Hidden “I’ll call you back” text reply for iOS

I did not know this existed, and I haven’t tried it, and I can’t even find the original source since it pulled up randomly from somewhere on my Reader Suggestions feed, but here’s the text. Sorry for no source:

If you are busy and can’t take an incoming call on your iPhone, or you are already in a call and can’t take the second call, you can press a shortcut to send an SMS with a preset ‘I’ll call you back’ message to the person calling you.

Simply press Volume down + Sleep button while the phone rings (again, this can be done to an new incoming call or when you are already having a phone conversation and a second person is trying to reach you), then it will confirm the phone number, and just have to press send. The number is already in there, but the numeric keyboard comes up in order to change the recipient or make some modification to the number.

A Future for Indianapolis

Matthew Tully has a piece in the IndyStar from this week that just caught my attention. It’s an op-ed on the discussions that incumbent mayor Greg Ballard and challenger Melina Kennedy ought to be having about the future of our city. The op-ed says many folks around town don’t think either of them have much vision. This got me thinking about what I’d do if I were running for mayor…

Mass Transit

According to Tully, plenty of people want to see mass transit in the city. I don’t disagree that a lot of people want to see Indianapolis develop a great mass transit system. I just don’t think Indianapolis can support one – whether its more busses, light rails, trains or flying cars. Metro Indianapolis, however, probably could.

Indy’s transit woes come from our spread out, un-dense city. This is because the city is surrounded by a whole lot of nothing. Space and land is cheap, so why should or would someone build a house for $200,000 in Marion County when they can get the same thing for $150,000 in Hamilton County and enjoy a lot more peace and quiet?

My proposal: developing the Indianapolis Regional Metropolitan Area, which would include Marion, Hamilton, Hancock, Shelby, Johnson, Morgan, Hendricks and Boone Counties. My pie-in-the-sky idea would be to merge all of these areas into a sort of super-city with a much larger tax base, better equity in schools and highway construction and shared interest. County Councils in those counties should elect a single county executive to serve on the expanded City-County Council and a plan to phase out local county councils should be put into place. Those people can then go on to serve in the larger Metro-Council as a sort of “mini legislature”. People in the suburbs have to get over their fear of the “big city” and realize they wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for that city.

With this combined area, taxes could be collected at similar rates that pour into a single pot to better the interests of this region. Those taxes can be used to fund schools, roads, cleanup, etc., but also a better mass transit system. When everyone pays into the system, everyone is more involved in the system, as it should be.

Start with increasing bus service per IndyConnect’s recommendations and expand on as necessary. Mass transit in Indianapolis is not a problem. The problem, as can be witnessed by any traffic report on a weekday, is always suburbanites on I-69, I-70 and I-65 coming from Fishers, Avon, Plainfield, Lebanon and Greenwood.

Parks and Green Space

According to Tully’s article, a number of people want to see green space improved and increased. This is kind of a weird request since most people would come to our city and assume the whole thing is “empty green space” compared to most other cities, but it’s worth thinking about.

My proposal: charter parks. They’re plenty of plots of empty earth in Marion County. I say we open the door to a sort of public-private system of parks. I see no reason why, say, Eli Lilly wouldn’t be interested in developing a park with recreational facilities and open space as a sort of benefit to their employees. It could be used by Lilly during the day and open to the public in the early mornings, evenings and weekends and holidays. Likewise with spaces on IUPUI’s campus which are, for all practical matters, completely closed to the public. Let the city furnish a lifeguard or two for the pool and let the public use it for free in the evenings. The pool’s always on, the lights are always on and it’s always ready-to-be-used. It’s just that IU, a public school, won’t allow it.

Crime

The other big to-do seems to be crime. Crime is, evidently, a natural part of living in a city. To be blunt, this is a very complex issue that raises too many issues to be solved with any one tactic.

My proposal: never mind extra police and security. Unless you can station an office at every street corner in the city, the very nature of police work is a reactionary after-the-fact service.

Instead, it’s going to take years of proper education, civility and cultural changes to get to a safe city and even then, I don’t think it can be achieved. Some people are just bad apples for one reason or another.

So how do you kind of scoop them up to alleviate some of the problems now? My suggestion would be hostels. Not a homeless shelter, but hostels. Places for people to go and live for cheap rates or where they can work in exchange for a place to live. Whether they’re publicly-owned or private, I don’t know. I prefer public-private partnerships when they can be done fairly, well and with the city’s best interests at heart.

When you realize that most living quarters fall into two categories: free or not-at-all-cheap, you leave a lot of gray area. A mother and child can’t live in a shelter, they can’t always afford an apartment and certainly not a house. Rent in this city is, at best, $400 a month if you want to live in near squaller conditions. $550+ gets you someplace at least a little attractive and that still includes the scant few studio apartments in town.

Dorm-like hostels could allow people to live comfortably, like in an apartment, for around $250 or $250 a month without the high costs associated with the rent as more people can fill a given area. If you build the structure with those needs in mind, you can build a building that’s cost-effective and easy to maintain.

It doesn’t have to be extravagant. In fact, I’d argue it shouldn’t be so as to encourage people to save up and move on to someplace better. That could keep a lot of slightly disadvantaged people from spending time on the streets or begging for money. It would also give police another tool besides jail to help people stay out of trouble.

From the people who brought us YouTube comments…

I don’t know why Apple allows people to make comments about apps in the App Store. They’re completely useless and pointless. They offer no value and are usually wrong. Here’s one for World of Goo, arguably one of the best games available on the Mac, plus the soundtrack is downright awesome:

well it may be a cool application on itouch or ipad. but definitely not fun on a mac. the graphic is not good enough and u can even see the pixels. Anyways it doesnt worth 9.99 dollars at all!!!!

Double points for calling it an “iTouch” and complaining that he sees pixels while simultaneously demonstrating no understanding of third grade English.

Recent Banner Work

I don’t do print work very often, but I seem to have done quite a bit lately. Here are three banners I did recently for a good client of mine. These are the kind that stand up from floor to ceiling on those little “popup” stands.

Reaction Strike Popup Banner

This one’s my favorite and done completely from scratch, too. The water, rays, sea bed and bubbles are all done with various filters and overlays. No images are inserted beyond the photographs.

Reaction Strike Popup Banner

This one’s, uh, different. I must confess that the idea came to me by way of another person, but fits with their market. The lures featured are all colored in the “Sexy” style. That’s really the name of the color. So, imagine an expo with a bunch of fishermen. That’s the target audience and I figured this would get some attention. Again, all custom background imagery using filters, brushes and overlays. I did use a picture of smoke from iStock on this one, too. I also took the photos of the lures.

Castaic Banner

This is one for another brand, but owned by the same company. Pretty simple and the first one I did among the three. The goal here was to feature the photos, per their request. So, the sky fades out and into a black texture at the top, which is in line with the rest of the branding for the company. In retrospect, I should have centered the text instead of left-aligning it.