Chrome Box

Chrome Box

This little guy will do so much for you and do it fast! The ASUS Chromebox $159.00 is a powerful little desktop computer. I have been running one of these and doing all of my computing with it. Why is it so different? It does not run Windows or OSX. It runs only the Chrome Operating System. And it is only getting better and more powerful. There are now stand alone application. I have found FREE photo editors, remote desktop programs, money programs. And yes you have all of the powerful Office application, Docs, Spread Sheets and Presentation software. You also get FREE 100 GIG of storage of Google Drive. This means all of you files are stored online on Google servers.

I have been putting this little box through the paces. I now have two monitors connected to the box so that I can do twice the work. I have plugged USB microphones into the box to record audio for podcasts. I have also found a FREE screen casting program to allow me to do a lesson about the Chrome desktop. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=147DqJm8MaY&list=UUVu39bEcGeY0F7k24IA5zxw.

If you would like to buy one use this link and pick up yours today.

Web Protection

Sometimes we need protection from our actions.  I often have clients ask me, “What did I do wrong, why do I keep getting all of this bad stuff on my computer?”

The answer to this statement is simple. You don’t have to do anything wrong. Your kids might also be the best kids in the world and look at nothing wrong. The truth is advertising companies are sneaky. They have ways of installing adware and spyware onto your computer without you knowing about it.

It is funny that we see this practice effecting only Windows computers. This is because there are always ways that these companies can find to install software onto your computer without you knowing.

There are a few easy fixes to help you stay out of trouble.

1. Setup up a standard user account on your computer. This way you won’t be logged into the computer as the administrator. Then if something wants to install you will know because it will ask you for your password.

2. Don’t use Internet Explorer! Use a better safer web browser such as, Fire Fox or Chrome.

3. Keep your anti spyware and anti virus up to date.

4. Use this add on for your browser call Web Of Trust. It will alert you if the web site you are visiting is trying to install something onto your computer.

WOB

Young Students and Computers

I had the great opportunity to assist with a group of second graders. The teacher was working with the kids to create Photo Stories.

Photo Stories are short video slide shows using still pictures and music to create their videos. Now if that is not amazing enough to see these very young groups creating videos. They also had to open and save their videos to their server drive.

I was working with one youngster and I would ask to have them log onto the server. I watched with amazement as the youngster entered their user name and their password. Open up My Computer and then open their server drive. Then the child opened their saved Photo Story into the application.

You can never have a great player until you have a great coach. This teacher working with these kids showed great patients and guidance with these young children.

Kids today are learning younger and younger to use computers and iPads in their daily education. I really hope that our colleges don’t crush this as they get to their secondary education years? I have seen many colleges on recent visits living in the stone ages. I think in the coming years the students will show the demand for the colleges to move forward or be left holding empty sacks of cash.

Kids ComputersImage from Google Images

Laptop Or Desktop?

I wish I had a nickel for every time I am asked this question. Jack I am buying a new computer, should I buy a laptop or a desktop? Also will I be able to work the laptop is it harder then my old desktop?

First should you buy a laptop or a desktop? My first response to this question is what will you be doing with the computer? If you always find yourself sitting at a desk and working over the keyboard, then the desktop will save you some money. On the other hand if you find yourself sitting on your couch with your desktop in your lap, then it is a laptop you are crying out for.

Just think of how many times you were or wished you could be portable. Laptops often get confused with being only for business. This is not true. I find many people just enjoying not being tied to their desks. In our house you will always find one of our family members with the laptop on their lap looking up things as they are watching TV. I enjoy using the laptop on the deck in the summer, enjoying the warm nights with a cold beer and a little web surfing.

Next is it hard to use a laptop. You might be laughing right now. Really don’t laugh, I have a good friend that has been working with computers for as long as I have. He still does not like the feel of the laptop keyboard. Some people really like the feel of the desktop keyboard, because the keys are spaced a part and have a little more travel room as you hit them. In the end all computers work the same way. And if you don’t like using the track pad, pick up a USB mouse and plug it into your laptop.

At the end of the day I really can’t tell you which computer would be the best for what you do. You have to make that choice. I use both desktop and a laptop and an IPad in my daily computing life. Of course I am in this crazy business so all three just fit. Once you make a choice don’t turn back. If you buy a laptop, allow yourself time to get use to the keyboard; if you buy a desktop then be happy with your choice. In the end as long as you are computing then you will be a happier person.

DekstopLaptop

Are You A Mac Or A PC?

One time in life this question would have meant something to a lot of people. Apple Macs and PC’s once were not on the same playing field. And today I feel they really still are not but we will get there in a minute.

Today with the modern software we all love and use, and with great programmers bringing their products to both platforms we can now grab a computer and feel comfortable.

Working at a school I have found a few ways that one can not replace the other. In our Auto CAD lab we still need Windows to run their applications. We do however use IMac’s and dual boot them with Boot Camp. And I use a Mac for video editing because I prefer using Final Cut but there are great video applications for Windows.

What I’m really referring to is the core applications. Word, Power Point, Excel, Editors, Photo Editing Software. These core programs are now what is called cross platform. So don’t be afraid to pick up a computer and use it. You will be find using either a Mac or a PC.

One last thought is this; I really hate still today hearing. I can’t buy a Mac I would never figure out how to use it? Let me be the first to introduce you to the ICON. They are really the same on the Mac as they as on the PC. And I am not telling you one is better then the other. But I can say that your Mac will never need Antivirus and we never worry about Spyware or Malware? At the end of the day a computer is a computer. As long as you have any computer and you are learning how to use it then kudos!

MacPC

You Get What You Pay For!

This is especially true when it comes to any type of electronics. This is the time of year that everybody and their brother comes up to me and asks “Which device should I buy for so and so”? As soon as I say if you are buying a computer buy a Mac, I always get I can’t afford that much money! Then I start to tell them about some other options. If someone is going to ask me what device to buy and they wanted the cheapest computer or tablet that I know about I just walk away from them.

I am not the richest person in the World, hell I am not the richest in my neighborhood. But I have learned one thing in my life time.  This is something that my dad stuck in my head after we bought our first house. I was working at putting in a new kitchen and when it came to selecting the sink and facet I told him that I found a great set for about $50.00! He responded that if I buy cheap I will just be replacing sooner.

You don’t have to buy a Mac but I have found them to last for a longer period of time then a PC. You should stay away from the cheap laptops anything under $500.00 is just not worth it. If this is something that you like to buy your kids each year then look for the ones around $200.00 or less. I am sure they will hate you for the gift after about 4 months if that long.

I know even after writing this and even after you reading this, you are going to head to the local discount store and buy the cheapest piece of crap that you can find. Maybe save your money and buy your kids some candy for their stockings instead.

Laptops

Light Scribe Pen

If you are looking for something to help your student at home from Elementary to College then this pen is just what you are looking for. Shop around for the best price here is a link for the pen on Amazon just a little over $100.00.

This pen allows you to take notes on a special paper table and then it will convert it to typed text. It also allows yo record audio. This is great when the teacher or professor is giving a lecture, you can record every word.

It also allows you to create drawings on the paper pad and it gets transferred wirelessly to your computer, smart phone or digital tablet.

This is just one of those great little devices that allow your student or you to capture voice and recorded thoughts and store it in digital format. Anything we can buy to help with our daily thoughts and store those is worth looking at.

Light Scribe Pen