Have you recently bought a new TV? Finding it complex to set up? You are not alone.

I have just finished wrestling with the recording feature on my Mum’s new TV. It put up a fight but I emerged victorious. Thanks to Mr Google and my friends who were in my corner during the fight 🙂  It made me think though, I am a technology expert and trainer who gets frustrated if I can’t do something absolutely instantly! How would someone who was not comfortable with technology have coped with this set.

Modern TVs sometimes don’t come with a thick instruction manual written in garbled English. They normally just come with a page or two of “installation guide”.

So if you are setting one up here are some hints :

1) Tuning is the easy part, normally almost automatic

2) Most recent models have a recording feature so you may be able to do away with that pesky set top box.

3) If they require a USB drive, there may be size limits on the drive. Some TVs can’t cope with a drive over 2 TB and the one I had to deal with required a minimum of  40 GB.

4) Make sure the place you chose for the TV allows easy access to the port and somewhere to place the drive. It is a matter of luck in my case, as I didn’t realize I would need a large drive rather than a tiny “USB stick” at the time the wall bracket was put up. Not that many USB sticks would be big enough. I just happened to need my big one for something else and have an old spare external drive too small for a serious backup drive these days.

5) Be prepared to experiment with recording and playback. On this TV, you can’t see recorded files by browsing the USB Drive. You need to go into the Watch menu and select Recorded TV.

If you are having a fight with a TV or any other consumer technology at the moment and need a coach in your corner, let us know.

My phone has been filling up! I’ve also been using my data allowance playing music from You Tube that I already own on CD. Fortunately I have a phone which is expandable by inserting an SD  card . Check on Google if you aren’t sure if you do (IPhones and Samsung Galaxy S5 are not), most previous Samsung models and many other Android and Windows phones are.  I recently purchased such a card and have just finished loading music and shifting some applications and photos to this card. As they were only $18 AU for a 322 GB card on EBay, I have ended up by purchasing a spare for backup.  It was a simple matter to slip the card into the phone and then copy the music from my PC. What took a bit more investigation was how to actually shift functioning apps and my photo library.

The steps I followed were:

1) Shift apps

Go to Settings – Application Manager . For each application that I wanted to move to the SD card, touch the Move to SD card button

2) Ensure new photos are saved to the SD card. The first time I took a photo after inserting the card, my Camera app prompted me asking if I wanted to do so, and I just accepted this. I used the MyFiles app to verify that new photos were being saved to the SD card and a small SD card icon also appears when I use the camera.

3) Shift existing photos. First ensure that all existing photos are backed up to cloud storage if you wish to do so. Then go to the MyFiles app, locate the photos/videos (usually in a folder called DCIM/Camera) and move or copy the folder to the SD card by selecting it and then touching the menu icon (on my phone it looks like 3 dots but yours may differ). Select move or copy from this menu. Move is quicker but copy is safer as it leaves the original unchanged and you can then check the copy before going back to delete the old ones yourself.

There are many resources on YouTube and other phone blogs if you are looking for specific information about a particular phone or let me know if you need a hand dealing with this.



Phone storage settings

Phone storage settings

This will be a short post. If you are considering upgrading to Windows 10, they are introducing a new feature called WifiSense, which makes it easy to share network details. However, it also enables friends of friends to share your details. If you wish to stop this happening, you need to change your Access Point name to have _optout at the end of the name. For details click here If after you have read the article, you want to disable WifiSense follow the steps below :

To change your access point name, you need to do the following
1) Go to the admin page for your modem. If you don’t know the IP address (a long number like It is different for each make and model of router/modem so you need to look it up
2) Log in
3) Go to the wireless configuration. Update the wireless AP name and save the configuration.
4) If you used the default username and password to log on in Step 2, change the admin password for your modem/router. If you use the default password, anyone can access and change settings on your network!!!
All done!

Laptops on sale with large variety

Laptop choice

Mini PCs are an interesting concept, which I am hoping to soon explore hands on. Based on research and discussion with others, my first impressions are
– they are useful devices for applications that don’t need much computing power
– they are not good at doing more than one thing at once due to not having much main memory
– they are cheap, portable and useful in media centre type applications, such as viewing streaming videeo
– they do have USB and in some cases microUsb connections unlike some tablets
– those with microUsb connections can be used as an external drive connected to a conventional PC or laptop
For more information and some examples from PC World magazine have a look at this link
There are also some Intel branded options which are commonly available in Australia. Intel Nucs and the Intel Compute Stick are easy to obtain. Be aware that NUCs are often sold with no disk storage and memory and the user needs to complete them in these cases. If you don’t feel comfortable working on computers, negotiate a deal with a technician to do this. Some suppliers sell them ready configured.

Wanted to know more about it but were afraid to ask? In 2013, Polycom – a major provider of equipment used for video conferencing – conducted a survey into who was using the technology, what they found helpful and unhelpful and who expected to use it in the future.
For the technically minded, it is an interesting read and can be found here
For those who want a quick summary, we have prepared a short animated infographic here..

Here’s a random collection of useful links. Check back from time to time as I will edit and add to it.
airplane mode
when and how to use
Facebook privacy, sharing family photos safely

Maybe the most valuable professional development activity in my government career was a leadership course. The main focus were Communication and motivation. Communication deserves a whole post to itself, so let’s focus today on a single sentence that can change everything.

What would it look like if I could? If you think something can’t be done , allow your mind to imagine and explore what it would be like if you did do it. Explore in detail. For example , if it is a marketing problem, define what it would mean to succeed like ” I want 10 people at my seminar”. This then translates to defining what the people are like, what media they consume and what your likely conversion rate is. You then know how many people you need to reach and likely ways to it. You might find a way. If you knw what the solution is and how it works, it is often easier to get there. Discuss and brainstorm it with trusted friends. See how the person who does this is likely to be ahead of the one who just complains not enough people are coming…
Interestingly writing this post helped me to apply it in my own business. When I first tried to market events, I quickly got overwhelm and felt a bit lost. But when I reasoned through it and tried to achieve the minimum number by word of mouth, I had a much more successful and fun experience.

Pedestrian crossing , Caloundra, near Bulcock beach
Imagine you were standing on this road, planning a fishing trip by boat. You would first decide if you wanted to skipper the boat yourself, or if you wanted to go on a charter cruise. If a Cruise, you would look at tourist sites on the web to determine who was a trustworthy operator and maybe call them. You would know what questions to ask and maybe compare prices between the operators. You would make sure you could visit the places you want to visit. If you are doing it yourself, you would either join forces with a mate or purchase or hire a boat. You would make sure you had all the required safety and communication equipment. You would load fishing rods and food and drink. Only then would you be ready to go fishing.

Building a web site is very like planning a trip on the Sea of Technology.
Even if you don’t want to be the skipper, you need to plan and make sure you are safe and end up where you want to go. Let’s briefly look at the steps.
1) Decide how much you want to do yourself
Will you write and update the content? Will you look after changes to the site?
Are you going to build the entire site?
2) Work out how you want it to look. Draw diagrams and sketches if you want. Think about your logo and colour scheme and make sure they are consistent on everything you do.
3) Write it down. Describe everything you want as clearly and simply as you can.
4) Select your implementation partners. Make sure you have a fair payment plan. It is standard practice to pay a deposit and then the balance on completion. For a large project, multiple progress payments may be an option.
We will discuss what to look for in a web designer in a later post.
5) Build or have the site built
6) Test it carefully to see that it meets all the requirements in steps 2 and 3.
7) You have reached your destination, a new web site for your business.

Remote controls for TVs, personal video recorders (PVRs) and even air conditioners sometimes drive us up the wall. Their batteries stop working at the most inconvenient time possible or someone breaks or loses them.
However, if you have certain phones, there is an easy answer. Many Android smart phones and tablets contain what is known as an “IR Blaster” which means they can produce an infra red beam as does your remote control. For these phones, it just takes a simple, free app from the Play Store and your phone becomes a controller. For Apple phones and some others, an add on IR Blaster is required as these phones do not contain one.
I have tested this with a Samsung S5 smart phone, the Smart Remote app which came with it and an old (2006 , I think) LG TV and Beyonwiz PVR. The TV is a bit finicky, and would never work with the Byonwiz’s claimed universal remote though it did with an entry level Logitech universal remote. The user interface on the app is simple, and would possibly be easier to use for someone with eyesight issues than a physical remote. Sometimes it is slow to respond or takes more than one press of a button to work but generally it is pretty good and I have been able to switch to using it exclusively for the TV and lend the Logitech to a relative who needed it urgently.

For a list of phones which contain an IR Blaster see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_blaster
Note however, the standard model Samsung Galaxy S5 is not on this list, but must contain one as it works for me!

Galaxy s5



More IPad settings
1) Airplane mode aka flight mode.
Originally designed to make it safe to use the device on an aircraft, this feature turns off all cellular and wifi connections. In effect, you are running the device with no connection to the internet. Battery use is much less in Airplane mode. Some times you might use it are if you want to use the device as an alarm clock, have a break from interruptions, are on an aircraft flight or are watching a movie or listening to music stored on the device or are writing a confidential document which you want to securely upload later.
2) Cellular data (not available on all tablets) .
This turns on/off the device’s ability to use the mobile phone network. If you are spending a lot of money on data use, this one is worth exploring. Some devices allow you to turn on and off data use for each individual application.
3) Wifi
This turns on/off the device’s ability to connect to wi-fi hotspots
Hint: be wary of connecting to open (with no password) hotspots. Everyone on these networks can see every device connected, so there is nothing to stop someone spying on you. Once you have entered the details for a hotspot, your device will remember it so you can connect again next time you are near it.
4) Personal Hotspot aka Portable Wireless Hotspot
This enables you to set up your own WiFi access point to which other devices can connect. Always set a password and beware it will use your data allowance.
5) Bluetooth
Most frequently used for connecting devices like handsfree headsets and physical keyboards. This is very useful but turn it off when you are not using it as it can allow other people to connect to your device and it increases battery use. Bluetooth does not use cellular data – like WiFi it is a local communication method which only works over a short range.
6) Display and Brightness
This is where to go if you are having trouble reading your device in certain lighting conditions or if you are having trouble with batteries. A bright screen is a huge user of battery so unless you are having concerns with reading the screen, it is best to set this to auto – brightness. The device usually makes a good choice. If you know you are going to be somewhere glary, you can set it to a brighter setting and then change it back when you leave that environment.

7) Location Services (on Apple devices this is located under Privacy – Location Services )
This controls the GPS capability of your device. If you don’t like the idea of it knowing where you are, you can turn it off. You can also control which apps use it. Note that while it doesn’t use much cellular data, it is a very heavy user of battery so best to turn it on only when you think you are likely to want use a navigation app or similar.

8) Sounds
This is where you customise ring tones and alert tones. . You can turn the volume of these sounds up or down and customise them.

Useful device hint : Sometimes applications remain open on your device when you aren’t using them.
On an Apple device running IOS 7 or later – double tap the home button. Look through the list of open apps that appears and swipe upwards on any you want to close. This will immediately close them.
On an Android device (Nexus, Samsung, HTC and others)
Launch the recent applications menu. (Different on different devices)
Tap and hold the application and swipe it to the right to close.
Apple IPad settings

Free : Essential Information
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