New Survey: Cellphones ONLY for 2 out of 5 in the US

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 5.33.04 PMThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been watching the evolution of cell phones vs landlines for the last several years in the US.

They recently released a new report which boils down to the news that 2 out of 5 homes in the US have ditched the landline and are cellphone only.

That’s twice what it was 5 years ago, but in spite of that, the trend seems to be slowing down.

You can read more about this report from several links I will put at the end of this post.

But …..

This made me wonder about those of us here in the blogosphere … worldwide, not just in the USA.

So let’s weigh in!

Here at my house, we have both. However, we don’t use the landline anymore. It’s there, and it collects all the telemarketer calls (and a lot of dust), but we don’t use it as our phone. I would dump it, but it comes “bundled” with cable TV service and internet, and basically costs nothing, so…… we keep it and let the answering machine pick up any stray calls that come through there.

My children, however, are all adults with homes of their own, and there are no landlines for them. Cell phones only in those households.

How about you? Are you a cell phone-only house?

Or do you have a cell-phone(s) AND a landline?

4 in 10 US Homes Are Cellphone Only, Skip Landline

Two in five U.S. homes have only cellphones: survey

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World Book Night, USA, is ………………………….. (cue tears) Ending

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Anyone who has followed my blog knows that I have been an enthusiastic supporter of World Book Night. Looking back through my posts, I had at least 7, gushing over the awesomeness of the project and encouraging folks to join me, leap in and pass out books.

Sadly, today when I looked at my email, there was a new one from the World Book Night Organization.

Bottom line: It’s over. Too costly.

After three years in which thousands and thousands of you distributed over a million and half specially-printed World Book Night paperbacks across America, we are sad to announce that we are suspending operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, shippers–and you, our amazing givers!–are too high to sustain.

From World Book Night U.S. Board Chairman Michael Pietsch: “World Book Night’s first three years have been a profound experience for everyone involved. The altruistic spirit of the givers and of industry supporters have reminded us all of the transformative impact books have on people’s lives, and of the power of a book as a gift. The World Book Night Board joins me in extending their deep gratitude to all who have taken part.”

So that’s that.

No more World Book Night.

It was a marvelous experience, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate for all three years.

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Amazon’s New Fire Phone: Will you give up your iPhone?

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 3.43.56 PMToday Amazon announced their new product: A smartphone. Called the Amazon Fire Phone, it will be released on July 25 (pre-order, now).

So …. is this the phone that will make you give up your iPhone?

It seems that the iPhone has lost its WOW factor for many. When it first exploded into our world, it was an incredible leap of technology. But today, there are smartphones everywhere, and many folks no longer look at the iPhone as the one-and-only.

And today marks another new entry into the Smartphone universe. The Amazon Fire Phone.

The promo for it looks quite good. I think it all boils down to what do YOU want from your smartphone?

This new phone has several features that are standouts:

Mayday: For us un-techy types, this is HUGE. The Mayday button was introduced on the latest version of the Amazon Fire, and it has been a raging success. With the Mayday button, if you want to learn something about your phone, if you need some instruction, or if you are having a problem, you just tap the Mayday button and a LIVE person will appear on your screen to help you. Instantly. Just like that. This feature is a keeper, and I have to say, if I was considering my first smartphone, this would be a really big selling point. The helper can draw on your phone (arrows, etc) showing you exactly what to touch and how to do it. This is a major goodie to have on your phone.

Firefly technology: This is a ‘bell and whistle’ kind of thing, but also cool. Firefly will instantly recognize music, products, ads …. oodles of things in the world. With a touch of a button you get useful information and the ability to act on it as well.

One-handed reading: Just tilt the phone to scroll. (Why didn’t Apple do this? It’s brilliant!)

And how about this: With the purchase of the new Amazon Fire Phone you get one whole year of Prime, FREE. Prime gives you lots of perks in addition to the postage and quick mailing for items bought via Amazon. You also get access to a huge video streaming library, a library full of Kindle books to borrow and free music to stream and/or download. AND … if you are already a Prime member, if you purchase the Amazon Fire Phone, you get your Prime membership extended an additional year. That’s excellent!! That’s one year of Prime for EACH phone you buy. Three phones on one account? That’s three YEARS of Prime. Details, here.

The 32 GB phone will be $199 with a 2 year contract through AT&T. Other options also available.

You can learn more about the phone, and an in-depth look at all the features (MUCH more than I described) by clicking here.

So will you consider a change? Will this Amazon Fire Phone convince you to leave your iPhone behind?

There are a few things about this phone that tempt me. Me. A bona-fide Apple fan-boy-girl-lady. The Mayday button. The year of Prime. Yelp shows up directly on the maps. A larger screen. The one-hand tilt scrolling screen.

At this moment, I’m not sure. But to my own surprise, I’m considering it. Anyone who knows me (in real life) or through my blog knows that I like to take my time when approaching technology-changes. I always wait for a while, for example, before downloading the latest software update.

So I’ll not be jumping in right yet. I’ll wait and see. I’ll let others test the waters.

I’ll be trolling the internet for comparisons in every area for the iPhone vs Amazon Fire Phone. When I find a great comparison, item by item, camera vs camera, etc, I’ll be sure to link to it on this blog.

If this new phone lives up to it’s hype, a change for me is not out of the question. There are a lot of features here that I would appreciate.

This just might be my iPhone Waterloo.

How about you?

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Off Topic Post: ARGH!!

Yesterday was June 5. That’s the FIFTH day of JUNE.

JUNE!

I entered a local store (Hobby Lobby). Workers were busily rearranging their shelves and updating their stock.

With what kind of merchandise, you ask?

CHRISTMAS!

Good grief. It isn’t even summer yet. Kids are still in school. My air conditioners are still in storage.

CHRISTMAS???????

Anyone else think this is a tad early?

IMG_4321

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Cool or Creepy?

Reading some internet chatter on this, I’d say it is coming down on the side of creepy.

But I think it is kind of cool.

If you haven’t seen this, take 2 minutes and take a look.

You’ll see Michael Jackson, singing and dancing, at an award show this week.

Yes, I know that he is dead.

This is a hologram. Watch him dance (if you’re in a hurry you can fast forward to the 1:00 mark).

I think the technology is amazing. (and a little bit creepy)

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This Could Never Happen Today

Franklin Roosevelt, a victim of polio, was paralyzed from the waist down.

He went to great lengths to hide his disability. If someone caught him maneuvering himself in and out of a car, or walking a few steps, his security people would quickly confiscate the offending camera.

And so, any film of President Roosevelt walking is very very VERY rare. A new one just surfaced this week, donated by the daughter of the baseball player who did the filming.

Watching this, and knowing how successful Franklin Roosevelt was at hiding his disability, I couldn’t help but think how completely impossible this feat would be today.

Aside from the sad fact that he felt the need to hide it (thought it would make him look weak?) …… just imagine trying to pull this off in 2014. Impossible. It would simply be impossible.

It’s a good thing that Franklin Roosevelt attended that All Star game in the year 1937.

A similar event today would see an entire stadium filled with people with cameras in their pockets.

There is no hiding from 30,000 people with smart phones.

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It’s my Blog-aversary!

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This week marks my anniversary of TWO full years of blogging.

TWO years!

I find it hard to believe.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of my readers for your continued support and encouragement.

For now I plan to continue. After all, new iPhones are just around the corner, followed (most likely) with a new OS, new tweaks, new and updated apps, maybe even a new Paperwhite ….

As the tech keeps coming, I’ll keep on bloggin’!

From Millan.NetFrom Millan.NetFrom Millan.NetFrom Millan.NetFrom Millan.NetFrom Millan.Net

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Time Marches On….

It is amazing to realize that there is an entire generation of folks alive today who have never experienced a phone connected to a wall with a wire!

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This Cool Tech Invention Pairs your Sunglasses with your iPhone

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 6.58.44 AMNew tech gadgets/inventions show up almost every single day, and many are downright goofy, while some are amazing and wonderful. I have highlighted a few on this blog.

Remember these?

I Really Really REALLY Don’t Like This (creepy)

Boy uses a 3-D printer to make a HAND for his friend (awesome)

Clap on, Clap off: Old Technology, with a New Use? (absurdly silly)

Another tech goodie has recently caught my eye and although the price of this one is crazy high, I still thought it was interesting enough to share…..

These are “smart” sunglasses.

If you are a sunglasses wearer, I’m sure you have experienced the “oh, no! I left my sunglasses in the restaurant!” moment. I sure have.

But if you leave these handy-dandy glasses behind, your iPhone will alert you with a special sound once you are 16 feet away. If you ignore that, you’ll be alerted again at 32 feet, etc., until you clear the alert from your phone.

And, it is intelligent enough to know when you are at home or at work, so no alerts as you walk away from your sunglasses there. However, if you can’t find your glasses, you can ask your iPhone, and it will show you where the glasses are within a foot.

The reverse is also true. Let’s say you start to leave the restaurant with your glasses on your head, but your iPhone is still on the table. In that case, your iPhone will ring EXTRA loudly to get your attention. Disaster averted. :cool:

These glasses are solar powered, so they are always charged.

Clever idea. However the price is prohibitive for what is truly just a gadget.

They plan to offer these glasses by the end of this year for $349 a pair. Ouch. $250 if you order now. Still Ouch.

If you want to learn more about these sunglasses, you can click, here: Tzukuri

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Technology, Cars, and the Big City

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 7.07.28 PMI don’t live in a big city. I live in a busy area, part of the megalopolis that is the northeast US….. but not in a city. However, my adult children and their spouses all live in cities. And when I visit them, I always learn something new.

If you are a city-dweller, you can stop reading, now. This will be old news for you. But for the rest of us …… it is so interesting to watch technology changing something so basic as the old “TAXI!” hail.

But let me back up a bit. It is often not practical to own a car when you live in a city, and entrepreneurs have focused on that need over the last few years, filling the gap with Zip Cars and Cars2Go. Zipcars can be found parked all around the streets of a city, and if you are a member, you just reserve one (find it on your app), unlock it and drive away, using the car for just hours or days.

For really short trips (maybe you just want to drive a few blocks) a Car2Go might be the solution. With a member card, you just get in and go. The description from the car2go website sums it up nicely: “A car2go is always a pleasure to drive: just take it, drive it, park it. Simple and straightforward. You can always find a vehicle in your area. You open it with the member card you receive after signing up. You go from A to B, park your car2go again and that’s that.”

New-to-me for this city-trip was a service called Uber. (thanks, Jinna!)

Uber has been around now for several years, and is located in cities all over the world … but was jaw-dropping goodness when my daughter-in-law whipped out her iPhone and said that she was going to get an Uber car to take us home.

We didn’t have to stand on a corner to try and hail a taxi. Nope. She just pulled up her Uber app on her phone, and tapped to call a car. Then, on her screen, we saw a map. This map showed our location …. and also the location of the Uber car that was on our way to pick us up!

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We watched as the car got closer, so we knew when to start looking for it. No curb standing for us. She also had been given the license number of the car and a photo of the driver.

Car arrived and we hopped in. After a lovely ride to our destination, we said goodbye to our friendly driver and left the car with no money exchanged. Your trip and your tip is simply charged to your credit card, which you gave when you signed up for the service.

Remarkably convenient. And the price was similar (I think in this case cheaper) than a cab ride would have been for the same distance. *****Note to new Uber users: you need to select UberX to get cab pricing that’s similar to taxis. Uber Black car service is VERY EXPENSIVE (it’s equivalent to a town car service). and unfortunately it’s easy to accidentally click on. So be careful (and frugal) and choose UberX for the best price.

This is extra interesting to me since this is a service that I might actually use when visiting Philadelphia or NYC. As a day visitor I would never grab a car2go to navigate city traffic, but an Uber car would be a wonderful opportunity to skip the smelly yellow cab and the whole “I have to find a cab” experience.

A quick google search showed me that many cities (taxi companies) are not pleased with this service, fighting to limit the number of cars, etc.

But I’m hoping this wave of “alternatives-to-taxis” prevails. It is marvelously convenient.

Uber cars are in service all over the world. Click here for a list of all the participating cities.

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