Friday, January 7, 2011

Two things to do in 2011: Use smartphone and dump Microsoft

  1. Stop using anything Microsoft
  2. Use smartphone
  1. There are likely free versions that do better jobs than Microsoft software.   
  2. A smartphone is a powerful computer that fits snugly in your palm and does so much.  The reason that a person is not using it is likely ignorance.   Here is a short list of things it can do.
    • It takes pictures as good as your point-and-shoot.    It is easy to publish these pictures to the web or email them.  If you upload them to sites such as Picasaweb, you can choose to have them displayed with the google maps of their locations.  See One more reason to leave your point-and-shoot at home: geotagging.
    • Use it as an alarm clock that plays Bach's Cello concerto or Beatles to wake you up.  You should be ashamed if you pack an alarm clock when you travel.
    • Use it as a countdown timer to make tea.  My morning ritual is to let the tea leaves soak in boiled water for three minutes using my phone.
    • Use it as a stopwatch to time your walk, run or bike ride.
    • As you bike, use the phone's GPS to prevent from getting lost.
    • When you travel to a new city or a foreign country, use the GPS to learn about your new environment super fast.  Paper map should be a thing of the past.
    • When you travel to Singapore, for a meager SGD$18, you can get a Singtel sim card for 72-hour unlimited Internet access.  Using Internet tethering, your Notebook can access the Internet as well.  See below for more about tethering.     
    • If you take Taichung city buses,  your phone's browser can show you when your bus comes to a bus stop.  Without a smartphone, you might be waiting for a bus in the blind for an hour, under 100 degree hot sun, or in merciless icy-cold wind storm.
    • At a glance to know the weather of the day, or week, of the town you are currently in.
    • In a store, use your phone to scan a bar-code just like the casher, to find information or do comparison shopping.
    • If you still wear a watch, lose some weight by leaving it at home.
I end this short list with personal tethering stories.
  • Watching 大話新聞 on my MacBook Pro (via an iPhone 3GS) when I was on a bus from 桃園機場 to Taichung.
  • To work on my Notebook when I am too far away from any usable Wi-Fi.
  • Use tethering to connect my Notebook to the Internet while lecturing, when campus network is erratic.
My Mom is currently in a rehab center to get her strength back after a minor stroke.    According to my brother, the rehab center does not have Wi-Fi.  Every morning, my brother uses Internet tethering to skype Dad at home.  My Mom and Dad would chat and sing for about an hour over Skype.  What would Mom and Dad do without smartphone?

One thing I rarely do with my iPhone or Android is to call people as if it is a phone.

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