What I use my phone for (apart from as a phone…)

By | June 27, 2016
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So, you’ve probably heard the news about some vote from last Thursday… Important stuff, to be sure, but sometimes it’s nice to get away from it, so consider this a welcome break from the news, political squabbling and hoo-haa – a bit of peace amongst it all!

Instead I’ve got a couple of things I want to talk about this time. One to do with another big date that’s coming up and one which might be the start of something long-running…

Windows 10, July 29th (and what if you’re not interested)
First of all, July 29th (this year). That’s the date that Microsoft say they’ll stop offering free upgrades to Windows 10 if you have Windows 7, 8 or 8.1.

They haven’t said what’ll happen after that but I expect the upgrade will still be available but you’d have to pay if you want to get it. So if you’re thinking of getting it, it probably makes sense to get it before that date.

I’ve already talked a bit about this update over the past year, but I know some people could still do with some more help and advice on Windows 10 – whether it’s how to do the update, problems with the update, using Windows 10 once you’ve got it or whether you need to do it at all.

So over the coming month I’ll be writing a short series of articles to cover this. If you’re thinking of upgrading to Windows 10 or have already done so and could do with some more help with it, you’ll find these helpful.

But I also know there are some people who aren’t interested in Windows 10 – some people who don’t even have a PC, just a tablet. So instead of covering it in great detail in every email, I’ll only include the odd bit in the main emails and I’ll send out most of the stuff about Windows 10 separately.

I’ll be emailing tomorrow to let you know how to make sure you’ll get the short series of Windows 10 emails if you want them – watch out for my email.  (They will be free and easy to get – I just want to make sure only people interested get them.)

Do make sure you follow the instructions in that email if you want the Windows 10 articles!

My Favourite apps…
I was thinking about how I use my tablet and phone the other day, and it occurred to me that a lot of the things I use it for, I need a particular app for (app is just a word for a program on a phone or tablet). And until I knew about that app, I couldn’t do that thing… or had never even thought of doing it!

So I thought it’d be useful to mention some of the apps I use – some of my favourite ones.

I’m not saying they’re necessarily ones you’ll want to use but unless you know about them, you can’t decide!

So this might be a bit of an irregular series.

Anyway, here’s the first – probably the app I use more than any other – Google Keep.

It’s a sort of note taking app and at first when I heard about it, I thought “But if I’m taking notes, I like to write with a pen”.

But it’s really for jotting down quick notes and reminders, rather than, say taking notes in a meeting.

I used to end up with dozens of scraps of paper in my pockets, on the table and dotted around, saying things like “buy milk” “don’t forget Bloggs’s birthday” and “book train tickets for holiday”. And that was just the ones that weren’t to do with work.

Then of course I’d lose them or get them mixed up.

Now I jot down notes like this in Google Keep. Simple short lists (I’ve got one of shopping to do next time I go to Barrow, our nearest big town, so I don’t forget something I can’t get locally), simple notes (eg “Pay for MOT” – I haven’t got the bill from our garage yet but I don’t want to forget!) and you can also set up reminders for a particular time and it’ll flash up a message when that time comes (eg “Don’t forget to go to Alastair’s sports day” – he got two third place rosettes and was very happy about it!)

The thing that really impresses me about it is that it’s pretty simple and quick to use, which is really important if you’re taking a note. Otherwise, if I opened up some program that took a while, by the time it’s opened I’ve forgotten what I wanted to jot down.

Oh, and I also find it useful that I have it set up on my phone and on my PC. You can use it on your PC just the same as your phone or tablet, but obviously it’s not as easy to carry around in your pocket. But if you have it set up on both, you can make a note on one and it’ll appear on the other as well – the notes are specific to you, not to the machine. So if I make a note on my PC at work, it’ll still be on my phone (or tablet) when I’m at home and thinking “What was it I needed to do tonight?”

Anyway, there are other apps that do similar-ish things, but Google Keep is the one I use, and I find it works pretty well, so if you would like to be able to jot down notes like this, you might want to get it from the app store.

That’s all for this time. Don’t forget, if you might find some help with Windows 10 useful or you’re not sure whether or not to upgrade, watch out for my email tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “What I use my phone for (apart from as a phone…)

  1. John Cope

    I have an IPad and IPhone and use Apple Notes on these which are synced (after a good deal of trouble!) with my PC . I find this most useful. Do you think Google Keep is better?

    1. Tim Post author

      it depends on how much trouble you have with the syncing. In general I would say it’s not THAT much different to use and if you’ve learnt one then normally I’d say stick with the one you’ve got the hang of. But I must admit, I’ve never had any trouble with it syncing – it just happens seamlessly. So it could be worth trying it to avoid that problem.
      You can install it and give it a try without getting rid of Apple notes, as a sort of test. Then if you’re happy with the way it works, then you could switch fully. That might be what I’d recommend.

  2. Dennis Daines

    I’ve installed windows 10 when it came out but so far I can’t sync my mail .What ever that means ? I know what it means that I can’t use that part of windows 10 Please include the answer to this problem in one of your articles.Thanks in anticipation Den

    1. Tim Post author

      yes, using the mail app that is built into Windows 10 has caused quite a few problems – it’s not a great app in my view. Anyway, I’ll make sure to cover it in the Windows 10 article on “problems you might have” – I think that one’s due later next week!

  3. C Brook

    Thank you for telling us about Google Keep. As a beginner with an iPad – I don’t have any other computer – I would be VERY interested to hear about other apps that you find particularily useful. I look forward to your weekly emails!

    1. Tim Post author

      Glad to hear you found it interesting! I’ll be talking about an app that I like and is probably my Mum and Dad’s favourite next week!

  4. J Hampson

    Google Keep! Thanks for the hint and now downloaded. Very handy ?

  5. Tel Fulcher


    1. Tim Post author

      That error message means that the user profile (the details the computer remembers about the other login) has somehow become corrupted.
      It is (usually) possible to fix the profile and here’s Microsoft’s instructions on how: https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/947215 – there’s even a “fix it” button on that page that can fix some causes of it for you.
      But if it’s one you’ve just created and you don’t have anything important in that profile, it might be easier to delete that profile and create a new one for them.

  6. Judith Langton

    Thanks for another good tip to add to all the information in your books

  7. Moreen

    According to a member of Which, Windows 10 is trying to force its way into his computer. Apparently it is a common problem all over the world. Which advises if you are on 8.1 to upgrade ,but if on Windows 7 then please yourself what you do. Personally I prefer to stay with Windows 7 and will reject Windows 10

    1. Tim Post author

      I think that’s pretty much in line with my feelings – I don’t rate Windows 8.1 very highly so I’d generally suggest upgrading from that. Windows 7 is pretty good, so I’d be less adamant about upgrading from that. I still think for most people upgrading is the right thing, but on the other hand if Windows 7 does everything you want, I wouldn’t be set against staying with it.


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