Monthly Archive for: ‘July, 2012’


As a parent, do you have the basic computer skills to maintain contact with your college student? Does your technology support your efforts, and do you have the most cost efficient systems in place?

The following are some points that you should be thinking about before the move-in date:

– Will you need to upgrade either your equipment or services?

– How do you determine your child’s equipment needs while in college?

– Does the cell phone provider that you use at home (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) have a strong network at your child’s school?

– What can you do to keep your communication costs down?

– What are the most cost efficient ways to stay in communication with your child in college?

– How do you keep in contact with your child who is studying abroad without incurring large telephone charges?

– Has your child’s school granted you online access to key school resources?

– Does your child know how to reach you 24/7?

The chances are that your child may be more up-to-date on the latest technology than you. It is important that you discuss a strategy to communicate in a cost efficient manner.  If your child is studying thousands of miles away, or perhaps in any country, you do not want to incur telephone charges that approach the cost of tuition!

Most universities no longer provide phones in their dorms.  The use of cell phones and other mobile technology tools has significantly enhanced our ability to maintain our relationships with our children in college.  Are you prepared?

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Confused by the new smartphone and iPad data plans introduced by Verizon and AT&T? Do you understand the differences between the tiered data plans? Do you even know how much data you are using?  How do you determine which  new program is right for you?

All wireless providers are expected to convert to a similar data plan. Regardless of which mobile provider you are using, you might be able to considerably reduce your wireless bill if you select the right plan.

Here’s what you need to know:

– The new plan only applies to mobile devices such as smartphones, laptop computers, and tablets such as the iPad.

– The plan is not mandatory, current customers are not obligated to revise their existing plans.

–  Based on how you use your mobile devices, you might actually save money by switching to the new plan. People who are heavy data users (e-mails, Internet browsing, streaming videos, etc.) should take a good look at the new plan.

Below is a summary of the Plans for both Verizon and AT&T:

– There is no tiered pricing for telephone calls.  Under this new plan, the only choice will be unlimited minutes and free text messaging.  This is a substantial savings for anyone on a plan for more minutes or an unlimited plan.

– The new data plan starts at 2GBs and goes as high as 10GBs based on your usage. If you have a family plan with several phones, the data plan is shared with each of the lines.  It is possible to have up to 10 mobile devices share the same plan.  According to the leading providers, most people use less than 2GBs per month per device unless they stream a lot of videos and music from the Internet.  For example, if you stream 2 movies from sites such as Netflix using your Cellular network, you will use up to 90% of your allowance under the 2GB plan.

– If you change to the new plan, and are presently on an unlimited data plan, you will lose it.

– After reviewing your options, if you decide to stick with your current plan, you will have to pay full price when upgrading to a new smartphone.  What that means is, instead of paying $199 to upgrade to the least expensive iPhone or Android, you will pay full retail which can be more than $600.

As I have indicated in the past, there is never a standard answer when it comes to one’s technology needs.   I suggest you  contact your provider (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) for an evaluation of your present plan and discuss whether or not a change will actually save you money.

If you need a further explanation of the new plan, need assistance analyzing your existing charges, or help deciding which plan is right for you, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at 

Please feel free to click below to access my BlogTalkRadio Program which contains discussions on the relevant technology issues of the day and archives of past shows.

Listen to internet radio with Jim Blue on Blog Talk Radio


– Do you have the right equipment to support your business and personal needs?

– Confused by all the new gadgets being introduced almost on a daily basis?

– Do you know what type of smartphone (iPhone, Android, blackberry) is right for you?

– Do you understand the new data plans that have been introduced by your wireless service provider (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.)?

– Are you or someone you know going through career transition and need help determining their technology needs?

– Need to set up a home office?

These are just a few topics that I discuss on my weekly radio program.  While the shows are aired every Thursday at 4:30 PM, you can click on the link below to access the archives of all past programs at anytime.  The topics as well as the names of guest speakers are listed for each show.

If you have any questions about any of the topics discussed, please contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at for a FREE telephone consultation.  Feel free to visit my website, for more information about my services.

To hear the latest program, click on the play button (>) below. To access my program site and the archives, click on my name (Jim Blue).





The Internet has changed the rules for traveling.  Gone are the days when keeping in touch from abroad was both a challenge and expensive.  More college aged children are spending summers traveling and taking advantage of semester abroad programs.  The following are some of the  things parents and students must know before leaving home:

– What is the Internet situation where the student will be living?

– Does he/she have an International mobile phone?

– Do you and your child have a plan to reach each other in an emergency?

– Are both of you aware of the differences between phone and data services, domestically and overseas?

– Have you considered whether or not your child should rent a phone while traveling?

– Are you familiar with the rules surrounding Internet services abroad such as Skype, iChat, e-mail, and accessing the web?

A couple of years ago, my daughter spent 4 months in Spain.  Despite daily phone calls to and from the United States, my total phone bill for the time she was away was under $200.  If you need assistance understanding the rules of international travel and would like to know how our communication costs were kept in line, give me a call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at