Using Only An iPad For A Day

iPad

I think that I have tried this test before but to my defense, I was trying it for a week. During this test, I think I will scale this back a little. I will be going for one day.

Now everyone knows what I do for a living. I am a Technology Manager for a company with a World Wide reach. On my daily task list, I never know what will come up. I can be working on a server one minute and then have to work on a router in another country. So I will not only have to think about local connections I also have to consider dealing with remote connections to other parts of the World.

So you might ask why I am doing such a test? I want to be able to grab the iPad and toss it in a bag and know that I can be of use outside of the office and away from any so-called normal computers.

I am starting already this morning by posting this to the blog using the iPad. If you are wondering about the keyboard I am using it is just a Bluetooth keyboard I found on Amazon for about $10.00.

I will attempt again to connect this iPad to a larger monitor and see if I can get that to work? I will give you more updates as I run into issues during the day. Keep your fingers crossed.

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.

Compare before you buy Audio Books

I have been receiving emails for a few weeks now with this great offer for low-cost audiobooks. I am sure I have been receiving these ads because I have been looking into finding some audiobooks to listen to during the day when I am working in the office. I received an ad for this great new low-cost audiobook service called “Chirp”. Once you sign up you will get many ads in your email with book deals of the day. I can say that most of them look really good from .99 up to $2.99. But when I went to look for authors I read I was LET DOWN! I see now how they offer low prices on books you never heard of it is because the books you want they double the price then try to make you believe it is 10% cheaper than other sites. BEWARE!

Here is one example and I have found more. This is an author I have been reading for years JA Jance. I searched and was happy to find her audiobook on their site. But then I jumped to Amazon to compare the prices and well you can see the results below. Shop around before you buy.

Chirps

Now have a look at Amazon’s price for the same audiobook.

Amazon

I still might use them to listen to authors I have never heard of? But when you want to read something or hear it from a known author shop around.

Windows 10 20H1 Preview

Windows 10 20H1 Preview

Today I have begun to test the newest Windows 10 20H1 Preview release of Windows 10.

The first error I found was when I was creating the bootable USB from the ISO I downloaded from Microsoft. I used the recommended settings on Rufus and created a Partition scheme as GPT and a Target system UEFI. When I tried to boot onto my 8-year-old test laptop is would not boot legacy I had to make some changes. I had to recreate my bootable USB to Partition scheme (MBR) and the Target system (BIOS). Once these changes were made the OS installed fine on my test system.

SettingsI installed Windows 10 Pro and was impressed that the Start Menu was not cluttered with all of the junk any longer. In business, it takes us hours cleaning up all of the un-needed icons on the start menu. This will be a big-time saver.

New Start Cleaner

I did join the new release to the Domain and found it connected as normal and I had no issues pushing Group Policies to the new test machine. I will make notes as I continue to test the new Windows Release and see what new features I can find for you. I would suggest that you sign up for the FREE preview and begin testing the new releases also.

Microsoft Office 365

Office365Online

Many people that I talk to think that Office 365 is only the online component of the Microsoft Office package. The truth is Office 365 is really a label for the subscription model of Microsoft Office. Once you pay for a yearly subscription you will not only receive the benefits of using Office Online you will also be able to download the full package of Office to install onto your computer. We refer to the installed package as the FAT client. Also with the subscription model you are licensed to install Office on five machines. You can even mix and match Windows and Mac. You can also log into the Office apps on your tablets.

Everyone remembers when you were working on an important document or maybe a presentation at your office desk and saving it to a flash drive to do some touch up at home. Once you get home and plug in the flash drive into your home computer you find it didn’t copy? With Office 365 this becomes a thing of the past. When you are logged into either the online version or the desktop client all of your work is saved onto the Microsoft Cloud. With this, you will never forget your work at the office or at home. Whenever you want to work on your projects just log into Office Online and pick up right where you left off.

I also enjoy using the Outlook Online. Once I set it up the way I want it to look with folders and contacts I can be anywhere and check my email without missing a beat. My last thought is when you were almost completed with that large power point for that important meeting in the morning and your computer crashes or freezes? Well, there goes hours of your hard work! This will not happen with Office 365 as you are working it is doing an autosave in the background. Even if your computer dies all you need to do is log onto another computer with Internet access and pick up where you left off.

Upgrading Your Computer with an SSD Drive

SSD Drive

Upgrading a computer from the old spinning hard drives to a new SSD will make your computer faster. With no spinning disks, the computer will be able to seek your applications and data so much faster. I have also found that this will add new life to your computer and you will get a few more years out of an aging PC.

We have been seeing hard drive failures over the past few months. This makes sense because all of the computers were purchased around the same time. Replacing a drive is a simple process and you should also re-install everything onto the new drive. I never like cloning the drive because you will most likely be pulling over old information that was making your computer run slow in the first place.

One thing to look out for is the connectors for the hard drives. I hope by now that you have SATA cables in your computer. If you have the older cables you can buy adapters to convert the connectors to the new SATA style. Remember to check first before you buy your new SSD drives so you can order connectors if you need them. If you want to upgrade your computer and you are not sure how to do this please reach out to me and I will be able to help.

Keeping Your Computer Running Fast

MalwareBytes

When we buy a new computer and take it out of the box most peoples first reaction is that this new computer is so fast! But over time as you use the computer from day in and day out you might start to notice that the computer is running slower and slower. After a few months of the computer running slower, many of us would simply toss the computer and buy a new one.

For me, that is like your car running out of gas and you run out and buy a new one with a full tank. Sounds pretty dumb right? Well, there is a better way. We need to clean our computers and have routine maintenance. We all worry about our cars and getting the oil changed but I have found not many people out there give this same care and understanding to their computers.

Computers run slow over time because as we use them on the Internet even if we are very careful Spyware or Adware can begin to clog up our machines. So do we toss it in the scrap pile? NO, We need to clean it and get it running like new again.

One of my favorite tools for this is MalwareBytes. There is a FREE version. Once you download and install this tool you need to then run it on the computer. It will clean all of these bad files from Spyware and Adware. With the FREE version, you have to run it when you want to clean your machine. For continued worry-free cleaning of your system, you will need the paid version. It just happens I am a reseller of this great software and can get it for you at a discount. Contact me if you would like to get the full version of the software. And don’t worry if you are not a computer geek. I can remote to your machine and do the install and cleaning for you. So don’t buy a new computer, clean your TODAY!

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.

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.