Monday, November 16, 2015


I think hat one of the biggest reason many of do not experience as much success as we possibly can is because of fear. It is fear that keeps us from trying. It is fear that keeps us from putting those words on the page. It is fear that keeps us from playing the notes in our souls. It is fear that keeps us from creating thae masterpiece within us.

So how do you conquer fear? First, recognize it in all it's forms. From paralysis to procrastination, from platitudes to blame, from fault finding to anger, fear takes on amy forms. If something is keeping you from moving forward, it probably is a form of fear. Second, after you recognize the fear, take small steps forward into what ever it is that you are thinking of doing. Put some words on the page. Pick up the phone and dial. Play that first note. Pick up that brush and make a line. Just start taking steps. Finally, keep taking steps until you get there.

The reality is that you will never be rid of fear. You just have to learn to act in spite of it. \

Oh yeah, that's called courage!

What do you think?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Is the music industry dying?

I would not say that the music industry is dying. What is happening is that it is changing or better yet, being transformed. In the past (before the digital age) large music labels controlled the music industry. In order to make it as an music artist you needed to be "signed" by a music label and your fate was in their hands. In other words, to produce and distribute your music, you needed a label to make it possible. There were few options (if any) for independent artists. Today things are much different. Though we still have the labels with us, you do not need to have them "sign" you to make it. You can produce and distribute your music inexpensively (and free in some cases) and keep all the profit for yourself.

I think what is happening to the music industry is amazing for artists, not so amazing for the corporations that profit from them.

One trend that I think is not so positive though is the advent of digital instruments. You can actually create music for a whole symphony orchestra (or just about any other instrumental group) without any live musicians. Is it as good as a live orchestra (or any other instrumental group)? Surprisingly, it almost is. I can produce some great sounding stuff just with a laptop and some sound samples. Unfortunately that sucks for professional musicians since there is less and less work for them. In fact, it has become difficult to make a good living as a musician. On the other hand, as a composer, it sure is nice to be able to write for any type of instrumental group and not be concerned with the cost of having it performed or produced.

Overall, the music business is not dying, it's just changing.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Future of Chromebooks

I can't say anything definitive on this because I do not work for Google and have absolutely no knowledge on what is truly going to happen. I do have an opinion though.

There are rumors that Chrome OS will be merged in some way with Android. Now that is a distinct possibility, but I am not sure it will happen. Chromebooks have not taken off as a consumer device. They are not the hottest thing on the market and the fact is, they do not pose much of a threat to Windows machines or Macs. They do have a small market share, and that is nice, but I do not think it will expand that much in the future. That is just reality.

But there is one market where Chromebooks are doing very well, which is in the K-12 education market. More and more K-12 schools are adopting Chromebooks, and sales are growing. There are several reason for this. First, Chromebooks are inexpensive to buy and inexpensive to use. Second, software is all web based and inexpensive to use. Because Chromebooks are web based, they are easier to control from an administrative point of view, especially at the school site. I think this is the most important reason why Chromebooks are making nice inroads in the education market.

Smartphones are the new curse of education. Why? Because they are cool and you can do some really fun things with them. You can text, surf the internet, and you can especially download play many of the most popular games on them. How can any teacher compete with that? Now, schools are doing their best to overcome the distraction, but if you give a kid a device that can do all the cool things smartphones can, they will immediately load them with games and all the other things that they love to do. Then you will not only have to deal with the curse of the smartphone, you have to deal with the curse of the device provided by the school itself! At least with Chromebooks, there are fewer distraction wile still being a functional computing device.

So, because of the education market, I think Chrome OS and Chromebooks have a good future. Since I like using my Chromebook, that is good news for me.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Writing more

I started keeping a journal digitally once again. I seem to bounce back and forth. I had been writing in paper notebooks, but I stopped once I got my new iPhone 6s. I just wanted to put it to greater use than just texting, surfing the internet, and checking my email. By keeping a journal on it, I have the ability to write anyplace I want to and anytime I want to. I can also take what I write and post it to my blog with ease. I have also started to use my Chromebook more. I think it is because when there is WIFI, it is just easier to write using my Chromebook. As a result I have been creating blog posts once again. I have also become a bit of a writing machine. I am writing and average of over 2000 words a day in my journal. I think that is awesome and credit it to being able to write that much to having access to a device 24/7/365. Also, I have no excuse not to write since my iPhone is always with me.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Chromebook functionality

I have been playing with several the "productivity" apps that are available for Chromebook. First I used Google Docs and Sheets. I found that they work great on my Chromebook, but not so great on any other device. Then I used Microsoft Word and Excel. They worked great on my Windows laptop and Mac Mini, but were just okay on my iPhone, and not so great on my Chromebook. Finally I used Apple's iCloud and Pages and Numbers. They worked great on my iPhone and Mac Mini, and are actually not to bad on my Chromebook. On my Windows laptop I use iCloud, which is exactly like it is on my Chromebook.

Now all the apps are free to use online and usually free on a smartphone or tablet, but the Microsoft products are not free on a Windows or Mac platform (you used to have to pay for the Apple products, but they have been free lately). Also, all the online versions of the apps do not have the full functionality of the offline versions (except for Google which is basically online for all platforms).

Which one is the best? I actually like using Apple's software. The experience on my Chromebook and Windows laptop is pleasant, and it works very well on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac Mini. In fact, that is what I am using right now to write this post.

These apps also prove a point about which platform you use. It does not make that much of a difference anymore because you can get versions of each one for whatever platform you are using. So why spend hundreds on a Mac or Windows platform when you can have access to the same basic apps on the Chromebook? If you are looking for a way to do basic computing and save a lot of money, Chromebook is the way to go.

What do you think?

Monday, November 9, 2015

My Chromebook

There does not seem to much going on in the Chromebook world. There was a rumor that Google was going to merge Chrome OS with Android, but Google has dispelled that rumor. There are a couple of new Chromebook models on the market, but nothing earth shattering. My trusty Acer is running perfectly. It can now be purchased from Amazon for $149.99, which is a fantastic price. Where else can you get a functioning laptop for that price? I love mine because it is ultra fast online and it is the perfect machine for a writer. I also love the fact that I do not have to spend another dime to do all I want to do and I will not get a virus. I also love the fact that all the software updates from Google are free. I think the Chromebook is a great machine. Does it do everything? No, but it does enough and for only $149.99. That is awesome.

What do you think?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

My Chromebook

I started using my Chromebook once again. I was using my Android tablet, or my Windows laptop, or my Mac Mini or my new iPhone when I got it (yes I have a lot of devices), but I came back to using my Chromebook. Why? It is the fastest device I have for the internet. I also get the full version of websites and not the mobile ones that are not as robust. I also do a lot of writing and my Chromebook is perfect for all I do. I use the Word web based application for my writing so that I can access it from any other device if I want to. I also keep coming back to the fact that I spent less than $200 on my Chromebook while all my other devices have cost much more to have the same functionality. Now the only drawback is having to be online to have the full functionality of my Chromebook, but that does not seem to be an issue as it used to be. I have access to WIFI just about every place I go (which is quite nice). I also have a hotspot on my iPhone if I need to access the internet and I don't have WIFI. In the end, I just like the ease and simplicity (and the low cost) of my Chromebook over all my other devices.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Chromebook Vs. Windows 8

I had a class assignment that required the use of Java to complete (I had to build a web page with a java applet on it). Unfortunately Java does not run on Chromebooks. So I powered up my Windows machine to do the work I needed. Unfortunately I never got to it. My Windows machine was so slow and full of bugs I couldn't even get a browser to work right. I ended up having to re-install Windows. Since that takes a few hours on the machine I have, I will have to find another way to do my assignment (since it is due soon).

Though I would love to have Java on my Chromebook, I am glad I don't. Why? Because of what happened to my Windows 8 machine. The machine was so full of bugs and problems that I had to start from scratch with it. In the two years I have been using Chromebooks (I am on my second one now) I have never had any of the problems I have had with my Windows machine. I have had no viruses. I have had no crashes. I have had no issues when I boot up. I have so speed problems. In fact, I am writing right now on my Chromebook as my Windows machine is re-installing the operating system!

So, though I would like to have Java, I love my Chromebook so much more the way it is. I would rather not have any problems and live without Java (and anything else I can't do), than live with the mess Windows (and sometimes Mac) ends up being.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cheaper Chromebooks

Over the past couple of weeks there has been an announcement that there will be 2-3 Chromebooks becoming available that will be selling for about $150. Now they will be using a slower chip and will not have the highest of quality components, but they will be running Chrome OS and will do so efficiently. I have read a couple of reviews and no one is terrible disappointed with the new cheaper Chromebooks.

What do I think? I think if you can afford an extra $50 buy a Chromebook that's a bit faster with better components. On the other hand, if you are strapped for cash or you need to buy a truckload of laptops, then you might want to give a look at the cheaper Chromebooks. Them seem to run well (though not as fast), and they do everything a Chromebook is supposed to do (which is not everything to start with). I wonder how much lower will things go? Will we eventually have a usable laptop for $99? I think that might be possible one day, but I am not sure how much you will be able to do with it. It is great to know that prices are going down rather than up (in spite of inflation).

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Using the MS Word app on a Chromebook.

I just started using the MS Word app on my Chromebook. Up to now I have used Google drive and a couple of other apps. I started using the MS Word app because it is the only one that I can use on the WIFI network at work. The school district I work for blocks all Google sites (must be because they have a contract with Microsoft for much of their IT).

So far I like what the app can do. First, it's free, which is great. Second, it is a web application, so you need access to the internet and it doesn't work offline like Google Drive does. Since I have a robust WIFI network at home and a decent one at work, I have no issues with being online (other than not having Google access from work). I also have a hotspot on my iPhone, so I am never without some kind of access to the internet. Third, it is a full functioning word processor, but it does not have all the functions found in a full version of MS Word. That does not bother me as well since I do not use all the functions anyway.

Finally, the app works well. I like all I can do with it. I also like how it saves my documents to the cloud automatically. I can also access my documents from several of my other systems and edit or add to them. Having this app on my Chromebook makes it highly functional. One of the biggest drawbacks to using a Chromebook is not having access to many of the standard software packages (Like Office and the like). This app is a fully functioning version of MS Word, so that is one software package that is not an issue in using a Chromebook.

So, can you use MS Word on a Chromebook? You sure can and it's free!