Twist

Your iPhone is only as useful for you as the apps you put on it. I’ll do my best to highlight apps that I use myself and add value to my phone.

The first app I want to highlight is called Twist. How many times do we find ourselves meeting a friend, a significant other or a colleague and you want to let them know when you’ve left, that you’ve arrived, or that you’ll be running a little late? Twist is an app that uses the GPS in your phone and based on your mode of transporation and traffic, will send text messages to whoever you’re meeting and gives them updates on when you will arrive at your destination.

I use this with my girlfriend all the time. When you launch the app, you’re prompted to start a new “Twist”. It then asks for a destination. It can be a home address to which you may already have associated with a contact, or it could be an address or restaurant. You can type in the search field and it will auto populate results based on your location. Which is very helpful so you don’t have to type in the complete address.

 

Once you select your destination, you can choose who to alert. Again you can search and the app will autocomplete based on who you have in your contact list. You can send Twists to multiple people as well.

And that’s basically it! You can select how you’re planning to arrive, either by car, public transit or by walking. There are also a couple options such as alerting the parties when you leave and when when you arrive but it’s best to leave those options as is. You can also create favorite twists for common locations. For example, I have a favorite Twist set up for my home address which notifies my girlfriend since I always find myself letting her know when I’ll be home.

Once you leave your location, the app will send a text to whoever you are meeting and will let them know your approximate arrival time. If you run into traffic, the app will even send an update text to let your party know you’re running late and give an updated arrival time. Once you are close, it sends a final text to let them know that you’re a minute away. No more texts of “I’m here”, “Are you here”, or “Where are you”.

This is a hugely underrated app that I use as much as I can. Your friends and family will appreciate it since there’s no more wondering where anyone is. It also keeps you from texting while you’re driving (which is illegal in many states).

The app is free at the App Store.

★ Sweet November

November was a very busy month. In one month:

We moved from Redwood Shores to San Carlos.

N203New Living Room

We celebrated Mary’s birthday in Napa.

HotelCakebread CellarsBlood SausageAdhocTurnover

We spent our first Thanksgiving in the Bay Area, away from our families.

Turkey BeforeTurkeyLau Lau

We explored our surroundings.

Hike1PanoramaSelf Portraits

I launched a side project.

★ HumbleNerd

I’ve always said that I don’t have a real direction for this site. I started blogging back in 2001 and it’s evolved, but not much, since then. For the last couple of years, I’ve posted a mix of personal entries, reviews (product and music) and linked posts. I’ve wanted to keep this site as a personal blog so I’ve decided to cut down on the reviews and technical posts. I still would like a place to post those types of thoughts. It’s still an active hobby of mine and I don’t plan on giving up on it at all.

So I’ve decided to start a new site. I’m happy to announce HumbleNerd. I’ll be posting all of my tech related thoughts, links and reviews at this new site. All my personal thoughts will stay here. I know friends who follow this site wouldn’t really care about the tech links I like to post and fellow nerds who stumble upon this site from Twitter won’t care about what I did over the weekend. Keeping things separate made the most sense to me.

While HumbleNerd is the name of my new site, it is also the name of my new side gig. I’ve long been the guy that family and friends turn to when they have a tech related question. I don’t mind doing it and I love helping people. I also miss having the supplemental income I had in the past. I believe that people are willing to pay for simple, honest tech advice. So I’m starting HumbleNerd to help people who don’t want to deal with Geek Squad or busy Apple Stores, to help pay the bills, to do something that I love and because I want to.

This is something I’ve thought about for a long time and have been putting together for the past couple weeks. I feel now is a great time to launch it with the holidays (and gadget gifts) coming up. Please check out the new site and don’t forget about this one. Thanks!

To Mini Or Not To Mini

The iPad mini was announced in late October and the question that most everyone has is, “Should I get one?” There are many reviews on the iPad mini and two reviews that I think would help those looking to buy an iPad are by John Gruber and Jim Dalrymple. I like Dalrymple’s take on ALL his reviews because he writes them based on his usage. He doesn’t dive into specs, but he uses it as he would for a week and gives his honest opinion. I recommend those two reviews to get a feel for real world use.

I have two trains of thought on the new iPad mini. If you don’t have an iPad and you’re interested in getting one, this is the iPad to get. The entry price is lower than the full size iPad and the size is perfect for almost everything I would use it for. If you would like a bigger, “sharper” screen, the regular iPad is the one to get. There are different storage and connectivity options as well. If you need help to figure out which one is the best for you, feel free to contact me.

Are Apple Stores Just Too Crowded?

This story highlights one of my main reasons for starting this site. With the popularity of Apple’s iPad and iPhone, it is increasingly difficult to find help inside one of Apple’s retail stores. If you don’t want to deal with a crowded store, drop me a line.

Welcome To HumbleNerd

I started this site because I love helping people with technology. Simple as that. I’ve always been the guy that people turn to for technology advice. Whether they needed my input before a major purchase or just needed help because their Internet was acting weird, a lot of my friends and family never hesitate to ask for my help.

I’ll be posting news, updates and reviews of products and apps that I feel readers might find useful. Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy the site.