Friday, October 25, 2013

Mama don’t let you babies grow up to be lumberjacks!

As I read my top 3 subscriptions to magazines, Wired, Inc., Fortune, I suddenly realize the number of jobs that could become extinct in the future, Lumber Jacks will be one of them. We will need them for maintaining our forests however with building’s being made of composite materials, steel, glass, plastic, we do not need lumber for building.

Now the need for paper is dwindling. I don’t care what you might say about wanting the feel of the morning newspaper with your coffee, or the tactile stimulation of holding a book while reading, paper is disappearing. The printing industry is disappearing.

As kids going to school begin to get their books on e-readers and as newspapers shrink in distribution and size, (and we get our news on the TV or computer, tablet, phone) fewer and fewer lumberjacks will be needed. E-books for general reading purposes, learning or entertainment, are outselling the hard cover or paperback products. In our Tech world all of our manuals are coming in a digital form.

My wife gets a digital subscription to our Cincinnati Enquirer and I get my news via digital app’s, as well as news web sites.

Look at all the jobs beyond lumberjacks that will disappear or (in some cases) become extinct. Press operators, truckers hauling paper to printing plants, printing plants themselves as well as equipment repair and maintenance. Along side it will be the methods of distribution all the way down to the bookstore and the paper boy/girl.

Have you noticed that some large billboards are not being produced in digital form? That some signage, as well as advertisements, downtown or at the airport, are being shown on large flat panel digital displays? The Silk Screen presses will also be disappearing.

I wonder about the world after the Gutenberg press, or the Heidelberg Press for that matter.

Wired Nov 2013We will still need story tellers, journalists, sources of news collection. We just won’t need to go to the news stand (another missing element) or pick it up off the porch (sometimes wet).

Did I mention that those 3 subscriptions I talked about at the beginning were on my iPad? Oh yes, not sure why they still send me the paper edition. It is so much better on the iPad. I do all my reading on a digital device.

I might also mention that the cover story on this issue of Wired is good reading. One of my pet concerns is education and the writer here does a good job of bringing a very important point home. Our system needs changing. But that is another story.

My apologies to Willie Nelson for re-working a song title of his. Love Ya Willie!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Windows 8.1 Update – What Fun!!

I have had the pleasure of updating 3 Windows 8.0 computers. Of the 3, 2 had been running Windows 8.1 Pro Preview that I installed when it was released in July.

First let me say that my friend Franz (The Eponymous Pickle) kind of pushed me a bit as I was waiting a day or two and he jumped right in. I know his download time was long but then on the first day that was to be win8-1 expected. I believe he said it took about 4 hours on October 17th and on the 18th it took me about 2 1/2 hours.

On my first update the computer was a fairly new HP laptop running Windows 8.0. Actual install time, after download, was about 30 minutes and it worked really well. I am jealous of the Touch screen on my wife’s computer as it really is a nice way to go.

On the two computers running the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview the story was a little bit different.

Initially I had installed Windows 8.0 Pro on both computers. 1 was a 7 (maybe 8) year old HP Desktop and the other a HP laptop only about 1 and 1/2 years old. As I said in July of this year I updated both to Windows 8.1 Pro Preview. The one thing I did that was good was to follow Microsoft’s recommendation and I when to 8.1 Pro Preview from the Windows Store. That proved to be beneficial in the final update.

Per instructions I was happy to discover that I could update both of these computers to the final release of 8.1 Pro right from the Windows Store. In reading the information it said that I would have to re-install all my Windows App’s as well as Desktop App’s. Terminology gets me here. After 40 years of referring to specific application software as “Software” I did not connect Desktop App’s with Software. I decided I did not  have any Desktop App’s that would matter and if I lost some of the ‘Gadgets’ I had installed not a problem. I plunged on.

So I updated to Windows 8.1 Pro Update. Total time about 2 1/2 hours (maybe 3 - I stepped out).

Looks good. All my folders and files are there, desktop looks the same with my special picture. This is cool.

Wait a minute; where is Office 365? What happened to Evernote, Dropbox, and on and on and on. Now I understand what Desktop Applications are. A revelation at best and "Learning Experience". Hmmm.....

Getting Office 365 back on my computer was not as easy as it should have been . There were no directions and I had to ‘assume’ that I could Deactivate it from my Computer (at the Microsoft Office 365 website) and then re-activate. Once I forged ahead to do that then everything was fine. I did search all of Microsoft's Office 365 website however I did not find anything that suggested this approach. I am sure there are others with the same quandary.  

Instead of getting frustrated I got fascinated (thanks to Jim Rohn). Golly, I wonder why that happened? WOW a learning experience. The philosophy is great; If you get frustrated you only get angry and nothing gets accomplished. If you question and look answers come and you learn.

StartScreen002After that the process of re-installing all my software and setting everything back up may have been a time consuming task however it was one that I can do and not all unhappy about. Sometimes it pays to clean up.

All in all I thought it was worth the effort. Windows 8.1 Pro looks good. All my software is installed, all my gadgets back where I want them, and my Start Screen is working for me.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday’s thoughts on phones, tablets, and laptops.

First let me say that I think desktop computers are really a thing of the past. Today’s laptops are just as powerful as the desktops of the past (or more so). Today, with the addition of an external monitor or two, laptops do exceedingly well. So let’s just really look at phones, tablets, laptops.

I think I have mentioned before that I am getting somewhat bored with the lack of good applications across all these devices. One’s that sync easily and will perform the same on any device. Could we call this ubiquitous app’s? 

An example would be Evernote.

I love Evernote. On my Windows laptop Evernote is fantastic. The synchronization is fantastic. Background: I used OneNote for 5 years before switching.

I like to make notes, highlight things, use bullets, as well as color to emphasize. I like to do preliminary writing on Evernote, prep for a blog post, thoughts, etc. On my Android phone, not that good.  I like my Samsung Galaxy S3 but going to Evernote on the phone from the laptop is not easy AND IT SHOULD BE.

Developers need to take the time to be sure that the user (customer) experience is great everywhere. I have the same issue’s with Evernote on my Nexus 7 and to some degree with my iPad. I am beginning to believe that Evernote favors the iOS first, Windows OS 2nd, and finally Android. In some cases it could be Windows OS first.

Unless that user experience is good across all the devices we will be continually searching to find that app that will.

An example is that I love Microsoft Word, have used it for years (1983?). Right now I am trying to find a replacement on my laptop that will work well on my phone as well as on my tablets – both Nexus 7 & iPad. There could be an upcoming Samsung Galaxy tablet and it needs to work well there.

About 2 or 3 years ago I decided the future was digital. I purchased a stylus and pushed myself to where I use my phone and tablets to take notes. I intentionally do not carry a pen or pencil and do not wear a watch. I use my laptop for finalizing writing (as in this blog), heavy duty Office work as well as for designing. I do use extensively my phone or tablet with either Skitch (from Evernote) or Sketchbook Pro (from Autodesk) to sketch or draw. I use Skitch to annotate pictures with measurements. Both really wonderful tools on the phone or the tablet. Both also work on my Windows laptop but require a pen – that I can handle. I am hoping that the touch screen will take care of this. (I haven’t gotten the touch screen past the controller).

I tend to think of purchasing a device as in buying a car or truck. I want certain colors, accessories, and power train (4 cyl., 6 cyl, diesel) however I want to be able to use the same DVD’s between cars, or hook up my phone, my tablet, and play music. I do not want a Ford with only the Microsoft Windows phone, or a Hyundai with only Apple like connections.

My apps should be able to navigate these various OS’s. I want to use Microsoft Word on my phone and my Nexus 7 and have it work the same. I understand that I will 1) pay for it, and 2) it could be a ‘lite’ version – however it should have all the basic features.

Sound pie-in-the-sky? Well maybe it is, but we should be working for this. It will be this way when Singularity is here. The first one there could win really big.

Oh, and while I am at it; Microsoft the apps do not need to fill the screen or even partially fill it. I should be able to resize that weather app and then put it where I want it. In fact my Start screen could be my app screen. Switching between desktop and Start screen is too easy not to be able to do this. I guess this would mean creating a Start screen that would allow freedom to resize app windows to arbitrary dimensions. In other words grab a corner and drag. I’ve seen that some place before.

SaturdayStarbucksNeed more coffee

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yahoo Personal Pages vs iGoogle

With iGoogle going away I had to find something else to give me my news upon opening my browser, Yahoo Personal Pages fits right in.

yahoo001I have to admit to having used Yahoo Pages years ago, before the Google onslaught. I have kept my Yahoo email address current so given the opportunity I thought I would try it.

I was surprised to find that my ‘old’ pages were recognized however some things were missing, Brief Case for one and My Reference page as well disappeared. On first glance this was really good. I tested a few more things, set up some pages and RSS feeds of my own, and have been using it for at least two weeks. I should say I am also using Feedly but have not upgraded to the “Pay” version.

I am very happy with Yahoo Personal Pages. It gets me the news as I want to see it – the headlines and a few lines following. Much like iGoogle however it is a bit easier to read, better landscape positioning.

I will have to add the links to my References page. I like to be able to just have quick access to philosophy research sites as well as word sites like various dictionaries, thesauruses, and then of course Wikipedia as well as other ‘like’ sites.  Sometimes a page like this is easier to use than booYahooMailkmarks.

I have now weaned myself from iGoogle and beginning to wonder about Yahoo email. Hmmm…..It really does have a nice interface. I have the Yahoo email app on my phone which also look very nice.