Friday, November 11, 2016

Starting "Green" with a Smartphone

(Prepared for our Willow Valley computer EXPO in our Cultural Center Ballroom December 1st.)

If you are altogether new on smartphones, and even computers, here is how to get going,  the new way and the smart way, using mainly just your voice.

You will be using voice recognition everywhere possible and you will have the most widely used and affordable smartphone by far, an Android phone, although much of this applies to iPhones and Windows phones.

The phone will need a little set up from a helper to get you going.

That setup will be guided by the phone itself so that it will connect you to the cloud properly.   You will need an account to identify yourself to the cloud and to get our contacts accessible for phoning.     

Before that, you need to know how to turn it on, which I have found is not intuitive.   On every smartphone there is a raised bar about the width of a staple.  As you start your phone. you may need to hold it in for a few moments.   There will then probably be a vibration from the phone showing that it is starting to connect. That will take more than a few more moments.

You will then need to navigate to the home screen where things start and where you need to go back when done other activity..

That screen can be brought up from at the bottom of the portrait screen by swiping up from very the bottom and tapping on the small circle at the center of the home screen. When tapping, tap deliberately and don't jab.

Once there, you can get to almost everything with just voice commands. This is done by tapping on the microphone at the top of the screen and speaking your commands.   Voice commands should be in short complete sentences, well articulated.

A command can be quite simple like “phone home” or “send an email”, “play radio station WITF”.  The phone will then respond with voice and/or screen, with information and will prompt you if it needs more input.   It may also simply take you to a list of websites you can reach with a tap.

It  is okay just to dream up a command and see if it works. but start with just a few commands and gradually add more until you can do nearly everything by voice. That includes creating a document and, most important of all, searching for information.

There is a complete list of voice commands below.

By the way, voice  is the new way to use a smartphone and may be quite different from what others have been doing around you.  No need to do it tre hard way any more.

A resident here who gave up altogether using a smartphone the old way, caught on very quickly using voice.

Now, the phone as you receive it has a few capabilities.  It is pretty much a tabula rasa.  You will soon be adding so-called apps.

That is done by tapping on the App Store icon on the home screen and then tapping on the microphone to dictate the name of the app you wish to install.   When the app is found and displayed, you tap to install it.   Once installed, an icon will access it from your apps library, reachable from your home screen.

For example, you may want an app to enable the phone to read out loud documents which are normally accessed in print form.   I use @Voice, which sets itself up once installed and is activated from the sharing men or sharing icon.    Menus are displayed as three lines or three dots vertically.

The same sharing can send documents by email or to a printer or to cloud storage for later access.  Again,  apps are needed for these functions.    I use the Brother printer app and Push to Kindle, having first installed the Kindle reader app as above.   

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