Tag Archives: smartphone lessons

Your smartphone’s volume buttons do more than you think.

When you press the volume up or volume down button what’s happening? Is it changing the volume of your phone ringer? Is it changing the volume of who you’re listening to on a phone call. Is it changing the volume of your notifications? Or is it changing the volume of music or videos?

In general, the volume buttons are context sensitive. That means, if a video is playing and you press a volume button, you’re adjusting the volume of videos. If you’re talking on a phone call, pressing a volume button adjusts how you hear the person on the call. But, what if nothing is going on? What does the volume button do?

There’s a setting for that

iPhone: In settings, Sounds and Haptics, you’ll find a setting for Ringers and Alerts, control with buttons? I kind of like the setting to be off. That way, I can set the volume of my ringer here – making it quite loud – and know that I’ll never accidentally turn it down. I miss so many calls that way.

But, it’s your choice, if you turn this on, then when no other sounds are playing, the volume buttons will set the ringtone volume.

iPhone mute button: on iPhones there is one more control over sound. You can easily stop the phone from ringing by switching on the mute button. It’s on the left side of the phone, directly above the volume button. If you see red when you look at it, that means your ringer is off and your phone will only vibrate if you get a call. This is very quick and handy for those times when you don’t want your phone to ring – but you need to remember to switch it the other way when quiet time is over or you’ll miss a lot of calls!

Android: when you press the volume buttons you should see info pop up on your screen about which volume is being affected. From that pop up you can tap the 3-dot menu and then tap a settings gear icon to see more choices. This screenshot is from my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultro phone. I pressed a volume button and initially saw a volume control just for Ringer, when I tapped the 3-dot menu I got several volume controls identified by icons. From there, I tap on the settings gear and get more controls with written descriptions. I get all these choices. Notice that the default for media is Off – that is why my first option was for Ringer. To avoid accidentally turning the Ringer way down low, I want this setting ON so that it generally controls media like music or videos rather than Ringtones.

Stop the ringing!

One of our very favorite smartphone tips is that, when your phone is ringing, you can make it stop by simply pressing a button. It must be a physical button, not any onscreen button. The up volume, down volume, or power button will do. So, if you’re in a quiet theatre and your phone starts ringing, you don’t have to fumble to get it out, open it, unlock it, find the phone call and hang up. No, all you need to do is press a button. Unless you have a phone case that covers up all buttons, you can usually just squeeze the sides of your phone and you’re bound to hit a button. So, even if the phone is in your pocket, you can grab and squeeze the sides and the ringing will stop. The call is still there – you can answer it, or let it go to voice mail – but the ringing will stop.

The camera shutter button

And now, for something completely different, did you know that the volume buttons can be used to take a picture? That’s right, when you’re using the camera on your phone you don’t have to tap that round button on the screen to take the shot, you can press a volume button instead. Sometimes this is more comfortable when you’re holding the phone in such a way that your finger is already poised on the volume button. Either the up volume or the down volume works. This even works on the volume buttons on earbuds – kind of like a remote control.

This works on both iPhone and Android phones, but some Androids may have a camera setting that lets you choose whether the volume buttons take a picture or zoom in/out.

Test Your Smartphone Smarts #7

Here is the seventh in our series of Review Questions from our “What Does This Button Do?” show. These can’t be graded, but if you want to see the discussion of our answers to these questions, you can click the link provided. The link will take you to the time in the specific episode where we start the discussion of review questions. Since we have produced 86 episodes so far, this “Test Your Smartphone Smarts” will be an ongoing series of posts here.

Click here to watch our answers
Episode #25: Photo Organization Show Notes

  • Pictures taken with your iPad/iPhone can be viewed in the Photos app. To see them grouped by date/place you need to tap on which option?
    A. Photos B. Shared C. Albums
  • 3.To add pictures to your Favorites on iPhone/iPad, you view the favorite picture then tap on what button?
  • 6.T/F: On Android, if you’re seeing an Album for Picasa, you can eliminate it by tapping the menu->Content to Display->Uncheck Picasa
Episode #26: Google Maps Show Notes

  • When using google maps and the view gets twisted, how do you return to North is Up view?
  • How do you see Street View?
  • When you locate a place, you should see Info cards on that place. If you don’t see them, what do you do?
Episode #28: Web Browsing Show Notes

  • To Browse to a website, you need a browser: Name 2
  • How can you save a website as an icon on your home screen – like an app?
Episode #29: Data Usage Show Notes

  • What are 2 ways to check your Data usage?
  • What is the only way to be sure you are not using Cellular data at any given time?
  • Can you tell what Apps are using the most Data?

If you click the time link, you will be viewing the Youtube video for that episode. The link takes you directly to the end of the show where we discuss the review questions. You can always drag the video playhead to the beginning to watch more of that episode. And, if you are a premium member of Geeks On Tour, you have access to the show notes for each episode. You will find all show notes on the Weekly Show page. So, how did you do on the questions? Leave any comments below! See previous “Smartphone Smarts”

Make Friends with your Smartphone–go on a Date!

While home for the holidays, we saw a lot of old friends.  One of them, Mary Helen, told us how she was frustrated with her new Android smartphone.  She’s always been pretty proficient with computers and it bothered her that she didn’t understand this new device.  I said, let’s spend an afternoon together and see what I can show you about your phone.  I love mine, maybe I can help you make friends with yours!

mary-helenSo we got together one day and Mary Helen brought her phone, and her list of questions and we started to chat.  Since it was such a beautiful day outside I suggested we go for a walk.  We brought our phones along and I turned on Runkeeper so my phone could tell us how far and how fast we walked – that helped me explain the GPS capabilities in the phone.  As we walked, I pointed out the nearby cell tower and explained the different ways our smartphones are connected.  I asked her questions to check that she was understanding my meaning and she answered with an excited enthusiasm.  The more you understand about how something works, the easier it is to learn how to use it.

When we got back to the house, Mary Helen got out her list of questions and we started going thru them.  How do I stop it from beeping every time I get a new email? How do I set a unique ringtone for when I receive a Text message? How do I set a picture on a person’s contact info? How do I get all my email accounts delivered to one single inbox? How do I take a picture and email it to a friend? How do I keep the screen from turning off after only 30 seconds?  How do I get Apps, and what Apps should I get?

After a while I was hungry, so I suggested we go out to lunch.  I showed her how to use her phone to Navigate to California Pizza Kitchen.  Once we got there and ordered their delicious chopped salads … and a glass of wine Smile … I showed her how to use her phone to write a post on Facebook and ‘Check In’ to California Pizza Kitchen.  I took a picture of her and posted that, making sure to tag it with her name so it showed up on her News Feed as well.  I showed her how to download a barcode reader App and scan the square QR code on the menu to find out more information about the restaurant.  This was really fun!  And I could tell that she was getting more comfortable with her phone. 

When we finished, Mary Helen said, ‘You know, you could market this.  Do private lessons like this instead of in a class.”  hmmm, what a great idea!  What do we call it?  How about going on a Date with your Smartphone?  And, I’m the chaperone!  I don’t know what we’ll charge yet, but you can bet it will be reasonable – especially if you pay for lunch!

December 2012 Newsletter: Google Maps, Cloud Computing, Picasa Tips, Smartphone ‘First Date’

Geeks on Tour

Florida in December

peaceriverDecember started off with our own TechnoGeek Learning Rally, click the link to read all about it.  The next one is tentatively scheduled for end of March in the same RV park in Bushnell, Florida.  If you’re interested please leave a comment at the end of the article.

Then we moved on to our favorite Thousand Trails park, Peace River.  We presented several afternoon seminars while we were there, but still had plenty of time to paddle the river.  We even made a short video of our kayaking trip.

We ended the year home for the holidays in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  While visiting with family and lots of friends, we found ourselves giving impromptu smartphone lessons.  After helping one friend set up email on her phone, she exclaimed, “That was THE BEST Christmas present EVER!”  We love what we do!

Happy New Year everybody!

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Calendar: Coming up in January/February

If it looks like we’re in your area, contact us to come to your RV park!  See our Frequently Asked Question: How Can I Get the Geeks to Come to My RV Park?

For more details, see our website Calendar.  

Top Ten Picasa Tips of 2012

Chris Guld, of Geeks on Tour, writes a Picasa Tip of the Week.  She’s been doing this nearly every week since mid 2008, and you can see them all in our PicasaTutorials.com website.  If you subscribe to the email for Picasa Tip of the Week, then you’ve already seen these, but it’s nice to review.  Here are the top ten articles from PIcasaTutorials this year:

  1. What happened to Picasa Web Albums?
  2. Upgrading to Picasa 3.9
  3. Picasa Tip: Resizing a Picture’s Height and Width
  4. Picasa Tip: Framing Photos
  5. Sorting Folders vs. Sorting Pictures within a Folder
  6. Adding Text to a Collage
  7. Is Picasa the Only Software for Managing all your Travel Pictures?
  8. Picasa Tip: Make a Collage for your Facebook Cover Photo
  9. Fun with Picasa 3.9 Effects
  10. Picasa Tip: Adding Lipstick

Forum Topics

The Q&A Forums on the Geeks on Tour website are a great place to discuss the topics we cover.  This is where we answer our members’ questions.  Anyone can read the forums, you need to be a member to post.   Here are some topics of interest:

  1. Picasa – Preserving Albums
  2. Android – FoxFi no longer free
  3. Tracking Visitors to your Blog
  4. Pointers on Pictures
  5. Google Plus?

RV LED Lighting

There’s more to technology than computers and smartphones!  All the rage in lighting these days is LED lighting.  Brighter, less heat, more efficient, these lights are perfect for RVs. But, they’re also a bit pricey, the more you understand about them, the better choices you will make.  Our friends at TechnoRV have written a Buyer’s Guide to RV LED Lighting. Check it out by following this link: TechnoRV Buyer’s Guide

Thinking of Michael

Chuck Woodbury of RVtravel.com writes a New Year message about Michael that we should all read.  As RV Travelers we have such wonderful opportunities to enjoy our world.  Take advantage and enjoy it.
Read Chuck’s article and more at the current issue of RVTravel’s Newsletter.

Share a Map of your Travels with Google Maps

2012 TravelsEvery year that goes by, it gets harder to remember where we traveled.  So, I like to end the year by making a map that I can share using Google Maps.  I’m not going to cover how to plan travels and change the destinations or routes.  I’m also not going to cover making custom markers with your specific information, there is a video for that.  In this article, I just want to show how to create a quick and easy map of all your travels for the year, save it, and share it with others. The first thing to understand in Google Maps is the difference between ‘Get Directions’ and ‘My Places.’  Get Directions is just a tool, what you see is temporary and will be

Read the Rest of this Article …

What is Cloud Computing?

iStock_000019342228XSmallThe ‘Cloud’ is simply The Internet – but it is taking on special meaning as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others are offering accounts where you can have your own slice of the sky.  They also offer device independence.  If you can start a document with your computer, finish it on your tablet, and view it on your smartphone, you’re using Cloud Computing.  With names like DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud, or SkyDrive, it no longer matters what device you have in your hand because the application, and the content is in the Cloud.

The Cloud is the Internet

So, where is this cloud?  And who owns it?  Remember … the

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Make Friends with your Smartphone; go on a Date!

mary-helen_thumb.jpgWhile home for the holidays, we saw a lot of old friends.  One of them, Mary Helen, told us how she was frustrated with her new Android smartphone.  She’s always been pretty proficient with computers and it bothered her that she didn’t understand this new device.  I said, let’s spend an afternoon together and see what I can show you about your phone.  I love mine, maybe I can help you make friends with yours!

So we got together one day and Mary Helen brought her phone, and her list of questions and we started to chat.

Read the Rest of the Article …

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