A Windows 10 Laptop for $150

I have often written, “the price of hardware keeps dropping,” and that has never been more true than today. Lenovo, a well-respected manufacturer of laptop and other computers, has just announced a Windows laptop with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199. Of course, retailers are always able to discount retail prices, and BestBuy has done just that. The Lenovo IdeaPad 100S is available from BestBuy for only $149.99. The BestBuy web site lists that laptop as “on sale” but does not list a sale ending date.

Lenovo IdeaPad 100S

This is not a Chromebook or some stripped-down tablet computer. It is not a refurbished computer. Instead, it is a full-sized Windows 10 laptop, capable of running any Windows genealogy program available today and probably most other Windows program as well. It is available today from BestBuy.

Amazon’s $49.99 7-inch Fire Tablet Computer to be Available for $34.99

A few weeks ago, I wrote a Plus Edition article about my experiences with Amazon’s new $49.99 7-inch Fire Tablet Computer that runs a modified version of the Android operating system. That article is still available at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=37757. A Plus Edition user name and password is needed to read the article.

Now that same tablet will soon be available at an even lower price: $34.99.

Amazon will be offering a number of “Black Friday” specials, including one on the Fire Tablet. However, Amazon’s version of “Black Friday” will not be continuous. Sale prices will appear and disappear at various times for several days. Details may be found in an article by Sarah Mitroff in the C|Net web site at http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-black-friday-deals-2015.

The $99 Chromebook

I have written often about the advantages of Chromebooks, the low-cost laptop computers designed primarily for use with the cloud. (See https://goo.gl/AAaOZr for a list of my past articles about Chromebooks.) Now we will see the lowest-priced (so far) Chromebook on Black Friday.

CB3-111_White_nontouchBlack Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the US, a day when retailers offer a number of very low prices on their products in an effort to entice Christmas shoppers into their stores in hopes they will purchase the sale-priced item and more. Best Buy reportedly will offer the Acer Chromebook with an 11.6-inch display, Intel Celeron processor, 2 gigabytes of RAM memory, and 16 gigabytes of built-in storage. The price will be just $99, or $60 less than its normal price.

Amazon’s New Fire 7-inch Tablet

A few days ago, Amazon announced a new Android tablet computer that should be very attractive to anyone contemplating a purchase of a tablet. At $49.99 (with free shipping to Amazon Prime Members), the new Amazon Fire tablet probably will appear under a lot of Christmas trees this year.


Disclaimer: I haven’t used this new tablet myself yet. Neither has anyone else. It won’t ship until next week. However, the specifications look attractive for a $49.99 tablet.

To be sure, the Amazon Fire is not a top-of-the-line tablet. It won’t compete with the iPad. The again, it doesn’t have an iPad price tag either. Even with the modest specifications, a $49.95 tablet is very appealing. In fact, the specifications are better than that of any other 7-inch tablet of just 2 or 3 years ago, regardless of price.

Convert Your Old Windows or Macintosh Computer into a Chromebook Clone

I have written often about the advantages of Chromebooks. (See https://goo.gl/lLcwMo for a list of my previous articles about Chromebooks.) These inexpensive laptop computers are great for many purposes. One obvious use is to provide a computer for anyone who is not computer literate, including children, senior citizens, or any adult who has never had a need to learn much about computers. The Chromebooks are simple: they just work.


Chromebooks typically cost $200 to $300 although you can occasionally find them for less if you watch the sales. That’s cheap, but not free. Now a company called Neverware can provide software that will convert your old Windows or Macintosh into the functional equivalent of a Chromebook. Best of all, the software is FREE for individuals.

Build Your Own Digital Library

The new Czur (pronounced “Caesar”) Scanner is a low-cost book scanner that should help to build your private digital library with an easier and faster way. You cannot buy one just yet but hopefully will be able to do so by January, 2016.

Most book scanners cost several hundred dollars. The Czur Scanneris being introduced at $199 plus shipping. Equipped with 16 million pixels and creative algorithm, Czur reportedly can make scanning books as easy as turning pages. The most difficult problems, including flattening curve, erasing fingerprint, smart edge-cutting, have been solved. The Czur web site claims the new scanner will be the highest cost performance book scanner in the world.

Designed both for office and in-home use, the Czur can scan files, contracts, vouchers, individuals pieces of paper, and more.

Add a Printer to your Android Device, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Chromebook, Windows or Macintosh Computer

Google Cloud PrintGoogle Cloud Print is a great service that allows you to connect printers (anywhere in the world) to Android and Apple mobile devices as well as to Chromebook and traditional Windows and Macintosh computers. Several of these devices can even share one printer. I often see things on the screen of my cell phone or tablet computer or Chromebook that I would like to print. However, you cannot simply plug a printer into those devices. Google Cloud Print solves the problem.

When traveling with a Windows, Macintosh, or Chromebook laptop computer, I normally do not carry a printer with me. How can I print something? Most hotels offer business centers that have printers available, and I do use those often. However, when at a coffee shop or a restaurant or even on an airplane, I don’t have access to a local printer. Instead, I occasionally want to print something on the printer back home, where it will be available to me when I return. Again, Google Cloud Print solves the problem.

Turn Your iPad or iPhone into an Extra Display Screen for Your Computer

You can easily and cheaply add a second monitor to your Windows or Macintosh computer… if you already own an iPad or iPhone. Several ex-Apple engineers have created Duet Display, a $15.99 app that adds a second display for your Mac or Windows computer. It works well for any task that you might want to leave running all the time while dedicating the bigger screen for other tasks. For instance, you might want to keep a window open on the iPad or iPhone to monitor incoming email messages while using the main screen of the computer for word processing, surfing the web, or playing games. In fact, you can do all of those things simultaneously: run several programs on the big screen but still keep one program, such as email, displayed on the iPad or iPhone’s screen. The second display can be added to desktop and laptop computers alike.


Make an Easy Switch to Chromebook Now (and Never Look Back)

I have written a number of times about Chromebooks, the inexpensive and very useful laptop computers. (See https://goo.gl/AAaOZr for a list of my past articles about Chromebooks.)

chromebookI have owned a Chromebook for three years or so and use it often. It is very secure, boots up quickly, and it only cost about $200. Best of all, its software is always up to date, the same as the newest Chromebooks. The newer Chromebooks may be a bit lighter and have faster processors, but my older system’s software is identical to what is installed in the brand-new Chromebooks.

Unlike Microsoft and Apple products, Chromebooks automatically update the operating system whenever a new version is released. Most releases are small, incremental improvements and are released every few weeks. There is never a huge download like Windows 10 or the Macintosh OS X Yosemite that change lots of things and sometimes break installed programs.

Acer’s Cloudbooks offer Inexpensive Windows 10 Systems Starting at $169

I have written a number of times about Chromebooks, inexpensive laptops that run the user-friendly Chrome operating system. (See https://goo.gl/jq3Exa for some of my past articles about Chromebooks.) I own one of these systems and love it. It is a good, low-cost and also low-powered traveling laptop. However, Chromebooks may have now met their biggest competitors: Acer’s Cloudbooks that run Windows 10 and sell for as little as $169.

Known as the Aspire One Cloudbook 11 and 14, the two new systems are designed to used in a similar way to a Chromebook, with a focus on cloud storage. Both the 11 and 14-inch versions of the Aspire One Cloudbooks are powered by Windows 10, with Intel Celeron processors, 2 gigabytes or memory and 1,366 x 768 LED backlit displays. There’s also built-in 802.11ac wi-fi wireless networking, a full-sized HDMI port for connection to a television set, a pair of USB ports and an SecureDigital card slot included.

Update: A $20 Android PC

Three days ago I published an article about a $20 Android PC. That article is still available at http://blog.eogn.com/2015/07/17/a-20-android-pc/. I described a Kickstarter project in which a company is trying to raise $50,000 to go into production of this tiny device.

For a description of Kickstarter campaigns, see https://www.kickstarter.com/ and specifically https://goo.gl/jk7xBj to learn about this particular campaign.

Today the company announced that they met their $50,000 goal 68 minutes after announcing it on Kickstarter! The campaign hit $250,000 in funding about 27 hours after launch and hit $500,000 in funding about 113 hours after launch! That is ten times the goal. Not bad. Obviously, there is a lot of demand for this device.

And, yes, one of those orders came from me.

A $20 Android PC

I believe this is the wave of the future. In fact, I also believe the days of the Windows and Macintosh desktop and laptop computers are numbered. Those bigger computers won’t disappear overnight but I suspect sales will dwindle within ten years. The world is moving to smaller, lightweight, handheld computers that are all connected online with storage in the cloud.

But wait, you say you don’t want a tiny screen and a make-believe keyboard that requires you to type letters on a small screen? The ultra-cheap Remix Mini PC might be just what you want. The price certainly is attractive: $20 to $40 (US), depending upon the amount of included memory and internal storage. You will also have to add a monitor of any size you wish plus a keyboard and mouse. The total cost with everything should be under $150 unless you decide to use a really large monitor. Of course, if you already have a monitor, keyboard, or mouse available, the total price will be reduced.

Preserve Your Data for Millions of Years in a Sapphire Disk

Many of us are disappointed in the limited life spans of today’s media. Paper and film fade with time. Floppy disks, CD-ROM and DVD-ROM disks, flash drives, and other media also all have limited lifespans. Even microfilm is expected to last only about 300 years and that is only when stored in rigidly controlled temperatures and humidity and then ONLY if it is never used! (Microfilm scratches and wears quickly when used.)

Now a new storage media has been created that should last long enough for most of our needs: a million years or more. Even better, reading data from the disk can be read by the human eye when using a powerful magnifying glass or a microscope. I suspect those items will still be available in a few million years. The information is recorded at 1/30,000th of the original size and is preserved for all time. Water, acid, age, scratches or fire will not deteriorate the information.

Buy a Refurbished Chromebook for $119.99

This has to be the best bargain of the week: an Acer 11.6″ Chromebook Laptop for only $119.99, including shipping, while supplies last. I am guessing these won’t last long.

I have written a number of times about Chromebook laptop computers. (See my previous articles by starting at https://goo.gl/nrFf28 and especially my Why Use a Chromebook? article at http://goo.gl/lvU1Yv.)

Chromebooks are excellent low-cost laptop computers that are very easy to use. They boot up quickly, never gets viruses, and seem to be very reliable. I have owned a Chromebook for several years and use it often. A number of my friends also use Chromebooks, either for themselves or for their children. I also know a 90-year-old lady who uses a Chromebook frequently. All seem pleased with them. However, if you are looking for a laptop that is as powerful as your present Windows or Macintosh system, a Chromebook probably is not for you except possibly as a traveling system.

Get a 1 Terabyte Wi-Fi Hard Drive and 1TB of Cloud Storage for $59.50

Here is a quick note that apparently is good for today only. Rick Broida writes in his Cheapskate Blog:

Sobering thought for the day: Data loss is not a matter of if — it’s a matter of when. If you use a computer or smartphone or tablet long enough, eventually you’ll lose precious documents, photos or the like. Might be the result of a virus, might be due to theft or accident, but it’ll happen.

The question is, will that event prove to be a major calamity or minor inconvenience? You can easily make it the latter by implementing a robust backup system, by which I mean one that archives your data locally and online. Automatically. All the time.

GEDCOM Support Coming to QromaScan

I recently wrote about a newly-announced product called QromaScan. It will convert an iPhone into a scanner. What separates QromaScan from the other scanning products is that QromaScan adds voice commands and transcriptions. You can read my earlier article at http://wp.me/p5Z3-1Vt to read the details.

I have since exchanged email messages with Tony Knight at QromaScan. He found me after he started receiving lots of “hits” on his web site that were redirected from my earlier article and he alo received email messages from quite a few pople asking about genealogy applications of his newly-announced product. He apparently then realized that genealogists often scan photographs! Well, I think he already suspected that as Tony is bit of a genealogist himself. However, the response from the announcement in this newsletter told him just how big the genealogy marketplace is.

Now the following announcement has been written by Tony Knight:

QromaScan: A New, Smarter Way to Scan Photos

Here is a simple scanner to help you organize those boxes of old photos you’ve got gathering dust in the attic. One caveat: it only works with an iPhone. Oh, and another caveat: it isn’t available yet.

QromaScan is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. If successful, the developers plan to start shipping in July. It looks like they may be successful. The developers have a goal of $20,000 to fund production. As of today, with 19 days left to go in the 30-day Kickstarter campaign, they have already raised more than half of the amount needed.

Update: Wireless Phone Bargain: $29.99

In my recent article of Wireless Phone Bargain: $29.99 at http://blog.eogn.com/2015/05/01/wireless-phone-bargain-29-99/, I mentioned that I purchased one as a gift for a young friend of mine. However, in setting it up for the first time, I ran into a problem. When powered on, the phone immediately took me to a sign-up screen that wanted me to enter my information so that I could obtain (and pay for) a telephone number from Verizon. I couldn’t see any method to skip the apparently required registration process.

Luckily, the Internet came to my rescue.

Wireless Phone Bargain: $29.99

This article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, if you will permit me an off-topic article, I will mention that I often write about cell phone bargains and other communications bargains. However, I won’t call this a “cell phone” bargain. Technically, it is a cell phone but I suggest you not use it as cell phone. Confusing?

I would suggest using this very cheap “smartphone” for everything except a cell phone. And, yes, you can even make phone calls with it. You cannot make calls while driving down the highway but can make and receive calls as long as you are connected to a wi-fi network.

My New Apple Watch

The UPS driver made a late evening delivery last night. About 10:30 PM, the big brown truck pulled into the driveway and delivered my new Apple Watch. I think that is the latest UPS delivery I have ever received.

The driver and I had about a ten-second conversation. He said, “Late night” so I asked, “Apple Watch?” He said, “Yeah. Hundreds of them.” Obviously, he was working overtime making the deliveries. All he needed was a red suit, a white beard and a sleigh with reindeer to complete the image.

Indeed, yesterday was the first day that millions of the new Apple Watches were delivered. I didn’t expect to receive mine on the first day but I was unboxing the new watch at 11 o’clock last night.


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