What Software Should You Have In Ecuador Part Two

Anti Virus Software:

This is one of those “if not when ” scenarious.  In the antediluvian days when I was a Windows user I used a freeware program called AVG Anit Virus which did the trick.  Now that I’m a smarter guy and a Mac User  I use Sophos Anti Virus Software . There is a good link to compare Anti Virus Sofware programs here

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Screen Capture Software: 

Skitch runs on both the Windows and Mac OS platforms. One of my favorite programs. Powerful and easy to use. Plus you can integrate your capture into Evernote

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Another good entry and free is Jing from Techsmith. It captures areas of the screen as well as jpgs and movies.

Mapping Software – Google Maps

I know their are good alternatives to Google Maps but to me it meets the 3 part litmus test – Free, Powerful and Easy.

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Sound Editing Software – Audacity

Again this program runs on both platforms . It is free and powerful. The biggest advantage is the ability to convert to different sound file formats. For example – Someone gives you song as wav file and you want to play the file on your iPhone. Audacity gives you the option to convert the file to one that can run on OS 7(iPhone &iPad)

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VPN Software:

This is a must if you want to watch TV or view movies that require you to have an IP address outside of Ecuador. I have used a variety of free and paid software. Presently I am using STRONG VPN. But, I have also used “Hide My Ass”. I cover many aspects of VPN software and hardware on this blog. For more information go to the Search Bar on the right and search with the word “VPN”.

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As always you can leave your comments and observations and I’ll reply to them.

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Top 10 Cuenca Photos On Flickr

I’m a bigger fan of the Flickr since they raised the photo storage capacity to 1 TB. That’s storage for over half a million photos and its free.

Flickr is more than a venue for storing photos. It also has photo editing capabilities and organizational facilities. I can retrieve a Cuenca photo from 2010 in two mouse clicks. Enjoy the video. The sound track is a clip from Jorge Triano’s Band.  One of the best bands in Cuenca.

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What Software Should You Have In Ecuador (Part One)

In a previous post I advocated what Electronics one should have when moving to Ecuador. Solid Software always makes great Hardware. I make no secret that I’m an Apple Fan. Life would be difficult in Cuenca without my computer, iPad and iPhone. I’m going to restrict my recommendations to web resources and apps that run on the Mac/PC/IOS/Android platforms. Please feel free to comment and add your own “must have resources”.

1.Skype – I don’ think this is surprise. Skype allows me to communicate via video and audio to anyone in the world with a Skype account. It’s free and easy to use. You can also purchase Skype minutes to communicate with people who don’t have Skype accounts but have land lines or cell phones. Facetime is similar to Skype but is only for Mac/IOS users.

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2. Multiple Email accounts. Email is the most used resource of the Internet and I’m surprised that people I talk to don’t have at least two accounts. I have three (Gmail, Yahoo, Icloud). I use Gmail as my main and Yahoo as my challenge account. I use icloud as my account for email lists and subscription that I don’t need to access on a daily basis. The added advantage to Google is that it comes with 15 gb of storage.

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3. Multiple Web Browsers. My primary browser is Google Chrome. I use Chrome because it provides instant translation for the many Spanish sites that I visit. I also use Firfox and Safari. All three of these are solid browsers but I think Chrome is faster and uses less memory.

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4. Zite. You can skip this recommendation if you don’t have a smartphone or a tablet. Zite is available in the Itunes, Google Play and Amazon appstore. Simple stated you can create your own magazine and daily stories will be appear on your device. I get stories from the L.A. Times, Canon, Ecuador, Colombia and a heads up on apps that have gone free.  Run, don’t walk to this free app.

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5. Search Engines– Surprise, I am not going to recommend Google. Not that there is anything wrong with Google other than everyone of your searches are tracked. My recommendation DuckDuckGo.com.  Funny name but a great search engine. I reviewed Duckduckgo here

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I’ll add 5 more resources in few days. I look forward to your recommendations and comments.

 

 

Get The Best Price While Shopping Online

Shopping Online for Tech Gadgets is even more important living in Cuenca then when I lived in the U.S. Why? Electronics here, if you can find them are usually 30% higher than in the U.S. Usually I have the electronics shipped to a friend or relative in the US. and I pick it up on my next trip or a friend will mule it in for me.

Donald Bell from CNET tells how to navigate the Online maze to get the very best price at the right time and most likely avoid the shipping charge.

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What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador (Part 5)

My wife and I have lived in Cuenca for 2.5 years and my thoughts have changed considerably since I first suggested what Electronics to bring to Ecuador when you permanently make the move.  Feel free to check the past posts. The most recent (Part 4) being here

I’m going to assume that the majority of readers will not be bringing a container and will use their available suitcases. In the next couple of paragraphs I’m going to surprise some readers and friends with my new recommendations.

You Don’t Need A Computer

It’s not a typo. if you are not doing proprietary work (i.e. video editing, accounting, database work, programming) then the latest tablet with a bluetooth keyboard will suit you fine.  Although my preference because of my Apple background and equipment would be an iPad Air or an iPad Mini, I don’t think you can go wrong with a Nexus 7 or Samsung Galaxy and they are considerably cheaper than the iPad.  The iPad does have the advantage with the 1 Billion strong app store but I know several people in Ecuador that are very happy with their Nexus 7.

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You Don’t Need A Printer

Most expats are retired. they are not working for a living anymore. Printers are bulky to bring and they are more expensive to buy in Ecuador. Initially we brought our Laser Printer with us when we first moved.  The paper jammed and I can’t find anybody that knows laser printers to repair the machine. For the past 6 months I have put anything I needed to print on a thumb drive and walk two blocks to a local copy shop and they print my documents in color or black and white.

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You Need A Smarthphone

The<$100 cell phones that you buy in Ecuador have inferior reception and transmission. I can always tell when I’m not speaking to someone on a Smartphone when there voice cuts out 3-5 times during a minute conversation. The benefits of a smartphone are numerous.

  • email availabiliy
  • Skype/MagicJack  ready
  • Spanish/English Translation
  • Web Access
  • GPS Map Apps
  • Great Camera

If you can afford an iPhone then you can’t go wrong. However, for what you would pay for 1 unlocked iPhone 5S you can buy 2 Nexus 5 phones. Data plans are about $35 per month. Half of what they are in the U.S. and you don’t get charged for incoming calls.

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You Need A VPN Router

For those people who want to have a seamless experience with their computer, tablets , Apple TV, Smartphone, or Roku Box then this is the easiest way to go. Yes, you can individually connect your devices via software to a VPN service (i.e. Strong, Witopia, HMA etc) but you can’t connect an Apple TV or Roku box any other way but through a VPN router. A Roku Box won’t work at all unless the device sees you with a U.S. IP address. I  extensively cover the benefits of a VPN router in this post

You Don’t Need A Point And Shoot Camera

Although I do own a Canon DSLR camera most of my shots are snapped on my iPhone. I have my iPhone all the time. I never miss a shot and I don’t have to lug a bulky camera kit with lenses around with me. I initially brought a Samsung point and shoot and now I don’t use it all. The iphone shots are great and you can also shoot video. The same can be said for the Samsung Galaxy and new Nexus 5 smartphones.

You May Need A Wifi Extender

We live in a 40 year old 2 story adobe house and need a wifi extender for the signal to reach from my office(router and modem location) to the second floor bedroom 40 ft away.  Wifi signals cap out at about 30 ft and don’t do well going through concrete floors or walls.

You Need A Roku Box

The Roku 3 Media Box is a little larger than a hockey puck. There are over 300 channels you can receive (with a VPN router). Netflix, Amazon Prime, NBC News, PBS, CBS News are just a few of the channels we can receive. If you have an investment in Apple equipment I also suggest you purchase and Apple TV for the Airplay facility as well as having access to the Itunes Store.

I look forward to your comments, and suggestions. There is no strict list of what you should bring. These items work well for my family. Your mileage may vary.  I’m available via Skype (at $20 per hour) to anyone who is considering moving down to Ecuador. During that hour I can suggest brands, vendors and installers that will save you hundreds of dollars and share with you mistakes that I made choosing the wrong equipment and ISP.

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