Note taking

30 03 2013

To decide which app is suitable for note taking it’s necessary to first classify notes and then decide which app fits best.

Here are some examples of notes typically taken on mobile devices.

  • Looking for 64 GB USB Drive
  • Backing up the PC today
  • Changing a PIN from 4389 to 3154
  • Brainstorming for new website layout
  • Writing down the main topics of a lecture
  • Ideas for placing new furniture in a room
  • Collecting information about the next holiday location

For all time-critical short notes it’s recommended to use the built-in Apple apps Reminders and Calendar as all the information is pushed across all of your devices if iCloud syncing is activated. These apps use the screen-keyboard of your device and are not suitable for creating larger notes.

Most of the other apps used for note taking don’t support an alert functionality like Reminders or Calendar. So the only way is to use Apple’s built-in apps by creating a reminder which refers to a time-critical event in another app.

For more text oriented notes like todo lists Apple’s iWork for iOS components are recommended because they are also synced across the devices, can be sent by E-Mail and converted into the PDF format for annotating in a collaboration environment.

For brainstorming and content which has to be structured while creating it or later a mind mapping app like iThoughts (Craig Scott, UK) will be the best choice. I myself use a mind mapping app even during meetings and review and rework it afterwards.

See my articles about mind mapping

Mind Mapping (1)

Mind Mapping (2)

Mind Mapping (3)

For notes which have to be encrypted use 1Password, a password keeping app. This app provides a category called ‘Secure Notes’ where you can add text. The app provides strong encryption and syncing via iCloud as well as Dropbox.

Other content can be characterized by a more free-styled creation and a usually larger content. For these applications a note taking app should

  • provide an integrated browser
  • allow insertion of links
  • allow access to the camera and the photo library
  • allow access to maps
  • support hand-writing
  • convert handwriting to text
  • provide a collection of colors, shapes, lines, and curves
  • provide drag and drop for all marked objects
  • allows printing out the results

It took me a long time to find out apps which meet most of the above mentioned requirements. No app could really convince me. The research ended on a sour note.

The biggest disappointment came up after reading an article on ipadcurriculum about the app TAPOSE. I purchased it because the author and other sources praised it as the best note taking app ever seen. I saw really exciting features and from my point of view an awesome approach to note taking. But you should not look at the details.
The only thing I can do is to cheer the developer up to fix all the critical points. Anyway here is a screenshot which shows some of the really good ideas.


So the only app still remaining in my pool is NOTABILITY.

The main features …

  • Full-featured Handwriting
  • PDF Annotation
  • Linked Audio Recording
  • Syncing with different clouds
  • Organization in folders
  • Support for importing PDF, RTF, DOC, XLS, PPT

The app is available only for the iPad.

For further details see the description on Apple App Store: Notability.

My subjective rating: 3 of 5 stars

One star dropped away because of the the missing connection between Web Clips and the link to the selected site, a further star for missing access to maps.

The UI …

The app has a nearly perfect design following Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines. Most of the icons are self-explaining and I only looked into the user guide to find out which app specific gestures are implemented.

My subjective rating: 5 stars

No star dropped away but, needless to say, every future improvements are welcome.

The cooperation with other apps …

I always have to look upon the interoperability of an app with Apple’s iWork suite. I create many documents with Numbers, Pages and Keynote and though it’s a MUST to use this content in other apps too.

See this gallery to get an impression of the UI and some objects from other apps which were inserted into a note.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Every iWork document can be transferred to Notability using the ‘Open in Another App’ command within iWork and selecting the PDF format. Slides of Keynote can be directly transferred using the clipboard.

My subjective rating: 4 stars

One star dropped away because the file formats of Apple’s iWork suite are not supported.

Disadvantages of Notability …

Inserting a so-called ‘Web Clip’ does not save the related web address.

So it’s just a screenshot of the website.
I contacted the developer and here is the answer.

FEB 01, 2013 | 02:39PM PST
Kelly replied:
Hi Thomas,
Thanks for following up with us. Are you asking about the web clip feature in Notability? If so, hyperlinks are not currently supported in Notability. Web clips can be used to capture information on a web page and insert and image of it into a note. It will not link you back to the site. We see how having hyperlinks would be helpful to our users and will explore this idea for a future release.
Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great weekend!
Cheers, …

Access to maps is not supported.

Access to clouds only for export not for import of documents.

A simple app …

See this video on YouTube introducing a simple solution for a note taking tool which is not designed for business use.

Further requirements …

If you use a note taking app you should buy a pen. I cannot give any recommendation because I don’t really see the benefits of pens compared to a real pen and a sheet of paper. With this old-fashioned configuration the only action for controlling the ‘device’ is to change the paper and strike out some pointless stuff. The battery for all this is my heart and until today it works well with no gradual failure. The only disadvantage I see is that the brain still cannot connect to the internet.

Look here for an overview of pens.

The Verge: The best stylus for iPad

Keep in mind that touchscreens are friendly to your fingers but using a pen may result in a sulky mood when the first scratches come out of the woodwork.

See Katie’s experiences with her first pen.

The Joy of Marking …

Thanks for reading my blog.
I hope you stay in touch with iNotes4You.
If not please comment what you didn’t like and I will do my very best to improve my presentation.

Syncing Bookmarks

27 03 2013

You can sync Safari Bookmarks on iOS devices with Safari bookmarks on a Windows PC.
This is pretty cool (to say it with the most frequently used words of Tim Cook) if you started reading on a website in the office and want to continue reading on a mobile device.

Requirements …

After installing iCloud Control Panel for Windows you have to enter the credentials for your Apple ID.
Set the checkbox for Safari.
Set the other checkboxes if you want to sync other data too.


From now on bookmarks set on any of your iOS devices will be synced with Safari on your Windows PC. If you found an interesting link on your iPhone bookmark it. When you return to your PC you will find the same bookmark in the same folder of Safari on your PC and vv. That means if you bookmark on your PC you can continue reading this website on your iPad after leaving the office.


Syncing is also possible with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer but not with two browsers and not with Google Chrome. For Google Chrome there is a an option called ‘Other Devices’ that loads up current and recent tabs on any other device you own that’s signed into Chrome. Opening a new tab can go either to this screen, your bookmarks (also synced), or frequently visited sites.


Further notes on Google Chrome for iOS …

Chrome’s sharing options are: Google+, GMail, Mail, Facebook and Twitter.
There is no way to install extensions like ad-blockers, interface customizations and add-on services.
Web pages look identical to Safari, probably because they use the same engine to render them – a restriction Apple places on browsers for iOS.
Chrome cannot be set as the default browser – again Apple won’t let that happen.

Mac Back

25 03 2013

If you use iCloud contacts can be automatically synced across your other iOS devices. Go to Settings – iCloud – Contacts and switch the slider to ON.

For backing up your contacts you can use iCloud or iTunes backup or sync your contacts e.g. with Microsoft Outlook. The disadvantage of iCloud backups as well as iTunes backups is that you cannot restore contacts (or other app specific files) separately. Apple’s backup system allows only to restore the whole device.

So in some cases it’s useful to backup the contacts separately.
To do so you need an app and it would be nice to have some additional features like Deleting Duplicates. Duplicates may occur if syncing via iCloud failed for any reason.

Here is an app available at Apple’s App Store which makes you independent of iTunes and iCloud.

My Contacts Backup Pro

This was not written by a child when exploring iPad’s keyboard it’s just the company name of the developer. It’s like my last name when multiplying the number of characters by 5.33.

The app has a plain and simple user interface with meaningful help text.
I myself use it since more than one year without any problem.

Here are the features …

  • Backup contacts using vCard or CSV file format
  • Send backup file via E-Mail
  • Save backup file to Dropbox by linking the app with a Dropbox account
  • Restore the generated backup file from within an E-Mail by simply tapping on the attached backup file
  • Transfer of contacts between different iOS devices with different Apple IDs
  • Supported iTunes and WiFi File Sharing
  • Remove duplicate contacts
  • Delete all contacts in Apple’s address book
  • Set reminder to backup regularly

Here is the UI …



Feature requests …

While writing this article I contacted the McBackup support and here are the answers.

Can vcf backup file used for transferring contacts from Android to iOS devices?

Yes it can. iOS and Android platforms support vCard (VCF) since it’s an universal contact file format :

But because of following reasons, transferring VCF files between these platforms are not always %100 compatible or successful:

* Now there are 3 different versions (2.1, 3.0 and 4.0) of vCard format and some properties (fields) are not supported on some versions. But all iOS devices Mail clients support vCard 3.0 and some of Android devices (especially) support vCard 2.1. But new Android devices support vCard 3.0

* Device manufacturers use some non-standard (private) fields in their Address Book and vCard supports these private extensions, with an “X-” prefix but transferring these fields between platforms are not always successful.

Is there any option to encrypt the backup file?

Not yet but we can add an option like this easily such as storing backup file in a pasword protected zip file. But this backup file can not be restored with Mail clients easily. Our solution is very easy and simple because you need any app or program to restore contacts from backup file. But encrypting a backup file needs extra operations and apss.

Managing duplicates …

If you just want to manage duplicates in contacts use the free app OneContact developed by Hasso Plattner Insitute and CAS Software, IT Systems Engineering at the University of Potsdam, Germany.
With this app you can manually resolve conflicts of nearly identical contacts and delete duplicates. The app investigates about 1000 contacts per minute.


Thanks for reading my blog.

iPad @ Universities

23 03 2013

When Apple released its first iPad in 2010, forward-looking universities around the world started research studies on how this device could be integrated into learning and teaching.

There are many representatives of the educational system still getting euphoric when it comes to iPads in schools or universities. That is basically positive as it forces all the people involved to try to go new ways. Teachers always look for techniques to generate interest and keep motivation on a high level. But they are also responsible for the young people and cannot delegate this responsibility to a device. Success and positive results in learning and teaching with an iPad is no automatism. It’s hard and subtle work to adjust all the parameters which give direction to new methods of learning.

The intention of research …

Research initiatives have to find out where an iPad could improve the learning and teaching process in general.

Here are some research activities:

  • Shifts in paradigms
    The integration of the iPad in the classroom is not only enhancing the way students learn but also changing the way instructors teach. Students now expect stimulation and immediacy; everyone wants everything faster and easier than before.
    “Our students are already so visual as far as learning styles are concerned that it’s becoming the new wave,” says Dr. Garcia. “We, as instructors, are going to have to adjust our teaching methodology in order to keep them engaged and in using the iPad, we can show the students movies and animations and give them a wide array of multimedia resources that they can tap into.”
  • Adjusting the content to its needs
    “The iPad is typically thought of as more of a consumer product”, says Dr. Garcia “but with the right fine-tuning we were able to modify some applications to make the lectures easy to view for the students.”
  • Easy deployment of course material
    About 30 years ago I myself was a teacher of physics, maths and informatics. Course material was produced by duplicating stencils written by hand or with a typewriter. Today teachers can develop their courses on a PC or an iPad and send it to a commonly used resource e.g. cloud storage from which students download it to their mobile device.
  • Reducing costs of learning
    HCC Houston Community College
    “It’s hard having to come up with the money to buy books every semester,” says Mari Hernandez, an Anatomy and Physiology student. “With the iPad, I was able to download it for free and start studying right away, instead of waiting until I could afford to buy the book.”
  • Increased mobility
    one device for the classroom, the campus and at home
  • Improved collaboration techniques
    Young people today are highly engaged in social networking and it’s an everyday experience to exchange information via Twitter or Facebook.
    Learning methods have to accept these new ways of how young people communicate with each other. The professor standing in front of his students and using a chalkboard for hours does not enhance collaboration which contradicts the expectations of young people how to get in touch with learning material and at what time they want to do it.

The problems …

All that glitters is not gold.
The problems I see are

  • how to find out the right apps for the students
  • how to establish a set of apps which are universally accepted by the students even if they already use an iPad with their personal favorite apps
  • how to organize and manage all the information to easy access on a subsequent date (the problem refers basically to the lacks in the iOS filesystem, where data are spread over app specific folders)
  • how to integrate a PC, which still cannot be replaced by the iPad
  • how to ensure a high quality level of the software used (you cannot wait for bug fixing during a semester)
  • how the file management can be organized after finishing a course
  • how to enable the teacher to search within documents of his students
  • how to establish a consistent naming system for the files created during a course
  • what the solution can be for iPads iOS with its one-window-at-a-glance-design, which can be obstructive when researching open topics and summarizing results
  • how students can be involved if they use private Android based devices
  • how distractions can be avoided while using a device instead of a pencil and a sheet of paper

Some other problems I see with regard to content, quality and style of courses offered at iTunes U.
There is NO QUALITY CONTROL just as there are no real criteria for recommendations of apps in the App Store. It’s Apple’s way of looking at iTunes U and App Store as an offer to enhance hardware and software sales.

The offer of iTunes U is voluminous but after looking into lots of courses, the quality often could not convince me. I saw courses which were just videos of lectures without lecture notes provided. I also find courses with videos where a teacher just wrote something on a chalkboard.
To find out the right courses may last hours, days, or even weeks.
This more traditional approach reduces the capabilities of an iPad to a usual consumer device.

Summary …

iPad was first released on April 3, 2010.
A new technology was introduced by Apple. The hardware meets most of the requirements but at the time the software including the operating system has not yet been fully developed. Developers all over the world got euphoric as Apple did when introducing the App Store in July 2008. Now it’s time to look at the facts a bit more objectively. I don’t see a real benefit in offering more than 700,000 apps if there is no implemented quality control with user friendly technical criteria lists instead of promises.
I installed about 200 apps on the iPhone. For too many of them special features were announced but after purchasing it turned out that they are buggy and for some apps I wait for a bug fixing for months. Do we need an app for answering the question ‘Why the sea is salty” (McGraw Hill)? Today apps can be seen as usual consumer products like shirts, jeans and other stuff. I like to call some apps as ‘7 Up’ apps. Use them 7 minutes or 7 hours and flush them down the toilet to clear the space for the next app. Are the apps for learning or just playing with this handy device? Is there a compulsion to try out new apps in periods getting shorter and shorter?

iPad MAY BE A TRANSFORMATIVE TOOL in education as it can house all resources (books, readings, video, audio), connects to the internet for doing research, provides a vehicle for maintaining communication, replaces ‘dead tree’ paper versions of resources and does it all in an easy to carry around, quick starting, and simple interface.

So the most important questions which have to be found out by research studies are:

  • Does iPad improve the motivation of students?
  • Are there measurable better results in graduation of students using iPads compared to those using the more old-fashioned learning techniques?

All the studies I looked into verified improvements in all fields.
Unfortunately many of the results published were of poor quality as they did not outline the relevant aspects in a clear and comprehensive way. Some studies compiled statistics with an entirety of about 20 students. That’s unscientific.

Anyway you can also find truly meaningful documents like The Reed College’s iPad Pilot Report published by The Reed College (see link below).

Attachments …

A highly interesting and meaningful document I found out at

Reed College: iPad Pilot Project

Apple supports education by introducing iBooks and iTunesU.

iTunes U …
let teachers create their own courses to unleash the full potential of iPad in a classroom. Ideas can be shared in a powerful new way, and the students get a rich, immersive learning experience using the iTunes U app for iPad. iTunes U is available at any college, university, or K-12 school.
From the iTunes U app, students can play video or audio lectures and take notes that are synchronized with the lecture. They can read books and view presentations. See a list of all the assignments for the course and check them off as they’re completed. And when you send a message or create a new assignment, students receive a push notification with the new information.
With the Apple ID anyone can subscribe to any courses.

Some of the really exciting features of the iTunes U experience is that as the video materials are playing, it is easy to pause the video to take notes. This creates a time stamp and a small thumbnail. When you look at your list of notes, it is possible to touch on the time stamp and be taken to that exact point in the video for review.

An example of iTunes U content by
Union University, Jackson, Tennessee

Introducing iPads into classrooms

The apps …

That’s the biggest problem when using an iPad.
It’s not easy to find out apps with the following capabilities.

  • UI which fulfills Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines
  • reputable developer with innovative ideas and fast support
  • suitable capabilities to connect with different cloud providers including iCloud
  • support of well-known file formats (instead of proprietary formats)

Here are my proposals for the software configuration …

  • iWork for iOS (Apple)
    Pages for summarizing results in a final paper
    Numbers for ToDo lists and documentation of the learning process
    Keynote for presentation of intermediate and individual results
  • iThoughts (Craig Scott, UK)
    a mind mapping app for research and organizing one’s brain

    Reflect what you have learned by creating a mind map.
    You will forget many detailed information but you should not forget the topics and their dependencies. Mind mapping on an iPad supports this essential part of the learning process in a specific way.

    It’s because a touchscreen is much nearer to human activities than any other device or textbook could be. What we do is mostly what we do with our hands. It’s our first approach to new things. Creating artworks, modeling new devices or writing down all the ideas leading to the E=m c c equation on a sheet of paper while walking through the room and reflecting our thoughts is almost always done by hand.

  • FileBrowser (Stratospherix)
    as the file transfer app with capabilities to connect directly to networks, clouds and USB drives
  • Camera (Apple)
    to scan documents and use photos for clarification
  • Documents (Readdle)
    to establish syncing of a cloud folder where the teacher provides documents for his students
  • iDriveSync (Pro Softnet)
    to establish syncing of a cloud folder where the teacher provides documents for his students

An external storage has to support WebDAV as it is more flexible than Dropbox. All other providers furthermore offer more free storage capacity than the 2 GB of a Dropbox account. Additionally, a WebDAV connection can be used to save iWork documents.

An alert reader might miss a suggestion for a note taking app because an iPad is frequently used for that task. But I cannot make any suggestion which app meets the requirements of students. So look here …

Further information …

Associated blog links …

Thanks …

I have to explicitly thank Nicolas Forsans, Associate Professor in International Strategic Management at the University of Leeds (UK) who forwarded some useful links to me which initiated my idea to write this article.

Please comment on this article.
Thanks for reading my blog.

Blog Summarizer

20 03 2013

The radiation intensity is growing up.
The reason is not only a hole in the ozone layer.

Today we are more and more faced with a new kind of radiation, the information radiation. Sources of this kind of radiation are Radio and TV stations, Print Media, Newsletters, Social Networks, E-Mails, etc.

The solution is not to build up a protective shield but to find out the right filter mechanism which brings the needed information directly to us and suppresses information which cannot be absorbed due to a limited retentiveness.
Searching is one of the most frequent activities people do on the web, yet a great many web sites deal with their search engines in a haphazard way. This is a sorry state of affairs that a great deal of people has been traumatized with poorly organized websites, and a lot others has begun to perceive browsing as a nerve-racking experience.

Your website may be a paragon of elegance, and design but whether it facilitates the browsing of its visitors is a crucial dimension of your success on the web. Nothing else counts more to your website than the incorporation of a good search tool, and quality search results users so earnestly look for.

An important step to use information effectively is to first summarize them and then, if needed, go into the details.

BlogSummarizer Blog
Blogs are invaluable information resources and great communication tools. They allow you to share and learn as you go and reach out to interested people outside your regular circles.

As useful as blogs are, a great deal of accumulated information is lost in the growing archives.

Blogs are structured to provide only the most recent information. It is far less convenient to find what you need when you have to dig back for information from older posts. This is especially significant when you have authored hundreds of posts over a period of time. In this case, having a tool to organize your information into a handy knowledge base will give you easy access to all of your blog posts in the context of your search.

A company providing summarized contents is Content Discovery Inc., Canada represented by Henry Lewkowicz whom I got to know via LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago.

This article describes a new approach to summarize content of blogs by using the technique of Mind Mapping supported by a computer generated database.

The visualization process …

  • Register a blog at WebSummarizer
  • Enter your credentials for allowing BlogSummarizer to access the contents.
  • Tap on ‘Add blog’.
    The creation process starts and analyzes the blog.
    After a few minutes a knowledge base is created which serves as the basis for content visualization.
    BlogSummarizer uses tags, categories, and part of the content of each article to build up the knowledge base.

Here is the result for my blog

Summarization of iNotes4You

There are different options to retrieve information.
Here are the results after entering the keyword ‘Bluetooth’:

  • Blog Knowledge Base
  • Visual Knowledge Map
  • Blog Index


Display options …

Content summarization can be displayed as a visual map, a tree view, or a keyword cloud.


Export options …

Data are exportable for later use on other platforms (Windows, OSX, LINUX, UNIX, etc.) and on any kind of device (PCs, Macs, Tablets, Smartphones). File formats for the export are:

  • HTML
  • RTF
  • Different formats of well-known mind mapping software tools
    MindManager (.mmap), XMind (.xmind), iThoughts (.itmz)

The image shows the summarization result in HTML and RTF file format.


This is the mind map automatically created by BlogSummarizer after entering the keyword ‘Bluetooth’ and exporting the result to the iPad mind mapping tool iThoughts HD by Craig Scott, UK.
Look at the branches of the map. In the upper right corner you find globes which indicate links to the corresponding blog websites. To open the website just Tap and Hold. This is an excellent feature of BlogSummarizer which strikingly increases the visualization of information.


Benefits of BlogSummarizer for authors …

To make the information of hundreds of blogs accessible the generated knowledge base is a helpful aggregation of data to point out content.

But this works only in an effective way, if the authors know the STRONG aggregation rules and assign the right keywords and tags to each article.

So the generation process may not effectively work for articles written in the past.

Benefits of BlogSummarizer for readers …

Readers of blogs can use the full text SEARCH function, the combobox CATEGORIES as well as the KEYWORD CLOUD to display related articles. That’s all. The results are always a listing of the complete articles containing the keyword as a tag or category.
It would be more effective to present a list of headlines and excerpts.

BlogSummarizer supports the search process in a more user-friendly way by offering a Mind Map, a Tree View, and a Keyword Cloud containing links to each article. So it can be seen as an additional support for search processes.

We talked about different supported platforms but mind maps need a lot of space when expanded so this visualization of content is more often than not usable for devices with tablets and smartphones.

But the most important point is that articles at the time are not written with the focus on searchable results. So I think the only way to optimize the search results and provoke the acceptance of users is to always keep the algorithm in mind which summarizes the content.

Desirable additional features …

(Source Businessinsider)

  • Content Discovery has to make the authors aware of the rules of generating the knowledge base so that they can be taken into account when writing articles.
  • A listing of headlines with publishing dates, tags, categories, and excerpts should be offered.
    At the time I myself created a database on the iPad using the app TapForms to get this list.
  • To each article a priority rating should be taken into account when generating the knowledge base. This rating should be used as the main sort order and a criterion for highlighting.
    The ‘Strong, Normal, Weak’ classification of keywords (number of mentions in articles) is in many cases not the conclusive statistical value for importance (e.g. keyword ‘app’ in my blog).
  • BlogSummarizer should also be available for WordPress.COM blogs and not only for WordPress.ORG blogs.
    At the time a suitable HTML-Code cannot be inserted in blogs due to security guidelines of If you try to insert HTML code it’s immediately stripped off when saving the article.
  • Today the acceptance of new techniques is more and more a question of how it is presented. In the last months several Social Networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr made strenuous efforts to develop user-friendly interfaces. Apple’s guidelines should be valid for all apps as well as websites. So the layout of BlogSummarizer’s website has to be reviewed. At the time it’s not what users expect.

      Headlines of Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines
      Great iOS Apps Embrace the Platform and HI Design Principles
      Great App Design Begins with Some Clear Definitions
      A Great User Experience Is Rooted in Your Attention to Detail
      All Apps Need at Least Some Custom Artwork

  • BlogSummarizer should offer some options e.g. ‘Include words in headlines’.
    On 2012-11-25 I published an article with the headline ‘Using an iPhone in Thailand’. BlogSummarizer reports ‘No search results’ after entering ‘Thailand’ as a keyword.
  • Tablets are gaining popularity and it’s likely that more and more information is retrieved by using these devices. As a consequence there must be an APP which is able to provide summarized information for tablet users.

My suggestions for a suitable app …

The app should offer an integrated browser.
Enter an URL, open the menu, enter keywords and start the summarizing process.
The result is displayed as a mind map with some options not shown in the example like ‘Display as Tree View’ or ‘Display as RTF’. In ‘Settings’ one of some supported mind mapping tools can be selected. To get information from multiple websites a branch should be created for each website.
After finishing summarization the mind map can be transferred to a mind mapping tool to further work on it.


Summary …

Anyway BlogSummarizer is on the way up.
All the best to Henry Lewkowicz for future developments.

Thanks a lot for reading this article.
Please feed the blogger Thomas with positive or negative comments to either make him proud or force him to improve the quality of his articles.

Features of blogs

18 03 2013 is powered by

WP is the worldwide largest offer for free Blogs (35 million) with a lot of pre-defined functionalities so that everybody is able to publish articles within less than one day. In contrast to self-hosted blogs on there are some limitations regarding plug-ins, design and source code because of security reasons. WP offers a lot of free themes one can use for the layout of the website. So I did when choosing the theme FRESHY.

I started blogging in October 2012 without any knowledge of programming a website. And at the time I still don’t have this knowledge and I don’t want to spend my time with administrating a complex website and annoying the readers with intrusive advertisement. This blog goes along the line of ‘Back to content.’.

If you look on my About page you will see that my native language is German. So be sympathetic if you stumble upon words or phrases you never heard before. This may happen when a German word is translated by a free iPad app. I completely lost faith in this iOS lady named SIRI doing such things for me.

Spam …

INotes4You’s blog uses Akismet (short word for Automattic Kismet).
Akismet is brought to bloggers by Automattic (not misspelled, it’s the companies name), the creators of For over 5 years, Automattic has been committed to fighting spam by continually improving the Akismet algorithm.

Spam most people know; it’s the unwanted commercial commenting or mailing. Ham is the counterpart, legitimate comments. On the Akismet mistakes side, missed spam is pretty self-explanatory, and a false positive is a legitimate comment incorrectly identified as spam.

Each time a new comment, trackback, or pingback is added to my site it’s submitted to the Akismet web service which runs hundreds of tests on the comment and returns a thumbs up or thumbs down. I check the content recognized as spam (because Akismet may made a mistake) and then delete it, if I only see ads or soft-soaping. Up to now more than 2,500 comments have been identified as spam within just 6 months.

Sorry, if Akismet and I made a mistake, which I hope happens very rarely. Use the contact form on my About page to kvetch.

Further information about spam on Akismet

For those who just started reading blogs here is a description of the functionalities of my blog.

Appearance …
My blog is about Apple’s iOS devices so it’s obvious that a option (Mobile Theme) is activated. It ensures an optimized display of the site even on the iPhone.


Your interests …

There are two functionalities that can be used for finding out the which articles may be interesting for you. Some bloggers build an extra page containing links to articles sometimes outlined by special criteria. But in time this list gets longer and longer and so it’s no real summary any longer.
A mind map would be helpful. By opening a branch more detailed information could be presented.
But the form factor of an iOS device hampers the clarity of this type of outlined information.
So they are only two more traditional features available: Search and Categories.

Search …
is a full-text search. If you enter a string all blogs are shown containing this string. The string may be a complete word, a part of a word or several words.
If you enter ‘ios 7’ you get my blog from 2013-01-22.

Categories …
are topics defined by myself. Categories are an additional Search-Feature.
Open the categories box to see which categories are available at the time.
If you select a category all blogs with this category assigned are displayed.


Recent posts …
shows the titles of the last 10 posts which covers about one month.

Follow blog via E-Mail …
is an optional notification feature.
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iPhone’s dining habits

15 03 2013

Your iOS devices are nothing without waves.

Waves are the food for every mobile device connected to the internet or your carrier and contain the information e.g. needed for your browser to show websites and for a phone call to transmit your voice.

But what are waves and how does this work?

You all know water waves, seismic waves and waves that transmit the sound from one person to another or from speakers to your ear. Sometimes sound waves contain good news or bad news. Whatever is transmitted by waves it’s always INFORMATION.

In case of iPhones contacting your carrier or iPads contacting your wireless access point, waves are Electromagnetic Waves. In contrast to water waves (propagating through water), the sound (propagating through gas) and seismic waves (propagating through the earth) electromagnetic waves don’t need a medium. They also can carry information while propagating through the vacuum with the speed of light (about 300.000 m/sec). That’s pretty fast and helps when transmitting information to your device because there are many disturbers around us and so information has to be transmitted several times before being identified as those destined for you.

Look here for waves in motion

Simple Wikipedia

Properties of waves …

Properties of waves are among others the amplitude (height of cycles) and the frequency (number of cycles per second). Sound waves have a low frequency when we hear a deep tone. The frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz).


Image (1) shows an AM (amplitude modulated) wave and Image (2) an FM (frequency modulated) wave. You all know AM and FM if you ever looked on a radio’s dashboard. The more important method is to transmit information with a frequency modulated wave.

Information transport …

A constantly moving wave with the same frequency and amplitude cannot transmit information except a YES (the sender is on) or a NO (the sender is off).

To transmit information we have to vary the amplitude or frequency of the electromagnetic wave. But the information then is encoded and none of our organs of perception can understand what it means. iPhone’s receivers for WiFi and carrier-based signals support us by converting the electromagnetic waves hitting the device into text, pictures and sound.

For example, a radio transmitter turns a human voice into waves by varying the frequency of waves in the same pattern as the sound waves measured by a microphone.

Image (2) shows a FM wave where the frequency is varied constantly. If it represents a sound wave it could be the varying signal of an ambulance and provides us with the information ‘Let it pass’.

Your WiFi is not working?

As I already mentioned there are many disturbers preventing us from enjoying our iPhone.

If you have problems with your WiFi connection a possible reason could be INTERFERENCE. Interference occurs if waves carrying the information disturb each other. In one case the disturbance may lead to a complete extinction so that your device looses the connection to the access point.
Images (3) shows two senders not far apart. Two pins, driven by an electromotor, are tapping on the water and in some regions you can see quietness. The water waves are extinguished.
Image (4) shows this phenomenon in the nature.

That’s what can happen with your WiFi access point while providing your iPhone with information via electromagnetic waves.

Other reasons …

One of the most common causes of a low Wi-Fi signal is distance. Wireless routers and access points are limited to low-power broadcasts to prevent interference with other equipment, limiting their effective range to around 100 feet indoors.

If your Wi-Fi signal mysteriously drops off in certain rooms, it may be due to your home’s construction. Especially thick walls and a metallic mesh inside the wall effectively disrupt any Wi-Fi signal passing through, significantly reducing signal strength or blocking the signal completely.

Device Interference
You may also find intermittent signal problems caused by interference from other, non-Wi-Fi devices. Wi-Fi operates in the 2.4-gigahertz band, as do cordless phones, some remote alarm products and a microwave oven. When active, these devices can reduce your Wi-Fi signal strength due to interference. Additionally, microwaves can produce substantial interference in the frequency range used by wireless devices and can completely disrupt a Wi-Fi connection. Taking care to situate your wireless nodes and equipment away from such interference can help improve signal strength, but repeated problems may require you to replace older appliances with modern, wireless-friendly alternatives or switch to the 5-gigahertz frequency band available with 802.11n products.

Change the Channel …

Another source of Wi-Fi signal problems is interference. Wireless devices feature the ability to transmit and receive on several separate channels (slightly different frequencies in the 2.4 or 5 GHz band), but in many cases, they shift from the factory set to a single default channel. This can mean that several wireless sources in a small area, such as an apartment building, are all competing for signal in the same frequency band.

If you encounter unexpectedly weak Wi-Fi signals and detect other networks operating in your area, try switching to different channels to find a less crowded part of the spectrum.
You can change the channel for your Apple router using the free Airport Utility provided by Apple.


Useful links for technicians …

CISCO Myths of interference

Channel frequencies

Thanks for surfing by on your wave.

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