Tag Archives: App Recommendation

Don’t get fooled by Fake News! A useful tip

I really didn’t want to put Fake News in the headline of this post, but really that is what this post is all about. How to use a reverse image search when you are on a mobile device, so that you can spot a Fake News story.

Recently a friend shared a Facebook story that just didn’t add up. The photo was of a man in hazmat style suit purportedly cleaning up an oil spill in North Dakota. You can see a version of the photo at the top of the article. The story implied some type of conspiracy that was preventing news of the oil spill from being covered.

A Reverse Image Search told a different story

This didn’t make sense to me, especially as I had been following news of an oil spill that was not on the scale shown by the photo. However a few minutes with a reverse image search showed the picture had been taken in China, and had nothing to do with North Dakota. This made the rest of the story even more unlikely.

Performing your search

A reverse image search is easy to do on a mobile device although iOS users need to download the Chrome browser app first.  Sorry, but Safari doesn’t support Googles image search file upload.

With that in mind here are the steps to performing your reverse image search:

  1. Save a copy of the photo locally, this might mean taking a screenshot depending on the posts’ privacy settings. Here you can see the photo I used. Note that the poster changed the photo to Black and White in order to make it harder to search. Didn’t work though!

    Altered version of original oil spill clean up photo
    Black and White photo of oil cleanup effort – altered from original
  2. Open Chrome and go to www.google.ca

    Either google.ca or google.com will work
    Either google.ca or google.com will work
  3. Click the Images link on the page to go to Image search. Currently that link is in the top right corner of the screen.

    Google Image Search, showing Camera
    You are in Image Search, when the camera icon is in the search bar.
  4. Click the Camera icon to see your options for searching using an image file.
    Google image search options
    Google Image search options. Search by pasting the URL of the image or by uploading the file.

    Choose the Upload an Image tab.

  5. Uploading an Image
    Uploading an Image

    Click the Choose File button.

  6. You will be offered a choice of taking a new photo or going to your Photo Library. Select your photo library, and locate the image you saved previously.
  7. The file is uploaded automatically and the search is performed.
    Reverse Image Search Results
     Reverse Image Search Results initial screen

    Make sure you scroll down the page looking for the Pages that include matching images.

    finding pages that include matching images
    Reverse Image Search – Pages that include matching images.

    Reverse Image searches are amazing

Frankly, I was astounded that the image was located even after it had been changed. Reverse image searches are a powerful tool! Whether from malicious intent or the desire to give a story emotional impact, there are all too many posts on the net where images are misused. Don’t be fooled.

A handy coupon app

Those foot long cash register receipts drive me crazy (I’m looking at you PetSmart), and it’s even worse when you have to save them for a month or more to take advantage of the coupon printed on them.

I’ve recently come across an app  – SnipSnap, that addresses this problem. You take a picture of the coupon and it reads the barcode and saves the coupon details. My bulging wallet is going to get some relief.

A couple of caveats, the app is prone to sudden crashes when deleting coupons. Also, it is finicky about the light conditions and quality of the receipt, so try to photograph as unwrinkled a receipt as possible. Even so, it is worth a try.

iOS App Recommendation: Due

I’m recommending an iOS app called Due. I’ve had it on my iPhone, almost from the beginning. The reason is that the iOS reminder functions and calendar alerts are too polite. For things I really need to be reminded of I use Due. You can set the reminder sound to be loud, obnoxiously loud, can hear it in a busy shopping mall loud. Sometimes I need that 😉 . You can also set it to endlessly repeat and snooze reminders as necessary.

Its’ a paid app, but it has been worth it.

A suggestion for improvement

One of my great interests is in the interactions between Seniors and technology. As a rule; seniors are not well served by technology, they are a forgotten group. And yet, I believe that tech has a great potential to help in so many ways. In particular, adaptive technologies can do so much to help people with their daily lives, and those technologies can move out to the wider population.

It’s revealing when you find an app or function that would be perfect, if only the designers had kept seniors in mind. Because it shows how much we all don’t want to face growing old and the inevitable changes that time brings.

The app I’m thinking about today, is Day One. Day One has been a well reviewed diary/journal app on iOS for a few years. Yet it misses a really basic feature because its’ designers can’t envision anyone other than their intended audience using their product.

I found Day One for one of my senior clients. One of the things you might have heard about getting older is that sometimes you are a little forgetful. Oh, and you also might have some medical issues. Which might result in more than a few doctors office visits. Which would mean that a nice journaling app could prove useful. Especially one that could support multiple tags on a single entry. Which would mean that you could filter your entries by the name of your specialists, or medications, or illness or test results. It would be excellent if you could export information from the app (Day One allows for PDF exports of entries) and add photographs. So far, so fantastic; Day One does all these things and has beautiful clean interface.

What it doesn’t do, is take advantage of iOS’s accessibility features.

Day One Screen: Magnifiying Glasses Required
Day One Screen: Magnifying Glasses Required

While you can change the size of the typeface in your entries. Day One ignores any preference you have set for Larger Text, Bold Text or Increased Contrast. Which means that people with vision issues are going to struggle with using Day One, if they don’t give up on it altogether.

What I would love to see in this app is a high contrast setting; that would allow the tag icons to resize, adjust the labels and menu items to a typeface that is bolder/larger and that would allow the user to select a high contrast colour scheme.

I also want to see Apple lay down the law with developers and require them to respect user accessibility settings. Designers should look at designing for accessibility as a challenge that will improve the functionality of their apps for everyone. We don’t always interact with our devices under the best visibility circumstances. We may not be facing (yet) the vision problems caused by illness, but we are all going to get older.

Do you have an app that is useful for seniors? Tell me about it.

Well, this is weird …

I’ve had some oddball posts recently on my Twitter account. But I really have to step back for a moment and explain how they got there. I use IFTT to add pins I make to my Pinterest boards to my Twitter account. I enjoy looking at fantastic Steampunk art and costuming and hope that other Twitter users share my enthusiasm.

Steampunk rabbit: made of gears

I noticed a couple of months ago, that items I had not pinned were being posted under my #SteampunkFun hashtag. I kept an eye out for it happening again and it did. What I believe is happening, is that Pinterest is  jumbling up their RSS feeds. In this case, someone else’s humour pins are being attributed to my Steampunk board. But only for short periods of time. But during that time period I suddenly tweet jokes labelled #SteampunkFun – it certainly looks weird.

But what if I’ve been hacked? Wouldn’t I feel silly if I had done nothing to protect myself. This is where a Password Manager comes in handy. I recommend using password managers all the time. There are a number of popular ones out on the market. I use one called PWSafe2 (Apple). I chose PWSafe because I could use it on my Windows, Apple and Android devices. And also because it was developed by Bruce Schneier. PWSafe has a lot of nice features; including the ability generate complex passwords and a notes area.

I use the notes area to write down the lies I tell when asked for security questions. You know, the ones that ask you where you where born or what your mother’s maiden name was. Since this is all public information, I figure a lie is actually more secure than the truth. The problem is remembering what the lie is. Fortunately, the notes section is very helpful with this.

But the feature I made use of this time was the search feature. You see; if I’d been hacked, the problem would be determining which of my many many accounts had been compromised. So I used the search feature to see if I had reused my Pinterest username, email or password on any other accounts. This allowed me to target the most likely accounts and update their information. And because I have everything recorded in PWSafe, updating my accounts was no big deal.

So a password manager not only helps record your passwords and account information, but it can help you quickly change and update your accounts .