The Apple Park Tote Give Away


Ok, now I get it. As a non-native speaker I was really wondering what an Apple Park toad would be.

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An Apple Fairytale.

While I was in graduate school a friend (a Windows user) suddenly was unable to open a chapter of her dissertation in MSWord. She’d tried everything she knew how to do, but was getting an error message that the file was corrupt when she tried to open it. I offered to try and open it in Word on my Mac and got the same message. Knowing she was frantic (this represented a couple months of work that she somehow hadn’t made a back up for) I then tried to open it with Pages.

It opened! I printed out a copy so she at least would have her work. But then I tried converting the file back to MSWord. The new Word file worked, she had all of her text, and I was a hero for a week.

She got her PhD, is now a Mac user, uses Time Machine faithfully, and has lived happily ever after.

The End.


An undergrad in our lab needed to rename hundreds on subject files on a Windows machine. I mapped a network drive to the Windows machine from her MacBook, and using Finder’s rename functions, she was able to do the job in half an hour.


I work at a church and many of my fellow staff members aren’t as technologically adept as I am. Several times throughout the week I’ll use my iPad or MacBook to remotely login to s computer on campus to assist them with their PowerPoint presentations or other needs.


My wife and I live far away from both of our parents. When our son was born, we taught them about “shared” albums… and started one for our son so the grandparents can stay involved with his life!!

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From 2013-2015 I worked in a small refugee camp in Botswana (southern Africa). I was the director of the Leadership Education & Empowerment Program, which worked with youth of the refugee community to provide training and guidance on community led initiatives.

In addition to LEEP, I was a consultant with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. In this capacity, I helped support the needs of the office, including the repatriation of individuals seeking to return to their home country. For a few months the scanner and printer of our office was being repaired. During this time a number of individuals were seeking to return home. In order to cross the border, they needed to provide a letter from UNHCR verifying their refugee status. But these letters needed to be scanned.

In the absence of a scanner, staff were unable to issue letters. When I showed how to scan documents with my iPhone (GeniusScan), we were able to begin issuing letters again, and allow folks to return home.

Simple feature with a big impact.


One of my favorite thing about Apple products is all of the amazing little features they are capable of if you know where to look and how to activate them. I’m a geek and love diving into menus and making little tweaks, but many of my friends are not. I live with some roommates in a house with poor cell reception, and many of my roommates had just resigned themselves to it and didn’t generally take calls at home. This was a problem, as two of them work almost full time from home!

They noticed me talking on the phone one day in the kitchen and asked how my reception was so good. I had turned on WiFi calling in my phone settings a long time ago and was using that. They had no idea it was an option! I helped each one of my roommates turn it on, and now they can chatter away with work or personal calls from anywhere in the house.

This is just one of many small examples of how I’ve found ways that aspects of MacOS and iOS can make life easier.


I’ll give you the ‘Coles Notes’ version of my story (as it’s a long one):

One of my senior family friends from another country had taken a couple years to write out, in longhand, a kind of autobiography. He wanted to tell the stories of his life he found most important in his own words so that there would be a first-person account. When my mother told him what I did for a living (tech writing), he figured that I knew something about photocopiers, and he asked if I knew of a way he could photocopy his work so that he could give a copy to each of his children and grandchildren–perhaps a way to ‘bind’ it so it looked nice.

I told him I could help him out with that, and to give me a couple weeks. I took his text, used voice dictation to get his words into Pages, scanned his images, created a basic family tree, scanned a few handwritten poems he had, organized the whole thing into a book, had Lulu print me a hard-copy. When it arrived, I handed to him.

I’ve never seen a man so moved, and I really think I blew his mind when I said if he was happy with it, we could order as many copies as he wanted. We wound up spending time together then getting it just the way he wanted, (and that time spent was a gift in itself) and then I created a final draft, and we ordered 25 copies and he distributed them all as Christmas gifts. He let me keep one because he was so grateful.

Honestly, I’ve done a lot of writing, but I think this is the greatest joy I’ve ever felt upon completing a project. And the thing is, it was so simple to do this with just the basics, and yet meant so much.

That’s my best story, I think. :grin:


My church lost our building so we had to get a portable setup really fast. I recommended using a refurbished iPad mini and Apple TV along with an old wireless router I had hanging around to connect our lyrics system up to a projector. Turned out to be a remarkably small and portable setup they used for almost 4 years until they got a new space!

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No fancy story here just saying thanks for the giveaway.


Ok, I dont recall any instance in particular anymore… But like many of us here, I’m the go to person for tech in my family - for Apple devices at least. My mum’s android phone frustrates me so much and though I suspect it’s more of a frustration at the user VS at the tech, but I digress.

I was the first in my family to get an Apple device. The iPhone 3G. Really love it. After that my laptop died, and I made the leap (again, with dad’s blessings, well money, into the macbook). It was around that time that dad decided to get an iPad. It was a great device and dad loved it, but that also meant I spent the next few weeks giving him “How to use the iPad” lessons. It was frustrating for the most part! Standing behind him in the hot humid weather and trying to explain to him that no, there isn’t a file explorer on ios, and no, most people aren’t engineers and don’t require XXX on their device. Or yes, you can do that, but you need a separate app… That was repeated when he got an iPhone and then a macbook. Still, at least I knew the apple OS better… The headaches I had when he switches to a Samsung note 4 and things just didn’t work! The iPhone is far from perfect, but at least I know my way around it better - I’ve never used an android as my primary phone before! Dad is back on the iPhone 7 for now, but he’s expressed wishes for going back to android again - the Huawei has come up with interesting camera phones. At least he’s more tech-savvy than my mum though. Now that’s a different story… Would be good if I can get my mum on an iPhone, but she’s quite a stubborn individual and I suspect I’d have to repeat those lessons all over again, and for way longer too!


I have a friend Robert who helps me build my boats and in turn I help him with his Mac. This relationship has being going on for more than 20 years.

While Robert is a heavy user of his Mac and iOS, he treats it as he would a box of cheap tools, there’s even epoxy glue on the keys of his MacBook…

Robert grew up on Kangaroo Island, one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations, but much of the heart of the island is criss crossed with gun barrel straight roads through cropping land. Last year when he was back on the island visiting family he lost his iPhone. I got a call 11pm one night asking what he should do…

After a brief interrogation I found out he’d left it on the bonnet of the car he hitched a ride on and it slid of somewhere in the 15 or so miles he had travelled that night crossing the island.

In the mean time, he went to the ferry terminal and chatted up some tourists who were charmed into driving him back along the road while he called me on their phone. (The world is filled with nice people it seems).

I have his iCloud password so with find my phone and lots of patience we gradually zeroed him onto his phone which was nestled between a rock and a wombat burrow, very much unscatheed from the experience.

Robert is 71, and the luckiest person I know, I’m 48 and lucky to know him.

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Hi Guys,

Big Fan from Belgium here (and btw, that’s an actual country, and not a “nice city” as President Trump once implied :wink:
Congrats on the show, I’m always looking forward to new episodes.

Now, my story (or rather an anecdote) in an attempt to win this:

I have a retired couple as friends, and they rely on me stopping by once a month to get their tech up and running, and the last “install” I did was an ATV, that can be controlled from their newly bought Ipad.
After setting it up, insuring everything worked perfectly, I left, only to get a call a week later, around Christmas time, asking me to stop by, since they couldn’t get the ATV to work.

As soon as I arrived, I found out pretty quickly there was not an issue with the ATV, but rather with their television, since there was no way to select the HDMI output with the remote.
Changed the battery, no solution, although the little light on the remote did work.
After resetting the entire television, including the remote, still no luck.
I looked up the manual online, and after hours of searching it seemed the “receiver” of the IR-beam of the remote is not in the middle of the television (as it usually is), but at the side of the frame, at the bottom.
And there was a small Santa figurine, nicely placed to the side of the television, blocking the IR-beam.
Moved Santa out of the way, and tadaaa…

Just to let you know, that even if you are tech savy, keep thinking outside the box and look at the obvious first!

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By signing up my household to iCloud family I’m now able to help them locate their phones in the house when they lose them in couches :joy:
(Find my iPhone works across iCloud family and triggering a sound works even if your phone is on silent)

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I had an intern a few years ago who was entering Berkeley as an astrophysics major. She was incredibly smart, so as a summer task I asked her to write a tool that would query online astronomy databases. Turns out, she had never learned to program, and in fact had very limited experience with computers. She had just graduated from our local community college, and her family couldn’t afford a computer growing up. Since we assigned her a Mac, I knew it had Python preinstalled. The next day, we sat in her office and I taught her how to program in Python starting from zero on a whiteboard. She picked it up incredibly fast, and within a week was running her own code. She ended up finishing that project, and adding some UI stuff that I she had to show me how to do. The best part… I wrote her the next summer to see how she was doing. She told me she had a job… working on an instrument for a radio telescope at Berkeley… and that she was their lead software developer. What??? She said, “Of course I’m not the best programmer… not by a long shot. But I’m the only one that loves it!”. I almost cried. Well, ok. I did. On a Mac, all we had to do was open the terminal… everything was there and ready to go.


Hope I’m not too late to enter the giveaway! (Perfect gift for my wife!)
It was in January of 2016 when a friend called me asking for help with a ransomware issue. His wife’s medical research was the victim of a ransomware attack and she didn’t have the latest backup. He had already contacted data recovery specialists here in Korea and they advised him to just pay up the ransom; 1 bitcoin. (Crazy to think it cost “only” around $400~500 then)
He reached out to me as a last minute hail mary, and I was intrigued. I wasn’t an expert on encryption or computer security but as someone who takes computer courses online as a hobby, I dove right in to find a solution. The Korean data recovery specialists were not aware but luckily his wife’s version of ransomware had a weakness that an online forum was able to exploit. I was able to find an encryption key and save the day thanks to the online forum and running the complicated exploit on Terminal on my trusty MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012).
I went on to translate the whole solution and kept it updated on a blog while the specific ransomware and its cousins were exploitable. I estimate I helped hundreds indirectly and 77 directly with my old trusty MacBook Pro. It managed to chug along slowly but ultimately factored out the encryption keys. (The factoring process took anywhere from a few seconds to about a week) It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience getting to dig deeper into encryption and setting up and running various factoring software on my MacBook. It would have been faster on a Linux workstation but nevertheless, my old MacBook was perfectly capable of being the right tool at the right time.

It was really gratifying seeing people light up and even shed tears of joy when photos of their marriage, children, other memories, work related stuff and other valuable data was recovered.
I was eager to tell them about utilizing local backup and online backup (like Backblaze, introduced through MPU!) so that they wouldn’t have to go through the pain of losing precious digital memories again.

Blog Link:

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My ten-year-old son asked me about the autism spectrum because there was a new kid in class who had “this” and the kids were not being nice to him. I tried to describe all I knew about it, but I was not being clear. I pulled out my iPad handed it to him to drive. I guided him through a lesson on Autism. Somewhere between Wikipedia and a TED Talk by Temple Grandin he was sitting on my lap, eyes wide. For 45 minutes he accelerated through his lesson (now completely self-directed). He handed back the iPad and said, “this totally makes sense, and there is no reason for anyone to make fun of him”.

My son had a world of knowledge emanating from a magic screen that had the power to make you completely forget you were holding anything.


My job involves helping veterinary clinics to transition to our iPad app from their old paper systems.
My favorite story is a clinic I visited to assist, and asked about their current process.
They would create a custom spreadsheet for each patient on the computer. Then, print it out and fill it in by hand. At the end of each shift, the staff would then transcribe all the hand written data into the spreadsheet file, make any changes, and print a new copy. At the end of the patient’s stay, they’d attach this spreadsheet to the medical record.
It took them hours a day to do all this duplicate entry.
We handed them software that runs on an iPad, each patient has their own ‘sheet’, and the data entered there is available as a PDF to attach to the medical records.
The staff were so overjoyed and the time they get to spend caring for patients and owners rather than tediously typing into spreadsheets is incredible. Generally, staff appreciate our software but this case was just amazing.
As a small bonus, we also showed them how they can use voice transcription to make detailed notes without the need to type :slight_smile:

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When the iPad 2 came out, I knew immediately that it would be a great present for my husband. I imagined him being able to use it for down-time activities at home at the end of the day and maybe the odd email and keeping his calendar, though I thought he might be a little resistant (he’s a telecommunications engineer, but it’s me, a languages graduate, who’s the tech nerd).

An older close family member (let’s call her Mrs I) was diagnosed with ALS just around the same time. We had been struggling for months to help her get to grips with a PC that my husband had spare, but she was finding it hard to understand and remember everything.

When I gave the iPad to my husband, I explained my reasoning for getting it and added that, if he didn’t really see himself using it, we could show Mrs I how to use it so that she could utilise it, and maybe he could borrow it back occasionally.

Well, my husband leapt into the iPad and made it an essential part of his daily life, including his job, with the help of David Sparks’ “iPad at work” book, which I also gave him, so it never really left his hands. Within a month, he decided that Mrs I could really benefit from one but we couldn’t afford the cost of a new iPad 2 so we bought and gave her a secondhand original iPad. (Incidentally, a few months after giving him the iPad, he bought one for every engineer in his small business).

By now, Mrs I was beginning to have severe speech difficulties (her voice was affected before her mobility) so she was delighted to be able to write to her friends instead of chatting to them on the phone every few days.

  • I set up an email address,
  • I set up Skype
  • I found an app that would allow her to send and receive messages to/from all her children’s and grandchildren’s phones; iOS, Nokia and Android (its no longer in development)
  • I set up Flipboard for her to be able to read interesting content, including National Geographic, certain other magazines and her daily newspaper with the flick of a finger (she could no longer manage to turn pages in the paper versions)
  • I ripped/digitised her favourite CD and vinyl albums and loaded them on the iPad, using my Mac
  • I converted and loaded video footage of her 50th wedding anniversary celebrations that had been organised, in secret, by all her children, so that she could watch it any time she wanted
  • I loaded books so she could read classics she’d never had time for
  • I loaded photos of her grandchildren and of memorable moments of her life
  • We loaded text to speech apps so she could “have a voice” again
  • We loaded a handwriting app so that she could communicate with those around her quicker than with typing

Her children and older grandchildren greeted the project enthusiastically and began sending her things and even installing other apps they thought would be great for her.

  • She’d sit with her youngest grandson, still a toddler, and show him how to play on the piano or bang the drums in GarageBand and keep him delighted for ages.
  • She’d encourage younger grandchildren to draw pictures in Paper by 53, which she could then keep and easily access later.
  • Whenever we went on a trip, we’d all send her photos and videos so that she could “travel” with us, especially if we went to places to which she had been in the past.
  • She’d exchange emails with her large circle of friends, even managing to persuade some of them to come into the 21st century and “get on the internet”. Whenever they came to call, and asked about the various family members, she’d show them, proudly, all the latest photos on her iPad.
  • She’d put some music on when she went to bed to distract her herself from the pains and terrible anxiety ALS causes and thus lull herself to sleep.
  • When her fourth grandson went to America for a while, he regularly had Skype calls with her. She could see and hear him and could either text back replies or have a family member speak for her, interpreting her gestures (no video, of course, from her side).
  • When her second grandson had a bad accident in a different city and was in hospital for weeks, she could allay her fears by following his progress via messages and photos and, when he came out of complicated reconstructive surgery, he was able to reassure her immediately that he was ok and give her a wave and a kiss via Skype.
  • When her husband had hip-replacement surgery, waiting at the hospital for hours would have been extremely uncomfortable, so her son stayed with her at home and she kept up to speed with what was going on by messaging back and forth with her daughters, who were present in the hospital waiting room and then the patient’s room. Again, a quick wave and silly comment, over Skype, from her husband as soon as he came round assured her that he was just fine.
  • She could show her grandchildren pictures from her past and, with the help of their parent, explain them and tell parts of her life story to them.
  • She kept abreast of her medical appointments in the calendar.
  • We kept a record of her blood sugar readings and insulin intake for her diabetes.
  • Between Doctor’s appointments, she could ask one grandson, a medical student, questions, privately, about her symptoms or treatments and, if he didn’t know the answers, he could go and ask specialists or do research and get back to her.
  • She collaborated with my husband to record some of her wonderful recipes on the iPad, supervising him as he did the cooking and writing up the steps with him in Noteshelf. In this way, she left a personal culinary legacy we can all dip into, since I shared those recipes on Evernote.
  • When, in her last few months, she was unable to attend shows or performances involving her grandchildren, the parents videoed them and I converted and put them on her iPad with my Mac so she could watch them later with the child in question and give her ever-loving feedback. In this way, she was able to see one of her adult grandchildren dance a solo whilst she was in hospital, just a couple of days before she died.

All this would never have been possible without using Apple products. Setting up, maintaining and helping Mrs I to learn how to use the iPad took away some of her incapacity, brought back a fair amount of dignity, provided her solace and comfort - even joy - and allowed her to see and reach beyond the four walls of her ALS “prison” until she was finally released to Heaven.


Ok, this might be overkill, but it’s a great excuse to share a blog post I published several years ago about teaching my dad about accessibility features on the ipad. We laughed our heads off: I hope anyone who reads it has half as much fun as we did when I wrote it. Now he’s been gone almost exactly three years, and I feel him egging me on to “buy the iPhone X already!”

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