Jan. 23, 2013

Jan - 09 2013 | By

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Remember, there's another show this month on the 30th

Both Paul & Glenn were in the studio

Paul finally got around to reviewing the Android PD10 tablet he bought recently. There were some features he looked for…
– He wanted an Android rather than an iPad to save money.
– It's a 7" tablet, which he found is adequate for his needs.
– He wanted it to have wi-fi for connecting to the internet, but he didn't need it to connect to a cellular network.
– A GPS chip for navigation.
– An accelerometer, which can sense how you move the unit around. <Turn it 90 degrees and the image repositions to remain upright, for instance>
– The latest version of Android: 4.1 aka Jelly Bean.
– A front & back facing cameras, for easy Skyping.
<Here's just one review of the PD10>

After checking the features on the Chinese manufacturer's site, he went on to Ebay, found someone selling it for $100 and he bought it. He assumed the one on Ebay had the same features as described on the Chinese site, but there was no GPS. The Ebay description didn't specify a GPS, he assumed it, being the same model number. So don't just go by the model number, read the specifications given by the seller. He also found it had no back-facing camera.

Paul found that it doesn't charge thru the USB port and the charging connector it came with was so tiny and flimsy that it failed and now has to be returned.

He said he liked the latest Android 4.1 but "you can do hot stuff" with even with version 2.

He said this unit has 5-point multitouch. It has the ability to track the placement of 5 fingers on the display though most apps recognize 2-point touch.

He made a poor choice with this unit, he said, but he's on the path to getting another Android device.

He also found a device called "Android on a stick". It's the size of a large packet of chewing gum and has an HDMI plug on the end. It has no screen because you can use your HDMI TV as its screen. Of course, your TV doesn't sense your touch for input, but this "Android on a stick" has Blue Tooth & a USB ports so you can attach a touch pad. A touch pad isn't necessary for using Android, you can use a mouse, but you'll miss a lot of the "fun things". You can also connect a conventional USB keyboard, even a wireless one.  <To find more info, google the words: android on a stick>  

Paul talked about the RII Mini, <I guess this is their webpage> which you can use with "Android on a stick". It's a Blue Tooth based keyboard about the size of a conventional TV remote control. It has a tiny touch pad about 1.5" square, a full alphanumeric keyboard, a full row of function keys, it's backlit and it has a laser pointer (for presentations). It also has a Blue Tooth dongle imbedded in one corner "so you can visit a strange PC, if you like. Plug the Blue Tooth dongle in and start using it"

The RII Mini sub-miniature keyboard is compatible with Android, iPhone, and many phones. In the studio, Glenn was able to establish a Blue Tooth connection with it. It's about $20 from Amazon.

You can get the "Android on a stick" from Amazon for about $67. There are many variations of it with many substantial differences between them. The one Paul got has Android 4.1, it wirelessly connects to the internet, it delivers video over the HDMI port (you plug it into your TV using its HDMI plug). The power is delivered thru a 5 volt USB connector which you can plug into a TV that has USB, and it's turned on & off with the TV.

Why get one of these? "Because it has Netflix on it", "You can get your Hulu Plus on there if you want you want to drive a TV with that or any one of the 700,000 some applications". And that includes Skype. There are some USB web cameras listed that work with this device and provide the input to Skype: only some web cams made by HP & Microsoft, costing about $20.

Glenn asked if the TV requires 2 USB ports (1 for the web cam, 1 to power the "Android on a stick"). Paul said that it's the "Android on a stick" that has the 2 required USB ports. He'll say more about "Android on a stick" on a later show, after he receives the unit.

Glenn said he got a call from a friend who said they had Apple remove a virus from their Mac. However, it turned out that what they assumed was a virus was in fact a normally functioning program. They were suspicious because it was asking them for their password so it can update itself. Glenn determined that the program was TeamViewer, a program their son installed, without their knowledge, so he could access their computer remotely.

It's normal behavior for TeamViewer to periodically update itself, so it was a false alarm. On the Mac there is a "systematic way" the operating system asks you for the administrator password, and a program doing updates alerts the operating system, which then prompts you for the password.

Glenn noted "a Blue Tooth mouse will not work with an i-device an i-device doesn't have a pointer". <By i-device I guess he meant iPhone, iPad etc.>

Glenn wondered about an auto-fill program for his mobile devices to automatically fill in name, address, phone etc. when he has to fill out a form. Paul said Safari is the only browser available on the iPad. On machines where you could use Firefox or Internet explorer or some other browsers, you can use a plugin called RoboForms. But it's not available for Safari.

Paul suggested people uninstall Java, as there are serious security issues with it. If you don't know what Java is, you probably don't need it anyway. This goes for PC, Mac & other users. The issue is serious enough that it may require a complete rebuild of Java and may take up to 2 years. Note Java is different from Javascript. Paul said "AJAX supercede everything Java was intended to do. The reasons to use Java are now rapidly dwindling". Similarly, Flash functions are being taken over by HTML5.
<Articles about the Java problem here and here>

Glenn noted Javascript doesn't work on the Apple devices iMac, iPad, iPhone etc.

The disclaimer:
Any views or opinions or thoughts that you hear on KVMR are specifically those of the speaker and not those of this station, its staff, management, underwriters, volunteers or board of directors.

Clearwater called to say Dishnet (a satellite internet service) is available no matter where you live. He said it's advertised as super fast and he's having a representative come out to qualify him for the service.

Super fast is not the issue, it's the delay in having the signal travel out to the satellite and back. It's very difficult to have a conversation if you're using something like Skype. The delay interferes with playing games, too. And consider that every time you interact with a web page there's a delay of a couple of seconds which can add up to significant time.

Also, streaming video is problematic, mainly because there may be a data cap to consider. If you stream a lot of video, you can quickly exceed the data limit and may end up with a big bill. And some satellite services will throttle your speed.

Clearwater also asked for a recommendation of a smart TV.
– Smart TV means it's internet connected, one way or another. Ideally, it would be a wireless connection. In which case, make sure it has wi-fi built in, not just wi-fi compatible.
– Companies making such TVs like to make money on accessories. Make sure you take into account accessories you may want, when pricing them. Most have Skype, Netflix and Hulu built in.

Paul talked a bit about returning a purchase, saying in this country the consumer is king and "it would be a very foolish company that wouldn't take it back".
– Look carefully at the return policy before buying.
– Often you can return something within 15 days. Sometimes it's 7 days, sometimes 30 days.
– There are exceptions for some items like inkjet printers, where you open the cartridges.
– Sometimes there's a restocking fee.
– In a warranty situation you should first contact the company to see if there's an easy fix for you problem. If you have to send it in, be sure you first get an authorization, usually called an RMA.
– If it's a computer problem, you may loose data when you follow instructions from the company (or if you send it back to them). The company is not responsible for your data and sometimes they don't warn you in advance. So, back up your data regularly.

Glenn investigated the Puretalk phone service. He spent $44 to try them out for a month. They charge month to month <no contract, I guess> and there's no charge to port your old phone number.

He's tried to tether his iPhone thru PureTalk but hasn't had any luck, it just tells him to contact AT&T to set it up. If you want to try tethering go to Settings -> General -> Networks (Cellular on the iPhone 3Gs) and turn on the appropriate options.

Glenn mentioned that when he switched to T-Mobile he was put on a 2-year contract without being told.

Ron Avanzino joined the guys in the studio but didn't add to the conversation. He hosts the A Swingin' Affair show on KVMR.

Mike called to settle an argument with his son. At issue is whether there are any careers in computing that are worthwhile considering that so many jobs have gone offshore.
– Paul warned that the most difficult area is creating games but it's what many want to do.
– "There's definitely a market out there for IT (information technology) capable people but not if they don't think it's out there for them"
– Help desks are what have gone offshore but there is always new hardware coming out so check with the hardware companies.
– For 2-year education programs, look into A Plus, Healds College or some online colleges
– Glenn said he's not impressed with the for-profit colleges like Healds because students tend to rack up big debts. He suggested local community colleges or adult education facilities.
– Look for internship opportunities.

Betsy called. She asked for suggestion for VOIP. She's currently using AT&T.
– The cheapest way to do it if you want to experiment is to try nettalk.com in the $50 or $60 per month range.
– It's portable, you can take it with you.
– They give you a local number that you pick for yourself
– They can port your number (but obviously not the number you use for the DSL service on which you use the VOIP). If you want to port that number, you can get DSL from AT&T without the phone service (naked DSL). <You dissociate the phone number from the DSL; then you can port the phone number>
– Don't cancel the phone number with AT&T before porting it.

Last updated on 12:22 AM 1/24/2013

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