iOS Today 679 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, Mike is Sergeant. Get Planty. Well, you'll see we have plant apps. It'll make sense in a moment. Podcasts you love from people you trust This.

This is iOS today with Rosemary Orchard and Micah Sargent. Episode 679 Recorded Tuesday, November 14th, 2023. Plant Apps and Care. This episode of iOS Today is brought to you by Trace Route, the podcast for digital pioneers. Trace Route offers a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of our digital world. Get keyed into the conversation now. Listen and subscribe to the new season of Trace Route on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Check out Trace Route now and buy Myo. Myo Photos is a smart and powerful system that lets you easily organize, edit, and manage years of important documents, photos, and videos in an offline library hosted on any device. Check out their limited time holiday gift bundle for a 25% off discount on Myo photos plus at 25. Hello and welcome to iOS Today, the show where we talk all things iOS, iPad, oss, watch, os, TV v, oss, HomePod, oss, and again, all of the oss that we have on offer, well, not we, but Apple has on offer for those devices that you have, the iPhone, your iPad, your Apple Watch, we want to help you make the most of your devices.

And so that is why we do this show we being me, Micah, Sergeant,

Rosemary Orchard (00:01:44):
And me being me, Rosemary Orchard, who is very excited to be here because I mean this plant's doing all right, Micah, but I feel like I'm going to need some help with my other ones and that's what this show is all about.

Mikah Sargent (00:01:55):
Yeah, so I was thinking just yesterday, for many of us, especially the folks who watch this show, things are cooling down and as things are cooling down, we're also seeing that we've got less or fewer rather daylight hours. And so things can feel a little bit, I dunno for me, a little sad as the day progresses and it becomes darker earlier. And I thought this would be a great time to talk about bringing a little brightness in life to your space, particularly indoors with the help of some indoor plants. Now what happens? There are a number of memes that I've seen about indoor plants and it'll show a plant that's outside and that plant could be rained on, stepped on, hailed on, run over by a car, partially eaten by a cat and will still just keep growing, have no problem existing. But a plant inside is unfortunately you, I dunno, talk to it the wrong way and it seems like it's on its way to death.

So I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce some assistance in that plant space to help you make sure that your plants are thriving, surviving, and helping you, I think thrive and survive in these darker months of the year again for many of us. So with that, there are many, many, many, many apps on the app store that do the basics of what we'll be talking about today. But we are going to be talking about some of the best apps for plant care and plant reminders. And the first one is one that folks may have heard of before. It's an app called Plana or Plana, depending on how you pronounce it.

Rosemary Orchard (00:03:56):
Yeah, yeah. This app is a great little app because it says complete plant care in the app store, but it's tagline used to be Keep your plants alive. And that is very much something that I have needed because I have some orchids. I have this piece Lily behind me, folks who are watching the video will see that it's not currently flowering. I've just moved it to my office. It was sitting on my dishwasher before where it wasn't getting a lot of sunlight. But planter will allow you to add various plants. You can see I've got some here that I haven't had in a while, and then you can specify where they live in your house and it will give you some tips about those plants. So this is a piece, lily, and it has been watered and it shows me how to water it and I can add details or I can show my plant and it's suggesting it will need watering in about 10 days and I can specify the health if I think it's doing sickly well.

I mean it's got plenty of green leaves right now, so I'm going to go with it Seems pretty healthy. Some of the leaves are a little dry on the end, so I'm going to go with good instead of bad or excellent. I can optionally add a plant. I can note if it's flowering and things like that and just say how I think it's doing, which is lovely. But when you go to add a new plant, which I'm just going to do and I'm going to tap on the plus, then you can go ahead and you can actually, as well as just adding a plant, you can also share the care of a plant, which is really great for those of you who share home with somebody else who should also be helping look after the plants. When you add a plant, you can just search.

It also has the ability to try and identify via picture. I don't happen to have my orchid right here, but I know it's a moth orchid and it will show me based on the things that I've set up that I have one site available, which is my office, which is probably the best place for most of my plants to be honest. It tells me what kind of lighting it prefers, whether or not it's toxic, what kind of humidity it needs. This is why mine actually lives on my dishwasher because every time my dishwasher finishes the cycle door opens and my orchids just get a lovely little steam bath. They absolutely love it. And yeah, it will give me options and I can even see common problems. Like for example, no flowers, okay, there are no flowers on my orchid. Now if I subscribe, which is about $35 a year, then I can get access to plant a premium, which will do plant identification, help me figure out all the problems with my plants.

But even without that, it will still give me an idea of what I should be doing to help keep my plants alive. And I have to say that's just really nice. It has optional notifications and all of those things and I just find it to be a really handy little guide and it does help me keep my plants alive. This piece, Lilly is about three years old now and it's doing great. It's happy it doesn't flower all that much, but you know what, it's still got plenty of green leaves and it's alive. And for me that's the most important thing. Get some free oxygen out of my plants that are eating my carbon dioxide.

Mikah Sargent (00:06:57):
Yes, I think this app is fantastic. You can pay for the premium to get those extra features, but even with a base, just having all of the information about your plant loaded in to know that the plant is the current height of the plant to be able to change and update the height of the plant over time to take photos to see how it's doing. It's a really good way to make sure that if you are overwatering it, oh wow, I remember that the last time I did this it looked great. Now it's starting to brown. And the things that have changed between the last time and now are that I started to increase the watering cycle or it's been six months and I haven't fertilized the plant. I also like that it gives you information for warnings about, hey, this plant may be good for your home or may not be good for your home based on the fact that it's toxic or non-toxic as it were. And so I think Planta is a fantastic all in one app with loads of different information that you can use to learn about what actually makes the difference and what it is that is turning that it's not talking to the plant the wrong way. It turns out that you are adding too much light to the plant or you are adding too much water to the plant

Rosemary Orchard (00:08:19):
Over watering. Yes.

Mikah Sargent (00:08:21):
Yeah, that's such a common

Rosemary Orchard (00:08:22):
Thing's. Something my grandmother always does. There's a little African violet sits in her kitchen and I swear every time I see that plant it's screaming mayday because she waters it every day and it just wants a little bit of time to drain and not have its roots getting all moldy. So it's really great if you don't know much about plants to just have a guide which you can have on your phone or your iPad that just tells you what to do. So your plants aren't sitting there going me, me, help me,

Mikah Sargent (00:08:47):
I'm d drowning, please. I don't understand why I'm getting so much water. So that is plana again, free within app purchases. The next app is one that I would say is not as full featured. And what I will say about this is that it has gotten quite a few good reviews in the app store and I also believe that it has been picked by the editorial team. But the one complaint I have, and picture this if you're listening, is that you prompt far too often for someone to subscribe to the app. It is constant. I've just relaunched the app and you can see if you're watching, but you can hear by me explaining it of course, that it just automatically pops up as I launch the app to say, Hey, you want to subscribe the subscription that you had expired. And I can cancel to move out of that.

But as I go through, depending on things that I tap on, it will end up popping up again. So that's one thing to be aware of. But what I like about this is that it's not just an identify app, it also has tips depending on what the season is. It has what plants are very popular right now. And what I like is, so in the United States, let's look at some of the most common toxic plants like Pokeweed or Poison Ivy or the Virginia Creeper. You don't want to be a Virginia creeper garlic mustard, didn't know that garlic mustard was toxic. It contains precursors to hydrogen cyanide that convert into poison when it is eaten. So that's not great. Apparently you have to eat quite a bit of garlic mustard in order for it to harm you. So that's also good to know. I guess if you're very, very hungry you can have a little bit of it.

But there's also horseweed white snake root and the beautiful ground ivy, which you should not be consuming either. So that's just one kind of section, but it has lots of tips. So how to weeded your garden properly, what you need to make sure that your pets are safe. I have two dogs and one of them is kind of curious of the house plants, although I've never seen her actually consume a house houseplant, but I know it's very common for cats to be particularly interested in consuming houseplant. So that's something to be aware of and what could be worse than deciding to bring a plant into your home and then later realizing that you are allergic to it. So there is, whoops, there's a section about allergy proofing your home and making sure that the gardening that you're doing is sneeze free. But yes, this app, you can hit the button in the middle to take a photograph of a plant and have it identify the plant.

What I've liked about this is that it will provide some options so it doesn't just kind of lock in automatically to what it thinks the plant is. It will say, I think it might be this, but it could also be this and it kind of looks like this. And then you choose from that and that's been helpful to be able to select. So this polka dot begonia that I have, which is also sometimes called I think a polka dot angel wing begonia has lots of information like the fact that it's non-toxic to humans and it turns out that it's an herb. Some people will eat bagonia a rather sour herb, and if you eat too much of it, it can make you kind of ill. But apparently some people eat it in small amounts. It talks all about how often you should water it if it needs to be fertilized, how you propagate it, when you should repot it.

It's temperature suggestions. If it needs sunlight. I mean everything is here. It does have a medium maintenance difficulty, but it is pretty beginner friendly. The one thing about begonia and particularly the angel wing begonia, is that they need to be kind of propagated and restarted pretty regularly. They put a lot of energy into, I just learned this from a plant scientist, very, very, very long conversation with a plant scientist recently, which wild, but they put a lot of energy into the growth of the plant kind of early on. And so you can see within weeks and certainly within months the plant go from two leaves to just being huge and having lots of leaves, but because of that they age very rapidly and start to kind of dull. And so at that point then you need to cut them, propagate them and start over. So that I think is where the rating for it being medium maintenance as opposed to low maintenance comes in, but they're very tough.

They don't require a lot of sun. And then it also talks about the different pests and diseases that are common for them, including something called brown spots. So if it has that infection, then it talks about what you can do in minor cases, not a huge problem, but if it is more than that, then here's what you do. And this by the way, as you'll note, as I mentioned, I was getting that prompt, Hey, you want to subscribe? Hey, you want to subscribe? This is without subscribing. So a lot of information without subscribing to the app and that is picture this the next app that, oh, go ahead please to.

Rosemary Orchard (00:14:30):
I was just going to quickly Micah show folks how the identify function works because I happen to have a plant right here. So I've opened up picture of this and I've got my piece Lilly there and I can just tap on the take photograph button. Obviously there's also the option to do it from a photograph that you've already taken and then here it is, it's showing me that it is peacefully it correctly identified it. It's telling me that it needs attention and it's got a little bit of brown spotting on the leaf and that's why it's not happy with it. And yeah, it's a really lovely little feature that just works incredibly well. So there's a plant in somebody's garden and you don't know what it is and picture this can definitely help you identify that sort of thing so that you can get one for yourself.

Mikah Sargent (00:15:15):
And then the other one that I want to mention is a fun app. It's called Seek by iNaturalist. And if you want to be the very best no one ever was to catch every single plant is your little test and to train every single plant is your cause. I don't know if you want to be a collector is what I'm getting at like a Pokemon master, then you might check out seek by iNaturalist. So with this app, it is not just plants, it is nature as a whole. You can do organisms of all sort. There you go, organisms of all sorts. So it will ask you where you are and then it will provide some challenges. It will say, hey, here are some of the plants that we know and the other organisms that we know that are in your area. Let's see if you can find them.

So this one is just find 10 new species in general. So I found a domestic dog, I found an inch plant and as I had in the other app I found the Polkadots bagonia. But lemme go back to the challenges. You can do trees. So here you look for trees that are nearby. So the coast live Oak, the California bay tree, California Buckeye tree, coffee berry tree, the big leaf maple, the coastal redwood Douglas fir, black oak, blue oak, the Beaked hazelnut Boy, I want to find a beaked hazelnut. And then when you tap on it, it's got photos of beak hazelnut so that you can find that exact plant I suppose. I suppose it's because the hazelnuts that are on the plant look as if they have beaks. It says it's a deciduous shrubby hazel found in most of North America from southern Canada south to Georgia and California grows in dry woodlands and forest edges and the blah blah.

The flowers are catkins and it's got the taxonomy of the information. It's got other iNaturalist users nearby who have discovered it. So 1,293 nearby. It talks about the seasonality of the plant and then also, or organism I should say, and then also similar species that are nearby. I have found this fun when I'm out to just go ahead and have this app ready so that I can try to find different species that are nearby. It's especially fun to try to do the insect challenge because of course those are rather small. So being able to find those. Now this app works the same in terms of its scanning ability. The one thing I will note is that it is will kind of automatically move to make a choice for what it thinks the plant is. And so a few times it got the begonia wrong and so I had to kind of re-scan it in order to get it to guess it correctly.

So you may have some trouble with that, but in easily identifiable things like a Monarch butterfly, which has this very distinct color pattern or a honeybee for example, it should be a little bit easier and certain plants that really stand out on their own, but there are many a bagonia and so getting the exact right one is a little bit difficult. Now seek is made by iNaturalist. You can log in to your iNaturalist account. So if you've been using iNaturalist for some time, then it can kind of all sync together and this is just kind of one more storage and organization place to keep all of the stuff that you're finding. And it is available completely for free, not even any in-app purchases for this. Alright, I think it's time Rosemary to get a little automated. Tell us about what you have next for us.

Rosemary Orchard (00:19:24):
Well, the next thing I have is something that saves my bacon because as much as I love my plants and I do my best to remember to water them, I forget about their existence periodically they're there and I assumed that I watered them yesterday, but let's be honest, I didn't. It's never yesterday that I walked with them as either today or never. And so I have a couple of these little Bluetooth plant sensors. Now you can get these for around about $30 online. If you buy them through something like AliExpress, then you can get them a lot cheaper. And there are a couple of different apps that work with them. So I'm going to show folks Flower Care, but another app that I've been using is called Watch Flower and that also works really well. So in this piece, Lily back here, I have one of these sensors set up and I can go ahead and tap on this plant and it will update and show me the information.

Now it was showing me other information earlier because it was monitored within the last 902 days. There we go. And so I can see the soil moisture is currently 21% and because I've set this up and it knows what kind of plant it is, it reckons that my soil moisture ought to be between 50 and 65%. So 21% perhaps on the low side, but it's pretty good. Now, soil fertility, again, you can try and measure that now these things are never accurate on soil fertility, so you're going to want to take it with a pinch of salt, but I can see that that is currently about 410 ish of a range of 350 to 2000. So I should probably fertilize my plant again. That said, it's growing pretty big, so I need to buy a new pot first. I can see what the light level is like for this plant.

Now of course it's winter here in the uk so it's not going to be getting as much light as it would like. That's why it's in my office. It actually is living on my windowsill during the day so that it gets plenty of sunlight. And then I can also check the temperature. And the temperature is telling me that it's about 21.5 degrees and this plant likes it to be between 15 and 32. So it doesn't want it to be too cold, doesn't want it to be too hot. Now I can tap and see the picture that I've added and I can also adjust my plant settings. And so I can see information about the plant because I chose what kind of plant it is and see that it's from Holland originally, that sort of thing. I can also change the parameter settings. So if I think actually I personally think that this plant needs a little bit more moisture in the soil, I can tweak that to go up or back and I'm just going to tap reset on that.

I don't want to change those settings. I can also change this out for a different plant. I can check for updates on my plant sensor. I can have a growth report on this so that I can see all of the information on my plant. And I can also create a plant diary where I can add pictures and things like that. So that is the flower care app and that's free to download. Now watch flower costs a couple of dollars and I'll get folks a link to it, but it has a little bit more information available. For some reason it's not currently syncing any of my sensors, which is a little bit weird because it's right there. But I can go through a plant browser and have a look at 3,403 different plants to find the one that I'm looking for. And so if I look and I can find it, so this is, I'm going to scrub up the Latin, so I'll just go ly.

So I've typed in peacefully and it found it. I can specify that it's got white flowers and I can see all of that information and I just find it, it's a very useful way of getting some information and then actually comparing it. So knowing that a plot like sunlight is one thing, but what does indirect sunlight mean anyway? What does direct sunlight mean? What is too hot for a plant or too cold for a plant? If it's maybe a little bit too hot for an hour a day, is that okay? Well, with something like this, I can actually find out whether or not my plant's okay and whether or not it actually needs fertilizing or if it doesn't and it's okay for a little while.

Mikah Sargent (00:23:33):
Nice. That is awesome. You always get me to spend money,

Rosemary Orchard (00:23:43):
Sorry. It's okay. But these are really handy, especially for those plants that are somewhere slightly awkward and so it's difficult to remember to water them or to get water up there or something like a cactus where it doesn't want watering very often, but having to talk to your partner to make sure that you were the one that watered it last and not them so it doesn't get over watered and start drowning or something like that. Yeah, it's really handy for all sorts of things.

Mikah Sargent (00:24:10):
The last thing I'll mention is we've included a link in the show notes to an app store collection called Get Gardening. And that collection features many apps that we have mentioned and some that we did not, including a guide for lawn care landscape design and some more plant care apps. So you can check that out from, well, as we just showed, you can look at it on a computer, but you can also, if you use your iPhone or iPad, it'll pop it up in the app store making it very easy to get those different apps. There are loads of, as we mentioned, plant apps out there, but we feel like these are some of the best. And then also you get those fun tips like the one from Rosemary for having a Bluetooth plant monitor. Alright, we are heading into the news next, but we'll take a short break So I can tell you about our first sponsor of today's episode.

It's Trace Route. If you've been listening, then you've heard us tell you about the newest season of Trace Route. See, they kicked it off by exploring a fan favorite topic, the ongoing and challenging relationship between humanity and artificial intelligence. Is AI our friend or our worst enemy? That does seem to be the question, right? People are kind of ing and hawing and concerned and excited about ai. Is it an enemy? Is it not? That is what they're looking at this time around. And you are not going to want to miss season three of Trace Route. You can catch it on your favorite podcast listening platform. Trace Route is a podcast about the people who shape our digital world. Every story peels back the layers of the stack to reveal the humanity and the hardware. That's what this is all about. It's about getting back to the humans who are behind this technology and learning about them.

Very important. Season three will explore topics that can potentially shape our society in profound ways such as the intersection of tech and conservation and how researchers are using machine learning and robotics to debug an invasive species to offer unique solutions to ecological crises and digital migration for the preservation of history, culture, and land. So get keyed into the conversation now. Listen and subscribe to the new season of Trace Route on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Check out Trace Route now and we think Trace Route for sponsoring this week's episode of iOS Today. Love to talk about a podcast on a podcast because we think you'll be interested in it. All right, moving right along. For those of you who code or are thinking about coding, be aware that Apple's Swift Student Challenge is going to open in February of 2024 this year and this time there's going to be a distinguished winners category.

So in the case, every year Apple does a Swift student challenge and essentially it is an opportunity for students who are learning Swift to try to create something using Swift and then be awarded and rewarded for the work that they do. The next challenge is going to open in February of 2024 and it's going to have a new category that has 50 distinguished winners who will be named for their standout submissions. Now, there are a number of different opportunities for you to be able to win the Swift Student Challenge, and yeah, you can prepare yourself for that This year, the applications open in February of 2024 and they are open for three weeks. So there will be 350 total winners and of those 350 50 will be distinguished winners. They'll be invited to Apple and Cupertino and Cupertino for an extraordinary experience, says the site and all of the challenge winners get a one year membership in the Apple developer program, a complimentary voucher to take an app development with Swift certification exam and what they say is a special gift from Apple. So pretty exciting stuff.

Rosemary Orchard (00:28:37):
Yeah, it is. So if you know somebody who is a student in your life, that could be a school student, a high school student, a college student, somebody in further education doing say a master's or PhD program who is learning Swift and would like to participate perhaps tell them to get started now because there is only that three week window for submission. So yeah, if you start learning and figuring stuff out right at the start of the window from personal experience, I can tell you that doesn't necessarily go super well. So yeah, maybe have some fun learning Swift over the holidays. Swift Playgrounds is a really great fun app that's surprisingly powerful on iPhone and iPad. Predominantly iPad actually, I'm not sure it runs on the iPhone, but yeah, definitely worth playing with. So yeah, certainly interesting and as always, I look forward to seeing the winners of this because those folks, they can end up doing some pretty cool things.

Mikah Sargent (00:29:35):
And then this just kicked off on November 10th, there's an iPhone exhibition currently going on in Paris. I'm not going to pronounce French because everyone will scream, but it is at a place at

Rosemary Orchard (00:29:55):
The Salon Cordy.

Mikah Sargent (00:29:56):
Yes, there. It's there and it is called, I remember you, it's got a bunch of original work shot on iPhone 15 Pro Max and features a number of photographers who have all submitted pieces to this very exciting stuff and I think very cool to see the different capabilities of the phone. And of course I think moments of inspiration, that's the biggest thing. It's like, wow, I could maybe do, I'm not a professional photographer, but that is possible on the iPhone. I'm going to work hard to do my best with what's possible with the iPhone.

Rosemary Orchard (00:30:46):
Yeah, it's one of those things where you'll continually find things that make you go, wait, that was really shot on iPhone. And of course just like that recent Apple event shot on iPhone does not mean the iPhone alone. There can be lights and microphones and other things attached to the iPhone, but the iPhone camera is genuinely really amazing. So it's always worth having a look even if you don't live near Paris and can't go over to visit the photography exhibition, having a look online to see what those images are like. There's some really cool, very memorable, I'll definitely say memorable roller skates there. Rhinestone, glittered, heel roller skates. I'm confused but memorable. Confused. Confused but intrigued. I remember you definitely works.

Mikah Sargent (00:31:34):
Alright, let's talk about an interesting setup from a friend of the show, Federico Vichi who is using an iPad Pro as a portable monitor for the Nintendo Switch plus a bunch of other stuff. What all is involved in making this possible?

Rosemary Orchard (00:31:55):
So just to be clear, just because Federico Vichi can and does not mean we're necessarily going to recommend this to everybody on the show because Federico is one of those people who takes using the iPad for everything to the next level and then some. But Federico is using his iPad as a portable monitor for his Nintendo switch. And when I say portable monitor, I mean the whole thing is battery powered. So he's got the iPad, he's got the Nintendo Switch, he's got a portable dock with a battery that you can plug the plug into because only certain plugs work with the Nintendo Switch and the whole doc thing. And so his plug is also a doc and then he can connect it and he's using a great app called Orion, which we've mentioned on the show before. I had an app cap recently using an Alto stream deck, sorry, not the stream deck, the alto capture devices which can be used with the stream deck and that also works for this sort of thing.

But yeah, I just found this was a really interesting sort of setup, which I'm sure some folks here are going to be intrigued by. But basically he's plugging his iPad into Nintendo Switch. He's got a 12.9 inch iPad and using it as a monitor or like a mini tv. And I think that this is a really cool idea, especially if you're somebody who travels a lot and you're taking your iPad and you're taking your Nintendo Switch. This might be something that you want to look into because from experience playing Nintendo Switch in the handheld mode, it's fine, but that screen's so tiny and I really enjoy having a much bigger screen and as it is, thanks to Federico Vichi, I've got a new Nintendo Switch doc on the way. I did not know about that KY plug doc. That is so cool. It's just a plug. And also it's international. It's finally an international doc and plug system, so I'm very excited by this.

Mikah Sargent (00:33:51):
Alright, one last thing. I hesitate to talk about beta stuff, but in preparation for what's likely right around the corner, folks might be asking whatever happened to that journal app Apple announced. We are expecting to see that in iOS 17.2 when 17.2 ships. And so because of that, I want to talk about that today. There have been a few early reviews of the journal app, which again, don't feel great about that because it's not out yet, it's still in beta, but Oliver Hasam over on ior talked about the journal app and talked about how there have been improvements to it originally there were some complaints I think from the Verge and others who said that it didn't really prompt you very often to write in your journal, but they've seen improvements to it. Unfortunately the headline for this piece, iOS 17 point two's journal app just got good with beta two. Here's why I hope I'll never need to use it. It's all about wanting to access it through other means, right? With an API.

Rosemary Orchard (00:35:07):
Yeah, well there's a few things that I would love to see in the journal app, which I have filed feedback for shortcut support so that as part of my end of day sort of windup of things where I go through and I dump out the things that are in my head that I need to think about and do so they get into my toss manager and so on. I'd also like to be prompted to write into my journal and ideally I could just do that all in one place and then fire it off. I can't do that. So I'm currently having to just open the journal app, which it kind of works, kind of doesn't see as we go, whether or not I actually end up sticking with it as it is. I have some folks recommendations and I may have a future app upcoming micro about journaling because I found something absolutely amazing.

But yeah, this, it's interesting to see what's going to happen with the journal app and if you're somebody who's thinking about taking up journaling and personal logging and things like that, it's definitely worth having a look at some of the reviews of the journal app and maybe even hopping on the public data to give it a whirl and file some feedback using the feedback assistant if there's anything that you don't like about it and think that should be improved. Because even if they don't improve it before lease, if you followed the feedback with Apple, there's a chance that they will

Mikah Sargent (00:36:25):
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It's time for Shortcuts Corner, the part of the show where you write in with your shortcuts requests and Rose Mary Orchard, our shortcuts expert, provides a response. The Shortcuts Corner request this time comes from Peter who writes, I am trying to get my Waymo controlled fan to turn on when I turn on my LGTV, the Waymo controlled fan and the LGTV are with the home app, meaning that they're connected in the home app. It seems that it's all correct, but it just doesn't work. Any recommendations? Once this is working, I want to code the reverse and have the fan turn off when the TV is turned off, Peter. So yeah, it seems simple. If I turn on my tv, turn on the fan, if I turn off my tv, turn off the fan easy, right? Yeah,

Rosemary Orchard (00:41:12):
I mean in theory, yes, easy, but how do you define on? Because for something like a tv, that's a good point. That's actually perhaps not such a logical state because right now if I have a look in my home app, which I'm just going to open up here on my iPad, so I'm in the home app on my iPad and I've gone to the speakers and TV section and I can see, and I'm just looking at various home pods, apple TVs and so on, and I can see most of 'em are saying paused. Some of them for some reason there's something they were saying no response, which I have to investigate later. But my Apple TV in my living room is paused. Is it paused? Actually, no, it's off. And so I think the first thing that you need to do here, Peter, is to have a look in the home app with the TV off and the TV on and see what it says underneath it.

And if I tap on it, then I can see a little bit more information and then I'm going to give everyone a little trick, which I'm going to highly recommend just when you go to create an automation, have the thing that's going to trigger the device be in the state that you want to use for the trigger. So if you want the TV to be off and the TV turning off to trigger the fan to turn off, then you should have the TV off and then go to create an automation. So you tap on the plus say for example in the automation tab, and then you can say an accessory is controlled and you can select something I'm going to use, not my reading light, sorry, actually I will have to use my reading light. My Apple TV is not an option here, but then I can say turns off.

And then the other thing is also have the fan off so that when you select it, then it can already be doing the right thing. So I had my reading light and there's an uplight. Yeah, the nano leaf light panels like adding scenes for you. So when the reading light turns off, it's good. Turn off my uplight. Simple, right? Okay. So I've done that. And then if I just pop into my living room and I turn both of those on, then I can create a little plus and tap, add an automation, and then I should be able to just do it like this. Now if you are finding Peter, I am an accessories is controlled, you're not seeing something in here that you should be seeing the TV as your trigger, then you may have to have a look under. For example, a sensor detects something and it could be listed there as a sensor or it could be something else.

So that might be the tricky part. What you can also do is if you tap onto any one item, so I've tapped on the Apple TV in my living room here, and then you may need to scroll up on iPhone or on the iPad, I tapped the little settings cog in the bottom. I can then add an automation from there, which can help me do things so I can set it up. But the Apple TV specifically only lets you use it to be controlled. You can't use it as a trigger, at least not in HomeKit. You would need to get a little help from a little friend like home assistant that's my favorite, or HomeBridge or some other sort of intermediary service to help with controlling those things. But I believe with the LGTV based on the research that I did earlier, it should have a status that's reported as on or off, which can be used to run automations.

If it doesn't have that, then you may end up having to look into some other sort of system where the TV maybe can be hooked into, say for example, Google Home and that can also control the WiMo or something like that or the Amazon ecosystem. If you've got anything related to that in your home or even just the app on your device, you can often set up the automations through something like that. Home kit naturally is preferable. It's all local, it's all on your device. But yeah, thank you for sending this request in and also thank you for including a very helpful little screenshot that you sent in because that definitely gave me some pretty good ideas of where to get started. So yeah, it should all be working. If it isn't, definitely update your Apple TV and reboot it and all of those things as well.

And have a look in the home app as well just to see which devices are your hubs. So in the home app you can tap on the three dots in the top right and go to home settings. And then from there, if you scroll down to home hubs and bridges, that will give you a list of all of your home hubs and your home bridges and you can see what's going on. It may be that something is currently your home bridge that's maybe in a really not great place for wifi or something. If you just unplug that one and plug it back in, then things might start working again perfectly. And if one of them's not responding, I unplugged a home pod specially just for this one, then you will be able to just figure that out and maybe go plug that one back in or something like that. Because what I caused ditch to cause this not working

Mikah Sargent (00:46:19):
And I was just on a podcast HomeKit Insider from the Apple Insider folks and both of us talked about how we do not like Waymo devices. I've never had so many disconnects, never had so many issues with a HomeKit enabled plug. So Peter, another suggestion is just to see, give another type of plug a try, try any of the other brands and see if it's just that the Waymo is not picking up on the fact that this automation is taking place because Steven Robles and I during the show, both whenever he brought up Waymo, we both just had this groaning moment and then talked about how much we don't recommend anything from Waymo except for their stage scene controller. That's the one thing that actually seems to work for us. So it could be that as well. It's just that's

Rosemary Orchard (00:47:18):
My experience. Yeah, I can recommend the Mero ones M-E-R-O-S-S if you're looking for something affordable to just give a try. And that will work with HomeKit as well. If you get the HomeKit one, make sure you get the HomeKit one for that. But there's a whole bunch of ones on Amazon now that work with Matter and therefore work with HomeKit two that especially with Black Friday coming up, it's worth keeping out for deals and just giving something else to try to make sure that that's not the failure point.

Mikah Sargent (00:47:43):
Alrighty, and then we've got great feedback or rather a great question that comes in from Lori. Lori writes, hi Micah and Rosemary wanted to try using our AirPods and AirPods Pro for watching TV together. The Apple TV recognized the AirPods but would only connect one pair at a time. We are able to choose multiple external speakers to our Apple tv. So why not AirPods? What would we need to make it work? Could we make it work directly to the TV so we could use it with a Blu-ray player too? The audio was so much clearer with the AirPods, it seems like dialogue is often muffled. Any other hardware that could do the job, I looked at the TV ears, but there seems to be some comfort issues including the weight hanging from the ears. Thanks for your show. Lori, a club twit member from Los Angeles. Thank you for being a Club Twit subscriber. Lori Rosemary's going to talk about the option that you can use with Apple and then I'm going to talk about a third party product that we've recommended in the past.

Rosemary Orchard (00:48:44):
So I managed to set up my Apple tv. So if you're watching the video stream or you have access to the video stream and you want to come back and check this, I recommend doing so because I've got my Apple TV set up here so that I can show folks. So what you can do with the Apple tv, you don't have to be in the settings app, I'm just there so that I don't have a bunch of other things floating around. If you tap and hold on the TV button on your remote, so this is the Apple TV four K, but the newer Apple TVs in general can do this. So tap and hold on the TV button to open that control center. And then if you navigate down underneath the power button, there should be something that looks like an airplay symbol. Now if you're watching the video, you'll notice that currently says Mac Studio.

That's because I'm mirroring my Apple TV so that you can all watch this. But if you tap on that one, then you can go ahead and you can select a pair of headphones. So I'm going to select my AirPods Max, which are sitting next to me and they are connected or they are available to be connected and I checked earlier and they will connect. So you can select one and once those are connected, then you can go down and select on the next pair of headphones, which are the AirPods Pro. So I have one of the AirPods Pro in my ear so that it will connect because otherwise it won't actually connect up. And folks watching the video can see there's a little check mark inside of the AirPods max. And now I have both of them connected. And what's really cool is I can actually navigate onto either one of these and use the volume buttons on my Apple TV remote to control that volume right there. So this will work with AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and various different Beats headphones, but this will not work with just standard Bluetooth headphones. And Micah fortunately has our backs with a little

Mikah Sargent (00:50:26):
Recommendation for that. Yeah, so I love that this is a built-in feature. If you have it, you need to have the Apple TV four K Laurie. So that's probably why it's not working for you right now. When you are using this, you're unable to get it to work probably because you don't have the Apple TV four K, but if you have that Apple TV four K, you're good to go using Rosemary's method. You also mentioned that you'd like to use it if you're watching something with your Blu-ray player. There is a device that is fantastic for this because it was purpose built for this specific thing. It is a device that has actually been recommended by the wire cutter as well and it's got a goofy name, the one me, that's the number one. And then MIIB zero three plus Bluetooth transmitter receiver for tv, home stereo, long range, Bluetooth 5.3 adapter for TV audio with screen aptex, low latency and hd.

I'm not going to read the rest of it. It is a $70 device. And what it lets you do is connect two pairs of any Bluetooth headphones simultaneously, any Bluetooth headphones if it has Bluetooth in their headphones, if it has Bluetooth in their speakers, if anything Bluetooth that can connect. And what's cool about this is you can also, while you're streaming Bluetooth, you can also set it so that it will play out of the audio output, the default audio output at the same time. So for example, maybe in the living room you have it playing, what's coming from the tv, you're in the kitchen and you want to continue to listen to the show. You have the headphones on, you're able to listen to what's going on, even though you're in the other room and the tv, it doesn't interrupt the other person from being able to just watch the tv.

So yes, there are a number of Bluetooth transmitters out there. There are more expensive ones. If you've ever seen those silent discos, that's where people wear headphones and they all are listening to the same music at the same time. Those are Bluetooth transmitters that are far more powerful and in that way more expensive. And so this is a less expensive one that is purpose built to make sure that the syncing is in place. So that's why it only supports up to two headphones at once. A, to keep the cost down to $70 and B, so that you get this low latency experience with those two pairs of headphones. It's also great, maybe you've got someone who is harder of hearing, they can use headphones that have their own independent volume controls to provide more sound for them while keeping the audio at a normal level or maybe someone who wants to listen quieter than the audio.

Everything in between. So you don't need to buy extra hardware if you have an Apple TV four K, but if you don't, then first and foremost you would need to buy an Apple. You'd have two options. You can buy an Apple TV four K, and then you're able to use your AirPods and AirPods Pro together, or you get something like this is an external option that will also then work with your Blu-Ray player. Getting the Apple TV four K would mean that you would not be able to pair the audio and listen on your Blu-Ray player. So this may be the better option for you in that case that

Rosemary Orchard (00:53:54):
Unless you use the HDMI ARC option with the Apple tv, where the Apple TV is the output of the audio for your tv, which is a whole bunch of weirdness, which one's mention necessarily necessarily going to go into going to mention. But I'm glad you knew it because it's true. I did want to just throw in one other little recommendation, which is a great one for folks who love to travel. Airly have. So there's three different models of airly from 12 South. There's the Airly SE that's not going to work in this situation, but there's the Airly Duo and Airly Pro. Both of those will allow you to just plug something into a 3.5 millimeter jack and connect two pairs of AirPods or other Bluetooth wireless headphones. The difference between the duo and the Pro, they've got a handy chart on their website that shows the difference is that the PRO also supports doing OX in. So you can use it to stream your phone to a rental car, Bluetooth, but it doesn't have Bluetooth because it's your Airly. So yeah, that's another option. And the Airly duo is $45, I believe. Sorry, yeah, $45. And the Airf Fly Pro is $55. So worth considering as well if you are somebody who perhaps needs a pocket size version of this for the plane.

Mikah Sargent (00:55:10):
Got it. Alrighty folks, I think it's time for us to head into our app caps,

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Mikah Sargent (00:55:49):
This of course is the part of the show where we place things on around, near, over, near, far, wherever they are our heads to honor our app and or gadget picks of the week. These are the apps and gadgets we are using now or have used it sometime that we think are great and want to share with all of you. And in order to cap off the show and be goofy, we place things on our heads without further aju. Rosemary Orchard, tell us about the cap, the delightful cap, the top of your head, and then tell us about your app Gadget

Rosemary Orchard (00:56:22):
Pick of week. Well, the cap at the top of my head, it's rainbow, but it's not just rainbow folks. It's like a neon rainbow. There's fluorescent pink in here, fluorescent various shades of orange, some line green, bright yellow cyani, blues, actual blue. Yeah. And then of course on top of the rainbow there's sequins on top. Yeah, that's why I'm sparkling folks, because I'm that fabulous. No, it's just out. But my gadget pick of the week is, I'm cheating Micah. It's a two in one. I'm afraid I'm sneaking a second recommendation in here because it's so cool. But I keep seeing mouse advertised. So Mouse, MOUS make cases and bags for iPhones, iPads, Macs, et cetera, and they claim that their stuff makes your phone not on indestructible and that their cases are really great. And so I was like, okay, I keep getting asked as well by some iOS today listeners if I would try this stuff out.

Because know I like to try out various phone cases. I got one, I got a mouse case, and this is one of the MagSafe ones, and it's a black one with a white speckle on it. And I have to say I really love the texture of it. It's really, really nice. It's a little tight getting onto your phone, but in a good way. It's not in a bad way. It's not impossible to get it on, but it also means that it's not going anywhere. And I have to say the nice rounded corners. And then there's some bumps going along the side, which just help you grip it. That's really nice. They've got nice button covers, which are satisfyingly clicky, and they work that's really great. And so these cases retail for around $70, but you can often get them a little bit cheaper on Amazon.

But one of the things that I really liked about this is phone lanyards are a thing that I have recently discovered, and there are cases that are compatible with them, but often it's only on the one side there's a little wristlet holder, but then your phone's dangling off on one side. That's not good. Well, mouse, mouse listened. Mouse listened to my brain and said, we'll just put it on both sides for you. So this case has attachment points on both sides, and you can buy a mouse lanyard, which also they really were reading my mind. It comes in a delightful shade of lavender. And so this is the lanyard, but this is not just a lanyard, it's a cross body strap, but it's got some really nice proper good carabiners on it with a satisfying amount of spring. But there's three carabiners on here. There's one at this end, there's one at this end.

There's one in the middle. Why is that? You might ask, oh, I don't know. Maybe I would like to be able to do things live on air, but also put my phone on a wristlet. Yeah, I can detach part of the crossbody strap to be a wristlet. It's all in one. It's a really neat little design. And on top of that, so the actual attachment points that come that attach to the iPhone, they're not metal, so they're not going to stick to the MagSafe part. They know that threading these things through is a little bit tricky. So inside of the lanyard box with little attachment things, this looks like a little sim card thing, but it looks like a key. What is this, folks? You poke it through the hole, you loop the cord through and you pull it back. Very clever. And that's it.

It's so simple. But honestly, that probably saved me about 40 minutes because getting those cords through and then, oh no, it just slipped back through. Ah, trying to get it all lined up. So frustrated, so difficult. I have a little safety pin in my bag that's got like a sim carb removal tool and some other safety pins on and stuff like that. This is going on there because there will be times when I need to poke a little string through a small hole and this is going to save my bacon. So thank you Mouse for just making some really great stuff because I absolutely love this. This case feels really great. I did drop my phone on tile earlier today. Pleased to report phone not broken. Took the case off my phone to check. Still not broken. Neither is the tile, so I'm guessing it's good.

I'm not about to go drop it off a 20 story building or anything like that. There don't tend to be many of those around here, but maybe next time I'm in London I will, or I'll just let the mouse guys do it. They have a great social media system going where they will throw their stuff out of helicopters and things like that and then go and check it on the ground and it's still fine. So yeah, I'm really liking this mouse case. It's a really nice texture. It's just grippy enough without it being like everything's going to stick to it and it won't slide in your pocket type grippy. So

Mikah Sargent (01:01:02):
Good. Nice. That is very cool. I will have to, especially the sling is very clever in honor of the episode where we are talking about plants and gardening. I thought I would wear a very large hat that protects me from the sun. It is, I think like a, what is this, a 10 gallon cowboy hat. I don't think it actually holds 10 gallon though. Unfortunately. The app cap that I'm choosing this week is a game that is so much fun to play and it sort of works because it's in the New York Times games app. So it is a little game I like to call, no, that they like to call connections. So if you've ever been in the New York Times games app, then you'll be familiar with not only the crossword, which I love to do, but a number of other games that are available, including Spelling Bee, which I do not like.

Wordle, which is very popular. Connections, letterbox Tiles. And Sudoku connections is a game where are just trying to group words. So you are presented with a grid that has 16 words in it, and you're trying to find four groups of four. You find the items that kind of are grouped together in some way. So an example of this would be that the category might be fish. So the words are bass, flounder, salmon and trout, and then fire blank, fire ant, fire drill, fire island and fire opal. And then furthermore, what's kind of fun that I like is that you get to see what the puzzle creators think is easier or harder because each of the groups is assigned a color yellow to purple. So yellow, green, blue and purple with yellow being the easiest and purple being the most tricky. And I like it. Sometimes I disagree with the colors that get assigned to the groups.

But let's take a look at this grid. So we've got wind, fire, happiness, presto, voila, Adam, land, fear, get anger, behold red, surprise carpenter, secure and tada. So here I am going to start by looking at something like, voila, another word for voila or another way of saying take a look at this would be tada. Another one that is, that is Presto. And then another one is behold. But here's the thing, there's also the word surprise. One might say surprise and then show you a group of things. One might say behold and show you a group of things. So we need to see if there is another category that one of these words could fit into. There are some positive emotions here, happiness or there are some emotions here. Not just positive emotions, but emotions here like happiness, fear, anger, and it looks like surprise probably fits into that.

So I'm going to go ahead and choose. Submit. Now here's the thing. At the bottom you can see you have four mistakes. You're able to, you can only make four mistakes in the game. Once you've made four mistakes, you're done. So I'm going to go ahead and choose, submit and see if we're right. Okay, we are correct. The category is a bit of vocal fanfare, and if you'll remember, it's yellow, green, blue, and then purple. Green is the second easiest category from straightforward to tricky. So it was easy, but not too easy. So the puzzle makers believe that there is an easier category. I'm going to go ahead and guess that my emotions selection is correct. So happiness, fear, anger, and surprise and choose that. And yay, we were correct. That is the yellow category, the most straightforward. Now let me show you what it looks like if you do not get something.

So I happen to have solved this puzzle earlier today. So I already did this and I think this is so far the order that I did it in. So let's see what we have here could also be secure. Because when you get something, you secure something. That also means that you win something, right? You don't red something, you don't. Well, you can fire something, but it doesn't match with the other ones. What's another way that we can secure something or obtain something? You can land a job, but I'm going to choose something else just so you can see what happens. So let's say I think that we're just looking at verbs, right? So I'm like, oh, these are just four verbs. When I choose submit, you get a little bit more of a hint because I'm only one off. If you're more than one off, then it will just say, no, you got it wrong.

But since I'm just one off, it lets me know and I know that's, oh, it's probably land. And so then I'm able to choose those. And then last but not least, are the four Adam Carpenter, red and Fire. What could this be? What could this be? Adam Carpenter, red and Fire, ant Carpenter, ant Adam, ant Red, ant I Choose Submit, and we are correct. Blank Ant was the last category. Now if you get all of them correct without any wrong answers, then you get, I believe it's perfect, then it's great. Then I don't remember what the rest of them are up until you get to the, you almost missed it. You had one mistake left, in which case it's few. But after this you can share your results with other people and it sends little emoji squares. So if you and your friends know how to play this game, then you are able to send it to them and they can send you theirs and then you can go, oh, you didn't get the Ant thing either or You didn't get the ant thing until the end.

It's so much fun. I love this game. I play it every single day that's available. And then I also wanted to mention there is a site called, well actually I'm just going to post it into the show notes. I meant to actually do this. It has an archive of all of the New York Times Connections puzzles. And so if you didn't start at the beginning, you can go back and do those as you and it's connections dot swell S-W-E-L-L-G-A-R-F to see all of the puzzles that have existed since, I think it was like June 20th or something like that, that the New York Times started doing this. But what I love is that you can also use the sites to create your own connections puzzles. And so if you fancy yourself a puzzler, a puzzle creator, then this could be the way to do that as well.

So that is Connections. It's free to play online. If you just do a search for Connections New York Times, you'll be able to come across it. Or you can download the New York Times Games app and play it there as well. Folks, that brings us to the end of this episode of IOS today. Thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for your support. I hope that you out there are able to either bring a plant into your home or nurse a plant back to health, or continue to just take care of the plants that you have and love and adore. And Rosemary and I will catch you next week for another episode of iOS Today. Bye-Bye

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