Listening to Music While Using iPad

I wanted to see if I could listen to music while working on the iPad. I am currently typing this post while listening to Amazon Music. So the answer is yes, the iPad will multi task for this purpose.

I also just discovered another cool trick. I took a screen shot and saved it to my One Drive account. I was than able to add One Drive to my WordPress blogging app. This allowed me to add the screen shot above to this post.

When you begin to force yourself to use a device for a week I feel you will learn more of it’s capabilities. We often buy these devices with some use in mind and they are built for so much more.

Do I feel that it is a computer replacement? That depends on what you do with your laptop? But for now I will keep working to see what the iPad can do for me.

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January 11 2019 Work Day One

This is the first picture of my work desk with the iPad connected to a monitor. I talked about the device I am using to connect to the monitor in a earlier post.

So what was my first impression of connecting to a larger screen? I truly found myself looking at the iPad screen more than the monitor. At times I found that even typing on the external keyboard the iPad was keeping up but the external monitor was not.

For all of the server admins out there reading this post I found an App that is worth checking out. AD Assist. It connects quickly to your Active Directory Server and allows you to create and modify accounts. I use it as I am moving around to reset passwords.

I do still have more testing to do with the iPad and using it as my go to device for one week. But I am posting this using it and so far I find it quick to open Word Press and quick to access my pictures and create a post.

I will be looking for a powered USB hub so I can try to import video from my GoPro and other action cameras. I want a light weight video editor for the road. More on that experiment later.

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A Week With The iPad

I know I have not written for awhile. I have been very busy working for a new school district. We are in the early stages of rebuilding the entire network from the ground up. I am in charge of all the iPads for this new district. I do use what is called a MDM or Mobile Device Manager to manage all of the iPads in the 7 buildings. Of course when you are rebuilding there are draw backs. We set up a new MDM Server and now we have to touch every iPad in the district to connect all of them to the new server.

Since I am also now a Technology Coach I will be working to only use this iPad set up for at least a week. I want this to be my main device for my day to day tasks. This also means I will be looking for apps to help me solve some of my issues that I have to deal with.

It’s time to move on and begin setting this iPad up to be able to handle my daily tasks. I will be posting a list of apps that I will be using. If you work in the tech field you know this might be a challenge! But if I want to help support teachers who are using iPads in the class room then I must be able to use this device for most of my work also.

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Internet Web Browsers

Sea Monkey

Internet Web Browsers are not all created equal. As you can see from this picture I am testing out Sea Monkey. So why in this day and age of Chrome, Firefox and IE would I even want to pull another browser into the my life? Well the truth is I needed a web editor because I was asked to create a web site.

Within a few minutes I was using Sea Monkey to build an index page for the site. I is very easy to use with all of the normal drag and drop features that you would expect it to have.

Now for web browsing. I just looked for extensions and they are limited at best. I feel that this is because the project is still very young. Hey Chrome had to start somewhere. But I didn’t download it for that. I am very happy using Chrome which I have been using for years. But for editing and creating a web site it works very well and best of all it is Open Source so you can use it for FREE.

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10″ Kindle Fire HD

Kindle Fire

I recently turned in an iPad I was using from the job location I was working at. I told my wife that we should go out and buy an iPad of our own. We used the iPad every day while walking on the treadmill. As I was doing some research on tablets I ran into something that I knew was out I just didn’t know if it could replace the trusty iPad. While move over iPad I found a tablet that will do everything I need it to do at a fraction of the cost.

Meet the 10″ Kindle Fire. Instead of spending $350.00 for the iPad I found the 10″ Kindle Fire on sale at Best Buy for $119.00. It comes pre-loaded with most of the apps I use, Amazon Video, Amazon Music and a few others. My wife likes to watch programs on NBC and it was easy to install that FREE app as well. I even found a FREE HD YouTube app that I installed.

I am not writing this to do a full review but I can say I used it this morning on the treadmill and was able to watch the series I am watching on Amazon Video with no issues and the HD screen looks really good. I was even able to connect my Bluetooth headphones up just like any other device.

I will be doing some more testing with the device but for what we bought it for it works very well. So if you mainly consume on your tablet such as watching videos or checking email or even reading books and checking FaceBook than this might just be the device for you and you are going to save a lot of money. I give this device ten thumbs up and would recommend it to anyone.

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Word Processing Programs

Office Map

I can never get over how many college professors tell their students that they will only accept Microsoft documents! They should be telling their students they will only accept Microsoft formatted documents such as .doc or .docx. This will save the students and their parents a ton of cash. They will not have to run out and buy Microsoft office just because a professor is uneducated with all of the other programs out there. The simple truth is that all of the major word processing programs in the World today can export to a MS Word formatting of .doc or .docx.

Our middle daughter has been using her Chromebook for 4 years of college and now 2 more years of a masters program and she submits all of her work in Word formatted documents. Her professor never knows or has to know that she is writing all of her work using Google Docs. Oh NO WHAT! Yes Google Docs. She just selects email as an attachment and selects send as MS Word Document.

If you don’t want to use Google Docs download the FREE LibreOffice program. It works on every operating system and will cost you nothing, yes FREE! Before you run out and buy any software look at free open source solutions. I am starting to enjoy using Linux more and more. It just feels fast and it seems not to get viruses or spyware.

I hope this post will open your eyes and save you some money. Even for your business you can use these tools to get the job down and save on the bottom line.

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Using The iPad Day to Day

I was asked why I didn’t do my experiment for one week with the iPad? The truth is I didn’t get the video connector until this Friday. So why did I need the video connector? I wanted to increase my viewing size as you can see and put the iPad screen on a larger monitor. I am also using the on-screen keyboard to type this post because I can not use Grammarly with the external keyboard.

I am much more nervous using the iPad for a week then I was using the Chromebook. I think for things like email and web surfing I will be fine. I even found a tool that will allow me to work with Active Directory. It could be a great test to see if it could be done? But am I brave or crazy enough to give it a try?

To connect the iPad to the monitor I am using a lighting to VGA or HDMI unit we found on Amazon. At first, it was a little slow to connect but is now working fine. You do have to plug it into USB power, I plugged it into a USB port on my laptop or you can use a power block from any of your devices.

You can see from the picture that you can connect your iPad or phone to the device and send it to many places.

I am now wondering if I could edit video on the iPad? I know we have iMovie but how would I get my GoPro video to the device? Well, time will tell. And I hope I can use this iPad this week to give you more of my thoughts? And since I just completed this post using nothing but the on-screen keyboard I think I can do just find touch typing!

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Buying A Laptop

 

Laptops

Buying a laptop these days is a scary adventure. I think one of the reasons for this is that there are so many on the market. And with each laptop brand, there are so many prices. There are also so many sizes and weights to think about. I wanted to point out a few key points that you need to consider when buying a laptop.

First, let’s talk about pricing. Many times I see a person going out to buy a laptop based only on price. If you do this you will be very disappointed. Did you ever hear you get what you pay for? Well, cheap is cheap. That’s not to say you may not find a deal but make sure it is a deal on the laptop for want for the following reasons.

Second, is that screen. This is what you will be looking at for hours at a time. You need to find a screen that is easy on the eyes and has good depth and colors. You also have to make sure the screen is a comfortable size to view all day. I normally shop for the 13″ size screen. I find the 11″ too small and the 15″ too big and bulky to carry around.

Third, is the keyboard. You are going to be spending a lot of your time typing on the keyboard. You have to make sure keys don’t stick and have the right amount of travel. You will better understand travel when you test out the laptop at the store. Also, make sure the keyboards keys fit your fingers. If you have a larger hand you don’t want a keyboard with cramped keys.

Forth, battery life. We all hate when we are using a laptop and you are in the middle of a great creation or some work project and the battery dies. A good rule of thought for me is that the battery should get me through the normal 8 hour work day.

Fifth is the amount of RAM and hard drive space and today it should be a solid state drive or SSD. These drives are super fast and will make your laptop startup faster and the programs load quicker. Ram should be at least 8 GIG. Windows 10 likes to have room to breath and using only 4 GIG you will find times that the laptop seems to just sit there when you want it to be doing work.

Sixth and final thought. The weight of the laptop. You don’t want to break your shoulder every time you toss your bag over it. I have also seen many people choose not to take their laptop off their desk because it is too heavy to carry to a meeting. I normally work all day and everywhere on my laptops so it has to be light and portable.

At the end of the day buy a laptop that fits the way you work. Don’t buy a laptop to be part of some in a crowd. And don’t be afraid to spend a little more money to get a laptop that will last you for 3-5 years. And never skimp on the warranty you want to protect your investment.

 

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Chrome Book Day 7

Open Apps

Well, day 7! 1 full week of using only a Chromebook for all of my computing needs as a technologist. Pictures above is what you see when you hit the tile apps button on the Chromebook keyboard. I found this very useful and it can be found on just about all mainstream operating systems. I did use Beagle Term yesterday to program a new Cisco firewall using a serial to USB cable and it worked great. And I have said before now that you can install Andriod Apps the Chromebook feels more like a full computer. You have to watch because some of the Andriod Apps are written for a phone screen but many will go full screen.

Using this Dell 3380 has been fine. I do wish that they would have put a better screen on this machine. Reading the text is a little looking at the old VGA graphics of the past. But when I connected it to a good monitor I found that the resolution was great and more readable. Everything that you are going to do with a laptop of any maker will be fine using a Chromebook. So why on earth is anyone spending major dollars on other machines? I am still partial to my Macs at home because of my workflow in creating my videos and podcasts. And I still like my MacBook Air for the great keyboard. But workflows can be changed and buy a better Chromebook would solve the keyboard issue. Remember you get what you pay for. But as for the Chrome OS, it will and is a major player in computers. And I have seen in the hands of students they are doing great things with their Chromebooks.

So overall if you have been following this test you can see that the Chromebook is a machine that can be used every day for any type of computing. I will still be testing it out to see if I can use it for photo and video editing? If I come upon something to report about in these two areas I will report it here.

Thanks to Google for giving all computer users another outlet for computer usage. And if you are on the fence about buying a Chromebook, don’t be. Just grab one today you will be happy to live virus and spyware free.

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Chrome Book Day 6

Server Connect

I did a little experiment with File System For Windows which can be found inside of the file manager on the Chrome Book.

File System For Windows

You will need some information about the server you are connecting to. I found that using the servers IP address was the best way to connect. Leave the port number as the default. Use your network username and password, add the domain name and then the shared folder name. You can get all of this information from your IT department. Once all of the information is added click on the mount button.  Now when you open your file manager on the Chrome Book you will see the shared folder. You now can open any of the files from your server share just as you would from your Google Drive.

All of the items that I have shown so far are items that come with every Chrome Book and Chrome OS device. When you work with a device every day you will find ways to make it fit your daily computing needs. I have been so impressed that I am really looking into buying myself a shiny new Chrome Book. I am leaning towards the Asus C302CA. This Chrome Book is a 2 in 1 which means that it is a laptop and a tablet in one unit. You can find cheaper units but I want something with a great keyboard and now that we can install Andriod Apps it will also replace my iPad. I am sure I will give you more updates if or when I buy the unit.

Asus 302CA

The only drawback I see with this unit is that it has no standard USB ports and I have to buy some dongles. It also does not have an HDMI port so I will have to buy a USB-C to VGA and HDMI dongle. But from what I am seeing it is sleek and light. To be honest I still have to play with some video editing and photo editing tools so that I can take it with us on those long motorcycle trips and produce my videos.

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