Revised November 4, 2015


 
My tech: the networked technology tools I use

I'm an independent consultant, a one-woman shop, and I don't have the funds to buy the very best, very latest computers, tablets, and smart phones, or to upgrade my technology every year. Yet, I've made a name for myself regarding using the Internet to communicate effectively, to be an integral part of a nonprofit organizations' mission-based work, to work remotely and to supervise others remotely, to support and manage volunteers (virtual volunteering), and to engage community - not just advertise activities. So, how do I do it? I put together this page to answer those questions.

 
 

My phone: LG Optimus Fuel running Android™ 4.4 at the time of purchase, via Tracfone. $80.
        3.5" Touch Screen Display
        3G/Wi-Fi® Connectivity and Bluetooth® Wireless
        3 MP Camera/Video Recorder
        1.2 GHz Dual Processor
        4GB microSD™ Card (Included in Phone) - Supports microSD™ Card up to 32GB
        MP3 Player 
        GSP Capabilities
        Access to over 1,000,000 Apps on Google Play™
        Battery talk time up to 10 hours, Standby time up to 11 days

I began using this in December 2014. I use it primarily as a phone and as a way to send and receive text messages via GoogleVoice, since I use that number as my primary phone number. Tracfone service doesn't work outside the USA, and neither it nor GoogleVoice allow for international texting, but using the Internet, I've had no problems outside the USA making calls with Skype or texting (via What'sApp). I use it to check email, Facebook and Twitter only when I don't have my laptop - which means I use those functions when I am out and about rather than at home, and even then, only when I need to (like when I'm tweeting from a conference, or need to check for an email that has info I need when I'm out and about). I also use it
to take photos and short videos when I don't have my camera and to share such via Twitter and/or my Flickr account or YouTube - I may upload directly from my phone if I have a great Internet connection or I'll put it on my computer and upload from there. I listen to music and podcasts while riding buses to or from Portland (on a longer trip, such as by airplane, I take my vintage iPod). Other apps I use on this phone: Google Calendar (I live and die by it), GoogleMaps, EverNote, Hootsuite, Google translate, Clue, some mass transit apps and webmail apps. You absolutely MUST add a 32 GB card, and you MUST put all you can on that card (photos, music, etc.) rather than the phone's internal memory if you want to do all that I do with my phone. Downsides (1) I can't download all of the apps I'd like to have on the phone - there's just not enough room, even with the added 32GB card. (2) Often enough that it's annoying, I can't get phone service (hence why I rely so much on texting via the Internet); Tracfone sometimes won't work in the middle of a CITY. Otherwise - I love this phone. It's all I need. 
 
 

My primary computer: MacBook (laptop - 2.3 GHz Intel Core 2 i7), running Mac OS X 10.8.4. I use it for everything: my work and my personal life: to access email, create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations (I use LibreOffice or OpenOffice), create and manage databases (I use FileMaker Pro), talk on VoIP like Skype (audio-only or video-conferencing), surf the web, manage my web site, interact on social media, work on shared files in the cloud, watch videos, create videos, record, edit and listen to audio files, listen to music, work offline, work online, lead and watch live webinars (I'm a fan of WebEx), play on SecondLife once-a-year, create and distribute surveys, support online volunteers, volunteer online myself, stalk Benedict Cumberbatch, plan vacations, and anything else one does with a device connected to the Internet. I got this in early 2013. It doesn't leave the home office - though it goes on visits to different rooms. 


 
 

My former-travel computer: MacBook (laptop - 2.16 GH Intel Core 2 Duo), running Mac OS X 10.6.8. From 2008 to 2013, I used it for almost everything I note above, but it can't run several programs at once, I need to have nothing at all running when I am using it for Skype, Google Hangouts don't work at all, and as of 2015, it's so slow to do even offline things (like work on OpenOffice docs) that I just can't rely on it as a travel computer anymore. I thought it would stay my primary computer until 2014, but it can't be upgraded beyond 10.6.8, and it's painfully slow on the Web; I sometimes have to reboot a few times every day to get web browsing to speed up (just a bit), though I've noticed that Google Chrome works on it FAR better than any other web browser (faster and more stable). I used this as my WORK computer in Ukraine in 2014, and couldn't believe how well it worked (though I am eternally apologetic to Sergey the IT guy, who was ready to throw it, and me, out the window on a couple of occasions). Now, it's my backup computer just in case the primary ever stops working, I use it to listen to music and online radio, and I schlep it to the kitchen when I need to look up recipes while cooking.

 

I still have a lime iBook clamshell laptop running OS 9. It was my primary computer from 2001 through all of 2007. I still use it to listen to music, and to run software that does not work on my MacBook (like old data files that have some info that I can't find anywhere else). I can also use it to edit video and audio, if I need to, and do basic office functions offline (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.). I would love to be able to use it to listen to online radio programs, like those that are on NPR, but I can no longer get this computer to access the Internet (because it doesn't work with the version of Airport I use now). If you know how, please contact me! I don't want to surf the web with it - just want to listen to podcasts!

 

LG 500G
 

My former phone: LG 500G feature phone. It looks like a Blackberry, but isn't nearly as powerful (or as expensive). When I'm did business away from my home office, I usually have my travel lap top with me (see above), which I greatly prefer using for reading mail, writing and reading information, surfing the web, etc., so I didn't really needed a smart phone. This phone has a major downside: the battery life. Yes, I've gotten a new battery - no difference. Here's how I used my LG 500G:

  • Primarily as a phone.
  • I live and die by Google Calendar, and have reminders for all appointments coming to this phone via text at least 15 minutes before they happen (and sometimes also the hour before, even four hours before).
  • It has web browsing capabilities, though such are woefully slow (it's a Tracfone) - I rarely use such, but if I need to, I can surf the web: if your organization has a mobile-optimized web site, I might look up your organization's physical address, phone number or email address and opening hours when I'm out and about and need such urgently - but I'm not going to read your annual report on my phone, no matter what phone I have. The Opera mobile web browsing app, works better on it than the browser it came with.
  • I've downloaded apps to my phone so I can read my own web mail account, read my Yahoomail, and view Yahooweather and YahooNews - but I use those only when I need the information urgently and can't wait to get to a laptop (usually when on vacation). Here's a list of all Yahoo mobile apps. Unfortunately, no Google mobile apps work on this phone.
  • I occasionally used it to take a photo and upload such to my Flickr account (subscribers to my personal Twitter account automatically get a tweet if I do this), but usually, if I took a photo, I just waited until I could later move it via Bluetooth to my computer.
  • I  used it sometimes to send a short update to my blog via text.
  • I listened to music that I download on to it from my home computer, via Bluetooth or a data cable, and listened to such while riding buses to or from Portland (on a longer trip, such as by airplane, I take my vintage iPod)

What I wish I could have used it for: to listen to the local NPR radio station affiliate live. I have no idea what to do with it now - I'd like to recycle it properly, but can't find out how.  

 
 

For two years, I had a LG 600 cell phone. It's a feature phone with a tiny display window. I could use it to browse the web (it's also a Tracfone) in a pinch - for instance, when I needed to find a phone number of something urgently. Other than as a phone, I used it primarily for its texting abilities: I texted updates to my blog and to my Twitter account when I was away from my lap top. I tried using biNu on it, but never got it to work. I liked Opera for feature phones more than the browser that came with this phone, for those times when I needed to access something off of a web site. I'd have used it for  years more if I hadn't put it in the washing machine by mistake (believe it or not, it still works except for having no sound whatsoever). I've no doubt I could have done everything that I ended up doing with the replacement phone that I did with this phone. I have no idea what to do with it now - I'd like to recycle it properly, but can't find out how.

 
 

Yes, I still use this phone! The Nokia 1100 is the best selling mobile phone device, world wide, of all time. It can be used as a phone or to send and receive texts - that's pretty much it (it has a really cool centipede-like game on it that I still play sometimes when I'm stuck in an airport). It's keyboard is such that sand or other dirt can't get into it easily - there's no openings inbetween the buttons at all. My husband bought this phone in 2005 in the USA, when he did a six week motorcycle tour in several Western states. When we moved to the USA in 2009, I used this as my primary phone for a year. I still use it as my almost-always at-home phone or my backup phone - it rings when anyone calls my primary phone number, and I use the number on any form related to something I buy, so sales calls go here instead of to my main phone. I also still use it to receive text notifications regarding pending appointments on my Google Calendar, and to let me know when someone has mentioned me on my professional Twitter account. I can also send an update to my professional Twitter account, in a pinch, via text message.

Also see:

 
 

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