A GOOD PHONE

We had two phones, a Jitterbug and a Galaxy S3, both made by Samsung. We lost the Jitterbug and relied for months on our smart phone alone. We bought a replacement Jitterbug, the Jitterbug Plus, and are glad to have it back. Here’s why: We like the big buttons and having a friendly, live-person operator. This last is a biggie. She will give you directions if you’re lost and put any new numbers you want into your phone list. Like a lonely librarian, they almost beg you to ask another question. The phone’s battery stand-by life is 25 days, whereas the Galaxy S3 needs charging nearly every day, even when we don’t use it. Of course, there’s always a big […]

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LEAVING A VIDEO MESSAGE

We’re not into video calling, but somebody must be. So we liked the idea of Skype’s new video messaging service. Rather than interrupt someone with a phone call, you can leave a video message. This service just came out of testing and is now available on computers and smart phones. To leave a video message, you and the other person have to be Skype users, which is free. Just click the plus sign next to their name in your contacts list to send a video message.

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DUMB PHONE DONE GONE

One of our readers told us he just bought his first cell phone, after decades without.

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DUTCH TREAT

The “Vonage Mobile” app lets us make calls locally and internationally without spending any of the minutes in our cell-phone’s T-Mobile plan. The key is the other person must also have downloaded the app, unless they’re already a Vonage customer. Since it’s free, why not? Go to VonageMobile.com and have a link sent to your phone via text message. The app works for both text and voice.

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NO MORE ROAMING

By the way … When you take your smart phone to another country, you may be in for a shocking charge. Our brother in Boston was dinged for $50 in data charges in the first few minutes he stepped off the plane in China.

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OUR FIRST SMARTPHONE

We’ve never been smartphone fans. When we leave our office, we leave the Internet behind. We are two of those now seldom seen people whose noses aren’t glued to a tiny screen.

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GROUP CHATS

Skype video chats just got some competition from Zoom.us, a free service that lets up to 15 people chat at once, on phones, tablets and computers, or a mix of all three. When one person is talking, their face dominates the screen and the rest are seen in thumbnail images. To add someone to a chat, just send them a link.

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FREE SPEECH

Viber is a competitor to Skype and one we’d never heard of till last week. But we woke up and found that 50 million people are already using it and it’s only a year old.

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ATTENTION SKYPE FANS

Our nephew in Spain relies on Skype to keep in touch with the family by way of free video calls. Typically the family huddles around the laptop or iPad. Another way to do it is on the family TV

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TING A LING

“Ting” is a new cell phone service that won’t make you pay for minutes you don’t use. It will launch early next year on the Sprint network.

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