Visual Studio

Programming should not be a scary thing. Learning to write code is a great way to really begin to understand computers. I started writing coed years ago because at that time there were not many programs out that would do what we wanted them to do for our business. When I took my first computer managers job for a private school I used my coding skills to take a work process from 5 days down to 5 minutes. Coding allows you to become a problem solver. If you work for any company in the field of IT it will bring some value add to your skill set. Coding is also one of those skills that once you learn it you will be able to go back and code again. You don’t have to code everyday to stay sharp at it. I know coding is not for everyone. I am currently working on a large inventory project and connecting my code to MySQL back end. For me coding is relaxing and it passes the time away. But more then that coding will allow you to evaluate a companies process and maybe come up with a way to stream line it and save man hours with your coding skills? Best of all you can download Visual Studio Community Edition for FREE.

Google Apps

Google Apps

Do you use Google Apps? If not have you ever tried Google Apps? Let’s start with what is Google Apps? Google Apps is a free set of tools that allow you to create whatever you created with Microsoft Office products. What is even better when you create your work it is saved in the cloud. This allows you to reach your work from any Internet connected computer in the world. They also make it really easy to share your work with anyone even if they do not have a Google account. We talked about the Chrome Box the other day, there is also the Chrome Book which is a low cost below $200.00 laptop that is light weight and the battery lasts all day. These devices allow you to log in and access all these great Google tools. But WAIT! You don’t need a Chrome computer to access these great tools. You can use any computer with any operating system to access all of your work, even mobile devices and all for FREE. What I like best about Google Apps is the clean interface and the easy flow of my information. I really hate having all of my work stuck on some server that I can’t work on in the evenings. You can start a document at work and on the way home stop for coffee and work on the document there and when you get home you can finish your work. Move from the desktop applications to the cloud and free up more of your time.

Samsung Note 7

Nice Note 7

I for one like many of you out there really always liked the Samsung Note phones. I have never owned one but that is because my wife and I are in the Apple ecosystem and have been for years. I did try my hand at a Windows phone once but that only lasted about a week before I returned it and got a new iPhone. But the Samsung Note line has been great and I know a lot of people who still use them everyday. But now the company is in trouble. I really don’t think this is any wrong doing by Samsung. Let’s face it they don’t want all of this bad press. What everyone should be asking is where was this phone made? We all know that these electronic companies are not building these gadgets in the USA in their own factories. This might be traced back to someone in some far off land putting these together with some oil on their fingers? Would I say run out and buy a new Note 7 anyway? NO, but I am saying don’t kill a entire company because of a mishap until we get all the facts. Was this a design flaw? Are they trying to get more power out of the internal battery? Is there something wrong with the charger? I always feel bad for any company that gets hit with one bad product and it starts to make everyone fearful of their products. I hope that Samsung pulls out of this downfall. Remember I said in the beginning of this post that we are iPhone people but I think every company needs computation. Next thing to watch is that law suit because Samsung phones icons look like Apples. This is funny because my car tires looks likes yours and I bet that they came from two different companies?

Photoshop Elements 15

Photoshop Elements 15

Last week Photoshop Elements 15 was released by Adobe. Every year like clock work we get a new version of Elements in October. With each new version we see new tools that we can use to make our photos jump off the paper or computer screen. I could not wait to get my hands on Elements 15, I downloaded the new version as soon as it hit the Adobe site. So what new features are packed into this version? Here are some of the new features. We can now create folders to group our layers. Under guided edit we have Adjust Facial Features, Painterly, Effects Collage, Frame Creator, Speed Pan, Photo Text and there is more. The Organizer also has a few new features. Is this a must have upgrade? This all depends on how you view these new tools, if you need them or not.  The truth is it is pricey to upgrade $79.00. I would wait until the holidays it always seems there is a price drop. To learn more about the new features please check out my You Tube video. Compare Elements 14 To Elements 15 Video

The iPad Lineup

iPad Lineup

Apple has been working on the iPad since 2009 with the first one being released in 2010. When it was first released I seen this device as many did as being a larger iPhone. But after time and using one for awhile I found that is was much more then that. I now feel that Steve was creating a laptop killer or is this what he was thinking? The truth is many of us will still need a computer of some kind either a desktop or a laptop. I feel this because most of us are use to a full keyboard and internal hard drive and the programs we have grown use to using. But I sat and talked with a teacher yesterday who teaches computer classes. As we were talking she felt that as the younger generation grows up the keyboard is becoming less important to them. We are raising a generation of touch typist. I see the kids today and I know my own kids can type pretty fast with just their thumbs. So will the iPad or tablet computers someday replace laptops or desktops with keyboards? Time will tell the story. But as you see in the picture above we can see that the iPad  first got smaller and now they are getting larger. I think Apple is designing these devices to capture a entire market of users who either want to carry something smaller or something to do your daily work on. For me I really like the device mainly because the battery will last all day. I still like having a keyboard but I grew up with typewriters. Will tablets replace traditional computers? I think time will tell.

Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot is a series that I have been missing for sometime now. This is a great series of a hacker who is trying to set the world straight. The show should teach all of us that our life is really a open book when we lay out of lives on the Internet. It also shows that sometimes people are born with a gift to get into the machines. I was glued to the TV and my Roku box for hours on end yesterday. I hope that they continue this series for a long time. I have been watching these on Amazon Streaming video but I am pretty sure you can catch this on NetFlix. 

The Chrome Box

Chrome Box

The Chrome Box do you really need anything else? This is one of those inventions that when I first seen it demoed some years ago I thought who would want that? But after working with one and finding out that it does almost 98% of what people do on a full computer I now know that it will work for most of you reading this. As computer users we spend almost 98% of our time on the Internet just watch how much time you spend during the day using e-mail and browsing the web. Even our calendar programs are online. I use Ever Note for all of my note taking needs and when I use their web based version it feels just like being in the desktop program. I am writing this post using a web browser while connected to the Internet. And the applications are endless. I have found photo editing apps, I will admit they are not as robust as Photoshop but they will get the job done. And what ever you do on the Chrome Box will be saved like magic in the cloud, so when you log onto a Chrome Book all of your work is there waiting for you to access it. And the price $189.00 for the Chrome Box, it does not come with a monitor a keyboard and a mouse but those can be picked up cheap. I have met teachers buying these for their desks just to have another computer to use through the day. You can even use Microsoft Office programs online just as you would the desktop programs. So you say what is the draw back? NONE! The Chrome devices are fast, the laptops batteries last up to 16 hours and these devices start up in less then 5 seconds. I would say pick up a Chrome device today and free yourself from the growing high price of computing.

Personal Assistant

Personal Assistant

When one company begins to shows a little profit on a innovative idea there will always be someone out there to try to cash in on their success. Not that I think the Amazon Echo is a huge success but they were the first to the table with this idea. Now we have Google that owns the world, at least the part that was left by Face Book has now released the Google Home. Let me first say if you are getting to lazy to pick up your smart phone, roll back over in bed and just forget life all together. Is it a great idea? I really can’t comment because I have never used one or had the desire to buy one. But if you own one feel free to comment and let me know what the greatness this device has for you. Both of these devices cost about the same so price will not be the factor to pull you one way or the other. I guess it is which ever company you want to support more? I have a friend that owns the Echo and she loves it. I don’t know how much she uses it but she did tell me it is cool. I normally don’t pay $100.00 or more for cool. I would say before you buy either of these  I would suggest that you do your research. For me I will keep my phone as my personal assistant.

IPhone 7

IPhone 7

The Iphone 7 has arrived! Really the way I see it it’s really nothing to get to excited about. Why would I say this when people are flocking to the stores to get their hands on one? It’s easy, innovation is by it’s very term adding something new to the table. When you take a product and remove something it might be a step backwards? Or is it in reality a great marketing tool? So this is what I am thinking. Apple people are sitting around and they are talking about how to make more money with a product that a lot of people already have? Well it’s simple really just remove the head phone jack and then everyone will want to buy their new blue tooth ear buds, right? No wrong, did you ever try to keep the current ear buds in your ears? Mine always fell out but the cord always kept them from getting lost. Now with the new blue tooth ones you will be jogging along and one pops out it is gone for ever. Well back to the Apple store you go to buy a replacement set. My wife was due for a phone upgrade and we thought about switching to the Samsung phone but we had one little issue. All of her music was bought using the ITunes store. I asked around and there was no one that could tell me if we could move her music to the new brand. In the end she got the IPhone 6S. Why didn’t we jump on the band wagon and go for the new 7? Really it came down to cost. We got the 6S for about $15.00 less per month. There was really no reason that I could see to buy the new 7, it really does nothing new and exciting. I am not bashing the new phone really. I just think that Apple needs to change the phone industry once again, they did it years ago and with the smart people they have working at Apple I think they could do it again? The watch is a step in the correct direction, but how can you get the masses to buy something that most people stopped wearing years ago for so much money? Drop the watch to $100.00 and you might see a spike in the Apple stock once again.  Just for the record, I am an Apple fan boy. I have been using Apple products for years.

Creating On An iPad

It has been said by many people that you can not create content on an iPad? I even read a large column once that said it is not a creation tool. I have to admit it is different. It is not a computer this is true. Although it is used as a computer by many people. The smart phone in your pocket is also a computer. It seems now a days that these mobile devices are used by more people then the desktop computer. But that still leaves us with the question. Can you create content using an iPad?

I am writing this post using only an iPad. I have to admin I am using a bluetooth keyboard. Using the onscreen touch keyboard makes typing a little harder. It can be done but it is different. I see many people as well as myself using the iPad to take notes during meeting and conferences. You have to admin they are lighter and take up less room on your lap.

The truth is I can not use the iPad to do all of my work as a technologist. I need certain programs that run on a desktop. And I always say, there is really no one device that can handle every type of computing. We are getting close, but it’s just not there yet.

My last thought is. You can create content using the iPad. It is different and there might be a learning curve. But it can be done. But keep your computer, you might just need it again one day?