Jun 20, 2012

May - 09 2012 | By

Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They're tagged with #Zentech.
– When what's said is unclear to me (or I'm unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (" ") verbatim.

 

NOTE: Glenn said there will be a Zentech show next Wed, 6-27-12

Paul stated the disclaimer before any tech talk:
"Views and opinions expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and don't necessarily represent those of anybody, anywhere, anytime you've seen for any reason whatsoever."

The Bike Talk show had a broadcast in place of Zentech last week to cover a bike race and a soap box derby. Glenn was at the derby and he mentioned that the local Maker group, The Curious Forge, was involved.

Paul reminded us that the Summer solstice happens today. The length of daylight hours is at a maximum and will start getting shorter, slowly at first and then at a quickening pace.

Glenn has had trouble coordinating (synching) his calendar & contact list between his PC netbook, iPhone, iMac and a cloud service that he uses.

Glenn said his iMac's Duo Core Intel processor may not be able to run the Lion operating system (version 10.7). He thinks a Core 2 Duo processor is required. Paul confirmed that there is a work-around that Glenn can use as long is it isn't anything later than version 10.7.3 (approx.) that he's trying to install.

Paul said you can access your iCloud service with any machine by going to icloud.com. But to do so, you had to have previously synched at least once with an Apple device. Paul suggested that Glenn use the "backup" option to send his calendar data to iCloud; Glenn said he couldn't find a "synch" option.

Paul suggested Glenn login to his iCloud account and check the calendar to see which of his calendars are synched there. Also, Paul thought there is a PC app that lets you synch a Gmail account with Outlook, and a couple of other applications.

Paul said that people sometimes blame technology for problems they're having when, often, there was a design choice between mutually exclusive, but equally valid, methods. Paul's example: if you have 5 devices, should they have their own calendar or share only 1 calendar. There can be a complex logistical problem rather than a design fault.

Paul mentioned that RIM (Research In Motion) had made some poor choices and it's Blackberry is struggling to stay relevant, along with Nokia. Initially, Paul liked a physical keyboard of the Blackberry but it didn't take long to get used the touch screen keyboard, and he'll never go back.

Glenn got a message from T-Mobile stating that their merger with AT&T is off. In spite of that, they are expanding their 4G network, they said. However, Glenn's phone is the 3GS iPhone which can't take advantage of that, it only uses the EDGE network.

Paul said Cricket is offering a pay-as-you-go prepaid phone service. You buy a SIM card <along with the phone> from them and then buy as much usage as you need.
– You buy the iPhone at full price, unlike other carriers who sell the iPhone at a discount and then charge high monthly fees while under a 2 year contract. In the long run, you can save yourself significant money with Cricket or the similar service called Virgin Mobile USA.
– Beware that the phone you'll be buying is specifically designed to be used with a particular carrier (e.g. Cricket) and you can't take it to an AT&T plan.
– AT&T also offers a pay-as-you-go service but you have to buy voice, text (txt) and data separately, and the total you'll pay is close to their full service plan.
– In Europe you only have to buy the SIM card and put it into any GSM phone. Unlike the USA, they've decoupled the service & the phone.
CDMA phones (Verizon, Sprint) require you to take it into the retailer to switch carriers. GSM phones (AT&T, T-Mobile) make that easier — they use the easily switchable SIM card.
– When Paul switches SIMs, he keeps the unused one taped (electrician's tape) to the inside of the back cover. Another thing to keep there is a SIM extraction tool.
– Glenn mentioned something called the SIM tray. He didn't describe it well but said it contains the IMEI & serial numbers for the phone and admonished listeners not to lose it.

John called. He has an old Claris Works document and he can't get it to open "in pages". For years, he's been transferring it from one Mac to another but his latest iMac desktop won't open it.
– Use the free Open Office suit for the Mac. That will open it.
– Once open, save it out in another, more common format.
– There are some converter programs you can buy.

Murdock called wanting to know how to convert audiocassette tapes to CDs.
– Many cassette players have a "phono" output <or a line-out jack> that you connect to your computer's line-in jack.
– Use Audacity to set the proper volume and clean up any noise. Audacity is a free sound-editing program.
– Get a tape head demagnetizer from Ebay, Amazon or Radio Shack and, following its instructions, demagnetize the heads in the tape deck. Also, clean the heads with alcohol. Do this to minimize distortion.
– As he was talking, Paul found, on the internet, the GGI USB Cassette to MP3 converter for about $28.. This may be a simpler solution.
– The music on your tapes may be available by other means <as music files on the internet, with possibly better quality>.

Ray sent in an email asking for an opinion about E Ink book readers. He thinks they may be a bit sluggish. And what about using an iPad as a book reader?
– The $400 to $600 for an iPad is pricey for a book reader unless you can take advantage of its other features.
– Paul finds it easier to read on an E Ink device. They simulate the experience of ink on paper as opposed to a lit screen.
– E Ink works better in bright outdoor conditions.
– E Ink doesn't use much energy so batteries last much longer.
– E Ink does indeed respond slowly. That's fine for reading but you're not going to play video games with it.
– Whichever device you get, it's likely able to read .pdf files — you're not limited to buying books. You can put the manuals (in .pdf format) for all of your devices on a reader to make them easily available, just as an example.

Ray, who wrote the email, called. He's wants the device for his mom who forgets to recharge her phone. He thought she would be happy with the 1-month battery life of an E Ink reader.
– Paul thought it would be easier to remember to charge a device if it came with a stand.
– Ray found a basic Kindle or Nook costs in the $80 to $100 range, and the Kindle comes with free cellular connectivity to facilitate buying books.
– Paul said the advantage to book readers is the ability to zoom in on the text <for people with eyesight problems>.
– Web pages tend to look crummy on book readers. If surfing the web is important, you may want to get 2 different devices.
– Check the return policy. Often you have 15 days to evaluate the product.
– Ray noted that the iPad can have a Bluetooth keyboard attached to it.
– Ray also noted that the Kindle has the ability to read aloud. <Wasn't clear if it needed additional hardware>
– Paul said, if reading aloud is desirable, there is a service called Audible that sells audio books.
– Ray said he's leaning toward the Nook because it has a SD slot.

Lastly, Paul said don't Yahoo! He's seen so many people who've had their accounts broken into, even those using recently changed, strong passwords. He thinks someone has stolen the password database. People using SBC Global and AT&T Net are included — those services use Yahoo.

Last updated:  9:23 PM 6/20/2012