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technology

My grand plan for today was to discuss the new account I opened up with Scottrade after reaching my $500 savings goal. Plans are great but life has a tendancy to get in the way. Instead of writing a full length, thought provoking, mind gripping article I will be recreating the last four months of financial transactions in my Quickbooks Pro software.

You see my file was corrupted and it causes Quickbooks to crash instead of open. Now I can’t send invoices or bill clients, generate tax reports, or otherwise manage my finances. This shouldn’t be a problem, if I had been keeping regular backups I would be gravy. But I wasn’t, I was stupid. Don’t be stupid, back your stuff up. Almost one year ago I said “Be Prepared, Backup your Data.” I guess I should have listened.

P.S. I am now storing my files on my DropBox account and creating backups to an external drive.

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This whole iPad thing baffles me. I guess I don’t get the point of the product. You take the iPhone which had some pretty big limitations and you make it bigger. Same limitations just a bigger screen. With the exception of Flash support I see things improving in future iterations of both the iPhone and the iPad which brings me to my thought for today. What does it cost you to be an early adopter?

There are people out there who have to have the latest and greatest tech gadget/gizmo. It never ceases to amaze me how the Apple faithful line up to get at whatever hot thing they have rolling out. Yes, I own an iPhone. I own a 3Gs one though. I didn’t get the first one, or the second one, I waited until it started to get really interesting and personally I kind of regret it. I like what Android has been able to accomplish and the less strict policy on app development. But I digress. When you are an early adopter it costs you more than just what you paid for the product. Lets look at the benefits of waiting to make that next gadget purchase

  1. No matter how good a testing group a company gets together there is always going to be unanticipated glitches, bugs, and security holes. It is impossible to anticipate all of the uses a product will get when put in the hands of the idiot consumer (myself included). These bugs tend to work themselves out in the first couple of months to 1 year of a product being on the market. Holding off a bit can save you the frustration of dealing with those glitches. Let someone else deal with it.
  2. The feature set of a 1st gen product is never what the company really wanted to put out to the market. It is what they were able to get together by the 3rd drop dead date. Other stuff doesn’t get cut it just gets rolled into the next development cycle. Just look at the features of an iPhone 3Gs versus the original iPhone. By picking it up early on you could be missing out on some great advantages that you will have to replace the product to get later on.
  3. The cost of a first generation product is almost always higher than the costs of subsequent generations of the product. As the product matures the company will fine tune the production process and suppliers they use to reduce their costs of creating the product. This process is happening all the time so their profit on the sales of the products grows. When the next generation comes out they can reduce the price or increase the value (increased storage capacity, processing, etc.) at the same price point. Buying early your are paying more for less, most of the time.

I am not trying to say anyone is crazy for getting an iPad, it looks neat, I just don’t see the benefit in being an early adopter of most anything. I am not the only one either, I think. Are you an early adopter? I would love to know why.

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    A few weeks ago I touched on the fact I use Google Voice to save me money. I only briefly mentioned how I use it to provide alternative SMS service and I had some questions about Google Voice as well as the details on how I use it to reduce my SMS costs so here it goes.

    What Is Google Voice

    Google Voice is a phone service provided by Google, it DOES NOT replace your current phone. It does not do Voice over IP (VOIP) but is instead intended to be used a single number where you can be reached on any of your existing phones. This way no matter how many times you change your home or cell numbers you can still be reached from the one central phone. The service also provides you with transcribed voicemails and the capability to send SMS via the interwebs.

    Other possible use is as a dedicated business phone number. Setting it up as a business line will allow you to give out your Google number as opposed to your real cell phone number. Allowing you to have a separate voicemail and call system for business but still ringing through to your cell phone.

    Google Voice is still in a limited preview, you can get in on the list by visiting http://www.google.com/voice

    Setting up Google Voice

    If you have a Blackberry or an Android based phone Google has an app out for both devices allowing you to run GoogleVoice  as a native app on the phone. If you are an unlucky iPhone owner the work around gets a little bit more in depth. Apple has decided they don’t want to play nice with Google and denied them their request to include the Google Voice App on the iPhone. Google didn’t like that too much so they developed an HTML5 based version of the app that you can run directly from the Safari browser (See Photo to the Right).

    Once you have a Google Voice account the first thing you will need to do is setup your phone numbers you are going to want it to dial. In order to get SMS rolling you need to switch over to the Voicemail & SMS tab under settings.

    Under voicemail notifications check the “Email the message to:” box and select the e-mail you will want your voicemail and SMS sent to. If it isn’t listed click on add a new email address. Make sure the Send a text (SMS) message to: boxes are unchecked, otherwise Google will just forward the message to your cell, still costing you a text.

    Now go down to SMS Forwarding and make sure you check “Forward SMS to my email.” Your resulting settings should look something like this:

    Now you will get a e-mail copy of the message whenever someone texts to your GV number. You can easily reply to the SMS by just replying to the e-mail. You can now send and receive your texts without ever using up your text plan.

    Enabling Push Notifications

    Now that you have Google voice setup and you are getting your SMS in your inbox we need to set it up so it comes in like a true SMS message. As it stands all you are going to get is a buzz or a beep when you get new mail/messages.

    Because Google Voice has no native iPhone app we have t use a third party app to enable push notification for newessages. There are a couple of apps out there that allow you to implement push notification for gmail messages, the one I use is called PushGmail. Basically it acts as a watcher over you gmail or Google apps account and whenever a new message comes in you get a push alert just like when you get a regular text. If you unlock the phone right away it will open into a mobile version of gmail and you can reply through e-mail.

    Using this method allowed me to cut my text service
    Back from unlimited to the most basic plan AT&T offers. I still get the occasional message to my regular account so I keep at least that plan. The only other limitation is that you can’t get Multimedia Messages (MMS) through GV.

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