Wise Words for the Summer

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” ~ Vivian Greene

Considering a Chromebook? Read this before you buy.

Here at IT, we believe in giving you the latest news on tech and want to steer you in the right direction when it comes to making educated decisions when purchasing a new tech product. In this case, we’ll be covering a Chromebook. Before we can answer whether it’s right for you or anyone, we need to know what exactly a Chromebook is.

A Chromebook is simply Googles own Operating system in a low end, budget computer. They usually have anywhere from 2-4 Gigs of RAM (Random Access Memory) and anywhere from 16-32 Gigs of storage. Some even have Intel Processors running inside them. But they are very inexpensive computers unless you’re looking at the Chromebook Pixel which I would not recommend for a student who wants to write thesis papers or what not. That specific category of Chromebooks is more for developers.

But what about Googles own operating system? What makes it unique from MacOS or Windows OS? Well, for starters you can’t install anything not on the chrome web store for now (I’ll get back to this later). So what’s the point of a Chromebook you may be asking. Well just because you may not be able to install word doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t write papers. Some of you may have already used this program instead of word. It’s Google Docs and Google has a whole office suite anyone can use for free. Also, all the documents you create can be converted over to word, excel or whatever office program it is you need.

If you use Skype a lot to contact parents back home and have a video call with them, you can always use hangouts on here as well. Another thing too is it’s mainly designed to be used online. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work offline. You can still edit documents and what have you just like a regular computer. But you are still pretty limited in what you can do.

Now before you stop reading this, remember how I said for now you can only use the Chrome Web Store for apps? Well coming this fall that will be different as the Google Play Store will come to all Chromebooks! See for yourself here! That means you can download Word, excel, outlook and Skype or what ever you normally use! This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for Chromebooks!

So do you think you should get one? Let us know in the comments below and let us know which one you decided on! Until next time, have a great day everyone!

The Death Of Java and What It Means For You

It’s no secret that Java is dying and quick. It has revived a poor reputation because of all the security risks that come with it. Even Oracle is no longer going to support it. It’s a breeding ground for all sorts of viruses and invulnerability.

Most Internet Browsers these days don’t support Java anyways. Most people may not have even noticed. But that doesn’t mean the death of Java won’t affect anyone. So what does it mean for day to day consumers like you and I?

Well, for students, it won’t directly affect them. but rather it will be more of a side effect of their day to day efforts. If they need a password reset, someone here at IT may have more difficulty looking up account information because one of our programs here at IT that practically all departments use runs on Java and will no longer be supported. Online training will be affected too just to cover a few things. So when that time comes, don’t be alarmed when some things grind to a halt. A work around will be found and everyone can get back on track in no time!

Build Your Own Phone!

Yup, you read that right. Google has announced a Modular Phone system and it’s coming this fall for developers. But that begs the question, what is a modular phone? Here’s an example. Like taking photos but your phone’s camera is sub par? Get a new one! want more battery life and don’t really use your phone for pictures? get a bigger battery! That’s the concept behind this new cool device. You can even change out the screen on this guy.

The idea originally came out back in 2014 and has been in development since then. Google is open to new idea and is letting developers get their hands on it this fall to help create new add ons for the phone. If anyone is interested, click here. The possibilites for this phone are pretty big. On the page you can already see pretty creative modules that have been added to these phones and with this project open to the public, it will only get better with time.

So what are your thoughts on this? Think this will kick off or will it just be another phone gimmick that will die out in a few years? Let us know what you think in the comments below and don’t forget to follow our social media such as Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on tech news like this!

Wise Words for the Summer

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchhill

Google’s Two Factor Authentication. What It Is And Why You Should Do It.

security

If you’ve never heard of two factor authentication, it’s simply an added login step to ensure security on your account by using a trusted device such as a smartphone or a tablet. When you initially log in, you’ll be prompted for a verification code in most instances, that number is pushed to a trusted device (your phone) and you enter that number that was given to you and bam, you’re logged in. Seems pretty simple right?

But unfortunately, so many people simply refuse to enroll in these security measures simply because they don’t want to wait for a verification code and enter it so they usually opt-out of this. Google has started offering this and for very good reason. Google has so many different services such as youtube, gmail, google drive, docs, sheets… I could go on for a while. You don’t want some random person in a random country gaining access to all that do you? Granted some may not use all these services, and while others may rely more on it it’s still important to protect your account. If you want more information from Google’s end on this, go here.

Luckily google has made it VERY easy to secure your account. You have 3 options: USB Authentication, Text Code and simply pressing “yes” on a trusted device. The choice is up to you on how you want to authenticate but in case if any of you were wondering how on earth verification works via USB, its pretty simple actually and my preferred method of login. Yubikey supplies special USB keys that are cheap (depending on the model) that when you plug it in, it registers that key so when you log in next time, you simply plug in the USB Key and press the key icon and your in!

Finally you have the option to mark a computer as trusted so that you won’t have to use two factor on it again. Just make sure you don’t use it on public computers that others use!

That was today’s helpful tip, if you like what we do here, go ahead and subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Automate Your Car From The 90’s. (Part 3)

In our final installment of the Automate your car from the 90’s series, we’ll wrap up here with a really neat tool that hooks into any car 1996 and on, and works with both Android and iPhone! Finally a middle ground!

So there is this little device called Automatic. Creative, I know, but what it does is pretty incredible. It’s a car adapter that plugs into the diagnosis port that’s located in all cars that were made 1196 and on. So when your car has a check engine light, it automatically diagnosis it for you and gives you more than enough information about what exactly is going on in your car. Also giving  you directions to the nearest mechanic to help you resolve the issue. Of course if you’re a DIY kinda person, you’re more than welcome to take a whack at it yourself.

But it’s not just a glorified code reader, it also tracks your mileage and driving habits to help you get the most out of your car and gas tank. When you start getting low on fuel, it helps direct you to the nearest gas station so you don’t get stranded. Parked your car somewhere in oblivion that is that is the Wal-Mart parking lot? This device helps you find it again no problem!

But what I feel is one of the coolest features of this device is crash detection. If you’re in a crash, an agent at automatic contacts you to see if you’re ok and will contact local authorities to help you. Even if you can’t respond you can still get help. Also, the service is completely free!

Like I said earlier, it doesn’t matter if you have an iPhone or an Android device, it works seamlessly with both of them! Even works on smartwatches too! So now you know just how to automate your old car from the 90’s and breathe some new life into it! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Have a great day everyone!