Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Tips for the Android ‘Battery Drain’ problem

A few of you might find the following very helpful:

* How to fix the Android battery drain issue with these quick tricks

If your Android device battery is draining faster than it should, Jack Wallen offers up advice that might save the day.” Read more..

* * *

Today’s quote:Never complain and never explain.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 23, 2016 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to prep your smartphone for emergency situations

Folks, the author of this article is a bit wordy, (like, you can skip the first 4 paragraphs..) but there is some good info here… And we all know, we should be somewhat prepared ahead of time, as a Rule.

* Zombie apocalypse? Prep your smartphone for emergency situations

Learn how to equip your phone to help steer you through disaster scenarios, whether a zombie apocalypse or a Donald Trump rally.Read more..

* * *

* Side business: August, check your Junk folder.

Today’s quote:Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

March 31, 2016 Posted by | advice, Android, Apple, cellular, consumer electronics, how to, iPhone, mobile, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Your Android Wear Goggles?

Phones That Can See, Read, and Translate (aka “My Phone Is Smarter Than Me”.)

Here’s how it works:
* Point your phone at a word or phrase. Use the region of interest button to draw a box around specific words
* Press the shutter button
* If Goggles recognizes the text, it will give you the option to translate
* Press the translate button to select the source and destination languages.

Wow. Could I have uses that French class.

JBondWhat am I talking about? Google Goggles is an “mobile app” that combines OCR (optical character recognition) with Google’s ability to translate languages — which gives your phone’s camera the ability to read French (for example), and tell you what that item on the menu is (for example).

Is this something out of James Bond fiction? Nope. Just another example of The Future Is Here Now.

Google Goggles (currently) requires Android 1.6, and “can read English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and can translate to many more languages.” To find out more, see, Official Google Mobile Blog: Translate the real world with Google Goggles.

… eventually, we will all be wearing OCR cameras (maybe built into eyeglasses), and have Wi Fi/4G wireless transponders (woven into our clothes?), and have chips in our brain which contain dictionaries of all known languages… and using a phone to translate a foreign language sentence will seem quaint. Like Atari’s Pong.
But that’s probably 20 years off. In the meantime, there’s Google Goggles.

Amazing.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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May 8, 2010 Posted by | computers, Digital camera, gadgets, Google, mobile, News, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Parental Monitoring And Cellular Phones

If you are a parent concerned about what your child is doing with their mobile phone– whether or not they’re talking to strangers, for example– you may want to keep reading. This topic was spawned by a question from such a parent.

And if you’re the kind of person who’s easily agitated about technology and the erosion of privacy, a Luddite, a Big Brother Conspiracy Theorist, or anyone else who hasn’t quite come to terms with the modern age we’re living in– you might want to stop reading here.
You’ve been warned. I will not respond to your e-mail.

Regular readers (and tech-savvy people in general) know that your computer use at work is monitored. And you’ve probably heard of “spyware” and “keyloggers” that record what you type (my readers have, and that’s fer sher). And you know that GPS devices can pinpoint your location.shhh

And you know that cameras (usually hidden) are being installed everywhere– as a crime and terrorism preventative, and to stop red-light runners. Cities compete to have the highest percentage of camera coverage.

And you know that modern phones allow text messaging, the sending of photos and movies, and surfing the Internet. (They are becoming more like little laptops everyday.)

And you know that the Internet can be a dangerous place. Especially for kids.
(read Monitoring Your Teenager’s Internet Usage – Should You?)

And thus the parent’s dilemma. If you have a child, the day will come when they want a phone. I think that happens around the ages of 7-9, these days.
And being kids, they won’t want just any old phone, but they will want a “kewl” phone; one with all the bell’s and whistles. (Your hands are kind of tied on this.. nobody makes a “plain old cellphone” anymore. Haven’t for years.)

“But Mom, everybody’s got one!”

The answer, for you, may be to give your child a phone that allows you to see what they text and IM, control who their “contacts” are, and, maybe, even record their calls. It’s called “parental monitoring”, and the extent to which you use it is up to you.
[note: if reading that made your blood pressure go up a notch, refer now to the second paragraph.]

You don’t need to buy a special phone.. or even a new phone, to monitor your child’s activity.
* There is commercial software that can be installed on every type of phone– such as RADAR and MobileSpy. These can notify you in “real time” if a parameter you set is being broken. iPhone users can look at safe eyes.
[note: did your employer give you your cellphone? Think, people. Think. Let’s add two and two here.]

* There are USB dongles that read a phone’s SIM chip –even if your child’s erased their messages– for $50.

So, if you’re a concerned parent, you have several options that will allow you to find some middle ground. And if you’re a Big Brother Conspiracy Theorist.. well, friend, it’s twice as bad as you dare to realize and it’s only going to get worse.

Today’s free link(s): Concerned parents who have a child reaching the driving age (and Big Brother Conspiracy Theorists) might read my article “What Your Car Is Saying About You.
Or you can give them a Guardian Angel cell phone which reports their location and speed..

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 21, 2008 Posted by | advice, cellular, gadgets, hardware, how to, IM, Internet, iPhone, kids and the Internet, privacy, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Digital device + water = oh no!*

Folks, where I live we’re actually having the kind of weather that makes one think about jumping into the pool. This reminded me that the time is right for me to re-publish my How To on what to do when your cellphone or laptop gets wet.

From time to time I do something stupid — like  stub my toe or knock my coffee mug over or blurt out a blaspheme in the general vicinity of women and small children.
On my better days, I sometimes do all three at once.

This Saturday I went swimming, and I had my cell phone in the pocket of my shorts. Like I said, stupid. To my credit, I noticed that sad fact quite quickly. But the damage had been done. The phone had suffered not just a spill, but total immersion–submersion–and it was wet. In my defense, it was over a hundred degrees. In the shade.

It is a simple and a natural fact that electronic devices and water (or coffee) don’t ‘play well together’. It would not in the least be unreasonable to assume that total immersion of an electronic device (such as my phone) would render it, to use a technical term, kaput. Quick action on my part, good fortune, and the fact that I wasn’t using the phone underwater (it was “off”) combined, in this particular case, for a much happier result, and my phone seems to be no worse for its adventure. (The fact that my make and model phone is very low end probably, to my way of thinking, helped a bit too. It has always struck me that the more costly to replace something is, the more delicate and fragile it is. A cosmic law, perhaps?)

Tip of the day: Rescue your drowned device with quick action.
Should you be suddenly struck with a case of bad luck and/or fumble-fingers, and you spill your drink right onto your keyboard, or you find some other creative way to get liquid onto your digital device, all may not be lost. The quicker, and more effectively you do the following, the better your chances of saving your device from the recycler’s heap.

1) The first and most important thing is to turn it off and remove any power source. Shut it down, yank the cord, remove the battery, isolate the dilithium crystals! And do it fast. Some devices, such as those connected to your PC by USB cables, and keyboards, get some voltage through their connecting cable, so also remove any attached cords or cables. Turning it off is not enough. You need to open the cover and remove any batteries. Remember, it is not the moisture which will ruin your device, it’s “short circuits”, and those are an electrical phenomenon.

2) Get as much of the moisture out as quickly as possible. Pick it up and let gravity drain it as much as possible. You should have the battery cover off already, now open up the device as much as possible. If we’re talking about a laptop, remove any PCMCIA cards (PC cards), release and remove the optical drive, and turn it upside down and with a screwdriver remove any access panels — such as the one covering your RAM chips. If your model allows, release the spring-latches and remove the keypad.
If we’re talking about a cellphone or PDA or MP3 player, try “popping” its case with a flat-head screwdriver. If the Web is available on another nearby machine, go online and look at the manufacturer’s instructions for opening the device’s case. Now that it is opened as much as possible, gently blot with a paper towel, or whatever absorbent material is handy.

[Note: If the liquid you spilled is the kind that dries sticky, such as a soda, you have more work to do. If it’s available, use rubbing alcohol (the “purer” the better) and cotton swabs to clean it up as much as you can. If rubbing alcohol is not handy, use water. Yes, water. Distilled if possible.]

Removing the moisture is key: drain and blot what liquid you can see. When that’s done, rest assured that there is still more liquid lurking in your device. Now is when absorption and evaporation become our friend. Since it was a hundred degrees outside, I simply left my phone in the sun for several hours. If sunshine is not an option, you can try using a hairdryer set to low (this will take a while), or if you’re brave (and ready to stand and keep a close eye), place it in a conventional oven set no higher than 150 degrees, for an hour. In the case of a PDA or phone, you can also carry it, wrapped in tissue or a hanky, close to your body in a pocket. Another trick is to place the device in a sealed plastic bag with a handful of uncooked rice. Replace the rice every couple of hours or so.

3) Regardless of the method used, I strongly advise you to not reassemble and power up your device until the following day. Give evaporation/absorption every chance.

If you are lucky, and have lived a “clean life”, your device will power up and function just fine — good luck and how quickly you removed the power being the key contributors to your success. If, however, you power up and your device functions strangely, or not at all, you may be able to isolate and replace the malfunctioning component (if you’re an experienced troubleshooter type). Or you may want to take it in to your friendly neighborhood repair shop and have them do it. Sometimes it is more cost-effective to simply replace the device; your particular situation will vary.

Free link of the day: As my faithful readers know, I am a big proponent of combating the modern plague of adware, spyware, and all sorts of malware. I have posted links for the better free versions of anti-spyware applications in the past. Sometimes though, it pays to invest in a “professional strength” application. The subscription-based anti-spyware application I use is the consistently top-rated Webroot Spy Sweeper. I suggest you try-before-you-buy whenever possible, and to do that with Spy Sweeper, click here.
* update: in the year that has elapsed since this was first posted, I have switched to Spyware Doctor. You can download a trial version of the “Full” edition here, or get the “limited” edition free as part of the Google Pack.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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May 17, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, PC, tech, troubleshooting, water+laptop | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments