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Using smart text selection in Oreo for Android

Ting tip

Quick tips to get the most from your phone, your favorite apps and your Ting service. No fluff. Just the tips.

Navigation in Android just got smarter

smart text selectionOne of the most practical new features in Android’s Oreo OS is smart text selection. Smart text recognizes when you need to call a phone number, look up an address (and more) and prompts you to jump from text into the most relevant app.

Smart text can make for a truly seamless navigation experience. Gone are the days of clumsily copying and pasting phone numbers and addresses into the right apps. With Google smart text selection navigating the day-to-day is so much easier.

We found it most useful and practical in Gmail. We’ll show you how it works.

Earn money by answering surveys with Google Opinion Rewards

Google Opinion Rewards is an easy way to pick up free Google Play credit for Android and cash direct to your PayPal for iOS users.

Here’s how it works. Download the app for free to your Android or iPhone.

The app sends occasional surveys to your phone and ask you to respond to simple multiple choice questions like, “which color do you prefer?” or “where have you shopped recently?”

If you have a few seconds here and there and don’t mind answering a quick question, Google Opinion Rewards is definitely worth an install.

Use picture-in-picture mode when you video chat with Android Oreo

Ting tip

Quick tips to get the most from your phone, your favorite apps and your Ting service. No fluff. Just the tips.

Picture-in-picture lets you multitask while video chatting

picture-in-pictureIf you video chat often, you might find sticking to one video screen cumbersome, especially if you receive an important message while you’re on a call.

Oreo has a feature that can be incredibly helpful for multitasking while video chatting. Picture-in-Picture mode is made for video playback. For instance, with PIP you can keep YouTube open in a smaller window while you send a text, check your email and surf the web.

A helpful implementation of PIP is the ability to video chat and keep using your phone without losing the visual part of a video chat. Using PIP won’t disrupt your call or change the viewing experience for the person you’re chatting with.

Disable Touch ID with Emergency SOS in iOS 11

Touch ID

Keep your info safe with Emergency SOS

Apple’s iOS 11 comes with a built-in safety feature that helps keep unwanted intruders out of your phone.

Emergency SOS temporarily disables Touch ID so you can only get access with your passcode. The feature is being heralded as the “cop button” across the Internet. While law enforcement can compel individuals to open their phones using a thumbprint, they can’t ask for passwords or PINs.

Disabling Touch ID quickly and discreetly can keep your phone and info safe from anyone that tries to get you to open your phone when you don’t want to.

Here’s how to do it.

TIL: There are metal detector apps for smartphones… and they actually work

Metal Detector app

Your smartphone is a metal detector

Today I learned that modern smartphones make pretty good metal detectors.

I’m not suggesting you mount your smartphone to a stick and go sweeping the sands for buried loot. Instead, maybe just file this under “nice to know” and recall it should the need ever arise.

Here’s what happened.

The City of Toronto requires homeowners to have their water meters updated from the old cast brass analog dial sporting sort to a new digital “Smart Meter.”

Insert some joke about Rob Ford here. I’ve got nothing… but given that this was a plumbing project, there were definitely pipes and propane torches involved.

What could easily turn into a very long story made short, the installer needed to turn off the main water valve. That valve lives somewhere near the bottom of my driveway. The rub: The weather here has been less than pleasant and, despite my best shoveling efforts, the bottom of the driveway was a sheet of compacted snow and ice.

As we searched around, trying to chip up the ice on the driveway, said installer mentioned something about an app he’d heard about. One that turns your phone into a metal detector.

No way, said I.

Yes indeed, said he.

To the Play Store.

metal detectorFiring up my newly installed Metal Detector app, I started sweeping my phone over the general vicinity of where I recall seeing the water valve in the warmer summer months.

After several broad passes, the on-screen meter spiked and my phone chirped as I narrowed in on something metallic, hidden beneath the snow and ice. I grabbed a chisel and went to work.

Sure enough, there it was: The main water shut off for my house.

I was surprised the metal detector app worked at all and very surprised that it worked so well.

Having had a smartphone since smartphones became a thing, it’s nice to still find the occasional surprise.

An app for every… application

When explaining the many benefits of having a smartphone to fence sitters, apps are the feature I call attention to. I suggest the unconvinced try thinking of it this way: If you can dream up a use for the tiny computer in your pocket, chances are you can find an app to do just that. No matter how niche the idea may seem, someone else has likely seen the need and made an app to fill it.

There are, after all, over 1 million apps in the Google Play Store.

If you have a hard time waking up in the morning. If you need to record measurements of a room before you go out furniture or hardware shopping. If you want to find out when the next bus is coming, how many hits your website is getting right this second or who’s knocking at your door, there’s an app to help.

Want to judge the size of a screw so you know whether to grab a #2 or #3 Phillips screwdriver? Or if the threaded metal slug you’re holding is a lag or carriage bolt?

Nuts & Bolts

Want to see if your current couch placement makes for a good Feng Shui flow in your home? Or if the plugin water fountain should go on the north or south side of the room?

Feng Shui Compass

Want to find a metal valve because the meter installer is here and needs to shut the water off so he can do the job he’s under contract by the city to complete but said valve is hidden and you can’t quite remember where the damned thing is but you really need to find out in a hurry though there’s no way even a heavy metal shovel is going to clear that solid sheet of compacted snow and ice?

Well.

Let’s get lazy with Google Assistant

Ting tip

Quick tips to get the most from your phone, your favorite apps and your Ting service. No fluff. Just the tips.

Google Assistant

Do more with Google Assistant so you can do less

Today’s tip covers native Assistant, the one that comes with the latest Android smartphones and can open apps, send messages on your behalf, brief you with the news and more.

Google Assistant is available natively on Android and in the App Store for iOS. It’s also available inside Allo, Google’s latest messaging app, where it aims to help you with daily tasks based on what you’re chatting about.

A slight catch for iOS users – the Google Assistant app will not have the Always listening feature that’s available on Android. The quickest way to prompt Google Assistant on iOS is by adding it to your list of widgets so it’s never far from reach. You can also talk and type your requests directly inside the Google Assistant app (and through Allo).

We’re going to show you our favorite tips for making the most of Google Assistant. Put up your feet and let Google’s AI get to work. Maybe toss in a little please and thank you every now and then. We still don’t know how this whole Assistant thing is going to turn out (and if it turns out for the worst, may our robot overlords be merciful).