New wireless auction approved by administration

Here’s some good news for the wireless industry and for the economy.

The Obama administration gave a major boost to the wireless industry Monday by announcing plans to make available for commercial use a huge swath of spectrum.

Obama signed a presidential memorandum directing the federal government and private companies to identify unused airwaves that could be auctioned off, or at least shared, to expand mobile broadband for consumers over the next decade. The goal is to free up some 500 megahertz — almost double the current amount of spectrum available for commercial use — by reallocating airwaves now operated by companies, broadcasters and government agencies.

This is welcome news to those of us who believe that the wireless industries provides one of the largest areas of potential economic growth over the next 10 years.

Wi-Fi access expands on domestic flights

Here’s some good news for travelers.

In-flight Wi-Fi is not yet a commodity, but it is no longer a rarity. Most domestic airlines have been upgrading their fleets to offer the service more widely, to the point where nearly one-third of the roughly 2,800 aircraft in the nation’s passenger fleet are equipped with Wi-Fi, according to Aircell, the company that equips most of the Wi-Fi-enabled planes in the United States.

If you travel on planes a lot and plan to use Wi-Fi frequently, you can shave some expense from the process if you have a Wi-Fi-enabled mobile device like an iPhone or Droid, which incur lower charges than the fees charged by airlines if you use a smartphone or laptop without Wi-Fi. If you don’t have your own device, airlines are not yet providing one.

But no matter what device you use, the connection process is fast and usually pain free.

On the other hand, an airplane has been one of the few areas where you were forced to go without a connection for a period of time. Wi-Fi can certainly come in handy to kill time or deal with issues that can’t wait, but we’re learning that putting away your phone and laptop can be important for your long-term sanity. I guess we now at least have a choice.

CEO Steve Jobs introduces the new iPhone 4


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Apple CEO Steve Jobs poses with the new iPhone 4 during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. The new features are quite impressive as Apple builds upon the momentum from the iPad.

Meanwhile, many app developers are worried as AT&T will no longer be offering unlimited data plans. I can see the concern, as users don’t want to worry about what they are consuming. The beauty of many apps is that they are free, or they are so cheap that the decision to purchase is insignificant. This may upset the balance, no matter how good the iPhone gets.

Work and Play Have Never Been Bigger or Faster

Many people who love a fast paced life are serious about work and play. There are numerous new and different ways of living, from working in a traditional office space to freelancing as a contractor to owning and managing your own business from the comfort of your home. The Internet has made the exchange of ideas profitable and capitalizing on the flow of ideas has never been more exciting or a bigger part of culture and business.

Mobile web access from laptops and smart phones (like the Blackberry and the iPhone) have made doing business on the go a part of our every day life. Sending and receiving emails and messages in the grocery store and on the commuter train make life and work efficient. Never missing a beat has made business move at the speed of light. Services like exchange hosting optimize our ability to receive, process, sort, and respond to the multitude of communications that are constantly flowing that enable this exchange to thrive. Staying on top of the latest updates, minute to minute helps to increase our profitability and success.

With the benefits that come along with success, play has gotten bigger and better too. With extreme sports like sky diving, ice climbing, and wave jumping, we are finding ways to push ourselves harder and farther than ever before, even in our recreational time. The best at juggling these two worlds have even found it possible to make their work fit around their play time with the cutting edge assets available. Doing a few hours of work as the stock exchange opens and closes, completing artistic commissions like writing or photography and emailing the submissions from a distance, and video conference calling are all ways that commerce is being played with, to accommodate physical challenges or to just improve the quality of life of those who want to do it all.

Convenient spending with Prepaid Credit Cards

Our society is using less and less cash; credit cards can now be used for everything from buying a Maserati to going to McDonald’s. However, not everyone can take advantage of the benefits of credit cards. Some people, for one reason or another, have poor credit, and cannot be approved for loans or credit cards. Teenagers often do not have enough credit history to justify being approved for a credit card, and sometimes their parents would prefer to avoid the possibility that their children will misuse the card. And, some people just don’t like to borrow money because of the interest rates involved.

Prepaid credit cards can be useful for these situations. For people that have poor credit, prepaid credit cards do not require a credit check; approval is automatic. Younger people or people without sufficient credit history do not have to worry about the approval process, either, and people who eschew interest-bearing credit cards can use prepaid cards without paying interest. The way these cards work is very similar to gift cards: money is loaded onto the card, and then the card can be used virtually wherever a normal debit or credit card would be used – ATMs, the grocery store, the movie theater, etc.

The advantages are many. Prepaid credit cards provide fraud protection like traditional credit cards, and can be a safer alternative to carrying cash around. If the card is stolen, for instance, the consumer has much greater protection than if his or her cash was taken. These cards can also be used like credit cards when purchasing things online. Additionally, direct deposit is an option with these cards, making it easy to refill them with money. So in today’s world where paper money is fading away, prepaid credit cards can be a useful way of managing your money.

Dining Out in a Bad Economy

Dining out when you are short on cash can be tough. It is a lot cheaper to cook at home, but if you are single, cooking your meals is not always as cost-effective as you think. In theory, you make a big dish of something and have leftovers for days. In reality, you get sick of eating the leftovers, or the dish might turn out so badly that you do not want to eat it in the first place! Plus, it is a challenge to efficiently buy ingredients that can spoil, like fresh vegetables, because the part that you do not use for the recipe sometimes is a challenge to re-use before it goes bad, especially if your schedule gets busy. Your cat can’t cook (at least it’s doubtful), so if you do not use that leftover asparagus, no one will.

So, what are some ideas you can use to dine out cheaply, so that you do not feel as guilty about spending your discretionary income? You can start by looking online. Websites like Dailydeals.com have huge discounts on restaurants; you can save on everything from sushi to Szechuan. Another great website, Yelp.com, has user-written reviews of restaurants that can be sorted by price, so you can see all the barbecue joints in your area under a certain price range, for instance.

Once you are at the restaurant, it’s time to get creative. Getting food to go saves you the cost of tipping, or you can give a nominal tip if you feel generous. Think about ordering dishes that you can get two meals out of, and do not be shy about asking the server about portion sizes. And, if you’re still leery about paying restaurant prices, think about patronizing locally owned restaurants. You will be stimulating the local economy, and every little bit helps.

Google will phase out Windows

The Financial Times is reporting that Google is phasing out Windows from Microsoft due to security concerns. Of course it’s not lost on all of us that this can be seen as a significant blow to Google’s biggest competitor.

That said, Windows has had significant problems for years, though it remains a cash cow for Microsoft. It will be interesting to see how many more companies follow suit.

Caesars Online Casino Opens

The Caesar online casino has opened for business, but is not accepting US or German players until the legal battle over the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is settled. The casino offers customers the chance to play traditional casino games like craps, roulette, poker and blackjack, as well as video slot machines and some custom designed games.

Like other online casinos, to play the games and place a bet you first have to go to the site and download the game software. Once the software is on your computer, you can play the games to try them out before betting, which lets you practice before jumping into the real thing. Downloading the software is easy and most sites have a step by step guide to help you get started. Online casinos realize that to reach the most customers, they have to offer a wide variety of payment options—which Caesars online casino does. They also offer payment methods for foreign customers outside of the UK.

Gambling with online casinos has gained popularity and acceptance in the past few years due to the casino’s success in providing secure access when setting up money accounts and payments. Online casinos are also very user friendly. Since all business is conducted online, customer service can be offered around the clock and is available by email, telephone or on the website.

In the US, the biggest roadblock to online gambling is the UIGEA, which has been in the courts since 2006 and has pretty much banned online gambling in the US. Originally an Act of Congress pertaining to port security, online gambling was included with passage. Online casinos are anticipating a favorable judgment that will allow American players to join their sites. In the meantime, though, all online gambling sites are refusing US players.

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