Category Archives: The Market

Why I didn’t order a iPhone X

It’s that time of year – November and the iPhone frenzy is well underway.

I have been on AT&T’s new iPhone every year program for several years. But this year I didn’t order an iPhone 8 or X.

Here’s why. I currently have an iPhone 7 Plus. I checked the specifications of the iPhone 8 Plus and did not see enough of a difference to justify starting the financial clock over by upgrading.

I really considered upgrading or buying outright an iPhone X. There are dozens of new features that are truly the future. But the press has been merciless about the potential for problems with all the new and revolutionary technology.

So I decided to finish off buying my iPhone 7 Plus and hopping off the merry go round with a new phone every year, but always with 24 monthly payments (in fairness to AT&T always interest-free.)

Will I eventually buy an iPhone X? Absolutely! Check with me in three to six months after Apple stabilizes manufacturing and IOS 11.x works smoothly with all the features of the iPhone X. Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy a lower bill from AT&T for a while.

Late by 7 Seconds.  Shame on me!

Late by 7 seconds

Late by 7 seconds

To follow-up on yesterday’s blog in reference to the iPhone 7 I did order one.  

As you can see by the confirmation email above I ordered a new Apple iPhone 7 Plus exactly 7 seconds (is that a coincidence?) after ordering began at 3:00 AM EDT this morning.

Apple said that they will begin shipping on September 16th (next Friday).  As you can also see by the second blue circle above, my order – 7 seconds into the ordering process – will not ship until sometime between September 23 and September 30.  Sigh… I guess that happens if you are 7 seconds late.

I ordered through the AT&T app.  Perhaps I would have made the “cut” if I would have ordered using the Apple app.

Maybe mine is delayed because I ordered one of the new colors.  I ordered “Black” (like a matt black), not the “Jet Black” (like a piano black) color.

Oh well, being a senior geezer I’ve learned to be patient, and I’m far too old to stand in line at the Apple store next Friday to pick one up.  My luck I would be 7 seconds late standing in line and they would all be gone.

After I get the thing, and have a few days to play with it (I’m really looking forward to the new dual lens camera), I’ll post a review here on itechgeezer.com

Here’s Why Image Counts: Tesla 3 vs. Chevy Bolt

 

Tesla 3
Tesla 3
  
Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt
 

If you were in the market for a pure electric vehicle and the cost was the same would you buy a Tesla 3 or a Chevy Bolt?  A third of a million Americans just voted with their pocket books and the answer for them was a Tesla 3.

In comparing the two vehicles consider the following:

  • Both cost about $35,000
  • Both are total electric vehicles (no supplemental gas engines)
  • Both are made in the USA
  • Both have an electric range of about 215 miles
  • Each has a different “style” or “look” – I’ll leave which is more attractive to you, the reader
  • The Chevy Bolt will be available in late 2016
  • The Tesla 3 will be available in late 2017

If we are to believe that the two vehicles are so similar (except for that “style/look” thing) why are the following facts so dissimilar:

  • In the first week of ordering availability in late March of 2016 the Tesla 3 garnered over 325,000 pre-orders requiring a deposit of $1,000 each.
  • Since its January 2016 unveiling the Chevy Bolt’s parents (GM) has projected that it will sell 20,000 in the first year.

What?!?  How can that be??? How did the Tesla 3 beat the pants off of Chevy Bolt without any struggle at all?

Tesla basks in same sort of consumer “glow” as Apple.  Its high-end design, engineering, construction, fit and finish and a reputation for overall quality are admired by owners, and non-owners alike.  Consumer Reports magazine reviewed the original Tesla Model S vehicle and gave it the highest marks of ANY car ever reviewed.

The Chevy Bolt looks like it was designed by a committee on both the exterior and the interior.  While this is the company that brought us Corvairs and Vegas, it also brought us inspired vehicles like the Corvette Stingray. 

The Tesla 3 looks like a coordinated effort of a team that believes in synergy of both the exterior and the interior of the vehicle.  The Tesla 3 interior is of a minimalist design and the cockpit dash panel looks like an oversized iPad. 

To be successful in the long term, EV’s (Electric Vehicles) will have to be more than “boxes with wheels” that are re-engineered gas vehicles with batteries.  Only “clean sheet” electric vehicles that are designed from scratch will succeed.  And to totally succeed there will need to be nationwide electric recharging stations that can handle ALL the connectors from different EV’s and not just proprietary ones from one or two manufacturers.

We need to start thinking of personal transportation as “computers with wheels.” Those with out-of-box thinking like Apple and Tesla will most likely be the winners.  Can Detroit make the change?

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.  Thanks for reading Tom Gordon’s – The iTechGeezer blog.

Computer “Buggy Whips” are getting harder to find each day…

Computer Buggy Whips
Computer Buggy Whips

The Good Old Days

In 1957 I was 11 years old and my dad (who loved gadgets as much as I do) ordered a “crystal” radio kit from the Allied Electronics catalog for me to assemble for a Boy Scout project.  I waited not-so-patiently for our postman to deliver the “box” from Allied Electronics in Chicago. After the “box” arrived I spent a couple of days pouring over the schematics and step-by-step instructions and then wiring and soldering the device.  A day later dad and I strung the dipole antenna from one large maple tree to another and than ran the antenna cable to my bedroom window.  I put my headphones on, and messed with the “whisker” wire over the “crystal” until I finally (and faintly) heard WOOD-AM radio in Grand Rapids.  Over the next week I listened to music, Jack Benny, The Lone Ranger and other cool stuff.

In the 1960’s I spent every dime of my allowance, birthday gift money and my forty-five cent an hour soda-jerk job at the Caleldonia Rexall Drug Store on electronic kits from Allied Electronics, Layfayette Radio and Heathkit Electronics in Benton Harbor, MI.  I built Ham radios, CB radios, short-wave radios and on and on.

Over the last forty years, thanks to Radio Shack I’ve been able to find almost any electronic gadget and widget I’ve ever needed for computers, TV’s, music systems and more.

But… like horse “Buggy Whips” Allied Electronics, Layfayette Radio, Heathkit and now Radio Shack have all disappeared from our American highways and byways.

Finding “Stuff” Today

It’s not impossible to find cables, connectors, circuit boards, and other electronic parts today.  One can walk into Meijer, Walmart, and Best Buy and find the basic parts that you need.  Some of you may have a “Joe’s Electronics” (or Bob’s or Al’s) that was once a proud Radio Shack franchise.  Others on the West Coast may be close by to a Fry’s Electronics store which is similiar to a Best Buy but also carries lots of computer and electronic parts.

And of course we can’t forget that we can use Google to search for anything our hearts desire.  Then go directly to Amazon to buy it at the lowest possible price with free shipping (if we are an Amazon Prime member), and perhaps no state sales tax if you are in one of the few states left that haven’t forced Amazon to collect it.

I won’t get on my soapbox in regards to Amazon killing off local electronic merchants and other Internet merchants – I’ll save that blog for another time.

But How About Tomorrow?

Steve Jobs, one of the co-founders of Apple once remarked that digital devices should be like toasters.  Plug ’em in and push down the bread.  Steve never liked DIY (Do-It-Youself) electronics and is well known to have hated computer “ports”, switches, buttons and the like.  His minimalistic view on electronics shunned almost everything except for the machine itself.

We would not be where we are today digital electronics wise without the DIY pioneers that depended on third-party parts and supplies.  That was then, and like “Buggy Whips” – parts are still parts – but they are a lot harder to find then they used to be. Sigh…

Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a message, or ask a question – Tom Gordon, the iTechGeezer

Why there are no ads on my site.

What? NO ADVERTISING!
What? NO ADVERTISING!

Those who know me are probably gagging on their fourth cup of coffee as they read this article.  What? Tom Gordon – Mr. Marketing, Advertising Agency Guru – No Advertising? Has he gone mad?

My life WAS Advertising and Marketing:

Let’s start this blog article out by saying I believe in Advertising.  I was a practitioner on both the agency side and the client side of the desk for over 30 years.  I think advertising/marketing/public relations (now all heaped together as “communications”) help companies to grow, add new employees and fuel the economy.

My university degree is a B.S.in Advertising (circa 1969 – before the word “marketing” was coined).  And no, I don’t need to be kidded about how the “B.S.” part of my degree relates to the “Advertising” part of my degree.

The first 1/3 of my career was working for advertising agencies on accounts like Dow Corning, General Electric, Magnavox and many others. The middle 1/3 was being a Senior Vice President for Marketing on the “client” side of the desk for a now deceased Fortune 500 company – U.S. Office Products. The final 1/3 was as a marketing consultant to emerging web companies.

Here is why you WON’T find Advertising and Marketing on our blog site:

Recently I’ve done a lot of soul searching concerning advertising on web and blog sites.  Quite frankly most of it is intrusive, outdated, not realitive  (to the particular site), and makes for a not positive experience.

When I started iTechGeezer.com a few years ago my mission was to provide personal technology information to Seniors.  I’ve tried to be true to that mission.

My goals are to provide accurate advice, encouragement, information and direction that you could feel comfortable in sending your parents and grandparents to with no fear of finding “naughty” things, or misleading ads that are not realitive to our mission or goals.

Sure I wouldn’t mind picking up a few bucks from advertising on our web site.  A few bucks might buy some new technology, or a great lunch with friends. But I’m fortunate that I don’t have to make a living from blogging.  I respect those that do make a part-time or full-time living from blogging it is a tough way to go.

I’m sure that I’m not as pure and pristine as Consumer Reports.  I do have my “preferences” as to hardware and software brands.  I’m a stockholder in both Apple and Microsoft. We hope you will continue to support our blog by simply reading it, recommending it to friends and realitives and maybe linking your blog to ours.

Sincerely, Tom Gordon the iTechGeezer

A Tech ‘Happy New Year!’ Looking Backward, Looking Forward.

  

The Past Year:

2015 was a great year for Senior Mobile Technology.  Hardware became faster, easier to use and a little less expensive for some products.  Mobile Technology (smartphones, tablets, wearables) just keeps getting better with “smarter” and easier-to-use features. 

The “smartphone” (phones like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android (or Droid as it is sometimes referred to)) has really become the de facto personal computer.  A Personal Computer that we just so happen to be able to put in our pocket or purse.  The smartphone and tablet have really hastened the death of the desktop computer and laptop computer for Seniors.

Think about it, for what 95% of Seniors want to use a desktop/laptop to do – can now be done on a smartphone or tablet – that is always with us and always “connected.” Things like e-Mail, Facebook, on-line shopping, calendar, address book, telephone and a music and video player is what we do! Games? Ok, well then add in a game or two!  The point is that we no longer have a need for dinosaurs like desktop/laptop’s.

During the past year we’ve seen new hardware products like the Apple Watch (much more than just another-screen-to-keep-track-of), iPad Pro (a much larger almost 13″ screen that gives us a laptop form factor that only weighs 1-1/2 pounds), and a new 4th generation Apple TV with its own App Store, Siri voice commands and expanded storage.

I recently read where smartphones are now “hurting” the sales of high-speed home Internet WiFi because a combination of cellular 4G LTE and the availability of FREE WiFi in cities, neighborhoods, restaurants, schools, libraries and malls was so available.

The Next Year:

2016 is predicted to be an even more awesome year for Senior Mobile Technology. What’s the driving force? In one word: COMPETITION

Samsung vs. Apple. AT&T vs Sprint/Verizon,T-Mobile. Even Microsoft is beginning to turn the ‘aircraft carrier in the river’ around!  New versions of Microsoft Office for all OS platforms and the success of great hardware like the Microsoft Surface laptop/tablet have made for a great turn-around story.

Of course we will see new versions of the Apple iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac and other “Stuff.”  We will certainly be treated to new Galaxies from Samsung. And Roku, Apple, Google, Amazon and others will bring us newer digital streaming devices.

A Simple Conclusion:

I could probably re-use this blog page every December 31st for years to come. Why? Because (thanks to Moore’s law – look it up or ‘Google’ it) digital technology gets faster, more advanced, and less expensive year-after-year.

I’ll be 70 years old in May of 2016. Truly an old tech geezer.  But one who simply loves technology, and was fortunate enough to get in the game early (1978 Apple ][) and stick with it ever since.  A thank you also goes out to my very supportive wife (who likes technology, but is not obsessed with it.)

The iTechGeezer wishes you the best “techno” New Years Eve and a blessed 2016.  Thank you for your many comments, suggestions, questions, and “likes” on our blog and also our Facebook page.

– Tom Gordon, the iTechGeezer, December 31, 2015

For Seniors: Ho! Ho! Ho! What Tech Did Santa Bring to YOU?

  
  
Obviously Tech is HOT. From kids to seniors, everyone seems to want the latest and greatest smartphone, tablet, TV streamer, digital watch and more.

For kids, teens, and most younger adults, getting acquainted with their new digital device is “easy peasy.”  Most folks, especially under the age of 30 grew up with digital devices of one sort or the other.  As a “geezer” (almost 70) I took “typing” class in the 10th grade. Actually it was one of the most practical and useful classes and skills I ever learned.  Younger folks today grew up with “keyboarding” classes to learn how to use personal computers.  They also have grown up with XBox’s, Playstations and “I” devices like iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.

But what happens when someone fifty or older gets their first digital device from “Santa”?  How do they learn to use it? With a head full of lifetime experiences, responsibilities, and a few “senior moments” thrown in … How are these people supposed to get the most out of their gift?

My last job before retiring 2-1/2 years ago was working for Barnes & Noble. The national bookseller chain found in almost every major city in the USA.  I worked for B&N for six years – the last three in selling their Nook digital e-reader.  I taught weekly classes, and provided daily one-on-one help to adults and seniors that needed it. 

Here are a hand full of tips ‘n tricks I’ve used to help adults and seniors learn how to use digital devices to get the most out of their holiday gift…

  • Third Party Books: Head out to your local Barnes & Noble or larger regional or local book seller.  Ask where the books on mobile computing are.  Don’t be afraid to pick up the “… For Seniors” books.  Also the “Idiot” series of books are a good choice.  My favorite computing type books are those with lots of photos and drawings (as opposed to lots of words). Don’t buy and download electronic computer books.  You definitely want to hold the book in one hand and your new digital device in the other hand. Look at the published date in the first few pages, if it’s more than one year old (current year, plus one year) don’t buy it.  Too many things have changed since it was written!
  • Adult Education Classes: Check with local public schools, colleges, book stores, churches, and the public library.  Most offer free or low-cost getting started classes on how to use mobile digital devices.
  • On-Line Classes: There are many on-line services that offer training.  Some are local, some are national.  A resource that I have used and referred others to is http://www.lynda.com.  They offer thousands of courses for a reasonable fee.
  • Local Training Company: If you live in a larger city you may want to search for a local computer training company that offers daytime or evening training on mobile digital devices. Check out references and prices.
  • One-On-One Trainer or Consultant: This may be the best way to get started.  Look in your local newspaper for a classified ad, or ask at the Chamber of Commerce to get a recommendation on an experienced person.  Expect to pay an hourly rate of $25 – $75.  DON’T use Craig’s list. If you feel uncomfortable meeting in your home with a stranger then meet at a local coffee shop for your one-on-one meetings.
  • User Guides:  As an Apple enthusiast I’ve found FREE online user guides provided by Apple that are excellent as reference books when you need to learn how to use a new feature or have a tech problem.  Using the iBooks app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac goto the iBooks store and search for something like… “IPhone Users Guide”.  The results list should include the users guide, it should be free, and it should be published by Apple.
  • User On-Line Forums: If you’re a little more adventurous and have an Apple device you want to goto: https://discussions.apple.com/welcome an look for a users group forum for your particular hardware or software questions.
  • Family Member:  If you are lucky enough to have a family member who is geeky and uses the same brand and type of device that your have this may a be a good way to get help and a basic overview of how to use your device.

Good luck – and have fun with your new digital device.  See… Old dogs CAN learn new tricks!