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What is Streaming? Don’t Cut the Cable Cord So Fast

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal,” the media industry is racing toward an Internet-TV future at a breathtaking pace. But the swift changes, highlighted by efforts from Apple Inc., Dish Network Corp. and others, are giving consumers an array of confusing options and forcing entertainment giants to confront some sober realities“. Below are some of the Streaming services currently available.

Streaming TV Services

Signing up for a number of the Streaming services might end up costing you more than your current cable service.  Check the cost of your cable service and compare it to what Streaming directly will cost. Click here to read the entire article.

What is Streaming?

amazon_netflix_huluStreaming is defined as a method of receiving videos (movies, TV shows, etc.) and audio directly from the Internet without having to download them into your computer, tablet, or smartphone.  These “multimedia” files are large files that could take a long time to download and can take up a large amount of space in your computer and devices.  When you are streaming a movie, TV show or other video or audio, it is the same as viewing your television in “real time.” The only difference is that you are receiving the media from the Internet and not directly from a TV station such as NBC, CBS, HBO, etc.

Popular sources of Streaming (or Digital Streaming) are subscriber based sites such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.  Also a number of news services such as ABC, NBC, and CNN, to name a few, contain links to video clips.

As for audio, popular music sites are Pandora and Spotify. Unlike iTunes where you are listening to music that you have downloaded into your tablet or smartphone, these and other web based music sites are streamed from the Internet as well.

It is recommended that Streaming be limited to wi-fi locations, since Internet access through wi-fi is free; particularly at home and a host of areas and  places such as Starbucks, hotels, and some airline terminals. Using your wireless carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) for Internet access can be costly (ie: Streaming 2-3 movies in the course of a month could use your entire data plan for that period). If you are planning a long trip and want to be able to view movies or TV shows either on a plane or an area without wi-fi, you should download the files (in an area with wi-fi), watch the programs and then delete the files from your tablet or phone. Yes, some airlines have wi-fi. However check out the rates before subscribing.

The number of web based sites offering Streaming is increasing daily and has become a very popular way of accessing content such as movies, movie trailers, and recent TV shows.  To many, it has proven to be a viable alternative to subscribing to a costly Cable TV service.

 

 

 

 

How Smart is Your Smartphone?

Remember when your phone was only a phone and it had to be connected to a wall jack? Outside, you needed to find a pay phone and have coins to place a call.  Wow, how times have changed!

princess phonearrow-blue-outline-rightsmartphone picture

 

 

 

 

Chances are that if anyone told you at that time that your phone someday would be a device that exchanged e-mails and messages, listen to music, catch up on the news, check the weather, stocks, and watch a movie, you would probably want them committed. It is estimated that over two-thirds of the US population owns a smartphone. A smartphone is loosely defined as a hand-held computer, typically offering Internet access, data storage, email capability, etc.

If you already own a smartphone (iPhone, Galaxy, Blackberry, etc.), it probably came with basic apps (applications) that will permit you to surf the web, take pictures, and communicate with friends and family via e-mail or text messages.

Sales of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) now exceed computers. More people are accessing the web through mobile devices than computers. In addition to the functions listed above, there are now mobile apps that permit you perform many functions on the fly. Below are some examples:

Travel

– Book and track a flight

– Search and book a hotel

– Make restaurant reservations

– Reserve a car service

Finance

– Track your portfolio and execute trades

– Check your bank balance, transfer funds, and pay bills

– Make mobile payments

Entertainment

– Look up movie showtimes, view trailers, and read reviews

– Stream for favorite movies and TV shows

– Purchase, listen to, and read books

– Play games such as Scrabble, Solitaire, and Bridge

Photography

– Take and edit pictures

– Share them with family and friends

– Create albums by event or date

Medical

– Set up emergency contacts

– Research symptoms and ailments

– Keep a record of medications

– Refill prescriptions

– Check out doctors and hospitals

Social Media

– Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

These are just a few of the many services that are offered online. If you would like to discuss your personal preferences and how to set them up on your smartphone and/or tablet, give me a call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at jblue@bluetutor.com.

10 Apps That Are Changing Healthcare

You can now have a doctor’s appointment via video call, get a prescription filled through a mobile app, and even see a therapist virtually. These 10 apps and online services do all that and more.

The majority of the population now owns smartphones. In addition to being able to phone, text, get headline news, check the weather, look up a movie, etc., the focus is turning to healthcare and the ability to use your smartphone to look up medications, store your prescriptions and contact a doctor immediately.

These services are not cheap, however it is worth reading about some of the recommended apps by clicking here.

Are you blogging from your iPad?

We are living in a mobile world. The likelihood is that you are reading this blog from one of your mobile devices, either your mobile phone or your tablet. I am actually writing this blog on my iPad. When finished, I will upload it to my blog site on my iPad as well.

How is this possible? Well, I’am using an app called Blogsy, TIME Magazine wrote:

There’s no shortage of ways to update a blog, but Blogsy stands a cut above its competitors. The $5 app sports an easy-to-use interface for beginners and plenty of advanced options for power users, all while being compatible with several popular blogging platforms.

You can use blogsy on either your Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android devices. Blogsy supports the major platforms, WordPress, blogger TypePad, tumbler, etc.

To learn more about Blogsy, click here, or go to the App Store on your mobile device.

 

 

 

 

New American Express Cards

American ExpressIf you own an American Express card, you will receive a new card within the next few days with a new security feature, Chip technology, which adds an additional level of security to your Card transactions when used at chip-enabled terminals.  According to American Express:

You may continue to use your existing Card until your new Card is received. However as a security measure, your current Card will be deactivated soon afterward. To avoid interruption to your spending, please activate your new Card immediately upon receipt and begin to use it for future purchases. *Please note: if you are currently or imminently traveling, rest assured you may continue to use your current Card until your return.

For your convenience, your account number will remain the same. There is no need to update your Card information with any merchants who automatically bill to your Card. Please note that your Card will have a new security code and expiration date that must be used where requested in future purchases.

To gain a greater understanding of chip technology, American Express has posted a Frequently Asked Questions site. Click Here to access the site.

Thought Your Mobile Calls Were Safe?

 

German researchers discover a flaw that could let anyone listen to your cell calls

 

As reported in today’s Washington Post, German researchers have discovered security flaws that could let hackers, spies and criminals listen to private phone calls and intercept text messages on a potentially massive scale – even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available.

The article reports the problem, but offers no solutions. Anyone have any ideas?

To read the full article, click on the link below.

http://wapo.st/1AkQ7zt

 

 

All Cell Phone Carriers Are Not Created Equal

Confused by all the offers from the major cell phone providers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.)?

There’s a price war going on between the major carriers. Although price is a consideration in selecting a carrier, saving a few dollars should not be the major factor when signing a contract. Having an unlimited or discounted data or phone plan is useless if your service is poor.

First, you must determine which provider offers the best service in your area.  Are you frequently getting disconnected in the middle of a call?  How is the voice quality of the calls?

Second, you should check the signal strength in all parts of your home or office.  If you are a frequent traveler, how is the service on the road?  How about your second home? If you are moving to a new location, check with your neighbors. Find out what works for them and which provider (s) have poor reception. I have a client who recently moved a few blocks away and found the provider she was using in her old apartment did not work in her new building. Another client found that her provider only worked in a few rooms in her new building.

There are a number of discounted service providers offering deep discounted rates. However, the majority of them are using one of the major providers listed above. If you elect to go that route, check out who they are using before signing up.

Don’t be tempted to sign up with a provider because of a great deal or a pretty new phone offer. The name of the game is quality of service.

 

 

IBM and Apple Make a Deal

Did you ever believe that IBM would be selling iPhones and iPads?

Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President, and CEO, in a press release stated that “Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

As part of the exclusive IBM MobileFirst for iOS deal, IBM will sell iPhones and iPads loaded with software for its business clients.

 Click Here to read the full article

 

 

 

Can’t Connect to the Internet?

Do you get frustrated when you get a message indicating that you can’t get on the Internet?

During the course of a week, I receive many phone calls from my clients about this problem.

While I realize that you are on the Internet if you are reading this blog, there might be instances when you get an error message indicating that you are not able to connect to any sites.  This can be caused by a service outage in your area, your house/apartment, a faulty modem or router, or your computer.

Here are some simple steps to follow if this happens:

– Turn off your computer.

– Disconnect the power cord from your modem. The modem is the box that has a cable attached. (no need to disconnect the cable). If you have a separate router, disconnect the power cord as well. The power cords are usually thin cords and slip out easily.  All the lights on both units will go out.

– Reconnect the modem and wait until the lights stop blinking. (about one minute).

– Reconnect the router.

– Start up the computer and try to connect the the Internet.

If this process doesn’t work, call your service provider (e.g. Time Warner, Verizon, Comcast, etc.). The first thing they will do is try to connect to your modem. They have the ability to determine whether there is a service problem in your area or a defective modem. If  the problem is the modem, they should send you a new one. If not, they will usually send a service representative to your house/home to correct the problem.

In most instances, simply disconnecting and reconnecting the modem and router will resolve the issue, however don’t hesitate to reach out to your service provider for help.

 

Modem

        Modem

 

 

router

    Router

 

 

 

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