My Solar Eclipse Video

Below:  Our backyard pool.

Our backyard swimming pool

I Realized I’d Dropped the Ball When I Learned on Sunday Night that the Eclipse Was Happening on Monday

I was talking by phone to my elderly parents. I’d already goofed up the talking to them part, by accidentally hitting the line button on my portable land line phone when I placed it near me so that I wouldn’t miss their call returning my call to them to chat. They apparently tried for 1/2 an hour and got a busy signal the whole time! So when I realized my mistake and called to apologize, I suggested talking on Monday instead.

They hesitated a brief moment before telling me that might not work because they’d be busy watching the eclipse. “Wait…that’s tomorrow I asked?” “Yup” they said. “Wow…I’ve got to figure out how I’ll watch it then,” I told them. They asked me if we’d purchased eclipse glasses. We hadn’t, and frankly I’d never even heard of them before! But it turns out that my husband had heard of them…although why he’d failed to mention it to me is a bit of a mystery! But he’d even tried somewhat aggressively to get some a day or two earlier. Sadly, every vendor that was close to us was completely sold out. Even Amazon was sold out!  So, he’d decided that he’d try using his welding helmet instead.

Monday morning arrived and I was determined to figure out a way. First off I learned  that most welding helmets really wouldn’t work after all, because most of them don’t use they extra dark filter required. A pinhole camera just didn’t interest me since I’d been there and done that during some past eclipse. But I’d seen one news story online in which a newscaster had mentioned that by just taking a very large sheet of white paper outside and laying it on the ground, it might yield positive results for viewing the eclipse…and that gave me hope!

The newscaster said that as the sun moved behind the moon, its image could end up being reflected onto the paper, in a way that somewhat resembled waves. The approach was intriguing to me, so I headed down to the basement to find an old roll of white paper left over from when our kids were little and had an artist’s easel.

It was while I was still descending the basement stairs that a thought struck me. If white paper worked that way, then maybe a swimming pool would too? In fact, maybe a swimming pool would work even better?  So, I decided to skip the paper and headed out to our back yard pool…but I was running out of time. I didn’t even waste time looking at a clock but I knew that the eclipse would probably be peaking in our area in the next 5 minutes.

As I removed the pool cover I had both iPhones in my pocket. When I approached the pool I was surprised to see that the sun cast a perfect mirror image of itself on the water. In fact, it was so perfect, I worried that I might hurt my eyes just looking at it (it was really bright!) I worried because earlier in the day, I’d watched a video with 2 elderly guys talking about the time that they’d both dared each other to look directly at another eclipse long ago…I think maybe it was in 1924? That competition had ended up being really foolish because it ended up having lifelong ramifications for both of them in terms of blurred and poor vision. They’d burned their retinas! I still don’t know if you could burn your retina by just looking at the mirror image of the sun in a pools reflection…but I decided not to test fate. Even though I thought I still had a few minutes to wait, I decided to start shooting footage of the sun’s reflection now.

The aforementioned pool cover

The aforementioned pool cover

The worst that might happen I reasoned, was that my arm might get pretty tired as I tried to hold my phone really steady for a few minute’s time. Because I’d also failed to procure a tripod. So I dug into my pocket and pulled out my favorite ‘camera’ iPhone. After doing that I was stunned to see that in those few brief moments the sun had disappeared!

What happened next? You can see for yourself in my short (1 minute) video. I should warn you first though, that my recalling this story actually took longer than it will take you to view the video! I only managed to capture a part of the eclipse on film…but it’s still really cool!

Here’s my Short YouTube Video of the Solar Eclipse

If You Have Any Interest in Preplanning for the Next Total Solar Eclipse…Here’s a Great Website!

The Great American Eclipse Website

The Great American Eclipse Website


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How to Capture Screenshot’s of Windows Larger Than Your iPad Screen | ios 10

Have You Ever Needed to Take a Screenshot of a Webpage That’s Larger Than the Screen of Your iPad (or iPhone?)

It may seem impossible…but it can be done if you know about the little trick I discovered recently…

This situation seems to happen to me a lot. But up until I figured out this trick…I couldn’t make the content small enough to fit it into the size of one screen.

Logically, it seems like you should be able to pinch the content on the display to a smaller size…even if it’s just for an instant…that would be long enough to capture a screenshot of it. But, what happens instead is this:

Example of how the content doesn't shrink

Example of how the content doesn’t shrink

No amount of pinching would bypass the problem show above. What helped me to figure out my little trick is that one time, forgetting that I couldn’t  do this, I tried yet again and that time I was able to do it! But when I immediately tried it again I couldn’t replicate my success.

I had to figure out what I did differently that time that allowed me to make the content smaller. After quite a few fails, I again had a successful attempt. It was this 2nd success that helped me to realize what the slight modification I’d done, actually was.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill)

My Easy Method for Capturing More Screen Content than is Displayed on the Screen of an iPad

I made this YouTube video to demonstrate my simple trick. But then I go on to demonstrate a few additional edits I sometimes use to further refine the finalized  image.

The key to being able to pinch in the screen content enough to capture much more than one screen’s worth of data, is to first ‘unpinch’ the screen a little bit. Meaning that you expand the content displayed on the screen using the opposite of a pinch gesture. Once the screens content has been expanded to slightly larger than normal, you’re now able to pinch the screeen to display a smaller than normal image of the screen without forcing the screen to revert to displaying all of your Safari tabs.

It’s hard to describe, even with the use of screenshots, which is why I made the video below to demonstrate the technique.

What I Used as a Substitute Method to Get A Lot of Content into One Screenshot Prior to Figuring Out My Trick

If you’re wondering why this is such a big deal for me, it’s because in the course of writing for this and my sister website, vsatrends, as well as in creating content for my YouTube channel…I end up using hundreds of screenshots as illustrations. I feel like those activities have sort of forced me to master a lot of problems I originally encountered when trying to get clean and cohesive screenshots.

I’m excited about this new method because in the end it will save me a lot of time. Because my old method involved taking multiple screenshots which I’d then try to perfectly crop and paste together using one of 2 apps…Pages or Pixelmator. Both apps work equally well for that purpose, and both take about the same amount of time…but using Pixelmator usually results in a final image with better resolution. That’s because Pixelmator is an image editing app…so I would save they byproduct of my work as a JPEG image. Whereas, when I used Pages, I would end up taking a screenshot of my merged images and then crop that down to a final copy.

So, to demonstrate this method, I’ll use the Pixelmator approach.

Pixelmator is a powerful full-featured photo editing and painting app that’s $4.99. Apple featured it in their ios 8 live stream event.

Creating One Screenshot Using Multiple Screenshots that are Cropped & Pasted Together in Pixelmator

Here’s the second YouTube video I made demonstrating my trick for taking screenshots when the image you want to capture is larger than the screen of your ios device.

The first thing you’d need to do when using this method is to take several good screen shots, keeping a mental note of where you think you’ll probably adjoin them. It just so happens that I had 2 screenshots that I wanted to merge already, so I demonstrate how to do this using one of my favorite, and most frequently used apps, Pixelmator for ios in the following YouTube video:

One Last Situation You May Encounter is If There’s Too Much Content for Even My New Trick

If that’s the case and you still want to keep this captured information long term you can use another technique I wrote about last year, which is another little trick for creating PDF’s of any webpage, without using the impossibly inflexible sharing methods built into iBooks. You can read more about how to use this ingenious PDF method that’s built into the core of ios here.

Additional Resources

I ran across this brilliant piece that basically includes everything you’ve ever wanted to know about screenshots, created by Zappier, while writing this post:

Zapier’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Screenshots


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How to Stop Google From Asking to Use You Current Location on iPad & iPhone

Have You Ever Found Yourself  Continually Receiving Notifications Like the One Below? 
Google Woild Like to Use Your Current Location Notification

If you have and you’re like most people, you’ve gone into Safari’s Settings looking for anything to change that might stop this message from annoying you. If you’re also  like most people, you didn’t find anything useful there.

The reason is because this is a location warning that Apple has placed in a different part of the ios Settings app. You’ll need to look in Privacy – Location – Safari in order to stop the notifications.

Steps to Stop Google from Asking You About Your Location

Open Settings

Step 1 Tap on Privacy

Step 1 Tap on Privacy

Step 2 Tap on Locations Services

Step 2 Tap on Locations Services

Step 3 Tap on Safari

Step 3 Tap on Safari

Step 4 To monitor when location services are being used, tap on System Services

Step 4 To monitor when location services are being used, tap on System Services

Step 5 Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and turn on 'Status Bar Icon'

Step 5 Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and turn on ‘Status Bar Icon’

Once you’ve turned on the status bar icon, whenever location services are being used you’ll see the small arrow icon in the upper right hand corner filled in solid black. If location services aren’t being used the location arrow will remain unfilled.


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Posted in Apple apps, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Apple refuses to enable iPhone emergency settings that could save countless lives

Yesterday popular tech publisher The Next Web TNW called Apple Corporation to Task for Refusing to Enable Important New Emergency Service Standards in all ios Devices

Below is a screenshot of the Next Web’s article

The Next Web published an important article concerning Apple’s refusal to enable ios devices with the newest standard for GPS locating when emergency 911 called are placed. I’m not really familiar with how reblogging works…but I thought people should have the chance to read this article so I’m sharing it here.

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