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Ask How-To Geek: Monitoring Android Mobile Usage, Windows Keyboard Shortcuts, and Repairing Damaged Photographs

Ask-How-To-Geek-TemplateIt’s that Ask How-To Geek time of week again; this week we’re looking at monitoring Android mobile usage, learning Windows keyboard shortcuts, and repairing old photographs.

How Can I Monitor Mobile Usage On My Android Phone?

Dear How-To Geek,

My cellular provider is really brutal with the overage fees and I’m worried about getting slammed by them again. I can log into my account and check my usage online but that’s a hassle and not very up-to-the-minute. Is there anything I can do on my actual phone to keep an eye on things?

Sincerely,

Data Miser in Mississippi

Dear Data Miser,

We’d highly recommend checking out our guide to cutting down your Android phone bill. One of the applications we highlight is Droid Stats, a great little app that includes a home screen widget which reports on minutes used, text messages send, and data transferred. It doesn’t interface with your provider (it does the calculations locally) but it does a great job.

How Can I Quickly Learn Windows Keyboard Shortcuts?

Dear How-To Geek,

I’ve been an “everything by mouse” guy for a long time but a recent wrist injury has made mouse use painful. How can I quickly get up to speed with Windows shortcuts?

Sincerely,

Busted Wrist in Wisconsin

Dear Busted Wrist,

Are you using a traditional mouse? While we’re all about shortcuts they won’t help you when you need to use the mouse and it still hurts. Have you considered using a trackball? Several of us around the office switched to Logitech Trackman trackballs years ago and the level of comfort is through the roof.

That said, getting up to speed with Windows shortcuts shouldn’t take too long. The first place you should stop is the source itself, here’s a Microsoft list of the major Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts. We also have a guide to 10 lesser known but helpful keyboard shortcuts here. Here’s a printable list of shortcuts that includes shortcuts for Windows 7 apps. Also, for many applications there are shortcut guides online (especially popular and/or complex ones like Photoshop and Word). You’d be well served to search for lists and PDFs for applications you use frequently like “keyboard shortcuts Excel 2007” or such.

One final piece of advice we’ll give: stick with it. You only become a shortcut ninja if you resist the urge to grab the mouse. Keep plugging away at using the shortcuts and soon you won’t even think to reach for your mouse anymore.

How Can I Repair Damaged Photographs?

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Dear How-To Geek,

My great grandfather’s birthday is coming up. For his birthday party and as a gift for him, I’d like to repair some old photos that have been scratched/lightly damaged. I called around to some photographers/photo restoration places in the area and the prices they are charging are really high. I get that I’m paying for experience and results but it’s way out of my price range. I have access to Photoshop through my college’s computer labs, could you point me in the right direction? The damage is minimal enough that I feel like with a few tips and a weekend spent practicing I could really do this. Thanks!

Sincerely,

Old Photos in Philadelphia

Dear Old Photos,

Fortunately for you doing basic scratch repair is not something you need to apprentice under a master for. Even more fortunate, we happen to have a guide for you right here. Make sure to set aside your original high resolution scans and work on copies of them in case anything goes wrong (a good practice to get into whether you’re an amateur or an old pro).


Have a pressing tech question? Email us at ask@howtogeek.com and we’ll do our best to help you solve your technology problems.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/12/11

Comments (3)

  1. vtzete0

    Is that a picture of Peyton Manning? Funny that you used a damaged QB for your damaged photo tips ;-)

  2. MJ

    Keyboard Shortcuts rule! My classmates are amazed every time I show them how I use the Equation Editor on Word 2010 by using the keyboard only!

  3. Ushindi

    Re the mouse/painful injury:
    I was given a trackball mouse some years ago, and could not believe how much easier it was to use, compared to a regular jerk-my-hand-all-over type. It was damaged two years ago and I immediately bought another, a Logitech model this time. Beg, borrow or steal a trackball, just to try, and I’ll bet you never go back.

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