Friday, September 4, 2015

Question for Google

I received the following email from Google last evening and I have since discovered that I am not the only one. My questions are below. 

Your Google Drive bonus storage is expiring.

We wanted to let you know that you have bonus Google Drive storage expiring on. While this bonus period is coming to an end, you can always purchase additional storage.

The bonus storage offer that’s expiring is:
Unknown promotion - 10G
The offer will expire on:
Oct 3 2015

My first question is this: If you cannot tell me what the "Unknown promotion" is how do you know it is expiring? This appears to be an obvious question. 

Those that I have talked to, as well as myself, do not remember signing up for an "Unknown promotion". Can you tell us how along ago were awarded this "Unknown promotion"? What was the initial date of this "Unknown promotion"? How do we know you are just not taking away 10GB claiming it was an "Unknown promotion". 

I understand you storage pricing is very good and if you wish that we would pay for this 10GB then we would be happy too do so. At you current 100GB pricing I suspect this would cost, with accounting fee's, about $2.50/year. What the heck I will consider going for the 100 GB at $1.99 month however I would still like to know more about this "Unknown promotion". 

There is the gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach about losing 10GB of storage I may not have even known that I had. Did I take advantage of this "Unknown promotion"?

If Thomas Paine were here I am sure he would say something like "These are the questions that try men's souls". 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

G.E. Getting Into The App Business–Thoughts

First the article in the N.Y.Times: “G.E. Plans App Store for Gears of Industry” and then the lead in from all the resources pointing to the article. (Warning – you may have to sign in to read this article)

First the N.Y. Times lead paragraph is: “General Electric has seen the future of manufacturing and it involves competing with some very big technology companies.

Here are others pointing to the same article with different lead paragraphs. “The investment of $500 million annually signals the importance of the so-called Internet of Things to the future of manufacturing.

So-called? “General Electric has seen the future of manufacturing and it involves competing with some very big technology companies.”

This could be true.

And now for my favorite from Techno stream: “Security fears surrounding the so-called Internet of Things are reaching new levels of anxiety.

I may have missed it but the original article did not mention fears so someone had to. Actually I enjoyed the original writing, so there.

I will leave you with one more.

From Good News: “General Electric has actually seen the future of manufacturing and it entails competing along with some rather big technology companies.”

I kind of like this one also. A slight change from the original but that makes this one original – or does it?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Blogging with Windows Live Writer on Windows 10

SO – in my working inside the Windows Insider program my definition of me would be; “I am a USER”! I go from the point of view of wanting to see how much I can add to Window’s 10 from the app’s and software that I, and others, would use on a regular basis.

And then I add some things that are out of the box – in a sense.

Tonight I added Windows Essentials and from that download I selected Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, and Windows Live Writer. I am so happy that Windows Live Writer has survived the fall out – for lack of a better term. I am hoping that Microsoft will continue to support and help upgrade this app.

Microsoft is to, or was to, have opened sourced Windows Live Writer so that it could continue to find life and I am one that would like to stay with it.

As for Windows 10, I am loving the journey. The most recent build, 10166, is, in my mind, getting very close to ready. I am sure there are other ‘tweak’s’ that can be added however I am very happy with what I see. I have installed Office 2016 Preview and it is very powerful as well. I am ready for the roll-out and full engagement.

A side note here might be that Window’s 10 is FAST!

From my personal perspective, as an Instructor of Microsoft Office products and Window’s OS, this should be an easy sell.

I said earlier I am a user. Putting that into a bigger perspective, I should say this is not just my job it’s my hobby. SmileI like it and I have fun with it.

I use my computer(s) for so many things; note taking, writing, research, surfing (almost the same as research) music, movies and video’s, web site development and upkeep, graphic design, photography, news, reading books (Kindle app), oh and email and Facebook.

I have a number of app’s that I use from time to time and I am somewhat platform agnostic. I use Android for phone, I have an iPad, an Amazon Fire (and Amazon Echo). I want my app’s to work on all platforms such as Evernote, Flipboard, Dropbox, and many others (like iHeart Radio).

Can I leave home without a computer? Of course.

I have my phone. Thumbs up 

And I want to keep touching the future.

Note: this was written on an HP laptop running Window’s 10 and using Windows Live Writer to write. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Microsoft eBook Must Read for Business and IT

unpluggedThis little eBook, UNPLUGGED: How mobility changes the way we work, should actually be read by everyone. It’s focus on now and the future brings a light to the change in thinking at Microsoft. The ad lead in; Mobile strategies built with low-cost devices from $99, just might give you an idea.

I got into the story from the leading quotation by Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; “Our industry does not respect tradition-it only respects innovation.” And in the first paragraph it mentions the iPad and Galaxy tablets as part of that innovation.

I know that when someone else supports a claim that I have been making for years I get all heady. In the beginning of this book there is a paragraph that has become a mantra for me:

“The shift of power is moving from the employer to the consumer. Before smartphones, computing devices were created for the workplace, which gave business, government, and enterprise workers access to the latest technology first. But with smartphones and tablets, the consumer comes first, prompting a faster evolution of devices and leaving employers chronically behind.”

I also add that the consumer is also and employee, and neglecting the ability of the consumer/employee to know and want these devices is a grave mistake. When the consumer/employee has better devices than the corporation a very big disconnect comes into play.

There is more to the story but that was enough to entice me to write.

Get the book – it’s FREE! Yes it just might be an ad for Microsoft however in between the lines you just might learn something from the ad. Reading is good.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Microsoft Word 2016 Blog Template

Yesterday I posted one of my longest pieces at Blogger and I used the a blog template in MS Word 2016. For years some of us have tried to use the Word template however when it came time to post it just would not connect with Blogger. Eventually we would cut and paste into a Blogger template and post.
Yesterday it worked. I was amazed until I reviewed the post and then it became apparent that the Word template formatting was not quite right, at least for Blogger and for me.
In addition to all the things I posted yesterday with regard to my use of the phone this blog post is being written on my phone.
I brag a great deal about using the Swype keyboard however I am using the Google keyboard on this phone with the same characteristics but the added emoji. 👍
Interestingly I can add links as I have done above, and I have text features like Bold and Italic, however to add a picture I most likely would save this as a draft, go to Blogger, and add the picture there.
Time to post and see the results.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My Cell Phone Use Today - May 2015

My phone has become an instrumental part of my person. It's not been embedded under my skin, it does not replace my need to be around people, however if I do not have it with me that gets under my skin. So how does my phone work for me during the day? I put together a list of things that occur off and on during a normal day. I do not use all these apps every day however some are used a great deal of the time. I have to admit that even I was a bit surprised at the list and the number of things that I can do. I have used cell phones since the early 90's (that's the 1990's J ) and I have had a smartphone since the debut of the first Motorola Droid in November of 2009. My current phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 running Android version 5.0.1 (Lollipop)
  • First it's a phone so therefore it makes and receives phone calls.
  • Next up I check and send email from various accounts (there are 4 on my phone one of which is Yahoo).
  • I will use the Google calendar for scheduling meetings and appointments as well as events.
    • My phone notifies me of appointments and time to leave for them via Google Now.
    • Google Now actually alerts me of travel times when necessary.
  • I send and receives text messages.
  • I set timers, which when I am doing the laundry, is important.
    • Can't miss the Perma-Press cycle
    • I also use the timers to remind me to do something throughout the day – take medication for one.
  • I read news from at least 5 different resources – Circa, SmartNews, HuffPost, Guardian, CNN, BuzzFeed, TODAY for Android.
    • I also get alerts to breaking news from a number of these.
      • Actually the value of the 10:00 PM news is fast becoming history.
  • I read books via the Kindle app. I do this in the doctor's office or anywhere else I am with extra time and can't leave. Rather than just sit there watching TV I have something that I can do.
  • I can read/scan PDF's when needed.
    • The phone is also a great hand scanner which I have used on many occasions to scan receipts and other documents.
      • They scan into PDF's and I can then email them directly from the phone.
    • Not to mention the bar code reader that has helped me find other pricing.
  • I make notes - this is a most important aspect for me..
    • There are two great note taking apps and each with a different purpose – Evernote and Google Keep.
  • I use Microsoft Word, Excel on my phone – mostly to look at documents and mostly Excel.
    • I keep a medication list in Excel with refill dates.
  • I play my music anywhere via Bluetooth, currently do that while I write the blog post.
  • I schedule recordings on my DVR for television via 4G or WiFi when out of the house.
    • We were going to be late for the last Idol show of the season and could not miss that.
  • From time to time I watch LIVE TV (ESPN or NFL Mobile). 
  • My phone can act as a Remote for the TV and my Nikon Cameras and other devices.
  • My phone is my most frequent connection to Facebook and I send a number of pictures to Facebook from the phone.
  • My phone is a quick camera for both still and video when I need them while shopping, or at the house.
  • GPS connection for Mapping and other location information.
    • Keeps me from getting lost or finds where I am when I am lost.
    • Finding gas stations, restaurant's, coffee shops, and other places of interest. 
  • I have remote computer connection to login to other systems from my phone.
    • Such as work to check schedule or sign in went going to an onsite to work
  • Now let's see, what else.
    • I have purchased from Amazon on the phone
    • I have health information and apps on the phone
    • I can track recipes and shopping lists (shopping lists from Amazon's Echo go into the app on my phone as well as my wife's)
    • I have watched YouTube video's although I do not make that a habit
    • I listen to Podcast's
    • I have the Audible app for listening to books
    • I also have a few radio apps of which iHeart Radio is most likely the best for me
    • I mentioned Facebook and Google+
    • I have used the phone for Twitter
    • I also get the weather a number of different ways – depends on my mood
    • I have a clock app that I use for alarms and could use for a night alarm
    • I have art and sketching apps
    • I have photo editing apps which I use from time to time
    • I have a Translate app when needed that works very well
    • Utility app's like Privacy Flashlight, LastPass, Mobil Hotspot, Magnifier, Android Wear that connects to my Samsung Gear Watch, I have an app to turn or off the security system, and one to start the car when needed (cold weather beauty). There are security app's, calculator, Unit Converter, a Compass
    • I have the Starbucks app as well as Google Wallet, Cash, and can use PayPal
    • Don't forget Spider for those times you just want to forget what's going and kill a little time
    • I might mention that there are a number of great scanners for documents, business cards, as well as barcodes and QR codes
    • Not to mention all the pictures of family and friends and places that are on my phone when I want to view them
  • I also have used Google Cardboard lens for VR viewing/playing – gotta have fun with the phone.
Any app I have mentioned above is available at the Google Play Store -

Now this user (whoever that mobile user might be) can do most of the mundane work using her/his phone or, when necessary, pull out that 10" to 12" tablet and do the bigger thing. So far the only thing I have found that hinders going over completely to the tablet is web development and that the Windows tablets are deficient in the keyboard area - being a Swype like keyboard lover (it is on the iPad and Android). 

Yes I am a notebook/laptop computer to write this. I am in a Starbucks where I used my phone to pay for the coffee and now my phone is providing me with a hotspot (I like my hotspot over Starbucks) and at the same time my phone plays music that I can listen to with my Bluetooth headset – cutting out the chatter in Starbucks.

Actually I am using the Word 2016 Blog template on Windows 10 Technical Preview to write this so that I can use this computer for many things to test it in the way that I work.

I have to admit that there is still something of security (psychologically) in holding onto a notebook/laptop computer however I will work on overcoming this. These kids will not beat me. J

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mobile Is a Magic Word? Hmmm.......

In this morning's NY Times the following: For Verizon and AOL, Mobile Is a Magic Word - worth reading on the Verizon-AOL buyout.

If there is one thing I found fascinating it is the following quote.

".....the smartphone industry is now shipping nearly three times as many devices as the personal computer industry did at its peak." - Benedict Evans, Andreessen Horowitz
And they are being put to great use everywhere.

The first Samsung Galaxy Note phone that I saw made such an impression that I could not wait to get one. I now take notes, watch video's, check Excel spreadsheets, on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Most of the time, while out and about, I am in-touch and aware of what is going on in the world with nothing but my phone.

I know what these phone must mean to people in 3rd World Countries without the notebook/laptops, desktops, and other overweight connected devices. They are aware of what is going on in the world. They are learning quicker than ever before - and they will catch up quicker.

Learning and Knowing are powerful tools and we now have, at our fingertips, more knowledge than ever before and it can be instantly accessed. Instantly! From almost anywhere!

This must be important to Verizon and to AOL. This is a WORLD business as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft know. Why not plan to be in all that potential growth area. Look out world, Verizon has another sunrise on the horizon.

Is this becoming the "Mobile" World? No, it already is! And it's only magic to those who don't understand.

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Verizon Buys AOL for $4.4 Billion–Happy for AOL

verizonI found this very interesting this morning. From CNN Money; “Verizon buys AOL for $4.4 Billion”. OK, this is food for thought. AOL

I actually found this to be of interest and believe that it is a good connection. I really do not believe that there should be a great deal of conflict. This is not the Comcast – Time Warner deal that could hammer a specific market, this is an expansion of Verizon into a whole new area – in some ways.

Generally the Technorati disliked AOL from the beginning because it allowed the average person to have access to the World Wide Web – their personal domain. Now everyone is going; “AOL is still around?” Yes and not too shabby. They own, among other things, The Huffington Post.

I think this should be viewed as Verizon branching out, or going in a different direction.

The big hoopla may come from stockholders on the Verizon side. Generally Wall St opposes change unless it instantly increases stock value by at least 12%. Someone will want Verizon to pass along the $4.4 billion to shareholders and not think about the future.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thoughts On Today's News

I was happy to see the new Surface 3 announced by Microsoft. It's the right size, 10.8 inches, and the processor, although not the most powerful, ia good. I would have to go with the 128 GB with 4 GB of ram for $599, 64 GB is just not enough for all the fun. One major drawback for me is the lack of a Swype like keyboard. When Apple updated the iOS and allowed 3rd party keyboards the Swype app was a top download for sometime. I love it, greatest keyboard out there. If Microsoft would let that happen on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 that would go a long way to convince me to move. At the moment I'm not really driven. 

Google's new Chromebit looks interesting. Read about it at Buzz Feed here: Seriously a computer the size of a USB (or a little bigger) and no monitor. Plug it into a USB port on a monitor, link to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you are on the way.

How about IBM investing $3 billion into the "Internet of Things"? My memory recalls they put a very big investment into the PC in the 80's. Keep in mind that IBM is not the only one investing in IoT. It will be coming at us very fast. Check out the link here at the Eponymouspickle:

I find reading tech news and pondering great fun.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sunday Morning Wireless Going Down

Well I woke up Sunday morning with no way to connect
My world just stopped and I think I've lost my touch with tech
Now that's pretty bad :)

Network connection is a headache to say it best. When it goes down the world stops - or at least my world. This morning I had an incident that makes me rethink prior problems with a notebook computer. 

I came downstairs to get on the Internet and the wireless was down. Not again. This has happened so many times. In the distant past we would call Time Warner Cable and we go through this ritual of shutting everything down, modem and router, then bringing them back up one at a time. I get the same message from the HP troubleshooter. After years, just shut it down and bring it all back up slowly and everything works. Pain in the neck, time consuming, but it works - most of the time. I have had to do it twice or three times and perhaps reboot the computer. All this while TWC is saying the modem is good it's the router.

This morning a lesson in "observation", "testing", and "Learning". 

History (more information)

We have wireless phone's however once inside the condo we are constantly dropping calls. Years back we added a Samsung Wireless Phone system extender (Verizon), it works great with our Verizonwireless phones. It also connects to my router. When the router goes down so does the Wireless Phone Extender and a few of the lights on the front of the phone extender turn red. 

All this brings me to fixing the wireless connection.

The router and the modem are both on top of a 6 ft. bookcase and I am only 5'8" - I need a ladder. As I am about the get the ladder I notice that all the lights are working on the phone extender (also on top of the bookcase). Wait a minute, if the router is down then some of the lights go red on the phone extender. Hmm... I check my wife's computer which is directly connected to the router, and in the same room (lower down), it is working fine. Is the wireless is bad on the router?

Now I am learning.

Back downstairs I go to my desktop, which is cabled directly to the router. The desktop is working fine  I have another laptop, I am using to run/review Windows 10 it is not directly connected to the router, it is connected via wireless. Not only is it working nicely it had just updated the OS and I had to reboot. 

I return to the original HP Envy, the one with the initial problem, and the wireless connection is down. At this point I run the trouble shooter and discover that the wireless adapter (internally) had to be reset and once reset I am online. 

My question now is; were some of my other wireless downtime in the last couple of months , on this computer (only 2 months old), the result of the wireless adapter not functioning correctly? I would go blindly up and reset everything and maybe re-boot the computer. Time wasted. I don't know. I do know that assumptions that the same thing is always happening can be a time waste. 

Now I have a NEW approach. 

We all learn over time however the next time I will not go blindly up and reboot the modem and router, I will check the computer first. We get in the habit of blaming the old things where perhaps there are changes that alter what we should be looking at. I had to learn from this. The next time I lose Internet connection on this computer I will check the desktop computer and the phone extender - before I get mad at Netgear or Time Warner Cable.

I'm still a student and oh yes, this gave me something to write about. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Not sure that Apple’s Selling a Smartwatch to Uninterested Public as found in the NY Times

An article in the New York Tines this morning; Apple’s New Job: Selling a Smartwatch to an Uninterested Public - leave me a little cold. Obviously I don't agree.

I believe there will be a great demand for this watch as watches themselves have gotten rather boring over the years. This watch will be exciting. I think it will stimulate sales in the area of wearable s and bring home the point that "we have gone over to the dark side" :).

I have an Samsung Gear (Android) sold by Google, and I have been very happy with it. I personally can't wait for the Apple watch to be released as I expect ti to be; 1) a big attraction to Apple, 2) legitimize the wearable industry, 3) and sell very, very, well. There are those (Jason Calacanis for one) that said initially this watch would be a billion dollar brand for Apple.

The rate of acceptance of technology in and of itself, has been accelerating. The Apple Watch will only increase that rate of acceptance.

My only problem? It doesn't work with my Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and I love my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. If the watch were independent I might consider buying one. Yes I know I said I already have a wearable, but having two would not hurt. I suspect the Apple watch will be a bit more fashionable.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thoughts on the Microsoft Word app on the Ipad.

I am using the Microsoft Word app on the iPad to initially write this post and is really great. If it is the same on a Windows tablet when released I know it will succeed. I have seen some screenshots of what it could be for Windows 10 and the upcoming office package and I am impressed.

Touch is fantastic. I recently purchased an HP notebook with Touch and my wife wanted to know why I wasn't using Touch on the screen. Can't hit those tiny 'X's' or whatever - fat fingers (?). I am enjoying the Touch ability on the notebook, just not in Word (or Excel, PowerPoint).

If there is one thing that I like on my iPad is that I can use either an external keyboard or the onscreen Swype keyboard that I installed (after upgrading to iOS 8). The ‘clunker’ (my description) tap-on-each-letter keyboard is very slow, and frustrating – for a keyboarder that is. With the Swype keyboard I can take my iPad portable and still write at a great speed.  When I want I can add the Apple Bluetooth keyboard to fly across the keys. Note: I have been a keyboarder for over 60 years so I know where all the keys are on a QWERTY keyboard.

Being a Windows/Microsoft user all these years, and it’s associated hardware, the Apple keyboard takes some getting used to. The Apple keyboard does not function as well with MS Word as it does in Pages as some of the keyboard (keystroke’s) shortcuts do not apply. One in mind is ‘Backspace’. The Apple keyboard has a delete key and when operating on Apple software/apps depressing the ‘fn’ key in conjunction with the ‘delete’ key, the ‘delete’ key becomes a backspace key, not so in MS Word, all we have is delete.

I have to add that I copied all the text in the Word app and pasted it into the Blogger word processor for completeing this post and found that the keystroke for 'backspace' works. Hmm....

Microsoft may have to allow Nuance (the developer of Swype) to create it's app for Word (Excel and beyond).