Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

Tips and Tricks Tag Archive

February 24, 2015 • How to Do It Yourself!

In an Emergency, Use Siri to Call Poison Control!

Siri (or Cortana, or Ok Google) often get dismissed as gimmicks, or something you use for driving or otherwise using your phone hands free. My wife Sarah, however, can attest to a situation where Siri was an absolute hero for our family — Sarah used Siri to call Poison Control during an emergency!

Continue reading

September 20, 2014 • Gear Bits

Skip The iPhone 6 Wait – Order Online and Pick Up at the Apple Store

Do you have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6+ on backorder, but it’s not due for delivery for a week or two? Here’s a secret  – use the Apple website to order  online. When you get to the checkout page use the “Available for pickup” link on the right side to see whether your local Apple store has …

Continue reading

January 20, 2014 • Editorials, How to Do It Yourself!

How to Blog on an iPad and Have Fun Doing It!

I do a great deal of my blogging for Gear Diary on my iPad. It’s partly a convenience thing, as I can work on posts from wherever I am, and it’s partly that I have my system down so well with iOS that anything else just throws a wrench in my workflow.

Continue reading

January 17, 2014 • How to Do It Yourself!

How To Fix a Surface RT Touch Cover That Won’t Type

I have a Surface RT, and I recently snapped up a Touch Cover for it when I saw a great deal. It arrived last night, and I was all excited… except that it didn’t work. Well, mouse and volume were responsive but nothing else. I was all set to do a return, until a post …

Continue reading

December 29, 2013 • News

If You Get a Message About Your “Achieve Account” Being Frozen, Ignore It

Multiple news organizations, in this case all the local TV stations in my area, have reported about this mysterious text message saying your “Achieve Account” being frozen. It also has a number that you should not call because it is an attempt to steal your identity; if you get a message similar to the above …

Continue reading

October 1, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

How-To Quickly and Easily Use This Low-Fi Method to Boost Your WiFi Signal

The WiFi signal in our bedroom has been terrible ever since we moved into our new home.  Due to where the Verizon FIOS service enters the house, the wireless router is on the opposite side of the house, and  I’ve tried many WiFi extenders to no avail.  Finally, my brother-in-law recommended the Windsurfer parabolic WiFi …

Continue reading

August 26, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

Features You Will Love or Hate in iOS 7

Although there has been no official announcement, Apple will likely release iOS 7, the next generation of their mobile operating system, next month. It is the biggest overhaul to the OS since its introduction, and while visual differences will draw most of the attention the changes that are less apparent are the ones people will …

Continue reading

June 11, 2013 • Gear Bits, How to Do It Yourself!

Clean Up iTunes with ‘Show EXACT Duplicate Items’ Command

If you are like me, and you have been dumping music into iTunes for over a decade across multiple computers and mobile devices, chances are you have imported the same music more than once. And perhaps you did it once from CD and another time from a backup after altering MP3 tags (I used to …

Continue reading

May 23, 2013 • Gear Bits, How to Do It Yourself!

Turn Off iMessage Before Switching Away from iOS

I ordered a new Lumia 928 yesterday, and am anxiously awaiting a shipping notification from Verizon. In the meantime, I am beginning to research this huge leap into a whole new platform. Microsoft has a very helpful website that gives you an idea of how to transfer your calendar, contacts, and email, as well as …

Continue reading

May 19, 2013 • Gear Bits

My Roku 3 Remote Saves the Day!

Gadgets have become packed with more and more features, many of which we end up forgetting about or just never use. When the Roku 3 was announced, we had an internal discussion at Gear Diary about how the headphone jack in the remote was a useless feature — who would hook up headphones to a …

Continue reading

February 11, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

How to Remove Gum from a Smartphone Screen

I am the go-to person among my friends and family with smartphone troubleshooting questions. Last night was definitely a first, though, as someone (who has requested to remain anonymous) managed to stick their iPhone in a pocket with a piece of used chewing gum. The result was a sticky mess all over the iPhone screen, …

Continue reading

January 30, 2013 • Gear Bits

Activating and Using Parental Controls in iOS

It never ceases to amaze me how easily small children can grasp how to use an iPhone or iPad. This past weekend I watched my 18 month old nephew play with an iPhone, and he already knew how to flip through pictures (and stop and admire the ones of himself, of course.) But all this …

Continue reading

December 1, 2012 • Gear Bits

The Importance of Reading Customer Reviews

Sarah and I are staying with my parents temporarily, and overall it is working out well. However, there is one issue that makes life difficult: the WiFi reception in my parents’ home is terrible. The router sits all the way on one side of the house, and picking up signal in our room (downstairs and …

Continue reading

November 5, 2012 • Gear Bits, News

Has iOS 6 (and 6.0.1) Wrecked Your WiFi Connectivity? These Steps Might Help

One of the big issues I noticed immediately with iOS 6 and particularly with the iPad Mini was maintaining connectivity to WiFi at home and at work. The basic issue is this – when the iPad sleeps the WiFi turns off (to maintain better battery life), but it happens very quickly and doesn’t automatically re-connect. …

Continue reading

February 19, 2012 • Gear Bits

When It Comes to Streaming Movie Purchases; Measure Twice, Cut Once

My father-in-law Mark is a contractor (yup, he is a Jewish carpenter) and he lives by the maxim “Measure Twice, Cut Once”. After all, once you cut a board there is no going back so it makes sense to double-check the before you saw. It is good advice when cutting wood, but it also applies …

Continue reading

February 4, 2012 • Gear Bits

Quick Tip: Transcribe Audio and Video for FREE

Have you ever had a YouTube video or audio segment you wanted to transcribe but didn’t have the patience to sit and manually type out what the speaker/s said? I ran into just such a situation yesterday and, instead of it taking hours for me to listen, pause, type, listen, pause, type etc I was …

Continue reading

December 19, 2011 • How to Do It Yourself!

Antenna + Roku HD + Netflix = $90 Savings Per Month

I hate bills.  I also hate paying for things I can get for free. I was at Thomas’ house last year just hanging out. We were watching a movie on his Roku box, and I realized that the little box was giving him everything that I watch on TV except for local channels. That was …

Continue reading

December 19, 2011 • News

Evernote Essentials Extra: Howdy Neighbor

As much as I “harshed” on Evernote last week after they released two ridiculous iPhone apps the service remains a key part of every aspect of my life. I’ve also turned countless people onto Evernote, and many find it invaluable as well. Others however, underutilize the service and, as a result, don’t see what the big …

Continue reading

November 20, 2011 • How to Do It Yourself!

WiFi Sync your iPhone and iPad using Personal Hotspot

One of the coolest features in iOS 5 WiFi syncing, which I now use far more often than USB syncing. Being able to hit “Sync” on my MacBook for my iPad while it’s still in my bag (it only needs charging every few days) makes me giggle every time I do it. It’s just so …

Continue reading

November 8, 2011 • Gear Bits

More Tips to Make Siri Work for You

The other day I was speaking to someone who had just gotten a new iPhone 4S. They love the phone but were complaining that Siri doesn’t seem to work very well. We spent a few minutes going over some of the Siri ins and outs and, would you believe, he now loves Siri. Because of …

Continue reading

October 26, 2011 • Gear Bits

Give Your Old UGGs New Life with a Set of UGG Sheepskin Insoles

Let’s just go ahead and get it out of the way: UGGs are ugly. They make your feet look huge, and they are sloppy. I’ve been told that there is nothing worse than seeing a woman wearing a pair of UGGs with a skirt or a pair of shorts; Kev grew up in the San …

Continue reading