Growing up in Southern California, I never drove if I could walk, ride a bike or row a boat. Now my skin is paying for it. But a new app may save me.

Mii Skin” can check for skin cancer, when you feel like postponing a visit to the dermatologist. Due to the pandemic, skin care screenings are down 90 percent, according to USA Today.

Mii Skin Premium, for $25 a year, lets you take a picture of an area, then wait to see if the suspicious spots it flagged have morphed over a 30-day period. If so, it could be a sign of skin cancer. Fortunately, there’s a 30-day free trial. Unfortunately, the free version only lets you keep track of moles, and my skin cancers have always come from red spots. 

To start, I took a picture of a mole on my arm: The app found nothing to flag. But when I took a picture of my face and neck, it found 42 spots to monitor. What can I say, I’m heavily freckled. I’ll  snap another picture in 29 days, before the free trial runs out. That way, I’ll have something to show my dermatologist when she asks if there’s anything I’m worried about. Usually I say no.

The app also comes with a “melanoma predictor.” It said my risk of getting melanoma is “very much above average.” To reach that conclusion, it asked questions like: “Have you had skin cancers cut out more than twice?” Heck yes. I’d guess 12 times. But what, me worry? Nah. I have an excellent immune system now, thanks to green veggies at every meal and plenty of sleep. My dermatologist can’t get over the improvement.

Amazon Tip

Recently, the leader of my creative writing group suggested Lewis Turco’s “The New Book of Forms,” a $4 poetry-book bargain from Amazon. Then he wrote back to say the $4 version wasn’t there after all. But it was. The key is using Google, not Amazon’s own search function, to find stuff.

I’ve often found Amazon products from a Google search that do not show up otherwise. This is even more true of non-Amazon items.

How to Improve a Bad Phone Connection

Yesterday, I called a friend using the free Signal app so it wouldn’t count against her minutes. For the first time, the call quality was in and out. So we both turned off our routers, dialed again, and got a great connection.

A reader said this also works with TVs. Instead of rebooting, just unplug the TV for a minute. The reader got this tip from a technician, but didn’t remember why it works. It just does. 

Getting Photos off your iPhone or iPad

After an agonizing attempt to get iPhone photos to his friends, a reader wrote: “This may be a two-beer, two-Ibuprofen evening.” 

I suggested he try putting the photos on his Windows computer first. But if you look up how to do it, Microsoft suggests using the “import” function in the Windows Photos app, along with iTunes. But that didn’t work for me at all, and is more complex than it needs to be. All you have to do is take the charging cable that came with your iPhone or iPad. Remove the two-prong doohickey from one end and plug it into the USB port on your computer. Plug the other end into the iPad. Now open “File Explorer” in Windows, and click “iPad” or “iPhone” off to the left. Copy photos from it to a folder on your computer, just by dragging and dropping them.

Whenever you’re really stuck, call Apple. The reader who wrote to me said their tech support lady spent a couple of hours with him, until he was almost able to send his photos by email. He’s calling back in a day or two.

Recording Your Screen

Sometimes I want to record a Zoom meeting I’m not the host of, meaning I don’t get the “record” option. For that, a screen recording program is great. These used to cost hundreds of dollars, but I’ve just tried a nice freebie:

RecordCast works on Windows, Macs and Chromebooks, and is coming soon to your phone or tablet. It  includes video editing, which means you can cut out the bad parts.  To get rid of the unnecessary hemming-and-hawing at the beginning of a video, I dragged the left side of the clip until it reached the point where I wanted the video to start. The sound quality wasn’t perfect using my computer’s microphone, but it was good enough. I recorded one of my brilliant moves in my favorite game, Peggle. You can add a voice-over if you wish.

The old adage, “if the product is free, then you are the product,” doesn’t seem to apply here. The company spokesperson said the company plans to make money from its other products. 

Internut is like Yelp for charities. The list of the top 100 has some surprises.  “Palomacy Pigeon and Dove Adoptions” is number three, right after “Endangered Species International” and “Universal Giving.”


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