Friday, May 1, 2009

Top 9 Cell Phone Tips

If you're a normal student, you probably love your cell phone. It provides a connection to all the important people in your life. But did you know that the cell phone can actually be a handy device for aiding in homework and studies, and it can be a great safety feature, as well?

1. Cell Phones and Time Management

Reminders and alarms are some of the most useful tools on a cell phone, but they are also the least appreciated.

Most cell phones come with a scheduler to allow you to set an alarm at a certain time of day or on a certain date. You can set alarms to remind you of an established daily homework time to keep you from chatting right through your work time. For instance, you can set up a beeper that goes off every night at 7.

You could also use calendar reminders to notify you when projects and assignments are due. These reminders can be set up weeks and months ahead of time.

2. Group Communication

If you find yourself working on a group project or needing the advice of a few friends as you do your history homework, try using the three-way calling feature. It’s available on most cell phones.

You may not even be aware that this feature is available on your phone, so you may want to experiement a little. First call one friend and establish a clear connection. Then enter the number of a second friend on the keypad and press send. If your phone has the three-way feature, then the second call will go through and the first friend will be on hold. Simply press send again to re-connect with the first friend.

3. Cell Phone as Audio Tool

Some cell phones come equipped with a voice recorder. This tool can be priceless if you tend to forget things. You can use the recorder to remember homework assignments, to memorize terms, to practice foreign language pronunciation, and dozens of other tasks. It’s a great feature for auditory learners.

If your phone doesn’t have the voice recording feature, you can accomplish many of the same tasks by sending yourself a voice message.

4. Pictures and Illustrations

More and more phones come equipped with picture-sharing features. This is important because pictures can be used as illustrations in reports and presentations. If you’re in the library or out and about and you see an image that would work for a project, simply capture the image on your phone.

The are several ways you may be able to save and transfer the picture. Depending on the cell phone, you may be able to use a memory card, Bluetooth technology, or a USB cable that connects your cell phone with your computer. You may have to do a little detective work to find the best method for your phone.

5. Podcasts

Right now it’s pretty expensive and cumbersome to access a podcast from most cell phones, since many cell phones require the middle step of downloading a podcast to a computer. But technology is barreling along pretty quickly. With the advent of cell phone/MP3 player combos, the prospect of widespread podcast sharing is growing ever more likely. Look for teachers/professors sending podcasts and students accessing them more and more.

6. Cell Phones and Ebooks

If your phone has a built-in Internet browser, you have a whole library at your fingertips! Basically, if you can access the Internet through your phone, you can read ebooks from a variety of great sites.

One good source for ebooks comes from, a site that allows you to access books stored on its server. You just download a few pages at a time. There are hundreds of ebooks available on the site. You don’t even have to download any software to use this service.

Cell Phone Tips for Safety

7. Sending Money

There may be times when you need to travel to conduct research or to visit prospective colleges. Parents may be interested to know that your cell phone can provide some security while you’re on the road.

PayPal Mobile works with an existing PayPal account to send and receive money. If you find yourself stranded on the road, your parents can send money to you and you can send money to others (like a towing service) via text messaging.

This feature takes some effort and time to set up, so you may want to consider checking it out now, before you actually need it.

8. Getting Directions

Afraid of getting lost on the road? Google Maps may provide the answer. The Google Mobile Web site provides many services, including step-by-step directions to and from locations, complete with satellite photos and maps. This is another free feature that you should check out and practice ahead of time!

9. Remote Keys

Finally, no student should get stuck on the road with car keys locked inside the car. There may be a solution to this potential disaster. Some cell phones can transmit your remote key signal. It works like this:

Using your cell phone, call someone who has access to your spare remote keys—but you must call them on another cell phone. Ask that person to hold your press “unlock” into their phone. At the same time, you hold your phone within a foot of your car door. The signal can unlock your door! This doesn’t work with all keys and all phones, but it’s worth a try. See if it works!

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