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Connected Gadgets

Phone upgrade time has come for a few of the mobile phones in our family plan. Upgrade time is a chance every 2 years to get up with the latest and greatest gadgets.  This time around I went with Verizon’s Thunderbolt as I wanted an Android device to test out apps.  I have already invested in an IPAD2, which means my original IPAD is now a hand-me-down to one of my daughters. Today, we upgraded my wife’s phone to an IPhone so she’s “mobile connected” as well.

I also picked up a new Verizon product called Home Phone Connect.  It’s a device that looks like a wireless router but it’s meant to replace you land line phone. For $20/month (unlimited calls), I’m supposed to be able to plug it in to my existing home answering machine with wireless handsets.  They will also be switching my home phone number from AT&T to this box.  The Verizon rep said that if I disconnect the phone line coming into my outside wiring box, I could connect the Verizon Home Connect box to an inside phone jack and that will provide dial tone throughout the house (something about the phone line coming from the street having power on it which will zap the Verizon box).  If everything goes well, I’ll soon be saying bye-bye to AT&T and the $60 monthly bill for basic phone service. I was thinking about switching to Charter’s phone service but I haven’t had good experiences dealing with Charter.

It’s amazing how much effort you need to do to get these gadgets working effectively. My Thunderbolt is a battery hog, barely lasting one day before running out of juice. I can get an extended battery but then it won’t fit in the case. I heard about an app that would turn off 4G on the phone as SLO doesn’t have 4G yet and I guess it searching for it takes a lot of battery. I downloaded it tonite so we’ll see if it makes any difference.

Another thing I’m realizing is how Wi-fi is now a MUST HAVE for some of the devices that have a cap on mobile downloads (like the IPADs). I spent some time yesterday running an ethernet cable to another part of the house and installing another wireless router so I have strong Wi-fi signals in more rooms. During the install, I learned that you need to set the wireless authentication to a certain type to take full advantage of wireless-N speeds. So I had to reconfigure the other wireless access points and the devices that connected to them.

Ok, enough of this techie talk. Time for me to go  stream a video from Netflix on my Internet-connected Blu-Ray whatchamacallit.

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile