The Caring Economy — Earth Day 2016

 What companies do every day

Earth Day, established April 22, 1970, has become the largest secular observance in the world, and is celebrated by more than a billion people annually. It’s a day where people are more mindful about the environment and reflect on what they can do to help preserve and protect the planet.

But the earth needs our care every day — not just on Earth Day. Here is what a few companies are saying and doing:

Alki Surf Shop 

Having our business on Alki Beach means we have a front row seat to observe Earth Day and the forces of nature. We are aware of the ebb and flow of the tides. We look out at sailboats being driven by the wind, and hear the high-pitched calls of seabirds as they wheel overhead. When the sand is hot, we stick our toes in the cold salt water of Puget Sound – home to an irreplaceable, teeming ecosystem – and gaze up at the snowcapped Olympic Mountains glistening in the sun. And we realize that all of this is interconnected and must be protected for all time. — Kahuna Dave, Beach Bum and CEO, Alki Surf Shop

Alki Beach Sunset © terri nakamura - small

Apple

Apple’s recycling efforts recovered 89 million pounds of materials in 2015, including copper, silver, aluminum, steel, zinc, and $40 million worth of gold.

A commercial featuring Siri and promoting “Liam,” debuted today. Liam is a robot designed to dismantle and recycle iPhones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99Rc4hAulSg

Siri and Liam commercial

Amazon

Amazon is always on the lookout for ways to reduce the company’s impact on the environment.

  • Shipping packages are made from recovered fiber content, and are 100 percent recyclable
  • Amazon incorporates sustainable and eco-friendly materials in their buildings (six of their buildings have been awarded LEED Gold certification)
  • They make “Green” products available to consumers (www.amazon.com/greeAmazon Earth Day Bookn).

Today, Amazon offers “The Four Seasons – An Earth Day Interactive Children’s Storybook” as a free download.

Google

One of Google’s goals for the products they create is to be good for the environment. A few points worth noting:

  • Google has been carbon neutral since 2007.
  • They are the largest corporate buyers of renewable energy on the planet.
  • Their data centers use 50 percent less energy than typical data centers.

“We live on a beautiful planet, and it’s the only one we’ve got,” says Sophie Diao, 2016 Google doodler.

To see a history of Google Earth Day doodles, visit: http://time.com/4304384/google-doodle-earth-day-2016/

Sophie Diao Google Doodler Earth Day 2016

Value Village 

A “clothing spill” appeared yesterday on Alki Beach. Electric Coffin, a creative company whose efforts were sponsored by Value Village, was deployed to create installation art made of discarded/donated clothing. The conical spirals appeared to be “poured” from an oil barrel into a “pool” of colored clothing at the base. Informational oil-barrel lids told more of the story to passersby. The work brings attention to the volume of textile waste generated by people each year, which averages to be 80 pounds per person in North America.

Sidewalk Art - composite © Terri Nakamura-small

Verizon 

In honor of Earth Day 2016, Verizon has made a commitment to plant 50,000 trees this year.

But on an everyday basis, Verizon is a good corporate and global citizen that works to protect our planet as well as better serve their customers. A few statistics of note:

  • Verizon has 206 Energy Star-certified stores, offices and centers
  • 289 of their retail stores are LEED-certified
  • Verizon has reused, repurposed or recycled 50 million mobile devices to date
  • Employees have collected and recycled 2.1 million pounds of e-waste.

Verizon impacts and how to make a difference

 

Whether you did something to honor Earth Day, or if  you did nothing more than enjoy family, friends and colleagues and the world around you, I hope we can all do things in the future to help make it possible to celebrate many more.


Apple, Google and Verizon images sourced at URLs cited; Alki and Value Village images shot by Terri Nakamura, using a Samsung Galaxy 7, courtesy of Verizon Wireless.

I’m proud to participate as a member of Verizon’s social media outreach team. My posts are about my own personal experiences.  No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

More about Terri:

Why “Better” Matters

Especially When it Comes to Creating Memories

Abandoned after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1981, our Randle home sat empty for a decade before we rescued it in 1991. It was a falling-down wreck when we bought it—so decrepit it wasn’t even included in the valuation of the property.

The house as we found it

The porches had fallen down, the foundation had slipped, and only the moss kept the roof intact.

Despite that, our family and friends enjoyed long weekends in this idyllic getaway two hours from Seattle. Some of our best times were when it was still just a “stationary tent,” with no doors, windows, electricity, running water or indoor plumbing.

Porch columns and door on the floor

Looking toward the fireplace; new window; porch supports & door on the floor.

Drilling the well

We hauled water until we hired a water witcher and ended up drilling a 165-foot-deep well.

We cooked on the campfire, used Coleman lanterns, hauled in 5-gallon containers of water, and slept on the floor in sleeping bags. It felt like going to summer camp.

Kids at the rope swing

Our kids with a group of their buddies, gathered at the rope swing.

Horsfalls around the campfire

A family gathering to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. Cooking on an open fire was delicious. Or maybe it was because we were so hungry?

Jaguar at Randle

Crazy, but our only cars were David’s Jaguar and my BMW. Not the greatest cars for camping adventures, but the Jag was a great cruise-mobile. Newly graded land in the background.

The property had a two-hole outhouse built in 1940, which we resurrected and used. Because few things are more “fun” than going outside in the middle of the night, carrying a flashlight, to use a spooky old outhouse! 

The outhouse

Erin and Wendy near the fire pit, with our two-hole outhouse in the distance

We had many adventures, like a death-defying trip to Burley Mountain lookout where, in one sweeping vista, we could see three magnificent mountains—Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. One time we rescued our kids and a friend as they crossed a field unaware of a bull grazing nearby. We spent long days hanging out at Yellow Jacket Ponds, fishing for trout, playing in the water, then coming back to the house to fry fresh fish for dinner.

Burley Mountain lookout

The lookout at Burley Mountain allowed unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains and forests—important for spotting fires. Christina and Charley rest in the shade.

View from Burley Mountain

Andrew and Erin goofing around, with the crater of Mt. St. Helens in the distance.

Boys Fish Randle

Andrew, Max, Stuart and Charley with the day’s catch; Rusty in the corner.

We captured rubber boas*, and watched bats descend at dusk to feast on insects. We caught frogs, lizards, garter snakes and crickets that occupied our “guest aquarium” until they were released before heading back to Seattle. And we foraged for wild berries, fruit and nuts growing on our land. It was the complete antithesis of life in the city.

Rubber boa

This is the second rubber boa we caught— much smaller than the first. They’re beautiful snakes. 

We spent two decades restoring the house, and eventually furnished it with hand-me-downs from our Seattle home, plus artifacts lovingly collected over the years. It felt very familiar and homey to us. However by 2013, with both boys grown and gone, we weren’t spending as much time at our country home. So I decided to try listing it on AirBNB — and quickly learned we weren’t really prepared.

Randle outside

After righting the foundation, rebuilding the porches and chimney, roofing and painting.

We loved Randle “as is.” We viewed it through the lens of our own memories and experiences—and not through the eyes of strangers.

Our first guest gave us a forgiving review. The next was brutal, and though I was upset by it, she was right: the house wasn’t ready for prime time. Thus began my quest to revamp it to create the “best guest experience” we could offer.

Randle living room

This is the same view as the second image from the top—looking toward the fireplace. We gathered the rocks and had a local stone mason set them. “The Orr House” oar is an homage to “Mrs. Orr,” former occupant and whom we believe to be a benevolent spirit at the house.

I began by replacing the bedding and linens, and expanded from there, doing what we could to make people feel welcomed and help ensure a pleasant stay. I worked hard, along with David and our property manager, Cathy Kane, to achieve “super host” status! It’s an accomplishment that requires continued hard work to retain.

Super host 2

Super-host status is fleeting. You have to work hard to hang on to it!

People naturally shop around for the best deals, and we think they recognize the value in staying in our home. There are nearby rentals that are more or less expensive, but none offer quite the same spaces and experiences. Pet owners love that their dogs can safely romp on 22 acres of land, pretending they are their wild ancestors on the hunt. And looking out across the Big Bottom Valley in the morning to see a herd of elk is an amazing treat.

In terms of recognizing value—we’re grateful to Verizon for being the only proven carrier in Randle. I routinely remind our guests to bring lots of quarters for the pay phone in town if they have AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile.  We put a positive spin on the lack of cell service by positioning it as a “digital detox” experience, but the truth is, we love that Verizon sees value in serving areas like Randle, where none of the other major carriers are to be found. We regard it as our lifeline to the civilized world.

It’s been a 25-year journey so far. For us, we’ve found #BetterMatters—especially when it comes to memories. And chorus frogs singing you to sleep.

Christina on the rope swing

Christina insisted on wearing her velvet dress and patent-leather shoes on the rope swing—even at night!


*Rubber boas are the only North American boa snakes. They have prehensile tails and are very, very cool!

All Photos © Terri Nakamura 1991 through 2016

We’ve been Verizon customers since 2002 when Andrew began as a cadet at West Point. As part of an awesome group of Verizon influencers, I’m grateful to Verizon for giving me the opportunity to use and test some of their awesome devices and tech. No additional compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

More about Terri:

Shopping for a Living

Skybridge cropped

How do products end up in stores?

For nearly 20 years I created product labels and packaging. One of my clients, John Matthys, was a great mentor and friend. One of the things he championed was real-life market testing.

What is market testing?

The traditional way to test customer response was with focus groups.

Focus group testing enlists qualified participants who meet certain demographic criteria (age, gender, income levels, etc.). They’re assembled to view and respond to visual, conceptual, or theoretical goods or situations. Clients and research analysts often will watch through a two-way mirror, while participants offer feedback that helps companies anticipate how their products or services will perform.

It’s very expensive.

John realized the huge amount of money his company was paying to conduct focus groups exceeded the cost of actually producing products and placing them onto store shelves. What better feedback is there than getting real-life responses from his actual customers? So that’s what he did.

Market research and intuition

At our store, Alki Surf Shop, my husband, David Horsfall, and I have employed John’s strategy with many of our products. In addition, we also pay attention to trends, and stock inventory compatible with our store’s retro-modern brand and encompassing “Seattle, surf culture, beach and fun.”

Recently I spent four days at the Seattle Gift Show (pictured above). Shows like the Seattle Gift Show are for retail stores and businesses that sell merchandise to consumers. They are not open to the general public. There is an eclectic group in attendance. It’s akin to belonging to a special club where the members have something special in common: they’re all kind of crazy. I say that because retail is not for weenies. There are many easier ways to make money, but they’re maybe not as much fun.

Seen at the Seattle Gift Show

Tiny sample of things we saw at the Seattle Gift Show while shopping for Alki Surf Shop

I personally don’t enjoy shopping for sport. So if I find something I like, I’ll buy 2, 3, or even 9 of the same exact thing.

But the gift show isn’t like shopping for yourself. It’s more like you’re shopping to buy something for a friend, but you don’t know who the friend is, and you don’t know what the friend likes.

So you end up choosing things that you like, or imagine THEY would like. It’s a bit like mind reading. David often says I’m prescient. However, when it comes to buying for retail, it’s a semi-informed roll of the dice.

Shopping to buy for a store is hard work. We have ideas of what we might want, then search through myriad vendors and options. We compare sources, prices, quality and terms. Then if we decide to sell an item, we order it, price it, add it to our inventory, merchandise it, and track its sales.

Our real-life business education

As retail storeowners, we meet many nice, friendly people from all over the world. The flip side is, we devote so much time to nurturing this thing we’ve birthed, it leaves us with just a fraction of the free time we once had. That means we are spending much of our time with strangers, rather than family or friends.

That being said, we’re fortunate to have friends who are also fellow store and restaurant owners. They understand the relentless work it takes to make a business like ours succeed. They’ve shared their experiences to help us avoid mistakes, and generously given us great advice and support.

There’s a widely quoted statistic attributed to Bloomberg, that says eight out of 10 entrepreneurs who launch businesses fail within the first 18 months. Having recently passed that milestone, and seeing our sales increasing year-over-year, David and I feel slightly more confident about what we’re doing.

It’s a continual learning experience that’s both challenging and fun.

See how it all comes together

We’re gearing up for spring and summer and hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area. We’ll have new items from the Seattle Gift Show on our shelves, and you’ll have the opportunity to be part of our real-life market testing.

There won’t be any two-way mirrors or research analysts. But you will be greeted with a friendly “Aloha!”


Postscript

This blog post went through seven revisions and was written entirely on a Motorola Droid Turbo 2 provided to me by Verizon Wireless.

It was fun writing in a café with only the Droid, a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, while curious onlookers stole glances!

Droid cropped

Working at Teavana in Seattle’s University Village, home to a Verizon Smart Store Plus

You can learn more about the Droid Turbo 2, the smartphone with the unbreakable screen, by visiting Verizon Wireless.


Disclosure: As a member of a great group of Verizon influencers, I’m invited to share my honest thoughts on cool products to use and test. No additional compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

All Photos @ Terri Nakamura 2016

More about Terri:

 

20 Great Gifts for Tech-Lovers

Ideas Starting at $10 —  10 Days to Shop!

There’s a Verizon “Smart Store Plus” in my favorite Seattle shopping place—University Village. Think: Apple Store with a wide range of brands and products.

The fact that there are gobs of cool things there inspired me to put together this gift guide. You can find something for every geek on your list.

Prices were noted at the time the post was written. For specials, check this link. (Free shipping on all online orders—some items may be online only.)


1 verizon-silicone-cover-samsung-galaxy-s-6-edge-plus-iset-samg928vmsilblk

The $10 case I bought for my S6 Edge+

1. Cases for every budget — starting at $9.99 — Do you need a case to simply protect from scuffs, or do you work in a profession where your phone takes a beating? Looking for designer bling, or do you need a “power safety net?” With myriad choices, here’s a tip: decide what’s important—brand, color, features, materials, budget—then search accordingly.

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2 Micro SD Memory Card Reader and 128 GB Micro SD

San Disks come in lots of sizes

2. SanDisks — start at $12.99 — Everyone needs space! When a family member or friend finds one of these in their Christmas stocking, they’ll say, “Thanks for the Memory!” SanDisk offers a range from 32 to 128 GB. They’re useful and they make great stocking stuffers, too.

3 verizon-4-8a-vehicle-charger-white-iset-vpc48wht 5 $19.99

3. 4.8A vehicle Charger with Dual Output — (5★) $19.99 — Two is better than one, right? A vehicle charger with dual output means you can charge both your phone and tablet while you’re on the go! It has a charging indicator showing when it’s fully charged, and comes in six colors—white, blue, red, pink, black and yellow.

4 Verizon Gift Cards4. Verizon Gift Cards — From $25  — When you aren’t sure what that someone on your list wants, but you know they love tech— gift cards can be a great choice. They don’t expire, and are available for $25, $50, $75 or $100. The cards can be used online or in-store to buy things, or even be used to pay your Verizon bill.

5 Sol Republic Tracks Headphones 5 $29

 

5. Sol Republic Tracks Headphones — (5★) $29.98 – (70% off – reg. $99.98) — Right now Sol Republic Tracks Headphones are available online at a ridiculously inexpensive price. With convenient playback controls and phone compatibility, you’ll experience a great range of sound from base to treble. They’re highly rated and going fast!

6 Chromecast $35

6. Chromecast — $34.99 (4★) — Good things come in small packages. Chromecast is an inexpensive way to screencast—the ability to view content from your phone onto your television. It works with Android 2.3+, iOS 6.0+, Windows and Mac smartphones, tablets and laptops. Out of stock? The Belkin Miracast (4) does the same thing at $59.99, and includes an HDMI and USB cables.

7 JBL Clip+ Bluetooth Speaker

7. JBL Clip+ Bluetooth Speaker — $39.99 — Do you need to buy a great gift for a music lover who is on the go? Super light, rugged and powerful, the Clip+ includes a carabiner to attach to your backpack or clothes. Fully charged, it will provide about 5 hours of play. It has a fun, compact design and comes in five colors: red, grey, blue, purple and black. Compatible with your phone.

8 ZAGG Invisible Shield

8. Invisible Shield Privacy Glass for iPhone 6s and 6sPlus (4★) $44.99 — One of the icky things about screen protectors is, they can look smudgy. Invisible Shield’s tinted protective glass keeps prying eyes from viewing your screen via a two-way privacy filter. It also repels skin oils, so it’s easy to apply and keep clean. In fact, it’s so good that ZAGG will replace worn or damaged Invisible Shield glass for the life of your device. (Models available for other devices.)

9 Travel Rockstar $59

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9. Belkin Travel Rockstar ­— $59.99 — 
Turn one outlet into two. As a portable power pack, the Travel Rockstar uses a built-in battery to provide 3,000 mAh to your USB-enabled device. It’s a convenient way to give your smartphone or tablet a power boost while traveling for fun or pleasure, or even on your commute.

10 LG Tone Pro Bluetooth Stereo Headset10. LG Tone Pro Bluetooth Stereo Headset — (4.5★) $59.99 Regularly $69.99 — Tone Pro has neck-behind, wireless bluetooth stereo headset with Harmon Kardon signature sound. It has a MEMS (MicroElectrical-Mechanical System) microphone, ensuring phone clarity. Enjoy up to 23 hours of standby; 16 hours of talk time; and up to 10.5 hours of music playback. Charge up to 100% in less than two hours.

11 Mophie Powerstation Plus 3 $99


11. Mophie Powerstation Plus 3x — (4★
) $99.00 — Do you know a battery daredevil? One who lets their phone battery experience near death on a daily basis? iPhone or Android compatible and true to its name—this back up battery will fully recharge your smartphone 3 times. It seems like connectors  vanish when you need them, but don’t worry with the Mophie Powerstation Plus — the connectors are built in.


12 Blue Ant Pump Mini HD Audio Sportbuds $9912. Blue Ant Pump HD Audio Sport buds MINI — $99.00 — 
The Plantronics Fit bluetooth stereo headset looked good, but this Blue Ant option was recommended at $30 less. Pump HD’s sports-inspired, sweat-proof (IP54-rated) earbuds deliver powerful audio. It delivers up to six-hours of playtime on a quick, one-hour charge. There are three sizes of the ComfortSeal ear tips, and SuperFit Stabilizers ensure a great fit.

13 FITBIT Flex Wireless Activity+Sleep Wristband 4.5 $99
13. Fitbit Charge HR — (4★)  Now  $129.99 — Regularly $149.99 — This advanced tracking wristband provides your automatic, continuous heart rate and tracks your activity right on your wrist all day, during workouts and beyond. Log your meals, track your calories, and even evaluate your sleep — now $20 off.

14 Canary all in one Home Security System 4 $199


14. Canary all-in-one home security system — (4★
) Now $179.99 — Regularly $249.99  — This beautifully designed home security device seems to do everything. It’s easy to set up, too. The HD wide-angle camera lets you see, hear and stream, with the option to record and store. It also monitors air quality, temperature and humidity. The sleek design is unobtrusive and makes it look more like a speaker than a camera.

15 Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Starter Kit $199

15. Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Starter Kit — $199.99 — Ease into sleep; wake gently. Adjust the ambience, or make your home look occupied. Paint with light and change colors — all remotely controlled using your phone. Very nifty! The starter kit contains 3 wireless bulbs and is Apple Homekit and Nest Learning Thermostat-compatible.

16 Ultimate Ears Megaboom 4.5 $249


16. UE Megaboom — (4.5★
) Now $249.99  — Regularly $299.99 — BOOM is right! The volume and sound quality of this UE bluetooth speaker is unreal. The cylinder-shape projects sound in all directions, allowing you to hear music at high-volume without distortion. In 2014 I found few speakers that could pair with more than one speaker. UE Megaboom lets you pair up to 8 speakers! It comes in 4 colors: red, blue, purple and black.

17 Moto260 2nd Gen Smart Watch

Love the bespoke Horween leather band. 

 

17. Moto360 2nd Gen Smart Watch 46mm — (4★) $329.99 — Simply beautiful. Compatible with a huge range of devices, this elegant smart watch is handsome and affordable. Moto360 comes in two sizes (42mm and 46mm), and delivers notifications from your phone via bluetooth or wifi. It’s also a fitness tracker and responds to gestures and voice commands.

18 Moto X 2nd Gen $449


18. Moto X (2nd Gen) — (4★
) $449.99** — The Moto X (2nd Gen) smartphone is beautifully designed and affordable. The 5.2-inch, 1080 HD display means visual content looks great, and its 13 MP camera can be activated with a twist of your wrist. It responds to voice commands and will even read text aloud. It has a metal frame, and you can choose genuine materials, like wood or leather, to fit your lifestyle.

19 BB-8 Droid Turbo2 4 $624


19. Droid Turbo 2 Designed By You — (4★
) $624** — Special Edition Star Wars: The Force Awakens Droid Turbo 2 is now available! I saw this device dropped from 8 feet onto a concrete slab. Not a scratch. It has the first shatterproof display and you can custom design your phone with than 1,000 combinations. It has a 5.9″1440 x 2560 display and whopping 21 MP camera! Works great with the Moto360 smart watch.

20 Galaxy S6 Edge+ 4.5 $768

20. Galaxy S6 Edge Plus — (4.5★) $768** — There are myriad reasons why this device is one of Samsung’s flagship phones. I love mine! The beautiful 5.7″ Quad HD display (2560 x 1440) is stunning, making it an amazing entertainment device. The 16 MP camera shoots video in 4K. (Read more about it here.) The S6 Edge Plus works in more than 200 countries. Ready for a splurge? This is it!



Besides a huge array of phones, gadgets and accessories, the University Village Verizon Store offers tech support, workshops and demos.

The items on this list only scratch the surface. I hope you find some gifts to help you get your holiday shopping holi-done!

★  Ratings based on consumer feedback. New items are not rated.
*  Qualcomm® Quick Charge 2.0 (5V/9V) device required.
** List price. Contract/monthly prices vary by device

Thanks to Jathan Lopez, Solutions Manager, and Specialist Calvin Li, both at the University Village Verizon Store, who contributed some of their favorites to my list.

Verizon Wireless has given me the opportunity to use some of their products.

More about Terri:

A Shooting Star

Samsung Galaxy Edge 6 Plus, Part 2

Edge6plus on Alki Shirt cropped

The S6 Edge+ on the celestial backdrop of an Alki Tee

I’m among the legion of baby boomers who have chosen iPhone for its ease of use, clean design, reliability and impeccable craftsmanship. The iPhone is a symbol of prestige, too. They’re expensive. Having the latest and greatest iPhone says, “I can afford it.”

iPhone isn’t just for boomers—it appeals to everyone. The millennials in my life, all now earning solid incomes, love their iPhones. I’ve seen a group them influence a lone Android user to switch.

So, how can an Apple fangirl learn to love “Android?” 

I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge Plus (S6 Edge+) for about two months. I was able to “get on board” quickly after an initial adjustment to the user interface, and the more I use it, the more I like it.

20151029_162515_resized

Edge notifications save your battery

I’m spoiled by some of the conveniences, like the notification feed on the S6 Edge+ screen (visible without opening my phone), or the bar along the top displaying icons for emails, messages or updates. With a simple wipe down from the top of the screen, it opens small summaries that I can select and open, or swipe out of the way.

And even the keyboard seems friendlier. I don’t have to toggle to access numbers, and emojis are easily accessible. Predictive text  is automatically on, and I like how the device seems to learn from my activity what I might say, or which hashtags I might use. Some people hate predictive text, but it works for me. If you don’t like it, you can easily disable this feature.

A great comparison of the Apple and Samsung devices can be found here.

The S6 Edge+ camera is amazing.

The image resolution on the S6 Edge+ is 16 megapixel (MP) and it shoots video in 4K.

What does 16 MP mean? 16 megapixels captures twice the amount of visual information compared to an iPhone 6. Why should you care about the “pixel depth,” or the amount of megapixels?  For one, it allows you to capture enough information so you can enlarge and crop a picture and still retain sharpness. It gives you more room to play around with the photos you shoot.

More MP also enables the image quality to be closer to the quality of film. More MP makes it possible to blow up an image and to turn into a large print or poster, retaining crispness.

The beautiful high definition display has 3.6 times more pixels than the iPhone 6.

Its clarity is stunning. When our youngest son stopped by few weeks ago, it was the first thing he noticed when he picked up and inspected the S6 Edge+.

And as I mentioned in my earlier post, the screen casting feature works fantastically! Screen casting means you can share what’s on your phone onto a smart TV. That means it’s large enough for everyone to enjoy. (How to mirror)

Edge6plus camera settings cropped

Menu of some of the options available

More great features for the taking

Object tracking autofocus will follow what you’re shooting and keep it in focus as it moves; and optical image stabilization will keep your image steady. Anyone with active kids or grandkids will really appreciate these two features when shooting video.

Virtual shot is cool, too. You can shoot a stationary object by circling it, and get a dimensional view of it. Wild!

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 1.10.57 AM.png

Virtual Shot captures an amazing 360 degree view

With the holidays quickly approaching, I’m sure some great deals can be found on the S6 Edge+. The regular retail price is $768 (slightly more than the iPhone 6s Plus at $749.99). But you get an awful lot of bang for your buck, including Samsung Pay.

Samsung Pay

You can leave your credit cards at home when you use Samsung Pay. it uses your fingerprint to identify you, so it’s very secure. It didn’t take me long to get into the habit of using it because it’s super easy and convenient. Samsung Pay is accepted by more merchants than Apple Pay. and works well with older retail credit card terminals.

It’s fun it is to see the raised eyebrows from merchants who totally don’t expect it to work. Two days ago I went into Walgreens, and the cashier tried to get me to hold the phone up against the NFC receiver. I simply held the phone over the credit card swipe area, and Voila! He just sighed and said technology is changing so quickly—it’s hard to keep up!

So I hope this post is helpful. Leave a shout here if you have questions about this device, and if I can’t answer them, I’ll find someone who can!

As Samsung says, it’s not a phone—it’s a galaxy.


Verizon Wireless has given me the opportunity to use some of their products.

More about Terri:

Experiencing Life on the Edge

David with Edge 6 Plus cropped

I think I’ve mentioned, my husband is somewhat of a neo-Luddite. So when I handed him the new Samsung Edge 6 plus (S6 Edge+) to take with him to our Randle property on AirBNB, he offered a pained expression that said, “Oh, no. This is new. I don’t like it.”

We sat down and I recorded his fingerprint before he left Seattle. He didn’t understand WHY, but went through the drill. Well acquainted with entering a password to get into a device, he thought it was pretty cool when he found out he could unlock the phone by simply using his fingerprint!

The fingerprint sensor that works so perfectly on the iPhone is now also working perfectly on the S6 Edge+! Yay! (Though it is an outstanding device, the Galaxy Note 4 fingerprint sensor was tempermental.)

There are many cool things about the S6 Edge+, which by the way, is the first Android phone I’ve used that I actually LOVE.

First, the “edge” in the name refers to the rounded sides of its elegant front face. It’s not just pretty. It feels nice in your hand. It feels luxurious.

The device feels light, but sturdy.

The “edge” on the S6 Edge+ is beautiful industrial design, but actually offers functionality. It saves power because you can access information, notifications and important contacts without drawing energy to light the entire display. The most obvious thing: the Night Clock quietly displays the date, time and battery power left in the phone. Very convenient! Also, you can set it so the edge will silently light up when messages or notifications arrive.

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How do you read notifications along the edge? At first I didn’t think it would be practical or useful. But if you swipe your finger back and forth along the edge three times, it brings up the clock, but also offers news, comments on posts or whatever you adjust to appear in the feed—again without lighting the entire screen. Very cool!

Another great thing is the “tabs.” I set it up the “people” edge, that lists my favorite people (including family members and Reg Saddler @zaibatsu) and the “apps” edge, which currently includes Google Play Music, email, AirBNB, Instagram and my photo gallery.

People and App edge

I’ve always used iTunes for music, but at Reg’s urging a few years ago, I synced my music library with Google Play. And am I glad I did! With the Google Play “Music” app, you can set it to create a station based on a favorite song in your library. My mind was blown when it delivered a ton of great, NEW music I’d never heard before—truly stunning discoveries!

The 16MP back camera is great, and the 5MP front camera is solid. When the S6 Edge+ is asleep, simply tap the home button twice to open the camera. By clicking the arrow at the top of the screen, the in-context explanations of various features are easily understood and accessible. Tap again to collapse the information. Swipe the main screen from left to right to reveal options like pro settings, panorama mode, virtual shot, selective focus and other features, including “Live Cast.”

Similar to Meerkat or Periscope (sans social integration), Live Cast, lets you post the video to YouTube for later viewing.

Oh, and it’s easy to take a screenshot on the S6 Edge+. Just hold down the “home” and power lock keys simultaneously.

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One of the most fun features is “casting.” If you have a smart TV where the phone and TV are on the same wifi network, you can play whatever you’re watching on your phone onto the TV screen. And I’ve learned you can reverse the process—having something from the TV appear on your phone. It was really fun to be in the University Village Verizon “Smart Store Plus” in Seattle, and broadcast the time lapse video of Jimmy Kimmel’s NY set being built, onto a big screen across the room.

Taking on Apple Pay, Samsung has integrated Samsung Pay into theS6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5. It allows you to load your debit or credit cards and use the magnetic credit card swiper on credit card terminals.

No, your phone doesn’t go through the swiper! But it magically communicates via uniquely created tokens for each transaction. At our store we have a new chip-and NFC-compatible card swiper, but Samsung Pay actually works with old-school credit card swipers, even if your phone is in an Otter Box case!

Once you’ve loaded Samsung Pay and connected a credit card, a translucent tab appears at the bottom of your home screen. At any time you can swipe up and instantly use your credit card by scanning your fingerprint.

UPDATE: 10/31/15—I used Samsung Pay at the veterinarian’s office today. They use Square. It worked FLAWLESSLY and the other animal owners in the reception area were amazed. The staff gushed, “We’ve never seen that before!” It was awesome! NOTE: it does “not” work with credit card swipers built into a keyboard or monitor—(does it, Elena?)

The S6 Edge+, with its 5.7″ screen, is a terrific entertainment device, but with its split-screen functionality, makes it a great business tool as well. Imagine being able to have two windows open, and do “live’ drag-and-drop from one window into the next. Very sweet!

There are myriad other great things about this phone. I’ve just scratched the surface, and continue to discover new features that are mind boggling. I can honestly say, as a 3-decade-plus Mac user, and dedicated iPhone user, this is a terrific device that I think many iPhone users could easily come to love. I know I have, and I’d say that even if Verizon hadn’t sent this product for me to experience.


Until November 15, 2015, you can receive a free wireless charging pad (value: $49.95), by loading Samsung Pay on your and connecting it to one payment source! I went through the process, and Samsung promptly sent an email to verify some information. It was a piece of cake!

Free Charging pad

Eligible devices include the Edge6, S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5, and Galaxy 6 on Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular. Connectable cards include American Express; and Visa and Mastercard issued by banks listed in the above offer.

Claim Forms must be submitted by 11:59:59 PM ET on November 15, 2015 to be valid


Photos shot with the Samsung Edge 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. 

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