Category: Technology

Alternatives To The iPad

I really like the idea of an iPad, but don’t want to join the Apple Cult. There’s also for me the issue of a lack of multitasking, Flash, SD card support and USB. The lack of an SD card slot is a killer for me. One of the things I would want to do with a tablet is to use it as a portable photo editor and gallery.

But what else is there? As it turns out, a lot. There’s a list of Seven Alternatives to the iPad here.

Here’s what I want in a tablet:

WiFi (naturally)
SD Card Support
Windows Operating system (so I can run familiar apps, and so I can insert my Sprint U300 3G Modem and get a connection anywhere.)
Long battery life (6+ hours)
Swappable Battery

The only other thing I’d consider buying in a tablet is one that runs on the Palm WebOs. I think that’s a natural fit, and I’m surprised Palm hasn’t jumped into the market. It can’t be much of a technological leap to take the Palm Pre and blow it up to ten inches. They could have one out by the fall if they wanted.

Bluetooth Headphones Won’t Work In Windows 7?

When I upgraded from Vista to Windows 7, I discovered that my bluetooth headphones (Backbeat 903) no longer worked on my Sony Vaio computer. It turns out that Windows 7 doesn’t support something called A2DP, which is required for stereo headphones to work. After some research and work, I discovered that the solution is to download and install a new Bluetooth Stack from Broadcom. I uninstalled my Bluetooth headset from Windows 7, then installed the new drivers. Then, I rebooted and set the headset to be rediscovered by Windows 7. I then opened the Audio panel, and set the headset as the default audio. It now works well.

A Good Word For Sprint

With all of the grief Sprint customer service takes, I thought it only fair that I pass on a couple of good words.

Last month, I purchased a Spint USB wireless internet card. I spend a lot of time waiting on boys at their various activities, and with that and a netbook, I plan on being more productive.

At any rate, when the device arrived, I couldn’t get it to work. So I called Sprint, got a representative within a couple of minutes and he was quickly able to get me up and running. As it turns out, I wasn’t doing one of the procedures in the correct fashion.

Yesterday, I noticed that my current bill had a couple of charges on it from an unknown third party. I called Sprint, and after poking through an automated menu (about thirty seconds worth), immediately got through to a customer service rep. She found the charges on my bill, reversed them, and blocked the third party from any further activity. I was done in no time.

The third party charges apparently came from something Mrs. GolfBlogger clicked on in Facebook. So a warning to FaceBook users: there’s some shady business on that site.

Sprint has been my carrier for a couple of years, and I’m really very pleased with the company overall. Prices are good and the service in my experience has always been excellent. Even better: I have never, ever had a dopped call, and even “Up North” in sparsely populated areas have always had a signal.

Next on my wish list: a Sprint Palm Pre. I’ve been a Palm (Pilot) user for more than a decade, and am ready to make the move to gadget that will combine my Palm with a phone (one less device to carry). What’s sold me on the Pre is that it actually will run all of my Palm OS software through something called Motion Apps. There are tens of thousands of mature, useful and fun applications for the Palm OS, of which I am running a couple of dozen on my current device. This backward compatibility puts to the lie the Apple propaganda that the Pre is short on applications. And the fact that you can write a Palm Pre application with just HTML and Java means that there are far more coming in the near future.

One Palm app that I can’t live without: Documents to Go, which lets me use my Palm work with Word, PowerPoint and Excel files in their native format.

When Your Computer Won’t Recognize Your Flash Drive

Note: FlashDriveBlog is gone—I lost interest—but the page that everyone wants to see on what do do when your Windows XP computer won’t recognize your flash drive will reside here on my main blog—

If your Windows XP computer is not recognizing your flash drive, its likely that you computer simply is confused as to what drive letter to assign to the memory stick. Fortunately, the fix is a simple one. This trick also works when your computer refuses to recognize a USB drive or other removable storage device.

First, hit Windows+E to open an Explorer window.

Select “My Computer.”

Right click and choose “Manage” from the contextual menu. This will open a window called “Computer Management.”

Select “Disk Management”, which is under “Storage”

On the bottom right side of the window, you’ll see a list of all of the storage devices currently attached to the computer. If your flash drive is listed there, that’s great—you can fix the problem. If not, this solution won’t work.

Right click on the drive listed in that window. This will bring up a contextual menu. Choose “Change Drive Letter and Paths.”

This will bring up yet another window, which will show your “missing” drive. Choose “Change” at the bottom.

Another window will pop up. This one will have a drop down menu on the right hand side. Choose a letter “higher” than the one currently assigned to the drive. If it’s “E”, for example, choose a letter between “F” and “Z.” Its probably best to pick one toward the end of the alphabet.

Once you’ve selected a drive letter, a warning message will come up saying that “Changing The Drive Letter of a Volume Might Cause Programs No Longer To run.”

That’s OK. It’s likely that all you’ve got on the drive is data. Click on Yes.

That will return you to the Computer Management Window.

Your drive now should function properly.