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April 14, 2014
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Siri tries to get involved in conversation


Sometimes when I’m listening to a voice message on my iPhone, Siri pops up and tries to get involved in the conversation. Why does she do this, and how do I stop this behavior?

We’re going to guess that this unwanted intrusion is caused by two specific issues: First, we assume that you listen to your voice messages by bringing your phone to your ear (and why not?). Second, we assume that you have —either on purpose, or inadvertently — modified the setting on your iPhone that tells Siri to “wake up” when you raise your phone. The combination of these two behaviors will definitely cause the experience you’re having.

The solution is simple: Because we guess you probably don’t want to change the way you listen to voice messages (that is, by bringing the phone to your ear), the answer is to tell Siri to take a break.

In other words, go to the Settings app on your phone, select the General settings, select the options for Siri, and ensure that the Raise to Speak option is set to Off. Making this one simple change should solve your problem, and get Siri “out of your face”.

Living the tablet-only lifestyle

Although I have an old laptop, I’d like to use my iPad as my main computer. I don’t really need to do much! I only check email, browse the Web, watch the occasional Netflix video, and use several apps that I know I can find for the iPad. Can I just give up the laptop and use the iPad as my only computer?

There is definitely something to be said for ditching the 3-pound (or more!) laptop and traveling light, carrying only the iPad. Ken has tried it, for short trips, and it generally works fine. When you what to make a tablet (either iPad, Android, or Windows) your only computer, however, you do need to take several items into account, and plan accordingly. We recently had a friend go this route, and she had some issues; we found this useful article to help with the transition, which we’ll summarize here: http://blog.laptopmag.com/ipad-as-pc-replacement.

First, no matter how good you are at typing on the tablet screen, you’ll need an external keyboard. It’s easy to find cases and folios for the iPad that include keyboards, but for other tablets, you’ll most likely need to use an external Bluetooth keyboard. (Note that pretty much any Bluetooth keyboard will work with any of the tablets, whether in a case, portfolio, or free-standing.) Here’s a link to a very good, inexpensive keyboard:http://us.ianker.com/product/98ANSLM78-WBTA"> http://us.ianker.com/product/98ANSLM78-WBTA.

Most likely, you’ll need some app that provides a means of performing word processing that’s more complex than simple text editing, since almost everyone needs to read and create documents at some point. On Apple devices, you can use the free iWork suite, which includes the excellent Pages program. There are a ton of word-processing apps available for every platform—on Windows, you can use Microsoft Office, which includes Word. Beyond the app, however, the real issue is getting documents onto and off of the tablet; and dealing with online backup and storage.

Because tablets are so portable (read between the lines —hey’re easily lost or stolen), you must have a reliable means of storing your documents away from the tablet, in some sort of online product.

We recommend DropBox and Google Drive: Both work well with tablets as well as phones and desktop/laptop computers. They provide a simple way to ensure that all your documents are backed up, and available on any device. They each provide their own advantages, but both are great products.

In any case, do not even consider using a tablet as your only computer without an online backup/storage service like this—sooner or later, you will regret the choice.

Printing documents provides another challenge for tablets — because the devices rarely (if ever) provide a printer port, you’ll need to find a way to print wirelessly. Apple devices provide AirPrint, a protocol for printing wirelessly to printers that support the protocol (and most new printers do).

Even if your printer doesn’t support Airprint, there are ways to make any printer work with AirPrint, as long as you’re willing to leave a computer running (with software like AirPrint for Mac running). If you’re using a non- Apple device, Google provides its Cloud Print service, which allows you to print to any connected printer from your device (http://www.google.com/cloudprint/).

The previously mentioned article provides tips on finding apps for video and photo editing, but these seem like less likely candidates for “must-have” functionality, so we’ll leave these to your own research.

You’ll find other issues in the article, as well, and it’s well worth your time to check it out if you’re planning to ditch your heavy laptop and lighten up with just a tablet.

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken’s tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at http://blog.techtipguys. com. Submit your own technical questions to questions@techtipguys.com.


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The Union Updated Apr 14, 2014 12:30AM Published Apr 14, 2014 12:30AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.