Jeb Bladine: High-tech tips, free wi-fi tablet

If you don’t use a computer or cell phone, this column is not for you. If those are tools of your daily life, I assume that you, like me, have a few gaps in your knowledge of device operations.

There are an incredible array of tricks and shortcuts. My latest, described in detail below, is how to get a free wi-fi tablet, but first, consider just a few computer tricks gleaned from Reddit:

Make a closed browser tab reappear magically by hitting “Control” plus “Shift” plus “T.” Copy just part of your screen image by hitting Start and opening the snipping tool. In Excel, repeat your last command just by hitting F4, and in Google Chrome, right-click any image and press “S” to produce an Internet search on that image.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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You know the threaded screw allowing you to secure a lampshade in place? It fits snugly into the mount hole on the bottom of your camera — voilà, instant tripod. But my best trick this year was acquiring a free tablet – a tortuous, multi-step process that requires some explanation.

First, early this year, I left my cell phone in pants that went into the washing machine. After pulling multiple phone parts from the dripping suds, I used another trick for submerged electronics: Don’t turn it on; pat the parts dry; bury all pieces in a covered bowl of rice for days; cross your fingers and hit the Start button.

It mostly worked. But my photos had turned cloudy, so I wasn’t that disappointed when I lost the phone and had to get a replacement. Months later – just last week while cleaning out the garage – I found that phone at the bottom of my woodpile. Somehow, it had slipped out of a pocket, slid down the wall and under the bottom row of firewood.

When I turned it on, the phone instantly connected to wi-fi, synched my email and calendar, browsed the Internet and even took clear photos. Everything but make a call or access non-wi-fi data, since those functions had been transferred to the new phone. Oddly, it hadn’t occurred to me when upgrading cell phones previously that the old phone can continue serving as a fully functional tablet.

Of course, as we’ve all seen in the news, if that device is a Samsung Note 7, you should turn it in for a new phone to avoid possibility of an exploding-battery fire.
Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.