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HERE COMES YET ANOTHER SMARTPHONE

droid-razrLast week it was the iPhone 4s, and now, the new Motorola Razr. With a new smartphone being introduced almost daily, making the right choice can be a daunting experience.  Here is the link to an article in Mashable  comparing the best selling models.

http://on.mash.to/oXNiFY

While my earlier blog of October 5th,  http://bluetutor.com/?p=1008 explains the mobile phone war in greater deal, below is a summary of important facts to consider before buying.

1.  Make sure you select the right provider (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc) – Not all providers are created equal.  The name of the game is coverage.  Are you experiencing dropped calls or poor reception? Check with your neighbors to see which provider works best for them.

2.  The three major smartphones are RIM’s Blackberry, Apple’s iPhone, and Google’s Android.  They are all different and comfort level means a lot.  Not all providers offer the same models.  The iPhone is an attractive phone with lots of apps but you better be comfortable with the touch screen.  The Android phone’s market share has increased steadily and it offers a choice of using the touch screen or a slide out keyboard while Blackberry’s market share has reduced significantly with the advent of both the iPhone and Android.

3.  Once you have decided which provider works best for you, go into a store and play with the available models.  Make sure you are comfortable with the weight, size, and screen.  Touch screens are handy but not not be right for everyone.  If not, you might want a pull out keyboard.

Mobile technology is growing.  Within the next couple of years, more people will be accessing the Internet on a mobile device than with a computer.  Choose wisely!!

If you have any questions about this or other technology issues, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com.  If you are in career transition, feel free to click here to receive my free white paper on Technology Tips on setting up a home office and becoming a true road warrior.

IS YOUR NEXT FLIGHT WITH AN AIRLINE OFFERING INTERNET ACCESS?

airplaneAccording to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, airlines are racing to include Internet access on their flights.  By 2013, the expectation is that more than 50% of passenger planes will be equipped with wi-fi.  The following is a summary of the current situation and some projections.

1.  About a third of all US passenger planes are now offering Internet access

2.  Currently, 3 out of the top 4 airlines (American, Delta, and Southwest) offer the service on many of their flights.  While United has lagged behind, their expectation is that they will be completing a deal shortly and expect to have all their planes connected within the next couple of years.

3.  The services include e-mail and Internet access which, according to a number of surveys, appears to be the greatest interest of most fliers at the present time.

4.  As for the future, airlines are expected to offer streaming services such as live news and sports along with movies and TV shows.  These services will probably be fee based.  This week, Delta starting offering  movies ($4.00 each) and TV shows ($1.00) on a limited number of their passenger planes.

As indicated in past blogs, we have become a mobile society, with Internet access available in hotels, coffee shops, airline terminals and now in the air.  Isn’t it time for you to make sure you have the right technology to support your needs on both a personal and business level?

If you have any questions about this or other technology issues, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com.  If you are in career transition, feel free to click here to receive my free white paper on Technology Tips on setting up a home office and becoming a true road warrior.


Do you suffer from CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome)?

Are your eyes tired?  Do you suffer frequent headaches after sitting in front of the computer for several hours?  Do you have the right glasses for computer use?

Here are some important tips:

1.  Take regular breaks.  Get up and walk around (good for your legs and back as well).

2.  Check with your eye doctor to see if you have the right glasses for computer use.

3.  Make sure the monitor is at eye level or below.  Looking up at a monitor will cause eye strain and dry eyes.

4.  Keep the monitor’s brightness level as low as possible.

There are many remedies on the market.  However before committing to any remedies, check out the article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal at http://on.wsj.com/pdmPX8.

If you have any questions about this or other technology issues, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com.  If you are in career transition, feel free to click here to receive my free white paper on Technology Tips on setting up a home office and becoming a true road warrior.

THANK YOU, STEVE JOBS

JobsSo much has been written about Steve Jobs  since his passing.  While I never met the man, he was truly one of the most remarkable figures of the past century, if not history, and had a profound impact on my life.  If not for Steve Jobs, I would not have discovered technology which has become my passion since I left a career in the corporate world that was unfulfilling.

I can only reflect on the impact he has made on me personally.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t rely on a product or service that Steve Jobs did not have a hand in creating.  Whether it be a computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, etc, try to think of a day that doesn’t go by without relying on the creative genius of Steve Jobs.  His vision has created many products and services that have been copied but never successfully duplicated.  For example, look at iTunes and the iPad.

While he inspired so many  young people to follow his example, here is my special thanks and tribute from a member of another generation who was able to survive a difficult career transition by finding his true passion in a world that did not exist before the Steve Jobs.

You will be missed.

MOBILE PHONE WAR HEATS UP

Smart phonesOK, Apple has now introduced yet another “smartphone,” the iPhone 4S.  More importantly, they have now increased their distribution channel by offering it to Sprint customers.  Prior to this “launch,” iPhones were only offered through Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

The market share war, which includes Apple (iPhones), Google (Androids), and RIM (Blackberrys) is now in high gear which will invariably affect profitability in the long run. Apple has already reduced the price of some its older iPhone models.

As for those of you that are thinking about upgrading to a “smartphone,” remember the ground rules:

1.  It’s the provider first (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.).  Make sure that you are getting acceptable service in both your home and office.  Service varies by mobile phone provider, and if your service is poor, consider switching.  Having the latest and greatest phone will not help if your calls are being dropped or the  Internet connection is slow.  Ask your neighbors both at home and office what providers work for them.

2.  Smartphones come in all sizes and weight.  While they all offer telephone services and data plans for e-mails, Internet and apps, you must be comfortable with your mobile device. Once you own a smartphone, you will find that you will be depending more and more on it for e-mail and Internet access.

3.  Make sure you understand the terms of the data plans which are separate charges over and above your telephone plans.  A full explanation can be found on an earlier blog,  All About Data Plans.

4.  When you have decided on the right wireless provider, walk into one of their stores and play with all the available smartphones for comfort level.  iPhones only have touch screens, some Android models offer both touch screens as well as a slide out keyboard.  The Blackberry has lost market share, however they are still popular and should not be ruled out.

If you have any questions about the mobile phone market or any other technology questions, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com.  If you are in career transition, feel free to click here to receive my free white paper on Technology Tips on setting up a home office and becoming a true road warrior.

10 REASONS TO LOVE SKYPE

One of the most important contributions of the Internet has been the ability of people to maintain lines of communication with family, friends and business associates around the world.  While e-mail, Facebook and other social media tools have brought people together, the ability to have  face-to-face contact regardless of location is the consummate means of communication.

Here are some of the reasons why Skype has become an indispensable program to people that, in many instances, are still “technology challenged.”

1.  For parents and grandparents – The ability to keep in touch with college students.  In many instances, they may be across the country or abroad.  Face to face contact is assuring to both students and family members.  Meeting roommates and friends is a favorite activity.

2.  Senior Citizens – Being able to video chat with family and friends that may not be close by.  This is most effective for seniors that are unable meet personally due to illness, inclement weather or geographic limitations.

3.  Business People – Great way to communicate with customers, clients and other business associates.  The ability to reduce travel expenses.

4.  Travelers – Whether for personal or business purposes, the ability to communicate with your home of business from anywhere in the world where you have an Internet connection.

5.  Job Seekers – The ability to communicate face-to-face with recruiters regardless of geographic location.

6.  Students and Residents from Abroad – Keeping in touch with family and friends in overseas locations.

7.  Group Chat – Permits people in different locations to participate in the communication.

8.  Tech Support – Problems with any of your technology?  Have a face-to-face conversation with your tech support team and be able to visually demonstrate some of your issues.

9.  The Skype program can be downloaded to Window and MAC computers as well as blackberries, iPhones and Android  smartphones with built-in wi-fi.

10.  And most importantly, Skype to Skype calls whether it be between computers or smartphones with wi-fi Internet connections are FREE!!

If you have any questions about Skype or any other technology issues, please do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com


7 KEY PASSWORD RULES

How often do you change your passwords?

password_iconMore than likely, you are using a number of different passwords to access your e-mail account, bank accounts, financial institutions as well as sites like Amazon, ebay, etc.  The security of your sites is predicated on the strength of your passwords as well as your ability to keep them private.  Here are some simple rules to follow:

1.  All passwords should be changed at least every 6 months

2.  Never use names of family members, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other easily “guessed” passwords.

3.  Do not use the same password for all your sites

4.  While it is critical not to divulge any personal information requested in an e-mail (including your bank), it is especially important not to give out password information and respond to requests to change passwords.

5.  When creating a password, it is best to use a combination of numbers, letters and symbols.  Again, do not use the same password for all your accounts.

6.  Do not list your passwords on a document that is stored in your computer or smartphone.  Your files in your computer can easily be accessed by anyone using your computer, particularly if it is part of a network.

7.  And finally, be careful whom you share password information with.

If you have any questions about passwords or any other technology issue, you can contact me at 917 921-4518 or by email at jblue@bluetutor.com.

SUMMER’S OVER, TIME TO REASSESS YOUR TECHNOLOGY NEEDS

The world of technology changes constantly.  Quite a bit has happened during the past few months, and now that the summer is over, here are some important things to consider to make sure your technology supports your needs:

1.  When’s the last time your computer had a checkup?  Is it running slowly?  Is your anti-virus program up to date?

2.  Are you considering an upgrade?  Are you undecided on what type of computer to purchase – Windows or MAC?  Should you be considering a tablet (iPad, etc.)?

3.  Is your cell phone eligible for an upgrade?  Do you have a smartphone (blackberry, iphone, android) for the road?  Are you sure you are using the best provider (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) for your needs?

If you have any questions about these or any other technology issues, you can contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com.

If you have not already done so, you may download a copy of my FREE white paper on technology tips for setting up a home office and operating in the mobile world by clicking HERE or by going to my website at www.bluetutor.com

BACK TO SCHOOL TECHNOLOGY TIPS

college-studentsIs your child or grandchild off to college for the first time?  If they are returning to school and into an off campus apartment, it is important to address their technology needs.  No longer is it just textbooks, clothing and bank accounts on your to-do list.  With technology imbedded in both their personal and educational lives, there are a number is issues that must be addressed, hopefully before move-in time.  The following are some of the more important things that should be included on your to-do list.

– Most colleges have removed phones from dorm rooms.  Your student probably already has a cell phone.  However, you must make sure the provider you are using (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) has a strong signal at school.  Call the school and, if possible, talk to some other students about their experience.

– Check your cell telephone plan.  If your student is not going to be in your local area, make sure you have a nationwide plan.  In addition, check your usage.  More than likely, your usage will increase since you will be speaking with your child more than you think.

– Check your text messaging plan.  Most students rely heavily on text messaging which is a simple way of communicating.

– Find out what type of Internet plan the school provides.  Does the dorm offer wi-fi connectivity?  How about the rest of the campus?

– Most students bring a laptop to school with them.  MACs are more popular than Windows based computers.  If you need to buy one, most schools have discount plans with different manufacturers.  Apple has a student discount plan.  Schools offer substantial discounts on most software.

– Are you a Skype user?  Being able to video chat makes both students and family members still feel connected.  If you and your student both have MACs, you can use iChat.  Skype and iChat are similar. However iChat only works if you both have a MAC.  Both services are free from any part of the world, as long as you are both on a computer.

–  For those students living in off campus apartments, make sure they contact the local cable company to install a modem/router along with their TV service.  No need to spend money on installing a land line.  A cell phone is sufficient.

Finally, don’t forget the cables.  Although the school might have wi-fi, bring along an ethernet cable as well as extension cords.  I suggest that everyone have at least two cell phone chargers; one for the room and another to carry with them, since the newer smartphones have limited battery life.

As a parent that has gone through this process of number of times, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding either your students’ or your back-to-school needs.  I can be reached either by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com or by phone at 917 921-4518.

DO YOU CARRY YOUR CELL PHONE WITH YOU?

10 Reasons to keep it close by

Cell PhoneAlthough cell phone use in the US is well over 90%, there are still individuals that have resisted the urge to “become wired.”  Although many of us would like the ability to escape and not be reached, there are many reasons why having a cell phone has become a necessity.  The following are some of the more important ones:

1.  You are almost always accessible.  It is possible to limit your accessibility by switching the phone to a vibrate only mode, or turning it off, when at the movies or at dinner for example.

2.  In case of emergency, you can reach out for help whether you are lost, have a flat tire or in need of medical assistance.

3.  Running late? You can either call or send a text message.

4.  Keeping in contact with your children whether it be a change of plans or out late at night.

5.  If you are a senior, the ability to keep in touch with your family.  If you are living alone, giving your children peace of mind.

6.  Cost – Long distance calling is usually cheaper.

7.  Taking a trip? – Have your home calls transferred to your cell phone.

8.  If you are dependent on e-mail, you can purchase a “smartphone” that permits you to access your messages from anywhere.

9.  An easy way of having access to all your contact information.

10.  An extra alarm clock.

If you need assistance determining what type of cell phone is best for you or want to discuss  upgrade options, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com.

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