Category: How-tos


want to prevent criminals from hacking your Timeline? Ignore those alarmist Facebook status updates and follow these steps instead.

Concerned about the security of your Facebook account? You should be. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, “social spam” is the new black among the black hats. But that doesn’t mean you should believe every silly rumor and/or status update you see about it.

Lately I’ve been seeing the following status update crop up on the walls of some of my otherwise savvy friends:

Hello friends, as you all know I like to keep my FB private except to those I am friends with. So if you all would do the following, I’d appreciate it. With the new FB timeline on its way this week for EVERYONE, please do both of us a favor. Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says : "Subscribed". Hover over that, then go to "comments and likes" and unclick it. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the bar side for everyone to see, but most importantly it limits hackers from invading our profiles. If you repost this I will do the same for you. You’ll know I’ve acknowledged you because if you tell me that you’ve done it I’ll "like" it.

This is, of course, donkey manure. It is yet another hoax some dork without a life started propagating across Facebook a few weeks or months ago. It’s harmless, but it is also full of misinformation. To wit:

First: Though Timeline will be rolled out to all Facebook users sometime soon, I think the privacy concerns are overblown. Unless you have a dark Facebook history you’re trying to hide, there’s no cause for alarm (and if you do have a dark Facebook history, you’ve got bigger problems than Timeline).

Second: Yes, you can follow the instructions to manage what you subscribe to and from whom. But all you’ll achieve is banishing your friends’ likes and comments from your News Ticker. Period, full stop. You’ll still see their posts in your News Feed or on their walls; it does nothing – nada, zilch, squat – to protect you from hackers.

You want to protect yourself from being hacked? Do this.

Make sure you’ve enabled Secure Browsing

That uses an encrypted (https) connection instead of the standard one, which scrambles your data so that creep sitting behind you in Starbucks can’t use Firesheep or a similar network sniffer to steal your Facebook logon out of the air.

Turn on Secure Browsing in FacebookTurn on Secure Browsing in Facebook

If you don’t already have this turned on, here’s how to do it: Go to your Account Settings. Click the Security icon on the left and select Secure Browsing * Edit. Put a checkmark in the box next to “Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) when possible.” Click Save Changes, and you’re done. Easy peasy.

Turn on Login Notifications

This will alert you when your Facebook account has been accessed from a new device. Follow the same steps as above, only select the next item on the list. If somebody who isn’t you is accessing your account, you’ll get an e-mail.

Add a security code to new devices

If you want to be extra cautious, go to item number three in the Security Settings and set up Login Approvals. This will send a new passcode to your mobile phone every time you log into Facebook from an unknown device, which you’ll then have to use as your login password. It’s a bit of a hassle, so only do this if you’re really concerned about Facebook security (or more paranoid than the average bear).

Change your password early and often

Yes, I usually ignore this too. But if you get alerts about somebody accessing your account who isn’t you, or see weird posts and messages on your Facebook page that you didn’t put there, odds are good somebody hacked or guessed your password. First step in the recovery process is to change your password ASAP. Follow the usual advice about using upper/lower case letters, numbers, oddball characters, etc. Yes, it’s annoying, but it’s also just as annoying to hackers, and that’s the point.

One caveat on the above: If somebody’s already hacked your email account, they’ll also be getting all your password recovery emails. So you’d better secure that first, following the same steps.

Do not fall for the Remove Facebook Timeline scamDo not fall for the Remove Facebook Timeline scam. (Source: ZDNet’s Zero Day blog)

Be wary of scams

For example: the bogus “Remove Facebook Timeline” scam that is now circulating. Clicking “Continue” or “Like” on that one could allow the scammer to hijack your account. If you see an alarming message in somebody’s Facebook status updates, visit Snopes.com or just Google it and check it out before buttering it all over your page too. Odds are it isn’t what you think.

Be smart

Going out on the InterWebs without adequate security software – anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-you-name-it – is like wandering into a tigers cage slathered in Everett & Jones barbecue sauce. If your PC has been compromised by a keylogger or remote access Trojan (RAT), none of these defenses will do you much good. There’s a word for people who go online without adequate protection, and that word is “lunch.”

as said by Dan T

 

Here is how to make your Android phone open nearly any file type be it audio, video, images, and documents.

 

219949-android_apps_180_originalAndroid may be a versatile OS, but the little green robot can run into trouble when it comes to certain file formats. RAW photo formats such as .NEF won’t show up in the default Android’s image and video Gallery app. Even common video file formats such as .AVI and .MKV will stop most Android phones in their tracks.

Luckily, there are apps and workarounds so your Android phone can open most audio, video, image, and Office file formats you throw at it. Being able to playback a myriad of file formats is good because not all file formats are created equal.RAW images, for example, tend to be of higher quality than standard .JPEGs. And .MKV files can play videos with subtitles–helpful if you are hard of hearing, watching a foreign film, or stuck on an airplane with crummy headphones.

Also, by making your phone accept a more diverse number of file formats, you can save yourself the hassle in converting your media files into (more often than not) inferior and more common file types that aren’t as good at reproducing hi-fidelity music, saving storage space, and displaying crystal clear images.

 

Audio

PowerampThe default Android media player is very picky about what it accepts if you try to load it with anything other than .MP3s. For a better audio experience, look no further than the PowerAmp Music Player. The list of formats that PowerAmp can play includes .MP3 (of course), .MP4, .M4A, .ALAC, .OGG, .WMA, .FLAC, .WAV, .APE, .WV, and .TTA. Besides accepting a wide variety of audio formats, PowerAmp is customizable with several themes and comes with a handful of widgets to choose from. PowerAmp costs $5 for the full version, though there is a free 15-day trial as well so you can try it out before you buy.

mortplayer-5195312            poweramp-5195316

Mortplayer MusicIf you don’t feel like spending $5 on an app, you can also try out Mortplayer Music. Mortplayer (free) can handle all the same formats that PowerAmp can, though the interface is not as clean as the one in PowerAmp and it cannot play .FLAC files on all devices.

 

Office Documents

While Windows Phone 7 phones may be the kings in handling Office documents, Android also can juggle work documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe) with ease. All Android devices by default can view Office documents, but you will need a separate app in order to edit and create new ones. There are quite a few mobile office apps to choose from; it really boils down to what features you want.

Google DocsI personally prefer to use QuickOffice($15) because it can sync my files with my DropBox or Google Docs accounts. Chances are your phone came pre-loaded with the trial version of a mobile office app. Much like with PowerAmp, I would recommend playing around with a trial version before committing $15 for an app that doesn’t have the features you want.

One workaround is Google Docs, Google’s online service for creating and viewing office documents. The official Docs app does a sufficient job at displaying your documents. However the app has issues with keeping document formatting, so I would not recommend using it to create or edit your work. Results may vary on your Android phone or device. For all other text formats, the best and easiest workaround would be to e-mail the document to your Gmail account, then view the document using the "Preview" option inside your Gmail message. You may not be able to work on it, but at least you can read what the file says.

 

Photos

RawDroidBy default, the Android Gallery can handle most standard image formats (.JPEG, .GIF, .PNG, and .BMP). Unfortunately after searching the Android Market, I only found one app that allows you to view images in the RAW format. The app is called RawDroid (free) and is currently only available as a demo, though it allows you to view images in formats such as .NEF and .CR2.

For Adobe Photoshop users who live and breathe by .PSD files, as of now, there is no apps solution for viewing that file format. Even Adobe’s own Photoshop Express application wouldn’t recognize the ones I loaded onto my phone’s SD card. Hopefully Adobe’s Photoshop app is updated and .PSD formats are supported in the future.

Videos

DoubleTwistTrying to format videos so that they work on your Android phone can be a nightmare. Until the VLC player comes to Android, you’ll have to look elsewhere to find an app to play your HD files. The desktop clientDoubleTwist can convert your videos into a format that natively works on your phone. Run the program, and plug in your phone. DoubleTwistshould recognize it. From there you just drag and drop the media you want put in. While helpful, DoubleTwist can be extremely buggy at times and is known to crash randomly. Still, it is the easiest and best way to put playable video files onto your Android phone.

Another advantage DoubleTwist and VLC have over the stock video player that comes with Android is that they support video bookmarking. That’s an important feature if you are watching a video longer than 20 minutes. Bookmarking allows you to stop and start the video in the same place. That beats having to scroll through a video to find the spot you think you stopped watching the video.

Having a device that works seamlessly with a variety of file formats allows you to get the most out of your digital life and your Android phone. P.S. It can also save your bacon when your boss wants you to proof a work document.

As said By Armando Rodriguez

Not sure how to get started with your new Android tablet? Fear not: We’ve got you covered.

So you’re the proud possessor of a shiny new Android tablet. Now what?

Google’s tablet operating system is a little different from the versions of Android you may have seen before. Unlike the iPad, which is basically a blown-up version of the iPhone, Android Honeycomb tablets are designed to take full advantage of the extra screen space–and it’s up to you to decide how to use it.

Of course, flexibility and simplicity don’t always go hand in hand, and Honeycomb can be a bit overwhelming at first. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that its power and its potential for personalization can be pretty darn sweet.

Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.

Hello, Honeycomb: Navigating Your Home Screen

01-honeycomb-home-screen-5175464The Android Honeycomb home screen keeps all of the OS’s main controls visible on your tablet’s display. Let’s begin with the home screen. On Honeycomb–unlike on past smartphone-focused editions of Android–the main controls are always visible right on your display.

  • At the top left corner of the screen sits a Google search box. Tapping it lets you simultaneously search the Internet and everything on your device.
  • Next to the search box is a microphone icon that activates Google’s robust Voice Actions system. You can use it to speak commands such as “listen to” followed by the name of an artist, album, or song; “send e-mail to” followed by the name of a contact and a message; or even “note to self” followed by a memo. You can also speak any phrase to launch an instant Web search for the term.
  • At the top right of the screen is a six-square icon with the label ‘Apps’. Touch it for access to the full menu of applications installed on your tablet.
  • Next to the ‘Apps’ icon is a large white plus sign. It opens the tool for customizing your tablet’s home screens; we’ll look at it in more detail in a moment.
  • 02-honeycomb-bottom-right-5175468The system clock, network connection icon, and battery level icon are in the lower-right portion of the home screen. Double-tapping this area brings up other options.At the bottom right of the display is a system clock, along with icons indicating your current network connection status and tablet battery level. Tapping this area once will bring up more-detailed information. Tapping it a second time will bring up additional options, including toggles for airplane mode, Wi-Fi, and other system settings.

From time to time, notifications will appear in the bottom-right area of your display–when you get a new e-mail message, for example, or when a calendar reminder comes due. You can tap any notification to view more information about it or you can dismiss it altogether. Click on thumbnail to zoom.

Getting Around in Honeycomb

Honeycomb navigation options; click for full-size image.The main navigation options in Honeycomb are back, home, and multitasking.The area at the bottom left of the screen focuses on navigation. No matter where you are in the system, you’ll always see three icons:

  • The left arrow jumps you back one step–not terribly useful on the home screen, but handy when you’re in applications.
  • The home icon, predictably, takes you back to the home screen. If your tablet is running Android 3.1, your system will remember which panel you last had open and will automatically return you there.
  • 03-honeycomb-multitasking-5175472Honeycomb’s multitasking menu shows a list of recently apps; clicking an entry lets you jump directly to it.The third icon opens the Honeycomb multitasking menu. This menu shows you a list of your most recently used apps and allows you to jump directly to any of them from anywhere in the system.

Occasionally, you may see a fourth icon in the bottom-left portion of your screen. This icon, which looks like a small grid, appears when you’re using a smartphone app that isn’t optimized for the Honeycomb interface. Tapping the icon brings up a list of options for the app; it’s the equivalent of pressing the Menu key on an Android phone.

When you work with apps that are optimized for Honeycomb, the grid icon is supplanted by what Google likes to call the ‘action bar’. The action bar permits apps to use the top-right area of your screen to provide additional options that change, depending on what you’re doing. If you’re looking at your inbox in Gmail, for example, you’ll see an icon for composing a new message. If you’re viewing an individual e-mail message, icons for archiving or deleting the message will appear in the same space.

(click to zoom)

Customizing Your Tablet

All right–ready to start making your Android tablet feel like your own? Tap the plus sign in the upper right corner of your home screen to head into Honeycomb’s customization control center.

05-honeycomb-customization-5175480Honeycomb’s customization control center shows thumbnails of all five home-screen panels plus a list of widgets and app shortcuts.In the control center, you’ll see thumbnails of all five home-screen panels and a list of items that you can place anywhere you like. Some of the items are widgets–which are live, functioning versions of programs that run right on your home screen. Others are app shortcuts–normal static icons that launch applications. You can touch any item to drag it to the panel of your choice; you can also adjust things from the home screen later on, by touching and holding any item to move, delete, or (in certain cases) resize it.

So there you have it: the ins and outs of Honeycomb. Now just grab your tablet, dive in, and don’t worry: You won’t get stung.

As said by JR Raphael

The first time you use an Android phone, one thing becomes immediately clear: You’re not in Cupertino anymore.

Android, as recent Verizon commercials remind us, is the antithesis of Apple’s celebrated handset: It’s open source, fully customizable, and free from unexplained app rejections. If the iPhone is Apple’s inalterable masterpiece, the Android platform is Google’s open canvas. The palette is in your hands; it’s up to you to add color.

We’ve assembled 40 tips and tricks to help you make the most of your Android phone. Some are specific to Android 2.0 or later, but most apply to any Android-based device. And not one of these tricks requires you to jailbreak anything.

So grab your phone, and get started–it’s time for you to become a certified Android master.

Optimize Your Home Screen

184659-android1_original

To add a widget, hold your finger on any open space, and then select ‘Widgets’ from the pop-up menu.

1. Make the most of your space by using widgets–dynamic programs that operate right on your home screen. Simply hold your finger on any open space, and then select Widgets from the pop-up menu. Widgets come in a huge variety of sizes and functions, so search the Android Market to find what works for you.

2. Prefer not to be bothered by a sound every time an e-mail arrives? Head into Gmail’s Settings menu and set its ringtone to Silent. You’ll still see new-message alerts in the notification panel at the top of your screen, and you can always pull the panel down to get detailed information. You can configure text messaging and other alert-generating apps the same way.

3. Set up one-touch dialing for the people you call the most. Hold your finger on an open space and select Shortcuts. Then, touch Direct dial and pick the person from your contact list. If one-touch texting is what you crave, use the Direct message option instead.

4. To drop your favorite Web pages onto your home screen, long-press on any site in your browser’s bookmarks and then select the Add shortcut to home option.

5. Try using folders to keep your home screen organized. Long-press on a blank space and select Folders to create one. You can then drag and drop frequently used contacts, apps, or other shortcuts into it to cut down on clutter. To rename a folder, press and hold the folder’s title bar while it’s open.

Get Around Android

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Astro allows you to browse through your phone as you would a computer.

6. Make file management a snap with a utility such as Astro, which allows you to browse through your phone just as you would a computer, navigating directories and moving or deleting files at will.

7. Need to cut and paste text? Long-press on any text input area. If you’re on a Web page, tap the Menu key and use the Select text option.

8. Use Android’s hotkeys to do everything from zooming in to a Web page to opening a program. Check out our complete list of Android keyboard shortcuts to learn them all.

9. You can set your own hotkeys to open apps, too. Head into the main Settings menu, select Applications, and then choose Quick Launch to get started.

10. If the on-screen keyboard pops up when you don’t want it, touch it and swipe downward to make it disappear.

11. You can see the current date at any time by touching your finger to the top-left corner of the screen.

Stay Connected

12. To load files onto your Android phone, plug the handset into your PC and pull down the notification panel. Tap the USB connected box, and then tap Mount when the confirmation dialog box appears. Your phone will appear as a hard drive on your PC, and you can then drag and drop files as you wish.

184659-android13_original

Manage your music–and even import your iTunes playlists–with DoubleTwist.

13. Manage your music–and even import your iTunes playlists–with DoubleTwist, a free PC-based utility. The program’s intuitive interface makes Motorola’s Media Link offering look like a bloated relic.

14. Sync your Outlook calendar with your phone without the hassle. Install Google Calendar Sync and let it do the work for you.

15. To sync your Outlook contacts without using an Exchange server, try GO Contact Sync, an open-source utility for your PC.

16. Stay up to speed with your feeds with the help of NewsRob, a handy app that syncs your phone with your Google Reader account.

17. Want to have your PC’s browser bookmarks on your Android phone? Download MyBookmarks from the Market to import them.

Power Up Your Phone

18. Get extra calling power by integrating Google Voice into your phone. Once you’ve signed up for an account, download the official app and watch your options expand. Bonus tip: Add the Google Voice widget to your home screen for one-touch toggling of your outgoing-call preferences.

184659-android19_original

You can send text messages for free through Google Voice.

19. You can send text messages for free through Google Voice–everything you need is in the app. Just make sure you change the settings to refresh every 5 minutes so that incoming messages won’t be delayed. If you want faster notifications, log in to the Google Voice Website and configure your account to send you e-mail alerts when a new text arrives.

20. Get unbilled talk time by using Fring, a free mobile chat client for Android. Fring lets you make calls over Google Talk, Skype, and any SIP calling service.

21. Cut down on calling headaches by using the free Dial Zero app to call the companies you do business with. It lets you bypass annoying phone trees and get right to human representatives.

22. Keep annoying callers away by routing them directly to your voicemail. First, open the offending person’s profile in your contacts list. Then, press the Menu button, tap Options, and check the Incoming calls box.

23. The Incoming Calls screen also holds the option for setting custom ringtones for callers. Tap Ringtone and change each person’s tune as you wish.

24. Want to use your own MP3 files as ringtones? No problem: Make a new folder on your memory card and name it ringtones. Copy your MP3s there, and they will automatically show up in your selection list. Folders called alarms or notifications will do the same thing for those respective functions.

184659-android24_original

RingDroid lets you easily edit an MP3 to grab a particular segment of a song for your ringtone or system sound.

25. Check out the free app RingDroid. With it, you can easily edit an MP3 file to grab a precise segment of a song for a ringtone or system sound.

26. Android lets you keep multiple browser windows open at the same time. Long-press any Web link to open it in a new window. Tap the Menu key while in the browser to toggle between windows.

27. Prefer seeing Web pages in landscape mode? You can tell Android to always display sites that way. Select the Landscape-only display checkbox in the browser’s Settings menu.

28. Android’s built-in browser isn’t your only option. Try Dolphin Browser for cool features such as tabbed browsing, gesture-driven commands, and multitouch zooming (yes, even on the Droid).

Secure Your Smartphone

29. Android includes an option to use simple patterns to secure your phone; to unlock the handset, you swipe your finger across the screen in a specific pattern. Look for Screen Unlock Pattern under ‘Location and Security’ in the main System Settings menu.

30. Want to back up your phone’s data? Try MyBackup, which saves your apps, contacts, call logs, texts, and even settings to either your SD Card or a secure Internet server. You might also like SMS Backup, which periodically saves all of your texts into your Gmail account.

31. For even more protection, download Mobile Defense. The app allows you to use a PC to track your phone via GPS, remotely lock it, and then back up and wipe all of your data.

Add Essential Apps

32. If you handle a lot of Office files, Documents To Go may be just the thing for you. The free version gives you the ability to view Word and Excel files. The full paid version adds editing capabilities, along with PDF and PowerPoint viewing options.

33. Prefer working in the cloud? Get your hands on GDocs or ThinkFree Mobile Office, both of which make it a cinch to connect with your Google Docs documents.

34. If basic note-taking is all you need, download a PC-synced notepad such as GDocs Notepad With Sync. It saves documents directly into your Google Docs account for easy access.

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For on-the-go photo editing, Adobe’s Photoshop.com Mobile app is tough to beat.

35. For on-the-go photo editing, Adobe’s Photoshop.com Mobile app is tough to beat–and it’s free, too.

36. Jazz up your Android music experience with TuneWiki, which automatically finds and scrolls lyrics next to your songs as they play. Plus, it gives you access to Internet radio streaming and some cool community-sharing features.

Customize Your Phone Completely

37. Adjust how your phone acts by using Locale. The app lets you set custom profiles for practically any circumstance–having your ringer shift to silent when you’re at work, for example, or making your screen glow brighter at night.

38. Take full advantage of your phone’s LED by installing Missed Call, which configures your phone’s light to flash specific colors when calls from certain people slip by.

39. Edit Android’s custom dictionary to include your name and other proper nouns. That way, they’ll pop up in the auto-complete list as you type. Look under Language and keyboard settings in System Settings to get started.

40. If you try an Android app and decide that you don’t like it, return it. The Android Market will give you a full refund for up to 24 hours after any purchase, provided that you haven’t tried to return the same app before.

as said by Eric Mack from PCWorld

“Froyo” and “Gingerbread”–two delicious treats that Android smartphone users around the world crave–are the latest versions of the Android mobile operating system. Both offer speed as their main selling point, but each has also come a long way from the original Android and spiffed up the user interface (Gingerbread in particular).

However, with great power comes great confusion. Although these editions of the Android OS make your smartphone more feature-rich than before, it’s not always obvious how to take advantage of the improvements.

Read on for a comprehensive list of the most compelling new features, plus tips and tricks. These items are specific to Froyo/Android 2.2 (which released last summer and runs on many phones, including the Motorola Droid X and the HTC EVO 4G) as well as to Gingerbread/Android 2.3 (which came out in December and is currently available with the Samsung Nexus S).

And if your smartphone is running Gingerbread, then you’re in luck–the tips for Froyo also apply to you.

1. Store apps on your SD Card: For owners of older phones with little on-board storage for applications, this feature is huge. Provided that the developer of an application allows it, you can move the application to your SD Card. Go to Settings, Applications, Manage Applications, and then click the app you want to move. You will see an option called Move to SD Card. Click it, and your app will move over, and nothing will be lost. (You can move it back to your phone’s built-in storage later if you want, by clicking Move to Phone in the same place.)

2. Chrome to Phone: If you use the Chrome browser on your desktop, this add-on is a must-have. (You’ll also encounter a version for Firefox called Fox to Phone, but it comes from a third-party developer.) First, install the Chrome to Phone extension in your Chrome browser; then, from the Android Market, download and install the Chrome to Phone app on your handset. Afterward, if you run across a Web page you like, you can click your new ‘Chrome to Phone’ button in your browser to send it instantly to your phone. You can also highlight a phone number and click the button, and the number will open in your phone’s dialer. Or send directions, and they’ll open up in Maps on your phone. If you highlight some text, it will copy to your phone’s clipboard, ready for pasting.

3. Get Flash: Android versions 2.2 and newer support Adobe Flash in the browser. First, you may have to download Flash from the Android Market (search for “Flash Player 10.1”). It’s great to have this option. Some Web pages that are loaded with Flash can really slow down your phone, however.

In Froyo you can move apps off of your phone's on-board storage.

In Froyo you can move apps off of your phone’s on-board storage.

4. Block automatic Flash loading:Luckily, you have a way to set the browser so that it doesn’t automatically load Flash content. From the browser, tap Menu, More, Settings and scroll down to Enable Plug-Ins. Click that, and then select On Demand. Then restart the browser. Now when you reach a page with Flash content, you will see a box with an arrow in it; tap it to activate that piece of Flash content.

5. Better multitasking: In previous versions of Android, long-pressing the Home key would give you access to the last four apps you used. When you long-press the Home key in Froyo, it gives you access to the last eight.

Easily switch back to any of your eight most recently used apps.
Easily switch back to any of your eight most recently used apps.

6. Switch Gmail accounts: Within Gmail, simply tap the name of the account in the top-right corner to quickly toggle between them.

7. Better camera controls: Settings for Flash Mode and White Balance are now right on the main camera window (no more searching through menus).

8. Gallery stack previews: Use a pinching gesture on a stack of photos in your gallery to get a quick preview of what lies under that stack.

9. Desktop previews: From the desktop, long-press the Apps button, and up pop small preview images of all your desktop panels. Click one, and it will whisk you off to that screen.

10. Phone and Browser icons on the desktop: The Phone app and Browser app now have a permanent home on the desktop, sitting on either side of the Apps button. Not only does this give you quick access to both regardless of what desktop panel you’re on, but it also frees up space on your desktop for other icons.

See a live preview of all your desktops.

Froyo Voice Actions

By itself, Froyo has incredible voice-recognition capabilities–but if you have Google’s most recent Voice Search (you may need to update it from Android Market), you have a ton of ways to control your phone with your voice. Just long-press your phone’s Search button (set Voice Search as the default, if it isn’t already), and when ‘Speak Now’ pops up on screen, say something out loud. Here are some examples of what you can do with Voice Actions.

11. Call someone: Say “Call [name of contact], [phone type],” as in “Call Whitney Houston, Mobile.” The phone will give you a moment to confirm or cancel, and then it will dial your contact. (Note: Whitney Houston’s phone number does not come included in Froyo…maybe in Honeycomb?)

Android offers amazing control over your phone with your voice.

Android offers amazing control over your phone with your voice.

12. Send a text message:Say “Send text to [contact name], [message].” Example: “Send text to Andy Rubin. When will my phone get Gingerbread question mark.” (Remember that you have to say “question mark” in order to produce a question mark, or “period” in order to add a period.)

13. Get turn-by-turn directions: Say “Navigate to [address, city or business name, city].” Examples: “Navigate to 826 Valencia, San Francisco, California” or “Navigate to Carnegie Hall, New York, New York.” This will open Navigator with your chosen location already entered in.

14. Call a business: You don’t even need to have the phone number. Say “Call [name of business], [city/state].” Example, “Call Red Hot Restaurant, Brooklyn, New York.”

15. Write a memo: Say “Note to self, [body of text].” Example: “Note to self, Call Verizon to see why my phone doesn’t have Gingerbread yet.” The text will be e-mailed to you, from you.

16. Find downloads with the new Downloads Manager: Have you been wondering where all the stuff you downloaded goes? Now it’s easy to find all of those files in one place. Open your apps drawer, and click Downloads.

17. Manage apps: It’s easier than ever to wrangle applications. From the home screen, tap the Menu button and then Manage Apps. (Note: You will see this option only if you are using Google’s default launcher.) From there you can get more information about your apps, review permissions, delete apps, force-quit them, or even transfer apps to your SD Card.

Sneak a peek at what's in a Gallery stack.

18. Quickly preview pictures in a Gallery stack: When looking at your various photo stacks in the Gallery, touch a stack with two fingers and then spread them. This action will fan out the stack like a deck of cards, and you’ll see thumbnails of all of the photos in that stack flow from one finger to the other.

19. The orange bumper bar: Saw an orange glow and thought you did something wrong? Worry not. When you are scrolling through a list (such as your Gmail inbox) and you hit the bottom, you’ll notice a light orange glow there. It just exists to let you know that you can’t go any farther. It also does this when you’re side-scrolling, or when you reach the top of a list.

20. Improved cursor control: The cursor was once one of Android’s weak points, but Gingerbread just made it fantastic. When you click on text in a text-entry field, an orange arrow appears where the cursor is. You can touch the cursor and drag it to the exact spot where you want it to be.

21. Copy and paste text from a Web page: Copy-and-paste from the browser has been simplified. Just long-press on a bit of text, and two handles will appear. Drag the beginning handle and the end handle so that they surround the text you want to copy, and then press within the highlighted region. To paste, go to any text-entry field, long-press, and select Paste.

22. Copy and paste text from the Gmail app: With an e-mail message open, press the Menu key. Then tap More, Select Text. Afterward, the action operates in the same way as described above.

23. Make and receive VoIP calls: With Gingerbread, you can use your phone to place and receive Voice over Internet Protocol calls over Wi-Fi without using any third-party applications. You will first need to sign up for a SIP service, such as SIPgate. Once you’ve done that, from your home screen, press Menu, Settings, Call Settings; scroll down to Internet Call Settings, and press Add Accounts. You then must input your SIP account username, password, and server (the interface on your phone may call this info ‘SIP credentials’, ‘SIP URI’, or ‘SIP ID’). You can also configure optional settings there (which you may or may not want to do, based on your SIP provider).

Now go back to the Internet Call Settings menu, and check the Receive Incoming Calls box. Your contact listings will have a SIP phone icon when you view them, regardless of how you view them. Simply touch the SIP icon next to a contact to call the person via SIP. Why do this? It could save you from going over your wireless carrier’s plan minutes, or allow you to make calls using Wi-Fi when you’re not near a cell tower.

24. The Near Field Communication radio: What does NFC do? Well, not much…yet. At the time of this writing, software limitations will allow your phone’s NFC radio to act only as a reader, not a transmitter. But since software is being developed, that situation will probably change soon, likely in an incremental Gingerbread update. What you will be able to do, essentially, is use your phone as a high-tech credit card and make electronic payments with it. In theory, when making a purchase at a store, you would just touch your phone to the register’s sensor, and a message would pop up on your phone asking if you want to authorize Vendor X for Y dollars. Currently, though, as the radio can only read, it functions about the same as a QR code reader does: It can get a link, some text, a phone number, and so on.

Gingerbread Keyboard Tips

Now it's easy to drag the cursor to the right spot.

Now it’s easy to drag the cursor to the right spot. Android’s stock keyboard has undergone a major overhaul in Gingerbread, and it’s not merely a face-lift. You will notice that it’s faster and more accurate, and that it supports multitouch gestures. Here are other key differences.

25. Autocomplete and the spacebar: While you’re typing, when autocomplete has a suggestion ready, the spacebar will light up orange. At that point, pressing the spacebar will choose the highlighted word in the autocomplete bar. Also note that the autocomplete bar is scrollable: If you don’t see the suggestion you want at first, swipe to the left on the autocomplete bar. You’ll often find three bars’ worth of suggestions.

26. Capitalizing a word: This is where multitouch comes in. To capitalize a word, you no longer have to press Shift (which turns the entire keyboard into caps) and then select–you can now press Shift and the letter you wish to capitalize at the same time (as you would on a desktop keyboard).

Gingerbread offers improved copy/paste controls in the browser and Gmail.

Gingerbread offers improved copy/paste controls in the browser and Gmail.

27. Quick replace: Made a mistake? You can tap on any previously typed word, and the autocomplete bar again repopulates with all of its suggestions for what that word should be. If you see the word you want, simply tap it, and it will replace the incorrect word.

28. Add a word to the dictionary: When you key in a word that the dictionary doesn’t yet know, touch it in the autocomplete row to put it into the text field. The autocomplete row will then say, ‘Touch again to save’. Touch to add it to the dictionary.

Access Punctuation, Numbers, and Special Characters.

In Gingerbread, you can add words easily to the dictionary.

In Gingerbread, you can add words easily to the dictionary.

29. Any key: Press and hold any key, and if it has a number or a special symbol behind it, those options will pop up in a row above it. For example, hold down the R key, and you get the number 4. Hold down the E key, and you get access to 3, é, è, ê, and ë.

30. Period key: Press and hold the “.” key (the period key) for instant access to some of the most commonly used punctuation.

31. Autocomplete: After you’ve pressed the spacebar and are in between words, the autocomplete bar populates with the most frequently used punctuation. Again, this bar is scrollable, giving you three rows of options.

Hungry for Froyo and Gingerbread

At the time of this writing, roughly 52 percent of Android phones have Froyo and the rest are waiting to get it, as a full 35 percent are still stuck on Eclair, version 2.1.

More options pop up when you long-press a key in the Gingerbread keyboard.

More options pop up when you long-press a key in the Gingerbread keyboard.Even fewer Android phones have Gingerbread–just 0.4 percent at the time of this story, which makes sense considering that only the Nexus S handset runs it right now.

It’s a shame that the hardware manufacturers and the carriers take so long to roll out updates, because each has been a major leap for the Android OS, with greatly improved speed, stability, battery life, and functionality.

as said by  Brent Rose.

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