The Chrome Box

Chrome Box

The Chrome Box do you really need anything else? This is one of those inventions that when I first seen it demoed some years ago I thought who would want that? But after working with one and finding out that it does almost 98% of what people do on a full computer I now know that it will work for most of you reading this. As computer users we spend almost 98% of our time on the Internet just watch how much time you spend during the day using e-mail and browsing the web. Even our calendar programs are online. I use Ever Note for all of my note taking needs and when I use their web based version it feels just like being in the desktop program. I am writing this post using a web browser while connected to the Internet. And the applications are endless. I have found photo editing apps, I will admit they are not as robust as Photoshop but they will get the job done. And what ever you do on the Chrome Box will be saved like magic in the cloud, so when you log onto a Chrome Book all of your work is there waiting for you to access it. And the price $189.00 for the Chrome Box, it does not come with a monitor a keyboard and a mouse but those can be picked up cheap. I have met teachers buying these for their desks just to have another computer to use through the day. You can even use Microsoft Office programs online just as you would the desktop programs. So you say what is the draw back? NONE! The Chrome devices are fast, the laptops batteries last up to 16 hours and these devices start up in less then 5 seconds. I would say pick up a Chrome device today and free yourself from the growing high price of computing.

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Personal Assistant

Personal Assistant

When one company begins to shows a little profit on a innovative idea there will always be someone out there to try to cash in on their success. Not that I think the Amazon Echo is a huge success but they were the first to the table with this idea. Now we have Google that owns the world, at least the part that was left by Face Book has now released the Google Home. Let me first say if you are getting to lazy to pick up your smart phone, roll back over in bed and just forget life all together. Is it a great idea? I really can’t comment because I have never used one or had the desire to buy one. But if you own one feel free to comment and let me know what the greatness this device has for you. Both of these devices cost about the same so price will not be the factor to pull you one way or the other. I guess it is which ever company you want to support more? I have a friend that owns the Echo and she loves it. I don’t know how much she uses it but she did tell me it is cool. I normally don’t pay $100.00 or more for cool. I would say before you buy either of these  I would suggest that you do your research. For me I will keep my phone as my personal assistant.

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IPhone 7

IPhone 7

The Iphone 7 has arrived! Really the way I see it it’s really nothing to get to excited about. Why would I say this when people are flocking to the stores to get their hands on one? It’s easy, innovation is by it’s very term adding something new to the table. When you take a product and remove something it might be a step backwards? Or is it in reality a great marketing tool? So this is what I am thinking. Apple people are sitting around and they are talking about how to make more money with a product that a lot of people already have? Well it’s simple really just remove the head phone jack and then everyone will want to buy their new blue tooth ear buds, right? No wrong, did you ever try to keep the current ear buds in your ears? Mine always fell out but the cord always kept them from getting lost. Now with the new blue tooth ones you will be jogging along and one pops out it is gone for ever. Well back to the Apple store you go to buy a replacement set. My wife was due for a phone upgrade and we thought about switching to the Samsung phone but we had one little issue. All of her music was bought using the ITunes store. I asked around and there was no one that could tell me if we could move her music to the new brand. In the end she got the IPhone 6S. Why didn’t we jump on the band wagon and go for the new 7? Really it came down to cost. We got the 6S for about $15.00 less per month. There was really no reason that I could see to buy the new 7, it really does nothing new and exciting. I am not bashing the new phone really. I just think that Apple needs to change the phone industry once again, they did it years ago and with the smart people they have working at Apple I think they could do it again? The watch is a step in the correct direction, but how can you get the masses to buy something that most people stopped wearing years ago for so much money? Drop the watch to $100.00 and you might see a spike in the Apple stock once again.  Just for the record, I am an Apple fan boy. I have been using Apple products for years.

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Creating On An iPad

It has been said by many people that you can not create content on an iPad? I even read a large column once that said it is not a creation tool. I have to admit it is different. It is not a computer this is true. Although it is used as a computer by many people. The smart phone in your pocket is also a computer. It seems now a days that these mobile devices are used by more people then the desktop computer. But that still leaves us with the question. Can you create content using an iPad?

I am writing this post using only an iPad. I have to admin I am using a bluetooth keyboard. Using the onscreen touch keyboard makes typing a little harder. It can be done but it is different. I see many people as well as myself using the iPad to take notes during meeting and conferences. You have to admin they are lighter and take up less room on your lap.

The truth is I can not use the iPad to do all of my work as a technologist. I need certain programs that run on a desktop. And I always say, there is really no one device that can handle every type of computing. We are getting close, but it’s just not there yet.

My last thought is. You can create content using the iPad. It is different and there might be a learning curve. But it can be done. But keep your computer, you might just need it again one day?

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Artificial Intelligence Is It Coming

Artificial Intelligence

Is Artificial Intelligence coming or is it already here? I have been doing a little research into the possibility of AI and allowing our computers to become a sort of thinking machine. Now I know I might get a lot of backlash on this subject but take a minute and read on.

I feel that some forms of AI are already around us. Not what you see in movies but what we are seeing in a lot of humans today. Just watch the people around you in a restaurant or at a ball game maybe even on public transportation. In movies they normally show a machine that is walking around or maybe worse then that a human with a chip in them giving them information. If this were to happen it would connect us humans to the Internet full time. With data using our nerves and maybe a blood as conductors passing information to our brain. Then connecting us to every other human and the super highway. But as I see it with these human I talked about above. We pull our phones out to learn just about everything. They can lead us to that restaurant and then show us the menu before we ever step foot inside of the door. Is this not a form of AI?

Now we have watches that connect us to our phones in our pockets for quicker access to the information we need. It was not to many years ago you had to go home to contact someone else. Now that we are connected with devices we can contact each other simply by pulling out our phone or using our wearable and texting someone. Are we getting closer?

My wife always tells me when I talk to her about my thoughts of AI that she does not want to be tracked and openly share her thoughts. But that phone in your pocket tracks you all day long. And it seems to me that people are sharing their thoughts over social media every second of every day. So I would think that if we had a chip and some sort of contact lens that we can view a screen we could text with thought instead of our fingers. My wife also feels that this would be the anti-christ? I would not go that far. People will tell you that once you are chipped you will be tagged for life? Did you ever hear of social security? Stop by the social security office sometime and ask them for your work history. They have everything from the day you started working. So with that and your phone you are tracked now.

So will computers and robots ever be able to think on their own? I can tell you about routers that learn and find the best and fastest path for your Internet traffic to find its destination. But I don’t want to give you facts I just want you to think what if?

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Choosing A Cloud Based Storage

Cloud Storage

Drop Box, Google Drive, One Drive, Amazon Drive, Personal Cloud, Box, and now Sync. How can anyone choose one online cloud personal storage solution? I am using five of these now and need to get my digital life in order. So how am I going to decide which one to use?

First thought and this is the biggest one I think. Price. If it costs you more then buying a new external hard drive then it might just be to much money? I am seen many of these charging $99.00 for 1TB. You can buy a 1TB flash drive for less. But wait, it will not be backed up. It might now always be were you are when you need it? You could lose it? So back we go to square one.

Then we have to wonder what we are aloud to keep on the storage in the cloud? And what should you keep anyway? I know I want to keep my pictures safe. I want to keep all of my work files there so I can access them from any where. And wonder if I have files I want to keep secure? Can anyone at these companies look at my information?

Another thought is that i want to access my files from any device. If you are a Chrome Book user then Google would be the best choice. But if you use Microsoft office and Windows then it would be One Cloud. So if you are a Mac user should you be using iCloud? So you see why I am in such a bind? I use all of these plus my iPhone and sometimes a Android tablet. So how could any of us choose just one service?

I wrote a automator program to allow be to send all the files I want to store to all of the services I have installed on the computer. But is that the correct answer? And most of these services will not allow you to run or do they have a backup program. You need this because as humans we can forget. It would be nice to know that a program running on our computer will send the file we are working on the the cloud for us. As well as when I snap a photo with my phone the picture should go right to the cloud and be locked down from the public.

So yes I like many of you are loosing hope that any cloud service will do all of this for me? I can tell you if you have an Amazon prime account you already have unlimited FREE photo storage with them. And for $59.00 a year you can have unlimited everything storage. I am leaning towards Amazon but I am still playing with their features to see if it is a correct fit.

Good luck in sending your files somewhere. Each service has it’s good and bad. Please email me and let me know what your choice finally was.

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Acer 15.2″ Chromebook

This is one of those little gems that I find from time to time. I had a chance to spend a little time with this larger then normal chromebook at a store. It is a little hard to get the full effect of the laptop with the some stores out there not providing Internet for a really good run.

I was able to test the keyboard and found it to be very easy to type on. The keys are very smooth touch and have a very short travel range. The track pad is good and has a lot of finger jesters from pinch to zoom and clicks very easily. The screen looked good even under the bright lights of the store. The battery life is suppose to be up to eight hours. I didn’t listen to the speakers but have heard they are very good.

The truth about the chrome operating system. Many people may say that you can’t use these laptops with out an Internet connection. This is not true. There are many programs that can be used offline. Programs such as the word program, the presentation program, email, calendar and many games can be used offline. The way it works is that you do your work and when you get back on the Internet the work will be synced onto your cloud drive.

Overall for $180.00 you will be hard pressed to find such a great little machine. Besides that most stores will give you up to 30 days to return it if you are not pleased with it. But I don’t think there will be many of these laptops going back to the store.

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Home Wireless Routers

I often get asked what kind of router do I need for my home. Or another one is, do I need a wifi router if there is cell service close to my house?

First when I get asked if someone needs a wireless router I ask them what they wish to do with their Internet? Most times I am told they just got an iPad or laptop and want to sit anywhere and be able to shop and browse the Internet.

Let me start by saying one thing. If you buy cheap then you get cheap. Most people call me and tell me that they can’t get signal all over their house from their new wifi router. When I go out to help them I find a four story house or a house that is layed out over a quarter mile. Remember how I started this. If you buy cheap you get cheap. You need to look for a router not because of price but more so at how it will cover your house with wireless. And yes even if there is cell service near your house you need to have some kind of wireless connected to your home Internet to provide service to your local devices.

So what should you pay for a router? If you live in an apartment then pick up one of the cheaper guys. They will give you great coverage and save on the bank account. If you own your own home, don’t go cheap. I normally look for a router in the range of a hundred to a hundred and a half. Doing this I know the router has good output power and it will cover my entire house.

If you have any questions about buying a wireless router please drop me an email. I would love to get your questions out to on the blog. 

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Christmas Laptops

One questions I get asked more then ever during this time of year is what kind of laptop should I buy for my child for Christmas? This would be the same as asking a car dealer what kind of car should I but my child who is graduating from high school. They will tell you to buy the most expensive one you could afford. But I on the other hand will tell you to buy what you think the child we need.

On the other hand. Be careful of all of those so called deals during the Holiday season. The laptops that are coming in under $200.00 are doing so for a reason. They normally have cheap electronic parts and often will not last the user for more then a year. And stay away from spending over a thousand dollars because that is just crazy! Maybe for someone going to college, but never for a school student.

Now let’s talk about the laptop’s operating system. When we buy any cheaper computer it will normally have Windows installed on it. Windows since the early ages when it came out has been more acceptable to viruses and spyware. It is just the nature of the beast. I have a lot of people telling me that they had to get a new computer because theirs is running slow. The truth is the computer with Windows most likely needs to be cleaned. Read my last post for help with cleaning Windows. You should clean the computer at least once every six months or anytime it begins to run slow.

Okay so where does that leave us? Either buy an Apple computer which will cost thousands. Or simply buy your student a Chrome Book or a tablet running Android. These operating systems don’t get spyware or viruses. Why you might ask. It’s simple not many are written to attack them. I also like the idea of the iPad. It is not really a lot of money and when you add a keyboard you have a system that will last for years. We have iPads in our fleet of computers that are the first ever made and they are still running today.

I am writing this for you and myself. My daughter who is in college wants a laptop this year for Christmas. And with limited funds I am just like you looking for the best deal out there. Really for some reason there are not many. And she does not want a tablet. So I am leaning towards getting her a gift card for Star Bucks! Just kidding I am left still looking for the deal of a lifetime. We have three weeks before the big day and I am sure there will be deals coming. 

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Clean Your Computer So It Runs Faster


Your computer needs to be treated just as you treat your car. You need to preform regular maintenance on your computer. I heard that there was a tool that has been being sold for about $20.00. You don’t need to buy anything. There are so many FREE tools on the Internet that will clean your computer and get raid of all the junk from your machine.

I am asked over and over by everyone. “How does this stuff get onto my computer?” Remember these words of wisdom. When you or your kids play these so called FREE games on the Internet these web sites put stuff onto your computer. These small programs are known as ADWARE. We often hear and see computers with pop ups all over the screen selling you this or that. Also when you visit shopping sites they put what is known as SPYWARE. These little programs watch what you buy and will start popping up ads or at the very least when you return to these sites they will push whatever items you bought in the past. So even people I meet who say they never go to questionable web sites can still get junk on their computers.

The FREE tools that I show at the top of this post will keep your computer running fast and smooth. Use the links here to make sure you get the correct ones. There are knock off sites out there trying to sell you these FREE programs.

CCLEANER: Install this cleaner and run it at least once every three months. Or anytime you think your computers is running slow. It finds and removes all types of adware and spyware. If you want continued cleaning you can buy the paid version but in all my years of using it I have never used anything more then the FREE version.

MALWAREBYTES: I also run this FREE tool after running CCleaner. I have found that there might be something that one of the programs don’t catch that the other will. And being they are both FREE why not use them both.

At the end of the day we all want our computers to run as they did when we first brought them home. And don’t ever think that you have to many pictures, or to many programs. Those things do not slow down the computer. It is all of the junk we run into on the Internet super highway.

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