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Tag: iPhone 6 Plus

How to Annoy 100 Train Commuters with Your iPhone

If you think you’re always in your own private bubble while streaming TV shows on the morning train, you might be in for a rude awakening when you invoke a commuter uprising… against you.

If you think you’re always in your own private bubble while streaming TV shows on the morning train, you might be in for a rude awakening when you invoke a commuter uprising… against you.

Warning: Never stream “The Blacklist” on Netflix while riding the train during your morning commute… Not without first checking in with Apple.

Let me explain my cautionary tale…

A few weeks back, I was doing exactly that on my Metro North train ride to New York City. Remember, I’m a Road Warrior, at least I pretend to be while riding the train.

So I had my trusty iPhone 6 Plus tuned into season 2 of “The Blacklist.”
My Apple EarPods were firmly in place…

If you’re a fan of the James Spader TV spy series, you know it’s a pretty noisy show. Lots of loud explosions as our heroes try to capture the bad guy…

Major Audio Malfunction
In the middle of watching a tussle with the evil Luther Braxton, played by the great Ron Perlman, my seatmate tapped me on my shoulder. I paused the stream, extracted my left Apple EarPod, and turned to face this stranger.

“I can hear your show.”


“Your TV show is playing too loud.”

I looked down at my iPhone.

“How is that possible? I’m wearing earphones.”

“I can still hear it.” It’s really loud.”

I paused in ongoing disbelief.

Then, the commuter on the other side of my offended seatmate leaned forward and joined the conversation.

“Yes, I think the entire car can hear it. It’s blaring! Everyone can hear it. Really!!”

She nodded.

He nodded.

I began to nod… in disbelief.
I had become ‘that guy.’ How embarrassing…

So of course I apologized and promised to lower the audio level, which I did. But several times during the rest of my commute, I pulled out one or both of the EarPods to listen for any escaping audio.

I heard nothing. My earphones weren’t projecting anything, contrary to crowd consensus.

Confused as to where the leak was coming from, I cranked the level back to ‘eleven.’


Hmmm… Then I realized for the sound level to be that offensive, the EarPods couldn’t possibly have been the culprit. Somehow, the iPhone’s onboard speaker must have been activated.

Then, it hit me… ‘Lint-gate!’

Pocket Lint is Evil
A few weeks back, I realized the exposed holes in the bottom my iPhone were slowly being filled up by pocket lint through normal wear and tear.

The tell was I couldn’t get a secure lightning connection to charge my iPhone anymore. That’s when I realized I had the lint problem. So I took matters into my own hands, grabbed a pin and started scooping out pocket lint from both the lightning port and the earphone jack.

Problem solved…. Or so I thought.

I assume you know the phrase, “Don’t try this at home.”

Clearly, I hadn’t extracted enough of the lint from the audio jack and the 3.5mm plug was being blocked from making a secure fit. And as a result, the iPhone’s speaker took over… even though my earphones were still operating.

While that scenario suggested the possibility of a technical glitch I couldn’t confirm, I figured where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

Then I remembered a friend had mentioned after reading my original pocket lint post that the same problem had happened to him. His solution was to take his iPhone to the Apple Store. The Genius he spoke with used a tiny ‘vacuum-cleaner-like’ tool to do the fix.


iPhone to Surgery… Stat!
So when my train arrived at Grand Central Terminal, I hoofed it to the Apple Store, which was conveniently located only a few steps away from Track 18.

I checked in… told my sad tale of how “The Blacklist” had disrupted an entire train car filled with annoyed commuters… and I was quickly scheduled to see an Apple Genius.

When my Genius arrived, I repeated my story, handed over my iPhone, and then she rushed it away to the back room.

Five minutes later, she reappeared and confirmed that my iPhone had still been clogged with plenty of pocket lint.

But no more.

She handed back my iPhone with a big smile.
(No charge)

I asked if there was a better way to take care of this nuisance at home. She suggested using a paper clip instead of a pin, because the larger circumference of the point could grab more lint.

But really… I knew my solution moving forward.

Cleared for Duty
Can you think of any personal tech you regularly rely on more than your smartphone?


I say everyone should schedule an annual ‘De-linting’ iPhone Check Up with the Apple Store.

Your fellow train commuters will thank you, and you won’t end up on anyone’s Blacklist!

How to Project the Time While You’re Sleeping

Well, you’ve got to wake up first and take a look at your alarm clock. Reading any clock is so simple. Right? But not so easy if you can’t read the digits without your glasses. The solution… How about a projection clock for your ceiling?

Well, you’ve got to wake up first and take a look at your alarm clock.
Reading any clock is so simple. Right? But not so easy if you can’t read the digits without your glasses. The solution… How about a projection clock for your ceiling?

I may not be the most organized person in the world, but when it comes to sleep, I don’t mess around. I consider myself a champion sleeper! I’m serious about my slumber and approach it with a clear sense of structure.

You know when sometimes you fall asleep at night and then wake up the following morning, not knowing where you are or what day it is? Sure, that’s occasionally happened to me, but usually I maintain a general sense of subliminal awareness throughout the night.

Master Sleeper with Wimpy Eyes
Of course, I’m not the perfect sleeper… I typically wake up once or twice a night.
(I’ve been quite consistent in this pattern over the years… )

When I do, I usually like to check out my old clock radio to see what time it is.
(Don’t you want to know how much time you’ve got before your son rises?)

And then I quickly slide back into my dream world.

The only problem is I can’t quite read the time anymore on the digital display…
That’s because I’ve shoved my clock radio to the back corner of my night table.

It’s long ceded its rooster role to my iPhone 6 Plus, which lies a foot away from my head… charging up every night, always ready to wake me the following morning.

If I try to peer beyond the iPhone to see what time it is, everything’s mostly a blur.
(I’ve worn glasses since I was a kid.)

Sure, I could reach over and press my iPhone’s home button to check out the time, but that kind of action pulls me too far out of my desired sleepiness.

And if I stretch my neck forward until the clock’s digits come sufficiently into focus, that’s also too much effort… again risking a more alert state.

How’s a guy supposed to know what time it is in the middle of the night?
(And no, I don’t like wearing my watch to bed.)

A Virgin to the Projection Clock
Last week, I flew to Chicago on a business trip and stayed at the Virgin Hotel.
It’s a swanky place with rooms adorned with nifty tech enhancements.
(Bluetooth speaker next to the bed and motion-activated lights near the bathroom)

At breakfast after the first night, one of my colleagues said, “Hey, did you see the time projected on the room’s ceiling?”


When I got back to my room, I rushed over to the night table and peered at the ordinary looking clock radio. Then I noticed an adjustable red light attached to the side pointing upwards.
(Much like a Borg’s cranial laser attachment on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”)


I looked up, and indeed, there was the projected time in cool red on the ceiling.

It’s a projection alarm clock!

That night, I put it through the rigors of the ongoing ‘Barrett Sleep Project’…
I woke up at 3am and simply looked up.

Yep… It worked great!

Electrohome to the Rescue
So is “swivel time projection” the simple solution to my bedroom clock problem at home?
I think it is…

It’s not everyday I see something in a hotel room and have the urge to buy it for myself, but this one seems like a no brainer.

It’s made by Electrohome and called the USB Charging Clock Radio EAAC475.

  • It also has a USB charging port for your smartphone
  • Includes ‘Auto Time Set’ tech
    (Assuming your bedroom can receive a strong enough radio signal from the National Institute of Standards and Technology)
  • Can display the indoor temperature too!
    (You know how much I like knowing what the temperature is…)
  • And has battery back up

There are other makers of projection alarm clock radios out there, but I’ve already had a successful field test with this one. Let’s keep this little ‘project’ simple.

Amazon Prime sells the Electrohome  for $27.99.

Just make sure you get the model with the blue LED face display.
(As opposed to the less elegant white LED version)

Alarm clocks have been around for decades, and this projection clock tech isn’t especially new.
(It’s a clear tell when an otherwise nifty tech enhancement is included at such a low price point.)

Revolutionary or not, I’m happy to report I’ve solved my sleep problem.
(I mean my ‘awake’ problem.)

The overnight balance between by my conscious and unconscious selves has been restored…

Happy Zzzzs.

Why Do PCs Display iPhone Photos Upside Down?

If this is how your PC displays a photo snapped with your iPhone, you know it’s time to determine the culprit. And you may be surprised what you find….

If this is how your PC displays a photo snapped with your iPhone, you know it’s time to determine the culprit. And you may be surprised what you find….

At work, I often snap an iPhone photo or two at video shoots. It takes two seconds, and then I quickly email them to an offsite colleague or client for immediate feedback on the set or background.
(I often forget that the smartphone is such an incredible work collaboration tool that didn’t exist so long ago.)

Unfortunately, a problem I often run into is my pictures inexplicably show up upside down on computer screens. More specifically… PCs.

They always display correctly on Macs… just not PCs running Windows.

Your World is Topsy-Turvy
So you’ve got to imagine the response I sometimes get when my pictures play their little dance.
(How easy would it be to evaluate an image if you had to stand on your head?!)

I’ve always taken the privileged position that the problem is somehow caused by the evil PC.
(It couldn’t possibly be the fault of the perfect iPhone!)

The reality is most folks are going to also assume that you’re somehow the culprit. That you’ve made a mistake and you don’t know how to use your own iPhone.

Guess what…
Up until now, I didn’t!

Which Way is Up?
What I didn’t know is there is actually a right side up to the iPhone when you hold it horizontally.
(I assume we all understand how to hold it vertically, since the ‘home’ button is always there on the bottom to orient you.)

Horizontally, I’ve always gripped my iPhone 6 Plus with the two side volume buttons facing up. That’s because I often like to press either of the two volume buttons to take the photo instead of the white circle on the screen.
(If I’m holding my iPhone with only one hand, it’s more effective to press down on a button.)

As it turns out, positioning your iPhone that way is upside down!

It seems counter intuitive to grasp your iPhone the other way when snapping a pic… and then ‘squeeze’ the button from underneath…. But that’s the correct orientation according to Apple’s engineers.

Clever Apple
But even if you’re accidentally documenting your life upside down, how do Macs know to correctly display your picture?

That’s because your iPhone includes an EXIF tag with each photo that says which way is up. According to iPhone Photography School, every Apple device that displays your photo is going to know how to read that metadata.

The problem is lots of software in PCs can’t.

That’s the huge rub.
It’s simply a compatibility problem.

Well, technically, it’s still your fault if you’re holding your iPhone incorrectly. Apple just fixes the problem for you, and many PCs won’t.

How to Correctly Hold Your iPhone
So what’s the fix?

Well, first off… this problem has actually been around since the iPhone 5.
(Wake up, Rip Van Lester!)

There are various PC methods to manually adjust the orientation of pictures, but do you seriously expect anyone to take additional steps to flip around your mistake after experiencing the annoyance of trying to view your inverted photo?

Own the problem!
When you want to snap and send a photo to a PC, just turn your iPhone so the buttons are on the bottom… and then proceed.

Yogi Barrett?
Yes, I could blame Apple for a design flaw.
(It’s more natural to push the button down like with any camera in the known universe!)

But the truth is, I didn’t know which way was up.
(An important lesson that Apple has been so considerate to remind me of.)

I am not the center of my known universe.

Maybe I’ve begun a journey to a higher plane…
…or the story of my gaff has no place other than perhaps a fortune cookie:

“Wise man holds iPhone with volume buttons down.”


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