Thursday, August 07, 2014

Digitizing & Preserving Old Audio Cassette Tapes

In my quest to store all of my life (and memories) in the cloud, one of the last things left for me to tackle was my box of old audio cassette tapes.

Monday, April 28, 2014

What Can You Do With a Chromebook?

It was exactly four months ago today that I received  my first Chromebook. The (then) new HP14 model (with 4GB of RAM, and built-in 4g). Being a regular user of the Google ecosystem, I understood how it could fit into my regular workflow.

I’m a man of many machines and gadgets… I already had three computers (one of them running Linux), my wife and I had smartphones, and we’d just gotten a pair of Android tablets, too.

Before taking the plunge, and indulging my curiosity, I did some serious homework. I’d read all of the articles (both the positive and negative) about Google’s Chromebook project, and realized that the majority of negative opinions were written by people who never actually used one in real life. Of the people who actually did use them regularly, the reviews were mostly favorable.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

How I Became an eBook Convert

When it comes to technology, I've always considered myself an early adopter. I was using the cloud before it was really a thing, among the first with an Android phone, and I even got a Chromebook just to get a sense of what it could do.

I was, however, a hold-out when it came to eBooks.

I love printed books

For as long as I can remember, I've not just loved everything about printed books, I loved real (brick and mortar) bookstores. Everything about them is a joy, from the smells, to hidden surprises on many shelves. I could lose hours in a great bookstore (especially when there's a Starbucks inside).

For that reason, I never really embraced Amazon as a bookseller. I never got the "book vibe" from their website. It lacked the smell, and the ambiance, and the thrill of knowing I might find a new hidden gem.

Obviously, I never got a Kindle, or a Nook, a Sony Reader, or a Kobo, or anything else. To my way of thinking, they detracted from the "experience" that is reading a great book.

It turns out, I was wrong about eBooks

Back in December, I was lucky to become the owner of a new 2nd generation Nexus 7 tablet.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Real-World Test of Google's New Chromecast

(Updated 8-20-13) I'm a bit of a home entertainment enthusiast, and an early-adopter in many ways. My Chromecast arrived yesterday, and I immediately put it to the test.

For starters, this thing really is as easy to set-up and start using as Google claimed.

In fact, the package doesn't even come with a real set of instructions; just a three step procedure printed inside the box.

Other than having to struggle a bit to get my arm behind my TV, I can't imagine installation and set-up being any easier.

They did a really nice job thinking that through.

I have read some reports that on certain TVs, you can see it sticking-out of side-mounted HDMI ports, but my TV (a Sharp Aquous) has plenty of available ports on the back, so the Chromecast in my living room is completely invisible.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What Will Be Your Legacy in The Digital Age?

I saw an article recently about a fairly new feature from Google, which allows you to specify what happens to your "digital stuff" in the event of your untimely demise, and that got me to thinking...

Growing-up, I never had the chance to know my Grandfathers. Both had passed away when I was really, really little. But I remember, many years later, how cool it was to look at their old photos, home movies, and letters, and to have the chance to "get to know them" through those keepsakes.

I've since scanned all of that stuff, but came to the realization that like my own photos, movies, and writings, it's all stored "in the cloud." Google's made it really easy for me to archive almost anything, and to control with whom it's shared... I've shared some things with my spouse, others with my entire extended family, and some I've kept to myself.

I've even gone-back, and scanned old documents dating back to my childhood in my effort to go paperless, including my birth certificate, and baby pictures, and all of that is now stored in the Google Cloud, too.

In fact, all of my music (more than 10,000 songs) and most of my books are in Google's cloud, as well.

But, what happens to it all when my number is up? Unlike the keepsakes I had from my Grandfathers, future generations won't have access to any of it, not to mention the mementos of my own that I've accumulated over the years.