Talkatone. Talk and talk and talk and talk for free!

Ironically, the day I received my new unlimited minutes SIM card I learned about the Talkatone app (thanks Clark Howard). Talkatone allows you to place free outgoing calls over WiFi or cellular data networks. I didn't test it over the cell network but am told it works great, and the quality was great over WiFi. You can also use it with a free Google Phone number to receive incoming calls.

Of course this wouldn't solve my problem of poor cellular coverage, but it you have limited minutes and a good cell signal you might give Talkatone a try.

Cell Phone Switch

I am remiss in updating this blog. Since I last spoke on my cell phone saga I have purchased a new phone and am on my second new carrier!

The new phone is the Goolge Nexus 4. All I have to say is that this is an excellent phone which I am very happy with! It cost me nearly $400 but as I can par it with a pay-as-you-go monthly contract it will prove less expensive in the long run.

The first carrier I had was T-Mobile. I was using a $30/month play with unlimited data and text messages and 100 minutes. The 100 minute limit required some time management, but since I have unlimited calling at home I could make it work. Also, the internet was generally great and extremely fast when I had a good signal, but therein lies the rub. I got poor if any service at my home, and many other places, which is why I decided to try Straight Talk.

Actually this is my second go around with Straight Talk. I used them several years ago and was very satisfied with the service, $30/month for 1000 minutes and 1000 text messages, even though the coverage at my house via the Verizon network wasn't very good. But I had to leave Straight Talk when I wanted to get a smart phone. Now they support smart phones  

But now Straight Talk supports smart phones with the "Bring Your Own Phone" at only $45/month for unlimited minutes, text and data. They also are currently allowing you to choose whether you want to uise T-Mobile OR AT&T. I selected the AT&T SIM card which Fedex finally delivered yesterday. I noticed an immediate difference, I consistently get a reliable signal at my home and just about everywhere that I've had the opportunity to test it. The internet speed has been less amazing than T-Mobile, and surprisingly slow in some places, but coverage is king in my book. And it's a joy to be on an unlimited minute plan, allowing me to call whenever and wherever the mood strikes, and not to have to worry about watching the timer and terminating the call before it ticks from :59 to :00!

With sales tax the Straight Talk monthly service comes in at about $49, about 50% more than my T-Mobile plan, but this is a price difference I am more than willing to pay for near ubiquitous service and unlimited talk. It also looks as if I can purchase discounted 3-Month refills on eBay without sales tax to bring the monthly cost down to around $36/month, only slightly more than the monthly rate I was paying before. Thanks Straight Talk. Your service is highly recommended.

Help Yourself To This Self-Help Book Tip!

There are a lot of self-improvement books on the shelves, and many are certain to have useful information. But it isn't always easy to know.  Here's my take on evaluating a book, or author, before you lay down your money (hopefully hard-earned) and invest time in reading. You can (and should) check the Amazon.com reviews, or plant yuurself in the local Barnes & Noble to check the book out, Or you can search for the author on YouTube. Chances are you'll find videos by same and will pick up a few free tips as well as decide if you think the book is worth buying. Also remember that the most popular books are usually available at your public library.