I’ve been looking for a nice but cost effective gaming laptop for some time now.  After over a month of searching, I found  the ASUS ROG G751JL-DS71 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop which my wife purchased for me at Amazon.com.  At the time of purchase, the unit cost $1199.  For this price I got an awesome ASUS gaming laptop with the following specs:

  • 17.3″ display screen
  • 1TB of 7400 RPM hard disk drive
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Intel i7 processor
  • NVIDIA 965M with 2GB of video RAM

At the time of this writing, I’ve had the laptop for a period of over one month.  To date, I’ve used it to play awesome games like Guild Wars 2, The Witcher: Wild Hunt, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Minecraft, and Grand Theft Auto V.  My experience with the unit and the games has been great to say the least.

The laptop performed extremely well.  Specifically, I didn’t perceive any lag in any of the games I’ve played.  Even with the graphics settings set to maximum, the laptop ran and displayed the games smoothly.  In addition, the fast 7400 RPM 1TB hard disk drive really showed off ASUS ROG G751JS’s speed in terms of boot time.  I could really perceive its fast boot speed having used a solid state drive on a work laptop.

I could easily run a benchmark test on the unit, but my own senses really could really tell that this unit is a computing and gaming workhorse.  At the price my wife purchased this for, $1199 is well worth the price.  Depending on supply and demand, the price for this awesome gaming laptop could go up or down.

I highly recommend this laptop, especially if you are looking for a cost effective entry level gaming laptop.  Note that the only “entry level” about this laptop is its price.

If you have the same laptop, please share your experience by commenting below.

For the last several weeks, I thought that Windows 10 had a problem with detecting mobile devices when connected via a USB cable.  First I thought it had something to do with Windows 10 not having the latest driver for mobile devices.  But when I connected the same mobile devices on my Windows 7 machines, the same error message popped up.

I’ve never seen this problem before, but one thing for sure…the common denominator between the Windows 10 and Windows 7 computers is the USB cable.  Fortunately, I had another USB cable to try out.  Low and behold, all my mobile devices started to connect with all my computer!

As it turns out, the issue wasn’t driver related, but was the USB cable.

I was starting to lose hope until today, trying different things to somehow get the driver working.

The moral of the story…don’t miscount anything, even when it doesn’t look broken.

If you found this article useful and helpful, please share it and make sure to let us know by commenting below.

Thanks!

Zune with HTC HD7

Zune with HTC HD7

I have a HTC HD7 for a phone.  I’ve been synchronizing it with my Windows 7 laptop, until my laptop’s disk drive got corrupted, and I had to re-install the original manufacturer’s image on it.  When I did, I had to re-install a few things to get my HTC HD7 phone to work with my laptop again.  For my benefit, I document what I had to do and where I obtained the software to make things work again.

  1. Download and install Microsoft’s Zune software.
  2. Download and install the HTC Sync Manager.

Install these and your phone will be detected by Zune when it is plugged into your computer.

At this point, follow the setup prompts from the Zune screen:

Click Next.

Zune start of setup

Zune start of setup

Name your phone, and click Next.

Zune Name Phone

Zune Name Phone

As soon as it links with your phone, it will start doing some initial synchronization.

Zune synch info

Zune initial synch

Now click Settings.

Zune Settings

Zune Settings

You’ll see a detailed synchronization settings page.

Detailed Synch Setttings

Detailed Synch Setttings

Once you’ve made your choices, click OK and you will see the updated synchronization to match your specifications.

Zune Now Synching

Zune Now Synchronizing

That’s it!

Cloud Storage (photo credit: Forlanda)

I’ve meant to write about this for some time.  Now is as good a time ever, especially with the recent release of Google Drive.

As of this writing, you can get several Gigabytes of cloud storage for free.  Yes “FREE”.  Everyone likes free, and this article will list several places where you can get anywhere from 2GB to 7GB of free space.

These sites offer free storage in the “cloud”:

There is another cloud storage solution called the Adrive  which provides 50GB free.  This is not a typo, it is 50GB of free storage, web interface only though with ads.  There is an app for it on Android OS, but it’s not free.

Each solution below supports the following platforms:
  • Dropbox:  Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, Apple iOS (e.g. iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Apple Mac, Android OS
  • Skydrive:  Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, Apple iOS (e.g. iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Apple Mac
  • Google drive:    Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, Android OS
  • Amazon cloud drive:  Microsoft Windows, Apple iOS (e.g. iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Apple Mac, Android OS
  • Apple’s iCloud:  Microsoft Windows, Apple iOS (e.g. iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Apple Mac
 Sign up for cloud storage now if you don’t have one.

Word of advice…only put files there that aren’t confidential in nature, or information you cannot afford to lose.  Also backup your cloud files to a separate external USB drive.  It will help ensure you aren’t caught unprepared if your cloud storage provider all of a sudden dissolves.

Are you using other cloud storage solution?  If so, please share.

Q1 2012 PC Vendor Market Share

Q1 2012 PC Vendor Market Share (credit: Apple Outsider)

Since the introduction of the Apple iPad in April 2010, then the entry of the extremely affordable Kindle Firein November 2011, the sales of traditional computers like laptops and desktops have slowly dwindled.

Check out the graph which clearly shows the trend in sales for the Apple iPad.  Notice Q1/2010.  This is when the iPad was released.  With the exception of Lenovo, all PC vendor market shares were trending down.

Look at Q4/2011. Notice that the Lenovo market share begins to show a hint of a downward trend.  Q4/2011 was when the Kindle Fire was introduced by Amazon.com.  For $199 a pop, the Kindle Fire quickly moved up second to the iPad in the tablet computer market.

I work in the IT (Information Technology) field.  My general bias is to people who happen to have the traditional personal computer.  But, based on recent conversations with people considering a new purchase of a computing platform, most see themselves as buying a tablet computer.  The reason being is that most users have really been using computers to do one or more of the following activities:

  1. Check e-mail
  2. Stay connected via social networking
  3. Shop online
  4. Read the latest news and gossip
  5. Watch movies
  6. Listen to music

If I missed one, let me know, but based on what I’ve heard directly from people who aren’t that computer savvy, these are pretty much all they do!  If that is so, then the tablet computer is the new paradigm of personal computing.

With Microsoft joining the bandwagon of tablet computing, there is no going back.  I bet you, when the next holiday season comes a long, the tablet computer will be the number one purchase.  There will be so many tablet vendors clamoring for consumer attention that tablet features will be full while at the same time prices will be amazingly low!

This is just on the consumer side of the fence.  I’ve noticed a strong trend on the business side as well.  Where I work, the standard computing device is a Windows-based computer.  However, within the last 3 or 4 months, the strong demand for tablet computers has forced iPads into our business environment.  Note that this is an IT department who is a strong Windows proponent.  This is simply amazing.

This technological revolution can certainly be attributed to the following things:

  • The tablet operating system is extremely easy to use that even a two or three-year old could operate it.
  • The battery life of these devices blow away those of laptops.  Tablet battery lasts anywhere from 8 to 10 hours.
  • Tablet prices have been going down; for $199, anyone can have one.
  • Tablet applications are plenty and extremely cheap.  In the good old days of PC software, $20 or higher software prices were typical.  Today there are many free apps; and for those you buy, the price ranges from $0.99 to $9.99.  Most are only $0.99!

Enough of my ramblings.  The tablet trend is definitely here, and there is now getting around that.

What do you think?  Is the tablet the new personal computer?

My grandson loves to play with our Apple iPod Touch.  He plays all kinds of games which keeps him entertained.  Most recently, we received an email that said there were purchases of some coins in a game called Monster Mayhem.  The charges ranged from $19.98 to $99.99 made through iTunes.

We thought, how can this be?

Come to find out, our iTunes account had in it a specified credit card–probably from long ago when the account was first created.  My grandson, in the course of playing Monster Mayhem, touched some buttons which activated the purchase of thousands of coins needed to enable various options in the game.  Note that we didn’t even know this until we got the email notification about the purchase.

Undoing the In-app Purchase

The first thing we did was to see what we can do on iTunes to undo the purchase.  We followed the instructions but the online links just goes around in some circular link reference.  We could not find the place where we can undo the purchase!

Next we called up our credit card company to dispute the charges.  Since the charges weren’t really fraudulent, the credit card company didn’t refuse the charges, but they did get me in touch with Apple customer service.

I received instructions from the Apple support representative on how to undo the purchase.

Apple Contact Us page

Apple Contact Us

  • Go to the Apple.com support page
  • From there click the Contact Us link
  • Next click the Express Lane for iTunes Player and iTunes Store
  • From the product categories tab, click iTunes, then iTunes Store, and select Purchases, billing, and redemption; click Continue
  • You will then be taken to the issue description page, select “my topic is not listed” and provide a short description of your topic.  I used “unintentional in-app purchase, need to undo”, then click the ENTER button.
  • You’ll need your order number to complete the rest; make sure you have them
  • Upon completion of the process, you will get a case number; you will also get an email

For our case, the response to the problem was quick and sent via email.  They credited my credit card and added credit to my iTunes account.  Whew!  I’m glad it’s over.

That takes care of undoing the in-app purchase.  Now on to preventing future unintentional in-app purchases since I know my grandson will continue to play games on the iTouch.

Preventing Future Unintentional In-app Purchases

Part of the response Apple sent us were instructions on how to prevent unintentional in-app purchases.

Before doing this, the smartest thing to do is to remove any trace of your credit card on your iTunes account.  This is the sure-fire way of avoiding unexpected iTunes purchases.

However, if you do occasional purchases, you’ll want to follow the instructions we got from Apple.

To prevent In-App Purchases from being made in the future, you can block them on your iOS device by following these steps:

  1. Tap Settings on your device’s home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Restrictions.
  4. If necessary, tap Enable Restrictions and enter a pass code. This pass code will prevent restrictions from being disabled without your permission.
  5. Scroll down to the Allowed Content section. Switch the In-App Purchases option to OFF. Enter your Restrictions pass code if prompted.

That’s it!

If you found this tip useful, please share and comment below and let me know.

Best note taking app

Evernote, Best note taking app

I’ve use a lot of note taking tools in my life, including the tried and true notepad and pen.  Nothing have come close to the perfection of Evernote.  Why do I say this?  Well, read on and find out.

What’s wrong with traditional note taking apps and tools?  The very biggest problem with them is that they cause your data to be in one physical location, vulnerable to being lost.  The other problem is that sometimes, you never really have access to that same tool; then, your notes become fragmented and out-of-order.  The next thing is that trying to find an old note can be a big challenge.  Lastly, you are limited to what you can write or type.

Evernote comes close to perfection when it comes to solving your note taking challenge.  Why?  Because it addresses each and everyone of those problems.  And guess what?  It’s free!!!

I’m not going to cover every little thing about Evernote here, but I will highlight its key features:

  • Your notes go to the “cloud”; now it doesn’t matter what happens to your electronic device; it breaks, just get another one and you still have your notes.  If you lose your electronic device, it doesn’t matter, you still have your notes; thus you can never lose your notes (unless Evernote disappears from the face of the earth; which is not very likely considering the success they are having )
  • With Evernote, you can take notes with your desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, and through simple texting means.  Most of the time, you’ll have your phone, and as such, you can still take notes.
  • The search function within Evernote is great.  You can search using key words, or through tags; nothing can be easier.
  • With Evernote, you aren’t limited to taking notes by typing; you can add other forms of information like:  audio, videos, images, and photos.  You can’t beat that!
  • Last but not least, it is FREE!
Let me know if this information is useful or if you have more information you would like to share.  Comment below.

Drop Box is a cloud resource that you can access from any of your electronic devices, like your laptop, tablet, smart phone, and desktop computer.  This cloud resource provides 2GB of free storage.

Now, 2GB doesn’t seem much, but it is sufficient enough to hold various documents, photos, images, or short videos.  If you need more space, you can subscribe for more disk space.  For most general applications, 2GB should suffice.

For example, as an online writer, I put various pictures or images on my drop box space.  I also store my short writing thoughts on drop box.  So no matter where I am, and regardless of which computing platform I’m carrying, I can access the files from my drop box.

Here’s a quick video on the beauty of using drop box.

source: petersaints at youtube.com

Apple has been known to push the envelope on innovation.  Their releases of personal computers long ago (back in the 1980s) with the Apple II/IIe and especially the Macintosh were innovative for their time.  However, because they only ran on a particular platform controlled by Apple, the IBMPC compatible with Microsoft Windows operating system quickly took over.

By the 1990s, the only people that used apples were the education sectors, those with special multimedia application requirements, and the die-hard Apple fans.  Most users went on the PC/Microsoft Windows bandwagon.  Almost every electronic store you go to you will see various PC brands like Dell, HP, Compaq, Acer, ASUS, eMachine, Toshiba, and IBM.

I see the same pattern with Apple again.  This time it is with the iPhone; and this time the battle is against Google’s Android operating system which is run by many smart phone platforms.  The race is starting to heat up with the recent release and highly marketed DROID phone from Verizon.  Most recently, there has been very strong buzz around Google’s Nexus One

From what I can see, features and capabilities that the iPhone have the Android phones also have.  Right now Apple touts over 100,00 apps for the iphone, while the Android has tens of throusands; but because of its open architecture, I foresee Android applications quickly surpassing the iPhone in application count.  And from the standpoint of availability, the Android operating system is more available from more phone service providers than the iPhone, which is limited only to AT&T. 

I predict that within three years, the Android-based cell phones will completely dominate the smart phone market.  The iPhone will continue to thrive, but only for those die-hard Apple fans.  Check back in 2013!

From the factory, the Droid comes with the following built-in core applications:

  • Alarm Clock
  • Amazon MP3
  • Browser
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Camera
  • Car Home
  • Contacts
  • Corporate Calendar
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Gallery
  • Gmail
  • Maps
  • Market
  • Messaging
  • Music
  • Phone
  • Settings
  • Talk
  • Visual VM
  • Voice Search
  • YouTube

The unit has 3 desktops you can fill with shortcuts to the above applications and other applications you may install at some point in the future.

The center desktop has the following preset shortcuts:

  • Messaging
  • Phone
  • Contacts
  • Browser
  • Maps
  • Market
  • Voice Search

All core applications are quickly explained below.

Alarm Clock

Provides a clock and alarming features which can be set in various ways.  You can add a single alarm, a periodic daily alarm, or an alarm that goes off on certain days of the week.

Amazon MP3

You can browse top music albums or tracks.  You can also browse by genre.  When you find what you like, you can purchase it.

Browser

This is the Internet browser.  The browser is location aware.  Through its GPS function, it knows where it is.

Calculator

Provides basic calculator functionality, including some advanced math functions like sin, cos, tan, ln, log, factorial, pi, exponential, power, and square root.

Calendar

Your Google calendar will show here.

Camera

Provides your basic camera function with still pictures and video capabilities.  The camera can shoot 5 megapixels pictures.

Car Home

The GPS Navigation system.  Has voice command capabilities so that if you wish to go to a particular address, you can say “directions to…”.  Aside from navigation, you can view contacts and the map here.

Contacts

Your contact list resides here.  Any accounts you synchronize with that contains contact information will go here.

Corporate Calendar

If you synch up with MS Exchange, your corporate calendar will show here.

Email

Provides access to e-mail accounts.

Facebook

This is a Facebook application to access your Facebook page on the web.  The interface is pretty straight forward.

Gallery

Provides a means to view pictures and videos in an easy to follow format.

Gmail

Application for Google’s web e-mail–gmail.

Maps

This is just like google maps, but it is location aware.  It will show the Droid’s present location on the map.

Market

This is just like the iPhone’s app store.  The market is where you can get free and paid for applications for the Droid.

Messaging

TEXTing application.

Music

Music playing application.

Phone

By the way, I forgot that the Droid is a phone too.

Settings

This is where most of the Droid customization and settings are done.

Talk

This is an application for Google’s IM called Talk.

Visual VM

Allows user to view voice mail and source of voice mail.  Voice mails can be managed through the application.  This service cost money to use.

Voice Search

Allows user to do searches on anything using voice commands.

YouTube

This is a Droid YouTube application.