The Technologically Un-Aware
In today's day and age we are surrounded by cool electronic devices and gadgets, that pretty much cater for our every whim and desire. We excitedly go out and purchase our new laptops, smart phones, iPad's, tablets and digital camera's, and if you're like a huge percentage of the population, you probably don't spend a lot of time on the destruction...oh sorry... I mean instruction manual. The interesting thing is that even if you did, most of the time the most useful tricks and tips to save you time and aggravation, usually don't appear anywhere. It seems we are expected to just have an inherent knowledge about these things, or the designers just think it's so obvious that they assume its common sense. However, the reality is that most of us who haven't grown up in this highly technologically driven day and age, are still using the cool stuff that's out there in the market, but not realising that there are often quick shortcuts to many functions we utilize on a daily basis. As tech columnist David Pogue says "Everything risky in life, involves getting a licence. Owning a gun, learning to drive...getting married.... everything EXCEPT technology. There is no standard syllabus nor basic course, they just give you your computer and ...kick you out of the nest". So for those of us who are "technically challenged", let's look at some basic tech time saving techniques.
Web Browser Bliss
Space Bar Magic
Credit: Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/12278984@N02/7870712076/">Saad Faruque</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">cc</a>If you're like me and do a lot of your work with a laptop sitting where it should be...on your lap, then you probably make use of the touch pad in place of using a mouse. Have you noticed how much of a drag it is when you want to scroll up or down a page? Sometimes you try using the arrows but that can be problematical... so you resort to shuffling your way over to the side of the page, doing some "finger yoga" and set to work on trying to drag your way down. Get this though...try hitting the space bar. On every computer in every browser to scroll down one whole page length, all you have to do is hit the space bar. Wanna go back up? Then just hold the shift key and tap the space bar and it will take you back up a page.
Filling In Forms
Instead of individually clicking on each box to move through the form, hit the Tab key to maneuver from box to box.
Drop down menus within forms can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially putting in things like your state. Here's one of David Pogues great little tips you can use to save some time and energy. All you have to do is type the first letter of whatever you want to select, over and over a few times. As an example, if you were putting in your state, and it was "Connecticut", you would just have to type "CCC" until it appears. No more need to fuss around scrolling through a big list.
Text Too Small? This one is super easy, "Ctrl key and + key" will make it bigger. If you're eyes are really strained from hours online "Ctrl key and +++", really plus out! Of course "Ctrl and - key", will make it smaller.
Blackberry, Android and iPhone
Credit: Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/38305415@N00/5158849568/">Johan Larsson</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>It can be extremely fiddly typing on your smart phone...especially if you're an iPhone user. If you're going to be doing a lot of it, better grab a Blackberry, touch screen typing can be a very big time waster. Personally I think the iPhone has the worst keyboard of all the smart phones. One of the biggest things to slow you up when typing on a smart phone, is changing to the punctuation layout to type in your "period - space - and then capitalize the next letter". There is actually no need to do that at all...You need only hit the space bar twice, and this will automatically add your period, a space and capitalize your next letter. My biggest tip if you've got an android...download "Swype". It's so much quicker than conventional touch screen typing. Once you've got used to it, you can type out anything in less than half the time than tapping.
Just called someone and want to call them back, or having trouble getting through to a number? No need to go searching for their number again or going into recent calls list, just hit the "call button" and it will automatically put the last number that you have dialled into the call box, then you just hit the call button again and you're done!
The Google Gauntlet
Credit: Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/98943387@N00/7942538/">AndrÃ©ia</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>Google has many little time savers. One I use often, is its ability to search for the dictionary definitions of words. All you have to do is type the word you want to search for into your search box and you will get a dictionary definition at top of your page without even clicking anything...it just appears. For writers checking meanings of words etc... this is a huge help.
Google is such a powerful search engine that it also works as a flight database. Just type the flight into the search bar and it will tell you everything...the flight details take off time, landing time, the gate, the terminal and even how long till it lands.
Currency and Unit Conversions
It can also do unit and currency conversion. Again, just type into the magic google box and BINGO !
Google search box really can save you a lot of time... that is unless you are an "app addict" and want to download different apps for all of these things.
Really Basic But Useful
- Instead of dragging across a word to highlight it, you really only need to double-click on the word, and it's done.
- If you're highlighting a word to delete it...you don't have to press "delete", you can just type over it.
- How many times are you busily typing away and "WHAM", you somehow hit something that looses all your text. One of the most useful keyboard shortcuts that you should try your best to store away in your memory is "Ctrl + Z". This is basically undo your previous move. It has saved me on so many occasions.
- For those of us who have to converse in another language as well as English, or maybe you're learning a new language...it can really be a hassle changing the keyboard language backwards and forwards. The quickest and easiest way is to hit "shift + alt" this toggles between your keyboard languages.
Speech To Text- Text To Speech
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At first it may seem a little difficult to change your time eating ways, but the more you practice, the more these new shortcuts will become second nature to you. These are just a few common, everyday gadgetry time-saving tips, that may save you from pulling your hair out and certainly save you a few extra seconds of messing around at the least. What has the world come to that we are looking to save seconds instead of days?