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Technically Speaking APPetizers: Byte size tidbits

For your reading convenients below you will find all the Technically Speaking APPetizers: Byte size tidbits published in 2018

January 2018

Exploring Workflow in iOS
I am at my doctor’s appointment and I need to let my wife know I am done and ready to be picked up. I could swipe and tap and use the on-screen keyboard to create my message, Or, I could use SIRI. Nope. I want a third option. I want to automatically create this message and then I can send it to my wife. I found a great app that will help me do this project and a whole lot more. Best of all, the app is free from the Apple app store.

The Workflow app ( can help you save time and frustration by automating a process on your iDevice. The process is called a workflow, like the app. Consider the swiping and typing you spend to send one message. You can create a workflow to do this for you. You can also use a workflow that will email a monthly meeting reminder to a group, speed dial that important someone or a group call, message your family when you arrive home, convert a document to .PDF, remind you of a task when you get to work, or send a tweet or a Facebook post.

A workflow is like cooking from a recipe where you follow the steps or actions in your recipe to create something yummy. Workflow actions are the tasks you can perform in the apps on your iDevice. The Gallery includes a lot of recipes or sample workflow examples that you can use or customize. You can also build a workflow from scratch and choose your actions from a list. For example, you can add a new event in your calendar, select a contact, record audio, dictate text, select a photo, or specify a GPS location and address. You can run a workflow from the app, from an icon on your Home screen, or from the Today Widget in the Notification Center.

The key to a good recipe or workflow is defining your task and identifying the actions needed. I want to send a simple message to my wife when I double-tap an icon on my Home Screen. I would like to create it once and reuse it any time. Basically, I want to set it and forget about it. This recipe translates into two actions: specify message text and create message to a recipient.

Now it is time to do some cooking. I need to create a workflow and add my ingredients. I create a new workflow by double-tapping Add Workflow button. I will choose Normal Workflow. Next, I switch between Actions and Workflow view. In the Action list, I find and drag a “Specify Message Text” action to the right of the screen and drop it to add it to the Workflow list. I write the text, “I am ready” in the text field. Next, I will add a “Create Message” action and add my wife’s mobile number from the contact list. Finally, I will try my workflow by double-tapping on the “Run Workflow” button. I can easily edit or change each action. Finally, Under Workflow Settings, I name my workflow as “Ready.” Now, I can run it from the Workflow app anytime.

I want to add my workflow as an icon on my Home screen. I will choose Add to Home Screen in the Settings Menu and follow the on-screen instructions. Now, I can run this workflow by double-tapping on a screen icon. You can also share your workflow with someone else, by choosing Share Workflow.

I am Ready Workflow Recipe:
1. Create workflow and choose Normal.
2. Add the Text action from the action menu.
3. Enter your message text.
4. Add the Send Message action.
5. Choose the recipient from your contact list.
6. Play workflow to test it.
7. Add to Home Screen.
8. Enjoy and share with friends!

The Workflow app is a powerful tool that will save you a lot of swipes and taps. Take some time and try a few of the workflow examples in the Gallery. Start with something simple and useful like the workflow above. Once you understand how it works, customize a workflow or create a new one. If you create something that helps you, consider sharing it with another iUser. Have fun and you will get the hang of Workflow in no time.

Resource List:
You can learn more about Workflow from the getting started tutorial in the app. The Workflow app website has helpful documentation and examples. I also included some links to videos that provide a good overview of the Workflow app and how students with disabilities are using it.

Workflow Website:

Workflow Documentation:
How to use Workflow

Closing the Gap - Luis Perez presentation:
Getting started with Workflow

Luis Perez Workflow app video tutorial:
Creating a Workflow

Logan Project - How Workflow can assist learners with disabilities:
Workflow and those with disabilities

March 2018

Speed Dial Telephone Conference Call Using iPhone

I participate in various blind discussion groups by dialing into an automated telephone conference system using my iPhone. The group leader provides me with the phone number and an access code that I need to enter for each session. After many swipes and taps, I get into the call. I want to enter this information once and have my iPhone speed dial for me thereafter.

Getting Started
I’ll show you how to create a new Contact where you can enter the phone number and access codes to dial into the conference system. I’ll also show you how to create a favorite and include it in your notifications center. As a bonus, I’ll provide a Workflow that you can create and save it to your Home screen or to your notification center.

Create Contact
The Contact app allows you to create an information card for a person, a company, or even a blind discussion group. (If you are new to creating contacts, please check out the resources below.) Let’s create a contact that will connect you to your telephone conference and mute your phone when you join the call.

Create a new contact and enter the name of your telephone conference name under “Company.” The address card will appear in alphabetical order in the contacts list.
Next, add a corresponding phone label or create a custom label. Enter the telephone conference number using the number keypad.
Select the Shift key and double-tap. This menu allows us to add a comma (pause) and a number sign (hashtag). Add 2 commas to allow time for the conference system to give voice instructions.
Next, insert the access code and then a number sign (hashtag). You can also add 5 to mute your phone when joining the discussion.
SIRI will read Number as: 605 475-4120 comma comma 4452 number sign comma 5.

Contact Example
Company: Blind Tech Discussion
Label: Telephone Conference
Number: (605) 475-4120,,4452#,5

Edit the address card to change/add other information. You can share it with other participants via a message or by email.
Select “Share Contact” at the bottom of the screen and follow the prompts. Now, you can call the contact and join the call.

Speed Dial using Favorites
Let’s add the telephone conference contact to the list. Open Favorites in the Dial app and add the telephone conference discussion contact.
You can re-arrange or delete a contact in your Favorites list by choosing the edit button at the top right of the screen.
You can access this favorite from Today view in the Notification Center from your Home Screen or from your Lock Screen.

Speed Dial using WorkFlow
Let’s create a new Workflow from the Gallery and add it to “My Workflows.” You can save the Workflow on your Home Screen or in Notifications for speedy access.

Speed Dial Telephone Conference Workflow Recipe
1. Open Workflow app and choose Gallery tab.
2. Find “Speed Dial” under Quick Shortcuts.
3. Choose “Get Workflow” and go back to Workflow Screen. Choose “My Workflows” tab.
4. Open Workflow named “Speed Dial.”
5. Select “Add Contact” and select your telephone conference.
6. Open “Workflow Settings” and change name to your telephone conference.
7. Choose “Access the Workflow from Home Screen and follow the prompts. You can also add it to the Today Widget in the Notification Center by selecting “Today Widget” in the “What Type Menu.”
8. Test workflow and make changes as necessary.
9. Your Workflow will appear in the “My Workflows” view tab.
10. You’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Final Thoughts
Creating a speed dial for your telephone conference call can save you time and frustration. Consider creating a speed dial for or other automated menu systems like your doctor’s office or pharmacy. Create your contact and decide where you want to speed dial the call: in your Favorites, Home Screen icon, or Workflow app. Add the speed dial to your notification center and join the call on the go from your new iWatch. Make some notes so you can create other speed dial contacts and workflows. Maybe you can help another person connect to the telephone conference. Good Luck!

Making and Receiving Phone Calls

Adding a New Contact

November 2017: Make a Quick Call on Your iPhone

January 2018: Exploring Workflow in iOS

Using Workflow App

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