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Tech tips and tricks to make the most of summer

Here is a list of useful advice for the vacations: from how to make your cellphone battery last longer to how to find out whether there’s a hidden camera in your Airbnb

Technology
Technology can help us make the most of our vacations.Alexandr Spatari (Getty Images)
José Mendiola Zuriarrain

Summer is a good time to disconnect from technology — to leave your computer and cellphone at home and try to reconnect with family, friends and nature. But it’s also a good time for technology to help us make the most of our free time while we’re on vacation. How can we extend the battery life of our cellphone if we go hiking or spend the day at the beach? How can we safely share photos online? And how can we find out if our Airbnb has a hidden camera? Here is a list of technological tips to make the most of the summer.

How to make your battery last longer

While it is true that the battery life of a cellphone depends on its brand, model and even platform, there are a number of measures that you can take to make it last longer. In line with the recommendations of Google and Apple, the main cellphone developers, here is a list of ways to extend the battery life of your cellphone:

How to hide sensitive information in photos

During vacations, it is very tempting to share photos of our trip on social media. But this can come with some risk. Are you sharing more information than you want? While filters can be used to blur faces or hide personal data, these measures are not foolproof. Incredible as it may seem, there are applications that can reverse this process and reveal hidden information.

There is also the risk of accidentally sharing metadata — the information about an image such as camera model it was taken with, shooting settings and date of capture. But what is worrying is that the metadata also includes geolocation, which precisely indicates where the photo was taken.

So, how can you effectively hide this information before sharing a photo online? When it comes to hiding faces, experts say the most effective measure is to place an opaque rectangle over them. And with respect to metadata, experts recommend sharing a screenshot of the photo.

How to detect hidden cameras

A relaxing vacation can turn into a nightmare. Imagine you are relaxing in an Airbnb, but when you turn off the light, you discover a red light in the corner of the ceiling. Now imagine that light belongs to a hidden camera that’s recording you. While fortunately this is not a common occurrence, cases have been reported and taken to court.

There are simple and effective ways to ensure we are not being secretly recorded. While there are several apps that can detect hidden cameras, the most effective tactic is to turn off all the lights so that the apartment is in darkness and switch on the camera in your cellphone. Modern cellphones have an infrared sensor that will show a point of light on the screen if there is an active camera.

It is not a foolproof method, but it is more effective than just looking. Keep in mind that these cameras are usually placed in smoke sensors, light openings and ceiling corners.

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