Smartphones: What To Do Before, During And After A Possible Theft

2 days ago I had my 1 month old Nexus 5 stolen on the streets of Cuenca. First and foremost it can happen to anyone in any city in the world. Second, I was not hurt and learned some valuable lessons.


Petty theft and especially smartphone theft is on the rise in Cuenca. Petty theft (under $600 ) is not prosecuted in Ecuador. Here are some thoughts and observances based on my 3+ years in Ecuador.

  • Never, answer your phone on a bus. And carry the phone in your purse or front pocket and switch it to vibrate.
  • Try and have all four direction in view and stand against a wall if possible when using your smartphone
  • Texting in a high traffic area is just asking for someone to snatch your phone
  • Wear a bluetooth headphone to avoid run by snatchings
  • When using a BT headset use “Google Now” on Android and “Siri” on iPhones to make your calls
  • *** Very important*** On iPhones install the “Find My iPhone” App
  • *** Very important*** On Android Phones use the “Android Device Manager”
  • Write down the serial number of your phone in a safe place


Fortunately, I was not hurt during the theft. So here our some simple guidelines.

  • Don’t fight. Give the punk the phone
  • Don’t run after him
  • Look for facial characteristics. There are mug shots available in the police station.

After: (In Cuenca)

  • Have someone call 911 in the area – I was fortunate a family picked me up in their SUV and called the police
  • ***Very important*** Do not cancel your Claro or Movistar plan right away
  • Go home and use one of the tracking device to see where your phone is
  • Lock your phone using the tracking device
  • If uninjured go to the Fiscalia (Police Station) at Paucamaba
  • If injured go to Fiscalia at the Airport – They have mug shots there.
  • Fill out the Denuncia form – Totally in Spanish so have a friend or a facilitator there.
  • Check with Moviestar or Claro in the next couple of weeks to see if the their was stupid enough to register your phone.

Final Thoughts:

Are you at extra risk in Ecuador carrying a smartphone? Absolutely! Life is risk. For me the pleasure and rewards for owning a smarthphone outweigh the risks. Will phone theft happen to me again? Will I run after the Ladron. Nunca!!!



The Cloud Revisited

My wife and I returned from the U.S last week and I was able to travel to Oregon, Idaho and California without a computer thanks to the cloud. I could receive my email via the Google Cloud. I could retrieve my photos via the Yahoo Cloud, I could read my books via the Amazon Cloud and finally hear all of my music via the Apple Cloud.

Two years ago I advised new purchasers of computers, tablets and smartphones to buy as much memory as they could afford. Today, with the advent of free cloud services I tell people to buy the minimum memory configuration.

The following are the free storage available to any user.

  • iCloud (Apple) 5 gb
  • Google Mail And Drive 15 GB
  • Youtube – Virtually unlimted videos uploads
  • Flickr (Yahoo) a whopping 1 TB  (1000 GB ) of photo storage

There are other services like Dropbox, Pogoplub, Box etc that also offer free gigs of storage.

This blog is being stored on the WordPress Cloud.

Bottom line – take advantage of the many free, safe and reliable cloud storage systems to streamline your life.


The Almost Final Word On Smartphones In Cuenca

Last night at a restaurant in Cuenca I polled the 8 people present and only 50% of the table had smartphones. Statiscally that may defeat my argument for the need of a Smartphone in Cuenca. However, for me the Google Nexus 5 ( I previously owned an iPhone 4s) is a necessity. In my previous post – The Case For A Smartphone in Cuenca, I gave 8 personal reasons that worked for me.

I just read in an interesting statistic that a child with a smartphone in 2014 has more information available to him/her than President Clinton did in 1996. – Triple Yowza.

Yesterday, in preparation for this post I jotted down on my phone all the ways I used my phone to save time. The first couple of bullet points are obvious ones.

  • answering email instantly
  • Being available to my children and grandchildren through the magic jack app in an emergency
  • Winning a bet with a friend having coffee
  • Playing competitve Bridge with players around the world
  • ** Tethering to my laptop when the Internet went down yesterday**
  • Navigation when the taxi driver could not find his way
  • Listening to Amazon Music’s amazing music collection

I just started a Facebook Group called – Cuenca Smartphone Users. The purpose is to share apps and interesting uses of Smartphones.






Amazon Prime Music

When Amazon first launched their Prime Service   the only advantage was free 2 day delivery on your ordered merchandise. With the addition of Amazon music your $99 yearly subscription gets you the expedited delivery plus access to their 30,000 + video streaming library, one free kindle book a month and now access to the Amazon Music Library.

My wife would describe me as a casual music listener so I find Amazon Music a really great addition. What seems to me is an unlimited treasure trove  of music to stream on my computer, iPad and Android Phone. Already I am overdosing on Johnny Cash, Spyra Gyra and Paul Simon. I have included two quick reviews below that describe some limitations on Amazon Music

There is a 30 day free trial for non Prime Users.  For Prime Users Amazon Music is a No Brainer.



The Case For A Smartphone In Cuenca (Revisited)

Last month I sold my iPhone 4s and purchased a Nexus 5 (Android phone manufactured by LG).  It was a difficult decision for me to give up my iPhone and to purchase what many experts (including most of my friends ) perceive to be an inferior phone. I am here to say that after a month of using the Nexus 5 I can say that it is a superb phone. I still miss the intuitive Apple IOS but feature for feature the Nexus 5 is superior. My need for a bigger screen and a lower price prompted me to switch phones. The Nexus 5 is $350 unlocked compared to $650 for an unlocked iPhone 5s.

My purpose in writing this post was not to start a polemic on which phone is better but to review the updated benefits for having a smartphone in Cuenca. You can read my first posting here

Most importantly the reception on a smartphone is superior to your average consumer phone.

Here are the additional benefits:

  • Google Now the Voice Activated Assistant is extremely intuitive. The results included driving directions to what I needed to find
  • NFC (near field communications) Presently not on the iPhone which let me pay for merchandise  (In the U.S) by tapping my phone at checkout. *Not in Cuenca*
  • Magic Jack App- Let me receive and answer calls from anywhere
  • Superb camera that shoots great videos and syncs with all photo cloud storage.
  • Amazon Music – millions of free songs streamed to your phone. More later about this service in a future post.
  • Dialer that is intuitive using Google maps to find 411 information.
  • Netflix, Amazon Video, Kindle are there for my entertainment and reading.
  • Pure android so it seamlessly connects to all the Google properties (Maps, Youtube, Google Drive)

The bottom line is that if you need the Internet in your pocket in your pocket or your purse than a smartphone is a must have device.