The Future Of Tablet Computing

One of the biggest advances in mass-market technology in recent years has been the sudden takeoff of tablet computing. Initially scoffed at when   Microsoft began developing the (already marginally established) idea of tablet computing in the early 2000s, tablet computing finally found its zeitgeist with the Apple IPad in 2010. Five years later, tablets are something of a must-have item for the technophile on the go – but it seems that their meteoric rise is beginning to slow. What does the future hold for tablet computing, and how can we expect to see tablets advance in the next few years?

Tablet Fatigue?

Tablets have become increasingly popular in recent years. Touch-screen technology has become familiar enough for people to be comfortable with the concept of a touch-screen computing device (something which was not so much the case when Microsoft touted their first tablet 15 years ago). They’re easily portable, work well with the mentality of the ‘app generation’, and are both  cheap and easy to insure . However, there is a school of thought which believes that tablets will find it hard to expand upon their repertoire without significantly changing their format. The tablet market suffered its first ever drop in 2014.   Many analysts believe that this is due to the ‘fad’ phenomenon, wherein people initially bought tablets simply because they were told that tablets were the ‘in’ thing. They got caught up in the rush – but when the initial euphoria of having the newest toy in the store had faded, they began to realise that tablets are not actually a whole lot better than smartphones. The screen is larger, but the processing power and general aptitude of the average tablet tends not to be a whole lot more advanced than that of a good smartphone. Essentially, reality is starting to hit. New phones continue to draw customers because the kinds of things which can be updated on a phone – cameras, footstep trackers and so forth – are more suited to a smaller, more portable ‘outdoor usage’ format like a phone. Tablets, it is suggested, are becoming the clunkier, more expensive cousin to smartphones, and falling behind as a consequence. 

Tablet Advances

Nonetheless, there are those who maintain that tablets are the future of computing, and will continue to advance into new, exciting, saleable realms given enough time. Some  have pointed out that computing trends in general are moving towards thinner, lighter, more portable formats – and that keyboards, once thought an essential for any serious word-processing unit – are no longer thought as necessary as they once were. An optional touchscreen keyboard is as attractive to some as the more solid and tangible kind. Furthermore, the  growth in sales of things like Chromebooks which lack internal storage and operate largely as interfaces to the Cloud, indicates that the lack of harddrive space on tablets is going to be less of an issue as external storage options become more advanced. Many of the trends in computing seem, therefore, to be approaching the kind of format which tablets have been utilizing for a while. Could a sort of merger of the tablet and the laptop be where tablets are headed in the future?

Tablet PCs

The limitations of the tablet seem largely to be based around the fact that they’re currently in a limbo between glorified smartphone and substandard desktop computer. While they’re unlikely ever to edge smartphones out of the market, the way in which the PC industry is heading could demonstrate a future for tablets as flat, portable computers. Tablet-laptop blends already exist, with Lenovo notably going out on a limb to make use of both formats in as innovative a way as they could manage. While the technology and ergonomics of today’s tablet-laptop hybrids arguably need a degree of development, it seems likely that tablets’ best option of survival is nonetheless to follow this route. Tablets will then appeal to today’s Chromebook users – those who want to be able to make use of the advanced practical aspects of a computer, but don’t want to fork out for masses of hardrive space, and who need something portable. At the moment, tablets appeal to those who like apps and touch screen gaming – both of which can easily be got from a phone. If tablets are going to survive, they need to offer something more than this – and computer buying trends at the moment seem to indicate that the tablet  could well be the platform of the future for today’s PC and Macbook users. 
Article from Gemma Ryder

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Inexpensive Ways to Conference over the Net

Thanks to the introduction of VoIP based technology, businesses can indulge in low cost video conferencing services, which facilitate communication between business units, partners, suppliers, and other stake holder by means of telecommunication without the physical presence of the people participating in the net based conferences. Let us discuss some of the best and the most inexpensive ways of conferencing over the internet.Inexpensive ways to conference over th enet

Adobe Connect

This is one of the most popular and cheapest means of teleconferencing, wherein the participants have the privilege of using Flash capabilities, iOS as well as Android. Once of the most pivotal USP of the Adobe Connect is its cross platform consistency. Since it is entirely scripted in Flash, its functionality is almost similar to any other platform that supports Flash. This means, uses can also join conferences over native iOS, Blackberry as well as Android based apps. The Adobe Connect can be used for the purpose of Screen Sharing, and it also comes up with a wide variety of features like follow-focus, administrative control over the microphones and cameras.

Brother OmniJoin

This is another extremely low cost means of teleconferencing, which offers Windows and OS X support, which also offers high end, low cost video conferencing hardware for the clients. The platform comes up with a string of value added features, which include in-built option of recording the entire meetings, including all the client screen activities and save them in an MP4 file. Another very handy feature includes the ability to import a MS PowerPoint document directly into the client chat option, and share the same with the other participants of the meeting in real time.

Cisco WebEx Meetings

This is another pretty popular means of teleconferencing, which allows 3 participants to chat with each other in real time with one host and a SD video. Interactivity includes whiteboarding, document as well as desktop sharing, and a sharable and uploadable file and document repository that can hold up to 250 mb of data. This platforem uses Java for downloading and running an appropriate application for the Windows as well as OS X platform that is being used.

Citirix GoTo Meeting

This is another low cost teleconferencing option, which helps in organizing multiple components like videos of participants, control panels, and the likes in a single window. However, the platform comes up with other components like multiple floating windows, which can host webcams as well as video chat options, the control panel needed for the meetings, and icons for the crucial functions like whiteboarding, camera, microphone control. The main control panel can again be divided into several subpanels, which can be expanded as well as contracted or collapsed to tuck away the unwanted options.

Google Hangouts

This is another very popular cheap way of video conferencing, in which the chat interfaces places the talking heads of every participant in a row alongside the bottom, wherein the speaker enjoys the maximum display. Just like Skype, Hangouts switches the vide fees, so that the speaker can enjoy the maximum prominent and space within the platform. There also screen sharing options like Skype as well.

About The Author

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Obihai with Google Voice plus Ring To and MagicJack Go

For two years now, I have used Ooma as my home phone service. It’s really a great product and functions well. It has gotten good reviews on Amazon. But it does cost money to replace the hardware. This is why I have searched for some alternatives. Ring To and Google Voice are approved vendors for certain Obihai devices. In my case, I have used Obihai 200. MagicJack Go has made inroads with their mobile device apps. And they would not be expensive to replace. If you buy them on Amazon, you can purchase an inexpensive Square Trade warranty package.

First, there is some preparation one should do for Obihai

You need to open a Google Voice account and pick a phone number. Then tie a phone (i.e. your cell phone) to the Google Voice number. Install Google Hangouts and Google dialer on your Android device. Proceed to make a few calls with it.

Open up a Ring To account and get a number assigned. Install Groovip on your Android device and proceed to make a few calls with it.

The MagicJack Go is a bit trickier. They claim you can just plug it into your router and it will recognize it. Well, over the years, I have had the same router and could just plug and play Vonage, Net Duo, Ooma and Obihai devices into it and they were recognized. But for some reason, I needed to plug the MagicJack into my computer’s USB port and go through the registration. Then I could just plug the device into my router. And regardless of what the vendor says, don’t use the device as a router. Plug it behind a good router instead. I had too many problems when I first started out, using a Vonage device as a router. It just wasn’t robust enough.

So why two devices and three different services?

The Ring To will eventually be a replacement for my home phone service. I will eventually port my home phone number from Ooma to Ring To.

MagicJack Go will function as a business number, since I am a small business owner.

Google Voice will be the front end to all my numbers, for family and close friends. And it will be the preferred way for calling people, in conjunction with my cell phone service.

For a period of two months, I’m testing Obihai 200 and MagicJack Go, while I run Ooma as my main service. This way, I can run various tests and insure the service holds up.

Ooma is still better in my opinion than Vonage. And their mobile app is not all that bad. But I still think Obihai is better – as long as you go with their approved vendor list. Then it’s really not all that hard to configure and set up. Otherwise, it could be a bit geeky.

Magic Jack Go review

Currently I have Ooma for a home phone service. They have great reviews and overall ratings on Amazon. I also have had great service with them. As a premier, they have an Android app with unlimited minutes (i.e. a cap does exist somewhere, just like with Magic Jack). But I noticed that Magic Jack has great reviews on Google Play. It’s time to give that a try off of Amazon.

The first thing is to figure out how to activate it. Unlike Ooma or Obihai devices that are detected off the router, Magic Jack doesn’t work like that. I’ve tried it and it didn’t work. But this YouTube video is very good and I followed the steps.

But there are two problems I ran into. I like to emphasize that you should first research the problems on Google or Bing. Enter the right keywords or phase. Don’t chat with the Magic Jack chat, as you might find the answer yourself much easier. Let’s look at my two problems.

  • After I went through the PC activation process, I plugged the Magic Jack into my router. But I was getting a number 1 – no Internet connection message – via the phone. Now it was time to try an experiment. The Ethernet cable that came with Magic Jack is flat. My Ooma device is also connected to my router – no problem. What is the problem?  It was time to substitute a standard cable I had lying around. It was round in diameter – not flat like the Magic Jack cable. Now I had Internet connection. My advice? Use another standard cable to substitute for the Magic Jack provided one. If you don’t have one, go to Walmart, Target, Myers, Sam’s Club or Costco and buy one.
  • The second problem was aloud humming noise that occurred – after a few hours. But a Google search came up with articles at Magic Jack humming noise 1 and Magic Jack humming noise 2. The answers they suggested centered around grounding. Time for an experiment. First I tried plugging the Magic Jack into different outlets – no change. Then I swapped the cordless phone from Ooma for my Magic Jack. Then I hooked up the corded phone into Ooma. Ooma now had the humming noise and Magic Jack was fine. The answer was to go to Walmart and purchase a Vtech cordless phone for the Magic Jack. Problem solved.

I’ve made some communication tests with the Ooma, Magic Jack and Google Hangouts dialer app. The quality is quite good, but I also run the VOIP phones off a hi-speed cable setup. Ooma premier has many more bells and whistles then Magic Jack. But Magic Jack is not bad, if you follow the steps I recommend. The only issue with the Ooma app was there was no end call button.  Support had me uninstall and install it.  I think they should have it available as an update – like other apps.

Anyway, here is a tip. When you access Facebook, web, etc. at home, you are going off the mobile network and chewing away at data caps. When they are reached, the data is then throttled (i.e. slowed down). If you have a router and set up a home network, the cell phone can connect to it at home. So if you connect to your home WiFi (or public WiFi with a VPN app), it uses that to connect to Internet, etc.

Is Windows 10 a good thing?

Windows has an official preview video. If you follow tech news, you find Windows is offering a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users. You just need to survey some recent articles:

And some articles like Trusted Reviews, are asking the question: Windows 10 vs Windows 7: Should you upgrade? They do offer some points I would consider:

  • “One of the least talked about improvements of Windows 8, and subsequently Windows 10, is that it does include a raft of performance upgrades.” I wonder how it will fair with third party software? I like to run high quality free and open source software. Will Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome run as fast as Windows explorer? Will Thunderbird be just as fast – if not faster – on Windows 10 then my current Windows 7?
  • “However, Windows 10 ups the ante by adding Windows Store apps and web search, as well as a much more organized results page.” Windows 7 search is not bad. In fact, I wasn’t sure how Microsoft could improve it.
  • “What’s more, it includes Cortana, the digital personal assistant.” Someday we may be able to talk to our computer, like we see in the Star Trek TV and movie series. But now is not that time. If I look at the Google and Bing language translators, they have a long ways to go. They do get things wrong, as I’m relearning French and Spanish, and learning Portuguese. How can they realize what I am saying and translate it into commands a machine can understand? Voice recognition is a long ways off, as far as perfection goes.
  • The other points the article considers is a better file management system. But it is a tab bit slower than Windows 7 on gaming. And the monitor is more customizable. All nice points to consider. But none of these is a show stopper.
  • “As such, if you’ve got a copy of Windows 7 you’d almost be foolish not to upgrade.” What about security? I haven’t seen a comparison of Windows 7 and Windows 10 security. Perhaps more articles will address this aspect in the future?

So how will Windows roll this out? Well, Network world said Microsoft will reportedly release Windows 10 RTM in June . Tech Republic thinks Microsoft for the enterprise is doing fine. This is reflected in A Microsoft we can actually believe.

What will I do? I plan to wait until the first official release is in place. Whether that is in June – or as I can guess – sometime a bit later. No early preview version for me. But I like what I see and it will extend the time I can use an operating system on Windows hardware – without purchasing a new upgrade. I hope Microsoft goes the way of Apple and Ubuntu and offers free operating system upgrades to existing users.

On another note, I will share an article I like by Seth Godin: Is Google making the web stupid?

Free Microsoft Operating System Upgrades?

 

A BT Internet payphone loading Windows XP Embe...

A BT Internet payphone loading Windows XP Embedded. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A week or two ago, there was a good article entitled The case for making Windows (upgrades) free at case. Actually, this would have helped some of my friends. They have been running XP on their home computers. One didn’t want to spend the one hundred and fifty dollars Windows wanted. What alternative did they have? I ended up installing the Linux Ubuntu system with long-term support. Ubuntu also jumped from 12.04 to 14 and some decimal. The upgrade worded well with all the existing hardware. The best benefit was saving a hundred and fifty dollars.

Another friend was running XP on their home computer. I ran the Windows upgrade adviser and there was some hardware upgrades they needed to apply. I recommended that they go visit a friend of mine, who specializes in computer repair. The reason is that they would have the recommended hardware upgrades.

Then there is Apple. I think Apple does a good job of offering free upgrades. This is something Microsoft should look at and emulate. The only concern I have with Apple products is that the Apple centers are few and far between. For me to get instruction, buy an Apple computer and/or get it repaired, I would have to drive a half hour to visit a center. For Microsoft products, there are different ma and pa repair shop for fixing problems nearby. There are also Microsoft embedded computers for sale at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon, etc.

Probably in a year or two, I’ll either be forced to upgrade from Windows 7 or buy new machines with the latest operating system. Or I could take a twenty-minute drive and see what Apple has to offer. Or I could get a machine running a long-term support version of Ubuntu. If I took the Apple route, I’ll probably also take the Ubuntu route on another machine. Perhaps that is my solution to Windows and operating system upgrade payments.

One point the article made is this: “More importantly, though, Microsoft doesn’t need to charge for Windows upgrades. Technology changes over time. Hardware crashes and dies. There will be customers who will cling to their 10-year old hardware, but many will still buy new PCs to replace broken hardware, get a faster processor, or take advantage of the latest USB or Wi-Fi standards.”

Ten years? Why not? After all, you can run a car that long and use high quality, after market parts. And if the car needs a new engine, it’s easier to drop in a manufactured on than buy a new car.

Then there’s another article entitled 3 Reasons Microsoft Should Make Windows 10 Free. What are the three reason? According to the article, they are:

  • “People really didn’t like Windows 8 “
  • “Everyone thought the Start menu was going to be a Win 8 update”
  • “Microsoft needs to do the right thing”

And what was the wrong thing it did? According to the article, “Microsoft released an OS that was hard-to-use on non-touch devices that took away features its customers liked. It then ran a full-tilt marketing plan to coerce users to switch – including dropping support for Windows XP.”

All I can ask is this: Will we ever see the day of free Microsoft operating system upgrades? In the meantime, check out The geekiest tech jokes on the internet

Problems with Ubuntu and Windows 7 on same machine

 

English: Picture from Ubuntu Developer Summit ...

English: Picture from Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric on Budapest, Hungary Español: Fotografía del Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric en Budapest, Hungría (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a laptop running both Windows and Ubuntu. It’s referred to as a dual boot. For Ubuntu, I was running 12.04 LTS. There was an offer to upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. It sounds reasonable. Now I do back up my machines to an external drive each week. This way, if there were a problem, I could revert back to a previous version.

 

I did install 14.04 LTS, which took about six hours or so. When it finally completed, I got this error message: “Upgraded to 14.04 reboot fail.” Fortunately, I’ve learned to search Google for error messages and see what tech forums teach me. In this case, the discussion at Ubuntu Forum There was one answer and involved interrupting the Ubuntu boot process. Then you had to use a tool called the Grub manager and change all read to read/write occurrences.

Guess what? That worked! But then problems occurred when I permanently changed all occurrences from read to read/write, in the configuration file. There was no occurrence of read in the temp configuration file. I had to change this in the permanent configuration file, which is not recommended.

To make a long story short, this worked for Ubuntu. I could bring up 14.04 LTS with no problem. The problem was one the windows side. For one thing, the time and date display was showing midnight, for the next day. Windows couldn’t find Java on the machine. There was also a few other problems.

Anyway, I thought I would see if Windows could be fixed. If so, I would abandon Ubuntu and run just Windows. After all, I do run mostly freeware or open source on Windows – except for a paid security suite. Otherwise, I use tools like Pea Zip, Libre Office, and VLC video player.

The biggest issue was the Java run-time environment. I first tried to install the sixty four bit version and it took several minutes. Windows couldn’t find the run-time environment, even after the install completed. So I thought I would reboot and try to install the 32 bit version. I tried this twice. For some reason, it worked on the second install. I don’t’ know why. Perhaps Windows takes a few reboots, in order to accomplish this.

I think the root issue was that Ubuntu didn’t configure the upgrade for those who used the Ubuntu Windows installer on 12.04 LTS. Sorry, Ubuntu. I do like your product. But now Windows has made it harder to duel boot with Linux systems. For now, I will run Windows and a paid security suite solution. But I will use the same open source products you find on Linux, as long as they are popular, supported and have a Windows version.

I really can’t say why Java was such a problem. But if someone has a cheap computer with Ubuntu as the sole operating system, I wouldn’t mind adding it to my home network. After all, I might want to open file attachments that are questionable, in a secure sandbox. But only after every anti-virus tool at Virus Total, flags everything as sound.