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Spokt Recommends: New Apple TV

The New Apple TV

We love gadgets around here, so of course we ordered the new Apple TV last week. We have been having a (mostly) great time as we’re becoming familiar with the 4th iteration of Apple’s streaming set-top box. If you have a television set and are into online streaming content as much as we are, then that alone makes Apple TV pretty much a no-brainer.

For example, my Vizio 4k “Smart” TV offers pretty much the same apps that the Apple TV offers, with two major differences: First, where the interface and navigation vary from app to app on the Vizio (making it difficult to jump between services), the Apple TV unifies video control across all video apps. It’s nice to jump from Netflix to the TED app while maintaining a seamless navigation experience when scrubbing, pausing, and even turning subtitles on and off. It’s dead easy, and it makes online watching the simplest I’ve ever seen (by a landslide).

One Big problem – And a Fix


One of the first (and thankfully only) problems that will likely cause you consternation when you first power on the Apple TV is text input. While you can quickly get accustomed to inputting characters for logins, passwords, and searches, one is struck with initial feelings of frustration due to the lack of soft keyboard (from your iPhone) or the ability to connect a bluetooth keyboard. The silver lining is that Apple has built in some great ways to shortcut the process of text input. We’re certain Apple will offer more options in the coming months, but you’ll feel much more comfortable once you learn a few basic tricks, even without a proper qwerty keyboard.

Hidden Tricks make Password Entry Twice as Fast

There is a “Case & Symbol” selector tool at the bottom of every input screen where you can choose between uppercase, lowercase, and symbols. (There is also a “RECENT” shortcut in some cases which we’ll cover next).

You will immediately notice that alternating between upper and lower case is a bit of a drag. That’s where the two hidden alt-caps tricks come in. Simply PRESS THE PLAY/PAUSE BUTTON to switch between uppercase and lowercase alphabets.


Alternatively, you can click + hold on any letter for about one second and you’ll see an option appear to choose the opposite case, as well as alternate characters if they exist for that letter (think Γ± or ΓΌ). Click on your desired character and continue on with your text entry.



These actually end up being fairly effective time-savers since you won’t be traversing the three rows of the standard “keyboard” (saving two trips to capitalize and de-capitalize for a single uppercase letter, for instance).

Recent Logins

Another great time-saver is the “Recent” option. If you’re logging in, you can choose from recent email addresses or login IDs that you have previously used. This step will cut your typing time in half. Again.


4-Digit Passcode to compliment your Strong Passwords


The second thing that worried me when I fired up the Apple TV was feeling torn between entering my strong password every time I purchase content or turning off the password requirement entirely, an option that is far from ideal when young children are also using the Apple TV. However, I have since discovered this was a non-issue. Apple offers a good balance between keeping your strong passwords AND keeping the surprise iTunes bills at a minimum when others are using the device by allowing you to set a 4-digit passcode. To enable the passcode prompt for purchases, simply navigate to the General -> Restrictions in the Settings app and set your passcode. From there, you can also decide whether to allow or block Purchases and Rentals on the iTunes store, and block In-App Purchases entirely if you prefer.


Be sure to set Accounts -> iTunes and App Store -> Password Settings -> Require Password to “Never” in the Settings app and set “Require Password” to “No” under FREE DOWNLOADS if you are comfortable relying only on the 4-digit passcode to verify purchases.

Now that you’re all set up and a pro at adding content, it’s time to play. Here are a few apps we recommend to get you started.

Spokt Recommended Titles

1) Burd Turd – Our friends over at Uhhhmagine Games have created a silly but surprisingly challenging (and addictive) game called Burd Turd. The game revolves around a mother duck named Gertrude who has unwittingly flown onto a busy highway, with her baby ducklings following behind her on the ground below. We can’t say for sure why the angry drivers are trying to smash the baby ducklings, but it’s your job to steer Gertrude over the cars to drop “turds bombs” on them, thus forcing them off the road and thereby saving the helpless ducklings. You gotta be quick and nimble, avoiding the power lines which when touched will turn Gertrude into a cooked goose. It’s a fun arcade-style game that has entertained children and adults alike at our home. Also, it looks like they’re giving away some free downloads to early birds, so hit them up at their twitter page while they’re available!


2) Crossy Road – An all around entertaining game where you cross a series of busy roads, rivers, and train tracks. I haven’t gotten very far. It’s well designed and friendly. It’s also fairly challenging, but fun.


3) Alto’s Adventure – The real selling point of this game is its beauty. It’s almost like a serenely beautiful interactive screen saver. You guide a llama rancher-turned-snowboarder down an endless series of mountains, avoiding the occasional obstacle and mastering tricks. Don’t let that fool you though, this is less about snowboarding or llamas as it is about tranquil but challenging gaming with plenty of eye candy stemming from the day/night fluctuations.



4) Pako & Asphalt8 – If you enjoy car games, these are fun options, each in their own way. Both are 3D games, though Pako is more simple in its approach, whereas Asphalt8 is closer to what you’d expect a fully decked out 3D game to look like on a proper gaming platform such as the PS4. They’re both fun and challenging, and give plenty of variety to keep you busy for hours. Both are good options if you find you’re needing to step away from the hustle & bustle for a bit.


And last but not least, we have to mention the mainstays of the Apple TV: Netflix, a very nice Vimeo app, and our favorite, the TED app featuring thousands of inspirational and entertaining TED talks.

Did you splurge on the new Apple TV? Have you found any apps you’ve liked so far? We’d love to hear your experience and recommendations in the comments below.


Changing Seasons


The dog days of Summer are upon us, and Fall is fast approaching. They say the only constant in life is change, and that’s never more true than for us here at Spokt. We have a lot of exciting developments in the works and some fun announcements on the horizon. In preparation for all of this and more, we are working to update our proverbial welcome mat a bit by adding some testimonials from a handful of our satisfied customers.

You are quite literally the most important, most incredible part of Spokt. Do you have something you’d like to tell your fellow web wanderers about what makes Spokt special to you and your family? What is your favorite feature of Spokt? What has your Spokt Hub enabled your family to do that you would miss? Has Spokt improved your life, helped strengthen your relationships, or boosted your communication? Tell us all about it in the comments, and we may just feature your testimonial on our soon-to-be-testimonialized homepage!

Now get back to that summer fun. It won’t be here forever!

#TheDress that broke the internet, and how Spokt helped solve it

If you’re on social media, you’ve no doubt heard of #thedress. The debate lit up our feeds like a sparkler in a fireworks factory. The hunger for an answer (and a fix) was monstrous. We, too, were a bit swept up by the craziness. As it turns out, the opportunity arose for us to contribute to a real solution, the bonafide answer to the question of “what”, the “why”, and the “where” behind the entire fiasco. And we couldn’t say “YES!” fast enough!

The “where” was Blackpool, UK. There was a lot of debate early on as to where the actual (original) photo happened, but thanks to the definitive video below, that is no longer in question. There we also get an answer as to what happened, and more importantly why. We’re glad this debate can finally have some real closure, and hope it helps you cope with the reality that sometimes cameras get it wrong, and when they do even our very best friends and most admired family members can be tricked into being wrong too. πŸ˜‰

Leave your comment below and let us know what colors you see. And while you’re at it, let us know if anything has changed for you since seeing this video!

Copy and paste the link below if you’d like to share this video:

P.S. Keep an eye on the blog for our upcoming #thewatch giveaway announcement next week, where we’ll be doing just what the name implies: giving away a brand new Apple Watch!

Mayflower 2.0 Imports Initiated

This is a quick update to let you know that we have implemented a member matching solution for Mayflower 2.0 sites and have initiated limited Mayflower 2.0 migrations over the weekend. We will be ramping things up over the next week, and in the coming days we should have more details on ETA for fulfilling the 2.0 backlog. We have proactively prepared the content for all of the 2.0 orders we’ve received to date, so we do not anticipate any issues getting the backlog cleared out in a timely manner.

Thank you all for your patience as we continue to serve you to our fullest capacity.

Fun Features Coming Soon

This is a quick update to remind all MyFamily refugees (and existing Spokt members) that we have some exciting updates coming. Our top priority, as you likely know by now, is making sure we help save as many people’s content as we can before the MyFamily shutdown happens. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t obsessing over, designing, and even working on these new features that will make Spokt a better experience overall for everyone. We appreciate your patience and restraint as we aim to keep our priorities aligned with that goal.

To that end, we felt it would be best to re-iterate the key items that are at the top of our development horizon here at Spokt so you know what to expect in the coming months.

Multi-Photo Upload and Photo Organization (i.e. Albums)

If you’ve migrated your site from MyFamily, chances are your photos were often stored in an album. We have saved this album data for every photo and we will be automagically adding them to the proper album once the feature is publicly released.

Oh yeah, and you’ll be able to upload multiple photos at once as well. Yeehaw!

Discussion Sections (i.e. File Cabinet, Recipes, etc) and Categories

Just like Photo Albums, we are safely storing the details of the proper section a discussion belongs to (File Cabinet, Recipes, History, News, Reviews), and we are working on a way for you to view all historical posts as well as categorize future posts in a similar manner.

Some members made heavy use of the “Categories” feature. Our upcoming solution will accommodate these, as well.


While calendar items are not transferred via Mayflower, we will be releasing a calendar function soon that will allow you to schedule reminders for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, upcoming events and more right in your Hub.

Improved Member Tools

We have already rolled out the first phase of our improved member tools, giving admins additional ability to assist Hub members and their accounts. In the coming months we will be adding key features that will refine and expand on these tools for both admins and members alike.

2.0 Search

If you’re used to searching often for content on MyFamily, you’ve already noticed Spokt’s search tool is much improved in many ways. We’re glad things can be found more easily, but we want to make search even better. Expect some key improvements in the coming months.

No doubt you are as excited by these enhancements as we are. We appreciate your patience as we do our best to get things right for all Spokt members, new and existing alike.

Thank you again for being such an important part of our rich community!

– RJ

Mayflower (and general) FAQ – Recent Items

Hello Again! As mentioned in our last Mayflower Update, we are working around the clock (literally) to get any outstanding questions answered and issues resolved. In doing so, we felt it would be best to create an FAQ to document the latest questions and to outline our plans moving forward. This post will be modified as questions are added or answers are updated.

First of all, with so many of you now having had your migration completed, there are bound to be issues that were overlooked, errors that occurred, or wishes that are born. Migrating this data from MyFamily is a complex challenge. We’re human, and therefore prone to mistakes. We are working hard to take care of all of you, and we want you to know that we have a plan for most if not all of the things you all would like to see addressed. We want to make things right for you!

However, we need to take a moment to remind ourselves, by necessity, where our current priorities lie. Now that you’re a part of the Spokt family, we would like to include you on this assessment. Here’s what we know:

MyFamily will be closing down in about a month and a half. That is roughly 45 precious short days in which we are still able to save as many people’s sites as possible. Our Mayflower 2 migration tool is still in the works (nearing completion), but the simple truth is that we are stretched too thin at the moment to take care of current feature requests or minor bug fixes AND finalize Mayflower 2.0.

We recognize there is a deep desire to make your new Hub “Home” now that your MyFamily data is in place. And for the few of you who have legitimate concerns regarding things like incomplete member names (for instance), or embedded images, you no doubt feel a need to find a resolution. We completely understand. We can—and WILL—do what needs to be done to resolve your concerns.

But this still doesn’t address the elephant in the room: Myfamily’s shutdown is coming, and fast. We ask you to consider others who have NOT had their data saved, and offer your continued patience so we can help preserve their memories before it is simply too late. As a community, we can work together to make a win-win for everybody. Will you help us?

What Spokt going to do about it? Great question! Let me outline that for you next:

1) We are cataloging all of the known issues and keeping them in our development queue. This will serve as our work list for the coming months, and we’ll be hitting this list hard once we are confident the 2.0 migrations are well underway and working as expected

2) We are keeping a public list of these issues in a new FAQ which we will be posting to the main site in the coming days

3) We are devoting every last resource we can wring out of ourselves to A) finalizing the Mayflower 2.0 import process, and B) taking care of known issues that are NOT considered dire (this means any issue where the fix is not dependent upon access to MyFamily’s servers), in that order.

We ask that you read carefully through the FAQ, and should you find your issue there, please refrain from emailing support with a related inquiry. If we’ve listed the issue there, we’re aware of it and are doing our best to take care of it for you and everyone else.

We are deeply humbled that Spokt has been chosen by so many of you as a replacement for your long-time home of MyFamily, and we are working hard to make this the best home you’ve ever had on the web. Thank you for bearing with us as we strive towards this goal.


Q: Some or all of my images are not showing properly (instead, I see the letters “s9” or “m” in a thumbnail where the photo should appear, either on the post or in the photos page)

A: STATUS: FIXED We made an upgrade to our photo storage system, and this prohibited a small subset of members from seeing their images. The images were never missing, but were not displaying correctly for some. This problem should now be resolved for all members.

Q: Help! The full names of some members are not showing up on posts and in my members lists. Can you fix this?

A: Yes! Due to the way name data was captured, our algorithm was not aware of some of the more creative names (Mary-Jo Ellen Smith Hansen) or even the non-names (John Henry – ’67-’71) coming from MyFamily sites. We CAN include the full name, and are working on a way to make this happen for those of you who would like this to happen. We appreciate your patience as we correct this.

Q: How can I update my own profile?

A: You can update your profile and account settings by logging into your account, then clicking the “Edit Account” link at the top of the screen. From there you can choose to edit your Profile, your Account settings, and your Preferences. Remember to click the “Save” button at the bottom of each screen!

Q: I attempted to update my email address, but a message appears that says “Email has already been taken”. This is likely due to a conflict in the way Mayflower accounts were being imported originally. We have fixed this problem moving forward, but we are working on releasing a feature that will allow you to merge two or more accounts that belong to you. This will allow you to once again share the same email address across multiple Hubs as expected. This feature should be ready within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Q: I have duplicate images that show up when I search for a photo. What’s going on? Can I delete the duplicates?

A: First of all, PLEASE DO NOT DELETE ANY IMAGES you suspect are duplicates. These are very likely NOT duplicate images, but rather duplicate listings in search. If they are indeed duplicates you will see the same image (and related conversations) showing up at different URLs in the browser address bar. If this is the case, please email us some examples of the same images at different links and we’ll look into it more closely for you.

Most MyFamily refugees have praised the comprehensive search utility that we offer. That said, there are a few ways in which we hope to make it better. One known issue is that search results can produce multiple listings of the same post, making it appear there are duplicates. We are working on a fix for this, and expect that to happen before the year’s end. We appreciate your patience as we enhance this feature.

Q: I don’t see file attachments for news posts and files that were migrated from MyFamily. Were they missed?

A: File attachments can be found by clicking on the small gray paperclip icon at the bottom of the original post (before any replies).

In most cases File Attachments were included in your import. If the attachment was no longer available from MyFamily’s servers when we attempted to retrieve the file then it was skipped and moved on to the next file. Feel free to contact support if you can verify that a file attachment is missing in Spokt, but available in your MyFamily site. If that is the case, please provide links to both posts (in your Spokt Hub and your MyFamily site) so we can compare the pages. Thank you!

Q: In place of an image on a post, I see a graphic that says “IMAGE DOWNLOADING: We are still downloading this inline image file. The download process will take some time. Please check back every 24 hours.” What should I do?

A: Inline image attachments (meaning they were embedded above, below, or in-between text in a post) were missed on some sites. If you see the graphic indicating the images are being downloaded, that means we are aware that these images are being missed for you, and they will be included soon. Thank you for your patience.

Q: Did you save the photo album information when you migrated the photos?

A: YES! We safely stored the information regarding which albums your photos belonged to on your MyFamily site. We do not currently have an album feature, but we have publicly announced that this is among our top features once Mayflower 2.0 migrations are well underway. We appreciate your patience as we work to get this feature right for you.

Q: Does Spokt currently offer a calendar feature?

A: We do not currently have a calendar feature, though we have publicly announced that it is in the works and coming soon. Please keep an eye on the blog for the official release announcement coming later this year.

Q: I’m a Hub administrator, and I have duplicate members after importing our MyFamily site through Mayflower. Should I delete the extras?

Please DO NOT DELETE EXTRA accounts. We are working on a way for members to merge multiple accounts on Spokt, whether it be due to an import duplication (they had an account on your MyFamily site and your new Spokt hub, and were not matched correctly) or otherwise. Please look for new tools to help alleviate these situations in the coming week.

Q: I’m having trouble logging in. What can I do?

A: If you are having trouble logging into your own account, please visit and follow the directions to reset your password and log in.

***NOTE***: If you have an auto-generated account from a MyFamily migration, we are working for a way for your Hub admin to help you reset your password. We expect to have a resolution within the next 24-48 hours, and we will make an official announcement on the blog. Thank you for your patience as we resolve this issue for you.

Q: Some members who were invited through our Mayflower Import say they did not receive an invite. How can I re-invite them?

A: Please do not re-invite Mayflower invitees through the traditional Invite screen. We are working on creating a new tool so you can re-invite the members you think need to receive a copy of their original invitation to your Hub. We expect to have a resolution within the next 24-48 hours, and we will make an official announcement on the blog. Thank you for your patience as we resolve this issue for you.

Q: I invited a member via the Invite screen but they didn’t accept that invitation. Then I finalized my Mayflower import and that member logged in using the credentials that were emailed to them. Can I safely delete their pending invitation now on the invite screen?

A: Yes, if you go to the Invite screen and see their name and email address listed under the section titled “These invitations have not yet been accepted”, you can safely click the “Remove” button next to their name. This should not affect their current membership status.

Q: I’m an admin and would like to be able to edit my members’ info or help them log in. Can I have more power if I promise to use for good and not evil?

A: YES! We are working on tools that will enable Hub admins to have greater ability to help manage members of a Hub. We appreciate your patience as we get this critical feature right.

Q: I can’t see the posts from our MyFamily site in the History, File Cabinet, Reviews, or Recipes section. Were they migrated?

YES! We safely migrated all of these posts and more. While we DID retain the category and section information for every post, we are currently working on a simple, powerful way to organize all of those items. We expect to release improved organizational tools soon. In the meantime, most of these items can be found through our robust Search tool. Give it a try!

Scheduled Maintenance Tonight (July 21, 2014 from 10pm to midnight)

This is a service advisory that will be undergoing normal system maintenance tonight between 10pm and Midnight MDT. We expect the actual downtime to be less than one hour. You will see Spokt’s maintenance page while we are working. It is safe to refresh this page or close your browser and come back at a later time to check Spokt’s status. You will automatically be redirected to your intended page once our maintenance is complete.

Thank you for being a valuable part of the Spokt family!

Mayflower Update – Stop using MyFamily now.

This is an important update for Mayflower users. Once you have initiated your site download, your migration request is queued up and held until all jobs before it have been processed. Once the export is initiated, any posts or replies which are created after that moment will not be included in the export.

For this reason, we suggest that you discontinue use of your MyFamily site immediately at the time you commence your export, and let your users know that they should post any new content on your new Spokt Hub.

We are happy to see the strong response to Mayflower, and are glad to see our weeks of development being put to good use preserving the memories that would have otherwise been destroyed upon MyFamily’s closing.

In the next few days, we will be posting a more comprehensive Mayflower FAQ blog post outlining some of the questions we’ve received recently. In the meantime, enjoy your Spokt Hub (and if you are celebrating Independence Day, have a blast)!

Introducing Mayflower – The Official to Spokt Migration Tool

Mayflower - Official Data Export & Migration Tool

We’re excited to announce Mayflower, Spokt’s official data migration tool. We have been working hard in preparation for Mayflower’s release, and we’re so glad that we can finally share it with you today.

With MyFamily’s announcement that site services will soon be discontinued, many hoped the data export tool they promised would be comprehensive. To many users’ dismay (as well as our own), it was not. Instead, MyFamily chose to offer downloads of only the site photos, a small fraction of the massive stockpile of memories and conversations users had created through the years. This shook the entire MyFamily…well…family, and drove the team at Spokt to radically rethink how we do business. More on that in a moment. But first, let us share a brief overview of Mayflower.

We know the clock is ticking on the MyFamily implosion, and that your precious data is at risk of being lost. Building the proper toolset to safely handle the massive amounts of data on each site isn’t a task for the weak-kneed (thankfully our team bears many well-built shanks). Knowing that this type of tool could easily take months or even years to build properly, and knowing that the luxury of time was not on our side, we chose door number three and worked around the clock to get this tool ready for you while there’s still time for it to make a difference. We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, and we think you’ll be very happy with the work we’ve done.

But the fact still remains: There isn’t much time. From the outset, we made the decision that we’d all feel better about things if we launched our migration tool like a Saturn V rocket: in stages. This allows us to capture the data from as many sites as possible, while allowing us the time to focus on building the full tool properly. It’s a win-win for everybody. Here’s how the stages will work:

Stage 1 – Mayflower, Data Export: The first stage of our migration tool β€” the data export from β€” is now complete. This means you can initiate a full export today, and in doing so you will be able to capture the data that would otherwise be lost, namely news, conversations, history, recipes, files, and more.

Stages 2 & 3 – Data Conversion and Import: These stages will be released shortly (mid to end July), and will enable the integration of the data directly into your Spokt Hub. Photos, News, History, Threaded Conversations, and more will be placed safely into your hub for safe-keeping and continued access. These stages will complete your MyFamily data migration process.

Stage 4 – Harbor™, Personal Data Downloads: This is the other half of our Mayflower announcement that we’re most excited about: Harbor™, personal data downloads. Many of you have felt harmed in the sudden shutdown of MyFamily, and as such may have a hard time trusting your beloved memories to another company. That’s why today we’re announcing that Spokt will employ an entirely new Open Data Model. Later this year we will release a new site feature called Harbor which will allow you to download your data to your own hard drive. That’s right. Finally, you can control your data. We hope to be around for many years, even decades to come. But if this event has taught us anything, it’s the fact that your data is too precious to blindly hand off to a third-party. Soon, you’ll be able to back up your data your way. We are excited that this will make us more accountable to you, our customer, as we compete for your trust.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the official Mayflower landing page, read more about it, and start your data export today before it’s too late!


This blog will be a resource to users. We’ll announce new features and give tips on how to use the features you already have.

We’re still getting our new blog set up. Come back soon to see our latest updates. Thanks!