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March 17, 2014  4:19 PM

Attack of the Midnight Idea-Jotter

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

kb-handsI’m a midnight jotter. That is, I often have half-sentence ideas I put into my bedside tablet (it used to be a paper notepad) that don’t always work out as full-length blog posts but are worth a couple of sentences and maybe a link. So today’s post is two of those fragments strung together, starting with how retailers persist in committing suicide online.
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March 9, 2014  11:34 PM

Falling in Love with Linux All Over Again

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

LXDE logo

LXDE logo

Tra la la, tra la lee… the sky is blue and I’m skipping down the sidewalk, happy as can be. Except I’m not skipping anywhere, but sitting in front of my computer and loving the way it looks and acts with the LXDE desktop. Not Gnome, not KDE, not the newer default Ubuntu desktop environment, which I liked so little that I never found out its name. So I’m not falling in love with Linux as much as with a window manager or desktop environment — and one that can run “…on many Linux distributions including Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu. It is the standard for Knoppix and lubuntu. LXDE also runs on OpenSolaris and BSD. LXDE provides a fast desktop experience; connecting easily with applications in the cloud.”
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February 28, 2014  7:02 PM

Finally: The ‘Pocket Reporter’ is here. Yay!

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

Irig handheldI’m writing this on my new ‘pocket reporter,’ which consists of my Samsung Victory (Android) phone, a tiny add-on directional mic, earbuds, a flexible tripod that doubles as a handle when doing hand-held work, and an external keyboard that isn’t as big as even a small laptop keyboard, but is way better than the on-screen keyboards on most cell phones or tablets. And the mic you see pictured to the left of this paragraph is one of my big “cell phone video” secrets, because it gives me far better audio than I get with my cell phone’s internal mic. And one other thing to notice: the iRig mics I’m using have output ports so you can plug in your headset or earbuds and monitor audio recording quality in real time.
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February 21, 2014  7:54 PM

Operating Systems Get Less Important Every Day

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

allOSLast month I posted this article: Cross-Platform Applications Save Time, Therefore Money. This month, let’s ask a related question: “If we use the same programs in all the operating systems we own, does it still matter which operating system we use?” My answer: “Your operating system choice matters less every day.”
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February 17, 2014  10:23 PM

Sadly Watching Sears Commit Suicide On the Internet

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

Sears_Outlet_-_05-11-2011
Sears has never been known as a discount store, but they’ve generally offered decent values on things like tools, work clothes, tires, and appliances. And sales? Sears on sale has always been hard to beat. And now they have SearsOutlet.com online, which has some suprising values — if you’re in the right place at the right time, and have a bunch of patience, because buying from the SearsOutlet.com site can be an exercise in frustration.
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February 7, 2014  10:32 PM

Why I Went Back to a Hewlett Packard Inkjet Printer

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

637-3035_PI_TPS2018880Many friends have told me I should buy a laser printer for my home office because it would cost a lot less per sheet to use than an inkjet. My response has always been, “I have a nearly paperless office, which means I don’t do enough printing that ink costs really matter to me.” So I keep using inkjet printers. I’ve tried many makes over the years, but I am back to Hewlett Packard, who made my first inkjet printer.
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January 30, 2014  8:43 PM

A Great Deal on a 7″ Google Nexus Tablet – $129

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

nexusIt’s an actual brand-new Asus Google Nexus 7 32 GB for $129, including shipping. This is the lowest price I’ve seen on this well-reviewed tablet brand-new, although I’ve seen a few refurb ones for $110 or so. The deal is on NewEgg’s eBay site, and they say “supplies are limited,” so if you want an ultra-cheap but really good Android tablet, you’d better move fast! (And while you’re on eBay, check out other NewEgg discount items listed there. NewEgg’s eBay site is a fine source for ultra-bargains and super-reduced refurbished items year-round.)


January 24, 2014  3:54 AM

Be Careful Not to be Too Cheap When Buying Electronics

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

CheapSometimes being too cheap costs me money. I’m not talking about putting off an oil change or other car maintenance too long and blowing up the motor, but about buying electronic devices that look like good deals at first, but aren’t good enough to do the job I need done. Then I end up buying another device that *will* do the job. This often costs me more than it would have cost to buy a more expensive device in the first place…
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January 17, 2014  4:24 AM

Cross-Platform Applications Save Time, Therefore Money

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

chromeI use Google’s Chrome browser in Windows, Mac, and Android, and I use the (essentially identical) Chromium browser in Linux. Yes, I’m trusting Google with passwords and other important data, but the convenience is exquisite. I have the same bookmarks on all my computers, from my biggest desktop to my smallest cell phone. Some of my work is done for hourly pay, and some is done by the job (i.e. I get a flat price for each Cheap Computing post, no matter how long it takes me to write). When I’m working by the job, speed increases my hourly rate. So yes, time is money. And fast, cross-platform apps save me time, which means they save me money.
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January 6, 2014  10:33 PM

Why I’m Becoming Obsessed with Android

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

android-nexus7The Android OS, aside from (Yay!) being a Linux variant, may be the fastest-growing operating system in the world today. Add a bluetooth keyboard to a 7″ Android tablet, and you have a mini-notebook computer for less than $200. Add a wide-angle lens to that tablet or an Android phone with a decent built-in camera, and you have a pocket camcorder that may not be very good in low light conditions, but is fine for recording interviews at trade shows and other common video tasks. Apple’s iPhone and iPad are unquestionably the BMWs of handheld devices, but look at the cars on the road. You see a whole lot of Hyundais and Fords and Toyatas for every BMW you spot. The reason for this is price. You can now buy a decent Android phone for well under $100, and good Android tablets currently cost $150 or less, with the price point for a name-brand Android tablet with a 5MP (or better) camera heading rapidly for $100.
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