We have several friends who bought new iPads when they ran out of storage space for their photos. That gets expensive.

Savvy readers will shake their heads. Why not use the cable that came with the iPad? All you have to do is plug it into the computer to transfer files using iTunes. For more info, search on the phrase “Use iTunes to transfer files between iPad  and Windows (or Mac).” If you don’t have enough space left on your computer, you can buy external hard drives dirt cheap. 

A reader asked if photo sticks would be easier to use. Some claim to instantly remove your photos from one device onto the stick. Then when you put the stick in your computer they automatically transfer the photos over. We’re zero for two in the two we’ve tried so far.

A few years back we tried the $36 – $50 “HooToo,” but it conked out and stopped working after the first few tries. More recently, we tried the 128 gigabyte  “iPhone Flash Drive” from SeaWolf. The price is great, just $17 compared to around $30 for other flash drives that can be used with iPhones and iPads. One end of the SeaWolf plugs into any USB port; the other end plugs into an iPhone or iPad. However the user guide is the size of a matchbook cover with type so tiny it can only be read by an ant.  

Our favorite way to free up storage space is to use the free Google Photos app. It comes on Android devices but can be installed on an iPhone or iPad. With Google Photos, you get unlimited photo storage. Just choose “high quality,” instead of “original resolution.” High quality is plenty good enough for viewing photos on a screen; in fact it’s 16 megapixels. Enable “automatic backup” in the app settings. Alternatively, if you’re an Amazon prime member, you get unlimited photo storage with the free Amazon Photos app.

Banking at Home

Chase bank encouraged us to use their free app to deposit checks. What the heck, it sounded like a good idea.

The Chase app works like a charm and we suppose other banking apps are similar. You log in with your username and password, then tap the link to deposit checks. If you choose the automatic method, the app snaps a picture of the check as you hold your phone over it. But here’s the weird part. Though the app had all our info correct as far as our Chase credit card and bank balance, it had an unfamiliar routing number and the wrong account number. We called Chase but the woman who answered sounded sleepy. So we went ahead and fixed the account number but couldn’t change the routing number. In any event, it worked. Within seconds, our $5 deposit showed up in our account. Whoopee! Feeling confident, we deposited two more checks successfully.

Turn out the Lights

The big name in smart light bulbs and smart switches is Philips Hue. But a cheaper way to go is TreatLife, from You can get a four-pack of smart switches for $60 instead of a single Philips switch for $25. Smart switches allow you to use a stronger bulb when you want to create a light show or put your lights on a schedule. In our experience, the typical smart bulb is a dud.

TreatLife’s big innovation is their ability to control lights in two locations. You can use the TreatLife app or command Alexa or Google to dim the lights or turn off the fan. Unless you’re familiar with home wiring, however, you’ll probably want to use an electrician for installation, though there are YouTube videos showing you how to do it.


  • Arches made of orchids, New York Botanical Garden

    Watch These Six Flower Bloom Events From Your Couch.” Search on that phrase to find links to the world’s great flower shows, now available virtually. They include the Chelsea Flower show in London, the Keukenhof in Lisse, Holland, and a native plant show in Los Angeles.

  • Ten Surprising Facts about Ordinary Household Objects.” Search on that phrase to find an article from The fork was once considered immoral, unhygienic, and a tool of the devil. In 1004, when a niece of a Byzantium emperor brought a set of golden forks to her wedding, then died of the plague three years later, Saint Peter Damien pronounced it God’s punishment. Damien closed the book on the fork in Europe for the next 400 years.
  • shows you where the Covid-19 virus is infecting the most people on a map of the U.S. Click the “Trends” tab to see how it’s going. The map was put out by Kinsa, the makers of a thermometer. Data from Kinsa thermometers, which is uploaded to the web, have been shown to be more predictive of virus trends than information from the Center for Disease Control.
  • has lots of crafts you can make and sell, such as bath bombs. It also includes sketching lessons.

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