Make us your home page

Tech tips

I have heard that the next version of Google's Android operating system will run on older phones that couldn't handle some of the newer updates. How can I find out if my handset can use the system?

Android 4.4 (also now known as KitKat, in keeping with the software's tradition of dessert-themed nicknames), is expected this month. Check with your phone's manufacturer or wireless carrier for announcements about your particular model.

Many hardware makers have customized Android to work better on their own devices and have added their own features to it — like custom interfaces or special apps — so putting out a new version of the system often requires some extra time. And most do not bother to update software for models more than a few years old, partly because of outdated hardware and partly because of the desire to sell you a new phone. (Owners of Google's recent Nexus phones typically get the update quickly, as Google puts out its own straightforward version of Android.)

Some people have gone the unofficial route and modified their devices outside of the manufacturer's official guidelines. While this typically voids any warranty, it is one way to get newer software, and the Web has plenty of instructions for doing so.

Why does my camera flash twice?

Cameras with a "red-eye reduction" setting rapidly fire the flash twice for each photo. The first flash illuminates the scene enough to cause the pupils in a person's eyes to contract a bit from the brightness. The second flash then goes off when the shutter snaps to capture the scene.

The "red-eye" situation happens when the bright light from the flash creates a reflection from the blood vessels in the back of the subject's eyes. Causing the pupils to contract right before the second flash fires helps reduce or eliminate the glowing red effect by letting less light into the eye. Because eye pupils are larger in darkened rooms, they allow in more light, so turning on a lamp or moving to a brighter room can also make for fewer pictures of people with a demonic gaze.

Tech tips 11/10/13 [Last modified: Sunday, November 10, 2013 6:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Insurance regulators fret over a spike in auto glass claims


    TALLAHASSEE — Three months ago, state regulators weren't tracking a surge in broken auto glass claims, particularly in Tampa Bay.

    The issue has their attention now.

    The Office of Insurance Regulation is taking on assignment of benefits abuse in the 2018 legislative session. Pictured is Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. | [Times file photo]
  2. Proino Breakfast Club owner charged with not paying state taxes


    LARGO — Just before noon on a recent Sunday at Proino Breakfast Club, the dining room was bustling as owner George Soulellis chatted with a customer.

    Proino Breakfast Club at 201 West Bay Drive in Largo. The owner was arrested last month on a theft of state funds charge, according to court records. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  3. Former Sen. Greg Evers, advocate for law enforcement, dead at 62.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Former State Sen. Greg Evers, the Baker Florida strawberry farmer and veteran politician, was killed in a single car crash hear his home in Okaloosa County. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the death late Tuesday, but deferred any further information pending an investigation. He was 62.

    Former Florida Senator Greg Evers, R- Milton, was a passionate advocate for law enforcement and corrections officers. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a car crash. He was 62. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Foundation Partners buys Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home


    ST. PETERSBURG — Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.

    Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown's transformation


    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]