My New Smartphone

Pop Quiz CTL Subscribers- What Smartphone has a 6 inch Amoled Quad HD display , 3 gb of Ram, 4K video, 13 mp camera and is less than $300. If you said a Nexus 6 then go to the head of the class.

Google will be announcing their new phones on Sept. 29th and I took advantage of a great sales on Amazon. I paid a little more for the 64 gb version but you can buy the 32 gb ver. on Ebay for $299.

It’s no secret that I believe smartphones will replace computers shortly and right now my Nexus 6 does obvious tasks that my Macbook can’t do when I am mobile. I am slowly getting used to the bigger size but it is great on the eyes and lightning fast. Below are some shots I took this weekend.

allison sharon apron

joven Rio tome


Amazon Prime $67 – Sept 25th (24 hours)

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Amazon Prime. I’m a bigger fan living in Ecuador and here is why.

  • Most expats depend on streaming TV services and Amazon Prime is one of the best with award winning original TV series like Transparent
  • Prime video offers thousands of videos and tv programs including almost all of the HBO first season series
  • Amazon Photo- I take a photo on my smartphone or iPad and it is automatically uploaded to Amazon Photo which offers unlimited storage.
  • Amazon Music- thousands of songs and albums for instant streaming when you have a wifi connection.
  • Two day free shipping on most products purchased from Amazon. Although they don’t ship to Ecuador I always have a friend I can ship to so when they are in the United States they can bring it back to me.
  • Kindle Lending Library.  One Kindle book free each month.

Now for less than $5.60 a month you can have a great service.

Sale starts at midnight 9/25 for 24 hours.  Only open to new members (Damn)


2015 Amazon Fire Tablet – $50

Competition is good for the consumer. Amazon just made it super affordable to buy a powerful tablet. Last year I purchased a 16 Gb iPad Mini with retina screen for $300.

If you’re already an Amazon Prime Member ($99 per year) with these benefits then purchasing this tablet for portability or backup in case your other device breaks is a no brainer.

  • Unlimited Photo/Video Storage
  • Extensive Streaming Movie & TV selection
  • Amazon Music
  • Kindle Lending Library

The tablet is available for immediate ordering on Amazon and is shipping Oct 1st.




Who Wants Free Unlimited Photo Storage?

A wise person once said, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. That’s probably right but if you want to put up with Google’s tracking then you can use Google Photos for unlimited Cloud storage.

I actually use 3 services. I pay $24 a year for an unlimited Flickr Account and part of my Amazon Prime account provides me with unlimited photo storage. But, if you have google mail then you should be taking advantage of unlimited free photo storage. Every time I take a picture on my Nexus 5 smartphone the photo is automatically uploaded to Google photos for storage and editing.

How To Geek just posted a very informative article on unlimited photo storage



What It Really Costs To Live In Cuenca Ecuador (2015)

Before I go into the specifics I want to say how fortunate it is for my wife and I to have the privilege of living in Ecuador. The purpose of this article is to review some of the costs and to debunk some of the myths that you read about concerning unrealistic low costs. Everyone is is an individual and what is a good for me may not be that person’s choice.

Last year at this time I wrote an extensive post on my family’s cost of living. You can see the post here . I highly recommend you read the post because I’m only going to amend the costs that have changed.

Here is what has changed from last year.

  • Food in the Mercados and SuperMaxi have increased significantly in costs. For example Milk has increased from $1.07 to $1.37 a liter. Thc cost of fruits and vegetables have also increased significantly and the prices of imported products (i.e. liquor, wine, specialty items) have gone up as well.
  • Water and Electricity have also risen. Today, I paid my water bill and it was $7.95. Last year it was $4.95 per month.
  • We are enrolled in the IESS Medical insurance program. The premiums increased about $4 per month but more significantly last year 5 of the 8 family monthly prescriptions were on the formulary now it is 3 adding additional monthly medical costs.
  • One of the houses on our street had a home invasion and for safety we installed an electric fence around the perimeter of the house. That amortized to an extra $50 per month for this year.
  • We added fiber optic Internet since the previous provider could not provide adequate bandwidth for streaming video. That added another $30 per month.
  • Going out to eat to at a fine restaurant has increased. A meal for two, with wine, tip and a taxi is $60
  • We have two cats and they eat IAMs cat food. Our first cat died from the local cat food here. A 15 kg bag is $132. Up about $30
  • Airfare back to the United States once a year has increased and the cost of staying a month in the U.S. (i.e. rental cars, gasoline, food, presents) has also increased.


Again I encourage you to read last year’s posting on costs to get the full picture and the difference between last year and this year.

My point is that to flourish, travel and maintain good medical and dental health requires much more than you read in some of the comments and blogs. My estimate for 2015 has increased 10% from last year.




Hey Siri

Raise your hand if you use Siri on your IOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple Watch) I see lots of hands raised 🙂 If you have an hour to spare you can watch the very popular and informative “IOS Today” video podcast.  They devote the whole episode to Siri Tips.

A word of caution Leo Laporte the cohost and founder of The Twit Network is quite loquacious. The tips start at 9:00 into the podcast.  Enjoy.