Archive for the ‘Tech’ category

Blogs

July 16, 2014

This might end up cross posting multiple times, but that’s OK.

As you all might or might not know, I have several blogs, three to be exact. I presently am using three:
🔹Worpress – stana2z.wordpress.com
Long, essay type posts with pics, charts etc. it’s not that mobile friendly, so I usually compose an “article”over time and then post it.

🔹Blogger – getgrinchy.blogspot.com
My holiday postings from Thanksgiving to New Years and all things Grinchy.

🔹Tumblr – stana2z.tumblr.com
Quick, mobile postings without too much text formatting (my HTML is a bit rusty and it’s a bitch to type those codes on a touch keyboard).

A whichever one I do use, I try to cross post to Facebook at www.facebook.com/stana2z, so you can either follow my postings there, or subscribe to these three and get alerts according to your preferences. Some require you register, but just set up an account, don’t post anything, and you might browse into something interesting…

Old Gear Learns New Tricks

September 25, 2013

Apple trotted out some new phones recently. They’re very pretty. Most of the event was about the hardware. For me though the software was overlooked, or not emphasized enough for those of us with old hardware.

iOS 7 is the news, not a gold iPhone with a better camera or a funky color plastic back to be covered by an equally funky case. Fingerprints, as most biometrics, are an OK way to “keep honest people honest”. However, if the “real” bad guys, on a mission to get your data, pics of your pets, and grandma’s phone number, gets your phone away from you, then your screwed anyway if you don’t notice it’s missing and wipe it. Sure, all that stuff is cool. Don’t get me wrong. If my iPhone 4 ever dies before iPhone 6 hits the street I will most definitely plunk down $200 for a 5S instead of looking for a refurb 4 on Ebay. But as I started to say at the beginning, my biggest surprised was how well iOS 7 runs on my iPhone 4 (No, not a 4S. A plain, old 4).

The update process was, almost, too easy. I plugged the phone into the MacBook, selected software update and let it go. I answered a few questions, clicked “OK” a few time and then went to bed. When I awoke I was greeted with a new lock screed with round “Buttons” and a short intro. I upgraded the apps that support iOS 7 and after another hour or so, all was running. I’ve been using the phone, as always as my primary communicator and PDA over the course of almost a week now. While I had a slight learning curve on some of the features and movement of some controls, it realy wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I’m a pretty quick learner.

Speaking of quick, It seems the more I use it, the phone now seems to be “learning” how I use it and the applications. I’ve been observing longer battery life under almost identical conditions day/by day. I’ve read a few things that hint at more power management “smarts” built into the OS and I’m glad its a function that got trickled down to the older hardware. Also, there are some apps take a bit longer to load (especially the native iOS 7 ones, due to the slower processor. However once up and running, these new apps seem much “snappier” than their older bretherin.

How’s Siri’s performance? Don’t know. Don’t have it. I use Google audio search and the Voice command app. So I don’t mis what I never had. Likewise with the panorama function on my camera. I have the AutoStich app for that. My most favorite feature is the control center. That should have been done a LONG time ago…

Now sure, there are some features that I don’t get on my older gear, like some of the animations, and translucent colors. Better flash and filters before you take the pictures. But as I said before, I have apps for that, Camera+ as my primary photo app, for example, and AutoStich for panoramas, and that’s OK.

Bottom line, I can make phone calls, take pretty good pictures, be organized, use the cloud for synching (very cool) and do everything else my old iOS 5 (yep I double jumped) used to do. Best of all, the iOS upgrade was free! I put my phone in a brand new Otterbox case for $50 (my old one was pretty rough looking) and, except for the size of the screen, most casual observers cant tell the difference! So thanks to iOS 7 and new protection from sudden gravity bursts, I’ve got a “new” phone for less than a nice dinner (Open Table) and a movie (IMDB). HA!

BTW, I upgraded my iPad 2 as well!!

Steve and Me

October 8, 2011

A not-so brief history of my off and on encounters with Steve Jobs and his creations.

1979
I was first introduced to this guy named Steve in 9th grade. It was in science class, a curriculum that covered the extreme basics of chemistry, biology, physics, and the like. Kind of like the Discovery Channel, in real life, and Mr. Wizard. We were doing a lesson module on computers. Our school had a grand total of 4; three Tandy (Radio Shack) TRS-80s, and this other machine called an Apple II. The instructor, an obvious technophile who really didn’t want to teach Junior High Science, used this Apple thing to teach and demonstrate BASIC programming, while the students plugged along on the TRS-80s. The teacher demonstrated how, with this new thing called a “personal computer” you could not only do math, but draw things, write documents and even program it yourself! This thing was definitely better than my Atari 2600. I wanted one.

Not only did we do lots of hands on stuff, but we also learned about various persons and companies involved in computers, both personal and mainframe, and certain people that were considered to be important to their development. Steve and his buddy Steve came up more than once in the lessons. I saved and saved, and eventually was able to purchase a PC. Unfortunately, Steve’s stuff was a bit too expensive, so I had to settle for the TRS-80, cassette drive and all.

1980’s
Through high school, I ran across Steve’s stuff here and there. I remember going to the Fredrick&Nelson’s (a Division of Marshal Fields) and seeing this little beige box with a small screen, keyboard, and this little puck-like thing attached. I was mesmerized. The sales guy, not from the store, was giving a demo on what this thing could do. He pushed a key and the thing SPOKE! I mean, not like the old Speak and Spell, but in clear, plain English. Compared to my Trash-80, as I and most of my friends called it, this thing was like, from the future. Something from Star Wars or something. Cool Steve! I really really want one. But at $2500, there was no way I could afford, or talk my folks into one. Dad had seen a few of these in his office, but never used one. After all, he had a secretary to do the typing. Why would HE need a Macintosh? I can still remember going to that store, every chance I could, to look and play with Steve’s beige box hoping someday I would have one.

High School came and went, off to college and, once again I found myself in computer classes. IBM and Microsoft were THE standard for anyone who took the PC seriously. In face, now that they were affordable enough for some students to afford, professors were specifying that reports, programs, etc, had to be turned in in MS compatible format. Our dorm had a few PCs for general use and one, lonely Franklin (an Apple II clone). Frank, (as we computer nerds called it) played text and graphics games, ran spreadsheets, word processing, and a host of other things without crashing. Frank didn’t get used for “real” work though, due to the IBM/MS edict. A few of my friends had Steve’s Mac or Apple computers in their dorm rooms, where everyone hung out. I, due to finances, had an IBM XT clone in my room, where no one hung out. So college came and went as well. My association with Steve was that of a fan and follower but, due to finances and where industry was going, not an adopter.

1990’s
I remember visiting the parents after being on my own. I had been working for a couple, three, years and had upgraded PCs, discovered the Internet, and was subscribing to both PC and Mac publications. My little brother dragged me into his room to show me something Dad had brought him for an early Christmas present. I almost fainted. Sitting on my baby brother’s desk was a semi-used Macintosh LC. It had just been taken out of the box and wasn’t hooked up yet. Turns out my Dad’s company had excesses them when they had converted to IBM and MS machines. My dad bought one for my bro because the price was “finally reasonable for a toy.” With little or no help from me, my brother had the thing up and running in less than a half hour. He was 12 at the time. I offered to trade him my new PC strait across. No dice. Steve had finally made it into my house, which I had moved out of 2 years ago.

I kept in touch with Steve and his goings on. Even when he wasn’t working for the company he founded, I was glad that I could support him by going to the movies his other company made. As for the new, new computer company’s stuff? No way. That stuff was even more expensive than the beige boxes. He eventually went back to his original company, I remember reading about it on an AOL newsgroup. He was doing well. Good for him.

Early 2000’s
My father called, all retired by now and asked me for my email address. My what? Dad wants MY email? Dad doesn’t have a computer, does he? Turns out he had just bought one. From Steve! My dad, had bought one of the original iMacs, you know, the ones that came in any color as long as it was Bondi Blue. Apparently, with his retirement, he had taken on some offices in the community he and mom now lived and has to use email, calendar and do some light word processing. There was a Mac computer club there and he had sat in on a couple of meetings and then went to the nearby university and bought one. Now $1300 of my inheritance seemed still a bit expensive compared to the $700 I just put down on a new Dell, but dad was happy and I didn’t have to be tech support. Turns out no one did. I was learning that more of Steve’s wonderful products were infiltrating my family. My dad and my two brothers were Mac users now. I, the Mac champion of old, when Macs weren’t cool, was the only one who didn’t own one! Forgive me Steve for I’ve been a sinnin’. I still just can’t afford your coolness. I’d drive your store in Glendale (over an hour), to look and yearn for one of your shiny new machines with the same intensity that I did when I was a small boy marveling at the little beige box that talked. I know your stuff is better, more reliable, just works, yeah, yeah, yeah. Still luv yah man!

2005
My Dell died. I didn’t even try to fix it. I’m coming Steve! I’m bringing money this time! I was the proudest owner of a base model iBook sporting OS X Tiger. I took it home, plugged it into the wall, turned it on, and was surfing the web in less than 10 minutes. I finally realized, sadly, what I’d been missing. Steve continued to impress with new stuff every year. I was part of the magic now. I even visited the Mother Ship. Steve wasn’t in that day though.

August 2011
Steve is retiring, his illness is a factor in executing day to day duties. He looks like he needs a rest. He’s still advising and is on the board though. He’s been dealing with this thing since 2005 or so? Hope all is OK and that he’ll show up once in a while either doing something great or just at an Apple event. I sent him an email, doubt he’ll read or even receive it, but it makes ME feel a bit better.

05 October 2011
Steve died today. The day after Mr. Cook announced another great innovation to Steve’s company’s products. Off to the Apple Store, where I bought my 1st Mac to light a candle.

08 October 2011
As I sit here writing this on my iPad, while listening to another memorial podcast on my iPhone, and glancing on my Twitter feed on my MacBook, I realize that, for a kid who was somewhat of an outsider, Steve was a hero to me in an era where there weren’t many to choose from. I’m talking about folks that young kids should try to be like. I’m not talking about one name celebs, like Jay-Lo, Gaga, Chaz, Michael, Justin, Madonna, Sting, Bono or even Johnny. I’m talking about folks who made a difference that has lasted. One name folks like Gates, Woz, Kawasaki, Ellis, Turner, Dell, Ivar (Seattle restauranteur and philanthropist), and of course Steve. Truly the man, the myth, the legend.

09 October 2011
Just saw a video of the iPhone 4S running the Siri application. Hey! This little box from Steve talks too! Does it come in beige? It should… That would be a nice touch of class. Steve might have liked that.

Seasoned Citizens Texting Shortcuts

June 6, 2011
A friend of mine sent me these. While I didn’t exactly LMAO, I did find some of them TCNTS (Too Cute/Clever Not To Share).

ATD-at the doctor.
BFF -best friend fell.
BTW -bring the wheelchair.
BYOT -bring your own teeth.
FWIW -forgot where I was.
GGPBL -gotta go, pacemaker battery low.
GHA -got heartburn again.
IMHO -is my hearing aid on?
LMDO -laughing my dentures out.
OMMR -on my massage recliner. ROFLACGU -rolling on floor laughing and can’t get up.
TTYL -talk to you louder!

TTFN!
(Tah-Tha For Now)

PC & Mac

August 31, 2010
I caught my PC (work) and my MacBook
hanging out in the hotel room.
PC & Mac

Cool Bean!

August 20, 2010

Introduction

I have been recently looking for a decent (and inexpensive) word processor for my MacBook. I tried a few with little or no success. Finally I think I’ve found one. It’s called “Bean”.

As a matter of face, I’m writing this summary using Bean and then Exported the HTML file for pasting into my WordPress.com blog. It’s pretty darned cool! I do own a copy of Pages, but sometimes, for taking notes, or just jotting down thoughts, it’s a bit overkill.

How Strong is the Bean?

Bean is NOT a text editor, it is a word processor with all the basic formatting, spelling, page layouts etc… The price is pretty good. Currently it’s, uh, free! From the Bean website:

“Bean is not a replacement for MS Word. It doesn’t do footnotes or use stylesheets and is only partially compatible with Word’s file formats.”

In a nutshell it’s not a TOTAL package, but if you want to crank something out real quick, and then do something else with it, this little gem packs some pretty powerful stuff.

I still use Pages for “Heavy Lifting”. But for my little projects, like this, Bean is a winner!

Beating the Heat on Sunday

August 8, 2010

OK, it’s too hot to golf, fish, run, goof off outside.  What to do?  Remember all those mailing lists and vendor sites you subscribed to YEARS ago?  Today, for me, was a great day to update those.  I mean either I don’t want their stuff anymore, or I have changed email addresses and they needed reconfiguring.  Just like spring cleaning, sometimes your internet presence needs a once over.  A bit of updating and consolidating can both clean up your inbox and, if you use multiple free sites (yahoo, hotmail, excite, gmail, etc…) can help you catagorize your stuff with a little help from your email client.

I use Apple’s mail client and am a BIG fan of their colorization routines for headers.  I can assign colors to the headers of various servers and then categorize them as to what I want.  Like all the sites that have “special offers and newsletters” go to one address, business to another, friends/family to yet another.  Stupid easy, free and one more thing I don’t have to do manually.

Happy Sunday!


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