Easy Taxi

Yesterday I tried the EASY TAXI service for the first time. At 6:10 pm I pressed the “REQUEST TAXI” button on my smartphone. In less than 30 seconds I get a message back with the following information.

  • Your taxi is 1-4 minutes away
  • The taxi drivers name, phone # and license plate #
  • A map with the location of the driver

I then followed the progress of the taxi to my house. It arrived exactly 3 minutes after I pressed the “REQUEST TAXI” button. No hassle with the driver or meter. At the end of the ride I was asked by the App if the experience was good or bad. No extra charge for the service.

Here is how you get started.

  • Download the free app (IOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry)
  • Register your name phone # and email.
  • Good to go

Very, Very Cool. I have only used it one time. I’ll follow this post up if I have negative feedback but right now it works great.

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Where Do You Get Your News?

Lately, I have become a big fan of Yahoo News Digest. It is App you can download to your iPad, iPhone or Android device. Once the app is downloaded you automatically receive updates at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. The updates come as 7-9 news stories that cover the following topics

  • World
  • Politics
  • Business
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Technology
  • U.S. News

Most of the stories have  the following supporting media:

  • Image Gallery
  • Infographics
  • Maps
  • Twitter
  • Video

The articles are well written and is a dynamite learning tool.

 

This is run, don’t walk to app  https://mobile.yahoo.com/newsdigest

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Five Apps That Make Me More Productive

I can’t imagine how unproductive I would be without these apps below which run on both the Android and Apple platforms.

I always have my smartphone with me and most of the time I have my iPad. I read, write, email, record (photos, video), communicate, research and play card games with these devices.  Right now I have more information on my smartphone than President Clinton had in the White House in 1997.

Here are the five apps I have already used today.

  • Amazon Music – I have tens of thousands of free songs available to me
  • Pocket- While waiting in the hospital I was able to read web sites I had saved.
  • Moves- records my steps, calaories and routes
  • Pocket Casts – listened to the latest recordings of “Fresh Air” and “Marketplace”
  • Duolingo – Made progress on my Spanish during the wait time at the hospital

Find more free and useful apps at the TED BLOG

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Sunday Morning- What’s On TV In Ecuador?

When I lived in Oregon there was a routine for watching LIVE TV on a Sunday Morning. First it was CBS Sunday Morning with Charles OsGood followed by NBC’s Meet The Press. Well now that I’m living in Cuenca the routine has changed but the content has only got richer.

Before I go any further I should say that I have two streaming media boxes (Roku & Apple TV) connected to a VPN router so that my presence on the Internet is somewhere in the U.S.

I start the morning off with CBS Sunday Morning. This Sunday there were two especially interesting stores.

  • Top Secret World War II POW housed in Alexandria Va.
  • The history of the Queen Mary Cruise Liner  and the role it played in WW II

The great part of viewing TV programs on the Streaming boxes is that I can go back several weeks and view  programs I may have missed.

After watching Meet The Press. I viewed the week’s new TED TALKS. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). This week’s winners were:

  • Underground Parks in New York City
  • Children’s Literature
  • Amazon Rain Forest

The last two hours were devoted to watching the PBS Ken Burns Series “The Roosevelts”. An intimate story about Ted, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt.  I did not know that Ted was shot while making a speech and went on for an hour with a bullet in his chest.

I highly recommend owning a media box and a VPN in Ecuador. I discuss media boxes and VPN on my blog. You can conduct two different searches by using the terms “VPN” and “Roku”.

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IOS 8 Part One

Today I downloaded IOS 8 to my iPad Mini 2. Here are some caveats. Even though the download is slightly over 1 gb.

  • You need 5.9 gb free for the initial download
  • It’s a long process. Almost 2 hours
  • The iPhone 4S may not operate properly. Ars Technica
  • You can download via Itunes

Here is a link for the top IOS 8 features

As always I appreciate your feedback and experience with the new IOS

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Do You Need A Dedicated Camera In Ecuador

The short answer is – If you have a good smartphone (iPhone, Nexus 5, Galaxy 5) you probably don’t need the extra weight or expense of a digital camera. Now before I get everyone’s shorts in an uproar. A high end Nikon or Canon will definitely get better results. I have a good Canon and over the last several months I have only used it once. Why? Because I always carry my Nexus 5 and I always have it handy.

The first two shots are taken with my Nexus 5. The shot of the keyboard could not be duplicated with my Canon unless I put the camera on a tripod.

Shot number 3 shows how you can have selective focus with the Canon. Shot number 4 is the same subject taken with the Nexus and you can clearly see the superiority of the Canon camera.

The last picture was taken with the Nexus 5 and photo edited with the Android Photo Editing software.

Bottom line if you if you want to take good photos and video and don’t have the budget or the need to carry a dedicated camera then a good smartphone is all you need.

 

IMG_0515 nexus5 keyboard IMG_0520 Nexus 5 overall focus

 

Nexus 5 Parque de Madre

Making & Receiving Phone Calls In Ecuador Part 1

For the past 3+ years my family has been using the following combination of services to make phone/video calls from Ecuador back to the U.S.

  • MagicJack
  • Skype
  • Facetime
  • Skype
  • Google Voice

The one common thread is that they all rely on Internet connectivity (VOIP) to receive and initiate the calls. I am eager to hear what others are using and I hope we can have a robust discussion on the pros and cons of each service. I would also like to include the Total Cost Of Ownership which includes hardware, taxes and subscription fees.

My strongest piece of advice is that you don’t rely on one service since Skype and Google Voice are for the most part free. I would also invite other services to be discussed like Vonnage, Ooma and Viber.

Presently, the service of choice for us is MagicJack.

Pros:

  • MagicJack Plus hardware is less than $40 which includes the first 6 months of unlimited phone calls to the U.S/Canada
  • Plans after the first 6 months are about $25 a year
  • Free and powerful apps on the iPhone, iPad,  and Android Devices
  • Can make calls using your cell data plan
  • Voicemail also goes to your email

Cons:

  • Technical Help is awful
  • Often difficult to renew your yearly subscription

Looking forward to hearing about what works for you and the total cost of ownership.

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Got 3 Minutes?

We can all agree that Apple creates fantastic videos. The video below is the entire 2 hour 2014 Keynote that introduced the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch. The first 3 minute  is a fantastic use of perspective. Without any dialog Apple said volumes of commentary on our world of technology. Of course you can watch the entire keynote but for me the first 3 minutes were the best.

 

Apple Fanboy Alert!

September 9, 2014 has two meanings for me. The most important is that I get to celebrate my 21st Wedding Anniversary with my best friend. The other event is what every Apple Fanboy has been waiting for and that is the announcement of the iPhone 6.

A lot will be riding on this announcement.  In my opinion the iPhone 6 will be the first product completely under the reins of the Tim Cook, the Apple CEO.  This will either end the speculation that Apple could not produce a quality product or establish his credibility as Steve Job’s rightful heir apparent. I think the iPhone 6 will be a magnificent product.

Here are my predictions.

  •  A no brainer- A bigger screen. The rumor mill ave both a 4.7 inch and a 5.5 inch phablet coming tomorrow.
  • At least one of the models will have a sapphire screen. Making the glass indestructible
  • Amazing new camera – probably 13 megapixel
  • The iPhone will be your wallet with a ubiquitous  payment app
  • The new iPhone will be more expensive.

You can watch the streaming  keynote tomorrow in Ecuador on The Verge at 10::00 am pacific time. or like me you can wait until it appears later in the day on Apple TV under “Apple Keynotes”.

I’ll look forward to watching the amazing new technology but I happily just purchased a Nexus 5 smartphone for $349 contract free.

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