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

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

Throwback Thursday – Tech the World has Lost Part 10

I sit here this morning filled with more than a little anxiety over what is about to happen in my life.  I wonder if on July 9, 1972 (3 days before my birth) I was in my Mother’s womb playing over my future and wondering what it will be like to enter the world for the first time?  The things that have happened in my life have been; to say the least, interesting.  The world itself has changed dramatically over the 41 years and 11 months that I have been kicking around. My Thursday Posts have been about Technology that we have lost over time because of “Progress” but this week…I thought I would look back at something that my daughter and I found on an End Cap in Staples last week. Long before this iconic bit of 70’s Tech became the cultural icon of Instagram, the Polaroid Instant Camera was a part of the “it” crowd at a time when you could not instantly take 1000’s of pictures and share them almost as quickly on Facebook or Twitter.  The act of sharing memories … 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

Free App Friday – The Quest for a Zite Replacement

Earlier this week I made a bold statement that I am lost without Zite the News App that has been my trusty companion for almost 4 years, guiding me through the news of the day and letting me interact with the information in a way that I really enjoyed and was able to share with others quite effectively.  Sure there are alternatives but with the purchase of Zite by Flipboard, I was still in shock from losing what I thought was as good as it gets.  And then… I started down a quest of trying to find a real replacement for Zite and while there are dozens of Apps that claim to do what it did for me…most were a quick install, use once and uninstall.  The Interfaces were clunky, there was no social sharing component and worst of all…I had to either use just blog and news site RSS or I could only pull from my Social Media Channels and that was just not enough for me…so after several hours of deliberation…I sucked up my pride and narrowed the … Read more

OS Sunday – A Mobile Renaissance Pt 1

In many ways I feel that the Mobile OS World has started to stagnate a bit.  You have Android which is good but each new version seems to be just a rehash of the old, iOS which lets face it, is starting to fade into irrelevancy because Apple continues to live in the world that “it is our handset or nothing” mindset, Blackberry well…we will morn for you and the Windows Phone OS…which really has potential but came to the party too late.  But now there is a resurgence in building of a “new and better mobile”.  With the likes of Tizen, Sailfish, Firefox OS and Ubuntu Touch the Mobile Market has become an interesting place…that is for sure. In Part 1 of this Mobile Renaissance I figured I would take a closer look at the Sailfish OS that is starting to gain some traction and interest…and has a pretty solid SDK available.  Unlike the world of Desktop OS reviews, I am having to download the SDK for each of the up and coming Mobile OS and some functionality will … 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