ASUS' Transformer Book Duet–Dual Identity

imageIf you are not sure whether you want a tablet or notebook, whether you want to use it with Android or Microsoft Windows then maybe this will help you with that decision. The Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300 is a 13.3 inch PC with dual OS. It is a tablet that comes bundled with a keyboard dock that has its own hard drive and ports. The real interesting thing about this unit is that it will run both Android 4.2 and Windows 8.1 on the fly whether you are in tablet mode or laptop mode.

This is a pretty nice little machine running an Intel Core I7 processor, 4GB RAM, 13.3 inch screen that supports 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, 128GB SSD in the tablet and 1TB hard drive in the keyboard. The unit weighs in at 4.1 pounds which is a little heavy for an UltraBook, and is about half an inch thick. This is very comparable to a Surface Pro 2 in weight but a little thicker. There’s also the usual array of extras, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR, a headphone jack, 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 10/100Mbit/s LAN, an HDMI 1.4 output, and support for MicroSD cards.

The real kicker here is that ability for the unit to instantly switch between Android and Windows 8.1. That’s nice for those of us that need to be able to switch back and forth at a whim but it doesn’t sound like they will include some of the nice features of the Samsung Ativ Q which allows you to pin Android apps to the Windows Start Screen. Starting at $599 this looks like it might be very interesting indeed. There has not been a launch date as of yet but this looks like a nice alternative to having two different devices.


Google jumps into the Home Automation Pool

imageGoogle with all that cash in their pocket is letting some of it go to acquire Nest for $3.2 billion. Nest makes smart thermostats and smoke alarms for the home and with all the focus at CES 2014 on Home Automation devices it isn’t surprising the Google grabbing someone like Nest.

Look at the ZDNet article by Larry Dignan for more detail on the acquisition and what it means for Google and the industry at large. He shows some interesting insight on how Google may use this acquisition and what it means for us consumers.

Nest Announcemant:


Nexus 2013 7 inch tablet

imageI was so happy with the fact that Google allowed me to send back my original Nexus 7 inch tablet for credit when for the third time it became a brick. I had to applaud them for standing by their customer, me, and making the purchase of this product right. I must say that the new tablet is much faster, has a camera on the back which I use a lot for things around the office and doing site surveys at customer sites and I have not run into any memory limitations as of yet but I am very picky about what I put onto it. I would have like the option of an SD card slot where I could add additional memory if I wanted but it is not a deal breaker for me obviously. If you make judicious use of the available cloud storage you should be fine. I have thrown all my music up to the Amazon cloud and I am able to access that from any device that use including my phone (Samsung Note II), ASUS TF300T, iPad 1 & 2, and any computer I lay my hands on.

Another surprise I had with the new design is how loud the stereo speakers are on this unit. It makes it nice to set it beside me to listen to audio books while I am working on different things in the house. I also purchased a nice simple case that has a magnet built into the front flap that acts just like the iPad magnetic cover does to turn on and off the unit. This is a quick way for me to turn of the screen display while a sound application is running that helps to cut down battery drain on the unit. When I open the cover it immediately turns on at the sign in screen to prevent unauthorized access.

This has become my go to tablet now for most everything I do. It is small enough to fit in my pocket, fit on the shelf in my car and have a large enough screen to allow me to see a movie, read a book or do some simple notes on a project. With the mail and calendar programs I use it makes it very easy to continue to communicate with the outside world and whenever I need an instant hotspot I can fire up my Verizon hotspot real quick to acquire that capability for any of the devices that I carry. I have no longer included 4G as an option to any of my device except my phone because you normally don’t need it except for short exceptions. It is much simpler to have just one plan for this purpose that I have to manage and take care of all of the machines I own.

This would probably be a good time to go over the list of apps that I use on my tablets. I choose most of them by whether they will do the job for me but I refine that to include those apps that are available on both Android as well as iOS and if possible have a browser or desktop application as well.

For the Office I use: Evernote, OneNote, OnLive Desktop, Dropbox, SkyDrive, Pocket, RingCentral, Keep, Fill and Sign PDF Forms, Lync 2013, Feedly, Adobe Reader, LogMeIn, Instapaper, Outlook Web App, Messaging,  and Skype.

For Personal and Entertainment: Amazon Kindle, Amazon MP3, Audible, BeyondPod, Cozi, Hulu Plus, Pepperplate, Roku, Scrabble, SmugMugMobile, SquareSpace, Xfinity TV, NetFlix, WatchESPN, Plex.

I’ll go into more detail on how I use some of these programs in another posting. I hope this gives you some insight on using a tablet and maybe some detail on the Nexus 7 if this is one of those tablets that you are thinking or purchasing.Let me know how you are using your tablets for work and play, I would really like to know.


What are the Highlights of CES2014 this year?


If you take a census of opinions by looking at everyone’s articles it appears that there were a lot of pretty Bluetooth Speakers being shown, there was quite a bit of Wearable Tech for all of you Dick Tracy’s out there, T-Mobile made some major headlines with their offerings and their antics, many more options are becoming available for having your own personal HUD using smart glasses and small projectors.

Audi and other auto manufacturer’s were showing off their future options from infotainment to self parking cars. Really neat stuff and things I want in my car but not much about pricing or availability yet. The future looks very interesting with all that is coming.

Samsung still seems to be the leader out there with their TV offerings. Curved TV’s are all the wave and Samsung’s 85 inch screen that has a mechanism built in to bend the screen to your liking is strange in concept to me but is an interesting method of giving you this capability.

Sony was showing off a short throw projector unit with built in speakers that made me drool a little until I heard the price tag of 10’s of thousands of dollars. Great concept but ouch to my wallet. It can scale up to 120 inch 4k display. because it is a short throw you can walk right up to it with blocking the image. Probably should be considered as an event type unit because of both the cost and function.

Streaming media was a big subject as well and one of my favorites is the Roku technology and they are now partnering with TV manufacturers to build their technology right into your TV. As you may know, most Smart TV's are never updated so whatever you have when you buy your system is what you are stuck with. Roku is trying to change this.

A modular gaming server was shown that is a cool idea but it is a really boutique type setup. Hmmmm. Maybe I am just getting too old. There were lots of new controllers to choose from to fit the needs of just about anyone. Other items in the game arena is the offering of different options to access the Steam Gaming Network.

Home automation is coming around again. Intel had made a big initiative in this area many years ago and we went so far as to put together an example of a digital home demo  in the building we now use for other purposes. Maybe this is the year that we are going to finally see it coming to the masses.


Wanting to get a new phone-T-Mobile may make it easier to swallow the cost.

imageIf you are a technology geek like me you are always looking for new product that makes your life easier and more enjoyable and… you just want the newest stuff! If t-Mobile’s service will work for you, then their offer to pay your early termination fees if you jump from a rival carrier might make that move a lot less painful in your wallet.

The bold move is the next phase of T-Mobile's so-called "Uncarrier" strategy. The company says it will pay early-termination fees for customers when they trade in their devices with T-Mobile and sign up for T-Mobile wireless service. T-Mobile said the total value of the trade-in offer to switch carriers could be as high as $650 per line.
Read more:

Take a look at the article cited above but this really sounds interesting and makes one wonder how much longer the other carriers will continue with the overpriced/outdated services.


Audi shows integrated Android tablet at CES

imageAudi already integrates Google Earth into its navigation system. The Open Auto Alliance means a lot more Google technology will arrive, and at GM, Honda, and Hyundai, too. Audi showed a 10 inch Android based tablet in their console that would control both vehicle services and entertainment. The OAA is dedicated to using a common platform that will drive innovation and make technology safer and easier to us for everyone.

Audi did not provide details as to availability or cost, but the demonstration worked seamlessly. The tablet will likely coincide with the new TT model, which does away with a central LCD in favor of a virtual instrument cluster showing gauges and infotainment functions. The TT cockpit does not allow for a passenger to control infotainment functions, making the tablet a perfect adjunct.
Read more:

With an open environment like Android the case can be made for easier innovation to be delivered easy and quickly to your automobile. This will allow you to pick those applications that make sense for your use case, and make you car driving experience even more personal and enjoyable.

The partnership also could help pave the way for incorporation of Google's self-driving car technology. Even if that technology doesn't use Android itself, the OAA is a tight technology partnership for essential computing services, and that could make it easier to rely further on Google technology.
Read more:


Scanadu–CES 2014

imageI have a medical background so anything that hints of futuristic health care devices catches my attention. The small device shown in the picture to the right takes 10 seconds to provide a quick vitals workup. This device plans to give you the ability to keep up on your personal health easily. The information is planned to be captured and be available to you over a period of time allowing you to track changes in these readings and compare them to your life changes. This would then give you the ability to see some cause and effect situations that might not be captured otherwise.

They wanted this device to be as easy to use as a thermometer but to give you real information. Watch Engadget’s interview from CES 2014 to get more in depth information.


The new Linksys is looking a lot like the old one…

imageIt is hard to believe that it is a full year since Belkin purchased the home networking division of Linksys from Cisco but there it is…

At CES this week Linksys is showing a version design of its WRT1900AC dual band WiFi router that appears to be inspired by the original WRT54G. The planned retail price of this unit is $299.99 and is updated from the old series of routers to support 802.11ac. It has four antennas now with a faster 1.2GHz processor, eSATA and USB 2.0/3.0 connectivity ports and four gigabit LAN ports. Maximum throughput will be 1.3 Gbps on the 5GHz band and up to 6700Mpbs on the 2.4GHz band.

The WRT1900AC is also the first Linksys router to include a Network Map feature designed to provide a simpler way of managing settings of each device connected to the network. Linksys VP Mike Chen justified the $300 price tag by saying in the announcement that the WRT1900AC "will be the most powerful router in its class on the market. We have spared no technology expense to make this router a prosumers’ dream."


Toshiba Chromebook

imageNow Toshiba is getting into the Chromebook market with a 13.3” Haswell system. Proposed price is $279 and will sport a dual-core Celeron, 2GB of RAM, dual-band 802.11n WiFi, (2) USB 3.0, (1) HDMI, (1) card reader port and 16GB SSD which puts its specs on the same level as most of the Haswell Chomebooks on the market at the moment. Some other models have up to 4GB of RAM but since Chrome is not a memory intensive operating system having a little less probably won’t matter. Rated at 9 hours of battery life will make this a very useful during a hardworking day.

Toshiba is hoping to differentiate itself from their competitors by offering a 13.3 inch screen as compared to most of the other units at 11 inches. The display resolution will be about the same, 1366x768, a larger screen will probably help with productivity. You know, as we get older, the bigger the characters the better. Weight is in between 11 inch and 14 inch systems being just over 3 pounds. If you are looking at purchasing a Chromebook this might be a good option. Should become available around February 16th.


Garmin shows off HUD concept at CES

imagePart of the I can hardly wait category of products that are floating around CES this week is this concept only item from Garmin. As reported by engadget yesterday this item looks like something that you may want in your next vehicle purchase…

Garmin's been on a real heads-up display kick as of late. Back in September, the company showed off a bit of dash-mounted hardware for $150 a pop. Now the navigation giant's looking, ahem, ahead a bit, with a concept targeted specifically toward automakers -- meaning that you likely won't be installing this on your own car after purchase. Instead, the system works with with a proximity sensor and buttons built into a steering wheel, letting you activate routes, check traffic info, change stations or start a call, all without having to take your eyes off the road in front of you.


PR: Belkin WeMo Products


WeMo LED Lighting, WeMo Maker to launch this spring alongside the Crock-Pot® Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo

Playa Vista, Calif. – January 06, 2014 – Continuing to evolve the WeMo platform of simple, ingenious connected home products, Belkin today announced a slate of new WeMo devices including the WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set and WeMo Smart LED Bulbs, the WeMo Maker Kit, and Crock-Pot SmartSlow Cooker. Also on tap for the WeMo line at CES is a revised Android and iOS app offering improved functionality and enhanced lighting features. Belkin’s new WeMo line-up will be on display at PepCom's Digital Experience!, on January 6, 2014 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino and will be on display at the Belkin’s booth, South Hall 3 #30451, from January 7-10, 2014.

“Since first launching at the 2012 International CES, WeMo has become a major player in the connected home thanks to its simple, scalable, and affordable nature – words not typically associated with the connected home,” said Ohad Zeira, director of product management for WeMo. “As the most approachable entry point into the Smart Home, we are excited to introduce new products and app upgrades in 2014 that will continue that trend, as well as grow our business with Jarden Consumer Solutions and future partners to expand WeMo’s presence throughout the house.”

Belkin's new LED Lighting Starter Set and WeMo Smart LED Bulbs allow you to control, schedule and dim your smart LED bulbs from anywhere. As easy as replacing a standard light bulb, the WeMo Smart LED Bulbs work through the WeMo Link and are controlled via Wi-Fi and the WeMo app. The long-lasting bulbs are 60-watt equivalent with 800 Lumens and 3000 Kelvin for a bright, pleasing warm white light. Fully dimmable, WeMo Smart LED Bulbs can be controlled individually or in groups. The WeMo LED Starter Set includes two LED Smart Bulbs and a WeMo Link, which can support up to 50 individual Smart bulbs. Individual WeMo Smart LED bulbs also will be sold separately.

WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set (F5Z0489) - $129.99
WeMo Smart LED Bulbs (F7C033) - $39.99

  • Turn lights on/off or schedule from anywhere
  • Fully dimmable
  • 60W equivalent bulbs last up to 23 years
  • Vacation mode automatically turns lights on/off to simulate occupancy
  • Dim to sleep – gradually dim lights to fall asleep more naturally
  • Warm white light similar to incandescent bulbs
  • Works with the WeMo app, available for Android or iOS

The WeMo Maker empowers DIYers to build their own WeMo solutions by adding Internet connectivity to any device controlled with a DC switch, such as research robotics, motors, sprinkler systems, antennas, and more. A small module that wires into low voltage devices, WeMo Maker also lets you monitor and manage a wide range of 5V DC sensors from anywhere using a smartphone or tablet. WeMo Maker is controlled via the same free WeMo app as existing WeMo products and integrates seamlessly within the WeMo ecosystem, allowing you to create schedules or automatically control the WeMo Maker with sensor inputs. Deactivate your sprinkler system if moisture is detected or open the blinds at sunrise from Monday to Friday. WeMo Maker also works with IFTTT, which lets you create specialized recipes bringing the Internet of Things to your fingertips.

Also debuting at the 2014 International CES, the WeMo-enabled Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker is the first WeMo equipped product stemming from Belkin’s collaboration with Jarden Consumer Solutions, a family of household appliance brands. The Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker is the first smartphone controllable slow cooker, which allows you to adjust the cooker’s settings from anywhere giving you greater flexibility and control over life’s unexpected moments. Receive reminders, change the cooking time, adjust the temperature or check the status of your dish while you are away through the WeMo app and come home to a perfectly cooked meal whenever you want it, even if you have to work late or practice runs over schedule. Additional Jarden Consumer Solutions co-branded products on display at the Belkin booth include the Mr. Coffee® Smart Coffee Maker enabled with WeMo, the HOLMES® Holmes Smart Console Space Heater enabled with WeMo, the HOLMES® Smart Console Humidifier enabled with WeMo, and the HOLMES® Holmes Smart Air Purifier enabled with WeMo.

Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker enabled with WeMo - $99.99

  • Turn on/off, change temperature or time settings from anywhere
  • Receive reminders
  • Timer calculates cook times and process
  • Works with the WeMo app for iOS or Android
  • Manual control option

Aside from growing the WeMo product family in 2014, Belkin also will upgrade the award winning WeMo app to include a customizable long press gesture for the WeMo Light Switch, enhanced sunrise/sunset rules to select a time before or after sunset/sunrise, a simulated occupancy or vacation mode setting and a countdown timer.

The WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set, WeMo Smart LED Bulbs Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker enabled with WeMo and WeMo Maker Kit will be available in spring 2014. The latest version of the WeMo app with the upgraded features will launch in February for both Android and iOS.

Belkin at CES
Visit Belkin at the 2014 International CES in booth #30451 in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center or on the Web. To schedule a booth tour or an appointment with a Belkin representative, please call Leah Polk at 202-213-4464.

About Belkin International, Inc.
To learn more about Belkin, visit Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter at


PCmover Announcement

Press Release:

Lately, Windows users have been discovering issues with using Windows Easy Transfer to upgrade from their old Windows PCs to a new Windows 8.1 PC. Microsoft has since come out in official forums stating that they are reducing support for Windows Easy Transfer in favor of promoting the cloud. This diminished support is seen through the incompatibility with Windows XP and Windows Vista users, as well as the ability to only transfer over data files by using only an external hard drive or USB. Unfortunately, this leaves many Windows users unable to transfer over their old documents, music, settings without a great deal of hassle and extra work. Programs will have to be re-downloaded and installed, serial numbers will need to be dug up, and the transfer process will be a long, grueling one. With support for Windows XP ending this April, many XP users will be looking to make the upgrade to Windows 8.1, but won’t find any help in getting there.

Laplink is aware of customers’ concerns over upgrading or migrating to a new PC and is now offering PCmover Home for free to any user moving from a Windows XP to Windows 8.1. We’re also offering several discounts to help alleviate Windows users’ worries over upgrading. Attached you’ll find our press release, where you can find more information on how PCmover is providing the solution to the Windows Easy Transfer Problem.


Use Windows Easy Transfer over a network to migrate from XP to Windows 8

This hand article from TechRepublic discusses the use of Windows 8’s Windows Easy Transfer tool. If you are planning the big move before Windows XP’s support vanishes next April then this may be helpful to you. While not 100% this will help with the process. One of the drawbacks of using this tool is that it does not transfer applications.This means that you will have to manually reinstall those applications that you are using to access the data.

Another product available out there for you to use is a program from LapLink called LapLink PCmover that we have had pretty good luck with migrating not only your settings and data but also most of your applications. This is very handy and if you wish to purchase a copy for yourself it only costs $59.95. So if you are ready to make the big move to either Windows 7 or 8 from your XP machine this may be a product you’ll want to add to your toolbox.

  • Easy-to-Use Wizard
  • Now Includes Free Transfer Assistance!
  • Set it and Forget it
  • Undo Feature
  • Complete Selectivity
  • Multiple Transfer Scenarios
  • User Profile Selectivity

Photos of the Day: LA students get iPads, crack firewall, play games

imageThis is an interesting article from John Rogers of Associated Press. I picked it up from ECN  but it discusses the issues with the iPad roll out in the Los Angeles public school district. They are planning on putting iPads into the hands of their 650,000 students but apparently have not put much thought into security and locking down the devices for what they were intended for. See the full article here.

This is not the only issue that these implementations bring to a head as more and more schools are allowing for wireless connections within their facilities from BYOD (bring your own device) policies. Congestion and control of what is being accessed is also an issue and needs to be addressed as well. Several of the companies that we have partnered with provides us with Best of Class products to implement this kind of control.

Talk to your PAConnect Representative about how we can help you design a system for you.


Lexmark Printer Promotion


Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom CC Deal

imageEveryone seems to be migrating towards monthly revenue models and Adobe is one of the leaders with this model. Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC) has been available for a while now and if you are CS3 or higher owner you are eligible are eligible for a special Creative Cloud membership offer that includes all of the following for just $9.99/month: Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, 20 GB of online storage, Behance ProSite, access to Creative Cloud training resources, and ongoing upgrades and updates. To be clear, $9.99 is not an introductory price. It is the price for those who sign up by December 31, 2013. This offer will be available the week of September 16th at the same time we introduce the new version of Lightroom 5.2. 

I haven’t seen it populate their site yet but keep you eyes open for this to become available. For those of you who only need Photoshop and Lightroom this is a very good deal. Normally Photoshop alone is $19.99/month but to have all of this bundled together for half the price it is hard to beat the price.


Nexus 7 - 2013

imageMy Nexus 7 died again for the third time so Google agreed to refund my money, took about two weeks for the credit to show up, and I used the credit towards buying a newer model of the Nexus 7. The two biggest differences that I have seen so far is the much better screen display and something I really wish the first generation had, a rear-facing camera. The stereo speakers seem a little louder to me and I was very impressed with how easily it moved all of my programs over to it from my Google account. Of course login’s and passwords didn’t come over but the most of the programs that I use did.

There were three models to choose from. The first two are Wi-Fi only and are differentiated by memory (16gb or 32gb) and the third is 32gb, LTE (T-Mobile) and Wi-Fi. I chose the 32gb Wi-Fi only for my updated unit, first I wanted to make sure I had as much room on it as possible and these days I am not getting anything but Wi-Fi since I have both a Verizon hotspot that I carry around with me and my phone (AT&T) will tether as a hotspot as well. While a little more expensive than the generation 1 version the addition of the camera makes a big difference to me and the way that I plan to use it. It is important to me as a work device to help me document site surveys but the absence of the ability to add external memory cards or USB sticks to it is the one thing that would really have liked to see included that was not.


I am impressed with the graphics, everything is much crisper and the sound coming from the stereo speakers seem adequate for personal use. While I haven’t directly timed battery life as of yet, it seems fairly decent. We streamed one of our audio shows for about 4 hours yesterday and at the end it showed about 43% battery life still available. When you consider that was coming over Wi-Fi the whole time and connecting to a Bluetooth speaker for it’s output that seems to be pretty good with that much over the air wireless activity. It feels a little heavier to me and also feels more substantial as compared to the earlier version. I’m sure the battery has something to do with the weight (.64 lbs.) but  it feels like a better quality machine then the first generation.

First impression: You see nothing but smiles from me. I’ll report back with more info as I use it more.


I’m back!

Sorry that I have so quiet for the past month. I had been using my early morning  hours to do my research and writing but lately I have taken to the small screens and either catching up on some old TV shows and/or working on our service board and email to get an early start on the day’s work. Also, a couple of games have become part of my morning and evening rituals and I have had to delete them because they had become so addicting. So, hopefully I am back and will be writing about some of my new additions of hardware that I have acquired and am exploring.


Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 support ends April 8, 2014. So, what does this mean to you?


Those of us in business environments are going to be the most affected, especially if you are in industries that require your company to maintain certain compliancy's. CPA firms, Law Firms, Banking and other Financial Institutions, Investment Advisors, Medical Offices and other facilities. If you fall under HIPPA requirements this is going to be an issue for you.

But are these the only issues? No! Software companies are constantly updating their software and they are going to stop support of their software on XP based systems. They will not want to expose themselves to the exploits that will become rampant after the end of support by Microsoft. But it isn’t going to be just software but also hardware manufacturers will also stop creating drivers for the products to be supported on this older technology. We have seen it with every discontinued Microsoft Operating System. So begin thinking about want you are going to do to get yourself up to date before it is too late.


The DOJ is poised to really slap Apple for its eBook price fixing case

imageThe terms of the proposed settlement in the Apple e-book price fixing case were published on Friday by the Justice Department. An article by Neil Hughes posted at stated that:

The DOJ said the change would allow consumers on the iPad and iPhone to "easily compare Apple's prices with those of its competitors." Currently, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases made through App Store software, and does not allow developers to circumvent this rule by linking to a website for purchases.

According to the DOJ statement:

"Under the department’s proposed order, Apple's illegal conduct will cease and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition in the future." - Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division”

The result of this would be that Apple would be required to terminate its existing e-book agreements with the (5) major publishers that were originally cited for conspiring to fix prices. Those publishers were Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group,  Macmillan, Penguin Group, and HarperCollins Publishers. This settlement may also include other digital media products that Apple sells as well including music, movies, television, etc…

It will interesting if the proposal made public on Friday will be approved by the court but if it is, there could be some serious ramifications to Apple in the near future hitting them directly on the bottom line.

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