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Rethinking the iPhone

The Swiss Army knife of telephony

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Better telephone experience, better value for money

Replacing the iPhone mobile telephone capability cost $39. Walmart sells a small mobile telephone that fits the little sub-pocket in my jeans, and works really, really well. It was part of a package called StraightTalk which costs $30 monthly for 1,000 minutes, and 1,000 text messages, delivering a three hundred per cent increase in my minutes and a much better telephone experience. The service runs over the excellent Verizon network.

Getting StraightTalk was easy - first you select a phone in a Walmart store (I chose a simple small flip-phone with bluetooth). You then take it home and set up the service - I chose to have StraightTalk bill my debit card monthly, and I transferred my AT&T number (in under two hours).

Google Goodies

Google Voice (GV) is a game-changing telephone service that provides a free telephone number, free text messages, free USA telephone calls and dirt-cheap international calls. I use my GV number as my office number, and found it worked really well with Straight Talk.

GV provides a host of advanced features that blew AT&T/Apple away. I especially like including emailed voice messages sent as audio or voice transcribed (or both). Google Voice and StraightTalk are a highly potent combination, that is simple to use:

• Outgoing GV calls made from my iPad or computer (via GV Mobile + App or browser), mean I call my contacts directly - my Apple Address Book & Google Contacts automatically synchronize. Such calls ring my new mobile, which when answered, automatically ring the the contact.

• Incoming calls to GV ring my mobile phone and/or any other phone(s) I nominate. An incoming GV text is automatically forwarded to my mobile, as is a notification of voice mail, I pick up with a pin code from my GV number. I also have my Google calendar (which automatically synchronizes with my Apple calendar) text notify of events 60 minutes before the scheduled time.

When I substituted GV’s voice for the standard Verizon voice mail - it took three clicks!

iPad

I already extensively use an iPad, with the Apps. from my iPhone and more - Apple allow an installed App to appear on all of your IOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). The iPad of course has email, internet browser etc. - mine only connects through Wi-Fi because I just could not bring myself to pay for another lousy and expensive AT&T 3G service.

Like most people I have Wi-Fi connectivity through my home, and is usually available in most of the places I regularly visit, be they offices, hotels or other folks homes. In addition Starbucks and McDonald’s have free Wi-Fi, as do an increasing number of other places including local libraries. I rejected the idea of buying an iPod Touch for its portability - I tried it and it worked well, but I really prefer my iPad.

New hybrid storage solutions

Next page: Virgin Mobile Mi-Fi

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