End Of The Year Musings – 2017

Here I am sitting in front of my computer on the 3rd rainy afternoon in a row. No complaints about the rain since the river was at an all time low just a week ago.

The following are six major themes in tech and in my life in 2017

  • Voice – Our household now has an Amazon Echo and 3 Dots. The primary use is for music. Other uses include timers and research. For example last night while watching a movie it  was as simple as saying, “Alexa, what is the capitol of North Dakato (BTW, it’s Bismarck)
  • Photo Editing-  I now shoot 100% of my photos on my Nexus 6 and only use 3 editing tools (Google photos, Prisma, Snapseed) Prisma now has HD printing and creates framable art.

  • Food Delivery – Cuenca now has several food apps. The one that is primarily used is Megabite. Its a pleasure when you are tired to go to the app and have your favorite cuisine delivered by motorcycle in 15 minutes.
  • Smartphones – The major flagship phones (i.e. Samsung, Apple) are now $1000 fully loaded. I decided to hold on to my Nexus 6 for another year because it has a great camera and a superb screen.
  • Streaming TV in Cuenca – We still have our older versions of Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV. We mostly watch Netflix and seem to be watching more series on Netflix.
  • The Cloud – My computer is the only Apple Device I have left. I use Google, Amazon and Flickr to back up my photos and other media.
  • Fish Monger- As I am writing this post I can hear my wife on a Skype call with a friend saying the following” Lenny is no longer my 5 letter help word in tech”. All he cares about is selling his fish”. Not totally accurate but pretty darn close.  The fish business has taken off in 2017 and I look forward to supplying Cuenca with the best Salmon in Ecuador.

Happy New Year to all my friends and subscribers who read this blog.

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A Sociology Of The Smartphone

This morning I was streaming “CBS Sunday Morning” and viewed the piece on “It Had Us At Hello” ( 10th Anniversary of the iPhone)  There are very few devices that have changed the world as much as the iPhone and all the smartphones that have followed in its path.It is hard to believe the iPhone sparked such change only 10 years ago.

At the same time I’m also reading a fantastic web post on the smartphone – A Sociology Of The Smartphone“. This is a long read but well worth it.

A smartphone is often “the last thing we look at before sleep each night, and the first thing we reach for upon waking.”

“The smartphone is the signature artifact of our age. Less than a decade old, this protean object has become the universal, all-but-indispensable mediator of everyday life.”

In this blog I have written 53 posts where Smartphone is the major topic. That is 14% of my total posts over a 5 year period.  Anecdotally, I personally use my smartphone 2 hours a day. My wife says “Maybe 3!”  On any given day I use my Nexus 6 smartphone for the following

  • email
  • phone calls
  • what’s app texting
  • calendar
  • calculations
  • measuring my walking distance
  • Photography/Videography
  • News
  • Maps
  • Facebook
  • Taxi rides
  • Ordering Takeout Food
  • Listening To International Radio Stations/Podcasts

Having a smartphone means I no longer have the following

  • photographs in my wallet
  • wrist watch
  • digital camera
  • calendar
  • radio/ipod
  • maps
  • rolodex
  • pad and pencil (in a pocket)

Very shortly smartphones may lead to the elimination of:

  • corporate security passes
  • boarding passes
  • keys
  • credit cards
  • cash

I often use my smartphone when I am bored. At dinner with friends, if the  conversation does not interest me, I hop on my phone. Yes, it is rude but that little device holds so many interesting possibilities.  It pulls like a magnet. Sometimes it is easier than joining in conversation.The Smartphone is almost always in my hand when watching television or a movie on TV. If I am completely, honest it has become an appendage of my body.

Last week I left the house and realized too late that I had left my smartphone on my desk. My day was planned so that I could not easily return to my house for the next six hours. I wondered how I would get through the day not checking my email, checking Facebook , snapping photos and a plethora of time saving tasks.

The end result was that I made it through the day without any severe side effects. The lack of a smartphone did make me aware of how many times I escape into the ether of the Digital World to ameliorate human contact.

But that is another post for another day.

 

 

 

 

Food Delivery Apps In Cuenca

Pop Quiz CTL subscribers. It’s Saturday Night and  you’re jonesing for a Chinese meal but you don’t want to leave your house. What do you do? Now you have two choices for calling a motorcycle delivery service.each with different subscribed restaurants

  • Moto Delivery
  • Megabite

After a quick registration process you can browse through different food categories and order your food. I haven’t personally tried Moto Delivery but have been pleased with Megabite. On both occasions the food was delivered in under the 20 minutes promised time frame.

Find both apps in the app store or Play store(Android) **Correction – Moto Delivery only available in the Google Play Store **

La Vida es buena en Ecuador.

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What’s Your Favorite App (2016)

I have 209 apps on my Nexus 6 smartphone but according to my memory stats I only use on average about 35 of these apps daily. So here is a quick list of my 7 favorite apps. I have intentionally skipped apps like email, facebook, maps, photos, calendar etc. because they are in everyone’s daily usage. All these apps run on the iPhone too.

  • Pocket – a fantastic “read later” way of saving important data
  • Feedly – a superb “News Feed” App.
  • Merlin – Daily Esoteric news
  • Moves – a great pedometer
  • Prisma – My absolute favorite photo editing app
  • IMDB – great info on movies and tv shows
  • Flickr – Connecting with my photo buddies around the world

What are your favorite apps?

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Prisma Photo App

WARNING!,  WARNING! Do not load Prisma Photo App if you have an immediate appointment because you’re going to be immediately addicted to this great photo filter editor. This app could not be simpler.

  • Load your photo
  • Choose your filter
  • Adjust the intensity
  • Save
  • Share

Here are is the Prisma App link (runs on IOS and Android) Here are some great results. Learn more at the iPad Users Group Meeting Thursday

tranvia art

prisma street

priisma sm

 

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.

untouched

perspective

filter

 

Are these 5 Apps On Your Smartphone?

I am addicted to my Smartphone. I’m probably on it too much but it’s one tool I really can’t live without. Here are 5 apps I think you should have on your phone. Have any to suggest to the Cuenca Tech Life audience? All the apps below are free.

  • What’s App – Call anywhere in the world without charge . Group messaging and an easy to use interface make this Facebook owned app a must have.
  • Merlin – receive unusual but factual information daily that can improve your knowledge and intellect.
  • Hopper – receive weekly notices of travel bargains. Hopper will tell you whether the fares are going to fluctuate
  • NPR ONE – Live news from my favorite radio station.  I’m tuned in to OPB my local NPR station
  • Walt Disney Crossy – All work and no play make … Modern day Frogger with Mickey Mouse as the Frog.

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