Tech Talk #86 – Sep. 15, 2018

Scary smartphone stats

Addiction. There, I said it. People, Americans in this case, are addicted to their smartphones. Not you and me, though; we’re fine. Other people, probably someone we know, is addicted.


How smartphone-addicted are Americans?

  • People use their phones for an average of 3 hours and 8 minutes a day and check their phone 110 times a day
  • 50% are uncomfortable when they leave their phone at home, have no service, or have a broken phone
  • 61% say they sleep with their phone turned on and under the pillow or next to the bed.
  • 75% check their phone within an hour of waking up and 56% check their phone within an hour of going to sleep
  • I don’t know how, but 12% of us use our phones in the shower
  • 70% of teens and parents have argued about phone usage
  • 77% of families are distracted by smartphones during family time together
  • Cell phones cause 26% of all car accidents
  • 75% of cell phone users admit to texting and driving at least once

Sources: USAToday, WebMD, PewResearch, Fortune, CNN, iDigitalTimes


Guest-friendly WiFi  tips

You’re all set: your WiFi router firmware is updated, you’ve changed the router’s default user and or password, set up a custom WiFi network name and password, and added all your computers, printers, phones, and tablets to your new, secure WiFi.

Here’s how to make it easy for your friends and family to connect to and use your home WiFi network:



If you haven’t already, make your WiFi network name easy to pick out from all of your neighbors’ WiFi networks and make the password something long, but easy to remember. Two random words and a number 11-15 characters long works well; pick something like rocketpuddle42. Whatever you pick will be easier to communicate to guests than whatever random string of numbers, letters, and special characters your ISP or modem manufacturer put on your modem, yet still secure; unless you use rocketpuddle42, obviously.


If your router supports guest networks, enable that with a different password to let people access the internet, but keep them off the devices on your home network.


Smart speakers

Smart speakers will answer to any voice in a room. If you don’t want people to have access to your Google or Apple account info, unplug Alexa or Siri and bring them back out when your guests leave.


Guest tablet

In corporate-speak, people connecting to your WiFi network with their devices is called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD.) If you’d rather not support BYOD on your WiFi, you can set up a guest tablet with an iPad, Amazon Fire, or another Android tablet. Connect it to your guest WiFi network, keep it charged and you can hand it to anyone wanting access to the internet.



Google search tips

Here’s how to get better results when you’re searching with Google:


Reverse image search

Very handy for finding a recipe for a picture you saw on Instagram, or if you want to identify something in a picture. You can either save the image locally on your computer or copy the address of the image, then open and click on the word “Images” under the search area. Now click on the camera icon and either upload the picture or paste in the address of the image.


Quotation marks

When there’s a song stuck in your head and you can’t remember the name of it, enter part of the lyric in quotation marks and the word song. Like this: “struttin’ my luck in my shoop coupe” song.


Exclude a word

You can limit search results by using a hyphen or “-“ operator in front of the site you want to exclude.The search term four channel mic mixer -amazon will show results from any site except Amazon.


Searching a particular site

You can also tell Google to return results from a single site by using the word ‘site:’. For example: alternator brackets returns only results from Amazon. Although why you’re looking for alternator brackets on Amazon is beyond me.



Is there a difference?

With the advent of cell phones, especially with the very small microphone that attaches to the cell phone itself, it’s getting harder and harder I find, to differentiate between schizophrenics and people talking on a cell phone. Bob Newhart, American stand-up comedian and actor



Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at

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