 it grew so slow for me that I just couldn’t continue to use it and get anything done!

Luckily that was around the time Apple had beefed up the Notes app enough to make it a realistic alternative. I didn’t plan to switch it just sort of happened as I gravitated more and more towards using Apple Notes when Evernote was so slow I couldn’t stand it!

Description of the Main ios 11 Related Apple Notes Problems

So it was pretty ironic when ios 11 launched that all of a sudden Apple Notes had major speed issues! More specifically when I opened Notes the screen I arrived at was frozen. No amount of waiting made a difference…I had to shut down the app completely and restart it. The second time it would start after a few moments…but then freeze again.

This start and freeze problem might occur 3 or 4 times before I could add something to a note. And I better not leave the Note app and come back…because if I did the whole process started over again!

I don’t recall exactly when this speed problem was finally resolved because as I mentioned already…I stopped using the iPads I’d upgraded to ios 11. Luckily my most favorite 10.5” Pros were never updated! In fact at some point towards the end of 2017 I noticed a bit of a slowdown using the Notes apps even on my Pros running 10.3.3. But the problem is nowhere near as bad as those on ios 11.

So speed, freezing and crashing have been the main Apple Notes problems running under any version of ios 11. Once again, these problems tend to present primarily for heavy Notes users.

All Apple's Apps

My New Apple Notes Problem in ios 11.3.1

Foolishly I really believed that my Notes problems were behind me once and for all. I’d begun updating some of my iPads to 11″primarily based upon the advice of an Apple Care Senior Support Specialist. Those on various versions of 11 I brought up to date and slowly began moving iPads on ios 10 to 11. I’m glad I went slowly, because this new problem almost completely incapacitated my ability to use Notes this time on the affected device.

My memory is terrible. It always has been. So when I first discovered Evernote it was truly a life changing experience for me. Because for the first time in my life I could really remember things…both long term and short-term. I didn’t just remember things however…now I could remember a lot of things! That’s the reason why I save so many things that I’ve run across online or while reading. By saving them to Notes or Evernote this information is accessible to me indefinitely (unless it goes missing…not an unusual occurrence for Apple users :-/)

That’s really important for what I do now…writing for our websites and creating video tutorials. Frankly I don’t think I’d be doing these things had it not been for the fateful day I discovered Evernote. So, if I want to use some bit of information again someday, or if it’s important for me to remember the content of something personally…it goes into a note. If it’s really important it goes into multiple notes…both the original and a copy may be saved. If it’s something that I deem über important 2 copies may go into both Apple Notes and Evernote.

There was only one problem with this system recently however. The newest Apple Notes problem prevented me from saving notes from any source…Safari, Chrome, Instapaper, Morning Reader, Twitter…you name it…it couldn’t be saved!

The only way I could use the Notes app was to open it and manually type in all the information myself.

Any other method resulted in my receiving the error message below.

My Research Regarding This Error Message Yielded Nothing

Just like when I was experiencing all of the speed issues with Notes, I was unable to find out anything about this new problem because it appeared I was the only person in the world who was experiencing it!

Boy was I wrong! It just took me a little bit of time  to find the others who were having problems too.

Apple Support Forums Come to the Rescue

I took yet another stab at solving this problem today and finally found some others who had it too. The solution for me after trying things like Resetting (aka doing a soft or hard reboot) was to uninstall and reinstall Apple Notes.

I’d forgotten that you could even do that now! But you can and I’ll Guide you through the process.

Steps to Uninstall and Reinstall Apple Notes

Step 1

Make sure Apple Notes is backed up. You can do this by confirming the number of notes you have on your iCloud version of Notes. Or, if you have multiple ios devices, just compare the total number of notes for the device that’s giving you problems with another device. You can do that from right within the notes app. When you enter folder (or notebook view) a total for each notebook is given. The real total is the number appearing for iCloud Notes..because this number includes every category of notes that are backed up to iCloud. If the numbers are the same then your notes should already be backed up to iCloud and you can safely proceed.

Use the procedure below to confirm your notes backup using iCloud in Safari from your ios device.

• Go to iCloud.com and sign in if you need to.

• If you’re on an ios device you need to use ‘Request Desktop Site‘ to be able to access iCloud from your device. See the screenshots below.

Tap on the Notes icon (shown above) to open Notes. If you have a lot of notes like I do…this part can take a while.

Once iCloud has retrieved all your notes confirm that it has roughly the same number that you do on your ios device. If you have a lot less than you may want to perform a backup first. Especially if you only have one ios device.

Step 2

You can delete the Notes app just like you would any other app…just hold down the icon or long press it until all the app icons start wiggling. Then tap on the ‘x.’

Step 3

Reinstall the Notes app. Go to the App Store and type ‘Apple Notes‘ into the search bar. When it appears, tap on it to reinstall it.

Step 4

Go to the Notes app and open it. You’ll arrive at a welcome screen telling you that Apple Notes has some new features.

For me, a pop up message alerted me to the fact that I needed to go to Settings, to turn on iCloud for Apple notes. If you don’t receive the same pop-up message just go to Settings anyway to make sure.

To do that, go to ‘Your Name‘ – iCloud – then scroll down through the list of apps until you see Notes. Make sure that the button is enabled and green is showing (see below.)

Step 5

Now you’ll just need to wait while iCloud repopulates your Notes.

Step 6

While you’re waiting you can do one important thing…test to see if the problem is fixed. Because you don’t need to have your whole data base of notes available to perform this test.

My Fast Test to Determine if the Problem is Fixed

Using the special Apple Method I describe in the post linked to below…look under Method 1 – the Print Command Method.

But to save you time right now I’ll talk you through it. Just go to any webpage and use the Share Icon, find the Print command and tap on it. When the Print window is displayed use 2 fingers to drag the small document displayed in the Print window to the full size of your display screen.

Drag 2 fingers apart to open the magic PDF view.

Then try to save the PDF to a new Note. If you are able to do that successfully then the problem is fixed!

Examples of What You’ll See While You’re Waiting for Notes to Repopulate


 Below:  This is what I saw when I first opened Notes. It looked  like the app was just beginning to repopulate  all of my notes.What Notes looks like when it begins repopulating.

Conclusion

Hopefully I saved you from the hours upon hours of research I endured trying to figure out how to fix this problem. If it worked…Yay! If it didn’t, I’d suggest either calling Apple support or using Apple’s Support Forums to hunt for more possible solutions.

Apple Support Forums

One other solution I found was in a post written by someone who tried this method first without success. His method involves restoring the device I think…but in a sort of unique way, so it might be worthwhile. But error on the side of caution of you’re unsure and go to Apple.

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2018‘s Quintessential PokemonGo Overview & Guide for Non-Players & New Players

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First 

Some

Breaking News

Niantic Has Announced When & Where

PokémonGo Fest Will Be Held in 2018

Chicago at Lincoln Park

on July 14-15

Tickets went on sale at 11:00 am Central time today…May 11, 2018. I took the screenshot below at midnight just to double-check because I don’t know if you heard, but last year, which was the inaugural year for PokémonGo Fest…tickets sold out within the first hour! I only learned of the event about a week after tickets were no longer available, which is why I wanted to let my readers know about the sale beforehand!

PokémonGo Fest Ticket Sales Notification

Nick from Trainer Tips YouTube Channel Talks About PokémonGo Fest This Year

In a video he just published yesterday Nick give some important information about Gofest this year. I introduce his channel a little bit more towards the end of this post, but here’s his video about GoFest.

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GoFest Update

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Might This Be A Precursor or Warning of  Things to Come?

Future Problems Perhaps?

Let me Explain

Since this Guide has been written for non or new players I realize that you probably don’t have any idea of what GoFest even is much less what the foreboding warning might entail. So I’ll take a brief moment to explain.

What’s PokémonGo Fest?

In 2017, with interest in the game waning and predictions that it might be going down for the count, Niantic, the game’s developers, announced a new event, or rather series of events to take place during the summer of 2017. The biggest and might widely anticipated of them was PokemonGo Fest, which was to be held in Chicago for 2 days in July.

I’m pretty sure tickets cost $20…but maybe it was $40 because it was a 2 Day Event. I never heard the announcement therefore I didn’t even try to purchase tickets several days later when they went on sale. But the Internet was awash with news of how fast they had sold out later that day…in fact that’s how I learned about the event if I recall correctly.

Because it was in Chicago, and I’m a midwesterner who’s also a lone solo player I really wanted to go. I was excited by the recent innovations I Thin the game that encouraged participants interaction but uncertain how to go about finding any…so GoFest for me, presented that opportunity.

PokemonGo Fest 2018 Sold Out

But not knowing about the event until after tickets were sold out presented a bit of hurdle. In the end I bought 2 tickets at scalper’s prices from eBay. One was for my husband, a non player. But we’s my companion and love to take pictures, so we thought that he could wander around taking photos while I did Game stuff.

Like all good plans, our changed many times before the event finally arrived. In the end our son from Texas joined us…he and my husband shared one ticket…by each going a half day.

Sadly, the 2017 ticket sale fiasco was only the beginning of the trouble…

It might be shorter for me to list what went right with the event…because I doubt that anything did!

It ended up being unite possibly, the worst event  in the history of mankind…well…maybe not really but that gives you a sense of How awful it was. I did begin writing a post about it which grew so long and was so painful to recall I eventually abandoned it. Maybe I need to resurrect it to remind myself and everyone how likely it’s looking that:

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It’s quite possible based upon 1st evidence that GoFest 2018 may be a repeat of the 2017 Disaster

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How Can I Make Such a Bold Prediction?

Its based upon my experience so far of quite literally learning about GoFest by chance, yet early enough to actually be involved in the ticket sale which I spent a half hour at the minute it opened attempting to purchase 1 ticket for any of the time slots, and after 1/2 I gave up. Hours later I received a message at the same site telling me there weren’t any tickets available meeting my criteria.  Precursor?  Let’s see how things unfold and you can be the judge :-)


Real Beginning of New User Guide


Pikachu in his birthday hat

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 Introduction to New User Guide

&

1 Tip for Readers who Want to Save Time

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In these beginning sections, I provide a lot of background information that I feel is necessary to understand the context of the information within this post. Some of that includes, but isn’t limited to, information about me, about how and why I decided to write this, and why I chose to publish it now almost 2 years after PokemonGo’s introduction. All that information is peripheral to the main PokemonGo Overview & Guide.

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If you’d like to skip all that and just get to the good stuff, you can do so by scrolling directly to the section entitled:

How to Play PokémonGo

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A Little Background About Me,& My Involvement with PokémonGo First

My Background


I never intended upon becoming a PokemonGo ambassador, or even a player for that matter, but fate had different plans.


If you’re wondering how this occurred, you’re not alone! I often wonder the same thing myself! So do my other family members. Especially the ones who introduced PokémonGo to me!

I was one of those Mom’s who feared her kid’s acute interest in video games would ruin their lives. My husband and I did everything within our power to keep our kids from playing video games as they were growing up.

This was really hard when they’d only ask for video games or game system related things as presents for their birthday or Christmas. It was so hard to always say no. In fact, we did acquiesce more often than we felt a responsible parent should. This struggle,with video game boundaries lasted their entire childhoods…and even a little into adulthood I fear!


In the summer of 2016 we took our fateful family trip to Japan. That’s when it happened. The tables were turned, so to speak and our kids opened the floodgates to finding out what we, as parents, had been up against!


The Japan Trip That Changed My Life

We’d just arrived in Tokyo and the weather was gorgeous! I’d struggled to get there and arrived by wheelchair due to some medical issues which resulted in my needing to have a total hip replacement last month, so I was extra happy to have finally arrived and to be in such an amazing setting. It was during our first full day there, while visiting a beautiful botanical garden that my husband and I grew frustrated because we thought that our now adult aged son’s were spending way too much time texting friends. Granted, it was a bit odd for them both to be so preoccupied doing the same thing at the exact same time…but that was what seemed to be going on to us.

My annoyance grew as their lack of interest in our surroundings did. Finally, I couldn’t stop myself from making a snarky comment about texting instead of enjoying our surroundings.

That’s when my son’s told me that they weren’t texting at all. They told us that they were playing a brand new video game that had been widely anticipated and had just come out that day in Japan called PokémonGo.

They offered to show the game to me, probably to get me off their backs, and I agreed. Truthfully, I thought the game seemed to be a little goofy at first but then I let them put it on my phone…and within a few minutes began to appreciate their fascination. I was immediately hooked too!

It was a few months later, after my sons had for all practical purposes quit playing the game, and I could no longer go to them for advice, when I began to realize how cognitively challenging video games are (even really simple ones like PokemonGo.) I finally recognized how wrong I had been to judge video games so harshly.

PokémonGo players in Japan

Why Write This PokemonGo Overview Now?

Recently I was asked by someone who has a young child who is growing more interested in PokémonGo, and how the game works. I realized that in those instances, where a very young child who’s potentially just reaching the age of finding PokemonGo interesting, it probably wouldn’t be advisable for them to play the game without having an adult partner. If for no other reason than that PokemonGo is primarily a cell phone game. In my opinion, young children shouldn’t even have cell phones yet!

But a child’s adult partner might not have any personal knowledge or understanding of PokemonGo, or even video games in general. So, that was my main reason for deciding to write this post.

Incidentally, while many opportunities have presented themselves as good topics for posts, I’ve only written about 5 posts in total since it was released. Each has focused on one specific aspect of the game. The one that’s garnered the most readership focuses on how local businesses can use PokémonGo to improve their business via increasing their overall numbers of customers.

Another reason I decided to write this guide is because I’ve begun to suspect that a slight entry barrier might exist with PokémonGo which prevents new players from joining in on playing. My hunch is based purely upon the fact that the game has been out for almost 2 years now. New players might feel that they could never catch up to their longer playing friends.

That entry barrier shouldn’t really be cause for concern however, because PokemonGo is a game which can present greatly varying personal challenges that are appropriate to each individual player’s level, in the same setting. So, many different levels of players can play the game together, and their levels are inconsequential to the experience.

This post has 2 main goals:

  • To briefly explain the main concepts of the game for new players or player’s parents
  • To reassure new players that there’s no good reason to not begin playing the game today. Starting now won’t adversely impact a player’s ability to enjoy the game nor their ability to be included in the various kinds of events which are being held with great frequency all around the world.

Last, there are several great and similar efforts to this one which were written when the game first came out. But many of those have become obsolete over time as the game itself has morphed and changed.

One that hasn’t and that’s still an excellent resource is Vox’es ‘PokemonGo Explained in Less Than 400 Words’ (they cheated a little imo because they don’t count the words in their video, which I’m certain takes them way beyond the 400 word mark! Their video I think is the best part! :-)

Me Leveing up to 30

PokémonGo’s New Community Day Event was 1 Impetus For My Writing This Updated Overview

In addition to my friend’s child expressing a newfound interest in PokémonGo , several exciting new game innovations by Niantic have prompted me to write this guide. One of them is an important new Community Day event for PokemonGo players. Community Events are a great new perk that Niantic began in early 2018. They were designed to unite PokemonGo players and to add an aspect to the game which helps connect individual players to others in their community, as well as to keep interest levels high when there aren’t a lot of other new and interesting things going on in the game.

The concept has been really well received. Community days occur for 3 hours once each month. Depending upon your time zone this is usually on a Saturday afternoon. I’ll use the March 25th event, which was the 3rd Community Day event, and which many consider to have been the most successful one ever, to describe this new concept.

Each Community Day event focuses on one relatively important Pokemon. The March 25th event focused on a really popular Pokémon named Bulbesaur. Many people including myself caught tons of Bulbesaurs that day for several reasons. My main objective was to obtain enough Bulbesaur candy to evolve one of my best Bulbesaurs. You earn candy each time you catch a Pokémon, but the candy is unique to just that type of Pokémon. You use this digital candy both to ‘Power up’ your Pokémon, making them stronger for battles, and to ‘Evolve’ them into a higher level form of themselves. Some Pokémon only have 1 level, some have 2 and some have 3. When a Pokémon has 3 evolution levels, these need to be done consecutively.

One Pokémons Evolution Course

So, in my case I wanted to evolve one of my best Bulbesaur first, into an Ivysaur and then into a Venosaur (Venosaur is Bulbasaur’s final evolution.) Another cool aspect about Community Days is that the chosen Pokémon highlighted on that day oftentimes can acquire special fighting moves which aren’t available to them by any other means. So, while evolving my new Venosaur, it would acquire a unique battle move that was only bequeathed to Bulbesaurs on this one unique day. The end result was that I’d have a newly evolved Venosaur which held a very special move in its repertoire, making it a really unique Pokémon and quite possibly more important in the game in its future renditions.

 The Actual Player’s Guide Part

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How to Play PokémonGo

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The First Main Objective of Playing PokemonGo is Simply to Catch Pokémon

A By Product is Learning to Manage Large Numbers of Pokémon

In its simplest form, the main way of playing PokemonGo is that as players move around the world they catch Pokémon. Many people have as their ultimate goal the desire to catch or evolve one of each kind of a Pokémon. There are already a lot of Pokémon and more new ones keep being introduced into the game too, to keep higher level players challenged and interested.

This catching aspect is one of the most important aspects of the game, so for many players, especially very young players, it’s essentially the only aspect of the game. In addition, each and every time you catch a Pokémon you get some of that Pokemon’s candy too as well as stardust, which is another important game resource.

This means that overtime you will tend to accumulate a lot of Pokémon. This is especially true because oftentimes people will catch multiple versions of that same Pokémon for the candy and stardust, and also hoping to catch a very high level one that will be the one they will choose to evolve when the time is right. But as your inventory of Pokémon begins to grow unruly due to its large size, the game gives players a good way of resolving this problem.

Transferring Pokémon means that you can ‘return’ some of them…usually the lower level ones…and you receive more candy in exchange. This candy is an important bonus too, because most everything in PokemonGo revolves around 2 items. Candy and Stardust are game resources which you try to accumulate as much as possible of. Both items are needed in fairly significant quantities to either evolve Pokémon to their higher levels or ‘to power them up‘ to make them as strong as possible for battles or Raids.

Why Do Players Want Higher Forms of Pokémon?

Because of 2 Very Important Aspects of the Game…Battles & Raids

The main reason players want to have every kind of Pokemon in all of it’s forms…on up to even it’s highest form, (really it’s the highest forms that are the most sought after,) is because of 2 main aspects of playing PokémonGo. One of those is to win battles in gyms and the other is to win Raid battles.

Before I discuss battling in greater detail however, I have a strong sense that many parent’s will want, or maybe even demand reassurance right about now.


Battles Aren’t What You Think!

They Aren’t A Negative or Worrisome Factor in PokémonGo in the Least!

PokémonGo battles are far from violent. They have a lot more to do with your child’s cognitive prowess than they do with their ‘battle’ savviness, their propensity towards aggression, or any other negative fighting connotations one may be worried about. Simply put…there is nothing about the ‘battle’ experience’ which resembles what we think of as a battle in the real world.

Battling is simply a mechanism for providing additional resources in the game. Those resources are experience and Poke Coins. Experience is important because players earn experience points, and it’s those points which allow them to move to higher levels in the game. But, it’s easy to move up with no battle experience what-so-ever!

When I did finally, cautiously approach the battle aspect, I discovered that success in battles is really quite easy…much easier than I’d believed. This in part is because of a massive update Niantic made to the game which changed much about how the battling system functioned with the aim of making it easier for newbies. That was when I decided to give Battles a try.

I also discovered that the one aspect that can be really challenging about battles, but doesn’t need to be if one chooses to ignore it completely, is that battling can require a lot of high level thinking and planning. This part really surprised me…especially in terms of the advanced mathematics that players were using to ascertain relevant ‘power’ and ‘standings’ information. PokemonGo can be an incredibly complex game to learn strategy-wise. The math I saw being used was calculus, and the formulas that players were deriving were incredible.

But even something as simple as knowing who and when to battle can involve much more strategy than the actual battle itself.


One reason that PokemonGo is so cool is because the game can be many different things to many different people…all who are playing it at many different levels! Yet they can all play together and have fun together!


How to Battle in PokemonGo

When I first began playing PokemonGo I had absolutely no interest in the battle aspect. And the cool thing about PokemonGo is that many players don’t…they just like to collect Pokémon! But at some point I grew a little bored and despite warnings from younger generations that battling might prove challenging to me.

I decided to give it a go anyway. I might not have learned how to battle as quickly as kids today…but really, there wasn’t all that much to learn…at least about the mechanics or the physical aspects of battling.  In fact I think it took me the longest was simply learning how to physically battle. Nothing that I found explained the physical realities of how to battle. I don’t know if it’s because I’m dense, or if it was due to my lack of experience playing video games…but it took me several weeks after I decided I wanted to try out battling to figure out how to go about doing it.

A Video Example of a Battle from Start to Finish is Shown Below

The way a player battles is by choosing the Pokémon he wants to use for the battle…which is the tougher part. Then a player just hits a button which says something like ‘Begin a New Battle.’  That icon looks like this:

Once the battle has begun a player just taps his/her phone screen really quickly with one finger. If that finger gets tired you can switch it. Sometimes, but not always, it’s helpful to throw in a few short ‘finger slides’ back and forth across the screen amidst the taps too. Knowing when to do this is useful, and is also one of the tougher, cognitive aspects I have yet to master. It has something to do with yellow flashes of light…or maybe that’s dodging…I forget. I’m currently at Level 32 out of 40, so you can see that a player can get quite far not knowing very much at all!

Below is a great example of a PokémonGo Gym Battle

Sometimes during a battle you should stop tapping your finger to do a long finger-press instead. It used to be that you did this when a green bar at the top of the screen ‘filled up’…now this icon is located at the bottom of the ‘battle screen.’

Understanding the intricacies of this special, more powerful move is much more challenging than simply employing its use. Because it’s use just requires a long finger-press…employing it is the easy part!  A total battle may last about 2 minutes, and his special move may become available for use 3 times or so per battle. But you can still win the battle even if you don’t use these special moves…it may just taken you a little longer to do it!

Why Battle in PokemonGo?

What is the Purpose of Battles? What’s Gained or Lost by Participating?

There are different kinds of battles in PokemonGo. Depending upon the kind of battle it is will determine what the actual reasons for the battle are.

There are 2 Kinds of Battles and 2 Main Reasons for Those Battles

The 1st kind of battle is a ‘Regular Gym Battle.’ The main function of this kind of battle is so that players can take over and control a gym. By doing so, players can earn money and experience points.

Gym battles were originally the only kind of battle in PokemonGo. When a player takes over a gym they actually have a very good chance of earning real money! That’s right…I was shocked too…you can earn real money playing PokemonGo!!! That, in my mind is the main reason for taking over a gym.

OK…it’s not entirely real money per se, that you earn, but rather it’s Poke Coins. But these Poke Coins do translate into real money because you can use them in lieu of real money. In fact, Poke Coins are the only kind of in-game currency that player’s can use to buy themselves supplies or useful items.

About Poke Coins, the PokeShop and Spending Money In-Game

Poke Coins differ from candy and stardust in that those are resources in the game which are earned, saved and spent like currency, but they are spent on improving Pokémon exclusively. Whereas Poke Coins are spent to buy resources for use by players to help advance them in the game quicker. Things like Poke Balls, Incubators, and Lucky Eggs…etc. These are all tools that a player can purchase to improve their chances of advancing quickly.

It’s very important to note however that buying things is neither necessary nor encouragedwell, at least not encouraged a lot!

The PokémonGo Shop

The PokemonGo Shop is an in-game menu item that I didn’t even know existed for a very long time. Once I did initially things didn’t change much. But then I think, Niantics realized that selling the occasional ‘Gift Box’ which includes a chosen assortment of regular PokemonGo shop items, at a small discount because they are packaged together, encouraged more sales. So they began offering Gift Boxes with greater frequency. Because they did improve the overall cost of items, I’d sometimes get them if I needed the items anyway.

Then I noticed that Niantics began offering Gift Boxes with much greater frequency. Concurrently they’ve also begun holding many more ‘game events’ which keep people interested in playing the game and keep it exciting.

Someone at Niantics probably figured out that by offering Gift Boxes with items that were especially useful for events, and making the events themselves somewhat structured around one or more items available in the PokeShop, sales at the PokeShop rose significantly. I certainly noticed that my own frequency of buying things began to increase with the advent of Gift Boxes.

So, there is now a subtle form of encouragement in the occasional ‘sales’ of Gift Boxes that Niantic’s offers in the PokemonGo Store. Personally I think a very good case could be made for approaching PokemonGo as a completely free game in which the only currency that’s used is currency you’ve personally earned through battling.

This isn’t a difficult stance to take because the PokemonGo game itself, is a completely free game…no matter which platform it’s played on. It can always be played for free without ever spending a dime. I know this to be true because that’s how my son’s played PokemonGo back when they did play it.

But if someone becomes very engrossed in PokemonGo, it’s entirely likely that they may deem more factors necessary or important than they really are. That kind of thinking may lead them to purchase items which will allow them to move more quickly to a higher level in the game. Things like peer pressure may contribute a lot towards this way of thinking. Since you can buy both useful things (like tools) and frivolous things (like trendy clothing) in the PokemonGo store…anyone prone towards overspending may find this aspect of the game more challenging. By the way…the clothing isn’t for Pokémon, but rather for your own in-game persona. My character, shown below, is outfitted in entirely free clothing options.

First Steps in Playing PokemonGo

The very first things that each and every new player does when they begin the game is to select:

  • a username
  • an outfit (selected from several free clothing options available)
  • a starter Pokémon – you have 3 choices that here I’ll add in an illustration

I apologize because this 1st Battle explanation has ended up being quite a bit longer than I intended…but it’s allowed me to explain some other necessary concepts too.

The main gist of the first reason to battle is this. When your Pokémon takes over a gym, depending upon how long he maintains control of it, you personally earn Poke Coin credits for their effort. If they hold the gym for around a day, which is the most typical  scenario, then you’ll earn around $.50. This $.50 appears as a credit in your store account where it can be used to buy items like tools or clothing in the Poke Store.

The 2nd Reason to Battle: is to capture very high powered Pokémon. Sometimes these Pokémon are called Legendaries. Legendaries are the best of the best.

The 2nd main reason for battles is to get the chance to capture high leveled Pokémon. This is done in a special kind of battle called a Raid Battle. Oftentimes when you battle these very high level Pokémon, you need to do it with other players, because they are just too powerful to beat all alone. If a Raid Battle is won by a groupt of players, then each player who participated is given a chance to capture that same high level Pokémon. These can be the epitome of the best Pokémon. Since these kinds of Pokémon are highly sought after, they can be what entice non-battling players to begin battleing…at least that’s what happened in my case! But I’m really glad that occurred too. Because, then I knew, once and for all, that all those younger generation members telling me I couldn’t battle we’re completely wrong. I found out just how easy battling really is and also learned that the most difficult aspect of battling is really the thinking, strategizing and pre-planning that’s necessary for consistent successes.

Someday there may be battles where your Pokémon can battle that of a friend

Niantic his promised this aspect for a long time, but it’s been two years now or rather almost 2 years, and it hasn’t happened yet so I’m not holding my breath.

What’s All This Business About Trainers and Training?

I’m glad you asked that question, because it was something that confused me at first too. Essentially all players are considered Pokémon trainers. The reason is because as they capture Pokémon, they can improve those Pokémon (and their powers) by making a stronger (via power ups) or evolving them. That’s why players are called Pokémon trainers.

This concept of training is carried out much more elaborately and throughout all aspects of the game…so the ‘training’ terminology is used much more than it’s reality would seem to dictate.

Examining the Past:  How has the Game Changed Since its Introduction

To say that the PokémonGo game has changed from what it once was when it first came out in July 2016 would be an understatement of pretty large proportions. The game has drastically changed however at the same time, many of its base elements do remain the same.

So what exactly has changed about the game?

Well, one huge change was the introduction of Raid battles, which I talked briefly about earlier. Another huge change is Niantic’s motivation and interest in introducing new and exciting events which act to keep users’ interested and excited about the game. This might be even more surprising given that one of their first few attempts at this resulted in utter and abysmal failure. I’m referring of course to the first ever PokemonGo Festival held in Chicago in the summer of 2017. I can attest to how awful it really was…because I was there…for the whole long sad event.

Raids

Raids, as I mentioned above are group battles in gyms. One or more people can battle a super powerful version of 1 Pokémon in order to get the opportunity to catch that same (or really a very similar version of) that Pokémon. So,the 2 main advantages of participating in Raids is that you gain a lot of experience points and, if you beat the Raid boss (the super powerful Pokémon) then you get the chance to catch and keep it for yourself. There is much, much more information about Raids and beginniners can’t participate in them until they reach a certain level. The last I heard it was level 20…but this level has been lowered several times, so who knows what it will be when you read this. I ran across this excellent video the other day which presents a very complete, albeit possibly slightly outdated description of Raids and Raid Battles. The video should appear at the top of this article.

Community Days

Perhaps one of the most important of these new events is one I already mentioned  that’s called Community Day. Since I discuss this event above, I won’t go into more detail here. Suffice it to say that Community Day does truly offer something for everyone. For players who are somewhat house-bound like myself (because I’m the recipient of a brand new hip) less global activities and advantages are offered that mean I can still enjoy some of the aspects of Community Day that make it a worthwhile endeavor for me too.

Oftentimes the GamePress website writes a Community Day Guide. Here’s a link to their Community Day Guide for Saturday May 19th. It’s not that  Community Days are so complicated they need their own guide rather it’s because Niantic includes features for each day which, if capitalized upon, can really help to improve a players overall standing within the game.  So the guides are intended to educate players about those kinds of possibilities.

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A third and the most recent new PokemonGo feature is called Quests.

Quests

Quests are the newest innovation. They were designed to get players more engaged in the game during off times when there’s not much other incentive to play, as well as to teach many players more about the game. Most people fall into a repetitive pattern of game play and don’t really wander outside of their comfort zone.  But the game itself is quite deep.  It has more to offer than most players realize. I’ve definitely explored it a lot more since I was housebound for a good length of time following my THR (total hip replacement,) and  Quests were introduced.

Yet I still have a long way to go to complete the first Quest, as you can see by the screenshot below. There has since been a 2nd Quest introduced and soon a third one will be available because there will be a new quest each month. Let’s just hope players that aren’t done don’t lose their progress and can still compete the ones that they are on! Because…until I see my 10th ghost type Pokémon…I’m not going anywhere Quest-wise!

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There have been many more minor and even a few major modifications to the game in the last two years, but the ones I’ve discussed, in my opinion, have had the most impact and are most important to new players currently. The overall take away from this should be:

Niantic appears to be vested in both the game’s future success and it’s player’s wellbeing.   For players this isn’t a bad position to be in. Especially if you’re like me and aren’t really much of a video game player… but are playing just this one video game. 

Nintendo Released a PokémonGo Plus Device to Help Players Catch More Pokémon

There are so many aspects to the game that I just can’t cover in this one short post. One of them is this device that Nintendo, who’s a partner with Niantics in their PokémonGo game, came out with about a year after the game was launched. Naturally I had to have one but then I couldn’t figure out how to attach it to its wristband. So I made this YouTube video demonstrating how to attach it when I figured it out.

Conclusion |  A Bright Future For Players & Game Alike

That, in a nutshell, really explains the entire game. While there actually is much more to it in terms of nuances and details, those factors are really all of the more complex cognitive ones that I keep alluding to. The game can really become quite complex and require really high levels of thinking for players to figure out the best possible options for their Pokémon and their situation.

In fact I was really stunned by how much more cognitively demanding this game, which was my first video game ever, actually is.

Below: Some Pokémon Rumored to be at GoFest 2018 this Summer.

Players can spend hours upon hours researching their Pokémon, their hidden potentials, the moves that they’re capable of making in battles, the different categories of Pokémon and how they interact and impact each other, their inherent values which can determine ultimately how powerful a Pokémon may become, and their levels, which even I don’t fully understand yet. Those and  a whole host of other complex factors can strongly factor into a player’s success in the game. Yet none of this really deep strategizing, nor any of those complex factors are really necessary for a player to compete and do well.

It’s more like this. The complexity is there and can be really useful for people who are inclined to take advantage of it, and who want to use their brains to their fullest by strategizing to improve their chances in the game. While I don’t know this for a fact, I suspect that most video games follow this same structure and offer this degree of complexity if  desired. Most video games may allow many different types of game play and may provide intricate and complex back stories that can demand good quantitive skills. Certainly it’s been true in my experience that the population that’s most often attracted to video games is the same one that likes to delve into and manipulate the many faceted layers for their own betterment.

The fact that PokemonGo is able to provide this kind of flexibility probably explains it’s huge mass appeal. That PokemonGo can essentially be many different kinds of games for many different kinds of players, all while providing a new and unique augmented reality experience using hardware that literally everyone carries around in their pocket or purse anyway, makes the mass attraction even more understandable. When one factors in even newer phenomenon…things like how utterly friendly, welcoming and inclusive the PokémonGo community as a whole has proven to be, it makes complete sense that once the initially sky rocketing total number of player’s settled into their lower but much more consistent ongoing total number of players…these numbers have remained fairly constant over time.

Just Get Up and Go

That’s PokemonGo’s motto. Another big advantage of the game is that it definitely pushes players who wouldn’t think otherwise to go outdoors on their own, to get outside and get some exercise. This has been a huge benefit for me…but there is one drawback too. My posture has been bad for a couple years and it got worse before my hip replacement. I thought after the surgery it might improve all on its own. In some ways it has, because pain was one reason for the slouching…but it hasn’t improved as far as PokémonGo is concerned. I recently realized that playing the game outside with my poor vision and the sun and elements has led to my hunching over my phone even more! I think it’s to get closer to my cellphone screen just to see it (I have awful vision and fairly advanced cataracts too,) as well as to block out the sun and wind which makes my eyes water! So I really should cut back on my game play while I retrain my posture to be more upright! Who woulda guessed!

One thing is certain…PokemonGo isn’t going anywhere. Nor is the game even in any kind of danger, despite the dire predictions one oftentimes hears. That is what makes this the perfect time for my quintessential guide. It also makes it the perfect time to extend an open invitation to anyone who may have felt that they missed the PokémonGo bandwagon the first time around or who didn’t even hear about it back then!

I have one last thing I’d like to mention. There is a large and thriving YouTube Community who supports the game significantly. You can learn almost everything about playing the game from watching their videos. This community occurred organically, and Niantic has wisely embraced them and incorporated this aspect into the game as a whole. One of my favorite YouTubers  is Nick from Trainer Tips. I love his modest yet extremely knowledgeable presentations and the fact that he’s constantly striving to improve his channel, his artistry and himself in the process. It sort of boggles my mind that there can be so many 20-something players who appear to be making a decent living by playing PokemonGo 24/7 and broadcasting their progress as they educate players. Most of the successful ones travel extensively, so watching their videos is sort of a travelogue kind of adventure too. But that fact means they are incurring lots of travel expenses too…yet they seem to be supporting themselves and even their extensive travelling with the income from their Channels.

Since I also have a Youtube channel that recently underwent every YouTuber’s most dreaded fear…demonitization…I know how much work is involved and how taxing that lifestyle can be. So I enthusiastically support their efforts and greatly admire their entrepreneurial spirits!

In the big picture, PokémonGo is a super easy, fun, free, challenging and worthwhile game in so many more ways than I ever could have appreciated had it not been left to fate!

If you are at all interested in the game and have hesitated to join in on the gameplay I hope that my Guide has convinced you to give it a try.

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Fix iCloud Photo Sync | Why it Stops + The Best New Easy Fix for ios 11 | iPad & iPhone

Important:

Within the last year or two I’ve noticed one ios setting that keeps getting changed. It’s responsible for Photo Sync not working correctly.  It’s found under iCloud – PhotosUpload to Photostream. This needs to be enabled (green) for photos to sync. I’m not sure why but it seems whenever I do something device related like what I describe in this post to fix photo syncing…after a few days I notice that sync has stopped again. 3 devices in the last two days had this turned off when I checked settings. After turning it back on a few photos synced but not all of them. Resetting the device and then opening photos and dragging down the whole screen in album view to force a sync solved the problem.



Why I Wrote This

As many of my regular readers know, I’ve had countless problems keeping iCloud photos sync working. There might be extenuating circumstances because I use a ton of Apple devices and my photo library is massive. In addition to the almost 56,000 photos iCloud stores for me I also have upward of 2500 videos. I’ve gone to great lengths to keep sync working primarily because I do all may work on ios devices (despite the fact that iPads will never be the computer replacements Apple would like us all to believe!)  That’s why keeping sync working is absolutely mandatory for me! When it’s not working, trying to remember which device is able to access which images or videos is next to impossible.

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The Best Work Around for a Broken Photostream

When Photo sync stops working for me I spend a lot of time Air Dropping images and videos back and forth amongst devices. As a result I end up with a lot of duplicate images and videos...so this work-around is really annoying!

A much better alternative that can save me time too is when I remember to use iCloud photo sharing instead. It’s easy to orchestrate. I just create a Shared Album for that instance, then I upload whatever media I need to access from whichever devices  I can find it on.

This new Shared album is easily accessible on all my devices. However, I do still need to download the images or videos to whichever device I want to use to work with them. Therefore this method also results in duplicates which in turn increases the overall size of my iCloud Photo Library…so it’s important to remember to delete these shared albums once Photo syncing is fixed again.

The Main Reason iCloud Photo Sync Stops Working in ios 11

A Senior Apple Support Specialist told me yesterday that the main reason any ios device loses photo syncing capabilities currently with the recent versions of ios 11, up to 11.3.3…is because the device was recently switched a different WiFi network.

And sure enough…I had done that! We’d arrived home from a quick ‘long weekend’ about 2 weeks prior. My iCloud photo sync problems, which had existed, but they’d been minor problems before the trip, grew much worse when got back home.

My problems grew so bad in fact that I finally gave up and called Apple Care. This was after spending a lot of time trying to remedy the problem on my own. My main attempt was one I tried repeatedly because it was my own proven solution up until now. This fix  had always been my most reliable solution. Although it seemed like with the advent of ios 11, while it tended to work initially, the fix didn’t seem to ‘stick’ for very long. Less often, it simply didn’t work at all. This was especially frustrating because I wrote a post about it, which initially received great feedback from family members and friends. That, along with my own reliance upon it is the reason I’m sharing it here. It may still work well for people using older devices or earlier versions of ios.

After repeated attempts which had short-lived success I ended up spending a lot of time researching the problem once again. But my search for new solutions online was uncharacteristically futile.

That’s when I decided to call Apple Care. About an hour after initially being screened by a general support person who tried their best but failed with simple advice like…“did you try turning on Photostream?” I was finally offered the opportunity to speak with someone more advanced. This initial screening is my main reason for always hesitating to call upon Apple Care. In one conversations with the Senior Support Specialist I mentioned this and was told that I can circumvent spending that first hour with a generalist by John st asking to talked to a more senior support person right from the start.  That was great information to have and I’ll definitely do that in the future because I usually feel like I know much more about how ios Devices function than the Apple Care people I contact.

Shortly after getting in contact with the Senior Support Specialist, whose name  is Addison, I grew hopeful when he zeroed right in on what seemed to be causing the problem and he immediately knew what to do to fix it!

The Result of My Apple Care Session

I didn’t ask any followup questions about why switching WiFi’s has anything to do with disabling iCloud Photo Sync. I suspect that one of my Readers could probably explain that part to me! But the end result was that he helped me figure out which ios devices weren’t syncing properly by comparing the total number of photos in the camera roll of each. Then we went through the necessary steps to fix the 2 iPads and 2 iPhones which we determined were the ones that weren’t syncing. These also happened to be the devices I use most often and mainly, the ones I’d taken on the recent trip.


How to Fix iCloud Photo Sync Problems

ios 11 & 10

These steps are the same regardless of which ios the device may happen to be on. Of my 4 devices, 2 were on ios 11.3.0 and 2 were on ios 10.3.3.

Step 1

Sign Out of iCloud

You do this in Settings at the very top of the left menus by tapping on your name and then on the right pane scrolling down towards the very bottom until you find the words:

Sign Out (in Red)

When you do this you’ll receive a message asking if you want the content of you device’s data removed or kept on the device. Addison said it didn’t matter which, but I chose ‘Keep’ because it would be less of a strain on our WiFi system initially when all of the data started to sync again.

Step 2

Do a Soft or Hard Reset of Your Device

I asked Addison, the Apple support tech, which is the correct terminology…because I’ve seen it both ways…he said there isn’t a standard. I’m talking about the Reset in which you hold down both the Home Button and the Power On/Off Button until an Apple appears on the screen…then let go of both buttons and let it Reset itself.

Step 3

Sign Back Into iCloud

You do this in the same place in Settings. When you do be prepared for a whole slew of notifications like using WiFi enable calls, merging your iCloud data and other things I forget right now.Basically answer this all if you want or if you don’t want to they can always be revisited later…usually in Settings…sometimes Addison said there would be a red badge alerting you to where there change something.

Step 4

Wait 24 Hours (Making Sure Your Device is Reconnected to WiFi 1st!)

When 24 hours have elapsed…or the next day, check the total for the main Photos Album. I checked mine early and began using the device so I watched throughout the day as my photos and videos were slowly brought back onto it and my 3 other devices.

This fix worked reliably on all 4 devices!


More About  Apple Care

A Random Side Note About Restoring ios Devices, Apple’s Generous Replacement Programs, and iCloud Sync

One pretty drastic, but still viable method to ensure that iCloud sync continues working well on devices is this. Whenever Apple replaces a device for someone, this naturally involves a restore of their data to the new device. It seems this has occurred with me a lot recently. Restoring the data on an ios device has become pretty painless, which means that when an Apple Genius tells me the only way to fix a problem is to restore it…I no longer cringe and put it aside, deciding to buy a new device to hold me over until I get around to it!

A big plus of the restoration process, regardless of whether or not it’s a brand new device or an older one that’s exhibiting the problems…is that a restore almost always fixes all of the photo Sync and other iCloud sync problems too.

The reason I mention this is because if you are contemplating restoring a device anyway…then knowing that the restore will fix your sync problems too (only on that device though) is something that I’d want to know up front.

Some Advantages of Apple Care

I maintain Apple Care on some of my newest, most expensive devices. This, for me has resulted in an overall significant cost savings in the long run because Apple has replaced many, many devices for me over the years. The reason is because ios devices have a fairly closed system which makes it far easier for Apple to provide customers with a brand new device when problems arise. The problems which have resulted in Apple’s replacing a device for me range from a tiny speck of dust under the glass of an iPad Mini 2 (which doesn’t have the recently hyped  laminated Screen and infinitesimal cracks in the screen which I didn’t even notice, to a new Apple Watch which developed battery problems…with a lot in between.

Apple Recall Programs

Another way to assure that you are keeping your devices as up-to-date and as new as possible is to occasionally monitor what I call ‘Apple’s recall webpage,’ and discovering if  you have a problem device listed there. Occasionally the ‘remedy’ will be a replacement device…as was the case with the recent iPhone 6S battery recall for me. Naturally your device needs to be exhibiting the problem and sometimes there are criteria your device needs to meet. But if it does it’s well work taking the extra time to check it out because you will end up with a brand new device.

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A Quick & Easy Jumplink Method | WordPress.com 2018

Introduction

Many of the posts I write are really long. I’ve been lobbying WordPress to add a feature which would allow me to easily create a ‘Table of Contents’ for my Readers. So far, other than what seems to be significant interest by other members of the WordPress.com community…people like me who create websites, WordPress.com management and even WordPress.com Support doesn’t seem inclined to want to consider the concept of adding this as a new feature. It appears they don’t necessarily understand what useful purpose a fully functioning Table of  Contents might serve.

Below are 2 examples of Table’s of Contents…one from a recent post of mine that I added as a navigational aid, but that lacks working links. Creating the hot links is the time consuming part and it’s the reason why I’ve been lobbying for them for a few years now.

My Table of Contents for My Hip Replacement Post

The 2nd is a WordPress.com Support post.

You’ll see if you visit the post that the Table of Contents links are hot, or functioning links.  Clearly having a Table of Contents that actually functions as a tool for Readers is the more desirable to of the two examples!

WordPress Support's Table of Contents

What are Jumplinks?

Both posts utilize a feature called jumplinks. Jumplinks are manually created hotlinks to another place within the same post. The jumplink instructions I’ve found are all different and all contradict each other. Therefore…learning to create jumplinks has not been an easy task.

This is one of the most important reasons why an automated Table of Contents would be such an amazing feature for WordPress.com users.

My Quick & Easy Method of Creating Jumplinks

Jumplinks consist of 2 parts. The first is the actual link itself. In the screen shot from my post above…the link in the Table of Contents entitled ‘Why Pears are My New Favorite Fruit.

The 2nd part of the jumplink is called the anchor point. It’s the location that the jumplink takes you to. You need to create a unique name for each anchor point that you want to create a jumplink too.

There are 3 steps to making a jumplink:

  1. Create the URL
  2. Attach the URL to the words that you want to function as the link.
  3. Make the achnor point or the place the link will go to

Creating the Jumplink URL

Creating the jumplink is super easy. It wasn’t always that way. It took days of work for me to figure out through testing many iterations of various examples which methods really do work and which combinations don’t. I’ve finally hit upon the perfect combination of simple coding that consistently works!

You can just copy the URL of the post or page and add #uniquename at the end of it. (You add this immediately after the last /) 

uniquename = the name you’ve given to you anchor point

To create the actual link, just use the regular link creating mechanism and add the post’s URL with the ending / removed and #Anchorpoint at the end for the link.

Creating the Action Which Takes You to the Location Referred to in the Jumplink

Select the words that you’d like to be the destination for the jumplink. Wrap those words with <p id=”anchorlink”>some words</p>

That’s all there is to it. Now just publish your work and test out the link to make sure it works.

Example

If you’d like to see an example of using this method, refer to this post and try out the link in the red box in the screenshot below.

Post example of this Quick method

One Remaining Problem

I’m not entirely sure why not, but whenever I try to wrap headlines (ones that use header tags) in the destination code, my jumplink never works. I can’t imagine why not. My work-around is to pick some other words close to the headline to wrap instead. But if someone could explain more about why this problem occurs to me and how to prevent it…I’d appreciate it!

This is just one more reason why I think that an automated Table of Contents based upon header tags, would be a really great feature to have!

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