IOS 7 Released Sept.18th

If you’re a regular reader of CTL and do not own an iPhone, IPad or iPod then this post may be of little interest. But for those of you who do own one or more of these devices then I highly recommend that you upgrade to the new OS. WHY?   The video below shows some of the new features but for me the last week of use has made me feel more productive.  There are less key strokes.  The OS is easier on the eyes.  Siri is vastly improved and finally its more fun using the new OS.

CNN Video




3 Must Have Web Resources

Now that I’m retired I view less websites. Playing Tennis, Poker and Bridge has a higher priority. But, as a life long geek I still keep up on technology. The following 3 web sites I highly recommend to anyone that wants to keep up on technology .My all time favorite is ResearchBuzz 

  1. I have been following Tara Calishain, the author of Researchbuzz for over 10 years. She covers technology and cats with a sage perspective. This is a must have resource.


2.  Digital Inspiration is you goto site for Google tips and tricks and general suggestions on technology shortcuts.


3. Finally, Mashable is expert device on just about anything with an emphasis on technology. Be prepared to devote at least an hour to Mashable the first time you visit the site.  You’ve been warned


The Case For A Smartphone In Cuenca

Apple announced two new iPhones on Sept. 10th. Each phone has 1 billion transistors which makes the iPhone more powerful than most 3 year old desktop computers. As I write this post Sharon, my wife, is talking to our 7 year old grandson in San Diego via Facetime (Apple’s easy to use version of Skype) about his favorite apps. She can video chat with him and the best part is that she can also pick up Facetime calls without being at a Wifi Hot Spot.

The price of technology is constantly going down. The price of a new iPhone 5C in the States with a contract is $99. My advice to budget conscious expats is buy a used iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy 4.  You can buy either the unlocked version or phones that are under contract. Phones that are under contract can be “jailbroken” for less than $20 in Cuenca.

Monthly contracts on Claro are about $35 per month. The reception on a iPhone or a Galaxy is much better than your average $50 -$100 LG or Samsung phone.

These are some of the apps I use on a daily basis in Cuenca on my iPhone

  • Kindle App – reading books – automatically updated on my Kindle Paperwhite
  • Google Maps- Directions – walking or showing to a Taxi Driver
  • Moves – records my walking/excercise during the day and reports back in steps/miles/calories
  • Netflix- watch my favorite movie
  • USA Today- keeping up on World News
  • Facebook- Duh
  • Magic Jack – ability to make/receive free calls to anyone in North America
  • Chrome – Google Web Browser
  • Spanish Dict – Translate and dictionary
  • Duolingo – Spanish learning program
  • iPhoto – editing photos
  • Trvl – exploring potential trips to other countries

iPhone or Android iPhone??? – the iPhone is more expensive but in my opinion is worth the extra money because of the App Store that has over 1 billion apps (most of them are free)

Finally, there are great apps and podcasts that you watch on your phone that suggest new apps according to your interests.


******Smartphone Smackdown – Smartphone Features Compared *******

samsung_galaxy_s4_-_Google_Search iphone_-_Google_Search

Television In Cuenca – Revisited

In April of 2012 I wrote a post about our TV services in Cuenca. A lot has changed in 18 months. We no longer have DirecTV and now our TV viewing is based on the following services.

I have installed a VPN Router. For the non geeks in the audience my VPN router came from Sabai Technology

This router basically is configured with VPN software and every time I  turn my computer, iPad, iPhone or Apple TV my Internet presence is in Miami and not in Ecuador. This allows me to watch anything on the web, Netflix, Amazon, Hula etc as if I was living in the U.S.  I received a great deal of help from  Larry Schunk.  He is a rep. for Sabai in Cuenca. I have his contact info and you can send me an email ( for that info.

You also need to subscribe to VPN software. I use Strong VPN as my service. Good customer support and very reliable.

Summary of Costs:

  • One Time Cost: VPN Router $150
  • Yearly VPN subscription $90
  • Monthly Netflix Subscription: $8
  • Yearly Amazon Prime Subscription $70


  • No configuration of VPN software
  • All your devices are connected
  • Full Netflix and Amazon Prime Video collection available to you >10K titles
  • Watch any TV website on the Internet


  • Initial Expense
  • Yearly recurring fee
  • Slight loss of Internet connection speed

I highly recommend this route. We watch great BBC and American TV series with no limitation.

appletv for blog2

Five Best Free Websites To Learn A Language

I have lived in Ecuador for just over 2 years and getting to be conversational in Spanish has remained a challenge.  I could say it was my age but that would be a poor excuse. I think for sure it is motivation. I can get by on the street, restaurants, taxis,shopping, mercados, bargaining and buses with my Spanish. I can understand about 60% of a conversation when the speaker talks muy lento. But, putting a paragraph together with proper verb tenses still remains a challenge.

Learn a language for free: the five best websites  


The above website provides 5 different programs. In several days I’ll report back on my favorite.  Feel free to comment your favorite one.