Google Productivity Pad: August 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gospel Library 3.4.5 update

Yesterday there was an update to Gospel Library for iPhone and iPad.
The changes were as follows:

  • Refined Search, including having exact phrase and keyword results display
  • Adjusted Screens to have newly added screens display at the top
  • Added role-based content capability (e.g., if you are serving in a bishopric, you can now access Handbook 1)
  • Fixed various bugs and stability issues
After updating and looking around the app here are my thoughts:

First off I was very happy that this update did not go back to causing the headache of redownloading all of the content you might have downloaded before. This update appears to have kept all of the data stored in the app previously. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Screen Test: Enhance or Detract

For a while now I have been concerned about screens. I have two main concerns:

  1. the amount of time I spend in front of a screen
  2. life being filtered through a screen
Now I am clearly not anti technology by any means, I write a technology blog, I work in the social media industry, I am getting my masters degree in instructional technology, and I will be teaching a class this fall on using technology in the classroom. In fact I am starkly opposed to those who talk about technology as thought in cannot produce anything more than superficial stimulus with no meaningful experiences.

But I am concerned because the area is still new and we don't know much about its effects.
I admit that I don't want to live in a Wall-e like world where all interactions take place through a screen. 

I think in the early 2000's we teetered near this fate as more work became computer centric and tied people to desktops and laptops. I believe we were pulled back from this by the mobile revolution that began to take place after the iPhone and then the iPad were released. People are coming to realize that while most jobs now have a computer or internet component to them (for many communication), many do not require you to constantly be in front of a traditional computer because they can be done from anywhere on a mobile device.

I consider this a good thing, because I believe that the less obtrusive technology can be while still bringing enhancements to our lives, the better.

What concerns me now is that this new ecosystem of mobile computing has brought with it its own challenges. The accessibility of the screens when we are out of the house has made us subject to constant drive for more.

More what?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hardware Review: Pebble Steel Smartwatch

About a month ago I took my first steps into wearable tech and asked for a Pebble Steel Smartwatch for my birthday. For those of you who don't know about the Pebble it is a Smartwatch that communicates with your smartphone via bluetooth to perform various functions while your phone remains in your pocket or across the room. It was the most successful kickstarter project ever raising in excess of 10 million dollars. The steel is the second version of the Pebble.

Image found on

What does it do?
The main purpose of the pebble is to have certain functions of you iPhone available on your wrist without having to remove your phone from your pocket, or go across the room to check it. It comes out of the box ready to receive notifications, control your music, and set alarms. Oh and it also tells time! There are also a bunch of different apps you can install to increase the functionality.

To many people having notifications on their wrist doesn't sound like it would be that useful, many friends have told me they don't have a hard time pulling out their phone. That was my original feeling when the pebble launched but then I heard many people say it was actually way more convenient to have it on their wrist than they thought it would be.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How To Stop Game Invitations on Facebook (like Candy Crush)

Are you ever excited when you get on Facebook and see that there are a whole bunch of notifications and you think people must have really liked you last photo, only to find that they are all invites to play Candy Crush? It is super annoying. I am here to help you fix this problem.

Image credit to Ricky Foster

I did not have time to cove this on my post on making Facebook better, but I know that it is a frustration for many (including me).

Of course there are other annoying games besides Candy Crush, Farmville in particular comes to mind when I think of games we love to hate. But Candy Crush seems to be the worst right now.

Now hopefully you followed the advice of my last post and cleared out your stupid friends, that should have helped this problem some, but not all. For some reason, unknown to human psychologists, even seemingly sane individuals will send out these game invites, and you may really want to see their other updates, so you have to stay friends with them.

A Word to the Inviters
First of all, if you are that person sending out those invites I have 2 words for you:


Why in the world are you sending those out? So you can get some little game perk if 500 of your friends sign up? It is not worth it to lose all your friends, so stop it.

2 Ways to Stop Them
For the rest of you, here are two ways to block them:
  1. Option one is when the notification arrives there will be a tiny little "x" in the top right hand corner when you scroll over the notification. Click this and you will have the option of stopping notification from that game.
  2. If you missed the little "x" but you know there is a game you do not want to see notifications from ever you can take action to block the game preemptively: 
    1. Go to settings (top right hand corner drop down menu)
    2. Once in settings go to Blocking on the left hand side.

                3. You will see a several option here. The one you want is called "Block Apps." All you have to do is start typing the name of the app you want to block, as you can see me doing with Candy Crush below, just click on the name when it appears and you will block that app. 

Hurray! No more annoying notifications, at least until they come up with a new game.

If you do have a friend who is constantly inviting you to many different games or apps you can block notifications from just that person on this page as well.

Well there you have, I hope this eliminates some anger and frustration for you and helps you to live better! 
What are the most annoying games you get invitations for? Tell us below so we can block them :)