checklistIt’s easy to let life become so busy that you forget what and who is most important to you. Fortunately, technology is available to make life easier, even when it comes to prioritizing and maintaining the relationships that matter most in your life. Here is a list of five text messages that, if sent out every day from your new or refurbished cell phone, will not only keep you on track but will help you and your loved ones succeed in all of your endeavors.

Number 1: “I love you” – This seems obvious, but I’d wager that most people don’t speak these words as often as they should (or want). Think about how nice it would be to receive a text that says, “Hey (your name), you know I love you, right?”

Number 2: “I miss you” – What’s almost as nice to hear as “I love you”? Simple, “I miss you.” One of the beautiful things about technology is that it makes it easier to express our emotions. Letting people know that you miss them is an easy way to brighten anyone’s day.

Number 3: “Thank you” – Thanking people is an easy way to show people that you appreciate them and your relationship with them. Even something as simple as, “Thanks again for dropping by last week,” will change a person’s impression of you a great deal for the better.

Number 4: “Hey, remember that idea you had about… that was really a great idea. I think you should pursue it further” – Reminding someone of an idea they had but let fade is a great way to keep your friends and loved ones encouraged. Encouragement leads to action, and action leads to success. You can be sure that the more your friends and loved ones succeed, the more they will help and encourage you with your own aspirations.

Number 5: “Hey (name), you know I’m always here for you if ever need to talk.” – With life comes obstacles and setbacks. More likely than not, someone you care about is going through something difficult. Letting them know that you are available to listen and talk can really make it easier for them to get through a rough time. This one requires that you will actually be available when they call.

Positivity attracts positivity. If you send these five texts out every day, your circle of friends and loved ones will be charged with positive energy on a daily basis, which will undoubtedly come back to you.

iphoneuniorchestraWhen I first came across this article, my first reaction was to snicker and scroll on. After watching the video on the U of M’s website, however, I have to say it’s kind of impressive how people are beginning to use their new and refurbished cell phones to express themselves creatively.

I’ve seen some other “cellular orchestras” before, and they were horribly annoying. Because the iPhone is so advanced, however, this group of grad students at the U of M has been able to manipulate the phones in some really interesting ways. The course that they are enrolled in, which seems to sparking a new field as universities like Stanford will soon be adding similar programs to their course catalog, teaches the students to design, build, and play instruments on their iPhones. The music they are making is definitely different but if you’re a fan of Phillip Glass, you might be into it.

Georg Essl, the instructor of the course, feels that, “The mobile phone is a very nice platform for exploring new forms of musical performance,” because “we’re not tethered to the physics of traditional instruments. We can do interesting, weird, unusual things.” If you are into what they have going on, they are putting on a concert December 9th.

SignLanguage1I just came across an article from Cornell University’s Chronicle Online about some new technology that Cornell researchers have developed to allow deaf people to use sign language with their new or refurbished cell phones. The improvements that they have developed for video chat software seems like it will benefit anyone who uses video chat, not just the deaf.

When I began the article, I was thinking, “Well why can’t you just use video chat to sign?” The article went on to clarify that the current video chat software is too slow and spotty to really carry on a clear conversation via sign language. Cornell Researchers have solved this problem by developing software to deliver video at about 10 frames per second, making the video more reliable.

They also faced problems with video chat using up a cell phone’s battery life very quickly. They solved that issue by developing software “smart enough to vary the frames per second based on whether the user is signing or watching the other person sign.” This seems like an advancement that all manufacturers making phones with video chat capability can benefit from.

Video chatting on cell phones still seems like something that is a year or two away from really being reliable, but perhaps the people at Cornell working to make cell phones more user friendly for the deaf will speed things up a bit.

mifiVerizon has recently released Mifi, their new mobile broadband device, which now allows you to carry your own high-speed Wifi hotspot. At $60 per month, Mifi could save you some series cash by allowing you to consolidate your bills for high speed Internet and your new or refurbished cell phone.

Mifi is about the size of six credit cards stacked on top of each other and unlike other mobile broadband devices, Mifi does not need to be physically connected to any of the devices (you can connect up to five at once) drawing high speed Wifi from it. Think about the possibilities it allows. You no longer need to limit where you eat and drink based on who has Wifi (adios five dollar coffees), you can be online during car trips, you can be online in the park, and, best of all, you can eliminate your Internet bill and reduce your cell phone bill because Mifi gives you the option to use voice over IP calling everywhere you go.

Let me paint you a scenario. You already have Google Voice, which allows you to make free calls and texts over the Internet when you are in a Wifi hotspot. With Mifi, you will always be in a mobile hotspot. Hypothetically, you could reduce your cell bill to the cheapest plan (just so you still have a phone number) and strictly use voice over IP calling.

If you have a Skype account, you don’t even need a cell phone any more. You could just buy an iPod touch and with Mifi, you could make and receive all of your calls via Skype for a fraction of what you pay for your current cell phone bill. After you cancel your high speed Internet bill, which is about $45 per month on average, and reduce your cell bill, which I would assume is at least $60 per month, you could literally save your self almost a hundred dollars a month and never have to worry about where to find Wifi again.

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