29 Replies Latest reply on Nov 16, 2014 11:42 AM by JerryD

    electronic device

    BoBraxton

      I hope this discussion is allowed. I got an original Chromebook. Today I picked up newer Chromebook which has a touch screen. I also have two generations of iPod and a Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 in addition to Windows Vista and Windows 7. I use each in a different way. For example, this Vista is a laptop - my Windows 7 is a desk computer.

        • Re: electronic device
          BoBraxton

          From 1994, especially, my spouse has used Macintosh computers.

          We also wore Wellies on the Isle of Iona (she has been three times).

          The vintage MacBook Pro works as a main computer in her upstairs double-room (partition eliminated) office; however, to carry here and there, it is heavy. Mother's Day this year I believe she is ready to relent and get an iPad. Trouble is, which one? For those who have one (and those who have iPad envy), your perspective(s)?

          • Re: electronic device
            JerryD

            Wow! Sounds like you need to consolidate down to fewer devices. Just for your own sanity due to updates, I would recommend a common PC platform. Do you use the iPod's, and Nexus 7 and 10 as phones? We are currently considering smartphones and only have a by-the-minute use, the smartphones today look like an excellent way to combine mobile telephone and Internet access into one device.

             

            Can anybody tell me about their experiences using wi-fi and the Internet for smartphone service using Skype, say?

              • Re: electronic device
                BoBraxton

                I loaded Pinger "everywhere" a few months ago. I do not have any "mobile" but only the digital (internet) based FiOS conventional carry-around phone sets inside our home. My spouse has an iPhone 4 S (before that a Treo 630 or some such). First, no one (literally) calls me. May have a lot to do with my possible Asperger's (undiagnosed). Also, when I call someone either they do not answer or I wind up leaving a message on an answering machine. To me, telephoning is so "1913" (Marcel Proust, I am reading - in French). I was a technical support person so I get all these not because I do or will actually use them (much) but so I can be at least technically well-versed. All the google products as well as iPod(s) are non-conventional in the sense that essentially all the updates are "on automatic" just by turning on the device and starting to use it again. The most I do is re-charge (batteries).

                • Re: electronic device
                  MaineGal

                  I bought a smartphone with an unlimited minutes and text and minimal data in November. Shortly after that I started having problems with my local IP provider (it is a Motorola array system with an antenna on my house). It got slower, dropped my connection frequently, and then the price was going to go up...again. So I tried using my smartphone as a hot spot and it worked great. I have since canceled my local IP service and am using my smartphone for internet service. I stream videos to watch TV shows or movies. I do find I use a lot more data this way: better quality video means more bytes downloaded. The quality of the picture is unbelievable, high definition and no spooling. I have not used Skype with it. I have had to keep an eye on my data usage and limit the time watching videos to 1 or 2 hours a week but do not limit using it for other tasks such as email, reading news, shopping, etc. I can increase or decrease my data plan as needed which is cheaper than paying the overage rate. I use my Kindle Fire HD and Asus laptop through the hotspot. They connected themselves after I set up my security password on the smartphone.JerryD

                    • Re: electronic device
                      BoBraxton

                      very smart. My spouse is thinking of getting iPad and it could be a hot spot (WiFi) for our devices. Currently her iPhone data plan is 2 GB (maximum) per month. I do not know (same carrier) what the deal is for the iPad (which we have not yet bought).

                    • Re: electronic device
                      cbslc

                      I use my Nokia Windows phone for Skype on occasion. Quite frankly, I like to move around lots when I talk. I can cook, fix my bike ... with a headset on. So the whole video thing doesn't work for me. It works great on my phone and I do use it to show out of state/country friends the things that I am working on, the yard ... But its not something we use lots.

                      My wife's family lives in Tasmania and they do monthly facebook video chats (which uses Skype plug-in), it works great on her ancient (8yo) laptop. We have 6mb cable internet served over wifi (450mb 5GHZ wireless N)  and the audio is normally great. But the video does tend to lag and freeze. But we're talking to people half way around the world for free! So we accept some issues. The biggest problem we have with those conversations is figuring out the time zone differences.

                      So I guess I recommend it, but again its not how I normally communicate.

                        • Re: electronic device
                          JerryD

                          Thank you for the input on Skype. I had primarily been thinking of using it strictly for phone service over WiFi - no video - and Internet access while traveling ("Where's the next gas station with the best price, Hon?" or "Check out Mapquest to see where we are."). I also was considering getting a Skype phone number and getting their cheap monthly calling plan. I haven't gotten any quote, but it looks like that would cost only $7-8/month. I am not interested in some $50-100/month recurring plan. We just don't need that much cell usage.

                           

                          We use it primarily while on trips. Some trips are to remote, low WiFi areas, so hot-spots can be a rarity except for MCD's, I am told. Frequently, one or the other of us carries a by-the-minute cell phone in order to communicate if a question arises which I would like to replace. We don't need to have the other accompany us by cell phone when grocery shopping as one frequently sees.  :-))))

                           

                          Anybody use Skype like I describe?

                      • Re: electronic device
                        cbslc

                        I end up having to test software on lots of platforms, so I play with lots of devices. And I've been managing IT depts. for 20 yrs, so I'm used to supporting lots of equipment. My experience is that none of the mobile OS's (android, IOS, windows phone, chromebook) can provide everything you need, unless if you do nothing more than just web browsing/email. Taxes, digital photo collections, budgeting ... all require a full operating system and full desktop apps.

                        Every time I attempt to use a tablet (except the surface pro), it fails miserably. I end up using the tablet for the first little bit. Then pull out a laptop to get real work done. Even with Citrix or RDP'ing to another computer, tablets just don't work.

                        My recommendation is to get a decent smart phone, something with at least a 4" screen and if you want basic Skype, facetime... something with a front facing camera. Some carriers (tmobile) don't require a data plan, so you can use the phone with just wifi and not even waste money on a data plan. Then get a laptop with a real os (or a surface pro) for "real" work. Lastly, stop wasting money on trinkety tablets or chromebooks. Use cloud storage (Onedrive, Box...) to sync you files/photos between your few devices and call it good. 

                          • Re: electronic device
                            BoBraxton

                            The managing I left to others, being most technically inclined. My IT so-called career began 1974 until "good retirement" 2009 (not quite five years ago). My "real" computer for 14 years (literally) was a TRS-80 Model III on which I did all my budgeting and finance - including monthly Balance Sheet -- all in Visi-Calc and my own programming in BASIC (with DATA statements) before I "broke down and bought" an actual Windows computer. I was excited in my new job in 1997 because the new employer was using Windows 95 (my old military support consulting still was using Windows 3.1 -- where I learned a lot -- especially patience). I subscribed to David Ahl's magazine (Morristown, NJ) around 1977, years before the IBM PC (1981) and went to computer shows when the names were companies like Cromemco and where a 10 MB hard drive (for a mere $1,000) was used with a color computer (monitor) to show off speed in a day of 8-inch floppy drives (I myself was using a cassette audio for program storage). I have a 1975 Altair with cassette "Kansas City" BASIC, something that the Smithsonian also has. I admit that I am "old school" (text based) and it fascinates me that I can get a new "real" computer system for what in real money is less than the $50 at the time for my first electronic calculator with M+ and Memory recall but no engineering functions. Our son (now age 42) grew up with TRS-80 Model 1 computers in the home. He learned touch typing in second grade and used to type my BASIC programming statements because he wanted to do that. One day he said "Don't tell me, Papa" and set out on his own to write the programming statements in BASIC. Later in life he wound up three days on Jeopardy! and also twice went to "Millionaire," the first time as an alternate (not called up).

                              • Re: electronic device
                                MyR Community Manager

                                You all may be interested in a similar thread about engaging with technology: Making use of today's technology. JerryD, you shared on this thread, as well!

                                • Re: electronic device
                                  JerryD

                                  Although I made a living with computers, I didn't get my own Kaypro PC until 1983. It along with a 132 character Epson printer cost close to $3,000; real money in those days. I developed our first budget spreadsheet that has morphed into a lifetime project and became the basis for a "rest-of-our-life" financial plan. Since I was a programmer for many years, BASIC programming was a piece of cake. Even as minimal as this PC was with only 64k bytes of memory and 2 floppies as disk storage, I developed an investment performance algorithm that I used later when I attempted to develop a marketable investment portfolio package. Since the basis for this algorithm was to accept a random number of buys and sells and other transactions for one or many mutual funds, it required the use calculus to solve for the resulting rate of return - the first and only time I ever used calculus in all my years of programming.

                                   

                                  I still have that Kaypro PC in my cabinet. I even powered it up several years ago and it still worked although I quickly shut it down. Anybody willing to pay $2,000 for this little beauty (shipping extra since this lug-gable weighs a lot)?

                                    • Re: electronic device
                                      Rich S.

                                      You should donate it to a museum. Really.

                                        • Re: electronic device
                                          JerryD

                                          Oh, come on, Rich. How about $1,500?

                                           

                                          Just to close the loop, I actually ordered a Nexus 7 2013 Google Android tablet with Wi-Fi capability. I also went to Skype and ordered a phone number for a year and a subscription for unlimited Wi-Fi calls to any land line or cell phone in the US or Canada. Because I got a subscription the cost of the phone number got a 50% discount. So for $30/year plus $2.99/month or $5.49/month I now have unlimited phone calling to anywhere I might want as well as Internet access.

                                           

                                          In an urban area finding a Wi-Fi hot spot should be no problem, but in remote areas like where we travel to it will be more of a challenge. Probably the worst case is that Skype calling access while staying at a motel or other Wi-Fi provider is no worse than using the home non-cell phone. I have found that places like MCD's, libraries, Best Buy, Walmart, and possibly Dairy Creme, Burger King, coffee shops and other commercial locations are likely locations to check voice and email and get off a quick call while on the road.

                                           

                                          At several locations, including home where I have a Wi-Fi router, call quality is OK, but I did find that you need to be close to the tablet. This may be more a feature of the tablet and speaker-phone like call than Skype. The other thing to be aware of is that any person close by can tune into the entire conversation on a tablet since it uses the speakers on that device. This may be a surprise to you but one might be able to add ear phones to duplicate the "privacy" of a cell phone. A final gotcha I discovered was what tablet app I downloaded. It seemed to me and my tech savvy son that the one with "Wi-Fi" in the title was the obvious choice. WRONG! The combination of being a newbie to both tablet and Skype caused me to finally resort to a chat conversation with Skype.Another app without the "Wi-Fi" term proved to be the right choice. Ask before you try to figure out something that does not work on you device.

                                        • Re: electronic device
                                          BoBraxton

                                          ... and the "museum" that puzzles my spouse - the 1975 Altair including audio cassette with "tape" cassette(s) containing Kansas City BASIC. I was strongly attracted to the KayPro and many other similar (Osborn I, Compaq, many many other) but my first other purchase was for used systems -- the first time, only cassette for Input / Output, later 5 1/4" floppy drive one-sided 160 Kb per disc (that was what others disparagingly termed "Trash 80").

                                        • Re: electronic device
                                          Xenophile

                                          I was doing quite well with desktops and laptops running Windows up to 7.  But when I replaced my latest DELL all they had in comparable hardware was one with OS8 which I upgraded to 8.1.  Although Windows 8.1 looks a lot like the old Windows it is not.  It has so many small irritations (how to close a window?) that it has become a waste of time to launch.  IOS devices are just as bad, but in different ways -- unless you spend many days figuring out how to do it, they will only communicate with Apple devices -- a "smart" marketing decision by Apple designed to keep Apple users from fleeing their monopoly.  The most robust and minimal feature OS has been Windows XP but, continuing their monopolistic policy Microsoft has now dumped XP - you can still use it but they no longer provide security or other patches.  Until they dump Window7 that's your best bet for now.

                                            • Re: electronic device
                                              JerryD

                                              You mention why I abandoned Windows and PC's a few years ago now, and I did software development and system implementations on Windows machines. I just got tired of chasing Windows stuff. This is not to say that the Mac is perfect, but it seems less cantankerous to me.

                                               

                                              Then you touch on mobile devices. Having early in my career worked on the software development for major telephone switches, I was still sore about the lack of standardization, the small keys, the unreliable connectivity of mobile devices. It was just recently that we got a mobile device. Not wanting to be tied into $100+ monthly bills, we went with a Wi-Fi Android device. Even though telephone access on the move was probably the best feature of these devices, it was the Internet access that pushed us past the tipping point. Having used it for a while now, it is clear that it is still an immature technology when compare to PC's. Those downlandable apps have missing features that truly annoy.

                                          • Re: electronic device
                                            BoBraxton

                                            I am one of the (is it?) 9% of people in U.S. who do not own or use a mobile phone.

                                          • Re: electronic device
                                            BoBraxton

                                            I intend to do my best not to disparage. I just read a review of Yosemite and the broad integration among devices.

                                              • Re: electronic device
                                                JerryD

                                                You mention "Yosemite". Do you have a Mac? Have you committed to this new, free Mac upgrade?

                                                 

                                                I have been hesitating. I recently have been getting warnings from Parallels Software about the need to upgrade their Windows virtual machine (VM) software before going to Yosemite. Since I have Windows XP Professional running under it and it has just gone out of support, I have very mixed feelings about further VM upgrades and no desire to chase Microsoft upgrades.

                                                 

                                                I fear that Apple will soon drop support on older Mac's too. Apple is not as forgiving mas Microsoft on supporting older Mac's as I understand it and I need to get the most up-to-date before they bail out.

                                              • Re: electronic device
                                                BoBraxton

                                                The WiFi (only) version of iPad Air. Now what are the "must do" Apps for using this new device? What I like to do is to write (current MS Word) and numbers / financial figures (MS Excel). Do you (on iPad)? and, if so, what do you like to use (software) for your activities like these?

                                                • Re: electronic device
                                                  BoBraxton

                                                  tablet 7.85 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel display, a 1.2 GHz Intel Atom Z2520 dual-core processor,

                                                  1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0,

                                                  a 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, and GPS.

                                                  It measures 0.31″ thick and weighs about 14 ounces.

                                                  While A**P is positioning the tablet as an easy-to-use option

                                                  for folks that might be uncomfortable with technology,

                                                  the truth is a normal iPad or Android tablet is pretty easy to use… and

                                                  the R***Pad’s only real contribution seems to be slightly larger buttons and a toolbar at the bottom of the home screen that takes you to A**P apps.

                                                  You can buy pretty much any Android tablet and install the free A**P apps

                                                  • Re: electronic device
                                                    canthony

                                                    It appears that things are just getting too complicated.  Try simplifying things, and end up with just one good system.

                                                      • Re: electronic device
                                                        cbslc

                                                        I couldn't agree more. Stacking OS's on top of one another is a nightmare. Both have to be updated (yes Mac OS still needs updates) and neither will perform when both are running. If you must have both, boot camp is your best bet, its less money (no parallels license) and faster to run on "bare metal" than a hosted OS. Either way, you need to get rid of XP, as it will no longer get any updates and has many security holes.

                                                        • Re: electronic device
                                                          BoBraxton

                                                          The kind of thing my spouse tells me - however, I like to "play" and learn. I am content and daily use all three (not at the same time): Chromebook with touch screen, desk Windows 7 (64-bit), wide 17" laptop with Windows 8.

                                                        • Re: electronic device
                                                          Sharon

                                                          I have always used Apple/Mac products.  I now have a 24inch screen on my apple computer (had for about 2 Years).

                                                          I've upgraded my cell phone to the 5s iphone just a few months ago and  my son has the new large 6.

                                                          I've never used Skype  because the resolution is awful and very shaky but we talked to our family on our iphone this July from France (they are in California).  IT WAS FREE! and it was like having them in the room with us...super camera resolution, super clear voice, and NO SHAKING!

                                                          Everyone should have an iPhone!  Best thing I ever bought!!!

                                                          AT&T had a unlimited data and unlimited call throughout the USA and I bought some data for Europe.  Didn't use it as I always used free wi fi.

                                                          As far as someone else listening in, we used hotel password for wifi.

                                                          And I really don't care who listens in on my conversations!  They'd be pretty boring for a stranger!

                                                          • Re: electronic device
                                                            Sharon

                                                            When you mentioned "floppy" disc, I laughed.  I threw out about 100 floppy discs I'd made designing programs for teaching school.  When new Apples only came with disc slots...out went the floppies.  Never used them after designing them anyway.  My own memory and real files worked better.

                                                            Funny thing about computers...if you are a visual person...and you create something on your computer, in order to FIND IT AGAIN, you must know the NAME you put it under,  Never could remember how I'd filed it.  Still can't.

                                                            So old fashioned metal file cabinets may take up more room, but at least I can find things,

                                                            Same with old library card files...you could just "fan" through the files to find what you needed.  For years it was impossible to find anything on a computer in the library if you didn't know what the subject was or the author, or the title.  Always did better just walking through the library and scanning the area with my own eyes! Found the best books that way.

                                                             

                                                            As far as quality, Apple is the only brand I'll ever use! Upgrades are free...My new Apple is only 2 years old and already have upgraded system twice...now they want us to upgrade to Yosemite.

                                                            Does anyone know if that has any problems?  Guess I'll just go to the Apple Store in town and ask advice.

                                                            Another reason for loving Apple.....you can take as many classes for free about your computer, video, photo shop, pages writing.,etc. as you want! Same with the iphone.