I had a flashback memory earlier today from when I was a young boy, eating at Bill Knapp’s with my family. This was back in the day when the orders were handwritten in pencil on a paper order pad by the server, using whatever abbreviations they and the kitchen crew had worked out.
At the end of the meal, the server would bring that same order sheet to the table, now “the bill,” with the math calculated manually in pencil by the server. And then my Dad would double-check the math in his head.
Occasionally there would be a dispute over the math, and in my memory, my Dad was always right. But mainly I just thought it was so cool that he could do all of that math in his head, and I couldn’t wait for the day when I would be able to do that, too.
He was a math superhero.
And now I have an iPhone that will do the math for me…
One of my favorite tricks when using my iPhone or iPad — an iOS device — is the little-known Text Replacement tool.
There are times when I’m sending a text message or an email to someone, and I’ve got a long word or phrase to include. I generally prefer to avoid a lot of the common texting acronyms — I would rather spell something out completely. This is where the Text Replacement tool comes in handy.
For instance, my favorite restaurant is P.F. Chang’s. But the restaurant name is a bit cumbersome and time consuming to type out on a small keyboard:
capital-P period capital-F period space capital-C h a n g apostrophe s
So I have a Text Replacement shortcut set up so that whenever I type “PFC” on my iOS device, it’s automatically replaced with “P.F. Chang’s.”
Setting Up Text Replacement Options
To set up Text Replacement options on your iOS device:
Open the Settings app
Scroll down and select Keyboard
Select Text Replacement
Click the + (plus) icon in the upper right corner
The Phrase is the full phrase that you want displayed in your message (from my example, “P.F. Chang’s”)
The Shortcut is what you want to type on the keyboard (from my example, “PFC”)
Repeat as necessary for any additional shortcuts you want to set up
Sample Text Replacement Shortcuts
Here are some of the Text Replacement shortcuts that I have set up for myself:
By the way,
I love you!
123 Main Street, City, State Zip
On my way!
What do you think? What shortcuts would you set up for yourself?
As I’ve posted before, I like using a Daily Log in Evernote to keep track of certain pieces of information for each day. One such piece of information is where I’ve been that day. In the past, I’ve used apps on my iPhone, including Placeme, and then Swarm, which is a spin-off from Foursquare.
While those apps certainly have their strengths and use cases, they also have weaknesses:
I love using Evernote. I use it to take notes, to keep information archived, and just generally to bring structure to my life. And I owe so much to other people — especially Jamie Todd Rubin — for opening my mind to the possibility of what Evernote can do. I love the way he has things automated, and while I’ve used or adapted several of his ideas, I had been looking for a central way to keep track of activities throughout each day. I like being able to go back to a specific day and seeing a summary of what I did for that day.