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November 11, 2014  9:35 PM

Free Bicycle Software for Android

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
Android, computer

For many years, exercise junkies have bought ‘bicycle computers,’ which are little devices that hang on your handlebars and, with the correct input sensors, tell you how fast you’re going and how far you’ve come. Some can also measure your heart rate — again, with the correct input sensors. But these devices are obsolete. If you have an Android phone, you can find plenty of free apps that do everything a bicycle computer ever did. And even those ‘bicycle computer’ apps that aren’t free cost very little. The question is, with all those apps out there, which one (or ones) will suit your needs best?
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November 1, 2014  2:24 AM

Which Did I pick: iPhone 6+ or HTC Desire 816?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
Android, Apple, HTC, iPhone, Phablet

I wanted a big enough cell phone that I would no longer want to carry my 7″ tablet with me in addition to my phone because — let’s face it — a 4″ (diagonal) screen simply isn’t big enough to be comfortable when reading books. But would “big enough” also mean “too big to fit in my front pants pocket?” An excellent question. And one I answered, “No, it will fit,” after visiting retailers that carried both the Apple 6 Plus and the HTC Desire 816, a pair of phablets that have 5.5″ (diagonal) screens and similar overall dimensions.
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October 24, 2014  8:44 PM

I (Heart) My New Wireless Keyboard

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
IBM, keyboard, Mouse, Uncategorized, Wireless

UClassic104 white1000x1000Several friends and I got into a discussion of the famous IBM Model M keyboard. Unicomp still makes those keyboards, starting at $79. And while Wikipedia says, “Unicomp has had difficulty making them profitable because they rarely break, and most retailers will not stock such an expensive keyboard,” they keep on making them. But this was not the keyboard my wife decided I needed as an early birthday gift. She got me a more modern, quieter keyboard that has its own good qualities, including some it shares with the Model M.
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October 20, 2014  7:01 PM

Sometimes an Astute Eye Can Find Unexpected Bargains

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
Acer, Chromebook, Dell, laptop, toshiba

Dell
My wife and I have a daughter, Tina, who (with aid from her husband, Chucky) helped us out during some dark months after I had two heart attacks in one week and couldn’t work. Now it was our turn. My wife and I are doing okay financially (in large part because we’re extremely frugal) so when Tina needed a new computer my wife said, “No problem, we’ll get her a chromebook. They’re only $200.”
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October 6, 2014  9:40 AM

A Smartphone Shopping Story

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
Amazon, Cellular, Ebay, iPhone, samsung

I’m looking at smartphones because I want something with a little more battery life and a better camera than my current, long-in-the-tooth Samsung Galaxy Victory. This phone is on a Virgin Mobile $35/month plan that includes (sort of) unlimited data and messaging and five hours of talk time. I’ve never come close to maxing out the talk time or my 4G usage, which means this is all the plan I need, and then some.

The only potential problem with buying a phone from Virgin is that they have a limited selection, and don’t always have the latest gear. This may bother some people, but not me. I am more interested in finding tried and true hardware for a good price than in buying the latest, greatest, and most expensive. So here I am, shopping Virgin for the best Android phone I can get for less than my arbitrary limit of $200.
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September 23, 2014  10:41 PM

Which IT Certifications are Worth Paying (and Studying) For?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
a, A+ exam, Degree, Employment, HR, IT, Linux, Uncategorized

employmentThere sure are a lot of IT certifications out there. There are at least five for Linux alone. Since all the certification providers charge fees — often hefty ones — to take their tests, which ones are the most valuable? For this information we turn to Foote Partners, who research this sort of thing all day, every day, year after year. And since a majority of Cheap Computing readers seem to be in the IT industry one way or another, I thought sharing some of the latest Foote Partners research on the value of industry certifications would be nice because even if you aren’t in the IT biz yourself, you almost certainly know people who are.
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September 18, 2014  10:28 PM

Save 100% With This Simple Shopping Trick!

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
buy, Save

34I was looking at an IT email “bargain-finder” newsletter last week and spotted a fun accessory I might like to have for my tablet. It was on sale for $35.99, which was $34 less than the regular price. There was no way I could afford to pass up that bargain! Or was there? Hmmm…
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September 11, 2014  6:40 PM

How I Find Online Bargains

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
Alert, Email, Newsletter

saleSometimes I go shopping for things I need, and I’m a pretty fair Google-hand and general online searcher. But I also subscribe to several “bargain” email newsletters, and now and then I find a deal on one of them that’s good enough to shake me out of my stupor and make me want to sit up and buy something. Not every day, but just often enough to keep reading those emails.
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September 1, 2014  7:43 AM

You Should Not Spend Your Entire Life in Front of Your Computer

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
computer, Uncategorized

kbStep away from that monitor. Put that keyboard down. Now. I mean it. You spend entirely too much time messing with that computer and wandering the Internet. It’s time for us to put away computerish things and deal with Real Life — for a few minutes, anyway, seeing as this is the Labor Day season, generally regarded as the end of summer. And you know what? There are many inexpensive ways you can improve your life. Real life, that is.
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August 25, 2014  5:06 PM

What is the Best Linux Certification Value?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
College, Linux, Uncategorized, value

penguinA lot of people think getting certified in the use of a given piece of software is the key to an easier job hunt and higher earnings. Years ago, I knew a guy who went through a rigorous certification procedure for SAP ERP and almost immediately bumped his income from about $40,000/year into six-figure territory. Not too shabby! But today we’re talking about Linux certification, not proprietary software.
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