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Jim Karpen's picture

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.

Tip of the Day: Change Your Default Search Engine for Greater Privacy


You likely know that Google and other search engines keep a record of your searches so that search results and ads are more relevant to your interests. You can read Google's privacy policy here. In general, they don't share your personal information. If they share your aggregate information with one of their partners, they say they don't include personally identifiable information. That means I may be shown ads for products that interest me, but the company putting the ad on the web page I'm visiting doesn't have my name or contact information. Still, many people don't like the fact that so much information is gathered about them as they use the Internet.

Walmart Black Friday Deals Set to Begin Nov. 21 -- a Week Early


Many people are waiting until the great deals available on Black Friday to make their purchase of an Apple product. And if Walmart's deals on the iPhone and iPad interest you, you won't have long to wait. According to AppleInsider, Walmart is kicking of their Black Friday deals on Friday, November 21. As I noted in an earlier post, those deals include a 16 GB iPhone 6 for $179 plus a $75 gift card, meaning that your final price is effectively $104 (with a two-year contract). They'll also have the new 16 GB iPad Air 2 for $489 with a $100 gift card. You'll be able to get an iPhone 5s for $79, with a $75 gift card. Also, if you're an AT&T Next or Verizon Edge customer, you can get the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s for $0 down.

Tip of the Day: How to Add a Third-Party Keyboard in iOS 8


One of the most-requested features for the iPhone and iPad was the ability to add third-party keyboards, and Apple responded to that request in iOS 8. Popular keyboards such as Swype ($0.99) and SwiftKey (free) add many features, and can speed up text entry.

What to Expect from the Apple Watch Based on Apple's Release of WatchKit


As my fellow blogger Todd Bernhard noted in this earlier post, Apple has now released WatchKit to developers, enabling them to develop apps for the forthcoming Apple Watch. This is of interest even if you're not a developer because it has revealed details about the watch that Apple hadn't yet announced. According to AppleInsider, the larger 42 mm watch will be 312 x 390 pixels and the smaller model 272 x 340 pixels. However, AppleInsider notes that the dimensions refer to the case rather than the display size, so the pixel density is unknown.

What To Do If Your Device Gets Stuck in Recovery Mode


In a recent post I noted that iOS 8.1.1 is now available for download. This morning I added a sentence to that post reminding people to BACK UP FIRST. That's because it's not uncommon for something to go wrong when one updates. For example, when I updated to iOS 8, I encountered an error, and the only way to get my iPad out of it was to restore to factory settings. Doing so means that everything is lost. Fortunately, I had backed up first, so it wasn't a problem.

iOS 8.1.1 Now Available — Improves Performance on Older Devices


Apple has released the iOS 8.1.1 update, which is now available for download. It fixes some minor bugs, but more important, it improves the performance of iOS 8 on older devices, such as the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s. Many users of older devices regretted upgrading to iOS 8, especially those with an iPhone 4S. Hopefully iOS 8.1.1 will take care of the performance problems people had been experiencing.

Black Friday Deals at Staples Include iPad Air for $319


More Black Friday deals are coming to light, most recently from Staples, as reported by iDownloadBlog. The deals include the 16 GB WiFi iPad Air for $319, 16 GB iPad mini 2 (retina display) for $239, and the 16 GB iPad 4 (the model prior to the iPad Air) for $279. These prices represent discounts in the range of $30–40. Staples is also offering the Apple TV for $79. And they're giving you 15 percent off on any iTunes gift card worth $50 or more. And finally, they're offering a 10 percent discount on all Beats headphones.

Rumor: Production of Apple Watch Components Set to Begin


According to the Taiwanese publication DigiTimes, which has fairly good sources but isn't always reliable, production of the custom-designed chip for the forthcoming Apple Watch is about to begin. This is a good sign, suggesting that this new accessory from Apple is on track for an early 2015 release. Some recent rumors have slated it for February 14, though an internal company video suggested it would arrive in the spring.

Walmart Black Friday Deals Include iPhone 6 for $104


Black Friday deals are coming soon, and websites are beginning to post the details. AppleInsider has all the info on Walmart's deals, which include an iPhone 6 for $179 plus a $75 gift card, meaning that your final price is effectively $104. They also have iPad deals, such as the first-generation 16 GB iPad Air for $397 with a $100 gift card.

Enhance Your Life with Smart Bulbs from Connected By TCP


I'd been wanting to start smartening up my home, so when I received an email offering a free sample of smart light bulbs from Connected By TCP, I jumped at the opportunity. And I couldn't be more pleased with them. During these dark winter months, it can be pretty dreary arriving home in the evening after dark. In the past I'd sometimes turn on my porch light when I left home in the afternoon, knowing that I'd be arriving home in the dark and could avoid fumbling to get the key in the door. But it always seemed a waste to have the light on for hours.

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