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Showing posts from September, 2015

Family Tech: You are not walking home alone if you have a companion app - September 25, 2015

The young college student was startled to hear her college library was closing. “Midnight, already?” she said.

She dreaded walking across campus to her dorm alone so late. Bad things had happened recently on campus.

A guy emerged from a bar and realized he was further from his apartment that he had planned and had had a couple more beers then he should. The streets would be full of other drunken guys and he’d seen fights over trivial things.

If you know anyone who has to take risky walks, there is a new class of apps to help keep them safe.

I first read about Companion Safety App in a “Business Insider” article a few weeks ago. I took the unusual step of posting about it first at because I was so certain it could help someone and I wanted to gain some feedback on this class of apps before writing about them here.

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Family Tech: Good geek month – lots of new products coming - September 18, 2015

September is a good geek month. Apple usually announces new iPhones and iPads this month; and they didn’t disappoint this year.

And later in the month, Google is expected to announce new Nexus phones.

The most interesting thing is Apple announced the iPad Pro, a 12.9-inch version. Standard iPads are 9.7 inches. 

The Pro model is aimed at Microsoft’s Surface market – a powerful tablet with a near laptop-sized screen. It can be mated to a keyboard for a laptop-like experience.

While the Surface runs Windows 10, the iPad Pro will run IOS. With Apple’s productivity software or Microsoft Word for the iPad, users can get a lot of work done. IOS was originally built as a phone operating system, but Apple has upgraded it to be closer to a PC OS.

The iPad Pro starts at $799 for a 32-gigabyte model. The 128-gigabyte version is $949. A keyboard is $169.

And the iPad Pro is the first iPad with a stylus. Steve Jobs said some disparaging things about products with styluses in the past, so wags claim that…

Evernote's Phil Libin moves to Venture Capital firm

The Wall Street Journal, and others, are reporting Phil Libin, co-founder of Evernote and until two months ago, its CEO, has joined General Catalyst Partners as a general partner.

Former Googler Chris O'Neill was named Evernote CEO in July.

Making sense of Amazon's dizzying array of services

Ever look at Amazon's vast number of web services, and vaguely suspect there is something there that would benefit you as an individual?  But the dizzying names and obscure descriptions written by one IT professional for other IT professionals put you off?

Here's a plain English explanation of the various services..  It popped up in my RSS reader yesterday, and I'll have to look at it more closely when I am more awake (it's 5:30 am here). Maybe it will help you too.

Family Tech: Don’t block online ads – they help pay for free content - September 12, 2015

Apple’s pending IOS 9 – and Howard Stern’s big mouth – have conspired to bring on what many fear will be a radical change to free content on the web.

How many websites do you pay to use? Probably none, although hopefully you subscribe to the Prince William Today so you get unrestricted access to And maybe you pay for a couple of the national newspapers as well.

Other than that, the content and services most of us appreciate such as Facebook, Google, Google Docs, Google Keep, Google Drive and others are free.

Much of the content is free because it is supported by advertisements. For the cost of seeing a few ads along the way, we get to connect with friends, create documents, make lists, store files and much more.

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Family Tech: Virtual reality gadgets on the market, so just imagine - September 4, 2015

I looked to the left and was surprised to see a fighter jet there. Even more astonishingly, I looked up and found another fighter just above my head, only feet away from my own aircraft. A voice startled me and I looked behind me to realize I wasn’t alone in the plane; there was a pilot behind me.

The Family Tech gadget budget is – shall we say – “restrained” so I wasn’t flying my new F-35, but instead my $20 Google Cardboard.

Virtual reality, or VR, may finally be poised for the home.

VR goggles let you see different views as you turn your head. Imagine you are wearing VR goggles and it appears to you that you are at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum near Dulles. In front of you is a big silver-colored airplane. If you turn to the right, you see more airplanes. Look up and you see a variety of planes hanging over your head. Look down and you see the floor. While it’s not as good as being there, you get a sense of what it is like to be there.

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