Jim’s WebLetter for 11/30/13

Hi-ya Folks!

I hope you’re having a great Thanksgiving weekend.  We do have a lot to be thankful for and this weekend’s WebLetter contains several things that I found that make me thankful for present-day technology.  As discouraging as it can be reading the news of the day, it is encouraging to see what technology and things tied to the internet are doing.  Let me give you some examples …

After weighing the options, reading reviews and test benchmarks, and putting a model through my own tests at the Apple store in St Johns Town Center, I opted to purchase for both my wife and I, the new iPad Air tablet.  I tried out the iPad mini 2 and found it is nice but according to reports, it has at least one tech issue that Apple will have to work out in future models.  Android and Microsoft competitors have good hardware, but still can’t compare in many instances with the Apps found in the Apple store.  And when it comes to mobile devices, it’s all about the apps.  

Having said that, I will say that I also own the Google Nexus 7 second generation I purchased in late August, and I still like it for portability, colorful and clear display, fast processing, cost and stereo surround sound.  For people on a smaller budget, it’s a definite winner.   The one thing that it lacks is a great App Store.  While Google continues to improve, it still falls short on such things, for example, as music creation.  Garage band for IOS is stunning and comes free on the Air.  Google Play store to date doesn’t have it.  In a world where you get what you pay for, this year, iPad Air gives you the best value for the money. 

It should also be noted that everything else mobile that Apple offers seems to fall short when compared to Android and Microsoft devices, whether it’s because of the high cost for the product or technology that tends to be behind what is offered by the competition.  No offense to the die-hard Apple user, but my Samsung Galaxy phone, for example, has smooth performance, loads of apps that enhance the phone’s features, a big beautiful 5 inch screen and can multitask with split screen options.  And now added is the newly improved Google Now with hands free searching.  A definite winner. 

So what else is showing up on the WebLetter Radar?

After reading the discouraging report of high unemployment among young adults age 18-34 (11.8%), it made me think of the stories I’ve read recently dealing with educating our children in the field of computer science.  Technology jobs are growing but there is a shortage of qualified people to handle the demand.  This is one reason why tech giants like Google are trying to have the US immigration laws changed to allow in more talented foreign born people. 

But why not provide education to young people that trains them to handle those jobs?
Code.org has been created to raise awareness to the need of education in the classroom.  Even more, they are offering online classes, for free, that teach anyone how to code … And they do it in a fun way.  But coding isn’t just for the young.  I am self-taught in HTML, hyper text markup language.  Along the way, I picked up JavaScript and PHP coding.  Key ingredients in building websites.  Computer science and coding are being encouraged through Code dot org.  Check it out and see who else is on board with the program … http://code.org/

Next, studies show that the best work environment is one that has some form of environmental sound, or sounds, in the background.  There is an App that provides the sounds of a coffee house that, when I hear it, makes me think of warm sticky cinnamon buns and the smell of fresh roasted coffee.  Then I get hungry.  But the free App is worth the download … Try it and see if it boosts your creativity (and maybe your waistline).  Check out http://coffitivity.com/

And you have to see the article in Wired magazine dealing with answers to questions posed by your family when you get together for the holidays.  At first I thought it humorous until I realized that, no matter what party you attend, when they find out you have anything to do with computing technology, then they assume you must know how to fix something that doesn’t work for them.  Bookmark and keep the following link.  You will find it invaluable in such times … http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/11/family-tech-faq/

There are 3 kinds of people in this world…
Those who are good at math, and those who aren’t.
(Thanks, Richard)
As a nurse in a maternity unit, I’ve had to answer all kinds of questions from patients and their families. I couldn’t help but notice that one expectant father seemed particularly interested in the electronic fetal monitor.

“Would it hurt anything if I just turned this dial up and down from time to time?” he asked

“No,” I answered, “but why would you want to do that?”

Smiling wistfully, the dad explained, “I know from experience it’s the only time in a child’s life I’ll be able to control the volume.”
(Thanks, Roger)
Have a great weekend friends, be careful while shopping for those Christmas goodies, and until next weekend, may God bless you and keep you safe.

Jim’s WebLetter
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