The Cost Of Hard Disk Storage – Less Than 2 cents a Gigabyte

I purchased my first computer 37 years ago. I sold my Honda Motorcycle and used the profit to buy an Apple II Computer with an RF modulator to connect to my TV and the computer had two floppy disk drives with a grand total of storage of 1/4 of a megabyte or 1/4000th of a gigabyte. My first hard drive was a 10 mb hard disk purchased for what seemed like a King’s Ransom.

Today I saw a 2 Terabyte hard disk selling on Amazon for $70.  My guess is that we will see hard disk storage below one cent in less than 2 years. For me it’s not an issue. My Macbook Pro has 256 gb solid state drive. After 5 years I still have half the drive free because all my photos and videos are stored in the cloud.

What is your prediction of disk storage?

5 Year Anniversary

Thank you Cuenca Tech Life subscribers for challenging me to keep this blog an interesting time in my life and perhaps providing you with some interesting tech observations and predictions.

So what has changed since last year:

  • Only an educated guess but I think Cuenca now has about 7K expats
  • Smartphones continues to be the number one subject followed by photos
  • Fiber Optic is now cheaper than ever 50 mps for $60
  • The Tranvia is now 85% complete only a 23% increase since last year and predicted to open in Oct 2017 almost 2 years behind schedule
  • Ecuador will elect a new president today
  • I now am officially  a Fish Monger and you can see more of my product offering at this link
  • Google and Amazon introduced their new smart speakers (Google Home and Echo) and I predict they will be the next paradigm shift in technology. There are more than 13 million of these products in homes as of this writing.

The three most viewed posts are as follows:

Thank you again for viewing Cuenca Tech Life.

 

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What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador ?(Part 8)

My wife and I have been living here almost 6 years and two things all expats can agree on.

  1. Electronics are  25% – 30 % more expensive in Ecuador. Even more if you lived in a state with no sales tax.
  2. This is a subjective matter. Some of us are geeks and need the latest and greatest. Others, especially on a retirement budget need the basics.

I have added some new items and subtracted some others. As always I encourage your feedback.

Computer: When we first moved here I rented space in another person’s container and brought down a desktop computer with a 24″ monitor and and oversized keyboard. I sold that computer in less than a year and that is why I am recommending a laptop or notebook computer.

  • I have a Macbook Air – Moderately priced and extremely simple to use
  • Chrome book -Inexpensive and uses mostly cloud storage
  • Microsoft Surface Pro – combines a tablet and computer and an affordable price

Tablet: When we first moved I owned an iPad . I have since sold the iPad and  my tablet of choice is an 8 inch Fire Tablet from Amazon priced at $59

Smartphone: Personally, this is my most used piece of electronics. I now own the Google Nexus 6. I have a $32 a month data plan that gives me the convenience of being connected all day but also the ability to connect via magic jack to my business contacts and family back in The States. I also use my Smartphone for:

  • Maps and Navigation
  • Free Worldwide texting via What’s Ap
  • Photos- I sold my DSLR and now use my Smartphone as my only camera
  • 4K Video
  • Podcasts – PBS, NPR and tech shows
  • HBO, Netflix
  • Social Media
  • Audio Recording
  • Skyping and Magic Jack
  • Remote Controls For TV

I highly recommend the Google Nexus but would also highly recommend the iPhone

Streaming Boxes: These hockey puck  devices will be your night time companions if you enjoy watching movies and TV series. You can’t go wrong with the ones below:

  • Apple TV Version 3 – $150 *** I have sold the Apple TV since I find the Roku and Amazon TV take care of all my needs ***
  • Roku 4 – $130
  • Amazon Fire TV $100;

Basically you can watch TV series and movies with these devices connected to your TV. They also have the added advantage of wirelessly connecting some of your devices ( computer, iphone tablet ) wirelessly  to your TV. Important note ***. To fully utilize these services you need to purchase a  IP address Blocker so you can connect to these services from Ecuador.  .

All three device have voice search and the Roku and Amazon devices have lower priced stick versions that have less power but basically give you the same services.

Printer: This is second  year I am not recommending a printer. Unless you are using the printer for business then it’s easier and cheaper to put your document on a thumb drive and bring it to and easily available copy shop.

Camera: This is the second year  I am recommending using a Smartphone instead of a point and shoot camera.

Miscellaneous recommendations:

  • Netflix subscription- $9 per month – Invaluable
  • Amazon Prime subscription $8.35 per month – (Music, Movies, Books, Unlimited Photo Storage)
  • Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet or smarthone
  • Thumb drives (32 gb) for transferring information or bringing data to be printed
  • IP Blocker   – I use Block US for about $60 per year
  • Skype subscription – Free Video Calls to other Skype users.
  • MagicJack – Practically free phone calls to any cell or landline in the U.S.
  • Wifi Extender – Invaluable for folks living in a house made of Adobe Walls or condo dwellers 30 or more feet from wifi router.

Amazon Echo, Dot or the Google Home Smart Speaker

These gadgets are cloud based devices that will be the next paradigm shift. The Amazon platform has a two year head start. But,essentially both devices accomplish the same goals.

I installed the Echo in the living room next to the T.V. The Echo will pick up our voices from the living room, hall, kitchen, dining room and sun room. So far we have used the Echo to:

  • listen to our (separate) Amazon Prime Music collections
  • Kitchen timers
  • News Updates from local and International sources
  • Calendar and todo lists
  • Manage our Capital One Account including making payments
  • Listen to Podcasts
  • Movia Trivia
  • Control the lights in our house.

The Dot which is the smaller and less expensive version of the Echo is paired with a bluetooth Speaker and is upstairs in Sharon’s Office. She mainly uses the Dot to listen to her music but she likes the “Good Morning Command” which is has an interesting fact of a synopsis of some famous person’s life usually when it is their birthday.

Ok, do you need all these devices. Of course not. But, I think these devices make life much more enjoyable in Ecuador.

My three favorite devices are:

  • Google Nexus Smartphone
  • Amazon Dot
  • Roku Streaming Device

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Selling Blu-Ray DVD’s

Cleaning house at CuencaTechlife. 40 Blu Fay Titles – listed below plus 10 bonus( regular DVD’s ) – All yours for $50 – no haggling. One price takes them all.

Blu Ray Titles

  • UP – Disney/Pixar
  • Forest Gump
  • Ruby Sparks
  • War Horse
  • Trouble With The Curve
  • Celeste And Jesse Forever
  • Contagion
  • Joyful Noise – Dolly Parton
  • Ted
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • All The Days Of My Life- Channing Tatum
  • Silverado
  • The Lincoln Lawyer = Mathew McConahey
  • Public Enemy – Jonny Depp
  • Man On Fire – Denzel Washington
  • The Muppets
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Get The Gringo
  • A Little Bit Of Heaven
  • Narnia
  • Amores Perrros
  • Madagascar
  • Bee Movie
  • The Godfather
  • The Hangover
  • Company Of Heroes
  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Hyde Park on Hudson
  • Rio
  • Happy Feet
  • Tree of Life
  • Patton
  • Definitely Maybe
  • Taken 2
  • Gone With The Wind
  • Home Alone
  • How Do You Know
  • Marilyn
  • The Fugitive
  • Cars 2

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What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador (Part 7 )

It’s now a year since I wrote Part 6 and my wife and I have lived in Ecuador for 4.5 years.  This post is largely subjective based on my usage and mistakes in Cuenca. The commentary is also geared to people moving to Ecuador for the first time.

This advice is meant for those on a limited budget and not bringing a container to Ecuador. I am going to start with the most important device and work by way down to the small items that you can’t find or that are expensive in Ecuador.

Computer: When we first moved here I rented space in another person’s container and brought down a desktop computer with a 24″ monitor and and oversized keyboard. I sold that computer in less than a year and that is why I am recommending a laptop or notebook computer.

  • I have a Macbook Air – Moderately price and extremely simple to use
  • Chrome book -Inexpensive and uses mostly cloud storage
  • Microsoft Surface Pro – combines a tablet and computer and an affordable price

Tablet: When we first moved I owned an iPad 2. I have since sold that I my tablet of choice is an iPad Mini 2 with a portable bluetooth keyboard. Other viable choices are:

  • Kindle Fire Tablet 7 – Extremely affordable at $50
  • Nexus 9 Table – A contender to the iPad that uses the Android OS
  • Samsung and Asus also have affordable and powerful Tablets

Smartphone: Personally, this is my most used piece of electronics. I now own the Google Nexus 6. I have a $32 a month data plan that gives me the convenience of being connected all day but also the ability to connect via magic jack to my business contacts and family back in The States. I also use my Smartphone for:

  • Maps and Navigation
  • Free Worldwide texting via What’s Ap
  • Photos- I sold my DSLR and now use my Smartphone as my only camera
  • 4K Video
  • Podcasts – PBS, NPR and tech shows
  • HBO, Netflix
  • Social Media
  • Audio Recording
  • Skyping and Magic Jack
  • Remote Controls For TV

I highly recommend the Google Nexus but would also highly recommend the iPhone

Streaming Boxes: These hockey puck  devices will be your night time companions if you enjoy watching movies and TV series. You can’t go wrong with the ones below:

  • Apple TV Version 3 – $150
  • Roku 4 – $130
  • Amazon Fire TV $100;

Basically you can watch TV series and movies with these devices connected to your TV. They also have the added advantage of wirelessly connecting some of your devices ( computer, iphone tablet ) wirellessly to your TV. Important note ***. To fully utilize these services you need to purchase a VPN (virtual private network) Router. I use the Sabai Cisco router because of the excellent technical support. I go to great lengths to describe the challenges of watching TV/Movies in Ecuador. I recommend using the search facility on this blog and typing in “VPN” and you will see several posts with recommendations.

All three device have voice search and the Roku and Amazon devices have lower priced stick versions that have less power but basically give you the same services.

Printer: This is the first year I am not recommending a printer. Unless you are using the printer for business then it’s easier and cheaper to put your document on a thumb drive and bring it to and easily available copy shop.

Camera: This is the first year I am recommending using a Smartphone instead of a point and shoot camera.

Miscellaneous recommendations:

  • Netflix subscription- $9 per month – Invaluable
  • Amazon Prime subscription $8.35 per month – (Music, Movies, Books, Unlimited Photo Storage)
  • Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet or smarthone
  • Thumb drives (32 gb) for transferring information or bringing data to be printed
  • VPN subscription  – I use Strong VPN and it’s about $8 a month
  • Skype subscription – Free Video Calls to other Skype users.
  • MagicJack – Practically free phone calls to any cell or landline in the U.S.
  • Router: I use a Sabai VPN Cisco router $130. A much needed device in Ecuador if you’re going to watch movies and tv programs outside of Ecuador.

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This And That – Dec. 2014

Do you want a great 5 inch smartphone for under $200 Today Amazon is offering the Moto X for $180. You can see the review at Gizmodo here

 

What are the most searched news items on Yahoo for 2014. It wasn’t a surprise that “Ebola” was #1. “Obamacare came in at #10. Find the web site here 

 

Attention all Video Editing devotees. Biz Sugar just posted 15 tools to edit your next video. Most of them are fee and web based. Worth a look. The site is here 

 

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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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What Will $1.32 A Day Buy You In Ecuador?

A Nexus 5 Smartphone and a monthly Data Plan from Claro. Let’s do the numbers. My plan costs me about $30 a month. I amortized the phone($350) for 3 years and got the $0.32 cents a day.The Data Plan is the same amount for the iPhone.  Doesn’t seem like a lot of money for all the advantages of a smartphone.

I am presently recovering from Eye Surgery (Vitrectomy and Cataract) and have to spend 12 hours prone. I didn’t realize all the advantages of a Smartphone until I had the time to explore them.

I’ll list the obvious ones first:

  • Better reception when talking and listening to phone calls
  • GPS location for maps, walking and directions
  • Texting with photos and videos
  • Constant contact with email
  • Free long distance phone calls
  • Superb camera for photos and video
  • Translation apps for words and pictures

Here are some of the extra and esoteric advantages

  • Listening to your music collection collections from Amazon, iTunes, Pandora
  • Watching Videos from all over the world including YouTube, Vimeo and Podcasts
  • Playing Contract Bridge worldwide
  • Editing Photos and Videos
  • Voice Recorder for personal thoughts and interviewing
  • Listening to any worldwide radio station
  • Studying Spanish
  • Office Applications (word, excel, powerpoint)
  • Reading any online newspaper
  • Playing trivia with anyone in the world (Quizup)
  • Exchanging files with just a touch of the phone
  • Purchasing items without cash
  • Projecting on your Smartphone wirelessly to a Big Screen TV

Feel free to add your own favorite app in the comments.

***Prices quoted for the Nexus 5 is for the 16GB version purchased in the U.S.***

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Caveat Emptor

I buy all of my tech products in the U.S. The most important reason is that 99% of the time the item is cheaper and comes with a reliable warranty or recourse if something goes awry. I am aware that one may not be able to return to the U.S. or Canada to buy the product or they need an instant replacement for family or business reasons.. I have been watching the “for sale” tech items on Gringo Post for over a year and have been amazed at some of the prices being charged.  Yes, I know there should be a small premium built into the price since some of the items can not be purchased here but the other day I saw a used laptop compouter being offered at $900 +. The same item with a warranty can be purchased on Amazon for $320 less

Here are some guidelines when purchasing a high tech item.

1. Make sure you have the model # of the item. An Acer laptop doesn’t  fly since there are many confiqurations  of that computer.

2. When buying a smartphone make sure the phone is factory unlocked and ready for a sim replacement. Jailbroken phones have to be jailbroken with each new upgrade in operating system.

3. Plasma TVs need to be a model specially manufactured for high altitude or you will have problems.

4. Make sure there is someone in Cuenca that can fix it. My wife brought a computerized sewing machine from the States and there is noone in Cuenca that can fix it.

5. Look for reviews on Amazon.com, Cnet.com, pcmag or just google the product with the word “review”

6. Find the product on Ebay and see what it is selling for

For those of us with smartphones there is a new app called  Poachit.

If you can wait then inquire if someone is going back to the States and offer them an incentive to bring back your item.

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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.

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