5 Ways to Cut Your Cell Phone Bill

Do you think you’re paying too much for your cell phone? Would you like to change that? A mere fifteen years after cell phones were first introduced to the public back in 1977 with only 2000 customers, 60 million people now have cell phones. It’s now t a $30 billion a year industry. If you don’t want to contribute any more to that $30 billion than is absolutely necessary, read on.

A JD Powers and Associates report states that the average basic service cell phone package costs $63 per month, and those with more advanced features runs an average of $77 per month. Keep in mind that is for a single phone. Multiply that by each individual contract your household has; technology doesn’t come cheap. Don’t despair! Here are five easy ways to cut your monthly cell phone charges-without feeling like you’ve been transported back to the dark ages.

Samsung Large Screen TV Tops the JD Power Survey 2013 (Photo credit: samsungtomorrow)
  1. Think twice before buying a smart phone. There are plenty of great phones on the market that allow you to call, text, take and send pictures, search the web, and take advantage of all sorts of great apps for less money. Case in point: ATT Mobility charges smart phone users a minimum of $15 for 200 MB of internet usage per month, while customers using phones with most all of the same capabilities can have unlimited usage for $10. That’s a $60 a year difference. Speaking of phones, don’t buy a phone based on how cute it is. Buy for durability and how easy it is for you to operate. Just like anything else, there are some products that are simply better than others. The same JD Powers and Associates report mentioned above reports that Sony Ericson, Samsung, and Motorola make the best phones on the market.
  2. Don’t buy ring tones. Ever. Several online websites has thousands of ring tones that are absolutely free. No strings attached, no limit on how many you can select, and nothing to sign up for. Just search for your favorite songs or tones, download and save. The end.
  3. Take advantage of family plans. With one primary account holder, most providers allow you to add up to 4 additional phones for around $10 a piece per month (plus taxes). You can also take advantage of bundling your features to spread the cost of unlimited texting and other added features between plan participants. Wirefly.com is one arguably the best site on the internet to comparison shop for the cellular provider and phone plan for you.
  4. Do the math. Many young couple find themselves paying out money unnecessarily for two separate phone plans. They don’t want to pay the early out charges most carriers charge for breaking your contract. But think about it…if each person is paying $75 for their phone plan, and that amount could be reduced by approximately $60 a month, that’s a yearly savings of $720! Compare that to the usual $200 to $300 charged by the major cellular service providers for canceling a contract before it expires. That $400 to $500 dollars will go a long way toward paying down student loans, credit card debt, or next year’s vacation.
  5. Take advantage of little known discounts, and rethink your plan. Employees of the postal system are entitled to a 25% discount with Sprint, while all other federal employees get a 15% discount. Many credit unions, as well as companies that manufacture components used in cellular technology or those associated with the marketing of cellular services are allowed 10-15% discounts, as well. Check with your provider to see what, if anything, you qualify for. As for your phone plan…do you really need 1000 anytime minutes? With unlimited calling to people in your network, and the roll-over plans that have been adopted over the last few years, just about everyone could take a lesser plan and shave $10-$15 dollars a month off their plan.

This article was contributed by Darla Nicole.  Darla writes about credit card rewards and deals.  A popular choice for college students with large cell phone bills is the Citi Student Dividend card which offers 5% cash back for utilities.

Is your cell phone killing you?

For decades now scientists have been debating whether the radiation emitted from cell phones is causing permanent damage to the brains of people who use them. A new government funded study by the National Institutes of Health seems to suggest it is doing something, but scientists are not quite certain what that is.

Let’s be clear: according to researchers the electromagnetic radiation produced by a cell phones affects glucose metabolism. When glucose metabolism inside your brain goes up, cells get activated. The complete study was published in the Journal of American Medical Association and includes the caveat that while they know something is happening inside the brain, they don’t know what. The researchers said the cell phone need to be bombarding the brain for at least 50 minutes before any increase in brain activity was noted.

radiation emitted from cell phones
Photo by SOMBILON PHOTOGRAPHY | GALLERY | VIDEOGRAPHY (radiation emitted from cell phones)

Maybe it is activating extra sensory perception, maybe it is burning calories, maybe it is doing nothing at all. They have no idea.

Like all scientific research which determines something is going on but does not reveal what exactly that is (like, say, global warming) they recommend more research be conducted.

In May 2010 the Interphone project by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the largest study of cell phone use and brain tumors ever conducted found that “no increase in risk was observed with the use of mobile phones.” The agency studied the effects of cell phone use of dozens of subjects over a ten year period. That is a substantial test group.

The latest research also tested dozens of subjects, 47 otherwise healthy adults to be precise. They tested brain levels when the cell phone was turned off and compared these with results when the phone was turned on. The study showed “significantly higher” brain activity in the area closest to where the antenna was located on the phone.

The brain is a sensitive electromagnetic instrument all by itself. It probably doesn’t need to be further stimulated by an outside device. But researchers can not say with any degree of certainty that the effects of 50 minutes of cell phone use will harm the brain of a healthy adult. They cannot say the same for adults with brains that have suffered some sort of previous damage or the brains of children, with thinner skull structures than their adult counterparts.

This is not the first time research has shown cell phone use could pose a hazard. Again and again some researchers have claimed that the electromagnetic emissions of cells phone could cause bran cancer or strokes or something, though no one has yet produced one shred of evidence to prove these claims.

Today, there are more than 300 million cell phones in use in the United States alone and almost 1 billion in use around the world. With that type of wide spread use it would seem if there was any type of negative effect it would hardly take a team of researchers and a group of 47 healthy adults talking on their phones for 50 minutes to prove it.

Thomas is the Founder and CEO of a premiere Virtual Assistant company in the US. He also consults on Search Engine Optimization and how to make your day more efficient thru the use of Virtual Assistants. To find out more information please feel free to visit their website.

Mobile Phones In The Car- Distraction Or Okay?

The mobile phone usage in the car debate is one that has been talked about for years and there are already a lot of countries including UK, China, Poland, Australia and Brazil that have already said yes to ban the use of mobile phones in the car.

The main country that is yet to say yes on a whole is the USA and this currently is put down to the individual states voting independently to make a decision. States like Alabama, Idaho and Delaware are all still saying no to a ban whereas other states like California, Washington and New Jersey have already banned the use of a mobile phone. There are states like Florida and Ohio that are only working on partial bans and there is still a lot of confusion around what is going on.

Mobile Phones In The Car

With all of this in mind let’s take a look at some of the positives and negatives of using the mobile phone in the car.

The Argument for Mobile Phones

When you sit down and think of positives of using your mobile phone in the car there aren’t many reasons that tend to pop up. Answering a phone call you can do once pulled over or hooked up to hands free, checking Twitter and other social networks can be done when you are pulled over or better yet when you have arrived at your destination and answering a text takes both eyes from the front of the car for a long period of time, is this really a good idea?

The other side of the argument is that talking or texting on a mobile phone is really no different to changing a radio station, eating or drinking and even telling the kids to quiet down in the back and these are not going to be banned anytime soon. Whilst these are not going to be banned they are still frowned upon as you have to take concentration from driving to carry the tasks out!

The only time it might be a good idea to us you’re mobile without hands free is perhaps if you are stuck in traffic or calling the emergency services. If you are not moving when stuck in traffic then you cannot really do anything wrong when using mobile phones in the car.

If you are constantly talking on your mobile phone when driving about what is the reason why you have not purchased one of the best mobile phone accessories out there, the hands free kit? Even if your state or country says it is fine to use your phone when driving your concentration and judgment skills are going to be down and your reaction times are around 50% slower which could result in an accident, just buy a kit and be safe or be even safer and turn the thing off when you are driving!

Ryan is a car fanatic working for a company that sell mobile phone accessories including the hands free kit! You can find him on Twitter @ ryanogs

Voice Memo function. Make Some Music

voice memo app

When I try to write music, I often struggle with the fact that melodies, ideas and fragments don’t necessarily come at practical times, i.e. when I’m sitting down with an instrument and writing a chord progression with the intention of making it a part of a piece of music. I’ve read far too many interviews with musicians who talk about how they either had a functional way to capture fragments or how they regularly lost what could have become good songs or melodies because they didn’t have a way to capture them. Then came along Voice Memo.

Voice Memo
Voice Memo

The worst is waking up to a functional idea in the middle of the night and feeling no desire whatsoever to open up my computer or make a usable note while only half awake and somewhat able to communicate ideas in writing. I know I’ve lost well over a dozen ideas this way, and that if I’m going to have any luck getting things done, I have to change my behavior.

My strategy for logging my memories, then, is pretty simple: I record them into my telephone’s Voice Memo function. It provides me with only a few minutes of recording time and sounds utterly grainy and noisy, but I can use it as an easy way to track lots of things that I’d otherwise lose. Using just the simple included microphone I can sing a melody, if I have one in mind that I’m afraid I’ll lose, into the phone, then play it back when I’m in a more functional mindset or at my workspace, where I can then try to build it into a piece of music I’m working on.

If I make a recording, I can email it to myself using text messaging, then save the file on my computer, play it back, make edits, or even work the original recording into a project that I’m working on if I feel any desire to do so. When I’ve needed to make recordings for various reasons – collecting promotional messages for the radio station I used to work for, for example – the phone’s easy recording system proved hugely helpful for this purpose. I’ve also used it to record conversations, to make field recordings (in which I capture sounds around me either for purposes of preservation or for later experimentation and processing), and to play with noise and feedback in a very traditional, conventional setting.

Using the phone as a voice recorder I get distinct recordings of either myself or my surrounding environment, which I can then preserve in many compelling ways. I’m especially struck by the process of making field recordings because of the ways that certain environments and cities sound different, as if the noises and the languages spoken there, as well as the presence of absence of traffic, can have a direct impact on what the recording equipment captures. Carrying a bad microphone with space constraints as a Dictaphone is a liberating, easy thing, and a fun way to capture ideas and memories.

Eco Soldiers Green your Mobile and Broadband Life

Green your mobile

With the increase in mobile phone use and possession throughout the world, it is essential that phone services and the phones themselves become more environmentally friendly so as to minimize our “carbon footprint”. It’s time to Green your Mobile.

There are numerous ways to make mobile phones more green and even the smallest things can make an enormous difference to the environment if enough people develop these beneficial practices.

Green your Mobile
Green your Mobile

Recycle Your Phone

This is a highly effective practice and can both save money as well as help the environment. An old phone can be sold on eBay for a significant amount of money or can be given away. In order to determine the amount that the phone is worth, websites such as Envirophone are available. This site allows you to enter the model of your mobile phone so that you can determine its worth.

Additionally, if you are experiencing a difficulty with the SIM card in the phone or you are required to change your number, you can keep the old phone and simply buy a new card. This limits the raw materials which are required and, therefore, is a highly environmentally responsible practice and also saves significant amounts of money.

Monitor Energy Consumption

You can monitor the amount of energy that you are using through a website known as Electricity Monitor. Certain mobile phones consume more energy than others so attempt to choose one that uses a smaller amount. Changing the settings on the phone may also serve to reduce the amount of energy that is consumed by the phone.

Environmentally Friendly Applications

Green apps include those which provide you with information as to what products are greener than others. For example, if you are searching for a specific product, applications exist which provide the user with the ability to compare the amount of energy that each product uses so that energy can be conserved. There are also smart-phone applications that prevent you from overcharging the mobile phone, which limits the amount of energy that is used and helps the user to become more environmentally conscious.

Analyze Various Suppliers

Make sure to research each of the various providers of mobile phone service which are accessible in your area. Determine which of the providers is more environmentally conscious. In order to encourage additional companies to become “greener”, purchase a plan from a “green” company. This will hint to other companies that they should do the same. Although “green” plans are typically slightly more expensive, it is certainly worth the extra cost to protect the environment and you will be secure in the knowledge that you are helping the globe to be cleaner and healthier.

“Greener” Broadband Service

Searching for green or Eco broadband ISP’s you can find providers that are much more ecologically aware they will use sustainable energy sources to power the severs and there offices such as solar panels and will often have Eco schemes set up to offset any damage to the environment such as tree planting. Mobile broadband is an alternative to power hungry infrastructure so should be looked at if your consumption isn’t as demanding as requiring fixed line broadband, now mobile broadband is fast now and a viable alternative, mobile broadband by its nature means you can work remotely so can often save fuel costs in traveling to the office.

Green Charity donations

Do your research so that you find a service that donates a percentage of their profits to charitable institutions. These services can be found at www.greenmobile.co.uk. Businesses which are “greener” will donate some of their proceeds to environmental organizations as well as find a way to reduce their usage of energy so as to reduce their “carbon footprint”. Many of these environmentally conscious company’s mobile phone packages come with the guarantee that a part of their profits will go towards environmental charities. Some of these businesses will also provide their customers with information regarding how to benefit the environment as well as provide them with local recycling programs, charity organizations, and awards which they have won for their environmental consciousness.

How does a telephone work?

How does a telephone work?

Despite the fact that you can conference call people on the other side of the world on the phone, the telephone actually works along quite simple principles. Interestingly, the technology behind the phone in your home has not really changed over the past century. You could take a phone from the 1930s, plug it into the phone jack in your hall or living room and it would still work. So, How does a telephone work?

Inside the mouthpiece on the handset is a thin metal coating. Between this and an electrode is a thin barrier – these days it is made of plastic. This barrier is connected to a wire that carries the electric current.

How does a telephone work?
How does a telephone work?

When you speak into the mouthpiece, you create acoustic vibrations. This moves the metallic coating a little nearer to the electrode, which in turn creates voltage variations. This converts the acoustic energy into electrical energy.

These electrical pulses are carried along the wire to the speaker on the receiving end. The electric pulses are then turned back into acoustic energy – so you hear the voice on the other end of the phone. In a very simple phone, you would hear your own voice through the speaker, which would be rather annoying to say the least, so most phones feature something called a duplex coil, which stops the sound of your voice from getting back to your own ear!

So why do you need to convert the acoustic energy into electrical pulses? Well, electrical energy travels at the speed of light and as it travels along well-insulated wires, little of the energy is dispersed as it goes along. If you decided to send acoustic pulses along a metal pipe, for instance, the pipe would absorb the acoustic energy before it reached its desired destination.

So along with the speaker and microphone, the simplest phone only has one other core component – a hook switch that connects and disconnects the phone to and from the network. When you lift up the receiver, the hook switch connects you and then disconnects when you put down the receiver.

So how is your phone connected to the wider network? There is a pair of copper wires running from one box in the road to another box at your home. The wires are connected to each of the phone jacks in your house. The box in the road is connected to thick cable that consists of more than 100 pairs of copper wires, which run to another box that acts as a digital concentrate and then on to the phone company’s exchange, where it connects to the wider network.

Depending on where you are calling when you pick up your phone, the phone company either forms a loop between your own phone and the handset of the person you are calling, or, if it a long-distance call, it digitizes your voice (along with the voices of thousands of other callers!) and sends it on a long-distance network – it may go along a fiber-optic line – or even be sent via satellite.