Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my American friends, and of course to all that have anything they wish to express thankfulness for, American or not - Happy Thanksgiving.

Here, enjoy the Google Doodle for the day:

And don't forget to eat pumpkin pie, or don't, leaves more for me.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Android Update Nightmare

4.4 Kit Kat is out, and finally available for my devices. The install went smooth and things are going well, so far (more info coming soon), but last night I had a terrible dream, as represented in the images below.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ubuntu GNOME

Translated: A really great Linux distribution with a really great windows environment on top. Or, in one word, win!
Let me explain for those that don't understand what I just said: First, Linux is an Operating System; so is Android or Microsoft Windows Xp/Vista/7/8, one of which you are likely to be using to read this now. Operating Systems are very complex, but let's just call them 'what you interact with / what makes your computer work.'

Friday, November 22, 2013

Good To Know

At risk of extreme redundancy, here is a link to a bunch of stuff that really is Good to Know.

The website and documentation mainly cover online security best practices, as pertains to Google services, but a great place to get started if you want to take your online privacy and security to the next level.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Before You Ask Friends and Family for Technical Assistance:

Do you require any technical assistance? If so, and you are willing to read an interesting article (just click the image below), please get to the end before you accuse me of 'whining'.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

TWiT Network

No 'er' about it. 

It occurred to me recently, after a long conversation with a friend about Android, that I had never promoted my favorite technology news website +TWiT.   (

On their robust network of shows, I have never missed an episode of +All About Android (AAA) or This Week in Google (TWiG), but sadly admit that there just are not enough hours in the day to catch all of the other 30+ themed shows from security, law and daily news through to HAMM radios and home entertainment. All while, of course, covering Android, Google, Microsoft, Apple and a bunch more in between. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chromecast, or Not to Chromecast?

That is the... er, let's call it... a question.

For a very affordable $35, you can get your hands on Google's entry into the 'tiny-pc-for-your-tv' market, the Google Chromecast. You may be asking yourself where this stands versus GoogleTV, this is smaller. For those that have not heard of it yet, it is a USB stick sized unit that plugs into the HDMI input on your tv, is powered by usb (from your tv, or the supplied power unit) and let's you play online, and some offline, content on your television.

The primary use-case would be to fire a YouTube video from your Android Tablet up to your TV so you can continue to surf on your tablet. Sounds magical so far, but is it? Depending on your needs and expectations, yes, it is magic. If, however, you just wanted to play content you already own, maybe not so much.

Let me explain. Right on the box it advertises that it can handle YouTube, Netflix, Google Play content (video and music) and pass a tab from your Chrome browser. The first thing you'll notice is that the first three items are streaming services, if your home internet regularly leaves you buffering, don't expect the Chromecast to speed things up. If you are lucky enough to live in a Gigabit world, where buffering is not an issue, you will love the Chromecast for these services. Luckily, audio is a little easier to tackle, so popping your music to the tv, via Google Play Music, is a snap.

Monday, November 18, 2013

System Update

I previously posted that I was using an all Windows environment, and that I was about to install Windows 7 on most of my machines. I had done that, I ran the Windows 7 beta from start to finish, but I never did make a full install after that.

I moved to the world of Linux!

I messed with a few main distros, but landed on Ubuntu. As I came to learn later on, the distro didn't matter to me so much, I really fell for Gnome and Nautilus. Today, my main machine (is actually my Android Tablet, but let's ignore that a moment...) is dual booting Ubuntu 12.04 and Mint 13. Both fully fitted with Gnome. I do have a secondary machine that is running Windows 7, but I don't like it, it is for work purposes and all that.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Microsoft Security Essentials

     For those still using a Microsoft Operating System, the world of computer viruses is becoming more and more sophisticated and robust on a daily basis. We all try to use best practice to keep ourselves and our computers safe from harm, but nothing works better than a solid antivirus program. There are many on the market ranging from simple and free to super-complicated and way too expensive. 

   Across our machines and through personal experience, we have tested over a dozen different antivirus programs, most of them free, and have found our favorites. For the category of "Ease Of Use," nothing we tested compares to Microsoft Security Essentials. It is a wonderful set it and forget it program that does everything it needs to keep you safe. Just look for the Green House in your task tray and you know you are covered. 

  We recommend this program for anyone that isn't sure if they have antivirus already and don't want to be bothered with performing any tasks to ensure security. 

  For those that want to take hands on control of their antivirus security, check back next month when we will be announcing our favorite for the category of "Advanced Options."


Alright, it sounds like a politically incorrect joke, but it actually stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. "What is this" you ask? GNU is a name associated with a developmental Unix-like operating system, but is more commonly referred to for User Licensing - look it up. I won't even attempt to explain Image Manipulation or Program; basically, GIMP, in it's default setup, can be called a super powered baby Photoshop. 

Many, including myself, think that GIMP is better than Photoshop, especially if you become an active part of the GIMP community and share tools and tricks. An advanced user (not myself) can use GIMP to put Photoshop to shame. We use it mostly because it is much easier to learn than the rest and it comes pre-installed on some of our favorite flavors of the Linux Operating System. 

If you ever have need for some basic image manipulation tasks such as designing a logo or print document, we urge you to give GIMP a try. I will only ask that you try to contribute to the GIMP community; maybe a new Brush design or a script that combines a drop-shadow with lens-flare plus image skew & rotation to simulate the look of something baking in the sun - nice and easy!

Team Viewer

   Team Viewer logo                                   Team Viewer

We were recently turned on to Team Viewer through the power of the Google Search Engines. The long and short of it is that we had need to help a friend having some computer issues; among these issues, an inability to use remote assistance and/or remote desktop. 

Team Viewer  can connect to almost any PC regardless of location, Local Domain or operating system. It uses a unique number applied to the computer, instead of relying on an IP address. Users on both ends have control over access, so there is no worry of someone taking over your machine. 

Just for Fun


One of these is the new Windows 8 Logo, but one is the Flag of the Mexican Insurgents.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Let's Try This Again.

Consolidation and commitment. 

In an effort to make this a compelling and informative blog, I am hereby eliminating my pure tech blog, once found at, and rolling everything into this blog. Also required because I have moved to the United States, and can no longer own the .ca domain.

This blog will become mostly technology related, and most of that will be about Android. I am a huge Android fan and user, and slowly working on becoming a proficient developer. I hope you have as much fun with this as I will.

Before I get started, I will be dumping in a handful of posts carried over from KnownIssues, be ready for some computer tools....