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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

The iPad Lineup

iPad Lineup

Apple has been working on the iPad since 2009 with the first one being released in 2010. When it was first released I seen this device as many did as being a larger iPhone. But after time and using one for awhile I found that is was much more then that. I now feel that Steve was creating a laptop killer or is this what he was thinking? The truth is many of us will still need a computer of some kind either a desktop or a laptop. I feel this because most of us are use to a full keyboard and internal hard drive and the programs we have grown use to using. But I sat and talked with a teacher yesterday who teaches computer classes. As we were talking she felt that as the younger generation grows up the keyboard is becoming less important to them. We are raising a generation of touch typist. I see the kids today and I know my own kids can type pretty fast with just their thumbs. So will the iPad or tablet computers someday replace laptops or desktops with keyboards? Time will tell the story. But as you see in the picture above we can see that the iPad  first got smaller and now they are getting larger. I think Apple is designing these devices to capture a entire market of users who either want to carry something smaller or something to do your daily work on. For me I really like the device mainly because the battery will last all day. I still like having a keyboard but I grew up with typewriters. Will tablets replace traditional computers? I think time will tell.

Online Office Applications

365 and Google Apps

If there is one thing that I have found out over my years of computers is that the file you want never seems to be reachable. While that is all changing with the help of a little catch phase “The Cloud”.

Many schools are turning to either Google Apps or Office 365. These online services allow you to work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations where ever and from what ever computer or device you might be working on.

Look back to not that long ago we all carried flash drive or thumb drives. Did you ever get the sick feeling when you are suppose to present and your trusty flash drive is laying at home on your end table? Well no more. Now that we can log onto a site and have access to our working documents from where ever you have an Internet connection. Life just got a little easier and have 24/7 access to your work.

Deciding which one to use is really a personal choice. If you have been using Microsoft Office for years you might want to choose Office 365. If you are someone like me that can adapt and learn new things then choose Google Apps. Or some people might choose to use both.

And remember both of these work on IOS and Android devices. This means when you are in a taxi or on a bus you can make those last minute touches on your work before getting to work.

The bottom line is for you to cut your ties with your computer and move over to the world of “THE CLOUD!”

 

Larger Phones Less Tablets?

Large Phones

I have the opportunity to get a shinny new iPhone 6 under the Verizon Edge plan. My first thought is that I know I want to get the 64 Gig. I have a 5C now with 16 Gig and it always seems full. As I have been looking at others who have the new iPhone I have been asking if I should get the Plus 5.5″?

The first person I talked to told me “YES!” She says that she never uses her iPad any longer. She tells me she can watch movies on it and read books. The next person I talked to said, “NO!” He said that he can’t use one hand to text while driving. Okay well not an issue. I don’t text when I drive and if I have to respond I use Siri. My daughter got a larger LG phone and she loves it.

My over all thoughts is that these larger phones and replacing the tablets. Normally if I take a class or sit in a meeting I bring my phone in my pocket and I bring either my iPad or Windows 8 tablet or laptop. It might be nice to just have my phone. I have started looking for some kind of keyboard for the iPhone 6 but then it would be just another item to carry. We will get more into touch typing another time.

So what do you think? Do you have one of these larger phones? If so maybe you can comment and give the readers your thoughts. And I do get one of these little monsters I will do a blog post using it. Then we can maybe find out if it will be my tablet replacement?

New 10.1″ Next Book

NextBook

I was searching some black Friday deals the other day and I came across this little charmer. Meet the 10.1″ Next Book. I picked this up from Wal-Mart. I know I always say you should not buy your computer gear from the same place as your toilet paper or your car oil. But then I  saw the price and thought why not. This little tablet runs a full version of Windows 8.1 Pro. It also comes with Office 13 and Office 365 for one year!. I am still getting use to the keyboard but I don’t think it will take to long.

I will be putting this tablet and keyboard through the paces and see what shakes loose. I will attempt to use it as my daily working unit and see what happens.

I will give you more about the unit and my reviews as I play with it more and more. Time to load up some software.

Uses For A 7″ Tablet

Tablet

One great use for my new 7″ Toshiba Encore Tablet is to use it as a media watching device while you are working out. I found the TWIT.TV app for Windows 8.1 and it works well. One question on this app is, why do they charge $1.49 for the Windows app but the IOS app I think is FREE?

I am still waiting for the keyboard and case I ordered for this tablet. I am also hoping that the new 10.1″ tablet I ordered will be in soon. But for now if you have a 7″ tablet there is a lot you can do with them. Just keep using them and don’t lay them down and forget them.