Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Family Tech: Aftermarket car tech can save thousands of dollars - September 23, 2016

Our recent venture into the wonderful world of car buying brought home the nicest car I’ve ever driven.  That’s saying a lot--but on the other hand my brother never has let me drive his classic roadster or Lexus --but I digress.

We ventured forth with a list of must-have and nice-to-have features.  We came home without any of the nice-to-haves.

Our list of Android Auto, heated seats and a backup camera were available but added thousands to the cost.

And in one vehicle the package with those items came only with a third row of seats--seats that only a toddler would fit in, and would take away useful storage space. 

This is my first car with Bluetooth technology. I enjoy listening to podcasts and having phone calls through the speaker system instead of my Bluetooth earpiece. Coincidentally, last week’s column was about earpieces. Tech changes fast. Seriously, an earpiece is still good if you are not the only one in the car and you want to listen to something other than what the rest have chosen. 

Thankfully, I have found ways to get my nice-to-have features at much lower cost.

Android Auto and its Apple equivalent, Apple CarPlay, are devices in some cars that bring some of the functions of your phone to the dashboard.  Usually they display map and navigation information in large, easy to see and use displays.

Likewise, they make extensive use of voice to read your text messages and permit you to send texts and place calls using voice.

Some cars were available with only one of the systems. Some cars had both.

Your smartphone, mounted in a dash mount, can do many of the features of Android Auto and CarPlay.  Apps, in their respective app stores, duplicate many of the functions.

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Family Tech: Apple’s new phone calls for earpods - September 16, 2016

Apple’s announcement of the latest iPhone and a new Apple Watch was overshadowed by one feature of the new phone. Or rather, a feature removed from the phone.
Gone is the headphone jack.  Instead, iPhone 7 will come with earpods that connect through the phone’s lightning connector.
Removing the old connector, which provided a hole into the body of the phone, improves the water resistance of the phone. Anyone who has ever dropped a phone into the sink (or worse!)  will appreciate that feature.
What really upsets long time iPhone users though is this renders their huge collection of earbuds, headphones, remote speakers and such harder to use. Apple is including a dongle with the iPhone 7 that permits previous devices to work, but the dongle is an ugly appendage hanging off the phone, likely to break or get lost.  And replacement earbuds from Apple cost $29, the same as the old wired earbuds with the 3.5 mm plug that is now gone.  What is not certain is if third parties can produce earpods with the lightning connector as inexpensively as they did earbuds with the 3.5mm plug.
This brouhaha shows how much phones have become part of an entire ecosystem. The devices we connect to our phones are important to us and often make the phones work better.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Family Tech: Public libraries critical to community - September 9, 2016

Our county libraries are bragging they are Pokemon Go gyms, where players of the game can capture virtual Pokemons. 

This phone game is all the rage now with kids through adults. I know a minister who plays and is proud his church property is home to three Poke stops.

I’m happy to see the library promoting this on its website.  Staffers understand that being a Pokemon gym is a wonderful way to attract patrons who may have forgotten about the library.

Are public libraries obsolete?  It is understandable to wonder this in the world of broadband, eBooks, Netflix and are other digital media services.  The library does not seem to have the same gravitation pull it once did for many of us.

In reality, our public libraries are more important than ever.

Not everyone can afford a computer, or if they can, also afford broadband. Yet most jobs these days require you to fill out online applications.

Our public libraries and their free computers and internet access let those folks find jobs. It also gives all of us a critical backup to our home infrastructure. If our computer breaks the night before an important project is due, we can always go to the library.  In a recent column on contingency plans for when things go badly, the library was an important component.

Have you converted to ebooks?  I love having a book always with me on my phone.  While perhaps not as tactically satisfying as a paper book, the availability of reading material wherever I am is nice.


Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Family Tech: Pay attention to social media - a must in this presidential election- September 2, 2016

When my employer and I decided to relocate me from California to Virginia in 1999, the owner of the company said, “I wonder if you’ll become politically passionate like everyone else we’ve moved back there.”

There is something about this area that infected me. While I’m not passionate, my interest in the process has increased.

In the midst of a presidential election cycle, we all find ourselves a bit more caught up than usual. There are online tools to help us follow the elections. 

More and more, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are conversing with voters via social media.

I have followed the tweets coming from the various candidates through the primaries and now into the general election. I use Twitter’s Tweetdeck product. It allows me to have columns of related sources together.

I created a Twitter list of candidates and another of news sources. While I don’t read all the tweets, a quick glance gives me an idea of the ongoing conversation Clinton and Trump are having with the voting public.



Friday, August 26, 2016

My LG G3 from Sprint is now 2 Androids versions behind








I thought I had Sprint's commitment that Marshmallow was coming for the LG G3 back in April.

Alas. With the release of Nougat, my phone is now 2 versions behind.

I've tweeted them again. Let's see if I get real information this time.

I would be content with a statement that they do not plan on updating the LG G3 again, instead of being strung along.

At best, would be a firm date we should have it by.

At worst, would be a statement again that no date is announced, and to watch their press room for an announcement.  That should be shining users on.



Monday, August 22, 2016

Using Google Keep - Two Recent Articles

Here are two recent posts from across the web on using Google Keep I had already linked to on the Google Keep Community on Google+.

How to Use Google Keep & Inbox to Create The Ultimate Task List from Business to Community.


and

Google Keep: Ultimate Guide from AndroidCentral.com


Moving your Evernote records to OneNote - one person's adventure

  



Lisa Schmeiser, writing at WinSuperSite.com, talks about lessons learned moving your almost 15,000 Evernote notes to OneNote on her Mac.

It was an experiment only. While there are things she likes about OneNote, she's sticking with Evernote.

WinSuperSite.com