Chris J Powell

Upgrading Krispy's Tech

Here we are into April already and I sit here plotting the upgrades in my life as I always seem to do this time of the year.  So far this year I have done a couple upgrades already with a new phone (upgraded my LG G3 to the new Huawei Nova Plus) and a new Tablet.  The phone upgrade was really because it was time, I did an early upgrade as the battery on my G3 was more than a little flakey.  The tablet though…may seem like a strange choice in a world that is constantly looking to be bigger and better as I got myself a diminutive Acer Iconia One Android Tablet that is not much bigger than my phone…but acts primarily as a ebook reader. In the coming weeks and months though, I am really looking at doing a monster upgrade of the tech and services that I am connected to. The first upgrade will be happening in a couple of weeks with a massive step up to a new ISP (Internet Service Provider) with some monster upgrades … Read more

The iWatch – Why?

Ok, I get the importance of “wearables” but the look and feel of the iWatch is not something that I can really get behind.  That might have something to do with the fact that I would never have an iPhone, in fact I would not purchase anything from Apple with my own money (the iPad that I had was a prize from work a few years ago and is not in the possession of my wonderful daughter). Looking at the iWatch, it is slick and has lots of options, but as a wearer of watches (I never leave home without one on my wrist), I just don’t get the need for a square face…they are just but ugly.  Sure you give up some screen real estate when you go with a circle but who can really compare the look and feel of a Moto360 with the clunkiness of the iWatch: I looked through the thorough comparison of the two watches over at Tech Radar and for my money and “style” the Moto360 is by far a superior purchase, even if the … Read more

Cutting the Cord

So for me, cutting the cord from the Cable Companies was never a hard thing.  I am tech saavy and have been leveraging the world of alternative sources for my own entertainment needs for years but about 3 months ago I grabbed a little Android Box and it was plugged in and working…but really only used when I accidentally downloaded an MKV version of a video for in my library. The Pivos Technology Group Xios DS is a nice, affordable little Android Box that runs Android 4.0, has an ARM 9 Processor, 4 GB of internal Storage with 3 USB Ports, a microSD card slot, HDMI (with full 1080p output), wireless (B,G,N) and Ethernet connectivity.  All this in a frame that is less than 4 ” square and just over 0.5″ tall. In my opening paragraph I had said that I had just let it sit and did not really use it all that much.  This was not because it is not functional, it just got overshadowed by the fact that the PS3 was able to stream 99% of all … Read more

When is Big…Too Big

Android devices seem to be growing like a bad weed and after seeing an interesting advertisement yesterday for the largest “phone” available I was surprised to see that ASUS was not the only company looking to Supersize my smartphone. The concept of supersizing phones may seem to some to be getting out of hand but I don’t really see it that way.  If I can do away with carrying a phone and a Tablet and have just one device…that is not necessarily a bad thing.  In looking at the “inflation” and growth of phones in recent months, had a great side by side comparison of some of the top phones on the market: Thee Samsung Galaxy Mega in both 6.3 and 5.8 inch screens makes every other “super sized device look tiny in comparison but Samsung is not the only company expanding their line of phablets. Asus has also released a new supersized phone that is 7” and would really be a replacement for a Tablet and Phone (and has me very strongly looking at it as my next … Read more

Open Source Saturday – Photoshop Alternative

I am not sure if my love of opensource comes from the access to great software that is open and FREE to share and modify or if I am just really really cheep but either way…I am hooked on all things OSS (Open Source Software) and have been since 2005 when my eyes were opened.  There are many many applications out there for nearly every use and configuration that you can think of and since the success of OS Sunday I figured it was time to expand that concept and not just look at the Operating System, but dive deeper into the ever expanding world of Open Source Applications.  What will have the honor of being the first to be looked at? For the purposes of these reviews, I will put away my love of all things Linux and focus on Open Source Applications within the dreaded Windows environment that most of us are familiar with.  While my skin crawls just a little bit every time I hit Start on the Oracle VirtualBox instance of Windows 7 I need to … Read more

Facebook Phone! Why?

So the long rumored Facebook Phone has been announced but it is not quite a full Facebook Phone… makes EVERYTHING Facebooky and that is just not cool…at least that is my opinion.  Actually in looking at some of the functions of the new Facebook Home, it might actually be useful…maybe. During the announcement yesterday, Mark Zuckerburg (CEO of Facebook) said: we’re finally going to talk about that Facebook phone. Or more accurately we’re going to talk about how you can turn your Android phone into a great social, simple device Ok…so it is not a Facebook Phone?  Now I am confused, what is this an App or a Phone?  Well it is a bit of both.  Facebook partnered with HTC to make the HTC First to be the first native Facebook Home phone…so it is a phone…without being a phone?  Now I am really confused. In looking at the drama filled heartfelt video promotion it seems to be an altruistic endeavor to connect everyone together with the pervasive existence of SmartPhones.  Ok I can get on board with that…but Facebook … Read more

The New Presentation Reality

At the end of the day yesterday, my Manager and I were discussing the status quo of Presentations that we put our customers through. I like to think that I am pretty good at telling a story that supports the presentations that are built for me and in many cases by me but they still remain very static and linear.  That got me thinking about the new reality of Presentations…mobile devices, kiosks, online views and all the other wonders that a good presentation can do.  From my time as a Toastmaster I learned very quickly that the power of getting an audience to lean forward is the most important aspect of “working a room” and getting them engaged…but in the work that I do every day…I cannot see the people that I am working with for the most part because I do 99% of my work by telephone. There are several options to make a Presentation more interactive but for the purposes of the experiment that I am trying with my Manager, I did not want to create a new … Read more

LibreOffice 4.0 is out – Is it Right for YOU?

I spend a lot of my day using Microsoft Tools…it is the nature of my job.  I am left with very little choice to use Internet Explorer (certain productivity tools will only work with IE), and as a Sales Professional I generate my quotes in MS Word, do forecasting and scenario builds with MS Excel and build, show and manipulate presentations with MS PowerPoint.  It is the nature of what I have to do in the environment that I am in for almost 10 hours per day.  When I get home though, it is all Open Source (at least as much as possible) and while 90% of the computers at home run Linux…I do keep a computer running Windows 7 so that I can ensure compatibility with my work content. When I received word that LibreOffice 4.0 was released, I was more than a little excited as with each iteration, there has become more and more compatibility with existing features of the Microsoft Product line.  On the Windows Machine that I have running, I have the latest iteration of Microsoft … Read more

Linux – A Choice for Gamers?

There has been more than a few reports that Console Gaming is on the decline…suffering from sequelitis and big budget developers getting all the glory.  PC Gaming does however appear to be on the rise and one of the great things that has come out of this resurgence is the relevance of Linux in the Gaming Community. Recently Valve released their Steam product line for Linux and with the Beta Release back in November there started to be some momentum building for a reason to move more people to the world of Open Source.  When the Beta was released there was only one title available but when I took a look at what was available today…with paid games…I was quite impressed. With games ranging from the mundane like Runner2 to Unity Command to FTL and Counter Strike…there are quite literally hours of good clean fun available now for Gamers and there is no more hassel of ensuring that you have the latest graphics card that supports DirectX 4000 and sets your pocket book back several hundred dollars. So what makes … Read more

The End of another Year at MWC

All week I have been wishing for the warmer weather of Mediterranean coast with my colleagues Mark Tauschek and Mike Battista who are over in Barcelona Spain soaking in all the wonderful information at the Mobile World Congress and as the Mobility Event of the year wraps up…I took a look out to the wide world of wackiness that I missed! Over at CNet they have an interesting spin on the strange new products that are coming out and I thought that I would pick my favorite “strangeness” and look deeper at the products. First up…the Caterpiller CAT B15 Smartphone.  Taking the biased against Caterpiller out of the equation (for those unfamiliar, here in London, ON Caterpiller closed a plant last year after receiving Federal Grants to keep it running).  The concept of a truly ruggedized phone is interesting and it actually makes sense that the Heavy Equipment manufacturer puts its name to something like this. The specs for this Android Phone are on par with other mid to high end Smart Phones sporting a dual core 1GHz processor, 4 inch display … Read more