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Which Cellphone type to choose.

Looking for a cellphone today is not easy for many people. There are dozens to choose from, especially if your willing to change cell carriers. First off, by "cell phone", i mean Smart Phone. Less and less people are buying a device which is just a phone. We buy portable computers. The decision is amount iPhone, Android Phone, Blackberry or the new Windows Phone 7.

If you have to choose because of carrier, your choices become more limited. For example, if only Verizon works near your home and you want to stay with them then obviously you can only choose from the phones they sell.

A quick rundown on the carriers. AT&T at the time of this writing is the only carrier with the iPhone, although its expected that Verizon will announce the iPhone on January 11th to come in February. AT&T has the fastest 3G data network, but not by much and dont let that part influence your decision at all. Verizon has the best coverage of them all and the one i find the best the most reliable. And Yes, i have used them all. Other carriers like T-Mobile probably have the lowest priced plans and the best deals as its all they can do to compete with AT&T and Verizon. Sprint has some advanged 4G networks (the newest and fastest for internet) and interesting devices no one else has. They also have the only well working two-way radio devices as they took over Nextel. So if you need that for business or they just work best in your area, your probably going with them.

Now for the phone types. I thought it best to just describe who its best for and why and you can decide which category you are in.

iPhone: Well designed, easiest to use of all the smart phones. 200,000+ Apps to choice from although most people find 4 or 5 and use those 95% of the time. Best device if you also like to play games. If your not very tech savvy but want the ability to do the popular apps (Facebook, games, video calling, etc) then the iPhone is for you. Downside is you are limited to being allowed to do what Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, Inc. says you can do. Apple wants you to have a reliable experience thats easy and consistent. So they limit how expandable the device is. That said, they make excellent products that dont take much to learn and work very well.

Android: To be clear, Android is not any single phone. Its the software that runs a bunch of phones called Android phones (You may have heard them called Droids. Thats just Verizon's name for any of their Android phones). Android was designed by Google and can be used by any manufacturer to make a smart phone. Android phones definetly require a little more patients to learn and bit more Geekyness to full take advantage of. Android phones now surpass iPhone sales. There are over 100 models world wide and something like 25-30 just in the U.S. They can do everything an iPhone can do and much more. The main advantage is Google designed the software to be "open". This means programmers who write apps for the devices can do much more, let the phones do things that Apple would never allow. A simple example, if you dont like the style of the on screen keyboard you can download a new one. You cant even do that on Apple. Tech savvy people love to do things like this. Non Techies dont know how, dont care to know how. You can get an Android phone on any carrier. The best out right now is probably the Droid X on Verizon. If you are on another carrier, the main thing to look for is a 1 Gigahertz processor minimum. Last thing you want is an older model Android phone that is very slow to use.

Windows Phone 7: This is a new introduction the the cellphone market. Microsoft which made a Windows phone for many years has completely redesigned their system from the ground up to me more in line with what people want these days. Everyone I have seen who has done extensive reviews of Windows Phone 7 has said wonderful things about it. If your a Microsoft Fan, if you like to have the newest, coolest thing, this might be a good choice. It can do most of everything the other phones can do as new apps are coming out every day for it and its quickly expanding. It is new. Which always means it will have the least support and the least apps but it appears to be a stable, reliable choice. This is one option that the best choice is to go to your local cell phone store and play with it for a while to see if its right for you. You may find completely new interface Microsoft has come up with just right for you.

Blackberry: Blackberry is quickly loosing ground. While they have always dominated the corporate market and used by employees, business people, and email hogs, they are dwindling . If you already use one and love the physical keyboard and the press of the buttons (instead of the on screen keyboard most newer phones have) then you may want to stay with blackberry. Remember a phone is only as good as the software on it. As iPhone and Android take over the world, programmers who write this apps for a living are moving over to write programs for them and less and less for Blackberry. Stay with them if you use them, not very technical and just want a solid device for email, texting, calendar, contacts.

Some things to remember:

-iPhone and Android phones are small computers. Therefor they are much more powerful than your old flip phone. With the iPhone, the speed is what is, there are no options. With Android - always get a phone with at least a 1 Gigahertz processor, you can ask before buying a phone which ones have this. Faster phones are expected out this summer.

-Battery Life is a big issue on these powerful phones. If you a occasional user, using it as a phone, checking a few emails, etc. you will probably get a whole day out of the phone. If your like me, who is checking email multiple times an hour, writing dozens of emails a day, watching videos, listening to music, twitter, Facebook, texting, etc you are lucky to make it to lunchtime without the battery dieing. Options are plugging it in when in the car to a charger, then plugging it in when at work, etc. You can often buy larger replacement batteries that do add some additional size to the device, or buying regular size batteries and swapping them throughout the day. This is the price for all the power these phones have to offer. At this time, manufacturers are trying to keep phones light and slim and we suffer for the sleekness which they believe sells the phone by barely making it through a day without charging.

-My personal use is a Droid Incredible on Verizon with a 3500 mAh battery. (Droid X came out 5 weeks later).

Remember that no matter what phone you get, a better one will come out a few weeks later. Thats technology! Newer Faster Better will always be just around the corner.

I hope this helps make your decision a little easier as no matter where you go you will get locked into a 2 year contract at $60-$100 a month so choose wisely.

Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid! of not backing up!

Like with many things we have that "It won't happen to me" attitude when it comes to backups. People tell me "I've had this computer for 3 years and the one before it for 5 years, never had a problem". You may also have never been in a car accident or gotten cancer from smoking, but odds are sooner or later you luck will runout.

It happened again today. Another customer calling me saying their files are gone. Somehow their My Documents folder is just empty. Nothing in the recycling bin. They ran a recovery program but it found nothing. Good thing they have that USB flash drive they backup on...woops...nothing their either. Why? Why did this happen? Usually that cant be answered. And it should not be your biggest concern. You should be able to go to your backup and restore your data. Thats what its for. But not having the computer skills to tell if the backup they installed themselves was working, they just assumed it was. Well, it wasn't and all their data is gone forever.

Even if you are someone who backups up and confirms it worked, how often do you do it? every few days? once a week? less often. Most customers who do their own backups tell us its every few months when they remember to do it.

You need to get scared! Thats the only way to make real, lasting change! Close your eyes. Imagine its Monday morning and you just walked into your office to find you have been robbed, everything is gone! The computers, those backups drives that were sitting right next to them, everything!

How bad would it be? you dont know who owes you money. Who you owe money too. Your Inventory, accounts, everything! Gone!

If you can visualize that and its no big deal, then fine...continue the way you are. If this would mean the end of your company as you know it, a major catastrophe then you need to do something now because it doesn't have to be a robbery or water damage. You can just turn on a computer and it pops like a light bulb does, because thats usually when they blow and all your data is gone. It happens that fast!

You don't have a house without insurance. You don't have a car without insurance. Even your business might have insurance but it cant replace the data and thats what is important.  Not the computers.  Not the desks. Its the information and yet you still don't take out insurance on it.

Ohh....No!!!! Get a Backup Plan!

What is the right way to backup? Its a 3 step process.

1) Local Backup to a drive or DVD
2) A Backup you make and take off-site to your home or elseware
3) Off site Backup over the internet to a remote backup company.

Steps 1 and 2 are the minimum and Step 3 gives you extra peace of mind.  What if your backing up daily, but would you know if the drives are not longer working? Nothing lasts forever. With Step 3, an off site remote backup service your really protected.

We have had to do data recovery many times, costing as much as $4500 for a client. No matter if its with us or someone else, don't let it happen to you!

Organizing your email life. 

Smart phones are more popular than ever.  We check our email at home, at the office, from our phones, iPads, laptops, etc.. Often people forget which emails they responded to, which device they received an email on. This just makes it a burden instead of what it is support to be...a helpful time saver. We can often send ten emails in the time it takes to make one phone call.

If you use Outlook, web-mail or another email program, chances are you use POP email. POP allows you to download whatever email is sitting out there in your account on the web to the device your checking it on.  Normally, if you download mail into your desktop computer, it stays there. Go to your laptop and check you mail there later in the day, and any new mail is brought there, and stays THERE. It gets confusing.

IMAP is the answer.  Think of IMAP as your mail staying up on the servers out on the Internet. Your just viewing them from whatever device your currently using. That's not really how it works, but its easier to think of it like that. If you send mail from your cellphone you can go to your mail on your desktop or laptop and when you look in your sent items, its there. If you get 20 new emails on your laptop and only read 10 of then, the rest will still show as unread on any other device you check them on.

The thing is, its no harder to setup than the pop mail your probably using now. Just different settings. And here is an even better way to do it...don't use your currently email account anymore! If you don't have one already, get a GMail account. Its free, has more storage than your current account and has the best spam filtering available today. Often you can even just setup your current account (if you don't want to loose the address) to forward all mail into a free google email account (you can check with your email problem on how to do this, for example, if you have an email address, you can call and ask Verizon how to do this)

Here's what you do:
1) Go to and setup a free account or if you have one already, log into it.
2) Click on SETTINGS then FORWARDING AND POP and Click on Enable IMAP
3) Click on CONFIGURATION INSTRUCTIONS right below that and you will find instructions on setting up most popular email programs for Windows, Mac and iPhone. If you have an Android phone, you just log in using your Google Mail account and your already up and running on IMAP.

Email should not be a hassle. It should be a way to keep in contact easily from anywhere on any device. Use facebook or twitter or other services a lot? Set them up to send messages to you via email when someone contacts you there so you don't need to log in every time to see if someone is trying to contact you. Want to know how to do that? That's another story. :)

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