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Showing posts from December, 2011

Use Cases for the tablet, phone, PC ecosystem

I have to realize that instead of just having only a computer anymore, as I did from 1979 to 2008 when I bought my first smart phone, I now have a computing ecosystem.  I use my phone, tablet and PC together.  Some are better then others for particular tasks, while each can step up and do most of the tasks of the others if need be.

My Family Tech column for January 1, 2012 (Facebook comments about column) is thoughts for the many people who received their first tablets on Christmas Day.  I promised a blog post talking about how you can use your tablet, and phone for that matter, to go beyond the basic tablet functionality of reading, watching videos and surfing the net.

The same holds true for phones.  A smart phone is really just a small tablet, connected to the 3g network (while some tablets are too, mine is wifi only).

Since April of 2010 I have used an iPad, since November of 2011, a Xoom Android tablet running Honeycomb.

By adding apps, usually free apps, I have added functionalit…

Capturing VHS with your Digital Camcorder

Sometimes I want to document a process so that when others search for a solution, they can find it.

I am converting nearly 20 home videos on VHS for someone we know to DVDs.  I have a Dazzle 90 for this, but unfortunately they do not have drivers for Windows 7.

I looked at buying a new capture device, but was put off by the many negative reviews many had on Amazon.

Then I hit on an idea.  I knew I could run the video from VHS into my Sony digital camcorder, and record to tape, then transfer those tapes via fire wire to my PC.  Was there a way to skip the recording and send the capture the signal the fire wire sends to the PC?

I re-discovered WinDV.    WinDV is a free app for the PC that captures videos coming in from fire wire devices.

Using it, I can play a VHS tape and the video flows out of the VHS to the input on my camcorder, then via fire wire to my PC.  WinDV captures it as .avi files.  Then I use a DVD program to make the DVD.

I hope this helps someone else with the same issue…

Would Nordstrom's sell the Macys catalog?

Can you imagine walking into Nordstrom's department store and find they sell a Macys catalog?  Wouldn't you be shocked to find a display featuring the benefits of Ford cars, in a Chevy dealer?
Yet, go into a Best Buy or Walmart and that is what you'll find--them actually selling a competitors catalog.
Both these companies are actively selling the Amazon Fire tablet this Christmas.  Haven't they used a Fire themselves?
The Fire is basically an Amazon catalog with tablet capability.  Amazon is selling it near cost; they are likely losing money on it.  The tablet is designed to show you products from Amazon, both electronic goods like streaming and downloadable music, movies, tv shows, and books, and real goods, that ship to you for free via 2 day Fedex the first month.  That is because the Fire comes with a month free of Amazon Prime.  Normally $79 a year, Prime gives you a year of 2 day shipping with no more cost on tens of thousands of the products Amazon sells.  
Sear…