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Iphone/Ipad Tips and Tricks: Google Backup, DorBell, iPhone 7s, Cord Cuttin’

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By Gordon Kinlaw

Google Backup

Google has a new app, “Backup & Sync, that will back your computer files up into Google Drive. If you have a modest amount of documents, then it will work for you without adding any storage space. A normal account will have 15 Gb of space which is a huge amount of Word and Powerpoint docs. Videos and photos should be backed up into a separate Google area called Google Photos which has unlimited image storage. Here’s the link to learn how to set up sync:

DorBell – Video Doorbell $100

If you haven’t seen the commercials for Ring VIdeo Doorbell, then you likely don’t have a TV. Ring’s been pushing their product hard for the last few months to get you to pony up $199 or more. They do have some attractive products. They don’t tell you there is subscription money to spend after the purchase. I thought Dorbell (it is spelled with one “o”) was totally free but it turns out they were also able to conceal their $20/year charge. I guess I will pay that to see the rings I didn’t pick up. 

I picked the DorBell for many reasons after doing some research. It’s half the price of Ring and I somehow bought mine for $71. DorBell has a wide range of input voltages so it’s easy to power it up. It can handle 10 volts to 36 volts AC or DC. That was a selling point for me since my location has never had a doorbell.

I am listing the Dorbell features since most of us are not familiar with this product. Most video doorbells have some of the same features:

*takes/saves photos of approaching visitors

*rings your phone & speaker when the doorbell is pressed

*saves photos and missed doorbell videos

*has 2-way audio so you can talk to your visitor

*can unlock an electric lock door.

*live video/audio monitoring

*can be mounted outdoors without a cover

*IR motion detection

*10 feet of illumination in b/w night mode

*can be shared with more than one phone

*Dorbell has 180 degree camera view, they can’t hide!!

One feature that this model had was an included interior wifi speaker that plugs into an outlet. You get your choice of doorbell sounds for the speaker. Some of the video doorbells don’t have an interior speaker. I just saw one on Ebay for $59 so I might get another one for the house.

I was sure it would pay for itself the first time I captured a customer while out of the office. And it might keep a would-be thief out of your home. I have heard that these thieves will come to your house during the day and ring the doorbell to see if someone is home. My first ring was the UPS man and he didn’t want to leave a package without a signature. I was 5 miles out of town but was able to catch him at another location and get my package.

Installation is easy if you have existing wiring. The hardest part may be finding a good mounting location since it does not have the same profile as a typical doorbell. If you don’t have wiring, get a doorbell wiring adapter to power it and hide the wire with stick on wire cover to the floor. I used a 12v power cord from a broken security camera. An electrician would do better job of wiring of course.

Here’s the app icon for your phone. You will get alarm notifications when a visitor approaches with a photo and a phone ring when they press the bell. The front of the doorbell is a touch screen with a blue bell icon. I put instructions above the doorbell with a place for someone to leave a note.

Here’s a screen shot from the Dorbell app on my phone for yesterday’s activity. The bottom photos scroll left and right to review. The image with the lock is viewable when I pay the $20.

iPhone 7s & 8

You can expect the 7s models to come out in September but there’s just no hype about it. All the talk is about the 8 that may or may not come out in time for Xmas. The 8 will be twice as much as the 7 but promises to have futuristic features. I will likely wait for them to work the bugs out of 8. I am more excited about iOS 11.

A new FILES app promises to organize your documents on the iPad, iCloud and Dropbox. They also promise a new powerful dock, that’s the icons at the bottom, which I guess it will work more like the dock on a Mac. Better multi-tasking on iPad with drag and drop. There is a lot of emphasis on improving the iPad in this release but… other features are:

*Apple Pay from person to person,

*learning capabilities

*better quality photos and new filters

*better live photos

*new document scanner in Notes with scan and sign

*improved keyboard navigation

*new augmented reality, AR – you better google this for more info

*a redesigned App Store

*more natural SIRI with foreign language capabilities,

*SIRI DJ to play music you like and answer questions about songs

*SIRI will ask to add items to your calendar

*SIRI will customize your news experience

*shared playlists in Apple Music

*enhanced AirPlay2 to control speakers and music in multiple rooms

*larger mini-control center to include lighting controls (pops up from bottom)

*more information available on your lock screen

*auto – Do Not Disturb while driving- great feature, should be mandatory for most people

*Maps will include major airports and major shopping centers

*News will have a Spotlight tab and more videos

* one-hand typing mode where the keys move closer to your thumb awesome new phone setup by holding one phone near the old phone

Bye Bye to Cable TV

While cable TV is not necessarily iPhone/iPad related, it is indirectly because I used a Spectrum app to watch TV on the go, and my new system uses a app for remote control. With mixed emotions, I called Spectrum Friday and unsubscribed to Spectrum TV service in favor of cord-cutting measures.

My bank account will thank me for the $100/mo savings. I’ve been working this for a year, putting up an HD over-the-air antenna where I can get 65-80 channels of high-quality programming. And I finally had time to program and add Amazon FireSticks to my TV’s. Whether you have cable or satellite, you have experienced a relentless, unabated increase in pricing. I understand that some customers are paying $200/mo for satellite. If I can get CenturyLink Fiber, I will change the internet as well.

TV over internet is inevitable anyway, the Cable companies know it and they have been testing pilot programs in some cities where you can get a small list of channels.

TWC went to digital delivery a couple of years ago requiring adapter boxes so they are prepared for a new era in TV viewing with all the bandwidth they saved. One day you will be able to get just the 30-40 channels you really want.

Sling TV was the first service to offer a set of channels for $20/month and now there are a least a dozen providers with larger channel lineups and higher prices. My money is on YouTube TV which is in beta now. Do you think its possible that one of those services is owned by Spectrum under another name?

How long has it been since you had a TV antenna and a Channel Master rotator??

Some antenna monuments are still on rooftops in the county with no wires running to them. The new HD antennas are very small and powerful and you will be amazed at the quality. They are affected by the weather as I just saw, but you will have TV during the next hurricane.

All of my TV boxes are blinking red now and I miss seeing the green online lights so I’ll get them disconnected today. If you need suggestions for cord-cutting, give me a call.