PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They are there when you need them most, smartphone cameras anxious to catch those special moments.
But New York Times bestselling author David Pogue says if that’s all you are using your phone’s camera for you are missing out.
“I would argue, use the camera to take pictures of things you don’t intend to save,” he says. “Just a memory jogger.”
In his book, Pogue’s Basics, David has a number of ideas for ways to make your cell phone camera make your life easier.
For instance, he says, “Take a picture of a claim check, so if you lose it, you will have a record of it. Take a picture of your children when you enter a theme park, so if you get separated, you can show the authorities what your children were wearing.”
Other ideas include taking a couple of pictures of where you park your car in a mall parking lot or a parking garage just in case you come out of the store a bit bewildered.
If you want to save money at the grocery store before you leave home, “Take a picture of your open refrigerator.”
You may never need it, but the next time you are standing in front of the wall of milk in the grocery store trying to remember how much you have left at home, look at the picture. There it is looking right at you and you can confidently tell your spouse, “Oh, we do have milk.”
And it doesn’t stop there.
Take a picture of your pantry before you leave so when you are in the store staring at pasta, or bread, or anything else wondering, “Do we have any at home?” you have the picture to refer to and zoom in to check that shelf.
You would be surprised how much money you will save when you are no longer buying things you already have at home and don’t need.
The notes section of your phone can also come in handy if you use it like Kristin Alverez.
“I make a list; I have a notes app on my phone.”
Kristin was making her way through the grocery store with 7-week-old Beckett asleep in a carrier in the grocery cart.
For obvious reasons, she wants her grocery time to be efficient so she keeps her cell phone handy at home and the notes section ready when needed.
“It’s cumulative, so as the week is going on, I just add things to it,” she says.
Smartphones in the grocery aisles have become commonplace as families use them to make sure the necessary items get home, even sending pictures of the specific product that is needed.
Pogue says there is another “basic” secret hiding in your phone that makes setting an alarm faster than finding the app, clicking on the clock, then alarm, then dialing in the time you want an alarm.
“If you learn only one thing, this is it, just hold down the button, and say, ‘Wake me at 7:45 a.m. That’s it,” says Pogue. “Your alarm is set for 7:45 a.m.”
On an iPhone just tell Siri, for an Android phone, do it through “Hello Google.”
You can turn off your alarm the same way. Just push and talk.
“Turn off all my alarms,” Pogue says into his phone, and a second later Siri responds, “Okay, all your alarms have been turned off.”
If you have ever noticed your phone is stuck in 3G and you just know there is 4G LTE around. Instead of powering the phone off and back on, Pogue says, “Put it in airplane mode and back out again.” That wakes the phone up to search for better service.
And if you are traveling and suspect you are not getting your messages or email, Pogue says, “Send yourself a text, and that forces the phone to come to the cell network, and all of a sudden they will all flow in.”
Finally, a couple of things about using your smartphone camera for those keepsake pictures.
Smartphones have to focus when taking a picture and sometimes that split second to focus is enough to miss the shot. So, hold your phone up and touch and hold the screen where you want it focused. On the iPhone a yellow box will appear telling you the focus is locked. (It’s an option you must turn on in the Android phone and so is this next item.)
When the moment comes to take the picture, use the volume button on the side of the phone, which will give you less shake.
“If you hold down on volume key, you won’t just take one picture, you’ll take 10 per second,” Pogue says, “Later you can delete all the bad ones, but you’ll find you have that one perfect shot of the child putting the bowl of spaghetti on her head.”