I spent a couple days in Geneva, Switzerland and planning the trip wasn’t a huge hassle because of technology. If you know me, you know I’m not big on traveling, but these utilities really helped me to make it as pleasant as possible.
I’m a HUGE Evernote fan and I’ve been using it for a few years. I’ve never had the opportunity to use it for travel until now and it really shined. It was particularly helpful with my pre-planning and just helping me to deal with airport hustle and bustle. I’ve written about Evernote before ( years ago), but I still can’t really pin down a great explanation for it. Put it this way, Evernote is great at storing stuff, that “stuff” could be videos, audio, PDFs, emails etc; anything and everything. Not only is Evernote great for storage, but it’s also really good at helping you to find the things you’ve stored in it. Evernote’s search feature is really powerful and can find a word, phrase, sentence or whatever within PDF files, word documents or on an actual image.
Evernote’s web clipper extension really helped me to save information I came across while researching Geneva. I created a notebook (think: folders) called “Geneva” and just threw all my trip related information in there. When I got emails that were related to my trip in my email for example I would use the web clipper feature and it would automatically format the email and save it in my “Geneva” notebook. I also saved my flight itinerary in it. When I was ready to travel I made the notebook available offline and hit the road. Evernote’s “offline” feature for notebooks allows you to access all your files whether or not you have internet access. This makes it easy for me to access the files from my iPad, iPhone etc.
I knew about this app for a couple years, but never had a reason to use it. It’s amazing. I can point my iPhone’s camera at any french sign and it instantly translates what I’m seeing through my iPhone’s camera to English (no internet connection required). They have different language packs that you can purchase, I purchased the French to English language package as many signs in Geneva are in French.
My friend Jamie introduced me to Kayak; It’s really good. Once you get your itinerary, forward it to your personalized kayak address and that’s when the magic happens. Kayak will email you when it’s time to check-in, if your fight is delayed it will email you, it will let you know what your gate number is and many other features. Check it out at kayak.com
From Kingston to Miami, from Miami to London and from London to Geneva. All with their different timezones. It’s easy to get thrown off by this. Before I left I added the clocks for each respective location to the iPhone’s world clock (I’m sure you can also do this on any other smartphone) . Problem solved.
Hopefully you find these useful the next time you’re traveling. Leave your tips in the comment if you have any. I would love to hear how other people are utilizing technology to make traveling easier and more pleasant.
I have only ever owned two brands of smartphones – Blackberries and iPhones. I’m an Apple fan; I love Apple products and I’ve owned many of them. Currently, I own an iPad 3, an iPhone 4 and a mid-2012 Macbook Pro –I’m deeply entrenched in the Apple ecosystem and it has worked really well for me. I’ve never had anything favorable to say about Android devices, but I’ve never actually used one extensively either.
I’ve been using a Samsung Galaxy S4 for exactly one week and… wow. Transitioning from a 4 x 5 grid, 640 x 960 pixels, 3.5 inches 1 GHz 2010 iPhone 4 running iOS 6 to a 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inches, Quad-core 1.6 GHz, 2013 Samsung S4 running Android’s Jelly Bean, wow, wow, wow. The difference in specs is ridiculous, but even bigger for me is the difference in operating system functionality.
The Galaxy S4, Samsung’s latest flagship phone, is the successor to the S3, a widely popular phone that did really well ( and still does). No doubt one of the best phones to start my Android experience with. My introduction to the S4 and the Android operating system was weird. It went something like ( in this particular order):
1. Yeah! this is a pretty cool phone: The novelty of a new phone, obviously curious and excited to “get into it”.
2, Jesus, I’m overwhelmed; I have no idea where to start: Personalizing the phone was a challenge – you know, the basic things like changing the notification sounds for apps, understanding and utilizing widgets, configuring the home screen etc
3. I hate this damn phone; I’m going back to my iPhone: After not being able to figure things out, I started to become frustrated. I also missed some iOS features, albeit small ones, but sometimes small features are the best ones; features you’ll never miss until you don’t have them anymore. The openness of Android vs Apple’s closed restricted approach is really what sets both platforms apart. Both have their pros and cons. I’ll give examples. Because of Apple’s “closed” approach you’ll find that your experience on the platform is usually consistent, i.e if you’re using a third party or a system application you can be guaranteed that some procedures will always be the same, one such example of this is copying and pasting. The procedure of copying and pasting is the same, no matter what application you use.
Another system-wide feature that I love is tapping the status bar in iOS to “jump to the top” of an application. So, let’s say you’re scrolling through some pictures on instagram and you want to get back to the top of the page, you would simply tap the status bar once and it will instantly bring you back to the top of the page. Those are examples of benefits to Apple’s closed nature; a consistent and predictable experience. Now because of this closed approach, iOS is not without its limitations. A couple of which are: system apps like the native calendar, calculator, email, photos, messages, camera etc cannot be changed from being your default app. So, let’s say you downloaded a third party calendar app. You would not be able to set said app as your default application.
These are some of the many annoyance of iOS, but I forgot about those annoyances briefly while using Android. Unlike iOS, you don’t have a consistent experience across applications. For example, copying/pasting text may vary from app to app. I found this extremely annoying. There’s also no streamlined way to jump to the top of an application.
4. Ok, I’m starting to figure things out. It’s not so bad: I decided to look past this and focus more on the virtues of the phone and realized there were many that I liked. Some of which are Android features while others are specific to the Samsung S4.
5. Wow, I love this phone: I love the LED light on the front of the phone that can flash in any color you want ( a particular color can represent a specific notification), I love the S4′s brilliant 5″ AMOLED screen, the battery life is amazing – with tethering on, screen brightness at 100%, GPS on and other features I still managed to go through a whole day with battery life left ( from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM). I love airview, but found the other features that Samsung is pushing to be gimmicky. I should also note that these features are limited to system apps. Widgets can be really useful on a phone with a screen as big as the Samsung s4′S. See my schedule and my to-do list at a glance is really useful, unlike on iOS where I have to actually open the application to see appointments and to-dos. The ability to add widgets to the lock screen is also a plus.
Another general Android feature that I like is the interconnectivity between apps. This is a really powerful feature that has me hooked. Let’s say you took a picture from your iPhone’s camera and you wanted to edit it. To do this you’d have 1. Take the picture, 2. Open the app you want to edit it in, 3. Browse for the picture in the app 3. Open and edit. The process would be the same for other applications. If you wanted to upload it to Dropbox for example, you would need to actually open dropbox and find the picture to upload it. I should also mention that you’re limited to uploading videos and photos in iOS ( You can however get around this with a little hackery)
On Android the process is much easier. You would simply take the picture and share with any application that supports it. Whether it’s sending it to dropbox, twitter, your picture editing app or wherever.
The S4′s camera is great, but I’ve chosen not to focus on features that have been widely reviewed elsewhere online.
To conclude, The Samsung 4S is a really powerful phone that can be overwhelming at first, but you’ll grow to love it more everyday. If you’re an iPhone user and you’re considering an Android phone to switch to this would be a safe bet. You’ll miss a couple iOS features at first, but you’ll love the openness of Android.
Disclosure: My Samsung Galaxy S4 was a gift from Samsung. This, however, did not influence how I reviewed the phone.
I couldn’t find this anywhere else online so I thought it would be a great reference for the people who care.
These figures may seem negligible to many, but they add up. Especially if you do point of sales transactions regularly. Let’s say you use your scotia card on average once daily, that’s $115.5 weekly, $511,50 monthly or $6,022.50 yearly. Many of us more than one bank so that’s a conservative figure. Also take into consideration ABM charges etc. Another good thing about tracking bank charges is that it’s easy for them to charge you in error without you noticing, especially if you have large balances.
I will add more banks to this chart in the future and also update them as the bank changes them.
Feel free to scrutinize my figures.
The figures quoted from Scotia are for their regular savings account.
You can avoid Scotiabank’s charges (for their POS and ATMs) with their Electronic Access Account with a flat figure of $190 per month
You can avoid all of NCB’s charges (for their POS and ATMs) with their midas plus facility. Unlike Scotia’s $190 charge, NCB’s MPF is free.
Scotiabank charges 2% for all online visa debit transactions.
Scotiabank’s and First Global’s fees will be raised as of May 1, 2013. Chart shows new fees.
If your Jamaica National account goes below $2,500 JM $75 is deducted monthly.
NCB Fee guide: http://jncb.com/docs/NCB_Fee_Guide.pdf
First Global Bank: http://www.firstglobal-bank.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=95&cat=1 (Rates are being modified on May 1, 2013, table reflects such. )
ScotiaBank: http://www.scotiabank.com/intl/jm/PDF/about/Schedule_of_rates_v5.pdf (Rates are being upgraded on May 1, 2013), table reflects said charges. )
Jamaica National: I couldn’t find a fee guide from their website so I got the information from their customer. The name of the CSR that I spoke to was Kimberley. Customer care # is 1876- 5343
I’ve been meaning to put these tips on my blog for a while, but I didn’t get around to it until now. These tips were originally tweets, but I thought that it would make more sense to have them on here (easier to reference and for posterity). So, without further ado. The tips:
1. “Networking” at parties is a joke. They’re usually large, loud and nobody’s going to pay any attention to you if they don’t already know you. Owen “Blakka” Ellis responded to this tweet with a line that I liked. “…Folks whispering in your ear, with liquor etc on their breath isn’t networking, it’s ‘not working‘ ”
2. If there’s somebody you want to meet and you have a mutual friend ask them to introduce you. If the person you’re asking thinks you’re a joke they’re not going to put their name on the line for you. You screw up, they look bad. If the person that’s doing the introduction isn’t respected by the person you want to be introduced to then…yeah.
3. Your online reputation matters. Trust me, it matters. Thankfully there are many tools at your disposal to showcase yourself, talents, services etc online. If you don’t have anything to showcase….well. A good starting point is a domain name that bears your name (e.g marcgayle.com, francinederby.com, shanakaybarnett.com, ryanmattis.com etc). A friend of mine, Kimroy Bailey has been doing a great job at this. Check out his blog, twitter page and facebook page for inspiration. If you’re looking for a job this is a great way to impress your potential employer. I inadvertently started working on my online reputation at 15 years old. This has paid off big time for me. Hint, do a google search for “Gordon Swaby” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
4. Volunteer your time and/or work for free. Great way to get some experience and meet new people. Among other benefits. (hint: Do some reading on The Rule of Reciprocity)
5. Try not to step on too many toes. “Too many” because you’re going to step on toes, it’s inevitable. ( I have a lot of stories about this, but that’s for some future blog post.)
6. It’s your duty to be aware of what is happening in the country (and other countries too) that you live in. Holding your own in a conversation is very important and first impressions matter. Keep informed.
7. And finally….READ. Read the Observer, read the Gleaner. Read tech blogs, read international news, read books etc. No better way to get smart [er].
I achieve because I set goals. Prior to writing this post I was reading up on setting goals and I came across this really cool acronym; S.M.A.R.T, it stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted. Setting goals is something I strongly believe in and place emphasis on. I’m really good at setting goals for myself in business, but it never crossed my mind that I could use the same principles I use in business and apply it to my personal life…until recently. Obvious yes, but oblivious to me. Call it my “aha moment”.
I have been training for Sigma Corporate run, but it has been extremely difficult for me to get myself into the habit of getting up and running each morning. I knew what the ultimate goal is. The ultimate goal is being fit enough to complete the 5k race, but that was a huge goal with no milestones on the way there, I wasn’t motivated and the task seemed insurmountable. It’s easy to say you want to be rich, do a 5K race, do well in school etc, but if you don’t set specific goals it’s going to be extremely hard for you to accomplish anything.
For my 5K race:
specific: I know I wanted to run non-stop from point A to point B. I wasn’t concerned about my speed ( that’s another goal), but getting from point a to b was the first specific goal. Achieve one, move on to the other. Simple.
measurable: Via the nike+ running app
achievable: Broken down into small specific chunks. Be realistic.Not setting myself up for disappointment.
time-targeted: The race is on February 17, 2013. I have 15 days to prepare and I know what I want to accomplish and by when which will prepare me for the big day.
These are principles that you can apply to anything. Work, relationships, exercising etc.
Setting goals is giving yourself direction.
22, wow. Despite how young that sounds, I feel really old. Each year, I ask myself “am I better person now than I was a year ago?” and the answer, as far as I’m concerned, has always been yes. I’ve had this blog for a while. 6 years, 5 months and 6 days to be exact. That’s a long time to be writing. The benefit of writing and writing publicly is not only for the introspection, but also to better appreciate how much I’ve grown and of course other people can appreciate how much I’ve grown too. I’ve come a far way from this, this and this. There’s even more – go check out my archives; they go all the way back to June 4, 2006 when I was 16 years old. Laughs are on me.
It really is amazing how much I’ve grown, how so much has changed, but how so much has remained the same. My opinions on certain things have changed radically while others have virtually remained the same. I sometimes ( hesitantly) go through my blog archives and look at some of the things I wrote years ago. I cover my face at some of the things I’ve written because of how embarrassed I am about some of the things I wrote and I smile at others because of how principled, head strong and proud I’ve always been. I’ve always been an opinionated person especially about topics like education, religion, politics, sexuality etc. Some posts have been so controversial that I’ve ended up hiding or deleting them as a result, many of which in retrospect I’m not so proud of and I don’t think my age was an excuse.
I’ve erred like any other human being. I’ve made bad decisions, I’ve hurt people and I’ve said hurtful things and it’s easy to misunderstand me if you’ve never spoken to or interacted with me extensively.
Life has changed a lot for me in the past year and I daresay that 2012 has been the best year of my life. I really have grown a lot in a short period of time.
In 2011 I tweeted:
2012 is going to be an AMAAAAZING year.
— Gordonswaby (@Gordonswaby) December 18, 2011
And an amazing year it was. I crossed off another thing from my list of life goals ( I call it my life wireframe). I think a large part of being an entrepreneur is having confidence. You have to to envision it before you say it (out loud or type it) and you have to believe it before you do it. I believe in myself and my my ability to work hard and accomplish the goals I set for myself. We’re all great in our own way and it’s a shame that many people (especially people I know) don’t see greatness that they posses.
On March 15, 2012, I launched EduFocal, my technology/education startup at the Jamaica Pegasus (pictures here) with the help of my girlfriend , my parents, Paul Allen, Shane Shipston and many, many, many other people. I won’t write at length about EduFocal here because it deserves a post of its own. Running a company has been hard, but gratifying and totally worth it. I’ve made a lot of great decisions, but I’ve also made many mistakes, each time learning from them. 2012 was about starting, 2013 will be about growth, not only for my company, but also me. I don’t fight my battles alone, I have an amazing board (Peter Levy (CEO, BCIC), Wayne Robinson (Founder/Principal, Quality Academics), Lloyd Swaby (my father), Grace Lindo (Associate, Nunes, Scholefield, DeLeon & Co.), Chad Cunningham (CEO/Founder, Jamdeal.com) and Maxwell Jardim (Director, Rainforest Seafoods).
Personally, I have a lot of support from my girlfriend, family and friends.
My year is really ending on a high note when on November 29 I will collect an award for being selected as one of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica 50UnderFifty awardees. I really am honored to be selected with so many other amazing Jamaicans.
2012 was amazing, 2013 is going to be even better. Let’s go!