Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to use your new Nexus 7 tablet (This applies to the 2012 version)

Step One: Charge it fully. With the supplied charger, this should take no more than 3-4 hours (longer won’t hurt). Btw, you can use it while it’s charging!

Tip No.1: Don’t turn it off! Set the time-out to five minutes and after that amount of time of inactivity, it will go into “Sleep” mode. To awaken (or to put to sleep), just tap the power button (don’t hold button in, when either awakening or putting it into sleep mode). By not turning the tablet off, you save a lot of time not having to wait for it to “reboot” each time.
Of course, if you plan not to use it for a few days, you may want to turn it off to prevent the battery from completely discharging.

Tip No. 2: Read the manual! It’s already on your tablet; just click on blue “Play Books” icon at bottom and you should see a link to it. This manual is updated frequently, so check it often. You can also download it from the internet, to other computers as a pdf file. Just “Google” it.

Tip No. 3: Put your name, address, phone, etc., in it. This is in Settings, Security, Owners Info. Check the box near the top, “Show owner info on lock screen”.

Tip No. 4: To get more battery life, turn off features that you don’t need at the time, i.e., GPS, Bluetooth, etc., esp. at night, even Wi-Fi when you’re not at home. Of course Wi-Fi has to be on in order to connect to outside sources, like friends houses, Starbucks, McDonalds, Supermarkets, Target stores, etc.

Tip No. 5: A simple touch or tap can activate most items on your tablet. However, a longer “touch” (= “right click”) can give you options, depending on the application.

There are two “shades” that can be dragged down from the top left and top right of the screen. To reach “Settings”, drag down the upper right shade. The "Notification" shade can be reached by dragging down from the upper left.

You’ll find that there are five “desktops” on the Nexus. These can be found by dragging the screen left and right. You can put any of the icons on any of the five screens. It might make sense to “categorize” your icons this way. You can also combine icons into “folders” just by dragging one over the other and releasing. Then give the folder a name.

While on one of the desktops, a very handy feature is to tap the microphone in the upper right corner, then ask the tablet any question. You’ll be surprised how quickly and accurately you’ll get an answer! You can do the same thing, while in Google Now by simply saying “Google” and then asking your question. Google Now is opened by an “up swipe” from the bottom of the screen.

While the default keyboard is good, I find that the free app, “TouchPal X” keyboard is much nicer. Give it a try. It’s available, like everything else, on the Google Play Store site.

For a good file manager, I recommend, “ES File Explorer”. Both it and “Total Commander” are excellent file managers.

While the Nexus 7 will not display Flash content by default, you can view it by installing the Firefox Beta browser, and installing a special Flash app. Any ‘ole Flash app won’t do: you have to have the one titled, Adobe Flash Player 11.1-111115011. Just Google it.

To install new apps, I use my desktop computer by going to the Google Play Store ( You can install from here and when you turn on (wake up) your Nexus 7, the app will be there! If you see an app in the icon list of the Play Store, click on it and you should see a full page, describing the app. This is where you install the app from. You can also go to the Play Store directly on your tablet by tapping the white shopping bag icon in the lower right of the display.

Some interesting apps that I use are, Dropbox, Evernote, Flashlight, Google Sky Map, Kindle, RealCalc(ulator), Camera, Google Keep, GPS Essentials, HD Widgets, Lookout, ISS Detector, 1Weather, Out of Milk, Pic2shop, (Btw, all of these apps are free!)

To move an app’s icon, just hold your finger on it for a second, then drag it to wherever you wish. If you drag an icon over the top of another and release, it will create a “group”, or folder. You can catagorize apps in this manner, then rename the group. An example of this is the group at the bottom, left of your tablet. If you wish to remove an icon from the desktop, do the above, then drag to the top of the screen to “remove”. This does not delete the app from your tablet, only the icon from your desktop. To uninstall an app, go to the apps page (the circle with six squares at bottom, center) then touch and hold the app’s icon you wish to delete, and drag to the top of the screen to the “uninstall” location. Then click, “OK”.

If, for whatever reason, you have turned your tablet off or it has shut down on its own, you may have to hold the power button in for up to 30 seconds to get it to respond. Usually, this is not necessary, but can get you out of a jam.

I try to never let my battery get below ~20 percent charge. I just leave the charger plugged in to the wall outlet and every day or two, plug it into the tablet.

I don't know why reviewers, etc., fail to mention it, but the Nexus 7 is one of the very few tablets that has a complete, stand-alone GPS built in. This works like any regular GPS unit and is one of my favorite features of the tablet. There are many apps available that utilize the GPS function.

The Nexus also features NFC, or Near Field Communication. This enables simply 'touching' the tablet against other NFC devices to quickly transfer files, etc. Using Google Wallet, you can also use NFC, at some cash register terminals, to easily charge your purchase.

To perform a screen capture, hold in the power button and the down volume at the same time for about two seconds. The screen should flash when it works. After doing this, drag down the upper, left “shade” and you should see a line that says, “Screenshot captured”. Touch this to view, copy, move, etc., the image.

A clever “secret” is that a magnet, when held near the lower left side (in “portrait” format) will turn the tablet on and off. The area is just above the four contact points on the left side of the tablet. It seems to work, both on the front and rear sides. Some book-type cases will have a magnet built into them, just for this purpose. Strangely, the “official” Nexus case does not have this magnet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Big Ten Logo

The new Big Ten logo looks absolutely horrible! Makes no sense at all. The people at Pentagram should be ashamed (as should the conference)! Pentagram is the design firm to which the conference undoubtedly paid a large sum of money.

Here's my idea of what the logo could have looked like. In my version, I have even included a "12", for the twelve schools that are now in the "Big Ten". I cheated a bit by using Roman numerals, but the "12" (or XII) is there nonetheless.

In my logo, the large "X" also represents the Big "10", while the "I" which is part of the 'number' 10 is the first "I" and the center of the zero is the second "I". Together, you get "XII".

The lower image is here just to show where the XII is hidden.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Car Grille Designs that Need to Change (or - who designs these cars?)

The worst offender has to be the Mazdas and their ‘smiley face’ grilles, especially the Mazda 3.

Acuras have too much chrome on their grille. The Acura TL’s grille even looks like a smiley face with a ‘smirk’. . . but why all the chrome? I thought the ‘chrome thing’ went out with the ‘60s. The new Ford Edge, while overall a nice design, still has a bit too much chrome.

Ever notice that most car ads show the vehicle from a direct side view? Most American cars are finally getting some nice lines, but the designers can’t seem to get the ‘head-on’ view correct.

Buicks finally have some great styling, but their grille is too old-fashioned looking. . . detracts from the rest of the car. Looks like the mouth of a Blue Whale!

Seems everyone is copying Audi’s isosceles trapezoid ‘drop grille’. Can’t car designers be a little more original? I'm not saying that the Audi grille is not attractive - it's just that they are all starting to look the same!

All Mitsubishi (right) did was to turn the same grille upside down!

Look familiar (below)? (Honda CRZ)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Media: Purveyors of Doom and Gloom?

Why do the various media have to exaggerate and always paint everything as a ‘disaster’?

A good example of not understanding the situation was on one of the major cable news networks the other day. In an interview with a mayor in the panhandle, referring to the oil spill in the Gulf, the announcer said, “. . . then you’ll probably have to close all the beaches?” The mayor came back with, “No . . . why would we do that? The beaches are just fine - it’s the water that may be a problem”.

Another example: The news item mentioned that the huge skimmer, "A Whale", was running tests, but the tests proved inconclusive because of rough seas. The announcer then said, “well I guess that’s another major setback!”
Let the ship run it’s tests before making any off-handed comments like that. Who knows . . . it may just work!

Yet another reporter keeps mentioning that 60,000 barrels of oil are leaking into the Gulf every day! Where does that figure come from? The last estimate that I heard was anywhere from 20,000 up to 60,000 barrels a day, but that was before the “Top Hat” was put in place. The Top Hat is supposedly collecting up to 25,000 barrels a day. It’s still a bad number, but don’t exaggerate it.

Yet another example: Several weeks ago, the news networks were mentioning that tar balls were being found in the Florida keys! Of course, these had nothing at all to do with the BP oil spill, and have been washing ashore for thousands of years. Finding these naturally occurring tar balls on the beaches of Florida is what prompted oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico in the first place! No one at the networks bothered to check this fact; just alarm the general public again!

I’m not saying that the whole BP oil spill is not a major problem. It’s bad enough as it is, without trying to scare everyone into believing it’s worse. Also, BP has done a horrible job in working with the locals and media. Hopefully, that will improve.

So, all you talking heads, let’s just use a little common sense, read the news copy beforehand, edit it if need be, and use what little intelligence you might have before reporting!