From The Desk to My Hand
It was the middle of 1982, and as my business partner and I were making our way through The Netherlands Schiphol Airport, we decided to stop by the local Duty Free Shop. One of the busiest stores in the terminal, they carried some of the most recognizable brands and designer items. As we made our way through their many aisles, we stopped at a new department featuring some of their latest products.
Our eyes were immediately drawn to a new electronic device which was getting a great deal of attention. And there it was, the Commodore 64 computer, the first of its kind. Up until that time, my partner and I had never utilized any technology for our business or personal lives. So, without hesitation, we both lined up and each purchased our first computer. We both struggled to learn how to use it and had no idea how this simple computer would start a revolution that would change our lives and how businesses would operate in the future.
For the past few years, I had been hopping around the world with only telephones and faxes (very expensive!) as a means to communicate with business partners. All meetings were conducted face to face. I was making monthly trips to Europe and at least 4 trips a year to the Far East. There were several instances when I would fly to a country, meet with associates in the airport to sign agreements, and hop on the next plane home.
As the ‘80s moved forward, Microsoft introduced their first Windows computer, while Apple launched its initial Macintosh unit. Companies started to provide their staffs with desktop computers for word processing. Computers started to pop up in homes. The Age of Technology was in full swing, and in the mid nineties, AOL started offering Internet access through telephone lines. However, it would take time before any work could be done away from your desk.
Moving through the ‘90’s, technology gradually crept into our lives. Computers became more powerful, and laptops became a necessary accessory. Toward the end of the decade, handheld devices started to enter the market. The blackberry became a staple as a pager, email provider, and a rudimentary means of access to the Internet. Starting in 2001, Apple entered the handheld market with its first iPod, offering music and other features, such as the ability to listen to books through Audible. The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 was a game changer. Google’s Android followed shortly thereafter, in 2008. Starting in 2010, tablets were introduced by both Apple and Google.
All of a sudden, we became a mobile society. No longer were we tethered to our desks. We were able to communicate and access information on the road. As we moved through the decade, it was possible to leave our computers at the office and home. Phones and tablets became mainstream, as handheld devices outsold computers. It is estimated that in 2021, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide stood at almost 15 billion, up from just over 14 billion in the previous year.
I have been writing this document on a number of different devices from several locations. In the past, this could only have been accomplished by saving the file on a “flash drive” and transferring it from device to device. Now, with the advent of “cloud storage,” it can be accessed on any computer I use, as well as a phone or tablet.
Growing up, television was still in its infancy. Listening to the radio was mainstream. We now have “Smart TVs” with Internet access. Why go to movies with the advent of “streaming?” Isn’t it ironic that radio has returned in the form of podcasts which lets us enjoy programs similar to how we relied on radios 70 – 80 years ago?
I often look at my life through a prism of “pre and post technology’s infancy.” I have written about my overall discomfort with corporate life, particularly the travel that was involved, prior to the Internet becoming mainstream. Having made the decision in the early 90’s to change careers, what would have happened if I hadn’t recognized the potential of the Internet and decided to be a computer tutor and technology consultant? At 52, where would I have turned. I had a successful corporate career, but needed another challenge. Looking back to nearly 30 years ago, the world of technology offered me the opportunity to pursue a second career, which has been rewarding and exciting.
As I complete this article from my handheld device in the park, thank you Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Case, and the many others who have made this ride so enjoyable.
How to Select the Right Cellphone Provider
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.
Should You Be Interested in the New iPhone SE?
Apple has introduced its latest iPhone and, as expected, my phone rang off the hook as soon as the news was released. Apple has called it “A big step for small.”
So, what’s new? The iPhone SE is a new 4-inch smartphone that offers a smaller and cheaper option to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Apple’s new iPhone SE looks almost identical to the iPhones 5s, but comes with the hardware and capabilities of the 6s. Apple has targeted the phone to consumers who were put off by the size of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus.
To read PC Magazine’s full review and comparison of the iPhone SE and iPhone 6S CLICK HERE.
What is Streaming?
Streaming 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!
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:
– Book and track a flight
– Search and book a hotel
– Make restaurant reservations
– Reserve a car service
– Track your portfolio and execute trades
– Check your bank balance, transfer funds, and pay bills
– Make mobile payments
– 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
– Take and edit pictures
– Share them with family and friends
– Create albums by event or date
– Set up emergency contacts
– Research symptoms and ailments
– Keep a record of medications
– Refill prescriptions
– Check out doctors and hospitals
– 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 email@example.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.
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.
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
What Your Kids Can Teach You About Tech
“The millennial generation has consumer technology figured out. They keep costs to a bare minimum while their parents pay hundreds of dollars a month for cellphone, cable or satellite TV, Internet services and other technology.” So states Karen Blumenthal in an article in the Wall Street Journal.
In her article, she suggests you consider whether you need a landline and why many people are just relying on their cell phone at home. For those of you that have a smartphone, make sure your data plan matches your usage.
Savings can also be realized by making sure you are using wireless technology, whether at home or on the road to access the Internet.
And finally, do you really need a TV?
To read her article click below:
Should You Be Upgrading To The Latest iPhone?
A great deal has been written about the new iPhones (5S and 5C). Should you consider upgrading or sticking with your current phone. If you have the iPhone 4 or 4S, the new phones offer a significant upgrade. If you have the iPhone 5, you might not be interested unless you are interested in some of the new features described in the articles below.
Here’s what Shelly Palmer has to say about the new phones.
iPhone 5s, 5c Release Reveals Apples True Direction.
For another analysis, click below to read what Walt Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal reports.
Walt Mossberg on the iPhone 5S
David Pogue in the New York Times outlines 3 lessons to be learned from the introduction of the new iPhones.