While there are limited classes on technology basics, Cycrest has a few tips to save you and your organization time and increase productivity. Some may be basics, but even experts may find a few new techniques in this list.
· On most cellphones, press the Send key to open up a list of recent calls. Instead of manually dialing, you can return a call by highlighting one of these calls and pressing Send again.
· Searching for a signal scarfs up battery juice appallingly quickly. Turn your phone off, or put it into Airplane Mode, before you travel out of cellphone range — for example, on a plane or, for AT&T users, Manhattan and San Francisco.
· When you need the phone number, address or directions for any commercial establishment, call 800-BING-411 for an amazingly good voice-activated agent.
· You can skip the inane 15-second voice-mail instructions when leaving a message ("To page this person, press 5") — if you know your friend's cellphone carrier. If it's Verizon, press * to cut directly to the beep. AT&T or Sprint, press 1. T-Mobile, press #. (Better yet: Do the world a favor and add this trick to your own greeting: "To cut to the beep, press 1.")
· If you travel overseas, you may return to a smartphone bill for $5,000 or more, thanks to the staggering international Internet fees. (You might not even know your phone is online — if it checks e-mail every 15 minutes, for example.) Despite many well-publicized horror stories, some people still don't realize they should call the cellphone company before traveling to buy a special temporary overseas plan.
· On the iPhone, the camera doesn't snap the photo until you release the on-screen shutter button. That's good to know if you want a steady, blur-free shot. Frame the shot with your finger on the button, then snap the photo by lifting off the screen instead of tapping it.
· On iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Palm/H.P. phones, tap the Space bar twice at the end of a sentence. You get a period, a space and a capitalized next letter, without hunting for punctuation keys.
· Also on those phones, you can type dont, wont, youre, didnt and so on. The phone adds the apostrophe to those automatically. (But you'll have to learn the difference between it's and its.)
· On a BlackBerry, hold a letter key down to capitalize it.
· You can magnify the iPhone's screen, for ease in reading tiny type, by double-tapping with three fingers. Then pan around by dragging with three fingers.
· Of course, you first have to turn this feature on. Do that by tapping Settings, then General, then Accessibility. (On the same screen, you'll find an option to make the text bigger in the built-in iPhone programs, which is handy in its own way.)
· Has your iPhone screen image suddenly become mysteriously enlarged? There's nothing quite as alarming as seeing jumbo text and graphics, and nothing restores the phone to the way it's supposed to be.
· I can't tell you how many people trek off to the Apple Store to get their "broken" iPhones fixed. Of course, the real problem is that you've accidentally turned on screen zooming (described in the previous tip). Double-tap with three fingers to restore the screen magnification.
· When your phone starts ringing, you can silence it quickly by pressing any key on the sides. (It's still ringing — you can either answer it or let it go to voicemail — but at least you've cut the sound.) That's good to remember when you're someplace where phone silence is golden: for example, at a concert, in surgery or in church.
· The half-press trick eliminates the frustrating delay when you press a pocket camera's shutter button. Frame your shot, then half-press the shutter button. The camera beeps when it has locked focus — and that's the time-consuming part. When pushed the rest of the way down, you snap the picture instantly. No lag.
· Your flash is useless if the subject is more than about eight feet away. Turn it off. (This means you, concertgoers and football fans.)
· If you erase photos from your memory card accidentally, you can still recover them if you haven't used the card since. For about $30, you can download memory-card recovery programs; Google "memory card recovery" to find them.
· The number of megapixels does not determine a camera's picture quality; that's a marketing myth. The sensor size is far more important.
· Whatever technology you buy today will be obsolete soon, but you can avoid heartache by learning the cycles. New iPods come out every September. New digital cameras come out in February and October.
· While giving a PowerPoint presentation, demand focus to yourself (instead of your slide) by pressing "B". This will blackout your slide. Press "B" again to resume your slideshow.
· Along the same lines, press "W" to whiteout your slide, and "W" again to resume.
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