13.1 – Mobile Computing Requirements-2013-05-21

The purpose of this topic is to present practical cost effective solutions to answer a number of specific mobile computing technology requirements that many of us have to find solutions for. It will address telephony, mobile computing and personal computing requirements.

To ensure that the topics and the recommendations are real and practical, I have chosen to use my own personal requirements to demonstrate the value and the benefits of the proposed approaches. The recommendations have all been tested and implemented so that you can be sure they work. Of course, not everyone has the same exact requirements, but each reader can extrapolate from the approaches presented what would best fulfill their own requirements.

My Personal Mobile Computing and Telephony Requirements

I live part of the year in several different locations, each one presenting its own requirements.

  1. Freeport, Bahamas: 6 months of the year. Local computing:  a powerful desktop running Windows 7, with two 28” monitors, connected to a high speed cable internet service provider. I also have a 23 inches multi-touch monitor for Windows 8.
  2. Montreal, Canada: at least 4 months of the year. Local computing:  a powerful desktop running Windows 7, with two 28” monitors, connected to a high speed cable internet service provider.
  3. Austin, Canada: occasionally. There are no wired internet service providers in that remote area. I therefore need to connect to a mobile phone service provider for mobile phone and internet services. I bring all my portable hardware whenever I go.
  4. Florida, USA: occasionally. Because I occasionally live there one or two weeks at the time, it is not cost effective to contract a wired internet service provider or have local computing hardware. I bring all my portable hardware whenever I go.
  5. Annual and occasional travel: We annually travel oversea and occasionally travel in North America during the year. During these trips, I need to have most of my computing and telephony requirements fulfilled. Portable travel computing hardware:  a powerful (i7) laptop running Windows 8, a travel printer, Galaxy Note 1 & Galaxy Note 10.1 (Android), iPad (iOS), Mobile phones… 

Overall approach


  1. Everywhere, other than in Freeport, Bahamas, we have no local wired phone service and use Voice over IP “VoIP” (Magic Jack Plus, Vonage,…), Mobile Phones and Mobile Hotspot for our telephony requirements. You will see in the “13.2 – Telephony with Magic Jack Plus” article how cost effective this approach is and how it allows for a true virtual telephony service.
  2. ALL our mobile phones are UNLOCKED so that we can use the same phone everywhere we go. We only have to buy a local SIM card. We only contract on a “Pay as you go/Prepaid” basis since we are not heavy mobile phone users. This minimizes the costs and we have all the flexibility of changing phones and service providers as we wish. In the USA, we use T-Mobile “Prepaid” which provides a variety of service plans that suit our needs. In Canada, we use Rogers “Pay as you go”. Since we only go to Europe at max once a year, we buy a new SIM card each time we go with a LOCAL major Mobile phone service provider. 


  1. We use a local high speed cable internet services provider at each of the two locations (Freeport & Montreal) where we spend most of the year. In Freeport, we use Cable Bahamas and in Montreal we use Videotron. The internet service is suspended when we are away to minimize the annual costs.
  2. We use a 4G LTE WiFi Hotspot from T-Mobile in the USA for internet and Voice over IP telephony. We plan on doing the same when we travel oversea. We only contract for the time we are there. Such a WiFi Hotspot can accommodate up to 5 connections at any one time: laptops, tablets, mobile phones,… This answers our requirements while traveling when a free local WiFi service is not available where we stay or where we may need WiFi. This approach is very cost effective since we can also use that same service in airports or anywhere else without having to subscribe for a local WiFi connection.
  3. We have Gmail email accounts so that we don’t require a local server to receive or send emails. We forward the mail from every other email providers to the Gmail account so that all our emails are regrouped in one account. 

Operating systems

  1. We currently use Windows 7 on both desktops and Windows 8 on the laptop. I upgraded to Windows 8 on the laptop to evaluate and learn Windows 8. Since you can run Windows 8 in Windows 7 mode and since it is fully compatible with Windows 7, it provides a compatible working environment while allowing a gradual transition to Windows 8.
  2. Android is our operating system of choice for Mobile computing (Tablets, Phablets, Phones,…). It is currently the market leader and is at the forefront of technology. You will find out more about the rational for this choice if you read other of my Articles. My wife uses an iPad with iOS. The reason is that when it was purchased there was no other competitive tablet available and it was a great product at the time. She mostly uses it to browse on the internet, for emails and to read newspapers.
  3. Google product offerings is our first choice for the services it provides: Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Translate,…
  4. Dropbox is our “cloud” service provider of choice even though we also use Sky Drive, Google Drive, Apple cloud, Quicken Cloud,… Dropbox is the simplest to implement and use, in addition to being the fastest to update on all devices.

This summarizes our personal computing technology environment choices. Following Articles will provide more details as to the value of these choices and their implementation.

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