Cheap Computing

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December 16, 2013  9:53 PM

Will Android Laptops Ever Dominate the Market?

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

google-android-tabletYou’ve read articles about how PC and notebook computer sales are dropping. So have I. And there are corresponding articles about how smartphones and tablets are selling like crazy. I’m willing to go along with this trend and make a tablet my next computer purchase, along with a keyboard for it. I’m so ready for a tabputer (a word I just made up, but probably isn’t original) that my wife laughs at me when I try to touch my current laptop’s screen as I would my phone or tablet screen, and how (or so she says) I look puzzled when nothing happens.
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December 9, 2013  9:09 PM

Tech Gifts Don’t Need to be Expensive to be Appreciated

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

41tTRrnHCEL._AA160_Christmas is upon us once again, along with many other solstice holidays, so many of us are in a gift-giving mood. Being tech-oriented people, we are likely to buy tech-type gifts for at least a few family members and friends. Expensive ones? Possibly. The stores are full of laptops and tablets and HDTVs and other items that run $400 or more. But what if we’re on a pinched budget? Or looking for small, simple stocking-stuffers instead of “major” gift items. There are still many tech gift possibilities out there.
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November 27, 2013  9:45 PM

Happy Christmas Shopping Season!

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

99cent‘Tis Black Friday, Let’s run to the mall,
Trample or get trampled, one and all.
Buy the specials — and some items
That are seriously overpriced,
Fa la la lall.

~~~~~

Ah, yes. It’s Christmas time — or “the solstice holiday” or Hanukah or whatever time your religion or personal preference dictates. In any case, it’s the season when Americans run out and buy lots of… stuff…. for family and friends.
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November 21, 2013  6:49 PM

The Best Linux Certification Exam Value

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

lpiRed Hat Certifications are the Gold Standard among Linux certifications. The problem with them is, unless your employer is paying, taking them can suck up all of your gold, and then some. There’s always the age-old question of whether certifications are worth having at all, but let’s assume for a moment they are. In that case, and assuming limited personal funds, I recommend Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifications.
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November 14, 2013  12:17 AM

Why Tablets are Replacing Notebook Computers

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

acer I use two computing devices most of the time: a big old desktop PC for video capture and editing, and an Android phone for mobile web-browsing, checking email on the go, and as an electronic replacement for the paperback books I used to carry with me nearly every place I went. Now and then I carry a sub-notebook with an 11″ screen. But what would I do if I decided to replace my little notebook? I’d probably get a tablet. As will my daughter Katina, who needs to replace the now-broken laptop they’ve been using to run her husband’s business when they work from home instead from their office.
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November 7, 2013  2:39 AM

Good-Bye, Single-Model Cell Phone ‘Extended Life’ Batteries

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

IMGA0005I had an HTC phone that was pretty good, except for short battery life. Solution? An ‘extended life’ oversized battery for it, along with a humped battery cover. Life was good — until that phone broke and I got a SAMSUNG GALAXY VICTORY™ 4G LTE as a warranty replacement. The Samsung was a better phone in almost every way. The only problem was that my extended life batteries for the HTC phone were suddenly useless. But I will not have this problem again because I have found something better than ‘extended life’ batteries that only fit one phone make and model.
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October 28, 2013  2:22 PM

The eBooks are Too Damn High

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

ebook tabletYes, I’m ripping off New York activist/candidate Jimmy McMillan’s famous line, “The Rent is Too Damn High.” Mind you, I agree with Jimmy and love him. But I am also an eBook junkie, and I am telling you, the price for eBooks is too damn high. Music vendors learned that the best way to keep people from stealing their products online was to make it cheap and easy to buy them. The movie business has also learned this lesson. Why can’t book publishers learn it, too?
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October 23, 2013  9:51 PM

Making a Smartphone Into a Useful Camcorder

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

phone-holder cheapie

I have just gotten a new cell phone, courtesy of Virgin Mobile. It’s a SAMSUNG GALAXY VICTORY™ 4G LTE. My old “good enough” phone, an HTC EVO 3D, committed suicide by throwing itself onto the floor, so Virgin sent me the Samsung as a warranty replacement. I intend to use my new smartphone as a “rough and ready” camcorder, too. I have a serious Panasonic video camera, and a serious Canon, both with good shotgun mics mounted on them, but there are times when I want to take a video shot but don’t have them with me. That means I need low-cost, easily-carried accessories that can turn my pocket-sized smartphone into a passable camcorder. And they need to be cheap. (After all, the title of this blog is Cheap Computing.)
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October 17, 2013  9:28 PM

The Magical Mystery Switch All Your Electronic Devices Should Have

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

TzeenieWheenie_Power_On_Off_Switch_red_2The other day a young friend was telling me how her cell phone had become annoying. “Someone is always calling me or sending we a text or something,” she said. How awful! Getting bothered 24 hours a day, every day of the week. “How about turning your phone off when you don’t want to be disturbed?” I asked. “But won’t I miss calls?” she asked. “No,” I said. “People who have something important to say will leave a message. And texts will be in the system and will appear when you turn your phone back on.” The girl looked puzzled. “Yes,” I said. “The off switch is possibly the most valuable control you have on any electronic device. Use it wisely and often, and you and your devices will be happier and will probably live longer.” I couldn’t help adding, “Yes, if you turn your electronics off when you are not using them, both they and you will live long and prosper.”
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October 9, 2013  3:50 PM

Video Editing in Linux: Not Quite Ready for Professional Use

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

imagesI spend a lot of my time making and editing videos, and video work currently generates a majority of my earned income. I also prefer Linux to Windows or Mac, and generally back FOSS as both a philosophical concept and as an efficient way to develop software. So I find it a constant source of frustration that, at least for my purposes, there is still no good professional-level video editing software for Linux.
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