TECH TALK: Some Helpful Tips on Phone Carrier ID, Facebook ‘Live,’ Chatlight and Texpand Pro App.

John Vrooman | February 22, 2016


John Vrooman
John Vrooman

The annual Consumer Electronics Show took place in early January. As usual, the event was huge and many products (as well as possible upcoming products) were introduced. While I don’t go to the event myself, I do keep an eye out for reviews of interesting products that typically appear all over the web in the weeks (and even months) following the event.

Typically, a few of the product discoveries I come across eventually make their way into this column. However, if you would rather seek out new products on your own, I would encourage you to simply do some Internet searches. By going to your favorite Internet search site and doing some searches that use keywords similar to the following…”CES 2016 award winners,” or “Best of CES 2016,” “CES 2016 smartphone,” or “CES 2016 [insert a product type here], you will likely discover links to a bunch of new products and product reviews in the search results. Something tells me that some of you are going to give this tip a try, and end up spending a lot more time than originally planned exploring the CES 2016 Internet rabbit hole. Have fun!

‘What Carrier Is That Phone Number Associated With?’

Periodically, you may find yourself in a situation where you have a phone number but aren’t sure whether it’s a mobile phone or landline number. The next time you find yourself in that situation, you can likely look up the answer to that question by visiting The website enables you to do a phone number search and will likely be able to tell you what mobile phone carrier the phone number is associated with, or whether it’s a landline phone number. Now you can tell whether is safe to enter the number into the mobile phone field in your contact manager, or whether you can send a text message to the number.

Facebook Live

Back in December, Facebook announced a new “Live Video and Collages” feature. Unfortunately, the new capabilities are being rolled out in stages, and iPhone users are getting access to them before Android users. Maybe the new features will be more widely available by the time you are reading this? Regardless, if you are a Facebook user you have (or will soon have) the ability to: 1) Create and share photo collages (of a new listing for example) and/or, 2) Stream LIVE video from your phone that others can watch from within Facebook itself! If you’re not camera shy and have a lot of “Friends” (or have organized your Facebook Friends into strategic lists), you now have some additional ways that you can engage with them! If these new features sound interesting to you and you want to learn more, simply check out the web pages that the following link will lead you to… (Tip: Note the navigation controls at the top of the page when you get there)

A ‘Chatlight’ Will Improve Video Conferences, E-mails

An easy way to quickly improve the image quality of your video conferences and video e-mail messages is to simply improve your lighting. A “Chatlight” is the name of a neat new device I recently learned about. A Chatlight can clip or be mounted to phones, tablets, notebook computers and/or larger desktop monitors. The product description says that the rechargeable LED light source can provide about 90 minutes of light before needing to be recharged. A YouTube video is also available that offers some tips on how you can get the most from the product and troubleshoot a few issues that some users may encounter in certain circumstances. To see if a Chatlight might be right for you, please visit the following links… and (for product usage tips).

Adding Android App Icons To Your Phone’s Home Screen

Unfortunately, not everyone takes the time to learn how to find, organize and otherwise manage the apps on their phone. One of the most common help requests I receive when talking tech with others in person is something like: ”Can you help me to get my [insert name of app] onto my phone’s Home screen so that I can find it faster?” If you can relate to that help request topic, just visit the following link and you’ll find an article that covers it as well as some other related ones. Here you go…

Android: Texpand Pro

When composing email and text messages on your phone, do you periodically find yourself typing the same (or very similar) text over and over? If you do, Texpand Pro can help you. Texpand Pro allows you to store pre-written text and associate a “shortcut” to it. The shortcut can be just a few letters of text. So, for example, if you tell the app to store the following text, “I’m running about 5 minutes late,” you could assign that text a “shortcut” of “r5l” – a short version for (R)unning (5) minutes (L)ate. Once you store some pre-written texts and associate “shortcuts” for them into the app, you can simply type the shortcut text and the shortcut text will be automatically replaced with the long version. Easy! Suggestion: If you spend a little time working on those snippets of text that you want to be able to type easier and faster, Texpand Pro can really be a nifty time-saving tool. To learn more, please visit

Windows 10 Tutorials

Wow! I recently came across an impressive list of Windows 10 tutorials at the website. The range of topics that the tutorials cover is quite wide-ranging. From the list, I identified some tutorials that interested me and I went through them. The tutorials were quite good and to the point. I think that anyone who has an interest in learning more about Windows 10 (beginner –advanced and end user – systems manager) will be able to benefit from at least some of the available tutorials. To check out the list of tutorials, visit


If you have comments, suggestions, tips, questions or just want to say “Hi”, you are invited to contact me at I always enjoy hearing from you!

John Vrooman
John Vrooman keeps an eye out for cool new hardware, software, apps, gadgets; SaaS solutions; social media developments, trends as well as personal/SMB productivity and related solutions. He gathers information for his column from a diverse range of resources and he enjoys sharing his discoveries with others. He has been authoring this column since August 2000 and welcomes feedback from his readers.