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November 8, 2012

Siri vs Google Voice Search

You should probably be talking to your phone more. Get in the habit of using the voice search function on your phone to quickly get answers to anything you want to know. As you learn to Google questions, you realize the amazingly quick and accurate responses Google provides. By eliminating the need to type on your smart phone keyboard, the process has become so simple. Watch the video below for some inspiration.


If you use an Android phone, just go with the Google Voice search (the microphone icon). I recommend you make sure to put that microphone icon on your home screen, so you can easily perform voice searches.

If you have an iPhone, you have access to Siri. The video above compares Siri and Google Voice Search in a side x side comparison. Spoiler alert: Siri sucks. I’ve seen similar comparisons done on just the iPhone and Siri still performs badly. So I’d recommend iPhone users switch to Google Voice Search.

Get in the habit of searching the internet from your smart phone for everything from directions for which bus to take to sizing a steel beam. You’ll find that many phone apps become obsolete when you can take your question right to a full Google search of the internet. Use the power that’s available. You increase your value and have fun.


July 27, 2012

What I Learned About My Smart Phone (and Tablet) on Vacation
Filed under: Computers in Construction — Tags: — nedpelger

I promise I won’t start every post with, “When I was in Europe…”. But I did want to give a few more observations I found useful. When I was looking into phone service over there, I found that Verizon would send me another phone that worked on the European system at no cost. Looking deeper, though, the phone time charges, and especially the data charges, could have added up to hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Of course, if I was especially careful, I could have kept those charges minimal. My past experience with phone charges on vacation, though, indicated that I wouldn’t be careful. Lex told me that I could take my Android smart phone and just use it as a tablet computer when I had free wifi service. I knew I’d have wifi at hotels (which proved true) and at lots of coffee shops (which proved partly true).

I opted to not take a working phone and to just use wifi. It’s interesting to think of these smart phones as computers with touch screens. As I used my Android tablet, I more fully realized that it really is just a big version of my Android phone.

In fact, my son-in-law decided after a few weeks of using his phone only with wifi, that he could save the $40/month for data charges at home. He will use his smart phone only as a phone through his wireless provider, then turn on the wifi when available to accomplish his data needs. Since he has wifi at home, at school, at work and at Starbucks, he shouldn’t be sacrificing much. So that may be a path you want to consider for cost savings.

As I was preparing to leave on the trip, my phone crashed and needed to be reset…so I lost all the programs on the phone. The data was still on the cloud and the programs were available free to me at the Google Play store, but I needed to download them each again. Since I didn’t really have time to get that done, it’s interesting what I missed:

  1. The flashlight program is so helpful when needed.
  2. The Box and Dropbox programs are essential.
  3. The good voice dialing (Vlingo) as opposed to the included program.
  4. Gmail, Calendar and Contacts that are all set-up correctly.

I also discovered that it’s simple to have your photos and videos upload instantly (or whenever you get wifi access) to Dropbox, Box or Google +. Make sure to take advantage of one of these services. If you lose your phone, you lose all those photos and videos, unless you have the cloud backup, or remember to do it yourself. Who needs anything else to remember. By the way, iPhones do a great job of sending your photos and videos immediately to the iStore backup.

Finally, understand that some of these programs still don’t quite work. The YouTube app doesn’t really upload correctly. So don’t get to freaked if you’re not quite getting an app to work properly, the sands they are a shifting.

Here’s a phone photo from the Doune Castle (where they made Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

And here’s some Friday Fun (if you’ve suffered through my smart phone rantings) to start your week-end off in a wacky way. They mentioned in the audio tour that the extras in this scene were just folks visiting the castle that day. And the man who fell off the stairs onto the barrels was just a college kid who didn’t mind getting hurt. So many times, great things get done because folks just give it a go.


Along those lines, I missed the Princeton Reunions this year, but the following video, made by a recent graduate, was quite popular there. The woman who wrote and starred in the video is trying to make it as a writer in Hollywood. She’s just giving it a go as well. It makes me laugh out loud. Sorry for the language and the arrogance, but hey…