Favorite Tools

Open Live Writer is up

I know I have been living under the technology rock as I didn’t see this one coming at all.  I’ve signed up to be a oontributer and contributing right now by posting this.

I like blogging and I prefer Typepad because it works and you don’t have to do anything.  Yes, you do get what you pay for.  For years I used their original service and moved to Typepad (wasn’t it SixApart), because updating was such a drag.  It’s been bought and sold a few times.

I may have a bug report as blogging with the theme didn’t seem to be working, but I’ll give it a try later.

So far, it looks very much like the old Live Writer which was a great app by Microsoft – yes, you can blog online, you can blog using Word, but Live Writer always rocked.

Good job!

And you can find it at http://openlivewriter.org/  Fairly quick download and fairly quick set up.  Works well with Typepad.

Loving my new Lumnia 970

Of course, anyone who knows me well will know where I was at 9:00 am this morning.

Yeah, the ATT Store picking up the new Windows 10 Phone.

I chose the smaller phone because I've dropped my 1520 several times and shattered the screen.

I've run the preview a few times and wasn't real pleased with it, but the issues have been ironed out. My favorite thing is far is how the Nokia Treasure Tags are supported. I picked up two Mini Treasure tags last week for free -- they were under $5.00 and I had a quite a few dollars in Amazon credits, so it was worth playing with them.

RIght now, I have 2 mini Tags and 4 regular Tags connected to the phone, which is quite awesome.

The next thing I am really pleased with is the ability to use my Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with it. In fact, I'm writing this blog entry using both. Something I have ALWAYS wanted to do,

So far, all my others apps are working but haven't really had a chance to have a full user experience.

Accessing Data Remotely

One of my biggest problems is getting to my cloud data.  I want to access it from my classroom, while I am at teacher conventions, and even just out and about and at the gym.   I don’t want drag my entire music collection around – my husband and I have been buying music for decades and we have all our music on a hard drive.  A big hard drive.  I don’t even want to carry one of those around.

I also want to get to my photos, my lesson plans and anything else I might want when I’m away from house, again, without dealing with a hard drive or flash drive.

So far, the best solution has been the Western Digital My Cloud.  I mentioned the other day when I was talking about backup solutions, but the Western Digital My Cloud has apps for Windows Phone, Apple and Android (including Amazon Fire), that just work.

I have the three terabyte, there are 2 and 4 TB models available.

Super easy to set up.  Super easy to use.  Customer Support via email is a bit slow, I asked a question on a Saturday and heard from them on Tuesday but I was able to solve the problem without their help.

Backup Solutions

I’m always telling my students that they should backup anything they want to keep and that goes for the rest of us.  I always keep things in at least three places – the original computer, the cloud, and a server at the house.  Over the years I’ve had several

My favorite, which I am in morning for to this day was a HP Device that ran Windows Home Server.  That thing was the easiest to use.  I could just stick a thumb drive in a computer, come back to it 4 hours later and it was back to whatever state I wanted it in.

But all hardware has a limited life.  I still have it, but have removed the working drives, and it sits gathering dust.

My next favorite devices are also old, but still working, a Buffalo Terabyte NAS and an Iomega NAS. 

The Buffalo NAS had really good customer service and good software.

Iomega was bought out by Lenovo.  I haven’t dealt with customer service since they were bought out, but I do have one of the new devices:

It was easy to install and very easy to use.  Since the district is very firewalled, I haven’t used any of the cloud features.

I also have a Netgear Stora, that’s quite old.  I haven’t been happy with the support or reliability of Netgear devices.

The latest device I really like is the Western Digital My Cloud.  Customer support is really slow at answering email, but so far, other than an issue with initially loading firm ware, it just works.

I have the 2TB, comes in a 3 and 4 version:

What I really like about this device, is that all my tablets, my Windows Phone and my IPod working with it, both at home and when I’m out and about.  I keep trying to find a way to keep my extra books available to me when I’m on the road and this is it.

Very easy to use.  I’m also willing to help set it up.

The most important thing about any backup solution, is that you use it.  Make sure you set up a way to run your backups. 

One of the things I like about Windows 8, is that you can automatically set up things so they are saved while you are on the go using Skydrive.  However, I still back up my Skydrive!  Especially photos.  That’s what I mean about having everything in three places.

Surveillance Cameras

Added two new cameras, one gives a real good view of the planter in the park. We have a drunk land in it almost every year.

The other gives a very good view of the back yard fence which a stupid driver took out not long after we moved in.

We have a good view of anything approaching the house now.

If you have a need or desire I have an installer in the Dallas area and we have good sources for all the equipment.

Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance Cameras

SharePoint Server

I am experimenting with a Share Point server and so far I really like it.

My problem is that I have a certain number of files, many of the OneNote notes that I want to be able to get to from anywhere.

I've tried keeping on a thumb drive and on a USB drive and none of that truly works well.

So I've gone to the SharePoint and so far, so good.   I'll know for sure by the end of the week, but so far, it's working like a champ.

I'm using the same people I do my exchange email with -- though in this case they do business as myhosting.com  -- the exchange email is with mail2web.com -- and the same people.

Favorite Tools - Techsmith's SnagIt

SnagIt is a tool I use a lot.

I use it for two things:

  1. Build tutorials.  It's a screen shot program, and it allows you to draw on your screen shots.  It's create when you want to create a document that needs good screen shots.  For example:


2.  The other thing I use it for is to keep track of Webpages.  I'm the campus technologist and every time I put a ticket in the system, I take a screen capture of it for my records.

You can get it from http://www.techsmith.com/ and they do give educational pricing.

I bet if I think hard, I can find other good things to use it for.