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!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Become and Idea Machine

I read a book today called "Become an Idea Machine". The whole point of the book was to come up with 10 ideas a day, every day for the next 180 days (six months). Why? Because after that point coming up with ideas will become a habit. But why do it in the first place? Because ideas are what create value and wealth. It is ideas that create "currency". It is ideas that make your life amazing. Just think of anything in your life that is positive and at the root, there is an idea. for example, I am using a Chromebook at this moment. The Chromebook came about because a software programmer at Google needed something that booted quickly in order to see if the changes he was making were working. So he decided to boot an operating system (Linux) from ram instead of a hard drive. In doing so he developed the seeds of having a computer that booted from ram and worked only in a browser. Google ran with the idea and developed the Chrome OS. Thus I have my Chromebook and an inexpensive way to do all I do on a computer. It all came from an idea.

Ideas rule the world!

Now, what ideas to I have that I can use to make the lives of others and myself better?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Is it time to get out of California?

Congestion and urban sprawl are at their worst. Taxes and governmental fees have never been higher. Crime is increasing. The school system gets worse every year. There are fewer and fewer good paying jobs. Prices keep going up and the cost of living is one of the highest in the nation (and probably the world). Gasoline is expensive. Electricity is expensive. And now with the drought, even water is expensive. Yes the weather most of the year is terrific and the laid back California lifestyle is great, but is it enough? I am starting to think it's time to get out of California. Things are getting worse and the future does not look very bright. In fact, it is staring to look bleak. Thanks to miss-investment, liberal and socialistic policies, unchecked immigration of all sorts, miss-management, cronyism, labor unions, and just plain bad luck, the future of California does not look to be better than the past. In fact, they might get a lot worse. Yes, I think it's time to get out of California before it is to late and everyone and their grandmother is trying to get out.

What do any other California residents think?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Using my Chromebook

I have had my new Acer Chromebook 11 for about three weeks so far. Today was a banner day in using it. First, I used it at work to take attendance. I teach Jr. High music and we take attendance on a web based service. I use a USB ethernet connection to hook up to the internet at work (though there is WIFI, the attendance system can not be accessed through it). While online I checked my email. I had no problem checking all my accounts (all 3 of them). When I had breaks I did some internet surfing and I also did some writing using Google Docs. On my lunch break I finished up creating a web page for my web development class. I used the text editor Caret to create HTML and CSS code. When I was done I used an ftp extension in Chrome to upload my files to the college server. Everything worked flawlessly. At the end of my day I took my car in to get serviced at the local Toyota dealer. I spent about an hour listening to music on Rhapsody and I also did some reading for a class (my text is an ebook). Finally, I spent some time playing solitaire and tetris as the night wore on.

Now I did this all on my Chromebook and I did not have to charge the battery at any time. I am able to do all I do and still have plenty of battery left. The battery life on the Chromebook is awesome (6-8 hours). I am continually surprised at all I can do on my Chromebook Considering that I paid less than $200 and I did not pay for anything else I use, the Chromebook is a great machine!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tax rant

I did my taxes this past weekend. Like usual, I had to pay extra even though I don't take very many deductions. That was expected. What I did not expect was it to be way more than I usually have to pay. My wife and I are both teachers and we make good livings here in California. Over the last 10 years we have consistently made a bit more every year (even during the cuts that happened after the last recession). But, all the increase has gone to pay for taxes and health insurance. Our take home pay has not increased at all in 10 years! This year we are on track to bring home less for the first time! This is so infuriating. The more we make, the more we pay. Now I don't mind paying for the things that make all our lives better (clean water, power, good roads and schools, fire and police, etc…), but at some point it has to be enough!

At this point it is very tempting to file for bankruptcy, have my wife stay home from work, and move to another state where there is no state income tax. I might not have that much less after I pay all my bills!!!!

What does that say about the state of our economy that when you make more money, and you end up with less? Why bother working harder? Why bother seeking to make things better? Why bother going to school to make yourself more valuable? There is no incentive to become more than you are.

Is anyone else in this situation? What are you doing about it?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chromebook 11 v C720 update

I have now spent a couple of weeks using my new Acer Chromebook 11. So far I am well pleased. Battery life is as good (or better) than my Acer C720. The issue with build quality (it's not as nice as my C720) has not been an issue at all. In fact, it is nice to have a lighter laptop to carry around. My Chromebook 11 is all white and I thought it might get dirty quickly, but it has not. I have had no issues running all my favorite apps. I still think my Chromebook 11 is a tad bit faster, but it is imperceptible most of the times. I look back and see that I had my C720 for about a year and a half without any issues (in fact it still is working perfectly). I can see myself having my Chromebook 11 just as long (unless I have money to burn on a new one next year).

My recommendation? If you can get a good price on an Acer C720, pick one up. But, if you can get an Acer Chromebook 11 for less, it's a good deal.