Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When Should You Turn Off Your Phone

Mobile phones have become an extremely essential part of our lives. So much so, that we cannot live without it evenfor a moment. However, there are certain places and situations where you would be better off without your mobile phone. Let’s see when you should turn your phone or at least put it on silent mode, so that you don’t get embarrassed, lose friends or get fired.

During a Vacation

Our fast paced lifestyle has necessitated us to be on call at all times. We are just a phone call away from work, and this makes us incapable of relaxing. Taking time out becomes extremely critical, in order to distress, relax and rejuvenate. And a vacation is the best means to do this. However, if you are still on the beck and call, you never will be able to enjoy your much deserved time 0ff. So, make sure you designate someone at work, have an handy landline number in case of emergency and give it to a very select few, and not be available for a weekend. If you have not done this yet, do it before it gets too late.

In a Meeting or Conference

Switching off the mobile phone during a vacation is important, but equally important is doing the same during a work meeting. This is the time when even a casual glance at a text message or a sudden phone call can disrupt the proceedings. Also, the microphones that are present in the conference rooms are really sensitive to the mobile signals and can cause significant disturbances which may not go well with your boss or your business partner.

In a Flight

How many of us sometimes ignore this crucial aspect when we are flying? Some of us continue to use our mobile devices without putting it on airplane mode, in order to listen to music or watch videos during the flight. Just remember that they ask you to turn your mobile phones for a reason, and by not doing so, you are not just causing a nuisance, but also endangering lives. The next time you board a flight, switch off your mobile phone, or put it on the aptly mentioned airplane mode.

While driving

This may seem to be overkill, and one may wonder why we would need to switch off our phones while driving. The most important reason being that whatever said and done, mobile phones are capable of distracting the person who is driving, and answering a call or responding to a text message can probably result in an accident. If you really want to be on the safe side, it is better to switch off your phone.

Religious places

That you need to switch off your phone when in a religious place goes without saying. However, there are still a few mobile users who deem it necessary to make themselves available while entering a place of worship. It is important to note that you may even be fined for doing this, in a few places. So, make sure you turn off your mobile phone when you step in to any religious place.

One should never lose sight of the fact that mobile phones empower us, and not enslave us. Using it the right way can make a huge difference to your lifestyle, simplifying your life and getting more out of every moment of the day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What to look forward to in Mobile Phone Technology

When we were kids, we always used to see a future depicted with fancy gadgets and unbelievable technology. Fast forward a couple of decades and technology which we could only imagine in an episode of a “Star Trek’ or a “Jetsons” is now literally at our finger tips. Let us take a look at the new technologies that are redefining our lives by changing the way we communicate.

Video Calling

If just making voice calls on your phone is not enough for you, then get ready to evolve to the next new wave of communication – Video Calling. Dual cameras are becoming a standard feature across mobile phones, and with the advent of high speed data access via 3G, it’s just a matter of time that video calling will become a frequently used feature. This is just getting one step closer to the time when a smart phone will truly replace the laptop. Just remember to be not just at your best behavior but also in your best clothes before making that video call.

Seamless VoIP Integration

Many of us have used the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology on our computers, when we talk to someone on Skype, Google Voice and any such software. However, this technology is now being integrated into your mobile phone, using the WI-FI feature. Just imagine, you can log onto your Skype or Google account from your phone, and make an international call as long as you are connected to a WI-FI network such as at your house, work or a public hotspot. All this, without paying a single rupee. Using WI-FI to access the Internet on mobile handsets is rapidly emerging as an alternative to phone networks as customers look for ways to save money and carriers grapple with the issue of network congestion. Even if you don’t have 3G, the WI-FI feature helps you to get online and access high speed internet quickly and cost efficiently.

Location-Based Awareness

A location-based mobile platform makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smart phone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges. It guides real-world experiences by allowing users to bookmark information about venues that they want to visit and surfacing relevant suggestions about nearby venues. Merchants and brands leverage the foursquare platform by utilizing a wide set of tools to obtain, engage, and retain customers and audiences. You can also see where your friends are and share your location in the real world. You can check into a particular place and tell your friends where you are, tag your friends in the places you visit, and view comments your friends have made about the places you visit. Use location based check-in to experience connecting with people on social networks in a completely new way.

The rapid pace at which technology is changing makes it possible to not just communicate better, but also at a lesser cost. While the above technology is becoming fairly commonplace in countries where the telecom sector is more evolved, it is yet to catch on in India. However, there is no doubt that this is something that we should be ready for.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Essential Tips for Mobile Phone Etiquette

Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives, from being the first instrument we reach out to when we wake up, to the last device we use before falling asleep. Granted that they have changed the way we communicate, work and interact with people, but they are also capable of causing great embarrassment if not used properly. Let us have a look at the some of the biggest nuisances people can cause using the mobile phone, and how you can avoid it.

Having a Private Conversation in a Public Place

Now that in itself is not bad manners. However, if the person on the mobile is talking so loudly that everyone around him can hear the conversation, it can become very uncomfortable for the by-standers.

They really don’t want to know that you are having troubling with your job/family/finances or just about anything. Apart from causing a nuisance, you may even cause resentment if you use inappropriate language loudly while on the phone. If you have to answer a call, try to find a quiet place in order to not disturb others. If you cannot find a quiet place, keep your voice low and the conversation as brief as possible, informing the caller that you will call him back once you are in a more private, secluded place.

Loud Music and Ringtones

Loud ringtones were irritating enough during the days of the polyphonic ringtones, but now, with MP3 ringtones becoming the norm, it is incredible how annoying they can get. The people around you have no interest in your taste of music and it would be better off to keep the ringtone muted on vibration or at least low enough to not cause disturbance. With a wave of affordable music phones being launched, it’s a common sight to have people listen to music on their loud speaker in places such as buses, elevators and parks. This is definitely not something that people around you appreciate. If you have to listen to music or the radio on your phone, get yourself high quality earphones and do yourself and others a favor.

Using Your Phone While In a Group

Do you remember the last time when someone was constantly texting on the mobile phone, while you were trying to have a conversation? It wasn’t that long ago, right. This is one instance where multi-tasking is not a good option. If you are in a group of people, sending a SMS discretely once in a while is not a big deal, but if you are having a full blown text conversation, it is better to excuse yourself from the group and finish the conversation. If you receive an important call when you are with a group of people, excuse yourself before taking the call, so that it doesn’t seem awkward to the rest of the group.

Indiscriminate use of technology

Your mobile phone has a host of features such as a camera, a video recorder and a sound recorder among others. However, what may seem fun at first, such as taking a photo of another friend during a funny moment and uploading it on social networking sites, may snowball into an awkward moment at best, or even cause legal problems at worst. Be careful what you photograph and if you intend to record a conversation, inform the other person and ask permission to do so, before doing it.

Now that you know these essential mobile phone etiquette tips, go ahead and enjoy your mobile phone experience without causing any embarrassment to yourself or others.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Texting Has Never Been Easier

One of the main features that we use in our mobile phone is texting. Irrespective of how advanced our mobile phone is, this is one function that can never be replaced by a new feature. No wonder then, that there has been so much attention around easy texting. More work is being done today on mobile devices such as PDAs and smart phones than ever before. In this post, let us have a look at the two greatest improvements that have made sending a SMS easier than ever. These may not be new, but if you have not been using them, now is a good time to start.

The Good Old T9 Dictionary

The t9 dictionary is predictive text input software built into almost all mobile phones. Instead of repeatedly pressing a key, the T9 function allows you to type words using fewer key presses. If you use your phone for sending short SMSs, the T9 dictionary can do wonders to your texting speed. The software also adapts to your usage and stores frequently used words in its memory so that you don’t have to type in a word which is not in its dictionary. Another advantage is that your SMSs would appear more polished since the predictive text input helps you to type complete words as easily as abbreviations. So there are no spelling mistakes or typing mistakes. By the way, just in case you are wondering why is it called T9, it simply stands for ‘Text on 9 keys’. The dictionary can be expanded by adding missing words, enabling them to be recognized in the future. After introducing a new word, the next time the user tries to produce that word T9 will add it to the predictive dictionary.

The QWERTY Keypad

All of us are used to the QWERTY keyboard on our laptops and PCs. Now, you can have the same familiarity on your mobile phone so that so you won't have to search and fumble for the right keys. Instead, you can tap out more messages in less time and offer lightning fast replies. If you want to type a long e-mail on your mobile phone or even have an IM conversation the QWERTY keypad makes this a breeze. The simple fact that you are not restricted to multiple key presses can speed up your texting speed significantly. If you need to send a combination of numbers, text and symbol, the QWERTY keypad is the way to go. Also, if you have to use unconventional words or in the Indian context, you may want to type something in your regional language, then it’s easier and faster using the QWERTY keypad.

Whether you prefer the T9 or the QWERTY style, both takes time to get used to, but once you are comfortable with the style, you will be getting more work done on your phone whether is just sending SMS or e-mails and IM conversations. Go ahead, surprise your friends with your new found texting speed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Who should buy the tablet?

The tablets have literally taken the market by storm. Last year, it was the netbooks, and this is announced to be the year when the tablets come of age. The sales are going through the roof and Android and iOS are ruling the tablet operating system space. While we have done several posts on how tablets can be extremely useful, refer Tablets - Why You Need To Have A Long Hard Look At Them , now we shall see what kind of users actually buy a tablet, and to whom it would be most useful.

The Travelling Executive

This kind of user has been loyal to the Blackberry for several years now. However, with the onslaught of tablets, they have changes their loyalty, if not completely doing away with the Blackberry, at least reducing the dependence on it. This is with good reason though. A tablets lets him do more than just check his mail. He can create entire presentations, analyze an excel sheet thoroughly and even use a word processor with absolute ease, without having to step into his office. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. For a complete rundown on how tablets can be extremely productive, check out Getting Work Done on the Move

The Student

While a student may not have the need to travel much and getting work done on the go, they have specific needs for which the tablet suits the best. Lugging a large number of text books, or an inadequate single purpose e-book reader is not their cup of tea, and the tablet beautifully enables them to not only take notes, record lectures and research on the internet, but also create documents easily. And if that’s not enough, they can also relax after studying hard (and hopefully not get distracted) by taking their entertainment primetime, on the go.

The Average Joe

Even if you don’t fall under the above two categories, the tablet can be extremely useful and fun for everyone else. The fact that they just ooze appeal is just another added attraction. No wonder, from celebrities such as Sharhrukh Khan dishing out a tablet to read from during a presentation, to Abishek Bachchan receiving one as a gift from his sister, everyone just has the need for a tablet. The ability to add apps and take photos, record videos and a ton of other features gives it a universal appeal across geography and demography. Give a kid a tablet, and you can forget about taking care of him as he is lost in a world of his own – reading books, playing games and catching up with his friends. To know more about the different apps and games available for the tablet, read Best Games for Your Android tablet.

Most of these tablets are into their second generation, after having taken care of teething problems and other issues that usually crop up with a new product launch. This is truly the year that the tablet arrived, and all we can say is RIP to all the other contenders such as the netbooks.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Best Accessories for Your Mobile Phone

Buying a mobile phone is like purchasing a computer, in some aspects. While it works fine out of the box, it would provide a more enhanced user experience once you customize it with some accessories. Let us look at some of the accessories that are an absolute must to go with your mobile phone.

Multimedia Accessories

When you have a phone with on which you can watch videos, listen to music and take good photos, one of the most annoying aspect is that the phone’s internal memory does not accommodate for these multimedia files. However, since most phones have expandable memory slots, with some supporting up to 8 and 16 GB, it is an essential accessory for your mobile arsenal. It also makes sense to go for the highest that your memory and your budget can support. A 8 GB Micro SD cost would cost approximately Rs 800. Also, get a USB cable that matches your phone (this usually comes with your phone kit, but if doesn’t, then get it separately, and use the PC Sync software to transfer your multimedia content)

Music Accessories

Having an expandable memory is only the first aspect. Once you load your phone with multimedia content, then the next step is to get rid of the earphones that come bundled with the phone. Buying a noise cancelling earphones can enhance your entertainment aspect manifold. They are the perfect accessory for using your phone while you are working out, or commuting to work. A good earphone can on its own accord, enhance or ruin your phone’s multimedia capabilities. A good pair of noise cancelling earphones can cost upwards of Rs 650.

Protecting Your Phone

When you buy a phone, whether expensive or a budget model, the responsibility of taking care of it is also yours. One of the easiest and least expensive accessory for your phone when it comes to protection is to get a screen guard. This not only prevents your screen from getting scratches but also ensures that you get a good resale value when you eventually decide to move on and upgrade a phone. Another essential and inexpensive accessory is to get a casing for your phone. This protects your phone from drops and wear and tear. While the former would cost around Rs 150 upward, the latter would approximately be around Rs 50 onward. You can also get really creative and spruce up your casing making it stand out from the rest.


Apart from the above accessories, you should consider spending on an extra battery. This will help to get out of tight spots when you run out of juice on your phone. Also, additional accessories such as Bluetooth headsets and car accessory kit can be purchased depending upon your individual requirements.

Whatever be your needs, accessorizing your phone can really make a huge difference to your user experience. The best part is that it doesn’t cost much to get the best accessories for your phone. So go ahead, splurge a little, and enjoy a lot!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What to Do With an Old, Unused Mobile Phone

All of us have at least a couple of mobile phones with us which we no longer use, for various reasons. These reasons can be from the fact that you may have upgraded to a new, better model or simply because it has a cracked screen or some other minor defect. It can be really expensive to properly dispose a used cell phone. Let’s have a look at the various options for making good use of your old mobile phone.

Exchange It For a New Phone

One of the most obvious ways to get rid of a used phone is to exchange it. However, one will be surprised at how few users actually make use of this option. The biggest reason for not exchanging used phones is that the user will not get a satisfactory resale value for the phone. But like they say, something is better than nothing. And if you are looking at ways to get more out of your phone, then just check with your friends and relatives. They would definitely give you more than the mobile phone stores offer.

Give It Away

If you are not planning to buy a new phone, then another good idea is to just donate your phone to charity. There are several places where you can drop off your used phone and someone will find a good use for it and be extremely thankful for it too. You should contact your nearest old age home, or school for the differently-abled, or check with NGOs in your area.

Repurpose it

If you have a phone which is capable of playing music, has FM and you can watch videos, it makes for a great PMP player (Personal Media Player). You can use this phone instead of spending money on a full featured MP3 player. The additional advantage is that you can use it for outdoor activities such as running or other sports where you would be hesitant to use your more expensive phone or a MP3 player.

Emergency Phone

If none of the above options suit you, then you should at least ensure that the phone is in absolutely perfect condition, with the batteries working fine and the respective chargers available. You can use this as a spare phone in case of loss or theft of your original phone. You can also carry the spare phone while you are travelling, instead of your more expensive phone. This will ensure that in case you lose or damage it, you will not regret it.

A word of caution before you embark on any of the above steps. Make sure that you delete any personally identifiable information that may cause risk to you or others. This includes deleting contacts, SMSs, photos and videos. Also ensure that you note down the phone’s IMEI number so that in case the phone is misused, you don’t end up in soup.