My New iPad

After 2 years of shopping around for tablets, I finally purchased an iPad 3 aka The New iPad.

I was going to mention what took me so long to purchase the iPad, but it is a boring story about saving money, looking at tablets at least once a month, reading blogs about with everyone’s opinion, and just waiting for the tablet that had all the right features. For a few months, I thought the Asus Transformer 201 was the right device. Nvidia quad core processor, Ice-cream sandwich for the OS, and the optional keyboard to “transform” into a netbook.

New iPad
New iPad (Photo credit: sidduz)

But when I compared the iPad 3 to the Transformer 201, I felt the iPad was a better tablet. Yes, the iPad was more expensive, but over the last year I was becoming more use to the IOS interface, providing support for iPhones and iPads at work, and I really like my iPod. I have also noticed when I need to check my personal email away from home, or look at the calendar, I usually went to the iPod over my Android phone. Plus my Android phone needs to be replaced. Too many lock ups with apps, and I have to reboot it once a day.

I love my new iPad! I have used it every day for the last week for work and home. I take it to work and use Evernote to take notes of computers that I’m working on, use AIM app to keep in touch with colleagues and friends, listen to music, and attend web meetings with AT&T Connect. Plus several customers at work have made suggestions on apps and other accessories. I purchased a case at Amazon.com called the Bear Motion, in black. The case props up the iPad at a good angle for typing (writing this post on the iPad now), and for video calls using FaceTime.

I don’t have any major issues or complaints about the iPad. I do want to find a good office suite for the iPad, and it would be nice if Microsoft would realse a version of Office for the iPad. I know Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are available. I had several colleagues recommend Documents To Go as an option. However, after all these years of trying different office suites, nothing compares to Microsoft Office. It is a standard, and I’m familiar with the programs.

I would recommend the iPad to anyone, but i also tell people to look at all the options. They might like an Android or Windows tablet over the iPad. Maybe picking up the iPad 2 would be a better option for someone instead.

Now, let’s see if I can figure out how to upload a few screenshots I made last week using the WordPress app.

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Lock screen for my iPad. Feels like a Star Trek Univerise
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Second home screen from march 31st
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Home screen from April 7th.

Ubuntu 10.10 on Work Notebook

Last year when a new IT Service company took over the contract from another IT Service company I was working for, they issued a new Dell Latitude E6400 notebook to each of us.  This PC is not the beefiest notebook from Dell, but this is not a review of the PC.   The notebook specs are:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53GHz
  • 2GB RAM (upgraded to 4GB by employer)
  • Intel Video
  • CDR / DVD ROM
  • 14″ Screen
  • SD Card Reader
  • Intel network

The PC came with Windows 7 x32, Symantec EndPoint 11, MS Office 2007, and a few other applications.  Being a good IT technician, I used Symantec Ghost to create a backup image the day it was delivered.  At first I left the PC as is and installed a bunch of software to support the client.  After a year of hard use, computer was having problems booting or just being stable.  In no way is this a bash of Windows 7.  I like Windows 7 but the system needed a rebuild and it was time to try something that’s been on my mind.

After sending an e-mail to my manager asking for access to the ftp server to download MS Office 2007 and Symantec EndPoint 11, I wiped out the HDD and installed Ubuntu 10.10 x64.  With a 64 bit OS, I can use the full 4GB of RAM.  Just like before, installation took about 20 minutes, and everything worked without having to install additional drivers.  Since the client I’m working for has started to roll out Windows 7 x64, I wanted the same for my VM.  Running Windows 7 x32 would be all that I need for the VM, but as I found out over the last 5 months, some applications that work in the 32bit environment will not work in a 64bit environment.  Sometimes you need the native 64bit software to install or work correctly.

So I chose VMware Player to run Windows 7 x64.  The VM is configured for 2.5 GB of RAM, 2 processors, with the NIC configured at bridged for DNS registration.  After activating Windows 7 x64, the system was ready for MS Office 2007 and Symantec EndPoint 11.  While waiting for may manager, I installed Banshee, Filezilla, Terminal Server Client, Google Chrome, Adobe Air, Tweetdeck, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Gimp, Skype, VLC, Ubuntu Tweak, Shutter, modified my Pictures Screensaver, plus a bunch of minor configurations I use for Ubuntu.  After several days of using Outlook Web Access (OWA), I finally received my email with the server information and software keys.

So now I am supporting my client with Ubuntu 10.10 x64 at work.  I can honestly say Ubuntu is ready for the IT professional in a real world environment.  I have three different Microsoft Windows vms for supporting two non-trusting domains, covering x32 and x64 operating systems.  Due to the limited resources on my notebook, I can only run one VM at a time, but that’s OK.  There is a second Linux computer constantly running a Windows XP x32 OS which I use to manage one of the domains.

The nice thing about my setup is the dual monitors.  The default screen is the notebook display, the second screen I use for my VMs or if I need to focus on a particular task.  I usually run Banshee and Empathy IM on the small LCD, Tweetdeck minimized, and Google Chrome for all my personal stuff.  Terminal Server Client is used to connect to the three Windows 2003 or 2008 severs I support orto VNC into a Windows XP workstation.  Plus the other techs at work were impressed with what I accomplished.

So give Ubuntu or any Linux distro a shot at work for a month.  If you plan it a little, you can have your system running Linux with a VM or two to meet your clients needs.

Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas everyone!  And for those who do not celebrate Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays!

As I write this,I am watching my son play with his Stealth Flyer II Micro wireless helicopter and my daughter playing with the Leapster Explorer.  The kids had a great Christmas.  They got up about 6:30 AM, which is not too bad.  I remember getting up at 5:00 AM and trying to get my parents out of bed to open gifts Santa Claus brought.  One disappointment was the Leapster game we bought, no game cartridge was inside.  Not to happy with the LeapFrog company right now.  I wonder how my return experience at Best Buy will be?

I also have been using using Skype video to talk with my in-laws.  For some reason I had the wrong sound card set for Ubuntu which cause the internal mic not to work.  No problems, I rebooted into Windows 7 and ran Skype for our call.  After the call, I rebooted back into Ubuntu and researched the problem.  That’s when I found out I had the wrong profile.  I switched to Analog Stereo Duplex enabled me to select the internal mic.  I tested using the Droid with my account and Ubuntu with my wife’s account.  Audio and texting worked, now I’m ready for my next call.

Tonight we’ll have spiral cut ham, scalloped potatoes, and green beans for dinner.  Maybe we’ll drive around the neighborhood to see all the lights one the houses, watch some movies, and play some more games.  Either way I am enjoying my days off with the family.

UPDATE:

On December 26th I waited in line at Best Buy to return the LeapFrog game and explain the situation.  After listening to the manager tell me he will do me the favor since I bought the game at another Best Buy store, he exchanged it for me.  He made it seem like it was a huge inconvenience.  Now my daughter can enjoy the Leapster Explorer.

Google Voice added to Gmail

Image representing Google Voice as depicted in...
Image via CrunchBase

About a year ago I signed up for Google Voice.  At first I was a little skeptical about how well this would work.  Do I really need another number for people to call me on, and what can I do with it.  Well, I’ve used my Google Voice number as a primary contact number for people to reach me instead of my cell phone.

The client I currently work for has a shielded building.  You can not receive a cell phone signal no matter how close you are to the windows.  But what if I daycare needs to call me because of an emergency.  Sure I can give them my office number, but I work at two different sites.  They aren’t going to know where I am today.  That’s where Google Voice comes in.  I can give them one number and it will ring multiple phones at different times of the day.

Now Google Voice is connected to my Gmail account.  When I access my Gmail account in Google Chrome, I can use my headset and call from my PC to any landline number in the United States and Canada for free.  I can use the Google Voice mail system to store the messages, and enable all kinds of features.

One feature that I don’t think works all that well is voice mail transcription.  I dumped that feature back in October 2009 after several failures.  The transcriptions didn’t come close top what the message was.  I might look into it again.

I’ve not tried the Google Voice extension / plug-in with Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Opera on my Windows 7 PC or my Ubuntu Linux notebook at home.  I’ll try it out this weekend to see how well the video chat works compared to Skype.  Maybe I’ll switch over to Google Voice for everything and use Skype as a backup.