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Sunday, June 26, 2016

WiFi On the Go

Traveling has gotten me thinking more about mobile wifi. In Japan I had friends who had devices which allowed them to have wifi anywhere. We were traveling to parts of the country where we would not have Internet access, so it was really nice to be able to access the Internet all of the time.

One other benefit to having your own mobile wireless is that using shared networks can be risky. You are exposing your computer and the information on it to anyone else who is on the network, which could be anyone. It is important to think about that if you do go to coffee shops to do work or just use your computer for whatever. 

The way it works is that the device connects to a cellphone tower and converts the signal to Wifi. If you have a recent iPhone you can already do this by going to your settings and turning on your personal hotspot. So, if you are in a place that does not have cellphone towers (which is becoming more and more unlikely) it would not work.

Because it is using a cellphone connection this device is something that has a monthly charge. It is just like your cellphone. If you use it too much you are charged huge overages, so you have to be careful. There are no plans with unlimited minutes and you find that the number of “free” (or paid for with your monthly charge) minutes is not enough. It costs more than using Home Wifi.  These devices also need to be charged. They last about 10 hours depending on the device and how you use it.

The device itself costs from as high as $450 to $50!  It makes me wonder If they are just making up the prices to see what people will spend!  The higher end ones connect to more devices and have faster connection speeds.  

There are reviews online which are worth looking at. These companies make devices that you can purchase and set up an account for.
  • TMobile
  • Sprint
  • Verizon
  • ATT

There are several smaller companies and they cost less usually, but it is good to remember that they use the same cellphone connections as the big companies. For example if Sprint is weak in your area the smaller company will also be weak.

One interesting company is Karma Go. Their device works in a little different way. It is set up so that you can share your connection with others and in that way lower your own bill. I am not sure how it totally works, but it might be worth looking at their website to understand it. You should also find out which cell network they use before choosing their service.

Karma Go – $150  shared wifi


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Monday, June 20, 2016


I am writing this because I am often thought of as an "expert" and I am a teacher of how to use technology. However, my business is called "I'm not a" for a reason. There are times when I am amazed at how frustrating technology can be and think that if it is frustrating for me it must be 10 times as frustrating for other people I work with.

Dear Microsoft, 

A week or so ago I paid for MS Office 365. I downloaded and installed it to my computers both Mac and PC. Then I ran out of time, so that is as far as I got.

Today I needed to open something that was a Word document, so when I clicked on the Word icon (assuming I would be able to use it because it was already paid for, downloaded and installed),  the Word program tried to open for the first time. It asked me for a username and password. Right away I realized that I would not remember what password I put in, so instead of guessing and losing time trying to figure it out I put in my email address and chose "forgot my password".

I only had a certain amount of time before I had to be somewhere and things got muddled. It said that it was going to send me a code but somehow when the code finally came to my email, I could not find the window that I needed to put the code into. The window I was seeing said that there was no account with my email. I tried two other emails (one active and one old and closed) and they all said the same thing. I had to leave it to try again later and I never was able to open the program.

Now I am trying to open it again and it is taking forever. I put in my email address and this time right away it said that it had sent a code to my email. It took a minute, but I copied it and pasted it into the right space and it told me to create a new password, so I did and then it told me that I do not have MS Office 365 and so I need to pay for it or I can try it for free for a month.

Why is this so HARD.  I have already paid my $$$$$. I know it might be user error, but it is so frustrating and I feel so stupid. 

Here I go again with my other active email.

It worked. But both times I had to type in those weird long capcha codes. I understand the need for them, but they do add to the frustration because they are hard to read. 

It turns out that I signed up for it with my work email. Who knows what password I used?  For some strange reason Dashlane (my password manager that usually saves me lots of time) did not save the password and so it did not Auto-enter it. MS Word was going from the program into a website, but I do not know what website, so I don't know the URL. I guess this has something to do with Office 365 using the cloud. It is possible that my Dashlane did not register the URL because it was not from a website.

Then when it finally opened up it needed TWO updates which took a while. aaaaaugh. Then in order for the update to be complete I had to close Word. 

No wonder clients of mine are frustrated and confused when using the computer!!  I am guessing that the designers of MS products are high level users and they skip steps because the steps make sense to them and they think that people do not need them.

I can eventually figure this out…. but it frustrates me. Many of my clients cannot figure these things out and so after paying $99 for software and downloading it (which is huge, by the way) they give up when trying to open it!!

Microsoft you may need to employ some really basic users to give you advice on your error messages and processes for setting up passwords and that sort of thing.

Sincerely, Janice- I'm not a