Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ChromeOS on your TV

Have you been thinking about ChromeOS?  This might be an easy way for you to get started.

Google announced a new type of ChromeOS device called a Chromebit.  This is an HDMI dongle that turns your TV into a ChromeOS device.  This first device is from ASUS, but we are told to expect similar devices from others.  They are listed at $100 and will be available this Summer.

Something I like about this is it's portability.  I could take a Chromebit on a trip and plug it into a TV in my hotel room.  Or, an extra monitor when visiting someone's office.

I am a little concerned about power, keyboard, and mouse...there is one USB port on the do I connect all my stuff?

There is no mention of Bluetooth, but hopefully it's supported.

Gizmodo has some additional images in their post (

The official Chrome Blog post can be found here:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ting - a New Kind of Cell Phone Carrier

Ting is still in beta, but it's an open beta and anyone is welcome.

Here are the basics:

  • Ting is an Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) running on the Sprint network
  • They have an interesting sliding-scale rate plan
  • You can bring your own phone

The interesting aspect of Ting is their rate plan.  Unlike most other carriers, you don't pick a plan that you think will cover you.  Ting has four sliding scales and you are billed for what you use.

Let's create an example here.  It you are like me, you use a fair bit of data, but not very much in the way of minutes or messages.  For me, my rate might look something like this:

  • Devices: XS = $6
  • Minutes M = $9 (usually about 250 minutes)
  • Messages S = $3 (usually about 20 messages)
  • Megabytes XL+ = $44 ( 3GB $29 + $15)
  • Total = $64

Before you give me any grief, most of my messaging is done outside of SMS.  I use Hangouts with most of my friends and colleagues.

If, in a given month my minutes go up I would just move into the next tier and pay for that, then my rate would go back down the next month.

This rate isn't great.  It's about the same as I'm paying T-Mobile for an unlimited plan.  So, for me this wouldn't work out so well.  Not to mention the fact that it's running on Sprint.  Not the greatest carrier in Southern California.

What are your thoughts?  Would this work for you?

How Secure is Your Operating System?

For years I've heard Mac people talk about how much safer Mac OS is than Windows.  But, the tide seems to be changing.  According to the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) Mac OSX and iOS are at the top of the list for total vulnerabilities.

The Windows 8.1 is actually looking good on this list with 36 total vulnerabilities compared to 147 on OS X.

Initially, I was thinking the OS X problems were related to the Linux kernel itself, which comes in at number three on the list of offenders, but then I noticed other Linux-based operating systems aren't on the list at all.  I'm not sure what that means and the NVD site wasn't much help in trying to figure it out.

But, I don't see Android, Ubuntu, and ChromeOS on this list.  That makes me feel good.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

How's Your Cable Modem Doing?

LifeHacker has an interesting article about a "secret" diagnostics page that's made available by your cable modem.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Project Ara - ATAP - PhoneBlocks

What is Project Ara?  The idea is simple.  Design a customizable phone platform that is low in cost and can be used by a variety of people in any location in the world.  A phone for the unconnected people of the world.

Google would like to offer this phone starting at about $50.  While they may not be able to hit that, I think they will be able to get close.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thermal Imager for Android

Many people were very excited to see FLIR release a thermal imager for the iPhone.  I think it is a great step in a good direction.  And, for $350 you can't go wrong.  It's a major reduction in price for a thermal imager.

As an Android phone owner, it doesn't get me that excited.  Luckily, FLIR isn't the only company making such devices.

MicroView - Arduino with Display

MicroView is  a small OLED display with an Arduino chip built in.

Gauges, like this gauge showing the reading of a Light Sensor are easy to display with 2 lines of Arduino™ Code.

In the picture above you see the device on it's programming module, this module isn't required when running.

The specs are good for a device of this size, the display is 64x48 pixels of OLED goodness and it's running the Atmega 328P.  They are providing a library for interacting with the display, including the gauge control you see in the example image.

Check out their Kickstarter project for more info.