Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Comment on the Samsung Gear S3 Coming Out.

Right up front you should know the Samsung Gear S3 watch, which is beginning to roll out (South Korea  currently) runs on the Samsung Tizen Operating System. It’ good but…..

Gear 2 ClassicI ‘was’ a happy user  of the Samsung Gear S2, I had some small issues that occurred between the Tizen OS and the Android OS. The Android OS is the operating system for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 that I had at the time.

At issue was the fact that some Android app’s (example Google Keep) did not function well on the watch – actually not at all in my case. There were other app’s but I became enamored with the Samsung Pay app and so it made up for the other lacking's.

Fast forward, I had been going to trade in the phone at the end of the Verizon contract for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 but alas that was not an option. While in the Verizon store we (my wife and I) looked at the Motorola Z Force (she having a current Moto watch) and it was pretty cool. Size was right for me and there was a “DEAL” – so we went for the Motorola Z Force, and now both of us are using the same phone.

While in the Verizon store I used the Samsung Pay app on the watch to initiate the purchase of our new phones, everybody smiled and the watch was a hit. 

After leaving the store, happily with our new phones, I went to pay for lunch with the watch and it did not work. Of course I had to think/wonder/discover why not.

This brought about an “A Ha!” moment.  Enlightenment at it’s best. The Samsung Pay app will not work on the watch without having a Samsung phone connected.

I am always looking to learn and this was one of those times, I wanted to pass along my experience.

I like the watch it’s just too bad that some aspects of the watch won’t work unless you have a Samsung phone, and plan to always have a Samsung phone – or at least as long as you own the watch. Sounds like a closed system, hmmmm….

My next watch will run the Android OS, you can bet on that. Android Pay works very well thank you, and I will bet that it will work on my watch one day.

Have a Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Samsung Galaxy Note 7–A Bummer For Me

OK so my contract with Verizon is about up and I am ready to think about a new phone. Actually I have been thinking for some time and I had decided (back in July) that it would be the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

I am currently using a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and was real happy with what I had read about the Note 7. Back in August I talked with Verizon and I did not like the trade-in I was offered so I decided to wait until the contract was up – well it’s up this month however things have changed.

What to do, what to do.

I really don’t have any phone in mind other than the Note 7. I am a Samsung user. I really should say that we are a Samsung family, refrigerator, washer/dryer, 3 TV’s, and my phone. Oh yes, a Samsung Microwave. Add to this the fact that I recently purchased a Samsung Gear S2 Classic. Samsung Pay works on my watch and I love using it.

Samsung Galaxy S7 EdgeWith all of this I am pre-disposed to buy a new Samsung phone but can’t make up my mind. S7 Edge does not have a stylus, bummer.,

After reading “Galaxy Note 7 Vs Galaxy S7 Edge: What’s The Difference?” from Forbes, I suspect the S7 is my best bet – even without the stylus (darn). I have also recently seen that Samsung has been adding some Note 7 features to the S7, read: “Samsung Galaxy S7 gets the Note 7’s Always on Display upgrade”. Samsumg VR

OK Verizon here I come, well maybe. Still have to think – FOBO (Smile).

I wonder if the Samsung Gear S2 will connect to the new Pixel by Google?  I wonder if they, Verizon, will throw in a Samsung VR – that could make a deal.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Amazon’s responsiveness is very good but you must be aware.

There is a NY Times article this morning, “Subscribe and Save on Amazon? Don’t Count on It” and it is a thought provoking writing.

AmazonWe buy from Amazon often however we do not actually subscribe to any ongoing products. We do buy our coffee regularly from Amazon. What I discovered is that the people who sell through Amazon can have many varying prices for the same product. I suspect Amazon does not discriminate between it various seller’s.

When Amazon sends a notice to re-order we have found it often comes from a different supplier and the price can be (and is often) quite different – sometimes actually higher. Before purchasing I review all the other prices from various seller’s.

In many ways I think of Amazon as a Mall; the sellers meet all the quality criteria to sell via Amazon however Amazon cannot control their price.

Recently we purchased an item from Amazon that was to be supplied by a seller via Amazon. We order the product by name and at price A. When the product arrived the packing list said it was exactly as ordered however the physical product was not.

The product received was as good as what we wanted so we would keep it but in research the product received was less than price A, which we paid.

We wrote Amazon detailing the complete issue and within 45 minutes we received an email and the credit had been applied.

FANTASTIC Customer Service. And that is what we are after.

We have been customers of Amazon for 10 years and Prime members for a number of those years. We thoroughly enjoy the service. I have not had to write often but when we do we get a response.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tesla's fatal Autopilot accident: Why the New York Times got it wrong - TechRepublic

Tesla's fatal Autopilot accident: Why the New York Times got it wrong - TechRepublic:

I think I'll go with Tech Republic on this one. Actually I don't think the NY Times likes technological changes or Elon Musk and Tesla for that matter. Hmmm....I think there was a prior article regarding Tesla that Elon Musk rebutted with facts. But then that's me.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Samsung’s OS Tizen on Watches - Next Phones?

The following is a personal opinion (as is all of my writing).

Galaxy Note 4mI have been very happy with my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and because of that I purchased a Samsung Gear 2 Classic running Tizen – not my best choice. I suspect I should have gone with an Android OS on a watch.

The Samsung Gear 2 Classic is a really great watch, it runs well and look good. I like the way you access apps and get information, the bezel is fantastic; however, and it is a big however, I cannot get my favorite Android app’s.Gear 2 Classic Keep for one is missing and that is an important app. There are others that are missing as well.

Now I read in 9TO5GOOGLE; “Report claims that Samsung is considering moving all of its devices to Tizen”. Time to rethink all of my future plans.

I really like my Android OS and running on the Samsung phone it has been really great. This is not my first Samsung phone. There are app’s that I like which are available on the Android OS but not on the Samsung Tizen and I doubt if they ever will be.

On another note; I do not believe that 4 App Stores can run well, Microsoft is having that problem at #3 and Samsung is not even near Microsoft.

Samsung makes great hardware however their app selection is just not the same as Android or Apple (hmm yes, that is alphabetically correct – An before Ap), and yes, Microsoft.

Music is one place where they are not up to speed. Apple with their music, Google Music, and now Amazon is doing very well. Being an Amazon Prime member I use their music a great deal and I have an app on my Android device and I believe it is available on Apple devices. I have used an iPod for years – not switching to Milk (Samsung’s music app). 

Perhaps my next purchase will send me back to Motorola and I just might look at Apple – they make a great watch and I can use all the Apple and Android app’s (I have an iPod and iPad).

Microsoft watch? Hmmm…….I wonder if they will run Android app’s?

I think Tizen is an up-hill battle for Samsung.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Life In The World of Free WiFi

Stopped into my favorite McDonald’s to use my Hotspot and the power outlet. Well what to my wondering eyes should appear?

blog-promotion1A lady, with computer, had taken the 4-Top next to the outlet and that was OK. Wait a minute. On second look she had put her computer bag and a drink cup on the 2-Top next to her so no one would sit at this table. Now the power outlet it out of range.

I have to assume she has a government position and this is secure use of her computer in a public place. NSA – No Space Available.

Conspiracy theory. She is well dressed however in black. A gentleman comes in, sits down,and they talk. Now is she getting a report from a clandestine agent? Or is she hiring a hit man to do in her husband? Hmmm…..I like the hit man theory.

I think it’s time for wine. Just sayin’……

The weekend in coming and that is a good thing.

Advancing Technology of The Personal Assistant

This morning my friend, and collaborator in the future, Franz Dill (The Eponymous Pickle), sent me an article on a Kickstarter project by the company Pebble. The article: Pebble’s New Core Competency is Alexa, is a very interesting read.

I am fascinated with the oncoming world of personal assistants and it cannot get here fast enough. In the process of reading this my mind drifted back to the early 80's and personal computing when I had the same thoughts. There was a point when I began to tear out of the newspaper (and magazines) anything that related to personal computing. My thoughts at the time were; the more ad's and articles the more prevalent this technology would become. The more people read about it the more they want to see it, they more they see it the more they want it. So ad's, articles, and announcements like this, are paving the way for acceptance.

As I see it beginning with the 80's this rate of acceptance is getting faster and faster. I do not find anyone who rejects the personal assistant as readily as they did the personal computer in the 80's or the Internet in the mid 90's. I believe that we are in the fast track lane of personal assistant development and now instead of years we are talking months and, who knows, maybe weeks. Overtime it will be quick (and painless) and we all strbkcoffeewill be talking to our watches, key rings, maybe even our coffee mugs in the morning. Hmmm…..they could be listening.

Have a GREAT DAY!!

UPDATE: In just reading a Computerworld article I thought I would pass along that link. Very interesting. These three virtual assistants point the way to the future. I am interested in Amy – she could be very powerful.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Current Personal Technologies and Me!

beach052016Just finished vacation and had a great time. While on vacation there were plenty of times when today’s world of PA’s (Personal Assistant’s) were both used and at the same time left a desire for more.

History: The first time I ever used the term PA was with a Palm Pilot. I thought this was the greatest device that I could make notes with, what a wonder. Now the term PA can include AI (Artificial Intelligence) that can hear what we ask and can return information based on it’s knowledge gained of us. 

Back to the vacation.

First is the travel area and it does not deal with PA as much as I would like.

We used Google Maps (on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4) to plan our tripSamsung note 4 and once in the car connected the Bluetooth to receive the Navigation information. I added music through the phone (Amazon Prime or Google Music – I use both) so that we could enjoy our long trip.  As soon as we got onto the highway I set the cruise control and it wasn’t long until I was bored.

I do have podcasts that we listened to and if I had a digital Audible book  we could have listened to that. We can control what we want to hear better today than at anytime in the past and it could be a learning experience. 

I am also ready for Self-Driving Cars. We were on the road for about 11.5 hours and I could have used much of the time more effectively even if it was having a great conversation with my wife without driving distractions. We could have read books or magazines, or just sat back and relaxed. Sadly the return trip was about the same. I could drink coffee and talk however I always had to have my hand on the steering wheel and focus had to be on the road ahead. I sure would jump right at a proven Self-Driving system.

One really interesting item in our travels; the GPS, knowing our route and destination, would have text messages sent to our phone (or watch) noting upcoming traffic issues – accidents, construction. If needed we could have changed our route. The watch is another great device so that you can quickly glance at the watch to see what is happening; email, text message, confirmations, phone calls, it’s all there.

After we arrived at our place of stay (really nice and on the beach) I took out Tap (Amazon’s portable Echo device), checked the weather, and played some music. Each morning, once showered, I would check my Flash Briefing on Tap, then get the weather, and from there we could plan our day. All information was automatically location based unless I asked for something other. 

While on vacation I could connect back to the condo to look in on things. I had lights set for on and off back at the condo and I could check the security.

All in all it was a pleasant trip and a really nice vacation with a wonderful group. We enjoyed ourselves and out PA. If there is something I am looking forward to it’s more services automatically handled by the PA; making the reservation, ordering the Pizza (can do that with Alexa however it is coded for home), asking for area attractions. I am looking forward to the auto that not only tells you that you are low on gas but recommends the next gas station for fill up – based on your personal preferences.

The same could be said of asking for nearby restaurants. The current PA knows your preferences and makes all recommendations accordingly and can make the reservations when decisions are made. It, the PA, will have the phone numbers and information required to make that reservation.

Ah yes, at first there was some trepidation about security but alas we have passed that abyss and now are leaping head first into the wonderful world of PA with AI….

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

11 ways to get the most out of Google Keep on Android | Computerworld

I have been using Google Keep for sometime as a quick note catcher and recently as a reminder for some daily tasks (get milk, get lottery tickets, etc). This article turned me on to a few other ways to use this one of which was to be able to get text out of images. I was not aware that I could do this. Actually I was nto aware I could grab images with Google Keep.

There are a few other features that are of interest. Quite a nice tool.

11 ways to get the most out of Google Keep on Android | Computerworld:

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Insider Newsletter

Back sometime ago I promoted a newsletter whose foundation has been created by Jason Calacanis. I am back again and asking that if you are interested please use the link to sign up and take a look.

That's right, I want to become an Insider!

Actually the newsletter is a good short read on what is going on in the 'outside' world and if you want more information you can follow links. For the most part is is simply a paragraph of information for you to catch up quickly on.

Again check it out

Shameless hustle.....

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Third Wave of Computing Has Just Begun — Galleys — Medium

Interesting interview with Steve Case. I have always thought that Steve was a bit ahead of his time and this book: "The Third Wave of Computing Has Just Begun" sound like a very interesting read. I always felt that Steve met his match with the Time Warner merger. He is right; great vision - no execution and the 'suite's' at TW didn't buy his vision, sad for Time Warner and AOL. Alas we all grow and learn. I think we can learn a great deal from Steve Case.

The Third Wave of Computing Has Just Begun — Galleys — Medium:

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Microsoft Office 365: The smart person's guide - TechRepublic

This is a very good read on Office 365 and you should take a look. Microsoft Office products are still the best available.

In my opinion Office 365 is there for the lite user as well as the one that wants everything. You can start on the lite side and grow into the power user you need or want to be.

I have been using Microsoft Word since the middle 80's and I can't think of a day that I don't use Word to do at least one of many things; write a letter, build a business plan, outline a proposal, create an announcement, and so many other things, sometimes just as a note that I know will grow.

I use Excel to both personal and business reasons. On a personal level I track medications, refill dates, and money spent. We use it as a family to plan travel or remodeling expenses. We remodeled the kitchen and did all our planning, tracking, and quotations within an Excel spreadsheet. Excel for business is incredible and today's Office 365 Excel includes so many great tools for analysis.

I could go on about Access, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publishing, and all the other tools (don't forget Outlook).

When reading this link keep in mind there is are versions for the individual and for households (currently $69.99/yr). I purchased the Household version (currently $99.99/yr) so that my wife, and Son can have a copy (you get 5 copies to download) and I also use it on a laptop, tablet, and smartphone - smartphone and tablet (iPad) are free.

Take a read - the cost is great and the tools incredible.

Microsoft Office 365: The smart person's guide

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

The rise and fall (but mostly fall) of social media 1.0 from TechRepublic

After reading the following post I am not sure that the author has much to say about the Fall of Social Media 1.0. Or rather the Millennial's don't have much to say or much to learn or much to think about. I suspect there is something missing here.

I do believe that Millennial's will understand the power of Facebook when they get out in (what was told to me a few years ago as) the "Real World" where people communicate with ALL generations to do all aspects of business.

I remember Tom Peters at one point saying "Who has the most money to spend?" and I believe his point was the people advertising to their own are missing where the largest disposable funds were.

It may not be top on the list but most corporations are run today by people who are not Millennial's. Hmm.....

The rise and fall (but mostly fall) of social media 1.0 - TechRepublic:

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Friday, March 11, 2016

A New Bill Wants to Put an End to Ridiculous Airline Fees

Pardon me, i think I am missing something here. Lifehacker has an interesting article however I guess it is ones perspective that is important. Pardon while i pass along my perspective.
I guess the airlines do not fill the pockets of politicians like the fuel oil companies.
On the other hand; fuel oil companies do damage to the common folk, whereas the airlines hit the people with money.
In retrospect the politicians have all their expenses paid by us so I suspect this hue and cry is for the benefit of the wealthy constituents of the politicians.
Keep in mind that fuel oil costs are also deductible by corporate organizations and they also contribute to the political economy.
We could take this further and I am sure our political pockets will (and us).

LolANew Bill Wants to Put an End to Ridiculous Airline Fees

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Echo From Amazon Brims With Groundbreaking Promise - The New York Times

We have been using Echo since January 2015 and although we do not try every single app written for Echo, we find it very useful.

Alexa plays music from our Amazon Prime account, gives us the weather, and this morning read me my schedule for the day. I have it set up to order pizza from Domino's, and other items from Amazon.

We also use Alexa for timers when cooking or doing the laundry, creating shopping lists as well as To-Do lists. The Alexa phone app is on both my wife's phone and mine so we can to or relate to the these lists.

With the upcoming Echo.Dot we will be able to access Alexa from other rooms in the house.

It took awhile to get used to having Alexa at our beckon call but now no problem. We have the Wink Smart Home control, some iHome outlets, a few GE Connected light bulbs, and a connected door lock. We can control most using Alexa; "Alexa turn on the kitchen light" when our hands are full. We can also control these devices via the Alexa phone app (Android in our case).

Amazon Echo, or Alexa, is not the Future; it is here and now.

If for some reason you cannot access the link below search Amazon Echo and take a good look.

The Echo From Amazon Brims With Groundbreaking Promise - The New York Times:

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Mobile data services: Which provider is best? | Computerworld

Mobile data services: Which provider is best?: Very interesting read with some intriguing graphics. Happy that --- well, let's just say I am happy with the outcome. I don't want to be a spoiler and I could have wound up in 2nd place. Hmmm....I have forgotten.

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Facebook, Google, Microsoft to join tech industry in supporting Apple in court | Computerworld

Facebook, Google, Microsoft to join tech industry in supporting Apple in court | Computerworld:

This is important and I believe that everyone should get behind Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft in this. If the FBI convinces congress to force Apple to break their encryption  we will lose whatever is left of our Democracy.

The complete takeover of our lives is at steak! That is not an outlandish statement. All you have to do is look at history. You can lie back and say "it could never happen here", it will.

Support big tech in this case. Force the FBI, the NSA, and others, to do their own dirty work. Not to worry they will.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Best Newsletter I Have Found - Inside Daily Brief

Over the years (20+) I have tried many different ways to get quick news via the Internet. I got over newspaper's in the late 90's and since then I have been searching for the best way to find news.

I have tried apps however some of them have cost me in the way the push data and then my data usage goes up. Some news sites have way too much information that has nothing to do with news. I like Flipboard and visit it most days however it is not a quick read and I save it for coffee breaks.

On the other hand Inside Daily Brief fits my requirement for news. First you get it in your inbox so I don't have to open anything else - I check my email first thing in the morning and there it is.

You get paragraphs, video's, and links to the news source. It is a quick, easy, read. Plenty of white-space and breaks between information. Not confusing.

This is my first choice. Sign up - it's free.

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Gearing Up for the Cloud, AT&T Tells Its Workers: Adapt, or Else - The New York Times

Everyone should read this. "Gearing Up for the Cloud, AT&T Tells Its Workers: Adapt, or Else - The New York Times:" Actually it should be mandatory for all of management to understand what is happening here.

Sadly this could be subscription reading so you may have to search on the Internet for other links.

Every job we know today, including the car salesperson, will ultimately go away. Like the newspaper industry there will be a great deal of kicking and screaming however the jobs will still go away.

It is coming at us faster that we know.

The young are already living it. The people to get hurt will be 35 years plus. Those that have settled into their jobs as comfortable, raising a family, paying the mortgage. Those over 60 today will be retired when this hits hard. If you want to work into your later years because today's health is getting better, then you better take a class. Stick your next out and LEARN something.

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AI 'could leave half of world unemployed' | Technology | The Guardian

The complete article: "Would you bet against sex robots? AI 'could leave half of world unemployed' | Technology | The Guardian:" is a very interesting read.

Those that want to stop this may not have the understanding that it will not, or cannot, be stopped. In other words:  "The genie is already out of the bottle" and there is no going back.

Those that have the technology will continue to work on it and those that want to be devious will continue to be devious. We have to learn how to live with it and how to watch for the devious, the evil. This is not new.

I suggest you read the article.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cruz app data collection helps campaign read minds of voters |AP

Unbelievable! You have to read this.
Cruz app data collection helps campaign read minds of voters:

Big Brother is in your pocket or purse.
His "Cruz Crew" mobile app is designed to gather detailed information from its users' phones — tracking their physical movements and mining the names and contact information for friends who might want nothing to do with his campaign.
This is an evil use of technology. And he is not the only one using these tools, there are others.

  • Is this ethical?
  • Where does the line get drawn? 
  • Who will ultimately see or get this data? 
  • What is the value of this data?
  • Will this data be sold for campaign funds? 
  • Where will this form of data collection ultimately lead to? 
  • Are out politicians profiling the american people?
    • When thinking about the above question consider potential outcomes.
  • Do you really believe that these people are protecting your privacy?   
We could go on with question after question. 

If there is anything funny in this it's that these politician's call each other untrustworthy. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I agree with Robert Scoble; A job title I would be envious of.

Sci-Fi Author Neal Stephenson Joins Mystery Startup Magic Leap as 'Chief Futurist' | WIRED:

After reading this I would put Magic Leap on the list to watch however I am more inclined to follow Google and their connection. I would love to have a start up with Sundar Pichai on the board. He did not get to the position at Google without having some instinct for the future. That is almost as valuable as the money.

Interesting about Social Media. I was led to this link via a Tweet by Robert Scoble that had a link to his Facebook page. Now I follow Robert (@Scobleizer) on Twitter and then on Facebook. I know that he will find things I would be interested in reading/knowing.

Yes I connect with my family and friends on Facebook and although Robert Scoble does not know me personally I consider him worthy of being a friend.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WONDERFUL - Microsoft confirms soft keyboard buy | Computerworld

Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft will catch up on the keyboard side of things. This, for me and many users, is a great move. There is a forum at Microsoft that talks about this but we are not getting much feedback from Microsoft. It is also one of my major complaints with Windows 10. On a tablet with a touch screen who want to be pecking and pecking when it is so much faster and easier to use a SwiftKey or Swype like keyboard.

Actually I have been using a Qwerty keyboard for over 60 years and at one time reached a very good keyboard speed. Now with Swype I can fly. The one thing I emphasize when teaching is the keys are in the same place on every keyboard, so once you learn where the letter A is it will always be there. Swyping is EASY and fast.

Microsoft confirms soft keyboard buy | Computerworld:

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Good news for Bluetooth users

The following article in Computerworld talks about advances upcoming in Bluetooth. My only hope would be that changes in distance (and timing) would work with prior items.

My biggest  issue is Bluetooth headsets in the home. I want from my room to the kitchen to get a drink and I lose connection. I cannot go into the basement without losing the sound. True wireless is better however most headsets are Bluetooth today. I think that all the headset manufacturers believe that the only people who use headsets are gamer's and always sitting at their computer. Not so....

Bluetooth wireless range and speed are getting better | Computerworld:

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

More on Open Live Writer

Yesterday when I wrote I said I was having a problem adding more than one blog. Well If I had looked in the right place I would have found it.

On the Home tab in the Publish group, where the name of your blog appears, if you click the down arrow at the end of the name you have options – one of which is “Add blog account”.

There is another way off the Insert tab in the Plug-ins group. If you click on Plug-in options, the navigaion panel on the left side will have an option “Accounts”. If you click on that you will have an option on the right side to add an account.

I have used both methods and they work well. Actually it was easier to add an account in Open Live Writer than it was in Windows Live Writer.

At present there are no Plug-ins available. It is an area the team is working on. It would be nice to have a “Twitter” plug-in to send a Tweet when you post. Also needed is one for Google+ – although I now read that Google+ is going away. The one fear of Google is that they will get tired of pushing something and it will go away.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Open Live Writer - Blogging is Back

Well at least for me.

I have been a user of Windows Live Writer since I was introducted to it by Paul Turrott on some way-back Windows Weekly show on the TWiT Network. At that time it was in Beta and I jumped on it and WOW.

blog-promotion1I have a blog, “Ease of Blogging” (although haven’t written there for awhile) where in July of 2010 I posted on the plug-ins that were available for Windows Live Writer.

I can’te really tell you how long I have been using Windows Live Writer however Microsoft, not wanting to get rid of it and yet not wanting to surport it, gave it up to Open Source.

In December of 2015 Blogger (Google) stop allowing one to post from Windows Live Writer – the “Security” fear.

Yesterday I found the Open Source version of Windows Live Writer andopenlivewriter-purpleheader it is Open Live Writer! It can be found at This is my first post using the NEW Open Live Writer. I am really looking forward to having this capability again. Easy and yet great controls over pictures and their placement, allowing you to resize and do some editing to the picture while in Open Live Writer.

At present my only concern is that I am not able to use multiple blog connections. Better put; I have not been able to discover how to add multiple blog connections. I am sure that it will happen.

Well I really want to hit the post button and see how it goes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Change is inevitable, we just adjust and move on.

I wanted to do some reading this morning and I do all my reading digitally. This morning being no different I left the house with my iPad.

Now I have to say that I have a Nexus 7 (First Edition) and  since I have expanded my horizons the Nexus 7 just sits on the desk. During one of the upgrades (5.0?) it got so slow that it was painful to use. I do have an HP 13" laptop/convertible - I can remove the screen - however it is 13" and that is too big to be a useful tablet in my mind.

The iPad is ok. I would rather have a Windows device as that is what I am used to but the Surface Pro 4 is a bit out of reach for me (and still does not have a Swype like keyboard). So the iPad still wins.

What happened this morning was interesting.

I got to McDonald's, got my coffee, and sat down and started to look at Facebook on the phone. Now the first thing I normally do at McDonald's is to bring out the phone, turn on the mobile hotspot, and connect my iPad. This morning I noticed that I had some Facebook connections on my phone and started to look at those first.

From Facebook I opened the Kindle app on my phone, found a book, and began to read. Why? Don't know, just did it.

For the next hour, hour and a half, I read parts of two books, checked email, and actually made notes in Microsoft Word - all on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

What is interesting about this is that I have said many times in the past that I would not use my phone in this way, never. Of course I also said that I would not use my phone to play music and now I have the Google Music app and use the phone where the iPod just lies there.

I really wanted an iTunes app for my Android phone but it just isn't available (Apple Music is not the same).

There are some things I don't like doing on my phone and one is heavy research using multiple objects on the screen at the same time. I need folders, to put things and the phone is a bit small however I don't need a desktop and wonder about a laptop. I find that something like the Surface Pro 4 is about the right size for most things that I do, not all, but most.

Time changes so much as we adjust to this technology.

Addition: When I got home I was cleaning up somethings in a closet and found my Microsoft Wedge keyboard that I had purchased for use with the Nexus 7. With the advent of the Swype like keyboards it kind of drifted away. I put new batteries in it and put the phone in my little stand and connected the keyboard and now I can look really funny at McDonald's - or wherever else I go.

I keep reading where the phone is the connected device and I guess I am one that can prove that point. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Is the fear of A.I. justified?

There are number of intellectual people today that have expressed a fear of the growth of A.I without some over site. .I have not paid a great deal of attention to their position although I respect the individuals who are questioning this research.

That was until this headline came to me today: "New 'moonshot challenge' at Harvard aims for giant leap in A.I.". This article, in Computerworld, goes on to say:
"Humanity has big hopes for artificial intelligence, but in reality machines have a long way to go to catch up with the human brain. Enter Harvard University, which has just won a $28 million grant to change all that."
That is a nice grant and the subject is interesting unless you realize:
 The grant was awarded by The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), part of the U.S. government's Office of the Director of National Intelligence
In the same directory at Computerworld there is another story that fits along with this one; "U.S. military wants to create cyborg soldiers".

Hmm....I think we need to review the objectives of our government and what other potential outcomes could result from rushing into this race for A.I. in warfare that could be used against us. We would be naive to think that everybody in our government is there for our best interest. Maybe, maybe not. Do we know?

From another perspective look into "Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates Warn About Artificial Intelligence" from the Observer.

Something to think about for Saturday beside shoveling snow. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Smart Home–Intelligent Home or Just Cool Stuff?

I do believe there is a place for this “Cool Stuff” and if 2016 is to be the year of the Smart Home – I heard someone say – I had to look into this. The following is our foray into Smart Home/Intelligent Home technology.

All of this technology is run by app’s on our phone as well as through our Amazon Echo. I am using a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and my wife has a Moto 360 phone. We both are using Moto 360 watches – hers is a 2nd Gen. I also have an iPad version 3. More on Alexa (Amazon Echo) at the bottom of this entry.

We started out by purchasing the SmartPlug made by iHome (also found under iHome Control) with app’s available for iOS and Android. Well maybe. It does work well with iOS however if your are running the latest version of Android (5.1 or 5.1.1) it may not work. I say “may not”, they are working on an upgrade. I found this as a an upgrade to my Samsung phone stopped the app from working. I had to reconnect all SmartPlug’s via the iPad.

First up; I installed the first SmartPlug and we were sold on the Smart Home (or SmartHome). We had so much fun we immediately went out and bought 3 more. We have now installed one in the living room, one on the nightlight in the dinning room, and one in my office. We also sent one to our son to encourage this wonder of the age. All devices working on our smart phones.

Next we ordered the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt for the front door. In the process of setting this all up I discovered the Wink Hub, which, it turns out, we will need to connect ALL the devices and use just one app, the Wink app for Android or iOS.

If you are going to purchase the Wink Hub (and I recommend it) you need to shop at Home Depot. At Home Depot the price of the Wink Hub was half of what I found everywhere else – including at Wink (at least when I was shopping).

Actually everything here is available at Home Depot and, with the exception of the Schlage door lock, we purchased all at Home Depot. The Schlage we purchased via Amazon Prime.

After a little patience (I don’t believe in frustration) I finally got the Wink Hub installed. Once installed we connected the 3 SmartPlug’s and then the Schlage door lock to the Wink Hub – actually really easy.

This is getting to be more fun. I can now turn on the lights from anywhere in the world using our smart phones, unlock and lock the front door, set timers on the SmartPlugs. Not that I need to do any of this, and yet I can.

There are some real personal benefits. One; when returning home late at night we can turn on the inside lights before opening the door. We can also open the front door from the car when it’s raining out so that we do not have to fumble with the door lock in the rain or while carrying groceries.
Locking the door on the way out, using the touch screen is so much easier. Actually, on those clear days when it’s not raining, using the touch screen to open the door is much easier than fumbling for keys.

We have since purchased two GE Connected light bulbs (Home Depot but are available in many other places). The 60W Soft White A19 Connected Home LED Light Blub. It connects via Wink and is dimmable.

I have to say we like the “warm” GE Connected bulb however the bright white is a bit much and has the LED harshness.

The bulbs and the SmartPlug’s can be controlled via the Amazon Echo. All we have to say is; “Alexa turn on the kitchen light” and the light is on. Or; “Alexa turn off the kitchen light” and the light is turned off. I have been caught saying “Please” when asking Alexa to handle these tasks. Alexa is a GREAT Personal Assistant, or friend of the family.

The nightlight we put on a timer as well as one of the living room lights. The lights on the timer can be turned off and on at anytime, overriding the timer.

If there is a drawback I would say that it is the fact that once installed you have to use the SmartPhone, or Alexa, to turn on or off the lights. The actual switches are left in the on position in order to respond to the app. Amazon are you listening? We need satellites for each room.

This is an ongoing project and to-date has been a lot of fun. I am looking forward to lights controlled by motion detectors as well as some different power outlets and more lights. As of right now we are happy with the way things are working.