If Charlton Heston carried a tablet ...

Did you get a tablet or a smartphone over the holidays and wondering “now what?” as you stare at the box? Fear not as I’m your guide into the digital world!

Listen, we’re not that much different than Charlton Heston. He was an Oscar-winning Hollywood actor, a political activist and a husband, but like him, you and I also have personal and professional lives to manage.

Whereas Mr. Heston may have employed a warm-blooded personal assistant to pick up his dry cleanings and schedule his appointments, we can thank the disruptive innovation known as the internet for creating disruptive technologies like smartphones so we, too, can have personal assistants. Tablets and smartphones can also provide entertainment and added conveniences that even a warm-blooded personal assistant may have a hard time delivering.

To make the most of your new tool you want your tablets to be always connected to the internet; smartphones, inherently, are always connected through the cell phone service provider. We’ll cover these and other details later.

I’ll stop short of professing “How do I love thee?” of the tablets and smartphones. Several years ago Apple trademarked “There’s an App for That” catchphrase and it is so true. Remember that catchphrase and that you only need “a” finger to evoke the “apps,” short for applications, to get things accomplished (no mouse to deal with here). Now “let me count the ways” in which tablets and smartphones can be your personal assistant and provider of entertainment while making the whole experience enjoyable and intuitive.

1) Use the “Email” app when you want to communicate with somebody but you don’t have time. Send a message and forget about it until the reply comes into your inbox.

2) Do you like to read magazines but getting to the library is a challenge? Use your Westlake Porter Public Library or Cuyahoga County Public Library patron ID together with the “Zinio” app so you can read them on your tablet or smartphone from the comfort of your home for free.

3) Need to request a prescription refill issued by your primary care physician at the Cleveland Clinic? Use the "MyChart" app to log in to your electronic medical records.   

4) Imagine being lost on the road and not having a GPS. Just whip out your smartphone and tap the "Google Maps" app and let your smartphone navigate you to your destination. I don't ask for directions.

5) Is your little black book of contacts a little hard to read from repeated corrections? Why not use the "Contacts" app so when your friend moves out-of-town it's simple to edit the address.

There are tons of more apps available to you from Apple's "App Store" (if you buy an iPad or iPhone from Apple), and from Google's "Play Store" or Amazon's "appstore" (if you buy a tablet or smartphone built on Google's Android system straight from Google or its numerous partners), and countless more benefits to using a tablet or smartphone. Also apps on the smartphones and tablets are similar, if not the same, in their operation so the learning curve is short. Best of all they are intuitive to use and can make you ubiquitous in the digital world while helping you manage the chaos of everyday life.

Next issue's topic: "Tablets or smartphones ... or both?"

Tak Sato

Business and technology strategist/consultant with 20+ years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.

As founder of geek with a heart, "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps Individuals, Seniors, Families, Small Businesses, and Non-Profits utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 10:04 AM, 01.07.2014