Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Ultrabooks are Coming!!!

Ever since I was a young adult (don’t ask how long ago), I have had a fascination with the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that is held in Las Vegas (this year on January 10-13). Initially, my interest grew out of my appreciation for quality home audio equipment. As time went on it expanded to include video and the melting together of the two as surround sound brought the movie theater into the home. I have always dreamed about having the opportunity to attend CES, but since it is reserved for those who are involved in the consumer electronics industry and closed to the public, I knew I would probably never get there. This reality did not stop me from dreaming as I read news from the event in Stereo Review magazine.

Today, my interest in CES remains strong. But, while I once had to wait for the monthly magazine to arrive, I now have instant connection to the event through the convenience of our beloved Internet. I still read about CES in the magazines, but I now have the added resources of tech news apps, podcasts, and websites to assuage my thirst for information. This fascination that was birthed within me because of the home audio segment of electronic technology has evolved to an appreciation of all things tech. More recently this has included the latest computer and cellular communication devices; which again, we see melting together before our very eyes.

While it would seem appropriate to focus this week’s article on tablet computers; that is not the case. Tablets are so 2011! I always have my sights set on what’s ahead in anticipation of the next wave of technology. This year’s CES has garnered much excitement for a new category of computing technology called the Ultrabook. Falling somewhere between laptops, netbooks and tablets; the Ultrabook is a very thin notebook – think MacBook Air – that runs Windows, or perhaps a hybrid version of the Android operating system. Most of the major players (Lenovo, Acer, Asus, etc.) are, as we speak, rolling out their version of this new platform. Some have the one-piece aluminum framework that Apple brought to the game while others incorporate a lot of plastic in their construction. The choice of construction materials is reflected in the price that we consumers will see.

Some of the new Ultrabooks will be released with a traditional hard disk drive, while most will include the faster, more expensive solid state drive (SSD) – a storage drive with no moving parts (data is stored in flash memory, like it is on a flash drive).

Some Ultrabooks are geared toward keeping the costs low (around $600) while others, like Lenovo, are aiming their offering toward the high-end business user (at $1,500 plus). Keep in mind that prices are always higher for new technology and that these may come down in six months or so.

While some pride themselves on being early adopters of new technology, there is often wisdom in waiting for the next generation. In this case, a wait for the second half of 2012 may reward the consumer with a touch-screen system running the new Windows 8 operating system.

Is an Ultrabook right for you? Only you can answer that. The question would be, what are your computing needs? If you are looking for a full-featured laptop with a lot of storage space, the traditional laptop may be for you. But, if you are a very mobile person with a need for a thin, light-weight computer with a physical keyboard (as opposed to the on-screen virtual keyboard of the tablet computer), and have most of your data stored elsewhere; then an Ultrabook may be for you. When looking at your technology needs, it is always a good idea to start with what type of computing device best suits your working style.

2012 is stacking up to be a very exciting year for those of us with interest in technology. There are some really great things coming into view and you can be assured that we at CS Technologies Plus are standing ready to welcome them with open arms. Let us know if we can be of assistance to you in this new year.

Now, please excuse me while I go find out what’s next after the Ultrabook!

Randy Kightlinger

Computer Service Technician

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It’s an App World

With the massive popularity of the smartphones, software developers have inundated us with close to a million applications (affectionately referred to as Apps.). According to About.com, there are over 500,000 apps in the Apple Store. TheVerge.com estimated the Android market to be carrying over 400,000 apps to date. The market is estimated to have revenue over $15 billion in 2011, and is projected to have close to 185 billion downloads worldwide by 2014. Whether for work or fun, if you think it, there’s an app for it!

I don’t have a smartphone (yet), but I do have an iTouch, which is  capable of downloading a majority of the apps. My daughter is constantly downloading free apps to play with. My husband recently received a smartphone for work, and he’s scouring the Android marketplace for apps. I think it’s our favorite pastime in the Simmers household. Visiting the Apple App Store really passes the time while you are waiting in line at the grocery store.

There are paid apps, and free apps. Now the free apps aren’t really free. Many of them will start out free, then lure you in at the right moment, then they tell you to open up your pocket book (in this case, credit card), if you want to continue with the app. The free apps are a great way to try out the program for a few days, and see if you want to invest in having the full version.

At the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show in California, many apps were featured as the latest and greatest products in the industry. One notable is BlueStacks, which allows you to run Android apps in Windows 8, amazing! For a list of the new apps featured at the CES, click here .

I am always looking for the “coolest” new app out there, so I thought this would be a good way to ask my co-workers and family what their favorite apps are. So here they are, enjoy!

Linda Linneman: Keychain, Around Me
Melissa McTiernan: WeightWatcher Barcode Scanner
Holly Berlin: Facebook, Key Ring, Geoaching, QR Reader
Carol Smith: From the Couch to 5K, Geoaching, Map My Run, Pedometer, Emoji Icons
Sean Woodard: JL Audio’s SPL meter, Mocha Remote Desktop lite
Dave Warner: Time Clock
Randy Kightlinger: Evernote, Kindle Reader
Chrissy Le (me): YouTube, Kindle Reader, PDF Reader , Smurfs’ Village
Ruth Simmers (my 5 year old daughter): PBS Kids
Todd Simmers (my husband): My 3D

What’s your favorite App? We’d love to know. All comments are welcome!

Chrissy Le, Technology Marketing Specialist

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What Are You Doing?

In March, 2006 a public bulletin board, otherwise known as an online social networking and micro blogging service, called “Twitter” was created.  Twitter enables users to send and read text posts up to 140 characters.  Today, over 200 million users generate 300 million tweets and Twitter’s social networking service handles over 1.6 billion search inquiries per day. People tweet about what’s going on at work, what’s going on in their lives, just what’s going on. Twitter is a way to follow friends, industry experts, famous celebrities and what’s happening around the world. www.twitter.com

“Twitterers” or “Tweeters” send and receive short messages, called “tweets” on Twitters website, with instant messaging software, or with mobile phones. Unlike most text messages, tweets are routed among networks of friends.  Strangers, called followers, can also choose to receive the tweets of people they find interesting.

Twitter has become an important marketing tool for celebrities, politicians and businesses promoting a level of intimacy never before approached online. Is that really your favorite celebrity, politician or business owner tweeting? Well, it just could be, but in many cases there are lots of ghost writers, those who are the voices relaying the message of celebrities, politicians or a business. 

I am the twitter ghost writer for CS Technologies Plus @cstechplus. I try to tweet several times a week on behalf of my company, posting about specials/promotions, our employees accomplishments, blog announcements, customer appreciation notes, news related to technology, tidbits of information that might be helpful to our readers along with promoting local community events.

CS Technologies Plus Twitter Page

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Most technology savvy people can relate to Twitter, but to an average computer user (outside of the IT industry), understanding @symbols,# hashtags (#Friday13th), and other strange intricacies of Twitter can be a little overwhelming at times, even though the concept of 140 characters with the question “what are you doing?” seems so simple.  
 
I am a huge promoter of marketing your business (promoting your brand) via social marketing for a variety of reasons but my #1 reason is because it is “FREE” – #2 it helps you gain credibility in your field and #3 it helps you promote your products and services.  CS Technologies Plus has been on the forefront of the social marketing craze in our geographic area and it has paid off, we have gained business because of our social marketing efforts, which is another reason why I promote social networking, “I know it works”. 

What are your thoughts about tweeting? We would love to hear from you, if you are on twitter, be sure to follow us @cstechplus – here are some quotes from some of our twitter friends:

 @laurakellypifer I enjoy meeting and talking to others. I’ve meet some pretty AWESOME folks just from Twitter.

 @randykite I really like the versality of advanced Tweeting with #hashtags and connecting live with fans of reality TV.

 @cinnamonsueholt I tweet because I like people to know about CASA and coffee. Plus it keeps me in touch with the world.

 @jeanne16254 I tweet for lots of reasons,  work, friends, volunteer stuff, entertainment, school and others!

 Happy Tweeting!

 Holly Berlin, General Manager

Follow us on twitter at @cstechplus

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Search Engines and the Meaning of Life

I love the availability of information online. I love being able to search for anything and get some kind of answer. Whether the answer is accurate or not isn’t the point. The point is I get an answer.  The Internet Never Says Ask Your Dad/Mom.

And if I don’t like the answer I can search again. Or switch search engines. Much easier than switching parents.

Usually, though, I get distracted by the options search engines give me. Pretty soon, an hour (or two) disappears into the ether of the Internet. The other day, I was looking for a tag line to add to my email signature. Sounded simple enough.

Except I wanted it in Latin. And I wanted something along the lines of “don’t worry, be happy.” I don’t speak Latin, I don’t have any idea of the sentence structure or what verbs are the same as ours, so….off to Search Engine Land.

Since I know search engines come and go (very much like one-song-wonder singers), I thought I’d be efficient and look at the current state of search tools available. Search engines also specialize in the information they compile;: very much like a cookbook contains recipes while car repair manuals will have instructions on how to take your car to the garage for repair.

So, I typed ‘search engines’ into my preferred search provider. I was rewarded with 65,300,000 results (yes, that’s 65.3 MILLION). However, being the geek wannabe that I am, I quickly scanned the first three and discovered: Comprehensive list of Search Engines – The Search Engine List. http://www.thesearchenginelist.com.

So, I clicked on the link. There are something like 245 various search engines listed on this site. Fortunately, they are grouped by TYPE of search engine, i.e. all purpose, business, accounting, medical, blog…I didn’t know there were search engines that only look for blogs,

did you?

Naturally, I started reading some of the focus-of-search descriptions.  Grokker and Kart00 both look through the results from multiple search engines and then, using an algorithm (see definition on right),  present the results determined to be  most appropriate to your  query.

THIS I had to try.

Grokker didn’t load in the 15 nano-seconds I gave it so I moved on. Kart00 did load and I saw this:

Being intrigued with the possibility of a search engine that organized search engines, I clicked on Computers, High-tech and got this:

A Search Engine that philosophies about the areas it’s chosen to organize? This required more research. This required that I click on each item available to me on the home screen and see what philosophy and options I got. That was two days ago. I think the site was created by a French company.

Because I like seeing how thoroughly search engine developers program their engines, I typed in ‘meaning of life’.

Fortunately, the Internet Never Says You’re Wasting Your Time.

Ummm. Does anyone remember what I originally wanted to find?

As always, Your comments and ongoing discussions are always welcome.

Carol Smith,
Training Manager

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