Technology

Why I’ve Started Upgrading My Phone and Laptop Warranties

I mentioned in my last post that one of the reasons that I chose the Lenovo X1 Carbon over my preferred choice of a MacBook was the 3-year next-day onsite service. Here’s what that warranty provides that’s key for me: If an issue cannot be resolved by phone, Lenovo will dispatch a certified technician to attempt repair of your machine at your location with no shipping involved. This service provides parts and labor repair coverage where labor is provided onsite at your place of business…. Continue reading

11/6/18

We Really Have Reached Peak Computer: My Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Review

My first laptop was an IBM ThinkPad T20. I purchased it in the Fall of 2000 because it was a requirement for all incoming freshman at RPI to have that specific laptop. Amazingly, that page from 2000 is still online, so I’m able to tell you that I paid $2,700 for a 700 MHz processor, 128 MB of RAM, and a 12 GB hard drive. It was absolutely life changing. You could literally work anywhere (there were ethernet plugs all throughout campus, this was pre-wifi)…. Continue reading

10/29/18

Now Running On Our New Server Cluster!

Two Saturday’s ago, after a lot of preparation, we migrated Detailed Image to a much-improved server configuration. Thankfully, this wasn’t prompted by any sort of major issue. Rather, in the process of disaster planning we identified a few spots where our redundancy wasn’t as strong as we’d like, the most glaring of which was our server. Since the total chaos of our move in 2008, we’ve been on a dedicated server. We upgraded once in 2011, and that machine lasted us right through this migration…. Continue reading

9/25/18

Android Messages for the Web Is a Game Changer

A few weeks ago when I opened Messages, the text messaging app on my Pixel 2 XL, I was prompted to visit messages.android.com to set up text messaging from my browser. I had missed their announcement, so this came as a pleasant surprise to me. I scanned in a QR code on my phone to set it up and within a minute I had sent my first text message from the web. This is a feature I’ve REALLY wanted for years. Most of the day… Continue reading

7/20/18

My Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review

After reviewing my Pixel 2 XL and the free Google Home Mini that came with it, I figured I’d wrap up my new tech reviews with the piece of technology that I researched more than anything else – my Garmin Vivoactive 3 watch. I bought the better-looking “Black with Slate Hardware” model, which typically retails for $30 more at $329.99, but I picked up mine on Amazon during Black Friday for $274.99. Smartwatches haven’t exactly taken the world by storm. Fitness trackers aren’t necessarily the… Continue reading

12/28/17

Google Home Mini Review

When I pre-ordered my Pixel 2 XL Google threw in a free Google Home Mini. I’ve resisted buying an Amazon Echo not because I thought they were creepy or invasive, but because I just couldn’t think of a good use case. I’d hear over and over again that “you just need to have one” and then it will make sense. So I was kind of curious to see if the light bulb would go off once I received my Mini. The short answer is, it… Continue reading

12/21/17

Peak Smartphone – Reviewing My Pixel 2 XL

One of the downsides of using Project Fi is that your phone choices are pretty limited. But the phones you can buy are the best that Android has to offer, and once you’ve used pure Android it’s really hard to go back. In October I pre-ordered a Google Pixel 2 XL on the day it was announced. My Nexus 5X was showing its age. In particular, the battery life was horrible and the camera was slow. The latter has suddenly become more important now that… Continue reading

12/13/17

Bringing a 1940’s Royal Typewriter Back to Life

A while back I had the idea that it would be cool to have an old typewriter in my office as sort of an homage to how far computing and communication have come in such a short time. My wife mentioned that there was an old one collecting dust at her grandmother’s house. When we expressed interest in it she was gracious enough to give it to us. Last year I spent a few hours on a Saturday cleaning it up and learning how it… Continue reading

10/3/17

We Still Need to Teach Basic Computer Skills in the Age of Chromebooks and Peak Smartphone

I was lucky that both my high school and college were well equipped to train an aspiring engineer. From the time I was a 13 year old freshman I had exposure to all sorts of equipment that most people don’t, from welding to lathes to CNC machines and a wide array of computers and electrical components. My classmates and I could apply the theory that we learned in the classroom, and we graduated as better engineers because of it. But, this technology wasn’t available to… Continue reading

9/26/17

Turning My Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet Into a Retro Gaming Machine

Back in college my friends and I would pass the time during class by playing classic NES, SNES, and SEGA Genesis games with emulators on our laptops. The recent popularity of the NES Classic Edition has resulted in a revival of classic 8 bit and 16 bit emulation. I’ve long kept emulators on my Android phones (I prefer the ones made by Robert Broglia), but after purchasing my Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet last year I got the idea that I would really enjoy being… Continue reading

6/20/17