How-To Guides

Guides & How-To’s for helping people with tech orientated topics

Five Tips To Conserve Your Smartphone’s Battery Power

By on Nov 4, 2011 in How-To Guides |

Smartphones are great pieces of technology, but with so much whizzing and banging going on they often barely last the day. You could just use it less, or turn off all of its features, but surely there are better ways of improving battery performance? To an extent, this is indeed true – there are a variety of ways in which you can improve battery performance, and the best of these won’t change how you use your smartphone. Read on to discover five ways you can improve your phone’s battery life! 1. Turn off non-essential services The number one killer of smartphone batteries are unwanted and unneeded services running rampant. These are things like WiFi, mobile data, Bluetooth and GPS. It’s often wise to only make use of these services when you need them, and have them turned them off at all other times. Even if you’re not using the service, they may be working in the background, continually scanning for networks, satellites or other devices. So shut them off via the Settings menu of your phone. You can also use applications like JuiceDefender to automatically turn off 3G and WiFi when these services aren’t in use. 2. Adjust brightness Most smartphones these days have this handy feature, which utilises a brightness sensor to adjust your phone’s display to your ambient environment. The brighter the environment you are in, the brighter your phone has to be to keep up. If you’re using your phone out of direct sunlight or at night, then auto-brightness can help keep the power down. Enable automatic brightness by going to Settings – > Display Settings -> Brightness in Android. For iPhone, go to Settings -> Brightness. If this isn’t enough, take full control. Manually set your phone to its lowest brightness setting that you can read, and only increase it when you have to. 3. Upgrade to the latest firmware There are many instances in which excessive battery drain was caused by a bug in the phone’s operating system. Apple is currently fixing this problem with the first patch to iOS 5, after location services were mistakenly being activated much more often than they should have been. Always ensure that both your operating system and apps are...

Read More

Sending links from Twitter to Google Reader made easy

By on Apr 9, 2010 in How-To Guides |

The Problem For writers, most links come from either Google Reader or Twitter these days. In the case of Google Reader, one can easily save things for later by adding a star. However, saving links from your Twitter timeline requires some sort of bookmarking system (e.g. Delicious, Instapaper or This gives the writer two sets of links to keep up with, wouldn’t it be better if everything were in one place? The Solution Twitter has its own starring system, “Favourite Tweets”, and this category has its own RSS feed too. Therefore, a very simple way to get selected links from a Twitter timeline to Google Reader is to just subscribe to the Favourite Tweets RSS feed. This is done by going to your favourite tweet page, (e.g., and clicking on the RSS icon in the browser address bar. There are two speed bumps though. First, it can take Google Reader a while to pick up updates to the favourite tweets RSS feed. Second, to keep all ‘read later‘ material under Google Reader’s starred items list, all incoming twitter links will need to be starred...

Read More

Privacy tips for Google Buzz

By on Feb 15, 2010 in How-To Guides |

Google Buzz was released last week, and a positive spin on it would be that it could succeed where FriendFeed didn’t quite succeed, because of Google’s ready-made user base. A negative spin would be – we don’t need this. Certainly, I personally think that it’s naive to try replacing Twitter at this point. Twitter is not perfect, but we’re stuck with it, and there’s a great ecosystem of web services built up around it. Sure, Google Buzz can take posts from Twitter and therefore work along side it, just like Facebook can. Although, Google Buzz is just going to be another place for replication of links. E.g. my blog posts updates to Twitter, and my Buzz account takes updates from both – I can see that it wouldn’t take many more steps to create a painful recursion here. To be fair, this is what the mute button is for, but why should we have to start playing whack-a-mole with all this? Duplication is also going to happen for committed Google users, who are likely to see the same updates appearing in their Google Reader as they are on their Buzz feed; unless they’re very strict about who they follow. Which reminds me, I had better unfollow most of those people Google automatically made me follow on day one … In the interests of fairness, I should report that Google have responded, saying that they have replaced auto-follow with auto-suggestions. They’ll also make it easier to hide who you’re following, and to opt-out of Buzz completely; all via your GMail settings. At the time the writing though, none of these options were available in my GMail settings. Fortunately, there are other ways to get to these options, so here’s  a round up of blog posts showing you how to protect yourself with Google Buzz. Hide your contacts. (LifeHacker) You may think that letting the world see who you follow, and who follows you on Buzz is no worse than on Twitter. Although Buzz is based on your GMail account, and your e-mail is far more personal than Twitter. Do you really want the internet to see all the people who you regularly e-mail with? No, I didn’t think so. The chances are that...

Read More

Tip of the Week – December 18th 2009

By on Dec 18, 2009 in How-To Guides |

If you are a regular Flickr user, you’ll know you can Geo-Tag your photos. A site called Earth Album makes finding photos by location so much easier by mashing up Flickr’s location data with Google Maps. Simply search for a location, drag and zoom with your cursor, then click on any point in the map to see a selection of photos taken on or near that point!...

Read More

Tip of the week – December 11th 2009

By on Dec 11, 2009 in How-To Guides |

[Firefox tip] If you are in need of a profanity filter in your web browser, then there is a Firefox plugin that can do this for you, “Procon”! From the project’s home page: ProCon is a content filter for the Firefox browser created by Corvineum, and based on BlockXXX (by Tom Christensen). ProCon filters any type of content on any web page. If left on default, ProCon limits itself to filter pages containing explicit content automatically, based on the text. ProCon can also be used as a profanity filter, and makes use of a whitelist – useful for trusted sites. Any instances of profanity will be replaced by asterists (*), you can add custom words, but remember there’s no 100% gurantee of effectiveness. You can visit the project’s home page at...

Read More

Tip of the Week – 4th December 2009

By on Dec 4, 2009 in How-To Guides |

Does it annoy you when you visit a website that launches a new browser window, but you have no menu’s, toolbars and can’t even resize the window? Where here is instructions on how to switch off website’s abilities to do this. I’ve used all the options listed in the following link, so whenever I get a pop up, I have all my toolbars and can resize as much as I like!...

Read More