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.

New Snip & Sketch Windows Tool

If you have been keeping up with your Windows updates then you have the new Snip & Sketch Tool. This tool replaces or for now sits with the on Snipping Tool in Windows 10. When I first started checking this new tool out I felt it was over blotted until I started using it. Now it is easy to make a new snip. Hold down the Windows Key, Shift and then hit S. A box will appear at the top of the screen. You will notice that your cursor will change to a crosshair. You just drag your mouse across what you want to snip.  Once you complete your snip you will see this box appear. Now, this is where the magic happens.

SnipandSketch

You can mark up your snip with the tools at the top of the program.

Marking Up

You can also click the pull-down menu on the RIGHT to share you snip in many different ways.

Sharing Snips

You can still just click on the menu bar for copy and paste the snip into an email or a web page. This new program is worth a look and once you start looking at it and using it you will do like I did make it your default.

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.

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!

Do You Need A Firewall At Home

Firewall

Let’s face it we all worry about identity theft. So you take the time to watch for little locks in front of a website address before you buy anything online. We feel around the card slot at gas stations before we slide our card into the slot. Maybe you even watch the waiter or waitress as they walk away with your card at a restaurant? But what about when you are at home on your own wireless with your own Internet connection and your trusty tablet sitting on your couch. Are you SAFE?

Really the answer has to be NO! Let’s look at it this way. You walk into your house and before you go to bed you lock the front door and make sure your windows are locked. Even your car sitting outside is locked up tight. But many of us leave another path right into our private lives. Your Internet line coming into your house is always on and ready for your use. But my friends it is also always on and allowing others into your house. So that password list that you keep in that folder called HIDDEN or PRIVATE can be accessed by anyone in the world. How about that baby monitor with that cute camera that you can watch little Jr. sleeping? So can anyone else in the world. I have even heard that people are now listening to your conversions at home using your Amazon or Google devices. So what can you do?

Well, we could pull the plug on the Internet whenever we are not using it? Really not the best idea because our computers and phones get updates when we sleep. No, a better way is to install a Firewall at home. We once thought these were just for business. But in reality, you have more private information then what you have on your work computer right in your own homes. Okay, so you might be saying I don’t know anything about this Firewall stuff? I can help with that. Please contact me and we can find a cost-effective way to secure your home or even small business with a Firewall that will keep you and your family safe and allow you to sleep at night knowing no one is watching or listening to you!

GitHub Programming Ideas

GitHub

Sometimes coming up with the next big program that everyone wants to use or maybe a new tool that makes something easier to do with your computer is no easy task. Or maybe you just want to learn how to program and one of the best ways is to look at someone else’s code. Maybe you want to be a part of a development team and join in on a project? Then GitHub is the place for you to begin.

You can search thousands of software projects written in just about every programming language. GitHub is a community of developers that come together and share ideas and better yet work on projects together. Even if you are not a programmer you can still get involved with a project. You could work on the GUI or Graphical User Interface. You might be a person who loves to try new software and look for bugs, you could be a bug reporter or a software tester. Maybe you like to write about software, you could be a technical writer on how to use the software.

As you can see there are many ways to get involved with the next big thing of software without having to come up with the base idea. And if you are coming up with the next big thing and need help put your project on GitHub and start to build a community around your project.

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?