Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

April’s Here. More Friday Fun

It being April 1st, I think it’s fair to issue a BOLO (Be On the Look Out). Pranksters, there be.

April Fools’ Day has hit the Internet and, as usual, there’s no shortage of fake news stories, gag product announcements, and corny jokes. Some are funny. Some are sort of lame attempts at being funny.
Keep this in mind, and don’t get duped.

Not so fun – ny: April is – of course – tax month. Yippee.
Two weeks. To help, on the IRS site there is a page called “FreeFile”, and here you will find the “partnership links” to the free versions of 19 accepted tax prep programs — of which H&R Block’s Free File and also TurboTax are available.
To qualify, you must have an Adjusted Gross Income of $56,000 or less.

Today’s free link: FreeFile at the IRS
Note: there’s two buttons on the page; “I will choose” and “help me choose”. Though all of the programs there are accepted by the IRS, I would recommend clicking the “I will choose”, and then selecting either H&R Block or TurboTax.

News

Holy cow! (Not sure I like this…) New, today (I think): Gmail Motion (beta)

A new way to communicate
The mouse and keyboard were invented before the Internet even existed. Since then, countless technological advancements have allowed for much more efficient human computer interaction. Why then do we continue to use outdated technology? Introducing Gmail Motion — now you can control Gmail with your body.

How it works
Gmail Motion uses your computer’s built-in webcam and Google’s patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into meaningful characters and commands. Movements are designed to be simple and intuitive for people of all skill levels.

Huh? “Patented spatial tracking technology” ? (One of those words makes me nervous..)

*     *     *

I am looking out my window at what appears to be our 3rd straight day of gorgeous, warm sun. I have been valiantly resisting – after weeks of rain and gray and cold – the urge to play hookie. But since it’s Friday, I think I will stop resisting and just plain do so. Give myself a three day weekend. Spring is here!


No. I will not be pulling any “pranks” this year. I must be getting old.. I cannot even remember back to wanting to do any April Fool gags .. sigh.

Do Not Try This At Home Department:

* Baseball is back: In the first game of the season, the World Champion S.F. Giants…
lost to the (arch-rivals) Dodgers. Off to a good start, 0 – 1.

[Note: my “playing hookie” does not – necessarily – mean I will not post articles, or answer my phone… but just in case, have a great weekend folks!]

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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April 1, 2011 Posted by | e-mail, Google, Internet, News | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fools Rush In… (aka "Let’s Go Slate-boarding!")

Those who know me personally, know that a little thing like last week’s predictions setback (25% accuracy) is not going to stop me from continuing to post my Playoff Picks…

picks2

And Now For The Tech:
It has been published that sales of PC’s was better than expected this holiday season – Intel and Acer doing particularly well.

Yes. I said Acer. The big sellers were a relative newcomer to the PC market, the category of small, portable, “netbooks” (see, It’s Time We Talked About Netbooks) of which the Acer models seemed to be preferred. It seems everybody wants a netbook.

And Then Came Apple.. And CES

More predictions: But netbooks and Christmas sales are ancient history already, and everybody’s looking ahead. And the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is where we get to see what the manufacturers will be bringing us soon.

It seems our future is something called a “slate”.

Photo source: Gizmodo.com

* Apple’s next “big thing” is supposed to be something named “iSlate”.
* Microsoft is hyping Windows 7’s “touchscreen” features.
* iPhone sales were ginormous, and everyone figured it was the ‘touchscreen’ that explained it.
* “gestures” and “multitouch” are seen as replacing the mouse and eventually the keyboard…

In spite of the fact that this all is vaguely reminiscent of the “voice recognition” and text-to-speech of Windows XP (that was supposed to give us “hands free computing“), you add up those bullet points, and you are not surprised when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer uses his CES Keynote Address to show us a tablet PC.. and refer to it as a “slate”. (As well he could, it was an HP prototype named “the Slate”.)

Reaction?
The HP Slate was underwhelming, to say the least. Hailed by Ballmer as “something that’s almost as portable as a phone and that’s as powerful as a PC running Windows 7“, the demonstration showed a flat panel computing device that seemed more equivalent to a color Kindle than to a Windows 7 wonder-tablet.

Yes.. the utter prior failure of tablet PC’s in the marketplace was simply due to the fact that touchscreen and gestures weren’t here yet. Windows 7 changes that, so… touch tablets. Oops. Excuse me. Touch slates.

For those of you who read this far, this article: HP Slate Lowers the Bar for Apple’s Tablet PC.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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January 16, 2010 Posted by | Apple, computers, hardware, Microsoft, News, PC, Portable Computing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment