What if smiling at your phone triggered a slew of actions? It can do that in Android 12, coming in September.
To try it out now, do a web search on "Android beta," then click to enroll. The list of eligible phones includes the Pixel 3 on up, as well as OnePlus, Xiaomi and a few others, but not Samsung, Motorola or LG.
I tried smiling, opening my mouth, and looking right and left to trigger an action. The first few times were OK, then my phone went berserk. Just looking at it set off a mad dash through flashing menus. I could barely tap fast enough to regain normalcy.
Despite the facial fiasco, I'm enjoying Android 12.
For starters, I now have a jazzier clock on the lock screen, as well as a much larger keyboard to type in my PIN. What's more, Google has made systemwide changes to the color scheme, to go with whatever your current wallpaper is.
Mine shows a green leafy forest, so now my clock, volume controls and a few other items are green too. This all sounds pretty trivial but there are also improvements to shapes, light and motion that make your phone jewel-like.
My phone's battery life has improved, too, according to Google, though I can't tell any difference. The phone is faster and more responsive because the CPU is not working as hard, Google claims. Seriously? It was already quick.
Finally, there's a new Privacy Dashboard. It tells you which apps are using your data and gives you options.
For example, I can now see which apps tracked my location in the last 24 hours. I was surprised to see Lyft on the list. I haven't used Lyft in weeks. I also noticed that Google's messaging app used my camera. That's odd. I haven't sent any video messages.
ANDROID 11 TIP
In monkeying around with Android 12, I found the Accessibility Menu, also in Android 11. Among other things, I love the way it lets you switch quickly between recently-used apps.
It also lets you quickly adjust the brightness of your screen. But some of the other choices like volume control and power button controls are easy to use without quick access.
To set up the Accessibility Menu, tap "Settings," then "Accessibility," then "Accessibility Menu." Toggle the switch to "on" next to "Accessibility Shortcut." Once you set it up, tap the floating icon from any screen to go right to the shortcuts.
RRauction.com auctions off memorabilia and historic stuff. A one-sentence letter from Steve Jobs, for example, just sold for more than $10,000.
In the note, Jobs says he doesn't do autographs, then signs it with his autograph. Jobs' bomber jacket sold for $66,466. An Apple Lisa computer sold for $94,949. The Lisa came out in 1983 and was discontinued three years later. An Apple 1 computer sold for $474,876. That model was released in 1976 and was discontinued the next year.
After I wrote about the Nano Massage Gun, the folks at Ekrin Athletics sent me something better. It's the B37 Percussion Massager.
I tried it out and it felt fine, but I'm not a good judge. So, I was glad when a friend wrote to share his experience with it. He liked it better than anything else he's tried, including the Nano Massage Gun.
"The main feature for me,' he said, "is a deeper massage, with five speeds (and four attachments) to select from, so you can tailor it to a specific job.
"The cons are size and weight. It takes two hands to handle it. Also, it's not particularly good around bony parts. But if you're careful, you can manage well enough. Basically it's a very good tool, but you can get by with something less expensive."
It's available on at Amazon or EkrinAthletics.com.
I love my playlists and sometimes share them with friends. Here's how to to do it without your friends having to open the same app that you use. I'll also show you how to move music between apps.
Go to www.tunemymusic.com. (The "www" is important.) Choose Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube or some other app. There's an option to export your playlist to a file as text.
You can also move music from one app to another. I sent my "Sing Along With Mitch" playlist from Spotify to YouTube Music, wondering if it would copy everything over or transfer from one to another. Fortunately, both lists are in sync, so whenever you add to one, it will show up in both.
To wind down for bed, turn on the night light in Windows 10, by clicking the tiny rectangle in the bottom right of your screen. Then, click "Night Light." It gives your screen a soft orangeish glow. It can come on automatically at sunset if you choose it in settings.
On the Mac, choose the Apple menu, then System Preferences. Now click "Displays," then "Night Shift."
Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at email@example.com.