Category: Android

Back Up Your Smart Phone and Tablets


Please Check This Now!

Is your smart phone or tablet doing backups?
Did you even know that it’s supposed to?
Do you realize that if your phone or tablet breaks or is stolen, you might lose your photos, music, address book and notes?
Apparently none of the people who sell phones are setting it up or explaining it to their customers because most of the phones I examine are not doing back ups.  This issue has come up so many times in the past two weeks that I decided I’d better give you a heads up.

Please check your gadget’s settings and make sure backups are set up and operating. (It will show you the last date a backup occurred.)
This is especially important if you are going to be traveling on vacation this month!


Also, it’s important for you to know that there are really neat apps that enable you to locate your gadget if it is lost or stolen.  They even enable you to delete your data and lock the gadget so it will be useless to a thief.  (Even if you don’t get it back, you will have the satisfaction of knowing the thief didn’t get your stuff and couldn’t use it.)

If you have an iPhone or iPad you may have noticed the “Find My Phone” or “Find My iPad” icon and assumed that it would help you in an emergency. It won’t unless it is enabled in settings. I’m amazed how many iPhones and iPads I see that don’t have this feature activated!


A related issue that comes up frequently is people want to know if they can see their phone or tablet photos on their computers.  Yes you can!  It’s just a matter of getting things set up properly.

I hope these Techie Tips will ensure that you are protected and enable you to take advantages of these neat things that technology can do for you.

As always, if you, and your friends and relatives, need help with any of these things, just call me to set up an appointment.

In Joy,

Mardi Boettcher

“Helping you make peace with the ups and downs of technology.”

Pre-purchase Consultation Questions

One of my services is consulting with people to help them choose the best computer or gadget for their individual needs.  So much frustration can be avoided by buying the right product in the first place, and I have already test-driven quite a few of them in order to pave the way for others to have a more pleasant experience.  See my previous posts for the gruesome details.  LOL

Here are the questions I use for my consultations.  Please forward this to your friends and relatives so they will have it when they are considering a computer or gadget purchase.   They will thank you for it.

1. What is your budget?

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

3. What screen resolution do you want?

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5. How much battery life do you need?

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low, Medium or High)?

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, etc.)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer, Blue Ray ROM/Writer, etc ?

12. Please tell me about the brands that you prefer and the brands that you don’t like and explain the reasons.

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell me any additional information if needed.

Additionally… you should consider available support options in your area. If you buy something abroad, will you be able to have it fixed near where you live? Does the warranty apply? How quickly do local accredited technicians fix laptops?

Presentations for Service Groups and Clubs

I love to share about my work, so I’ve started doing speaking engagements for groups.  I will be speaking at two Rotary Club luncheons in May.

If you are a member of a group that would like me to do a presentation, please let me know.  Some topics that might be of interest:  “An overview of the latest computers or Gadgets,” “What is The Cloud and Why Should I Care?”,  “Do I Really Want or Need a Tablet?”

Tell me your suggestions for topics in the comments below.



New Play Shops/Gadget Clinics Soon

Last year’s Play Shops were very fun and people asked for more of them.  Please let me know the times, days and topics that appeal to you.  We can do almost any topic that is of interest to a group of 12 to 20 people.  I do home parties too!

You can post your suggestions and comments here.



Do You Need A Tablet?


There are so many people using tablets now that it’s hard to believe that it’s only been four years since the first iPad came on the scene.  Some analysts think tablets will outsell laptops soon.  So the question is, do you want one and if so, do you want an Apple or an Android model?

Having just done considerable research before purchasing my new laptop, I have reached a few conclusions.

Tablets are good for consuming information on the go.  The screens are bigger than smart phones and they have more processing power and storage capacity than smart phones.  (My iPhone ran out of storage space the minute I synced my iTunes music library and I had to delete a bunch of files.)   My Android phone runs a little slow at times.  I think it’s straining under the load of all those apps multi-tasking.  The teeny tiny keyboards on both products drive me nuts and neither Siri nor Google voice seem to understand me.

Tablets offer a more portable and comfortable way to check email, view web pages, watch movies, listen to music, play games or view maps and reports for work.  However, if you spend a considerable amount of time creating information, like blogging, writing reports and longer emails, you won’t be happy with a touch screen keyboard.  Of course you can add keyboards to tablets, but that increases the weight and makes it into a mini laptop which sort of defeats the purpose, if you ask me.  I find the small screens restrictive and I had a hard time getting used to the small the keyboard on my Asus tablet.

Therefore, I use my smart phone for navigation, and to check emails, texts and voice mails to see who needs immediate attention.  I leave everything I can, until I get back to my laptop with it’s nice crunchy full-size keyboard and 15 inch screen.

So, consider what you are going to want to do with a tablet.  You probably don’t need one.

However, you may want one.  If you decide to jump in, you will have to choose a camp…LOL…Apple, Android, or Microsoft.  I won’t go into the myriad of choices here…there are so many and they change all the time.  Suffice it to say, that if you use a Mac computer, your life will be simpler if you get an iPad; and if you use a PC, you will be happier with an Android or Microsoft product.  Some people like the simple look of the apple product and find them very easy to learn and it is possible to sync iPads (and iPhones) with PCs.  I do it with clients all the time.   But just be aware that “the boys” are very competitive and don’t like to play together nicely, so you may need my help.

I’m always happy to do pre-purchase consultations and/or shopping trips.  It makes me so happy to be able to save clients tons of money by preventing them from buying expensive gadgets and bells and whistles that they don’t need.

I’m always grateful for the opportunity to see you and help in any way I can.

If you have found this information helpful, please feel free to forward this to others.  Your referrals are the heart of my business and I really appreciate you.

In Joy,

“Restoring peace and joy to the world through computer and gadget education.”

Your Holiday Photos

How are you going to organize, share and protect your holiday photos this year?

Here are my recommendations:

First, and most important, is backups….

Android can back up photos to Google+ automatically.  I was surprised and amazed when my new Android phone did it.  Really great!

iPhone owners can get Dropbox and enable Camera Upload to do it automatically.  I just set this up for a client last week.  Really slick because you don’t have to plug your phone into your computer and you can share Dropbox files with others.

You might also want to occasionally make full backups onto an external drive and store it somewhere in your home or off-site.  One of my clients had spend a gazillion hours scanning 100’s of heirloom family photos after her parents died, and I showed her how to save them on flash drives for each of her siblings.  What a special Christmas gift!!!

If you just want to order prints, you can upload your photos to Walgreens’ or CVS’s website and pick them up in one hour.  You just go to their website, set up an account, upload your photos and select sizes.  It’s very clear and easy to use.  I’ve taught several clients to do this and they love it.

If you want to share your photos and order prints or other products like calendars, photo books, coffee mugs, etc., here are some other options.

2. Photobucket is a well-organized and easy-to-use photo sharing web site. You can customize and display albums, including adding music for slide shows. A scrapbook builder allows easy drag and drop organizing. You can post to most of the popular social networking and blogging sites.  There is a huge variety of cards, mugs, posters and other gift items available.  Your friends and family don’t need an account to view the photos and there are multiple privacy options available.   Web site:  Cost: Basic: Free; Pro: $24.95/year

6. Snapfish is a photo sharing site but with the emphasis on ordering prints and personalized gifts.  It’s well designed and easy-to-use and has online editing features to enhance photos and fix problems like red eye. It works with any device that can run a web browser. There is downloadable software available to help transfer photos from your camera.  However, there is no upload application for gadgets, so photos on phones and other mobile devices have to be e-mailed to your account.  You can set up private “group rooms” for family and friends and they can add their photos too.  I taught a client how to create a room for a trip to Hawaii with her old college friends.  She uploaded hers and then emailed and invite to the gals to do the same.  This is a great feature for group events like weddings and anniversary parties too.  Everyone can share their photos in one place and choose which ones to print.   Web site:  Cost: Basic: Free, plus 20 free prints when you sign-up

7. Shutterfly is another popular site for uploading photos and turning them into greeting cards, posters or calendars.  It has easy routines for uploading and sharing and free, unlimited storage space. You can create a customized web site to display and share your photos and allow others to add comments. It includes downloadable software to organize and edit your photo collection. There is a video sharing version of Shutterfly also.  You get 50 free 4×6 prints when you sign-up!   Web site:  Cost: Free, and you get the 50 free prints

8. Flickr is owned by Yahoo and is one of the most popular sites for posting and sharing photos.  Now it’s offering 1 terabyte of online storage for your photos. That makes Flickr the cheapest and largest option for storing all your digital photos on “the Cloud.”  However, you will have to upload the photos manually from your hard drive.  No big deal, but it’s not automatic like with Google+ and Dropbox.

Once your photos are in, you have Flickr’s photo organizer to manage them.  If you have hundreds and hundreds of photos, and they’re roughly organized into events, you can do some sorting, searching, and set-making to get your stuff together.  You are the one who will need to name the folders, set them into the online filing cabinet, and decide which photos are worth saving, and which are just extras.

One terabyte gives you a lot of space, and your photos are away from your house and your techie mistakes.  You can store full-size, original-resolution photos.  It is the most long-term means of backing up your photos — depending on Yahoo’s long-term prospects, but Yahoo is likely to give everyone a notice to transfer their stuff if the worst comes to pass.

In Other Words, Use Flickr as the destination photo keeper–after you’ve sorted them out in iPhoto, Picasa, or other photo-sorting software.

Google+ and Picasa
Google now offers 15 GB of space for full-size photos uploaded to Google+ (shared with your Gmail and Google Drive space. That’s the middle range of free options. The tiers for upgrading are not very costly.

How do you get your photos into Google?  If you have an Android phone, you can activate “Auto Backup” (formerly dubbed “Instant Upload”) in the Google+ app. You can also tap a button to upload everything on your phone, and choose whether you’re uploading full-size or otherwise. On the computer, your best bet is to install Picasa for Mac or Windows and use it to find and upload all your photos.  You can have it search your computer, external drives, DVDs, or whatever.

As for organizing, Google does some of it for you. Photos in Google+, are broken up into broad date and location categories, so that the 50 photos you took at one beach outing are together, as are the slow trickle of personal shots snapped over a 5 or 10-day period. Each photo is auto-enhanced, and the effect is generally positive, especially for low-light and off-color smartphone shots (You can turn off the auto-enhancement). Perhaps most importantly, all the photos you “Auto Backup” to Google are stored privately by default, and you don’t have to use Google+ in any fashion to store, view, or download your images.

So use Google+ For: auto-organizing huge sets of vacation photos and Android backup.

Use iCloud and Dropbox: for just backing it all up (and for apple die-hards)

iCloud gives you 5 gigabytes of storage for all your iCloud things: documents, non-iTunes-purchased music, tiny calendar/contact things, and photos. It’s $20 per year for another 10 GB, and up to $100 per year for 50 GB.  The best part of iCloud is the seamless synchronization between your MacBook, your iPad, your iPhone, your Apple TV.  When you shoot a photo on your phone, it’s visible in the Photo Stream on all your devices, and backed up from your Camera Roll.  The best tool for organizing all those photos is iPhoto.

If you’d rather separate your photos from Apple’s cloud, or save your free 5 GB for your device backups, you can back up your photos to Dropbox. The iPhone and iPad app offers an automatic Camera Upload option that’s remarkably simple and easy to use, and it’s even polite–it scales itself back when you’re getting close to your data limit.

There isn’t any photo managing software with iCloud’s Photo Stream or Dropbox.  You have to manage it yourself, using iPhoto, Picasa, Aperture, or whatever you like best, but you can use these as a secondary backups since they give you the space for free.

In Other Words, Use iCloud/Dropbox For: Sheer peace of mind about photo storage, and easy iPhone backup.

Your own photo software and hard drives are the option you don’t appreciate enough.

Whatever huge online space you use for free, always keep a local copy–that is, something on an external hard drive at your house. Computers get coffee in them, big companies occasionally close services and discontinue features, and your memory of where everything is can be faulty. Online and auto-organized photo collections are convenient, but will your grandchildren have easy access to your Google account?

In Other Words: Always back up your own stuff at your own house. You will certainly outlast a few of these big data companies.

If you use any services or products not named here, please let me know.  I’m always eager to learn new things and share them with my clients

If this is newsletter seems like it’s written in a foreign language or you have no idea where to begin, let’s get together for some instruction.

We can do my usual private sessions or you can invite up to 7 friends to a “Play Shop” at your home or office.  (8 gadgets is the maximum for home Wi-Fi routers).  The host is free and the other participants only pay $20 for the 2 hr. play shop. (The minimum requirement is $80)  I will also be happy to do more Play Shops at the Mastermind Seminars’ office on Date Palm.  Just let me know the best days and times for you.

May you have a very, very happy holiday and take lots of amazing photos to share.

In Joy,

“Restoring peace and joy to the world through computer education.”

Workshop Nov 6

1450 AM Radio

1450 AM Radio Interview

All the participants in my first smart phone workshop in iPhone IOS 7 said they really enjoyed it. I had a great time doing it and was really gratified to see how much everyone was able to learn, and how excited they were about their new skills.

By popular demand, I will be offering it again on Wednesday, November 6th from 10 AM to 12 PM at the Office of Lerner Mastermind, 34400 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City.

The first 12 people to give me the $20 fee will be enrolled. There will be no refunds, so if you can’t make it, feel free to send someone in your place.

If you don’t have an iPhone, please pass this email along to anyone you know who might be interested.

Android fans will be happy to know that I am getting an Android phone this week and will be offering an Android workshop soon. I just need a little time to play with it and discover the best hot tips and tricks to share.

If there are other topics you would like me to cover, please let me know. I have some ideas also, which I will share soon.

I would really appreciate it if you would help me, help more people, by inviting 5-7 of your friends or colleagues to your home or office for a workshop on a topic in which you all have an interest. It makes tutoring more affordable and even more fun. You will receive your workshop for free and I will gift you an hour of private tutoring as a thank you.

These workshops are not a traditional class format. They are “Play Shops.” My goal is to empower you to learn about gadgets like children do, by taking the time to poke around and see what happens and share discoveries with each other. I will give you some background information, tips and tricks, and answer your questions. The first group felt so proud of themselves and were very pleased with the cool things they could do–just as I had promised.

My mailing address is PO Box 2392, Palm Desert, CA 92261, or you can give me the money in person. Remember, It’s “first come, first served,” so give me your $20 ASAP if you are interested.

And please consider hosting a group. Help me create more peace and joy in the world through computer and gadget education. I really appreciate your support….and your friendship.

Looking forward to “playing” with you in a Play Shop soon!

In Joy

“Restoring peace and joy to the world through computer and gadget education.”

At Last…Google Maps on your iPhone

Now you can have Google Maps on your iPhone, iPad or any iOS 6 gadget!

I’m so excited!  I never liked the iPhone app and miss the turn by turn voice prompts that you get with a GPS.

No you can use turn-by-turn directions and keep your eyes on the road.

If you’re and Android user, you probably have it, but if it didn’t come standard on your phone, you can download it.

Cost: Free

Links: iTunes

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