Technology: It's Not Just for Work, You Know


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An overview of some of the interesting and useful ways to use a computer, particularly the Web, away from work. This presentation was put together with the intended purpose of encouraging the audience to try new things.

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  • Welcome and ThanksPurpose of this series as I see it: - To look at all of the options we have, - Tools we can use, - “Toys” we can play with - Things we can do with technology, not necessarily at work, but at home, in our leisure time – and if you ask, “What’s that?” maybe we can discover some tools to help you find some leisure time or better, make some. Because it’s REALLY important for our mental health and well being to incorporate fun into our lives. Hobbies, people, lifelong learning are the things that help us get through life more easily, not to mention make it all more enjoyable.So that’s what we’ll do over the three classes that make up this series. You don’t have to come to each one. You don’t have to make all of them that we’ll do this summer. We’ll repeat them in the fall and we’ll also put them online at some point, so that you can either review or watch anything you might miss but be interested in.
  • Perhaps like some of you, technology has been around in my life – in a really clear and present manner – for a good, long while. It’s NOTHING like anyone who was born in the last 20 years or so has known, but still, for me having a computer in our home started pretty much as soon as people had computers in their homes.This is the Timex Sinclair 1000. It was sold by Radio Shack back in the early 80s – 1980-81 – and one day my dad bought one, set it up on a desk in our den, and hooked it up to an old black and white television set that we had, using that as the monitor (or this is how I remember it anyway). I also can’t remember much of what it did other than some orange blips and numbers and such. Maybe there was a game like “Pong” that my dad programmed. What I do remember clearly though, is how excited he got when he figured something out. He’d sit there for hours with the manual and some programming books, following along until he got it to do something. Then he’d call us into the room to watch him demo it for us. We’d stare at the screen, say, “Cool, dad” and then go back to whatever we were involved with before.My dad was a high school math and chemistry teacher. He loved this stuff. And so from the Timex Sinclair forward, he had a series of bigger (literally) machines, that eventually became smaller. He enjoyed figuring them out. When I went off to grad school, he gave me one of his earlier machines – one that had the two different drives and you had several 5 ¼” floppy discs that you had to use to boot the thing up. When you compare that to today, it’s hard to imagine we stuck with such laborious business. My electric typewriter was a lot faster. But we did stick with it – and most importantly, so did all of those folks out in Silicon Valley, thus today we have a world that looks something more like this…
  • Video clip – play
  • So let’s take a poll.Whoops! Not that kind of pole.This kind…Show of hands, how many people here own a desktop computer?Laptop?Digital music player – iPod, Zen, something of the like?An eBook reader – Kindle, Nook?Tablet – iPad, Blackberry Playbook, HP?Smartphones?A GPS in your car (or bike or wristwatch, even)?Satellite radio?So we can easily see, we’re all connected in some way. Maybe some of us more than others. Maybe some of us more at work than at home. But technology is, like the video suggested, really ubiquitous in our lives today. And when I think that it was only 30 years ago when my dad was bringing home that Timex Sinclair 1000, I think, “That’s amazing!”
  • So we’ve set the stage for what I want to go over today. Please remember that this is really a series for fun, for you to learn what you want to learn, and that everyone here has something they can offer to the experience. Feel free to chime in with questions and comments and examples – when I ask for them and at any other time. This is really informal.When I proposed today’s class to the Committee though, these are some of the things I thought would be good as a starting point – things that we can build on when we talk in future classes about social networking and sharing documents online and the like.(read list)
  • Let’s start with a question that many people have when it comes to deciding what to buy and/or what to use as a platform for your tech tools; Do you want a Mac or a PC? Remember these guys? The ad campaign for Apple? Hip and Cool vs Nerdy? Nice argument. Good selling point, but… let’s look a little closer.This is a nice infographic from an online site that gives some objective pros and cons for the two systems. Jot down the URL if you want to get a closer, longer look, but let me cover a few here:Stability – Mac hardware is more stable. Hands-down. PCs have improved tremendously over the years, but they still crash a lot more often than Macs. There’s a reason for this that we’ll see in a minute. So if the “blue screen of death” causes you tremendous anxiety, put a check beside Apple for this category. No need to make using computers frightening.Security – Viruses get to PCs. Notoriously so. On the other hand, Macs had yet to have a major virus strike them in all of the years they’ve been out there. This isn’t to say you can’t open yourself up to security issues as a Mac user, but the platform is, generally speaking, more secure. Reliability – Things move around more easily on a Mac. Depending upon what you use on your computer, you may or may not ever notice this, but the way they’re built lends the Macs to being more reliable with file organization.Multimedia – Not much competition here. Macs are known for media. They are the standard in the media industry. They win. Video, audio… you name it. Affordability – And hands-down for PCs, here. They are cheaper. Significantly cheaper. Macs have certainly come down in price over the years, but when you consider the lifespan of our computers nowadays, consider that you might not even be able to pay off a Mac before you have to upgrade to a new one. Something to think about.Selection – There are MANY PCs. There is one Apple. You decide.Compatibility – Macs can now run Windows programs, in particular, there is a Mac version of MS Office. This is very key to using a Mac in a PC dominant world. On the other hand, PCs cannot run Mac products. It’s a one way street.Gaming – If you’re into gaming, buy a PC. If you want to hook up to your PC or laptop to a big screen to play your games with friends, again… buy a PC. They do this. Macs don’t – or at least nowhere near as easily or as much.
  • Who’s the most popular? PCsWho has the most software built for them? PCsTypography and Color – Anything related to design, you go with a Mac. Like media, Macs are the standard for the design industry. A few other things to consider:PCs tend to come with more memory out of the box. You can always upgrade Macs when you order, but the standard is lower.Same is true for hard drive space. Availability – With the growth of Apple Stores, it’s easier now to find a Mac than it once was, but it’s still not as easy as it is to get a PC. They’re everywhere. It’s the exclusivity thing of Apple again. They control their stuff. This is part of why their machines are more stable and such, but as you can see… pros and cons to that.So the bottom line if you’re looking to decide on buying a new computer, think about what you’ll use most, what you’re most comfortable with, what you can afford, etc. and then make your decision based upon you. It’s not just about being hip and cool or nerdy. It’s about finding the best fit for you.
  • And after you pick between the different platforms, you must also decide just WHAT you want to buy:Desktop?Laptop?Netbook?Tablet?What’s going to work best for you?Or, as the video suggested…
  • Will you settle for a smartphone? I know MANY people for whom a smart phone is it. They own nothing else. It does everything for them. How many people here have smartphones again?I don’t, so in this area you folks are ahead of me in gadgetry. I’m not much of a phone user, so I use an iPod touch – pretty much an iPhone w/out the phone. That works for me. But smartphones are awfully awesome AND it’s easy to see how they win so many people over. They’re still on the expensive side, less so for the phone itself than for the wireless and data plans, but for an awful lot of people, the smartphone is everything techy for them.
  • Now then… iPods. MP3 players. MUSIC to my ears! Literally.(Show first iPod – still works!) For me personally, there has been no other piece of technology that I have loved more than an iPod. I have:- 465 songs (1.1 days of music) on this iPod. That’s not many, because I have a bunch of apps and videos and tv shows and podcasts on it. Plus, it’s only an 8G iPod. Small.2588 songs, 14 videos, 10 podcasts, 8 iTunes U classes, 46 photos, and 4 games. If I started playing it now and didn’t turn it off until I was finished listening and/or watching everything on it, I’m guessing it might be late next month before I finished. Think about that. All on this little thing. Amazing. I just LOVE them.Typical features: audio playback image viewing recording video playback radio receptionThey all work with MP3 files (universal). iPods use Advanced Audio Coding, or AAC, files. Windows-based players run WMA files – windows media audio. You’ve likely seen these on your desktops, too. PC users.So how do they work?Simply, you transfer music from a source (CD, recording, an online site) to some form of library (think iTunes), and then you synch your library to your player. You can pick and choose what you want to synch. You can go wild and let it do some random synching for you. You can synch everything (if your player is big enough). It’s good fun.How many iPod or MP3 users do we have? When do you use your player most? Anyone use one in your car? Built in?
  • The iPods big brother OR the laptop’s little sister OR… something all to itself. Tablets are new entries into our tech world, though Microsoft offered one as early as 2000-2001. Basically, a table is larger than a mobile phone or PDA.They have flat touchscreens for navigation.They feature things like the ability to change orientation, wi-fi connectivity, Bluetooth to connect to peripherals without wires, and some offer 3D viewing. Not sure about the glasses requirement.You can add on things like:Keyboards projectors output to TV stands for video and/or audio playThey come as slates, booklet, and convertibles. If you’re curious about a nice list of pros and cons for purchasing a tablet, check out wikipedia (the entry for “tablet computer”). I didn’t repeat it here, but it’s worth looking into if you’re thinking about getting one.
  • Store 2009 (millions U.S.) 2012 (millions U.S.)[67]Apple App Store $769 $5782 Blackberry App World $36 $165 Nokia Ovi Store $13 $105 Google Play $11 $102 Total $828 $6154Apps – Mobile Applications – software designed to run on smartphones, some iPods, or tablets. They are available from distribution centers like Apple’s App Store; Blackberry App World; NokieOvi Store; Google Play; Amazon App Store.Some are free, but others cost something. I’ve paid 99 cents to $15 for an app, the latter being iBird, my awesome app for bird identification.Fun facts:Apple App Store opened on 7/10/2008. By January 2011 it had seen 10 BILLION downloads of apps. 2 ½ years. By June 2011, it had 425,000 3rd party apps in it to choose from. By comparison, DROID compatible Google Play has 430,000. that’s a lot of apps, eh?Represents - $$ figures aboveSo let’s share. On my iPod I have some apps like…______________________Others? Audience? This is one way to find out about apps. Another is through sites like App Smitten. Subscribe and they’ll send you an email a couple of times each week, telling you about a new, cool app that you might not know about. My latest – the card reader.
  • How about Podcasts? Anyone an avid podcast listener / viewer?A podcast is a form of digital media consisting of episodic series of audor or video files subscribed to and downloaded via syndication or streamed online. There are audio podcasts, video podcasts, enhanced podcasts, and one can of podcast that you might not have though of as such… the audio book. I’m an member, but you can also subscribe to other audio book sites to get new selections AND you can also borrow audio book files (not just discs) from you public library. Cool.As for podcasts that you might find online, there are ones for:Public services – think museums, guided tours, galleriesEducation – classesEntertainment – radio and TV showsNewsMusicPoliticsBusiness tipsHealthAnd countless other special interests. Ex. My mando podcast.Share!
  • The cloud. Briefly talk about this. We’ll talk more about cloud storage – and other storage options – in a future class, but I wanted to point out the cloud for you in this session so that you know it exists. Have you heard of DropBox or Amazon’s cloud drive or the Apple Cloud? Anyone using these? How?My uses… MUSIC downloads and the limitations of iTunes.
  • So where else is technology in your life?Video clip.
  • Show and Tell
  • Technology: It's Not Just for Work, You Know

    2. 2. Once Upon a Time
    3. 3. Let’s Take a Poll I own a desktop computer.  I own a laptop computer.  I own a digital music player. I own an ebook reader. I own a tablet.
    4. 4. Getting Started Operating systems (PCs and Macs) Smart phones iPods and their cousins iPads and their cousins What’s an app? What’s a podcast? What’s the cloud? And more…
    5. 5. MAC PC
    6. 6. MAC PCBottom Line: ___U____
    7. 7.  Features:  Most common operating Mobile computing platform systems: Phone  Apple’s iOS (iPhone) Portable media players  Goggle’s Android (Droid) Cameras (still and video)  Microsoft Windows GPS navigation  Nokia’s Symbian Touchscreens  RIM’s BlackBerry OS Web browsers  Linux Maemo and MeeGo 0 High-speed data access via Wi-Fi and mobile broadband smartphones
    8. 8. iPods et al
    9. 9. iPads et al
    10. 10. Build Me an APP
    11. 11. TuneIn!
    12. 12. Show and Tell Feel free to join in!