Category Archives: Article of the Week

zBoost Goes RV’ing

Camping is a favorite American past time.  As we get older, tent camping may seem like a lot of work, however RV camping seems just perfect.  According to  RVIA President Richard Coon, “Almost nine million Americans own RVs because of the unmatched freedom and flexibility they provide when traveling”.

While on the road or at the camp site, RV owners want to stay connected.
Through the years, Wi-Ex has been contacted by numerous RV owners who use a zBoost to stay connected to friends, family, work and customers.  One customer mentioned that he was doing business from his RV while traveling across the country and most clients assumed he was back in his office working.

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Cell Phone User Statistics

The Pew Research Center has released a new report titled Americans and Their Cell Phones.  With cell phone use and ownership continually rising, the survey finds a topic that applies to all of us.  Whether you are guilty of sending and receiving text, pictures, or video messages or just using your phone to avoid an awkward interaction with others, this report offers a statistic for all of these aspects of cell phone use.  A few of the stats really caught my eye as a smart phone user.

  • 42% of cell owners used their phone for entertainment when they were bored.  I am guilty of using my smart phone as entertainment while I’m waiting in line, listening to a particularly boring lecture, or when there is nothing on TV.
  •  20% of cell owners experienced frustration because their phone was taking too long to download something.
  • 51% of adult cell owners have used their phone at least one time to get information they needed immediately.   Let us not forget about those heated family or friend debates!  You need facts to help prove your side of the argument, or even just to squash that family quarrel between your mother and brother.

I do not have to worry about the frustration of cell phone ownership because of my zBoost cell phone signal booster.  My zBoost has helped me in every one of these scenarios from boredom to frustration!  Not only does it relieve me from upload and download delays, but I never have to worry about not receiving or dropping important calls.

To read Americans and Their Cell Phones in its entirety for all cell phone stats click here.

10 Organization Tips

How important is being able to organize well in your daily life?  The importance will vary depending on a person’s personality and life involvement.  As a university student who is carrying a full course load and interning with Wi-Ex, organization is a must!  Between due dates for school papers or projects and deadlines at work, I have to be organized to keep it all straight.  We all know that person, whether it be a fellow classmate, teammate, or coworker, that seems to wait until the last minute because “they forgot” or “lost track of the work”.  We also all know that person where everything has to be “perfect” all the time.  Both of these personalities can be exhausting!  We all need to find that balance between perfection and disorganization in order to navigate work and life efficiently and with minimal stress. listed the “10 habits of highly organized people” to help us all work towards or achieve that perfect balance to keeping on track in life.

( – To read full article click here.
1. Walk away from bargains

2. Make peace with imperfection : How to stop being perfect all the time

3. Never label anything “miscellaneous”

4. Schedule regular decluttering sessions Peter Walsh’s 3 rules for getting organized this summer

5. Stick with what works

6. Create a dump zone

7. Ask for help When to ask for help — and how to do it

8. Separate emotions from possessions

9. Foresee (and avoid) problems

10. Know where to donate

To read the full article click here.

CNN: Android or iPhone? Surveys show smartphone users are fickle

In the summer of 2010, the iPhone was most popular. Now 31% of consumers plan to purchase an Android device

Editor’s note: Amy Gahran writes about mobile tech for She is a San Francisco Bay Area writer and media consultant whose blog,, explores how people communicate in the online age.

(CNN) — Is Android “the new black”? New research from Nielsen indicates that consumer tastes in smartphones may be as variable as fashion trends.

Way back in the summer of 2010 — ages ago in mobile-phone technology time — a third of U.S. consumers who were planning to purchase a new smartphone reported a preference for the Apple iPhone.

About one fourth planned to get an Android phone, and 13% planned to get a BlackBerry.

Today, Nielsen reports: “Those same surveys for January-March 2011 show just how much things have changed: According to the latest figures, 31% of consumers who plan to get a new smartphone indicated Android was now their preferred OS. Apple’s iOS has slipped slightly in popularity to 30%, and RIM Blackberry is down to 11%.”

Perhaps even more telling: “Almost 20% of consumers are unsure of [which smartphone] to choose next.”

This variability makes one thing clear: It’s difficult to predict with any level of certainty which mobile devices will be popular in the future.

So whenever you hear predictions such as International Data Corp’s recent forecast that by 2015, Windows Phone 7 will be the #2 smartphone platform worldwide, take it with a huge grain of salt.

Because of this variability, it’s likely that companies which develop mobile services and content will increasingly deliver their offerings via a mobile web browser, rather than via “native” mobile apps designed to run on a specific mobile platform.

Developing several versions of a native app is a big, costly software development and maintenance effort.

Browser-based experiences are inherently cross-platform. While such mobile “web apps” cannot deliver the full range of features as native apps, often they are good enough to get the job done for most mobile users, while substantially improving the economics of those offerings.

The opinions expressed in this post are solely those of Amy Gahran.

Mashable: Is Working From Home Becoming the Norm? [SURVEY]

Working from home is becoming more common, more accepted by managers and more sought-after by employees than ever before, according to a survey conducted by Skype, one of the bastions of telecommuting technology.

As someone who regularly works from home, I find this trend hardly surprising. But it’s not just bloggers, startup types and technophiles who are making pajamas the new “business casual.” Even seasoned executive types (like my own father, for example) are logging in remotely these days.

The proliferation of online collaboration tools is one indicator that “WFH” (that’s short for “working from home,” my dad tells me) culture is blossoming. In fact, Skype and tools like it have pretty much made the necessity of a 9-to-5 physical presence behind a cubicle-bound desk obsolete.

And video capabilities are a large part of those tools. Video conferencing and desktop video are two communication technologies Skype expects to see increase in usage most over a two-year period, followed by VoIP, room-based video, mobile phones and instant messaging.

Given the widening availability, affordability and understanding of technologies such as VoIP and video, the time is right for remote working and working from home. According to Skype’s survey, which includes responses from 1,000 professionals at about 500 businesses of all sizes, flexibility on in-office presence is, indeed, becoming the norm.

Around 62% of the companies surveyed already allow employees to work remotely. Of these companies, 34% of their workforce occasionally works remotely, and of that 34%, WFH-enabled employees say they spend around 40% of their work hours at home.

Naturally, employees at WFH-friendly companies listed this area of flexibility high in their criteria for job satisfaction. But employers seemed to be fans of the WFH lifestyle, too. Of the respondents who were decision-makers and managers, 75% said working from home was becoming more acceptable, and 56% said workers-from-home were more productive.

Take a look at Skype’s full report, and in the comments, let us know what your WFH options are like. Are you a couch-bound working warrior? Or are you fairly chained to your desk at the office?

image courtesy of iStockphoto, Mari

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FCC Proposes Giving Signal Boosters a Boost to Dismay of Cellular Industry

All Things Digital
By Ina Fried
Posted on April 7, 2011 at 12:58 PM PT

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed allowing broader use of signal boosters that can be used to improve in-building cellular coverage, much to the dismay of the wireless carriers.

Unlike a carrier-favored approach, known as femtocells, signal boosters work with all flavors of cell signal as opposed to a single network. However, the industry says that improperly designed gear can lead to signal oscillation, which can cause interference.


In a statement, FCC Commisioner Mignon Clyburn said the devices can help address an important issue with regard to service gaps, while ensuring they don’t cause interference.

“These devices have demonstrated they can help address the coverage gaps that exist within the wireless service areas in both rural and urban environments,” Clyburn said.

Clyburn praised his commission for working with the cellular industry and the makers of the gear to come up with rules that should help minimize the chance of interference. Among the proposed rules is one that would require devices to shut themselves down if they are operating outside of technical guidelines.

However, the cell industry says it is still worried about interference.

“While we have yet to read the (proposed guidelines), we remain concerned that poorly manufactured or improperly installed boosters can do much more harm than good for both consumers and public safety officials,” Brian Josef, CTIA vice president of regulatory affairs, said in a statement. “The record is full of examples of such harm. One of the leading advocates for changes in the commission’s rules, who also happen to be one of the leading manufacturers of boosters, has marketed and sold devices that have caused significant harmful interference.”

Sellers of such gear, meanwhile, applauded the ruling.

“In short, the FCC is formalizing what most of us have known all along: cellular coverage is not good enough,” The Repeater Store said in a blog posting. “In the modern age we are ever more reliant on our phones for important calls and increasingly data services. The FCC recognizes that the task of providing this service cannot fall on the carriers alone and is moving to make cellular signal boosters part of the solution.”

Lloyd R. Meese, CEO of Wi-Ex, which makes such a booster, praised the move, noting his company’s gear already complies with the proposed regulations.

“We recognized from the beginning that oscillation could be an issue and developed patented technology as a solution to the problem,” Meese said in a statement.

In a blog post, AT&T expressed hope that the new proposal would at least clarify the rules and make it easier to go after offending equipment.

This action comes in addition to a separate move by the commission to require carriers to allow data roaming of rivals onto their networks at terms set by the commission. Verizon and AT&T had opposed that move, though Sprint praised the decision.

Tech Buzz: “What South by Southwest is and why it matters”




(CNN) — Every March, thousands of young, jeans-wearing techies, filmmakers and musicians descend upon Austin, Texas, harboring dreams of getting noticed and hitting it big.

They come not just for the balmy weather or the Tex-Mex food but for South by Southwest, a collection of conferences and festivals that’s considered one of the most influential happenings on the annual cultural calendar.

Abbreviated as SXSW — and nicknamed “South by” by festival veterans — the 24-year-old conference kicks off Friday and runs through March 20. The three-headed event encompasses separate festivals for film, music and interactive technology and has helped launch everything from Twitter to Broken Social Scene.

It’s where hipster culture meets geek culture, and where internet entrepreneurs are treated like rock stars.

SXSW first kicked off in 1987 as the place where relatively unknown bands played gigs with hopes of attracting the attention of critics, talent scouts or big-time musicians seeking an opening act for their tours. Conference organizers integrated film and technology segments in 1994 as a “multimedia” event, and a year later, the separate South by Southwest Interactive was formed.

The event’s film portion now takes up nine days — almost as many as the interactive and music sections combined. Past SXSWs have witnessed the premieres of “Kick-Ass,” “Knocked Up,” and countless documentaries. This year’s lineup features such high-profile premieres as a Conan O’Brien documentary about his recent comedy tour (O’Brien’s show, like CNN, is a Time Warner property), the Jake Gyllenhaal thriller “Source Code” and “The Beaver,” directed by Jodie Foster and starring Mel Gibson.

Yes, geeks like to party

Within this swirling hotbed of culture are dozens of fledgling internet startups hoping to capture some of the Texas voodoo that helped catapult Twitter and Foursquare early on.

Daytime hours feature hundreds of Interactive panels on everything from “Social TV” to “Has Facebook jumped the shark?” At night, geeks swarm to startup-pitch contests or crowded parties hosted by such names as Bing, StumbleUpon, Hipmunk, Zynga and I Can Has Cheezburger (with pictures of LOLcats on the digital invitations).

Tech-savvy attendees coordinate meeting points with friends on Foursquare or Gowalla, or by using hashtags like “#sxsw” on Twitter.

These nightly events, while expensive to organize, are among the most popular promotional vehicles for young Web companies, which are often happy to dip into their funds to buy out a downtown bar for a few hours. Some hosts, like Gowalla, say SXSW parties are a planned annual expense.

“We did (a party) last year, so we’re kind of rehashing that this year — but bigger and better,” said Josh Williams, CEO of Austin’s homegrown Gowalla, the location-based, social-networking service that’s throwing a 1,200-person bash on Monday. “This is the year I think ‘South by’ kind of blows up to the point that we’re all kind of left with our heads spinning.”

Not only do parties help add a new name to people’s vocabulary (hey, who’s going to Tweet House on Friday?), but organizers also can use them to plant the seed for a product while patrons are lubricated. At a party last year, Drew Olanoff said he talked a lot about an emerging concept called “group messaging” to get audiences familiar with the idea.

“People were like, ‘Oh, what’s that?’ ‘Well, it’s like reply-all in e-mail,’ ” said Olanoff, who works for a company called GOGII that develops a group-texting app, textPlus. “Last year was education. This year, we’re putting it into action.”

Group messaging is expected to be the hot category in social networking this year, according to several industry observers.

GOGII will have staff on the streets near the convention center giving out “respect” stickers. They’re hoping to create buzz by getting people to paste stickers on their friends — a social currency similar to “likes” or “retweets.” An advertisement for textPlus is also printed on the stickers.

These guerrilla marketing techniques will be out in full force in Austin. Among TextPlus’ many competitors is one called GroupMe, which will be giving away grilled-cheese sandwiches.

SXSW is also where popular app makers launch drastically new versions or websites. Foursquare, Plancast, PicPlz, Ustream and others all plan to release apps with new features this week to coincide with the happenings in Austin.

From CD-ROMs to mobile ‘check-ins’

The conference has come a long way since its early years, when it struggled more to get noticed. And its technology has, too.

“In 1994, we were talking about CD-ROMs,” said Hugh Forrest, director of the Interactive conference. “At that point, the gulf between the multimedia people and the music people who were attending South by Southwest were like oceans.

“I think that gulf has gotten smaller and smaller as the years go on,” he added. “It’s still present to some extent. If you’re here on Tuesday and Wednesday, the jeans become a lot skinnier, and the tattoos go from sleeves to full-body.”

They may not dress the same, but techies seem to have learned some of the musicians’ tricks when it comes to promotion and optimism at SXSW. Part of that enthusiasm comes from how integral SXSW was in the histories of two key social networks.

After opening to the public in late 2006, a quirky short-messaging network called Twitter languished in obscurity. But when the small group of employees noticed many of their members were planning trips to SXSW in 2007, they saw an opportunity, said Evan Williams, the company’s co-founder and former CEO.

The company paid $11,000 to install monitors in the hallways of Austin’s convention center that displayed relevant Twitter messages from attendees, Williams said.

“This was about the only money Twitter’s *ever* spent on marketing,” he wrote on Quora in January. “And something clicked.”

There, Twitter won over a cutting-edge, influential crowd whose increased participation started to weigh on the site’s servers, creating an overflow problem that plagued the service for a few years while maintenance played catchup. The excitement carried over to SXSW in 2008, where Twitter again had a major presence.

Then came 2009, when a smartphone-centric service called Foursquare, built around a game of “checking in” at places and competing for the honorary title of mayor, had launched a few days before that year’s SXSW. Twitter was by then a ubiquitous tool at the festival, but Foursquare was getting all the hype.

“We went from 50 to 5,000 users,” said Foursquare CEO and co-founder Dennis Crowley. “I had no idea that it would blow up.”

Foursquare had chosen SXSW as the deadline for launching its service and had taken note of Twitter’s successes there. In 2010, Foursquare’s chief SXSW marketing gimmick involved pickup matches of foursquare, the real-life playground game, outside the convention center.

This year, the company will host a big party and organize more playground games, but SXSW organizers say they’ve outgrown their location in front of the conference center, Crowley said. Foursquare now has more than 7 million users.

“This year, I don’t know what it’s going to be,” he said. “It should be the year that Foursquare fades into the background. You know, everyone uses Foursquare. What’s next?”

Life after Austin

After a startup gets its wings at SXSW and the hype starts to fade, it can start to see its presence there as nonessential. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was interviewed for a 2008 keynote presentation that wasn’t well received, and his company has only attended in a small capacity since.

Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Williams, who was a keynote speaker at SXSW last year, aren’t planning to attend the conference, a company spokesman said.

Perhaps as an indication that it has outgrown its role at SXSW, Twitter won’t be hosting a party in Austin this year after throwing one last year.

Instead, the company, now with some 200 million users, is organizing a decidedly less debaucherous Twitter Retreat during daytime hours on Monday. “Escape the madness for some R&R,” says an event description.

“At some point, the company gets too big, and it just doesn’t work,” explained Foursquare’s Crowley. “This happened to Twitter. I was like, ‘Why aren’t you guys going?’ You just get too big (that) you can’t.”

For budding tech entrepreneurs at SXSW this week, that would be a good problem to have.