The Solarbox: Great idea! More, please!

London is full of iconic red telephone booths. Unfortunately, since the invention of mobile phones, most of the phone booths are now useless.

From SkitchHere is a photo of my hand, holding up the remnants of what used to be a real phone, and clearly over time it was duck-taped and mended …. but never actually repaired.

It didn’t work. Boat ride to Greenwich - 28 - Version 3

I never found a working phone inside a red phone booth (and I did look …. I was curious!).

and so ……

Enter the solarbox!

The solarbox is an old red phone booth with an upgrade. It is painted green and has solar panels on the roof.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 6.17.18 PMStep into the solarbox and you can plug in your phone or tablet to get power. FREE power. You’ll have to watch a few ads for the privilege, but I think most people would agree that that’s ok. A fine trade-off. A few ads for a power-up. Yay!

The solar box webpage sums it up with a single sentence:
“Transforming disused telephone boxes into free solar powered charging points for phones”

The first solarbox just ‘went live’ a few days ago, with plans to add 5 more around the city by April 2015.

Congratulations to the solarbox designers. A clever, clever idea that I’m guessing will spread to other cities as well.

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uh oh. The iPhone 6 Plus can BEND in your pocket! ** gasp **

This is not good news.

Oh, my.

And so begins a new chapter in Apple’s history: #bendgate

The iPhone 6 Plus bends, but not by design.

Some iPhone 6 Plus owners accidentally bending their phones in their pockets.

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Improving the Paperwhite: Amazon Introduces the Kindle Voyage

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 7.17.56 AMLast week the tech world was all abuzz about the new iPhones. In the middle of all that excitement, Amazon quietly released a bunch of new goodies. (at least it seemed like it was “quietly” to me….)

I know that many of my readers are HUGE Paperwhite fans (me, too!!!).

Honestly, I could not imagine how it would be possible to improve that device. It seems darn near perfect.

And yet, as technology moves forward, so do the devices, and Amazon has now ramped up their Paperwhite to a new level, and they are calling this NEW eReader the Kindle Voyage.

So how did they improve ‘perfect’?

1. It’s THINNER.

2. TWICE as many pixels as the Paperwhite, making the text super-crisp.

3. Added tapping sensors on the edge so that you can gently press to turn a page.
(I like love this. I missed my buttons.) You can still turn the page with finger swipes.

4. Automatic light sensors will adjust the light according to the light in the room. It will gradually decrease in a dark room, as your eyes adjust to the dimmer light.

5. General re-design, including a flush-front.

Wifi only, with special offers, costs $199. Removing the special offers hikes the price to $219. (I have the “special offers” appearing on my Paperwhite, and it really doesn’t bother me at all.)

I thought long and hard about this, because I really love my Paperwhite. I did not feel the need to level-up ……. UNTIL I saw that page-turning sensor. That is the one thing I have always missed on the Paperwhite. I am a bed-reader, and when you are comfortably reclining on your side, holding the kindle with one hand, it can be awkward and inconvenient to try and swipe the pages. It’s a nightly struggle to position the Paperwhite just right, and usually I don’t. I missed the old Kindle buttons on the earlier models.

And so I am going to try it. Amazon’s generous return policy makes this a no-brainer for me, because if I don’t like it, I can easily return it. No harm, no foul.

To my surprise, MANY people must be ordering this, because when I tapped the “buy” button on Friday (just a short time after the quiet launch) …. I was told that I won’t be receiving my Kindle Voyage until NOVEMBER 28! :shock: (when it first went on sale, the shipping date was in October!). Wow. I guess the market is strong for this new eReader.

Amazon has also released 4 other products.

1. A Fire HD tablet for only $99. Cheapest tablet available.

2. Fire HD KIDS Edition. “If they break it, we replace it. No questions asked.” If there are Kids in your life, this is worth a closer look.

3. FireHDX 8.9 Big improvements to this tablet.

4. Basic Kindle. Touch screen. No light, but lots of other features. $79

For further information on all of these products, just go to Amazon. They are all displayed on their home page with links to more details.

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Poor Fellow DROPS his new iPhone 6

Today is release day for the new iPhones. Lines, lines and more lines.

Shown in this video is the FIRST person to get a phone in Perth, Australia.

Poor guy.

He unveils his prize …… and DROPS IT!

(thanks to Al for bringing this to my attention!)

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A New Word for you to Learn: Phablet

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.00.26 PMIf you haven’t heard it yet, you’ll hear it soon.

Phablet

Phablet – a phone that’s big enough to be (almost) considered a tablet.

Samsung has produced a phablet for years with it’s Galaxy Note. And do people like it? They seem to love it. So Apple is now jumping on that bandwagon with the iPhone 6 Plus.

iPhone 6 Plus = the newest phablet on the market.

There was a great review of the iPhone 6 Plus in the New York Times today. Written by a bona-fide big-phone hater, he talks about the time he spent with this new phablet, pros and cons.

I think he surprised himself.

He finds many pluses to make up for the lack of pocketability.

Read the whole article, here:

With Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, Phablets Get Serious.

Now I’m starting to get excited to get my hands on one.

I’ll not be in line at the Apple stores on Friday (I’m not THAT crazy ambitious :) )

But …

I placed my order! And I should get my iPhone 6 Plus (aka Phablet) in about 3 weeks.

If you are considering the iPhone 6 Plus, I would suggest you take a few minutes and read the NY Times review.

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You now have a choice: iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 6

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 3.22.32 PMIt’s now official.

Apple is releasing the iPhone 6 in TWO sizes.

The iPhone 6 will have a 4.7 screen.

The iPhone 6 Plus will have a 5.5 screen (yes!).

(To be clear…. both models are LARGER than the iPhone 5)

While there are positive tweaks (such as better battery life, Retina HD display), a disappointment is that the camera will remain at 8 megapixels (rival Android phones are doing better). They have made several other improvements to the camera, however, including a new sensor and video features.

Preorders for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus begin this Friday, with the phones shipping on September 19 (in the US).

Prices and capacity for the iPhone 6 Plus:

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Prices and capacity for the iPhone 6:

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This will bump back the prices for the older models. A 16 GB 5S will now cost you $99, and you can have a 8GB 5C for free.

Also announced:

The iWatch leaves the rumor mill and is now a reality. This smartwatch will not be called “iWatch” (as everyone was guessing). It is officially called the Apple Watch.

It will come in two sizes, and have a dial (digital crown) that will be used to interact with the watch. In other words, the screen would be too small to use your finger, so this dial will allow you to do whatever it is that you need to do (zoom in or out, etc).

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This Apple Watch won’t be released until 2015 and will need an iPhone (models 5 and up). It’s also pretty pricey at $349. I don’t really get this one… but then again, I didn’t “get” the whole internet idea back in the 90′s, so I’ll sit back and let others explore this new watch. I’ll wait to be impressed.

Also announced:

Apple Pay. This is a new mobile payment system for the iPhone. Other companies have tried it but so far it just hasn’t seemed to catch on. Whole Foods, Disney, Walgreens and Macy’s are among the retailers who are going to accept this new system, where you pay via your credit card after taking a photo of it with your iPhone.

I know people are concerned about security for things like this, and I certainly am, too. However I also find that if I can only use it here and there, it’s hardly worthwhile. Personally, before I would jump in the mobile payment water, I would want it to be around for a while and something that is commonly accepted everywhere. I don’t care to be a trailblazer.

And finally….

iOS 8. This new operating system will not only be appearing on the new iPhones, but will be available to current iPhone and iPad users as an upgrade.

As soon as I have the iOS 8 up and running, I will gradually cover the new features …. slowly …. on this blog. One feature at a time. Just for us regular folks. :)

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Apple Event on Tuesday. Rumors will continue until then…..

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 8.10.10 AMApple’s big event will unfold on Tuesday, September 9. And all the rumors will be put to rest.

But for now, the internet is buzzing with speculation.

It is generally agreed that the newest iPhone will be offered in several sizes. Personally, I’m hoping for a larger screen, but I know lots of folks want it to stay the same. So, the best solution (if Apple asked me :) ) would be to produce several sizes (like they do with the iPad). Let people have a choice.

And then there is the iWatch. This is interesting. Wearable technology is wildly popular, and personally, I think that Apple is a little late getting into this game.

Last Christmas, my son gave me a Fitbit. This is a little gadget that keeps track of your steps and sends you encouraging text messages to urge you on to meet your goal. It holds a charge for weeks, and when the battery gets low, it sends me an email to alert me that it needs a charge. Delightful. No fuss, just fun. And flawless. It just works…. and it is very popular. Other companies have similar products.

Now the rumor is that Apple will be unveiling it’s own piece of wearable technology, dubbed the iWatch (it probably will not be called “iWatch”). It is assumed that it will be health related, keeping track of steps, heart rate, etc. And then the speculation continues … what else will it do? After all, many companies are already producing health related wearable gadgets (like my Fitbit). Will there be apps for this iWatch? Will it access the internet? How on earth can you fit a keyboard on a watch?

I’ve also read about a possible mobile-payment-system on the iPhone…that should be interesting.

…also a new operating system (here comes iOS8).

and….. perhaps a new LARGER iPad.

All questions will be answered soon….

stay tuned….

The Apple event: What’s probably coming

What To Expect From Apple’s iPhone Event On September 9

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Walmart Slashes Prices on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 7.47.27 AMIt won’t be too long until the new iPhone 6 is released.

But if you need a new phone, and you don’t need the “latest” version, Walmart has a deal for you.

For the next 90 days, Walmart is selling the 5s for just $79, and the 5c for 97¢ (yes, you read that right…. 97 cents).

Of course you have to agree to a two year contract but you have your choice of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or US Cellular.

I’m sure lots of folks will be taking advantage of this deal. Personally, I’m waiting for that bigger screen that is promised rumored for the iPhone 6. :)

iPhone 5C drops to 97 cents at Walmart

You Can Now Get A Dirt-Cheap iPhone 5s And A Nearly Free iPhone 5c At Wal-Mart

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Heads Up! New iPhones are a-coming, soon

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.51.33 AMIt seems like yesterday that I gushed with glee over the new iPhone 5. Some of my “bad” concerns never panned out (battery has been fine, and I love the power cord). I have thoroughly enjoyed my last two years with my iPhone 5.

Enter the iPhone 6. It’s coming. In about a month.

The biggest rumor news about this new phone is the size. It looks like the iPhone 6 will come in several sizes. It’s growing larger.

One very popular phone, the Samsung Galaxy, has a significantly larger screen than an iPhone. And that larger screen has been a huge success. I know several closely related folks :) who have “strayed” and are loving their Galaxy phones.

So, it looks like Apple is playing a little catch-up here, coming out with a larger iPhone, providing consumers with a choice (and hopefully keeping people in the Apple universe).

Below is a great illustration from MacRumors, showing the comparison of the device sizes: Notice that the largest iPhone is actually approaching iPad mini size!

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Oh, the choices!!! The chatter about these new sizes is quite interesting. Some folks enjoy the size just as it is, and want no changes at all. Others are looking forward to a new, larger screen. My daughter-in-law and I just had this conversation yesterday…. she wants to keep her trusty iPhone small, while I am quite sure I’ll be pursuing the new (biggest) model.

So, if you are in the market for upgrading your iPhone, start thinking about size.
It matters. :)

Your thoughts? Is bigger = better?

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Rumor? or Real? Amazon about to offer a New eBook Subscription Service

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The internet (the part that is interested in ebooks, anyway :) ) is abuzz today with the most-likely-true rumor that Amazon is about to launch a new service.

This looks like it will be a new Netflix-ish subscription service with digital ebooks and audio books…… an “all you can eat” approach …. for $9.99 a month.

It isn’t available yet. As a matter of fact, it hasn’t even been confirmed, yet. But the stories about it are everywhere.

When (if) this launches, I’ll be sure to post the details. But in the meantime, here are some links to many of the stories flooding the internet, today:

Amazon Tests ‘Kindle Unlimited,’ A Netflix For Ebooks And Audiobooks

Amazon Appears to Be Testing All-You-Can-Read Kindle Ebook Subscriptions

Amazon’s Prepping a “Kindle Unlimited” Subscription Service For Books

Amazon is working on Kindle Unlimited, the ultimate subscription service for readers

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