Learn to do technical work; Google will show you how

Many companies prefer to hire a qualified high school graduate over an unqualified college graduate, especially from Google’s new “Certificates” program.

For $39 a month, people from all walks of life are trained for tech jobs. No prior experience is necessary. The new program has already placed 75,000 people in jobs with a median salary of $66,000. One of the recent grads got a job in NFL tech support. The training requires less than 10 hours of study per week for three to six months.

To get started, search for “Google Certificates”. Choices include “Digital Marketing and E-Commerce”, https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2022/may/28/learn-how-to-do-a-tech-job-google-will-show-you /”IT support” and “Android development”, among others. There are 150 participating companies providing 1.5 million jobs. The site also lists jobs for veterans and resources for educators.

I tried their free interview practice, which you can find by searching Google for “Google Certificates interview tool”. Without having to register, I answered questions like “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Google’s artificial intelligence provides a transcript, so you can see if you’re having too many “ums” or repeating yourself. Their AI software suggests ways to improve. Even though only the robot heard me, I was a bit embarrassed by my misfires.


Wild horses couldn’t drag me to a phone store to buy a new phone. This is despite the fact that my three-year-old Android phone, the Pixel 3a, stopped receiving security updates this month. I am thrifty.

Phooey on security updates. I can rely on the free antivirus app, Avast Mobile Security. What’s annoying is the battery. For now, I don’t mind lugging my Excitrus power bank around if I have to be away all day, as it’s a little shorter than my phone and only a little bigger. I just plug it into my phone to charge it. I briefly considered a $36 do-it-yourself iFixit battery replacement kit, but there’s a chance of destroying my phone in the process. The user guide mentions that there is less risk of cracking the screen if you use their tools, but the mere mention of cracked screens scared me. My mechanic friend supports me. For around $50 I can get an expert to do it.

Recently, a reader asked about upgrading their iPhone 7. The current iPhone 13 boasts a bigger size, better water resistance, better photo resolution, better video definition and better battery life, among other things. Even if your phone is only a few years old, you’ll probably notice these differences.

The latest version, the iPhone 14, will launch on September 13. TomsHardware says it could be the biggest update in years. It will have a sleeker design, a faster chip, a sharper camera, and possibly a USB-C connection to replace the USB-C to Lightning cable, although some say that doesn’t. won’t arrive until 2023. When it does, it could improve data transfer and charging speeds. In other news, the iPhone Mini will likely be replaced by a new 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max.

On Quora.com, I looked up the answer to “What are the pros and cons of buying a new iPhone every year?” A guy says, “I don’t see any benefit in buying the same expensive crap over and over again. The downsides are simple: wasting money and making fun of normal people. But another guy says, “You get the best phone possible every year, new features, great performance and bragging rights.”

My bragging goes upside down. On eBay, I bought the original iPhone SE, released six years ago. It still has the latest operating system, iOS 15, and a good battery, although it won’t get iOS 16 when it’s released in the fall. But if something happened to my Android, I would make it my main phone. I would just add the free “Avast Security and Protection” app.


The iPhone has a hidden setting called “Voice Isolation”. It helps isolate your phone call from the noises around you so you can hear better. But it doesn’t work on all iPhones.

I just tried it on the iPhone SE. It did not work. Not surprising since my SE was released in 2016. If you have a newer iPhone, try swiping down from the top right to access control center. Tap “Mic Mode” and choose “Voice Isolation”.

Voice isolation can be handy in a noisy restaurant or concert. But even my old iPhone sounds superior, especially when I use Arama’s “Cell Phone Headset with Microphone Noise Cancellation and Call Controls,” which I bought for $33 on Amazon. The headset makes a huge difference and I don’t have to change the Bluetooth settings.


• olli.uark.edu is the Arkansas chapter of a fantastic organization called Osher Learning Institute. It offers courses on a wide variety of topics, taught by your fellow lifelong learners. Back home, Newton Minow, a 96-year-old former head of the Federal Communications Commission who was instrumental in getting Radio America to Cubans during the Cuban Missile Crisis, taught a course on Russian literature. I’m taking a course on documentaries. “I hate movies, I love discussions”, say some participants. Many movies are free through Kanopy, Hoopla, or YouTube.

• TriviaGenius.com. I just learned that Bill Clinton was the first president to receive an email. After several days with no response, the Swedish Prime Minister asked the White House what was going on. They had not yet set up a messaging system.

Joy Schwabach can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

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