Planned obsolescenCe in Canon printers

There are two things I definitely hate: mediocrity and people/companies playing with our hard earned money. Today I will write about a bad experience I had with a printer -or rather a multi-function device- from Canon.

One way corporations play with their customer’s money is by Programmed Obsolescence.

Planned or Programmed Obsolescence

If you look on any search engine for these terms you will run on millions of articles on the subject.

«In economics and industrial design, planned obsolescence is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life or a purposely frail design, so that it becomes obsolete after a certain pre-determined period of time upon which it decrementally functions or suddenly ceases to function, or might be perceived as unfashionable.»


For those of us not cursed by the lack of good reasoning that characterises Millenials, we do remember those days in which you bought a product -any product- and it lasted for many years!

I remember when I was a recent graduate working for Philips in Europe. My income was quite modest; I was a young expat engineer living alone almost 9,000 kilometers from the place I was born. At the company’s outlet I bought a medium washing machine from one of their B-brands. I got it at a discount because it was dented in one side. To make the story short, twenty years later (20) I was at the laundry/bathroom when I remarked to my then girlfriend «Wow! I can believe this has lasted 20 years without servicing or degradation!» and that same day the washing machine broke down! Yes, talk about Murphy’s Laws! I called the service man and he fixed it in an hour, total cost €20 and the washing machine lasted another 8 years before I sold it fully-functioning for half the price I paid when I was relocating abroad for the 5th time.

Now, detaching myself from the brands mentioned above, I would say that kind of quality is not something you can expect today. Back then corporations took pride when people used their products for years. Nowadays the companies make you pay much more than a product actually costs and give you poorer quality and specifications in many cases.

Nowadays corporations want to create a false necesity by making you believe you need a newer product when what you have actually still fulfills its duties. They want your money and that sort of companies don’t care for the environment despite what they usually write in their sites about environment friendliness and social responsability.

Having sunk that thought into your minds, let’s talk about the bad experience I recently have with this planned obsolescense.

Bad Practice on Canon Pixma MG56XX

This post is about my experience with a Canon Pixma MG5610 multifunction device. By multifunction it is understod that the same product was a printer, copier and document & photo scanner. I refer to it as MG56XX because it goes by other numbers in other regions, for example MG5620, MG5650, etc.

My dad previously had it in his posession but it started giving him problems so I took it over when he bought yet another Canon (MG3610). One day -all of a sudden- I wanted to scan a document. I turned on the printer and after much clacking and kwacking the small LCD screen on the printer said in red:

Error 1403: The print head is wrong or damaged

It couldn’t be wrong because it had never been changed, so it had to be damaged, but why? the printer was not used heavily and was always treated with much care!

Most disturbing was the fact that I needed THIS «multifunction» device to scan a document but thanks to this error the entire printer/copier/scanner was rendered useless. Even though the error concerned the printhead which is used for printing or for printing during a copy operation, their firmware (the software that governs the device internally) disabled ALL buttons. In other words, it was not possible to do anything else with it. You cannot use the navigation buttons to check the configuration, nothing at all except turning the device off. The print head is not needed for scanning a document, there is no print operation during scanning.

So there I was, needing to scan an important document with a printer that had been paid for (we did not get it for free) and all I had left with was a big black paperweight and three perfectly good ink cartridges! And you would be amazed at the amount of plastic -bad for the environment- that would come out of this.

I looked on the web for solutions to this issue. I tried all sorts of «fixes» including removing and cleaning the print head. None of it worked. I called Canon support and it turned out that the cost of the printhead (not including service charges) was much more than the actual cost of the product.

Given that the printhead is not needed for scanning -and that is a fact- why would they disable the entire device and force you to throw it away when part of it could still serve a useful life? Obviously their software developers are partly to blame and I don’t think it is because of mediocrity but simply company policy. I know because for many years I developed and reviewed embedded firmware. Lucky me, I was never forced to compromise my moral integrity by having to implement built-in obsolescence.

Worst of all, I thought I was alone in that tragedy of a big corporation giving me a low blow. I mean, if they had given me the device for free I wouldn’t be totally entitled to complain. As it turned out there are thousands of people around the world running into the same problem! and no, it was not only with the model I had, if you search the Discussion Forums and YouTube you will quickly realized several other Canon multifunction devices suffer from the same flaw. A programmed flaw that is convenient for them but not to your pocket.

If you want to see how this tragic adventure ended do watch the YouTube video to the end. Don’t forget to follow the channel and subscribe to it.


While these corporations are making millions of dollars with unprecedented monetary gains, they are polluting the environment with all these products with planned obsolescence. At the same time they are making customers to stop to believe in their companies. I for one thing vowed not to ever again buy a Canon product.

And in the manner of a closing anecdote, this terrible Canon product I had it replaced by an HP multifunction device I bought fourteen (14) years ago! its printer/copier functionality no longer works (I will have a word on that in a follow up article!) but despite that, their excellent scanner function still works like a charm.

Un Panama obsoleto y anti-ecologico

Hoy escojo escribir brevemente sobre el desaprovechamiento de los recursos tecnológicos en el mundo empresarial, y en particular en nuestro Panamá.

En todos los años que trabajé en el extranjero tuve que lidiar con muchos formularios electrónicos. Para ponerlo en mejor contexto, éstos formularios provenían tanto de instituciones gubernamentales como de empresas privadas, Estos formularios que había que llenar para complir con algún trámite eran enviados en el conocido formato PDF (Portable Document Format).

Hace muchisimos años Adobe mejoró su formato para permitir la creación de formularios en PDF para  ser llenados por cualquier recipiente sin tener siquiera una versión especial de Acrobat. Esto es precisamente porque eran de mayor aceptación debido a su flexibilidad. Una vez llenado el formulario, el usuario puede devolverlo a la empresa o institución.

Pero en Panamá…

En nuestro país sin embargo, aun pasada mas de una década de la implementación de formularios PDF, no me he encontrado en Panama con ninguna empresa (o institución) que haga uso de los mismos. A estas alturas todavía siguen enviando formularios PDF que primero deben ser impresos para luego ser llenados con pluma y papel, para entonces ser escaneados y enviados.

Ésta manera arcaica de procesar documentos/formularios no es amigable para el medio ambiente porque implica gasto en papel cuando este queda incluso en manos del usuario y no de la empresa o institución.

Hablando de medio ambiente y considerando que nuestro gobierno incluso tiene una “Autoridad “ para el Medio Ambiente, se han percatado la cantidad de veces que nos piden una copia impresa de nuestra cédula? que por lo general dada la circumnstancia toca usar una página entera para sólo una cédula? Y que además de eso esa obsesión con la “copia de la cédula” consiste una invasión a la privacidad y un hoyo de seguridad en detrimento del ciudadano?

En los 20+ años que viví en el extranjero –en 2 países diferentes- no recuerdo que me hayan exigido dejar copia de un documento tan personal.

En caso de que el argumento no les parezca suficiente, se preguntan donde acaban esos documentos impresos con “copia de la cédula”? Pues, ocupando espacio físico –mas si se utilizó un clip’- en algún depósito en caso contrario, desechado en la basura.

The privacy INVADING Giants

Many years ago some website developers began with the disturbing modality of requiring too much personal information from the user to deliver content. Usually, when I encountered such sites I simply skipped them and went elsewhere for the information. You have no control over what they do with your information. Add to that the risk for you if their sites get hacked and this information ends up in the hands of people with bad intentions.

Then came Google with their Android operating System. Android is based on the Linux operating system which never required any information from the user other than a username and a password. Google’s Android however, is hungry about personal information, if you don’t tie an email with your whole profile and a personal phone number you can’t do anything.

With Android on your phone, and therefore a GMail account tied to it, most users are at the mercy of the giant that collects a lot of private information to resell and invade your privacy. Not to mention that unless you take actions to configure it tightly, it will track all your searches and wherever you go on the Internet. Even with the GMail account privacy settings to the maximum and location services disabled, a Google account will always be tracking you whether you want it or not. How do you think Google Maps can make such accurate real-time traffic maps?

And then came Microsoft with the same disturbing trend. Unless you are skilled in technology (and most people are not!) you will be forced to create your PERSONAL computer’s login tied to a Microsoft account. This Microsoft account, just like Google’s, is hungry about personal information that they use for their own enrichment.

In using Windows 10 for example, how many times have you been confronted with a suggestive pop up that unless you configure an online Microsoft account they won’t be able to provide you a valuable and almost life-giving service? To me it really looks as if they put a gun to the head of the end user and tell them “if you don’t give me your personal information I will shoot you” or in softer terms to deceive the end user “We will not not able to provide you with X or Y service or feature”. That means they collect all sort of information. If you share your computer and it is configured with an online account, whatever they do on the Internet will be associated to your account. Would you want that? When installing Windows 10 you will encounter that “mild threat” situation often. If you are not technically inclined you certainly fall in the trap and will be at their mercy.

Most disturbing is the amount of software applications being developed with the same modus  operandi. Your information is stored in their servers on their cloud at the mercy of every hacker in the world. With local account you are responsible for the safekeeping of your data.

When you come to think of it, you have to agree to give out all your present and future information for free, but are they giving you the operating system for free? No! you have to pay dearly for it.

We advise that you, as an end-user, retake ownership of your information and revise all the privacy-related settings of your operating system (mobile and desktop) and disable anything that gives them any of your data. Android is not free, it is paid as part of your mobile phone and the same goes for Windows. If you are in doubt about a feature that requires this privacy invasion, then we advise disabling it.

Me & Linux

Many years ago seduced by the Dark Forces I was (Yoda mode off). From 1991 to 2001 I was a hard core Linux fanatic, I could not use a Windows (or Mac) without feeling an acid feeling in my fingers. I loathed all that was not Linux. This is how it all began for me.

The Equipment

I bought my first desktop PC around 1991, it was a Highscreen full tower with something like 128MB (Megabytes!) of RAM and an Intel i386SX, it was rather powerful for the time and also the most I could afford being single and working at Philips Components Applications Laboratory (PCALE) in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. From the city, company and colleagues I have great memories. That computer sported a rudimentary Microsoft Windows 3.1 operating system. It had a mouse (wow!), a double speed CD writer (wow!) and a tape backup (what?). And to top it up, I had a Tornado 14.4K modem (I regret throwing it away years ago) which I used to the first ISP, I was one of the first 300 members (Internet Access Eindhoven).

And I saw there was light…

Quite frankly I was not impressed about Windows 3.1 even with its rudimentary graphical interface. At Philips I started hearing about the Linux operating system and read more about it on my first explorations of Internet with Usenet newsgroups and the Mosaic web browser. Who was this guy Linux Torvalds? well, I read more about the whole thing and what it did and how it was NOT Windows and I was hooked.

I think that by then I was already using Sun workstations at work with the SunOS (another UNIX variant). Before long, I had bought already a set of UNIX books, kind of a bible. I must have lost them in one of my several transatlantic relocations.

My First Linux Installation

I attended a Computer Fair at the Tongelreep in the (very) early 90’s and I came out of it with a copy of the Yggdrassil Linux Bible. It was an early Linux kernel (0.98 or so) and the first Linux distribution to sport a Live CD. I ran home, repartioned my hard drive and installed Yggdrasil Linux alongside Windows 3.1 using LILO for dual booting.

As romantic as it sounded, it was never easy despite the live CD. After the installation you had a somewhat working Linux system but many of the Linux subsystems were broken. But there was an active group where a list of manual fixes was being published. Using the VIM console editor I reconfigured ALL Linux/Unix subsystems in my installation. After that I had automated jobs, developed open software and along the years had to reconfigure my UUCP (Unix to Unix Copy) and Sendmail configurations so that my Linux PC acted as a server where I held and received all my emails as a UUCP node of my provider IAEHV.

It Shall not be defeated!

Those who worked with Windows 3.1 knew how easy it was to get a system crash, deadlocks, etc. I guess the best test that convinced me Linux was the best OS on earth was when I installed and configured an electronic List Server (Majordomo) on my i386SX Highscreen PC with so little memory.

I ran several lists because I used to develop several successful open software packages including the most successful MSN Messenger clone for Linux, the precursor of today’s automatic package updates, Chklogs management, etc.

One of those days I made a new release, and connected my PC to the Internet via the 14.4K connection and suddenly myriads of requests to my Mail List Server came once the UUCP connection was established. It was like a big punch to such a small system! It crawled without getting to its knees, it became so slow I could not do much with it on the console until after the List Server requests were all handled. But what impressed me was that despite the huge load, Linux and my PC did not fail, no need to reboot, no screen of death, it kept on working!

And others came…

I upgraded to a few other Yggdrasil releases although they all seemed to come quite broken. However, the positive side was that by fixing all those broken configurations I learned a lot about using Linux.

At some point I said goodbye to Yggdrassil Linux and came to install several other variants on my PC (and subsequent PCs) such as Eridani Linux, Debian, Redhat and when things started getting commercial I switched to Fedora (community version of Redhat). And at last I ended up with Ubuntu.

Linux is not Unix?

While that seems to be a common assertion, it has a lot in common with Unix. In fact, that is why it started as far as I know, sort of a UNIX for the elite masses.

At some point in I worked with several real UNIX operating system variants with various employers. I came to use SunOS, HP Unix, DECT (?), etc. I guess I was the happiest when at work I had a Unix workstation (or two!) in my desk.

I never sit idling, not at work and not at home. When I worked at Compuware, if there was nothing else to do I helped lightening a colleague’s load by writing shell scripts to automate his work. At that time I also did unofficial work by porting -as much as I could- the Uniface software to run on Linux. I figured, if it ran on UNIX, why not on Linux. But all Unix variants differ in so many things. It was not easy but it sort of worked, but it was not stable. They never supported Linux.

Seduced by .NET

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. – Yoda

As you earlier read, I by the dark forces infected was (Yoda mode off). I found myself jobless and amids economic depression in the both countries I was. It was not easy finding a job with Linux/Unix skills. And that is how I decided to embrace the dark side, I embraced Microsoft Windows and principally .NET development and I was hooked.

Linux and UNIX became secondary to me. As much as I loved them, I loved .NET development and with that powerful IDE there was nothing in Linux that could offer something close to that.

In the years to come I would still play every now and then with Linux. Mainly, I installed them on VMWare virtual machines. Unfortunately, as years passed the powerful and versatile Gnome system with several great window managers to choose from, became replaced by the absolutely ugly KDE desktop. That together with Linux graphical interfaces trying to emulate Microsoft Windows more and more simply allienated me. Linux was not what it used to be.

Even today I noticed how the user interface of Linux has improved and yet become so uninteresting. Nothing like the feeling of being «root», of really having to know what you needed to do. Now it is all hidden in apps and windows that compared to the old days of Linux, makes me feel as if my right arm had been amputated.

I write this article now from my latest Ubuntu 18.04 installation after many years. I upgraded my laptop to Windows 10 -mainly for fear of losing access to security fixes- and have had it dual booting with Ubuntu Linux for sometime now.

But, in the end, the more I use Ubuntu Linux, I notice how Linux stability appears to have degraded. While it is nice, it does not feel as powerful as the old Linux, I feel truly limited (unlike how it felt back in the beginnings) with it. In my opinion, trying to make Linux like Windows was the worst decision the Linux community made.

And now on to configure my .NET development environment on my newly installed Windows 10. Dual boot it shall remain though.

Comercio Electronico Estancado en Panama

En Panamá tenemos al menos dos grandes problemas con el uso de la tecnología: la inmadurez del usuario promedio y la falta de visión tecnológica a nivel gubernamental.

En éste artículo nos encargaremos del 2do porque es la razón por la que el Comercio Electrónico se ha quedado estancado en Panamá cuando hace años -con una buena visión estatal- hubiese acaparado un mayor porcentage de ventas.

Ya en el año 2002 el autor trabajaba como arquitecto y desarrollador de una plataforma de comercio electrónico y pagos móviles en la empresa Holandesa Moxmo, subsidiaria de Global Payways Transaction Services.

Problema Cultural o Desconfianza?

El Panameño promedio por lo general todavía le teme a las compras por Internet por diversos motivos.

Sin embargo, uno de los obstáculos principales parece ser ese hábito o necesidad de tocar y examinar antes de comprar. Es como un «si no lo toco no lo creo seguro» y claro, con tanta estafa y juega vivo a la orden del día es fácil pensar por qué no lo experimentan.

Es esa necesidad casi cultural de tener que palpar el producto y comprobar su estado antes de llevarlo personalmente a la caja.

Situación Actual

Hasta hace algunos años no había otra posibilidad que reservar el producto en el sitio web para luego apersonarse para hacer el pago y eso cuando en otros países el comercio electrónico lleva años bien establecido.

Afortunadamente en los ultimos años, en afiliación con bancos, se han creado un par de plataformas de pago electrónico que han sido innovadoras en el mercado local.

Sin embargo, su adopción ha sido limitado por diversos factores como el miedo al comercio electrónico por parte de consumidores y empresarios (que optan por no integrarlo a sus webs), tarifas relativamente altas para un mercado todavía incipiente y falta de universalidad.

Esta última en parte ha sido la causa del surgimiento de estas alternativas en Panama pero al mismo tiempo su limitación.

Handicap Bancario

La limitación mencionada anteriormente que mantiene nuestro comercio electrónico estancado es un handicap o discapacidad del sistema bancario de Panamá.

Este handicap es debido a la incapacidad de nuestro «gran» sistema bancario «internacional» de integrarse con la banca mundial. Será porque se están protegiendo intereses privados de personas con influencias? Lo cierto es que eso afecta grandemente a los micro-empresarios y emprendedores.

Por ejemplo, es imposible hacer una transferencia de dinero por banca en línea directa entre cualquier banco en Panamá y un banco en el extranjero. Y la razón de esto es que nuestros bancos pueden funcionar únicamente con bancos corresponsales en el extranjero que actúan como proxy obligatorio.

Otras Limitaciones

Hace ya muchos años lanzaron en EEUU un dispositivo portable que se conecta al celular para pasar tarjetas de crédito en cobro; desafortunadamente no disponible para usuarios en Panamá. Hace poco tiempo tal dispositivo igual pero la tarifa de uso era muy alta y por tanto baja aceptación.

Y si por ejemplo si PayPalo Google, Cash Back de tarjeta de credito extranjera (por lo general mejores) o lo que sea le envía un cheque a Panamá, enfrenta dos problemas.

El primero es que es muy posible que el cheque se pierda en el correo, en nuestro correo! puesto que nuestro sistema postal es obsoleto y poco confiable.

Y el segundo, teniendo el cheque en mano es muy posible que al intentar cambiarlo en el banco de la localidad pierda una buena porción del mismo (o hasta quedar debiendo!) en tarifas bancarias.

El Abismo Electrónico

El efecto de ese handicap bancario se traduce en que las micro-empresas, emprendedores e incluso empresas medianas no puedan utilizar efectivamente plataformas electrónicas globales exitosas y quasi universales como PayPal y Google Wallet. Hasta hace poco era imposible para desarrolladores Android en Panamá vender su app en el Google Play.

Si bien no se está imposibilidad de utilizar PayPal por ejemplo, si se está imposibilitado de retirar los fondos de Paypal directo a un banco en Panamá. Entonces si un empresario en Panamá hace una venta o cobra por PayPal solo puede hacer uso de ese dinero volviéndolo a gastar pagando con PayPal por compras en el extranjero. O sea, ese dinero -por falta de visión- nunca llega a ser utilizado o invertido en Panamá.


A todo problema existen tanto soluciones como workarounds. Los últimos no son soluciones porque el problema persiste pero se trabaja alrededor de ellos.

Un workaround al problema sería por ejemplo atraer a la empresa PayPal a crear una subsidiaria en Panamá que esté totalmente ligada y sin limitaciones a su plataforma global y con tarifas comparables puesto que aquí estamos acostumbrados a fomentar monopolios en vez de la competencia.

Lo óptimo -sin descartar lo anterior que tambien seria beneficioso para Panamá en varias formas- sería solucionar el problema de raíz habilitando transferencias directas entre cualquier banco de Norteamerica y Europa con bancos (todos) en Panamá.

Para lograr eso la banca Panameña tendría que ponerse a tono bajo supervisión de la Superintendencia de Bancos. Pero para hacer eso posible lo más seguro hay obstáculos que deben ser tramitados a nivel de Estado para realmente integrar nuestra banca al resto del mundo y al alcance de todos los Panameños, no solo para millonarios.

Argumentos en contra

Habrán quienes intentarán inmediatamente dar argumentos en contra, pero la realidad es, si es aceptado y exitoso en otros países porqué quedarnos rezagados al respecto?

Otros argumentarán que no puede ser porque tal vez facilitaría el lavado de dinero.A eso mi pregunta es, todas las medidas de transparencia y prevención de lavado de dinero han sido efectivas? Ya es muy conocido que puede ser un gran problema abrir una cuenta en un banco local con $1,000 y sin embargo han habido ya muchos escándalos donde se depositaron millones sin sonar ninguna alarma. Por tanto ése es también otro argumento inútil.


Debemos lograr una total integración de nuestros bancos con bancos en el extranjero sinnecesidad de tarifas exhorbitantes, prohibitivas y monopolizantes.

Igualmente debemos atraer a gigantes del pago electrónico a Panamá. En particular a PayPal porque sigue siendo una plataforma global, confiably para todos.

Esto ayudaría grandemente a nuestros (micro)empresarios, emprendedores y demás facilitando su operación en el mercado global con costos mínimos.

Guia para comprar celular: Presupuesto y Marca

Bienvenidos a la 2da entrega de nuestra serie para aquellos que están en búsqueda de un nuevo celular (Android). Puede encontrar la 1ra parte «Guia para comprar celular: SIM dual o sencilla?» siguiendo el enlace.

Determine sus prioridades

Nuestros países tercer-mundistas acostumbran a las personas a ser consumidores lo cual es una gran desventaja que perpetúa el status quo. Muchas personas comprar un celular nuevo por puro antojo o por no quedarse atrás sin tener la necesidad de hacerlo.

Para empezar si su celular todavía funciona bien y no lo vuelve loco con errores y anomalías entonces no lo cambie!. Si bien éstos dispositivos tienden a volverse un poco obsoletos en 1 a 2 años, eso no significa que dejará de serle útil, hay que ser un consumidor inteligente y no dejarse llevar por las corrientes.

Pero si teléfono móvil ya se ha puesto muy lento y no le han encontrado solución, o si tal vez ya no tiene espacio para más aplicaciones que necesita o incluso ya no tiene espacio para actualizaciones, entonces es momento de buscar uno nuevo si está dentro de sus posibilidades, si no lo está entonces no lo compre!.

Estas son las preguntas que se debe hacer primero:

  • Realmente necesito uno nuevo? El que tengo ya no satisfice mis necesidades móviles? se dañó, su lentitud lo exaspera y no tiene solución?
  • Tengo dinero suficiente para gastar (no es invertir!) en un teléfono móvil nuevo?
  • No hay otros gastos o responsabilidades más importantes que se puedan ver afectadas por este gasto?

Si todavía insiste esperemos que sea porque la autoevaluación de sus necesidades realmente lo justifica. Claro está, si tiene dinero de sobra o no tiene otras responsabilidades entonces no tiene esas preocupaciones. Sin embargo, consumir sin razón nunca ha sido una buena costumbre.


Hay celulares de todo tipo y tantas variaciones de características que realmente el rango de precios varía estrepitosamente desde unos $50 a casi $800. Aquí la pregunta principal es ¿Cuánto puedo gastar?

Si le sobra el dinero pues no hay problema pero muchas personas no tienen esa suerte. Si el dinero no le sobra entonces es imperativo que fije un presupuesto, o sea cuál es el máximo que estaría dispuesto a pagar por un teléfono móvil nuevo sin pasar hambre, ni perder su carro, su casa, proveer por su familia, etc.

Además considere que en países tercermundistas como el nuestro, hasta se puede perder la vida si se tiene (o alardea) de un celular de gama media o alta! Y también se corre un mayor riesgo de perderlo en un asalto. Además hay muchas personas amantes de lo ajeno que no dudan en llevarse (robar!) un celular mal puesto, en pocas palabras muchos ya no lo consideran un robo sino un hecho de suerte (nosotros lo consideramos robo).

  • Gama Baja: Hasta $150
  • Gama Media: De $151 a $300
  • Gama Alta: Más de $300

Con este presupuesto en mente ya se le hace más fácil la búsqueda porque puede descartar modelos con solo ver el precio. Acuérdese que en Panamá hasta nos venden modelos viejos (obsoletos) a precios altos porque las tiendas no están muy dadas a dar descuento por mercancía que ya se les ha quedado sin vender y los incautos los compran.

Insistimos que debe ser estricto con el presupuesto y en el peor de los casos extiéndalo $20 a $50 pero la experiencia muestra que un consumidor inteligente puede conseguirlo sin necesidad de romper el presupuesto!

Todo está en el nombre, o no?

Como mencionamos anteriormente el mercado de la telefonía móvil es muy competitivo. Hay muchas empresas que fabrican celulares y su decisión debe inclinarse por su propia experiencia o lo que ha visto como también por información veraz que encuentre de Fuentes respetables en Internet. Entre las marcas podemos mencionar algunas:

La marca no necesariamente hace el teléfono, de hecho incluso marcas respetables de teléfonos de gama media y alta han estado envueltas en escándalos de teléfonos explosivos (por accidente).

Otras marcas a veces no es tan conocidas en el ramo y sin embargo los precios de venta de sus teléfonos no son necesariamente menores que los que ya tienen una reputación conocida. Siempre hay sorpresas, y un consumidor informado siempre tiene sorpresas buenas.


En realidad ésta debió haber sido la primera parte de nuestra serie debido a que sus opciones de compra estarán limitadas por el presupuesto que tenga a la mano para gastar en la compra del celular. Como ultimo consejo de éste artículo, si tiene que pedir un micro préstamo para comprar el celular entonces no lo compre! Usted vale por los valores que tiene y cómo es Usted como persona, no por lo que tenga en la mano!

Guia de Compra – La Serie Completa

Guía para comprar celular: SIM Dual?

Hoy en día un teléfono celular es casi indispensable y sin dudas muy útil! No soy de los que cambia celular como consumista ciego solamente porque salió algo mejor o porque alguien tiene uno igual, esas son las peores formas de empezar una compra! Y sin duda si es así tiene Usted graves problemas de prioridades!

Esta es la Parte I de nuestra serie de artículos «Guía para comprar celular» está destinada a todos aquellos usuarios que no desean gastar su dinero sin motive, que están interesados por aprender y no dejarse vender productos por personas que en muchos casos NO tienen sus mismas prioridades e incluso quieren hacerlo creer que saben de lo que hablan. Lastimosamente si no se informa bien lo más seguro es que termine comprando un celular de vieja tecnología al precio de uno reciente, no se deje engañar. En pocas palabras, nuestra serie sera para quienes desean ser consumidores informados.

Un celular tipo smartphone tiene muchas características a veces confusas y entre las cuales Usted deberá decider cuales son más importantes para Usted. En esta primera entrega nos concentraremos en el modulo (tarjeta) SIM.

La Tarjeta SIM. ¿Qué Es?

El SIM en un teléfono celular no es más que una pequeña pero muy importante tarjeta que inserta en su celular y se vé tal y como aparece en la figura de arriba.

El SIM (Módulo de Identificación de Suscriptor por sus siglas en Inglés) contiene un chip con cierta información de su empresa de comunicaciones (en Panamá sea +Movil, Movistar, Digicel o Claro) pero entre toda esa información la única que nos interesa para éste artículo es su número de suscriptor, o sea su número de teléfono, por ejemplo +507 1234-5678. En pocas palabras, esta tarjeta le permite acceder a la red de telecomunicaciones utilizando su celular. Obviamente que el SIM tiene que estar activo en la red.

La tarjeta SIM también guarda un número de identifición personal (PIN o contraseña). Es muy buena idea activarlo en su celular (PIN de tarjeta SIM). Si es así cada vez que enciende su celular el mismo le pedirá que se identifique con su PIN para poder continuar.

Igualmente esta tarjeta cumple una función secundaria en el proceso de archivo de respaldo de sus contactos (backup de contactos) si no tiene otra manera mejor. En tal caso la memoria libre del SIM se utiliza para guardar tantos contactos como sea posible (la memoria es limitada!), lo malo es que cuando lo importa en su Nuevo teléfono por medio del SIM encontrará con que los nombres pueden estar truncados y si tenía varios teléfonos para el mismo contacto éstos serán guardados por separado.

¿Sencillo o SIM Dual?

Muchos teléfonos celulares solo tienen adaptador interno para un solo SIM y por tanto un solo número de teléfono. Si Usted tiene una sola línea y no cree que en el futuro cercano (1 a 3 años) no piensa tener una segunda línea, entonces no se complique la vida y ahórrese dinero comprando un celular de un solo SIM.

Ventajas del Doble SIM

Hay varias razones por las cuales puede ser conveniente tener un celular con doble SIM, como por ejemplo:

  • Usted tiene dos líneas móviles, una personal y otra de el trabajo. Es muy bueno separar ambas y poner límite entre lo personal y el trabajo.
  • Desea utilizar SIM de dos proveedores diferentes para aprovechar la mejor cobertura en areas de difícil acceso que no quedan necesariamente lejos de la ciudad, por ejemplo Cerro Azul.
  • Desea aprovechar promociones de data o minutos gratis de un proveedor u otro.
  • Uno de los proveedores le ofrece una tarifa más barata cuando llama a otros usuarios en la misma red.

En fin, esas son algunas de las razones. Si Usted se identifica con alguno de esos escenarios le puede ser bastante conveniente tener 2 tarjetas SIM en un solo celular. Después de todo es muy engorroso cargar dos celulares en el bolsillo o la cartera!

¿Los Doble SIM son todos Iguales?

Un consumidor poco informado lo más seguro compraría un celular de doble SIM (Dual Sim o Duos) a un precio más alto -por que la conveniencia tiene precio- y encontrarse con una desagradable sorpresa cuando abre la cajeta en casa.

No todos los Dual SIM son iguales ni funcionan igual porque todo depende de cuánto quería ahorrarse el fabricante del product, recuerde que el mercadeo es el arte de venderle cosas que no necesita e incluso bajo falsos pretextos.

Si Usted realmente quiere y necesita un Dual SIM entonces lea muy bien el resto del artículo para que se evite una mala sorpresa.

A manera de tarea visite éste enlance en GSM Arena donde se comparan 3 celulares y fíjese a ver si encuentra esa sutil diferencia.

Dual SIM Pasivo

Es muy común en los celulares de bajo costo y en particular de los primeros que salieron al mercado en la variante dual. Básicamente el celular tiene un solo dispositivo de radio para 2 SIM. Se considera pasivo porque el usuario tiene que seleccionar manualmente qué SIM quiere mantener activo (el #1 o el #2) y el que queda inactivo no puede ni recibir ni iniciar llamadas ya que solamente el que seleccionó como activo puede hacerlas.

En otras palabras estará disponible para llamadas entrantes en una sola línea!

Dual SIM Standby

Esta es una variante más avanzada que aún hoy en día es bastante común en la mayoría de los celulares con doble SIM. En este caso se tienen dos tarjetas SIM pero un solo dispositivo de radio frecuencia para ambos.

Supongo que ahora se pregunta cómo puede tener dos lineas disponibles simultáneamente. La verdad es que en este caso el celular utiliza lo que es llamado multiplexación del tiempo, o sea que internamente está constantemente verificando por actividad en ambas líneas (SIM) pero compartiendo el radio. Si hay personas llamandolo a ambas líneas del celular lo más seguro es que se le presente un diálogo para preguntarle cuál de las dos desea responder (solo UNA!) o tal vez la que detectó primero (first called, first served).

Con éste tipo de implementación Usted está siempre disponible en ambas líneas (si tiene ambos SIM instalados) pero solo puede estar activo en UNA sola linea al mismo tiempo. O sea, una vez que hay una llamada en pie, el dispositivo de radiofrecuencia es dedicado únicamente a esa linea hasta que la llamada termine.

Dual SIM Activo

Esta es una implementación poco común incluso hoy en día puesto que requiere que el hardware del celular tenga dos (2) dispositivos radiotransmisores, uno dedicado única y exclusivamente a cada SIM del celular. Un ejemplo típico del mismo es el HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM.

La electronica ha avanzado tanto que es possible tener tanta funcionalidad en dispositivos tan pequeños que hace unos 20 años eran casi inconcebibles. Sin embargo esta alternativa no es muy común porque en realidad pocos necesitan poder conversar por ambas líneas simultaneamente pero más aún porque además del costo extra también significa un mayor consumo de bateria. Si los celulares de una sola línea tienen baterías de tan poca duración, ¿se imagina cómo es cuando el gasto es aún mayor?

Dual SIM Compartido

Este tipo de implementación es también bastante común en algunos celulares de hoy en día ya que ofrecen la versatilidad de un doble SIM si es necesario pero sacrificando otras cosas. El adaptador del SIM secundario no es igual al primero

En uno de los celulares que le enviamos a comparar mas arriba – notablemente pero no limitado a los Huawei- podemos ver en las especificaciones que si es Dual SIM por ejemplo Dual SIM Standby pero que opera en una de las siguientes dos alternativas:

  • Instala dos (2) tarjetas SIM y tiene a su disposición el uso de ambas líneas de teléfono móvil pero sin poder instalar una tarjeta de memoria externa (SD Card). En pocas palabras, está limitado a utilizar únicamente la memoria interna del celular, la cual es por lo general limitada excepto en los celulares más caros. O,
  • Instala un (1) solo SIM y utiliza el slot del SIM secundario para instalar una tarjeta de memoria externa (SD Card). Tiene más memoria a su disposición pero sacrificando el uso de la 2da línea la cual ya no tiene a su disposición.
Dual SIM Conectividad Limitada

Y finalmente tenemos los dispositivos de Doble SIM donde puede instalar ambas SIM (dos líneas) pero con conectividad limitada en el SIM secundario. Si no está familiarizado con los conceptos básicos de tecnología inalámbrica 2G, 3G y 4G/LTE le recomiendo leer nuestro articulo titulado «Frecuencias de Telefonía Celular en Panamá» (artículo en Inglés).

Pero, ¿Se pregunta qué es conectividad limitada? Pues es otra manera en la que los fabricantes pueden bajar costos aunque esto no se vea necesariamente reflejado en el precio en que la tienda se lo vende (en especial a un consumidor sin información!).

En esta variante tiene por ejemplo conectividad completa en la 1ra linea (SIM #1), o sea puede utilizar la vieja tecnologia 2G (2da Generación) de GSM, la 3G de UMTS por ejemplo y si su SIM está habilitado para LTE puede acceder a esas altas velocidades con esa línea tanto para voz como para data. Sin embargo, con el SIM que está insertado en el compartimiento secundario tiene conectividad únicamente con tecnología 2G (GSM). O sea que si pone su chip LTE en el SIM 2, no podrá gozar las ventajas de LTE ni incluso 3G por esa línea.


Salir en busca de un celular nuevo no es tarea fácil y mucho menos si tiene un presupuesto fijo (aconsejable) y requerimientos que le exije a su nueva adquisición. El mejor consumidor es un consumidor informado que sabe lo que busca y no se deja engañar ya sea por vendedores que solo les interesa hacer la venta o por los tantos vendedores que realmente no saben tanto como pretenden dar a entender.

Lo primero que tiene que preguntarse es si realmente necesita doble SIM y si la respuesta es un sí rotundo, entonces asimilar la información aquí presentada e investigar en Internet cuidadosamente las especificaciones antes de gastar su dinero en algo que puede ser no sea lo que realmente esperaba.

Y recuerde, Usted es el consumidor! Usted es quien pagará el producto y generalmente quien lo vá a utilizar. Tiene derecho a hacer al vendedor tantas preguntas como sean necesarias y exija respuestas (sino busque otra tienda!) y no se deje intimidad por malos vendedores que querrán negarle el acceso al dispositivo antes de comprarlo.

The Pillars of Navigating with your Phone

Mobile phones have become powerful devices over the years. There was a time when a mobile phone with GPS (Global Positioning System) was considered a high end phone but nowadays it is nearly the norm for most smartphones.

Here we will discuss the basics of using your trusted mobile phone for navigation, the rest you can find out by experimenting and experiencing it yourself.

There are people that have not unleashed the navigation capabilities of their mobile phones, but most city dwellers have come to rely on navigation applications such as Waze and lately Google Maps to navigate through the maze of streets in their cities. Obviously, to properly use those apps you will need an active network connection (mobile data service) which is not free or even included in most plans, at least not prepaid plans. If you have a mobile data plan then good for you! you typically need at least 1GB data allowance per month to moderately use your phone for navigation.

Some apps allow you to have offline maps that you can use for navigating even when you do not have a data connection but you will be limited to navigating through the bounds of that map. Keep in mind that keeping offline maps is going to consume some of your precious internal memory!

Our civil world divides the globe in four cardinal positions:

  • North or South for latitude, a number between -90 to +90
  • East or West for longitude, a number between -180 to +180

There are several ways to specify your location using these coordinates but they usually look like N 35° 57′ 48″  (latitude) W 79° 12′ 58″ (longitude). Military people use a different coordinate system which is basically another way for the same thing.

These coordinates can not only be used for navigating from A to B; there are worldwide games that make use of those coordinates to find «treasures» planted by other users, that is known as Geocaching and it is a very interesting way of putting that GPS to good use in addition to travelling on foot or on your vehicle.

What makes it possible?

There is something in most smartphones called the GPS which is basically a device embedded in your phone that makes use of as many GPS satellites to determine your position on earth. When buying your next smartphone make sure to check its specifications well if you wish to use it for navigation. While most will do it well enough, you can save yourself some surprises or frustrations by checking them against what we are going to describe below.

GPS Satellites

There are 27 GPS satellites orbiting our planet of which 24 are actively used and 3 for backup.

In theory your GPS only needs three (3) GPS satellites to be able to determine your position by a process called triangulation. This is very important because the more satellites your GPS can find in any given moment, the greater the resolution of your position. Typically only specialized apps give you the resolution information, it is not the same that your position be given with 100 meter accuracy than 3 meter accuracy. The lower the number (meters) the better.

The problem is that all of this depends on the «visibility» of these satellites. Your device’s reception of their signal can be affected by many things such as weather, trees, buildings, etc. Being outdoors is typically better but no guarantee.

You do not need mobile data to use the GPS device on your mobile phone because it senses those satellites orbiting out there in the skies. The GPS network of satellites circling the earth was originally deployed by US military instances but over the years as the system became available for civil use (with greater resolution that earlier), and now there are some civil GPS satellites out there.

Also, most mobile phones use a neat feature called geo-tagging which is basically attaching your GPS data (latitude and longitude). When enabled, when you take a picture with your smartphone, the coordinates or geographic location (latitude and longitude) get recorded on the picture as metadata which makes it great for later seeing on a map where a picture was taken. The problem is that if the GPS signal is weak, then this information is not available and thus not geo-tagged in a photo at least on a mobile phone. As an experiment we have taken pictures with GPS enabled while crossing the Atlantic ocean on a ship and no information was recorded. So your luck might vary.


If you have checked some mobile phone specifications and compared them you will quickly notice that while some say just «GPS» others say «GPS/GLONASS» and in this case the 2nd option is better!

GLONASS is basically another network of GPS satellites which has been deployed by the Russians offering comparative functionality.

So, what does it means having GLONASS support on your smartphone? It means that should the regular GPS coverage fail, you still have a whole network of GLONASS satellites available to you to determine your position on earth.


GPS (U.S.A.) and GLONASS (Russia) not enough? well there are already some smartphones with BDS support in their GPS circuitry.

But what is BDS? BDS or BeiDou (also known as Compass) is a Chinese initiative that started back in  2015 to build a global network of thirty five (35) global positioning satellites.

Well this is not common but we decided to mention it here for completeness and to avoid any confusing looks when finding «BDS» listed in the GPS section of the specs.


This is a method called Assisted GPS which is basically aiding your GPS device to get a quicker first indication (Time to First Fix) when it is difficult to get strong signals from the GPS satellites.

So what assists your GPS? Mobile communication towers, yes, you read right! Your Time to First Fix can be made quicker if you help your smartphone get the GPS information from the mobile towers of your carrier. Basically it uses the same method called triangulation so it will need data from three communication towers.

However, that you can establish a voice connection to the local carrier does not mean that you can get Assisted GPS, why? because in order to get the GPS satellite position from those communication towers you will need an active data connection. That is the reason why you can usually get a better GPS resolution when activating a data connection (cell data or WiFi).

If your mobile phone specification says it also has A-GPS then even better! the more the merrier!

Azimuth | Direction

It is great that you can locate your exact position on earth. In fact it can be fun to mention what your coordinates are. This is particularly useful if you are hiking!

But it is not only about determining your current place on earth. Usually you are also going somewhere and that means a direction.

For this the compass comes to our help and as most of you know the compass rose you usually see on maps not only marks the four cardinal points (North, South, East and West) but is also divided in 360 degrees. It means a great deal because it can be the difference between getting nearer to your destination than walking away from your destination! An error can get you lost.

So if you are moving it is useful to know in which direction you are moving which means your azimuth, for example you are walking heading 35° (thirty five degrees).

But some of you that have used Google Maps on your smartphone or some other specialized app for geocaching may have become very frustrated when noticing that when you made a turn the map did not!

While the GPS information can also give you an azimuth when moving, once you are not moving it has no way of telling you in which direction you are pointing your compass. Turn your body in a circle and it will not know whether you are seeing north, east or whatever!

Well, not all smartphones are made the same! believe it or not, even if your smartphone has GPS functionality it may not have a dedicated sensor called magnetometer or compass (seen in your mobile phone specifications). With this sensor in your smartphone you can use cool apps called Compass apps.

The magnetometer (compass) is not actually a magnet inside your phone; it is actually an solid state device called Hall Effect Switch that measures magnetic forces. It is used by your smartphone to measure the earth’s magnetic field and once calibrated be able to tell your azimuth pretty accurately even if you are not displacing yourself from A to B. For example, load a compass app and while standing in one place just turn your body around and you will see how it goes through the whole 0-360° range.

This little sensor makes it possible for your map to quickly rotate as you do when navigating because it can measure the earth’s magnetic field and therefore know where the North is. A word of caution though! since it is a magnetic sensor, it can be affected by magnetic fields (interference) created by electronic devices such as computers, monitors, etc.

So next time you go to buy a smartphone, make sure it also has a magnetometer in addition to a good GPS, preferably the whole thing (GPS, GLONASS, A-GPS).

What’s In The Box?

Sadly these days of information overload the sellers do not put sufficient information for a power user so you will probably have to get the smartphone full model number (factory model number, not its name) to find out which features it actually has (more on that in another post).

Unfortunately even the smartphone box usually contains just basic information that is not sufficient for an informed user, specially power users!

But if you have access to a fully working demonstration version of the Android phone you can use a neat trick to see if the phone has a magnetometer or other sensors.

  1. Open the Dial application of your phone
  2. Dial the following sequence:   *#0*#

This brings up a service menu unless it has been blocked by the manufacturer or the carrier (if you bought it from a carrier shop instead of an independent shop). One of those menu items is called «Sensors» and when you select it will give you real time information about what your smartphone sensors are measuring. In particular you would want to see there is a «Magnetic Sensor» listed and showing you information. Give it a try!

Ready to give Smartphone specs a look? then follow this link on GSM Arena to compare two smartphones, one with magnetometer and the other without.

Mobile phone frequencies in Panama

Nowadays it is virtually impossible to not have at least a simple mobile phone and we are not going to spend time trying to show you the benefits of such decision.

However, buying a mobile phone (and specially a smartphone) is not something to be taken lightly. Mobile telephony has progressed a lot over the years as you can see by the technology tags such as 2G (2nd generation), 3G and 4G. If you are a traveller the support for these bands can make the difference between having a paper weight (a mobile phone that you cannot use to communicate) or a functional phone.

In particular we are going to discuss it in terms of the band coverage in the Republic of Panama. So whether you are coming to Panama for a tourism, business travel or moving to Panama for some time, you would definitely want to know whether your current (smart)phone -or the one you want to buy- will work in Panama. The same applies if you live in Panama but want to buy a (smart)phone abroad for use in Panama and possibly elsewhere.

In general you should always be very careful when buying. For example, some years ago a relative bought a quad-band 3G unlocked cellphone in The Netherlands. It had the bands used in Panama and yet he ended up with a paperweight. According to the seller (a private company) as well as the provider the phone was unlocked -despite showing the carrier logo upon startup-. So, you can never be too careful!

Major Players in Panama

As of the time of writing mobile communications in Panama is carried by «only» four (4) mobile networks and there are no minor telecomunications companies whose brand makes use of other network’s infrasture.

Of these the first two have the biggest market share in Panama. We are not biased towards any of them so you are free to choose your local carrier.

2G Coverage in Panama

Second Generation wireless phone technology was launched following the GSM standard (Global System for Mobile communications) back in 1999 (Finland).

               2G Frequencies or Bands
Movistar        850 MHz & 1900 MHz
+Movil          850 MHz
Claro           1900 MHz
Digicel         1800 MHz & 1900 MHz

3G Coverage in Panama

The 3rd generation mobile telephony was commercially launched back in 2001 (Japan). There are several technology standards that make up what has been grouped as 3rd generation, some of these are:

  • UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service)
  • CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access)
               3G Frequencies or Bands
Movistar        850 MHz & 1900 MHz
+Movil          850 MHz
Claro           1900 MHz & 850 MHz
Digicel         1900 MHz

4G / LTE Coverage in Panama

The 4th generation wireless mobile communications was originally launched in Norway back in 2009. LTE (Long Term Evolution) is currently offers the fastest commercial speed in Panama and is available with all  local carriers. LTE has been available since March 2015 in Panama.

LTE bands are given a number that identifies their operational frequencies. The LTE technology comes in two spectrums: FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) and TDD (Time Division). The TDD uses the same frequency band for the uplink and downlink (unpaired) and consist of LTE bands between 31 and 41. On the other hand the LTE bands of the paired spectrum are between 1 and 22. FDD or paired spectrum means that each band has two different frequencies, one for the uplink and another for the downlink.

               4G Frequencies or Bands
Movistar        700 MHz (Band 28)
+Movil          700 MHz (Band 28)
Claro           700 MHz (Band 28)
Digicel         1900 MHz (Band 2)

Blocked or Unblocked?

While unlocked phones had been available for years in Panama all mobile phones sold by Panamanian mobile carriers were network locked, meaning you could not use them on another network.

In other countries these phones could be unblocked by the mobile carriers once the contractual term was fullfilled. However, in Panama -usually lacking good regulations protecting the customers- mobile carriers almost invariably refused to unlock a cellphone after the contractual term was fulfilled.

For some time now however, some mobile carriers in Panama have been selling their branded mobile phones (startup screen with their logo) in unlocked form. Meaning that even though the phone displays their logo upon startup and comes with some preinstalled (non-removable) apps, you were still able to use them on another network without problems

Good news are that as of April 1st, 2017 all mobile carriers in Panama are prohibited from selling or distributing blocked (network locked) cellphones.

Numeric Portability in Panama

Back in 2011 Panama became the first country in Central America to implement Numeric Portability. At first it meant that all owners of a SIM card (used in cellphones to give you access to your wireless telephony number) were charged a nominal fee of about $0.23 cents per month (prepaid and postpaid) even if you did not actually use the network. The proceeds were charged by the ASEP (Autoridad Nacional de los Servicios Publico).

Nowadays however, there are no monthly charges with regards to number portability nor users get charged anything for actually exercising their right to move over to another local carrier maintaining their current mobile number.

Is It Friendly?

Your mileage will vary with the various carriers in Panama and in major cities you should not have coverage problems. In rural areas connectivity can vary dramatically, sometimes voice is okay but the data speed drops considerably. For that reason Dual Sim cellphones are becoming popular for those users who might want to have SIM cards from two different carriers to have a fallback in their area.

Unfortunately there are not many laws protecting the privacy of the user in Panama, in fact we think there are none at all. For example, with some carriers you may easily solve your problems via Twitter, WhatsApp or some other channel whereas for another carrier you cannot solve the simplest of problems without being asked up front for your name, phone email and national ID before doing anything at all. The problem there being that your data is not protected and soon you will find yourself being called by name by businesses or donation seeking organisms without your approval!

Additionally keep in mind that things work quite differently here in Panama. While in Europe your privacy and choices are more or less protected, here they are not. It is very common for local carriers to bombard your SMS (Short Message Service) inbox with «promotional» messages which can be very annoying; and making them stop is quite an ordeal!

When receiving such «promotional» messages make sure to click on the refusal button because in some circumstances users have been automatically subscribed when making the message disappear with the back button (or some other function of your mobile phone OS) instead of explicitly refusing the offer.

When acquiring a local SIM (Panama) also make sure that your «new» number is not tied to any Premium SMS service. When we acquired our new packaged SIM card  some years ago the prepaid balance magically got lower without even using it! After quite some calls it turned out that our «new» number was still tied to Premium SMS services that the former user had not deactivated. In principle the carrier should automatically clear everything prior to reassigning the phone number to a new user but this is the third world, sadly…


If you want to use your (smart)phone in Panama make sure your phone supports at least the 850 MHz GSM and UMTS bands and if your (smart)phone is LTE-capable, it should be able to use the most common LTE band being used in Panama which is band 28 (700 MHz).

Usage Profiles a feature Microsoft never realized! — He Who Travels

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via Usage Profiles a feature Microsoft never realized! — He Who Travels