Microsoft Surface Fits Where?

Surface

I was handed a Microsoft Surface at work and asked to find out where or how it would fit into our daily workflow. We now have multiple devices for every employee. So where will this device fit in and just how good is it? I have been using an iPad as my tablet for years and I make it work with apps that I use day to day. I can say with the Surface being a Windows device it makes more sense in business that is a Microsoft shop such as we are. The screen size seems a little larger than the iPad which is nice. And the keyboard is attached even with a magnet that is better than the one I carry around with the iPad. It is also nice that I can connect the Surface to the same docking system we are using for our Windows laptops. I might have to give that more of a try and make sure everything works. I did just notice that I need to find a way to turn off the trackpad when using a mouse?

As you might have guessed I am writing this posting using the Surface and I find the keyboard is not bad. It has a little spring action on this model but I think this model is a few years older but still working well. I did upgrade it to Windows 1903 and everything seems to be working well. I think with a little practice I can get used to the keyboard. I just got the touchpad turned off when the mouse is connected. Progress is a good thing.

I will give you more updates as I become more aware of how this device works with our office workflows and do some more testing with this device.

Will Google and Chromebooks Replace PC’s

Chomebooks

I was walking through Wal-Mart the other day and seen this rather large display of Chromebooks. If you don’t know what a Chromebook is or how they work I will give you a little insight.

A Chromebook runs the lite version of a FREE operating system. When you open the Chromebook it will turn on and be ready in seconds. You log into the Chromebook with a Google account or just think of this as your Gmail account. So this is not Windows or an Apple Mac. It is a Chromebook. With the Chromebook, almost everything you do will be online. This means you will work on documents or spreadsheets on a browser.

I often get asked the question. Can you install Windows games on the Chromebook? The simple answer is NO! But you can play thousands of online games. The next question. Can you install any programs on the Chromebook? Well, the good news is YES! A few years ago Google opened up the Play Store on the Chromebook and now you can install Android Apps on the Chromebook.

So your last question would be why would I buy a Chromebook? This question is easy. If you don’t need large powerful Windows programs or some program that runs on a Mac then the Chromebook can be for you. If you never want your computer to slow down again and never get a virus or pay for anti-virus than the Chromebook is for you. If you would like to pay as little as $150.00 for a laptop that will last you for years then the Chromebook is for you!

My final thought is that you can even now use Microsoft Office Online. Of course, you need a paid subscription but it works well. I need to look into buying another Chromebook for myself. Since I am not working in schools at this point I don’t get to get my hands on them enough.

Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Mini Computer

The Raspberry Pi Mini Computer. This is an invention that has been around for awhile. If was created to be used as a device to learn on. But I see it as so much more. I feel that we could use these with the concept of IOT (Internet Of Things). What is IOT it is a way to connect almost everything to the global network the Internet.

But it also is a great little mini computer that can be used for your everyday computing. Match this up with a case and you could attach it to the back of a monitor and have a little workstation for so many of today’s computer uses.

I have a thought to install Chromium which would make it a little Chrome Box. This OS is light weight and runs really fast. You could also install a stripped down version of Windows on this device but your not going to get great performance. You could also install a Linux Distro on the box and use it for so many tasks.

But what about using it to embed it into something else? Maybe your car, boat, washer or dryer? There are endless possibilities. Pick on up today and begin building the next big thing. May we will see you on Shark Tank?

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.

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.

 

Does Operating Systems Matter

Operating Systems

I have been working with computers since the early day’s of DOS, yes we didn’t even have a graphical user interface. When you wanted the computer to do something most of the time you would have to be able to write a program and then do the project.

Then came Apple and Windows with their pretty point and click graphical user interface. You wanted to open an application you simply double clicked on it and it opened. What was even more impressive was the fact that you could have multiple applications opened at the same time. Which I believe was the beginning of giving all of us a little OCD. This is because we could be working on one project and quickly switch to another application and look at the news. You may do this today? You are working on a large project and you open another tab and check your email or facebook?

At one time the operating system meant that you choose it because of the application you are used to using. Such as running Microsoft Windows because you are a Microsoft Office user. Or using a Mac because you enjoy using Final Cut Pro. Or you might have been a FREE type of person and you went with Linux?

In today’s modern computer world the operating system is really the less important thing on the computer. Why is this? Easy most software vendors have found that programming for the web is the best choice for their applications. I am working on a large database program now and after careful consideration, I decided to write it for any web browser. Why would I choose to do this? I am like the big guys. I want my application to work on any operating system as well as any device that may could be invented for years to come. As long as there is a way to view the Internet I can adjust my program to run on that device.

We see in schools today most of the daily work is done inside of the browser. We have Google Suite and Office 365. Kids take their tests using a web browser. Teachers are teaching from the web browser. So you can see that the operating system basically boils down to what you want to look at all day.

One last thought of today’s post. This is why when Google released the Chromebook it is such a great hit. Because people who use a computer know that the only place they will be spending their day is inside of a web browser and most people choose to use Google Chrome so why not buy a full function laptop for a few hundred dollars and put the saving into some other form of technology.

Will Robots Replace Humans

Service Robots

I have been watching some of the new releases from CES. I have been amazed by how many robots are being displayed this year. It reminds me of when computers or TV’s were the hot topics. I am not talking about a robot the sweeps your carpets or even ones that mow your lawn. I am talking about full-fledged service robots. These are robots that interact with people as well as provides a service to the food and hotel industries.

There is a hotel in Japan that is entirely run by robots. As soon as you check into the lobby you are greeted by a robot. There is a robot who will help take your baggage to the room. Then there are robots cleaning the rooms and bringing room service. I guess the only bright spot in all of this is that we will not have to tip the robot for the added services?

Next, I found a restaurant in Japan who are using robots to bring your food to the table, take your orders and even bus the table when you leave. It won’t be long before they are also cooking your food.

These robots from what I have seen stand four feet high, cost $5000.00 each and will last 5 years before needing to be replaced. If they were paying someone $10.00 an hour each year it would cost $20,800.00 for a human worker. Then we have to have human sick days built into that as well as vacations, taxes, and insurance. We can see just on a cost savings why these companies would be doing this. But where does it leave the human race?

We have seen for years where robotic arms do a lot of the manufacturing jobs in the USA. These machines have been putting the working man out of many companies. So with this write up you might think I am somehow excited? Not the case at all. I am really worried about our future generations growing up just to become people who service the robots that will be servicing all of us. Then what happens when the robots can service themselves?

Technology is a great thing. It helps us in our daily lives. And I see it is even good for doing tasks that we don’t want to give time to. But when I see this as a movement to replace us and take all of our jobs I get really worried. I just hope the government is making plans to have some sort of cash flow to give all Americans to allow us to live a normal happy life.

New Technology In 2018

2018 Tech

With each passing year, we always see new technology coming to our hands. I have to sit and wonder what will be next? Often I have people ask me what will be the next big thing? My reply is if I knew that I could be a very rich man. But I like most of you reading this normally sit back and waits to see what the next thing will be in technology.

Let me begin by saying this might be the year for VR, Virtual Reality? I think VR will be used for more than just gaming. I think we might see VR pushing its way into the entertainment world. This would be great to help bring back movie theaters. It might be for awhile anyway something that most of us do not have at home? Instead of just watching a movie we could be in the movie or a part of a scene?

The next push I see coming is flat everything. From flat card-like phones that we can roll up and put in your pocket to flat TV’s that will be hanging on the walls. Not flat as we now know, there will be paper flat that might be put up with double face tape?

My wish is that someone will invent a credit card system where there is no standard numbering system. I feel that credit card companies can come up with a chip that mixes your numbers up everytime you use it. As long as there is a standard numbering system hackers will be able to get those numbers and use them for whatever they wish.

I have been in technology working now for the past 25 years. I am like most of you who are always amazed by what comes out next. Just look at our camera’s we use every day. I now use a mirrorless that weighs almost nothing compared to the large Nikon I use to carry around. Now that smaller is better it is just easier to carry around.

I would like to know what you think might be coming to the technology landscape? Or do you have an idea of what we need that we do not already have? Only time will tell what the next big thing will be.

Happy Holidays Did You Remember Batteries

Batteries Chargers

It seems like today everything takes a battery? From a simple toy for the kids to that toothbrush you bought your spouse for Christmas. I remember years ago we forgot batteries for the kid’s toys only to be rushing out Christmas morning to buy some at a high priced convenience store. Now we move years later and everyone in the house is looking for a plug to charge something they are carrying or wearing. I guess the one positive thing to come out of all of these gadgets is that the battery companies and seeing stock prices go up, and that is good.

I find myself each night as many of you. I plug in my laptop, plug in my phone and take my watch off and connect it to its little cradle.  Then I can safely go to sleep knowing all my gadgets will be ready for me in the morning. One of the worse feelings is waking up and finding the plug was not all the way on my phone and it is running on fumes. Never fear I can plug it into my car on the way to work. Yes, we have become a battery/charger nation.

Sometimes I have to reflect back on the simple days. When you had to get up to change a channel on the TV, and when the phone rang we didn’t ask who’s phone was ringing we ran to the kitchen to answer it. When we left home we worried everyone was in the car not who gets to the car chargers first. But I must say I do enjoy the convenience of having a world of information in my pocket and now on my wrist. And I can honestly say since I have had my smartphone I have never been lost anywhere.

Let me hear how you handle a plugged in charged world that you live in? And have you ever thought of investing in a battery company?

Apple Watch Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor

This is my first crack at using the Activity Monitor while doing a workout. After walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes for a total of one mile. If you look at the green line it is supposed to move as you workout. As you can clearly see from the green bar it didn’t move at all?

What I do like about the Activity Monitor is that if you work at a desk job like I do it is nice that it tells me to stand every now and then. It also tracks when I walk around the campus which is a good thing. But the workout part bothered me so I had to learn how to use the watch to track my walking on the treadmill.

Workout App

Step over to the Workout App. The idea here is that you open the Workout App and select what kind of workout you are doing. As you can see I choose the Indoor Walk. Once you get on the treadmill you simply hit the green GO button and it begins to track your walk. I have to say it is pretty good a tracking what I did as you can see. When you are done with your exercise you simply hit the DONE button and it will record your workout.

Green Up

Now you can see that the Activity Monitor worked as it is supposed to. The Apple Watch so far is proven to be one of those gadgets that will help you get off the couch and move your body. I also have some other great apps that will help you lose weight and get your body moving.