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.