These And That…

Once a month I’m going to briefly mention what I’m doing with these  devices (Macbook, iPad, Nexus 5).  That other part will be some interesting sites on the Internet.

  • iPad – Just installed IOS 8. As of this writing there is a problem with connecting your iPad via airplay to your Apple TV
  • Macbook – the new operation system (Yosemite) should be out by the end of the month
  • Nexus 5 – I am really enjoying the PacketCasts App.  I’m listening or watching the following podcasts everyday:
    • Marketplace
    • Fresh Air
    • Ted Radio Hour
    • Daily Show with Jon Steward
    • All About Android

If you need to know the latest happenings our Digital World I highly recommend these two sites

Any websites that you want to include on “These and That”?

utterly cow

Where Do You Get Your News?

Lately, I have become a big fan of Yahoo News Digest. It is App you can download to your iPad, iPhone or Android device. Once the app is downloaded you automatically receive updates at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. The updates come as 7-9 news stories that cover the following topics

  • World
  • Politics
  • Business
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Technology
  • U.S. News

Most of the stories have  the following supporting media:

  • Image Gallery
  • Infographics
  • Maps
  • Twitter
  • Video

The articles are well written and is a dynamite learning tool.


This is run, don’t walk to app


Five Apps That Make Me More Productive

I can’t imagine how unproductive I would be without these apps below which run on both the Android and Apple platforms.

I always have my smartphone with me and most of the time I have my iPad. I read, write, email, record (photos, video), communicate, research and play card games with these devices.  Right now I have more information on my smartphone than President Clinton had in the White House in 1997.

Here are the five apps I have already used today.

  • Amazon Music – I have tens of thousands of free songs available to me
  • Pocket- While waiting in the hospital I was able to read web sites I had saved.
  • Moves- records my steps, calaories and routes
  • Pocket Casts – listened to the latest recordings of “Fresh Air” and “Marketplace”
  • Duolingo – Made progress on my Spanish during the wait time at the hospital

Find more free and useful apps at the TED BLOG




Do You Need A Dedicated Camera In Ecuador

The short answer is – If you have a good smartphone (iPhone, Nexus 5, Galaxy 5) you probably don’t need the extra weight or expense of a digital camera. Now before I get everyone’s shorts in an uproar. A high end Nikon or Canon will definitely get better results. I have a good Canon and over the last several months I have only used it once. Why? Because I always carry my Nexus 5 and I always have it handy.

The first two shots are taken with my Nexus 5. The shot of the keyboard could not be duplicated with my Canon unless I put the camera on a tripod.

Shot number 3 shows how you can have selective focus with the Canon. Shot number 4 is the same subject taken with the Nexus and you can clearly see the superiority of the Canon camera.

The last picture was taken with the Nexus 5 and photo edited with the Android Photo Editing software.

Bottom line if you if you want to take good photos and video and don’t have the budget or the need to carry a dedicated camera then a good smartphone is all you need.


IMG_0515 nexus5 keyboard IMG_0520 Nexus 5 overall focus


Nexus 5 Parque de Madre

The Almost Final Word On Smartphones In Cuenca

Last night at a restaurant in Cuenca I polled the 8 people present and only 50% of the table had smartphones. Statiscally that may defeat my argument for the need of a Smartphone in Cuenca. However, for me the Google Nexus 5 ( I previously owned an iPhone 4s) is a necessity. In my previous post – The Case For A Smartphone in Cuenca, I gave 8 personal reasons that worked for me.

I just read in an interesting statistic that a child with a smartphone in 2014 has more information available to him/her than President Clinton did in 1996. – Triple Yowza.

Yesterday, in preparation for this post I jotted down on my phone all the ways I used my phone to save time. The first couple of bullet points are obvious ones.

  • answering email instantly
  • Being available to my children and grandchildren through the magic jack app in an emergency
  • Winning a bet with a friend having coffee
  • Playing competitve Bridge with players around the world
  • ** Tethering to my laptop when the Internet went down yesterday**
  • Navigation when the taxi driver could not find his way
  • Listening to Amazon Music’s amazing music collection

I just started a Facebook Group called – Cuenca Smartphone Users. The purpose is to share apps and interesting uses of Smartphones.






The Case For A Smartphone In Cuenca (Revisited)

Last month I sold my iPhone 4s and purchased a Nexus 5 (Android phone manufactured by LG).  It was a difficult decision for me to give up my iPhone and to purchase what many experts (including most of my friends ) perceive to be an inferior phone. I am here to say that after a month of using the Nexus 5 I can say that it is a superb phone. I still miss the intuitive Apple IOS but feature for feature the Nexus 5 is superior. My need for a bigger screen and a lower price prompted me to switch phones. The Nexus 5 is $350 unlocked compared to $650 for an unlocked iPhone 5s.

My purpose in writing this post was not to start a polemic on which phone is better but to review the updated benefits for having a smartphone in Cuenca. You can read my first posting here

Most importantly the reception on a smartphone is superior to your average consumer phone.

Here are the additional benefits:

  • Google Now the Voice Activated Assistant is extremely intuitive. The results included driving directions to what I needed to find
  • NFC (near field communications) Presently not on the iPhone which let me pay for merchandise  (In the U.S) by tapping my phone at checkout. *Not in Cuenca*
  • Magic Jack App- Let me receive and answer calls from anywhere
  • Superb camera that shoots great videos and syncs with all photo cloud storage.
  • Amazon Music – millions of free songs streamed to your phone. More later about this service in a future post.
  • Dialer that is intuitive using Google maps to find 411 information.
  • Netflix, Amazon Video, Kindle are there for my entertainment and reading.
  • Pure android so it seamlessly connects to all the Google properties (Maps, Youtube, Google Drive)

The bottom line is that if you need the Internet in your pocket in your pocket or your purse than a smartphone is a must have device.