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Using a GPS and Waze in Costa Rica

December 3rd, 2014

gpssatFor the longest time, I have wanted to blog about the use of GPS devices in Costa Rica. I actually asked and received some GPS maps from companies (located in Costa Rica) to test on my Garmin Nuvi. These are pretty much the same maps available online and when you rent a GPS at car rental  agencies in Costa Rica. For tourists especially, a GPS can be pretty handy as this country is well known to have no street names nor addresses. Pretty daunting for many travelers. Anyway, I tested several, and all worked adequately, especially for location hotels and common tourist destinations, they did not work so well once you got off major highways.  In fact, I found it to be common for at least two of the maps to cheerfully tell me to “turn right” from where I was driving on the Pan American Highway!  Only problem? I was between exits!

Another more personal issue was that NONE of them showed MY street… like the one where I lived.  If I entered my GPS coordinates, it happily took me to the street running behind my home and suggested I enter my driveway via my neighbor’s living room. In fact, the entire subdivision where my wife’s daughter lives (for three years now) shows as empty farm field.

It was then that I decided to write this article covering not only GPS systems in general but Waze as well as that is the future of GPS.  Interested?  Read on… Continue reading »

Reading in Costa Rica – A How-To Guide for the 21st Century

October 27th, 2013

nookI recently received either an email or a comment from one of my readers asking why I don’t write about devices like Amazon’s Kindle, the Nook, etc. The digital eBook readers. Pretty good idea! So here it is.

My last post covered the affects of humidity on cameras. I hope that it was helpful. Saying that, humidity can do a real job on books as well. If not stored properly, they too can develop mold and mildew (sp. hongos). I know folks that actually shrink wrap books to protect them. Too much hassle for me. I use the latest in gadgets. 21st century stuff!

If this topic is of interest… read on!
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Can (and Will) ICE Cellular Survive?

April 12th, 2011

ICE Offices - Cost RicaOver history, I suppose most monopolies were not good for their customers…. certainly some of the early ones in the US were not. One exception we old folks remember was AT&T and their technical arm, Bell Laboratories.  They provided world class telephone service and technology that most certainly allowed the USA to become a worldwide business and technological powerhouse.  They offered excellent services, excellent customer support, excellent technology and all at an excellent price.

However…  The thing about being a monopoly is that, if you want to,  you can pretty much give the finger to your customers every day for years and know they must just accept the insult.  There is no option. You own the marbles and anyone who wants to play must play by your rules.  You set the (cellular) rates (which, by the way and in the case of ICE are REALLY very good!), and make all the rules your customers must obey if they want to have cell phone service.

Now in some cases, the customers do not know they are being maltreated because there is no other option, so they believe this is as good as it gets! Let the learning curve begin!

The bad things about being a monopoly, though, is that for good or bad, your monopoly can end, in this case as a result of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).  The bigger bad thing is that a lot of those customers that you mistreated and abused for many years have long memories.

Interested in this topic? Read on!

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ICE and Apple! Now THIS should be good!

April 8th, 2011

Many years ago in a universe far, far away, I was one of the very early Apple dealers in the US.  In fact, it was so many years ago that Apple did not even sell directly to its dealers.  It used distributors. Yeah, I am that old… ugh. I was also a dealer when Apple fired its distributors and took all dealer sales direct. Now the one thing that has not materially changed in all those many years is Apple’s position toward technical support and customer service. They do NOT screw around.  It is a huge priority at Apple and regardless of whether you by an iPad, Mac, an iPhone or any Apple branded product, you will get the best support and service available on earth.  Don’t believe me?  Try a web search for something like “Best & worst computer tech support” or “Best & worst (technical) customer service”.  You’ll see.

So you can imagine my surprise when I open Costa Rica’s major newspaper, LA NACIÓN, this morning to be greeted by a couple of articles telling me how Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the state telephone and Internet monopoly, is telling everyone that ICE will soon be authorized to sell the iPhone 4 by Apple.

Interested in my two cents?  Read on!

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