Phone Tips for Conferences

I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my phone lately, and I am about to attend several blog conferences (a place where I am going to rely on my phone to keep me from missing out!). It hasn’t been holding battery and is barely connecting to my home WiFi, so I’m using tons of data when I really need it for my trip. The plan is to follow these phone tips for conferences that I’m about to give you. Stay tuned on social media to see how it’s going.

phone tips for conferences

Let’s start with the important thing – having power for your cell phone. You don’t want to miss out on a tweet that you won a grand prize, right? To maximize your battery power:

  • Turn your phone off at night for charging. Your brain will constantly be in “what am I missing out on” mode and want to check it all night long if you leave it on. You’ll need the rest, so let your body and phone sleep. What? You use your phone as an alarm? Me too. But there’s this brilliant invention that hotels have…an alarm clock OR a wakeup call. Use ’em.
  • Switch to a black background. It’s just a few days, and your phone will use a lot less power.
  • Turn off the WiFi. Sure, it’s free, but there are going to be so many of us trying to get that signal that it’s not going to be easy to get a chunk of it. Searching will drain your battery fast! Same with Bluetooth.
  • Know what apps drain the most. I can only speak to Android / Samsung, but if you go to your settings, check out “Battery” and see what apps are draining your battery. Turn them off, or consider removing them during the conference. Always close apps when you are done.
  • Consider Power Saving Mode. I have yet to use this, but likely will be.
  • Consider an alternative method of connecting. It’s going to be really hard for me to not be nose in phone, but I plan on having a notebook (old fashioned pen and paper) for making connections in person. I’ll jot down the things I need to tweet (like contest entries) then sneak away for some quiet time to schedule these on my social outlets. If I am not relying on my phone for everything, it will stay charged a lot longer.
  • Take advantage of charging stations. There are several throughout the conference floors. Don’t hog all the juice, and tell your fellow phone addicts where they are so that you have good battery karma.

And how about that data? We’ve turned off WiFi, so you’ll want to be sure you are connected and not going over your data. What do you do?

  • Set a limit on data usage. I plan to set a limit each day so that I don’t go over my monthly allowance. My phone will alert me when I’m close. If you share a plan with your family, ask them to do the same. (This is a phone setting that is based on an estimation, your cell provider will have the exact, so just be cautious and generous to yourself.)
  • Turn off notifications. Limit apps with push notifications. I’ll probably not only be turning off notifications but completely uninstalling apps that I won’t need during conference. (Keep a list of the ones to re-install.) Yes, that means email push, too. Manually sync up with your mail accounts. Related? NO STREAMING. This means turning off the games, videos (there’s a setting in your Facebook app to stop this), Maps, even the app store.
  • Be Social. Be social in real life – hug, squeal, talk with the people you interact with online. If you are social online, you’re likely 1) missing out on IRL connections, 2) making your followers who aren’t with you jealous, and 3) draining your data usage because you turned off your WiFi. There’s plenty of time to tweet and snap after conference – take it all in and enjoy.
  • Brave? Turn off the cellular data! This will definitely ensure you aren’t going over limits. I’ve been known to set my phone to Airplane Mode just to be able to use my camera and access my Memo app. It’s a lesson in what you really need.

Even braver? Don’t use your phone at all! Crutch step would be to carry a tablet device with you, but you’ll likely have a ton of swag to tote around, so you don’t want something big weighing you down. Bottom line? Be realistic with your phone usage during these conferences and truly invest in yourself. You’ll be thankful you did.

Metro PCS and the Samsung Galaxy Mega

Disclosure: I was provided with a phone and one-month of service in exchange for this review. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Just before I went away on Girl’s Weekend, I got a gorgeous new tech gadget – the Samsung Galaxy Mega. It was perfect timing, because I had plenty of time to figure it out. Along with it came one month of service from Metro PCS, so you know I plugged that baby in and got ready to have some fun.

First, the basics about Metro PCS. Have you felt chained down by your phone contract? Many people have, and Metro PCS is an alternative to being locked in to a plan. They’ve got a $40 monthly plan that gives you unlimited data, talk and text – taxes included. (Are you swooning? Me too.) There are other plans if you want your data to be at 4G LTE speed, with the top tier being $60 per line. But wait, you can save $5 per line when you add your friends and family.

I live in a metropolitan area, so I had pretty good coverage. In my office, however, I had a hard time connecting to make calls. Also, during my drive to South Carolina, there were several times the data dropped off the network and the phone was useless (except for scrolling through silly photos from the trip). Bummer, but in the end, a blessing. You see, the data dropped while I was using it to navigate and it made us semi-back navigate to a safer portion of an icy mess of a road. Without this blip, I can truthfully say I am not sure if Missy and I would have made it to South Carolina that day. So, I can speak for coverage in Pittsburgh and Myrtle Beach – it’s covered and no issues. Outside the metro areas, coverage was limited but no worse than coverage was in those areas say even three years ago.

Other features of the service include:

  •          Keep your current number
  •          Phone refunds if you are not satisfied
  •          No annual contract
Samsung Galaxy Mega
Source: Metro PCS

As for the phone I was sent, the Samsung Galaxy Mega is a phone I am really sad to part with. When I opened the box, I about freaked out because this baby is HUGE. I quickly named it the “Phablet” (phone/tablet) and “Monster” – both loving names, I SWEAR. Greg has some decent back pockets, and at 6.3 inches, this phone was a pocket filler.

My kids with the Mega
My kids with the Mega

The upside of a huge phone? As it states on the Metro PCS website, “everything is bigger, brighter and more engaging”. It’s true. With the Galaxy features that so many people love plus a large, bright screen, there really is no match. My kids loved playing games on it. I loved reading blogs and pinning my dreams. Everything really came more to life in the palm of our hands.

Besides taking up a good amount of (flat) space in my purse, the only other downside of the Mega is the camera. It’s got an 8 MP camera whereas my S4 has a 13 MP. Picture quality is definitely something I am looking for in a multi-tasking world these days.

But it didn’t stop Missy and I from capturing some memories on our road trip!

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With phone and plan prices like this, I’d say Metro PCS is going to be a contender in the no-contract phone world. If you’re in a metro area and what to get out of your current contract, head on over to check out Metro PCS and give them a try.

Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores

Disclaimer:  The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. 

bestbuylogo

You all know I am sorta, kinda, absolutely addicted to my phone. The thing is, that (unlike my brother, who’s surprised?) I always crave the new phones when they come out. Luckily, I have some self-control and have been digging a particular phone for months without swapping; however, now that I know about Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores? I might lose my self-control.

Best Buy Mobile™ Specialty Stores are exactly what they sound like – stores dedicated to mobile devices and accessories, brought to you by Best Buy. You can go there to check out the top brands of smartphones and tablets from some of the nation’s widely known carriers (including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint). There are even accessories there to make it a one-stop shop.

Source: Best Buy Mobile

At the store, you can feel free to buy your new mobile phone without pressure – the staff is non-commissioned, so they’re ready to help you match the best phone to your lifestyle. They’ll also help you pick which carrier is right for you, activate your new phone, and take care of the daunting task of transferring your photos, music, and contacts (with their complimentary Walk Out Working™ program).

Hold up. You read that, right? That means you don’t have to take time out of your busy day to worry about mail-in rebates, package tracking, or the waiting game. You browse for a phone. Fall in love. Walk out with it in hand, and working. This I like love.

Want to add more awesome to the convenience of the stores? When you check out www.BestBuyMobile.com, you can check your upgrade eligibility (I know I am not eligible until March, but Greg is… / this verified both to be true!) and see the trade in value of your current device. This way, you know what to expect when you head out to the Best Buy Mobile Specialty Store to find your next phone. 

Source: Best Buy Mobile

You can find your local Best Buy Mobile Specialty Store via their handy store locator (go here to find a store). There are 414 stores nationwide – and it’s likely you’ll find one in a mall or shopping center near you (which adds to the handy factor – just drop in when you’re out on other errands!).

Okay, I have one more great thing for you. Thanks to Best Buy, I’m able to share a $5 coupon with you (valid only in Best Buy Mobile™ Specialty Stores). With this Best Buy Mobile Specialty Store coupon, you will save $5 off one in-stock mobile phone case, shield or charger. (Have you clicked that link yet?!??! )

Someone hold me back. I think I’m off to the mall to check out my local Best Buy Mobile Specialty Store right now, why not?

Tech Tuesday: BlackBerry z10

Disclaimer: While I was at Blogher ’13, I attended a #VZWTechTalk with Verizon Wireless and BlackBerry. I got to see the BlackBerry z10 in action and then entered a Twitter contest to win one. As a winner, I was not obligated to post about my experience with the device; however, I decided to share a review with you. All opinions are 100% my own.

It’s hard to believe, but I am a proud owner of a BlackBerry Z10. Since getting the device at BlogHer, I’ll admit that I complained a few times (I’ll get to that), but at the same time, I’ve gone off the beaten path (of Droid or iPhone) and am loving it. Truly.

Source: BlackBerry

First, the things that BLEW ME AWAY about the z10 at the Tech Talk:

  • Time Shift Technology on the Camera: The camera has a mode that is perfect for moms with ‘lil kids–Time Shift mode. I’m able to take one photo of my kids and pick the best faces and background. With my kids not being able to look at the camera at the same time, this is HUGE. (Check out the video in the link because I am sure it will blow you away, too.)
  • Story Maker: If you are at an event, say a baby shower, you can snap several photos, put them in Story Maker with some music, and share the “show” with the soon-to-be Mama as a parting gift. I’ve yet to make an official, pretty one, but I did throw my three first pictures in one to demonstrate to my husband and he also agreed it is a great feature.
  • Sleek screen: The screen is bright, smooth, and clear. Maybe it’s the glass, maybe it’s the way you swipe from the Hub to the apps to the home screens, but whatever it is, the display and movement is a big win. (BBM folks know this as “Flow”.)
  • Keyboard: The main reason I always HATED (yes, HATED) BlackBerry was the keyboard. I simply couldn’t use it. Fat thumbs? I don’t know, I just didn’t like it. With the z10 keyboard built into the touch screen, all that has gone away. Honestly, as a blogger and share-a-holic, this is what made the phone for me. It has learned my typing style. It suggests words based on the sentences I am typing and people I talk to. I am in loooooooove. (Check out this demo video to see what I am talking about.)

That was a lot of information to get in the 10 minutes of the Tech Talk, so in the time since getting the phone activated and running, I’ve learned quite a bit, too. Tom, from BlackBerry, suggested the following:

  • Remember: This app syncs with my Outlook (on my work PC) and my Evernote (my personal organization tool of choice) and puts all of my notes, pictures, and more in the appropriate folders (based on what I tell it). Most recently, I used the app to refer to notes I put together for my status meeting with my boss. I’d already moved from a notebook, but had been carrying my laptop to his office for these meetings. Now, I just use my phone, update, and have nothing to lug around that I don’t normally have with me.
  • Waze: Social GPS! I love using this to see if an accident, police, or debris on the road is what is holding up my day.
  • BlackBerry Travel: I am looking forward to using this for upcoming work trips because it arranges your travel information all in one place.
  • HDR mode on the camera: In natural light situations, I can take non-flash photos in HD with this feature.

I’ll admit, the z10 has grown on me. Sure, I still don’t have all of the apps I had on my Droid (Nike+ and Feedly, do you hear me?), but I am working through this. I’ve found a new running app I am okay with, and I am able to read through Feedly on other devices. For the past few weeks, I’ve carried my old phone in my bag (because it can be used on WiFi if I have issues); however, I haven’t used it but one time.

At this point, I’ve been blown away by the features and ease of using the BlackBerry. As a working mom, the ability to smoothly transition my work and home life together has been the biggest wow of the BlackBerry.

If you’re interested in learning more about the z10 (or what info on the Q10, which has the physical keyboard), you can check out BlackBerry.com. If you’re on BBM, let me know so we can connect–I need to learn more about this part of the phone!

Thank you to Verizon and BlackBerry for this prize. 

She’ll Try Anything

Her teen years are going to be h e double hockey sticks for a certain mama and daddy. 

This morning, she tried to convince me it would be perfectly fine to take her Victorious cell phone to school. “It will stay in my pocket, I promise,” A sighed.

“My friends bring theirs and Mrs. Tricia is ok with it,” she went on. “Oh, and can I wear my jammies to school today.”

Where is the parenting easy button?

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