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December 1, 2017

Thanks Amazon!

Filed under: Tech Info — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 5:53 pm

So on November 20 I ordered this from Amazon:

Crucial 8GB Single DDR3/DDR3L1600

Crucial 8GB Single DDR3/DDR3L1600

It was supposed to arrive on Nov. 22.  On that day I received an email saying it would be delivered on Friday.  I checked the shipping and it was in Richmond in the morning and Michigan that afternoon?  Then it went to Connecticut?

Friday I received an email that it would arrive Saturday.

Saturday I got another one saying, no, now it is Monday.

I got it Monday, Nov. 27th.

I decided to call customer service this morning and let them know that it was late and they should be watching that more carefully at this time of year.  I thought maybe they would say thanks and give me 5% off my next order.

No, not even close.  They apologized all over the place and gave me a full refund of the entire price.  I told them I didn’t expect that but they said no matter that is what they could do.

This afternoon I got the full price back, $63.17…they told me it could take 3-5 days to get the $ back in my account.

Great service Amazon and your “ploy” worked… I am a very satisfied customer and will probably use them even more.

Maybe one day I will try the groceries online ordering there.

November 20, 2017

2017-11-20 WSVA Show & Podcast

Filed under: WSVA Show Notes — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 2:31 pm

Here we are again, a little late getting this online, but it is Thanksgiving week!  The podcast is here and the notes are below for the main topics.


    • Informed Delivery® by USPShttps://informeddelivery.usps.com

      Digitally preview your mail and manage your packages scheduled to arrive soon! Informed Delivery allows you to view greyscale images of the exterior, address side of letter-sized mail pieces and track packages in one convenient location.Images are only provided for letter-sized mail pieces that are processed through USPS’ automated equipment.


Amazon Key Services


 

  • ‘Payment by vein’ — Fingopay – bbc.com/news/technology-41346717

    A supermarket in London is trialling a biometric payment system that uses the unique vein pattern in fingertips to pay for goods. Costcutter said it would consider rolling Fingopay out more widely if the test, at Brunel University, was successful. An electronic reader maps the user’s finger veins, generating a unique key.During registration, users need to link their finger pattern to their credit or debit card and then they can pay for goods without the need to be carrying any cash or cards. The technology has been developed by electronics giant Hitachi, with biometric payments company Sthaler licensed to roll it out in the retail sector.Nick Dryden, chief executive of Sthaler, said the system would appeal to young people. “Today’s millennial generation now expects a higher level of ease, security and efficiency from the way that we pay.” he said.
    Fingopay


  • Insulin Pump and Other Implantable Device Hackinghttps://www.wired.com/2017/03/medical-devices-next-security-nightmare

    HACKED MEDICAL DEVICES make for scary headlines. Dick Cheney ordered changes to his pacemaker to better protect it from hackers. Johnson & Johnson warned customers about a security bug in one of its insulin pumps last fall. And St. Jude has spent months dealing with the fallout of vulnerabilities in some of the company’s defibrillators, pacemakers, and other medical electronics. You’d think by now medical device companies would have learned something about security reform. Experts warn they haven’t.
    Wireless Devices that could be hacked

June 27, 2017

Voice Assistants

Some of the big technology devices to hit in recent years are Voice Assistants. The idea first came about on TV with Star Trek in the ‘60s. This was when you could communicate by voice instructions with the computers. In the real world, “Siri” started on the iPhone 4S at its release in October 2011. And then, “Ok, Google” began in July 2012, and was first supported on the Galaxy Nexus smartphone. So yes, as always Apple created it first (like phones) and then others improve on it. Most will agree that OK, Google surpasses the Siri app at this point in time. Then there came Cortana from Microsoft, which was announced in January 2015 for Windows 10 desktops and mobile devices.

With those assistants you can look up weather, call people in your address book, get a phone number, get your map to plan a drive, etc. Be careful on that mapping part as I keep seeing articles about people getting lost using them. However, for us, Waze and Google Maps have always been spot on.

Google vs Amazon

Starting last year Amazon and Google started rolling out their devices, with Alexa, (the Echo and Dot seem to be the most popular) and Home respectively. There are other devices available but they are bought in insignificant numbers by comparison.

image

Now the Voice Assistants are standalone devices and are selling like, well actually better than, hot cakes. According to the 2017 report from VoiceLabs, “Amazon Echo and Google Home…will sell more than 24 million units combined through the end of 2017.”

Amazon Alexa vs Google Home

They are devices that connect to your Wi-Fi and you speak to them. You can verbally ask questions, set alarms, get news, check the weather, get directions, find phone numbers, perform conversions, do math, find how long it takes to get somewhere (using local traffic conditions) and many more things.

I have been testing a Google Home and it is very, very accurate in both translating your voice and giving accurate responses. In the morning I asked it to tell me about my day. It proceeded to first give me the weather predictions for the day followed by my calendar’s agenda. Then it started telling me the news from various news stations. You can set the news channels you prefer if you wish.

To use the Google device you must have Wi-Fi, either an Android or iPhone device, the application Google Home installed and you are ready to go. The setup process took about five minutes including Google Home updating itself. It was quite easy.

It will also integrate with some other devices; although, at this time the Alexa mixes with many more. That means it can possibly run your TV, cut off your lights, communicate between you and some of your appliances, etc. The only other system I have that it works with is Google Chromecast hooked to my TV. So I can play items there automatically and control them by voice.

Amazon’s devices work pretty much the same; however, as usual, people debate over which is better online all the time. For me, since I am a Google/Android fan I would go for the GH, but either is good. Are these devices a need? No, but I am going to predict that we are going to see a lot more of them in the future.

If you get one do not forget to play with it. Ask it to tell you a joke, ask it how tall you are, ask it if the other device is any good, etc. It made me laugh when I asked it what the fox says…give it a shot if you get the chance.

November 8, 2016

Do You Use Multiple Clouds?

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:42 am

Floyd wrote this week and asked an excellent question. He has several Cloud storage sites that he often uses.  Floyd has all the most popular ones; Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and Amazon Drive.  Keep in mind there are many more out there.

He wanted to know if there was any way he could log into all of them in one location instead of jumping back and forth logging into each.  One at a time is a hassle if you use the websites.  It is much easier if you just use each one’s local folder on your computer.  But what if you are on someone else’s computer and need to access one of your cloud pictures or files and you are not sure which location you put them in?

Wouldn’t you know, there is something for that and I have been using it often for several years.

It is called MultCloud (multcloud.com be careful there is no “i” in there) and it will allow you to access all of your cloud storage on one website.  To add one of your Cloud storage areas, click “Add Clouds” at the top.  Next, you can choose the service you want to add.  For instance, select Dropbox.  You will next be directed to log in to your Dropbox account.  This will allow MultCloud to access your account and display your folders and files.  Once you complete that your Dropbox folders and files will appear on the website where they may be easily accessed.

You may now add additional cloud storage on other services.  If you are like me you can also add other accounts from the same provider.  In my case I have two Dropbox, three OneDrive and only one Google Drive folders.  That way I have enough room to store all of my documents.  The reason I have extras from the same provider is that they only allow you a limited amount of storage per email address.  Therefore, if you have multiple email accounts you can also have multiple cloud storage accounts with the same company.

MultCloud

Once you have them set up what can you do?  You can download any file in any of the accounts to the PC you are using and edit away.  You can also delete them, upload additional files and folders, etc.

Once you install and set up MultCloud you can access your files remotely from any computer you are using.  What you would have been able to do on your local computer with any of your files you can now do anywhere including but not limited to photos.  If you travel without a computer and need your files this could be a lifesaver.

Go to the site and look around, not only will you find MutlCloud but you may get other ideas regarding other online cloud services you could use.

Just remember my thought regarding “The Cloud.”  It is as secure as its most displeased employee.  If an employee had the skills they could get into your information.  Yes, doubtful but it is possible.  Also, hackers may work on storage sites like these.  So, my advice is never store items with your SSN or any other personal information in it that you have a problem “getting out.”

August 17, 2015

2015-08-17 Show Notes

Had several callers and lots of talk.  I hope you didn’t miss it.  WSVA has changed ownership and the new podcast format is not ready for prime time, so it is not currently available.  Hopefully next month. 

Enjoy the notes from today.

Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(This app can be found on Google Play from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
Aldiko Reader

This is, in my opinion, currently the best eBook reader for Android. Sorry only available for Android devices at this time.

It has many features that the biggies do not, go to the main website, aldiko.zendesk.com for the FAQ.

The one that I like most is that you can save and access the books you are reading via Dropbox. This allows you to start and stop on the same place in the book no matter which device you are reading from.

Also, it has many, many settings you can adjust to your liking.

One of the only Apps I say are worth paying the $3-$4 to have a premium license for extra features. That being said the freebie is excellent.


BookBub.com
How it works

Book Bub alerts you to limited-time free & discounted eBooks matching your interests. It’s free to join, you can read on any device, and the books are yours to own.

I got my email today and there were 9 books listed.  Two free and the rest from $2.99 to $0.99.  From Amazon, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, etc.


A caller asked today if it is possible to change the default search engine from Bing.com to Google.com.  It depends on several things but first is which browser you are using. 

If you are using the new W10 browser, “Edge”, go here, http://rd.dblclx.com/1UOyAbK.

If you are using another browser, say Chrome or Firefox, search for something similar to:

[change default search engine in “Windows 10” for Chrome browser] – do not include the square brackets.

You can also change your search engine for Cortana if you like speaking to your computer. Note: you must use the Chrome browser as your default browser for this to work. http://rd.dblclx.com/1IYEnnI


School Shopping is here and you always need something.  Use, “Retail Me Not” and save some big $$$, http://www.retailmenot.com/.

Basically, you can find discounts and coupons from all the major retailers around the country.  For instance, Kohl’s, Sears, JC Penney, GoDaddy, Wine.com, Disney are on there right now.


Invisible Hand is a browser add in that  discreetly notifies you if the product or flights you’re shopping for is available more cheaply from another retailer or travel site.

The notification provides a convenient button which links you straight through to the relevant page on the competing website. It also provides a drop-down menu, so that you can see the prices at the other sites which sell that product or flight.

http://www.getinvisiblehand.com/


Binder – The New Break Up App
telegraph.co.uk
Too scared to dump your significant other? Now there’s an app for that.

Tinder has helped many a lonely soul find love via their smartphone.

Now there’s an app that does the complete opposite.

"Binder" allows relationship-weary men and women to enter a partner’s gender, name and number and then, like the app that inspired it, swipe right to "bin" them.

The heartbreaker chooses a reason for binning their significant other, such as "It’s like I’m living in some sort of unwakeable nightmare", and they’re away. Within seconds, the unlucky soon-to-be ex then receives a rather indelicate text message and short pre-recorded phone call with one of a number of "hilarious" reasons for breaking up.


That is all from today’s show.  Please take a look at the suggestions above and see what you can find useful.

Join us next month on WSVA Radio (WSVAonline.com) for more.

Thanks,

Ron

December 16, 2014

Tech Christmas, Part 2

Last week, I suggested a few techie Christmas gifts. Some readers requested a few more; so, they are as follow.

Let’s start on a slightly different foot. This is similar to the musical cards that play songs or prerecorded messages when opened, but it’s a little different. At spreengs.com, users can create their own video card.

Users create their own video, then upload it to the site, at which point it is completed and mailed to recipients. Or, the company can mail users the card, envelope and USB wire, so the video can be uploaded to the card and sent. The first option costs about $5 more. The few that I looked at ranged about $ 20- 40.

447_mifi5510lFor a gift that keeps on giving — for a monthly fee — try a personal Wi- Fi Hotspot. These small devices supply users with highspeed Internet connections. Speeds are fastest with 4G coverage. Sometimes, I use one for work and it usually gets from 7 to 12 mbps download speed, which is enough to watch movies.  Shown here is the Verizon Mi-Fi that I use which works very well with 4G.

Prices vary for the hardware to the monthly charges for the amount of data used. However, before buying one, check if your cellphone has a hotspot capability, as it may be less expensive.

Tablet sales are down about four percent this year; but tablet keyboard sales are up approximately 90 percent. Users can take an old tablet and, add a Bluetooth keyboard, which costs from $20- 50. Users have found that this is much more convenient than typing on a tablet without a keyboard. You can also get a new tablet with a keyboard included; however, the cost will likely be much higher.

Also available are Mighty Purses, a fusion between fashion and technology available at mighty- purse. com. These bags have a lightweight, built- in battery and a cable for phone charging. They are available in a variety of colors and designs. Prices on Amazon. com run approximately $80- 100.

The Shoulderpod S1 (shoulderpod.com) is a $ 34.90 gadget that attaches to most any cellphone, with or without a case, and has three functions. First, it has a camera grip mode that can be attached to the phone and a grip and strap for users’ hands and wrists, respectively. Second, it has a desk mount mode, which allows users to stabilize without a tripod. Third, it has a mount to attach the phone to the tripod.

image

December 9, 2014

Tech Christmas, Part 1

Wearable Tech is one of those technology terms that makes some sense.  It is a technology device that you wear like clothes or jewelry.  However, it does more than just look pretty. 

Here are a couple of the more popular items that seem to be making lots of news (or advertising) this time of year.

First up, how about a pair of video sunglasses?  Wear them while you are at the beach, snow skiing, hunting, etc. and capture good video of what you are seeing.  Take your new glasses home, hook them up to your computer and show it to all of your friends. 

Look around and you can find them from around $30 to $400 a pair.  You next question is, why the large price range?  As with all technology products the costs of specifications add up.  The less expensive pairs have lower "film" speeds, fewer pixels, cheaper lenses, poor battery rates, etc. 

Fitbit choicesAnother popular item this year is wearable fitness products.  One company that seems to do more than some of the others is "Fitbit" (fitbit.com).  Most of the Fitbit products look like a wrist watch without the watch.  The basic models keep track of the number of steps you have taken, distances, calories burned and stairs you go up and down all day.  They say that at night it measures your sleep quality, helps you learn to sleep better and will even wake you in the morning.      

The more advanced Fitbit models can track your pulse, sync information wirelessly to your computer, has GPS tracking and can send you notifications from your phone and other features. 

There are also a plethora of Smart Watches for Android, iPhone and Windows platforms.  Some are rated very good; however, some are rated not so good.  Research online before you purchase one.  They are fun but somewhat expensive.  As always with new technology the prices will drop, but if you are on the tech-cutting-edge you may want to get one now.  It will show you emails, alarms, weather, and most everything your phone will but it is on your arm.  Guess what?  They also show you the time and date. 

RinglyAnother very recent addition to the wearables is, "Ringly" (ringly.com).  It is similar to the Fitbit and Smart Watches but is smaller and does similar tricks; but is mostly for alerts.  Priced from $195 to $260.

Water Dancing Droplet SpeakersFor the more budget conscious how about a pair of Water Dancing Droplet Speakers? (bit.ly/1vnbQQz)  Once your music starts playing, the speakers will send colorful jets of water up and down in time with the beat. The site is in the UK but they are $39 in US dollars. 

 

HFHiCALL Now for one of my favorites which I have been talking about for a couple of years.  Hi-Fun HFHiCALL phone gloves.  These are fairly normal looking gloves with a Bluetooth connection to your phone.  There is an earpiece in the thumb and a microphone in the pinkie finger.  You got it!  Fold your three middle fingers down and talk to the hand.  These run from $39 to $75 depending on the version, color, etc.  The best prices appear to be on Amazon.

December 2, 2014

June 17, 2014

June 10, 2014

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