Category archive - Software

GTask Issues

One of my most used app on my Droid X is GTask. It’s essentially the Google task bar from Gmail on your phone. It will automatically sync up with Google Task bar, and you can keep a list just for your phone if you like.

I really like that you can set recurring events and set reminders. It is really helpful when trying to remember to put the garbage! The problem I’ve been having recently is that these recurring event reminders are accumulating. So now when the remind comes up about garbage night, it literally announces about 40 reminders, which I’m guessing is the number of weeks that I’ve been using it to remind me to take out the trash!

I haven’t really had the time to dig into it, or at least no time when I’m thinking about the issue. I’m guessing that I’m going to have to uninstall it and re-install from the Google store (which I notice is now called the Play Store). The trick is I just have to take the time to do it. It’s not as quick as it sounds because I need to write down all the things I have in there that I need to remember, so that I can remember to put them into the app when it’s re-installed.

Then I need to dig into why it’s doing this. I’m guessing it has something to do with the way that I click off the reminder when it comes up. It goes away until the next week when it comes back double. So it’s either a bug or something I’m doing.

I’ll keep you posted as to what the deal is when I get it all fixed up. Speaking of which I guess maybe I should do it now while I’m thinking of it ūüôā

MyFitnessPal App – Droid and iPhone

After finally breaking down and purchasing the Droid phone, I found myself barely using any of the apps that it seemed the entire world was talking about.  It seemed crazy to me to download an app for the small things in life that could just as easy be accomplished by breaking out a pad of paper and writing it down.

 

That was until I found an app that was not only user friendly but accomplished everything I had been looking for when it came to fitness and keeping healthy eating habits.  MyFitnessPal is free calorie counter app for any iPhone or Droid.  It makes counting the calories I consume all day SO easy. It also adds in any exercise that is done during the day so you can get a true count of calorie consumption.  Having been once a huge advocate of the Weight Watchers Plan which I used after both my pregnancies, I knew the concept of keeping weight off was easy Рjust count your calories.  And although the concept sounds simply enough, the packaging of most foods today does not make it easy.

 

Most meals consumed today don’t come in a nicely neat packaging with all the nutritional information needed in order to correctly count the calories consumed.¬† A donut out of the box in the work lunch room, a handful of candy out of your coworkers candy dish will not have the necessary nutritional value listed for you to easily know what amount of calories you just ate.¬† MyFitnessPal helps you add up all the calories from the day and track how many you have left – VERY similar to the Weight Watchers concept that we have all followed.

 

Having a handheld device to easily track all this info makes calorie counting SO simple!¬† It even calculated the calories burned during your work out!¬† Being accountable and knowing what your body consumes is the only way I have found to lose or maintain your weight and MyFitnessPal makes calorie counting so easy it’s literally at your fingertips!

Windows 8 Review

In the past few months I had been hearing a lot of buzz about Windows 8 but hadn’t had the chance get my hands on it. ¬†With the recent release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I decided it was time to give it a try. ¬†I created a virtual machine on my desktop system using the free¬†VMware Player. ¬†I set up the virtual machine to have 1 GB of memory, a single CPU core and 60GB of disk space. ¬†It actually booted up and ran surprisingly quick given the limited hardware specs.
Windows 8 Consumer
The first thing I noticed is that it is a huge departure from previous versions of windows. ¬†First of all it boots into what Microsoft calls the “Metro” interface. ¬†This is a large full screen menu consisting of square tiles which are essentially application shortcuts. ¬†Some of these tiles are “Live tiles” which means that they display up to date information right on the tile. ¬†For instance, the Metro email app will display a preview of your most recent message right on the tile once you set it up.
When you click any of the built in metro tiles, it launches a nice pretty full screen “Metro” application. ¬†The built in metro apps include, Mail, Calendar, Photos, People, Weather, Maps and more. ¬†The windows desktop that you have come to know and love is not gone though. ¬†There is a desktop tile which takes you to the classic windows 7 style desktop, but it is not exactly like the windows 7 desktop. Probably the first thing you will notice when you go to the windows 8 desktop is that there is no start menu. ¬†The Metro¬†home¬†screen is essentially the replacement for the classic start menu.
There is also a different way to close apps and to navigate between them.  If you put you mouse in the upper left corner, you will see a thumbnail of your most recently open app, and if you roll your mouse down the left side of the screen you will see thumbnails of the rest of your open apps.  You can click on any of them to switch to it, or drag it down to the bottom of the screen to close it.  To return to the Metro home screen, put your mouse in the lower left corner and click on the icon that pops up.
I actually really like the look and feel of the new metro apps and the new home screen but at this beta stage, the navigation does feel a little clunky on a desktop PC using a keyboard and mouse.  I also think that you will find yourself spending most of your time on the classic desktop until more applications release a Metro styled version.
I cant help but notice that the new UI seems to be geared much more toward tablet or touch users.  And I bet it is very slick for a tablet environment, but I think for desktop PC users, it still need a little polishing.  Hopefully this will happen before the final version is released.

Windows 8 Is Here

I’ve mentioned Windows 8 before here at Computerworktips.com. Most of you, all though assuredly not all, are likely running Windows 7 right now. I work for a slow adapting employer and we just recently upgraded to Windows 7 if you can believe it. I’m fairly certain the next time we upgrade it will be to Windows 9!

Yesterday Microsoft shipped the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, so it indeed is here. Windows 8 is upon us! The interesting thing about Windows 8 is how most of the talk is about how Microsoft is really banking everything on this upgrade. It’s not just a list of small tweaks and a reason to release something now. Windows 8 had been put together in a way to really try to capture the tablet market as well as the more traditional laptop/PC market. The question that remains to be answered is whether is going to be as nice and successful as Windows 7 was, or if the traditional users are going to be too frustrated with the new look and feel to end up hurting it’s market share. Time will tell.

In the mean time if you would like to download Windows 8 and get behind the test drivers wheel, then go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download and download it today. Let me know what you think!

Games Soft Processor

For older games (like from the Atari era) or newer smaller games (like the apps on your smart phone) it is a common practice to set them up and run them on a soft processor. A soft processor is microprocessor core that can be wholly implemented using logic synthesis. To me this basically means a soft processor is something you virtually create using programming instead of an actual hard processor which is a chip on a board that physically exists inside your computer.

These soft processors make a great fit for the older style games. Think Pitfall, Pacman, or Qbert, just to give you an idea. You can make them for different sized but if you really need something huge like would run some of today computer games which are smash hits you would go with a larger hard processor.

These games soft processor are also a nice fit for the type of games which run on today’s smart phones like Angry Birds. Today’s smart phone app games are much more¬†sophisticated¬†then the Atari classics of yesteryear but they are still small by today’s standard for sure.

So if you are looking to run existing smaller games, or maybe even create your own, you definitely need to consider the soft processor.

Microsoft Office 2007 – Free Download

Free Trial Microsoft Office 2007It seems like it really was just yesterday when Office 2007 came out. There are a few perks to 2007 that I really use quite a bit but my first impression was that it was the same thing only they moved all the¬†buttons¬†around and now it’s confusing to use instead of being user friendly! And that heartbeat button up at the top left just makes me feel like I have to rush, lol.

Well it’s been sometime now and I’ve gotten used to where everything is and that’s not longer and issue. There were some bug fixes and technical upgrades, but probably the number one upgrade that impacts my day to day work is that Excel no longer has the 65,000 line limitation. That really is a big one when you are playing around with data files. There is still a limitation but it’s more like a million lines depending on how many columns you have. That is much more manageable.

Microsoft Office 2007 Free Download

While I’m never an advocate of stealing or pirating software there are some legit places you get get a free copy of 2007 for legit reasons. The obvious one is that if you own a copy all ready and something happens to the install and you don’t have a backup disk of some kind, then Microsoft will usually allow you to download a free copy. I suppose that isn’t really like you can download Mircosoft Office for free because you originally paid for it but it counts.

If you really want Microsoft Office free then the best bet is to find a Microsoft Office free trial to get the ball rolling. Some new PC setups come with the trail version installed all ready, and you can also download this trail version Office 2007 as well. It basically it just like the full version except you have a limited number of uses before it locks you out and you have to enter a user key which you get when you go online and pay for it.

 

So if you don’t all ready have Microsoft Office 2007 then I definitely suggest getting a copy especially if you can find one for free, at least to try it out. If you are like me then it’ll take a little getting used to at first, but once you do it’ll feel as comfortable as previous versions and the new upgrades are worth the learning curve.

Computer System Consultants – How Can They Help?

Computer Consulting FirmsWhen you talk about a computer system consultant you are usually talking about a business setting. If you are looking for help with you home network then it is usually too small for someone like a computer system consultant, so you are usually just going to have the same guy come in that would fix your personal hard drive. A computer system consultant suggests a whole other level of involvement. This is the kind of person or team of people that are going to come in an assess your overall needs and put together you software and hardware, including servers for all you employees, for 10 to hundreds of thousands of employees.

How to know you need a Computer Consultant

The easiest illustration to use when describing how to know when you have a need is the small business that grew quickly. Maybe you started your business out of your garage and it took off. You hired one person then two people, and a year later your have a dozen or so employees. The next year you are walking through you new office space and realize you have people working for you that you’ve never met.

If you find yourself in this kind of growth situation you likely stated with a personal computer. Then you needed more so you have one of your people go online and find the best deal of some PC’s. Then a few months later you hired 5 more people and bought 5 other computers. Somewhere along the line you added a server in the mix for storage. Now you have people in the office, in the field, and working from home all on different setups and you are trying to support it all. At this point it can easily get to where you are spending more resources on getting people connected and working with your next work instead of doing whatever you business does to make money. This is the perfect definition of a time when you need a computer system consultant.

What does a Computer System Consultant Do? 

Basically once you’ve chose the computer consultant and hired them then are going to come in and see what you do, how you use your technology now, and how you would like to use it moving forward. They will then custom make a plan for a whole solution of technology set ups that will work for all your people and operative smoothly. Often these same consultants will offer tech support for a fee, so if you choose you can totally outsource the headaches. Of course this is going to cost you, but it is often much cheaper once you calculate how much you have spend in time and resources trying to do it in house.

So when you find yourself in need of a good computer consultant don’t hesitate. Get them in and let them set up something that will really work for you. And consider hiring them to do the support as well. Get back to making widgets and making money, instead of wasting time and money on things that aren’t going to make you any profit!

Gmail – The Best Email In The World

Email GoogleIt may sound like an overstatement at first but once you start using Gmail you will realize that Google has indeed put together the best email service in the world. The best part of course is that it won’t cost you a penny.

Why is Gmail Free?

Well as the old saying goes, nothing in life is free. Gmail isn’t going to cost you any actual dollars, but Google is making money by signing you up for Gmail. They are going to have their¬†algorithm read through the content of your email and it’ll server relevant ads on the top and or side of your screen when you are in Gmail. They are really not invasive on your experience and to be honest I never notice them until I happen to think to look for them. When I do notice them they are usually ads that I have valid interest in because they are somehow relevant to what I was just reading or typing about on email and I do click on the ads quite often because of valid interest.

Why is Gmail So Great?

I don’t own stock in Google so I can say without bias that I just really think Google does everything better. They just seem to be bound by the traditional thinking of how things are normally done. They just break down the things that we do everyday and take for granted and get right to the core of what is needed and how it should really work. To top things off not only do they make things work better (search, email, etc) but they also make every so very user friendly. With very little exception (Google Wave?) every Google product that I’ve set down in front of for the first time I was able to figure out very quickly and easily. If there are times when I stumble a bit it turns out the be because it is so different then what I’m used to, but then once I learn the Google system I realize that it is the way it should have been done all along!

Gmail was exactly that way for me. When I first saw they Gmail tracked email string in what they called conversations it was very confusing because it was so different then anything I had been used to before. But then as I got using Gmail I realized that it just made total sense to do things this way. All you emails back and forth on a subject are in one place. Instead of having a string of 20 emails in your inbox which was just the incoming part of a email conversation (your outgoing emails are in another folder of course with the old way) they are one spot in your inbox. You can click on it and see everything. I must not be the only one that had a little trouble with this concept at first because I noticed later you could turn this functionality on and off. I encourage anyone that has it turned off to turn it back on and use it for one week. I promise you’ll never want to go back to the old way!

Music Download Programs – Apps

free ipod download musicWhen it comes to downloading music there are two major players in the legal category. There are many out there from the Napster days, like limelight and others which aren’t legal (although I heard Napster is legal these days…who knew :). For me it’s not worth the risk, or the guilt of stealing the free music. I mean imagine if you spend years making something that you were hoping to sell and then millions of people came into your garage and took a copy?!

Music Download Programs

Of course the big number one in this industry is the Apple Music Store which is mainly for the Ipod although you can use it for other media too. Digital music had been around for quite a while but it took Steve Jobs to figure out how to make it user friendly for the masses. Once he made the Ipod easy, he then make the music buying easy as well. It was the synergy of those two areas which really made the whole industry flip on end.

The other main player is Amazon. You can get music from the Amazon store just like you can from the Apple Music Store. Typically the songs on Amazon are 99 cents which is cheaper then Apple. Also my understanding is the Amazon files have less restrictions as to how many times you can copy them to your devices. Again, I’m not at all advocating that you buy it and then sell it or give it to others, but if you have multiple Ipods, or would like it on your computers as well then it is your file and you should be able to use it where ever you are!

Not all music downloading programs are created equally of course, but these two really seems to be the most user friendly and cost the least as well (as long as you don’t count stealing the music for free).

How to Transfer Music from Your Computer to Your Ipod

Depending on where you are downloading the music files to they may well end up on your computer, which is handy if that is where you are going to listen to them. More often then not of course you are going to want those files on your Ipod. You may also have an old CD collection from before you had an Ipod that you would also like put on as well. Once you have the software installed and your Ipod linked to your computer it is really easy. It’s just a matter of deciding which songs you want to move and dragging them to the right place. The same is true if you want to move music from Ipod to computer.

What Else Besides Ipod?

Believe it or not there are tons of other devices that play songs out there these days. Sure Ipod was the first and holds the majority of the market share, but most all phones today will play and store music files. I personally have the Droid X and because of that I prefer the Amazon store for my music. The concept really is just the same as with the Ipod though. The point is Ipod was first and they should be acknowledged for it, but don’t be afraid to try something else too. Once something is discovered it can be relatively easy to improve on it by others.

Google Calendar – Keeping Track Of The Family Schedule

Google Calendar AppMy wife and I both have the Droid X. We’ve had them for about a year and a half now and really love them. Sure there are some frustrations that you are going to have with any computer, but over all they are really awesome. Notice that I said computers, and not phones. These things are really little computers that you can carry around that also happen to make phone calls! Both of us came from having flip phones before our Droids and it was like a whole new world!

Google Calendar

One of the really nice perks that we found was the app for Google Calendar. The Droids run on the Android operating system so they all ready came installed with the app. Once we synced them with our gmail accounts we were off and running. We then realized that we could all access to each others Google calendars and life really got easier.

Having a family of four with two young kids life can get really hectic. There is always something going on with school, sports, or some other activity that one or both of us need to attend and be on time. It really used to be a pain to keep track of it all. Don’t get me wrong it can still be hectic of course, but keeping track of it is really much easier now.

Whenever one of us see something that we need to know about we just put it on the Google calendar (which can be easily done right on the phone, or you can do it online if you happen to be at the computer as well). Within minutes, and sometimes less, it is showing on both our phones and online. Also when we have personal meetings, usually for work, where we can’t be available for kid stuff, we make sure to put that on the calendar as well. Then as the days approach and we are trying to figure out the plan we can just take a quick look at the Google Calendar App and know a pretty good idea of what is going to go on. Or if there is a conflict where two things are going on at once, or neither of us is available and need to be, we can see it ahead of time and adjust accordingly.