iOS Today 662, Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
Mikah Sargent (00:00:00):
Coming up on iOS today, Rosemary Orchard and I cover apps and products for doing good. Stay tuned.
Leo Laporte (00:00:09):
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This is iOS today with Rosemary Orchard and Mikah Sargent. Episode 662 Recorded Monday, July 10th, 2023 for Tuesday, July 18th, 2023. Apps and gadgets for doing good. This episode of iOS Today is brought to you by NetSuite. If you've been sizing NetSuite up to make the switch, then you know this deal is unprecedented with no interest and no payments. Take advantage of this special financing offer and get the visibility and control you need to weather any storm by visiting netsuite.com/twit. And buy HelloFresh America's number one meal kit. Get farm fresh pre-portioned ingredients and seasonal recipes delivered right to your doorstep. Skip the grocery store and count on HelloFresh to make home cooking easy, fun and affordable. Go to hellofresh.com/ios 50 and use Code iOS 50 for 50% off. Plus free shipping and buy zip recruiter if you're hiring Your're currently dealing with a slowing economy, which adds to your challenges.
Thankfully, there's a hiring partner who is focused on you and your needs. It's ZipRecruiter four outta five employers who post on ZipRecruiter. Get a quality candidate within the first day. Try ZipRecruiter for free at ziprecruiter.com/ios. Welcome back to iOS Today, the show where we talk all things iOS and TV os and HomePod os and watchOS, and all of the OSS that Apple has on offer. I am currently somewhere else in the United States. And so because of that, we are recording this episode early so that it can publish on the day when I'm gone. It's all very confusing. But through the magic of movie Magic <laugh>, we're making this happen. I am one of your hosts, Mikah Sargent,
Rosemary Orchard (00:03:05):
And I am Rosemary Orchard. I'm very happy to be here, even though Mikah is simultaneously there and not there. What's happening? Am I talking to a real mica? Is this ai Mikah? What, what's going
Mikah Sargent (00:03:14):
On? Schreiner is Mikah <laugh>. I'm actually super excited about this episode today. So I just the other day was trying out a new app called Imprint. And in the app basically what they've done is they have a team who reads different books typically like self-help books or, or books about different forms of knowledge, and then takes those books and synthesizes them down into specific ideas. They'll then have a team of illustrators who will add the concepts visually to go along with it. It's a really cool app. And it's one that I might recommend in the future. It's just, I think a little bit price prohibitive for a lot of folks. So that's why I am not currently recommending it. But in that app, there was this great series from a a sort of professor, not, not sort of professor, but a professor of psychology talking about the science of happiness.
And one of the things that they talk about in the science of happiness that you can do to make yourself feel good and to sort of spread happiness and by spreading happiness, recoup a little bit of that is through the use of some form of, of doing good. And they linked to several different options. And one of those options was the first app we're gonna be talking about today. And I've talked about this app in the past. And so that's why I'm really sort of, I was, I was inspired to then do this episode on just doing good. There are ways that you can either donate directly, donate indirectly help out learn about ways to help out. And so that is what we're talking about today. The first app that we're gonna be talking about is an app that's available on iOS and I, iPad os, called Be My Eyes And Be My Eyes is a pretty simple app in terms of, its, its sort of goal with Be My Eyes.
You can volunteer to be the eyes for a person with low or no vision. So what happens is a blind or low vision individual will join this app and they can at any time call and one of the volunteers, or actually they'll send out a, a notification to multiple volunteers through the app. Somebody picks up and then helps that person with lower no vision. So an example, I've, I've had two be My Eyes calls in One Call and it's, it's a video and audio call. The person was asking for help trying to determine what color the shirt they had was and if it went with the pants that they were planning on wearing. So the person had just held out, you know, and on was laying on the bed, was a was a, a pair of pants.
And then above it was a few shirts and they were kind of pointing at the shirts and asking me what were the colors of the shirts. And then another time a person was asking for help reading a label that they had in front of them. So I was able to read the text of the label for them to help them figure out what it was. Now what I think is so cool about Be My Eyes is that there are currently 6.7 million volunteers on the app, and there are 511, a little bit over 511,000 blind or low vision folks who are on the app. So there are quite a number of volunteers who have signed up to be someone's eyes if they need it. Now, in the app there's not a whole lot that you do as a volunteer.
You simply wait to get a notification saying, Hey I need assistance. And then you can answer the call. If you don't answer the call then it will go on to buzz other people until someone does answer the call. It, it's not as if the, the person has to type in information ahead of time or anything like that. So all you do is you get a notification that says, Hey, someone's looking for assistance. They, they have added more to the app over time, though. So down here you've got the main page, this is the homepage, but there's also the community tab which has stories from different folks who've had help through the service. A blog post that kind of talks about what's going on with Be My Eyes. And then also podcasts so you can learn more information there.
And then there's the Learn tab, and this is for Be My Eyes, so you can learn how to use it both as a volunteer or as a person with lower no vision and kind of keep up to date with what's new. Outside of that, it's, again, it's just a waiting game. It's free to download in the App store and it just kind of sits in the background. You know, you, you, when you first launch it, you give it permission to view your camera and listen to the microphone, obviously, so that you can place those calls. And then you give it notification permissions, and then it just sits in the background. And I, it's honestly because there are so many volunteers, I, I've gotten calls few and far between since joining the app. This says July 10th, 2023. That's because this is my test iPad, so it's got a test account on it. But I've been on b My Eyes, let's see, since since 2021, I think. Let me see here. Yeah, since June of 2021 and over that time I've gotten four calls. So for those of you out there who would like to volunteer it's not as if you're gonna be taking calls back to back regularly. They will come up every now and then, and then you could help out. It's a really cool app, I think
Rosemary Orchard (00:09:18):
It is. And we've had some feedback from listeners at various points as well, saying that they've had some really great experiences with the app as well, or the service because there are some websites that just aren't screen reader friendly. So people trying to find information on the website like, you know, if they're looking for ingredients for a recipe or something, those ones in particular are always really difficult to find. Cuz there's this huge wall of text about how their grandmother's dog used to live in this really cool stable and there was a fox that was outside and so on. And then six hours of scrolling later, you finally get to the ingredients. And especially if that website's not screen reader differently, then good luck to you when you're trying to find that information. And somebody else whose wife has an extreme sg or maltodextrin sensitivity has used it for help in finding the information in the ingredients in places as well. Because ingredients are often in teeny, teeny, teeny tiny font, really difficult to read. So, yeah, some, some users have really good experiences with it as well. So it's great to hear how it works from both the side of the person giving the time to help folks out and also the people receiving that benefit.
Mikah Sargent (00:10:22):
Absolutely. Now you included an app in the list called Charity Miles. Do you wanna tell us about that?
Rosemary Orchard (00:10:29):
Yeah, I do. So if you like to walk or run or maybe you don't like to walk or run, but you need an incentive to do so, then you could try using Charity Miles to donate your Miles Run. So Charity Miles, essentially what it does when you open the app you can start earning and you, you have to sign up. I have not signed up on this test iPhone but I have tried it out on some other apps. But essentially what happens is after you're signed up, it will sync your workout data and then donate your miles run and turn those into cash for various charities of your choice. So it's quite nice in the sense that you can actually, you know, it's something that some of you may be doing anyway you know, walking or running or maybe some of you need motivation.
But essentially you can choose a goal a monetary goal to, to work towards, and then choose a charity that you're working towards and then get going. You have to run as much as you can. And yeah, you, you can see, you know, you, there's some sort of sliders that you can play with so that you can change your miles goal and cents per mile and number of pledges, which you, you, you wanna get from Fox. But it's a nice way of, you know, turning this sort of thing into you know, some money for charity and it being a charity of your choice. That means that, of course you can do the research to find which charity would be best for you to donate to.
Mikah Sargent (00:11:51):
I love that you can you sort of improve your own health and wellbeing w both physically and mentally at the same time. Because again, as I was talking about earlier, the idea is that helping other people helps you mentally because it can boost your levels of happiness. And so you're not only working physically on your health, you're also working mentally on your health while you're also helping other people. It's, oh, that's such a wonderful way to bring that all together. I think that's fantastic. Another app that I wanted to talk about also available for free in the App store. Many of these apps are going to be free in the app store. Some of them will have in-app purchases because it's part of the mechanism is a great app called Share the Meal. And Share the Meal is an app that is a simple way to provide meals to folks in need.
When you get this app, you will see some featured goals that are set up. So these are gonna be for situations that might be going on in the world at the moment. And then you will also see some different options that are taking place elsewhere. So, Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia Afghanistan, India, Nepal, there are all of these programs all over. Right within the app, you can learn about how the donations are broken down where the money goes, how it's used, and so that way you have an idea of the impact that your money will actually have in each situation. What I love about this is that it's got built in support for Apple Pay. So if I wanted to, I could give emergency aid in Ukraine. I tap on, donate now, and immediately you're presented with the option to donate.
I can change. So for $24, I can make sure that 30 people get meals. For $6, I can feed a little bit over $6, I can feed eight I can give eight meals. You can make your donations monthly. And then these meals are provided by the United Nations World Food Program, so a well-known organization for providing food to those in need. When I tap continue, I'm presented with the Apple Pay Dialogue. I can choose, confirm, and then tap the, the, in this case touch ID on top of this. Now this is, again, my test device with a a, a test account on it, so it doesn't have any money on the Apple Pay card. But it is so simple and what I love too on my personal device it, let's see, it shows you what you've donated in the past, so you can kind of keep track of how you have impacted others and how much how much you've donated thus far.
And I'm trying to find that now. I think it's in maybe your profile or something like that. So yes, it's donated $60 for people in Yemen and then also in Ukraine. And then it'll show you kind of what the breakdown is for how many meals you've done. And if they are tax deductible, that information will be provided there as well. So if you're looking for a quick way to make an impact and to know that your money is going to be used directly for good things this is a great way to make that happen. And it's called share the Meal. It's very, very, very simple. All right, let us talk about Roundup app. Tell us about Roundup app.
Rosemary Orchard (00:15:41):
Well, Roundup is an app that I did some research on, and it seems like it's a pretty good app. And I can say that cuz I can download it, but unfortunately I am unable to use it as it's this, the case with some of the other apps that are available for this sort of thing because they are US only. Now Roundup itself is not a US only app but unfortunately all the charities in there are. But essentially what you can do is you can pick a a category, for example, animals and then you can go and pick you know, a particular charity. So I'm looking here at Paul, people for Animal Wellness, excellent acronym Work Folks, or Initialization, actually <laugh>. And then you can start supporting them. And so what you do is you create an account with Roundup and then you link your cards, your credit and debit cards to this and you authorize Roundup with your, your bank or the company providing your cards.
And then every time you make a transaction on there, it will round it up and then it will take all that money at the end of the month and donate it to the charity of your choice. So you can, if rounding up sounds a little bit scary or unknown, you can actually give a fixed amount or make one time gifts instead. But it all happens through you know, a simple, relatively easy to use app. So it's a really nice idea because I think a lot of the time, especially with sales tax in the us I've always found this, my bills come out to a really weird amount. It's like 82 cents and it's like, well, that could be rounded up to a dollar and then I could donate 18 cents to a charity. 18 cents on its own may not do a huge amount, but if that happens across a number of different transactions a month, you could be easily giving five to $10 a month away that you wouldn't necessarily notice. So if you've got a little bit of disposable income, then Roundup is certainly a nice way to consider looking at that.
Mikah Sargent (00:17:28):
All right let us go ahead and take a quick break before we come back with loads more to talk about for apps and gadgets for doing good. I wanna tell you about a new sponsor here on iOS today. It's NetSuite who is bringing you this episode. If your business earns millions or tens of millions of dollars in revenue, stop what you're doing and take a listen because NetSuite by Oracle has just rolled out the best offer we have ever seen. See, NetSuite gives you the visibility and control you need to make better decisions faster. Ben Argo, c e o of International Wine Accessories says we've improved efficiency enabled remote sales and customer service, provide a higher level of service to our customers and manage based on real time data by having all of our operations centralized, hosted, and accessible in the cloud. And for the first time in NetSuite's 25 years as the number one cloud financial system, you can defer payments of a full NetSuite implementation for six months.
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And I, I'm, lemme make that clear, it's a loan, it's not a donation, it's a loan. And so what happens is this community of folks work together to provide business loans and opportunity loans to those who need it. And then that money is paid back to you over time. Now let me find this. So since 2005, 2,175,669 lenders have crowdfunded $1,918,378,150 in loans to 4,715,398 borrowers at an amazing 96.3 repayment rate. So 96.3% of the loans get repaid. And what they do is they show you different folks who are in need. So there are loans, for example, that maybe have not gotten a whole lot of attention. So they will kiva's staff will help to spotlight those so that you can donate or rather, so you can lend money to them. You find refugees, you find some instances where things are almost funded so you can get them to their funding goal.
And then what's great about this? So here's HI and Columbia who needs a loan to acquire a new SI to improve productivity for his farm. So he's looking for 40 more dollars $575 total that that hydro is hoping to raise. And then with that money, he'll be able to purchase a new, which will greatly improve his efficiency and productivity in maintaining his crops. And then again, over time it will lead to repayments. So it's a monthly repayment schedule over the course of 20 months. And what happens is you are then providing or you're rather, you're getting the money back over time. So let me give you an example. I could donate the $25 is the smallest amount, and I keep saying donate, I need to not, I could lend $25 to Hiro and Colombia or let's say $50.
And then as things are going on, IRO is going to continue to update you as those payments are paid back. And what I love about this is you can choose to take the money that you get back. So let's say I put $50 into the system and I Iro pays back my full $50, right? I can tell the app the service to just take that $50 and donate it to another. I keep saying donate, lend it to another person who's looking for a, a, a loan. And so that way you can kind of keep working through the system. There's also a subscription service, so you can do $5 a month that does it automatically. And then you can kind of choose what specific kind of loan you might want to give or a contribution amount. Now I looked into Kiva and did some research to kind of understand how this works in the background and make sure it wasn't this sort of predatory system.
And everything points to this being an above the board service. I think this is a super cool platform and I think that it's a pretty neat system where you can end up helping impact so many different businesses, not just in the United States, but around the world. I think that's super cool and I I also think that it opens up people to maybe want to partake in this, where you might be able to sort of have that $50, you know, come back to you over time, but another person needs it at the moment and this is their way of being able to get it. So sort of spreading the wealth, sharing around the wealth I think is a super cool idea. So that's Kiva also available for free and you download it, you can sign up and then help to provide loans to folks who need them. Alright let's talk about the last kind of, well, one of, one of the, the last third party apps here which is Wolff Tracks.
Rosemary Orchard (00:25:11):
Yeah, so this is something I found when I was doing some research, and unfortunately again, it's not available for me here in the uk and I've been looking for a UK alternative and I've yet to find one. But Wolf Tracks is essentially walk your dog or if you don't have a dog, walk, a virtual dog to raise money for dogs. So especially if you've adopted a dog and you know, the, the shelter or rescue where you adopted your dog from does fundraising efforts then you may wanna consider looking them up and seeing if you can walk your dog and donate money back to the shelter. So Wolf Tracks themselves have got various supporters and sponsors and so on, and they take that money and for every quarter of a mile you walk you get some charity points and then all of your charity points get added up and you can choose to donate them to particular organizations and so on to help your furry friend.
Which I thought was a lovely idea. I don't know, I haven't found you know a number of these that are available internationally yet, and I'm hoping to find some. So if you as a listener know of any of these that work outside of the US that would be really great or any better ones. This one does have a few reviews in the app store saying it crashes. But it's available on Android and iOS and I think, you know, it's a nice idea taking your dogs for a walk outside. You can share your maps of your walks that you've been on as well, so that that will help other dog walkers find nice places to go and walk their dogs that are safe. And yeah, it means that everybody gets to, you know, have more fun with a furry friend. And if you do, if you don't have a dog or you're allergic to dogs, but you would like a virtual dog, then you can adopt Lexi in the app who will be your virtual companion to go on your walks with you. Aw,
Mikah Sargent (00:26:47):
That's cute. That's cute. And then you also included another great option in the list. This is something that I am excited to have as part of the, the list now. It is the blood donor app for the American Red Cross. So the blood donor app for the American Red Cross Cross helps you find blood donation facilities around you so that you can obviously donate blood to help save lives. With it you get kind of a bunch of stuff. You can track your blood donations over time. There's a swag area so you can pick up cool swag. You have your own profile for your own blood and, and all of that information is there. It also makes it super simple to donate blood quickly. So, you know, part of blood donation involves a lot of ahead of time writing and answering a bunch of stuff. And so this can help kind of speed along that process a little bit taking out some of that information. And then you also have the N h s version of the app. Tell us about that.
Rosemary Orchard (00:27:57):
Yeah, so the n h s version of the app, it's pretty simple. It just allows you to find places where you can go to donate blood or plasma here in the uk. And then you can sign up and make an appointment, download it, put it straight into your calendar, which is very useful if you use a CarPlay for getting directions to places or just Siri prompts you with things from your car things from your day as you go. And yeah, then it lets you choose a time and date and go and donate some blood or plasma as is needed. And of course it's a free app that you can get. But yeah, it's worth considering if you are somebody who donates blood here in the uk.
Mikah Sargent (00:28:37):
And then we've got several sort of Apple focused options here. Apple focused things worth checking out. Well, I guess the first one, product Red is not just Apple. There are lots of product red products out there, but we thought we'd talk about since Apple does support Product Red with product red devices. What, what can folks do and, and to what organization do the contributions end up.
Rosemary Orchard (00:29:10):
So the contributions end up with the Global Fund which uses Apple's contribution to finance H I V and AIDS programs. And essentially what you can do is there are some iPhones iPhone S se, iPhone 13 nine, iPhone 14 that you can buy in special product red editions. And there are also cases for those devices and some other devices as well that you can buy as well as Apple Watch. Series eight is available in red and some sport some bands as well. There's a sport loop, a sport band braided solo loop. And yeah, there's also matching watch faces for those which don't actually make a donation of any kind. But you know, you can, you can coordinate, which is lovely. There's also some Beats Solo three on ear headphones, which will also contribute towards that. So essentially, if you like red anyway then you can buy red versions of some of the Apple products and donate some money to charity at the same time. And these products don't cost any extra compared to the normal one. So if you're looking for a Silicon case and you like the look of the red one, then it's not gonna cost you any extra, but there'll be some money donated to charity as part of that charity.
Mikah Sargent (00:30:20):
Beautiful. you also, if you'd like, can every year, apple in the month of June, which is Pride Month releases an Apple Watch band for Pride Month. And when you buy Apple's pride Edition band this year, it's a sport band that has these sort of, they almost look like candy sprinkles. When you buy this whatever band it happens to be, apple makes a donation to lgbtq plus advocacy organizations. So yeah, each year it will lead to support for different organizations including the Equality Federation Institute and Circle Equality, North Carolina, equality, Texas Gender Spectrum, G L S E N the Human Rights campaign, PFL and more. So there are several organizations that are supported whenever you purchase the Pride Edition band. Apple also does a band for black History Month called the Black Unity band. And purchasing that band during the month of February will also lead to support for organizations that are aimed at helping people of color. Now outside of that, there are a few sort of features that you wanted to talk about. First and foremost is live. Listen, Rosemary, what is live? Listen
Rosemary Orchard (00:31:53):
Well, if you've ever had a situation where you're trying to hear somebody speaking, but you're a little bit far away from them, maybe there's some surrounding noise maybe your hearing's just not that great or they're speaking really quietly and softly and you wish it would be easier to hear them than live Listen is the feature for you. It's not just for folks with a hearing difficulty that they need help with. Essentially what you can do is you can turn on the Life lesson feature on your phone and it's on an iPhone or an iPad and you can put your phone where that person is speaking or where the audio is coming from, and then you can sit where you're supposed to sit with your AirPods in and you can hear things because it uses the microphone on your iPhone as a direct live listening device.
That's, that's it, it's the name. But this is a really useful feature and it's well worth remembering. It exists because I tell my parents about this and then they were on a tour a little while ago. My dad was struggling to hear the tour guide a bit. And so he asked him if you would mind you know, holding onto his iPhone essentially while he did the tour. And the tour guide was more than happy to accommodate. And so he held onto my dad's iPhone and my dad used the live lesson with his AirPods and was able to hear what was going on way better than anybody else could. I think there was some traffic and stuff around as well, making it difficult. But it's a really useful feature. I've used this for doing things like setting up I was trying to make my buzzer my intercom here at smart, but I needed to be outside and press buttons, but hear what was going on inside.
I'm one person I do have long legs, but I am not capable of being that far apart. It's like a hundred feet in two places at the same time. And certainly not fastened speed of sound. So I used live listen to leave my iPad inside with an AirPod in and went outside maybe it wasn't a hundred feet, it was just about the maximum range either way. And yeah, I was able to hear what was going on when I pressed the intercom buttons outside. So that was really useful and very, very much worth knowing about. And it's one of the, a number of accessibility features built into iOS that I feel like everybody should know about because you may not need it, but it's great to be able to recommend something as a solution to somebody else. If they're struggling with something and they ask you for help don't forget it. Some folks really don't want you to be suggesting solutions to things that they're struggling with if they're just venting. But if they are saying, Hey, like, do you know of a way that I can do this? You know, say there's a feature built into iOS that can do this, do you want me to show you is really cool and can certainly make some people's days
Mikah Sargent (00:34:30):
Nice. Yes. And then you have a great tip in here that I had not considered. The, there's a great page, support.apple.com/accessibility.
Rosemary Orchard (00:34:43):
Yeah, yeah. So there is an accessibility page on the Apple website, which will give you like all of the different, well, it gives you an overview of the accessibility features. It doesn't have every accessibility feature that Apple has listed here. There's a lot. But if you or somebody you know needs a braille guide for the iPhone, Mac, apple Watch, apple TV or HomePod, then you can order an electronic braille guide or you can order an embossed copy. And there's also Apple accessibility videos on YouTube. There's things in the Apple support communities based around accessibility and so on. There's just so much here in particular, I recommend Apples YouTube videos for accessibility. I know videos may not be the most accessible thing to everyone, but getting, getting a list of the different ideas the different videos could certainly give you some ideas of the features to search for to get the support page on Apple.
So how have your iPhone or iPad Tex to you, how to use background sounds on your Mac or use detection mode in magnifier on iPhone or iPad with lidar so that you can find doors and things like that. Or live captions in FaceTime on iPhone and iPad, which is currently a beta feature. That's an I 16 beta feature to be clear, not IO 17. And yeah, this is, you know, all this stuff is just really useful to know about. Or even if you don't remember all of these things, remembering, oh yeah, there's something about emojis with voiceover, I'll Google that and then you'll find, oh, how to turn on emoji suffix with voiceover on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch from Apple Support. That's it. So yeah, it's a really handy little webpage to know. And Apple support documents are pretty comprehensive anyway, so it's worth looking into those. If you are looking for any way to improve your use of your iPhone be that accessibility focused or not,
Mikah Sargent (00:36:34):
That is fantastic. That is a page that is definitely going to be bookmarked for me. And I will hold on to for a long time because yes, anyone, anyone could make use of these features, they're all very helpful and they all are worth paying attention to. Alright, let us take another quick break before we come back with Shortcuts Corner on this episode, apps and Gadgets for doing good. I wanna tell you about our next sponsor, which is, hello, fresh yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. Take a bite outta summer with Hello Fresh from chef crafted seasonal recipes to their new fresh and fit summer menu. Hellofresh brings flavor right to your door. You can get pre-portioned ingredients to help cut down on food waste while step-by-step instructions, make cooking a breeze and not a chore. Make your home the hangout place this summer with crowd pleasing eats from a backyard brat Worsest Bar to tangy, oh, key Lime Pie.
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This is Shortcuts Corner, the part of the show where you write in with your shortcuts corner requests and Rosemary Orchard Hour shortcuts expert provides a response. The first bit of shortcuts Corner feedback comes in from David. David writes, Hey there, Mike and Rosemary. I have a sleep focus mode which triggers nightly and changes the home screen to be minimal. I also have a personal automation set to when bedtime starts to set volume slash background volume, start background sounds and sets color filters, making the screen gray scale to be less distracting and bright. Is there a way to stop the sleep focus mode and automation from triggering? If I am not at home, I am a musician and occasionally have a late night event that goes well past my bedtime. So when I pull out my phone at these events, I have to switch the screen and color filter back. And then David has provided a photo of Bingley as part of the pet tax. So we'll take a quick look at aw, sweet Bingley with a bandana, bandana wearing and bingley, hello to you. So we got location tied to focus, but instead of it being mm-hmm <affirmative>, when I go to this location, turn this on, it's, if I'm not at this location, then don't turn it on. Yeah, <laugh>. Yeah,
Rosemary Orchard (00:42:04):
It is. And you know what, this is great because we actually have a chunk of this solution already, David, because you're running a personal automation when your focus mode turns on. And so what we're gonna do, I'm gonna show folks again, quickly how to create that focus mode trigger in shortcuts. So in shortcuts under the automations tab, you're gonna wanna tap on the plus and then you'll choose your focus mode. And so in this case it is your sleep focus mode. So that's actually the one right at the top under time of day and alarm, which is only on iPhone either way. So when, when this turns on, so either when wind down begins or bedtime begins, you have a personal automation that is already running, and I'm guessing you've set this two run immediately. And so what we need to do here, now, bear in mind, I'm on iOS 17, so I have a little extra step in here.
I'll just jump into the new blank automation. So this looks like it does for folks on iOS 16. Then what we're gonna do to start with is actually we're gonna say, Hey, if I'm at home, turn off my focus mode and then we're not gonna do anything else. We're gonna use a stop shortcut. And then if you are at home, then you can just let it run. So there's a couple of different ways we can do this. Now assuming that you are have you know, all of the things set up, the easiest thing to do, maybe to use get current location and then get an address from that and check if, say for example, your zip code or postcode here in the uk is the same one. The other thing you can do, and this is the method I like to use to check if I'm at home, is to get my network details and get my wifi network's name and if my wifi network's name is and I'm gonna say the Promised land because that is the name of my wifi network here.
And so if this is the promised land, then we are going to focus mode. And there is a little action inside of shortcuts for our focus mode. Not zoom focus modes. Wonderful. It's hiding from me. Where did it go? All of the, there's so many actions in shortcuts now. It's fabulous, I love it. But it's caused the one that I need to go into hiding. So I think I'll just have to look under scripting and not get current focus set focus. That's the one. So we wanna put our set focus and we're gonna pop that into the network details. And in this case, we actually want to turn sleep off. And then we're going to use our stop shortcut action, which should also be here under the scripting actions. And I'm just gonna scroll, where did it go?
There it is. So we're just gonna say stop the shortcut and that's it. So when sleep turns on or when bedtime starts in this particular case, it's good. Check your wifi network. If your wifi network is your home network, then it's gonna go. Okay that's fine, but then we should say is not. So if it's not the promised line so that's my home network, turn, sleep off and stop this shortcut and then your sleep mode won't turn on. And then when you get home, you can turn on your sleep focus mode and go to bed and that's it. And you'll have all the things that you usually have and everything will work. The only trick is, is if you also stay in hotels and so on, then you may need to do something else to check, like maybe just ask yourself before running the automations for turning on your gray scale and things like that. But I think that this is probably the nicest solution to the, to your problems. So before you run any of your other automation, just check if you're at home and if you're not, turn off sleep, stop the shortcut and that's it.
Mikah Sargent (00:45:51):
Beautiful. the next one comes from David. And David is written in, hi Rosemary and Mikah. We use the focus modes do not disturb and sleep in the evening and at night. So the phone and watch only run when the kids contact us when we go to bed. It is annoying when they keep writing messages to each other and signal in the family group or sending unimportant messages to us that we would read in the morning, but we want them to be able to call us in an emergency. I've looked at the settings, but I don't see a way to let phone calls from emergency or favorite contacts through, but block unimportant things like messages from chiming every couple of minutes. If I set emergency contact and let them through, I can also let them call. But I can't see a way to let just those favorites call but not message me or am I looking at that wrong? Thanks in advance. And this is the part where Rosemary reads the German
Rosemary Orchard (00:46:46):
<Laugh> mid pointy conclusion, which is with friendly greetings.
Mikah Sargent (00:46:51):
Ah, and also slash best regards, David <laugh>, and this is a different David but this is an interesting, so I want them to be able to call me, but I don't want them to message me through this. Do not disturb slash sleep. I want, I don't want their messages to break through from Signal, it sounds like.
Rosemary Orchard (00:47:09):
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. and this is something that's really understandable. So what I'm hoping for David, is that David has his kids in a in his favorites or in a group in context because if he does, then there's a nice simple solution to this. So if we open up our settings app and then we go into the focus section and then we pick a focus. So I'm not gonna pick sleep. I am gonna go into the podcasting one cuz I currently have Mica and David David Sparks my co-host of automators listed here as allow notifications from. So these two folks get blanket notifications that if we look underneath the people, you'll see phone calls allow calls from favorites. Now you can choose favorites. You can say from allowed people only, which would be the people listed above.
Or you could choose another group. I'm just gonna stick with the favorites. But this means, for example, my mom is in my favorites. If my mom calls me, then she'll get through, even though she's not a listed person here in my focus mode, but if she sends me a message, like it'll pop up, it'll bash the messages app and so on. That's what I have set up for my focus mode. But it's not gonna ding my phone, it's not gonna make sounds on my phone. So I think that this is probably the solution that you are looking for, David. And hopefully that will, that will work. So yeah, the other option is to, in the app section instead of allow notifications from silence, notifications from Signal and then signal will just be blanket blocked. But I'm not sure you would actually want to do that. So I, I would suggest going the route of don't list your kids in the people section, just add them to your favorites or contact group and then allow calls from that contact group. And that should be the trick.
Mikah Sargent (00:48:56):
All right, that's fantastic. The next shortcuts corner request comes in from Barry. Barry writes, hi, Mikah and Rosemary love the show. All the tips and tricks are great. I have an automation question slash problem. We recently purchased an Eve outdoor cam. It's connected to my home network via the home app and Eve app. We live on a two acre property and use the camera to notify us that a visitor is arriving as we only use the garage door as the entry and exit of our home. My problem is that I can't get a different audio notification of movement when the camera is triggered. It's just the average ding that any number of apps give. Additionally, for some reason, only my iPhone gets the notifications. My wife's, excuse me, my wife's iPhone does not get these notifications. Both of us are registered users and can see the camera feed.
Only one user gets the notification. My question is, is there an automation that can send notifications to my wife? And to me that's distinct and immediate. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Also, I would like to introduce you to Scooby, the picture attached. He is a rescue dog, 18 month old LASA, abso, she shihtzu Tibetan Terrier crossed with an Australian cattle dog. Thanks Barry. I cannot wait to see what this dog looks like. Aw, a sweet little baby. Scooby is so cute. A small dog, sort of white and gold in color with brown ears. Reminiscent of the, there's, there was, I can't even think of it. There was a, a dog food brand that had an adorable white dog on the front of it, and it kind of reminds me of that dog. Although this one has beautiful golden brown and white and blonde colors very pretty dog. Thank you for sharing Scooby with us. So this is complicated because now we've got someone wanting to almost have something else notify them, but anytime you enter in a, like a th a third party notification based on a first party notification, there's a delay that's gonna be built into that, right? Is there some way to solve this, Rosemary?
Rosemary Orchard (00:51:16):
Yeah, there is. And I'm pretty certain I know exactly what Barry's done because I would do exactly the same thing. So in the home app you tap on a camera, which gives you a preview, I've scrolled back to a bit earlier today where nobody's license plate V is visible. And then you tap on the settings and you go to status and notifications and you say, Hey, send me a notification when, for example, a clip is recorded or motion is detected, or specific motion is detected and you turn things on or off as is required, right? And then well actually this is the trick I'm guessing, Barry, you set this up on your phone and you didn't set this up on your wife's phone because notifications are person specific in the home app. And so if you open the home app on your wife's phone, then you should get notifications and, and you go through and you set this up, you should get notifications when you're on your wife's phone as well.
And so if you don't have activity notifications toggled on to start with, you'll need to toggle that on. You may want some limitations on time or when you are at home or when you're not at home, or no personal limitations, but then you can choose to just get notifications, for example, when people are detected. Now I'm actually gonna turn this back off on that camera because as you can tell, it points at a car park and there's quite a few people coming and going in cars and pets and things like that. But those notifications are person specific, so you're gonna want to turn them on for each person in the home app, not individually. The other part of your question are, can you change the dings? No, I'm sorry. There, there's no changing of the dings here. You cannot change the notification sound.
The only thing that you can do is go into the settings app notifications, and then home. Make sure that you've got things like critical alerts and time sensitive notifications turned on and things like that. And so on. But there's no way to change the ding sound. The only other thing that you could possibly consider doing is adding an automation. But if you do an automation for whenever there is motion from your camera, some cameras will be triggered by, for example, lights turning on and off. So for example, if have an indoor camera in my hallway looking for a motion is detected, it counts the number of pixels that are changed when the light turns on and then it and then, you know, the light turns off and oh my God, all of the pixels have changed, and then the light turns back on because there's an automation running there. You don't get that granularity of the different kinds of o of options, but you could, if you scroll all the way to the bottom, convert it to a shortcut and use something like get contents of U R L with push cut or similar to notify yourself and notify your wife. But I really think the best solution, just open the home app, open the settings or open the home app on each person's phone or up iPad and set it up. And then that's it. You're done.
Mikah Sargent (00:54:12):
Okay. Well I'm glad that you had that kind of figured out that you knew what was, what was going on there. Let's see. Let us head into feedback and No, no, no, actually, let's, let's take a quick break and then we'll head into feedback and questions and our app caps to round out the show. I wanna tell you about ZipRecruiter. You're familiar with ZipRecruiter, our third sponsor today on iOS today. If you're hiring, you're currently dealing with economic uncertainty, which adds to your challenges. And now more than ever, it's important to hire the right people faster and more efficiently to keep overall costs down. Thankfully, there's a hiring partner who is focused on you and your needs. It's ZipRecruiter from pricing to technology, everything that ZipRecruiter does is for you and what works best for you. And right now you can try them for free.
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Ziprecruiter.Com/Ios. Again, that's ziprecruiter.com/ios. Ziprecruiter the smartest way to hire. And of course, we thank ZipRecruiter for sponsoring this week's episode of iOS Today. All righty, let us move on to the feedback and questions Steve has written in and says hello, Mike and Rosemary, I have been holding off on doing the home kit app upgrade that includes Matter or Visit Thread or, or both. After hearing about the early issues folks have had, is the current Home kit app stable at this point? I have five home pods, the original and a home pod mini two Apple TVs at the version before the 4k. And a 4K Apple tv along with Eve. Temperature monitor monitors, indoor and outdoor, A Logitech doorbell Mero Outlet plugs along with a dozen or so leviton switches. We also have Eve motion sensors, a Honeywell Smart Thermostat and Eco B Smart thermostat. If the current devices are all home kit configured, will they continue to work after the Home Kit app is upgraded and Steve is attached to the pet tax, which is Mojo their Golden Doodle.
So Oh wow. What a beautiful photo too. My goodness. That's a pretty, pretty pretty dog. Hello. Mojo <laugh>. So cute. I love that photo. Wow. That's like I don't, that's cinematic in quality. It's so maybe portrait mode. This is a gr I must be. It must be. This is a great photo from Steve or great photo. A great question from Steve. It was a great photo because what Steve is talking about is an upgraded system within the home app where Apple has kind of tightened the bolts on things, maybe replaced a few leaky valves and overall maybe even a added in some new motors to speed things up. Basically, everything has been improved in terms of the home kit framework. But with that comes the concern and a fair concern for sure that you might have some issues with different devices connecting.
And here's what I wanna say about this, and I'm curious to hear Rosemary's stick because Rosemary has a far more complex setup than I do. I will be honest in saying that I did have some issues when I first upgraded to the new version of HomeKit the framework. It's when you launch the home app, you will, I be prompted directly or whenever you go into the settings of the home app, you will see an option that says would you like to update the architecture? And when I updated the architecture, I ended up having to reset and repair many of the devices that I have in my home. I say that with a caveat that I did it almost instantly as opposed to waiting for, you know, maybe some bug fixes and improvements to come through for firmware updates to make it to my third party devices, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
I hopped on it and hopping on it might have been something that led to me having those issues. But it was pretty easy to repair my devices and do all of that stuff. I didn't have too much of an issue in doing it. And once I did everything was fine until I installed betas and then that caused its own set of issues, but I was prepared for those. So I don't feel comfortable just straight up saying, yeah, do it now. Everything's gonna be fine, because you may run into some issues and so you may end up having to repair things. Unfortunately, that sometimes is just part of what happens whenever you are, you know, moving to new technologies. Some of this stuff needs to be kind of cleaned out, so to speak. But Rosemary, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this.
Rosemary Orchard (01:00:07):
Yeah. I have one question for you, Mikah. Did you upgrade the first time Apple released the Home Kit update? Or did you update the second time they released the Home Kit upgrade because the first time they released it, they pulled it really, really quickly because a number of people did run into issues. Yes. And the second time they released it most people didn't have any problems at all. Which what I did oh,
Mikah Sargent (01:00:30):
So actually you did did it the second time patients? I did, yeah. I did it the first time. I did it as soon as it was available and I did have issues. Yeah. so you, this is good to hear. Go ahead with the second time y
Rosemary Orchard (01:00:41):
Yeah, so when Apple releases for the second time I held off for a few days cuz they'd already released it once and then pulled it and I was like, Hmm, I'm gonna just hold off, make sure everything's all good here because, you know, this is home stuff. And you know, if, if my lights start coming on at three o'clock in the morning while I'm at attack trying to sleep again because my automation's broke, I'm gonna be a really, really cranky podcaster. So I held up a bit and then I upgraded and everything's fine. I didn't have any problems. But there is always the possibility with Home Kit or Indeed any smart device that you're gonna need to turn it off again, turn it off and turn it back on again in some kind of way, which could include resetting it and repairing it with Home Kit.
I'm gonna tell folks that this is an inevitability that you should plan for this to happen at some point. Because you should be planning that this may need to happen at some point. I would recommend that you back up the pass like the Home pass or the home kit codes for every device. And there is a great app that you can download on the app store to help you do this called Home Pass, which will just let you back up all of those qr those codes, you know, like that it's got like a rectangular border and then like three digits, three digits, four digits in it or something like that. Sometimes it's a barcode, sometimes the NFC Ones Home Pass can handle all of those and back them up and sync them across your devices. So if slash when you need to you know, pair a device, pair it again, you do not necessarily have to crawl under that really awkwardly placed cabinet to find the code so that you can then pair the device again.
That, yeah, I would recommend yeah, sorting this stuff out. You can also do things like store like the IP address of a light bulb or things like that if you have things assigned specific addresses on your network and stuff, but you don't have to, that's just an option, but you can export everything as a P D F as well or just scan things from your phone using your iPad or vice versa. It's just a very, very useful tool. So I definitely recommend that, but personally, I didn't have any issues doing the upgrade because I waited and didn't do it when it first came out. And yeah, it's been working great for me, so good luck. Good. Hopefully we won't be getting a message back from you to say everything broke, no
Mikah Sargent (01:02:56):
<Laugh> Yes. Follow Rosemary's advice and wait for the, the second time around. In this case it's out. So you're, you're able to do that now. Mark has written in and says, hi Rose and Mikah, is it possible to greatly reduce the steps to connect AirPods devices to Apple tv? So basically I want to connect nearby active AirPods that are in my ears. Of course this Auto Connects but only for specific conditions. I wish proximity was the reason that this worked. And this is from Mark. Yes, and Rosemary, you've included the answer to this which is a very helpful feature that I've used a number of times. It's as simple as pressing and holding the play button to get those mm-hmm. <Affirmative> AirPods to connect to your Apple tv.
Rosemary Orchard (01:03:46):
Yeah, so if you press and hold the play button, then you get a menu pop up on your Apple tv, which is, you know, it's a black background or a white background depending on if your TV's in light mode or dark mode. And then it'll show you AirPods and, and airplay speakers and so on that are in. So Airplay speakers, I believe need to be in the same home kit room as the TV to work. Airpods just need to be nearby as far as Bluetooth is concerned. And then they will show up there in the list. So that is my preferred way to do this. There is a slightly longer way to do this, which is worth knowing about just because it's getting a nice big upgrade in September, which is if you press and hold the, the button that looks like a tv then you get the control center pop in.
And then there's a little airplay icon in the bottom there in the control center where you can also access the same thing. That's quite useful. The control center is quite useful for doing things like switching users or you know connecting other Bluetooth devices. But things should generally just work. So if you've got AirPods in your ears and you press and hold the play button on your Apple TV should be, it should be listed right there and you should be good to go. If your if your airports aren't paired then you may need to manually pair them with the Apple TV once and then it should all work. If that is the case, I'm gonna recommend double check the, you've installed updates on your iPhone, apple TV and so on. My parents are notorious for seemingly plugging their Apple tv. I'm wondering why Home Kit doesn't work. And then also why didn't it install updates? Like just, just leave it plugged in and then everything will be fine. But yeah, make sure you've installed all the updates in all the places, but if you press and hold the play button and your AirPods are in your ears, you should be good to play to it or them is the case maybe.
Mikah Sargent (01:05:29):
Yes. All right. And with that, it is time to move along to our app caps. This is the part of the show where we place apps or other things to top our heads to honor our app and Gadget Picks of the week. These are the apps and gadgets we are using now or have used at some time that we want to share with all of you because we think they are awesome. So without further ado, Rosemary Orchard, tell us about the cap a top your head and then tell us about your Aric Gadget pick of the week.
Rosemary Orchard (01:06:08):
Well, the cap at top of my head, it's not so much of a cap, it's more of a plastic cowboy hat. Yes, it is made of plastic folks. I got a huge number of these in a party selection because it turns out Iowa today hosts need a lot of hats either the way, it's a lovely zebra print with a blue background and black stripes. Some stripes are suspiciously straight, some stripes are not so straight. And the bottom of undecided, this is shiny and I'm starting to melt. So I'm gonna get on and talk about my app cap and the app instead. So my app is Play telly. Now, if you've ever wanted Apple Music statistics just like you have on Spotify and so on, and get just a bit more data out of things then you may wanna look into play telly.
So Play Telly connects to your Apple Music Library and it will sort of award you badges for various kinds of listening that you do. So number of songs played and so on. Now I've been using this on and off so it doesn't necessarily have all of the data, but in my awards I've got some play count awards of hours played, songs played, et cetera. It tells me that the most time I ever listened to music was the 50th of May, 2022. Pretty certain that's not true, but I do hand off to Home pods a lot. So that definitely counters into it how many things are in my library and percentage of things loved also contributes where you get you know, little awards for them and so on. And you can also see what stuff is trending. So you can see over the past month past week lifetime or a custom period of time where you could choose, for example, from the 10th of May to the 10th of July.
And then have a look at that and it will tell you what things have trended. You can see history and you can browse. So if you wanna see you know, the history of something, which I know I listened to the song in the car yesterday, but I had to reinstall some things on my phone. So I'm guessing that's why it didn't work. Then yes, you can actually get a whole bunch of data with Play Tally. So if you wanna tally how often you listen to some music or maybe figure out what you can clear off your iPhone, if you're looking to preemptively before the new iPhones are released, decide how much storage space you would like and need. And maybe you can offload some images. Then you should check out Play Tally. It is 1 99. And then there are some in-app purchases to further support development. But it is a lovely little app that just tallies your place. And that's it.
Mikah Sargent (01:08:26):
Hmm. the app that I wanna talk about to, oh, the cap at the top of my head is this wonderfully warm cap. It's got this, this sort of Sherpa interior, and then on each side it's got these little ear flaps that I think might also, yeah, so you can fold them up or fold them down to make yourself even warmer. All of it can be put up so that it just sits on top of your head or you can bring the ear flaps down and even buckle it if you need to. It's quite a warm cap. So I don't know, I might have to keep this and hold onto it if I end up going anywhere. Cold. I live in California, so it's rare. Anyway, the app that I wanna talk about today is called Series Customizable Layouts.
And this app is kind of mind bogglingly. Awesome. I found it, found out about it on Threads the new Instagram slash meta made app that is a social media service because on Threads they were showing how you could use the series customizable layouts app to create a kind of full screen swiping experience. And so I posted on Threads, which I can't really show you unfortunately, cuz it's just a, it's an app, not a, a website. So I can't really show you the link, but lets you create a kind of swipeable full screen view. So let me show you how this works. First and foremost, you want to add a photo. So I will pop into here and I will find a photo, and I've got some photos of Henry when he was, but a young lad.
And I've also got some photos of San Francisco from the Kuwait Tower. And let me take one of these. Well, let's see, let's see, let's see. Let me take one of these photos. I guess we'll do this photo of Henry when he was a puppy, where he is a little bit longer. And I'll add that. And what I wanna do is, first and foremost, choose the size for the photo. So you have your your, what are these called, your aspect ratios, 1, 1 4, 5, 5, 4, 9, 16. But then you also have special ones like thread Instagram, and then something as far as three, one or two one. And so let's say, I wanna do two, one from there you choose, do I wanna do a single frame? Do I wanna do a pair of frames? Do I wanna do a spread?
Do I wanna do a row? Do I want to stack photos or do I want to do a grid of photos? I wanna do a spread and I want to choose instead of two, one, let's do three, two, and no, I like s no, no, no, let's do three, two. And then what I can do is change the number of panels per frame. So now we've got three panels per frame or two panels per frame. I can choose to have the content fill the cell, which is what I wanna do. Remove the margin and I can then add edges if I want, and I don't want to, in this case if I had a margin, then I could also change the background. And then what happens here is now if I export this by tapping the share sheet in the top right corner, it's going to export these two photos right next to each other, which I could then post to something like Instagram for example.
Let me actually, I'm gonna go back and I'm gonna choose Instagram instead. And if I were to then share this on Instagram, this is the exact swiping experience it would be. So essentially it's doing that bit of cropping for you. That part that's kind of difficult to do to make sure that you get a perfect crop. If you had an image carousel I could head back into this though and think about if you wanted to do a grid of, of photos that were one by one how many cells you have per frame. So we want to just have one, and then the grid flow is left to right and a sneeze.
And then whether the content fills the cells, yes, we want that to happen. We want zero spacing like it is on Instagram. And so this would allow me to then change that if I was specifically trying to create, you know, the, the, the Instagram view that has the multiple photos, I could do that from here as well. So this is a great app for doing social media posts. But what I really liked it for, which again, it is a social media post was how easy it was to create a photo for posts that when you looked at the photos in full screen mode, it kind of swiped from left to right and there was no s no breaking between each photo. This just does this so cleverly and what I love too is just the animations. It's a very smooth animation as it's rescaling and re cropping these photos and shows you exactly how it's going to look depending on what you are trying to create.
And I think that that in particular is something that makes this app very cool. I was not prepared for it to be as delightfully animated as it is. There's just a lot of attention to detail when it comes to that. So do consider checking this out. You can get it for free and some of the extra features like the specific thread and Instagram image types and a few of the other more complicated things like creating actions that are specific to to kind of quickly create a type of sell will cost you $15 a year, or I think it's $3 a month. All great prices as far as I'm concerned and just a really well-designed app. So kudos to the developer of this app. And yeah, I, I, like I said, I found it on Threads, created a series of photos using threads and thought this was great.
So you can get that on the App store. And with that, we have reached the end of this episode of iOS Today, iOS today. You can reach out to us if you'd like by emailing us at iOS today at twit tv. That is how you can share feedback send in shortcuts, corner requests, and so much more. You can reach out to us other ways. But iOS today at twit tv, that's easily one of our favorite ways for you to get in touch. We record this show live almost every Tuesday at 12:00 PM Eastern 9:00 AM Pacific, or 1600 U T C. This episode is being recorded ahead of time. So not live. But we do appreciate you for joining us live at twit tv slash live, where you can see links to watch the show on Twitch or on YouTube live or in other places.
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Rosemary Orchard (01:18:38):
Well, the best place to go is over to rosemary orchard.com, which has links to the places that you can find me online. Most of 'em, there's about a bazillion new social networks, so I may need to update that list. But you can also find other podcast books and apps and so on that I am involved with there as well. What about you, Mikah?
Mikah Sargent (01:18:55):
I can be found at Mikah SAR on many a social media network where you can add to chihuahua.coffee, c h i h Hua, h hua.coffee, where I've got links to many of the places I'm most active online. I'm realizing I need to add my threads account there now. So please consider heading there and checking out the different podcasts that I do and different social media accounts. Folks, thank you for downloading these apps or checking out these gadgets for doing good. Thank you for tuning into this episode of iOS Today, and we will see you next week. Bright-Eyed and bushy-tailed for another episode of iOS today. Bye-Bye.
Jason Howell (01:19:36):
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