How to QUICKLY find the Customer Service number you need

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Is it my imagination or do companies work hard to make their customer service number just a teeny bit hard to find? I remember over the years searching through instruction manuals, and dragging out a magnifying glass to examine the small print.

These days it’s more likely that you’ll find yourself clicking through pages of websites, and drilling down in search of that elusive number.

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Try this:

Just go to Google.

Type in: the company name and the words ‘service number’

For example: Sony service number or Amazon service number

and “Poof”!!! A box should appear with the number. You’re on your way to talking to a human!

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Use the “Near” Feature on Google Maps to Find What you Want

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 6.05.37 PMNot a day goes by that I don’t click on Google Maps. I use it ALL the time.

I use it for directions, of course, and daily for traffic. I use it to look for shortcuts, and I use it for street view so that I can recognize my destination when I get there.

Another great feature of Google Maps is the “near” feature. I was not very familiar with it, but now that I’m using it …… well, it’s simply invaluable.

Let’s say you are standing in Manhattan, near the Empire State Building. You want to visit a book store, but you have no clue of the name of any local book store let alone where one might be.

Google maps to the rescue.

Simply search for “book stores near (your location)” In this example case, I searched for “book stores near the Empire State Building” and the map below shows the result of that search. A bunch of book stores to explore!

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This is obviously a great feature to have when you’re away from home, but lately I find myself using this trick at home, too, to discover unknown-to-me restaurants and other places.

Just search using your own address (or “me” if Google maps knows your home address):
“Mexican restaurants near me,” for example, and, poof! All kinds of new places to explore. 🙂

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You have a Level in your Pocket ….. twice

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 4.41.05 PMApple included a level on their iPhones way back when. But if you don’t need it often, you might forget that it’s even there. Or if you remember, and need it ….. you might forget where to find it. (It is part of the “compass” app on your iPhone. Open the compass, and swipe the screen to the right, and you’ll find the level.)

But thanks to my DDL, I’ve learned of another level. I actually prefer using this new one, after a situation where I was holding up a rather heavy item and while doing so, tried to access my iPhone level. To the horror of my balancing arm, I was forced to ‘recalibrate’ my compass before I could even access the level, and the heavy item won the battle with gravity. 😯

So here is a quicker way to summon a level, thanks to Google (and my DDL).

Just bring up your search engine on your iPhone. (I prefer google, but this works with Safari, too.)

Type in the words: bubble level

and …….

there you have it!

A bubble level. Just ask and you shall receive….. 🙂

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Happy New Year!

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YouTube w/o Ads …. for a Fee. Meet YouTube Red

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 7.47.42 AMOn October 28, Google will be launching YouTube Red for your iPhone and iPad. YouTube Red will cost you $12.99 a month. ($9.99 for Android devices)

So what is YouTube Red? Here is what you’ll get:

* Ad Free YouTube videos. (Those ads are pesky …. but is it worth $12.99 to eliminate them? Not for me.)

* The ability to download videos and watch offline. (Now, THAT is quite excellent. But still… $12.99?)

* The ability to have YouTube videos run in the background while you use other apps.

* Included is free access to Google Play Music.

Learn all the details, here, on the YouTube Red Faq page.

Apparently, Google is also planning some of their own programming for release on YouTube (following the winning examples of Netflix and Amazon).

It will be interesting to see if this takes off. It sounds expensive to me (compare Amazon Prime at $99 a year to this Google service which will cost you $158.99 a year).

Personally, I have Prime, and love it. YouTube Red does not tempt me even a tiny bit.

But I’ve been very wrong before:
(conversation with son in the late 80’s:
“look Mom, I can leave a message on the internet and someone will answer it.”
Me: “why on earth would anyone want to do THAT?”
) 😯

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Google Keep is now available for iPhones and iPads

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 7.44.21 PMI love my iPhone and iPad, but I’m not a person who is wed to Apple-only devices. I’m a Kindle person (never liked the whole i-Books thing). And I enjoy Google, too. I prefer Google maps to Apple maps, and I use a Google calendar to run my life. Fortunately, Apple, Google and Amazon seem to be playing together nicely because somehow it all just works.

And now … another treat from Google! They have recently made their Google Keep app available for our Apple devices. Yay! (It’s been around for a while on those (boo!) Android thingys 😉 )

Google Keep is a note-taking app that lets you keep everything in one place ….. and syncs flawlessly across your devices. (My Google Calendar has never let me down, and I’m expecting the same performance from Google Keep.)

I installed it on my iPhone, and added a few notes (both typed and verbal). Then I installed the app on my iPad. When I opened the app on my iPad, everything that I had done on the iPhone was there waiting for me. Synced. Flawlessly.

And it’s beautiful. I love the way the notes appear on the page (notes can be color-coded). You can also set reminders with this app by both time and/or location. You can make lists, add photos … it’s really all around goodness.

Please excuse my screenshot of this app’s screenshot, but I was so excited I have already filled my Google Keep app with far too many personal items to share the screenshots on this blog!

Google Keep is FREE in the iTunes store

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Real Time Translation on your iPhone with Google Translate

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 7.50.12 PMThis is the kind of technology thing that makes me go “WOW.”

Google Translate just updated their app today to allow REAL TIME translation.

Imagine that.

You can now speak into the app, and it translates whatever you said into the chosen language. The other person can then talk back in that language, and you will hear a translation that you can understand. Although you tap the button in the beginning, once the conversation gets going the app will learn that a conversation is happening and no more tapping is necessary.

So …. am I right? Wow.

AND….

Google bought Word Lens, and its technology is also built into this app.

Just tap the camera icon and point it at any text (a street sign, a menu…) and it will translate the text onto the screen for you. And apparently it will work even without a data connection. More WOW. (Please pardon the screenshot of their screenshot)

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This Word Lens translation is so awesome, that even if you don’t need it, you should download it just to try it! 🙂

Google Translate is FREE in the iTunes store.

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Weekend Distraction: Santa Tracker

Google has kindly set up a Santa tracker so that all those with an interest in the whereabouts of the Jolly Old Elf … well…. they have it covered.

Even if you are not counting down, children and adults alike will enjoy spending a little time in the Village.

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Each day they “unlock” a new something. It might be a little game, or something to watch. All cute. Aimed at children, BUT, it’s still worth a look-around. Today, for example, they unlocked a little match game, and as you solve each screen, they give you more to match. So even adults can find a bit of distraction, here. With 30 seconds to solve each screen, I “lost” a few screens in. I hope you do better!

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Enjoy Google’s Santa Tracker!

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