Tag: smartphones

24 Jul

Do you miss your alarm clock?

Suzana Popovic-Montag Estate & Trust, Estate Litigation, Estate Planning, Uncategorized Tags: , , , 0 Comments

Smartphones have disrupted a lot of old school technology – the humble alarm clock being one of them. Few people under 30 own an alarm clock, and I’m sure many don’t even know what an alarm clock is.

Even for the over-30 set, a lot of us rely on our phone to wake up. But is it the best way? The alarm clock was a specialist device – it told time and woke us up. That’s it. Our phones are generalist devices. While they can do a lot of things, they may not do each task as well as a specific device made for a specific purpose. That’s why many people still buy cameras, and calculators, and stopwatches, even though their phones can do all of those tasks.

Here’s the thing about alarm clocks: they’ve come a long way. And many of these innovations could be a big improvement over using the alarm function on your phone. Take a look at these two innovative approaches to alarm clocks that could change your mind about your phone alarm:

Ruggie – no more snooze

The MIT Technology Review quotes a study that found that Americans spend 3.5 months of their lives hitting the snooze button. Since studies have shown that our snooze button habit actually hurts us more than helps us, snoozing is truly wasted time that negatively impacts our lives.

Enter the Ruggie, an alarm rug that only turns off when you get up and stand on it for several seconds. It forces you out of bed and keeps you up. Kiss the snooze button goodbye!

See the light

The sound of an alarm can be jarring, even for good-natured morning people. So here’s a twist: an alarm – the Philips Wake-up Light  – that uses a combination of light and sound to wake you up. The light begins with soft dawn red before moving to orange and then yellow. And it starts 30 minutes before your actual wake up time, so you can ease gradually into wakefulness.

Other innovative approaches

This recent article on the Digital Trends site has several other “alternative” alarm clocks. Check them out – there may be one that wakes you up in a whole new way!

Enjoy your day!
Suzana Popovic-Montag

10 Apr

We can’t cut our smartphone habit – but we can cut the cost

Suzana Popovic-Montag Estate & Trust, Estate Litigation, Estate Planning, Uncategorized Tags: , , , 0 Comments

Talk to someone who lives in Europe or travels there for extended periods. Ask them what they pay for their phone plan. You’ll be shocked and disheartened.

The costs are a fraction of what they are in Canada. In February, Global News compared the costs of phone plans across Canada, and also summarized (in the chart below) Canadian government research comparing wireless costs in Canada with those in other parts of the world. It’s clear that wireless costs in Canada are among the highest in the world.

 

You can read the entire article here.

Why so high

There are many reasons given for the high wireless prices in Canada. Most are a variation of “the high cost of building infrastructure in a large country with a small population” and “lack of competition.”

No one has a definitive answer, but the lack of competition angle certainly makes some intuitive sense. There are only three major carriers (Bell, Rogers, and Telus) and they own most of the discount brands. Even with a discount brand, the savings are underwhelming. Compare that to Europe, where competition is fierce and low prices are the norm.

Cut your costs

The fact that the three major carriers all have discount brands suggests that there is room to haggle in terms of the price you pay. In most cases, if you tell the carrier that you are price shopping and simply ask them for a lower price, they’ll provide a discount. It may be for a set period of time, but it will be less.

Of course, calling the carrier and haggling is time-consuming and, for many people, uncomfortable. That’s why services have popped up that will do the haggling for you, in exchange for a cut of your savings.

For example, MyBillsAreHigh specializes in reducing the monthly costs of wireless, internet, landline and cable services for business and individual customers. You can check them out here.

A company like this can save you tens of dollars a month, which, when multiplied over a lifetime, can result in total savings of thousands of dollars. Imagine you could have this much extra to pass on through your estate. And that is just the savings for one bill! Multiple that by the number of cellular bills you pay for your family members and your internet, landline and cable services. Depending on how many services you subscribe to, you could save a significant amount over your lifetime. Those kinds of savings could make a drastic difference in the type of estate you pass on and alter the lives of your estate’s beneficiaries. So with services that can easily provide us with such savings over the course of our lifetimes, we should all be exploring these options.

I haven’t myself tried this service yet, but I’ve seen it featured in the news and on shows like CBC Marketplace. I have to admit, I’m tempted – and it wouldn’t take much to get me to act.

Thanks for reading … have a great day!

Suzana Popovic-Montag

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