Category Archives: Computer

Steve Jobs Resigns

This is scary.  I would not be concerned if he wasn’t sick, and stick thin.  But…

From my perspective…this is a guy who changed the world more than once, more than twice, more than three times.  Simply awesome.

He is not afraid to innovate, to try something new, to make it easy, to make it reliable, and then have the foresight to have the backup stuff available to make it all work.

Read my original blog entry on the brand new, world changing iPhone.  Look at the smartphone you have in your pocket today…I rest my case.

The world will miss his creativity and energy.  Let’s hope he re-gains his health.

Microsoft Office 365 To The Cloud

Checking the news on the Internet this morning, I spotted this article from SF Gate describing the official announcement today(!) that Microsoft Office is moving to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365 (I suppose that means it is available 365 days a year?).

The article explains that small to medium businesses that can’t afford to buy, install, run, and maintain the servers can now, for a fee, off-load all that hard work to the Microsoft cloud.

They also explain that it is good that Google set up Google apps.  That helped Microsoft get off their butts (my words not theirs….I think appropriate, actually) and move to the cloud.  Here is an interesting history lesson by the folks at PCWorld.com that kinda supports what I am saying…

Here is the original Microsoft announcement way back in October.  I don’t deal with pricing on this blog, but, companies appear to be able to sign up for between $2 per user per month to $27 per user per month depending on features.

My thoughts?

To Microsoft:  Good idea….’bout time.  But you needed someone (Google) to push you…not a good sign looking forward.

Information Technology

The world is changing. Rapidly.

Bits are flying over the Internet at an unprecedented pace.

As my loyal reader…..you know my feelings about Cisco and video conferencing, but, it looks to me as though they are getting back to focusing on handling bits….a very good thing.  For everyone!

This commercial by Cisco is interesting.  I LOVE the part where they say that you do not need to be in the office to be productive.

DUH.   Telecommuting = Coworking = Telework

Comments?

Dare I say it?   Cisco rocks?   Ouch….that hurt…. :-)

Oh yeah…the bridge at the end is awesome…again, back to cisco’s roots.

Google Chromebooks

Samsung Chromebook

 

Acer Chromebook

 

Google announced today the availability of their new Google “Chromebook” laptop like computers that will be at Best Buy and Amazon.com starting June 15th.

These are laptop like devices that connect to, and use, the “cloud” for everything you do.

They are pricey….anywhere from $350 or so to almost $500.  There are special monthly subscription plans for businesses, gov’t, and schools.  For example, your school can get a Chromebook for $20 per month.  For that price all support, etc. comes with it.

Not bad I suppose…

Is this the beginning of the end of Windows OS or Mac OS?  Are dedicated computers with gobs of memory, loaded with expensive software becoming obsolete?

Time will tell….my hunch is it is time to say Good-Bye to the old laptop, and operating systems…..this (using the cloud for everything) could be earth shattering in a year or so…or not.  :-)

Memolane: An Introduction

Jonathan Yankovitch posted an email on the Coworking group with a link to Memolane.

I clicked on the link and……saw something REALLY cool!

If you have been reading my blogs, you pretty much know that I consider Twitter and Facebook as too temporary.  You post something, and somewhere between 5 seconds to a day later, it is gone.  And worse, it is dang hard to find older posts.

A Blog is better for longevity….that is why I continue to blog.  A simple “Search” or look thru the “Categories”….. you can find my very first blog entry way back in 2005 sometime….but not really sure of the date since I did not have Memolane……Still there, still very awesome.  :-)

In my life, I lose track of what happened when.  And it gets worse as I get older….shit. Sorry, but, even the new electronic form of storing information….with all the crap I come up with……can be cumbersome and hard to find.

Memolane (when I overcome my major concern with it, see below) can be the solution to all of my memory problems (both human and computer).

Apparently, I can set up a TIMELINE of videos, pictures, notes, comments, entries on Twitter, FB, blogs entries, etc.  Once on the timeline, I can simply go back to find it (I’m sure a search is possible).

VERY COOL!

Concern

From the 15 seconds I took to play with Memolane, I have a major concern giving them access to all my most precious sources of information.  Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.   I would much prefer to upload stuff, give it links, make comments live etc.

In other words:  I would like to upload only what I want to upload, and I really do not want applications with their fingers in my stuff.

Once I can get past that…I see Memolane in my future….

Here is a good theme song for them, I’m sure most of you now know this guy, back when Country was Country:

Heytell Push To Talk App on iPhone and Android

Been hearing a lot of buzz about Heytell, so I decided to give it a whirl.

Interestingly, I forwarded the information to Kristen and she, surprise surprise, wanted to give it a try with me!

She downloaded the app on her iPhone, while I downloaded it on my HTC Aria android phone.  We both stayed in WiFi connection during this test…

After a minute or so of trying to get the registrations completed and the Heytell process right, we were able to push & hold the button, and talk.  A few short seconds later, I heard my voice coming out of Kristen’s iPhone.  VERY COOL.

I then walked outside and we chatted for a few more seconds until the declaration came from inside “I’m bored”.

So much for testing Heytell with a 19 year old.  How funny…

Overall

Heytell worked fine.  The quality was good (listen to the clips below) and the ease of use was outstanding.  I had thought you needed to download then respond, but, it was more “real-time” than that…like a walkie talkie.  A good thing.

Not sure if teenagers will use it since texting is silent and more private, but, people who work together can certainly use it.  For example, if I was down running wire at the racks, I could push to talk to Clint in his office (or in his office any where in the world) to test my work.

People in the field (for example an air conditioner mechanic) can connect very easily to home base…

I’m sure we can come up thousands of uses, but, I’m not sure (just a gut feeling) it is the next “killer app” some have proclaimed. For that…the teens need to be engaged, and judging by Kristen’s response (It certainly was not ME boring her…was it?)  and comments about privacy…they may not engage.

But, I have been wrong once before.  :-)

I wonder…..push to talk video conferencing?

Audio Clip Saga

Preparing for this blog, I was able to access the conversation we had (by long holding Kristen’s conversation bar on my phone) and listen to each snippet.  BUT, I was only able to export to my Gmail account MY portion of the conversation (not sure why that is).  It was sent to me as a WMV file (without the video).

The two audio clips you hear below are different quality, and that is because I had to record Kristen’s via my laptop (Windows 7 sound recorder)….but, if you listen to the quality of my voice, that is what we both got using Heytell….VERY good!

mike

kristen 2

Rant

#1: Windows 7 records and saves the audio files in WMA only (WTF is more like it, see this on WMA on WikiPedia).  Maybe I missed something, but, standards are here for a reason.  Right?  Last I knew WMA (or even WMV) were not agreed to standards….??

#2: WordPress does not allow WMA only WMV (I wonder why one and not the other?), MP3…etc, but I had to upgrade to 5 Gig to get that ability (which I WILL use moving forward).

#3: I had to download a WMA to WMV or MP3 converter just to get the audio file I recorded using the Win 7 sound recorder (WMA) up here.

#4: Windows Movie Maker is gone, now some piece of garbage is in it’s place and it did not accept ANY audio files.  Only video!  How crappy.

Standards and Microsoft…..two words that do not seem to go together???

My suggestion:  This is 2011 Microsoft….get with it.  Save your dang audio files as MP3, or give us a choice !!!

Ahhh, I feel better?  :-)

QR Codes

Ever see one of those square barcode like looking thingys?

I had one hanging on my door from Google Places, but, I did not know what it was or what to do with it.

It looked cool, so I stuck it up there.

So what the hell is it?

Well, finally getting curious I did a bit of web searching.  WikiPedia, of course, has a nice, concise, explanation which I quote below:

QR code (short for Quick Response) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.[1]

The technology has seen a large uptake in Japan and South Korea. However, in the west there has been a considerably slower adoption of QR Codes.[2]

I suspect that as SmartPhones become more prevalent, the use of the QR codes may increase here.

Give it a try! If you have a SmartPhone, and the appropriate app on it (you can find free QR apps on either the iphone or android phones)…….scan the QR code I put at the top of this blog entry.

Where did you go?  Pretty cool, huh?

I also have a QR code with my name, business, phone and email…in other words a contact QR code.

According to the “QR Droid” app (a great application by the way…I will donate some $$) I downloaded on my HTC Aria, I can make a QR code for:

  • Contact
  • URL Address
  • Application (calls up an app?, I have not tried it….yet)
  • Phone Number
  • Calendar Event
  • Free Text (how is that as opposed to priced text?)
  • Geolocation
  • SMS

Pretty impressive list of uses….I will start integrating QR codes in my work life more and more.  For example, do you want to rent a room, or sign up for coworking?  Scan the appropriate QR code to call me (and store my number easily on your phone), send me a text message, an email, or just go directly to Paypal.

VERY COOL. (Hmmmmm, I will make up a QR code with my contact information for the next Tracy Chamber Meeting….that would be interesting).

In addition to being useful…I think it is pretty geeky nerdy cool…..just like me!  :-)

Speaking of nerds……I will be getting a t-shirt made up with the QR code I made on top.

I can just see the kids at the Mall with SmartPhones scanning my shirt and then learning that they need to….

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

DotXXX URL’s Coming Soon

Sorry ’bout that.  Just reporting the news on the technical front.  And, hey, like we are all innocent here…duh.  :-)

The Washington Post reports that yesterday the Internet naming authority has approved the use of the .xxx suffix.

“On Friday in San Francisco, the California nonprofit that oversees Internet addresses gave the green light to the virtual red-light district. The vote comes after several years of clashes and deliberations by the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers.”

There are always two sides to any issue, and with this one, that does not change. Interestingly, many in the porn industry are afraid that the .xxx sites might be subject to mass blocking.

Read the Washington Post article for all the information on this up coming change.  (Sorry, I could not resist.)

Video Conferencing and Porn

I’m sure I have told this story before, but, when video conferencing was new, many of the calls we got regarding the technical aspects of videoconferencing were from porn site operators.  The questions were super technical and very detailed.

I’m sure the porn industry has had it’s own (if not very quiet) impact on the development of video collaboration, video chat, and video streaming over the Internet.

Chrome 10, Firefox 4, IE 9 New Fast Browsers

UPDATE 12/9/2011:  Chrome printing is WAY improved, IE is shit, Firefox is still not as fast as Chrome.

Chrome started the lean fast browser thing.  As soon as I tried it, I was hooked, and I have not left since.

Now Firefox 4 and IE 9 are available and both are significantly faster (and leaner) than their previous incarnations.  I use Chrome 10 as my default browser, I use Firefox 4 as my “xtremeloco.com” browser, and I don’t use IE at all (but I will download and try IE 9).

I was breezing the Internet this morning and found this awesome report by the good folks at PCMag.com (I wonder if they need help?  THAT would be a fun job) comparing the three browsers wrt:

1. Interface

2.  Speed

3. Security and Privacy, Standards Support, and Extras

My Personal Experience

Between Firefox 4 and Chrome 10 I still feel like Chrome is faster (even though PCMag says otherwise).

I like Chrome’s look and feel (slim, trim, no bullshit).  The only issue I continue to have are:  printing sometimes is an issue, and no print preview.

I love the way I can set up my links in Chrome, how it holds my login information (or not, if I tell it not to), and the themes.

I will be staying with Chrome as my “default” browser.

I will download IE 9 and give it a whirl, but, I am not expecting much…so stay tuned, I’ll update this later.  OK, I downloaded it, then needed to restart my computer (don;t have to do that with either Chrome or Firefox).  It came up with the same old confusing array of menu bars I never installed (well, DUH, I never use it).  It (IE9) was faster than previous slower than snot IE versions, but, the interface is quite confusing and busy as hell…

I’ll stick with Chrome, thank you.