GEEK SQUEAKS – Preorder The ASUS Chromebox – AND MORE

March 13, 2014

How would you like a computer that starts up in seconds, has integrated malware and virus protection, is low maintenance, takes up very little space, is perfect for mom and pop, can be easily used as your home entertainment system, is inexpensive, and MORE???????

This may sound like the perfect computer and maybe it is. In the very near future ASUS will be releasing the ASUS Chromebox that will meet the specs, as described above. This is not a Windows based computer. It is a Google Chrome OS based computer that just may be a game changer.

ASUS Chromebox

Features-at-a-Glance

  • 4th gen Intel processors deliver the best performance for Chrome OS
  • HDMI and DisplayPort for dual display support and up to 4k playback1
  • Lightweight, small form design that supports VESA mount
  • USB 3.0 ports to easily share data from USB drives and devices
  • Dual-band Wireless-N connectivity for streaming HD media and seamless web surfing
  • Instant boot up in seconds saves you time
  • Chrome OS for a simplified, secure web experience that syncs all your Chrome services instantly and lets you use apps offline

If you think about it, most of our computing experience these days is online (in the cloud, as they say). The days of computers, as we know it, may be coming to an end; especially as these cloud based devices continue to evolve. I ask myself; especially, being a computer user for over 25 years, would I be satisfied with something like the ASUS Chromebox as my only computing source? I really don’t know at this point, but my geek instincts is telling me that this just may be the perfect computer setup.

The ASUS Chromebox can be pre-ordered [HERE]…  From what I am gathering, pricing will be around $180…

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MORE GEEK SQUEAKS

[ANDROID] Sidebar Launcher Adds A Slide-Out Multitasking Panel To Android – Sidebar Launcher offers a quicker way to access different Android features and launch your favorite apps. It’s quite user-friendly and doesn’t seem to slow down older devices. You can launch it from anywhere by swiping in from the left edge of the screen. When opened, it presents you with several elements to add, including a time and date widget, quick settings like Wi-Fi and GPS, favorite apps, and other common settings. Each widget is called a ‘Card’, and you can add, remove and edit these on the fly… @ Addictive Tips

[HOW TO] Prevent access to Registry Editor in Windows 8 | 7 – In this post we will see how to disable, restrict or prevent access to Registry Editor or Registry Editing Tools using Group Policy Editor or by tweaking the Windows Registry in Windows 8 | 7… @The Windows Club

[WINDOWS] 3 Calculators Better Than The One in Windows – After trying out several different calculators, I rounded up three programs that in my opinion, are a tad better than the default Windows calculator… @Instant Fundas

[NEWS] Amazon Raises Prime Membership Fee to $99 a Year – The online retail giant on Thursday morning sent email to Prime members, informing them of a $20 price hike. This means the service will now set you back $99 a year, instead of $79. For existing members, the change will go into effect when your membership renews… @PCMag

[SECURITY] Adobe patches a critical flaw in Shockwave PlayerAdobe Systems released a new security update for Shockwave Player in order to fix a critical vulnerability that could allow attackers to remotely take control of affected systems. The vulnerability, identified as CVE-2014-0505, is the result of a memory corruption issue and can lead to arbitrary code execution. According to Adobe, the flaw was privately reported to the company and there are no reports of active exploits targeting it in the wild… @ComputerWorld

[ONLINE STORAGE] Save more with Google Drive – We’ve lowered the price of our monthly storage plans to $1.99 for 100GB (previously $4.99), $9.99 for 1TB (previously $49.99), and $99.99 for 10TB, with even more storage available if you need it… @Google Drive Blog

[WINDOWS 8] The BEST Start button and menu choices for Windows 8.1 – Seasoned Windows 8.x users might sneer at you for “going back to the old ways”, but there’s no question that if you use a keyboard and mouse and have limited interest in the Modern UI, a “real” Start button and menu can do wonders for your productivity. Here are our top 14 recommendations — free and paid… @BetaNews

[WALLPAPER] Super Colorful @Wallbase

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Learn a byte at a time with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it… I just plain love tech!

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GEEK SQUEAK: An Android Side Launcher That Is Always There When You Play, Read Or Listen

February 8, 2014

To start off with this squeak, I must say, “I love the Android OS”…

Recently I was given one of the Barnes & Noble Nook HD Tablets and I must say it is an excellent tablet; especially that it is now open to downloading apps from the Google Play Store. What I have been doing is some customizing with the “Look of the Nook”.

An Android app that I came across, to change the “Look of the Nook”, that I want to share with you is a launcher that will change the way you use your Android tablet (or smartphone). It is called Swapps!, which is a side drawer launcher that gives you the ability to fast scroll through your apps.

Swapps!

When you need to call up an app you simply swipe the drawer from the side of the tablet (or smartphone). Swapps! will also give you a list of the most recently used apps (which was the main reason I installed it on the Nook)…

If interested, check out Swapps! HERE…

Note to my readers: I am trying something NEW where I am taking my geek squeaks’ name and using it to post short renditions of things (called “squeaks”) that I come across that I think you will find interesting. “Twitter has Tweets, What On My PC has (Geek) Squeaks…”

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Make Your Own Ringtones For Your iPhone (or Any Mobile Phone)

May 14, 2013

I recently had a friend who was looking for a method to create a personalized ringtone for their iPhone. What I found, that is quite easy to use, is an online application called Online Audio Cutter.

Online Audio Cutter

Online Audio Cutter is specifically geared toward cutting out sound segments from just about any audio or video format that you throw at it (see supported formats). The best part is that there is nothing to install. Simply visit the site, click on the Open File button (to select a file from your computer), select the interval you want to cut by moving the blue sliders, choose a format you wish to save a file in (the default format is MP3), click the Cut button, then click Download to save your computer.

During this process you will find that there is even a fade-in and fade-out function that will start your clipped file from silence and gradually make it louder; AND, also during this process when selecting the desired format, you will see an option specifically for the iPhone ringtone format.

Below you will find links on creating a ringtone (for your iPhone), transferring the file to your iPhone and even instructions on how to change the iPhone ringtone

In closing, one thing to point out here is that Online Audio Cutter can also be used to create ringtones for any mobile phone (not just the iPhone).

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My Pick For A Windows 8 Start Menu

October 31, 2012

In yesterday’s post I reflected Seven Alternatives To Restore The Start Menu In Windows 8 and explained that the Windows 8 desktop looks very similar to Windows 7 desktop minus the Start Menu (and Start Menu button). From what I have been reading on the internet, this is driving people to make statements that Windows 8 is another Windows Vista and that this release of Windows will fail.  I can tell you this is not another Windows Vista.

The more I explore Windows 8 I am finding that it is a finely tuned and stable operating system. Where the issue lies, in his case, is that Microsoft is taking the gamble by making changes in the visual appearance of the desktop operating system and encouraging us to change the way we do our work. This operating system is also geared toward the tablet computer and cloud computing; AND as a result, at the desktop computer level, we are getting the hybrid or the best of both worlds. There is no way that Microsoft can compete without a tablet or smartphone operating system platform. As a result, we have Windows 8.

I do have to admit, after I installed Windows 8, having not explored the beta or preview versions, I was somewhat discombobulated. The lack of the start menu was the focal point that caught me off guard; however, after careful thought it dawned on me – I never used the Start Menu much anyway and the new Start Screen (or Metro Screen) is basically your Start Menu. It is something you will get used to and will eventually see that it does have a good purpose.

If you do want to get the Start Menu back, at the desktop level of Windows 8, you will have to install one of the third party software applications that I mentioned in my article, Seven Alternatives To Restore The Start Menu In Windows 8.  Following the post of that article, someone asked; “Which one of these start menu replacements would I recommend?”.

After some testing, I ended up breaking my pledge of not buying software and ended up with Stardock’s Start8 (for $4.99). The other software options I tested were quite good, but I have always liked Stardock’s reputation and experience in the area of desktop menu development and modifications. I especially liked, following the install, that Start8 provided a skin option to give the start menu the metro look with the start menu button blending nicely into the taskbar.

Start8

Windows 7-style Start menu with Windows 8 enhancements

  • Search for Windows 8-style (Modern UI) apps
  • Pin desktop and Metro apps to the start menu
  • Jump List support
  • Unified Search for apps, settings and files
  • Boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop
  • One click access to shut down, devices, music, documents, and videos
  • Windows 8 Start screen accessible from the Start menu

Clean, streamlined UI enhances Start8′s usability

Start8

So, if you are crying the blues, “Where’s my start menu?’”, then Stardock’s Start8 will be enough to pamper you until you get to the point with Windows 8 that you realize, I don’t need the start menu (or desktop) anyway.

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A NEW and Really Cool Desktop Launchpad

March 2, 2012

From the very first time I learned computers, I have always been fascinated with menu launchers AND have always loved customizing my PC to make launching my programs different than what was typical of the operating system. There are numerous launchers out there, and about the time I get a handle on one, I am off trying another. Today, is no exception…  I came across another launcher, called XLaunchPad, which is very new and quite different than many of the launchers I have used.

What you see below is what may appear to you as a typical layout of icons on your Windows Desktop, when in fact what you are seeing is XLaunchPad.

XLaunchPad

What I am liking about this baby, and keep in mind it is still in the infancy stage, is that you can toggle XLaunchPad on and off, change pages, and create a folder to hold other icons by placing one icon on top of another. I do have to admit, took me awhile to figure out how to do that… Another tip, if you give XLaunchPad a try, is this: When you have the XLaunchPad visible, simply right click your mouse to get to the options and settings. There is a little bit of a learning curve required, but once you get the hang of it, I think you will fall for it.

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An Easy Way to Work With and Discover Google Apps

December 9, 2010

The more I dig into cloud based applications the more exciting I find it. Let’s face it, computing as we know is heading in that direction. For example, Google is a leader of online apps such as email, docs, calendars, pictures, etc… The problem is that there are so many Google Apps, and the list continues to grow, that you can find yourself getting lost. Now, if you are an everyday computer user at home, you are probably wondering what am I talking about.

I am sure you are all familiar with Google, as the search engine and most likely familiar with Google’s email service called Gmail. What you may not know about, is that Google has numerous other online apps that you can tap into that are very good and FREE. If you already have a Gmail account, then you are good to go and will be able to tap into these online apps with your current Gmail login; if not, you will have to establish an online Google account.

Of course you can visit, try and use these apps typically through your Gmail account (such as email, calendar, docs, YouTube, etc…). To make this really simple for you I found an online service called Gpanion that is specifically designed as a launcher for Google apps.

Gpanion

Gpanion

Simply visit the Gpanion website and click on the app you desire to launch. Pay special attention to the tab labelled “More”. Click on that and you will be surprised with the number of apps available. Also, by clicking on the “Search” tab you can perform a variety of different type of Google searches. Gpanion is a nice idea, simple, works and gives you a nice array of all of the Google apps currently available, in one convenient place.

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A Super Downloadable Collection of Windows 7 Shortcuts

May 19, 2010

Here is something that I really, really liked that is a nice addition to my flash drive and to my Windows 7 computer… The web site “7Tutorials” has put out there a downloadable compilation of over 100 Windows 7 shortcuts. The shortcuts have been organized into folders, in such a manner, that you can readily find what you may be looking for very quickly; faster than all the clicks you would typically make using the Start Menu; faster than the time it takes to remember where it is and what it is you are looking for…

image

I love stuff like this and wonder why I did not think of doing something like this myself. The “cool factor” to this is that I can add to, and even customize this (with other techie shortcuts). For example, I have added the “Windows 7 God Mode” folder (with shortcuts) to this collection on my PC (don’t know how it would work from the flash drive on another PC)”.

Another tool for that tech toolbox… The shortcuts are bundled in a zip file and can be downloaded from [ HERE ]. You will find the download link at the bottom of the 7Tutorials web page.

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