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

WebApp Wednesday – Markdown

During my evaluation of Content Management Solutions for the relaunch of this site I looked at a lot of Flat File CMS’s that not only supported the Markdown Language but were built directly around it.  Despite returning to the site’s roots as a WordPress based website, I fell in love with the idea of being able to not only write the posts and pages in a language that was easy to understand where the code was coming from, but would also enable me to port the information over to PDF in real time without loosing any formatting or needing to rebuild things with the wonderful world of Copy & Paste. I live and breath with the Chrome Browser and as nice as it is to be able to leverage a native application, I found myself needing the option to be able to move from my Desktop, to my Chromebook to my Tablet and to my phone with a single application that I could save my .md files directly to my Google Drive that is enabled across all of the devices…and … Read more

Browser Battle 2014

Most of my life is now spent inside of a browser.  No seriously. Between work, blogging and surfing the web, I spend no less than 10-15 hours in front of some sort of screen and for the most part, this involves having a web browser open and doing something with the wonders of the Interwebz.  It would seem that I am not alone.  When I got on the internet in the late 90s I was some what unique with less than 300 Million total internet users in the world…the early Geeks were few and far between and there really wasn’t much to see out there. Back in the day, I used mostly Internet Explorer…and at the time…it was all good but then I met Netscape (Navigator and Communicator) and well my world changed.  I started to learn how to build web pages and started to understand that there was a world out side of Microsoft. Fast forward to 2014 and I split my Internet time between IE (at work – it is a requirement) and Google Chrome (on all my … Read more

Free App Friday – Where Oh Where Can I Find Just One More???

Rather than always look at an individual app for my Phone, Tablet, Desktop or even my Chromebook I thought that I would take a moment to look to some of the amazing places that Free Software lives its life just waiting to be found.  As an Ode to the Past I will start with the places I have been going for years to satisfy my “cheapness” and then work my way forward to some amazing new(er) sites that I have recently found. In the early days of the Interwebz I used to get my free software fix from a couple of sources.  One was Tucows.  Around since 1994, “The Ultimate Collection Of Winsock Software” has long been a go to for me when I am looking to fill a void in my needs for a free solution that could be resolved by a multi hundred dollar solution.  For a time, it was also one of my primary sources to find Linux Distros as well but I have since moved on to bigger and better sources for that. A mixture of Free … Read more

Designing the Perfect Home Network

My life is going through a lot of changes right now one of which is heading out on my own for the first time in over 20 years (my first year of college in 1992).  It is both scary and exciting and this time I am going to plan out the configuration of all the tech things extremely well before I even venture off into the great beyond.  I found a place yesterday and it has a lot of 1920’s charm right down to the plaster walls and short doors (and when I say short, the door to the bathroom will cause more than one bump on the head).  I am starting to plan out how I will layout my humble abode with both the furniture and gear that I have now but also start to make a plan on how I will leverage the technology that I have at hand and set things up just how I want it…with no consideration for those around me because it will be mine and mine alone! Because I will be living on … Read more

Office Just got Personal!

Like it or hate it Microsoft Office has been the defacto king of the hill when it comes to business productivity apps since the mid to late 90s when they pushed its way past WordPerfect of Document Editing and Lotus 123 for the world of Spreadsheets.  The competitors are now all but gone, with IBM having rebranded and reformated the concept of Office Productivity before finally all but moving on (although I must say the Symphony version of OpenOffice was really good) and WordPerfect well what can we say about the little Canadian Company that tried but failed miserably…it still exists but I am just not sure if there is any relevance out there anymore. The latest version of Microsoft Office though is brilliant and now with the Microsoft Office Personal Edition by using the perpetual licensing of the Office 365 product.  For just $70 per year you get the full weight of Office Productivity where and when you need it.  Or for $7 per month if you fear commitment (like many of us do) you can have access to your … Read more

The Wild, Wild Web – Personal Security in the Internet Age

This week it was revealed that there is a major flaw out there on the Interwebz that potentially affects 2/3 of all web sites.  That seems like a big deal and it is, according to there are over 938,000,000 websites so the Heartbleed Bug could affect over 600 Million web sites and that includes the world of Google, Yahoo, eBay, Internet Banking, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and basically any other website that uses the LAMP Stack and leverages the OpenSSL standard for generating security certificates. I generally never really took much stock in increasing my Security Posture when it came to my online life.  I reset my passwords on a regular basis and tend not to surf to unreliable sites or download things that are questionable but this latest flaw had me really really thinking and after listening to This Week in Google on T.W.I.T TV last night before bed I took some precautions to protect myself and the things that are important to me: Installed LastPass – a Password Manager that lets me tie all my passwords to an encrypted … Read more

Free App Friday – Lists, Lists, Everywhere are Lists

I wish I wasn’t  but I am a slave to my calendar.   I find myself (especially as I get older) finding it harder to keep all the things I have to do in a neat and organized manner.  With multiple devices and work that has me jump from activity to activity it becomes even more important to have a set of priorities that I can fall back on and avoid the many distractions that there are in my life. In this wonderful world of choices that we live in though, there are tons of options when it comes to getting our lives organized. Regardless of if you subscribe to the Zero Inbox philosophy or you just want to get better at keeping your life organized, it is time to start focusing on the tasks at hand…for me I figured I would give the power of Wunderlist a try again. There is a Pro version of the tool but because this is Free App Friday, I figured I would put the resource through its paces before making any recommendations on … Read more

Free App Friday – Pushing the Envelope…Digitally

Every once in a while an application comes along that crosses over and connects all the devices that have become essential to our lives.  Earlier this week I stumbled across what I think is one of those apps.  In my day to day life I find myself switching from Desktop to Chromebook to Phone to Tablet depending on what it is that I am doing at that moment.  I actively have up to 5 screens in play at any given moment…but information on each of those devices is unique to that device and try as I may…I don’t store everything in a central “Cloud” mainly because of a problem with the Chromebook being able to access them effectively…so when PushBullet came to the front for me…well lets just say I fell in love. Looking at the top down of PushBullet it is simply a file transfer app that works as an extension with Chrome but is an Android App as well…but it can be so much more as well.  You can not only connect your own devices to each other, … Read more

OS Sunday – ChrUbuntu on my Acer C710

In early January I picked up a refurbished Acer C710 for a crisp and clear $189 from a local computer shop.  The Sales Guy told me that there are some inherent weaknesses to the Chromebook and that if I was okay with a computer that required an always connected concept then this little 11.6″ bit of Google Goodness would fit the bill, and fit the bill it did.  I purchased it for work and the only thing that I could not do with it was leverage the power of Skype (beyond the strange Office 365 integration) but for me…just good enough is not the goal…I wanted more and before I even purchased the Chromebook I had been digging around the ChrUbuntu distro to get a better understanding of what it might do for me. Doing a search on Google for “Ubuntu on Acer C710” reveals some interesting solutions ( and my day yesterday was spent gathering up some frustrations about following instructions that were out dated or in some cases just plain wrong until I dug a little deeper into … Read more