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12 months ago

Check out this Google Keep how-to in the forums

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Get a quick introduction to Google's note, list and voice memo app

Google Keep has been available for some time now, and is even a default app on new devices since its introduction. Even so, not many of us take advantage of its potential as a note, list, voice memo and general brain dump kind of app. Taking to our "Ambassador Guides, Tips and How-To's" forum, forums ambassador Golfdriver97 has written up a nice introduction to the service.

With step-by-step picture tutorials, you can get a quick introduction to the basic features of Keep that could get you to start considering this service. Take a look at the forums post at the link below.

Read: [Guide] [How to] Use Google Keep

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1 year ago

How to shrink the Galaxy Note 3's display into a tiny window

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Can't reach across the Galaxy Note 3's enormous screen? Samsung's got a software trick to help you out

We may live in a world of 6.3 to 6.4-inch smartphones, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 3's 5.7-incher is still pretty big. And getting around it using only your thumb can be a challenge. Samsung has always offered "one-handed mode" software tricks on the Note series — for example, letting you shrink and rearrange the keyboard, dialer, and other areas for easier thumbing.

On the Galaxy Note 3, though, it's taken this to an all-new level. The new "Use for all screens" option, found under "Settings > Controls > One-handed operation," lets you shrink the entire display in to a moveable, resizable window a fraction of the screen's true size. Crazy!

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1 year ago

How to: Set up Android Device Manager to lock and wipe your phone

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Google makes remotely managing and wiping your device easy and effective

Back at the beginning of August Google unveiled a new service called "Android Device Manager" that let you locate and remotely wipe your phones and tablets, and now the service is getting a some much-needed refinement. Today Google updated ADM to include options to apply and change lock screen PINs and passwords, adding to the nuclear option of remote wiping the device completely.

Just as we covered when the service launched, enabling ADM is extremely easy. To get started, go to google.com/android/devicemanager on your computer and go through your list of devices that are connected to your Google account. Once there, you can send a notification to the device you want to enable remote password application and wiping on, and you'll be just a few steps away from a much more secure phone.

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1 year ago

Using Quick Memo for notes and annotations on the LG G2

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Jot a simple note or circle and clip a portion of your screen

Along with other nifty software features like Slide Aside and QSlide, LG has included an app called Quick Memo on the G2 that makes it simple to annotate screenshots and write notes with just one tap. You can access Quick Memo simply from the notification bar quick settings menu, where by default it is in the leftmost position. Tap it and you'll be taken to a simple interface that lets you write on the screen with a variety of drawing tools.

By default Quick Memo takes a screenshot of whatever app or home screen you were on when launching it and lets you draw on top of it, but you can also toggle over to a plain old notepad if you'd prefer. You can select between four different pen tip styles or a snipping tool as well as 16 different colors for the pens. Of course you don't have access to a stylus for precise input like you would on a Galaxy Note 3, but for quick jots your finger does just fine.

Once you've drawn your next masterpiece or circled an interesting portion of a web page, you can instantly share the image out to any app in your sharing menu that can handle pictures. You can also choose to save the note to your Notebook app or into your Gallery for use later. Quick Memo is a simple tool that will be useful for those who think and remember things visually, and can easily be hidden for those who don't. Stick with us after the break for a quick video showing off Quick Memo on the LG G2.

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1 year ago

QSlide on the LG G2: A quick way to access frequently-used tools

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Simple access to functions that usually sit in a 'tools' folder on your home screen

LG is using the G2 as a platform for launching many new software features, one of which is QSlide — a new way to use small utility apps quickly without pulling you away from whatever else you're doing. Not to be confused with "Slide Aside" (that's a full-app multitasking feature), QSlide is a collection of apps launched from the notification shade that pop up over your current activity so you can multitask in a different way.

Simply pull down the notification shade and tap one of the handful of available options under the quick settings: Richnote, Videos, Email, Phone, Voice Mate, File Manager, Calendar or Calculator. A small windowed app will pop up without exiting your current app, letting you quickly get a task done and go back to the first. If you need to reference something else while you have a QSlide app open, just use the slider at the top of the window to change the transparency.

Once you've set the app to be transparent, you can interact with anything that is "underneath" it just as if it wasn't there. Go copy text, reference a web page or whatever else and then come back to your Richnote or Calculator entry. The apps can also be expanded to a full screen with just one tap. QSlide is an interesting feature that can save you from having a "tools' folder on your home screen for these common functions. Hang tight after the break for a video walkthrough of using QSlide on the LG G2.

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1 year ago

LG G2 tips and tricks: Long-press the volume buttons for app shortcuts

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The LG G2 brings with it some interesting new features. Chief among them is the moving of the power button and volume buttons to the rear of the phone. Used in conjunction with the "Knock-on" feature for turning on the display, it brings (somewhat) of a sense of normalcy to a very different phone.

But there's a bit of added functionality that we'd recommend you not forget about — and that brings us back to those rearward-facing volume buttons.

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1 year ago

Android 101: Using copy & paste

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A powerful yet completely hidden feature is easy to use once you find it.

Those of us who have been using Android for many months and years may take it for granted, but the ability to copy and paste text on our phones isn't the most discoverable feature in the OS. Android has steadily marched away from "hidden" features behind long-press actions since Ice Cream Sandwich was released, but copy & paste is one of the last big features holding on.

Adding to some of the confusion are different apps and manufacturer software customizations that handle copy & paste differently, which certainly isn't helping new users. Hang tight after the break where we quickly break down using one of the more useful features of your Android phone or tablet.

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1 year ago

Android 101: Managing 'favorite' contacts

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Keep those people you contact most in a single list

Everyone likes to keep a robust contacts list as a centralized store of information, which is especially the case in the age of smart phones. Although it seems like this list randomly grows and grows (few people regularly "audit" their contacts list), we usually end up contacting the same handful of people over and over again.

This is where the simple idea of a "favorites" list comes in — a quick and useful tool in Android's contact manager that separates your most-contacted people from the rest. Hang with us after the break for a very brief tutorial about Google Contacts and marking individuals as "favorites".

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1 year ago

Google Services, battery usage and other areas of confusion

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Google Services uses more battery as it encompasses more things, but that doesn't help with the confusion factor

Jonathan wrote in with a concern:

Battery drain since 4.3 and/or new PlayStore

Am I the only one to have this problem? I have the same situation on both Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 10. Play Services takes a great chunk out of the battery.

Thank you.

It's not just you, Jonathan. Seems like everyone running the combination of Android 4.3 with the new Google Play services (which, really, everyone should have by now) is seeing the Google Services entry in their battery list with bigger numbers than we're used to seeing. This makes sense — it's doing more than ever. 

The good news is that for most people it's not really keeping the CPU awake very often. That's what abnormally kills your battery. After some investigation and discussion, we think that the Google Services now encompasses more "stuff" so it uses more battery, and some change in the way it gets reported are the cause of what you, and everyone else is seeing.

But that's not the root issue. 

Google needs to change the look of the Battery information screen in the settings, because what the numbers show us isn't the whole story. Follow along.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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1 year ago

The Basics: Copying ringtones, notifications and alarm tones to your Android

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Big, clunky desktop programs are a thing of the past when you're using an Android smartphone

For most people around these parts, not having to use a program like iTunes to copy files to and from your Android is a good thing. We're used to the ease of drag and drop, and for the most part, it works really well. But not everyone has a grasp on it, and the idea that a phone can act (more or less) like a thumb drive is a bit difficult to grasp.

We can't really blame anyone, the fruit companies (Apple and BlackBerry) pretty much conditioned people to using a dedicated program on their computer to interact with their phones. Whether or not it was easier makes no difference, it's what a lot of folks grew accustomed to. It's high time to change that, and we'll start with the most basic task of all — adding sounds you can use for ringtones, notification tones and alarm sounds.

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1 year ago

Ask AC: Do I have to have a Wifi-enabled TV to use Chromecast?

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Nope. Just an HDMI port and a nearby power plug.

Have a Chromecast question? Ask it in our forums!

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1 year ago

Ask the AC staff: How do we use the cloud?

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The Cloud is like a comfortable chair — it gets better the more you use it

The Cloud (with the capital C intended) means different things to different people. When we talk about it around these parts, we generally mean the servers and application machines that companies like Google or Amazon have on the Internet, and the services attached to them that we all use every day.

We're big proponents of the Cloud here, and a big reason for it is that we're Android users. Google is, above all other things, a cloud platform and services company. Search, Gmail, Google Drive and their application platform is the driving force behind all their products even if it's not the major source of their income. They have to provide services worth using, so we will use them and see their advertisements. Android ties into these services and Google's Cloud Platform in a big way, and by making their services available to folks on other platforms, Google is covering as many bases as they can. 

But Google, and all Cloud service companies, need users in numbers to be successful. Their offerings need to be compelling enough to get us to give up our information to use them and make them better, and as always a good look at the services and features the people around you use every day is always enlightening. We've each taken a turn to explain how we use the Cloud — using Google's Drive document editor, a collaborative cloud service itself — and we invite you to use the comments to share how you use it as well. Hit the break and have a read.

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1 year ago

The Chromecast is for sharing and isn't secure by design

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Aslowe writes in the Android Central forums,

Is anyone aware if there are any plans to add security to this? Either by Google or maybe a developer working something? I am using some of these for information monitor purposes at a restaurant I do IT work for. One of the employees "accidentally" started broadcasting YouTube videos to the TV overriding the computer feed. Even something as simple as requiring a pin before transmitting would be perfect.

My only other idea would be to put the Chromecast and computer on a different subnet to reduce the likelihood of accidental broadcast.

Anyone, let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

Of course we can't be sure of Google's plans (nobody ever is), but we think the Chromecast was designed for this sort of behavior. Anyone on the same network has access to cast right to the TV using it, and in Google's eyes this makes it social and fun. Because of this, it's inherently insecure.

Now, in all fairness, the Chromecast is posed as a pure consumer entertainment device. We're not surprised that Google has not built-in checks to lock it down. That doesn't mean third party developers won't find a way to make that happen (have you seen what those guys can do?), but for now I think we had better get used to the idea that anyone you put on the same network as the Chromecast is going to be able to send stuff to the television.

The only suggestion we could have would be to secure the network it's on, and be very prudent about who and why you give out the credentials. Or just don't put a Chromecast in a space where it could become an issue.

Discuss this, and all things Chromecast in the Chromecast forums!

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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1 year ago

How to change the keyboard click volume on the Nexus 7 (2013)

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Loud Nexus 7 on-screen keyboard clicking grinding your gears? You're just one setting change away from a quieter typing experience.

One of the areas in which the new Nexus 7 improves upon the original is its audio -- the new model is equipped with loud, rear-facing stereo speakers. Compared to the first Nexus 7, they're capable of generating a great deal of volume -- and that's great when you're watching a movie or listening to music, but less so when you're typing.

The Nexus 7 also lacks a vibration motor, so the built-in Google Keyboard defaults to audio feedback when you press a key. And when you combine this with those two loud speakers, it can make for a rather noisy typing experience.

Fortunately there is a setting to control the click volume, it's just hidden away a little. So here's how to make things a little quieter --

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1 year ago

How to use Chromecast on incognito tabs

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From time to time you might find yourself wanting to use Chromecast on a tab that you might not otherwise want to show up in your browser history. (Yes, as a warning to parents and a reminder to perverts, Chromecast can beam anything from a browser to the big screen. Anything.)

But in Incognito Mode, extensions are turned off by default. Flipping the switch is easy, and you can do it for individual extensions.

Just type chrome://extensions and you'll be taken to the Extensions page. From there, scroll down until you find "Google Cast," and then click the "Allow in incognito" checkbox. Now it'll work in Incognito mode, and you'll be able to Cast all those ... things .. that you might not want prying eyes to see.

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