Archive | January, 2012

Another good APP: TextPLUS

21 Jan

As I have stated, Tablets can communicate when it needs to. It is beneficial when you are reading, working cooperatively, or researching. You want or need to share in the process of your work?  Do you need something that can do that in real time?

Texting has been one of the back bones of this form of collaboration.

TextPLUS (Text+) is a FREE instant messaging application for your tablet that lets you text someone. This is a true texting medium unlike other apps like eBuddy, Meebo, AIM, and so on that tie you into their particular medium. Simply, like texting on your phone, you can text here with the same basic graphics you generally see.

So the question bears, if texting requires a phone number, how does it work if your tablet doesn’t have one? It assigns you a phone number for your unit to work. Takes under three (3) minutes to get going and it works great even on Android OS 1.5 devices.

So, if you don’t mind tapping away at a virtual Keyboard and getting a few words spelled wrong in the process, go for it!

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What are Tablets Good For?

20 Jan

Personally, I am just getting a grasp of the tablets place in the scheme of devices. My only real source for reference is Star Trek the Next Generation. I know, what a geek right? Well, let’s be honest, we owe a lot to Star Trek for the tech we have simply because so many engineers, designers and scientist were Trekkies and they wanted to try and create the devices they found so cool in the show.

In the Next Gen, we see a great deal of use of four (4) devices. The Main Computer, the Tablet, the Tricorder, and the Communicator.  Seriously watch four or 5 episodes and you will see what I am talking about.

The Communicators main function was to communicate. It had some optional abilities but it was mainly used to communicate. Today’s smartphone is just that. It can provide voice, Text, Instant message, and group communication like Facebook and other. It too can do other functions, but it works best as a Communicator.

The Main Computer is what it sounds like. It handles the big functions and things that need large processing capability. These are our office and home systems.

The Tablet, …well, it is our study and research tool. It can effectively communicate when it needs to and it can run some programs, especially on the more expensive units that have larger processing and storage. Yet for reading, researching, computing, processing template docs as in contracts, forms, etc. it works to its maximum. However, like the show, we see tablets designed to meet specific jobs. One is like a general all-purpose tool, another is powered for mobile gaming, and another for production like engineering, photography, and more. You just have to discover what your need is before you select.

Once we get a real grasp of the real benefit of tablets as a whole, we will see more real innovation beyond just its power and processor capabilities.

 

The Nook Tablet

20 Jan

Every tablet or pad has it’s own unique offerings and support and the Nook is no different.

However, the support behind the Nook is probably the best currently on the market. Why? Because not only do they have a website with video instruction and a quick access to the Operators manual, they have something the others do not…It has a store front where Nook owners can go and get face-to-face with a person who can help them with their device.

Barnes & Noble offers a class for those with Nooks to come in learn all about their device and talk directly with someone who can give hands on advice and help. The best yet…it is FREE. Now that is value. Check with your local Barnes & Noble for class notifications and times.

So if your thinking of buying a tablet, you might consider the Nook, especially if you find technology a little getting used to. If your a technophobe, you need to look elsewhere for a device that meets your unique abilities.

 

FYI…

If someone sends you pictures in an email, they will be found not in the pictures area of your files but in the “myfiles/downloads”.

Office Tools: Being Productive on your tablet

6 Jan

I say, the more your tablet can do, the more real value your sub $100 tablet is worth. Besides the basics of being an eReader, Music Player, Photo Gallery, and a source for browsing the internet…surely the thing should be able to provide some productivity beyond entertainment and games.

We have established that your “Inexpensive” tablet is NOT an iPad or Galaxy Tablet. So what? Hey if I can receive and send email, create documents such as compatible Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, and I can communicate via IM with friends and clients, then my little “Inexpensive” tablet has become an even better bargain right?

Picsel Smart Office v1.9.2 Apk works great on the Pandigital 7″ Novel and the Cruz Tablet. I can create word, powerpoint and excel type documents in a very user friendly atmosphere. I must admit that the draw back to a tablet is my fat fingers making mistakes as I type, but when I am on the go and need to send out a document, then this is great. It even has a DROPBOX capability where I can deposit my docs directly to my dropbox account. Awesome huh?

Now, use that HP’s ePrint feature that is available to your newer internet enabled printers fro your home or office and you can print directly to them no matter where you are. HP ePrint is also set up with Fedex Office locations so you can run by and pick up your documents should you be on the go.

Finally, you could even print it to a PDF and email it directly from from you tablet.

I am very appreciative of software designers in Android who not only look forward but are conscious of the past. Having apps that work on all Android OS releases starting with 1.5 is a smart way of doing business.

Got Video On That Tablet?

5 Jan

Ok, you, like so many others this Christmas, bought one of the inexpensive tablets that were sub $100. What you found out was not only did it not access many of the apps out there but it won’t really access any video sites like Youtube, Hulu, Netflix and such.


SkyFire Browser

Well there is a potential “Get Around” as far as video is concerned.

First, I must ask you to proceed with patience since you are basically seeking to get at compact Toyota to act like a Mustang. With a deep breath and a goal to get it to play regardless of a few setbacks, you can access a browser named “SKYFIRE”.  This can be found by downloading online the apk named SkyFire 2.1 Apk. There are later releases but the newer ones charge you $2.99 for the app license. If your tablet is a OS 2.1 or greater and do not mind the price, then no problem.

What this browser produces an available video as a service. It does not matter if the site uses flash. The browser will pop up a video window of its own. Click it and the video will load. Nice huh?

This is similar to what Youtube did a few years back before Hulu went to Adobe Flash 10. They simpy reverted or converted the single as it played through their servers back to Flash 7. SkyFire is sending out a single for the video and then having it pass back through their system to play on your screen. Again, nice huh?

Any Down Sides?

Yes. The picture quality maybe a little lower and some of that depends on your device. Also, the browser is slow..but remember I mentioned having patience. Also, it can crash having you to start over again.There is no fast forward or rewind so should an error occur, you have to start the show or movie over. That can be a hassle.

HINT

Go to the place you want to play the video like TV.com, CBS, etc with your regular browser. Save the website that plays your videos in your bookmarks for quicker access in case of error or just wanting to play again in the future. This is good for TV shows.

Also, when you click to play, your device should ask which browser do you want to use to open it with. Choose the Skyfire then. Wait for the window to pop up that says video is available. On newer versions, the video does not pop up. You have to go to the page and select the video button for it to test and see if there is any video there to play. If so, then a window will pop up.

So, the real question you must answer is whether it is worth the frustration to watch video on your less powerful device.  If you are stuck in a waiting room, airport, waiting on your mother, or some other place where something to watch would pass the time away nicely, then this is the answer.

Android Market VS Other

5 Jan

I am just regurgitating information here for the easy to find.

By now, you have discovered possibly that you cannot access the official Android Market with your tablet,  but rather you must download apps via the tablets own marketplace of sorts.

Via the folks at Google, the Android Market was designed on a platform specifically for phones. This is why you are asked to register your device (phone) via an account with Google. So, like me, you might have utilized your Google account or created one only to find that was not the total solution.

The other problem is many off the apps you DO download do not work. They may even say, “Does not work with your phone” or something to do with “Parsing”. If you see the parsing info it just means your android version is not advanced enough to work.

So what to do?

Well the first thing to do is to identify your Android OS. Is it 1.5 or 1.6? Is it 2.0+?  This will tell you what POSSIBLY will work with your tablet. I say possibly because there is often a proprietary issue with one tablet over the other.  So what works on one 1.5 OS does not necessarily mean it will work on another.I would now like to thank all those sites that are kind enough to post what OS works with the software.

Second would be to make use of other APP sites. There is Amazon Apps, SlideMe Market Place, APPBrain.com to name a few. A Quick note, APPBrain is like a search engine so it may send you to the Android Market. Just click that off since it will not work.

The Third thing is to download an APP itself. Applications are generally listed as an APK file (Uno.Apk for example). This is truly a trial and error process. I have sat in front of the computer for hours browsing sites to find apps that work with my devise (See Pandigital blog entry).

For me, this smacks so much of the DVD universal fiasco of some years back. No one could decide on a universal format for everyone  so everyone had their own version. Therefore one disk may or may not play on your brand new DVD player.  Once they got it agreed upon, then things moved forward rather at a good click.  Until all tablets manufacturers can agree on a universal format, then tablets and their performance will be so far apart.

Unfortunately, by the time this happens, your new tablet will become the Atari Game Console of yesterday.

If It Says “Upgrade”…Do It!

4 Jan

If you have covered yourself with a good virus and malware program (see my suggestions in upcoming article), then when your computer prompts you to upgrade, then take a moment to do it right then.

I cannot tell you how often I am called upon to help with a slow or non-functioning system to find that the majority of the problem is that the computer has not been updated with important updates. This is not a computer error, but an operator one. Most people see the pop-up alert to update and they click it off telling themselves they will do it later.  The problem is that they don’t.  Sound like you?

I had a friend that had over 50 updates on just his system alone. This did not include updates on drivers for various attachments and programs. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting for a couple of hours updating someones system because they didn’t do it when prompted.  Hey, I will do it, but I will charge $30 for the service.

Simply, CNET.com offers a Software Tracker for FREE that you can download and run once a month to check and see if there are any new updates to your software or drivers.  Additionally, you should be running a system checkup once a week and running a malware program once or twice a month. This is especially important if your kids are playing games a lot on your computer.

Again, however, if you just don’t want the hassle because your just too busy and money is not an issue, then contact me and I will clean it up for you and install updates for $30 for the first 2 hours and $20 for every hour afterward. I do have friends and clients that pay. But it is something you can do yourself for sure.