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Empowering Women Through Technology

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October 2017

App of the Week: OmniGraffle

 

A refresh of the long-time Mac drawing app from the Omni Group now pulls in images and text from other apps.

By Mike Wuerthele and William Gallagher of Apple Insider

Like its fellow Omni Group apps OmniFocus and OmniPlan, the drawing and charting software OmniGraffle 3.2 has been updated for iOS 11. All three now take advantage of the new operating system’s drag and drop features to change and improve how you work with the apps.

If you’re an AppleInsider reader, you’re already aware that The Omni Group’s software dates back to the dawn of the PowerPC era. More than 20 years later, the company is still updating its suite of software, with OmniGraffle getting a new iOS version for iOS 11.

It’s a drawing application but not for art or sketching. Rather, it’s for making illustrations specifically to explain things. So OmniGraffle is often used for organization charts or for floor plans. You can get very elaborate and detailed, so much so that app designers can mock up in OmniGraffle how their software will look.

OmniGraffle is also meant for just explaining things quickly so it has tools and features to make drawing fast. It’s also got an extremely dedicated following among its users who share and sell collections of templates called Stencils.

If you’ve used MacDraw II, or LucidChart, you’ve got a pretty good handle on what OmniGraffle can do for you. What it can do for you now with iOS 11 is speed up how you can compile a drawing from other people’s Stencils or your own previous documents.

 

This is done by iOS 11’s drag and drop. It’s the same new drag and drop that has been added to the OmniFocus To Do app where it’s made a significant improvement. It’s the same feature that’s been added to OmniPlan and fixed an issue there that’s been dogging that project management software from the start.

Drag and drop doesn’t make as big a change to OmniGraffle, though. It’s a nice addition and one that when you’ve tried it, you won’t want to go back yet it doesn’t dramatically transform the app.

There are three aspects to how OmniGraffle exploits this new feature. You can now drag items in to your drawing, for instance, and you can drag elements between your drawings. Say you’ve got a floor plan for your house and are now doing one for your office: that sofa shape you spent ages drawing would work fine as a couch in the office plan so you just drag it over.

Similarly, if you’re planning out a bigger office with lots of cubicles then you can just draw one and duplicate it.

In theory you can also drag cubicles or pot plants in your drawings out of OmniGraffle and into other apps but currently that’s limited by how many other apps support this feature. This has long been an issue with OmniGraffle and really all such drawing apps like Lucidchart and Microsoft Visio: the way they play with other apps. You can get drawings from any of them into the rest but typically with some difficulty and actually OmniGraffle’s drag and drop may ultimately improve that. Once other apps are also updated to accept dragged and dropped items.

These most common uses for OmniGraffle —the floor plans, charts and app design —all tend to be jobs where you will reuse elements over and over again. So while everyone will be different, the odds are that you’re most likely to drag elements from one OmniGraffle drawing to another and we can see you building up a library of often-used elements.

Dragging these around is quick and handy, but only once you know how. You could spend the next week stabbing wildly at buttons and options without discovering how to drag an item across multiple documents. That’s really an aspect of iOS 11, however: OmniGraffle uses the same multi-finger approach that the system does.

 

Press and hold on an item you want to drag and then with a different finger, tap at the button to take you out of the current OmniGraffle document. That’s a Library icon which needs finding: rather than to the top left of the screen, OmniGraffle places it in the middle and just to the left the document title.

When you’re back in the Document Picker, as the Omni Group calls it, you can tap to open any other drawing. So long as you’re still holding that element you’ve dragged from the first document, you can now drop it anywhere in the new.

Once it’s in that new drawing, though, you can use exactly the same technique to drag it between different layers of the document.

We keep saying that you’re dragging elements of a drawing around but those elements can be text as well as shapes or re-used templates. You can drag text in from OmniFocus or OmniPlan, for instance. That’s not going to save you a lot of time unless you’re dragging a lot of text but it could be a way to make sure you’re consistent across many documents.

It’s the same process for dragging text or graphics out of OmniGraffle into other apps. We had most success doing it with the app’s stablemates OmniPlan and OmniFocus but even that success was limited.

When we drag to OmniPlan, any text in the item we’re dragging goes into that project management app’s list of tasks and a bar appears representing it in the Gantt chart. When we dragged the same item into OmniFocus, it was entered as a new task called “PDF document.pdf” with an attachment of that name which has the graphic item in it.

You’re not going to do that. Maybe you’d drag the elements from an org chart over to OmniPlan so that you had every member of staff listed but that’s a stretch. Project plans tend to start with what needs to be done rather than who you’ve got to give work to. So really the dragging out of OmniGraffle won’t become hugely useful until other drawing apps adopt iOS 11’s new features too.

OmniGraffle aims to be a complete drawing package. It also aims to make it quick for you to create detailed and technical drawings. So the ability to quickly re-use elements fits in perfectly with that.

It’s not the kind of update that you go wow at or that you know you will rush to use. What is, though, is the kind of update you’ll become so accustomed to that previous versions will seem slow. OmniGraffle is all about making clear, professional drawings with speed and without fuss, however. So this is an update that makes good use of the new iOS 11 features.

OmniGraffle 3.2 for iOS has a free trial version on the App Store and then costs $49.99 for the Standard version. A Pro version is a further $4.99 upgrade or you can go straight from the trial to Pro for $99.99.

 

Do you have a favorite technical drawing rule? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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How to: Use Siri to Create a Note in Evernote

 

 

 

by Anthony Bartlett of Evernote Blog

Inspiration can strike at the most unlikely times. Paul McCartney woke up one morning with “Yesterday” playing in his mind; Sir Isaac Newton (allegedly) developed his theory of gravity after an apple landed on his head. History is filled with stories like these, but how many great ideas were lost because there was no way of capturing them in the moment?

Now, with the launch of Apple’s iOS 11, it’s easier than ever to document your own “Aha!” moments, whenever and wherever they appear. Thanks to a brand-new integration with Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, you don’t even need to touch your device to create, add to, and search your notes in Evernote. So you’ll be ready when your next brilliant idea comes along.

What’s the big deal?

In a world that seems to be moving faster every day, keeping track of your thoughts and ideas can be a real challenge. To-do lists and business ideas compete for space in your life with long commutes and endless meetings. But now that Evernote is integrated with Siri, you don’t have to stop being productive simply because you’re busy doing other things. Create a shopping list on your iPad while you’re making breakfast; add to-dos to Evernote on your iPhone while you’re stuck in traffic; create a note with your EarPods while you’re working out.

Here’s how it works:

Before you begin, ensure that Evernote is setup to use Siri by going to Settings > Siri & Search > Evernote > Enable “Use with Siri”.

Awaken Siri on your device (either by holding the Home button or, if you’ve enabled it, saying “Hey Siri”) and then give your instructions directly to Evernote. It’s that simple! For example, here are a few commands you can try right now, once you’ve updated your device to iOS 11:

  • “Evernote, create a note called Meeting Ideas,” or “Create a note called Meeting Ideas in Evernote.”
  • “Evernote, add ‘I should bring pizza’ to my Meeting Ideas note,” or “Add ‘I should bring pizza’ to my Meeting Ideas note in Evernote.”
  • “Evernote, create a list with ‘order lunch’ and ‘make itinerary’,” or “Create a list with ‘order lunch’ and ‘make itinerary’ in Evernote.”
  • “Show me what I created today in Evernote.”

Using these simple commands, you can create a note or list; you can add to your existing notes; and you can search within your notes to find exactly what you need.

With Evernote and iOS 11 integrated seamlessly, you never need to worry about losing your ideas again.

Do you have a new favorite Siri feature in iOS 11? Tell us about it in the comments below!

WIT: Apple Included This One Feature Every Woman Should Know About

 

 

 

By LANI SEELINGER of Bustle.com

The new iPhone update is officially out, and say what you will about the new aesthetic features, there’s one feature that could potentially save lives. With the iOS 11, you can place an emergency SOS call from a locked iPhone, and really, this trick is something every woman should know about the new update.

In previous iPhone operating systems, you could call emergency services from a locked screen or by giving Siri the command “charge my phone 100 percent.” While those were effective ways to get yourself out of trouble in most cases, the former wouldn’t always work if the phone’s screen was broken, and the latter wasn’t very discreet.

Now, Apple has fixed both of those problems with this new update. Hopefully you’ll never need to use this feature, but if you should ever be in a tight spot when even speaking to your phone or bringing it out to look at would be dangerous, now you can just quickly press the sleep/wake button five times, and then it will automatically get you in touch with emergency services. If you’ve set an emergency contact in the phone, it will also alert that person that you’re in trouble and give them your location.

And just as an emergency feature should be, it’s incredibly easy to enable.

If you do want it to make a phone call automatically after you’ve pressed the sleep/wake button five times, you have to enable “Auto Call” in your settings. The automatic setting also comes with a protection against just accidentally calling 911 — pressing the button five times starts a three-second countdown, which comes with a countdown noise so you have a chance to cancel the call if you’ve triggered it accidentally. You can turn that countdown sound off in the settings, though. You might want that if you were in a circumstance where an iPhone sound could alert a potential criminal to your location — which, again, is hopefully a situation that you will never find yourself in.

There are a couple of limitations to the feature; for example, it only works in certain countries. If you’re not in the U..S, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain or the UK, then you’ll have to wait for a future update to take advantage of it. All things considered — including the large percentage of the world’s population in those countries — it’s not bad for a start.

While this update will make every iPhone user who has access to it just a little bit safer, it’s especially key for women, who are in many ways much more in danger of being targeted in their everyday lives than men. This could be an effective way to help women who find themselves facing intimate partner violence, a situation in which it’s easy to imagine that even the simple act of making a phone call could put the woman in far greater danger than if she were able to make the call more discreetly.

From a woman’s perspective, this is a big improvement over the days when Apple found itself in hot water for not including a menstrual cycle tracker in its health app update back in 2014. They did manage to fix that little bug back in 2015, this is another signal that Apple is really making a commitment to keeping women safe and healthy. Really the only thing you have to worry about here is activating the call without knowing it — but are you really in the habit of pressing the sleep/wake button five times without paying attention to it? This is a case where it’s definitely better safe than sorry.

Tell us your thoughts on this new personal safety feature in the comments below!

App of the Week: tbh

Download This: tbh App may have cracked anonymous apps’ bullying problem.

 

 

 

By Karissa Bell of Mashable

Another anonymous app is at the top of the App Store and it might be because it’s figured out anonymous apps’ biggest problem: bullying.

Called “tbh,” short for “to be honest,” the app takes an unconventional approach to anonymity. While it allows friends to anonymously communicate, it only allows users to exchange compliments, which are sent via in-app quizzes. 

The app, which is aimed at middle schoolers and high schoolers, connects to your address book so you can find people you know. It serves up a series of “polls” about your friends. The questions change but they are all positive, asking you to choose the “world’s best party planner,” or who is “too lit to be legit.”

The app keeps identities a secret, but users can see some details about who’s picked them (e.g. “a girl in the tenth grade”). It’s also borrowed some of the addictive dynamics of free-to-play games, though it doesn’t use in-app purchases at the moment.

 

If someone “chooses” you in a poll, you earn “gems,” which you can use to unlock more features within the app. You can only complete a set number of polls at a time and when you run out, you need to wait for a timer before you can take on more. 

That all may sound gimmicky, but it’s proven to be a winning formula with teens. The app, which is currently only available in a handful of states, has been steadily climbing the App Store charts since it launched in August. On Thursday, it reached the top spot, beating out Facebook, Snapchat, Gmail, and the other apps that typically sit at the top of the App Store.

Addicting Candy Crush-like rules aside, some of that success may also be attributed to tbh’s emphasis on positivity. There are only positive “polls” so users aren’t able to easily bully each other — a problem that’s plagued Sarahah and other teen-centric anonymous apps.

Whether that will be enough to make the app stick with image-obsessed teens is another matter. But it’s definitely off to a strong start.

Download tbh here

How do you feel about these types of Apps gaining popularity? Sound off in the comments below!

How to: Utilize Do Not Disturb While Driving

Everything you can do with Do Not Disturb While Driving in iOS 11

 

By Monica Chin of Mashable

With the new iOS update, Do Not Disturb has gotten smarter. It now knows when you’re driving, and can stop you from being irresponsible. 

Do Not Disturb mutes phone calls, notifications, and text messages, keeping your phone dark for a set period of time. If enabled, Do Not Disturb While Driving turns on automatically when it detects the acceleration of a vehicle (you can turn it off if you’re a passenger). You can also enable it to turn on whenever it connects to a car via Bluetooth. 

But the feature doesn’t totally cut you off. You can set Do Not Disturb While Driving to automatically respond to any texts informing their senders that you are driving. 
Your contacts can break through Do Not Disturb by including the word “Urgent” in your texts (this function can be turned off, or limited to certain contacts). You can still make phone calls if the phone is on Speaker or connected to Bluetooth. 
Do Not Disturb While Driving and all of its features can be turned on and customized in Settings > Do Not Disturb. 

 

And if you don’t trust your kids, you can turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving on their phones, and prevent it from being disabled. This can be done in Settings > General > Restrictions. 

This new feature is optional, but we really recommend you try it. It takes about two seconds to turn on, and it could save your life. 

What do think about this new feature in iOS 11? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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