So, I’m waiting on the replacement Chromebook from NewEgg (the 1st one they sent didn’t have a SIM card). It was going to be an early Mother’s Day present for my Mom, but it may end up being a “just in the knick of time” Mother’s Day present.
I got a good deal from NewEgg – 3G Samsung Chromebook with 100MB of data for 2yrs + 100 GB of storage on Google Drive for 2yrs + no tax + free shipping = $329. I can’t complain, I just hope the replacement has the SIM card.
Well, while I’m waiting for Mom’s new gadget, I started browsing the PDA section of eBay. I’ve owned my share of Palm devices, but I always wanted a Windows CE handheld PC – the clamshell style PDA. My favorites were the HP Jornada and the NEC Mobilepro, But they were nearly $1000 when they were new. Now you can pick up one of these devices on eBay for a reasonable price, however the replacement batteries often cost more than the device.
Then I started looking at the 1st generation devices running Wndows CE 1.0. These devices came out in 1997, originally sold for $500+, had a monochrome LCD display, and were powered by 2 AA batteries and backup battery. I found a Compaq C140 on eBay for $27 so I snagged it.
I love this style of device. My original plan was to take the C140 to school and use it as a todo list/alarm clock, however the fonts are small, the contrast is bad, and so are my eyes! I think I’ll just use it as an alarm clock to wake me in the mornings.
I found a better gadget to take to school…a Nokia N810 and I just ordered one on eBay for $60.
I’ll let you know how it works out.
My Mom and Dad have always been wary of technology. I finally taught Mom to text a few weeks ago and she’s doing great…except that she calls me to make sure I received her text…but I’m not complaining. She can text now!
Mom is starting to realize, though, that she needs to have an email and be able to do some basic web browsing. I explained to her how a Chromebook works and asked if she would be interested and she enthusiastically said yes.
I decided to get Mom a Samsung Chromebook with built-in 3G. It comes with 100MB of data per month and 100 GB of storage on Google Drive free for 2 years. This is perfect for Mom. She won’t have to worry about getting internet for the house and if we see that she needs more data we can bump her plan up.
Newegg and Amazon appear to be the only places you can get the 3G model so I went with Newegg because it was the cheapest. Unfortunately, when the Chromebook came in and I began setting it up, it didn’t take long to realize that the sim card was missing. New egg is in the process of sending me a replacement.
I’ll let you know what Mom thinks.
I’m a middle aged high school math teacher and lifelong technology fanatic. I’m also the daughter of two lifelong technology haters. When I was a kid, they wouldn’t even let me use my own money to buy a Commodore 64 computer because it would, “be obsolete in no time.”
I shouldn’t be too hard on them though. When I was in college, Mom bought me one of the first graphing calculators without me even asking. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that they don’t hate technology as much as they fear it. I got them a laptop several years ago, and initially my Mom was very excited. But when she, a woman who had zero computer experience, was confronted with Windows XP and Internet Explore, it was too overwhelming. I guess I was a little too zealous and tried to teach her too much at once. If I wasn’t right there with her she wouldn’t even turn the thing on.
A few years have passed since the failed laptop attempt, and I’m trying a new approach. I gave Mom my old iPhone 4. She can make phone calls and I think she can take pictures. I was surprised to find out recently that she’s also using a few apps that I left on the phone: the weather channel and a couple of news apps.
Since my daughters and I also have iPhones and my nephew has an iPod, I decided to teach her how to text. Since we all have Apple products, we can exchange iMessages for free. Mom was apprehensive at first, but I made her send texts to everyone, and they sent her messages back. She feels pretty good about it now. We just have to send her messages every so often and encourage her to reply so that she gets comfortable with this new mode of communication.
Now that she’s getting comfortable with the whole concept of launching and closing application (that was a major hurdle), she’s actually expressing an interest in using a computer. I took the old laptop (wow it’s slow) and I’ve ordered her a 3G Samsung Chromebook. It’s scheduled to be delivered in two days and she seems genuinely enthusiastic. After I placed the order, she and I sat down and pick out a username and password for her Google account. I got her all set up so that when the Chromebook arrives she can sign in and be ready to go.
I’ll let you know how this turns out.
I had a great Spring Break…the weather was warmer than expected…very Spring-like for a change. However, I spent much of my free time inside, glued to eBay, shopping for deals on hard drives, RAM, and batteries for an old laptop that I wanted to refurbish. I was so excited about this project because I love playing around with new (to me) gadgets. In addition to that, I was going to get the satisfaction of knowing that I fixed the laptop myself.
I’m a tech fanatic, just not very tech savvy, so I also spent a lot of time on YouTube watching tutorials on replacing the parts I mentioned above. I also had to figure out what to do about re-installing the operating system. The original OS was Windows XP but I didn’t have a recovery disc. I found a Windows 98 recovery disc, but determined that it was too old to be of any use. I decided to install Ubuntu 12.10. This really amped up my excitement – a new OS would make this feel like a new laptop.
While I waited for the parts to arrive, I planned a series of YouTube videos staring me in the various stages of refurbishing my old broken-down laptop.
Well, the parts arrived. The Kid and I began filming Part 1: Hard Drive Replacement…and that’s as far as it got. Apparently, the laptop had issues in addition to the faulty HD. So disappointing. Fortunately, I bought the HD, RAM, and battery from eBay stores that accepted returns.
Well, I have a new project in mind. I’ll tell you about it in the next post.
My project this week is to refurbish my old Compaq Presario 2100.
I sold some stuff on eBay last week, so now I have a few bucks burning a hole in my pocket. I thought about buying something like an Acer TimelineX that I could tinker with. My husband suggested that if I wanted something to tinker with I should dig out the old Presario. He was joking but I thought it was a good idea.
The Presario was collecting dust on a shelf in the basement because it started having HDD problems and eventually quit booting.
I brought it upstairs, plugged it in, and hit the power button, and what do you know…it fired right up! I spent several minutes looking around for a way to reset it to factory settings, like in Windows 7…no such luck. I guess Windows XP doesn’t give you that option. I powered it down because we were going out to eat. However, when I got home and tried to fire it back up – nothing – it had stopped booting again.
I did a little research on YouTube and found that this is called the freezer effect. Apparently my HDD has physical damage. the cold air in the basement caused the metal components of the HDD to contract and move freely again. The effect is temporary, though, and usually only works once.
I did a little shopping and found that I could get a replacement HDD pretty cheap. So, this is my plan for the week: replace the HDD, and while I’m at it, upgrade the RAM and replace the battery. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
I think the Samsung Galaxy Note series of smartphones are the best phones ever made…for men…who wear cargo pants.
I ordered a Note the day it was released by AT&T and enjoyed using it as my phone/tablet for a year…until it fell out of my tiny little girl pockets onto a concrete floor and cracked the screen. The phone was still fully functional…but now it was UGLY!
First, I consulted YouTube and watched several videos about screen replacement. I determined that replacing the screen myself was iffy and too expensive to risk it.
Next, I checked out eBay. I figured I could pick up a used Galaxy Note or SII, maybe even an SIII pretty cheap. Maybe not. Used phones were selling for more than $300 and ones with cracked screens…$200+
Finally, I knew what I had to do, what I always do, sell my old gadget on eBay and and get a new gadget. In this case I sold my Galaxy Note for $276 and bought an iPhone 5 for $200.
Now my only problem is deciding what gadget to get with the remaining $76.
I’m a watch person…and I’m the kind of person that thought calculator watches were cool. So imagine my excitement when some of the early smart watches started appearing running Palm OS. Now imagine my disappointment when I saw one strapped to the arm of a grown man.
An average size 1st grader has a larger wrist than me. But I REALLY wanted a watch with a touch screen interface and access to my calendar and todo list (I have memory issues).
Like many people, when the battery died on my watch a couple years ago I didn’t replace it, I started using my phone to tell time. But like I said, I’m a watch person, and all this talk recently about smart watches has me excited again. And they appear to be getting smaller…
The previous generation iPod nano was attractive when paired with the right strap…
…and Sony has a similar smart watch…
…but the clip makes it stand out from the wrist too far. Also worth noting, it’s not compatible with all android phones.
Cookoo has a nice design, but I’ve seen one on a man’s wrist and it looked bulky.
The Pebble Watch is the most intriguing prospect I’ve seen recently…
…and it doesn’t look too bulky, does it?
I haven’t even begun to dig into the features of the various smart watches, so leave a comment if you have any advice about choosing one.
Last year I tried replace my laptop with an iPad. I’m a math teacher and I needed to be able to create and edit word documents that contained equations…lots of them. I found a few apps (like MathBot) that would allow me to create equations. The downside with these type of apps is that they are not word processors. You have to export each equation as a photo or PDF, then you have to paste it into a document you’ve created in another app, then you have to adjust the size and if you have several equations on the same page it is nearly impossible to get them all a uniform size. And there is no editing the equations once they’ve been exported.
It’s a lot of work, and the end product is not that great.
I continued to look for a word processor with a built-in equation editor. I nearly bought a Microsoft Surface RT because it came with MS Office, but the price ($599) convinced me to keep looking for a more affordable option.
I found the perfect solution: Refurbished iPad 2 ($319) + CloudOn (free).
CloudOn is an office suite with built-in equation editor, just like MS Office.
It’s a web app, so you must have internet access, but finally there’s a productivity suite with a built-in equation editor. I’ve used it on an iPad 2 and a Nexus 7 and it works great on both tablets.
Check out my overview of CloudOn’s equation editor.
I wrote a post last summer describing my experience using the spreadsheet editor in Google Drive’s Android app. My opinion was that editing existing spreadsheets was acceptable, but creating new ones was not very intuitive.
However, the spreadsheet editor is now much more user friendly. Here are some screenshots of Google Drive on my daughter’s Nexus 7.
I find thumb typing in portrait mode very comfortable on the Nexus 7.
I prefer landscape view on an iPad, but on the Nexus 7, you can’t see much of the document.
Google Drive has a very clean, attractive user interface.
Here’s a YouTube video showing a Google Drive Spreadsheet on my iPad.
…and here’s a Google Drive Document on my iPad.
Yesterday I unboxed my Apple Refurbished iPad 2 (16 GB) and posted the video on YouTube.
Apple Refurbished iPad 2 Unboxing
*The packaging is different than a new iPad, yet still very attractive.
*A new 16 GB iPad Costs $399, while the refurbished devices cost $319 (I couldn’t find a deal to beat that on eBay).
*Shipping was free and prompt – I ordered it and a new Smart Cover on Saturday and the cover arrived Wed. while the iPad arrived Thur.
*I could not tell the difference between the refurbished device and a new one.
Apple refurbished iPads have:
-a new battery
-a new outer shell
-a one year warranty
The less expensive models tend to go faster, so if you set your heart on getting one, you may have to wait until more of your desired model becomes available. I’s worth checking out.
Apple Refurbished iPads
You can also purchase refurbished laptops, desktops, and iPods from Apple.
I’m curious to see how much the iPad mini will cost when the start selling refurbished models.