Creator Studio ios Trick to Find All YouTube Comments

Using the Creator Studio ios App is The Easiest Way to Reply to Your YouTube Comments

I use iPads for just about everything. Writing my blogs with the WordPress, Ulysses and Editorial apps, creating, editing, uploading and managing my YouTube channel with iMovie, Creator Studio and the YouTube apps, editing photos for my blog posts and videos with Snapseed and One Edit Pro apps, and keeping track of everything in my life with Evernote. Those are all the apps I couldn’t live without…or at least couldn’t work without…which are one and the same things for me.

Link to Creator Studio ios app


So when I discovered that YouTube had the ios app Creator Studio, at first I wasn’t sure if I’d find a use for it. But after just a few short weeks it became my preferred way of managing just about everything on my YouTube channel.

I cover most of how I manage viewers’ comments it’s Creator Studio in my post on How to Find Out Who Subscribes to Your YouTube  Channel, which has ended up being one of my most popular posts of all time. But when I first wrote it, I was still managing comments using the Chrome app on my iPad (because you can’t do much with Safari and YouTube on an iPad.)  More recently I updated that post, and updated added a section about how to manage comments with Creator Studio.

But there’s been one annoying problem I didn’t address because I didn’t know the answer too.

Above:  All of the videos on my YouTube channel.

Creator Studio Displays a Number in a Circle in the Top Right Corner

For a long time I wasn’t sure exactly what this number was for. When you tap on the number some comments may display…but not always. If they do, trying to find the actual comments to approve and reply to seems impossible.

Comments Menu Item

It took me some time to realize that I needed to manage comments using the menu on the left side of the app. Then even longer to realize that the small downward pointing arrow at the top of the Comments page on the right is the key to approving and replying to Comments.

But even after I figured all that out…and spent some time approving and replying to viewers comments…that number wouldn’t disappear. It might go down…say from 5 to 2…but getting it to disappear seemed impossible.


Today I discovered that the comments I was still being notified about with that number were:

Comments that Were Likely Spam

Knowing that was useful but didn’t solve my problem of how to make that number go away!

How to Find & Decide Whether or Not to Approve Comments Held Due to Likely Spam

When you use the Comments Menu on the left, more than likely the last view that you opened here will display. In my case it was ‘Published Comments.’

If you tap on the downward pointing arrow you’ll see all the available options you have for working with comments, shown below:

Select the ‘Likely Spam’ category and then those comments will be displayed. If you determine that a comment isn’t spam, you can approve it first, and then reply to it.


It’s really easy once you know the trick…but Creator Studio’s ios app doesn’t talk about any of this in their help section.

Speaking of Comments

Please leave me any comments here.

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How Much We Spent Cutting the Cord, Our Hardware & the Setup Process

Our DigiTenna Rooftop Antenna

Our DigiTenna Rooftop Antenna

Introduction

We thought about cutting the cord for several years before we finally did. In retrospect, we wish we’d done it sooner! We’re saving a lot of money, (roughly $2700/year) which I discuss in Part 1 of my Cutting the Cord Series.

I’m writing a very long guide to ‘Cutting the Cable‘ because it seems like there’s so much misinformation out there, and while lots of people are streaming, not that many are actually taking the bigger step of completely cutting the cord. Last of course is because like everything I do, I researched the topic extensively before we actually cut the cord…right now I know a lot, but that’s bound to change quickly so while it’s all fresh in my mind I thought I’d write a beginner’s guide to this for friends and family. It gets down to the very minute basics…all of the nuts and bolts, and is designed primarily for people who don’t have any technical background at all.

But that guide is taking a long time…mainly because I’m working on too many things I think. So I wrote this quick overview today for someone and decided I should publish it for those people who don’t need my complete beginner’s guide, and who just want to know what we did, how we did it and the hardware we used.

If you don’t have Smart TV’s at home then there are 3 key pieces of hardware to get when you ‘Cut the Cable.’ If you do have Smart TV’s more than likely you won’t need any streaming devices, because you can put apps on the TV for the streaming content providers.

In general, most households will want to get 3 key pieces of hardware:

Amazon Associate Disclosure: I’m an Amazon Associate therefore I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through one of the Amazon links I provide. This has no impact on the price or any other negative consequence for you, and hopefully just a tiny positive one for me:-)
  • A DVR for recording shows. That’s assuming you want to record things for offline viewing. We did in case our internet isn’t available, plus we’ll save money eventually as we build up our DVR’s recording schedule. This last year, since we began mid-season with most TV shows we paid more for episodes we hadn’t recorded because we hadn’t cut the cable yet.
  • An antenna to receive OTA (over the air TV signals.) Rooftop, attic or indoors…but rooftop is best if possible.
  • Streaming devices if your TV can’t stream things. These devices let you add apps for viewing streaming content. The apps are for the main content providers including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime.

Subscription Based Streaming Content Providers

There are plenty of other streaming alternatives too… Sling TV has several plans as does PlayStation Vue and even YouTube is now offering subscription based streaming plans. The ones I mentioned first are the old timers and cover the broadest range. Sling TV is oftentimes the service heavy sports fan like.

Photo Gallery Of Our Hardware on Amazon

Our Hardware

I had been waiting for a couple of years for some good OTA DVR’s to enter the market. When Tablo did, I watched their progress and read a lot of reviews. As cord cutting is taking off there are quite a few other manufacturers that have come out with OTA DVR’s too, which I talk about in my longer article. But I like what this one and almost every reviewer out there ranks this as the best one for the money.

We bought the 4 tuner Tablo DVR because we were replacing 2 whole house DVR’s from our cable provider that each had 2 tuners. Each tuner can record on a separate channel, so we can be recording 4 different shows at once if need be. The shows record directly from the antenna and then are streamed to any TV in our house or even to an app on our iPads or Android devices when we’re traveling.

This is our model number

This is our model number

Our antenna is made by DigiTenna. We let the Installer pick it out for us after I spent way too much time trying to figure this part out by myself. The easiest way to do this truly is just call a TV Installer and ask them to get you the best antenna for your circumstances. The DigiTenna brand has ended up being amazing for us! It was $400 installed. The installer included connecting it to our Tablo DVR and to 6-7 TV’s in our house in his price too. Our antenna is described in this YouTube video by the manufacturer.

I preordered our Roku 4 from Amazon for $130 and now the price there is $110. We upgraded one of our 3’s I discuss further down when we got our Samsung 4K TV, for better picture quality because these are made specifically for 4K’s.

Roku Models with Voice Search

Roku Models with Voice Search

We’ve used Roku’s for years and overall our Roku’s have ranged in price from around $40 to $130 when we bought them. Higher priced models generally give you more features. Voice Search is the best of these imo. We absolutely love Voice Search because it saves us so much time finding which services have a specific TV show. The models which include Voice Search remotes are the Roku 3 and 4 and run from $90 for the 3 to $110 for the 4 on Amazon. All can be operated with a cellphone app which also provides Voice Search too. Some other features on higher priced models maybe an Ethernet port to connect to your network…which may help in resolving buffering problems. An SD card slot to expand internal memory for more channels…etc.

Roku's ios app with Voice Search

When we bought out TV we got it from Best Buy and paid $1700. We first got a different Samsung 55″ 4K TV from Costco that cost a little less and we didn’t love the picture…there was too much reflection glare from lamps. So we returned it and wanted to get this one but Costco was sold out of it so we got it from Best Buy instead because we didn’t want to wait for it to be shipped.

 Pair a second Roku remote

We had some problems initially setting up our TV and couldn’t find any YouTube videos to help us, so I made this one about some parts of the setup process. It’s my most viewed video of all time and is creeping up on 23,000 views, which tells me that A LOT of people got this TV. Recently viewers for my video have been slowing down however, and I think it’s because Samsung came out with a newer model of it. Ours is the 2016 flat screen model. Here’s a link to the comparable 2017 model on Amazon which is $1300. On Amazon at least, ours got higher praise and better reviews in general, although in reading the negative ones they pertain to techy things I don’t think would have made a difference for us.

Peripheral Hardware

We paid $450 from Costco and Amazon currently sells if for $300. After getting the TV we discovered we really needed a soundbar too. Originally we got a Bose soundbar from Costco, but we didn’t love it so we returned that too and got this Samsung one which we do love.

This isn’t truly a peripheral device because you need to add a hard drive to the Tablo DVR in order for it to record shows. But, you can really get whatever kind of hard drive you want. Since I was getting the Tablo from Amazon, it was convenient for me to just get a hard drive from there too. And so far this one has been great with tons of capacity we’re nowhere near filling up yet.

Ours were $89 without Voice Search because I didn’t think we needed or wanted that feature. Later on I discovered how great Voice Search works on Roku’s so I ordered a 2nd remote for a couple of players that included it for an additional $30. I then spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to pair a second remote to a Roku, which I finally did and wrote this post about how to do it. It’s been one of my most popular posts.

Since Roku has now come out with their line of 4 players the prices of the 3’s have gone way down, but if you don’t have a 4K or UHD TV this player is fine and really all you need because it has Voice Search…the most important feature imo.

I purchased several of these from Amazon about a year before we decided to cut the cable to replace some really old Roku’s that just couldn’t keep up with current technology anymore…we had used them for many years. When I bought them originally I did so thru Roku directly but found these refurbished ones on Amazon for a much better price, so I took a chance and got one first. It was perfect and seemed brand new to me.

Last year during Amazon Prime Days I decided on a whim to get a Fire TV box because I had heard  a lot of good things about it. It was $90 but because I bought it during Prime Days I got a great discount on it and our total price was $59. It is a beautiful player, but we sort of use it more as a backup one because we really love Roku’s and are just so familiar with the UI that they are easy for us. So we haven’t used it all that much.

How We Watch TV Now

Our TV’s now either play live content via the antenna…with the most amazing picture quality we’ve ever experienced. Or we can stream recorded media from our Tablo which connects to each Roku using our homes WiFi (or Ethernet,) or we just watch streaming content ‘live’ using the Roku’s that are connected to all our TV’s. In the last instance the content is streamed from Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Now most often. We switch back and forth between subscribing to Showtime or HBO for about 6 months at a time.

Cost Savings Since Cutting the Cord

We cut the cable in October 2016. Our total costs for hardware and install were ∼ $1400 so we broke even this month. Going forward we’ll save $225 a month. You can read a lot more about our pre-costs here.

The biggest surprise for us was much better picture quality on our new 4K TV. We thought it was good using Time Warner’s (now Spectrum) cable…but it’s much better with the antenna. Install guy said because TV content providers like cable & dish reduce the quality by compressing it. I don’t really get that but we’re thrilled with the amazing picture!

This is what our Tablo displays for us to pick out something pre-recorded to watch.

This is what our Tablo displays for us to pick out something pre-recorded to watch.

Brief Description of How We Cut the Cord

Planning for our Cord Cutting took much longer than actually doing it! Our planning occurred over about a 2 year time period because we we’re kind of afraid of really ‘Cutting the Cord’ entirely. But the actual ‘Cord Cutting’ itself just took about half a day. My husband cancelled our cable and returned our hardware on his way home from work.

I had ordered and figured out how to set up the Tablo and its hard drive as well as had ordered some extra Ethernet, coaxial, and HDMI cables and a few HDMI splitters and I had just received the new Roku 4 too. I did have to read up on the right way to connect the new Roku to our Samsung 4K in order to get the best picture quality…which seemed to take me longer than it should have.

I met with the antenna Installer at 3:30 pm and he did the roof install which took a few hours. Then, as darkness approached he came indoors and did all the inside work.

It took him a little longer than he’d estimated because we had more TV’s than we thought and he was unfamiliar with the Tablo. He was done around 9:30 pm.

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Echo Look May Be Amazon Echo Home’s Next Big Thing…it May Be the World’s Next Big Obsession Too

A Few Weeks Ago Amazon Announced Their Newest Alexa Based Product…Echo Look

I discovered this when I visited Amazon to reorder some vitamins…which I forgot to order btw. Because once I arrived I saw this:

Since I’m a huge fan of Alexa virtual assistant and I love fashion I got a little sidetracked. ‘But, no’ I thought, ‘who needs a camera powered by Alexa voice recognition to take my picture?’ I read on anyway and watched Amazon’s video. The video made some compelling arguments for why I need Echo Look. So I checked out the price….$200 and decided I’d ask for it for my birthday.

Amazon’s Video Introducing Echo Look

I explain more about why I decided I really need it a little later. But first, I need to explain why I think this product will be HUGE!

Echo Look’s Primary Function is to Take Selfies

Let’s have a show of hands…who predicted selfies would become a world wide phenomenon. I know I didn’t! In fact I’m still truly puzzled about how and why selfies became such a social epidemic.

But they did!

In case it’s not obvious to you, I’m not a huge fan of selfies. That may be in part because I’ve never really mastered taking them. All I’ve mastered is the ‘looking in the mirror’ method shown below…usually taken with an iPad :-/

Me trying to take selfies as I pack for a trip.

Above:  Me trying to take selfies as I pack for a trip.

I know I should master taking selfies, because it couldn’t possibly be that hard. After all, everyone you see from kids to grandmas are taking them…and most people know how to take them without using their bathroom mirror! How hard could it be? But apparently it is pretty hard for someone who’s completely oblivious concerning what their best angle to be shot from is, as well as how to make those sexy facial expressions which make you look thinner and glamorous all at once.

It’s exactly because selfies have exploded onto the world scene that I predict the new Echo Look will become huge! Ironically, selfies aren’t even the new Look’s primary purpose.

Kim Kardashian on cropping to perfection

Above:  Kim Kardashian’s advice on cropping to perfection

Kim Kardashian’s Guide to Taking the Perfect Selfie (Marie Claire)

Kim Kardashian is known as ‘queen’ of the selfie. Interviewers frequently ask her how she does it. How does she take such amazing selfies?  Marie Claire included her answers in a recent article which I made into a PDF you can download .  

Echo Look Will Provide User’s with a Photographic Journal of all Their Outfits. That in and of itself is pretty cool for clothing obsessed women like me. Yet even that’s not its primary purpose!

Echo Look’s primary purpose is to provide women (and impliedly girls who I suspect may end up being the most prolific user demographic for Look) with fashion advice! It’s unclear exactly what form this advice will take. It could be Amazon Echo software but there appears to be a human component to. This, for my purposes, isn’t the biggest selling feature.

Teens and young women I think are the target demographic for Echo Look.

Teens and young women I think are the target demographic for Echo Look.

Because frankly, fashion advice isn’t something I really need or want. I don’t want to sound arrogant…but I’m pretty confident that I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t. I’m also pretty confident in my ability to pick out the correct attire for any given situation…but I’m not the norm. The only reason I’ve arrived at my level of confidence is because I went to school for fashion design. Which hopefully explains my clothing obsession too.

Many women don’t share my confidence however. Many more don’t even know what looks good on them, because in general, that’s not an easy thing to figure out. I know, because I’m not great at helping other people figure that out either…it’s actually much harder than it looks. I’ve just been lucky because I’ve had years of concentrated practice with myself while in school. Unfortunately I’ve had much less experience with other people’s body types. I can tell when something does look good on someone else…but getting them to that point is difficult for me.

So, an Amazon Echo function that offers fashion advice to people 24/7 in the comfort of their own homes has the potential to be pure genius! Which is another reason I predict that Echo Look will be huge! Also, I think that this concept leaves room for future development. In my mind…the sky’s the limit. For example, how many years has the concept of virtual dressing rooms been kicked around…yet you never really hear of it taking off. With something like Alexa Echo home integration however, I think it’s not only possible but quite probable.

Below:  Part of my fascination with Echo Look is the ‘hand’s free’ capability.

Part of my fascination with Echo Look is the 'hand's free' capability.

More About Why I’m In Love With the Concept of Echo Look

Every time we travel I spend inordinate amounts of time figuring out what outfits I should bring. First I have to figure out what fits me, because as every woman knows, we generally have at least 2 if not 3 entirely different wardrobes based upon our current weight. I call mine my skinny, medium or fat clothes. Once I have a basic idea of which of those categories might fit me then I have to try everything on with a bunch of different options to decide which combinations look best. Last I have to find the exact right accessories to enhance each ensemble.

After I have about twice as many outfits as is practical I need to start thinning things out because I won’t have enough room (or really my bags won’t meet the airline’s weight requirements) for everything I’d like to bring. For some reason this thinning out part is the absolute hardest for me. I keep thinking to myself…what if it’s cold…what if I run out of X types of clothing…what if, god forbid, I need to actually shop while I’m there! Not that I don’t love shopping…I do…sort of…but not under pressure and not when I desperately need one thing because that’s when I can never find that one thing.

It’s at this stage that Echo Look could really help me out. As part of the thinning process I take selfies, I guess you’d call them, so I can remember what’s supposed to go with what. I really think that Echo Look could be a huge time saver for me with this part!

The idea that I could just tell Alexa to take my picture and then turn around and take it again from the back, and have all those photos nicely stored and available at a moments notice is fantastic!

Below:  I guess you’d call my pre-trip packing photos ‘selfies’

My Packing 'selfies'

Why I Can’t Ask for Echo Look as My Birthday Present

I was pretty shocked when I realized that I couldn’t actually buy Echo Look yet. That’s because Amazon appears to be beta testing it first. They are only sending invitations to Prime members who request them…but requesting an invite doesn’t appear to guarantee that you’ll receive one. I did request one and received this in an email shortly afterwards:

My 'we've received your request for an invitation' email from Amazon

The email I received from Amazon indicating they’d received my request for an invitation.

After a few weeks of waiting and further research to see if anyone has been invited to buy Echo Look yet…I found nothing online on the topic. If people are receiving invitations no one is talking about it. So I devised a method to contact the Echo department.

My Search for Inside Information About Echo Look

I had to call Amazon customer service about an unrelated matter. Since we have a new distribution center near us most of our Amazon orders are now delivered by the Amazon Logistics department. This is both good and bad. Oftentimes we now can get next day deliveries and sometimes even same day deliveries. But finding those deliveries can be challenging! The new Logistics team leaves packages anywhere and everywhere but at our door…and they never ring the doorbell first. So this was my 3rd time calling them to complain about finding packages in weird places that were soaking wet because they leave them in the rain without first placing them into a plastic bag. It can be challenging finding Amazon’s Customer Service phone number so here’s the one that always works for me.

How to Call Amazon

Customer Service •Amazon Logistics • Echo Support

The Amazon Customer Service Phone Number I Use is (866) 216-1072

If you Google it, Google now shows you a different number in the first search result

Google Search Result:   (888) 289-4331

I always had to call Customer Service 1st and explain my problem before being routed to Amazon Logistics so the 3rd time I called I remembered to ask if Logistics has a separate number that I could call directly and they do.

Amazon Logistics Phone Number (877) 252-2701 

The First Incorrect Inside Information I Was Given

The Logistic’s person I talked to was chatty so I asked her about Echo Look. She told me that everyone there is really excited about it but that no one really knows anything more about it than the general public. She said that the Logistics team was usually kept in the dark until after products were launched. But she seemed eager to want to help me out. So using Amazon’s internal computer network she figured out that in order to be invited to buy Echo Look you first needed to pre-order it.

I was beyond thrilled with that news! It explained why I hadn’t received my invite!

After hanging up I immediately went back to the webpage introducing Echo Look and tried really hard to find anywhere I’d missed about how I could pre-order it. Sadly, there was nothing…I couldn’t find any information on how to place a pre-order.

You have to admit, Echo Look's design is pretty great too.

Above:  You have to admit, Echo Look’s design is pretty great too.

How to Call Amazon Echo Support

A Few Tricks to Make Calling Echo Support Easier

This is the Number I Use (877) 375-9365

At least I’d remembered to ask for Echo Support’s direct phone number. That ended up being a good thing because that number is much harder to find. Furthermore I discovered that once I did find it, it’s not very easy to call and reach a live person either.

When you call (877)375-9365 the phone doesn’t even ring…you’re immediately greeted with a robotic sounding message stating that it needs to determine whether or not you’re really a human. It was more than a little jarring to immediately hear this robotic voice before the phone has even rung. Then, after I listened to the message there was nothing but silence afterwards. It took me three calls before I finally figured out that I needed to say “I’m human.” There were few more moments of silence leading me to think that saying I was human wasn’t the solution, but then finally I heard the sound of a ringing phone faintly in the distance it seemed but then I was connected to a real live support person!

Possibly An Easier Method

In the email I received after my phone conversation with Echo Look support I was given this link for their ‘Call Me’ Service.  The link brings you to a webpage requesting that you enter your phone number into a box and then select from 2 options…either someone calls you immediately or someone calls you on 5 minutes. The first time I tried this I selected 5 minutes…but the call was placed immediately. I ran to answer it and got the robotic message…”this call is requesting a human.” I said I was human twice but it didn’t understand me…so I had to try it again. Second time was a no go too. I was using a corded headset with a microphone so the third time I tried to answer it without that and it worked…finally.

My 1st Echo Support Phone Call

The woman I spoke to was also very nice and as eager to help as the Logistic’s employee, but she told me, somewhat sadly, that she really couldn’t enlighten me much more than the Logistic’s person had.

However we continued talking for a few minutes and it turned out she did have access to more information.

In the final analysis calling Echo Support did reveal 3 things that I hadn’t known before:

    • First, I was told that the prior customer service person was correct about needing to place a pre-order but her timing was off. She said you do that only after you’ve been invited. She said that was the only time that pre-ordering was possible and that preorders were placed from a link supplied in the invitation.
    • The 2nd thing I learned was that there have been some invitations already extended. But she didn’t know how many or what the future held for any more of them. She said generally there isn’t any consistent pattern to how these might unfold. But she also didn’t think they were looking for specific traits but rather that the selection process was a fairly random one.
    • Last, she offered to send me some additional information I might not have seen or have had access to by email.

I received her email shortly after we hung up. I’ve copied the most interesting parts below:

Email from Echo Support

As we discussed, the procedure to select the candidates is random, however you can always request the invitation to be on the wait list, Amazon will send you an email if selected or not selected; if you got chosen into the email you can see the link to pre-order the device.

Also, these are some details about the product:

Echo Look is an entirely new category of device – the first artificially intelligent style assistant with Alexa that helps you look your best. Echo Look is a hands-free camera — simply ask Alexa to take a full-length photo or short video of your head-to-toe look, without using a smartphone camera or mirror.

Echo Look's app

Echo Look mobile app (see above)

In the Echo Look mobile app, you can see your outfit from any angle, get outfit inspired recommendations, easily share your look with close friends on Instagram, Facebook, via text and other social networks and use Style Check for an ‘on-the-spot second opinion’ on your look.

Alexa Integration

As part of the Echo device family, both Amazon Echo and Echo Look have access to the Alexa Voice Service and use far-field voice technology to hear your voice when you say the wake word (for example, “Alexa”). Use the wake word with Echo Look to play music, control smart home devices, and hear information, news, sports scores, weather, and more.

What is in the box?

  • Echo Look device
  • Echo Look screw-on base
  • Power adapter 21W with 7.9 ft. cable
  • Mounting kit: wall plate, screws, anchors, and instructions
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Things to Try card

I hope this solution works for you, however if you need further assistance or want to know more about Alexa please feel free to reach us directly via phone call through this link:

Visit Amazon’s Webpage That Announces Echo Look

Here’s a link to Amazon’s Echo Look Webpage Where You Can Request Your Invitation to Echo Look

Amazon’s Information About Echo Look

The following is taken pretty much verbatim from Amazon’s webpage…in case you’re not inclined to actually visit it yourself.

Introducing Echo Look—everything you love about Alexa, and now she can help you look your best

With Echo Look, you can take full-length photos of your daily look using just your voice. The built-in LED lighting and depth-sensing camera let you blur the background to make your outfits pop, giving you clean, shareable photos. Get a live view in the Echo Look app or ask Alexa to take a short video so you can see yourself from every angle. View recommendations based on your daily look and use Style Check for a second opinion on what looks best. And, because Alexa is built in the cloud, she’s always getting smarter—and so will Echo Look.

Features & Functions

  • Take full-length photos or short videos so you can see a 360-degree view of your outfit. Use the app to create a personal lookbook, browse your outfits, and use computer vision-based background blur to make your outfits pop.
  • Using just your voice, easily take full-length photos and short videos with a hands-free camera that includes built-in LED lighting, depth-sensing camera, and computer vision-based background blur.
  • See yourself from every angle with the companion app. Build a personal lookbook and share your photos.
  • Get a second opinion on which outfit looks best with Style Check, a new service that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists Echo Look helps you discover new brands and styles inspired by your lookbook.
  • Ask Alexa to read the news and audiobooks, set alarms, get traffic and weather updates, control smart home devices, play music, and more.

Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Starbucks, Fitbit, NPR, and more.

This gives me the idea that maybe people would end up getting more than one Echo Look

This gives me the idea that maybe people would end up getting more than one Echo Look

Privacy Concerns About Echo Look

Rather than reinvent the wheel I’m just going to mention the fact that Echo Look presents huge privacy concerns any way you look at it, and provide links to the best coverage of this topic that I’ve found so far. Privacy concerns range from the simple matter of IoT devices generally having ZERO security to Alexa’s ‘always on and always recording’ utility…for sure privacy is a huge worry!

Setting privacy matters aside for one moment, here’s the thing…I still really want it! I think that if I want it this much, even though I believe I’m more sensitized to this issue than most people would be and that I really do fully understand all of the risks, I’m certain that many, many more people will want it too and that they won’t give privacy issues a second thought.

Public Reactions So Far

While there have been a ton of articles published about Echo Look…pretty much any and all online tech publishers have jumped on this story…very little has appeared that gauges responses of the general public so far. The most vocal group are members of meh.com…which appears to be a millennial Facebook alternative…oh, and they sell junk too. Below are some screenshots I took of user comments there.

I agree with the one person who wrote that this will probably be huge because they don’t think it will be…but obviously not for the same reason!

The only other real opinion piece I was able to uncover is this very short BBC news article that states ‘so far the reactions are mixed.’

What the Big Tech Publishers Think About Echo Look

Reactions here have been almost universally negative…because of Privacy concerns. Two of the best articles along those lines are:

Wired’s Amazon’s ‘Echo Look’ Could Snoop a lot More Than Just Your Clothes

The Verge’s Amazon’s Echo Look is a Minefield of Privacy Concerns

One other article which on the face of it appears to be really negative based upon it’s title ‘The Echo Look is Amazon’s Trojan Horse‘ by Backchannel, really isn’t. In it they really offer some pretty optimistic insights I think, and predict a multitude of unanticipated uses will quite possible quickly follow Echo Look’s release.

I was pleasantly surprised to read this last article which came out a few days after all of the negative and cautionary ones did. It was only one which is really positive about matter’s of privacy. Computerworld’s How ‘Amazon Echo Look Will Improve Privacy This one article alone goes a very lone way towards dispelling any of the privacy concerns stated by all of the others.

Not only that, but Computerworld’s prediction agrees with my own…they predict that Echo Look will be huge!

Computerworld's prediction matches mine!

Conclusion

One last reason I believe Echo Look is destined for greatness is because it’s Amazon. Not that many people are aware of Amazon’s position in the fashion industry…and I’m no expert. Even though we generally don’t order something online in our household unless Amazon carries it…because any other site would be too much effort apparently…I almost never order clothing from them. Socks and underwear…yes…but actual clothing…no. But wait…I really do!

It just dawned on me that one of my favorite online vendors for clothing is Zappos. If you don’t buy clothing from Zappos yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! You get free shipping both ways and 365 days to decide if you want to keep something! Literally no other clothing merchandiser in the world offers such lenient purchasing policies! And guess what…Amazon owns Zappos!

So to wrap things up here, while I’ve yet to receive my own invitation, I still think that Echo Look will, in all likelihood be ‘the next big thing’ if only for the reason that ‘selfie challenged’ baby boomers like myself desperately need it!

My Previously Undisclosed Selfie Album

Btw, I never publish pics of myself, and in fact have procrastinated about writing one very important post for over a year now because of my fear of this…so I’m biting the bullet and sharing this album of my selfies in the hopes that I can now get on with writing that very important post. If you’re interested it’s about how I went from long brown hair to short and grey (really white) in just 1 year’s time pretty painlessly. And yes, I do realize that my long procrastinated about post may not sound very important, but trust me when I tell you that it really, really is.

Why? Because a lot of women struggle with how to stop dyeing their hair and make the transition to grey without looking like a freak for the few years time it usually takes for their grey to completely grow out. Often this transition is harder for people with brown or red hair. Since grey hair is trending right now, and it’s so fashionable to sport grey…I need to publish it before these circumstances change.

The selfie album below is comprised of some of the photos I took to document my transition. The ones I’m sharing here represent only the best ones taken over roughly the span of one year. I know that they are pretty pathetic, which illustrates how beneficial Echo Look could have been, had it been available to me at the time I took these.

Below:  Part of my ‘Going Grey’ documentation.

Chronology to trying to learn to take selfies

Question for My Readers

There’s one more thing I need to do before I overwhelm you with ‘additional resource links.’ I have one important question for my readers. Do you think if I sent this post to the Amazon Echo department that then they’d send me an invitation? As I mentioned above, in talking to them they explained that they aren’t privy to this secret selection process either. Because it’s not for sale yet, Echo Look is outside the realm of their department currently. They were unclear who actually does have jurisdiction over beta testing…but they seemed to think it was occurring currently. So please leave me a comment if you have an opinion on this…especially if you have any knowledge about the inner workings of the beta selection process…I’d be forever grateful.

Comments

Here’s where you can leave your comments for me…anonymously or not…you get to decide :-)

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Additional Resources

Highlights of the World’s Obsession with Selfies

(In Reverse Chronological Order)

2017 Current Selfie Trends

Astronaut selfies

Wired’s recent article ‘Worker’s Who Snap Selfies Dangling from Skyscrapers’

eNews online maintains 10 celebrity selfie photo galleries with titles like…Lady Gaga’s Strangest Selfies, and Best Celeb Hewlthies

Celebrities sharing their breastfeeding selfies…are being called brelfies

2016

2016 Mother’s Day Selfies at Wichita Eagle New’s website

2015

In 2015 more people were killed taking selfies than by shark attacks.

Sarasota Herald Tribune 2015 The Year of the Selfie photo gallery of politicians taking selfies

2014

In 2014 a trend caught on in art museums around the world of transforming famous works of art into selfies

2013

Huffington Post made a great infographic on selfies in 2013

In 2013 Mashable called selfies ‘the social-media era’s most loved (and loathed) mode of photographic self-expression.’

In 2013 CNN reported that Oxford Dictionary named Selfie the word of the year.

Curiosity the Mar's Rover's Selfie in 2012

Above:  Curiosity the Mar’s Rover’s Selfie in 2012

2012

In 2012 Time Magazine Ranked ‘Selfie’ #9 in It’s Top 10 Buzzwords

While personally I couldn’t watch the video ‘How Curiosty Took a Selfie‘ I found in a 2012 volume of National Geographic Magazine…I did read the story. Curiosity, the Mar’s Rover pictured above, probably had no idea of the year-long planning effort it took to orchestrate making that selfie a huge success.

2011

January 2011 was when Mashable reported that the first #selfie hashtag was used on Instagram.

2010

On June 30, 2010 Mashable launched Social Media Day

Posted in About me, Amazon, Fashion | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Edit Groups of Photos Simultaneously in ios 10 With OneEdit Pro App

Including All the Secrets & Tricks I Use to Save Time While Editing A Lot of Photos at Once

A few months back I wrote a post about my all-time favorite photo editing apps and how I make sure that I keep the highest image resolutions possible with my photos while using these apps. This post addresses many of the same topics…but it approaches the whole subject from the opposite perspective. Instead of keeping the best digital images that are possible using an iPad or iPhone, here I’m more concerned with how to keep ‘good’ but not great quality…while I accomplish many different editing tasks quickly and efficiently.

My end product needs to be good enough for illustrative purposes on my websites. All of the images I’ve included in this post were generated as I wrote this, using the techniques I talk about here so that my readers can see exactly what kind of photos will result from using the tools I’m highlighting here.

Below, my post on my  favorite photo editing apps & maintaining great photo resolutions

Maintain the highest resolution possible using my all-time favorite ios photo apps

Introduction

This post is geared towards anyone who needs to edit a lot of images and get them into great looking ‘final forms’ for presentation purposes…regardless of whether or not the end goals are for personal or web publishing purposes.

As anyone who publishes a website or blog online already knows, it’s really important to have good images…and ideally lots of them. They can help to make your information more readable and user friendly, as well as give graphic examples of your information and also be used for illustrative purposes.

This can end up requiring the use of quite a lot of images if you publish on a fairly regular basis. Images which need to both look good and not impact the overall performance of your site….especially the page loading speed! That means you need to find or create images and then add borders and oftentimes text too.  Last you need to resize them to decrease the resolution enough so that your site loads quickly. Doing this one image at a time takes an inordinate amount of time when you consider that the pictures themselves are really secondary to the information you’re presenting. Yet…the images are crucial for the quality of your website.

Above are 2 Online Tools I Use to Optimize Images for Web Publishing are jpeg-optimizer’ beta version & TinyPng…I use jpeg more because it has user defined size alternative…whereas TinyPng’s free service is ‘one size fit’s all!’

That’s why I searched for almost 2 years to find an app that could batch edit photos well on an iPad…because that’s what I do all my work on. Finding a great batch editing photo app for ios is no easy task! 

OneEdit Pro by Tiger Ng

I first discovered  OneEdit Pro about 2 1/2 years ago after trying out a few single purpose batch resizing photo apps that were difficult to use, time-consuming and just didn’t perform well. When I first began using OneEdit I found it difficult to learn and buggy. But then I discovered that the developer had a few videos on his support site that helped me to figure out some of its aspects and I began to use it a little more productively.

Below is an App Store screenshot of OneEdit Pro, which is $2.99
OneEdit Pro Batch Editing Photo App

The Learning Curve for OneEdit Pro is Steep Because the App Has So Many Features

It took a year perhaps for me to really grasp how extremely powerful and feature-filled the app really is. In time it became the one app I use almost constantly. It would be unusual for an app of this magnitude to not have a few glitches in it…and OneEdit does although it’s developers release updates periodically which are primarily for addressing those. In its present state there are just a few small ones which I address in the appropriate sections below.

What’s more surprising to me than recognizing a few glitches remain today is the app’s price which is $2.99. As long as I’ve been using OneEdit I think this price has remained consistent. At the time I first purchased it $2.99 was on the steep side of app prices for me…but now it seems like a true bargain for the vast variety of functions it performs. I recently paid much, much more for 2 other apps that are equally powerful in their niches. I recently paid $24.99 for Ulysses which is a powerful writing and mark down app I use for writing my posts and $19.99 for LumaFusion Pro which is an equally powerful video editing app for iPad. The 3 apps in my opinion are similar in terms of their productivity value for me, making OneEdit a real bargain!

One other aspect of OneEdit I love is the ability to ask questions of the developer either in app or just via email. I’ve always received helpful replies back within a reasonable amount of time, which is a benefit not many apps offer.

Once I’d mastered* OneEdit I immediately wanted to write about it and share my views on how amazingly helpful it is for me. But I held off because of the learning curve. I felt like it was a bit too large for most people to want to undertake. So I’ve been trying to come up with a way to demonstrate various aspects of it. Personally I learn best by watching how other people do things, so I’ve focused my efforts on figuring out a way to create video tutorials.

*Mostly mastered is a more accurate statement really because there are still some features I’m unfamiliar with and haven’t had any occasion to learn or use yet.

I haven’t really come up with a good answer yet for creating tutorials to speed up the learning process of OneEdit Pro. I’ve tried a few things…but nothing that’s worked out great enough for me to want to use on an ongoing basis to demonstrate the many features of the app.

Some of the 80+ Filters Included in OneEdit Pro

Filters in OneEdit Pro

Video Demonstrations Seem to Be the Best Answer

While I do have a YouTube channel…it’s pretty amateurish and I don’t have the equipment or the expertise to produce polished videos for this purpose. Primarily because to do the subject justice, I’d need to produce approximately 10 videos. Much of the content of the videos would actually be me using the app, along with showing the appropriate screens and menus needed to accomplish various tasks. If Apple allowed people to create apps which let you capture videos of your ios screen while you were working on tasks, I think that would be the best way to demonstrate using OneEdit Pro.

But for some unknown reason Apple has decided that this capability isn’t one that they want their users to have. Ironically you can do this using a Mac computer…but it isn’t an easy or streamlined process by any means…therefore it’s not really something most people will bother with.

I find it really ironic that one of Apple’s most recent marketing campaigns has focused on positioning the iPad as an equal to computers in functionality…all while actively working to keep that from ever becoming a reality.

I say this because Apple has clearly made their wishes known when it comes to allowing apps into the App Store that let users record their device’s screen activity. Apple does not allow it plain and simple. So anytime someone manages to get an app listed in the App Store that includes this feature…which is usually done in a sort of secretive fashion…as soon as Apple discovers it, the app is immediately removed.

Apple's Recent iPad Pro Commercial

Apple’s Recent iPad Pro Commercial

Side Loading Apps & My 1st OneEdit Pro Demo Video

This has led to the side-loading app phenomenon. With ios 10, Apple finally gave user’s the ability to install apps on their ios devices that didn’t originate from the App Store. There are a few websites that have either free or low priced apps that you can install on your device now without going through the App Store and without voiding it’s warranty. The one I used is emu4ios. emu stands for ’emulator’ and the best of,the apps I tried is AirShou.

But for me so far the apps haven’t proven to be very polished yet.  They can be both difficult to figure out and dangerous to install and use.
In desperation I did try a few different screen recording apps to begin a OneEdit Pro series of videos. But I ended up finishing only one, not so great video. It’s way too long (12 minutes) because I discovered after I shot it that the footage was virtually uneditable. No video editing app I tried seemed able to work with the video footage that the screen recording app recorded. I still don’t know why that was the case but you can see that video here . The one thing that it has going for it is, you can actually learn how to use some aspects of OneEdit Pro. 

Part 1 in the OneEdit Pro Series of YouTube Videos

In this video in addition to learning how to navigate around within the OneEdit app, I thoroughly cover how to add multiple frames or borders to groups of images very quickly. By quickly I mean to say that you can accomplish that task very quickly…not learn it quickly…because the video, at 12 minutes…isn’t very quick!

Shooting a Video Using My 9.7″ iPad Pro in One Hand & While Demonstrating  OneEdit Pro with the Other Hand

My 2nd OneEdit Pro video is one that I made today using a different approach. In this one which is about how to batch crop photos and then add borders to them, I tried to record my actions with the iPad I was using to shoot the video in my left hand while I performed the necessary actions with my right hand. But it’s awkward trying to keep the left hand iPad steady enough to keep the right-side iPad in frame for the duration of the video. Here’s the link to Part 2 in the series.

Part 2 in the OneEdit Pro Series of YouTube Videos


You might be wondering why I tried to shoot this using my 9.7″ iPad Pro in my left hand. I know I would wonder that myself! The reason is because I had already tried doing the same thing using my iPhone as the camera, and I quickly discovered that because my iPhone is so small relative to the size of the iPad …that it would constantly wander off-frame so much that they video footage was virtually useless.

Tiger Ng from OneEdit also has a demonstration or preview video for OneEdit Pro

What Else Can You Do Using OneEdit Pro?

The primary function that I use OneEdit Pro for is to crop and add borders to photos for my website. But oftentimes I resize them in the app too…to keep the overall files size small for page loading purposes. The app isn’t perfect and it does have a few glitches…and one of these is that the final image size reported by the app isn’t necessarily the true file size. So, while I use OneEdit for resizing (they call it scaling) I still use a few other apps to determine what the actual file is. If the finished file size is too large, then, rather than resizing it again in OneEdit Pro, I’ll usually use one of the apps I referred to above called Big Photo to resize it a little more…often just for expediency because that’s where the photo is a that moment in time.

Big Photo App Store screenshot

Using the Big Photo App in Conjunction With OneEdit Pro

The reason I love Big Photo is because it performs 2 essential functions really well for me. First it tells me what exactly a photo’s meta data, file size and resolution are. Surprisingly these aren’t easy things to discover using an iPad! 2nd, it scales images both smaller and larger without hurting the resolution much better than any app I’ve ever tried before.

Whenever you scale down the size of a photo you end up hurting the final resolution of it too. Depending upon how much you resize it will determine how much of an impact there is upon final resolution. But the basic rule of thumb for me is if I scale something to smaller than 80% of its original size using OneEdit Pro, then the final resolution might end up being too blurry. But using the Big Photo app, which has a free version btw, I can usually resize it down to about 60% without degrading the final resolution too significantly. Sometimes when I scale a group of photos in OneEdit Pro a lot…meaning I reduce their size a lot…I immediately add another edit to my group of batch edits that sharpens the overall resolution of the images.

Sharpening, which is called Sharpen Luminance in OneEdit is found under the ‘Filter’ menu item and it’s one of more than 80 photo effect filters that you can apply to a group of photos in one fell swope.

Example’s of History & Merge to Montage Features | Horizontal Montage

Example's of the History & Merge to Montage Features

Closeups of the History & Montage Features…tap or click on each to enlarge.

Some Additional Editing Features I Use Frequently with OneEdit Pro

Occasionally I use a feature that allows you to add text or watermarks to your photos. I also use a lot of the advanced exporting features. In addition to being able to export to most of the popular cloud services like Drop Box, OneDrive, Box and Google Drive, you can export directly to Facebook and Flickr too. You can also use your edited images in some pretty creative ways. You can merge them together in different manners like in the grid manner I used in my screenshot that shows the 80+ filters above. You can also merge them together to create long files either horizontally or vertically. And last you can merge all of the photos into a PDF.

Conclusion

OneEdit Pro is unparalleled in power relative to any other photo editing app I’ve found in Apple’s ios App Store. Believe me when I say I’ve tried a lot of them! Between my husband and myself I’d venture to guess that we’ve used at least 50% of all the photo editing apps that exist for ios devices.

I’d love to figure out a better way of creating video tutorials for learning to use the app because I’ve developed  a lot of great workflows that save me a ton of time. If any of my readers can suggest better methods for recording my iPad’s screen’s activity that don’t involve hooking it up to a computer, I be really interested in hearing your ideas.

Comments

If you have anything to add or any questions to ask…now’s the time. In the interest of preserving reader’s privacy any comments you make here can be done in complete anonymity…or not…it’s up to you. Just use an alias for your name if you don’t want your real name displayed publicly.

Posted in Apple apps, ios, ios apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment