Thursday, September 7, 2017

Samsung Chromebook Plus

my youngest is in 7th Grade now! holy shit.. she's been half-ass using the Gateway Netbook with Win7, but only 2GB and small 10 inch screen, and old as dirt at this point- she needed something new.. which meant I got to get something new!

school started Tuesday- I was hoping for delivery by then, but it came today. made sure everything synced properly, logged out of the ASUS, slid it across the counter and told her to log in! she just gained 3 inches of screen, 2GB more RAM and they live in Google-land at school, so all her stuff was right there within minutes. happy kid!

and happy Mom- the smaller size and lack of frame will visually take some getting used to, but so far, I love the Plus! gorgeous difference between the classic LED screen on the ASUS C300MA and the Gorilla Glass, smooth, crystal clear surface of the Plus. I like a dimmer screen, and this does not disappoint, without noticeable glare.

I downloaded the Kindle app and added a few books I've been wanting to read- I have an old Kindle Touch that I want to use, but it always loses it's charge by the time I get to it.

the hinges seem stiff. I enjoy the keyboard, for the most part- need some practice with the smaller format. touch pad is also of higher quality- feels less susceptible to finger residues.

Play Store is nice- grabbed Facebook Messenger and Instagram apps too- will surf around some more at a later time.

the iPearl case (in red) is en route- it does feel awkward to me to use in Tablet mode and feel the keyboard on the other side, makes me super cautious and therefore, my hold is uncomfortable. the iPearl case bottom easily snaps over the keyboard to avoid this issue.

I'm looking forward to using the Plus in Tent mode in the kitchen, instead of trying to scroll through read stuff from the Nexus 6P, especially with messy hands.

also excited to mess around with the Pen. touchscreen is responsive and I enjoy using it so far.

what pisses me off?
- the Backspace and Tab keys are mini.
- in Tablet mode, the virtual keyboard pops up in Sheets constantly- I hope there's a setting, as having to hit the down keyboard every time I swipe the screen is getting annoying.

4 hours in- seriously diggin it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

LG Watch Style

far more for curiosity than actual necessity. but so far has helped me walk the fuck away from my phone and avoid the surfing, time-wasting hell I am so easily sucked into almost every time I go to "just check notifications".

got here Monday, today (Wednesday) is the first all-day test. put it on at 6:30am- at 3pm battery is 80%. 6:30pm is 60%. 11pm set on the charger at 34%.
      used it throughout the day to send text messages using my voice, read notifications, install/uninstall apps, and look at the weather.

syncing with my phone was easy - install Android Wear from the Play Store and go through the steps. app gives you a better platform to make some personalized adjustments to your watch. I have yet to get into it. 

BT and WiFi are on- as far as I can tell, BT is the primary connection between my phone and the Style, but if I get out of the BT range and both phone and watch are on WiFi, my range is extended to the reach of WiFi. I like this.

I have gestures turned off.

to change the face or settings of your current face, swipe to the right or left. 

I've used the Quoti face- currently happy with Atoms. weather, calculator, battery, steps (click opens Fit) and Events. I like the swipe-down menu on the stock faces- options for Airplane Mode, what I assume is Sleep (have to press the side button to wake instead of touch the screen), DND, and Settings; also shows battery %, alarm icon if one is set, and the date. use the button to slide up from the main face to see any notifications. 

ANY notification my phone gets, shows up on the Style. if those notifications are set to vibrate on my phone, the Style will also vibrate, a little wrist tickle- having notification sounds is moot, as the Style has zero speakers- something I absolutely love about it.
      some notifications you can respond to- text, Facebook messages and email. others are read-only, but that is fine by me. 
      response method options are: Voice, Emoji or Keyboard. the keyboard is teenie tiny but fairly usable. you can program preset responses in addition to those already available.

Maps uses my phone's location, so I don't care about the lack of GPS.

I don't intentionally exercise, so I also don't care that the Style is missing a heart rate monitor.

long-press on the button brings up Google Assistant- just talk and she does her best- responses are displayed (no speaker).
      "text Andy"
      "how's your day going handsome"
make sure she got it right, edit if not, and click send
      "add paper towels to my shopping list" (adds to Google Assistant Shopping List)
      "show me my shopping list"
      "set a reminder for..." (adds to Reminders)
      "make a note..." (adds to Keep)

I'm sure it can do more stuff. for what I would use it for, this thing is pretty cool.

getting used to the weight of it- certainly not a Casio digital $12 work watch. quite thin for what it is. I have the Titanium color, and it does look slick. 

there are no open ports- it's said you can take a shower with it on, but I'm not going to test that. I did put on a screen protector and clean with a lens wipe before putting on the charger- a nifty little magnetic disk with USB connection and wall adapter.
      also replaced the included stupid-fancy Italian Leather band with a metal loop-type with strong magnetic closure. easy to adjust, take off, put on and I'm not worried about it falling off or catching on anything.

I'll update as I figure out more neet stuff this gadget can do. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

enter Nexus 6P

it was time. there's really nothing wrong with the Nexus 5.. but it was time to upgrade.

I really want the Pixel XL, but consistently out of stock, or a 3-4 week wait for shipping. so I went with the next best thing.

it's friggin huge. I'll get used to it.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

what can Google Home do?

I know there are other lists out there, but this one is mine, the commands that matter to us. will be ongoing..

-change volume to 50% on Whole House
-add to Shopping List
-where's the nearest ..
-what time is so-n-so open?
-how long will it take to get to ..

things we know she can do:

-interrupt a music stream to ask her what song it is, to add to shopping list, or a question and then right back into the stream
-recognize voices when playing trivia

what she says she's not able to do/help with yet:

-when a song is playing on one unit, "Hey Google play this on Whole House."
-sending a song to another unit, "Hey Google play this song on Bedroom."
-queuing the next song or album, "OK Google, que The Mollusk album by Ween," or "Hey Google, play the album Tidal next."

what I want her to do:

-add to the Shopping List on the main account from any unit "hey Google, add milk to Kitchen Shopping List."

-remember wtf she was doing before she stopped- if the pause is too long between commands or a song/album end, Groups drop and the whole conversation needs to be started again and worded correctly

-stop announcing the default music source "playing blah blah blah on Google Play Music" just play please..

Friday, December 2, 2016

how to play different music on separate Google Home units and also play in unison as a Group

I dove in. two Google Home units and a ChromeCast as my birthday present to myself this year- I deserve it, dammit. while I was at it, pre-ordered a 3 pack of Google WiFi- we have three floors we use equally, plus outside in the better weather. Time Warner sucks, we don't want to give them as much money... and the Powerline adapters work, but need reboots too often- looking forward to GWiFi.

my goals for Google Home:
- music everywhere in the house, on demand, with pretty much zero limitations on content
- the ability to have all GHome units play the same music at the same time throughout the house and in specified groups
- the ability to play different songs on separate units and groups
- play around with ChromeCast and services, get rid of TWC in whatever fashion possible
- easy access to the same information with less effort
- eventually get smart with the house in general
- and of course, stay the fuck offa our phones so much

all arrived today. I already have Play Music Unlimited. I have 3 gmail accounts in my phone and Chromebook. this came in handy.

set up the first as "Livingroom" and got to know her a little bit before finding a good spot in the living room. set the second unit up as "Basement" while in the kitchen, about 3-4 yards away from Livingroom. before I took her downstairs, got to know how far apart they should be, what happens with two in close proximity, how they play under the "Whole House" group, etc.

then my daughter came home. while I'm working in the basement enjoying The Beatles Love album, she asks for Twenty One Pilots "Heathens" in the living room and I get booted. nope. not cool. certainly not putting up with this.

let's see if this works..
I upgraded our Play subscription to the Family plan. I added my other gmail addresses as users. I added my other email addresses as users in the Google Home app on my Nexus 5. I deactivated the Basement unit from my main gmail account, switched to another account within the Home app and Set Up Basement on the other account. it remained in the Whole House group as a speaker, and as a Linked Device.

then we test.
- leaning down the stairs, "Hey Google, play Adele." Basement starts playing some Adele song.
- in the livingroom, "OK Google, play Heathens by Twenty One Pilots." starts playing. I can hear my daughter singing along as I lean back down the stairs, listening to Adele on Basement for the entirely of both songs.
- standing centrally and speaking loudly, "OK Google, STOP" and both units go silent.
- in the livingroom, "Hey Google, play Pearl Jam on Whole House." SUCCESS! Livingroom announces the action and Pearl Jam is playing the same song at the same time on both Basement and Livingroom.

costs $5 extra a month and a few minutes of your time.

note: while in the Home app on your phone, all devices are listed, regardless of current account shown. if you want to make changes, you do need to have the corresponding account selected within the Home app.

I'll be getting a few more units down the line. will set up under the main account, add to the groups I want, before switching to another account on my Play Family plan. and Taryn can have her own, on her own account in her own room for so many reasons.

next two projects:
- Hey Google, announce "blah blah blah" to Whole House and/or Hey Google, play "this song" on "this Home" (I had to play to the Whole House group to Rick Roll Andy in the basement LMAO)
- "OK Google, add "blah blah blah" to Kitchen Shopping List" from any Home unit

oh and Chromecast.. uuhh.. I'll play around with it a little more, but I don't think it fits us- we'd have to keep TWC just to be able to log into all the apps, everyone would need the apps on their phones.. nah.. we're better off with PS Vue for what we wanna do.

Monday, July 7, 2014

more thoughts on Powerline networking

I've done more research and read more reviews.. it is happening, but the brand and model is still under configuration.

we're planning on getting the wireless router from TWC- only to keep the mess down. I can turn off the wireless function in my current router and use it as 4 solid ports in the basement for my computer, the PS4, etc. but then the computer won't be able to talk to any of the other media outlets on the network.

will need 3 kits- Powerline base off the router in the livingroom, adapter in the basement, in both the girls' rooms, in the master bedroom..

I want to do this right and have everything working together as we're used to: I'll just have to splurge on a 4-port switch adapter. glad all HomePlug AV compliant work together!

the house is wired to one box in the basement- reading about adapters being on the same circuit to work best.. what exactly does this mean?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

battery testing

one of the major concerns I read regarding the Nexus 5 was the battery life.

my slab of awesome was born 4/21/14. I took screen shots when my battery got to about 50%.