What Would Life Be Like Without The Internet (Part 1)

The initial sobering thought is that you would not be reading this post if there were no internet. The thought of  LWTI (Life Without The Internet) came to me in sort of a wave of experiences. The front edge of the wave led me to admit sometimes I use my smartphone and its connection to the Internet to avoid human contact. Yes, if I am restless at dinner or a Poker game, I take out my phone and check email or scan world headlines. Every time my phone vibrates I take it out, often interrupting an ongoing conversation. In short, I am addicted to the stimulation of the Internet.

What was life like before the Internet?

  1. Communication – There were F2F meetings, often requiring time- consuming travel to meetings. There were long distance phone calls. There was snail mail. In the 1960’s, I can remember patiently waiting in my college dormitory post office to find out if my family’s care package shipped 10 days ago had arrived today.
  2. Banking -Ah, the days of standing in line to make a deposit or to pay a vendor. It was licking a stamp on an envelope and mailing the bill to the provider of your services.
  3. Libraries – Walking to the library and hoping that the reference book you needed for your report was available and paying the library fines often.
  4. Movies – As a child, Saturday afternoons were special for my bother and me. I fondly remember going to a matinee where admission and popcorn for the both of us cost less than a dollar.
  5. Employment. There was no such thing as working online. You dressed for work. You commuted to work. More often than not you worked from 8-5 and commuted home.
  6. Television. For the first 18 years of my life there was one T.V. in the house. We watched together as a family and of course there was no streaming, Youtube or viewing on a tablet or smartphone.

Was life slower, better, more enjoyable before the Internet? For my grandchildren there are no comparisons. All of their lives they have experienced Email, Google, Facebook, iPhones and ordering from Amazon and receiving their products in the same day.  They don’t know the meaning of film and typewriters.

Could we exist today without the Internet? Does the child growing up in the Internet age lack personal communication skills? Do we as adults keep our personal communication skills sharp?

In Part 2, I will discuss a need to return to some of the skills we had before the Internet.

 

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Your Memory Is Changing – Part 1 of 3

Pop Quiz CTL readers.

  1. What is the capital of Nevada, Cañar, Prince Edward Island?
  2. How many feet in a mile, boiling point of water in degrees Kelvin, fahrenheit, celsius?
  3. Who is the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Prime Minister of Spain, Foreign Minister of Ecuador?

Did you know any of them by heart?  Good for you! Of course you know where I’m going with this. Don’t waster any hard disk space in your brain because all of this information can be found on Google.

The Internet is an amazing tool and is also a prime example of Disruptive Innovation. 60 years ago when I was in 5th grade the answers to the above questions had to be looked up in an encyclopedia. Perhaps you had one in your school library or if you needed this information during non school hours you had to trek to your local library and hope no one was using the “S” edition to find the Prime Minister of Spain :-).

A friend in Oregon sent me this fantastic article on Why Your Memory Sucks  Please read the article because I hope to have a ongoing discussion on:

  • Memory
  • Technology
  • Disruptive Innovation

Why_Your_Memory_Sucks__The_Science_of_Remembering_in_the_Internet_Age

 

Making & Receiving Phone Calls In Ecuador Part 1

For the past 3+ years my family has been using the following combination of services to make phone/video calls from Ecuador back to the U.S.

  • MagicJack
  • Skype
  • Facetime
  • Skype
  • Google Voice

The one common thread is that they all rely on Internet connectivity (VOIP) to receive and initiate the calls. I am eager to hear what others are using and I hope we can have a robust discussion on the pros and cons of each service. I would also like to include the Total Cost Of Ownership which includes hardware, taxes and subscription fees.

My strongest piece of advice is that you don’t rely on one service since Skype and Google Voice are for the most part free. I would also invite other services to be discussed like Vonnage, Ooma and Viber.

Presently, the service of choice for us is MagicJack.

Pros:

  • MagicJack Plus hardware is less than $40 which includes the first 6 months of unlimited phone calls to the U.S/Canada
  • Plans after the first 6 months are about $25 a year
  • Free and powerful apps on the iPhone, iPad,  and Android Devices
  • Can make calls using your cell data plan
  • Voicemail also goes to your email

Cons:

  • Technical Help is awful
  • Often difficult to renew your yearly subscription

Looking forward to hearing about what works for you and the total cost of ownership.

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Internet Speed, Wifi, VPN et.al.

In April I returned to Oregon for 2 weeks and was amazed at the ubiquity of WiFi in Portland. Besides WiFi being everywhere,  the speed of my Internet connection was much faster.  The very good news in Cuenca, Ecuador is that the Internet speed is getting faster, the cost for the connection is getting cheaper and there are more Wifi hot spots than ever before. Gringos Abroad just did a comprehensive review of Internet connections in Ecuador . First rate research and very accurate.

I can only speak of my Internet connections in Cuenca.  As mentioned in another section of this blog – there are 4 major providers – ETAPA, TV CABLE, PUNTONET AND CENTRONET. I  have used all 4 services and my #1 preference is TV CABLE.  Internet speed and connection is still a neighborhood by neighborhood issue.  Some buildings are not wired for TV CABLE and some ETAPA connections have very old wiring.  My suggestion for newcomers is to ask around and read the different forums and don’t be bashful to ask lots of questions.

For me, my Internet connection is my lifeline to my family and friends and fast dependable connections are a must. For a map of WiFi connections in Cuenca – Click here

 

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Internet Speeds In Cuenca – Update

It’s been 7 weeks since I installed TV Cable and ETAPA services in my new rental house.

TV Cable

I opted for the 6 mb service ($49 per month) with TV Cable.  The service has been outstanding and the most down time experienced has been about a total of 2 hours for the 7 weeks.  Below is a speedtest. net graph of some recent download tests as compared to the global average.

As you can see about 50% of the time I have met or exceeded the global average.  I’m very impressed.

The upload speeds are not as good but are not as important as the download speeds.


ETAPA

I have been very disappointed with the ETAPA service in the new rental. I opted for the 1 mb service ($24 per month) with ETAPA.  When the service is working I meet or exceed these speeds.  Unfortunately, everyday the service goes down for 30 minutes or more each day.  I have to travel to the ETAPA office and make sure I speak to a supervisor and clearly explain the situation.

Internet And Course Update

It’s been two weeks in the new house and I wanted to update potential Internet subscribers in Cuenca about the stability of the two services.  Why do I have two services?  I teach computer courses and host the Ipad Users Group and people don’t want to hear excuses that the service is down or slow.

TV Cable Internet: Meets or exceeds the contracted 6 mbs download speed and 1.4 up all the time. Only one down time in the two weeks and that only lasted 30 minutes. The Ping (the distance it takes to travel from one host to another) is often under 50 ms.

ETAPA – Missed two installation appointments. They showed up on time for the third scheduled appointment and installed the second service upstairs. This service has been perfect with no down time.  The contracted speed is 1 mb down and the actual speed is 3mb down and 0.6 mb up with a delayed ping of >200.

YMWV – (Your mileage will vary) with ETAPA depending on the neighborhood and if you also have a house phone.

Cost Of Services:

TV Cable – $56

ETAPA – $24

Prices include 12% IVA

Upcoming Courses: 

  1. Blog Course : August 15, 2012
  2. Digital Photo Course: August 22, 2012

Details at The Computer Courses Page