Sunday, July 27, 2008

Portable Computer and Internet Access

More and more of us want computer access wherever we are. Cell phones have gotten us accustomed to phone access; we now want mobile internet computer access. Some cell phones have limited internet access.

Other small internet devices are in the works, some already on the market. None approaches the full benefit of a PC or Mac or Linux tower.

The iPhone has shown the way. The iPhone is proprietary and limited. Another important device is the Nokia n800.

These new devices need an underlying technology to work. Google has just announced Android; Symbian is already available, such as for Nokia devices, the iPhone has its own proprietary system, and Windows also has a system. These are operating systems.

All that just means that things have not quite settled down yet.

However, more and more small PCs or "netbooks" are becoming available, and a few even small PC tablets are out there.

The Nokia N810 demonstrates what is coming in a very small device.

You should be very comfortable with computers to use it, however, and very comfortable with a small keyboard. Most of all you should have good enough eyesight to use its small 4" screen.

With that in mind, wherever there is wireless internet you have all the functions of computer and phone. This includes even the ability to watch and remotely operate TV, remotely operate your tower, access its files, access FM and internet radio. The last requires tinkering, though. The device has limited GPS.

The device is primarily an access device. Although it has a keyboard, input such as word processing is demanding. There is also no printing and no external screen, capability. You could print remotely through your tower and your tower could display its screen, however.

Additionally, more and more software, much of it from Google, runs from the website and not from the device. A powerful computer is no longer needed to run more and more applications. In addition, Google has more and more applications designed especially for the small screen.

The device software is extremely reliable.

You can explore applications here which are automatically downloaded and installed from the site:

Click here:

A larger, but still small, PC is the EEEPC.

The Nokia N810 is 8 ounces; the EEEPC two pounds.

Expect more devices to follow.

The newest Apple iTouch is now much expanded in its capabilities.

Hearing Loss & Hearing Aids

Most men and many women have difficulty hearing by 75. Frequently their hearing loss is mainly in the higher pitches. The brain is said then to forget how to distinguish speech sounds. Any loss of hearing may be a safety hazard.

That means that most seniors will need hearing aids, way more than get them.

The impediment is often the cost or appearance of an aid, or just the plain inconvenience or difficulty in using them.

Although hearing aids do not correct hearing as glasses do for vision, there is no need to put up with many hearing aid problems of the past

There is no need to put up with: high cost, replacing batteries, whistling. Newer hearing aids can be tuned by the user to adjust sounds and pitch. Noise canceling can cut out background noise. Hearing aids can be out of sight behind your ear, if you like. They need not be molded, to save cost. The built-in mikes can be adjusted to surroundings or sound direction

It still does take a while to get accustomed to hearing aids. They need to fit in the ear with the ability to shut out unfiltered sound, yet allow enough airflow to cut out barrel noise or occlusion. There may be noise-reducing sleeves. It may take a while to find the right fit, which then will work well.

You still will not hear well in some environments.

If higher pitches are not being heard, you can find a place close to musical instruments or speaker. The high pitches, being shorter sound waves, just do not travel far.

Often the big enemy of hearing is low pitched noises which override higher pitch sounds or create high reverberation (echoing) in a room. There is no hearing aid yet which shuts out reverberation, although it would appear that this could be done via computer.

The heart of a hearing aid is the signal processor. When purchasing a hearing aid, check how recent the one is in the hearing aid. When I asked that question about an expensive aid the seller immediately admitted that a much cheaper competitor had a newer processor and she could not compete with it!!

Without a hearing aid, you can still adjust a newer television or MP3 player to your hearing with its equalizer. The equalizer can boost the ranges you do not hear well. You can also use noise-reducing wireless headphones, now extremely cheap.

Since most hearing loss is in the higher pitches, in a public room with a sound system it is simple enough to cut the bass and reverberation simply by adjusting the bass down and treble controls up, too often forgotten.

About TV Changes and HDTV

On Feb. 17, 2009, (may be extended to June), your old TV set may not work any more with an antenna. However, a converter will keep it running and will probably produce a better picture with an antenna. If you have only basic cable or satellite, you may not need that service in the future. It is worth the price of an antenna to find out.

The government pays you $40 towards a converter, which come at $50-60. Click

The choice of programming will increase for both old and new sets by adding more channels, even with only an antenna.

HDTV, which is also available, was developed mainly for only one purpose: to provide a clear picture on large screens.

Despite all the hype, there is little reason to obtain a new set unless you want a larger picture. That being the case, it makes little sense to obtain less than the maximum pixels or dots, and best resolution, 1080p.

That information counters the hype.

HDTV programs so far are limited, usually to 8-10 at night, some news, sports, cooking, gardening, travel. The old cameras are still out there, and they do not provide HDTV programs, even on HDTV channels.

However, a large picture in HDTV is a treat to behold, and the offerings on public television alone, are quite wonderful.

Also, even with your old DVDs an HDTV set offers a far better DVD picture with a n inexpensive so-called “uploading” player.

The cheapest way to enjoy near-HDTV is Netflix, which has 100,000 movies, available cheaply by mail,

Netflix also offers TV shows.

For sports especially you may want cable or satellite, but it will cost you extra for HDTV. Let programming choices and cost determine your selection of antenna, cable or satellite.

There will be a future benefit to connecting your HDTV to your PC, including online movies, already available from Netflix free with your DVD-by-mail subscription.

In an HDTV set, you need to be sure you have all the connectors needed in an easily reached place,