It was a warm spring evening and everyone looked relaxed and ready for tonight’s meeting. There were several iTune gift cards, two HP printers and an iPad in the raffle tonight. Sales were lively with Tom keeping everyone in line entertained with bits of song and lively conversation. It was a small meeting so the odds were good. Pete Lozzi was our speaker tonight with the theme focusing on the Yelp app and community.
Pete was very excited as he started the meeting. There was a stage set up which he was sure was done just for him. He noted that he didn’t shave his eyebrows this month, last month his daughters had given him a trimmer and told him that his eyebrows were a little overgrown. So he fired up the trimmer and took one eyebrow completely off so the other one had to go too.
In rumors and news, Apple’s World Wide Development Conference (WWDC) happens in June. Developers from all over the world enter a lottery to get tickets to the conference which lasts a week. They can meet with Apple engineers and even have one-on-one meetings with them. All this helps the developers improve iOS and macOS apps. It is also when the public gets its first glimpse of the new version of both OS. There will probably be a new iPhone this year, maybe a new form factor as Apple seems to operate on a two year cycle (one year a new phone; next year a speed bump). We are due for a new phone this year. The iPad might get a speed bump this year also. One of the rumors is that the new iPhone may have more lenses for the camera so it can do more things with photos. The iPhone X and later have two lenses which allows portrait mode. Portrait mode allows you to change the depth of field in a photo you have already taken. If you take a photo using portrait mode, when you go to edit mode a slider appears at the bottom of the screen that lets you make the adjustment. The slider will have a small dot to show you where Apple thinks the best depth of field is for the picture.
Bob White mentioned a problem that had been documented with the new Apple pencil and car fobs. The Apple pencil if fully charged will interfere with the car fob in a way that can keep you from opening your car doors. Bob had actually had it happen to him. Anyway, it is a radio frequency overlap situation. Apple is supposed to be working on a solution.
In questions tonight a member had been using an Apple Time Capsule to do his backups. Comcast had given him a new router and the Time Machine backups had stopped working. Pete said it wouldn’t be an easy solution, but it would involve turning off the router function on the Time Capsule and making sure the Time Capsule showed up on the network. Once that was set up the Time Machine backups should start up again. (Ed. note: Why didn’t he ask whether the member was running his WiFi network from the old router or the Time Capsule? If the Time Capsule, the WiFi on the old router was most likely turned off and this needed to happen on the new router. Just saying!)
A member who was traveling to Ireland asked, since they would be using public WiFi, if they should sign up for a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and,if so, which one would be good. Pete did not feel a VPN was necessary as long as the WiFi networks used were ones that the member would recognize and that would at most ask for an email address and maybe a code to sign in. If a network asks for more than that, don’t sign in. Your iPhone can typically be used as a mobile hot spot to give you a WiFi connection using your cellular data to make the connection to the Internet.
A member inspired by the question on travel asked about an app that could consolidate travel plans in one place. Pete uses Kayak (www.kayak.com). He forwards any confirmation emails he gets to Kayak and they generate a trip for him. The trip will have the information that was contained in the emails and organize it by type of item. You will need to set up a free account and they will try to get you to book your travel through them (Pete doesn’t). Kayak will save a history of your past trips which you can review. You can add items to a trip manually if it is an event or item that you do not get a confirming email. You can store boarding passes in Kayak (Pete uses Wallet on his iPhone). Some airlines know how to add boarding passes to wallet easily and others make you search for the link to use. Wallet will move the boarding pass to the top place when your trip starts and you can have it display on your Apple Watch. You cause the share button in the app to share your trip with friends and family or hit auto share to automatically share your trip.
After the break Pete was back on stage to talk about Yelp. He asked who had a negative opinion of Yelp and a few people raised their hands. Pete explained that Yelp is a community that has very strict rules about buying good reviews or paying to have bad reviews removed. Yelp watches out for people buying good reviews. If they suspect that is happening, they note the reviews as “Not Recommended”. Yelp is a business that makes money by placing ads. Businesses pay to have their business placed at the top of searches but Yelp carefully notes them as “Ads.” Owners with bad reviews can publicly respond to the review or request the review be removed. (Example: If it is not factually true, i.e. a restaurant does not serve a dish that the review mentions). You can mark reviews as helpful or leave a review to help the community. Pete has done enough review that he is a Yelp Elite. He typically leaves about one review per week which can get him perks with certain businesses. He has gone to a couple of restaurants prior to their official openings a a result of being an Elite. Yelp does have competitors, Pete has noticed in his travels that Trip Advisor is more popular on the east coast than Yelp.
You can “Check In” when you go to a business, and you can see a history of your check-ins on Yelp, which is good if you want to remember a place you went to in the past. You do a 3D touch on the app icon to check-in. When you check in, the information on Yelp about the business will open and there will be questions along the bottom of the screen. You don’t have to answer the questions (Pete doesn’t). You can see you check-in history on a map to help you remember where a business was. You can make your check-ins private and check-ins can get you offers of coupons or other incentives.
On the home screen, there are five icons: Me, Search, Deliver, Collection and More. You can do bookmarks for businesses (Collection) which can be sorted by distance from your current location, alphabetically or by date added. They can be shown on a map also. You can bookmark businesses that friends recommend so you can find them later. Pictures are useful in reviews and you can add a picture to your reviews. If you do a search, you can scroll down to skip all the reviews marked as ads. Some reviews may indicate the current wait time at restaurants. You can select an area in Map view and pick a location to search that area for businesses on Yelp. There are slider icons on the top tight part of the screen that will let you filter results. There are a variety of options controlled by the sliders and you can change how the results are sorted. You can sort by “Most Reviewed” to get more reliable results, it will show you how many reviews there are of the business. If you go to a restaurants review and choose get directions, the restaurant will be notified that you have asked.
On restaurant reviews you can check out the review pictures, see the menu, and order take out or delivery, if they offer it. Pete likes reviews that give you more details about the restaurant or business. If you go to a business page, it will show you the number of reviews. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will find the “Not Recommended” reviews, the ones where Yelp questions the validity of the review. You can do lists. Pete has two: Places to Go in Vacaville (where he lives) and Places Not to Go in Vacaville. You can allow people to follow your lists if you want. Reviews live on Yelp forever even if a restaurant closes which can be confusing if you don’t see that the restaurant has closed. Bad reviews that libel or slander can be open to lawsuits by the business owner. Yelp will try to mediate where it can between reviews and businesses. Pete has had an owner want to fight him over a bad review. You choose your name for reviews, choose the picture that shows up with your reviews (some people use photos of their pets). You edit your profile at the yelp.com website. You can use the website to look for places to check out on a trip and bookmark them so they will show up on the Yelp app. You can search the reviews for specific items, like if a restaurant offers vegetarian dishes.
Yelp reviews a lot of things, restaurants, plumbers, doctors, etc. Pete checks the three star reviews to see what got a review dropped from four stars to three.
Pete then had a suggestion for getting recipes from the web. Often, when you look for a recipe on-line, it can take a lot of scrolling on a page to finally get to the recipe. Pete uses and app called Paprika (www.paprikaapp.com) to get recipes. The app will search the page for the actual recipe and gather it. If you do a Google search for the recipe, you hit the share button on your phone to share the page with Paprika and it will find the recipe on the page and save it. Once a recipe is in Paprika, you can generate shopping lists, and scale the recipe up or down within the app. You can add your own recipes to Paprika.
It was then raffle time, with the iTunes gift cards and the printers going first. Pete had his daughter draw the tickets again this month and she did a fine job. For the iPad draw, she had us all stand up and sit down as our tickets were eliminated. All the prizes went home with happy members. I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting, remember to invite someone to come check us out. You can reach me at email@example.com.