Showing posts with label Smartphone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Smartphone. Show all posts

May 11, 2018

Smartphone Cell vs. WiFi Data

Many people do not know the difference between WiFi data and cell data (LTE, 4G). WiFi allows your phone or tablet to connect to the Internet via a router. You need to be to be in the range of a router and connect to the network in order to access the Internet. Cellular data allows your phone or tablet to connect to the Internet via a cell phone signal. You need to be in the range of a cell phone tower to access the Internet. When you use your phone to access the Internet without WiFi, you are using up the monthly allotment of data your cell phone plan allows. Another important distinction to know, especially for the security conscious, cell data is encrypted so it is safer than public Wi-Fi.

Think of two types of data, background data is data that is used behind the scenes by apps and the operating system (iOS, Android, etc.). This can also include data from actions you are aware of such as downloading email messages. Apps on your phone use background data even when you are not using the app. You can individually turn off background data for apps, such as Chrome, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat when you are not using them. If you do not have an unlimited plan it is very advantageous to turn off background data. It will turn back on automatically when you use the app and off again when you close it.

Foreground data is data that you deliberately use, such as streaming videos, derping the internet, downloading a new app, etc. This is where WiFi comes in handy if you do not have an unlimited data plan. Also, WiFi is often faster, under the right conditions.

However, WiFi drains the battery quicker. It works by sending and receiving a microwave radio signal through the air to a Wireless Access Point. Radio waves are essentially electricity from your battery that has been converted into a specific frequency, and pushed out of your device through an antenna. Ideally, you might set your WiFi to be off all the time, then turn it on when you are home using your WiFi, or when you are out and want to download large amounts of data, such as a movie or Facebook video.

If you spend more time connected to WiFi networks than cellular, leave your WiFi turned on. If not, it is advantageous to keep it turned off and save your battery. If you travel internationally, use WiFi to avoid expensive charges for international roaming.

Bottom line, if you have an unlimited data plan, the difference between WiFi and cell data is battery usage. If you do not have unlimited data, then the difference can be costly from overage charges, if you exceed your limit. Both are automatically available on smartphones.

Other may have caught on to this battery saver idea as OpenSignal analyzed a 90-day period beginning on Dec. 1, 2017 and found the time spent on WiFi dropped for three of the four major U.S. carriers compared to the first quarter of 2017, due to the growth in unlimited data plans.

Incidentally, on an Android phone, if you go into settings, tap “Data usage”, and then tap the Facebook app icon, you can then select “Restrict app background data.” You can also go into the settings in the actual Facebook app (found under “More” after you open Facebook), uncheck “autoplay videos” and set it to “WiFi only”. Now Facebook does not add to cell data unless you are using it. In addition, there is another data saving setting on the phone to update all apps only when connected to WiFi.

Hot Phone Battery Tips

Ah, summer is fast approaching and we love to get out in the sun. Did you know your smartphone does not like it as much as you do? In fact, it is adversely affected by it. The hotter outside it gets, the more it uses battery power. Heat and background apps are the quickest ways to drain your phone without you realizing it.

Phones are good for temperatures up to 95 degrees and can be stored up to about 110 degrees. Never leave a phone, tablet, or computer in a hot car, especially in direct sunlight, because temperatures in parked cars can exceed this range.

As noted above for usage charges there are other reasons for turning off apps you are not using, such as battery draining. On your smartphone, turn off WiFi, bluetooth, GPS, and other energy-draining functions if you are not using them. Another energy killer is screen brightness. Dimming brightness even just a little, can save hours of battery life.

Just because you press the Home button on your phone does not mean an app is closed. In fact, the app is still running in the background. To make sure that an app that you had opened is not sucking up your battery life press the Home button twice or the multiple apps button on some android phones, then swipe left, right, or hit the X on the app, depending on phone, to turn off apps that are currently running in background. Bottom line, if it is too hot for you, it is likely too hot for your phone.

Jan 27, 2017

Cell Phone Usage

During January, 2009, only about 10% of the U.S. population had smartphones, resulting in network traffic that mostly involved texts and voice, and some modest picture messaging.

Four years later the faster LTE wireless network that Verizon had launched during late 2010, still had not gone mainstream. AT&T said that data usage on its D.C.-area network was more than 16 times larger than it was during 2009. By 2016, 88% of the population owned smartphones.

Sep 30, 2016

Three Smartphone Photo Tips

Use a flashlight from a different phone to light your subject from an angle will result in a better image than relying on your smartphone camera’s flash. You will achieve a more crisp picture.

You can optimize your smartphone camera’s ability to focus and meter light by tapping on the screen before you shoot. Tap a dark spot in the shot to make the image brighter or tap a bright spot on the screen to darken it a bit.

Shoot in landscape mode and your photos will look better on the Web or your PC screen.

Sep 9, 2016

Phone Battery Grabbers

The component that uses the most energy on your smartphone is the screen. The more you use it, the faster your battery drains. Using the auto dimming feature helps use less battery. You can also shorten the delay time to turn screen off when you are finished using it for a while.

Watching a streaming video movie requires your phone’s screen to be on continuously, to maintain an active Internet connection, and the phone’s processor and graphics processor also use juice to decode the video and audio.

Streaming music also uses more battery than music stored on the phone, due to network activity of streaming.

Using maps for long trips and your phone’s screen is on, and the app forces the phone’s GPS circuitry to refresh at a more frequent rate than in normal usage. It is also making heavier use of cellular and WI-Fi connections in order to aid in pinpointing your location.

Pop up ads use much processor and waste battery use as much as twice as what it would if you used an ad blocker.

Push messages also use up the battery faster. Why not set the email to only check once every thirty minutes, or each hour, or never, and check mail when you want to, not when someone decides to interrupt you. Same with contacts updates and calendar changes. You can always switch back if you do not notice a noticeable increase in battery life.

Keep your phone relatively warm. Cold weather (below about 60) is a major battery drainer for any battery, not just phone batteries.

If you do not need it, turn GPS and WiFi off until you need them. The constant pinging wastes a battery charge. If you are in a store or another place you do not wish to be disturbed, skip the vibrate mode and just turn on Airplane Mode. All your messages, mail, etc., will arrive when you turn Airplane Mode off.

If you have a battery saving mode on your phone, use it. You will not lose features, it will just keep the automatic pinging and background apps to a minimum.

You can check your settings to see which apps are gobbling most of your resources and turn them off or delete them if you do not need them. You can also turn off GPS or WiFi access for those apps that really do not need these features.

Last, if you are in an area of bad reception, your phone works overtime to find a signal. Use Airplane Mode until you move closer to populated areas. Incidentally, if you notice your battery draining faster than normal and your usage or apps have not changed, might be time to buy a new battery.

Aug 26, 2016

Barometers and Smartphones

Weather predictions rely on sensors on the ground that report data, such as barometric pressure, which can help scientists determine when the weather is about to change. These sensors are also used to help local forecasters predict the weather.

During the last five years, the number of pressure sensors in the world has exploded, because Smartphone manufacturers have started putting them in Smartphones. The purpose is to help determine a device’s altitude for location tracking. Samsung’s Galaxy Smartphones have barometers built-in since 2011, and the feature came to Apple’s iPhone during 2014.

Now, many of the almost three billion Smartphones in the world have one. Developers and weather forecasters have been talking about using smartphone sensors for years, but the phone operating systems do not make available the pressure readings taken by their Smartphones.

Recently, a popular weather app called Dark Sky introduced an opt-in feature that automatically takes barometric pressure readings. It gets more than a million pressure sensor reports a day.

Dark Sky has several different ways to inform about important weather conditions in the exact spot you are standing with your phone. Precise down-to-the-minute notifications alerts when rain or snow is about to start. Severe weather alerts inform of dangerous conditions, and more. It even has detailed maps. LINK

Another opt-in app, WeatherSignal, takes automatic readings and sends data to a number of academic partners for processing. Organizers are hoping for a commercial piece in the near future.

It may be time we begin to help the weathermen, rather than curse their ignorance.

Jul 28, 2016

Smartphone Camera Hack

Have you ever been somewhere when you needed to scan a document, but no scanner was available. Use your phone camera to take a picture of the document. It is quick and easy. You can send the picture as a PDF file or as a JPG picture file to your home computer or directly to whomever you choose. It is also handy to use for snapping pictures of bills for itemizing expenses. Other ideas for smartphone use can be found HERE.

Mar 6, 2015

Size Matters

The last quarter of 2014 has seen the phablet smartphones with a screen 5.5 inches and larger have the most impressive sales performance to date, constituting 12.8% of total global mobile device sales.

These phones have been outperforming the mobile device market since the launch of the Galaxy Note in 2012, and their popularity continues to rise in all regions. Even the original smartphone producer capitulated and introduced a large iPhone factor. The prediction of insiders is that this form factor will continue to increase as older contracts come up for renewal.

Sep 5, 2014

Smartphone Tips

Want to capture something on your phone's screen? Try this

iPhone - Press and hold the Home button along with the Sleep/Wake button. You should hear a shutter click. The screenshot will appear in your Camera Roll or Saved Photos section.

Android - Hold the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time. The image is saved to the "Captured Images" folder in your Gallery app. That only works in Android 4.0 and higher. For some Samsung Galaxy phones, hold the home and power off buttons at the same time.

Want to increase the font size to something a bit easier to see?
Go to Settings>>General>>Accessibility and turn on Bold Text and Larger Text. You can choose either one or both, depending on your preferences. You will need to restart your phone for Bold Text to take effect.

Go to Settings>>Accessibility. Under Vision, tap Font size and set it to Large. Some phones include an even larger 'Huge' option.

Want to have your phone read things out loud?
Go to Settings>>General>>Accessibility and turn on VoiceOver. You will need to do some playing around to get used to it. For example you can touch and drag your fingers around the home screen to have it read what's there. Double tap to activate an app, while one tap will give you details about it. VoiceOver will read directions to you in Maps, have your camera tell you how many people are in your shot, and get spoken photo descriptions. You can also hand write notes and letters on the screen and have VoiceOver translate your messages into text for Mail and other apps.

Go to Settings>>Accessibility and tap TalkBack. If you don't see it, you can download it from the Google Play store. Turn it on and your phone will read whatever you touch on the screen and incoming notifications. To perform a regular swipe gesture, you need to use two fingers instead of one. To adjust your TalkBack settings, go to Settings>>Accessibility and tap Text-to-Speech options. You can adjust the voice engine and speed rate. Then go to Settings and turn on Hands-free mode. This will tell you who is calling or messaging. (I tried this and it was so irritating, that I shut it off)

Want to control your phone camera with voice?
Open the camera app and tap the gear to see the settings. Scroll down to Voice control and turn it on. Now you can take pictures with the commands, "Capture," "Shoot," "Smile" and "Cheese." If your phone doesn't have a built-in camera app with this feature, you'll need a third-party app like Say Cheese.

Aug 22, 2014

Opt Out

There is a web site that will scare the heck out of you, but will also help you. The ad industry website for opting out of ads from multiple companies goes a long way to keep companies from dropping cookies on your computer, then bombarding you with ads that have become more and more personalized to you. Increasingly, these companies also track your location, contacts, calls, texts, etc., through your smartphone. Check what an app can look at each time before you agree to download. (If it wants access to your contact list, please remove me or change my name to John Doe.) If you like these ads, skip to the next topic.

If you do not like ads, go to the site using the link below and follow the instructions to opt out. These are only the specific companies that target ads to you, based on your cookies. Other companies that do not directly target can be eliminated through various add-ons to your particular browser. In my case, I had only one company showing, although 117 companies were participating. My browser is so locked down, I usually do not see any ads on most pages, but I am vigilant with my lockdown practices. After opting out, a few of the companies added a preference in my browser to not show me ads. LINK

My mother used to tell me that too many cookies were not good for me. Now I understand she must have meant both physical and electronic.


By the end of 2014, US carriers will be required to route all of our emergency texts to 911. The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to require all mobile carriers to route text messages sent to 911, to local emergency response centers, just like phone calls.

The problem is most emergency services agencies are not yet equipped to receive them.

The big four operators have already implemented text-to-911 voluntarily, but many smaller operators have not. In fact, only about 2 percent of 911 response centers are capable of receiving SMS, so most emergency messages just get sent into the cloud.

The FCC also now requires messaging apps linked to phone numbers must all support 911. That means an app that works within the phone’s SMS client must be able to send 911 texts, but a social messaging app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp does not. Am having difficulty understanding how someone with a phone finds it easier to text than to call, especially when 911 usually requires a series of questions and answers. Thumbs may not be faster than lips, but apps like EVA, SIRI, Skyvi, and Jeannie, etc. might be more linguistically understandable.

Feb 7, 2014

Moravec's Paradox

Hans Moravec, adjunct faculty member at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, pointed out that machine technology mimicked a savant infant. Machines can do long math equations instantly and beat humans in chess, but they can't answer a simple question or walk up a flight of stairs (until recently). He, along with many others has been working to solve that paradox and help computers evolve on their own.

Early artificial intelligence (AI) researchers believed intelligence was characterized as the things that highly educated scientists found challenging, such as chess, symbolic integration, and solving complicated word algebra problems. They thought, if those could be done so easily by computers, things that children of four or five years could do effortlessly, such as visually distinguishing between a coffee cup and a chair, or walking around on two legs, or responding to words would be infinitely easier for computers to learn.

Computers/robots are finally beginning to move and think like people. Narrative Science can write earnings summaries that are indistinguishable from wire reports. We can ask our phones, 'I'm lost, help.' and our phones can tell us how to get home. (The smartphone was introduced in 2007, just seven years ago.)

Computers that can drive cars were never supposed to happen and ten years ago, many engineers said it was impossible. Navigating a crowded street requires a combination of spacial awareness, soft focus, and constant anticipation. Yet, today we have Google's self-driving cars and they have been approved by some states as allowable on city streets. Ten years from impossible to common.

IBM, working with Memorial Sloan-Kettering cancer information is using its computers to diagnose diseases and the Cleveland Clinic to help train aspiring physicians. It just invested a billion dollars to set up 'Watson' into a separate business unit for medical and other complex decision making activities.

Bottom line, we are experiencing solutions to the paradox and it is very exciting, although I am not sure machines will ever replace the following or that we will ever want to.

Jun 4, 2013

Ten Ideas for Your Smartphone

Your phone is a great place to keep information that you may need to access quickly. Here is a list of things to consider.
• A picture of where you parked your car.
• Printer cartridges showing refill numbers
• Any replaceable items around the house, like battery sizes, light bulb watts, air filter sizes, etc.
• Travel confirmation numbers. It may be quicker than sorting through a few hundred emails. (Another trick is to forward the confirmation email to yourself just before you leave, so it is on the top of the stack.)
• Pictures of current medications including prescription names and dosages.
• Pictures of furniture or wall paint cans to remember colors.
• Recipes or ideas from a magazine that you find while waiting for your doctor or dentist.
• Things that you might want to buy, like the brand of perfume or shampoo you saw.

Another smartphone trick is to add one or more phone contacts or notes with phone numbers to call in the event your wallet, passport, credit cards, etc., are stolen. You do not need to keep the actual credit card number (in case your phone is stolen), the company can look it up.

Take a video of the inside of your home and save it in the cloud. This is what an insurance company would love to see, in case of fire, flood, robbery, or other disaster.

Bonus Idea - Add an ICEmergency contact to your contact list for the person to be notified in case of an accident or medical emergency. You can also add an ICEmergency note with doctor names and numbers, allergies, medications, etc. There are also free applications (Apps) for this on iPhone and Android. If you are a caretaker for others, keep their info on your phone, also.

Nov 16, 2012

Smart Credit Cards

Here is something coming to your wallet, a new MasterCard that has LCD screen and keyboard. The credit card with an LCD display and built-in keyboard has been launched in Singapore by MasterCard  The card will be available from January before being rolled out globally.

The card has touch-sensitive buttons and the ability to create a one-time password. Future versions of the card could display added information such as the remaining balance or display information such as loyalty or reward points or recent transaction history.

Last year, Visa announced a similar card with interactive functions. Smartphone manufacturers are hoping that enhanced credit cards will be quickly replaced by near-field communication feature that many smartphones already have.

Aug 3, 2012

Free Museum Maps

Visitors at the Smithsonian Institution can use a smartphone to find their way through 17 museums, the National Zoo in Washington and locations in northern Virginia and New York City.

The interior maps totaling 2.7 million square feet can be accessed by visitors with Google Maps for Android. They include maps of the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History and National Museum of Natural History, which draw millions of visitors.

Maps also have been completed for the National Portrait Gallery and six other art museums.

Aug 13, 2011

The Eyes Have It

Do you remember in the early days of TV that many studies predicted that children would ruin their eyesight by sitting too close to the TV. Those studies have long since been debunked as they proved to be false.

Now, a new study shows that habitual smartphone usage dulls vision as users generally hold their devices too close to their eyes. The study says people hold papers and magazines 16 inches away from their eyes, but smartphones at 14 inches. One ophthalmologist suggested that people get reading glasses. Hmmm. . .

Feb 5, 2011

Speaking of Tagging

Did you know smartphones equipped with GPS location finders "geotag" photos and videos. It embeds images with the longitude and latitude of the location shown in the image. If you take a picture in your house and post it on the web, you are actually giving away your address to the world. If someone takes your picture with a non-descript background, the information in the photo still shows where you were when the picture was taken. Another reason for not getting your picture taken if you are someplace where you should not be. GPS for driving instructions Good. GPS for anything else Bad.

Jan 7, 2011

iPhone Applications

Be careful with that new technology in your hand. An examination of 101 popular smartphone apps (games and other software applications for iPhone and Android phones) showed that 56 transmitted the phone's unique device ID to other companies without users' awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone's location. Five sent age, gender, and other personal details to outsiders.

The findings reveal the efforts by online-tracking companies to gather personal data about people in order to build databases of information about them. Many companies don't have privacy policies and there isn't much you can do about it.

iPhone apps transmitted more data than the apps on phones using Google's Android operating system. Apps sharing the most information included TextPlus 4, for text messaging. It sent the phone's unique ID number to eight ad companies and the phone's zip code, along with the user's age and gender, to two of them.

Both the Android and iPhone versions of Pandora, a music app, sent age, gender, location, and phone identifiers to various ad networks. iPhone and Android versions of the game Paper Toss each sent the phone's ID number to at least five ad companies.

Millennial Media lists 11 types of information about people that developers may transmit to "help Millennial provide more relevant ads." They include age, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and political views. MySpace also sent a user's income, ethnicity and parental status. Bottom line, the more you play, the more you pay is even more true in the information age.