TECH TALK: The Latest on Android Launchers, Google Cloud Print and Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

John Vrooman | April 2016

John Vrooman
John Vrooman

I just imagined that the popular navigation app “Waze” just released an automatic update that includes a new MLS/Real Estate component to its service. What could such an update do? At the moment, I’m imagining buyers being able to set up property searches and having the Waze app automatically generate navigation routes to the qualifying properties. I’m also imagining that along the way the app could automatically “hail” a Realtor in an Uber app style way to request an on-demand property showing. Of course, there’s a lot wrong with what I just imagined, but it’s still fun to mentally conjure up various apps, services, technologies, etc. into possible new products/services. What “mashups” can you imagine? Maybe this fun exercise will help you to look at things in and around your business a bit differently and more creatively, which may lead to some sort of new business innovation and/or opportunity. Happy mashing!

Android Launcher Apps

Attention Android phone and/or tablet users. Please investigate whether an alternative “launcher” app might be right for you. There are many different launcher apps available to choose from in Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps), and I’m confident that many of them would be a nice addition to your current device(s). Android launchers typically allow you to customize your device in more ways than you can without one. Launcher apps typically also provide configuration options that enable you to get device functions more quickly, as well as provide you with a variety of additional features. The best launcher for you will depend on your needs and your ability/willingness to work through all the various options that launcher apps offer. For me, I sought out a launcher that could provide me with message count indicators on my messaging-related app icons, support for various “gestures,” the ability to shrink and fit more icons on a single screen, and support for hands-free “Google Now” functionality. For me, on my phone, I ended up getting two apps that work together to provide me with the features I was seeking. If you are curious, the two apps are: 1) Nova Launcher Prime” and 2) “TeslaUnread for Nova Launcher.” The “Nova Launcher” app offers a lot of customization capability and in my opinion, may be a bit much for those who aren’t willing to work their way through all the apps options. However, I’m willing to recommend it to those who are looking for a lot of customization options.

To help you identify and learn about some of the better Android launcher apps that are available, the following article titled [The] “15 best Android launcher apps of 2016” should help you to narrow down your choices. www.androidauthority.com/best-android-launcher-apps-222408

To explore the wider universe of Android launcher apps, please visit Google Play and do an app search using the search keyword “launcher.” The following link does that for you… https://play.google.com/store/search?q=launcher

Unfortunately, for Apple iOS device users, when you search for launchers at Apple’s App Store, you are not offered very many options. The reason for this is iOS devices are locked down by Apple more than Android devices are by Google…so developers just can’t provide iOS users with as many customization options for iOS apps/devices as they can for Android apps/devices.

Heads up hardcore iOS users, if you “jailbreak” your iOS device, many more apps become available to you. However, I’m not going to get into the topic of jailbreaking iOS devices here. If the topic of “jailbreaking” has caught your interest and you want to learn more, simply do a web search using “iOS jailbreak” and/or ”Cydia apps” as your search keywords. The search results you will receive will guide you down the path you need to follow. (Warning! Be careful if you decide to do down this path, and please make sure to backup your devices before jailbreaking them!)

Google Cloud Print

The following description of the Google Cloud Print service came from the Google Cloud Print service’s “Help” page…

“Google Cloud Print is a service that connects your home and work printers to the web. Since your printer is connected to the web, you can print to it from anywhere, using any Internet-connected device, including PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, phones, or tablets.”

If the above description of the Google Cloud Print service interests you enough to want to learn more about it, the following link will lead you to a helpful Google Cloud Print service web page…https://www.google.com/cloudprint/learn

Personally, I don’t use the service much, but it does come in handy when I periodically want to print something from my tablet or Smartphone to my network connected “classic” (translated: pretty old) printer.

How to Disable the Windows 10 Lock Screen

To me, getting past the Windows 10 lock screen (often multiple times a day) is just an annoying extra step in the Windows login process. If you would like to disable your Windows 10 lock screen so that you can get to your computer’s login screen faster, the following pureinfotech.com article will walk you through the process…http://pureinfotech.com/how-disable-lock-screen-windows-10/

Note to Windows 8 users: If you are a Windows 8 user and want to disable the lock screen on your computer, you can follow the same steps as described in the above-mentioned article.

Help Getting Older Apps to Run On Windows 10

Do you have a computer that is running Windows 10? Have you installed some older software programs and discovered that they won’t run, or won’t run well on Windows 10? Are you familiar with Windows 10’s “Program Compatibility Troubleshooter” and/or “Compatibility Mode” features? If not, you may be able to get those older software programs to run once again after all (no guarantees though). If this topic interests you, I found an article at laptopmag.com that covers the topic quite well. Check it out here (I wish you luck!) …

http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/set-compatibility-mode-windows-10

Reminders

This column (and a number of recent past ones) are made available for your viewing convenience and reference at www.realestateindepth.com/technology (The “Technology” section of the new Real Estate In-Depth website.)

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

John Vrooman
John Vrooman is an experienced Realtor who enjoys staying on top of real estate, technology, gadgets, marketing, new media, and small business trends/developments. He gathers information from a diverse range of resources and enjoys sharing tips, thoughts, and discoveries with others – using a “something for everyone” approach. John has been authoring this column since August 2000 and enjoys receiving comments and suggestions from his readers.