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My Year of Living Paperlessly

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I made a New Year’s resolution to, as much as possible, eliminate paper from my life. I can’t control all of what comes it, but I can control some of it. And I have complete control over what I keep, within the guidelines of U.S. tax law, of course.

Here is the list of steps I took in January to get My Year of Living Paperlessly off to the right start.



Sprint Gets Aggressive

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Sprint is getting aggressive and trying to snag customers away from AT&T and Verizon. Their latest effort gives users both an iPhone 6 and an iPad mini 3, with no cash down and no activation fees. Users pay $100 per month, which includes 2 GB of shared data. This is part of their iPhone for Life and iPad for Life program, where users have to tattoo the Sprint logo on their chest. Just kidding. That's not what the program requires! Rather, a customer pays a monthly fee and gets a new iPhone or iPad every two years. Sprint also offers a 12-month plan to upgrade every year. This program reflects a $17 monthly service plan credit for bundling iPhone 6 and iPad Mini 3.



Do You Want a Smartwatch That Is Also a Smartphone?

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The latest news about the Apple Watch reveals unimpressive battery life, yet at the same time, AT&T and others are suggesting that a smart watch really needs to function as a cellphone, independent of a smartphone. This is a bit of a money grab by cell providers who want customers to pay yet another monthly fee for yet another smart device. But does it make sense for end users?



Motorola Illustrates the Problems with Android Fragmentation

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Android fans will tell you the fragmentation concern is a non-issue, and that most devices are up to date. But Motorola itself posted a note explaining why many of its customers cannot have the latest version of Android, Android 5.0 Lollipop, depending on their device and where they are. Eventually, the rollout may come to most of their premium phones, but that's not true for many second and third-tier manufacturers. Even HTC has their issues.  Lower-cost Android phones are too often treated as disposable, taking the mantle from flip phones. Many of those customers don't even run third-party apps, relying instead on the built-in apps for email and texting. I own several such phones, so I can test my Android apps on a variety of devices, and I have no expectation that upgrades will become available.



Apple's Profits Coming Home?

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Apple has set some incredible financial records recently, and with the Apple Watch shipping in April, the trend should continue. So it's no surprise that people will look to capitalize on that success. And our nation's capital is one of the first places where that's happening. Our representatives in Congress are proposing a bill to repatriate revenues from businesses that leverage the tax policies of foreign governments. Countries like Ireland make it attractive for companies like Apple to hold their profits in that country where the money is taxed less, if at all.



Free Microsoft Outlook Now Available for iPhone and iPad

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On Wednesday Microsoft released their Microsoft Outlook app (free) for iPhone and iPad. The app offers you an integrated interface for email, calendar, contacts, and attachments. You can use it to access your iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, and Outlook.com accounts, as well as Gmail and Yahoo Mail. Especially if you're a corporate user, this is a great way to integrate all your accounts in one app. 



Apple Reports Monster Quarter, Sets World Record for Profit

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Apple's quarterly results yesterday smashed expectations and set a record for the highest quarterly profit by any publicly traded company in history. The company had revenue of $74.6 billion and a profit of $18 billion. No other company worldwide has had a quarterly profit as high as that. iPhone sales were the engine for this huge income. Whereas analysts had been optimistically predicting sales of between 65–69 million iPhones, Apple reported sales of 74.6 million. Just to put that in perspective, that amounts to 34,000 iPhones every hour every of the day, every day of the week for the entire quarter. iPhone sales in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were a big factor in Apple's huge revenue, bringing in $16 billion, with the iPhone now being the highest-selling smartphone in China.



iOS 8.1.3 Update Makes Updates Easier

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It's great that Apple makes operating system updates free for both iOS and Mac OS users. Even Microsoft is following suit, with Windows 10. And it's great that you can set up your Apple device to automatically download updates. But if you are close to running out of storage space, this can be a problem. A large update file could download without your knowledge and not have enough free space to extract and install the update. Then you end up with even less free space and the inability to update, at least until you delete old photos, videos, movies, and apps. This was exacerbated when Apple automatically downloaded U2's latest album to everyone without their knowledge or approval!



Apple Watch to Ship in April

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When the Apple Watch was announced, we were told it would ship in "Early 2015." At one point, signs pointed to a February 14 date, which would just barely make it for Valentine's Day gifts. It looks like my wife will have to find something else for me, as now not only will the Apple Watch not make its appearance in February, but it probably will skip March and wait until April. According to Tim Cook, the first four months of the year qualify as "early" and the next four are "mid" and the last four are "late."



Apple Pay Comes to Kiosks, Vending Machines, Parking Services, Laundry Equipment, and More

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On Tuesday, USA Technologies announced support for Apple Pay, bringing this mobile payment system to over 200,000 self-serve appliances throughout the U.S. USA Technologies is a leader of wireless, cashless payment solutions for small-ticket, self-serve retailing industries, according to their press release. Locations and services officially supporting Apple Pay now include owners and operators of coffee brewers, vending machines, kiosks, laundry equipment, parking pay stations, and other self-serve appliances.



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