New Smartphone Photography/Video Course

In late July I am going to offer a course on how to take great photos and videos on your smartphone or tablet. The course will offer the following

  • Framing better photos and videos
  • Editing on your smartphone
  • Presenting and Storing your media

I will announce dates, and costs the first week in July. Comment or email me with any questions. Below is a sample of what you can do on your smartphone.

santodomingo iglesia

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Send Directions To Your Android Phone

Directions to a new location just got easier and cooler. Now you can open Google. com type your address and click on send directions to your phone. Open Google Maps on your phone and voila it automatically appears.

You can then choose car or walking as the options to arrive with the approximate time to your location.

The Verge Website gives detailed instructions

You_can_now_send_directions_and_notes_to_your_phone_via_Google_search___The_Verge

Apps To Make Your Life Easier

I guess there was a life before iPhones, iPads and Android but I can’t seem to remember it :-). All the apps that are reported here work on both the IOS and Android platform.

I am probably on my Nexus (smartphone) and iPad 2-3 hours a day. Some of the apps are repeated each day. For example:

  • Moves – A pedometer and maps of my walking and bus routes
  • Magic Jack- I can call back to my friends and family anywhere in Ecuador
  • Evernote- Taking notes and reminders
  • Flipboard – Personalized news
  • Pocket Cast – Listening to NPR and other news stories

Other apps I use for customized purposes. For example:

  • Bridge Base – Playing Dupiicate Bridge with partners around the world
  • Netflix – Viewing Movies and TV programs
  • Easy Taxi- calling a taxi on a rainy day
  • Weather Timeline – finding the weather for a future travel.
  • DuoLingo  – Language Tutorials – I use this to practice my Spanish

The TedBlog Website has a fantastic post on

25+ apps to make your everyday life easier

What are your favorite apps?

25__apps_that_the_TED_staff_swears_make_their_everyday_lives_easier___TED_Blog

How Much Time Do You Spend On Your Smartphone?

The answer for me is about 3 hours a day – which translates to about 16% of my day interacting with my Nexus 5. Too much? A minute percentage is talking on the phone. In fact my Claro records say that I average about 120 minutes a month which is about 4 minutes a day.  I use my phone for research, email, photos, podcasts, movies, reading. I’m never bored and I feel that the phone is an aid rather than a dependent.

NPR has a brilliant story – Bored… And Brilliant? A Challenge to Disconnect From Your Phone.

I encourage everyone to listen. And lets start a dialog.

Bored_____And_Brilliant__A_Challenge_To_Disconnect_From_Your_Phone___All_Tech_Considered___NPR

 

 

Why I Use My Smartphone More Than My Computer

The other day I was clearing the daily Smartphone apps in memory and I noticed that I had used 23 for that day. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

  • Kindle – presently reading “Target Churchill”
  • Moves – my personal pedometer
  • Amazon Cloud Drive – All my photos uploaded automatically
  • Duolingo – My Spanish learning course
  • Easy Taxi – Request a taxi any
  • GPS Test – Automatically tells me the elevation
  • PocketCasts- Listen to TV and Radio anywhere
  • Bridgebase- Play bridge with anyone instantly

I guess my favorite is “Google Now” App where I can verbally ask for anything like directions, conversions, facts etc. I also find myself dictating my emails which has a 95% accuracy rate on my phone.

Personally I find it easier to carry my computer in my pocket. This TED BLOG Link gives 25 apps that make your life easier

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Unique Phone Apps

I owned a iPhone for 3 years in Cuenca and recently sold my iPhone 4s and purchased the Google Nexus 5 which is an Android device. I strive to make this blog Platform agnostic so in all the Apps listed below run on both platforms (Android, IOS )

Below are some unique apps that I use everyday.

  • Pocket Casts – Everyday I spend about 90 minutes listening to news and geek shows (i.e. NBC Nightly News, Fresh Air, Android App Arena)
  • Duolingo – I try and spend 10 minutes a day brushing up on my Spanish vocabulary and phrases. The best part of this program is that you can speak the words into your phone for feedback.
  • Amazon Cloud Drive–  Someone asked me the other day to show them a picture of a cockatoo I owned while liveing in The States. No need to tie up any spance on your phone memory. Amazon Cloud Drives gives you unlimited storage. You do have to have a Amazon Prime Subscription.
  • IMDB – Internet Movie Database is owned by Amazon. Being retired gives me more time to watch TV and Movies. Yesterday, whicle watching a Danish movie I could look up the actor’s other credits on the App.
  • MagicJack– Free North American Phone Number. You need to buy the MJ for incoming calls but you can make unlimited outgoingphone calls using the App on your Smartphone.
  • Moves – How far did you walk last Tuesday, last week, last month. Every step is recorded on the Moves app. For me its vital because I’m 15 years into a Total Hip Replacement and need to limit my walking to less than 25 miles a week.

What are your Unique Apps?

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What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador ( Part 6 )

It’s now a year since I wrote Part 5 and my wife and I have lived in Ecuador for 3.5 years.  This post is largely subjective based on my usage and mistakes in Cuenca.

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.

Smartphone: Invest in an unlocked Nexus 6 or iPhone 6+. These are relatively large phones sometimes called Phablets but they will be your best techonology friend in Ecuador. I also suggest you buy a data plan. In Cuneca I pay $32 a month for minutes and data and never run out of either one.  Below are some uses other than voice and texting.

  • Maps and directions
  • Photo and video ( I haven’t used my expensive Canon in 4 months)
  • Easy Taxi – requesting taxis at night and in bad weather
  • Learning Spanish (Translate, SpanishDict, Duolingo)
  • Music listening ( Amazon complete music library)
  • Netflix (watching movies)
  • Playing Bridge

Tablet: I have the iPad Mini w/ retina screen but I can highly recommend the Nexus 7. I recommend the larger tablets ( The iPad Air is an excellent choice) if you are not going to bring your computer.  I’m sticking to my recommendation of not bringing a computer if you don’t need it for business or serious photo/video editing. A large tablet with a bluetooth keyboard will be powerful and very portable.

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
  • Roku 3
  • Amazon Fire TV

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.

Google just came out with their own streaming box called Nexus Player but I haven’t seen enough reviews to recommend buying that device.

Miscellaneous recommendations:

  • Netflix subscription- $9 per month – Invaluable
  • Amazon Prime subscription $8.25 per month – (Music, Movies, Books, Unlimited Photo Storage(
  • Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet or smarthone
  • Thumb drives (32 gb) for transferring information or bring 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.

Some of the subscribers of this blog have great success with Ooma. It’s  worth a look for cheap and dependable calls back to the U.S.

Again this are my recommendations based on my experience. I haven’t used my DVD player in 2 months and my camera in 4 months.  Save the room in your suitcases for good sheets and towels  🙂

 

streaming_media_boxes_-_Google_Search Phablet_-_Google_Search ipad_-_Google_Search