Category: Travel

The Joys of Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode for Travel


Many of us will be traveling and visiting family this time of year.  Here are some tips to enhance the peace and joy of your holiday season.

Using Airplane Mode on your smartphone isn’t only useful for flights. The feature can prolong your battery life or allow you to unplug and enjoy some uninterrupted family time. Here are some surprising ways you might want to use it.

1: During a flight

Screen shot of Settings for Android

If you have been on a flight in the last few years, you have heard the constant reminders from the flight attendants to turn off all electronic devices. Once the plane has reached an altitude of 10,000 feet, cell phones can be used in airplane mode.

To activate Airplane Mode on your phone, simply go into the Settings app and turn it on.  There are shortcuts to do this, depending on the type of phone, (ask me to show you on yours next time we see each other) but this method will work for everyone reading this article.

Once Airplane Mode is activated, your phone turns off both the Wi-Fi and cellular connections. This means you will no longer be able to make or receive calls, texts, or e-mails, or browse the Internet — anything that requires a data connection will not work while Airplane Mode is activated.

Wi-Fi can be turned back on and connected to a network while phone is in Airplane Mode.  If you are lucky enough to be on a flight with Wi-Fi, you can turn just the Wi-Fi connection back on and send emails, browse the Internet, or send instant messages.  (Again, just go into the settings app and turn the wifi on.)


Screen shot of Settings for iPhone

2: To unplug for awhile

Airplane Mode is a great way to unplug in order to spend some quality time with your family or just take a break from the beeps that seem to control our lives sometimes.

Putting your phone in Airplane Mode puts you back in control. You may be surprised how quickly you forget that your connection is turned off, and how peaceful your evening can be.

This is also a great way to silence your phone during important meetings. Don’t worry, all of your messages will be waiting and will download as soon as you turn Airplane Mode off.



3: While traveling internationally

Screen shot of Airplane mode on iPhone

Traveling across borders can be an expensive affair for you and your wireless carrier. International roaming charges are very pricey. One way to avoid the extra roaming fees is to activate airplane mode on your phone and only use Wi-Fi hotspots while you travel. You won’t be able to receive text messages or phone calls, but you will still be able to check your e-mail, use instant messaging, and browse the Internet over a Wi-Fi-only connection.  (You can let people know you will be out of town and suggest they communicate by email until you get back.)





screen shot of movie on phone

4: While the kids play games or movies

Your smartphone can provide a welcome distraction for your young kids or grand kids. However, as you can imagine, kids will start pushing and tapping anything they see on the screen.  You don’t want them accidentally dialing phone numbers or sending random texts. If you are going to let your favorite little people play games or watch a movie on your phone, turn on Airplane Mode before you give your phone to them. This not only prevents them from calling anyone, but it also stops push alerts from interrupting their game or movie.


5: To save battery

screen shot of battery status on iPhone

We have all been in a situation where we suddenly have a low battery and no access to a charger. One way to help slow down battery drain is to turn Airplane Mode on. When your phone is on, even with the screen off, it is constantly searching for and monitoring data connections. Turning those connections off with Airplane Mode will save battery, allowing you to make calls only when you absolutely need to.

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?

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

Find Wi-Fi On The Go

This app is awesome!    

JiWire uses your phone’s GPS to find nearby Wi-Fi hotspots. It even gives you directions.

It’s especially useful here in the desert when you want a nice air conditioned spot to chill and get some work done.

(I personally love Panera Bread on Hwy 111 and 74…I even do tutoring sessions there sometimes.)

Imagine how helpful it will be when you are traveling out of town on vacation or business.

3G (phone) service is pretty slow sometimes, and many people have limited data plans, so this app is really helpful on so many levels.

You can sorts hotspots by service provider, which is helpful if you have a deal with AT&T or T-Mobile.

Looking for coffee? You can sort by hotspot location type.

It also sorts by Free and Paid services.

JiWire invites you to submit new locations to help keep its database updated.

I just downloaded and tested it and it came up wiith 26 free wifi hot spots within a radius of my home in So. Palm Desert!

Cost: Free!  Makes my little techie-loving heart flutter with joy!

Links:       Apple        Android

See The Wonders of the World From Your Armchair in 3D!

Again, thanks to Kim Komando’s e newsletter (see ) for alerting me to The Google World Wonders Project  It is truly awesome.  Besides touring the world and learning history and geography from your computer, you could use this for planning vacation trips.  It’s also a great resource for educating children and grandchildren.   Kim pointed out that:

This list of 936 places includes Angkor Wat, the Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu. If you were to spend one day at each site, and two days traveling to and from, it would take almost eight years to visit them all!

You can browse by location or theme and read information about each site. If you’re a teacher, you can download free lesson plans and study guides from the “Education” tab.

What a beautiful thing to do.  Here is a description of it from the website and a link to see it for yourself:

The Google World Wonders Project is a platform which brings world heritage sites of the modern and ancient world online. Using Street View, 3D modeling and other Google technologies, we have made these amazing sites accessible to everyone across the globe. With videos, photos and in-depth information, you can now explore the world wonders from your armchair just as if you were there.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. With this project we want to make the world heritage sites available to everyone and to digitally preserve them for future generations. We believe that the World Wonders Project can be especially useful for students, scholars and teachers to engage in an innovative and interactive way of learning.

We are working with partners including UNESCO and World Monuments Fund to support us in providing valuable information to our users.

Start exploring world heritage sites by either flicking through the picture carousel on the homepage or play with the globe to discover random sites from all over the world. You can also find places by themes or locations chosen over the drop-down panel on the top of the homepage. For more guidance, please watch the website demo that can be found when you click on the “i”-icon on the homepage.

Enjoy, In Joy,


Blog Your Vacation–Yes You Can!

Did you know that “blog” is short for “weblog”?  Yes it is, and now you can do a web based journal of your summer vacation.  It’s all set up for you so all you have to do is upload your photos and write your journal.

You can send your family and friends a link to the site and they can follow your travel adventures.  It even tracks your location on a world map!  How fun it that!

But the best part is….you can have them publish your blog as a hardcover or paper back book!  What a treasure that will be.

Check out the site here

Of course, if you need a little tutoring to practice before your trip, I’d love to help…I’ve never used it and I’m just itching to try it out.  But, in any case, please send me a link if you use it so I can share your joy.

Happy summer exploring to you,


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