Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Death of FlashDrives....

I saw some pretty good deals on flash drives in the past few days. You know, those little devices that we all started to use when floppies became hopelessly small for the documents we wanted to move around.
The first time I actually got a flash drive was at a product demo for a computer maker. It was about a decade ago. It was a tiny little thing that had the companies catalog on it. I promptly erased it and used the little thing to transport files from work to home and home to work.
That little thing was about 64kb or about an eighth of a gig. On my desk today I have several 8 gig drives, one of which will actually boot to linux.
Alas, these will probably become collector's items too. With cloud computing it seems that we no longer need "hard" storage as much as we need "cloud" storage.

Click to create your Dropbox and increase my storage
Dropbox is a service that provides cloud storage. Using a small program on your computer, Mac, or PC, it allow you to store files in the clouds and get them back from any computer that has an internet connection.
There is also the capability to make folder public, share them with specific people and best of all, share them with your Ipad or Ipod.

That's right, there is an app for that! The dropbox app is a super way to move things around. Music, pictures, ebooks either MOBI or epub and any other files that you own and want to share with friends or move from your computer to your Ipad. For example, if you have a pdf that you want on your Ipad and you want to share with friends or co-workers, just put it in your dropbox, notify your friends and fire up your Ipad's dropbox app. The file will soon appear in the dropbox app and prompt you to select an app to read the file in. (pdf's can be read the most ebook reader apps, but that is another post.)

(Disclaimer: If you click the graphic or link above to create your own Dropbox, it will increase my storage. Its a perk for getting people interested. )

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Welcome Students:

Welcome to my CEdo510 Students. I know some of you might surf over here seeking some special wisdom. All I have are posts of stuff I'm interested in. I post infrequently but in spurts. When something strikes my fancy.

Here is something fancy, that struck mine:

More Incredible Tech

I like tech that installs itself.
When you get an IPAD you soon realize that printing is reserved for expensive apps or printers that are wireless and designed for Apples Airprint technology.
I only buy a new printer when the old one dies... Mine died. It was a six year old laser printer that had a duplexer and printed color in its early days. The print cartridges cost about $350 bucks a set and the printouts were not good enough in color to justify the cost. So I used it for BW printing for the last couple of years. When its network interface failed I took that as a sign from the almighty that I needed a new printer.

Shopping online is so easy. I decided that I wanted a wireless printer/scanner that was AirPrint compatible. I wanted speed and ease. I shopped amazon, J and R, and HP. HP remarkably had the best prices and selection so I compared all the printers, using their tool and decided on the HP C310a. Some of the reviews said it was a bit complicated but I thought that the performance specs were probably worth the trouble with initial setup.
HP's website is a bit troublesome. Great information but every time I go to buy, I have a question that does not seem to be answered online. (or a coupon code it refuses to recognize) The salesperson was excellent and eventually sold me the printer for about 15 bucks less than if I had completed the purchase online. There is a lesson there.
So here is my experience:
It came in about 2 days. The box was so light, I thought they forgot the printer. The packaging was sensible, a reusable zipper bag for the small items and the printer was set in the box in a reusable grocery type bag. Pulling gently on the bag handles and the printer slid out, easy and neat. I set the printer on my desk. Believe me the hard part was done.

Today's Gem
Unpacked and on my desk, I followed the directions, pictographs actually, on how to remove the tape, install the cartridges and then plug the thing into the power. From there the 4" touchscreen came into play. Following the directions on the screen, and answering a few questions, The next thing I knew a test page popped out. I was done setting up the printer and its wireless connection. The touchscreen suggested that I might want to put a disk in the drive and install this on my computer.
Computer setup is not necessary if you use an IPAD. In that case you are done. If you never print anything but photos from picassa, for example, or direct from a memory card, you are also done. It does that stuff right out of the box.

Here is today's gem!!!
I put the CD in my computer and followed the onscreen directions. It asked me how the printer was attached to the network, I said wireless. That's it. Next thing I knew there was a test page coming out of the printer from the computer.  That's about it. Never did have to plug the printer/scanner into the computer, it does everything through the network and wirelessly. The scanning is fast and accurate, but this isn't a review, its a gee wiz.

So the best is yet to come. The printer, it turns out, has an email address. HP calls it eprint technology and there is an app for that too. A few seconds of setup on the computer, accessing the eprint site and resetting the email address to something I could remember and I was done. Actually, I also secured it so that only certain email address can communicate with MY printer. You could leave it open to all but that would take a lot of ink and paper.
My daughter is kind enough to leave a picture in my tray once in a while. Not often enough, if she's reading this. My son has yet to do it but I hold out hope.
All they do is send me a picture, from any device, as an attachment. It supports pictures, documents etc. The printer simply prints the pictures and leaves them for me to retrieve.

From the IPAD there is actually no setup. Just find the right icon at the top of your app and select print. It finds the AirPrinter and voila, a page pops out. Isn't tech great.....

Incredible Tech...

Apple //e with Duo Drive
I got an IPAD 2 for my birthday. I love it. But more than that I like what it says about computing and the future. I remember my Apple //e. It had a duo-drive, i.e. two 5.25" floppies in one case that sat between the cpu/keyboard and the green/black monitor. The picture on the right is essentially what I had. I added a 1 gig ramdisk to the motherboard which gave me the option of loading all of the productivity software I used directly to ram so that both floppies were free for reading and saving files. The boot was kind of long but not in comparison to Windows 7. It probably took a minute or two to fully load.
This computer was hooked up to a printer. The internet was a dream and networks in general were reserved for hospitals and airlines. A sneakernet moved files from one computer to another on a floppy that held next to nothing.
Apple 140 kB single-sided 5 14-inch disks, labeled "single sided" but with a notch cut on the right side could be flipped and written on the other side. That made them about 280kB. The tiny picture  on the right is 31kB, while a picture taken with my Sony DSLR is about 625 kB, just about 20 times bigger.

The size of current files long ago outstripped the floppy and we eventually moved to flash memory and network storage. Large organizations, seeing the need for people to use their work files when out of the office often employed VPN, virtual private networking, over the internet. This makes an insecure connection, secure so that sensitive data can be transmitted safely.
These networks take some setup and hardware costs and might not be the best choice at home.

Enter the IPAD:

The ipad doesn't do traditional filing. I never actually get to look at the files stored except when a program or app offers me a choice. But getting the files into the IPAD or from IPAD to IPAD or from my computer to your computer. Things get a bit complicated. Unless you employ one of the apps that is designed to move things.

So that brings me to the subject of this post. You see, I have this great chair and this new knee. This means that often I prefer not to get up and go to the computer and fiddle. In fact sitting at the computer is a bit of a chore these days. (hurts the knee a bit)

The great chair on the other had is a pleasure. Holding the IPAD and sitting on the chair. I can access the computer through WiFi using an app called Splashtop. (On sale for $2.99, usually $19.99) Splashtop lets me access my desktop as long as it is on. Even if I'm on another WiFi network, like Starbucks or McDonalds. It simply allows me to control my desktop with my IPAD. Find a file surf the net with flash. etc. Anything my desktop can do I can control from the IPAD.

Splashtop Remote
Last night I wanted to read a book that was stored on my computer. From that nice chair, I Splashtoped over to the computer and dropped the book into my dropbox folder. (Dropbox is free)  A few seconds later my ebook app on the ipad was reading the file. 
Dropbox App

Dropbox allows me to put a file in a virtual folder and access it from another location. I just need the password or permission. I could share that book with you too. I just send you an email and permission to access my dropbox.

This tech is so remarkable because it makes my  IPAD an extension of desktop or is it the other way around. And because it puts me in charge. I don't have to say, "I can't do that..."

Its all about reading the book, not the device its on. Isn't the tech incredible?