iPhone 3GWhat is going to be an endless question for a little while now will be, “should I buy the iPhone 3g?” The answer, sadly, is “yes and no.”

If you already have an iPhone from the original 2007 release, your answer is going to be a tricky one.  The first things you need to do is ask yourself if you will really need the new features.

Do you really need the faster 3G speed for viewing websites?

If you are satisfied with the current speeds the EDGE technology gives you, than you would have to go with no.  Sure, 3G would be nice, but is it worth enough to make you upgrade so soon?

Do you really need the built-in GPS?

The GPS is a really stellar bonus to the new iPhone 3G, and the ability to add geotags to your images will be nice, but true mapping functions will be a killer update to the iPhone’s functions.  However, you’ve lived without this feature for the past year, will it change your life enough to want to buy a whole new phone?

What about the new third-party applications?

Current iPhone users will get to enjoy all the iPhone apps without any worry when they release the new software update in early July.  This update will be free, so at no extra cost you will get this new function.

What about the new Apple online service, MobileMe?

MobileMe is an exciting new product from Apple that will allow you to share email, calendars, files and more across multiple devices such as Macs, PCs, the iPhone and the iPod Touch.  It will work with the current iPhone also at release.

In short, if you have the current iPhone, you will just have to weigh how important these new features are.  Personally I would say most current owners could wait on them until their 2-year contracts expire with AT&T in 2009 (or later, depending on when you signed up).

For people who don’t currently have an iPhone, and have been sitting on the fence, this is what you were waiting for.  Buy it, but it now.  $199 for 8 GB and $299 for 16 GB with GPS and 3G is a heck of a deal… if you didn’t already buy one.

Categories: Gadgets, Mobile Computing   

OnStarThis website is really not here to tout any particular company or technology but after this past weekend I have to shout about OnStar.

I was in Dallas, Texas this past week working at a convention in the area of part of my business. I do this quite often—travel to a city with product, set up in a convention hall and sell for the weekend. Of course means I must break down and pack my trailer at the end of the show. This also means there may be nasty people waiting for me to leave the building. This time there were nasty people waiting for me. I don’t feel I made a mistake in my judgment that led to this situation—they were there and so was I.

They tried to stop me three blocks from the event area but I didn’t fall for it—knocked on my window to say there was something wrong with my trailer. I didn’t open the door or lower the window. I went back to the convention hotel where there was light and people and checked it—no problems. Nasty people averted right? No, they followed me on the freeway for 8+ miles—they could see me and my big, red trailer—I just couldn’t see them.

Dinner was at the IHOP. I have eaten there before and had no problems. All of the sudden the staff is telling me someone broke into my car and that they had already called the police. There it was—smashed and grabbed. Lots of damage from drivers side over to passenger side—amazing what a cinder block can do to glass windows and plastic interiors.

So now what to do? Late on Sunday, no window on one door and glass everywhere!! I called OnStar and they spent at least thirty minutes trying to find a glass company for me at that late hour. No luck but they tried and they cared. I realized that I should have hit the red emergency button immediately when they tried the first time to get me to open the door or window. OnStar would have known exactly where I was through GPS and would have contacted the police to help me right away. It is technology, it is helpful. I am not afraid of it but I just didn’t think of it in that way.

So, I have learned my lesson. I have taken the time in the past few days to look at every tech item I own and to judge their uses in such a situation. Some cell phones can call 911 wherever they are—find out if yours does and then use it if you have to! Some other brands of cars have similar units to Onstar—find out if yours does and use it. If you have none of the above consider them for your next phone, or car. This would truly be the grand use of technology that I feel some inventors meant it to be—you are not alone and technology is your friend.

Categories: Gadgets   

cflbulbCompact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs are those squiggly light bulbs people keep discussing, but the question is do they actually do anything to help you?

While the initial cost of these bulbs seems higher than your standard bulbs, you almost have to look at them as a long term investment.  As opposed to incandescent bulbs lasting only a few months, CFLs can last for several years without being changed.

Due to the configuration of these bulbs, they can provide the same amount of light as your traditional incandescent light bulbs, but at a fraction of the power consumption.  A 13 watt CFL is capable of producing the equivalent of a 60 watt standard bulb.  For instance, in my family room I have a ceiling fan unit with five bulb sockets, so where it used to take me 300 watts of lighting, it now takes only 65 watts for the same amount of light.

There is a higher initial investment, but within the next few years in the United States, it will be law that you must change to there bulbs.  The only drawback to them is that they due contain mercury vapor, which is poisonous, and there are special cleaning instructions you need to follow if you should happen to break one, so do be careful with them.  Even with this potential hazard, I am slowly changing all the light bulbs in my life over to these, and I have seen savings in the number of times I have to change bulbs, and in the amount I am spending on my electrical bill.  They are well worth the little bit of extra effort.

Categories: Gadgets   

iPod TouchI am no computer wiz. There, I have said it in public! I have to use computers in some way everyday in my work. Yes, I said computers—my laptop or my desktop are used everyday in some way. My desktop has so many programs on it that it takes forever to boot up and the same can be said for my laptop. At least I don’t have to heft the desktop so that is a plus. My laptop weighs about 6 pounds by itself not to mention everything that I need for it in my computer bag—who needs to exercise?

I have whined for a long time about the non-portability and complication factors of computing in my life and asked the air why something couldn’t be developed that would make applications like logging on for even the most simple of tasks easier. Well, it seems Mr. Apple himself, Steve Jobs, heard me and developed the iPod Touch just for me! Really it is the answer to my prayers-small, idiot proof and really cool looking! I can check my e-mail in a flash, make a hotel reservation in record time and look at new pictures of my 3 cocker spaniels while I am riding in the car. All I need for the really serious business of e-mail and web searching is a wireless connection which may be obtained in my home or office or one of the tens of thousands locations offering free wireless, such as McDonald’s, across the country.

The Touch turns on with the press of a button and presents you with a page of choices for activities that you have setup for your needs. From there it is just a tap away from what ever you have chosen to do and another tap away from going back to the beginning if you made a mistake—brilliant! Not even as big as a dollar bill in dimensions the Touch weighs only a few ounces but delivers like either of my larger pieces of equipment. I am checking my e-mail as I am writing this article—it took me about ten seconds to turn on and log into my AOL account—wow.

I know there are wonders and applications I haven’t found yet and I can’t wait to discover them. As I become more Touch savvy I will relay the applications to all of you, but in the meantime I have one more thing to say to you—RUN, don’t walk, to your nearest favorite computer shopping site and buy a Touch for yourself and then share its wonders with your family and friends. ‘Touch’ everyone—they will thank you for it.

Categories: Gadgets, Mobile Computing, Wi-Fi   
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