GSE353 Home Smart Home

Photo by Lexi T on Unsplash

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On episode 353 of Geekiest Show Ever, we discuss how we’ve been hacking our way through this pandemic. Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShow

Elisa and I discuss the merits of using the word ‘hacker’ to describe someone who does something good with technology superpowers. Here is an article written by Chris Williams of The Register that examines the etymology in depth and where it might end up in our lexicons: So it appears some of you really don’t want us to use the word ‘hacker’ when we really mean ‘criminal’

Terrible UI Prize Goes to Vaccine Registration Sites

COVID-19 Vaccine appointment scheduling has been frustrating to say the least, but we are finally starting to feel like we’re making some progress. Elisa has flexed her online ticket-ordering muscles and now has appointments down and underway! I finally managed to get an appointment for one family member and now I must wait my turn.

iPhoneography Tip

If you put a Pop-Socket on your iPhone 12 mini case, beware of flash flare. Mine has a white border around its edge. I noticed this back in December when I took some night shots of my Christmas tree and had to remove the Pop-Socket disc to avoid the white flare that showed up in my photos. Get one that has a black edge or run a marker around it to reduce glare.

Reminders App Troubleshooting & Tips

There was recently an update to watchOS and I was disappointed to find that after the update, my problem still persisted when it came to adding personal reminders using Siri on my Apple Watch. When I raise my wrist, it was STILL adding it to my shared Home list instead of my default Reminders list. It just kept frustrating me, so I decided that I would try one more time to see if I could reset the default list by disabling iCloud and unpairing then repairing my Apple Watch. I had tried it once before and it at least changed the default list on my Apple Watch from one of my shared lists to another of my shared lists, so I thought maybe I might get lucky and it turns out that I did.

On my iPhone, first I made a manual iCloud backup. Then I took a deep breath and disabled iCloud just for Reminders. iOS asks if you want to keep or delete a copy of the Reminders on your iPhone so I took another deep breath and tapped delete. Next, I unpaired my Apple Watch, powered both devices off and then re-paired my Apple Watch. When that was complete, I re-enabled iCloud Reminders on my iPhone. Once I flipped the switch back on for Reminders in iCloud, all of my reminders came back onto my iPhone and then eventually they came back on my Apple Watch as well. I wrestled with one or two new lists that got added that were duplicates, but eventually I got it ironed out. Prior to rebooting, I also disabled then re-enabled Siri after erasing Siri history in there for good measure. My Apple Watch is finally back to the exhibiting the expected behavior of putting a personal reminder on my Reminders list as default.

Reminders Tip: Add a Reminder from Another App

Prior to going through that process, I thought I might see if Apple had any new instructions about this issue. While I was researching, I discovered that they recently updated their Help Topic article on March 6, 2021 entitled “Use Reminders on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.” There is a new feature explained near the bottom that tells you how to make a new reminder directly from something else in another app. I never thought to try this before, but I’ve always wanted to because so many times I’ve received a text, usually from a client, and I read it, but then didn’t have time to respond so I end up manually making a reminder the long way so that I don’t forget to reply. Most times I just don’t tap the message and leave the dot there so I know to go back and read it, but then the unread dot makes me feel anxious so then I have to tap it! My teenager taught me that you can long-press on a text to preview what it says without marking it as read, so I may try and train my muscle memory to do that more often. For now, I’m really happy with saying, “Remind me about this in an hour” while looking at the text I can’t yet respond to and hope that it will lessen some FOMO. Here is the link to the article:

Home Smart Home

Smart Life app:

I am so proud of the geekery I pulled off last week! I now have the pleasure of citing Siri incantations to perform spells that control the brightness of our living room lamps. At night we now can say “Hey Siri, Living Room Off!” It’s quite fun.

I just have to say that I can not believe there isn’t already an embroidered pillow out there that says “Home Smart Home” on it! Shouldn’t that be a thing?

What I learned through the process of setting up these “spells” is that if you do not craft your incantations to be short, simple, and easy to say, you probably just won’t use them and you might even annoy a spouse in the process. I was trying to make a distinction between bright lights and dim lights when I created mine, but what I really needed was a simple on, off and then another variation. Here are screenshots of the modification I made to the “incantation” we must now speak to make them work the way we like.

Check the Apple Security Updates page to see if your Apple gear is up to date.

Do you have questions about what you heard in this episode? Please send us your feedback. We’d like to hear from you. Let us know about a tech topic that interests you.

Elisa can be found at @senseidai or
Melissa can be found at @TheMacMommy or

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GSE352 Bug Report

Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

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On episode 352 of Geekiest Show Ever, we discuss some of the troubleshooting experiences we’ve had over the past several weeks to keep our technology mostly working for us and not so much the other way around. We discuss the methods we use with our password manager to create new accounts more efficiently, how to deal with Keychain or web browser password saving conflicts, and more. Melissa files a bug report with Apple! Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShow


Use a password manager to pre-populate the fields on a web form

Instead of just filling out the fields on a website form then trying to take notes later, why not START by PRE-populating the fields in your password manager? This way, as you’re filling out the fields you can copy and paste and it will cut down on errors in data entry.

Elisa recommends using a clipboard manager for storing information to copy and paste. This makes data entry easier and more efficient, too. She also recommends using the password generator tool to help you come up with goofy answers to password reset or security questions. Remember, it doesn’t have to be the CORRECT answer, but “Aluminum-Foil ™” is already taken. 🙂

Here is a screenshot that shows the website form fields you need to fill out when creating a new “mySocial Security” account online. We’ll use this as an example because it’s one of the websites that has created a lot of friction for people when they try to sign up. It has a lot of parts to it. You need to pick: a username, password, three password reset questions, and three answers to those questions. That’s eight pieces of unique information in one go! On top of it, the password you pick must meet a specific criteria which they list in the instructions, but if you’re filling out the form and you make a mistake, you might have to start over in an area or you might forget what questions and answers you chose. It can be frustrating if you do not document everything in a safe and accessible place right away.


You could use this method for pre-populating the login entry in your password manager ahead of time. Here is a screenshot of what it might look like in 1Password:

Foam ear tip replacements for AirPods Pro are really helping to reduce ear fatigue. I forget I have them in my ears when I have the foam tips on. Phone calls are soooo much better now. I don’t dread making phone calls nearly as much as I used to. Now, if only I could get better battery life! Since I forget I’m wearing them, the battery drains more quickly. I have gotten better about putting them back into the case to charge, but it’s a habit one has to learn.

Network Issues

Elisa’s Internet Connectivity Experience

Internet speed and consistency is a problem we all deal with from time to time. After rebooting your computer and trying some troubleshooting techniques like booting into Safe Mode, if the problem still persists, it might be worth taking a look at your modem or router. If it’s more than a few years old, it might be time to replace it. If your ISP supplies the hardware, get the speeds you pay for by keeping your equipment up to date.

Hardware Issues

Melissa’s AirPods Pro Replacement Experience

My beloved AirPods Pro ended up being a lemon, sadly. The good news is that it was really easy to get them replaced by Apple under warranty with their DIY exchange program. I purchased them back in November of 2020. First there was a case ID support ticket generated where we triaged the issue over the phone. It was determined that a replacement was in order. They put a hold on my Apple Card and sent me the two replacement parts. I put the defective parts into the boxes and shipped them back and they released the hold on my Apple Card. The whole process took only a few days from start to finish. One of the troubleshooting suggestions was to see if I could locate another set of AirPods Pro to test, but that proved futile. After a doctor appointment, since I was already out of the house, I stopped by our local Authorized Apple Repair place as well as a Best Buy, but neither had a spare AirPods Pro set they could use to help me rule out whether it was the case or just the AirPod for the left ear. When I called Apple back and told them, they initiated a replacement by mail. I could have skipped this part altogether, but I was really curious about what a test might reveal. All told, I was only without my AirPods Pro for about a week and I’m happy to have them working again. I really, really missed them while I couldn’t use them. If this happens to you, it might help to know what options you have.

Troubleshooting Siri with Reminders app issue on Apple Watch Experience

It used to be that whenever I’d raise my wrist then speak the phrase, “Remind me to check the washer in 15 minutes,” Siri would tell me she’d gotten it and the reminder would go automatically to my “Reminders” list because that’s the list I have set as my default list. I used that feature all the time until one day, when I glanced at my watch, I noticed that the reminder I’d just set was being put onto a “Finance” list that I share with my husband. I thought, “This is wrong, I don’t want him getting MY reminders showing up on his Apple Watch or iPhone while he’s trying to conduct classes. How annoying!” (I use Reminders a lot.) So, down the rabbit hole I went trying to document the issue and discovered it somehow became a bug since the last watchOS update. I was able to get the issue escalated to Apple’s Engineering department. It was actually fun talking to one of the Engineers and to see the diagnostic process that’s involved in logging the issue with them. Still no solution, but I’m happy to know it wasn’t something I was neglecting to do. I’ll report back if the problem gets fixed in a future update.

Do you have questions about what you heard in this episode? Please send us your feedback. We’d like to hear from you. Let us know about a tech topic that interests you.

Elisa can be found at @senseidai or
Melissa can be found at @TheMacMommy or

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