Monday, January 27, 2014

Windows 8.1 and the HP Tablet for Monday.

I really am getting more and more into my HP Omni 10 tablet. I am getting a great deal of use out of the tablet under different circumstances and it is much more than an entertainment device, even though I do use it for that.

I use it at home, or on the road, when wanting to read either books on the Kindle app or using Flipboard to get news. Obviously I can surf for news. WIth my Office 2013 subscription I have Word and Excel as well as Outlook and PowerPoint. I can review data, update information, and create documents as needed.

As for entertainment; last night watching the Grammy's I used it to look up information regarding performers. Since I am not a big fan of attached keyboards this works great with my Microsoft Wedge keyboard when needed.

I am on the road with it this morning and it is so much easier to carry around on a daily basis. As I have said earlier I cannot use Dreamweaver on it but would not want to anyway. I won't put iTunes on it however I have loaded my Samsung Link connection and can get Sirius as well as Google Play. Music everywhere when I want it. I will be getting the cable to connect to a projector or a larger monitor

I guess I should say that I have been a big proponent of Windows 8 from it's release and then 8.1,however until I got my hands on this tablet I did not use (or even see) the need for the app's that much. On my desktop or laptop computers I used the desktop side of Windows 8.1 and the app side for setting up my software (app's) for easy access. Much better than any prior version of Windows. Quick and easy.

Since I have switched over to the use of the tablet on a day-to-day basis I am finding the Windows app's to be much more important and valuable. Multi-tasking is easy and slipping back and forth from desktop to app is great. Frustrating is the fact that app's that run on the tablet are not available to run on the desktop or laptop.

If there is a complaint I find the inability to adjust app sizing to fit my needs a bit tedious. On the phone one can fill the screen with an app, on a computer, or tablet, that is sometimes overkill. Google's Chrome with the Metro likeness is rather interesting. You can resize the various screens to what you want. So I pull a tab off of the browser and resize it. The Windows app's should be able to do the same thing.

The idea that HP is dropping Windows 8 for Windows 7 is actually kind of far fetched, although it made for good headlines. As stated in an article linked to below, HP is making more choices available for the buyer. Personally I have one computer running Windows 7 and two running Windows 8.1 and I like the cleanness, and quickness, of Windows 8.1. It is superior to Windows  7.

I also enjoy the touch screen on my tablet and will get that on my next laptop. It has become so natural to reach up and just drag something across the screen. I might add there will be no next desktop.

Now if Time Warner Cable would just get a Windows app out there this would be just fine. I can watch TWC on my phone and the iPad (as well as the Nexus 7) but cannot on the Window's device. If there is an issue it is that not all app's I like are available in Windows 8.1 and some that are function differently - and I think that could be fixed.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Zemanta and blogging resources

One (OK me) is always looking for other sources when investigating something. I want more information. I often use Wikipedia (which I contribute and you should) however I still would like to see what other writers are saying and their links. We call it research.

One of the tools of the past was Zemanta however I had difficulties with changing blogging tools and then upgrades. I also used, and still do occasionally, Windows Live Writer however currently I am writing everything in Blogger. I just installed (or re-activated) the Zemanta connection and Chrome extension.

Zemanta remembered me.

I always found Zemanta to be most helpful in being able to provide additional links to something I was writing. At the same time I found myself reading those links and in retrospect having more information for myself.

So today we have re-connected.  As I go ahead we shall see if Zemanta is as good as it was for me in times past. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

A few minutes of my morning with tech.

I got a late start and did not leave the house until well after my 7:00 AM time. It all began when I started  playing with the iPad. We are planning on making this device a 'kitchen' computer. We have set up a Skydrive folder with recipes that we can both add to and then access while in the kitche. I was wondering what else we could do with the iPad while in the kitchen. 

The scenario was getting that first cup of coffee and looking at the weather and news.

First I brought up the local news app for WCPO (Cincinnati) and checked the local news and traffic, as well as national news. Following that I went to The Weather Channel app to see the forecast for the week (not sure that was a good idea - cold). 

Next I began watching TV on the Time Warner Cable (TWC) app, which became really fascinating. From that I checked in on Google Maps and looked at traffic patterns in the area, just because I could. 

I felt like I was a figure in one of those 'future' scenes we would see years ago, where people would say "not in my lifetime". 

I could watch FOX news, CCN Headline news. Al Jazeera Network, the BBC and many other channels on the TWC app. Since we are subscribers to TWC this is available via our in-home wireless network. 

Even though I have been a part of this technology for years and have done these things before I am still excited about what is possible. With the advent of the Internet of Things coming, household controls, sensors and such, I am still the kid in the candy store only these apps are my candy. 

I find all these tools can let us work from anywhere, anytime, and be as creative as we could possibly want. These are tools for business as well as for playtime. My wife and I both have tablets and can access the same online folders, trade documents and pictures. put up recipes, catch up on Facebook, and read email. She pays all the bills and I watch documentaries. 

Why do we need many different devices when one should be able to do 90% of what we want? From writing a report (or blog post) to watching TV, catching a seminar in another part of the world, or a TED talk. What about all the great "How To" video's on YouTube? I can watch them most anywhere.

Well most anywhere. That will occur when wireless Internet is ubiquitous. That's another story.,

I left the house and on the way out to the main road I stopped the car and took this picture of the sunrise with my phone. Although the picture content might be better positioned the the end result is quite clear and reflects what I wanted to capture. The phone is always with me and therefore so is my camera. 

At the moment I am sitting in a Starbucks using the wireless on my phone to connect to the Internet. To pay for my coffee and sandwich this morning I used my Starbucks app. 

OK enough for life in the tech lane, now to go clean up the basement. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thoughts on Google, the Consumer, and the Internet of Things.

This morning, in reading Teena Hammond's article at TechRepublic; "Handicapping Google's $3.2 Billion bet on the Internet Of Things", I began thinking of where Google could be headed.

In the article Teena quotes Gilad Meiri, CEO of Neura, with the following statement:
Google has made an art out of deeply understanding how people interact with their virtual world, the Web, and in so doing has been able to monetize that understanding in wildly successful ways.
 Later on there is another quote, this time from Frank Gillett, a Forrester Research analyst::
Google's acquisition of Nest affirms the growing strategic importance of the idea of the connected home. It also shows that Google increasingly believes in hardware/software solutions, such as Nest has built, rather than just building operating systems for other manufacturers to implement in smartphones, Chromebooks, and TVs.
My thoughts go in one main direction; Google get's what the consumer needs (or would like to have) and that the consumer is the main force in all market's, not just technology.  Although they won't give up, or walk away from, the enterprise world, there is a bigger market out there in the in the consumer world.

The world of the Internet of Things (IOT) is spoken of in terms of the connected household, it goes further than this. The leader in acceptance of the IOT will be the consumer. And now the increasing rate of acceptance of new products and the IOT will bring about change faster than I think we can predict.

Check out The Growing Scope of the Internet of Things at The Eponymous Pickle.

The idea that all things need to connect and get along with each other, like the Nest products do, will be expected as we go into the future. The isolated worlds of other producers is not going to work in the long run. Be open, be connected, think consumer. I believe this is where many are missing the point.

If you can sell the consumer they will take you inside the enterprise world. My analogy would be like the Internet, the web is only a small part of what goes on out there. In the world of people the enterprise is only a portion of that world. The bigger world is the 'consumer'. We interconnect with each other, why can't our products get along?

Apple got the consumer to purchase the iPhone and it is now inside the enterprise. Google went after the consumer with a different phone and now it is going into the enterprise. Same with tablets. All we hear about is are the iPad and Samsung or Nexus (Android) tablets. Granted there are others but where is the press?

The press is following the consumer.

Google is getting the consumer and perhaps getting better at it than Apple.

I think both of  the quotes above are only getting a fraction of what Google is doing. Yes they have search results and they look at what the consumer is doing or searching, or wanting. Then Google is producing wonderful, out of the world, products (or thoughts/dreams). Google is going to the moon, and getting tons of publicity for it; Nexus products (phones, tablets), Google Glasses, Driver-less Car's, Robotics. Now for in-home thermostat's, Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors, oh yes - Chromecast for TV.

I think Google is reaching out in so many ways to connect and this has a direct impact on how we think of Google.

In all the recent companies brought into the Google connection they follow the same similar pattern and Nest. They bought Nest "Labs" and I think the emphasis on 'Labs" is what is important. Engineer's into robotics and helping mankind with mundane tasks. People Centered? Consumer Oriented? Future enlightenment.

One other link Google Nests in the Smart Home to look at with additional thoughts.

One thing to keep in mind; this all started with a search engine.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Future of App's

What will be the future of app's?

My issue is that an app on one device is not the same on another device.  In this world today we might have a Windows OS laptop, an Android/iOS based phone, and who knows what tablet. The app business is powerful however I think the winners will be those whose app can be used the same across all devices. Not all of us are Fan-boy's and we will never be.

A good example of my dilemma would be Evernote, one of my favorite app's. On the Computer (Windows OS) it is wonderful. On the iPad not so bad, works well. On the Android it is a little less powerful. Actually on the Android device it is 'just' a note taking app whereas on the laptop or iPad I can use if with bullets and checklists. On the laptop I can add color and so many more things. It is a good competitor to OneNote.

Because of this inconsistency in Evernote I am revisiting OneNote.

Another problem: I (and my wife) have owned Kindle's over the last few years. I also use the Kindle app on my laptop and on my tablets. I like e-reading. I can get magazines on the tablets however not on the Kindle app (?). This weekend we downloaded the Nook app on both of our devices and got the magazines that we read onto our new tablets, and they look good.

Why won't the Kindle app allow magazines? Is Amazon saying that I have to buy a Kindle to read magazines? Hey Amazon, we will be buying our magazines over at Barnes & Noble.

Worse I will be telling people about it.

I know that magazines are also available at Google Play however that works best on an Android device - not available on Windows 8.1. Same could be said of the Newsstand app on the iPad. I do believe that the Nook app is available everywhere. Just sayin'...

I like Google Maps but not a good idea as a Windows app.

There are other apps that are not consistent across devices. I understand the different OS's have different requirements however that has to be resolved someway. s

There are apps that work well across devices, Dropbox for one.

I think somewhere the idea that we can be forced into one camp or another is going to fail a number of people. It is true that I am in the Windows camp at the moment. It 'was' the business machine of choice but that could be changing. Yes I purchased an HP|Windows 8.1 tablet however it is not the device I had planned to buy and may not be the device I will be using in 2 years. My next move could be a combination device.

The app business is big however there has to be some ability to work across all systems. I see the same thing happening to the Microsoft Office "app".

Let me add that there are somethings that Android does very well, better than Microsoft. There are some things that are really nice on the iPad as well. I said we were looking for homes for our Kindles I did not mention the Nexus 7 or the iPad(3rd gen) that we have. I am still using those and finding ways to make them work. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Great Experience at the Microsoft Store

I have a friend who goes on and on about the Apple Experience. Well I had one of those great experience's this week however at a Microsoft store.

The last two posts here have been about my wife and I purchasing new tablets last weekend at the Microsoft store. Mine was the HP Omni 10 and hers the Nokia Lumia 2520 RT, which she loves now that she can get her magazines on it via the Nook app.

During this week I had some issues with the rear facing camera not working all the time on the HP Omni 10. I went into the store on Wednesday to see if there was something they could do. A really friendly tech (Josh) went through a few steps, re-installed drivers, and took a real interest in the issue. Along the way we had a nice conversation regarding Microsoft Office and various product. I am impressed.

The outcome was that the camera was working however Josh says if I had any further issues bring it back and they would give me a new one. Not bad.

On Thursday the camera crashed again and so yesterday, Saturday, I am back in the Microsoft Store. Josh was not there so I get to meet David. I tell him what happened and no questions asked he gets another one from the back and we set down to completely wipe out the first one and set up the second one.

I am impressed with how fast the set up went however once up and running (app's installed and Office 365) we take to testing and guess what? The rear facing camera does not work. What is interesting to me is that the video camera (same lens) worked on both devices and the front facing camera works. You just can't take pictures with the rear facing camera.

David takes the device and begins to go through a series of checks, downloads updates, and then Intel software re: the chip set. I have a lot of knowledge but at this point I am an innocent bystander.

After we test it I leave with everything working however, David says, if it stops bring it back.

At this point I know my issue is not with Microsoft, and being a BIG HP fan I am willing to work with this. The balance of the device is great so I will see how it goes.

My big thing was the service and the way I was treated. Everybody that I came into contact with was great. They all took great interest in the problem and did their best to resolve it. As of this morning, Sunday, everything is working well.
Microsoft Work Station

I have pictured my Microsoft Work Station at MacDonald's. This includes the HP Omni 10, the Microsoft Wedge Keyboard, the Microsoft Sculptured Mouse, and my stylus from The Friendly Swede (Amazon). I changed the mouse from my last post as I gave that one to my wife to use on her RT device.

While at the store yesterday I added a 64 GB SD card for additional storage. Now to see just how much I can over work this device. I tend to push tools to the furthest edge.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

HP Omni 10 Tablet

I cannot believe what I have been doing on this HP Omni 10 tablet. All web connected. I have had to learn differences between the apps in Windows 8.1 and Android or the iPad, but it works. I have to admit that some of the apps on Android or iPad are easier to use. I suspect that is partly due to Microsoft's plodding, mired in the mud, strategy.  One day they, Microsoft, will get innovative and who knows what could occur. 

Microsoft needs app help however they do not need one million apps that do nothing. 

True I cannot design web pages or logo's on this tablet but I have a laptop for that (also HP).  I have been able to do everything I need to in reading, writing, and 'rithmetic'. I can even use Dropbox. 

This tablet travels very well and with the Microsoft Wedge Keyboard and a Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000, I have the best of all worlds. Well, granted (as said earlier) the apps have a way to go.

Oh yes. I almost forgot. I have a stylus sold by "The Friendly Swede" that I purchased from Amazon

I think the iPad will become the kitchen device for recipes, checking the news and weather in the morning, and the note taking device that can be linked via Evernote with the rest of our devices. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

New HP OMNI 10 tablet from Microsoft Store

Yesterday my wife and I were at the Microsoft store and she discovered the Nokia Lumia 2520 in Red and I found the HP OMNI 10. We spent the rest of the day / evening trying to figure out what we can do with them.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 is an RT device however it came with Office Home and Student as well as Microsoft Outlook and again the color was Red.

The HP OMNI 10 is not RT (and not Red) and that is what I wanted however I do wish it was the color Red. I came so close to buying the Nokia Lumia because of the color (one good reason to buy a computer) however I need to be able to add other things (apps) outside of the Window's Store. This became quickly evident when I tried to add an App from the Amazon web site to her tablet and it would not allow it. She had to get it through the Windows Store.

I have to admit that I added it to my desktop on the HP and then decided it was the same we could get through the store. OH well.

On the other hand I like Google Chrome browser and I added that from the desktop and that was a good thing - for me. My wife does not like Chrome which is OK, IE is not bad I just happen to like the extensions that IE frowns on.

I had some issues and had to re-install drivers for the Camera / Web Cam and kept getting the Blue Screen saying "We have encounter a problem" or something like that. There would be a data dump and then a restart.

What I found fascinating is that in going to the HP web site for help I got the following information.

I could not get specs, Support, or anything else. There were links on the tablet that eventually led me to some help but not a great deal. I actually received more help from both Bing and Google searches.

I would recommend that you check for updates immediately. I believe this helped me fix my issues. When going to Windows Update in the Control Panel I was told that "Your computer is set to update automatically and currently your computer is up to date" (or something close to that). I clicked on "Check for updates" and found 19 Important Updates which I installed. My Blue Screen crashes stopped - at least for the time being.

Two error messages that cause this device to crash at least 4 times in less than 24 hours were: SDBUS_INTERNAL_ERROR and DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION.

I am suspicious of both Chrome and the Microsoft Wedge Keyboard that I installed. Most all crashes came when I was attempting to use both at the same time. I did open a Word document and type for quite awhile without issue. Once the updates were installed everything seems to be working fine.

I will write more as we go along.