You can talk to your computer or phone

Did you know that, more and more, you can just talk to your computer to do things?

Historically, computers have generally been difficult to use.  But they’ve recently gotten easier…you can often talk to them now.  So get out there and say “OK Google, Hey Siri, Hey Cortana” and see how many phones and computers you can get to respond at once.  You can’t get everything accomplished by talking yet, but it’s pretty impressive sometimes.

Android

On an Android phone or tablet, you can tap the little microphone button and say things like “navigate to Smiths”, “set a timer for 15 minutes”, “remind me to water plants in 1 hour”, “note to self: buy milk”.  Similarly, you can click the Microphone at google.com while using the Chrome browser.  You can also set these up to respond to you saying “OK Google”.

iPhone

On iPhone 4S and above, you can hold the Home button and talk to it.  (I think you can also set it to respond to “Hey Siri” or just hold it up to your ear too, assuming you have that set up.)  Then you can ask it, “how do I right-click in OSX?”.  (I never get tired of that joke.)

Windows 10

And now Windows is getting in on the game with Windows 10.  Once you get things set up in Windows 10, you can just say “hey Cortana” and say things like “start calculator”, “play music”, or “show me pictures of dinosaurs”.  For some reason, it doesn’t respond to, “shut down”.  I wonder why?

If you update to Windows 10 in the next year, it’s free.  This assumes that you have a laptop with a mic, a headset, or some other kind of microphone.  This won’t work if you have no mic.  Once Windows 10 is installed, click the little search bar in the lower left and set it up.  You might have to click the little microphone icon down there and set that up.  You’ll also need to set up voice activation by going to the start menu and typing Cortana to go to Cortana settings.  Enable the “hey Cortana” feature.  Once you do this, it’s pretty funny to say “hey Cortana” in a room with many PCs.

 

how to use YouTube faster

When watching a video on YouTube, you often want to see it faster or just get the main points.  Keyboard shortcuts are your friends.  Left and right arrow to skip forward and backward.  Shift + > to go faster and Shift + < to go slower.  You can even jump a percentage into the video…1 for 10%, 2 for 20%, etc.  (Up and down arrow turn the volume up and down.  F for full screen.)

How to upload all your pics to google

Google just released google photos.  (They gave up on attaching it to Google+.)  So, you wanna back up all your pics from your PC to google for safe keeping?  Go to photos.google.com where you hopefully have an account.  On the left side, click the “…” symbol.  Select App downloads and get the Desktop Uploader to get their program to back up all your pics from your hard drive to Google.  I feel safer with my pics there, rather than a backup at our house.

Old school hyphenating

I was reading a web page that was hyphenating words on the right margin for line wrapping.  It was really jarring.  Then I remembered this was a something that they used to teach that to us in school.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it much of anywhere.  With modern technology, it seems a pretty bad idea.  Having a flush right margin is not so important that it should cause you to stutter over these hyphenated words as you’re reading.

Internet checkup

I’m home sick from work today with a pretty bad sore throat.  To find out if it was strep, I tried out Presbyterian Hospital’s Video Visit through the web.  If you’re on a computer, they use Webex to do the session through your webcam.  Beforehand, I took a pic of my throat and attached it to the request.  Because of the pic, she didn’t need to try looking at my throat through the webcam.  Because I don’t have a fever or cough, she was able to say it likely isn’t strep.  The nice part of this is that I didn’t have to go wait for an hour at an urgent care.

Nice network packets…it’d be a shame if anything were to happen to them.

As Comcast (and now Verizon) start charging Netflix for the “privilege of sending data to their customers in a timely fashion”, Netflix should start adding a “Comcast peering fee” to the bills of their Comcast customers and a “Verizon peering fee” for their Verizon customers, etc.  This would at least make the general public more aware of the charges.  It would also avoid charging people extra at ISPs that are actually doing what their customers pay them to do.