About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

October 20, 2014

2014-10-20 Show Notes

Welcome again to the WSVA/Double Clicks monthly podcast (go ahead click it to listen).  I appreciate your reading and listening to the show.  Also, for the next two months I want to know what you may be purchasing for you and yours for the Holidays.  So shoot me an email and let me know, maybe we will talk about yours on the air.  And yes, this includes Santa too.

Here are some of the things we looked at today.

Tech News
GoPro’s $60 Harness Turns Dogs Into Filmmakers
Finally, your dog can film his own viral video.

GoPro’s latest gadget is a dog harness and mount that straps to your pup and films what he sees, from playing at the park to digging through the garbage. The Fetch harness comes with mounting hardware that works with any GoPro camera, and can be attached to your pet’s back for overhead shots, or to his chest, to capture the view from the ground.

Apple Pay launches today: Here’s how to use it
As of today you can use your new iPhone to pay for purchases. Is this the big beginning of a new "tech" payment process or another flash-in-the-pan (Google Wallet)?

New Battery Charges 70 Percent in Two Minutes, Lasts 20 years
Sick of your gadget’s quickly diminishing battery life? Well, there may soon be a solution, and then some.

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a new lithium-ion battery that could reach a 70 percent charge in around two minutes and has a 20-year lifespan, or 10,000 recharge cycles. The new battery will have the power of existing options but will charge faster and will need to be replaced less often.

Kmart Becomes Latest Data Breach Victim
Sears Holdings Corporation has announced a data breach at its Kmart stores that began in early September. The company has said that Kmart’s information technology team identified a breach last Thursday (10/09/14), and that it immediately launched a full investigation, working hand-in-hand with a security firm.

The retailer has since removed the malware, but it is believed a number of debit and credit card numbers have been compromised – the specific number has not yet been released. At this time no personal information, debit PIN numbers, email addresses or social security numbers however had been gleaned during the episode. There is no evidence at this time that online customers at have been affected.

You can ride to work on this backpack!

So you think regular skateboards are boring, eh? If those electric skateboards we’ve featured before don’t do it for you, then here’s another alternative: an electric skateboard that’s also a backpack. It’s called the Movpack, and you don’t even need to know how to ride a skateboard to use it, so long as you can keep your balance. You simply navigate it with a remote control, and it’ll move on its own at speeds that reach up to 15mph. Since Movpack’s creators have a wide target audience, from working professionals to students, they designed the board part to fold behind the backpack for convenience. You can roll it behind you or carry it like a regular backpack, but since it contains both the board and its battery, it weighs a rather heavy 17 pounds without anything else in it.

See you Monday, November 17th for some Christmas Tech ideas.


September 10, 2013

Nexus 7 (Revisited or the New 2013)

Time and technology march on.  A couple of months ago I wrote about the Nexus 7 and how it compared to my first tablet which was a Toshiba Thrive.  Since then they have come out with a new Nexus 7, called…are you ready for this snazzy name? "Nexus 7 (2013)" Yeah, they even use the parenthesis.  I think that is really forward thinking naming; not.  I have also heard non-official references to the Nexus 7.2.

As luck would have it my wife’s Thrive of many years stopped functioning properly and she had used my Nexus 7 some while we were on vacation.  I told her about the new Nexus that just came out and being the wonderful wife she is, she had an idea.  A great idea in my opinion.  She thought I should let her have my old Nexus 7 (about 5 weeks old) and I should get the 2013 version, since geeks should always check out the new equipment.  What a fantastic and brilliant wife!

Image from Google.comSo I got one a couple of weeks ago.  It really is nice, not a tremendous amount better than version one, but nice none-the-less.

The original 7 had the same 7 inch screen and weights 0.75 of a pound. The newer one is, by comparison a light weight at 0.64 lbs.  The screen resolution is higher than the retina display you have heard about in other tablets.  It has a LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and 323 pixels per inch.  To those of us who are half-way normal people that just means that it has a very sharp, clear screen.  Movies run on it very well and it advertises a nine hour Hi-Def video playback.  The most I have run it so far was to watch about four hours of HD videos, including some on Netflix.  That took it down to about 50% battery life left.  I had also played a few games and checked email throughout that time.  That makes me believe in their advertised battery length.

It comes with the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system which is the latest one out there.  Google is constantly fixing and updating as I have had two updates since I got mine.

The 2013 model also has a camera on the front (1.2MP) and back (5 MP auto focus camera with face detection; 1080p video recording @ 30fps), unlike the original which only had the front facing camera.  One problem I had with the original is that it would not work with Skype which I had planned on using.  The new one works fine and I have had a decent video conversation using it. 

I will not get into the processor speed here but it is faster, much quicker than the original which was very good, too.  There is a noticeable difference.  The last thing I would mention is that it has two speakers on the back now instead of one so it is advertised as stereo.  In my opinion, it is like all tablets.  The sound system leaves a lot to be desired if you want to listen to high quality music with the tablet speakers but I think that is the same with any tablet.  However, when using a nice headset or ear buds it is very good indeed.

My opinion is that if you are in the market for a good seven-inch tablet this is the one you should take a serious look at. 

March 2, 2013

Logitech M310 Wireless Mouse

  • I have owned approximately 7-8 wireless mice over the years, including ones for my wife.  
  • I am currently using the Logitech M310 on my Latitude D620 notebook.
    • I have used it extensively for about two years.
  • I bought it to replace a worn out Microsoft  Wireless 3000, with the big USB receiver shown below in black & white.
  • User Manual.


Logitech M310 & USB Plug Logitech M310 bottom open   Microsoft 3000 Wireless Mouse

  • Starting at the top the first thing you notice is the small receiver which I prefer much more than the older MS mouse…for very obvious reasons. 
  • The M310 is for lefties or righties so if you use either hand or are ambidextrous you are covered. 
  • They come in multiple colors of which mine is blue.
  • The left and right buttons large and have a division down the middle but no back slot since they are flexible and seem to be solidity built.
  • On the bottom you can see that there are the standard drag-pads as with most modern wireless mice.
  • An “On-Off” slider switch.
  • The “Invisible Optic” port that takes the place of the old mouse ball.
  • The battery compartment is opened by pushing and sliding the cover out of the way.
  • One AA battery powers the mouse.
  • A space is provided to store the USB receiver when needed.


Per the list above, you may not care to but I leave the USB receiver in one of my USB ports 24/7/365 with never an issue…other than taking up a port.  I have four ports on this computer so it really has never created a problem for me.

The shape is fine, pretty standard other than the left or right design.  I have issues with carpel tunnel syndrome from time-to-time and this does not bother that any more or less than other mice…I wish there was one that was an anti-CT version (fantasy).

The buttons work well, easy to click but firm.  I have read one review where the person got a little into saying that they were too easy to click.  I think they may just have had very heavy fingers.  As with most the scroll-wheel also allows push click for other uses.  I never change mine from the default so I cannot comment about other uses.

The “On-Off” switch works easily and never by accident.  There is a sleep mode to conserver battery life.  When it has not been used for a period of time the mouse/battery shutdown.  However, I have to say that I have rarely forgotten to turn the mouse off after I use it.  I am not that smart just hyper about batteries.  I would figure that the sleep-mode works but how would you know for sure.  I have never noticed a lag as if it were waking from sleep, so no complaints there.

The battery life on mine is excellent and in the two years I have used it I have replaced the battery once.  I do not use it everyday but I would bet I use it about as much as the average user.


These mice are currently listed on Logitech’s site at $29.99; however, I got mine much less than that when it was on sale at the local Target store.  Look around and see if you are interested. 

I always suggest you look in your local “brick & mortar” stores and buy there to help your local community.  You can sometimes find good deals online too.  Just do not forget to include the cost of shipping and handling.


I would rate it an 8.5 out of 10 as it is a good mouse that does exactly what it should.  For me it has performed better than expected.  I always expect some problems or design flaws but this one really works for me. 

I would like to see it improved by having a more positive sleep mode so that you really “know” that your battery is being saved.  Yes, I know this may be a weird issue, but guess I am just an inquiring mind.

Any thoughts?

May 24, 2011

Motorola Xoom – Tablet PC

Motorola XoomI have spent a couple of weeks testing out Motorola’s entrance into the Tablet PC market with the “Xoom”.  I have to say that I am impressed.  These are slick devices.  If you are looking into the tablets, this could well be the one to get.

First of all it uses the Android (created by Google) operating system.  As an Android phone owner I am already partial to that particular system so that works for me.  It is using the latest Android system named “Honeycomb”.  With Google’s strange sense of humor they name all of the Android systems after desserts.  As an aside, they name them in alphabetical order with Cupcake (their first) followed by Donut, Eclair, FroYo (stands for Frozen Yogurt), Gingerbread and Honeycomb which is the most recent version.  “A” and “B” were prototypes which were never released.  Next comes either, “Ice Cream” or “Ice Cream Sandwich” depending on what you read.   

First off the battery life is excellent.  My own experiment took place like this.  I ran it for about three solid hours.  Then I handed it off to a friend.  He played, “Angry Birds Rio” for over six hours.  That was pretty good in my opinion.  I then took it back and messed with it for another hour or so.  Final battery charge remaining was over 50%.  That is a good battery life as far as today’s standards go.

The 10.1 inch screen is very clear and sharp, which is another good thing.  With its 1280 x 800 pixel resolution you can see most websites at full size.  It weighs about 1.5 pounds which is very easy to handle when surfing and reading books.  Yes, it is very similar to an ebook reader only it has many more capabilities. My biggest complaint is since it has a slick, shiny surface, like all tablets so far, the finger prints need to be cleaned off pretty regularly…and I believe I have fairly clean fingers.

The new Honeycomb OS is good; however, I needed some time to get used to it.  I am already using the latest OS, Gingerbread on my phone so it was familiar to me.

It is set up with two cameras.  “Two cameras?” you may ask.  Yes, one of the front for taking still pictures and videos and one on the other side, or “input” screen, to take videos of my “mug” when chatting with someone on Skype.   There are many programs available for the Xoom with more on the way.  They run the gamut from business to games, so you can get most anything you may be interested in.

Would I like to own a Motorola Xoom?  You betcha!  But for now I will wait.  The reason I will wait is that I spend much of my online time writing.  While online, I do a lot of typing.  The Xoom does have a keyboard that pops up when needed but you basically need to type with two fingers.  Since I type a lot, I type fast and it limits me.  Will I seriously consider buying one when they get a program working on it allowing faster typing…you betcha!

April 18, 2011

2011-04-18 WSVA Show Notes

Listen to the podcast online if you missed it live.

Tech News Microsoft To Phase Out Zune
Bob, Clippy, Windows Me, the Kin mobile phone and now MS does in the Zune. What’s next Windows Phone 7? They will keep the Zune music store going but basically they will make it like iTunes for Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7. 

Zune launched in November 2006 with a lot of hype to beat Apple’s iPod. But sales never came close to reaching the iPods.

Google Video Shutting Down May 13
Since Google bought YouTube in 2006, it seems about time they shutdown the similar, older service, "Google Video".

The strange thing is they aren’t allowign people to automatically transfer their videos from one to the other. They have to download them and then upload them to…just seems strange.

Recharging Batteries in Phone & Notebooks
Battery-centric web site Battery University explains the real relationship behind battery life and charging. Lithium-ion batteries—the batteries present in most modern smartphones and laptops—don’t need to be fully discharged every once in a while to retain battery life, as many of us have been told. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

  • We used to be told to discharge a devices battery all the way and then recharge…
  • Today–> If at all possible, avoid frequent full discharges and charge more often between uses.

  1. Auction Sniper
    Auction Sniper is an eBay sniper that automates the process of placing your eBay bid in the closing seconds of any eBay bidding auction.

    They charge 1% of the final auction price with a minimum of $0.25 and maximum of $9.95 only for the auctions that you win

  2. Google Alerts
    Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (everything which is –> news, blogs, realtime (quote, "real time situational awareness" my estimate is in the last few minutes), video, discussion) based on your choice of query or topic.

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