So, I had lunch with my good friend (that I haven’t seen for over 20 years or so) and we had a great time dining on Greek food at a restaurant called ‘Kapestro’s‘ at the Mission junction. Between the main meal and dessert, I asked her what kind of cell phone she had, and she grabbed it out of her purse and said ‘just a plain old phone. I just use it to talk on’. She handed it to me and I noticed an old friend in the shape of an Android icon, and said to her ‘do you have any idea what kind of cell phone device you have here? The great thing about Arlene’s phone is that it is an Android, and she can use the free wi fi function on it anywhere she can get a free wi fi signal (which nowadays is almost anywhere you can walk or drive to)
Starbucks, McDonald’s, ABC Country Restaurant, The Wired Monk, Motels, Hotels, tons of coffee shops, Airports and the list is growing every day. As a matter of fact, I’m going to show you some basics about your Android phone that will surprise you. First things first. Let’s turn on your free access to wi fi. If you have a wireless router at home (and who doesn’t now. If you don’t, and have the old wired kind of router, simply phone your ISP provider and most if not all will give you a free wireless gateway) all you have to do is turn on your Android phone and follow these steps.
1) Access your phones settings button. (on mine, its on the lower left hand side. Its a picture of 4 little squares. Yours may be different, but it should always say ‘setting’s’ on it.
2) Once your in the ‘settings’ category, find the ‘wireless and networks’ tab or section, and click on it.
3) You should notice a bunch of settings. There will be an ‘Airplane mode’ at the top. Look for the one that say’s ‘Wi-Fi’ and if the setting box isn’t checked, tap to activate it and make sure that the Wi Fi function is turned on.
4) Next, click on the button that says ‘Wi-Fi settings’, and this will take you to a sub menu where there should be a few boxes. The Wi-Fi box should be checked, and the ‘Network notification’ box should also be checked. This is important because it will let you know if there is an available free Wi-Fi connection you can use.
5) In that sub menu somewhere, you should find a section that says something like ‘Wi-Fi networks’. If you know the name of your network, then go ahead and click on it in the menu. It should ask you a question like: ‘Network SSID’ If you know your network SSID, enter it. If you do not, phone the folks who provided you with the router, and get them to help you out with this. You should only have to get the information once, and then write it down in a secure location. Do not put this SSID in your email. If you must somehow upload this information to the web, please use some kind of system or code to remember it. Don’t just put it up there for all to see.
6) Once the name of the network you want to connect to is showing up on your Wi-FI list, and the SSID is entered correctly, you are on your way to using many features of your phone. For example. When your on free Wi-Fi access, you can use the button that says: ‘Market’. with the funny little green robot on it. This is where things get really exciting.
7) Once your on the Android Market, you will notice 3 distinct areas on the upper section of your screen. On the left, it will say ‘Apps’. This is the table of contents, if you will to the Android marketplace. It will say:
All applications, Books and Reference, Business, Comics, Communications, Education, Entertainment, Finance, Health and Fitness, Lifestyle, Live Wallpaper, Media and Video, Medical, Music and Audio, News and Magazines, Personalization, Photography, Productivity, Shopping, Social, Sports, Tools, Transportation, Weather, Widgets and Libraries and Demo.
The category words that are highlighted above are linked to the specific Android apps. Just click on any of the categories, and it will take you directly to the App page so you can explore what those apps do, and can even read reviews of what other users have posted. I thought it would be helpful for you so you can look at any app you want to do research on, instead of looking it up on your phone.
For now, I only download, try out and use the free apps on the Android marketplace. Trust me, there’s enough of them out there to keep you busy for years experimenting and playing with these wonderful bits of software. So, right about now I can hear you saying ‘well, that’s nice, but why would I want to use any app on my cell phone?’. That’s a great question, and hopefully I can provide a great answer.
Take for example the app ‘Groupon’. It has the ability to save you money by having Groupon send you coupons for special deals in your area. Our Daughter uses groupon all the time, and she says she regularly saves 1/2 off a collection of services and goods she is purchasing already. Another great app that I use personally is ‘Epicurious’. It has to be one of the best recipe software platforms on the Android platform today. If you want to cook something, its in Epicurious. For example, I went to the search section, put in the word ‘Avocado’, and could chose from 316 things I could do with an Avocado. It gives you the exact preparation and cooking instructions, but it gives excellent reviews as well. It even has a shopping list function.
Do you pay for newspaper subscriptions? Then just check out any number of newspaper apps available on Android. I haven’t picked up a newspaper in months because I can get caught up on local, national or international news with just a tap of a button on my phone. Oh, by the way, you can set up your phone to access your email when you are using free Wi-Fi. It sounds very basic, but if your like me and live on Gmail, you can actually share your gmail calender with other family members to let them know where you will be, and find out what the family is doing on any given day.
There is a free, (yes, free) video chat app called ‘Fring’. If someone you know has either an Iphone, or Android device, and they are sitting at home using their free Wi-Fi, you can have a video chat with them, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. And yes, it works on both the Iphone and Android platforms.
If you get poor radio reception where you live, and want to open your listening pleasure, there is an unbelievable app called ‘TuneInRadio’. that will give you crystal clear reception to hundreds of local and international radio stations so you can listen when your washing dishes, vacuuming, cooking dinner, or even washing the car if your Wi-Fi reaches out to your driveway. Hey, I could talk about this stuff all day long because there are so many advantages to using free Wi-Fi is ridiculous. Do you love playing scrabble? Try the free app ‘Words with friends’ and play several different scrabble games at the same time with people all over the world. (Or just your immediate family) It’s really up to you because when you start using the Wi-Fi waves that your paying for with you ISP already, you can literally communicate to the world right through your Android device.
Want to avoid paying for SMS text messages when you leave your cell providers service area? Check out ‘WhatsApp’. You can text anyone around the world for nothing, zilch, zero, nadda, no beans, (are you getting the point?) And don’t forget about all of the social favorite apps that you can get like: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Youtube and much more.
If you love your music, pics and movies then you’ll love the free technology that comes on your Android device. It’s called DLNA which stands for: Digital Living Network Alliance allows you to share your media with any other DLNA device you want. (Like a notebook computer) You can wirelessly tap into the media from one device to the other, set up sharing privileges, and will even let you copy the media to your phone, or to any media server (PC) that is using Windows Media Center. You can do the same with pictures and videos. How cool is that! And its all……..Free. Yes, your getting tired of me saying it, but I haven’t even scratched the surface with this kind of technology yet. Wait till we discuss all of the highly customizable RSS readers that allow you to pinpoint exactly what you are interested in, and then delivers it in the form of news articles, pictures, videos and podcast’s.
Arlene bought an Android device, just like any other everyday purchase. What she didn’t realize is that this tiny little device that can fit in the palm of her hand, she could literally run an entire business on, completely update her website, social media and bank accounts, all while looking up a recipe for dinner from just one tiny little device. Way to go Arlene, you just joined the technical revolution and didn’t even know it. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Talk to you later. Rick.
(By the way, I’ll be following this blog post up with a video in the next few days)