The icon on your computer that you may or may not refer to as “the internet” is actually called a browser. Your web-browser significantly changes the way you experience all of your online content. Whether you’re reading this article or watching cats on youtube, you browser handles all of it.
There are lots of browsers that offer tons of different features and ways to configure them. Most computers come with some version of Internet Explorer. This is the blue “e” that you have become so accustomed to clicking. Luckily, this is not our only choice. You may want to download and install several browsers to find out what works best for you.
Google Chrome - hands down my favorite browser. This works to integrate all of my Google products and syncs my bookmarks and saved passwords across multiple computers. It provides good speed and plenty of extensions and themes for endless customization.
Mozilla Firefox - This browser rivals Google Chrome in almost every way and was only denied the number one slot because of my fanboyism for Google.
Opera - A good browser with lots of features but is often fighting to stay relevant. They make good browsers for phones and Tablets as well.
Internet Explorer - IE is a solid browser but all too often people run outdated versions or let various programs install needless toolbars until it slows to a crawl.
Safari - My mother always told me if you have nothing nice, to say don’t say anything at all, so…no comment.
There are several other browsers out there so feel free to shop around and find what works best for you. Speeds and features will vary from time to time between browsers. They are getting better and faster all the time. What is fastest today may become third fastest tomorrow. The difference is usually not enough to notice though so get what makes you happy.
If you don’t have a physical keyboard on your smartphone, you probably spend quite a bit of time pressing the tiny letters on your Android keyboard. You can install and switch between different keyboards to make your typing faster and easier. Each phone usually comes with 2 or more keyboards. There is almost always a default keyboard matching the brand of the phone (Samsung, HTC, etc.) and also the Android system default keyboard. There is a wide variety of keyboards, so try some out to see which one is best for you and your particular style.
Here are some popular Android keyboards:
- Swiftkey X (beta) - scans your twitter and Gmail accounts for better personalized word predictions.
- Swype - a gesture based keyboard that allows you to slide your finger from letter to letter releasing at the end of each word.
- Better Keyboard 8 - supports multitouch and several languages
- SlideIT Keyboard - similar to swiftkey and swype
- 8pen - very strange circular keyboard
To get to your keyboard options, first, go to your settings (usually by pressing menu, then settings) or by selecting it in your app drawer. Then, find your keyboard settings. This is usually under something along the lines of locale and text, language, or just keyboard. Once you select that, there should be a list of your available keyboards. Select the one you want and then you can change their respective settings. New keyboards often require effort to set up. You may have to log in to Gmail or twitter accounts or choose your typing style and language.
Switching between installed keyboards is very simple. First, find a text field like on your google search toolbar or create a blank email. Once your active keyboard pops up. you can longpress (press and hold) in the text field box. An option should appear for input method. When you select that a list of your available keyboards will appear. Select the one you want to try and you’re all done. You may have to re-select the text field for the new keyboard to appear.
- longpress in a text field
- choose input method
- select desired keyboard
*not all keyboards are available on all phones. Available keyboards vary with different versions of android and cellular carriers.
image from appleinsider.com
To remove an app from your phone you can start by pressing menu then settings or opening your app drawer and pressing the icon marked settings. Once you are there, tap the icon that is called “applications”. Select “manage applications”. This may take a minute or two to load all of the applications on your phone. Click the application you would like to remove. You may find it beneficial to click the clear data button before you uninstall it. This will clear up some space on your sd card that might have otherwise gotten left behind. From there just click the uninstall button and the app and it’s icons will be removed from you phone. You can always return to the android market and re-download it if need be.
- press the menu button
- tap settings
- go to applications
- then manage applications
- select the app
- (optional) press clear data
- press uninstall
*Some of the apps that come pre-installed on your phone may not be able to be removed. This is done by the manufacturer or your network service provider. Sorry.
**Unless your phone is low on disk space or you have discovered an application is malicious software, there is often no need to uninstall apps. If you don’t use it, you don’t use it. Resources will not be wasted.
There are several ways to create shortcuts (make an icon on your home screen for one touch accessibility). The first and the easiest is to open your app drawer. This is usually either a small arrow or a square made of 16 or so smaller squares located at the bottom of your screen. Once it opens, simply drag your finger up or down to scroll to the app you want and then press it and hold it until the app drawer goes away. From there you can choose where to put the icon.
If you have no empty spaces, you will have to delete the icon and start the process over from a screen with space for a new icon. To delete an icon off of one of your home screens, long-press (hold it down) and the item will “lift up” and a trashcan item will appear in the center of the bottom of your screen. Drag it to the trashcan and it will turn red. Then let go and the icon will be off your home screen. This will NOT delete the app from your phone. I will give instructions for that later.
The second way to create a shortcut to an application is to longpress an empty space on your home screen. A prompt will come up and you will want to click the shortcut button or it’s equivalent for your phone (perhaps add or create shortcut). From there you tap “application” and your app drawer should open. Just choose the app and it should appear on your home screen. Assuming you have room for it on your home screen.
To move a shortcut or widget just longpress it and drag it to where you want to put it before letting go. To move it left or right to another home screen pull it to the far edge of the screen until the page flips. This can be very tricky and may take a few tries.
- open app drawer
- long-press icon you want to create
- release in desired location
- long-press icon you want to delete
- drag to the trashcan that will appear at the bottom of your screen
- release when the icon changes color
- long-press the icon you want to move
- slide it to the desired location
To create what is called a “direct dial” shortcut go to your home screen and hold your finger down on an empty area until a prompt comes up. You will have to repeat this entire process for each person you wish to create a direct dial button for.
You should find an option along the lines of add item or shortcut. From there you should click Direct Dial. The picture usually looks like a file from a Rolodex with a picture of an android and a tiny phone. Then it will ask you to select a contact.
Choose the person by scrolling down the list or tapping the search bar (usually at the top) and typing in the name until it shows up. You will be prompted to choose between their mobile or home numbers if you have added both. The icon should show up on your home screen once this is done.
If you save a picture with the contact it will become the picture of this icon.
- longpress (hold down) on your homescreen
- tap shortcuts
- tap direct dial
- choose the contact
- choose the contact’s number