Wednesday, June 20, 2012

HighOnAndroid.com Galaxy S3 Giveaway!

HighOnAndroid.com Galaxy S3 Giveaway!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Experimental Blog

I’ve replicated this blog (with the exception of this post) at:

http://CSharpner.com/blog

Please visit it.  It has all the same articles as this blog, but I believe the look and feel is immensely better.  Please feel free to report any issues either as comments to this article or on the article(s) in question on the new blog.  I know of a couple already.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: Acer All-In-One AZ3731-UR21P Touch Screen Computer

 

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The most prominent feature of this PC is that it has a Multi-Touch monitor!  Yes!  You can control the PC by touching the screen!  The next most prominent feature is how inexpensive this was.  The ENTIRE set up was cheaper than most touch screen monitors.  I mean, the whole PC, monitor, keyboard, mouse, software, EVERYTHING was cheaper than a single touch screen with no PC or anything else.  This PC retails for $649 at the time of this writing.

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I bought this for my daughter for Christmas 2011.  She was at the house when UPS dropped it off, so it was no longer a surprise, so we went ahead and opened it and gave it to her (no sense in wasting 30 days of a 90 day return warranty!)

Note, the actual warranty is a 1 year, limited warranty.

Note that we’ve had about a month and a half experience with this at the time of this writing.  So, let’s get started:

Unboxing

It came in one box about 4 feet wide, 2 feet tall, and 8 inches thick.  There was a box with the mouse and keyboard in it and there was the computer between two large Styrofoam protectors and wrapped in a cushy bag.  The keyboard and mouse are wireless and came with a tiny USB receiver.

Note that this is an all-in-one PC.  That means the monitor and the PC are one piece of hardware.  Just as the picture indicates, you’ll have 3 items on your desk.  The PC, keyboard, and mouse.  That’s it, which was nice not having tons of cables and junk to mess with.

Hooking it up

This was, by FAR, the easiest set up of a desktop PC I’ve ever had!  There’s only ONE cable!  ONE!  And that’s the power cable.  I plugged in the wireless receiver to a USB port on the right side of the monitor.  I pulled the tab from the battery compartment on the mouse and turned on the mouse.  I added the provided batteries to they keyboard (2 AAA) and I plugged in the power cable.

When I turned it on, it recognized the wireless keyboard and mouse and booted into the Windows 7 Home Premium desktop.  I created my admin account and my daughter’s user account.  It found my wireless network and I entered the credentials and was online in seconds.

That’s it!  DONE!  And it’s nice having only ONE cable!  I can’t express now nice that is!  Really!  Look at MY cable set up on my own PC (Note:  This is NOT the cables of the Acer PC in this review… This is to show how bad things can be without the Acer PC in this review!!!)

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And this is AFTER a MAJOR clean up!  This is as good as it gets with my PC!

ShovelWare/CrapWare

“ShovelWare” or “CrapWare” is crap software that computer makers like to load up your new PC with.  Most of it is usually trial software for anti-virus software, games, and utilities.  Most of it is usually CRAP!  Many times it slows down the booting of your PC and interferes with the performance while using it.

PC Magazine defines it as:

“Refers to the many "extra" programs pre-installed on some PCs that offer little value (they are "shoveled" in without regard to quality). Also called "crapware," shovelware is geared to first-time buyers, who think they are getting more for their money. The term first appeared in the mid-1990s when tons of shareware programs were copied onto CD-ROMs and advertised in magazines or sold at computer flea markets.

UrbanDictionary.com defines it as:

“an array of haphazard software emphasizing quantity rather than quality

This shit is totally half-assed. Who assembled this shovelware?

This computer is no exception.  I won’t list the junk that’s on there, but there’s plenty of it.  I uninstalled all that had no redeeming value.

What’s Unique, Software-wise?

It is nicely configured for touch capability with oversized title bars and buttons on the title bars of all windows (easily user configurable since the early 1990’s, BTW).  It has an icon in the upper-right on the desktop.  When you touch it, it slides out a touch interface for several touch programs and settings.  It’s pretty nice.  BTW, if you haven’t tried Google Earth with a multi-touch monitor, you’re missing out on life!

There’s a touch, video keyboard to and you can even use it to log into Windows.  It works well.

Windows Paint, which is not an awesome paint program by any measure, works very well with touch, and even with multi-touch.  Let’s go ahead and define multi-touch.  That’s the type of touch interface that can respond to multiple touches at the same time, as opposed to touch screens, like the older Windows Mobile phones (and most others in the pre iPhone era) that could only recognize ONE touch point on the screen at a time.

Specs

I won’t repeat all the specs here.  If you want a full spec sheet, click here for it on Acer’s web site.

In short, it has:

  • 64bit Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Intel Pentium E6700 Dual-core 64bit 3.2Ghz processor.
  • 4GB RAM (you can max it to 8GB)
  • 1TB Hard Drive, 5400RPM
  • DVD-RAM/+-R/+-RW optical drive.
  • Full HD monitor (1920x1080)
  • Full Multi-Touch capability on that monitor.
  • Gigabit Wired Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless.
  • WebCam built into top of monitor, like a notebook, with mic.
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports.

 

Performance

I didn’t run any benchmark tests on it, but it is plenty fast from my own, personal testing and I’m an overclocking geek with a QuadCore CPU on my own desktop (NOT THIS COMPUTER that I’m reviewing!)  Games and graphics software and the whole user experience is very zippy.  I noticed no lags on anything important.

Problems?

  • Sliding your finger across the screen to say, drag a window is kind of difficult at times as your finger tends to be kind of sticky on a slick surface and bounces, losing contact.
  • There appears to be a membrane in front of the monitor made of a thin, flexible plastic and it seems to NOT be attached and almost wrinkles while sliding your finger across the screen.

 

Conclusion

My daughter is highly pleased with it and spends an awful lot of time on it both browsing the web and using the paint software.  I also installed several other graphics programs for her as she is a bit of an artist.  I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of set up and the fact that there’s only ONE cable!  That just astonishes me!  The performance is great.  The multi-touch screen is awesome.  It comes with plenty of RAM and hard drive space, and the low price is fairly shocking considering what all you get.  I’ve always been pleased with Acer hardware.  They tend to have the best bang for the buck and they didn’t disappoint with this computer.

My daughter, who uses it much more than me says she’s “really likes it” and the only problem is the touch on smaller items is difficult to touch the right thing.

I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

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The only thing holding it back is the shovelware and the wrinkly film on the touch screen.

See this image?

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You’ll find an actual working version of it at the bottom of this article. Please click the appropriate buttons in it to let your friends know about this article.

Check back later for updates too!

Click here to follow me on Google+.

Follow me on Twitter @CSharpner.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Is Google+ boring to you because it seems like no one’s there?

Well, if that’s the case, then you’re using it wrong.  There’s more activity on Google+ than you can shake a smartphone at!  Remember, G+ is NOT Facebook!  You can follow anyone, even if they don’t follow you back!  You just have to start following some interesting people.  It doesn’t matter if “my friends are all on facebook”!  I’ve met TONS of interesting people on Google+, 99.9% of which I’ve never met in person.

Click here to follow me on Google+.

Do this:

  1. Fill out your Google+ profile page, specifically, your profession and interests (but don’t put too much personal information there… remember, this IS publically available to all pedophiles, stalkers, sex offenders, burglars, etc… and THEY use the internet too… probably more than YOU do!)  (Be careful what you publish about yourself or your loved ones online!)
  2. Now, find some interesting people:  In the “Search Google+” bar at the top, search for something you’re interested in.  Then click the “Search Google+ for” item right under your original search term:
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  3. You’ll get PLENTY of results of posts by fellow G+ users that match your search.  If you like what they have to say, click on their name and it’ll take you to their profile.  Look at their posts.  Are they interesting?  The add them to your circles!  Now you’ll see their public posts.  They might follow you back too!  Feel free to comment on their posts if you have something to add or ask.  You’ll get responses!  Now, go!  Go do it!
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Other things you can and should do:

  • Go to SocialStatistics.com.  You’ll find the most popular Google+ people and posts.  You’ll find plenty of people to follow there too.
  • Go to PlusClout and find popular people from G+ there too.
  • Write some posts about things you’re interested in.  Be sure to post them public.
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  • Comment on other posts.  People will interact with you and you’ll likely get some people to start following you!
  • Post your Google+ ID on Facebook and Twitter (the whole URL from your profile page).
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  • Invite friends and family to start using Google+.

 

Google+ has a cleaner user interface and is more secure that Facebook.  Just be careful when you post.  Don’t post publicly unless it’s something you want everyone to see and don’t care if it’s seen by your employers, friends, parents, kids, future employers, grandkids, great grand kids, and your entire family lineage for generations to come, because it will never go away!  Be careful what you publish about yourself or your loved ones online!

See this image?

image_thumb26

You’ll find an actual working version of it at the bottom of this article. Please click the appropriate buttons in it to let your friends know about this article.

Check back later for updates too!

Click here to follow me on Google+.