Friday, June 18, 2010

Just Genius

I must admit I have been spending quite a bit of time at the Genius Bar. It can be a happy hour, but no liquor is served. In fact, what I get at this bar is technical support with an Apple Genius. .

I don’t mess around, any more, when I can’t figure something out about my iPod, iPhone, iPad or iMac – I go straight to the Genius Bar and get the answer. Appointments are easy to schedule on line or in person and they’re even lined up to help you 24 hours a day at Apple Fifth Avenue. It’s an incredibly powerful (and priceless) perk that comes with the purchase of any Apple product.

My experience with the Geniuses has been very good. They are smart, and kind, and never judgmental. They are incredibly well trained and most of the time they are spot on with the answers. On the occasions they don’t know, they will consult with the literature and with their fellow Geniuses.

Although I generally chalk up my technology issues to my own, sometimes embarrassing ineptitude, I have come to realize the Geniuses are learning all the time too!

As good as they are there are some things about accessibility settings like Voice Over that they are learning right along with me. In fact, I’ve even had the chance to show a Genius a thing or two.

My nephew was showing a friend of his how the iPhone works with Voice Over. He returned the phone to me and asked how to turn back on the screen? I did not know you could turn it off. We shut down and rebooted, pressed all available buttons, the phone was fully operable, but no picture on the screen.

To the Genius Bar I went and they recommended restoring the settings. I agreed. The very next day I was talking with another iPhone user and he showed me the feature he loved most – the screen curtain. Three fingers tapped twice blacks out the screen in Voice Over; two more of the same taps bring it back. It was a lesson learned, just a day late.

During the first week of getting acquainted with my iPad (using Voice Over) I apparently performed a gesture on the iPad screen, unknowingly. As well versed as I am with the double tap and the split tap, suddenly my keyboard was responding to a single tap. It was strange and I did not understand how to type this way or how to get back to the double tap typing (now so comfortable).

Several Geniuses were consulted but we could not return my iPad two-tap typing. When all else failed they recommended “restore settings.” Not so fast, I decided to look further for the solution.

I sent an inquiry to someone who specializes in the development of these brilliant things and got back the answer. There is a new iPad accessibility option in Voice Over for touch typing. I accidentally turned this on with an inadvertent two fingered twist, which activates the ‘rotor,’ followed by a flick that switched mode to touch typing. In this mode you can touch type on the iPad keyboard (I admit I have yet to practice). You can also simply scroll the keyboard with one finger and lift it to type, when you hear the letter, number, or symbol you want. It takes some getting used to.

My most recent opportunity to give back came just a day ago. I have two iPod nanos that tragically lost their ability to speak the menus. Not sure how or why this happens and no one else I encountered seemed to know either. By now I do not take “restore” for an answer, so I reached out for a little insider information and I’m delighted to report my nanos are telling me everything I need to know, again.

I’m going to share this solution with the Genius Bar and with you too: Before you restore, try this: disable voice, sync, then re-enable voice and sync again. This should re-generate the spoken phrases for the contents of your nano. If that doesn't work, then you can certainly try restoring.

It worked!

There is a little genius in everyone – just dying to come out.