Holiday Greetings and Connections

We all get holiday greetings – electronically. Sometimes, they’re cards available from any number of websites, and sometimes they’re emails and Facebook posts. I appreciate them all. But as much as I’m connected, I do miss a card in a stamped, hand-addressed envelope.

Technology has improved our lives in so many ways and made it so easy to stay connected. With email, it’s so easy to keep up with family and friends across the country and around the world. You don’t need to write a letter, address and stamp an envelope and take it to the post office. You just need to write it and click “send.” You can share pictures, videos, news items – anything that you can attach to a message. And why restrict yourself to sending it to one friend or family member? You can send it to everyone you know.

With Facebook and other social media, it’s even easier to reach out and have “conversations” of a sort with everyone you know and who-knows-how-many people you don’t know. You can stay connected with people with whom you have all levels of relationships, and it’s exciting.

But sometimes, it seems so impersonal, too. We’ve lost something by reducing relationships to keystrokes. It’s great to hear from somebody at holiday time, and it’s gratifying to get a bunch of birthday wishes on Facebook or LinkedIn. Any of those messages can restart a relationship.

Still, there’s nothing like talking to family and friends – to hear a voice over the telephone. We need to make more of an effort to pick up the phone, as the old telephone commercials implored us to reach out and touch someone.

But wait, technology can help us with that, too. The same company that invited you to reach out is one of many internet and cellular providers making it possible for you to use Skype, Facetime and other programs to see and talk to people anywhere in the world.

Yes, that hand-addressed card is really great. The ability to talk to people and see their faces is even better. And in the world of business, seeing a face and hearing a voice can convey so much more than an exchange of keystrokes.

Let’s resolve to use our connectivity to strengthen our connections. And if you need some help in setting up your computers or devices to run any videoconferencing applications, give us a call – 973-433-6676 – and we’ll walk through it – and test it out. And of course, you can email to set up an appointment.

New Devices and the Texting Blues

We’re starting to see a lot of texting problems for customers who have switched from iPhones to Android devices. They’re not receiving text messages. One of the most common problems is other people’s phones not realizing that their new devices are not on the Apple network – even though they see “blue” while texting.

The reason is that Apple’s network isn’t as smart as the phones that use them. If you switch to an Android or Windows phone, it can take up to 45 days for Apple to remove your phone number from its network. So, when friends with an iPhone or Apple device want to send you a text, they pull your cell phone number out of their directory and send you a message – just like they’ve always done.

And, just as always, they see the blue that indicates they’re sending the text across the Apple network – which, by the way, is why there is no texting charge from your carrier. However, if your new phone is not an Apple, it’s not on the Apple network, so you don’t get the message

If you still have your old iPhone, here’s what you need to do.

Go to “Settings” and then “Messages” and turn off the “Instant Messaging” or “IM.” That will take your old phone off the cellular – or data – network. If you want to hang on to your old iPhone, you can use it like an iPod without telephone capability. Simply go to “Settings” and turn off “Cellular Data.” That will limit emails, web browsing and push notifications to Wi-Fi only.

If you are traveling internationally with an iPhone this summer, you can take similar steps to reduce your cellular roaming charges. You’ll have Internet capability at Wi-Fi hotspots, and you’ll be able to talk to people by using apps such as Skype or Viber as long as you have an Internet connection.

You can read more about the uses of Airplane Mode from Apple. If you need help with your settings, we can walk you through the process. Just call us at 973-433-6676 –not from the phone you want to reset. We can also answer your questions by email.