Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Extend Your iPhone’s Battery Life

Update 6/20/15 - a few new tips now at
- How To Extend Your Smart Phone Battery Life

Low Battery.

It's a common warning for iPhone users.

Is it because the battery is terrible or because iPhone users really, really use their phones more than other devices?

It's the latter.

The Apple iPhone.  It is the most amazing phone ever.  And that means that users use the phone for voice, text, and a wide range of computing uses.

And these activities all drain the battery.

So what can you do?

Here are my favorite two tips for extending battery life on the iPhone.

First, be sure to keep your iPhone out of the sun or other hot place like your car or the glove box.  Heat will significantly degrade your iPhone's batter life.

Second, close any app that you are not using.   While multitasking can be useful, it can drain your battery.  Double click on the home button and then press and hold on the multitasking app icons.  Then click the "x" to close them.

Other things you can do to extend battery life:
  • You should also keep your iPhone upgraded to the latest software available for your phone.  Apple engineers often include such mundane things as extending battery life in upgrades.
  • Minimize use of location services: Applications that use location services such as Maps may reduce battery life. To disable location services, go to Settings > General > Location Services.
  • Turn off push notifications.  Many apps use the Push Notification service to alert you of new data. To disable push notifications, go to Settings > Notifications and set Notifications to Off. 
  • Fetch data less often.  The more often email is fetched, your battery may drain quicker. To fetch new data manually, from the Home screen choose Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data and tap Manually. 
  • Turn off Wi-Fi: If you rarely use Wi-Fi, you can turn it off to save power. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and set Wi-Fi to Off. 
  • Turn off Bluetooth: If you rarely use a Bluetooth headset or car kit, you can turn off Bluetooth to save power. Go to Settings > General > Bluetooth and set Bluetooth to Off.
  • Use Airplane Mode in low- or no-coverage areas.  You won't be able to make or receive phone calls.  To turn on Airplane Mode, go to Settings and set Airplane Mode to On.
  • Adjust brightness. Dimming the screen is another way to extend battery life. Go to Settings > Brightness and drag the slider to the left to lower the default screen brightness. 
Finally, it's often useful to have power chargers wherever you are.  Having your phone fully charged makes your iPhone experience a bright one!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Playing it Safe on Facebook

With so many people on facebook, hackers and spammers are having a field day spreading their mischief among the world's largest social networking site.

Most often users may see that a friend's account is posting unusual messages.

Don't click that link!  Or your account may suffer the same fate.

But if this happens, here is what facebook says you should do:

 If your account has been taken over and used to send spam, you should follow these steps immediately:
  • If you can’t reset your password because the email address you use to log in has changed, or if your account has been disabled, visit our help page.
  • Make sure you have up-to-date security software on your computer, run a scan, and remove any malicious files. If you don’t do this, and your computer is infected, your account may be taken over again. If you don’t yet have protection for your computer, you can download a complimentary six-month subscription of McAfee security software. Learn more on the Software tab.

If a friend’s account has been taken over and used to send spam, you should follow these steps immediately:

  • Tell your friend to check out this Page and follow the steps above.
  • Warn those who received the spam not to click on it, and to delete it from their Walls and Inboxes.

In addition, here are a few more tips to keep in mind.
  • Don't click on unusual links, even if posted by one of your friends.
  • Use the "mark as spam" button to remove a post and mark it as potential spam post. Click the "x" after a post to access the "mark as spam" option.
  • Don't download applications that you are not sure about.
  • If you think your account has been hacked, go to www.facebook.com/hacked to alert facebook and lockdown your account.

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Check In with Foursquare

Do you want to be a mayor?  That could be a lot of work in the real world.

But you can become the mayor of your local Starbucks.  Or local hangout.  Just for being close by.

And by using the new Foursquare app on your iPhone, Android, Palm or Blackberry device.

Foursquare is a social-networking app enables users to connect with friends and discover new places and things to do around town.

You'll earn points and badges based on how many times you check-in to certain locations.

And if you check-in often enough, you can become the mayor.

So, what's the point of being the mayor of a location?

Mostly bragging rights.

However, some Foursquare-friendly locations offer a free premium like discounts and free items just for checking in or becoming the mayor.

Go check it out.  Learn more at Foursquare.com

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Let Google Search Your Desktop

UPDATE 6/1/2015.  Sadly, Google has discontinued the Desktop Search tool.  Microsoft dramatically improved the search function within Windows and Google's normal business model of displaying ads next to search results would creep people out when displayed next to results from a PC's disk drive. (Although DS never did that, there was no way to make money for Google in the future).  While there are some other apps, Google's was the best.

Where did you put that file?  Or that email?

Searching for documents on your PC can be a nightmare.  So many documents.  So many emails.

Sometimes it's like searching for a needle in a haystack.

But Google offers an elegant solution.

Their free program, Google Desktop, indexes your hard drive the way Google's own servers index the Web. Your search results are returned on a web page similar to when you do a real Google web search.

After you download and install the software, Google Desktop gets to work indexing your hard drive.  If you have a lot of files, this can take a while.  Just sit back and relax.

You'll be able to find those files in no time.

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yahoo Upgrades New Mail to All Users

Yahoo has started making its newest version of its e-mail service available to all of  its 284 million users.

The company unveiled a test version of the new service last fall. 
The redesigned service now includes integration with a number of social media including Facebook and Twitter into Yahoo's e-mail service. Users can post messages to Facebook and share notifications and updates from Twitter and Facebook from a new Updates tab.
Users can chat with Facebook, Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger contacts within Yahoo Mail.
Users can upgrade to the new version online. A demo video is also now online.

Monday, May 23, 2011

How to Take a Screenshot on an iPhone

Do you ever need to take a screenshot on your iPhone?

You're in luck.

This mostly unknown feature has been built into the iOS operating system since version 2.0.

To capture the screen image or take a screenshot just press the Home button and Sleep/Wake (On/Off) key at the top of the mobile device simultaneously at the same time.

You'll hear the camera shutter click and your screenshot will be saved the camera roll on your phone.

You can then view and send your newly saved image to others by email or SMS like all other photos.

Now you know!

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Don't be Smurfed! Beware of in-App Purchases

UPDATE 6/12/2015: Since this post was originally posted in 2011, both Google and Apple have improved their online stores to warn users that apps have in-game purchases.  Nothing like losing some court cases and refunding millions of dollars to get a company to change.  But parents should keep their passwords safe and ensure the settings are secure so that in-app purchases must be approved.

When is a Free Game not free?

When you can buy in-app items that cost real money.  Your money.

To the shock of many users, free games, downloaded from iTunes onto mobile phones, allow users to purchase items for the games from within the application itself.

Many parents have received unexpected and costly iTune charges because they allowed their children to use their iPhone or iPods with the mistaken belief that these games were "free".

This problem is not just limited to Apple devices.  But the iPhone devices and the iTunes store have made the headlines.

A well-documented story appeared in MSNBC late last year and involved the iPhone game "The Smurf's Village.

While The Smurfs Village is indeed "free" to download, items within the game can cost.  Especially, apparently, smurfberries.  At $59 a pop for a cart.

So what can you do?

  1. Update your iPhone, iPod or iPad to the latest version of the iOS operating system.  This updated version requires the iTunes to be re-entered before an in-app purchase can be made.
  2. Keep your iTunes password safe from other users.
  3. Go to Settings, General and change the In App option to not allow purchases within applications.
  4. Always read the notices before you download an application from the iTunes store.  And open it again to read any notices about the option to purchase in-app items.

So with a little knowledge and common sense, you can avoid being smurfed!

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Zip It

Do you need to send someone a large number of files?

You don't have to attach dozens of files into your email.

Just use the built-in Zip feature of Windows.

The Zip format is a widely used process to compress large files into a "zip" file.  The resulting file is smaller and can contain numerous files created by a variety of applications.

This was especially important before the days of high-speed internet when dial-up ruled the online world.

But zip files can still be useful to keep all files together when you send them to recipients.

There have been a number of utilities to create zip files for years.

But most people don't know that you can create zip files without these tools just by using the function built into Windows.

Here's your step-by step guide:

  • Create your email message and click Attach File.
  • Use the file selector to option to find the files you want to attach.
  • Choose all of the files you want to zip. Use the Control key to choose more than one.
  • Bring up the options window by right-clicking any of the selected files and then choose "Send To, Compressed (zipped) folder"
  • Attach your new Zip file to you e-mail.

Wasn't that easy?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don't Get LinkedJacked on Facebook

Are you on Facebook?  If you are, you're in good company.

Facebook says that over 500 million users world-wide are connected through its service and over 70% of the users are outside the United States.

With an online population like that, trouble is bound to happen.

While specific threats shift over time, the most recent security issue on Facebook is "Linkjacking" also known as "clickjacking".  That's when a user clicks a link posted to his or her wall by a friend, or adds javascript code to his or her browser window based on a friend's link that causes actions unknown to the user.  Like posting the same link to all of his or her friends' Facebook walls.  And so it continues, on and on and on.

So, what can you do?  When online, always play it safe.  If it's too good to be true, don't click on a link.  Even if its for a FREE iPad, or a spicy hidden video of Britney Spears. Yuk.

Facebook offers some specific advice on the subject as well:
Certain malicious websites contain code that can make your browser take action without your knowledge or consent. Clicking on a link on one of these websites might cause the website to be posted to your Facebook profile, for example. Don't click on strange links, even if they're from friends, and notify the person if you see something suspicious.
It's a jungle out there in the online world.  Be smart and practice Safe Computing!

For more information about Facebook Security, visit their Security page at http://www.facebook.com/security

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Skype for the Apple iPhone and iPad

UPDATE 6/11/15 - Check out the new post HERE about Skype's new version that works within a browser.

Most of us have already heard about Skype, the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) company which was recently purchased by Microsoft.

It's a big deal for Microsoft and the future of mobile and video telecommunications.

Skype is widely known for allowing users to initiate and receive video and audio calls from PCs.  But it's more than that.

Many do not know that Skype already allows calls from mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Best of all, unlike Apple's own mobile video service Facetime, Skype for iPhone allows calls over cellular data networks, not just higher-speed WiFi connections.  And Skype can initiate and receive calls to and from PCs and Macintosh computers as well as other iPhones and mobile devices which use Skype.

So, is it any good?  By and large, yes.  It's remarkable that this technology--once only dreamed possible in science fiction--is now available to consumers.  But even a video call from iPhone to iPhone over a 3G cellular network is pretty good.  Calls made over WiFi are even better.  And if one of the callers is on a wired, high speed PC, the call quality improves.

So while performance can degrade while on a mobile data connection, similar to voice calls, Skype's decision to allow cellular data calls is a good one.

Facetime is currently limited to only WiFi connections and to certain newer Apple products.  The quality is better, but the ability to send and receive calls using a mobile makes it very limited.

As mobile computing devices and data networks increase and improve, video calls from all types of devices will be regular features for most people.

But if you can't wait, the future is now with Skype.

Learn more about the iPhone and iPad Skype HERE.

Skype is also available for a number of other mobile phones although the full capabilities may differ.  For example, Skype for Blackberry is available for voice calls on a limited number of devices for Verizon.  Skype is also available for some Android devices but service is limited to WiFi connections only.  More information is available HERE on using Skype for other mobile devices.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Angry Birds Fly to Chrome

Looking for some Angry Birds on your PC?

Then look no further than Google's Chrome Browser App store for the game FREE.

The flocks of angry birds and the dastardly pigs have now arrived for your PC.

Here's how the the creators describe the game:
The survival of the Angry Birds is at stake. Dish out revenge on the green pigs who stole the Birds’ eggs. Use the unique destructive powers of the Angry Birds to lay waste to the pigs’ fortified castles. Angry Birds features hours of gameplay, challenging physics-based castle demolition, and lots of replay value. Each of the 70 levels requires logic, skill, and brute force to crush the enemy.
To install the game, you need Google's very cool browser, Chrome.  You can download it for free HERE.
You'll find the Chrome browser to be a fast, sleek alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) or Mozilla's FireFox browsers.

Then just head on over to the Chrome App Store HERE to find the Angry Birds App.  After a quick install, you'll be chasing pigs in no time.

But beware.  This game is addictive.

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Bing App for iPad Gets It Right

While Google may still rule the world, Microsoft is still a mighty contender.

And the Microsoft search engine has taken on both with its recent Bing app for the iPad.

The free app is rich in details and graphics.  It "gets" the beauty of the iPad.

Bing graphically shows the areas that you most want to access from a portable tablet:  News, Weather, Movies, Movies, Trends, and Finance.

The new app is available in the Apple iTunes Store HERE.

Sadly, the Google app for the iPad looks like it's from 1995.  Dull and boring. Uh oh.

And while Apple's native Safari browser is a good tool, you'll find yourself using the new Bing app for iPad for many more uses.

Check out Bings video on its new app:
<br/><a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&vid=bf79720b-2fce-4f05-b880-21793cd62bd9&src=SLPl:embed::uuids&fg=sharenoembed" target="_new"title="Touch and Decide: Introducing Bing for iPad">Video: Touch and Decide: Introducing Bing for iPad</a>

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What's Going On? Let Google Hot Trends Tell You!

As many of our lives move to digital for our daily information and interaction, it's not surprising that we turn to search engines like Google for answers on current events.

A quick way to get a pulse on what's happening in the world is to visit Google's Trends page at http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends  Updated regularly, it lists the top trending search topics that are appearing in the Google search engine.

Clicking a link reveals additional news stories and blog posts for that search term.

Want to know what's going on?  Let Professor Google tell you.  He knows.

One Cool Tip.com
Cool Tips for a Cooler Life!

#Google #Trends

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stuff Happens

You may have noticed that OneCoolTip.com was unavailable for some time yesterday and today.  And some posts have been lost.

Unfortunately, the web publishing service we use for this blog, Blogger powered by Google, had technical troubles.  Hopefully, the service is back again and the missing posts will *magically* reappear.

All this serves as a reminder that in the digital age, even multi-billion dollar companies experience technical difficulties.  And having good backups is always a good thing to do.  Read more on backups here at OneCoolTip.com.

Because *Stuff Happens*.

Here's what Blogger and Google had to say about their recent woes:

Blogger is back5/13/2011 10:33:00 AM(Cross-posted from the Blogger Buzz blog) 

What a frustrating day. We’re very sorry that you’ve been unable to publish to Blogger for the past 20.5 hours. We’re nearly back to normal—you can publish again, and in the coming hours posts and comments that were temporarily removed should be restored. Thank you for your patience while we fix this situation. We use Blogger for our own blogs, so we’ve also felt your pain. 
Here’s what happened: during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, we experienced some data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. Since then, bloggers and readers may have experienced a variety of anomalies including intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages. A small subset of Blogger users (we estimate 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts. Yesterday we returned Blogger to a pre-maintenance state and placed the service in read-only mode while we worked on restoring all content: that’s why you haven’t been able to publish. We rolled back to a version of Blogger as of Wednesday May 11, so your posts since then were temporarily removed. Those are the posts that we’re in the progress of restoring. 

Again, we are very sorry for the impact to our authors and readers. We try hard to ensure Blogger is always available for you to share your thoughts and opinions with the world, and we’ll do our best to prevent this from happening again.

**UPDATE 5/13/11 4:23 pm***
- Blogger appears to have restored missing blog posts.

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Simplify Your Life With Dropbox

UPDATE 6/23/15:  Dropbox has made numerous improvements to its service.  Read an updated review HERE.

Have you ever been in a meeting and wished you could access an important file?  From your PC?  From a phone?  From a tablet like an iPad?

While there are a number of solutions for  remote access to a running PC, the hands down winner for accessing synced files online is Dropbox.com.

Dropbox works just like any other folder on your computer.  Any files or folders inside Dropbox will get synchronized to Dropbox's servers and any other computer or many smartphones or tablets linked to your account.   You can view, edit, save, and even share your files with others.  Updated files saved on Dropbox will be automatically synced on your other devices.

Dropbox supports Windows and Macintosh computers, iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices.

And the best thing is that Dropbox is free.  Well, you do get 2GBof free storage with the Basic service.  $99.00 a year buys 50GB of data storage and $199 a year buys 100GB of data storage.

Don't be left without those important files again.

Check it out at www.dropbox.com


One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Do You QR?

What the heck is this a picture of?  And why do I care?

As we move into the age of mobile computing, images like this will be more common than ever.  You'll find them on websites, in magazines, brochures and even on buildings and doors of businesses around the world.

So do you know?  Award yourself an extra hour of intenet surfing time if you know that this is a QR image.

A what?  A Quick Response code.  It's a barcode for coding information.

From Wikipedia:
QR code (short for Quick Response) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.
Armed with a smartphone, you can use an app to "read" the QR image you find in the real world that will save you from typing in the text into your mobile browser.   Perhaps it's a URL to an upcoming event.  Or a link to a restaurants online menu or online ordering system.

While there are a number of reader apps, I find that the Google Mobile apps for iPhone and Android do the job well.  Here's the link to Google's QR page where you find Google's app and others to download.

And if you want to create a QR code, an easy way is to use Google's URL shortener service at http://goo.gl/ 
Enter your URL and the site will create a shortened URL that you can use in Twitter and other services.  and if you are logged into Google, just look at the history for the shortened link and click details.  The QR code will be displayed.  You can then save that image to your PC for future use.

And now you know.

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just Say It

Typing can be such a bother.  But up to now, speech to text has been a hit or miss.

With the latest version of Google's Chrome Browser, users can now translate spoken speech into a foreign language.

All it takes is Chrome 11 and a microphone and a visit to the Google Translate.

Note the small mic icon in the right-hand corner?  Click it and say your phrase in English.  Your spoken phrase will then be returned in the selected foreign language.  And some languages, like Spanish and German, you'll even have the option to hear the foreign translation.

So give your fingers a rest and try out the new capabilities of Google Chrome.

One Cool Tip.com
Daily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Flip Out on Flipboard for the iPad

Flipboard for the Apple iPad is the best app for the iPad.  Period.

Flipboard is how we should get all of our information on a tablet computer.  
It's what futurists have predicted for years:  personalized, interactive digital content that updates instantly in a magazine format.
The app the iPad allows users to include content from Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Flickr as well as content from a growing list of news sites.
After a few minutes of viewing your daily content as a digital magazine, you'll be hooked.
Maybe it's a stretch to say this is the only reason to buy an iPad.  But it's sure a great reason.

One Cool Tip.com
http://www.onecooltip.comDaily Tips for a Cooler Life!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

AOL's New Video Chat Site - AIM AV

AOL has launched a new Video Chat site at http://www.aim.com/av

While officially in BETA and supposedly for only AOL Internal use, the new site was reported in TechCrunch earlier this week.

Using the new site is rather simple.  There's no login or connecting to users.  The site uses Flash and a link to a new 10.3 beta is provided.  Apparently, the new beta provides better echo reduction.

Once you start using the site, you can copy a unique link for your chat and then send it to others to start chatting right away.

Up to 4 users can chat at the same time.

The video chat wars are heating up and this new site shows that AOL is ready to take on Skype and others in the video segment.

One Cool Tip.com
http://www.onecooltip.comDaily Tips for a Cooler Life!