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  1. #1
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Simplifying the electronic life of a 70+'r

    I can't keep up!! And folks talk and write to me in language I don't understand.

    Current situation:

    2 land lines from our old phone company which has changed names at least 3 times and is now Century Link - one extremely cheap as it is grandfathered in. 2 fax machines/printers which we use for fax maybe 2 times per year.

    2 cell phones, of which we use about 300 minutes of our contracted 700 minutes, including a smart phone on which I can check email, read this silly forum, and do a variety of "apps" that somehow I managed to live about 70 years without needing them. I have 2 GB of downloads contracted for each month through Verizon, and use about 1 for unneeded checking of email and forums and internet, etc.

    We don't have many extended phone conversations - but a few.

    Low level Dish contract for TV, of which we get main channels and a few others we watch, but ismostly filled with ionfomercials. I am not into sports except the Broncos a small bit. We have 4 TV's on boxes. DVR which my wife loves for time shifting. Netflix.

    About 4 computers scattered throughout the house (1 W-7, 3 xp) which I use a lot, for "volunteer" activities, to write to you folks, moderate several listservs, a lot of email, etc., and my wife listens to AOL radio

    I have some fancy schmantzy web cams with mikes that I never use.

    My son has Skype which he uses a lot I tried it and it kept going screwy. He forwards it to his cell phone when heis not at his computer. I also tried some Google thingie??????

    A friend has ??? Jack, which seems to plug into the phone jack and work.

    I have pretty good internet thhrough the phone company and wifi in the house.

    I have limited commercial TV, being behind a ridge.

    I have everything "bundled" which saves me $15/month.
    All of the above costs over $350 per month, which blows my mind, and I need to reconfigure.

    I am considering giving up the Dish, buying a decent UHF antenna (which may give me better reception) and placing it in the high garage (rooftops not allowed here) and wiring it into my current cable system. Also, getting rid of the landlines and using only cell phones. All the TV's are pre UHF or whatever we have today. They used to work great until the govt got involved again.

    Any thoughts. Remember, I am from the pre-computer age. Write gently and in language your mother could understand.

    Thanks

    Bicycle related - I use this stuff to write on the BICYCLE forum.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-06-12 at 06:37 PM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    I gave up my landline years ago and do not miss it in the lest. 99% of the calls I got were telemarketing. Anyone who I need to talk to knows my cell# and my email. Also lived w/o cable for 10 years now, don't miss it much, except for Thursday/Monday night football. Got rid of the smart phone when I realized that there are a lot of available free WiFI hotspots (like all Starbucks) and all over the Denver Area. I have recently broke down and got an IPAD, and it is fantastic.

    Edit: A good high speed internet connection at home is highly recommended in my opinion though.
    Last edited by howsteepisit; 10-06-12 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Forgot to say
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  3. #3
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Drop the land lines and only use the cell phones. They can be with you wherever you are. So, people who need to reach you can. I can't think of the last time I used a fax machine. Now I scan everything and covert to a PDF file that can be e-mailed. Recongifure you TV situation to reduce the number on boxes. Maybe the I'm guessing you pay for each of those. Well, at this is where I'd start.
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  4. #4
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    I gave up my landline years ago and do not miss it in the lest. 99% of the calls I got were telemarketing. Anyone who I need to talk to knows my cell# and my email. Also lived w/o cable for 10 years now, don't miss it much, except for Thursday/Monday night football. Got rid of the smart phone when I realized that there are a lot of available free WiFI hotspots (like all Starbucks) and all over the Denver Area. I have recently broke down and got an IPAD, and it is fantastic.

    Edit: A good high speed internet connection at home is highly recommended in my opinion though.
    Is there a Mrs howsteepisit? Her feelings?
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-06-12 at 06:59 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Drop the landlines and keep the cell phone and use a voice recognition option- it's easier than all that texting on such a little pad or screen. If a coronal mass ejection hits us, you may suffer communication loss, but the rest of the world will be down anyway, so it doesn't matter.

    High speed cable internet w/o the television and go for Netflix. No recent stuff, but for about $6 I'm satisfied. There is also Hulu and another one I can't remember the name of. Current weather on Wunderground or Intellicast. More reliable than satellite reception. My sat reception would always go down when storms where near anyway.
    "Of course you eat too much" (Looigi) There are things people say that are so true you can never forget the wisdom. I still eat too much. Without denial.
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  6. #6
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Wow Dnvr, your life is complicated.

    I'm not quite 70 -- 68 in December -- but here's my story.

    We gave up our land line about 5 years ago. We have two flip phones for now and we're considering upgrading to smartphones in two weeks when our Verizon contract expires. One wireless laptop computer (MacBook Pro) with a wireless printer thats out of the way in the back room. No cable TV because there's almost nothing on TV worth watching. We have an antenna in the attic for local channel reception (~30 channels). We watch Netflix, Amazon, and Acorn on our Roku box and DVDs about 98% of the time.
    That's it. A simplified life.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon 105

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  7. #7
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Go to Vonage instead of the land lines. While we're not using cell exclusively, the Vonage at about $25/mo is much less than our land line. As for the rest of the stuff we're in the same boat. 2 computers, two cells, one iPad (yeah, like we needed an Apple product). Our internet is via a roof-top antenna pointed at a hilltop. And we've got dish network.
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  8. #8
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    Go to Vonage instead of the land lines. While we're not using cell exclusively, the Vonage at about $25/mo is much less than our land line. As for the rest of the stuff we're in the same boat. 2 computers, two cells, one iPad (yeah, like we needed an Apple product). Our internet is via a roof-top antenna pointed at a hilltop. And we've got dish network.
    Vonage - you lost me there. What does it do?
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  9. #9
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Vintage is Internet phone...I guess the advantage it has over cell phones is unlimited talk time
    there is no signature.

  10. #10
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Vonage vs Skype?
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

  11. #11
    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    We're only 50+ but we've tried to simplify. One land line and DSL service. No type of TV service. We get our signal off the air and it's more than enough. Watching TV is a very low priority for us.

    Our antenna is in our attic and we get dozens of channels (most HD) including lots of Spanish, religious, and shopping which I've mostly blocked for ease of navigation.

    I have an iPhone paid by my company and my wife has a GoPhone which she buys $100 worth of minutes per year and doesn't come close to using them.

    So we're at 50ish dollars per month and are very satisfied with the amount of service/ cost ratio. We live well below our means.
    Last edited by jmccain; 10-06-12 at 07:38 PM.

  12. #12
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-06-12 at 07:42 PM.
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  13. #13
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    i'll play... we're mid fifties and similarly have more junk than we need, but not nearly so much as you Denver...

    Cable (since we do have shows we watch, and soccer and football and baseball and Tour de France...)
    land line (which we really are thinking of dumping, we only use it to receive calls, and cells would be fine for that)
    i-phone for my lovely wife
    dumb phone for me, I don't need no stinken data plan
    2 computers - one for wife, one for last kid still at home
    ipad for me, but mostly its my e-book reader and web browser.
    DSL for internet... which is kinda slow but cheap

    We're thinking:
    dump landline and DSL (so long ATT, no regrets)
    add internet cable

    stand pat...
    there is no signature.

  14. #14
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I do not feel old enough (mentally) to participate in this thread. But I will play. I am reconfiguring my TV, phone, internet and security and electric power usage (we have Smart Metering and TOU billing). I am a pre-computer slide rule educated electrical power engineer turned developer / finance guy but I love technology and got rid of the slide rule ASAP. I do not have a need to simplify because I do not understand it but I go for the best value propositions that meet my needs and offer the lowest cost of ownership.

    Also, I go for quality when it comes to communication. I hate dropped calls and garbled talk. I like land lines for reliability and quality. I was running a consulting practice and every time we tried some internet based, very cheap alternative to the phone company, I did not like it since it seemed to cheapen our value proposition.

    Today, Verizon, IMO, has a reliable mobile phone network in the bay area and I do not get any dropped calls and people can hear me. So I am at the point that mobile technology = land lines.

    I have used both satellite and cable for TV. I use the cable company and we have fiber optic cable to our house. The reliability and quality of the picture is now excellent. I use their DVR but IMO, the software is lousy and has not been updated in years. It needs a major makeover.

    I get DSL Internet service from the phone company and it is fast enough for me and is really cheap via a one year contract. That contract is expiring soon so I am looking into using cable for TV, internet, security and power management. I will stay with Verizon for mobile.

    I have an Apple computer and iPhone and my wife has a PC and iPhone courtesy of her company. I am upgrading to an iPhone 5 in a couple of weeks. I plan to get the new MacBook Pro with the Retina display and "solid state" hard drive but I am waiting for the price to fall. I do not have an iPad yet but I do have a Kindle that I use for reading books. And I have the Kindle App on my iPhone so I can read my books. The Kindle syncs with the iPhone Kindle App so I am always on the last page I read with either device.

    I love to listen to the free Pandora service on my iPhone and I have over 1000 songs from albums on the iPhone as well when Pandora is unable to play. There is still a lot of reliability issues using the public Internet.

    I have a plasma TV that is getting old and will wait for the new Apple TV when it comes out. Hopefully, the Apple software engineers will come up with a cool software package and built in DVR.

    I am all in for $275 per month that includes 1400 minutes for two wireless lines, texts and unlimited data, DVR, DSL 3MB speed, land line and Cable "Silver" package which is all the channels but no premium (HBO and etc). That seems like a lot of money but I get a lot of value. I am hoping to keep the value the same and reduce the price

    Finally, it is going to get more complicated, sorry D'Fox, due to managing your power usage. Electric power is going to keep getting more expensive and time of use metering will be the norm. Those that purchase energy efficient equipment and have the ability to monitor and shift power usage around during the day will be winners. Electronics and understanding how electronics can do that for you will be a financial advantage in the future.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Have never been into mobile phones and although I have one- it is on a pay as you go and $15 bought 6 months ago still has $10 on it. Land line phone and I pay around $40 per month for line rental- Broadband and unlimited use of the phone 24 hours a day. TV and we have Satellite and 100's of channels including Eurosport for $40 per month.Wife has a mobile and it is a "Smart" phone and she pays $20 per month and never exceeds her limits.

    So for around $100 per month all our communication needs are met.

    But computers and I cannot get on with a laptop. Desktop unit with a "19 screen and plenty of memory (16gb) are the only concessions I made over a basic unit when I bought it 12 months ago. The Router is also Wi-Fi so works with the wifes computer up in her sewing room- her Nexus and her "Smart" phone whenever that is used for downloads.

    It may seem that our prices are a lot cheaper than the rest of you but we have basic units used in a very basic manner. Completely adequate for home use but I do know of some families that spend well over $500 a month to get the Ultimate in communication services.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Vonage vs Skype?
    Apples and oranges (sort of)

    I use ITP instead of Vonage but it is basically the same. When I signed up, ITP gave me a telephone router that plugs into my computer router. Then my home phone plugs into the telephone router. It provides unlimited talk time with no long distance charges throughout North America for $25 a month. I like having the home phone and the speaker phone on it.

    As for your fax machines: it sounds like you already bought them and they don't cost you anything. So, why not?

    As for the computers: I have even more:
    a base desktop I use as a file and print server
    a laptop I use in the living room
    an old laptop connected to my stereo for music
    an old laptop for financial stuff and nothing else (no email, web browsing, etc) for security...
    and a couple old spares...

    Yes, it's a lot -- and it takes time and energy to maintain. But, each serves a purpose that I do not want to do without.

    And, I guess those are the questions:
    ... How much does it cost (in terms of money and energy) vs How much do you benefit from it?

    A cell phone is a good example: yes, they are expensive and they fill up a pocket. But most people do not feel safe leaving home without one...

    But, my monthly cost for all of that is $150 rather than your $350.

    One aspect is: the wireless and cable companies are expert at getting the highest possible fees for the lowest possible service. Perhaps you should be doing a cost / benefit analysis of each...

    For example: For a smartphone plan, Verizon wants $110 a month while AT&T wants only $70. True, the AT&T plan does not contain all the bells and whistles of the Verizon plan (like unlimited texting). But, I don't need unlimited texting, so instead I pay $.20 for each text that is not done over WiFi...

    I.e., perhaps you should be looking at reducing individual costs rather than eliminating whole segments of cost...
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  17. #17
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    How did I ever survive on one landline at about $15 per month, and a piece of paper and a pencil to do my figuring, a couple of radios and one TV with rabbit ears?

    Where and why did it get so complicated? I remember my first answering machine, a bulky thing with two tapes. That started it all!! Then I got a 32 step programmable calculator, which I used for my doctoral thesis, figuring analysis of variance, etc. (no computer programs for all of that then).
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  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    We still have a land line and mobile phones plus Magic Jack (MJ). I'm considering dumping the land line and using only MJ as our "land line." This little box, which costs ~$40, and which includes the annual charge of $29.95 for unlimited calls throughout the US is amazing value. For international calls there is an extra charge, but calls to the UK, for example cost 2.2 cents per minute. And, when we go to the UK/France, where we've just been, I take it with us, plug it into our notebook and provided there is wifi available, calls to the US are LOCAL calls! Calls within the UK are then international, but at 2.2c/min are infinitely cheaper than on our UK "Go" phone which cost about 45c/min for local calls. You need a small handset to connect to MJ, or, in the case of the UK, buy a UK to US plug adapter and use a local handset, e.g. in a hotel.

    There are very occasional reception issues, with echo or break-up, but redialing usually corrects that. Oh, and it has voice mail, which you are also notified of on your email. Bloody marvelous!

    I do not have any affiliation to MJ.

    Other than that, I have one PC and a notebook fed by a cable modem and router respectively. Comcast is our provider. For cable TV, including a DVR and the internet we pay about $115/month. We do not have any sports packages. As Stapfam notes, here in the US TV is much more expensive than in the UK and for inferior technology/programming.

  19. #19
    Saved by Grace lphilpot's Avatar
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    I'm younger than some here (53) and work in the tech sector (IT) so it might be suprising that we're relatively low-tech at home. Relatively, that is :

    Basic cable, plus the first tier of extra channels, but no HBO, Showtime, etc.
    One 27" and two 13" TVs, all CRTs (but not forever)
    One DVD, two VCRs (one built-in), no Blu-Ray, no DVR, etc.
    Two cellphones, one a flip and the other a smart phone. 2GB data plan that I typically use less than 500 MB of, 200 msgs / month on my phone, less on the flip
    One land line with three cordless handsets on it
    Skype installed, but almost never used
    Daughter has an iPod and a Ninendo DSi, both of which do WiFi
    Android tablet, but only WiFi on it
    One desktop PC (mine) and one laptop (my wife/daughter); I have an older laptop here, but it belongs to my job

    I think that's it. We're thinking about either dropping our landline, or replacing it with Internet phone from our ISP.

    Now if we look at other things, like one bike (for me, one each for the others) , three telescopes, three guitars...

    ...and more just general 'stuff' in the house than we need. I think we need to start on part that first! All in all, getting rid of unused stuff is looking more and more attractive. That is, as long as I have no emotional connection to the stuff!
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    I start out slow and then taper off from there...

  20. #20
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    How did I ever survive on one landline at about $15 per month, and a piece of paper and a pencil to do my figuring, a couple of radios and one TV with rabbit ears?
    So true!!
    Here's a similar analogy. How did people drive or eat lunch or cross the street without a cell phone? Around here as soon as a person gets in the car out comes the cell phone. And they can't eat a meal in a restaurant without the phone in one hand. And I guess their parents never told them to look both ways before crossing the street because around here they don't look. Their eyes are glued to the cell phone screen as they step off the curb and into the street.
    I haven't quite figured out why there aren't more accidents.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Like several others, I love all this technology and jump on things as soon as they stabilize a bit from cutting edge. I would dump the land lines except Verizon's signal is weak in my kitchen.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  22. #22
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    No Cell Phone...Internet and LandLine $52 month.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  23. #23
    Older I get, faster I was con's Avatar
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    OK, I will admit it, I love to text! I watch the grandkids three days a week and send their mom and dad texts and photos of the kids a few times a day.
    This means smart a phone for me, I’m upgrading from the Blackberry I hate to the new IPhone this week.

    As for the rest of our electronics, my wife has her business office in the house so a fax/copier is required and used often.

    We only have one computer, a lap top.

    We have a couple of land lines due to the business.

    We have about the biggest TV/cable package with Tevo because TV is about my wifes only real entertainment due to her very limited mobility from her MS.

    Personally, I find electronics a wonderful addition to life if used in moderation.

    Heck, I even like my Garmin Zumo instead of paper maps.

  24. #24
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    No Cell Phone...Internet and LandLine $52 month.
    Internet and landline are $82 here. But I could trim the internet part with a slower connection.

    Thank heavens someone else doesn't have a cell phone. I tried them in the 80s, twice in the 90s, and again in the early 00s. Couldn't see how they improved my life. But they sucked money out of my wallet, caused constant interruptions, and the batteries died just when I really needed them.

    DF: Dump the fax and use the public library instead. At ours, it's $1/page, with a free cover sheet. Kinkos and Staples do it too, but at higher prices.

    I've also dumped my printer. I print maybe two pages a month (club ride maps mostly) so I do it at work for the same 20¢ a page we charge patrons.

    I haven't owned a television in almost a decade. TV rots the mind.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  25. #25
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    How did I ever survive on one landline at about $15 per month, and a piece of paper and a pencil to do my figuring, a couple of radios and one TV with rabbit ears?

    Where and why did it get so complicated? I remember my first answering machine, a bulky thing with two tapes. That started it all!! Then I got a 32 step programmable calculator, which I used for my doctoral thesis, figuring analysis of variance, etc. (no computer programs for all of that then).


    I liked Andy, RIP, and he added a dimension to the show that brought back good memories of excellent products and skills. I used to have excellent penmanship. I have a beautiful Mont Blanc fountain pen that has not seen any action for years. Today, my handwriting is terrible. I dash off fast lines on text on the computer and watch the auto correct fix my mistakes. We could not have this medium of communication without technology although at times, I question its value. Do I want to live my life as a reality show like the Kardashians?
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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