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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Listen to your Home Radio Station while on the Road

imageThere are several Apps that let you listen to live radio over the Web. The one we use is TuneIn Radio. We are from Florida but we are currently traveling in Arizona. If I want to listen, live, to a Florida radio station I can do that with TuneIn Radio. It is a free app on both Android and Apple devices. When you first open it, you need to set up an account. The easiest way to do this is to connect thru an existing Google or Facebook account. It will ask you to share all your ‘friends’ from those accounts, but you don’t have to – you can select the option for “Only Me.”

Once logged in, I can Browse->By Location->North America->United States->Florida->Miami-Ft. Lauderdale. I now see dozens of real radio stations listed by frequency number. So it’s easy to find 102.7 Magic that I used to listen to all the time when I lived there. If I don’t know the station number, I can also search for Magic to find that station. This free version is supported by advertising. Don’t go clicking on that popup at the bottom that says “Android slow? Click to Clean now.” That is an ad, not a system message. You can eliminate ads by paying $9.99 one time, for the Pro version. The pro version also adds the ability to record live shows and store them in your account, like a DVR.

A feature I really like is the option to set a Sleep Timer. That means I can start the radio playing when I go to bed and set it to automatically turn off in 20 minutes. You’ll find that under the Options menu when a station is actually playing.

WARNING: This uses a substantial amount of data. Do not use it while you are on a limited data plan! You can adjust the “bitrate” for playing any given stream by looking under the Options menu –> Choose Stream. The lower the bitrate, the less data it uses.

In addition to live radio stations, you will also find archives of radio shows. So, if you like NPR’s Prairie Home Companion, you can listen to it 24/7! Just search for Prairie Home Companion. After you listen to it once, it will be in your list of Recent stations so it is easy to find the next time.

Name: TuneIn Radio
Website: http://tunein.com/
Author: TuneIn Inc.
Cost: Free (ad supported) $9.95 one time fee for Pro version
Available for: Apple, Android and Windows

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Don’t Worry, Use Dropbox. You’ll have all your computer files anywhere you go

imageDo you worry when you leave home that you may need some files from your home computer? Do you worry when you travel that anything you create on your travel computer may get lost or destroyed before you get back home? Do you worry that the pictures you take with your phone will get lost or destroyed before you are able to transfer them to your computer? Do you worry that the USB drive where you keep your important files will get lost or destroyed, or that you didn’t update it with your latest work?

Don’t Worry! Use Dropbox!

Dropbox.com is a cloud storage service. There are many of them like Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft’s OneDrive, and Google’s Drive. We use them all, but we like Dropbox the best for 2 reasons:
  1. It ISN’T Apple, Microsoft, or Google! So it’s not tied in any way with one of those accounts, and it works well with ALL.
  2. It does the best job of Synchronizing among all your computers and mobile devices.

Synchronizing

Synchronizing means that Dropbox keeps a copy of your files on your computer - in the Dropbox folder – AND in the Cloud – in your Dropbox.com account – and it takes care of ensuring that when either one is updated, so is the other. All you have to do is save your file in the Dropbox folder on your computer, and Dropbox will create, or update, the corresponding file in your Dropbox.com account. It will also update that same file on anyone else’s computer with whom you have shared a folder, and make it accessible to any device that has the Dropbox App installed.

With Dropbox, you can:

  1. Start working on a file at home, continue working on the same file on the road
  2. Share a folder for a group of people to collaborate on project files, even when those people are spread all over the world.
  3. Work on a file locally when you have no Internet connection, and it automatically synchronizes to the web and other shared group members when you do get online.
  4. Create a group photo album where everyone automatically gets a copy of the pictures on their computer – not just a shared web album.
  5. Start working on a file on your laptop, continue working on the same file on your iPad or Android smartphone.
  6. Automatically upload all photos taken with a mobile device to your Dropbox.com account – AND synchronize with whatever computer(s) you have set up.
Using Dropbox has definitively eliminated any worries I have about my computer files. I know that I have access to all of my files and pictures (and they are the current, updated versions!) wherever I am and whatever computing device I happen to have available. I’ve been using Dropbox long enough now that I have actually forgotten what it is like to worry about my computer files. I don’t have a computer backup system any more. If a file is important to me, it’s in my Dropbox folder. In fact, I no longer use My Documents folder – unless it’s an unimportant file. I use my Dropbox folder in lieu of my Documents and I set up as many subfolders as I need to store my stuff.

How much space do you get?

The initial free allotment of space in your Dropbox account is 2 Gigabytes. For $10/mo you can upgrade that to 1Terrabyte. But, there are also many promotions that allow you to earn more free space. You can sign up for dropbox using this link and both you and I will get 500MG extra free space!
Every traveler needs a Dropbox! For more information, see the Dropbox Tour.
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