Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Displacing the Old

Every now and then new technology is so good that it displaces the old. In other words it gets to be the time to throw the old stuff out.

When devices get a lot faster and easier to use, that time has come.

It is here with the latest iPad and Amazon Kindle Fire 10 9th Generation.

Both are lightning fast and have much approved navigation, the iPad with its stack and the Fire with its ability to emulate The Echo Show and do everything by voice without any keyboard or mouse.

I am doing the way with my older tablets entirely. They are now time wasters.

Code Cutting and Navigation

For cable cutting and general navigation I created a guide for myself:

Normal cable channels except sports and local—Phllo
Local channels —Specific channel sites, PBS site, Newson
Networks live and On demand--Peacock, CBS All Access, ABC News
News channels--Watchnewspro on Laptops and tablets, Pluto
Channel guides--Pluto. TiVo 4K stick, Philo, elsewhere
Movies and TV--Acorn. Tubi. Amazon Prime, Netflix, Vudu
Music--Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, (on tablets and laptops use Alexa)
YouTube for videos, music, howto, 4K
News--Apple News Plus, Google News, Washington Post. Delaware and Lancaster Online, Philadelphia Inquirer, Alexa (selectively delivered to email)
Reading and Books--Kindle Unlimited, Google Play Books

Entertainment Tonight is CBS all access live

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

What is the future of computing and how soon?

The future of computing is not what you probably think.

The future is for computing to drop into the background.

We are moving towards the day when the computer will more and more anticipate what you need to do and set you on that track automatically

It will be another person in the room and you will not need to go to it.

It will enter into the conversation when it needs to and do what you needed to do.

That trend is obvious with the Internet of things.

Thermostats and lights are now controlled automatically with smart thermostats, smart bulbs, and smart switches.

Alexa answers your questions.

Amazon's Echo Show Mode points the way. Nearly anything can be done by voice with it.

(The new ability to use Show Mode on a Fire tablet greatly extends its usefulness.)

Such capabilities should become more and more preemptive by the computer with the passage of time.

The desktop computer, the laptop, even the smartphone, will fall into lesser and lesser use, as the invisible presence takes over.

I can already hear the panic about confidentiality. We always hear such about new technology. I guess that started when cave dwellers left the cave. Or when men learned to make fires.

Just go with it.

When?  Starting now.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

What is this for non-computer types.

The other day we got a call from a friend who does not use computers at all, not even email.

Their son-in-law was setting up something for them to call us by video.

It turned out that that device was an Echo Show.

I knew about the Echo Show before but had no idea of what value it had to anybody.

It basically provides a display for the Amazon Echo and Alexa.

So what good would that be to anybody?

Turns out that it provides completely voice-controlled computer without any keyboard or other input device.

Especially it keeps old folks in touch during this covid-19 time.

Newly you can use your Amazon Fire Kindle device as an Echo Show.

Takes just a bit of learning to learn how to do things even simpler than ever before.

You might pick up a Kindle Fire 10 for $80 to use as a computer and also for someone who doesn't want to use a computer at all except by voice.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Do it all by Voice

In the past we've gone through developments in how we use computers.

In the beginning we did all of our computing at a desk. Then along came the laptop and the ability to sit in an easy chair and do computing.

The smartphone then extended our ability to be more mobile about using a computer.

But there is a new way nowadays: talking to the computer.

That can extend our access away from any of the above devices.

The idea is to speak to the computer and get the answers you need while doing other tasks entirely which are unrelated.

I have stationed Echo Dot or Google Home devices so that I can talk to them anywhere in the apartment.

That way I can be doing any other kind of activity while also availing myself of computing.

I also have a very small waterproof speaker I can station where I am working.

I can turn lights on and off or adjust the temperature just by voice commands, of course. 

But I can also browse the internet and get answers to questions quickly. I can send and receive emails. I can make phone calls. I can have books read to me. I can even do a posting like this.

All this without having any computer anywhere nearby.

And as I am writing this I just learned from my wife that some of our friends who have none of the devices above have told us that their son-in-law is installing an Echo Dot for them as their main computer device, nothing else needed.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Internet Joins Together What Covid19 Divides

While Covid-19 divides us, internet is bringing us together.

Indeed Covid-19 is the driving force now behind the growth in the use of computers.

That was brought home to me by a phone call from a friend in another retirement community.

A resident there had resisted use of computers all together until recently she could not get to a doctor's appointment without having a cell phone to be notified when she could enter the office.

The question from the other community had to do with the least cost cell phone plan.

So with Covid-19 it is very difficult to get on without computers and internet.

New users actually benefit by not needing to unlearn the old ways of using computers.

Like Windows.  No need for that complexity anymore.

Recent advances have made the iPhone an iPad even more easy to use than before.

Apple has now concentrated on easing navigation.

The new iPhone and iPad smart stack makes it easier than ever to get around and find what you need. And the latest iPad comes in at just $249.

Not only that, but all the features of online TV come easily to these devices.

WatchNews Pro lets me watch all the networks for just $5 a month.

Full subscriptions to NBC and CBS are just about the same price each but extend access.

Apple News gives me access to a huge bundle of publications for $10 a month.

Then there are plenty of advertising based sources of movies at no cost at all.

Computer shopping cuts the cost of going to stores.

Email and video meetings are free.

I really don't need cable anymore.

So now computing and internet are finally coming into their own for everyone.

Not sure how to use all these new tools? Just learn how to search for tutorials on internet and especially YouTube.

And don't forget to forget the old ways.

Oh, except the library, now online at home for all your books and media, even read to you out loud.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Lghting our Way Ahead

In the old days, before covid-19, lights in our apartment were either 60 or 100 watt and were left on on dark days.

Now almost all our lights are controllable with voice via Echo.

They turn on automatically to daylight with breakfast and by evening with warmer color temperatures as we need them

At sunset the lights come on in our living room and dining area.

At bedtime the lighting switch is automatically to the bedrooms at a low level.

No longer do we need to think about and abuse the use of power for lighting.

Mostly it was done with Wi-Fi smart bulbs and cheap switches.

No more changing bulbs as the new ones last 20 years.