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tips

  • Fixing Issues with Your iPhone's Mic

    Nothing is more frustrating than an iPhone which you can’t use as an actual phone. If you’re having problems with your mic, you’ll want to get that fixed as soon as possible. Before taking it to the repair shop, however, you’ll want follow these money-saving tips which just might fix your microphone. It might just save you a couple hundred dollars.

    First things first, it might seem obvious but you’ll want to start by testing the microphone on your phone. By doing this, you’ll be ruling out any potential problems with the hardware on your device. It’s also important to note that every iPhone, comes with two microphones by design: one on the rear side of your phone and one of the front side of the device itself. If you’re looking at your phone at this very moment, you can see both of the microphones close to your device’s camera.

    To test the functionality of your microphone, you’ll need to open the Voice Memos. Once you’re in, tap on the record icon. Talk into the microphone and tap the play icon to replay the recording back to you. If your microphone is working properly, you should be able to hear your own voice in the recording.

    If your voice appears to sound muffled or faint, you need to make sure that your microphone isn’t being covered by something. Try removing your screen protector or case from your phone and try doing another recording. The muffled sound could be from debris getting stuck between the case and microphone.

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    After ensuring that nothing could be covering or otherwise obstructing your smartphone, restart your iPhone and make sure that you have the latest updates of iOS.

  • How To Find The Right Google Play Station

    Google Play Music is slowly becoming one of the bigger music subscription services, and for very good reason. They’ve got a great collection of songs, they have both free and paid options, and their branding is spectacular. Additionally, one of the features they advertise quite a bit is the various channels they have available for different occasions. In the mood for some dance party hits? There’ a station for that. Need to wake up in the morning? There’s a station for that. Trying to eat a whole pizza by yourself? I don’t think there’s a station for that, but there definitely should be. Let’s take a look at how to find the best station for you on Google Play Music.

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    The Musical Options

    Every time you pull up Google Play, a few different station options will come up. These include Working Out, Boosting Your Energy, and more. While that may sound pretty basic, it’s once you tap your choice that you start getting into the specifics. For example, the Boosting Your Energy option alone has tons of options such as Pop Punk Pick-Me Ups and Feel-Good Indie Pop.

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    But wait, there’s more! After that, you get one more choice of specific stations within that category. So if you chose Energetic ‘00s hits, you can choose between ‘00s Pop Rock or ‘00s Indie Dance Party. So it’s a station within a station within a station. It’s like Inception, but with more distorted guitars.

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    What About Comedy?

    If you enjoy a good chuckle, you will not be left out. The “Laughing Out Loud” section gives you a variety of podcasts, standup, improv, and more. Much like with music, you simply go through a few layers and begin listening. While not as expansive as the music stations, it’s good to see comedy get a bit of recognition. Not that I’m a fan of comedy. I’ve never laughed in my entire life. And I never will.

  • How to Get Podcasts on Your Android Phone

    Are you an avid listener of podcasts? Do you enjoy hearing a few people chat about everything from sports to entertainment to the best kind of quadruple stack cheeseburger? (I’m not sure if that’s a podcast yet, but it definitely should be.) Then I’m sure you’d like an easy way to have all your podcasts directly on your phone.

    “But wait! I have an Android phone. I can’t subscribe to iTunes podcasts”, you may say.

    Well, fear not, as Google Play Music, the main music service from Google (couldn’t you tell from the name?) is fully equipped for your podcast needs. But I know what you’re saying now. “I wish I had a mildly informative article to teach me how to find the podcasts I want on Google Play.” Well, you’re in luck again. Because you’re reading such an article right now. (Is your mind blown?) Let’s take a look at the world of Google Play Music podcasts.

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    The Basics

    After opening the Google Play Music app, you need to tap the small box in the top left of the screen. You know, that box with all the lines that every single app seems to have. You’ll get a number of different options, such as “Browse Stations”, “Listen Now”, and “Order Sandwich”. The last one’s my favorite feature. Simply tap on “Podcasts” and let your journey begin.

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    And Then What?

    Once you’ve taken a look at some of the most popular podcasts, you may want to narrow down your search. Simply tap on “All Categories” and scroll around. They have everything from Business to News & Politics to plenty of other things that are way too highbrow for me to listen to.

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    Additional Tips

    If you don’t see anything available that sparks your interests, simply search a keyword of something you enjoy. Big fan of the 90’s? Check out 90’s Percentile. Love trivia? Give Good Job Brain a listen. Huge fan of actor Todd Bridges? I’m sure there’s a podcast about him called Toddcast. Wait, never mind, I’m taking that idea.

  • The OverDrive App - A Library In Your Pocket

    Have you ever seen anybody on the bus reading a paperback book? You feel like you went through a time machine by accident. You would look to check a newspaper for today’s date if we still had newspapers.

    Perhaps the reason some people haven’t ditched those papercut-giving former trees is because they haven’t discovered the joy of eBooks yet. And even if they have, they would prefer not to spend money. Well, I guess that’s everybody. However, as the great Hannah Montana once said, you can get the best of both worlds. And I’d like to think she was singing about the OverDrive app.

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    Easy Interface

    One of the things that really stuck out to me was the interface. I thought the process of getting library eBooks would be even tougher than actually going to the library. (You mean I have to wear a clean shirt?!) Instead, it was delightfully easy. Before I knew it, I was off on my journeys to Hogwarts, Middle Earth, and the wonderful world of Goosebumps. I never want to grow up.

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    Don't Like Reading?

    No problem! OverDrive lets you download available audiobooks the exact same way as regular eBooks. It allows a simple mp3 download that you can carry on the go, no data streaming needed. And ignore people if they look down on you for listening to audiobooks rather than reading them. We all know which way is better.

    P.S. My personal audiobook recommendation: The Stephen Colbert books. Plenty of extra goodies added in that separate them from the actual books.

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    However...

    There are a couple limitations with the Overdrive app. You need a current library card in order to register your account and check out anything. However, this should be fairly simple if you have a library nearby. Or your parents already have a card. The only other speedbump is, much like a physical library, there are only so many copies you can rent. This means not everything you search for will be automatically available. I know the struggle - I had to wait a few weeks before finally being able to rent Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Don’t tell me I don’t understand suffering.

    Enjoy Free Books On The Go

    OverDrive is perfect Android app for anybody on-the-go or just lounging around the house. It’s simple, it’s free, and most importantly, you’ll look pretty smart having it on your device. It’s a great feeling to have all the benefits of the library without leaving the comfort of your own home. Or your pajamas.

  • Writing Challenge App Review

    Like many writers, I have a very difficult time with inspiration. I can work all day and still get nothing done. (Ooh that’s really poetic, I’m writing that down!) Something I’ve taken to doing is a daily writing exercise. Not only has it helped to flex the old writing muscle, it can inspire other writing works.

    Something that really helped me commit to the daily writing routine was the Writing Challenge App. I have tried many different writing prompts before, but always found them too restrictive. Sure, I can write a two-page story about dolphins. But will it actually be interesting? Most likely not. The Writing Challenge App helps to add the little extra spice that can make a story more interesting.

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    Productive And Addictive

    While I have struggled in the past to find an app that truly helped me with writing, the Writing Challenge was supremely helpful. I found myself sitting in coffee shops writing for hours. Using the app is very simple, you simply hit ‘Start’ and you’re off! You are given a quick prompt with a 60 second time limit. After the time is up, the next “step” gives you something to add to the story. However, if you find the suggestion doesn't fit the particular story, you can simply move on to the next step.

    And it really works! I found myself writing stories about smoking fish, sarcastic aliens, and gambling pilots. It was an interesting day. And I found myself successfully combating writer’s block, a dangerous illness in the writing community.

     

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    Customizable Challenges

    There’s also plenty of ways to customize your challenge. While I prefer to do the standard one step per minute challenge, (what can I say? I’m a purist!) there are many ways to go about it.  You can extend the number of steps up to 50 and increase the number to 10 minutes between steps. Or you can go at your own pace, having no time between steps at all. It really boosts your creativity when you are able to experience your challenge at your own pace.

    Very Inexpensive

    Let me get one thing straight before we go any further: the app does cost money. (Gasp!)  I know even 99 cents seems like 99 dollars to many app users. However, the Writing Challenge is a one-time payment of $1.89. To put that in perspective, it’s less expensive than most late night fast food runs. And much, much better for you.

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    Goodbye, Writer’s Block

    When it comes to writing, I am very lazy. See? Even that sentence seemed lazy. However, the Writing Challenge app helped me with my daily writing routine, and I feel much better for it. And it may or may not have inspired a few future stories. (Those smoking fish and sarcastic aliens will return in Writing Challenge App Review 2: The Reckoning.) For the price of a cheeseburger, I’d say that’s worth it. Although personally, I’m happy having both.

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