Updates on Writing/Grammar/Spelling Tools, iOS Device Storage Management, ‘Smart Speaker’ Tips

John Vrooman | December 2018

Whether it’s e-mails, blog posts, social media posts or something else, there’s a good chance that you’re writing more than ever. To help reduce the number of spelling and grammar related mistakes that you may be making, I would encourage you to review a blog post I recently came across. The blog post is found at systweak.com and is titled “6 Grammar Checker Tools Every Tech User Needs.”

Personally, I use and am quite pleased with the free version of the “Grammarly” product/service, which is one of the six tools that the blog post highlights. I’m confident you’ll find the other tools mentioned in the blog post to be interesting and worth considering.
http://tinyurl.com/y79hbuls

Device Storage Space-Saving Tips

More apps, photos, and videos are being stored on iPhones and iPads than ever before. An unwelcome result of this situation is that many users of these devices frequently run out of storage space faster and more frequently than expected. Fortunately, there are some things that iPhone and iPad users can do to both free up and better manage their devices available storage space. If this topic interests you, I would like to direct your attention to an article I came across at the guidingtech.com website that’s titled “Top 9 Ways to Free up Storage Space on iOS 12.” The article covers several device storage space-saving tips that cumulatively can help you to reclaim quite a bit of your device’s onboard storage space. To get to the article, simply point your web browser to the following webpage…www.tinyurl.com/yabmglwb

Yikes, Your Phone Just Fell And Submerged Into Water!

Fortunately, improved levels of water resistance are a feature showing up on increasing numbers of mobile phones that are currently being produced. Unfortunately, many of us have and use phones that are still very susceptible to significant damage should they ever end up being submerged. To help address this situation, I would encourage many of you to familiarize yourself with an article I came across at the online-tech-tips.com website that is titled “How to Fix or Repair a Wet or Liquid Damaged Smartphone.” If you somehow file the information provided in the article away, you may be able to save a phone that has been submerged enough so that you’ll still be able to use/access/retrieve information from it. Here’s a link to the article…www.tinyurl.com/y8ty5p8f

Some 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) Solutions

I think it’s safe to say that we’re all familiar with username and password-based security. Unfortunately, that type/level of security is not as secure as one may think. “Two-factor authentication” greatly improves upon username and password-based security by introducing an additional level of authentication.

The typical username and password level of security only require “something known” (username and password). In contrast, two-factor authentication also requires that the person who wants to gain access to an account to have both something known as well as access to something else (typically the something else is a phone, computer, or another device). Your typical bank ATM uses a two-factor security system where you need to supply something known (your PIN number) and something else that you have (your physical ATM card).

To help people transition to two-factor (or other multiple-factor authentication systems) software developers have been creating a category of software that is generally known as authentication or authenticator software. I came across an article titled “The 5 Best Two-Factor Authentication Apps for iPhone & Android” at the gadgethacks.com website. The article introduces some of the more popular (and free) two-factor authentication products that are in use today. If you’re not using or not familiar with two-factor authentication apps/solutions I would encourage you to visit and review the information and options that are presented at the following webpage…www.tinyurl.com/y78fvq6u

If You Use Two-Factor Authentication, Be Careful When You Change to A New or Different Phone

If you use a two-factor (or another multi-factor) authentication system that includes your current phone as a second-factor authentication device, be careful when you change to a new phone. Why? Because you may have to work through some type of security migration process in order to enable two/multiple-factor authentication on the new phone and/or disable it from an old phone.

The process of switching from one authentication device to another is usually a simple process. However, if you’re not aware of and prepared for the required steps, you may end up encountering some unnecessary headaches. To address this just mentioned issue, I recommend that before you select a multi-factor authentication solution, you first visit the support area of the service’s website. When you arrive at the service’s support area, simply look for information regarding the steps that need to be taken in order to add/remove/migrate your two/multi-factor authentication solution from one device to another.

Learning How to Interact With ‘Smart Speakers’

Amazon and Google both market a range of Smart Speaker products that are growing in popularity. Other manufacturers also make Smart Speaker products, but Amazon’s and Google’s products are currently the most popular ones. One question that I think all owners/users of Smart Speaker products have is: What can their Smart Speaker do, and what voice commands are available? To answer these questions, I would simply recommend that you Google “Amazon Alexa commands” and/or “Amazon Echo commands” if you are or plan to be an Amazon Echo product line user. Similarly, if you currently use, or plan to use any of Google’s line of Smart Speakers, you can Google “Google Home Commands” or “Google Assistant Commands” to find links to many different resources that highlight and discuss available voice commands.

Learning how to interact with Smart Speakers is a skill that needs to be researched and practiced in order to get the most from them. I wish you luck with your Smart Speaker commands research. Have fun testing, practicing and showing others all the magical skills and capabilities that you are acquiring.

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.