Watching TV In Cuenca – Revisited

Technology changes every day and TV Watching in Cuenca is no exception. Last year I wrote this post. I have revised and changed some prices and and added a few recommendations. The revisions are in bold and the new products have *** before them.

 

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 fromSabai 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.

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 – Now $9
  • Yearly Amazon Prime Subscription $70 – Now $99
  • One Time Cost  Apple TV – $99
  • One Time Cost Roku Box – $90

My monthly costs including the amortized hardware is about $25 per month

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.

*** Amazon Prime is now better than ever. They have added all the HBO Season 1 Shows and many more movies.

*** Netflix has added more movies and solid original productions like House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black

*** Amazon has come out with a Streaming Box similar to Roku and Apple TV called Amazon Fire TV. The initial reviews are excellent

 

On a separate note. A quick reminder that I do Skype consulting for those of you that are permanently moving to Ecuador. The charge is $25 and last night a happy future expat said that after the call she saved $150 by planning to bring certain electronics and eliminating others.

streaming_tv_-_Google_Search

Flickr Revisited

Pop Quiz CTL subscribers. Where can you upload 1 TB of photos and videos and find a photo or album in less than a second. Answer: Flickr

The other day a friend asked me about a Moluccan Cockatoo. Not only was I able to provide him with photos and videos of our former bird. I was also able to connect him to discussion groups on Cockatoos. You can use Flickr for photo storage or photo appreciation but for the most cost effective way of finding your photos on any device then Flickr is your Go To Service

There is a free advertised supported version of Flickr. I have been a pro version subscriber since 2004 and I have 9000+ photos and videos stored. My annual subscription is $24. Below are some photos that have more than 500 views over the last 10 years.

2260485967_c77614eac3_z 8630139_a1661f68ef_z 585414279_b8736a6978_z 11623291043_8afe45cfcc_z

 

101 Ipad Tips and Tricks

This June I sold my iPad 2 and purchased an iPad Mini w/retina screen. I also purchased a bluetooth keyboard and case and I now find I use my Macbook less. In fact I highly recommend replacing your computer with an iPad unless you need a big screen or heavy duty processing power (i.e. video or Photoshop Editing).

101 iPad Tips and Tricks provides the novice as well as the advanced users with plenty of answers and time saving procedures.  My favorite was

Save Maps for Offline Use Google Maps

Don’t forget about the iPad Users Group Meeting this Thursday

ipad_-_Google_Search

Kindle Unlimited – Netflix for E-Books

Amazon just took another step in being your GoTo media service by offering Kindle Unlimted.

Essentially Kindle Unlimited is a $9.99 charge per month that allows you unlimited access to a select group of E-Books and Audio Books. Amazon says that their selection numbers over 600,00 books and thousands of audio books.  You have a 30 day free trial.  For my wife and I this is a no brainer. I just looked at my E-book charges for the year and it was close to $200.

I’ll report back in a month after the free trial but if two people can order books than $2.50 cents a week is just a windfall for prolific readers

On a separate note. A quick reminder that I do Skype consulting for those of you that are permanently moving to Ecuador. The charge is $25 and last night a happy future expat said that after the call she saved $150 by planning to bring certain electronics and eliminating others.

Kindle_unlimited_-_Google_Search

G-Mail Tip

I am a big fan of the Digital Inspiration Site 

Did you know that you get two google email addresses. The one everyone knows is …@gmail.com. But, you automatically get another one which is …@googlemail.com So the logical question is why would you need two google email addesses? Answer: to cut down on Spam and filter important emails.

The author of Digital Inspiration suggests giving the googlemail.com address to your important contacts and setting up a google email filter to store those emails into s special folder. Makes sense.

All_Gmail_Users_Have_Two_Email_Addresses

 

8 Days In Medellin, Colombia

Contrary to many rumors out there Medellin is safe, very affordable and the “paisas” (residents of Medellin) are very friendly.

SAM_7155

Basics:

  • Medellin is an 1.5 hr easy affordable trip from Quito.
  • Metro Medellin in the Valley of Eternal Spring and is 3.5 million people
  • The Colombian Peso is the monetary unit and $1 USD = 2000 pesos
  • During the day the weather is in the mid 80’s and the night drops down to the mid 50’s F
  • I stayed at Prado 61 Hotel for $30 a night and had Filet Mignon for $7.50
  • Breakfast was $4 at the hotel
  • A typical lunch in a good restaurant on the street was $6
  • A ride on the world class Metro is $1- Buy a train pass for 10 rides =$9

SAM_7103

Medellin was voted the most innovative city of 2013 beating out New York and Tel Aviv. Special street lighting, pedestrian only streets, cable car system, world class aquatic facilities all contribute to the innovation that makes this city very livable.

 

Some typical costs:

 

  • Taxi: All metered cabs about $6 dollars for a 10 minute ride
  • 2 bedroom unfurnished apartment in an upscale neighborhood $700
  • Aquatic Daily Pool pass $5.50 – Olympic pool
  • 2 Empanadas and a bottle of Pepsi $2
  • 2 large Pitahayas (author’s favorite fruit $1.50
  • Bottle of Johnny Walker Red $30
  • MacBook Air – about $80 more than the U.S.
  • Cell phone usage about 20% cheaper than Ecuador.
  • A latte or capachino is $2

SAM_6994

Some final thoughts:

The Spanish is spoken very fast with an accent and phrases that are different than Ecuador. Most people don’t speak English. The Metro Train system runs every 6-8 minutes and covers the entire city but it is very crowded most of the time. There is some violent crime in the city but the police are everywhere in the city especially on the Metro and as usual the crime occurs in the poorer neighborhoods. Cars and motorcycles are cheaper than in Ecuador and there is more traffic.

Medellin is a big city and the streets are often crowded. It’s residents are mainly young and very enterperneurial  Would I live there full time – maybe, but for the forseeable future Cuenca is home.

Put Medellin on your bucket list. It’s a geat place to spend a week or more.

SAM_6998