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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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.

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.

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?

Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage

When it comes to cloud storage I often ask myself which one is the best for your day to day working environment? The truth is they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.

As many of you know I work in a public school setting and we are always looking for ways to better serve the students and staff while still maintaining a balance of reliable technology for everyone.

I look at my own cloud storage and find that I am using four main ones. Google Drive for all my school-based work, Onedrive for all of my company work, iCloud for most of my personal work and then DropBox just because I have had it the longest and I still have a lot of my work on their servers. So how do you pick just one?

I have been struggling with this for some time and I think I have found the true direction to guide people in. Use whatever ego system you are working with the most. If you are a 100% Microsoft shop and work in the Office products all of the time then you would use Onedrive. This will allow you to work on files on your computer and then on the road jump into Office 365 and pick up where you left off. If you use Google Apps all the time then use Google Drive. If you are using a Mac most of the time I would suggest iCloud and also suggest buying more storage from Apple. If you use many different apps and don’t relay of web-based apps then I would suggest DropBox or Box. The real trick is to work within the ego system you choose.

At the end of the day, all of the companies out there providing cloud-based storage are very good at what they do. Your work will be safe and sound no matter where you keep it. I would however always suggest using some form of backup. I dump my files onto an external drive for safe keeping. In today’s world, nothing is beyond hacking.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Drop me a comment and let me know what if any cloud-based storage you may be using?

Mac’s In Business

Mac Computers

When I first started my career in the computer field it was all about the PC and the Windows operating system. We would go into a business and set up a Windows Server and Windows Workstations and install Microsoft Office. Mostly everyone in the office was familiar with Windows because that is what they had at home.

Today’s business world is changing. If you are in the IT field now you may walk into an office thinking you will be troubleshooting a PC issue and find an entire office full of Mac’s?  Will you be ready to take on the challenge or will you be running for the door?

I relate this back to our children going to school. I have found more and more school districts using Mac’s in their classroom rooms for one purpose or another. I also see more young people going to college and taking a Mac Book with them. They might also be carrying an iPad and an iPhone. Students become comfortable with using the Apple products and when they leave school they want to stick with the platform.

If you are reading this and you are a technical person I would suggest to start learning the Apple ecosystem.  If you really want to support the Apple clients pick up a Mac Book or to start maybe a second hand newer Mac Mini and begin to learn what makes an Apple computer tick. Chances are you have an iPhone in your pocket right now and maybe even an iPad?

So you may be asking am I a Mac guy? Well, I use Mac’s at home as well as work. But I also use a lot more Windows machines at work then there are Mac’s. But I enjoy both for different reasons. I would like to hear your take on this subject.