Thursday, July 31, 2014

Moving from PC to Smartphone

As we move from PC to smartphone for most of our computer activity, we are faced with the task of selecting the best apps to do so.

Nowadays inexpensive smartphones and low-cost plans ease the way. Where Wi-Fi is available a $150 smartphone and $10 a month plan will do the job.

Gmail from Google not only brings us probably the best email app, but also a whole host of other Google apps, including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

These apps are Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, the last quite new.

Phones such as the Google Nexus 5 allow us to put these apps up on the big screens of TV for ease of use.

Google also empowers us with voice input with Google Now, Google Voice, and Google Search.

Thus much work can be done via voice which formerly required a keyboard.

Voice texting apps simplify communication by eliminating hit or miss phone calls. The recipient receives a message he can access when convenient.

I use SMS Pro for hands free texting.

Most of all Google's Chrome browser is a key app. Getting access to the huge library of information on the Internet may be the single most important thing we do.

Another browser, called Opera, makes more efficient use of our browsing pipeline. That is useful as we are using limited data service at times.

The YouTube app at times rivals the browser and is the central media app.

We need access to more specific information sources. Google News is important especially in that it will read news items out loud.

@Voice provides a more general voice reading utility via sharing in many different apps.

Umano provides an excellent choice of human read material.

Web2go  lets you subscribe to
Sources it will read aloud for you, including this website.

News apps include the Washington Post, USA Today and others. The Manchester Guardian can be emailed to you.

Local newspapers and radio and TV stations have their own apps.

Pandora maybe the most popular music app, followed by Spotify. Pandora chooses the music for you and Spotify finds music for you. Songza is another desirable app for music.

For your own music you may need an app called Winamp, a left over from windows.

The Volume in Notifications app makes it easy to adjust sound volume.

Important media apps are Netflix and PBS. Viewing PBS may be easier from a browser than from an app.

The iTunes radio app will bring in almost any radio station for both news and music.

Buying and selling apps are the popular Amazon and eBay apps.

The Kindle and Google Play Books apps access ereading and books.  The Internet Archive is also a great source of books as well as music and video. The Open Library also offers a huge library of books. The Audiobooks app offers an extensive library read aloud by volunteers.

Weather apps are among the most frequently used apps giving you the ability to know weather at any time right up to date.

These include AccuWeather and the Weather Channel, and also The Weather Underground, and WeatherBug.

For travel the Waze GPS app is absolutely the best, accompanied also by Google Maps.  Waze warns you of traffic  issues.

That's a starter.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cleaning House of Computers

Now and then I need to clean house of computers, discard the old, and adopt the new.

My recent housecleaning has been the biggest ever.

Out went the old Windows computers, software, and peripherals. Bang!!

The old Windows computers were especially popular because of Windows 8 and sold for very close to what I had paid for them years ago.

The Chromebook laptops I replaced them with cost much less and are now far superior in my view.

Old printers went for more than new wireless printers. Old tablets, too. The tablets market is hot, even for older tablets.

Some old printers use cheaper ink and are therefore still valued. I don't print that much. My $35 Canon beats all the old printers and is a wonder. My old lookalike went for $90.

Old smartphones  and contract plans were were dropped like a hot potato. Worth more gone than kept.

The Moto G smartphone now does most of my computer work at a very low monthly cost of from 5 to 25 dollars, switchable.

My entire computer activity centers now on this smartphone after a series of very unsatisfactory phones.

The reason is that it is the easiest to use of all my equipment and is always there wherever and whenever I need it.

I really need only my Nexus 7 and I added an iPad Air after having disposed of an iPad Mini I did not like for small print.

Of what remains, the Moto G is the most used by far followed by my 14 inch HP Chromebook. The iPad, of course, does things none of the others do.

I try just about everything that comes down the road and work with others a lot so I am familiar with just about all equipment.

I suspect that most users will in time come to similar decisions. It is a new world.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Far It's Come

I can recline and do all my computer work at ease now.

The latest tech capability makes it possible for me to mirror my smartphone screen to my TV.

Or,  also, newly, I can work from my Chromebook laptop the same way and mirror everything to the big TV screen.

I can use both anywhere else with a hotspot.

I can switch my smartphone from WiFi to GPS or to phoning or to media for from $5 to $25 a month.

The equipment was cheap too.  The phone cost $150, the Chromebook $200. And the mirroring Chromecast device $35.

My Republic Wireless phone plan costs only $10-$25 a month, depending upon what I am doing.

Anybody need a Windows laptop?