How Do You Use Your Smartphone?

Posted on 25. May, 2012 by in Wireless Trends

Photo courtesy of Ed Yourdon (via Creative Commons)

In the last 30 days, it’s likely that you’ve used your smartphone to plan a meeting, solve a problem, settle an argument, check a score, decide where to eat, find out the traffic report, or get emergency help. According to Pew Research, 86% of smartphone users can be considered “just in time” cell users because they rely on the smartphone to solve problems or get answers immediate answers. “Just-in-time Information through Mobile Connections” details this tendency among smartphone users.[1]

As more and more people have adopted smartphone use, we’re fast becoming a culture of “real time information seekers and problem solvers.” Pew Research conducted a survey “between March 15 and April 3, 2012 among 2,254 adults age 18 and older and it found that 88% of adults are cell phone owners and that 46% are smartphone owners.” Their research indicated that 70% of all cell phone users and 86% of smartphone users had accessed their wireless devices within the last 30 days for time critical information.

While 88% of young people between 18-29 use their phones for “just in time” information (JIT users), it is interesting to discover that 57% of adults between 50-64 are also JIT users and 46% of adults over 64 are JIT users. Youth have been early adopters of smartphone technology, but this survey indicates that more and more older adults use their cell phones for much more than just calling friends and family. We are fast becoming a society of people used to instant information access.

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Mobile Survey, March 15-April 3, 2012. N for entire survey = 2,254 respondents age 18 older; N=1,954 for cell owners; N=904 for smartphone owners; N=1,050 for other cell phone owners. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cells.

Here are the highlights of how we are using cell phones:

  • 41% of cell phone owners used their phone in the previous 30 days to coordinate a meeting or get-together.
  • 35% used their phone to solve an unexpected problem they or someone else had encountered in the previous 30 days.
  • 30% used their phone in the previous 30 days to decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant
  • 27% used their phone in the previous 30 days to get information to help settle an argument they were having.
  • 23% used their phone in the previous 30 days to look up a score of a sporting event.
  • 20% used their phone in the previous 30 days for up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information to find the fastest way to get somewhere.
  • 19% used their phone to get help in an emergency situation.

As I read the report, I started thinking about my own smartphone use. What time-critical activities do I regularly engage in?

  • Weather reports
  • Coordinating meetings and lunch appointments
  • Price checking
  • Looking up movie showtimes
  • Locating businesses
  • Defining words
  • Researching information that someone is talking to me about

Using a cell phone as a “just in time” device has become so second nature for most of us, I doubt we hardly think about how often we use the phone for referencing information needed in the moment. This raises the question, “How are you using your smartphone or cell phone?” What types of just in time information are you looking up on a regular basis?

[1] Lee Rainie and Susannah Fox. “Just-in-time Information through Mobile Connections.” Pew Research, May 7, 2012

Backup Your Smartphone

Posted on 22. May, 2012 by in Android, Apps

I was backing up my computer to an external hard drive when I accidentally knocked the hard drive off a table. While I recovered many files, I also permanently lost some files that were not on my computer. This was the second time I’d lost files due to a damaged hard drive. That’s when I started keep a backup of my computer online.

Smartphones are little computers we carry in our pockets. Keeping a backup of the smartphone online is just as important as keeping a backup of our computers. Our smartphones have music, contacts, documents and videos that need to be safeguarded. If you lose the phone or damage the phone, a backup keeps you from losing valuable information and can make restoring files fairly easy.

What are the best backup solutions?
Since the iPhone now uses iCloud as a primary backup, I am going to focus on Android backup solutions.

MyBackup Pro – The easiest and most popular overall Android backup solution, MyBackup Pro gives you choice of creating an SD card backup or an online backup (using Rerware servers). Non-rooted and rooted Android phones can use MyBackup Pro to back up SMS and MMS messages, call log, photos, contacts, bookmarks, system settings, home screens, alarms, dictionary, calendar events, and music playlists. This is a top-rated app in Google Play, and user after user mentions how this app came was a lifesaver they had to do an unexpected restore due to phone crashes. MyBackup Pro support all Android versions back to 1.5+ and has the best cross-Android-platform support available. Note – The online backup option comes with 50 MB free online storage space, and offers 250 MB for $1 per month or 1 GB for $2 per month.

Contacts – If you use Google as your “go to” for email then you don’t have to backup contacts though you can as a double safe. Just make sure your Google backup is enabled on your Google account by visiting Settings, Personal, Backup and reset, and select both Backup my data and Automatic restore. Then under Settings, Personal, Accounts & Sync, and select your Google account and select all syncing options.

Music Library (Google Play or Amazon Cloud) – If you have a large music collection, it is easier to sync it via the computer onto Google Play or the Amazon Cloud Player. I’ve written about these services several times in the past (see Syncing Files). I use both of them and with recent updates, they are incredibly easy to keep files in-sync and accessed via your various mobile devices (except of course iOS).

iSyncr for iTunes (PC) – One challenge some Android users face is syncing iTunes playlists and music with the Android. iSyncr is consistently the top-rated iTunes sync program for Androids. It works your iTunes playlists, libraries, album art, ratings, play counts, last played, and last skipped date. Additionally, it works with Rocket Music Player to browse and play your music by albums, artists, genres, songs, podcasts and playlists. (Note – There is also a Mac version.)

Bookmarks – MyBackup Pro offers a backup solution for bookmarks, but if you use bookmarks as extensively as I do, you may want a bookmark syncing solution that goes between laptop and all wireless devices. Xmarks was one of my personal favorite apps that I started using last year.

Passwords – The best app I’ve run across for syncing all my passwords (and keeping them secure) is LastPass. Syncing across all my devices, it provides tracking, generating and accessing passwords, numbers and more.

5 Ways a Smartphone Makes You Safer (cont’d.)

Posted on 16. May, 2012 by in Apps

There are a wide range of apps designed to help keep you and your loved ones safer in the midst of dangers, emergencies, health situations and more. Yesterday I wrote about apps that send out alerts and monitor your devices (see part 1). Today, I want to focus on apps that provide emergency notifications, apps that improve driving safety, and utility apps that provide a variety of services.

3. Emergency Notifications
In case of a large emergency, there are apps that provide updates, preparation and more. Tapping the national CodeRED® Emergency Notification System, the CodeRED Mobile Alert App delivers national and local alerts based on your position. There is also a $4.99 per year, alert subscription that gives users immediate threat updates based on location.

Emergency Radio draws from an extensive database of live police, fire, EMS, railroad, air traffic, NOAA weather, coast guard, HAM radio, and other frequencies. You can listen in on broadcasts from local neighborhoods or in cities far away. While Emergency Radio currently just supports iOS, Scanner Radio is an Android app that offers live audio from over 3,300 police and fire scanners, weather radios, and amateur radio repeaters from around the world.

The US Government has a FEMA app that provides detailed information on a variety of disasters with an interactive emergency kit checklist, a list of emergency meeting locations, and other details on how to prepare for and survive a disaster.

An interesting family emergency preparation app known as Life360 gives families the tools to create safety points during emergencies, tracking tools, check-in information, and cross-platform group messaging for known threats, alerts, and more.

4. Driving Apps
Avoid the dangerous distraction of text messages and emails while driving with Drive The basic app is free. Once you install it, you register email accounts, text accounts, as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts. Set to “On.” Then when a new message comes, the voice will read your message. To unlock all features, it costs $9.99, plus the site mentions a “Pro version” that costs $13.95 for individuals or $34.95 for a family, but the benefits vs the costs for the pro-version are not really clear.

5. Utilities
There are a several utility apps that can provide support in various situations. MedWatcher for instance, provides medicine update information for prescription drugs. Users can access the latest updates as well as submit adverse reactions to medications through the app. While it is designed for medical professionals, anyone that wants to know more about his or her prescription drugs will find this app helpful.

One great utility for a wide range of situations is a flashlight. I’ve been using myLite for over a year, and have had multiple occasions to access this app. From needing light when I woke up in the middle of the night to walking in the neighborhood after sunset, myLite has provided a consistent easy to use light source.

My Security App (Android version; iPhone version) is like a Swiss Army app. It comes with a range of security applications like Live Friend Tracker, 128 bit encryption, and those who track you don’t even need to have a smartphone. They can track you via the company website.

A free of charge personal security app with great features like live Friend Tracker, with connections to Facebook & Twitter. All information is sent through 128 bit encryption. Thanks to our server and website solution people do not need to have a smartphone to track you, that can be done directly through our website. It also comes with Sleep Safe, a sound and motion detector, allowing you to sleep in strange places with a phone on guard. Like the apps mentioned previously, this comes with a panic button and a safety cam that communicates with company servers.

The British Red Cross First Aid delivers vital medical information where and when you need it. From heart attack help to insect bites, colds and more. This helpful app offers videos, quizzes and step-by-step instructions.

If you have found other apps helpful in safety situations, please leave a comment and tell us what you like and why.

5 Ways a Smartphone Makes You Safer

Posted on 15. May, 2012 by in Apps

Smartphones offer a range of tools that can help you and your loved ones stay safer. From personal security to health to emergency situations, there are a wide range of applications that help you send instant alerts, learn about potential dangers or even track stolen electronics. By utilizing the basic tools of a smartphone such as GPS, two way communication or even the camera light, these tools can turn your phone into a tool for navigating through challenging situations.

Since there are so many apps that promise some form of safety, I’ve decided to group them in five key categories: alerts, monitoring, emergency notifications, driving, and utilities. I’ve put the first two in this post and will follow-up with the next three in tomorrow’s post.

1. Alerts
Whether facing physical danger, an accident or sudden health issues, there are a range of applications that make it easy to send an instant alert to friends, family and professionals. When you download bSafe, it suggests a group of contacts who you often engage. In case of an emergency, bSafe sends an SOS alarm message to selected contacts with your GPS position, and a call to one  It also offers a premium service that provides life GPS tracing. Friends can follow you home via GPS to make sure your are safe.

Safety Grid, Streetsafe and MyForce are all variations of paid services. SafetyGrid and MyForce can be activated for silent monitoring by a crisis response team. SafetyGrid also offers medical evacuation coverage for a yearly fee. Streetsafe is also a monitored service, but it also includes the “Walk with Me” service for students or elderly or anyone walking at night or through a potentially dangerous area. A trained professional stays on the phone and talks you through the walk home. In case of emergency, they contact 911.

There are also specialized alert apps for specific situations. For parents, the Safe & Sound app stores a profile of each child. In case of emergency, the app can send out profile information to emergency personal in 10 seconds or less. The Rave alert can send out a mass emergency alert via Facebook, Twitter and email contacts in case of an emergency situation on a campus, in a business, school district or other institution.

2. Monitoring
In addition to sending out alerts, there are apps that allow you to monitor the phone in use from a distance. Prey is an open source app that can be used on your smartphone, tablet and laptop. Prey runs virtually invisible on your device, but in case it is stolen, you can activate monitoring via SMS or on the website. Prey can take a picture, send GPS info, and sound an alarm (with a variety of configurations). Prey keep a “recoveries” blog where users can tell their recovery story.

Phone recovered using Prey.

Securafone gives you the ability to turn on monitoring for children, seniors, and employees in a variety of potential risk situations. Securafone can prevent texting and emailing while driving, send speed alerts, connect people to emergency services, and provide instant alerts with the person is in a dangerous situation (from schoolyard bullies to car accidents and more).

Tomorrow, I’ll cover safety apps that focus on emergency notifications, driving, and utilities. (See part 2).

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device To Work

Posted on 10. May, 2012 by in Enterprise and Business

Over the last three years, the use of smartphones has exploded. As more and more people are carrying their own smartphones and tablets, they often have better mobile computing tools that what their company provides. This means more and more employees are opting to use their own devices for work projects.

Consider a recent study by LANDesk. After surveying 193 IT managers and administrators from medium to large organizations, here is what they found:

  • 44 percent of those surveyed said at least part of their workforce works remotely.
  • 77 percent of those surveyed said end users use their personal mobile devices in the workplace.
  • 54 percent of those surveyed reported that they do not currently have a security strategy for mobile devices in place.
  • 37 percent of those surveyed reported that they deal with more than 10 malware incidents a month.

That second bullet is an eye-opener. 77 percent of those surveyed acknowledged that employees are using their personal mobile devices in the workplace. This means that IT faces the challenges of supporting a very different workplace that just a few years ago. Steve Workman, Vice President of LANDesk says, “The days of provisioning and maintaining a single computing platform, locking down work environments and mandating productivity systems are dead. This survey of mobile device management drives these points home. We surveyed a cross section of IT managers and administrators, and their feedback shows the dramatic nature of this shift and emphasises the immediacy of the change.”[1]

This new challenge requires businesses to have some type of mobile device management (MDM) plan, and this challenge is not simply for larger companies. SMBs must be prepared as well. Eric Lai from ZDNet points out the danger for smaller businesses. He says, “But in terms of who proportionally gets hit harder, a smaller firm could find itself crippled if a few hundred key customer details are compromised.”[2]

If you’re a small business-owner with employees using their own devices in the workplace, you might consider looking at AirWatch offers support for managing a range of devices including Android, IOS, Blackberry, Windows, and Symbian. While many MDM solutions focus primarily on enterprise implementations, AirWatch offers support for small businesses, enterprise level, education and government. Some of the features, small businesses owners will appreciate include:

  • Pay month-to-month for the number of active devices
  • Leverage a cloud model to reduce costs and free up resources
  • Increase efficiency by streamlining and automating IT tasks
  • Gain visibility and control over all your mobile assets
  • Increase employee satisfaction and reduce IT costs through BYOD

[1] “Do mobile devices in the workplace create security problems?” Help Net Security, May 10, 2012 <>
[2] Eric Lai. “Hey SMBs: Here’s An Affordable Mobile Device Management Option.” ZDNet, May 4, 2012 <>

Top Ten Apps for Vacation

Posted on 08. May, 2012 by in Apps

School is almost out, the sun is shining, the kids are antsy, and the road is calling. Time to plan your family vacation. Before you head out the door, check out our Top 10 Apps for Vacation. These apps are available from Google Play and the IOS App Store.

1. TripAdvisor
Before you grab your keys and jump in the car, you need to figure out where to go and what to do. Over the years, TripAdvisor has emerged as one of the most popular tools for researching travel from vacations to weekend getaways to business trips. From your smartphone or tablet, you can browse 45+ millions reviews and opinions for vacations spots, lodging, restaurants, attractions, and more. This is must have for planning your next trip.

2. Vacation Planner
It’s the night before vacation. The kids can’t sleep, the dog is howling, and you’re busy making sure you don’t forget something. Use your Vacation Planner app to review a pre-populated list of vacation essentials. This handy little tool is easily configured and customized, and it does not need to interact with Internet, so your privacy is assured.

3. Tripit
Forward all your hotel, airline, car rental and restaurant reservations to Tripit. They’ll organize your trip and provide you with an itinerary that you can easily access from the car, the hotel, the airport and just about anywhere else (even without WiFi connection). If your traveling in a group, Tripit can keep everyone in sync throughout the trip, plus you can easily share trip plans with family and friends.

4. Google Maps
You’re driving down the highway, counting cars and singing “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” when your stomach cries out, “I’m hungry.” Click open the Google Places app and find the closest place to eat. Google Maps comes packaged with a mobile suite including Google Navigation (free, voice-guided GPS navigation system), Google Places (find, rate, and get recommendations for places), and Google Latitude (see friends on the map and check in at places). This handy app shows up again and again in best-loved travel apps. Once you try it, you’ll see why.

5. Waze
Some guy on I-95 has pulled over to let his dog take a quick walk, and a 45 minute traffic jam ensues as everyone rubbernecks to see what is going on. Avoid this mess with the Waze app. Connect with drivers just up the road and find out what’s waiting ahead with this social traffic app. Using real-time road reports from drivers nearby, “Waze: Community GPS Navigation” gives you relevant traffic information at any given moment.

6. FlightTrack
If you’re taking to the air this summer, you might be sure to utilize one of the most popular Android travels apps, FlightTrack. Find out real-time departure info, delays and gate numbers as well as alternate flights, detailed flight delay forecast, on-going flight tracking, and seating maps. Plus, you can easily jot down notes about your seat numbers, confirmations numbers and more.

7. Yelp
While visiting a new town, you ask the locals for food recommendations. Just to be safe, open Yelp and double check their recommendations. Last year while visiting Plymouth Rock, MA, Yelp sent me to the Blue-Eyed Crab Grill & Bar where I ate the best seafood of my whole vacation.

8. Augmented Driving
iOnRoad Augmented Driving for Android and Augmented Driving for iPhone use your smartphone’s camera and GPS to detect vehicles and other objects in front of your to help you drive safer. While these are no substitute for safe driving, they do offer help avoiding speeding, detecting other cars, and staying in your lane. iOnRoad Augmented Driving won the CES 2012 Design and Engineering Showcase award among many other awards.

9. Wikitude/Layar/World Explorer
Today your exploring the streets the San Francisco. No tour guide? That’s okay. Hold up your smartphone and snap a picture. Using Wikitude, Layar, or World Explorer, you can find all sorts of interesting facts, videos, images, and social networking connections right in the picture.

10. Trip Journal
Since everybody back home is not on vacation, why not add insult to injury by sharing every moment of your glorious trip? Give them up to the minute news on your exciting vacation spots with the Trip Journal app. Trip Journal makes it easy to share your route, notes, photos, and videos with your friends on Facebook, Google Earth, Picasa, Flickr, Youtube, and Twitter.

Syncing Files: Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Drive

Posted on 03. May, 2012 by in Android, Apps, iOS

In the last couple weeks, Google Drive and Amazon Cloud Drive have both released desktop versions of their online drives. These desktop applications make it easy to keep your music, videos, pictures, and documents available online via any device such as a computer, a smartphone, a tablet, a media player or even your television.

Up to now, the most common application for online drives has been syncing music via services like iCloud, Amazon Cloud Player, and Google Play. With the explosion of tablets, smartphones, SSD laptops, more and more people want access to all their files anytime. Now music, video, ebooks, documents, spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, movies, and much more can be easily access via cloud services like Dropbox, Box, Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Drive.

While Amazon and Google have both offered some form of an online drive for the past year, their recent desktop versions make it easy to upload files to your cloud drive. Here’s a quick snapshot of both services.

Google Drive
Working similar to the Mobile Me service, Google Drive installs a “sync folder” on your desktop. You can sign up at Google Drive. In order to use it, you must have a Gmail account. Google Drive comes with 5GB of free space. Once you install the drive, it immediately syncs all your online Google Docs to the sync folder on your computer. Whenever you want to add a file to Google Drive, simply drop the file in your sync folder. If you’re online, it will automatically sync folders. If not, it will automatically sync files as soon as your online again.

You can create new folders in your Google Drive folder, move files between folders, and add/remove files. Google Drive immediately syncs folders, files, and any changes you’ve made.

Amazon Cloud Drive
The Amazon Cloud Drive does not install a sync folder on your computer. It installs an icon in your system tray. Once you install the application, you can click on the Amazon Cloud icon. Then you’ll need to sign into your Amazon account (or create an account if you don’t have one). Like Google Drive, it comes with 5 GB of free space. To sync a file, simply drag a file or folder to the Amazon Cloud icon, and it will instantly begin to sync the files.

I wanted to test it’s ability to detect file types, so I added some MP3 files to the Amazon Cloud icon. Then I opened the Amazon Player on my Android. The MP3 files were on my Amazon Player ready for play or download. It’s a simple process, but if you want to add multiple MP3 files, Amazon recommends you Launch Cloud Player.

Which cloud drive is better? So far, I can’t recommend one drive over another at this point. Currently I am syncing files to iCloud, Box, Dropbox, Amazon and Google Drive. I want to compare how they develop and what process is simplest. If you want to share files, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box offer simple share solutions. Amazon doesn’t appear to offer a sharing solution at this point. All services offer the ability to expand the drive size based on some type of fee.

Cellular Sales Reaches 500 Store Milestone

Posted on 02. May, 2012 by in Cellular Sales News

Cellular Sales converted an old Roy Rogers to open this new store on April 13.

April was a busy month for Cellular Sales. New stores opened in states all across the country. With the opening of stores in Delaware and Connecticut last Tuesday, Cellular Sales reached a new milestone: 500 stores and counting. The Knoxville News Sentinel quoted Cellular Sales COO James Thome who said, “It’s all because of our people. Our business model of hiring high quality and dedicated employees to make sure you’re happy.”

In the last few years, smartphones have come to dominate Cellular Sales business and now more than half the phones sold are smartphones. More and more Americans from all ages and all walks of life are discovering the power of smartphones for everything from keeping grocery lists to tracking news to remembering meetings. Cellular Sales experts help customers find the ideal smartphone or regular cell phone that will meet their needs. The attention to customers has propelled Cellular Sales to the nation’s largest Verizon retailer.

The 500 store milestone is just the beginning. Cellular Sales plans to open another 75 to 100 stores by the end of the year, and expects to break the 2 million mark in annual phone sales. The Northwest and Northeast have both emerged a potentially large growth markets. By creating new markets and expanding existing markets, Cellular Sales is creating new job opportunities throughout the country for eager sales professionals who want to build their own business. To learn morea bout working for Cellular Sales, visit

Smartphone Powered Motorola Lapdock 500 Pro

Posted on 27. Apr, 2012 by in Android, Equipment, Wireless Equipment

Motorola has introduced a dock for your Motorola smartphone. Ideal for on the go, you can use the lapdock to work online, create and edit documents, access your apps, and participate in video conferencing–all powered via your Motorola Smartphone.

This lapdock comes with a 14″ display, full-size keyboard, built-in webcam, 2 USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, headphone jack, Ethernet, and a Kensington lock slot.

A large trackpad supports two-finger scrolling for easy navigation (on the web, your documents and navigating your phone screens). Plus it comes with VGA output, so you can connect it to an office projector or monitor to share presentations, videos or a website with a broader group. It weighs around 2 pounds and offers a seven hour battery life, so it’s perfect taking on the road, in the coffee shop or just using around the office.

Connects to 4G LTE Network via Smartphone.
The Smartphone plugs into the back of the lapdock (there is even a phone cradle for portability), and then you can utilize the Smartphone’s 4G LTE connection or WIFI for online access from anywhere you go.

Compatible with Motorola Smartphones.
The Droid RAZR, Droid RAZR MAXX, Droid Bionic and Droid 4 are all compatible with this new lapdock. Plus, the lapdock charges your phone while docked.

Supports Smartphone and Lapdock Multi-tasking.
Even as you are surfing the web, working on documents or accessing various apps, they can still text or take a call on the Smartphone. The lapdock comes with a full Firefox® browser and Adobe®Flash®.

The Future of ChromeOS?
Jason Hiner (TechRepublic/CNET) thinks this could be the strategic future of the Google Chrome, giving the Android community a device that Apple will not have any time soon. While it is initially aimed at business consumers, this could offer appeal to people wanting to replace an old PC but not wanting to spend the money on a new.

Buy LG and Get 50GB Free on Box

Posted on 26. Apr, 2012 by in Promotions

Great news for Android lovers! Box(R) is giving away 50GB of online storage space to LG users. Simply download Box on your LG, and you’ll qualify for 50GB online storage for free for life.

Store your content.
Using Box, you can easily access your music, documents, images or any other files from anywhere, using your LG smartphone, your tablet, or your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux). Your personal content is always at your fingertips. If you’re working on a project for school and business, you can upload content, and present PowerPoint slides directly from Box (no software needed), etc.

Share your content.
Box makes it easy to share content with friends and to collaborate on content with colleagues. You can turn on sharing for any folder and invite others to view the file. If you’re working with a group on a project, you can have discussions online, assign and mange tasks, and track file versions. Plus Box offers full integration with a variety of online services such as Google Apps, Salesforce, NetSuite, eFax, FedEx, DocuSign, and many others.

Protect your content.
Box protects your content with Enterprise-Grade Security, using 256-bit SSL Encryption and SSAE 16 Data Centers with 99.9% Uptime Guarantee.

This is a great deal for LG users. So if you’ve been thinking about upgrading, this might be a good time to look at LG.

Apps for Seniors

Posted on 24. Apr, 2012 by in Android, Apps, iOS

Wireless technology is fast becoming popular among senior citizens. From tablets to smartphones, seniors are discovering how wireless is more about providing accessible tools and less about the latest trend. While some techies track new smartphones like teens track the latest pop song, there is a much larger emerging market that is discovering how technology can offer applications that support every day needs.

I have a friend who is turning 80 this year. He’s had a mac for about three years, and his favorite website is Facebook. The technology has given him a way to stay in contact with friends and family all across the country. Plus, it’s given him an opportunity to meet and engage a variety of people he would never have met otherwise. His story is similar to many seniors who are now turning to smartphones and tablets. So how might this technology meet their needs?

Seniors can stay in touch with children, grandchildren using tools like Skype. I know one man who is in his 60s. He still spends part of his time on the road. The iPad is a gateway for him to spend time each evening talk with his wife and family via Skype. Meredith Bower over at mentions a neat communication app for seniors. A Story Before Bed gives grandparents the ability to record a video of them reading a story for their grandkids. 

Family Research
I was eating supper the other night with an older couple who kept telling me stories about their favorite service: Leveraging the research potential of the Internet, is helping people research family trees and build an extensive online database of family history information. The smartphone and tablets apps provides users with a steady stream of new discoveries about relatives, family heirlooms, living relations, pictures, gravestones and more. Reading With the wide range of reading apps like Kindle, Nook, Aldiko and more, seniors are re-discovering many of the classics from their youth. I have one older friend who started reading through Moby Dick, Captain Nemo and more on his iPhone several years back. Now he reads virtually all his books on the iPad. The adjustable font size and lighting allow him to keep reading long after his wife has gone to sleep.

Researching and tracking health issues has never been easier. With apps like WebMD, users have the tools that can help them research health issues and improve decision making, plus it give access to first aid information (with requiring an Internet connection). Plus there are a variety of wellness tools and information apps from providers like Mayo Clinic.

As seniors take to the road, they can take a favorite PBS travel companion along. Popular tour guide and travel show host, Rick Steves offers a range of apps, podcasts and books for the smartphone and tablet. He offers both audio tour information and tour booklets. Additionally, there are a wide range of other tour guide apps like PocketGuide, Tour Eiffel, Digi Guides, TourBuddy, and more that give seniors a personal guided tour through various travel sites around the world.

An iPad in the kitchen replaces a shelf full of cookbooks as iPad and Android tablets offer a wide range of great cooking tools like AllRecipe, Cooking Lite, Menu Picker, CookFresh, Conversions for Cooking, BigOven and many, many more.

From Suduko to Crossword Puzzles to Word with Friends, seniors can discover a variety of classic and new games that will keep them engaged with friends and family while playing games at the same time.

Expanding Networks: Verizon 4G LTE and Cellular Sales

Posted on 20. Apr, 2012 by in 4G LTE

Verizon Wireless expanded their 4G LTE coverage this week. The 4G LTE Network moved into 27 new markets while also improving coverage in 44 existing markets. As a result of this significant expansion, the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE  now covers two-thirds of the U.S. population.

Even as Verizon continues expanding service to serve and reach more customers, Cellular Sales also continues to expand. In the last few weeks, we’ve opened new stores and/or added new positions in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Alabama, Virginia, Kansas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and more. As we continue expanding, our goal remains focused on serving customers.

Consider our new store in Johnstown, New York. “Cellular Sales aggressively pursues the best locations available, and the new Johnstown store is a prime example of that effort,” said Luke Fletcher, regional director of Cellular Sales. “We want our customers to experience the superior service by our Verizon experts.” (From Times Union)

It’s this commitment to superior service that makes Cellular Sales stand out. By focusing on building customer-businesses, Cellular Sales has enjoyed a constant growth pattern over the 18 years. At 500 stores and growing, we continue to attract sales professionals who are committed to delivering the best wireless customer service in the industry.

Out sales team is made up of people who are committed to building businesses around customers . When you walk into a Cellular Sales store, you don’t simply meet a sales clerk, you encounter a professional business person who is dedicated to helping you find the best wireless solution for your personal and business needs. And we’re committed to servicing and supporting your needs long after the sale.

The 4G LTE wireless network by Verizon Wireless and the expanding network of stores by Cellular Sales offer you the perfect wireless combination.

How To Turn Off Apps on iPhone

Posted on 19. Apr, 2012 by in iOS

If you’re iPhone battery seems to be depleting too fast or your iPhone seems to be running slow, you can try turning off some of the background apps. This shouldn’t be a problem, but there may be some apps that are draining too much battery life or processing too much in the background.

The way Apple designed the multitasking feature, background apps should not cause a slowdown and increased battery drain.

The reason? It’s not real multi-tasking.

When you switch from one app to another on your iPhone, you essentially pause the background app. It cannot continue draining resources. At the same time, some apps do continue to run in the background. For example, if you’re listening to a music app and want to check your email, you want the music to continue playing.

The iOS multitasking feature is designed to pause applications but allow certain functions to continue. These functions include:

  • Background Audio
  • Voice Over IP Services
  • Background Location-based services
  • Push notifications (think timers, alarms and such)
  • Task completion (if the task started before switching apps, it will complete)

There may still be times that you want to turn off background apps.

Here’s how you do it:
1. Unlock the iPhone, then double click on your home key.

2. The top of screen fades, but the bottom row remains. All the apps on the bottom row are currently running in background.

3. To close an app, touch and hold a specific app. The app icons should slightly shake and a red minus sign appears in the top left of each app.

4. Simply tap the red minus sign to close the app, then scroll from right to left to view (and close) all the apps running in background.

Easter Eggs in Android and iPhone

Posted on 09. Apr, 2012 by in 4G LTE

Used by permission (mollystevens)

After spending yesterday hunting Easter eggs with my nieces and nephews, I thought it might be fun to uncover an easter egg or two on my iPhone and Android. I didn’t find anything mind-shattering, but some of these are interesting and humorous. I actually found several interesting tips on IOS 5 that I had never discovered before, but I’ll post those in a separate column later.

Crazy Cat on Speedtest – Apparently a crazy cat inhabits the facilities at Ookla, developer of Speedtest. To see the cat, open the Speedtest app on your iPhone. Press the “Begin Test” button. Once the app has finished the test, slide the speedmeter down to reveal a crazy cat beneath. You can keep sliding the speedmeter down to see various message from the cat.

Kelley Blue Book – If you’re a fan of Kelley Blue Book, you can catch a sneak peak of the original Kelley Blue Book (dating back to 1926). Open Kelley Blue Book on your iPhone. Shake your phone. Suddenly the 1926 version will appear, and you can get a sweet price on that Chandler sedan you’ve been eying. To get back to a current version, click the home button.

Android OS

In the spirit of Google’s playfulness, Ice Cream Sandwich, Honeycomb, and Gingerbread embed an animation in the About section under Settings.

Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) – Go into Settings and select About. Begin repeatedly clicking the Android version number or long-pressing the Android number. After a few moments, you’ll see the Nayandroid appear in one of several animations.

A team of Nyandroids come to save the day.

Honeycomb (Android 3.0) -Repeatedly tap the Android version number in About, and you’ll be treated to a Tron-like Android buzzing and re-buzzing.

Gingerbread (Android 2.3) – Tapping the Android version number this time reveals a wacky apocalyptic image of the Android mascot, zombies and Gingerbread man with fangs. Yikes!

Comparing 4G Networks

Posted on 04. Apr, 2012 by in 4G LTE

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With the release of the iPad 4G on both Verizon and AT&T, there have been a flood of tests between the two networks. Even as Verizon produced the above video that highlights speed tests in different areas, PCMag, GottaBeMobile, Digital Trends, and a host of other digital reporters have also been conducting their own speed tests and network comparisons.

Most reporters are hesitant to recommend one service over another, but in service by service comparisons, the following points emerge again and again:

AT&T HSPA+ is not 4G. It’s 3G+.
For the last couple years, AT&T has consistently tried to convince the consumer that HSPA+ equals 4G coverage. While HPSA+ is admittedly faster that 3G coverage it does not meet 4G specifications. Over the last year, AT&T themselves have practically admitted that HSPA+ is not 4G by moving future development to focus on LTE.

Verizon dominates LTE coverage.
LTE is the accepted 4G standard.* Verizon has been investing in LTE for several years and has plans to completely cover their 3G footprint with 4G LTE service by early 2013. AT&T’s limited 4G LTE coverage simply cannot compete with Verizon’s current 4G LTE coverage and it’s projected expansion over the next years.

Verizon offers Tethering for iPad.
One of the big reasons for comparing Verizon and AT&T over the last month was the launch of the new 4G LTE iPad. Verizon is the only provider to support a personal hotspot for the new iPad.

Verizon has solutions for heavy data users.
Alex Colon over at PCMag acknowledges that AT&T has a cheaper plan but the data usage is so limited it’s not hardly worth it. He goes on to say that Verizon offers the “best bang for your buck.” So if you want a competitive data plan, don’t just look at prices. Compare prices and data usage, price per GB, and other features like the free hotspot. All these add up to make Verizon a more cost competitive plan.

These are just a few of the high level advantages of Verizon that consistently show up in the reports of columnists and reviewers alike. Of course, the best way to compare is to make the comparison yourself. Talk to your Cellular Sales representative to learn what options are best for your needs.

*Over time, we can expect to see a graded expansion of 4G that will fully realize the full intent of IMT-Advanced (the original term for the technology protocols that would come to be called 4G). It is unclear if another term will emerge to indicate the full realization of IMT-Advanced protocols.