May 2015 - Gadget Guy MN
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Archive for month: May, 2015

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Multiple Phone Numbers on the Same Mobile Device

3 Cell PhonesAs a technology enthusiast, I look to utilize technology to to create more efficiency in my life. That is why even though I have 3 different phone numbers to reach me, I only need one device to receive all of the calls.

Not too long ago, I would have had a personal cell phone, a landline for my home and a landline for my business. From there, I could have had my two landlines forward calls to my cell, but the options would have been to either receive the Caller ID of the call coming in and not know which line was ringing or that the Caller ID would show the line that was ringing (the forwarded line) and not the actual ID of the caller.

Now I just use three different apps on the same cell phone and still have the “landline” at home with a cordless phone (the cordless phone never gets used).

Here is how I have it set up:

  1. My personal cell phone number – this has followed me through a few cross country moves and is still a number from Portland, Oregon that I have not wanted to give up. It is the natural number on the phone and was assigned by AT&T. I used the default dialer on my mobile phone for making and receiving calls with this number.
  2. Google Voice, now using Google Hangouts to make and receive calls. This is my local number for work calls and messages. It is  separate app with a separate ring, but it still uses my phone’s address book to recognize incoming calls.
  3. Vonage. This is my shared (with my wife and my kids when they are older) home “landline” and while it does ring on a home phone, it simultaneously rings on both my wife’s and my phones in the Vonage app. This is great for things like providing to doctors’ offices contact number; it keeps one or the other of us from being the only contact for appointments and such. Again, it uses the phone’s address book to recognize knowing incoming calls.

I have had to tinker a bit to get the best voicemail setups especially between my personal and work numbers. At first I was using Google Voice for the voicemail for both, but I have found it useful to use different services between the two. Once all is setup, I made sure and tested it by calling from different numbers to each and leaving messages to ensure all settings were in place.

Now it is quite easy to see which number I am receiving a call on when my phone rings and I can answer it appropriately.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for stopping by!

– Paul Burnstein, aka Gadget Guy MN – Tech Handyman and Digital Dad


home technology help

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Chargers and Cables

Charging Cable

[Author’s Note: This article was written prior to the release of USB-C and does not include the new reversible connector used on the newest Apple devices and others like Google’s second generation Chromebook Pixel.]

As a father who loves technology, over the years, it is easy to collect a lot of different cables and chargers. I have found that it is worthwhile to keep them around, even when the devices they were included with are no longer in use; I enjoy having the right cables and chargers available for my kids’ need).

I am NOT an electrical engineer and my thoughts here are based on practical use, not on technically documented specifications. In the mid-nineties, we were introduced to universal serial bus (USB) connections for our computers. USB was great because it provided plug and play capabilities. USB connections are now everywhere and makes it very easy to connect peripheral devices.  USB has also expanded as the charging cable for many devices including camera, smart phones, tablets, and more.

Having USB on one end of the cable begins to simplify things. The next thing to look at is the end of the cable that connects to your device. Very common these days are the micro USB connections, specifically micro-A. For me, I have had multiple phones, tablets, cameras, GPS and more that all use micro USB, so keeping these charging cables around allow me to have extra cables for charging and connections my devices.

Now, there are other connectors that are worthwhile to keep as well. Another USB connection is mini USB which I have often seen used by Motorola. I came across an old bluetooth headset of mine and needed to charge it. Well, it was easy…I grabbed my box of extra chargers, found a mini USB charger and was all set.

Now Apple uses proprietary cables which are worthwhile to keep around as well. As your collection of gadgets grows, you have extra chargers. A relative was recently visiting and had forgotten their iPhone’s charger. Between the iPhones and iPods that my wife and I have owned over the years, it is easy to find a charger to lend as needed.

Extra chargers for your devices allow you to not have to transport cables from room to room and can keep your kids from losing chargers. You can leave extra cables for your nightstand, in your suitcase/travel bag, in your living room, briefcase or purse; even leave one at the office.

Another note to make is that the power adapter itself (the actual box that connects via USB to the cable and then plugs into the wall) can vary in the power that it can supply (output). Some stop charging when your device is fully charged, others will keep sending power to the battery regardless of how full it is.

To go deeper into charging cables and to learn about the actual differences that you can see in the cables themselves, you can read up here.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for stopping by!

– Paul Burnstein, aka Gadget Guy MN – Tech Handyman and Digital Dad


home technology help