Krishan Sharma is a Brisbane-based freelance journalist for various tech-focussed publications including iTnews
, PC & Tech Authority
, Business IT (BIT), Smarter Business Ideas
and Business Spectator
Outside of his journalistic endeavours, he is an IT professional who has established a wide breadth of experience in the ICT industry. With tertiary qualifications in IT, Multimedia and Business Management, Krishan ran his own IT consulting business for over five years, initially servicing SMEs and then later expanding to government departments and tertiary institutions.
Searching for something a bit different, he then tackled the world of digital marketing and worked for one of Australia’s largest ad agencies where he developed and managed the digital strategies for a number of recognisable brands.
Krishan is a self-confessed tech junkie and can usually be found tweaking and testing out the latest gadgets, home theatre gear, games, software and mobile applications and then ranting about it on his tech-focused blog, ksallthingstech
Download maps before your next trip
Nokia’s HERE maps is an excellent navigation app that offers a lot of the same functionality as Google Maps on Android smartphones.
But did you know that you can also download maps of entire countries for use when offline for free?
This feature alone could potentially save you from expensive data roaming charges, making it an ideal companion for your next overseas trip. It’s also a handy feature to take advantage of when heading out to areas with patchy data signals.
To access this option, simply tap the menu button within HERE Maps (it’s the three-bar icon at the bottom-right of the screen) and tap ‘download maps’. Follow the instructions and you’ll be able to download maps from countries across the globe.
Another nice feature is that all of the Nokia mapping apps (HERE Drive, HERE Transit) share the same map which means that you will also have offline access to public transport times in your country of choice using the HERE Transit app.
Scan and translate real-world text using OCR
OCR or Optical Character Recognition is a native feature of Windows Phone 8 but the setting often goes unused by a lot of users as it is not an application that is immediately accessible from the home screen. OCR uses the smartphone’s camera to scan barcodes and QR codes, but can also extract text from real world items such as documents, signs, wrappers and documents.
But the OCR on Windows Phone 8 has an additional trick up its sleeve – the ability to translate the extracted text to/from virtually any language.
To access, hold down the search soft key to be taken to the Bing menu. Then tap the eye icon. You can now scan text using the built in camera.
Once the text selection has been made you have a couple of options. You can either search the web for the scanned text or you can translate it into a large number of languages.
The translation feature makes it a handy tool while traveling overseas especially when you run into signage or restaurant menus that are in a different language.
Improve the battery life
If you find your battery running down quicker than you would like there are a few simple tricks you can try.
Start by using a black background instead of white for the phone’s home screen. AMOLED display technology such as the ones found on the Nokia Lumia 920 and 925 use less battery when the screen is dark or black. You can change background colours via Settings > Theme menu.
While in the settings menu, you will want to also have a look at “Battery Saver” mode which stops apps from running in the background and consuming data in the process. This mode alone can save quite a bit of battery life. You can also nominate how often this mode is used by accessing the advanced menu at the bottom of the battery saver menu.
Set data limits using Data Sense
An easy way to keep track of your data usage is by using Data Sense.
Firing up the application from the home screen will immediately give you an overview of how much data network and Wi-Fi data has been used in the month. It will also display the data amounts specific apps have been using.
More useful still is the ability to set data usage limits. To do this, hit the “Set limit” button and enter your phone plan details.
Operate the touch screen even with gloves on
One of the unique features of the Lumia 920/925 phones is that screen can run in a high sensitivity touch screen mode, allowing you to still interact with the screen even while wearing gloves.
To enable, select “display+touch” option from the settings menu. Swipe across once to the “touch” sub-menu and change the “Touch sensitivity” option to high.
Find out more information on the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Nokia Lumia 925.