New Amazon Tap and Steam Link

•April 24, 2016 • Comments Off on New Amazon Tap and Steam Link

Earlier this year Vinny posted that the Amazon Echo was the one connected device you should own and that he and his wife like theirs. Late last month Amazon released the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot. Unlike the Echo, the Amazon Tap is portable because it runs on batteries and is smaller in size. It isn’t “always on” though. You have to press the microphone button on top of the device and then ask Alexa a question or give it a command. You do program it through the app like you do the Echo. It has access to the same apps on your smartphone and tablet that the Echo does.  Some reviewers have said that the sound quality isn’t as good but I like the sound quality. It comes with a charging cradle to charge it.If you do take it outside the home you have to have wifi, mobile hotspot, or use your cell phone data plan to use Alexa on it. You can use it as a bluetooth speaker without Alexa as well if you are away from internet access. The cost is $129.99. You can also purchase a sling for it for $19.99 which makes it easier to carry.That can’t be on the Tap when you charge it though.  The Echo Dot is the smallest and the cheapest in the family at $89.99. It works best with another bluetooth speaker or another device in the Echo family. It also has the same limitations as the Amazon Tap.

Last year Vinny also posted about the gaming PC that he built. What if you have a gaming PC with Steam on it but you want to play games on your TV in a different room? Last November Steam came out with the Steam Link. You attach it to your TV and connect it to your wifi network. Then it finds your computer with Steam installed on it that is on the same wifi network and shows you your installed games on your TV. You can then start playing on your TV.  They also came out with the Steam Controller last November. You can use it to play Steam Games on your PC or on your Steam link. Both retail for $49.99.

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The ONE Connected Device to Own

•February 8, 2016 • Comments Off on The ONE Connected Device to Own
the amazon echo device

Amazon Echo

I know between this post and the last it may seem like I’m on a serious Amazon kick, and maybe I am. I spotted this article on Android Central and had to re-post. Why Amazon Echo Is the One Connected Device you Should Own

You may hear a lot about the Internet of Things and products like the Echo clearly fall in that group. I’ve owned mine for over a year now and in that time I’ve seen the software grow in abilities and new functions that keep me coming back to it time and time again. The latest addition of a link to Spotify coupled with what it already does with Amazon Prime music and you have a serious jukebox contender. Again your mileage may very if Amazon is not your go-to place for digital music, but if you are not streaming from Spotify then you should. Let us know in the comments some of your favorite tasks that your Echo handles.

The Day I Deleted the Kindle App

•January 4, 2016 • Comments Off on The Day I Deleted the Kindle App

kindleThe Amazon Kindle App was one of the first additions to my smartphone back in 2010. Today I removed it from my current phone. It has been replaced by my shiny new Kindle Paperwhite. For the longest time I was a strong proponent of having everything on my mobile device; all my books, music, streaming, games, you name it. The convenience of having a single device that can do everything is great, but sometimes a device that does one thing really well is the better choice. The Kindle Paperwhite is the e-Reader I have been waiting for. (Though no offense to all the Nook owners out there. They are great devices too, I just have 90% of my library in Amazon’s cloud.)

One problem with reading on a smartphone, or tablet for that matter, is that bright screen will eat up most of your device’s battery life. One look at the battery usage and you’ll see that the screen accounts for most of the use on any given day. An hour or more of reading could really have you hunting for your charging cable, especially as your device ages, to say nothing of the strain on your eyes. The e-ink screen on the Kindle, (or Nook GlowLight), is far easier on the eyes, even with the back-light on, plus it merely sips at the battery. There are a number of font types and sizes and the pages snap into view quickly. The size and weight make it perfect for one handed reading. It is even lighter than my smartphone. Storage is not a problem as eBooks take up so little space and with WiFi connected to the cloud my whole Kindle library is available at a touch.

There are 4 models of Kindles plus ones with special offers that reduce the cost so I urge you to take a look. Once I began using mine I had no problem removing the app from my mobile devices. Besides, I needed the space for more matching gem games.

The Nintendo Entertainment Center Turns 30.

•October 19, 2015 • Comments Off on The Nintendo Entertainment Center Turns 30.

Happy Birthday NESHappy 30th birthday to the system that brought video games back from the abyss. Three decades ago video game systems would be synonymous with Nintendo. Growing up, I had an Atari 2600, played on my friends’ Intellivision and Collecovision, and wanted a Vectrex. All that changed when the bargain bins began filling up with unsold Atari carts and a certain extraterrestrial landed in New Mexico. The fad of video games were over, at least at home; arcades were still alive and well. Then one Christmas my brother and I received the Nintendo Power Pack. That was the bundle that came with the console, the power pad, (basically a large mat with micro-switches in it), and three games: Mario Bros, Duck Hunt and Track & Field. Sadly I left the NES with my brother never to see it again, but as the Universe has a way of smiling on us every now and then my wife still had her’s and it sits proudly on our shelf of video game systems. So, in lieu of a cake and candles how about if everyone just add to the comments the first game they remember playing on an NES. It’s what Mario would have wanted.

Reading Arizona Has a New Look

•September 15, 2015 • Comments Off on Reading Arizona Has a New Look

Reading Arizona Has a New LookReading Arizona has flipped the switch on a new user interface for their portal. Click on the following link to read all about it on their blog and watch a short video on the new interface.

https://readingarizona.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/announcing-a-new-user-interface/ 

Amazon Echo Now For Sale

•June 23, 2015 • Comments Off on Amazon Echo Now For Sale

Amazon echoYou can read more about it from Gizmodo here. Anyone Can Buy Amazon’s Clever AI Assistant Echo Starting Today. In addition you can read CNET’s Amzon Echo Review. I also wrote a post on my use of the Echo at home, An Echo For the Home. Still interested then head over to Amazon.com and for $180 you can get one yourself, just wait a little as they won’t be shipping until July 14th.

Coding In The Library

•June 8, 2015 • 1 Comment

The next TechTalk meeting is all set for Thursday June 18th at 10:30 in the 4th floor lecture all at the Burton Barr Central Phoenix Library.

Come hear Kelly Smith speak about the Code Clubs at the Mesa Public Library and in addition Eric Ose will talk about the robotics programs at Mesa PL. Following this Vinny Alascia will offer a glimpse of the new Raspberry Pi 2 and some of the projects this micro computer can tackle. To get ready for that here is an article from Dan Messer on his use of the Pi in the Maricopa County Library District. http://knightwise.com/raspberry-pi-week-guestblog-serve-your-message-with-a-slice-of-pi/