Joy had noticed her cell phone was hot in her pocket and wondered why. We were in an elevator when this came up and Bob said “why not do a quick survey.” So we spoke up and asked the three people in the elevator if their phones were hot. We didn’t mean “hot” as in stolen or “hot” as in “cool, man,” but they got it. A young woman answered immediately and said her phone was hot all the time, Someone else nodded in agreement. But the tall guy had the answer: “It gets hot when it’s always searching for a signal.” So that’s the problem. Well at least it was the biggest part of the problem. Joy had inadvertently […]
The battery in the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone is supposed to last for 18 hours on standby, 10 hours if you’re talking, 8 hours if you’re playing a video. We’ve been lucky if ours lasted half that. A free app called “Greenify,” along with some basic adjustments, has made a big difference. Greenify for Android phones hibernates any apps you don’t need to have running. Our phone stays on for at least 18 hours now, with light use. Some apps, such as the Amazon Kindle app, take a little longer to load with Greenify running in the background, but that’s better than a phone that dies when you don’t expect it. Before Greenify, we tried several other battery life extenders: […]
A few weeks ago we mentioned the yellow exclamation point in Gmail that prompted us to switch from Chrome to Firefox to Opera. A reader said he gets it too and wonders why. We finally have the answer. Every web address these days begins with “https” rather than the simple “http.” (The “s” is for “security.”) If you have a browser add-on that still uses the simple http, Gmail flags it. It can be quite annoying, even causing your email to freeze, but it appears to be harmless. In our tests, simply uninstalling Google Chrome and reinstalling it without any add-ons fixed the problem.
“Be My Eyes” is an iPhone app that helps blind people identify a piece of mail, something on a shelf, or anything that needs to be identified visually. The app has already signed up over 78,000 sighted helpers and 5,800 blind users; these would use their camera phone to show a helper what they’d like identified. The helper who gets the call is under no obligation. If they can’t help, it passes automatically to the next helper. This really frees a blind person from dependence on neighbors or friends.
Our Okidata laser printer has been scolding us for the last month. Despite rich colors and strong blacks, it says we’re out of toner. We finally figured out why. The manufacturers have struck back at consumers for using cheaper inks and toners.
The worst feature of a smart phone is its fast-draining battery. As we’ve written before, an app like the free “Battery Doctor” helps with that. But the most important thing, we’ve found, is to tap “settings” and turn off Wi-Fi. After that, decrease your screen brightness. And use a program like the free “Clean Master” to get rid of junk files.
In a recent column, we suggested using “msconfig” or Windows 8’s task manager to prevent too many programs from loading at start-up, slowing down your computer. A reader pointed out that a free program called “WinPatrol” from WinPatrol.com does the same job and provides more information.
Our favorite question-and-answer site, Quora.com, recently posted a message from David Seidman, a Microsoft employee, on the question of why Windows gets so slow after just a year of use. First off, he says, if you never install any software, except security updates, and leave lots of free disk space, it will never slow down. On the other hand, if you have lots of programs, you should run the “msconfig” utility to keep so many from loading at start up. In Windows 7, get to msconfig by clicking “start,” and “run” and typing “msconfig.” In Windows 8, get to the startup tab by right-clicking your taskbar and choosing “task manager.” Seidman says that Windows 8 runs many fewer services at […]