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Post image for 7 Unique Ways my Kids Use the iPhone

The Apple iPhone is a necessity in our household, at least my kids tell me it is. It seems that the iPhone is practically grafted to the hands of my children as they walk around the house. I almost think that they are going to grow another appendage for them to simply carry it and use their other two hands to do everything else. It’s often a battle to pry it out of their grasp when they go to bed or need to do their homework.


And now, with the announcement of the Apple iPhone 5 out in the general public, they, of course, want one. We apply a trickle-down policy in our household. As the parents upgrade, the older iPhones make their way down the food chain. I believe our dog now has an iPhone 3G and he sure is good at texting his four-legged pals.

But what really amazes me are the use cases that my daughters have come up with using their iPhones. And I thought that I would share the common and creative uses. Oh, and if you have an iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5 or an iOS device that supports the magic of Siri, you might want to read this article: “iOS 5 Tip: Using Siri As A Spell Checker and Spelling Assistant – Spelling Test Results!” since a couple of the examples below are related to homework.


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Microsoft has been including IE7 in all of the latest Critical Updates. It’s getting harder and harder to avoid installing. At my work, we recently had to roll back some of our users’ machines to remove IE7 so that an automated testing software could run properly on IE6. So that got me thinking (and searching) and I found this great installer that lets you install earlier versions of IE (without really messing up your system). It installed fine and seems to work pretty well (had a couple of crashes on some of the versions, but not a big deal).

I then started thinking some more…what would a lot of the sites that we use today (Web 2.0 sites, sites with lots of CSS or DHTML, DIVs, etc.) look like on those earlier versions. So just for fun, I decided to take screenshots of my blog with each browser. Below are the results. It’s a pretty fun (and funny) evolution. (Also, I love how the theme that I use still works in terms of push the “use Firefox” message!). For the release information, I found this useful Wikipedia source.

IE 3.0 – Released in August 1996

IE3.0 - HTD site

Comments: Wow, look ma, no color or images or text formatting

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Okay Mac/Wikipedia users, this one is for you. Have you ever found yourself lost navigating through the incredible amount of links and cross links within Wikipedia? It’s truly hard to use the back button to go back and forth throughout Wikipedia when your exploration is truly multi-layered. You need a breadcrumb trail and a way to link all of the different pages you discover together.

This is where Pathway comes in to play. Instead of using your boring ol’ browser to go through the related and non-related links, fire up Pathway and visually track where you go, save your path, explore some more, save it again, come back a few days later and pick up where you left off.

You start off by adding a page to your list [note, click on the thumbnails to see larger images]:

Pathway - new page

Once you add the page (and you don’t even have to have an actual name of the page in Wikipedia because if the page cannot be found, a search results page is displayed). If you do get a hit on the page name, the page name shows in the “page network” and below in the page browser, you see the actual Wikipedia page. For fun, I chose “blog” as my starting page:

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The origins of the phrase “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” may not be truly known, the phrase, on the other hand is. Wikipedia has a small write-up of the expression and its various possible origins. On a trip to Lake Tahoe last year, my wife and I took the opportunity to have our own “monkeys” give life and meaning to the phrase.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil