Category Archives: Tablets

Create memories from your holidays

OK, a bit of a rant. I’ve just come back from a great time away and I’ve got lots of memories – in my head. What I noticed is that so many other people only saw what I saw through a phone screen. They didn’t actually see anything at all.

Screens aren’t the same as your eyes: they don’t show the depth of the scene or the grandeur (even if you do have a 6.9 inch screen!). That’s why looking at other peoples’ holiday snaps is rubbish – it’s not like being there.

My epiphany came at an event about ten years ago when I photographed everything all day (on a real camera, even) and realised that I hadn’t really been at the event. The viewfinder and screen created a barrier to being part of it – I had seen nothing at all for real.

So, yes, take pictures but then put the technology away and look at it for real. Savour it; appreciate it.

I can see the images in my mind of all the amazing things and places that I saw: the depth, the colours, the magnificence. So much better than a flat image. And I still came back with 2,500 photos!

Battery care

Batteries are an important part of our lives, whether in phones or laptops. The technology is evolving, as is best practice to maintain your batteries in their best health.

An early contender was NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) followed soon my NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride). NiCad couldn’t store much power for their size, in both NiCad and NiMH, the power drained away quite fast and had another big problem. This was that they could lose capacity quite easily, due to overcharging. When most laptops used NiMH batteries I recommended taking the battery out if using it mostly on the mains. Otherwise the battery gets ‘cooked’ and won’t hold charge. Then the battery tells the computer it doesn’t feel well and the computer won’t start unless the battery is removed.

NiMH is still used for conventional rechargeable batteries like AA

Battery technology has moved on and for devices built around rechargeable power (Phones, tablets and laptops) Lithium-ion is the current market-leader. This is more efficient for its size, retains charge longer and can be moulded around other components. This means that it is quite hard to remove the battery, but fortunately modern devices have circuitry to prevent the overcharging of batteries. Nevertheless there is still a downside, which is the number of full recharge cycles affects the capacity of the battery. So, unlike NiCad and NiMH, it is a bad idea to run Lithium Ion batteries right down. Recharging at 20% or so will prevent a full recharge cycle and preserve your battery for longer

The latest technology is Lithium Polymer, which is safer than other batteries. These batteries can also be made in much thinner sizes and also hold more power for their size, although they have a shorter life. Apple uses this type of battery quite extensively. These batteries tend to be in pouches rather than rigid container and the main downside is as they get to the end of their life, they tend to expand. I’ve seen a phone with the back pushed off and had a laptop which ‘blew’ the back off when I took the screws out.

Take note of your meetings

I’m involved in a few meetings and I’ve been experimenting with transcribing them using Otter on my Android phone (Sorry Apple users).

Just start the App, and it transcribes what it hears through the microphone, and turns it into text on your Android device. The free version allows for up to 40 minutes a recording. Quite clever as it pauses when you are on a phone call and so on.

I also tried it on a radio programme, which worked well. So it looks like you can use Otter on other recordings that you have, such as dictation recorded by someone else.

It does use quite a bit of data, but you can set it to do live transcription over wifi only.

Otter does offer to connect to your calendar and your Google account, but I decided to not let it have access to all about me.

Transcription quality so far is both good and fast so I’ll keep using it and finding out more.

Photo filters for phones and tablets

I like photography and also like the convenience of being able to optimise my photos after I’ve taken them.

Seems much better to me than the old days when I had loads of filters and things to get it right before I took the photo Saved a lot of time in the lab though!.

Photoshop Camera is a free app for iOS and Android from Adobe, although you do need to set up a free account.

Stop apps rotating on your screen

Generally it is great when using my tablet or phone that as I rotate it apps move to stay upright. But sometimes its not! Like when I’m reading a book and move my head away from the sun. Suddenly the text is sideways!

Sure, you can turn rotation off for everything. But that’s a bit nuclear!

The good news is that you can stop this happening on an app-by-app basis on Android. A new app called Rotation Manager lets you choose which apps stay locked to portrait or landscape. The permissions might seem a little intrusive but I think it is worth it for the convenience.

Copy files from your phone

Nearly everyone these days is using a phone or tablet as a camera. But how can I get my photos (and other stuff) from my phone to my computer so I can print, email, etc.?

Like most I’ve suffered through trying Wi-Fi, USB cables and other black magic

I’ve been using a great free app called AirDroid (for iOS and Android). Simply download the program to your computer and set up an account. Then load the app on your phone, login and you are off. Select any file you want to send and then send or share it via AirDroid. If your have both devices on the same network it will be copied virtually instantly. Be aware that some security programs on your computer might need tweaking to allow AirDroid access

Simple and AirDroid can do much more such as remote control, send and receive SMS and whatsapp on your computer.

Moving photos from Ipad or iPhone to computer

It might seem that iCloud is the only way, but it can be painfully slow for getting lots of photos down to your machine.

You might try connecting it by a USB cable to your computer, but then you often have lots of fun trying to find the photos.

Well, there is a free tool from Easeus called Mobimover free which helps. Download and run it. Now connect your iPad or iPhone, click the middle icon to transfer to PC, find and select the files you want. Finally transfer them.