Remember those time-lapse documentaries that showed a seed sprouting, pushing up through the ground and blossoming with leaves and sometimes flowers? You can do that.

Our Google Pixel smartphones have time-lapse photography built in, and so do newer Samsung, HTC, LG and iPhones. We did it in four taps. If your phone doesn’t have time-lapse photography, try “Lapse-it,” free from Lapseit.com. A pro version lets you capture video in higher resolution, and adds special effects and other features.

You can see lots of examples of time-lapse photography on YouTube. Go to YouTube.com and search on “time lapse.” We saw flowers unfolding, roots shooting out, stars flashing by and clouds moving quickly across the sky. Some of the best were from timelapse.org. We tried it ourselves, shooting people crossing the street, increasing the speed ten times. It made everyone look like they were in a Keystone Cops silent movie.

Foldable Phones

The latest phone trick is one that folds like a magazine. Samsung launched the Galaxy Fold in Korea this month, after a five-month delay. The first one cracked and let dirt particles get in when people peeled back what they thought was a screen protector. But hey, what do you want for $2000?

Foldable phones give you a much bigger display. That’s better for reading books and magazines, playing games, watching movies and video chatting. The phone’s larger batteries mean longer battery life. Swap between the phone’s 16 megapixel ultra-wide camera or the 12 megapixel wide-angle and telephoto cameras to broaden or narrow your focus with a tap.

However, the Galaxy Fold is bulky; it won’t fit in your pocket. The Korean version of the phone has a 5-G connection, which is super fast, though the U.S. version will be 4-G. According to the Economist magazine, most people don’t use the full capacity of their 4-G phones and don’t need 5-G. Academics studied reporters at the Wall Street Journal and found that even while watching several videos at once, they used only a fraction of the available bandwidth.

Remind Me

We are always forgetting things, but we’ve found some good ways to be reminded. Google is our favorite so far.

“Hey Google, remind me.” We’ll say this either to our Android phone or to our Google Home smart speaker. Google Assistant will answer back; “Sure, what’s the reminder?” We’ll say: “Stretch.” She’ll say: “Sure, stretch. When do you want to be reminded?” We’ll say: “9 a.m.,” and she’ll say: “Sure, I’ll remind you at 9 a.m.” And she does. When we’ve tried asking a different way, we get problems. She’ll say: “I’ve got some reminders for Bob.” But she won’t tell us what they are.

Use Siri for reminders if you have an iPhone. Say “Hey Siri, remind me to take my vitamins at 8 a.m.” Or, set up a reminder based on your location. Say: “Hey Siri, remind me to call Joe Doe when I get home.” Or use Siri to add items to a shopping list, or some other list. If the list doesn’t exist yet, she’ll create one.

For Alexa, the voice inside the Echo and Echo Dot as well as in the free Alexa app, say, “Alexa, reminder.” She’ll respond: “What should I remind you of?” You could say, “doctor’s appointment” or whatever. She’ll say: “When should I remind you?” Pick a time and you’re set. We accidentally used the wrong words at first, prompting a continual round of further instructions that didn’t create a reminder.

Alexa, Call Home

Alexa is really good in an emergency. We’re referring to the voice inside the Echo or Echo Dot smart speaker. If you have an accident and are lying on the floor and can’t get to your phone, you can call someone just by asking Alexa. Just say: “Alexa call Bob,” or anyone on your contact list.

Practice it first. It could be that “Bob” is “Robert” in your contacts list, or you have too many Bobs, so Alexa won’t know which Bob you mean until you specify, so it might be worth adding a middle name. By the way, 21 years ago, when Joy told her young nephew that she was marrying Bob Schwabach, he said: “Bob, that’s a funny name.” Because apparently, in his generation, there are no Bobs.

Put it in Your Pocket

We signed up for a free Pocket account from GetPocket.com in order to save articles to read later. But we hardly ever do that. What we like about Pocket is its daily briefing. They give you links to interesting articles from major publications.

Pocket has two new features, prompting us to use it more. First you can highlight passages in your saved articles. Second, it gives you an automatic estimate of how long each article will take to read.

The Numbers Report

A marketing study finds that compared to last year, sales of the latest iPhone will be down 28 percent this year, according to a phone survey by WalletHub.com. Here are some more numbers:

  • 144 million Americans only buy a new phone after their current device breaks.
  • Most people, close to seven out of ten, wouldn’t pay $200 extra to get an iPhone instead of an Android phone.
  • Millennials will pay 41% more than baby boomers for a new phone, on average.
  • Nearly nine out of ten people aren’t willing to go into debt to get a new iPhone.

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