"People think they invented this stuff -- I take it personally. I took beatings so you could dye your hair blue. Whatever. The 17-year-old kids have every right to do what I did, but tell them what they're doing is nothing new." Mike Ness (Social Distortion)

Sunday, November 03, 2013


War of the Smartphones

Once upon a time, phones were used only for voice communication, while PDAs were used to store contact information, to-do lists, and access e-mail.

Perhaps, one day, somebody looked at the cell phone and the PDA and thought, "They look pretty much alike - why don't we put them together?" And the smartphone was born.

But it took a while for smartphones to gain market demand. At first, these handheld communication and computing devices catered only to a specific niche.

And then Apple released the iPhone - and suddenly, smartphones started becoming immensely popular.

Fighting for number one

With this new popularity came the war of the smartphones. Now, the big players that once sold to a limited demography are competing for worldwide sales supremacy. The aim is to gain control of the fast-growing smartphone market.

And the battle in sales extends to research and development. While phone manufacturers Apple, Samsung, Blackberry, and Nokia are fighting their war in hardware, smartphone operating system (OS) providers are also battling it out in the software department.

Google owns the Android OS, while Microsoft owns the mobile Windows OS. Apple, Blackberry, and Nokia all use their own OS.

But not everyone is jumping onto the "own your own OS" bandwagon. Samsung seems to be benefitting from using the open source Android OS; the company has recently reported a rapid increase in sales. And in late 2011, Nokia has launched some new smartphones, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710, which run on the Windows OS instead of Nokia's own Symbian.

On another frontier, Apple, Microsoft, and Blackberry are also at the forefront of a patent war against Samsung, as Apple defends its iPhone designs while Microsoft and Blackberry are more concerned with their OS functionalities.

The true winner

Amidst all this competition, the avid followers and patrons of the smartphone technology are coming out as the true winners, as newer and more advanced smartphone models are being churned out for their consumption.

There are different predictions on who is ultimately going to win this technology and business war. Some say Microsoft will outlast the others because it has the greatest ability to offer a seamless computing experience for more users worldwide, given that PC users still make up the majority of computer users. Apple is still a serious contender, though, and one can never shrug it off, considering its history of changing the game to its own advantage. The thing that keeps Blackberry and Nokia in the fight is their undeniably solid and loyal consumer base.

A hidden cost

Inevitably, where there are winners, there are losers as well. One casualty of this smartphone war - this race for churning out the best, most technologically advanced phone - is the environment.

With the rapid turnover of smartphone units, as consumers scramble to take hold of newer models and dispose of their old handsets, there comes a corresponding rapid growth of waste, which is becoming a major cause for concern.

Heavy metals from used smartphone components in landfills are said to be leaching into the soil, leading to water and soil contamination. The non-biodegradability of most phone cases also complicates matters.
It is a good thing that mobile phone recycle's are now in business to address this environmental concern.

As we join the mad rush for the smartest smartphones, let us look beyond our touch screens and remember that there is a world out there that we need to take care of, if it is to continue taking care of us. Let's buy all the smartphones we want and can afford, if we wish to, but let us be responsible enough to dispose of our old phones responsibly, by sending them to mobile phone recycle's instead of just chucking them into the trash.
Get money for your old phone with phone recycling
By Louise Goldstein


Friday, October 28, 2011


Cell Phone Facts and Trends - What Will The Future Bring?

We are living in a wireless world that is changing so rapidly that it is difficult to remember that not very long ago; a wireless phone was just a phone, and not a supercomputer like some of today's smart phones. Consumers sometimes feel like they are being taken along for an ultra -hyped ride by the telecom giants. Maybe that's OK, but it's important to know enough about the current and future wireless industry to make smart choices about technology and wireless refill plans.

Here are some cell phone (mobile or wireless) facts which give a context to understand the experts' predictions for the future. Sources include technology blogs, Forbes magazine articles, telecom company information, CNet, Mashable, and futurist Patrick Dixon.
  1. Despite the severe recession, Telecom companies continue to show strong growth - revenues are expected to grow to $3 trillion worldwide from $2.1 trillion in 2008.
  2. 90%+ of people in the US (280 million people) have wireless phones in 2011. In 2000, that number was 20%. USA phone cards
  3. 10 years ago, mobile phones were just that - phones. Today, the wireless industry is being driven by smartphones that manage email, voice and text communications and connects us to the internet on the go.
  4. Smartphones are at the early stages of market growth led by the Iphone, Blackberry, and Android phones.
  5. Wireless phones now outnumber landlines in the US. Estimates are that at least 30% of households do not have a landline.
  6. Younger children are now significant users of cell phones. In the UK, 66% of 10 to 15 year olds have a mobile phone. Uk Phone Cards
  7. Video, text and data continue to create the demand for broadband.
  8. The costs for broadband and cell phones continue to drop.
  9. The digital conversion where cell phones become computers, computers become entertainment, phones become cameras, continues to drive new consumer excitement for wireless products.
  10. The new competition in the wireless smartphone market is application developed for wireless phones (apps). Businesses like apps because they can control the consumers experience directly without losing them to competitors when they go through Google.
  11. More and more people are going with prepaid, no contract cell phone plans
With these cell phone facts as background, here are some commonly held beliefs about the future of the cell phone:
We have come a long way since the mid 80's when cell phones first appeared as portable telephones the size of briefcases. Look for wireless products and services to become more and more integrated into our lives.

Greg Jordan is a Regional Manager for Lightyear Wireless

For more information on Lightyear wireless plans and cool phones visit: You'll find some of the most creative Telecom programs in the industry.

Lightyear Wireless is also looking To expand Its business through new agents.


Sunday, May 30, 2010


Phone Cards - Be Certain What You're Buying

Phone cards are an excellent way to stay in touch with family and friends without ending up with an astronomical phone bill at the end of the month. But before you choose the phone card that seems to be the cheapest available, be sure you know all the details of how that particular phone card works.

Some phone card companies have a service charge for each call you make using the card. That means that you'll lose several minutes each time you use the card - typically anywhere from four minutes to eight or even ten. If you have a phone card company touting their "three-cent a minute" rates, be sure of their service charges. If you're also losing an additional ten minutes for every connection you make, the rates go up considerably.

One gimmick used by phone card companies is that they give you a price "per unit" instead of "per minute." The significance is that there are different costs for different phone calls. You may pay only a penny or two per unit, but you may find that you're being charged several units per minute. For example, if you pay two cents per unit and you're phone call costs ten units per minute, you're paying twenty cents a minute - significantly higher than the many reputable phone cards. Per unit cards may very well be a good deal, but find out how many units you can expect to pay for phone calls before you shell out the money for one of these cards.

Rechargeable phone cards are sometimes an excellent deal because the additional minutes you purchase are often cheaper than the original cost of the card. If you think about it, it's fairly easy to see why. Instead of buying another pieces of plastic, you're simply buying the service - less cost to the company.

Buying larger amounts is also typically a good way to get the best deal on a phone card. Companies typically offer a better price per minute if you purchase a card with two or more hours of calling time than for a card with only a half hour. Again, it's a simple matter of marketing and you can see that the cost of producing the plastic card is a factor in that cost.

There's no doubt that phone cards are a good way to stay in touch, especially in some situations. Taking time to choose a reliable company for your phone card purchase is an important step in being sure you make the best selection for your phone card company provider.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Walking in Nature

Yesterday, I visited the Silver Lake Nature Center, in Bristol, Pa. with three of my grandchildren, ages 20 months, 3 years and 6 years old. I have been wanting to take them there for some time, and what fun we had looking at the butterfly garden that had all sorts of wild flowers, a beautiful pond with constant flowing water through the rocks. There was an exhibit inside their building that exhibit a model of habitats of birds and other wild animals. A cute brown and tan turtle was swimming in an aquarium.

The nature store there is full of all kinds of bird feeders, nature books, childrens coloring books, rocks, animal toys, and many other types of items associated with nature. The children all bought something from the store. My granddaughter(6), bought a rubber reptile snake. She just had to have it.

There was several trails that lead to the lake and the Silver Lake Park. When we came from out of the trail, it was like getting back to civilization. The children probably thought that they would be living in the woods as it was a long walk with nothing but you and nature. It is a weird feeling if you are constantly bombarded with tv, cars, streets, internet, and the whole gamut of life that is so contrasted to this peacefulness. Though the children loved the walk, the 3 and 6 year old took off for the childrens playland area, leaving me and the 20 month old behind. His mom forgot to bring his stroller, and so he walked the whole trail.

I took pictures with my new cam recorder of the whole trail walk and the geese at the lake. There wa a photographer there that day that too, taking pictures or video quietly. I did not want to disturb what he was doing. He look like he was on assignment.

Though this trip was spontaneous, it might be a good idea to hydrate before your trail walk and wear a good walking shoe. I had to buy the 3 year old a pair of suitable shoes at a nearby Kmart because his mother put on him some oversize sandals. Not good for any kind of walking. Taking a small backpack with water is helpful because you will be surprise how thirty you become after a walk-even a short walk if it's warm.

It was indeed an enjoyable day. I am hoping that more and more people visit the Nature Centers and zoos all over America and share your experience with friends and family. And another final note is that when you return to a beautiful nature center or park such as that, you will find that it is a different scene each and every time you go there. The walking is good exercise for you too-but most of all, it is about the peacefulness that will help you renew your spirit and re-enter the world with a different perspective on life. And. . . fresh air!!!

Thelma Harcum

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Today in History

(A new service brought to you by the editors of Archipelapogo semi-sporadically, or, more likely, when I've got nothing else to post about)

Today we can all celebrate the 210th Anniversary of the beheading of Marie Antoinette. The Queen of France and wife to King Louis XVI, she was convicted of treason and executed after the French Revolution. According to this pretty in-depth biography, she held her head high on her way to the guillotine and kept her self-respect as she was being carted through the streets of Paris on the way to her death. Reportedly, while on the scaffold, she accidently stepped on the foot of one of her executioners. Her last words were "Monsieur, I ask your pardon. I did not do it on purpose."

Even more interesting though, is the history of the guillotine. While it was made famous during the French revolution and used for executions in France until 1977, when on September 10, Hamida Djandoubi was the last person in France to be executed via these means. Four years later, France abolished the death penalty.

However, predecessors to the Guillotine pre-date the French Revolution by several hundred years. The Halifax Gibbet is reputed to be dated as far back as the Norman Conquest in 1066, although the first reference to it dates to 1280. The Scottish Maiden is another example of pre-1700s guillotine, arriving in 1564.

However, the guillotine as we all know and love it is named after a Dr. Guillotin, who in October of 1789 submitted to Assembly a proposition in six articles which included a recommendation that death, without the accompaniment of torture and by means of decapitation, should become the sole and standard form of capital punishment in France.

Plans were mapped out for the modern guillotine and the first model was constructed in April of 1792, and it was tested on sheep and calves. Throughout that month, many tests were also performed on human corpses. On the 25th of April, 1792, Nicolas-Jacques Pelletier was the first person to be executed by a machine called "the Guillotine".

Throughout history, up until 1977, the Guillotine saw many different forms in France and also in countries such as Sweden and Vietnam.

The main page of the Guillotine site that I've been linking to and using for information is here. I would've used more diverse sources, but this site is delightfully thorough.


Friday, April 27, 2007


Outbound Conference Call

One of the best ways to reach your family members and friends all over the country thins holiday season is to make an outbound conference call. Making an outbound conference call is a lot cheaper and less time consuming than calling each person one by one. Note that if you belong to a big family and you have lots of friends all over the country, it could take you forever to get to the bottom of list so it is better to call them together through an outbound conference call.

The good thing about doing an outbound conference call to specific group of family members and friends is that your family members and friends could also greet each other during the call. Having some people converged on the phone or online could be a lot of fun so try to set for an outbound conference call as soon as you can. Do not leave your outbound conference call at the last minute because you may not get through easily anymore. Note that the holiday season creates very heavy traffic online and on the phones so be sure to set your outbound conference call well ahead of time before the rush hour sets in.

Placing Your Outbound Conference Call

Placing your outbound continental conference call is very easy. If you are already a member of an online conference call company, you can just log in and make that call. However, if you are not yet a member of any online conference call companies, you can go online and search for a good conference call company. Choose one of those reputable communications company so that you will not have much trouble getting a good connection.

The fees for conference call vary depending on the company. There are companies that will charge minimal fees while there are those who will offer you their services for free. However, if you want to get a fast connection, you better go for those companies that ask for minimal fees. Note that those companies that are offering their services for free would be too crowded this Holiday season that you may not really get through at all.

Now, before you make your outbound conference call, be sure to inform your friends and family members in advance that you will be calling a thins certain time and date so that they will be around when you do make the call. Note that everyone will be very busy over the holidays that if you really want to talk to some people online, you better tell them well in advance about your call.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007



Desperate for something to put on here today, I'm stealing Brittney's idea and compiling a list of my own. With the exception of six weeks in Europe and juants here and there elsewhere, I've lived my entire life in the mid-west/mid-south/texas*.

So here we go. 10 things I love and hate about the South.

1). The Food: I try to eat fairly healthy nowadays, and I very rarely eat red meat at all anymore, but there's something very healing about a meal comprised of solely fried or drenched in butter ingredients. Slap me up some fried chicken, fried okra, mashed potatoes, jalepeno cornbread, and some fresh iced tea and I can be a happy camper. Toss in a bowl of red bean and rice or gumbo, some of the best Mexican food $2.50 can buy and fresh vegetables from local farms and you're hard up to go hungry around here.

2). The latinos: Since the border between the States and Mexico is pretty much the Red River (and moving north) nowadays, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the immigrant and first-generation latinos. But once you step back to enjoy the music, the culture and heritage, the language, and (oh yes) the food, you'll find a fascinating landscape of interesting items to satiate your diversity itch.

3) Farmer Bob and Farmer Jim: I volley back and forth on this one quite a bit, but there's definitely something very intriguing about the classic good old boy hard-working honest farmer stereotype. I'm probably the polar opposite of this class of people, but that's allright, I get along with them just fine, so long as we don't discuss politics. The best part about this is that they aren't even really farmers anymore. With the plight of the traditional family farm and ranch being overrun by giant corporations, they've had to learn to diversify, and diversify they have. One of the greatest examples of the good old boy was my barber back in Tulsa. Yup, a hair-stylist.

4) The music: There's something holistically cleansing about a great blues quartet live, or a gospel choir. The evolution of Southern music from slave-songs to campfire tunes in the Old West to Mississippi Delta blues to rockabilly and classic country to modern day incarnations like psychobilly has left some great music in the wake.

5) The storms: My dad's favorite pasttime is to sit on the back porch with the AM Radio on the weather station, a beer in hand, and watching a massive storm roll in. I've never seen thunderstorms hit with the frequency and intensity as they do where the Gulf Stream hits the Pacific Stream and high-pressure systems hit low-pressure systems and nature roars out an unmerciful downpour of noise on all below. Absolutely fascinating.

6: The Stars: No, not the hockey team (although I do like them well enough). But even living in the middle of a city with more than 2 million people in a metroplex with over 4 million, I can drive for about twenty to thirty minutes on a clear night and see damn near every star in the sky. I used to do this all the time when I was at Baylor, since I could find a field where I couldn't see any lights in about 10 minutes. Very relaxing.

7) The Nature: Trees, animals, campgrounds, rivers, lakes, hiking, all within a less than three hour drive pretty much no matter where you are.

8) Families: Coming from an extremely small family that wasn't very spread out, it was easy for us to get together for various functions. But there's something absolutely amazing about the family reunions of 150+ people that get together every year to catch up on life and spend time together, reliving traditions and passing on stories and advice.

9) The Laid-back pace of life: Again, something that I just notice as for the most part I'm a pretty quick paced guy. But even in the big city, it's rare to find someone rushing about trying to get stuff done for no reason other than that's the thing to do. Most people will take time out to genuinely inquire about your life, and they all have great memories.

10) The manners: This goes along pretty well with number nine, but people in this area are just more polite. You get many more thank-yous and please-s and Ma'am-s and sir-s than other places I've been. And it's not just people working the check-out register or the waiter at Chili's. It's a widespread, even level-playing field.

10 Things I Hate About the South.

1) The Conservatism - Not a shocker, but it gets really old and grating. Racism for the most part has been taken out of the public eye, and glaring examples are few and far between, but being a liberal in the South means, for the most part, that your vote will never count. Frustrating.

2) The trucks - Everywhere, it's duallies and Escalades and F350 Deisels and hopped up Yukons, sitting in three parking spaces marked "Compact Cars Only" and swerving at 90 miles an hour up I-35. Hate it.

3) The Dallas Fucking Cowboys - ...And football in general. The fervor around here, even during poor seasons is nauseating. And it's only going to get worse as Jerry Jones begins to grease up the fans and politicians so he can get public funding for a new stadium.

4) Big hair, big tits, and jeans with no back pockets - Enough said.

5) Drawls - I love accents of all kinds except for the one that I hear the most. There are people in my building that made Jim Varney sound like Tony Blair.

6) Suburban Sprawl - Yeah, it's all over, but I'd wager that some of the suburbs here in Dallas can compete with the biggest and best of them as far as chain restaurant after chain restaurant and households where keeping up appearances is priority number one. And suburban rebels? Forget about it. There's a reason that Plano became the heroin capital of the states in the late 90's.

7) Dashboard Patriotism - It's been hashed over and over again (here and everywhere else). It's not getting any better.

8) The Rednecks - The good old boys' dopplegangers, the rednecks can be some of the most infuriating people in the world. Loud, brash, irreverent, rude, and violent, they don't necessarily have to live in a trailer and unironically wear a trucker hat. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be the most close-minded people you'll ever meet.

9) The near lack of culture - Most every city, even the large ones, will have only one major museum, one natural history museum, one zoo, and, if you're lucky, only one modern museum. A couple of token art-house/ independent movie theaters, and some very small play houses and that's about your options. It's really bad for the high school kids, because little diversion leads to lots of mischeif.

10) The distance between cities and the lack of alternative ways to get there - I got spoiled big time by the trains in Europe and I'm really pining for a similar system here. Please. Soon.

*I get the feeling though that everthing that's not bordering the Pacific Ocean or that wasn't affected by the blackout, plus the D.C. area, is considered 'the South' to most everyone that does live in those areas.

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