Musings of a Philadelphia Physician who has served the community for six decades

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Computers, Digital Cameras, and Cellphones
Much of the early development of the electronic computer took place in Philadelphia. We lost the lead, but it might return.

Banking Panic 2007-2009 (1)
Mankind hasn't learned how to control sudden wealth, whether in families, third-world countries, or the richest nation in history. The world banking crisis of 2007 is the biggest example yet.

iPhone, Skype, Land Lines and International rates
Skype on the iPhone

Skype on the iPhone works exactly as you would expect.

The iPhone automatically detects all wireless hotspots in the vicinity (it does this with or without Skype installed and it uses the wireless connection for all internet traffic while connected.)

Start Skype and you can see who's online and have a conversation with them or call them off-net through Skype just as you do on your computer.

The only deficiency I can see is that you can't multi-task while Skyping; while using the cell phone you can switch to other applications but with Skype doing this disconnects the call.

The AT&T cell + data package seems to be less money than Verizon's and the iPhone beats the pants off a Blackberry.

I have broken free from the landline tether.

I had a land-line Verizon home phone number forever but I have canceled it.

That number had been call-forwarded to my cell phone
- About $60 a month.

So I now have a Skype-in number:
call that number and if I'm offline (most of the time) the call will forward to my cell phone @ $0.02/minute.
- Exactly $60 a year (for the number, plus charges for any calls which I expect will be very few.)

$720/year vs. $60/year. Duh.

Why have any number other than my cell phone at all? In my case, I need a local area code for the guard at the gate of my condo where the phone is blocked for all non-local calls. Skype also offers international Skype-in numbers so your mother in France can call you with a local number. Etc.

The iPhone is an option for international cell phone use but it can be expensive. Here are AT&T's recommendations to reduce this expense.

When using your service outside the U.S., Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands (for either voice or data), international roaming rates apply. Your iPhone provides access to email, Visual Voicemail, Web browsing and other applications that can use a significant amount of data, so remember-international data roaming can get expensive quickly.

How iPhone Users Can Minimize International Data Charges:

  • Turn Data Roaming "OFF": Be sure to download and install the latest version of iPhone software from iTunes. By default, this setting for international data roaming will be in the "OFF" position.
    To turn data roaming "ON/OFF" tap on Settings>General>Network>Data Roaming
  • Utilize Wi-Fi Instead of 3G/GPRS/EDGE: Wi-Fi is available in many international airports, hotels and restaurants to browse the web or check email.
  • Turn Fetch New Data "OFF": Check email and sync contacts and calendars manually instead of having the data pushed to your iPhone automatically. This way you can control the flow of data coming to your iPhone.
    To turn off the Auto-Check functionality tap on Settings>Fetch New Data, change Push to "OFF" and Select to Fetch Manually
  • Consider Purchasing an International Data Package: Purchasing an international data package can significantly reduce the cost of using data abroad. AT&T now offers four discount international data packages. The 20 MB package is $24.99 per month, the 50 MB package is $59.99 per month, 100 MB package is $119.99 per month, and the 200 MB package is $199.99 per month. See for details and international roaming rates.
  • Reset the Usage Tracker to Zero: When you arrive overseas access the usage tracker in the general settings menu & select reset statistics. This will enable you to track your estimated data usage.
    To reset Usage Tracker to Zero tap on Settings>General>Usage>Reset


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