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March 21, 2013

Tablet vs Paper?
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

Take 38 seconds to gain a useful insight into the changing world of technology. And watch a pretty woman named Emma make an important decision.

Check out this short video at Vimeo.


April 9, 2012

A Day in the Life of Google Googles
Filed under: Computers in Construction — Tags: — nedpelger

If you’re tempted to just let the technology waves go past you without swimming along, you should think again. The pace of innovation will increase and you can’t afford to be a Luddite. We all stress about finding the time to keep up, but I admonish you to stay in the struggle. The Google Googles video below shows what your competitors will be using in a couple of years.


But don’t stay current with technology from fear, rather embrace the possibilities of better living. On the other hand, keep vigilant against technologies that lower your quality of life. We should all work on balancing our technical lives with our physical, financial, emotional and spiritual lives. To find that golden middle path each day, we need to be paying attention. Sleep-walking through life just brings us to death with less  understanding and joy.


August 26, 2011

The Laptop, The SmartPhone and the Cloud: Where We Stand
Filed under: Computers in Construction — Tags: — nedpelger

You’re probably busy trying to make a living (and a life) in these exciting times. Don’t make the mistake of letting technology get too far ahead of you, don’t miss the efficiencies  that can improve your life and expand your options.

Let’s start with the SmartPhone. If you don’t have an Android or an iPhone, you’re missing opportunity. The Blackberry just hasn’t kept up. The apps aren’t being developed quickly enough and the platform just has too many phones and too many holes to work well. Androids and iPhones, on the other hand, provide unlimited useful apps, and the ability to access all your files, drawings and the internet where ever you have phone service.

Tethering your laptop to your SmartPhone to have internet access (either with a chord or a local WiFi hotspot) is a must to really be able to adequately access your files and drawings. Of course, you need to be backing up all the “My Documents” info on your harddrive onto the cloud by using either or I find that Dropbox offers a better user interface and makes a constant web back-up easy.  It’s wonderful to have all your files and drawings available to you at any time or location, as long as you have phone service.

So that coordinates your hard drive data and makes it accessible to you, but what about collaborating with others? You can’t beat Google Docs for online documents that a group can work on, improve and complete. One superb feature of Google Docs is their Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. You can scan or import pdfs and the OCR software will turn them into searchable text documents for you.

So all of the above doesn’t take too much effort and really leverages your ability to resolve problems on the jobsite. Now what about the iPad and the new Google Chromebooks? Lex has been pushing me to buy a couple of these, though I just don’t see the value yet. I don’t get how they are an improvement from a tethered laptop to a SmartPhone. Especially when you can buy a great laptop for $225 and already have a SmartPhone.

Anyway, here’s Lex’s analysis, see what you think.

Boots in 8 seconds, resumes instantly
Connects to internet via Wifi or the mobile 3G networks that cover most of the nation
Can keep working on documents and emails even when not connected
If you lose your computer, all your settings and apps are saved in Google. Just need to log in to your account and everything is back.
Easy to share – people can log in with their own google accounts and never see any of your stuff

Only two manufacturers – the Samsung Series 5 line and the Acer AC700
PCWorld seems to favor the Samsung. It’s 80 bucks more but has bigger brighter screen, a VGA port for plugging in a monitor (amazing tool for efficiency if you haven’t tried it) and slightly longer battery life
Acer has HD audio support and an HDMI output (HD video)

comes in silver or white case
reviewers agree that it feels solid and well built
2 USB 2.0 ports
comes with 16GB SD card
SIM card slot for plugging in phone network card for 3G internet
VGA output for plugging in a monitor
small power charger
strong display
mouse trackpad – reviewers not too impressed, I recommend a logitech wireless mouse
keyboard – the F keys along the top replaced by function keys – backward, forward, and refresh buttons, along with ones for toggling between windows and entering / exiting full-screen mode. You’ll also volume, mute, and multimedia keys, as you would on most any other laptop.
1 megapixel camera for video skyping
nonremovable battery – 8.5 hrs – uses no juice when closed

netbook like processor – handled a dozen open tabs easily – only faltered once opening a bunch of Youtube videos
no harddrive/local storage – this means your only apps come from the web and the Chrome app store – still small but growing – contains the basics like image resizer, audio recorder, crude media player and file manager for downloads
doesn’t support Skype or Netflix yet…
can’t print yet – must printto computer on your network or use the HP ePrinter that supports google’s beta Cloud Print

an app called Citrix reciever still scheduled for near release – will allow any app sitting on the a computer on your network to be run – can run your accounting software, adobe photoshop, etc

$430 for Wifi only version – prolly good enough for a casaul user that has Wifi at their home – most apps still available when not on the internet and will sync later

$499 for 3G version – prolly needed for Dad & I – 3G handled by Verizon with 100 MB/month free for two years (but that’s a token amount)
even to get free amount, must provide name and credit card info to verizon

3G costs:
$50 for 5 GB
$35 for 3 GB
$20 for 1 GB
$10 for unlimited day pass

So, should I pull the trigger and buy one of these to see how it works? Or wait for a better sense of the value? You get to vote.


December 31, 2010

3 Ways to Build Your Technology Competence: Part I
Filed under: Productivity — Tags: — nedpelger

As we say “Adios” to 2010, it’s a good time to invest a couple of hours to improve your productivity (and value) for 2011. Consider 3 ideas that could improve your life.


For most of the last 30 years of computer revolution, Microsoft dominated. Apple created some great products and consistently changed the world with their user interfaces, but Microsoft kept trudging along, picking up the best ideas and making them work for businesses. So for most of this revolution, I stayed with Microsoft products: operating systems, office suites and the Internet Explorer browser.

Over the past decade, Microsoft’s trajectory has declined while Google just keeps innovating in the most important areas. The Google search, of course, pays the bills by getting amazingly accurate selections for almost any search query. The Android smart phone system has been Google’s open source code response to Apple’s cool iPhone. I predict that 5 years from now the Android will dominate the market.

A Google innovation that can help you even more, the Google Docs allow you to handle all your computing on the cloud. No more purchasing operating systems and office suites…they are all free from Google. No more losing data by fire, theft or idiocy, it’s all stored in Google’s free storage. I’m planning to write much more in 2011 about how you can use Google Docs to completely run a small construction company.

In order to access this Google world, you need a Gmail account. It’s free, but take some time to think about your user name. It will be shown lots of places.

Finally, I’m also a fan of Google Alerts and Google Reader. The alerts will give you email updates on any topic, letting you know whenever your chosen word or phase gets used on the internet. With a name like “Pelger” I’ve been able to find about my kids getting arrested before they worked up the gumption to tell me. I also get alerts for “Construction Knowledge” and find some good info occasionally. Google Reader, on the other hand, will keep track of your favorite blogs or sites and keep all the posts in one place for you to quickly peruse.

Remember the adage, “A man is known by the company he keeps”. I recommend you spend some time in the company of Google. Their innovations might just help drag you along towards more success.