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TechTalk

TechTalk (3)

Wednesday, 02 November 2016 22:17

Skype & Ways To Pass Time

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Skype

Skype began as a program that would let you connect to other users for voice calls (like phone calls but over the internet) and instant messaging. Since then, Skype has added a feature that’s gone on to be its most popular: video chat. Skype itself is free to use, though you’ll have to create an account. Connecting to another Skype user, whether it’s for voice, text or video chatting, is free.

Be aware that there is the option to connect to a traditional phone number that is not free. Skype’s desktop version is compatible with both PC and Mac computers, and there is a Skype app for both iPhone and Android mobile devices.

Though you don’t need them to use Skype, I recommend hooking up an external microphone and using headphones while chatting to help cut down on background noise and to let the person you’re chatting with hear you more clearly.

Tech Ways To Pass The Time

Here are a few apps and websites to keep you and your family entertained during those long stretches of free time during the holidays or anytime of the year! All are free to use and work with just about any computer or mobile device.

Boomerang / GIF makers
- Boomerang is made by the same people as Instagram, so if you have an IG account, using Boomerang is even easier. Boomerang takes short videos and loops them back and forth into fun little clips
- Similar to Boomerang, GIPHY CAM allows you turn videos (or combine photos) into GIFs – short animated clips that are easy to share on social media or via text and email.

Bitmoji / Bitstrips
- Make a custom cartoon version of yourself!
Bitmoji turns your character into little pictures that are easy to text
Bitstrips allows you to make comic strips starring you o Art apps
Brushes Redux (for painting), Keezy & Keezy Drummer (for music)
Thisissand.com (Go to it on a mobile device to make digital sand art. It uses the touch sensitivity of your smartphone or tablet to create “sand art” with no mess!)

Duolingo
Learn a new language or practice one you already know with this game and puzzle-like app.
Desktop & mobile have slightly different options for lessons.
You can add friends and compare your lessons scores.

Ancestry
Build and research your family tree
A lot of their records are available for free, but not everything
Sometimes there are special free offers around holidays, such as military records around Veterans Day, etc.
There’s an app version that will connect with your account so you can easily add more information to your tree!

Google Streetview / Scavenger Hunt
MapCrunch.com – Drops you on a random street view location to explore or to figure out where you are
Try ‘Street View sightseeing’ – If you know where a special or famous location is, try zooming in on it from the whole-Earth view.

Staying Connected

Skype 
- discussed above

Dropbox
You can create shared folders with friends and family to share pictures, videos and more o What’sApp
Free messenger app. Very popular with people who have family in other countries

Google – GChat, Google Drive
If you use a Google account for email, these are other Google services that you can use for free!

Facebook & Messenger
Facebook has been expanding the features of their Messenger app to allow voice calls and video chat, too.

Group Text / Facetime
Facetime isn’t an app, but a feature built into most iPhones. Androids have a few options for alternative apps that do the same thing.
Pretty much any phone can group chat: Just enter multiple contacts into a text message’s “To:” line to start.

Snapchat
Around the holidays, Snapchat adds special filters
-If you’re traveling, check to see if there are filters specific to your changing location. Even airports have their own filters and stickers!

Wednesday, 02 November 2016 21:58

Various Photo Apps

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Kids Corner – Photo Apps

On this edition of Kids Corner Tech Talk, we discussed the different ways to take and share photos (and video) with your smartphone. In addition to naming some of the best free apps for the whole family to use, we shared some tips on how to take good-looking pictures on any camera, such as…

• Switching on your camera’s ‘Grid’ feature to help you level the picture and take a straight shot. The grid also helps with a popular photographers’ tip called The Rule of Thirds, where the subject is not centered but instead lines up with one of the lines dividing the frame into thirds.

• Turning the flash on and off. With most camera phones, the flash ends up doing more harm than good (not only to your pictures, but to your subjects’ eyesight!). Instead of using the flash, try adjusting the lighting in the room or where your subject is standing. Remember to follow the rules if a museum, concert venue or theater asks that you not use flash photography.

• There’s a setting on most camera phones called HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range. If you turn this setting on, your camera will take three quick photos and combine them into one, trying to make up for any differences in lighting between what’s close to you and what’s farther away. These extra photos can end up taking up a lot of extra storage space, and the end result isn’t always great. Best to have this turned off unless you want to play around with it.

On to the apps!

Social

Instagram
Account required
Filters on photos and videos, more processing on photos
Instagram story 
Can use with FB, Twitter, Tumblr and others
Easy to save pics you post

Snapchat
Account required
More person-to-person
Doesn’t automatically save pics you send
Slightly more ‘private’

Editing/Processing

VSCO
No account required
Additional filters available, some are free some are not
Creates Library within app – can take up space
Slightly more advanced, though IG has taken some of its tools

Snapseed (owned by Google)
No account required
One pic at a time
Wide array of filters and tweaks
Can be a bit overwhelming/too many options

Pixlr
No account required
One pic at a time
Similar variety of options as Snapseed
Not as straightforward, but there’s an online & desktop version

Prisma
No account required
One pic at a time
Can take longer to process picture
Unique filters, but little room to tweak

MSQRD
No account required
Can couple with FB to do live broadcasts w/ filters
Comes with several filters, additional (free) ones can take a little while to download

Other

Boomerang & Layout
IG account required
Boomerang: Takes short video clips & loops back and forth
Layout: Makes multi-pic collages in variety of styles
Easy to use with IG

Dropbox
Account required
Free, with paid upgrade options for more space
Camera Upload automatically syncs pics from phone
Best to use on Wifi, can disable Data Use

Built-in Time Lapse & Slow-Mo camera
Most camera phones also have a Panorama feature (which is fun to use but you need to keep your hand pretty steady to make it come out clearly) and a Timer so you can make the camera take a picture after a certain number of seconds.

Wednesday, 02 November 2016 21:40

TechTalk with Eric Schuman

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Click Below to Read & Listen to Eric Schuman's TechTalk chats with Kathy!

The world of technology is ever-expanding. From computer software to cell phone and tablet apps to communicating around the world for free! Kids Corner engineer Eric Schuman joins us in front of the mic with some TechTalk on Kids Corner. Check out past visits below!