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 email@example.com
For those of you who are not familiar with MagicJack, the system lets you make free telephone calls to anywhere in the United States, regardless of your location, whether you are in the US or abroad.
How does it work? When you sign up, you select a phone number with your local area code (in New York, either 917,646, or 347). What this means is when you plug your MagicJack into your computer, you are calling through the Internet making it possible to make what appears to be a local call within the US, MagicJack is a tiny device that is plugged into one of the USB slots in your computer. The device costs $39.99 with an annual fee of $19.99. Not only that, but when you purchase a MagicJack, you get the first year for free – no monthly charges. You can purchase one at places like Best Buy or online at magicjack.com.
With its new enhanced program called MagicJack Plus ( at a slightly higher rate), you no longer need a computer. No more having to keep your computer on at all times. You can use any phone, stationary or portable and simply plug it into your new phone jack in the MagicJack PLUS which can be plugged into the wall now. The MagicJack Plus device is than plugged into your router. If you want to reduce your telephone costs, you can now “port” over your existing home phone number to MagicJack Plus and take your home phone number wherever you go.
If you have any questions regarding MagicJack or any other technology issues, give me a call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to click here to receive my NEW white paper, “TIPS ON BECOMING A TRUE MOBILE WARRIOR”
You’ve just purchased a brand new iPad. Congratulations!! If you bought the model with the 4G data service from either Verizon or AT&T, here are some things you need to know about using your iPad when traveling out of the United States.
1. The data service should be turned off before you leave. That means you must switch to Airplane mode. When overseas, you are roaming which means the cost of using the a US based data plan is very high.
2. If you want to access the Internet while traveling, use a wireless (wi-fi) connection which is usually FREE. Most hotels offer wi-fi, and while most places offer it for free, you might run into a situation where there might be either a daily or hourly rate.
3. Most Internet cafes abroad offer Internet access by the hour.
4. If you are unable to locate a place with wi-fi and need to use a data service, you can purchase a micro sim card to insert into your iPad. These local data providers offer plans that are significantly cheaper than activating an International program from either Verizon or AT&T here in the United States.
5. Most public wi-fi “hotspots,” whether hotels, airports, Internet cafes, etc. are not secured, meaning that anyone in the network can see what you are doing on your computer. In other words, do not use a public unsecured “hot spot” to access bank accounts, use credit cards or any other private information. If you are staying at someone’s house who has wifi, ask whether their network is secured and for a password to access their network. If no password is required, it is not a secured network.
6. If you want to stream a video from Netflix, or use an online service such as Skype, make sure you are doing so from a w-fi connection. Using your data service, whether from the U.S. or a local provider overseas, will use up your allowable data plan quickly. For example, watch 2 Netflix movies with the 4G service will use up to 90% of your monthly allowance.
7. Lock your iPad with a password. If you are doing a great deal of traveling, it is not difficult to leave it somewhere or have it stolen.
If you have any questions about the iPad or any other technology issues, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at email@example.com. 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.
Several weeks ago, a new product was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal that should be a staple for those of us that have become more mobile, whether it be the frequent business traveler, senior citizen out for a stroll, or anyone, at any age, that spends time out of the home or office.
As quoted in the WSJ, “GreatCall’s 5Star Responder is one of the first truly portable emergency-call devices. It runs on Verizon’s network, giving it coverage anywhere a Verizon phone works. Other emergency-call devices like Medical Alert by LifeStation, work in the home and are geared toward seniors who rarely go out.”
Some of the features of GreatCall’s 5Star Responder include:
– Nationwide coverage that provides you with access to live help 24/7, anywhere wireless coverage is available.
– Agents who, based on GPS technology, identify and locate you, assess your situation and then either contact appropriate personnel or dispatch someone for help.
– In addition to dispatching 9-1-1 emergency services, agents can conference in family and friends, and will stay on the line with you until your situation is resolved.
At this time, you can either purchase the unit through their website, where you can review all its features and pricing, or download an app to your iPhone. The company indicates that an Android app is in the works.
If you don’t have a smartphone where you will be able to download an app, you should consider the stand-alone unit for all family members, parents, children, etc. The monthly service charge is $15 and $9 for each additional members of your family.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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 email@example.com