Watching TV in Cuenca 2016

Last year at this time I wrote on article on this subject. So what has changed in a year? There are now 4 main legal streaming boxes:

  • Apple TV – Now in its 4th edition with voice control
  • Roku – Now in its 4th edition also with voice control
  • Amazon Fire TV – Now in its second edition with Alexa voice control
  • Android TV – The Google version with limited apps

There is a 5th alternative and its called KODI . First let me say that I don’t object to the non legal status of KODI since I often purchase bootleg DVD’s in Cuenca. Let me also state that I have limited knowledge of KODI. I do know in Cuenca there are KODI groups and some individuals that will handle the installation and support.  There are some safety concerns using KODI and this article does a good job of explaining it

The following are some paid subscriptions that are available to stream on the above boxes.

  • Netflix – Note the North American version is not longer available
  • Amazon Prime – No available on Apple TV
  • HBO Now
  • Showtime
  • HULU

There is also DirecTV. 5 years ago I tried the service for 6 months. My experience was that it was expensive $40 + per month was limited in the quality of English programming.

My costs:

  • Puntonet 50 mb fiber optic service $60 per month +
  • Amazon Prime – $8 per month *
  • HBO – $15 per month
  • Strong VPN  $7 per month*

Note: * denotes other uses besides watching TV





Snapseed – My favorite mobile photo editing app

Pop Quiz CTL subscribers. You take a photo with your smartphone and you need to tune it up. What app do you use?  There are some very easy and powerful apps. My favorite is Snapseed that is available on both Android and IOS.  Snapseed has all the usual tools

  • Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Highlights, Shadows
  • Crop, Rotate, Sharpening,

Snapseed also contains several powerful tools

  • Healing – taking out blemishes and objects
  • Transform – Vertical and horizontal perspective
  • Filters – Changing the mood of your photo

Below are three photos. The first is untouched.  The second is a change in the perspective and the removal of the graffiti. The third is the addition of a mood changing filter.

Run, don’t walk and get your free copy of Snapseed.





17 Things You Did Before Smartphones

The other day I left my house to walk to the El Centro section of Cuenca. It’s a 2 mile walk and once a week I do this for exercise. About 1/2 mile into the walk I reached for my Smartphone and I started to panic. At first I thought I lost it but soon realized I forgot to put to take it off my desk and put it in my pocket. I then started to giggle about all the things one could do before the Smartphone. Here are just 17 of them:

  1. You had hobbies now you have apps
  2. You knew people’s phone numbers
  3. You tried local restaurants – now you just go to Trip Advisor or Yelp
  4. You used a physical map that did not have a glowing dot to show you where you are
  5. You could talk about trivia with your friends for hours and not be sure who was right
  6. You didn’t check your phone 12 times during dinner
  7. You checked the paper or called the theatre for movie times
  8. You listened to the radio to check the weather
  9. You took pictures with your camera and if you weren’t carrying one you missed the shot
  10. You had road maps in your glove compartment
  11. You set an alarm clock to wake you up
  12. You could make much better excuses for being late
  13. You never knew what your friends were doing unless you asked them
  14. You wrote thank you notes instead of emailing
  15. You made actual phone calls instead of texts
  16. You had to have your wallet to buy a latte at Starbucks
  17.  You read a newspaper.

Can we live healthy successful lives without Smartphones? Of course we can. But, now that I own a smartphone I can’t even fathom the idea of living without one for more than a few hours. “Ok Google, how many times have I used the word “Smartphones” in this article?



January Smartphone Photo And Video Course

Are you satisfied with the photos and videos on your smartphone or tablet? Join 5 other enlightened Cuenca students on 1/25/16 and learn the following

  • Become better acquainted with your equipment
  • Learn how to better frame your photos.
  • Practice basic editing techniques
  • Shoot and edit basic video
  • Gain understanding of different presentation methods
  • Create and share  your presentation in class
  • Acquire info to store your presentations safely in the Cloud

When: Jan. 25, 2016

Where: Los Alamos 3-66 y 3 de Noviembre

Time: 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Cost: $40

Course limited to 6 students

You will need a fully charged smart phone or Table for this course. Your equipment must be running the latest or near the latest operating system.

  • iPhone, iPad – IOS 8 or better
  • Android – Lollipop or Marshmallow

More info: /099 122 1238



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.