Welcome to the Jul 26, 2014 issue of
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|TODAY'S TOPIC: HEARTS AND MINDS||
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After a hiatus of several months that included moving from Madison WI to Pittsburgh PA, where I volunteer my services at FOCUS+Pittsburgh helping the inner-city poor gain new skills, write resumes and find homes & jobs, I'm reviving CompuNerds.Net and writing another CN.Net-News! Here we go again!
(Click the thumbnail to use these services.) The battle for the "hearts and minds" of literally billions of people on earth is shaping up: Google offers a whole slew of free services for the home and office - including Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, Sites, Calendar and much more. And all of these are "cloud services" - which means they're available anywhere, on any device connected to the Internet: your own PC or Mac, a computer at a library, coffee shop or school.
Of course, Google also offers free YouTube, Blogger, Maps, Books, etc. beyond their "home and office" free services. Did I say "free" already? Well, not quite: in order to sign up, you give them some personal info and the right to extract more info from what you do online, and then Google creates a record of your personal characteristics that it rents to advertisers on Google Search, Gmail, etc. So their products aren't really Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets and so on... YOU are the product they're selling!
One of Google's latest updates to Docs, Sheets and Slides is that, with their purchase of Quickoffice and incorporating its functions into these Google services, you can now edit native Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents right in the above Google services, and save them directly in their MicroSoft Office formats. This works in the Chrome browser on PCs, and on Chromebooks and Android phones and tablets.
What does this mean? You don't need a PC any more to edit Microsoft Office files: you can do it right on your Chromebook or tablet, even on an Android phone (- ouch! my poor eyeballs!) if you really, really need to. Speaking of Chromebooks, a recent article states that Chromebooks have now captured a whopping 35% of the B2B (business-to-business) market for notebook-type computers.
This is huge! Just since its introduction a couple of years ago, the Chromebook is on the verge of upsetting Microsoft's hold on the personal computer market. In response, as the article goes on to say, Microsoft is helping PC manufacturers to come out with a line of smallish (12-inch screen) PCs in the $200 price range to compete head-to-head with the Chromebook.
Those free "cloud services" I mentioned above mean that your apps ("programs" in old-speak) and files no longer have to reside on your computing device: they're stored in your personal account with Google or Microsoft. They're both providing you with roughly the equivalent of a 16-Gigabyte flash drive for free. You can, of course, purchase more - I'm paying $1.99/month for an extra 100 Gigabytes of storage on my Google Drive, plus the 27 Gb of free storage on OneDrive that I got from a special offer from Microsoft.
(Click the thumbnail to use these services.) It sort of sounds like Google has left Microsoft in the dust. In fact, many Internet pundits have been predicting Microsoft's demise. Sure, Bill Gates is no longer the richest man on earth and Microsoft isn't king of the mountain in software any more, but as Mark Twain once wrote - "Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated." Microsoft is working hard to make a comeback, and offers its famous Microsoft Office products - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Calendar, Outlook and People - available for free as slightly downsized versions of their desktop originals.
The advantage Microsoft gains by not being first in the game is that they've had time to study the market and come up with a more integrated solution. Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system, Windows 8 tablets and Windows 8 phones all have the same "look and feel" - the tile interface that Microsoft first called "Metro" but had to rename it to "Modern" because the Metro grocery store chain in Europe sued them... who'd ever think that people could confuse potatoes and tomatoes with PCs and tablets? Oh well, a brand name is a brand name.
The other advantage is the huge user base of PCs Microsoft has in businesses and homes, still the majority of all computers in the world, that can now transition easily to the "cloud" using their familiar Microsoft Office products with Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage. So even though Microsoft is playing catch-up and laying off 16,000 employees worldwide, they're still a formidable force in technology and will continue to be for years to come.
The Security Blurb:
Forget online privacy. It's gone. 90% of the individuals the NSA eavesdropped on were not the targets of the surveillance: see "In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are." This includes American citizens living in the U.S., not just foreigners and Americans living abroad.
The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer, tablet or phone. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!
"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"
Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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