Category Archives: Technology

My Chromecast

I learned about the Chromecast a day after it was announced by Google. It looked way cool, but I resisted buying it even though it was cheap ($35) and I am a complete Android whore. It was not until I heard it was out of stock at Google that I decided to purchase it.

I awaited its arrival with anticipation, especially after reading all of the glowing reviews. (EASY SETUP!) I was sure it would be the answer to everything. (HOW CHROMECAST WILL CHANGE TELEVISION FOREVER!)

It arrived on my birthday (and was my only birthday present except for a bag of Skittles Dean left under my pillow before he left for Munich) and I tried to set it up on the basement television to watch Orange is the New Black with Clare. Because my computer was in the attic and because my phone was elsewhere, I tried to use Clare’s computer to set up my new Chromecast.  For some reason one thing would not connect with another, so I gave up and tried on my bedroom TV, leaving Clare to watch the program on her computer.

My TV worked much better, however, there is something the glowing reviews and ads don’t tell you — you need to plug it in. I thought that all you had to do was push the Chromecast into an available HDMI port, but you also have to plug the Chromecast into either an electrical outlet or into a USB port on your TV. I don’t think my basement TV has one of those and I am not sure my Bedroom TV has one either.

Another thing I didn’t realize was that you can only use Netflix; Google Play Movies, TV or Music; or YouTube from your phone. Your computer has more options, but the quality is much worse.

I’d envisioned using the Chromecast for work — easily displaying my PowerPoint presentation and demos of JAWS screen reading software onto huge televisions, but I am pretty sure that is not going to work. I also envisioned being able to cast my screen on a huge screen to do everyday tasks like remediate PDFs or prepare for PDF accessibility training. I am not sure how I will be able to do that either.

Don’t get me wrong, the Chromecast works amazingly well for a couple of programs, but I already own 3 Rokus and 1 BlueRay player that do the same.

I feel that I bought into the hype over the Chromecast far before it was truly unique. Maybe it will offer things that other streaming devices do not offer, but as for now I could have easily watched Orange is the New Black on my Roku or Sony device.

A tale of two images

Within the course of less than 12 hours I received two surprise images through the Internet.

The first one arrived via twitter and was an illustration to go along with a blog entry from a couple of days ago. The artist is an old Internet buddy I have followed since my Sidekick days. What a treat! I’ve added it to the Owl-Focals entry. Now I think I understand my story better.

owlfocals
Dona reading with her owl-focals. Image by Mike Popovic

The second was from a stranger via a comment on this blog:

Dad’s photo. Before and after it was Photoshopped.

Hi Dona…..I was searching Google for some old photos in need of restoration to hone my Photoshop skills. I came across the one of your father and thought it a perfect candidate. Not only was it in desperate shape, but he seemed to embody the mettle of a generation unlike we will ever see again.
Needless to say, I wanted to share the picture with you and yours. That generation is leaving us all too quickly and it was an honor for me to get this sailor ready for inspection. I hope you enjoy the picture as much as I enjoyed restoring it.

Thanks!

Gary

It most certainly looks better. However, the Photoshopping took away the twinkle in Dad’s eye and the smart-ass grin that is just about ready to appear on his face. I know that look — he’s about to tell an off-color joke. When I remember my dad it’s the twinkle and the grin I remember most.

Too much screentime

Recently I complained to my husband that I felt like I did nothing but work. I went on to describe my day: Waking up at 6:30, heading to the (home) office to work at 7:30 where I would read emails from work, work on steady projects, answer emails about new projects and work more on steady projects until around 4:30 (with a lunch break somewhere around noon). Then I’d either run errands or do household chores then make dinner and/or help clean up after dinner. After dinner we’d either watch television together or do something separately until going to bed at 10:00 or so.

Now, I am sure most people would consider watching TV or reading as not working, and they would be right, but I think what I meant when I made the complaint to my husband about working all the time was that I never got a chance to write anymore. My days were spent in front of a computer and I didn’t want to spend my free time there too. But my writing takes place on a computer. I’m no good, anymore, at keeping a pen and paper journal. No spell check. No grammar check. No easy look up of things. No way to easily insert images.

The Internet has allowed me to find and do a job I love, but it has also allowed me to become lazy. It has allowed me to rely on it for its ease of everything from writing to researching to communicating with friends and colleagues.

There must be a healthy balance between on and off screen-time existence. I’ve just not found it yet.

3 screens
My Three Screens