Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Chromebooks Compared to Other Laptops

I think the best modern laptop choice for most seniors is a ChromeBook, (along with a CloudPrint printer which has a setup screen on the printer).

Here is an interesting link comparing laptops in full detail.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Transitioning to the New

Now and then, when you look around your living space, you find that you need to get rid of some of the old and replace it with the new, especially as technology has advanced.

Otherwise you will find that you are making your old model T computers try to do the work of a space  ship.

My wife was actually still using a 20 year old laptop and 20 year old printers, one laser and one dotmatrix.     Both were holding up, but the nice old laptop still could not be advanced beyond Windows 7 and was hopelessly slow, and the printers could not be shared with newer devices like tablets and phones.

I was still using similar age-old printers and a five-year-old tower.   The tower was painfully slow with Windows 10. and I had noticed elsewhere that computers with hard drives ran too slow with Windows 10, whereas cheapies at about $150-200 with solid state drives ran well.

I was reluctant to replace two printers since all were working.  Yet when ink ran out I would still need either to buy ink or simply replace them with newer printers already loaded with ink. I found new  wireless lasers came with at least half a toner cartridge (500 copies) and at low cost, especially with lower costs for future color replacement.  A no-brainer to replace them.

With shareable laser printers instead of dotmatrix, my future costs would go down and I could put them wherever I wanted them. Since the new lasers are small I could put one in a library bookshelf, for example, out of the way.

It was a mess  to set them up. Although all you need to do to set them up with a Windows 10 computer is basically to plug them in, that did not work with my new high-speed Chromebooks.   I needed to download the latest wireless installation programs from the manufacturer's website, register them on CloudPrint, and finally set up HP’s eprint to email, which gives access to them anywhere on any device.

That was a nuisance.

I already mentioned that I replaced my wife's favorite old laptop with a large screen Chromebook exactly like the one I have found myself using most over the past two years because it is way faster than anything else and I don't need to monkey around with it all the time as with Windows. That was also before realizing that many a solid state cheap Windows 10 laptop could perform wonders with an old VGA display, using a $10 converter.

I augmented some Bluetooth speakers with combo  lightbulb speakers I could screw into lamps and bathroom lighting unobtrusively.   I also ordered the latest new Amazon Echo to supplement my Kindle Fire 7 and TV Plug-in.

These changes altogether cut down on space usage.

I actually tried to put Windows 10 on that old Windows 7 laptop,  but that did not work, just as I thought. Instead I tried something new, though old to me as a new solution.

I installed Linux Mint 17.3, finally a great version of an operating system which does everything and does it well on an ancient machine. It is nice to have at least one machine I can plug in a printer to and it automatically recognizes it, and runs not only most Windows software but a few professional packages as well, such as Scrivener, the writer’s writing application, and Calibre the ultimate  bookies’ reader app.

I threw in a high-speed modem and also a high-speed WiFi access point.     I sold some old equipment and bought a Windows Transformer with the proceeds.    It works with an old VGA display, and performs as a tablet and laptop as well.  What else do you need for Windows 10 when most work is done on another device anyway? I actually sold some Windows tablets.

Realizing I cannot run as fast as I used to be able to, to answer a phone, I bought some old speakerphones at a yard sale after finding that they are hard to find anymore in the marketplace. I already have a secret voice number which reaches all of my devices wherever I am.

Now to sit back and enjoy convenience. That convenience also includes a few bargain subscriptions to publications I became more newly familiar with online. They also come with a paper copy in the mail.

I have gotten used to daily briefings online in which I can get to many publications for various views on the same subject.   I never really read the New Yorker much in the past but I have gotten used to it online.  I like the in-depth coverage of the news.     I read the New York Times and also the Wall Street Journal for their broad coverage comma but also the Manchester Guardian.   I subscribe to our great local paper here.  I read Bloomberg weekly.

All this reading is done very quickly online. In a very few minutes I can keep up with everything.   I can also have things read out loud to me as I'm shaving using my cell phone.   With the speaker bulbs I can have things read aloud to my wife at will.

Less space used, better access, very little cost bottom line.

Now, there is another innovation still in the box on a table nearby  It should improve things even more. The problem is that I'm not quite sure what it does yet.    Here's hoping.

Note: The old laptop. now running Linux, is now capturing my choice of news publications from all over the world via Calibre and sending them to my Kindle Paperwhite automatically.