Too Dangerous…

My niece just got a cell phone.  She is 10 years old.  I have no children, so I am not qualified to comment on whether this is a good idea or not.  When she was a “wee one” of about 3, I would call my brother and he would ask her if she wanted to talk to “Aunt Kelly” she would say, “Too Dangerous.” We thought that was funny.  We thought that she had a sense of humor. Even my brother and sister-in-law thought it was funny.

Well little did I know that because she lived so far away, she didn’t remember me, so I was a STRANGER in her world.  So the whole “STRANGER DANGER” thing took on a whole new meaning. We see them and talk to them often, so I am no longer a stranger to her and we spend summer vacation time together.

For the past few years, she would confiscate her mom or dad’s cell phone and shoot me off a photo or a text message and I would be thinking, “What are they talking about?”  Then I would find out it was my niece and not them.  She is quite versed in using a cell phone – she can text better than they can!

Last Saturday, I got a text message from an unknown number, but from the area code that my brother lives in.  My first text, “Hi Auntie Kelly.”  It is my niece (obviously) she has gotten her first cell phone. Within the next 2 days I must have gotten 10 text messages from her.  Then I thought “Whoops I hope my brother’s package includes unlimited texting.”  (Here’s something that will freak you out – an $18,000/month cell phone bill!)

When you get a cell phone for your kids, it is meant to be a “tool” so you can stay connected, for them it is often considered a “toy.”  Last week,  I posted on our Sephone Blog this article about Facebook Places in relation to “Privacy Settings” .  Then when I started this post, I found this one from (which is really a great site for all kinds of things.) In particular, this is about your kids telling too much information or their friends telling too much information on where they are, whom they are with, and at what time.  That may be helpful to you as a parent, but it is also helpful to bullies or predators.  Unfortunately, that is the world we are living in.

Our cell phone people (Central Maine Wireless) are the best.  They actually take the time and really help us make the phones work for what we need them for and everybody is different.  So take the time and make sure you don’t get some whopping bill because your kids usage of the phone may not be the same as yours or maybe things you cannot even imagine are happening BECAUSE of that cell phone. Here is a link that Paul shared with me about features you can apply to the phones you can buy for your kids.

Here is an old post (but a great one) to review when you buy that cell phone or even to use as a learning tool for those that have one all ready.  And have a safe and happy Fall 2010!

iPOD, iTOUCH, iPHONE, (Aye, Aye, Aye!!)

I get it.
It is confusing.

And in the technical vernacular of a 6th grader, I am going to try to explain it. As usual I have to try it myself, so I can learn. So this is what I know about these things and what each product means to me as a potential user or purchaser.

1. iPOD – a music machine. Great place to put all your old Aerosmith tunes or Sonny & Cher CD’s that your kids burned. Or things you download from an online music store. Simply put, it plays the things you put on it. My brother has an iPOD shuffle which is a tiny thing, he isn’t a techie, but I also know a lot of techies that have them. I also have an iPOD, it was the first thing I truly fell in love with as a lover of music and audiobooks. But I’m not a lover of having to haul CD cases around all the time, or to get some place only to find that I am missing the perfect CD because I neglected to bring it. iPODs come in all sizes and colors to satisfy whatever you want to carry around with you. And they are so convenient!

2. iPOD TOUCH– this is a music machine and more, here is a video you can watch by clicking here. It plays music you load on it like iPOD, and it also works through an open WIRELESS connection. So if you have wireless in your house you can get on the internet and look up your favorite recipes on line and and use it in the kitchen. It also can download and play video only I don’t think my old eyes could watch a full movie on that small screen. The screen is a “touch screen,” holds calendars that you can synch up with your laptop (through iTunes), and iTunes works with PC’s too (watch this video.) Also holds contacts, email, as well as many other applications you can download wirelessly, most are free. My favorite one is – it is an internet music station. (another day for that one!)

I particularly LOVE the iPOD Touch because as I mentioned it works by wireless and not cellular. As long as there is a wireless connection available, once we bought it, it was paid for, no surprise bills or monthly fees. I can use it all over the place. I know there are tons more applications, but so far I have focused on the ones important to me.

3. iPHONE is a music machine and internet machine along with being a cellular phone. This is the key here. It works through CELLULAR, so you will need a contract with AT&T. I have nothing against AT&T, except we have terrible coverage up here in Maine (and I have been told poor coverage in many rural areas) so roaming and all kinds of other things may apply. For me, my real concern is the lack of coverage. When cell phones are searching, searching, searching, searching for a signal the batteries drain quickly. Often times I know I am in an area where there is spotty coverage (like Kingfield, Maine- for example) and I just turn my cell phone off to save the battery for the time I get to a place that has coverage.

So which is better?

I think it all comes down to lifestyle and where you work and play. For me, since I play off the grid and often travel off the grid, I don’t want to have a phone that is off the grid 50% of the time, or roaming when my current service provider (Central Maine Wireless- US Cellular) covers me 98% of the time. ALSO I can still use my iPOD TOUCH for many other things whether I have a wireless connection or not. It still works and my music is there, my photos are there, calendar, etc. So it is very effective even when I am in a place where wireless isn’t available and in the meantime I still have battery power to use it!

Cell Phone Battery ABUSE…Are YOU guilty?

I asked Paul-Hilchey Chandler of Central Maine Wireless to speak at my Marketing Class at the New England School of Communications, (which is part of Husson University) in Bangor, Maine last week.

Paul is my “Wireless Communications GOD!”
I count on him for everything. Like:

  • Tell me my plan isn’t right so I can save money,
  • Helping me because I “lost my phone.”
  • Letting me know what technology I need and what I can live without because he knows I’ll never use it.

Even though his presentation focused on how cell phones and other hand held devices are used in social networking, he also talked about cell phone and battery “health.”

He had 5 things that even got the attention of my class of “20-somethings….”


#5. Not turning your phone “OFF” if you are in an area where reception is “if-y” – the cell phone is going to try over and over again to find a signal. EVEN IF you don’t need to make a call – it doesn’t matter. The phone still tries to find a way, thus your battery goes dead trying.

This also applies to those fancy bluetooth devices. (Hands Free things that hang on your ear) If you keep your bluetooth connection running even when you aren’t using your bluetooth, the phone is trying to make a connection even when you don’t need to. Draining your battery more quickly, requires charging more often.

#4. Never turning your phone “OFF” – ever. He mentioned we should do this once a week. Your phone and its battery needs to rest. Just like YOU do, turning the phone OFF overnight is helpful just to let it rest and regroup.

#3. Not letting your battery drain completely. It is good to let it go down as far as you are comfortable before turning off and charging. A few years ago I asked a different cell phone person about the NEW battery type in my NEW phone and was told it wasn’t required to completely drain – well, apparently after a few years of history, that isn’t the case, while it doesn’t react so severely as the old batteries did, they still need to get into the RED ZONE before charging for optimal life.

#2. Not turning off your cell phone while it charges, while at home or in the car. The charging activity creates heat and it charges (as well as putting less stress on the battery itself) better while the phone is off.

#1. Talking on your cell phone WHILE charging it in your car charger. Apparently, this is the BIG BAD DADDY of killing a battery. I must confess, I do it all the time and I see people in their cars doing it, so I am not alone. The car charger is a kind of “fast charge” thing that heats the battery up even more than your home charger. If you have the phone “ON” or worse are talking on it while this is happening, it damages the battery and shortens its life.

A really good rule of thumb is the next time you feel your cell phone feeling warm, remember that isn’t the phone, it is the battery. If the battery is warm, it needs a break, so turn off the phone and give it one!

How many numbers are in your cell phone?

It must seem to my regular readers (and thank you by the way~XXOX) that I get on a subject and I cannot let go of it – well most of the time, I do it on purpose. The subjects have so much information that I think maybe you are like me, you can handle it best in “bite sized” pieces. Also you have a life and don’t sit and stare at a computer all day clicking links that are supposed to save you from the ruins of technology!

How much can you learn at “one sitting”? How much time do you have for “one sitting”?

I have been writing about backups and online storage options lately. Well, in the past week, I have had 2 friends tell me random scenarios about their cell phones. Both of these phones are older models and both of them are loaded with numbers – or in the case of one friend ” WERE LOADED” with numbers. Let’s concentrate on that one.

It is beautiful weather here in Maine and my best buddy was fishing with her brother and as she was getting out of the boat her phone took a dive into the Lake. (UGH!) Dead Phone. They found it, but took to the folks at Central Maine Wireless and it was confirmed.

I have been lucky to have the folks at Central Maine Wireless look out for me and protect me from myself. They know me. They know that I lead an active lifestyle, my phone may go flying off the roof of my car because I am late for a meeting and forgot it there or I dropped in the woods when I am out hunting with my dogs. And if there is one thing you learn from this post, is that. Find a local provider that keeps YOUR needs in mind, suggests things that make sense without selling extra “goodies” you have no need for. Seriously, I don’t know what I would do without them.

A few months ago, they suggested to me My Contacts backup. And Paul set it up for me in 5 minutes. You can do it yourself too, but like I said, “they know me,” and they know I need the extra attention. Each day at noon (or whenever YOU decide) AUTOMATICALLY it backs up all your information on your phone to a remote server and you don’t have to think about it! If you have a call or you need to use your phone at the scheduled time, it wont interfere. And if something ever should happen to your phone, then your new phone can be loaded quickly with the data from your old phone from the remote server that has it.

If you are like my friends and have an older phone you can still protect your data by going to this link: Click here.

But like everything, this is about planning ahead. You don’t buy insurance for your car because you KNOW you are going to have an accident, you buy insurance IN CASE you have an accident, the data in your cell phone is the same and you should never have to figure this it out when it is gone.