Chris J Powell

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

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

Free App Friday – Getting In Touch With…

So one of the great downfalls of being well connected is the vast number of Contacts that end up in your phone’s Directory.  Between Social Networks, family and the random people that I decide to add to my list (from the Las Vegas Conference I attended in February I think I added 50-75 Contacts) I now have a nearly endless list of contacts, many of which are duplicated because the standard People App on my Nexus 4 isn’t quite smart enough to figure that the same Name and Phone Number are actually the same person. Contacts+ is available for iOS and Android and what impressed me right away was the fact that it is not just a Contact Manager it is a Dialer and Text Messaging App as well and I had been in search of one (see Free App Friday – Texting with Android). The App connects to your Facebook and Google+ accounts to pull down profile pictures for you and is really easy to use which is a real plus as at this point in my life, I … Read more

Free App Friday – Texting with Android

When my phone updated to Kit Kat last year I made the move over to Google Hangouts to handle my Text Messaging and SMS needs…as it turns out…I was not a real big fan, but then I returned to the default app and missed some of the functionality that Hangouts provided.  With that a mini quest started to find an SMS app that I could live with! I looked to the 2013 article from Lifehacker that looked at 5 Alternative Text Messaging Apps.  They included WhatsApp (now part of Facebook), Viber, Textra, Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts.  I quickly ruled out Hangouts and Facebook Messenger (used them both and not a big fan)…so I added TextNow to the mix and downloaded the four apps onto my phone. Viber lasted all of 30 seconds as I did not much care for the International requirements and the activation methods so it came in, launched and left as quickly as it arrived. TextNow was at the outset interesting but it wanted to generate a new telephone number that actually gave me an Alberta … 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

I'm Lost Without Zite!

Before all the Flipboard fans out there jump all over me about some of the negative statements I may make here about their beloved App that feeds them their daily news content…I am not a fan, never have been…I just don’t get it…not at all.  I fell in love with Zite, an app that gave me the right amount of information, in the right doses and let me formulate what I would post about in record time. Since it was announced that Flipboard was purchasing Zite…I have been at a loss.  I re-installed Flipboard and tried to get behind the new master and I just don’t like how it is laid out, how it sanitizes what I want to look at and fails to give me as many options to find the content that actually interests me.  It is a sad day indeed, as I find myself having to resort back to Google and the Hunt and Peck method of content ingestion. What erks me about the Flipboard purchase is that they have all but stated that it is the … 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

Infographic – BYOD aka Bring Your Own Droid

In my time of working with IT Leaders around the world there was a “lesser of two evils” that existed when it came to their BYOD Plans and more often then not, it defaulted to the Apple iPhone for ease of maintenance and support for their existing teams. Well that is quickly coming to an end as this week’s Infographic shows: by JanBorunda. Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually. Cheers, Krispy

Free App Friday – An eBook Reader for All

For anyone who knows me, I am a voracious reader.  I have more than 500 printed books and just over 2 TB of eBooks scattered across multiple devices.  One of the challenge that I have faced since moving away from my iPad has been to find an equivalent ePUB reader and while I have tried many…none fit the bill until just last week when I stumbled across the Universal Book Reader in the Android Play Store. One of the first features that I really liked was the fact that it displays nicely on both my 4.5″ Nexus 4 and my 7″ Acer Iconia B1 and this is a good thing because I tend to switch from device to device on a fairly regular basis.  The Universal Book Reader works with both ePUB and PDF which takes care of all of my eBooks that I have and again this is a great selling feature for this robust FREE App. The “Library” that is the home screen reminds me of my days with the iPad and its integrated iBooks, and I can … Read more