Sunday, December 14, 2014


Recently a resident came to me panicked. Her iPhone was running out of memory space.

It soon became apparent that her phone was loaded up with photographs.

What to do?

Obviously, get the photos off the iPhone.

There are a lot of options.

One is to transfer them to a PC or Mac either wirelessly or with a cable.

There are better and easier options, the best of which is to have every photo stored on the cloud the moment it is taken.

The app Picasa was probably the first way to do this though now there are more. A search of how to do it on YouTube will point the way to instructive videos.

Next best is to store them on other media.

Most phones do not have enough storage space for a larger photo library but a few do. The Windows BLU JR phone accommodates Micro SD cards of large sizes. The Moto E phone allows for a micro SD card. Many phones have limits as true size but Microsoft claims that Windows Phones handle any size SD card. The larger ones do get expensive.

I have a 64 G Drive which handles all my music and photos and books on a Windows Phone.

Some tablets allow for memory expansion.

An expandable and inexpensive tablet is the Dell Venue, as is the new Kindle Fire 7. A cheap way to store photos is through such an inexpensive tablet.

If your phone does not provide for memory expansion, and most do not, it is still possible to use a memory device accessible via WiFi, such as WiDrive and others.

PCs and Macs also have lots of space to store photos. If not backed up elsewhere, your photos will be lost when your PC quits.

There are external drives which also exposed to the risk of loss when they fail.

I do not trust PCs or external drives for reliable storage, however.

Photos should also be backed up on a high capacity USB flash or SD drive. One backup is never enough no matter what type of backup you are using.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cheap and Accessible Phoning

Phoning needs to be available cheaply wherever you need it, especially for senior.

Tablets need to provide this capability and smartphones need to provide low cost.

Different tablets and different so-called apps provide different options.

I set about to examine them.

Skype, of course is the most widely used option, known primarily for video. However, it works well for just plain voice phoning over Internet. Calls are made using Skype names rather than numbers.

Skype costs $35 a year to phone outside internet to actual phone numbers. Getting a actual phone number for Skype to receive calls is much more expensive.

For actual limited Internet calling I have recently switched to Hangouts from Google, which works more smoothly for me than Skype. It is not available on all devices.

Whenever a device has a SIM card slot it can be made to work as a normal cell phone. Puretalk offers $5-10 plans to turn such a contract free tablet into a cellphone connected to cell towers.

Without a SIM card, devices can connect to the phone system through WiFi.

To send and receive such calls via the normal phone system, you need a normal phone number.

Talkatone provides such a number. There is a very small per minute fee for using it.

This app makes the. new Kindle Fire $100 6 inch phone sized tablet into a cell phone. That makes up for some of the limitations of this tablet. And you can't beat the price.

To phone away from WiFi, however, you also need a hotspot, such as from Freedompop and others. Such plans also start at about $5 a month.

Cheap phoning is also available from a modified Moto G phone from Republic Wireless.

Now, once you are using one or two of these options, in addition to your home landline phone, you need to be able to be able to receive your phonecalls anywhere.

For this purpose, I use Google Voice, which not only calls all my phones just from a single special phone number from Google, but also alerts me via email and records messages by both voice and text.

In summary, I get my calls wherever I am at a very low cost.