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Empowering Women Through Technology

Month

March 2016

Apple Releases iOS 9.3

On Tuesday, Apple Inc. held a media event in which they announced the released a new iPhone ( the SE ) and a smaller version of the iPad Pro. Tuesday also saw Apple releasing iOS 9.3 for existing iPads and iPhones. Here is a quick recap of the newest features:

Night Shift: 

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Your screen’s usual output tricks your body into thinking it’s still daytime, which can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Night Shift helps you rest easier.Night Shift helps you rest easier. You can find this under Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift.

You can set up a schedule, for example, from 11:00pm – 7:00am for Night Shift to come on automatically or you choose to turn it on manually whenever you need it.

Notes:

Now, you can secure your notes Password Protection. A new feature in iOS 9.3 allows you to protect your sensitive Notes with a password or with Touch ID. It’s a great way to keep stuff like security codes or medical information safe on your iPhone.

Health: 

I don’t know if any app can make you healthier, but the Health app is certainly making it easier to keep track of your health. The app now has categories for your Apple Watch’s move, exercise, and stand trackers, and even tracks your day-to-day goals. In addition, the weight, workouts, and sleep data screens have a slider menu that suggests great third-party apps for recording that data.

Car Play:

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Apple CarPlay is featured in several 2016 and 2017 car models, and before many of those cars actually hit the road, Apple is tweaking some of the music playback options. With iOS 9.3, CarPlay will begin suggesting songs, artists, and albums based on your preferences.

In Apple Maps, a new Nearby feature will show you points of interest—gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops and more—while you’re driving, so you don’t have to search while you’re on the road.

News:

 

Apple says: “This just in: The news you want, even more personalized.”

The articles in the “For You”  designation are now better tailored to your particular interests. And to help you discover new Favorites, “For You” suggests trending topics and Editors’ Picks. When a story contains video, you can play it right from your feed. On your iPhone, you can view everything in landscape. And when you check for updates, the latest stories appear much faster — so you can catch up on the day’s events quickly and easily.

For more information on all the new features. Click here:

 

App of the Week

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Cash by Square

Ladies,

Do you remember a few ago, a company named Square came up with a way to allow us to process credit card payments on our phones? All you had to do was buy the cute little attachment that you plug into the headphone jack and BAM!!! you could swipe your friend’s credit card for the $10 she owed you for the movie you saw last week. It was long before businesses, large and small,  saw the potential for this technology and Square readers started showing up in restaurants and boutiques. Based on the success of their reader and App, the Square people went back to their drawing boards and came up with something even better.

They call it Cash and it’s spectacular. Seriously. I’m a self proclaimed digital hoarder who downloads the top 10 fee apps every week just to try them out and it’s rare for an App to make a significant impact on my life, but that’s what Cash did.  No more having to remember to write a check for this or remembering to stop by the ATM to get cash for that.  If you have a smartphone with the Cash App, you’re all set. The app works with credit cards and debit cards. Once you record the cards number into the settings and you’re good to go. The key, though, is making sure the people you want to share Cash with also have the app installed on their phones. The cool thing is the app will ask permission to look at your contacts and will tell you if anyone you know is already using it.  What I love most about it, aside from it’s ease of use, is the record it keeps for you of who you paid and who paid you. So, if you’re a meticulous record keeper, you can refer to it later when reconciling your transactions.

I highly recommend it for paying babysitters, dance teachers, dog walkers, personal trainers and family members. It’s a great way to pay older kids their allowance if they have a phone too.  Cash has become so popular they have recently added a business account feature, which is awesome for the small business owner.

Cash by Square is a Free App and is available in the Apple’s App store for iPhones and in Google Play for Android phones.

 

Welcome to the Revolution!

Ladies,

Welcome to the Revolution!

If we look to our past to predict our future, technology has always been the difference maker for most developed civilizations. Mankind has always found new and intricate technological breakthroughs to push civilization to the next level of evolution.  Whether it was the wheel, the cotton gin, electricity, or the telephone, man has wielded the power of these technological breakthroughs to better himself. And by man, I mean men. Technology has always been deemed a man’s world and I’m thankful to our forefathers of industry for leading the charge of technological discovery. I’d hate to think where our society would be without Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Eli Whitney.  But what about women?  Rarely do we hear a woman’s name affiliated with technological advancement. Perhaps due to gender bias or lack of available knowledge, whatever the case, women were never included in past society’s technological breakthroughs. That was “men’s work”.

I was fortunate to be raised by parents who didn’t subscribe to that mentality. They raised to me to believe I can do anything a boy could do (well, except pee standing up)  and allowed me to be curious about anything I wanted to know (within reason).  I was the little girl who loved ballet class but, also loved her race car track play set.  I loved to bake with my mother but, loved playing video games with my father and the boys in my neighborhood even more.  I was a mini walking contradiction. You’d think because of my interests I would have been fascinated with computers from the get go, especially with my father being a programmer. Not so much…

Oh sure, my father worked for IBM and my sister and I were around computers most of our childhoods but, for some reason they didn’t click with me until after high school. Computers were big, beige boxes people would sit in front of for hours at a time with little to show for it. I was convinced that no one was going to spend their lives sitting in front of one of those stupid boxes all day, everyday.  Knowing what I know now, I should have listened to my father and studied computer science in college instead of musical theatre.  (Yeah, I know.)

When I finally realized I needed computer, I made my father buy me a Mac despite the fact he got a considerable discount on a similar computer made by IBM. (Yeah, that went over like a lead balloon…)  Because of that decision, though,  I was left to on my own to learn the intricacies of my Mac. I couldn’t go to my father for help because he wasn’t familiar with the nuances of Apple’s machines. Looking back at it now,  that was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.

So, let’s jump ahead fifteen years or so.  I left the theatre world to work for Apple. Even though it was a retail position, I felt I knew enough about the Mac to sell them. What started as a part time sales person job quickly turned into a ten year career of teaching people how to use  their devices. I had an understanding of Software I couldn’t explain to people. (There’s no denying DNA, people.)  It was a gift and I became certified in every program I could access. The role of Creative fit me like a glove and I felt like a rock star because it came so easily to me. However, it was the time I spent working with the customer’s that I loved the most. Witnessing the lightbulb of understanding turn on over their heads when they finally got it, was the best feeling ever.

Since the death of Steve Jobs, I believe Apple Retail has lost it’s way. Steve Jobs never wanted his stores to  subscribe to the normal retail mentality of numbers driving the direction of the stores’ growth. To him, it was all about the customer experience and building brand loyalty. What better way to ensure repeat business than to teach your customers how not to break the device you just sold them?  It was a genius move, preventative tech support?! No one had ever done that before. My role was special in a traditional retail mold because there were no numbers affiliated with us. We rarely sold anything and on paper, retail management struggled to justify keeping us on the payroll especially since the service we offered was only $99 a year for training. Once Steve passed, I knew, as did anyone who held the same job, it wouldn’t be long before Apple did away with our service.  And they did. It took four years to accomplish it, but the training service was discontinued. They still offer free workshops, but the essence of Steve’s vision was destroyed. The Creative role had the most face time with Apple’s customers, gathering data about what customers loved and hated about their products, what software enhancements were needed, and most importantly, established a relationship with those customers that ensured they would continue to be Apple customers for years to come. And sadly, the limited vision of the Retail higher ups simply didn’t see the value in any of those things.  I knew it was time for a change…

I don’t regret the time I spent with Apple. I learned I was a hard core computer nerd disguised as a blonde and I connected with so many incredible people. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without Apple and for that I’m grateful. The most interesting aspect of my time as an Apple Creative, was seeing how many of my customers were women. Whether they were old or young; newbie or experienced, women were the driving force behind the success of the training service. The Blonde Byte is a direct result of what I see as Apple Retail’s short sightedness. I believe people, women especially, want to love their technology but are afraid to or they don’t know how.

So, this site is dedicated to those women who want to know how to enrich their lives with their technology and not have to rely on their kids or husbands(or partners) to explain their devices to them.  The Blonde Byte wants to empower you to take the necessary steps towards your technological freedom.

The revolution has just begun….

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