Hangout: Saturday, December 1st @ 1PM – Smartphones

Alright, the date is almost upon us. In trying to prepare for the discussion, I think it would do well to come up with some sample topics. I could probably talk about cell phones for hours on end myself, but that just would not be interesting to anyone but me! I think it would be better with some audience participation, but I only get ideas from you guys. Luckily for me, I have had enough conversations about smartphones that there should be plenty to talk about.

First of all, there are a large number of ways people could be using their phones that they simply don’t know about. There are also hundreds of little helpful features that modern cell phones come with to make everyday life easier and simpler. I would like to share a few of these that I’ve found over the years, as well as perhaps hearing from some of you, if anyone has a neat tip for smartphone users who are maybe less comfortable than they could be.

Second, I know I want to open up a little discussion about cell phone contracts. Obviously, there are some upsides to signing onto three year plans with your favourite cell provider, but there are also a few pitfalls, and things to watch out for. I will share some of my “horror” stories with cell phone contracts, and I’d love to hear if anybody else has any interesting stories.

Next, as I have written about on a few occasions, I would also like to discuss the differences between the various cell phones available on the market today. I have no intention of starting a flame war, as I have no problem with Android or Windows Phone, but having done considerable research on iPhone, I would like to share some reasons why I chose them over my other options.

There are also a few other discussions that I feel would fit well with this theme, like tablets (their uses and function, how they are, or should be, used), phone cases (both form and function, and the look of a phone in a case versus the protection it gives), apps (from must-haves, to ones that are great every once in a while), and lastly perhaps a discussion about the future of smartphones, Google Glass(es) for example.

As I mentioned before, if you have any input, please don’t hesitate to make it known to me, and I will be sure to discuss any questions people bring up as well.

Lastly, on the topic of signing up for, or using Google+, the registration process is quite straightforward at plus.google.com, so I won’t bother explaining too much, but once you have signed up, if you add me to one of your circles (there is a link to my profile on the right of this page) you will be able to access the hangout from a desktop computer when it comes up. I will also be posting the live link to watch the video, if you don’t feel like participating, about 10-15 before the hangout, so you can follow along). I incorrectly stated that you will be able to join the video chat from your phone, this is not yet possible for this type of broadcast, but hopefully it will be added soon.

Currently the time for the broadcast sits at 1PM, and I will be sure to alert everyone should that be delayed at all. I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

iOS – Tips and Tricks: Keyboard

See “Shortcuts” near the bottom.

 I am hoping to do lots of these little guys, since they are pretty useful and only take 5 minutes. In preparation for my first Google+ Hangout on Air on Saturday (around 1PM), I would like to give you a taste of the kind of little things you can expect to learn in 2 days time. This little trick isn’t that new, but I have found it to be extremely useful, even if you only use it for this one purpose.

Basically, on iPhone (or iPod or iPad), under Settings> General> Keyboard, right at the bottom is an area titled “Shortcuts”. This allows you to create shorthand phrases for things you commonly type into your phone (for me, that is my long, annoying email address). As you can see, I have set it up so that when I type the characters ratt into anywhere on the phone, my email will pop up as an “auto-correct” type popup. Simply hitting space, or pressing on the popup itself will complete the entire address, saving you a lot of switching between keyboards for the various characters needed for email addresses. This is something I use every single day, and that everyone should know about.

I hope you can make good use of it! I am expecting to get together a short instructional post about signing up for a Google+ account, which will be required to actually participate in my Hangout, this should be available in the next 24 hours. However, if you are impatient, you can visit plus.google.com, or download the Google+ app from either your iDevice or your Android phone/tablet, and follow the instructions, which are pretty straightforward. If you already have a Google (or Gmail) account, things couldn’t be simpler, all you have to do is accept the terms for Google+ and you are ready to go.

For those of you who do wish to participate, all you have to do is head to the link on the right of this page by the G+ logo and my picture, and you can add me to one of your circles. Otherwise, you can always just submit your question, as per the contact info here. I really hope to see you all on Saturday, and I will be releasing a list of topics I’d like to get through, ideally tomorrow, so that people can look through it and suggest changes or additional topics. Thanks!

The Time has Come

Okay guys, I have thought about this enough, it is time to act. I have decided on a time for the inaugural vodcast I mentioned in a previous post here. If anybody would like to actively participate (i.e. join the video chat directly) I will be coming up with a set of instructions on how to do so in the next day or two, but if you have a Google+ account already (that you should, but never do, use) all you will need to do is find the link at the appropriate time and you can join the hangout. I will also be posting a link to Facebook and Twitter for those of you who don’t feel like being in front of a camera, but who would still like to participate, so that you can watch and comment, or ask as many questions as you can come up with.

Though this chat will be broadcasting live through Google+, it will also be up on YouTube during and after the fact, so even if you don’t want to join Google+, you don’t have to miss out.

As for the topic of the show, I am expecting very little participation right off the bat, so I will have a few topics prepared, but for the time being my focus is intended to be all about smartphones. Be it features, choices, prices, options, tricks, tips, anything under the sun, I will open up the floor to questions anybody might have on their current or future cell phone. I will be taking questions by email ([email protected]), through the Facebook comment thread (robert.attrell), by SMS or iMessage (613.255.3311), via Twitter (@RobAttrell) or Google+ (see profile at right of this post), and of course you can always join the Google+ hangout itself and say hello, to ask your question in person.

Even Barack Obama has done one of these.

Currently I am looking to do this on Saturday afternoon, around perhaps 1 PM. I will update if that changes or if it needs minor adjustments. Those of you who have expressed an interest in helping me with this or participating on-air should let me know if they have anything they would like to add. I am also open to suggestions for new future topics, I would like to branch into science-based topics as well. I would really love to hear from all of you, after all, there are no stupid questions.

I will update everything as events warrant it, and I look forward to you all seeing me Saturday!