5 Smart Ways to Use Your Smartphone

There’s a lot of criticism out there about smartphones, and how dependent some of us have become on these little gadgets. Certainly, I can agree that some of us use them pretty recklessly. I think we’ve all seen someone nearly walking out into traffic or smashing into someone on the sidewalk because their thumbs are busily typing out a tweet on their BlackBerry. Where I disagree with the critics, however, is that they seem to overlook just how much good these gizmos can do for us.

Here are 5 smart ways to use a smartphone that make life so much easier (in no particular order):

1 - Management of Personal Finances

When I'm at the grocery store and I'm wondering how much money I've spent in the past month, I don't have to rack my brain trying to figure it out. I just open up an app on my phone and can find out all of the details about my accounts within seconds. Using a smartphone to help manage your money makes it easier to keep on top of things. You can use it to remind you to pay bills, alert you if you are nearing your limit, or even to manage a budget.

2 - Research on the Run

Having a smartphone can help you, as a consumer, to make better buying decisions when you're out shopping. When I'm out at a store and wondering if the sale guy is really telling me the truth when he says that a product is a good deal, I pull out my smartphone and do some quick research. Within seconds, I can be reading reviews on the product, and comparing prices with other vendors. I've saved a lot of money and trouble just by having constant access to the Internet in my pocket.

3 - Mobile Library

My smartphone gives me the chance to do my readings even if I didn't bring my textbooks with me. Have PDF versions of books with you wherever you go, and you can pull them up for reading whenever you like. I’ve been getting ahead in my studies while I’m in line for a bank machine, while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, and when I’m standing on the subway.

4 - Easier Navigation

If you’re like me and are always getting lost, then having a smartphone is a complete lifesaver. Getting around a new city or trying to find the nearest LCBO (that’s a liquor store, for you non-Ontarians) can be frustrating and sometimes impossible if you aren’t familiar with your surroundings. Smartphones with GPS navigation make it so much easier to find your way, and therefore can save you a lot of time.

5 - Remembering Important Dates

With the extensive calendaring features available on today's smartphones, you can rest assured that you won't miss any important dates. You can set up alerts to remind you about things like birthdays, anniversaries, and appointments. I find it especially useful with all of the different assignments I have to worry about for school. I don’t forget to complete anything thanks to my smartphone’s ability to keep track of it all for me.

So, there you have it. The next time you shake your head at someone with their eyes glued to the screen of their smartphone, consider the fact that they just might be doing something smart with it. Something smart like checking up to see how the Ottawa Senators are doing!
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Excel: Change Text to Proper Case

Here's a handy function for you, if you ever find yourself with a a lot of data that isn't in the right case. The "PROPER" function in Excel will let you convert text into a format that capitalizes the first letter of every word, and makes the rest of the letters lowercase. I last used this when I was given a spreadsheet full of names that were in all caps, but I needed to use them in proper case for a mail merge.

So let's say that cell A1 contains the text "JOHN DOE". How do we get this to look like "John Doe"? In another cell, perhaps B1, put in this formula:


You'll see that it will take whatever is in cell A1 and convert it to proper case.
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I'm Back, With New Ideas!

All apologies for my absence over the past few weeks! It's been a battle against what seems to have been the worst cold and sinus infection I've ever had. I certainly didn't have the energy to come up with anything interesting to post about, but I'm happy to say that I seem to be mostly back to normal. I'm even happier to say that, after a lot of thought, I've decided to move in a slightly different direction with my blog.

Here's the deal. While I'm a die-hard Microsoft Office fangirl, the fact is that I am very interested in the world of technology as a whole. That includes Microsoft Office, but it also goes past this area and touches on many other different products and systems. I've noticed myself increasingly wanting to post about different technology-related topics, but I didn't want to stray too far from the "Office Blog" that I've decided this would be.

I was just in Ottawa for the official launch of Skilled Trades and Technology Week in Canada at the Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa, and so it seems like a great time to say that I will be sharing even more of my love for this exciting industry through my blog. Stay tuned for your usual dose of Microsoft Office tips and tricks, as well as a whole new batch of posts that explore an even more diverse assortment of topics.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support! When I originally started this blog, I never imagined I would end up with so many visitors. It's great to get your feedback through e-mails and comments, letting me know that I've been able to help out a lot of people. Cheers to you all.
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