Off Topic

Off-Topic: What is Wi-Fi Calling and Why Would I Want It?

NOTE: The following article is off-topic. That is, it has nothing to do with family history, DNA, or any other genealogy-related topic. If you are looking for genealogy articles, you might want to skip this one.

Instead, this article is about two of my favorite topics: saving money and state-of-the-art communications, especially communicating with cell phones. If you are interested in either saving money or in cell phones, you may find this article to be of some interest.

This is an update to the information given in my earlier article, What is Wi-Fi Calling and Why Would I Want It? A lot has changed since I published the original article three years ago. In fact, today I am a bigger fan of wi-fi calling than ever before. It works well and I save more than $100 in monthly wired and cellular telephone charges as well.

Many people think that a cell phone can only be used on a cellular network. Not true!

In the earlier article, I described Google Fi’s cellular service and how it could make cell phone calls over several different cell phone networks as well as over wi-fi networks, even switching connections in the middle of a call, if necessary. I stated “Phones for Google Project Fi are all expensive (check the latest prices as they vary often), but they are all high-end phones with the latest technology. I am using a Nexus 6P phone with Google Project Fi and love it.”

A Quote from Mark Twain

NOTE: There is some dispute whether or not Mark Twain ever said this. However, it is a great line, regardless of its origin.

Buy a Chromebook Laptop for $129

The following article has little to do with genealogy, family history, DNA, or the other topics normally covered in this newsletter. However, it does reflect my interests in low-cost computing and I think it may be of interest to many readers of this newsletter.

I have written often about the advantages of low-cost Chromebook computers. (See http://bit.ly/2K5izCv for my past articles about Chromebooks.) These low-cost and highly secure laptop computers have all of the essentials most computer users need. They are famous for how they “get things done efficiently and easily.” Best of all, Chromebooks are very secure and never get viruses. They also never lose data because all systems are automatically backed up online all the time. If a Chromebook gets lost, stolen, or crushed by a truck, the owner can obtain a new Chromebook and then restore all data within a matter of minutes.

Now you can purchase a new (not refurbished) Samsung 11.6-inch Chromebook 3 (originally $219) Chromebook for $129 US from Wal-Mart and that price even includes free shipping or else you can pick it up at your local Wal-Mart store. However, you will have to pay state and local sales taxes, if any.

Using a Chromebox as My Primary Day-to-day Computer

The following article has little to do with genealogy, family history, DNA, or the other topics normally covered in this newsletter. However, it does discuss my recent experiences with low-cost computing and I think it may be of interest to many readers of this newsletter.

Here is a conversation I had recently with a friend:

“A couple of weeks ago I installed a Chromebox computer and it soon became my primary computer.”

“A what?

“A Chromebox.”

“What is a Chromebox?”

“It is essentially the same as a Chromebook computer except that it is not a laptop computer. Instead, it is a small desktop computer that requires an external, plug-in keyboard, a mouse, and an external monitor. It is powered by plugging it into a wall outlet, not by batteries. It runs the Chrome operating system, the same as the operating system used in Chromebooks.”

In fact, the Chromebox has become a better addition to my collection of computers than I expected. Of course, I haven’t disposed of my other computers. I still have the Macintosh, Windows, Linux, and Android systems.

I also have a Chromebook laptop which has become my primary computer when traveling. I have always been able to use the Chromebook for almost all computer tasks that I need to do. However, when returning home, I used to switch to the iMac desktop system for my day-to-day tasks. The iMac is the most powerful and flexible of all the computers that I own so I simply assumed it should be the one that I used most of the time. However, I have changed my mind in the past few weeks.

Update: A Success in Fighting Diabetes

OK, I give up!

Three days ago I posted an off-topic article at https://blog.eogn.com/2019/05/13/a-success-in-fighting-diabetes/ telling about my recent results at fighting diabetes. In short, after 11 or 12 years as a diabetic, I conquered the problem, perhaps for a short term or maybe forever. I mentioned that anyone who is interested in my fight against diabetes should join in in a message board that I had created at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/diabetes-solution where I would tell anyone and everyone interested about how I drove diabetes into remission.

There was but one problem: the new message board on Google Groups never worked very well. Therefore, I am moving it to a new hosting platform, WordPress. WordPress is the same hosting platform where both EOGN.COM and PRIVACYBLOG.COM are hosted. I have many years’ experience with WordPress and it has always worked well for me.

If you have an interest in how one person drove diabetes into submission, please join me at: https://diabetessolution.blog.

A Success in Fighting Diabetes

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy, family history, DNA, or any of the other topics normally discussed here. It certainly is “off topic” and I am asking anyone who wishes to comment on it or to ask questions to do so on another web site: https://diabetessolution.blog.

About two months ago, I posted an article that started with:

I earlier published an article entitled  23andMe is Looking to Expand to Millions More Users with a New Genetic DNA Report on Diabetes at http://bit.ly/2JiD8ef.

In that article, I mentioned that I was diagnosed as a diabetic about 11 or 12 years ago and that I had recently found a promising method of driving diabetes into remission. That article generated a lot of comments here in this web site and in email asking for the details.

I have now reached a point where a blood test taken a few days ago reports that I am no longer a diabetic.

Death of the Keyboard? Let’s Ask Alexa.

Radio Shack TRS-80

I have written often about my vision of the future of computer hardware and software. One thing I am certain of is that today’s computer state-of-the-art will not be the same the state-of-the-art in a few years. Just ask anyone who owns a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer with data storage on audio cassette tapes or anyone who has a collection of floppy disks or even CD-ROM disks. In that vein, I was interested in a recent survey which predicts that computer keyboards are already being replaced in many cases by voice input.

A survey conducted by Pindrop Solutions queried 4057 consumers in the UK, USA, France, and Germany. According to the survey, nearly half (48 percent) of the general public think keyboards will barely be used by 2023 as voice technology takes over. That’s just four years away.

Firefox Announces Send, Providing Free Encrypted File Transfers while Keeping your Personal Information Private

NOTE: This article is off-topic. That is, the article has nothing to do with genealogy, DNA, history, or any of the other topics normally discussed in this newsletter. However, the article contains information that I believe every computer owner should know so I am publishing it here. It describes how to SECURELY send files to another person in such a manner that nobody else can read them if you enable the password option and if the recipient knows the password unlocking key. (Don’t send the password in email!)

I just tested this and found that it also works with Chrome and I suspect it will work with other web browsers as well. The sender and the recipient can be using either Windows or Macintosh. Additionally, Send will also be available as an Android app in beta later this week. Best of all, it is very easy to use. Not bad for FREE software! The following is an extract from the Mozilla Blog. (Mozilla is the organization that produces the free Firefox web browser):

“Imagine the last time you moved into a new apartment or purchased a home and had to share financial information like your credit report over the web. In situations like this, you may want to offer the recipient one-time or limited access to those files. With Send, you can feel safe that your personal information does not live somewhere in the cloud indefinitely.

My Helicopter Trip to the Grand Canyon

NOTE: This article is definitely off-topic. That is, it isn’t related to genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy articles, you might want to skip this one. However, I suspect a few people will be interested in my photos of today’s trip.

After the recent RootsTech conference, I decide to fly to Las Vegas for a few days’ rest and relaxation. While I never gamble in the casinos, I do enjoy many other activities in Las Vegas: shows, restaurants, people watching, and other entertainment. While in the city, I decided to take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

The helicopter company picked me up at my hotel in a black stretch limo and whisked me to McCarran International Airport. Instead of going to the airline terminal, we were dropped off on the other side of the airport where the helicopter services are found. After a briefing, four other visitors and I climbed into a helicopter with our pilot, Alex.

Google Duo Video Chat App is Available on the Web

This article is “off topic.” That is, it has nothing to do with genealogy. However, it concerns one of my favorite video chat apps: Google Duo. I thought I would share this info with anyone else who is interested.

Google has begun the rollout of the web version of the video calling service, Google Duo. It has always been available on Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch), as well as on Android and Chromebooks. Now, it has been extended to the web. Anyone can use the web version of Google Duo on any operating system, making it easy for them to stay in touch with their family and friends irrespective of the device they use.

Google Duo is available free of charge.

You can read more at: http://bit.ly/2T8uR1K.

You can call me on Duo.

Zoho Office Suite now uses Artificial Intelligence to Provide a FREE, Powerful Alternative to Office 365

I wrote about the Zoho Office Suite more than two years ago in an article entitled Zoho Workplace: My Favorite FREE Replacement for Microsoft Office. Zoho Workplace is a competitor to Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Google Docs, and similar office automation products. It also can read and write documents that were created with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Google Docs, and similar office automation products. (Some minor changes to fonts and formatting may occur when using files created by other programs.) Zoho Workplace works well with a Chromebook, a Windows system, a Macintosh, Linux, or even with an iPad or Android tablet.

Zoho Workplace is still my favorite free word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation suite of programs. I no longer use Microsoft Office. Instead, I prefer Zoho. Now Zoho has made major upgrades to the programs. My earlier article is still available at: https://wp.me/p5Z3-53w.

Quoting an article by Mark Hachman in the PC World web site:

Will a Chromebook Computer Run Genealogy Programs?

I recently published an article (at https://wp.me/p5Z3-76Q) about an inexpensive Chromebook computer that is on sale right now. I have also published numerous articles in the past about Chromebooks. Every time I publish an article about Chromebooks, several people write and ask, “Will a Chromebook computer run genealogy programs?” I decided to answer in the newsletter so that everyone can read my reply.

So, the question is: Will a Chromebook Computer Run Genealogy Programs?

The short answer is: a Chromebook will run some genealogy programs but not all of them.

Here is a longer answer:

Buy a Dell Chromebook for $129.99

UPDATE: This sale has now ended as the available inventory was exhausted.

I have written about the advantages of Chromebooks many times.These low-cost laptops can meet the computing needs of most computer users, although these laptops are not suitable for anyone running high-end (and expensive) engineering, graphics, video editing, and similar software. However, Chromebooks are excellent systems for surfing the web, reading and writing email messages, using genealogy web sites, playing online games, and even for publishing an online genealogy newsletter. Yes, I love my latest Chromebook. It has become my primary computer when traveling.

See https://blog.eogn.com/?s=Chromebook for my past articles about Chromebooks. If you have questions about Chromebooks, I would suggest you read my article, The Myths About Chromebooks, at https://blog.eogn.com/?s=The+Myths+About+Chromebooks.

Now Dell is selling the Inspiron Chromebook 11 for $129.99.

Why You Might Want to Run Your Own Email, Address Book, and Calendar Server at Home

I just published an article entitled Why You Might Want to Run Your Own Email, Address Book, and Calendar Server at Home. It isn’t a genealogy article so I won’t publish it here. However, it describes how you can have a private email server that is immune from hackers and government spies. Therefore, I published the article in my other web site: the Privacy Blog at http://bit.ly/2GJLfyi.

While the article is not genealogy-related, I do suspect that some readers of this genealogy newsletter may be interested in improving their online privacy. Therefore, I will provide a brief mention here of the article and provide a link to it.

If you would like to read Why You Might Want to Run Your Own Email, Address Book, and Calendar Server at Home, go to http://bit.ly/2GJLfyi.

Mark Your Calendar: the Apocalypse Will Occur on December 28, 2019

You can party from now until December 28th. Run up credit card bills, spend your money in Las Vegas, get drunk, and have fun with other things. Why not? The world is going to end anyway late this year so you don’t have to worry about paying those bills.

This time it is for real, at least according to David Montaigne, a guy who has written multiple books about the end times, and bills himself as a “historian and “prophecy scholar.”

You might want to be aware that Montaigne’s record of predictions hasn’t been very good. Montaigne has previously claimed that the anti-Christ was going to return to Earth in June of 2016. But Montaigne is still here and is still making predictions about the end of the world. He insists this time it is for real.

Montaigne makes the following claims on his website:

Get a Refurbished Google Pixelbook for $600

UPDATE: This sale is now shown as “Sold Out.” No surprise. I expected these to sell out quickly.

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. Instead, it is about one of my other interests: computer hardware. If you are looking for true genealogy articles, you might want to skip this article.

Chromebooks are supposed to be cheap, right? Not always. There is one notable exception: the Google Pixelbook that normally sells for $999 to $1,649, depending upon the options selected. However, even this Pixelbook is now available at a lower price than ever before.

I purchased an identical Google Pixelbook while it was on sale a few weeks ago and I love it. However, I now wish I had waited a bit longer. A refurbished Pixelbook is now available for an even lower price than what I paid: only $599.99.

I have written often about Chromebooks. To see my past articles, start at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+chromebook&t=h_&ia=web.

Happy New Year!

The Simple Method of Adding a Huge Monitor to Your Computer

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one. However, if you would like to learn of a cheap and easy way to add a television set’s display to your computer, this article may be of interest to you.

Are you using a rather small monitor on your computer, perhaps even using a laptop computer and its small screen? Do you also have a huge high-definition (HD) television set in your living room or family room? (Almost all television sets built within in the past few years are high-definition models.) Would you like to connect the TV to the computer and use its large screen as a computer display? The process is ridiculously simple, yet many people are not aware of this.

Here is a picture of the 49-inch high definition television in my living room, being used to check comments posted to this newsletter overnight.

Use a Word Processor in the Cloud

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one. However, if you would like to learn of a cheap and very secure method of using applications in the cloud for word processing purposes, this article may be of interest to you.

If you already have a word processor installed in each of your computers and are happy with your present choice, you probably will want to skip this article. However, if you do not have a good word processor, or if you want to look at other possibilities, this may be the article for you.

Akshata Shanbhag has written an article in the Make Use Of web site that describes seven word processors and one text editor that are cloud-based, powerful, and are available free of charge for personal use.

If you are presently using Google Docs or Microsoft Word Online or some other cloud-based word processor and are frustrated by your program’s lack of some features you want, this is the article for you. If you need a better word processor for sharing documents with co-workers or with family or even with genealogy society members, this is the article for you. If you want a good word processor for a Chromebook, an iPad, or an Android tablet computer, this is the article for you.

Wasabi: the New, Low Cost Cloud Storage Service

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one. However, if you would like to learn of a cheap and very secure method of storing data in the cloud for backup purposes, this article may be of interest to you.

Wasabi is a brand-new cloud storage service. The company is so new that not all the planned “bells and whistles” are yet available. However, the present implementation hows a great deal of promise. In short, Wasabi appears to be perfect for Macintosh and Windows users looking for a simple way to use cloud storage at very low prices.

I signed up for Wasabi a few hours ago and, so far, it seems to work well. I am using Wasabi in the same manner as an external disk drive. Installation and operation was simple. If I do encounter problems with Wasabi in the future, I will publish a follow-up article at that time.

The most obvious advantage of Wasabi is the price: $.0049 per gigabyte/month which equals $4.99 per terabyte/month (all prices are in US dollars).