32 essential Android tips and tricks

Several weeks ago, we highlighted 40 useful iPhone tricks everyone should know. We got such good feedback from that feature that we wanted to share the love with Android users – who, after all, make up the largest proportion of the smart phone community.

3. Personalized voice recognition

Turning on personalized voice recognition can give you better speech-to-text results over time.

It's not quite as robust as Siri on iOS, but Android’s built-in voice recognition software is surprisingly capable. Try it out: from a text input field, click the microphone button to the left of the space bar. You'll be able to dictate text messages, fill a field, or even search the Web without having to tap anything out with your thumbs. (To get that last function, Froyo and Gingerbread users might have to download Google's free Voice Search app.)

Of course, the text recognition engine sometimes delivers less-than-accurate, or downright comedic, results. If that's happening more often than you'd like, try turning on personalized voice recognition in your device’s Settings. Tap "Language and Input," then look for the "Text-to-speech output" option under the Speech section. Turning on Personalized Recognition on the following page will help give you more accurate speech synthesis over time. This tip requires a little patience – you might not notice much improvement in transcription accuracy at first, but over time your device will adjust to your personal inflections.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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