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As a mature adult I admittedly belong to the smartphone-challenged group. The little device that holds within its shell wonders and abilities I never imagined. The mainstream smartphone era started with the Apple iPhone, and has grown to devices like the popular HTC EVOS, Samsung Galaxies, and varied other brands that are being churned out as fast as the demand for them grows. Meanwhile, court battles are escalating as to who owns the patents as fast as the technology is advancing. The wide world of smartphone technology is dizzying, let alone the world of my own one single smartphone… the EVO, made by HTC, which uses the Android operating system.
I was on a mission to uncover its secrets, beyond making phone calls and snapping photos - I wanted to be the master. No longer would this small device hold the unknown. I knew I could be smarter than the Smartphone… but how?!?
For me this began with the using camera. I remember the old days of cameras: flash bulbs, film and batteries – and after shooting you took the film to the drugstore and paid to get the prints developed. Then along came the Polaroid: shoot and click, and the picture printed out slowly coming to life before your eyes! Soon technology advanced to the disposable cameras –aka ‘throw-a-ways’ - oh, so cute to hand out at weddings and parties, so everyone could join in the fun. Then came the digital cameras: point and click with an automatic zoom and you have the ability to capture great photos, download them into your computer, and – if you dare - do your own Photoshop editing.
All of these technologies have left their predecessors ‘in the dust’, and now smartphones are even negatively impacting the sale of digital cameras. The instant gratification of whipping out your phone, tapping the camera button, shooting, and then emailing or uploading to Facebook, is hard to surpass. You never have to miss a shot as long as the little bugger is charged. Just plug it in, no film, and no processing fee. The advent of the smartphone coupled with the social media has also enhanced communications in the face of tragedy and crime.
I taught myself how to use the smartphone camera through trial and error (and lots of fuzzy, crooked, and outright silly pictures). I am now even familiar with emailing my photos directly from my smartphone. No, I didn’t ‘break it’ in teaching myself how to do so, as many fear may happen as a result of such tinkering. I just dove in and fearlessly explored the buttons and on screen icons.
Feeling confident, I changed my focus to my phones’ instant camcorder and its ability to record both sights and sounds. We have replaced the large clumsy camcorder of old with this palm-sized device. Mobile video has greatly improved instant access to news via the internet, YouTube, and social media. Now everything is just a simple tap away, tucked inside that little smartphone, right? Well… not exactly.
Capturing video took a little bit of adjustment, but my true challenge came when I tried to send videos to others. It was possible to send short 30-45 second videos through my smartphone’s email, yet when videos were longer the email method was not working. With video, unlike with photos, I was now facing off versus a new challenge - large file sizes. So again I asked myself - how does one unlock the secret?
I searched the internet, and phoned my editor for tips, but still I could not unlock the secret. I tried calling the store where I bought the phone, but the gentleman who answered recommended I purchase a different device which would help me with the videos. No, I would not accept this! Why should I spend more on another device to make this amazing handheld computer work? I was feeling frustrated, wondering if these lengthy videos could not be tamed. Then my editor suggested that I go into the store where I bought the phone, and ask them face to face to help me. I am their customer, after all, and they are there to do more than just sell phones.
Feet first I plunged in. I engaged a young associate who was more than willing to help me. He was impressively knowledgeable about what my phone was capable of – it was the true customer service I was promised when I signed on!
The associate showed me how share videos too large to email by posting them to YouTube. In learning how do share the video, I also learned how to access my home wireless network from my phone, and how to notify others about my new personal YouTube channel and all of the video goodies that now live there.
Here are the steps that worked for getting videos from my HTC EVO onto YouTube (note that these steps do not work for all smartphones).
1. Go to apps, found under the menu button at the bottom of your phone.
2. Tap on Settings
3. Tap on Wireless & Networks
4. Tap on Wi-Fi settings
5. Tap on the name of your wireless router (sold and set up separately) and enter your password
6. Go back to apps and select Camcorder
7. Tap on videos at bottom of screen
8. Select your video and hit the double up arrow key (this is the share button, my best friend) at bottom of screen
9. Select YouTube (for first time users, follow the directions to open your own YouTube account and upload video)
At the top of the home screen is a black band that runs across the top (it typically displays your clock and battery life), take your finger and pull it down to open it. Here are your notifications which will tell you if your video was sent (occasionally you may have to resend). Now you are in business. Notify your contacts of your YouTube address and they can have access to them. Others can also subscribe to your account.
So am I smarter than a Smartphone? Well, it is too soon to answer that question – but I am definitely smarter than I was before thanks to a little help from others. Wonderful world of the Techies - here we come!