BIG BACKUP

We’ve been trying out Google’s free “Backup and Sync” app. That’s how we discovered its sister app, Google One. 

Google One backs up the stuff on your phone that isn’t automatically saved to your account online. That’s handy when you switch phones, since you can get everything back. 

Thanks to Google One, we found an audio clip we thought was long lost. It was Bob’s best recounting of the time he faced a firing squad off the coast of Morocco, when soldiers on a remote island mistook him for the enemy. Before being shot over a cliff, the color of his passport proved he was an American. True story.

You can get Google One at the Google Play store or be prompted to get it. We were prompted to get it when we were backing up our computer files with Google’s free “Backup and Sync.”  We ran out of the 15 gigabytes of free storage and were prompted to get a paid account, with Google One as a bonus.

Without Google One, an Android phone only backs up call history, texts, contacts, settings and app data. Google One does all that plus photos, videos and multimedia messages. Those are texts sent with photos or videos. But Google One is only available if you opt for 100 gigabytes of storage on Drive.Google.com for $2 a month or $20 a year. We thought it was worth it. We’re the last of the big spenders.

Moving Day

A reader says: “ I am ending our long term relationship with AT&T about two years earlier than planned. I’ve got a Gmail account with Verizon. How do I import AT&T saved and archived mail into my Gmail account?”

This was trickier than we thought at first, because the archived mail doesn’t automatically come over. You have to first move the archive over to your inbox. (Go to your archive folder, select all the messages there, then click “restore to Inbox.”)  

In Gmail, click on the little picture of a gear. Choose “Settings.” Then choose “Accounts and Import.” Click on “Import Mail and Contacts” and follow the steps. 

Unfortunately, this didn’t work for our reader at first because of pop-up blockers. We suggested he try another web browser. He wrote back: “Guess what? SUCCESS! I changed to Firefox, followed your instructions and the transfer is in progress right now.”

A Digital Life

After reading that the average adult spends four hours a day on a cellphone, we decided to check our statistics. 

Joy spends an average of 1.2 hours per day on her Pixel 2 smartphone. Bob spends zero. He’s not talking. You can check your usage by going to “Settings” and selecting “Digital Well-being and Parental Controls.” On an iPhone, go to “Settings” then “Screentime.” 

We tapped the current day for details, then slid a finger right to see previous days. You can switch from viewing screen time to “notifications.” We received 126 notifications the day we looked. 

If you fear you’re addicted to your phone, try “Post Box,” a free app for Android phones. It bundles your notifications and sends them in one fell swoop. You choose how often you want to be notified – up to four times a day. We also tried “Desert Island,” a free app that changes your phone’s home screen to a plain-text menu of the seven apps you use most often. But we voted ourselves off the island after a few minutes of frustration. Joy typically uses about 12 apps.

Internuts

  • Have you, while repairing a computer, ever found anything that made your jaw drop?” If you search that phrase, you’ll find a picture of a massive ant colony growing inside a Sony Vaio laptop. The owner saw an ant or two traversing the screen and suspected he might have a few more hiding inside. The local tech repair outfit was appalled at the giant mounds of them. No wonder the laptop was “acting hinky.” It turns out that this is not a rare event if you happen to be in the tropics.
  • Take Yourself Out of Any Video Stream WIth this New App.” Search on that phrase to find an article from ZmeScience. Jason Mayes, a developer at Google, has figured out a way to take anyone out of a video. He calls his app “Disappearing People.”  Using a computer’s webcam, the app memorizes the look of a room without a human. When a human walks in, they’re erased and the gaps are filled in. The developer will share the code with you if you want to try it. Alternatively, drop a towel over your webcam whenever you want privacy. 

App Happy

  • Photo by Richard Stare

    Audubon Bird Guide.” A reader told us: “Even if you aren’t a birder, the free Audubon Bird Guide in the Google Play Store (also in the iPhone app store) is a terrific app just for the photos. It’s a large download at 350 megabytes, if you install the guide for offline use, but it can all be moved to your SD card. Besides wonderful photographs, there’s loads of bird call recordings, maps, and highly detailed information on the individual birds, like what they eat, nesting habits, and so on.” Joy enjoyed listening to the call of the “Morning Dove,” which she recalled hearing in California every day. It goes “COO, coo, coo.”

  • Burner” is an app for Android and iPhone that gives you a disposable phone number. It would be  handy for anyone using a dating app. Burner gives you 20 minutes of talk time and 40 texts for free. After that, it’s $5 a month.

 

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