Friday, September 21, 2007

Its A Google World

Microsoft is slowly loosing its grip,,,,,
Its grip on the worlds desktop.. That is....

First there was dos,
Then there was Window 3.1

Then a new era downed,,,,,,, Windows 95..
Windows 95 evolved to Windows 98..........

Now we are past Windows 98SE and fast passing from the World of XP..
Vista is upon us and closing in fast,,, all 7 versions of it..

Head for the Hills my friend...

Or at least buy any copies of XP you can find and put them away for future use.

Thats what I'd do If I had the money too..

Short of building my own operating system,,,

Apple is looking better and better,,
There are a number of things that I've always like about Apple, but thats a different Rant....

Going to Apple is defiantly a viable alternative to Vista,
Of course, one could jump into Linux, theres lots of different versions to choose from, some are more user friendly then others. UBunta comes to mind as a current favorite.

Or one could pretty much stop using any Microsoft programs that one could,
One good way to do this and have external back ups is to use google services, or their suite as it is fast becoming.

By having a google email account you have access to a host of productivity programs,


As you see you can do almost everything you need to do on here, granted some are not as featured as Microsoft products, but most folks don't use most of the tweaks they offer anyways.

Thre is also another big advantage to using Google's tools, its web based so you can access it from any machine with a connection, and all the files are stored on googles servers not your trusty hard drive, which is just waiting to die at the most in opportune moment.

If they had a way to store all your mps and video in your account and play them back on your web based tablet, you almost wouldn't need a full pledged computer, you could get by with a internet tablet of some sort, as long as you could hook up a printer and scanner and camera to it and upload stuff to your Google account.

In other words, its fast becoming a Google World

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Perfect Set-top DVD Recorder...

I have had a set-top dvd recorder for a couple of years now, and overall I love it.
I use to make copies of movies off my dish network pvr, just like we used to do with vcrs.
However now I make better copies and its all digitial and can play in most anything that plays dvds.
I am getting a nice collection of old movies and tv specials and one-off specials from my local pbs station.
I'm not going to bore you with a list of my collection,

Right now, I focusing in on the hardware.

Over all it looks like a regular dvd player,, but the remote has that lovely little record button...!

There is where I'd make my first changes, one would be to better arrange the buttons, so the ones you use most, play record and pause, and stop were easily worked, without danger of hitting the wrong button.
I would also ad a finalize button, what most folks forget is that when a disc is done you have to finalize it like you do on a computer made dvd, as it is, at least with mine is I have to go down through 2 sets of menus to finalize a dis. what a pain. not bad when you know the way, but still a unnecessary pain.

One of the thing I love about this dvd recording in general is being able to put titles on the disc themselves when your done,, so when you put it in a machine you get a main menu, telling exactly whats on the disc.
There in lies my other change, I would make it easier to add the titles, one way to do this would be to add a wireless keyboard, possible with hot keys leading directly to main functions like editing titles and the like, it would make it easier to do menus. It should be packaged with the unit, along with the regular remote.

My other changes would be on the back of the unit, My unit would have a broader selection of inputs, not just the standred s-video, and rca plugs,
I would ad HDMI both in and out, possibly 2 HDMI inputs, and the ability to input fiber-optics and a fire wire and usb ,
I'd also let it record in high definition, either HD or Blue-ray, with at least 5.1 surround natively.

I am sure that the powers that be will never let such a unit be build and sold comericially,
But maybe some techie smarter then me will figure out how to make the HDMI inputs work and get the recording laser to see what we want it to see..

Meanwhile ,I use my little magic box and dream digital dreams........

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Changing PIM Platforms

Well, this has beena very busy week, Among other things, Nancy had to get a new PDA.
Our old faithful Palm Z22 had been giving us problems, mostly losing information. This was becoming more of a problem then we could tolerate. So Nancy finely broke down and got herself a new pda, actually she seriously upgraded. What she wound up with was a smart phone/pda combo. This thing has a cell phone, pda and everything works together. It syncs with Microsoft's Outlook, which was on the cd, and I had to put on my machine.
This runs on Microsoft's Pocket PC,which is essentially windows scaled down to fit the small form factor. This thingf will play full motion video, take pictures and even tell you what time it is...!

You can make call directly from the contacts list among other things,
It uses a blue tooth head set to use the phone. Overall it works pretty good

However.. and a big However is that the is a big learning curve. Mostly on the handheld side.
We are having to relearn how to do all the basic stuff we used to do on the palm. In a lot of ways tghe palm was simpler and eaisyier to use, however it didn't do half of what the ppc unit will do, and still figuring out everything.

One major problem has been importing all the data from the palm desktop. We spent two days copying and pasting everything from the palm desktop to the outlook, and then syncing it to the pda.
I'm still importing all the contacts from the palm contact list,
So far so good. I'll update the blog as We go along.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Back Up Your Life

Technology is a Beautiful Thing....
When It Works...........

Things have changed so much in the last 10 years or so its truly amazing, and probably a little scary. I can sit and do things on my computer that I never thought of before, and the machine if it has enough ram and a fast enough processor, which most do now days, can do it with no problem.

However with all that power and technology come a price to pay. That price can come in may forms. one the most obvious is dependency ,on the technology. Worst case senerials play themselves out all the time.

There are several worst case senerials that can happen to the average tech user, The first major disaster would be the main computer that all the family pictures, music and other important data is stored on goes down, and can't be restarted for whatever reason. There are two main reason for that to happen, The first being Windows, for some reason decided to not work. Then your left with your life on a hard drive you can't get to. However, it may still be possible to access the data if you have a external case available , and the know-how to install the hard drive into it and more importantly a second computer to plug the usb into to see the drive, and retrieve the data, As you can see, this is bad, but, theres worst; the entire main Hard drive physically fails. That is when you have MAJOR problems. That means theres a physical problem with the hard drive itself. In which case you've probably lost the data.

I don't say all this just to scare you The point is; massive hard drives are cheap now, very cheap, for under 100.00 or so, you can get a 200+ gig external hard drive to copy and back up all your family pictures and music, movie's ect. The chance of the 2nd hard drive failing is remote, although it could happen. So backing all pics, music to dvd and other media is also a good idea, In fact a copy should be keep off-site,, in other words, not in the house. If it burns down and the copies are next to the computer that melts,, you haven't accomplished anything.
My advise is to make permant copy's of stuff you know your not going back to change in a long time, and put them in a safety deposit box. and updating the dvds on a regular basics.

I have a number of other ideas, and subjucts that I will expond on as I go along and they come up.
If you have any comments of questions please let me know.

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