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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Best 2017 Photos

I take about 1500 photos a year so it’s hard to pick a favorite. Here are my five. What is your favorite?

 

 

What’s On Your Smartphone First Screen

The apps you use the most should be on your first screen. Here are 7 apps I use everyday.

  • Gmail – a business and personal account
  • WhatsApp – my goto messaging app
  • Camera & Photos- Duh
  • Translate- An absolute necessity living in a foreign country
  • Google Keep – My notebook of important informaton
  • Phone- Duh
  • Amazon Music – unlimited songs with my Prime Account

My first screen (see graphic below ) consists of 25 apps that I use everyday. What are some of your apps.

BTW, if you want to order salmon or want to know the next selling location you can click on Cuenca Salmon

Will You Pay $1000 For Your Next Smartphone?

The Samsung Note 8 unlocked base price is $$940 and the rumored price for the iPhone 8 is $1000. Some of the readers of this blog will be purchasing their new iPhone with a Carrier’s subsidy when they renew their cellular plan. I have a cellular plan through Claro but only pay 1/4 of what I would in the U.S.

There is a great article about the $1000 Smartphone here.

 

I think I will be holding on to my 3 year old Nexus Smartphone another year.

Reverso – An Excellent Translation App

My unscientific opinion is that most of my the readers of this blog use Google Translate. GT is easy to use, fast, comprehensive and free. The other day I found Reverso The app presently has only 11 languages,  This is not a problem for me since I will only need Spanish. Below are some of the highlights of this app:

  • Translation in context
  • Reference to other searches
  • conjugation
  • Make favorite
  • Share

I probably will still use Google Translate just because I’m more familiar with the interface. But Reverso is definitely worth a look look

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.