I thought it was about time for a new update from Gadget Boy, since it’s been a while. So what’s the latest on our tech toys?
For the last couple of years I have used a Droid Incredible and overall I was very happy with it, except for the fact that the battery life was terrible and getting worse every day. I had a charger in the car, a charger in the living room, and a charger in the bedroom, and used them all. I was going to buy a replacement battery, but it was time for an upgrade on my contract and for not much more money, I could switch to a Droid Razr Maxx. So of course I did, being Gadget Boy and all.
The Razr Maxx is a very good 4G smart phone; smarter than me, in fact. I’ll never be able to figure out all of its bells and whistles. And the battery life is amazing. I use it all day long and still have 50% left in the battery. I can also use the phone’s FoxFi app to turn it into a wireless hotspot and cruise the internet with no data limit.
However, a couple of months after I got the phone the sound stopped working. I could not hear the phone ring, or anybody who was talking to me on it, or any of its sound features. This is apparently a known flaw, because Verizon replaced the phone with no argument. We’ll see how long this one lasts.
Last year we bought a pair of iMac computers because I was tired of all of the hassles with Windows-based machines and had spent years listening to Mac owners tell me how far superior their machines are. Macs are immune to the typical computer virus and hacking threats, they never break, and if they had legs, the darned things could walk on water.
Uh huh. And if you believe that, I know a nice deposed general in Nigeria who has a fortune he wants to share with you.
Yes, the iMacs are good machines. Yes, they are fast. Yes, laying out the Gypsy Journal on my iMac is much easier. But they have their faults too.
My first CD/DVD drive stopped working and the Apple store replaced it. The new one doesn’t work either. As soon as we get settled in Florida for the winter, it’s going back to get yet another drive installed. Hopefully the third time’s the charm. The computer will not stay online if I am not actively on the internet for more than a few minutes. It loses the connection and when I click the little icon at the top of the screen to sign back on, it can take as long as two full minutes searching for available wireless networks. That’s darned frustrating.
And there are some programs that I just can’t use on the iMac. Stamps.com, which we use for online postage, says they hope to have a Mac version in a year or so. I have not found a mapping program as good as Microsoft Streets & Trips for the Mac. And there is no suitable replacement for Windows Live Writer that will interface with WordPress, which I use for my blogs.
Yes, I know all about Parallels, the program that allows me to run Windows programs on my iMac. I have it. Every time I try to use it, it crashes my computer and I have to manually reboot it. The “Geniuses” at the Apple store say “Yeah, that happens sometimes. It’s Windows, what do you expect?” Well, gee, thanks for the help!
So I have kept my ancient old Dell desktop running too, for blogging, printing postage, and trip planning. A few weeks ago I bought a $399 Asus laptop with Windows 7 at Sam’s Club, and am replacing the Dell with it.
Last December, I bought Dragon Dictate speech recognition software for my iMac, in the hope that it would help me deal with the arthritis in my hands, which has become a real pain (literally) when I spend days at the keyboard. The program and the recommended microphone/headset were not cheap, but I hoped it would be worth the investment. It wasn’t. Even after doing all of the lessons to teach the software my speech patterns, and using it for months now, I find it’s just as quick to type something as it is to dictate it and then go back and correct all of the typos. And I’m a two finger typist!
Somebody suggested I try out the Windows Speech Recognition program that was included on my new laptop. I gave it a try, and have to say that it’s as good as, if not better than, the Dragon software. The first time out, it had five fewer typos than I got reading the same letter into Dragon.
I’m going to use it for a while and see if it improves as it becomes more familiar with my speech patterns. I’m impressed that a free program does a better job than the one I paid for.
Finally, Terry has been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ40 digital camera for a couple of years now and loves it, but it developed a problem and kept showing a zoom error code on the digital display and shutting down on her. Something was loose inside and she could hear and feel it moving around when she used the camera. So after a lot of research, she replaced it with a Canon SX40. She’s only had the new camera a week or two and is still learning how to use all of its features. But so far, she’s very happy with it. The picture quality is even better than the Panasonic, which was already very impressive, it has more zoom range, and it also has a hot shoe so she can use an external flash on it. That will help a lot when we are touring places like the Air Force Museum where we have to take photos in dimly lit, cavernous areas.
So that’s the latest tech upgrade from Gadget Boy. What kind of new toys are you playing with?
Thought For The Day – I really shouldn’t have driven home from the bar last night. Especially since I walked there.