Cell Phones

US Carriers wave fees

While Japan is dealing with the aftermath and residents are attempting to put their lives back together they will have to worry about one less thing…relatives in the US getting a hold of them. We know how parents worry about their children even if they are the ones in need. Well several carriers have vowed to wave calling and texting to Japan. So if you have relatives or family in Japan you can check up on them as often as you like.


Apple Event

Wednesday March 2nd I will be glued to my computer watching the live blog of the most recent Apple event. Rumors have it that there will be an announcement for iPad 2, Mobile Me and Cloud Storage service for music, movies and all things iTunes.  I have also read rumors about iWork type storage.

All rumors aside, I am sure we will see some progressional steps for the iPad.  What who knows but likely some upgrades with horsepower and possibly a camera or two.  Not sure why one would want a camera on the back of an iPad but okay.

What I can tell you is that you can ride the internet over to http://www.gizmodo.com, http://www.tipb.com or http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/02/live-from-apples-ipad-2-event/ where they live blog.  Apple has been known to stream video of events too.  Not sure if this will happen or not but check out http://www.apple.com to find out.

All this begins tomorrow morning.  Bloggers will be stroking those keys hard.

08:00AM – Hawaii
10:00AM – Pacific
11:00AM – Mountain
12:00PM – Central
01:00PM – Eastern
06:00PM – London
07:00PM – Paris
09:00PM – Moscow
11:30PM – Mumbai
03:00AM – Tokyo (March 3rd)
05:00AM – Sydney (March 3rd)

Apple Experiences…cont

I opened the plain brown box to be greeted by the usual white Apple packaging feature a picture of what was inside.  I quickly opened the MacBook pro, plugged it in and turned it on. I saw the screen, that beautiful screen inviting me to play take control.  I had to enter some information for set up and then I was on to using my new device for the first time.  Our relationship was both frustrating and welcoming at first.  All the usual commands I had learned to operate my windows machine had to be relearned because Apple keys are not like Windows.  But it did not take me long as I could not put this machine down.  I wanted to know more about how it worked.  I tried this and read that until I finally found myself using it like it was the machine I learned on. But it did not stop there.

I read more about the eco system; I was slowly getting hooked on Mac.  I read more about iPods, iMac’s and subscribed to podcasts, blogs.  I had never owned anything beside the iPhone that played media.  But it was all so expensive.  Apple charges a premium for their devices.  You could honestly end up with a bill for thousands on a new laptop and tens of thousands on their desktop equivalents.  I am by no means rich so I could not afford to buy all my eyes could take in.  But I bought sparingly and got my kids and wife into iPhone’s and my five year old an iPod touch around the age of 2.

I saw the iPhones as a means to communicate through the cloud and Mobile Me did that for me.  My wife and I actually like each other.  We love to be together and do things together like couples should.  We don’t have a lot of friends so we shop for everything from groceries to clothing together.  We watch movies together and listen to music together.  So Mobile Me made sense for us.  We use it a little different probably, we have a standard account and have his, hers and family calendars that each of us control as admins.  She can add an event to mine and I hers and both can add an event to our Family calendar.  While the Mobile Me mail is mine and I set her up with Gmail, which has grown over the years too, we pay for Mobile Me because it works for us.

Over the years we have had several iPhones with each new announcement, iPods, MacBook’s and an iPad.  And it is not just I.  I bought my wife a MacBook from eBay because her Gateway was out of space and had been restored many times after calling support for issues we faced all the time.  She too, fell in love with her white plastic MacBook. So for both of us the move to Mac was one that while we were scared to do, we overcame and now see the advantages, even why we pay more.

Next….The advantages….

My Apple Experiences…

So there are many of you that talk about Apple fanboy’s.  An Apple fanboy definition can be found here at Urban Dictionary. We are talked about as people who are similar in nature to a cult of followers who believe anything that Apple tells us.  We are to believe that we do not have minds of our own and cannot assimilate a rational thought.  We stand in lines without expressions waiting for our worldly leader the Jobs to hand us our next ration.

But let me say that while I write about Apple and all its glory I come from a Windows background. My first computer was an eBay special; my first laptop was a Compaq with a 3GB hard drive.  Then I bought into Gateway an then another then an eMachine desktop.  So I know about Windows and what to expect there.  I remember the excitement of getting each machine and the disappointment when something would happen and they would ask me to restore the machine every time.  I had accumulated software that I used and stored photos only to have to begin over reinstalling everything from contacts to papers to software.  It was always a pain.

I have always been into technology and have slowly converted my family into this following.  For me it was the iPhone in 2007.  I was a hold out as the iPhone came out in June or July 2007 and I did not purchase one until August.  I remember that day clearly.  My wife and I were in town and I had been talking about buying an iPhone and I could not stand it anymore.  I stopped by AT&T and went in. I did not know she thought I was going in to “talk” to them.  Imagine my surprise when I got back into the car with a new $500 phone.  I got the usual talking to that I have become accustomed to in the beginning.

But for us that was the changing point.  Prior to that I had Windows computers and phones like the SLVR, the Pearl and the Curve to name of few of the most recent predecessors.  But the iPhone was a game changer for us.  The more I used it the more I wanted to learn about Apple.  I watched videos, I visited Apple stores and I talked to their sales and others that knew the Apple eco system.  I heard the entire pro’s and cons.  How great a machine they are and how limited they were in the software realm.  If I bought a Mac, I would have a machine that lived in a Window’s world.

It was not until late summer 2008, after using the iPhone and my discoveries that I choose the take the plunge.  I ordered my new MacBook Pro just before I went on vacation to Disney.  I was so excited I wanted it shipped to the hotel but was afraid it would not arrive while we were there so I shipped it home.  But that created anxiety of its own, as I was at the most magical place on earth and I wanted to be at home when the package arrived.  I remember checking the tracking information everyday.

When we arrived home the package had been picked up, at my request, by my mother, was the first thing I attended to.  Unpacking could wait; I had to see this machine.  I had petted them in the Apple stores but this one was mine—to be continued…

AT&T App Store? I’ll Pass…

ATT logoTiPb reports that CEO Randall Stephenson spoke out about the App Store ran by Apple.

“You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again,” Stephenson said in a keynote speech at the world’s largest mobile-phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain. “That’s not how our customers expect to experience this environment.”  TiPb.com


Wait…isn’t this just AT&T trying to get paid?  Sure for consumers we would love to be able pay once and use across many platforms.  And of course for AT&T this makes sense.  Just maybe they would be the one collecting 30 percent and all the attention.


Let’s look at Microsoft Office.   Have consumers had to purchase on Windows then switched to a Mac and had to pay again when putting it on a Mac?  This has been going on for a long time. I think it is nice that I can put Angry Birds on my iPhone, my wife’s and my daughters and pay only once.  I thought this was a step in the consumer friendly direction. If I lose the app I don’t have to repay for it, I just re download it. Box Software would not send me another disc and last time I got Microsoft Office Student edition from Digital River, I had to pay an extra $10 for it to be there should I need to download it again.


Pretty much any software I have bought I have to pay more for extra licenses, replacement discs or even a reinstall disc for my Windows OS that came on te computer.  So maybe Mr. Stephenson’s intentions were directed at income stream for AT&T or maybe he has the consumer’s interest at the forefront. Who knows but I why stop at the carrier.  What if I want to take my Apps to Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile.  Where do we stop?


Maybe AT&T is on to something for consumers but I think I will be happy where I am at this time


Rumors, Rumors, Rumors…

Everywhere you look there are Rumors about what companies are doing next. None more so than Apple. Each year rumors find their way around the internet about new and upcoming products. Not until very close to release do some become more realistic. And some are rumors until they become fact.

Take the Mobile Me rumor. Previously it was going free, it was going to add iTunes streaming service and we were going to dance in the street with beads around our necks drinking our favorite adult beverage and sing happy songs.

Well it fell through as predicted but came out with find my iPhone for free. Now the same all inclusive and streaming features have made their way back. They must be true now huh? Well if so, I know Apple will refund their loyal customer who paid years in advance or at least issue iTunes credit.

How about those iPhone nano rumors? Golly gee, I’ve never heard those before. A smaller version of the iPhone. With screen going from side to side and tip to toe. Kind of sounds cool anyway.

How about the revamped notifications rumor? Apple did buy a new company that people are speculating they will use the talent to rework the iOS. I agree with Leo Laporte, it needs it. I want widgets and abilities to make my home screen custom to my life.

Then we have iPad 2 and oh yeah iPad 3 rumors. Then there is iOS update for ATT iPhones releasing. It is fun but you could get a headache from all this.

The only thing certain about any of these rumors is we will know when they happen. Until then it is speculation brought on by desire and bits of information.

Backing up is critical

Part 1. Backing up is critical these days.

You have bought that computer or maybe an iPad, iPhone or just about anything with a chip in it. Now it is time to ensure your memories are safe.

Let’s start with computers and backing them up.  Years ago it was not an issue because many memories such as pictures of our loved ones were not kept on a hard drive but in shoe boxes and albums.  I remember when my mother’s home caught fire a few years ago.  The one thing she seemed to be worried about outside the obvious fire destroying her home was her memories.

Over and over she wanted the fire fighters who went in and out, in the smoke filled home to save her pictures.  This was one thing that tied my mom to her past.  We are who we are because of our past and the past was saved on paper images that were stored in our homes.  That’s where we feel safe and so our memories fell under that blanket.  Lucky for my mother the firefighters save her memories.

Today is different.  We are mostly a digital society.  Cameras and Camcorders are all backed up to our computers and maybe the occasional user backs up to a hard drive.  But, most people either never back up or pay about as much attention to backing up as they do to their anti virus…only when something happens.

While a hard drive is a great back up solution it is still a local drive.  And if you deleted the original you no longer have a back up.  What if a fire happens, maybe you live in a flood zone.  We all live in an area where Mother Nature has something waiting to be a part of our future. Fire, flood, tornados & earthquakes to name a few could all be a part of our lives at any time.  A hard drive backed up to an external drive that is stored in the same place as the original is only good if your computer dies and if you remembered to back it up.

Did you know that your hard drive has errors when you first get it and that the failure rate of hard drives is probably higher than you think?  Check out here for more information on the failure rate from Google who is the leader in hard drive use.

Here are some recommendations to aid you in backing up you memories.

  1. Paul Thurrott (http://www.winsupersite.com/) recommends a 3-2-1 back up strategy.
    1. 3 copies
    2. 2 different forms of media
    3. 1 off-site

For me that means I have a copy on my hard drive, a copy in the cloud, and a copy on an external hard drive.  Here are some services I use.

  1. Mobile Me: a service by Apple that offers, iDisk for hard drive back and storage. Also include is Mobile Me Gallery where you can show case pictures and store them.  For convenience there are apps for the iPhone and access your files and pictures on the go.
  2. Drop Box: (www.dropbox.com) A free service for most people.  (Up to 2GB).  Over that it’s a paid service and works much like the file storage of iDisk above.
  3. Carbonite: (www.carbonite.com) This service is by far my favorite.  It is a paid application that does back up automatically.  Windows and Mac applications and phone apps are available.  For about $55 dollars a year you install Carbonite on your computer and for example if you write a new paper, add pictures from your camera they are backed up within a few hours.

There are many other ways to back up these days.  Hard drives are cheap and you could buy two, keep one at home and one at work switching them out weekly.  Your date would never be more than a week old should you lose it.  For pictures you could use Google, Flickr etc.  For documents you could use Google, which is free. Anything steps you take to back up helps.  Remember backing up is no longer for businesses.  Our files, our pictures are important to who we are, what we do so we urge you to get on board.

This is where we can help.  Whatever back up strategy you choose, if you need help please don’t hesitate to call us.  We can help you set up a back up strategy for just a few dollars.  If you would like us to take care of making sure you are backed up we offer monthly visits for just a few dollars where we come to you and check your back up, anti virus and make sure you are up to date.