Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 31 years

Treat your new iPad like it's family

December 28, 2014

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, The Post-Standard

Got all those presents put away yet?

I thought not. While they're still arrayed under the tree, take my course in Gadgetology 101. No gum chewing! This won't take long.

BATTERIES ARE LIKE IN-LAWS. My sense of humor isn't shared by everybody, but I did enjoy it when my brother-in-law said he got a charge out of me. Treat the batteries in your new gadgets the same way -- with respect and more than a little appreciation. Don't let your phone, tablet or laptop, to name just three examples, run totally out of battery power; that's like forgetting to put dinner on the table when the in-laws visit. On any day when you use your gadget, charge it overnight, even if it doesn't seem to need charging. Modern batteries, like modern families, love attention.

THAT "SCREEN PROTECTOR" ISN'T. Phones, tablets and toys with screens don't come with screen protectors. That sheet of clear plastic already stuck on the screen is just there to keep the screen clean before you start using the device. Pull it off. (And, ahem, forget adding a screen protector of the kind sold in stores; they're overpriced and you probably don't need one anyway, unless you're going to use your phone or tablet in a sandstorm.)

CASE THE JOINT. Slim-as-paper phones and tablets look amazing, so have fun showing them off and shoving them under the bathroom door. But before you head off to work or play with them, protect them with a case. In the case (oh, the pun!) of iPads, Apple's cases actually don't protect much and are terribly overpriced, so try Best Buy, Walmart or online, such as www.newegg.com. Remember: A case should protect against knocks and the inevitable 5-foot drops, so forgo cases that look and act like second skins. You want a case that acts like foam padding.

CHAIRS ARE FOR PEOPLE. You sit in a chair. Your gadget sits on a table or maybe a desk. Never, not-on-your-life never-ever (you get the message, right?) put your breakable multi-hundred-dollar phone, tablet or tweener electronic toy on a chair and walk away. Someone else in the family is guaranteed to plop right down before looking. You do not want to hear what sitting on an iPad sounds like. And don't ask me how I know.

RUB A-DUB DUB. Don't run out and buy those tiny bottles of screen cleaners for phones and tablets. They're ripoffs. Write this down: Buy a spray bottle of Rain X from an auto store or Walmart. Make sure it's the original formula (it will say so on the yellow bottle -- I repeat, YELLOW bottle). Buy some microfiber cloths, too. Spray it on the screen and rub it all over until it's dry, then do the same thing again. (Yup. Do it twice.) The big Rain X bottle will last 161 years, so you might want to put it in your will.

STOP COMPLAINING. Some phones don't come with replaceable batteries, and that's a shame. But listen up before you bloviate about how your tablet is all sealed up: Tablets need a lot of power, so their batteries are literally squeezed into and around every available space inside the device, just like they were poured into the tablet. So are they user-replaceable? No way.