Chrome Book Day 1

Desktop

Day 1 of my life without a traditional computer went well. For the next 7 days, I will only be using a Chromebook. I did luck out today I found that the Chromebook I am using allows me to install Andriod Apps. How would this make a difference?  Well for starters I was able to install Business Skype, Microsoft Word, a Telnet Program, Twitter App and my trusty Evernote. This is a huge leap in the right direction for the Google Team and the Chromebook.

I can tell you that if you don’t have an Office 365 account you will not be able to use the MS Office Apps. It does require you to log into your account. If you don’t have an account you still have access to all of the Google Apps. If you buy a new Chromebook you will also have 100 GIG of online data storage.

I was also shocked to find out that I could connect my DropBox and One Drive cloud storage directly to the file explorer program. Now it really does not matter where your data is stored you can have access to your files.

My partner at work asked me to remote into her desktop computer. I searched the Andriod Apps and found a Microsoft Remote Desktop client. I opened it and logged right into her machine. So yes the Chromebook can be used in a technology environment.

Using Google Cloud print which I set up for our students I was able to install a printer and print just like I normally would from Office. Is there a learning curve? Sure, but overall I had a successful first day with the Chromebook connected to an external monitor.

External Monitor

I will give you more updates on the weekend. I want to post something daily so that I can keep on task with learning how to survive with only the Chromebook.

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ChromeBook or iPad

ChromeBook or iPad

I have set myself up for a challenge. I am calling it one week in. In what you might be asking? I want to try to be all in one of the newer OS’s that have been said to be a replacement for the standard computers that we have been using for years. The two OS’s I am challenging myself with is the ChromeBook and the iPad IOS. I have to admit I am already having some anxieties over only using one device for an entire week!

This post is being written using the iPad. Normally when I write I use the program Grammarly. I just installed the Grammarly keyboard which seems to be working. However, it will not allow me to use my external keyboard. I am touch typing this with the on-screen keyboard.

So why do I want to do this challenge? Mainly to see if a normal computer can be replaced by one of these newer devices? So today I will be removing my trusty MacBook Air from my laptop case and I will be carrying and using a ChromeBook for the first week. Next week I will switch over to the iPad. I will blog each day to let you know where I am with the test.

As for this morning post, I am using the Word Press app on my iPad. I hope you follow me on this test and once and for all we together will see if one of these new devices can in fact be used for day to day computing without using a normal Mac or Windows PC?

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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.

Posted in Apple, Chromebooks, Coding, Computers, Education, EducationTech, Gadgets, Google Apps, Internet, Mac, Office 365, Software, Surface, Tablets, Technology, Thoughts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

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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.

Posted in Cameras, Cell Phones, Cloud Storage, Computers, Gadgets, Gaming, Internet, News, Social, Technology, Thoughts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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?

Posted in Andriod, Apple Watch, Cell Phones, Computers, Gadgets, IPad, IPad Mini, IPhone, Tablets, Technology, Thoughts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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.

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Just Got A Apple Watch

Apple Watch

My wife just bought me an Apple Watch for my birthday. This is something I have been looking at ever since they were released. The only reason I never bought one is that I didn’t know how it would fit into my daily lifestyle?

My main issue with not getting an Apple Watch long before now was it is a device that attaches to my phone. Why would I want this when I already have an iPhone? I can pull out my phone and check my email, help tickets, messages and yes even the time. So why would I need a watch that just extends these features?

Well, step over to the Apple Watch. With the Apple Watch on I don’t have to dig into my pocket just to check my latest emails, they are now pushed right to my phone. When I get a text message I’m not digging in my pocket either I just look down at my watch and there is the message, I hit reply and speak into the watch and hit send to drop a quick message back. I often use my phone to check the weather or outside temp, now I just look down at my watch and it shows me the temp all day without having to open an app. When my phone rings it now vibrates my watch and I can answer the call from my arm again without having to take the phone out of my pocket.

So is the Apple Watch a killer gadget? NO! Can you run your day form your Smart Phone? YES! But overall does the Apple Watch make you more productive in and out of the work environment? YES! And I don’t worry about dropping my phone everytime I need to text or answer a call, I can do all of this from the device strapped to my wrist. Is the Apple Watch for everyone, it could be but not really.

Then you might be asking yourself why am I so impressed with the Apple Watch? Well for the reasons above and remember I am a gadget kind of guy. I just really wish there one day will be a KILLER APP for the Apple Watch that works better on the watch than the iPhone. But for now, there is not a KILLER APP. I will keep you informed if I find one sometime.

Please let me know if you have an Apple Watch and let me know what you think of using it and maybe if and how it changed your life?

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Importance of a VPN

VPN

First let’s start by answering the question, what is a VPN? A VPN is known as a Virtual Private Network. A VPN allows us to connect to our work and have a secure tunnel connection to the office. It can also provide us with a secure way to pass traffic from our smartphone or computer while we are using public WIFI.

Why are either one of these important to us? When you are sitting at home and you are working on your office computer and you use a VPN your computer will act just as it does when you are sitting at your desk. This happens because when you connect the VPN you are basically running a network cable from your office network back to your home. But with the power of the Internet and a VPN connection we don’t need the wire, hence the Virtual Private Network. Once you connect to your office all of your traffic is going through a secure tunnel. This will keep hackers from intercepting your traffic and using it against you or your company. But even more so it allows you if you are a technology person to work on your network and bring up servers just as you would sitting at your desk.

So what can a VPN offer if you are just on your smartphone in a coffee shop? Again the VPN will provide your traffic to be secured from anyone in the coffee shop who might be scanning for Internet traffic. All of you traffic will be going out of your office or home Internet connection. Remember it will act just as if you are sitting at your desk.

Wonder if you don’t have a VPN at home to connect to? Can you still use a VPN and be safer when you are accessing your banking from a public Internet connection? There are many FREE VPN services on the Internet that you can set up an account on and connect to them for that same piece of mind. I found this site for you that has a listing of FREE VPN sites you can use. FREE VPN SITES.

Think of it this way. It will take you one extra step before you access any secure sites on the Internet such as your banking site. You will have to first connect to the VPN then open the sites you want to use. But then again wouldn’t it be easier to just open your car door and run to the mall? None of us would do this, we would first turn off the car and lock the doors. Think of the VPN and locking the door on your Internet traffic.

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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?

Posted in Apple, Chromebooks, Cloud Storage, Computers, Education, Internet, Mac, Media, Office 365, Reviews, Technology, Thoughts | Tagged , | Leave a comment