Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Are Chromebooks Getting Pricier?

by Tony Thomas

When they were introduced, Chromebooks were seen as a low-cost alternative to a notebook PC.  How things have changed.  

I visited my local Best Buy yesterday and noticed that the prices of Chromebooks are moving on up.  At the very top of the line is the Google Pixel - the flagship of Chromebooks.  Even with its impressive specs, at $999, I think the Pixel has very limited appeal unless the buyer is a Chromebook fanatic.  

Bolstered by the high price of the Pixel, other manufacturers, like Samsung, Asus, and HP, are coming out with new Chromebooks in the medium-price range of $500 to $750.  At the lower end of the pricing scale, there are fewer offerings to choose from.  I think this is because the recently introduced Android functionality requires more RAM and storage space to be used effectively.  

Personally, I find the dependence on Android troubling as I am a big fan of the offline native apps on Chrome OS that have apparently been deprecated.  Google will be adding Linux functionality which may help to fill in the gap between mobile apps and more powerful desktop computer programs.  They are also betting heavily on Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) that are beginning to appear but have not gained much traction or acceptance yet.

The problem with the more expensive Chromebooks is that they lose their advantage of being a low-cost solution and have solid competition from lower-end notebooks and tablets like the iPad.   And, speaking of the iPad, I will be watching with interest how well the new ChromeOS tablets will do compared to Apple's new affordable base model.  

In any case, ChromeOS is still a strong option for anyone looking for a secure web-based computing solution.

Check out my YouTube Video:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Teknet Laptop Cooling Pad

by Tony Thomas

I recently purchased a Tecknet laptop cooling pad from to provide cooling for my aging Lenovo T410 14” laptop computer. The Tecknet pad is made out of plastic but seems to be solidly built. It houses two 110mm cooling fans which seem to do a good job of providing needed cooling to the bottom of the laptop. The fans are illuminated and provide a cool looking blue glow. It is slightly angled to make typing more comfortable. It supports laptop sizes from 12-16”. At $21, it seems to be fairly priced and has received a lot of good reviews.

Power is provided via an available USB port and there is an extra port available for another device. It only seems to pass power and not data so it cannot be connected to a USB drive or other data device. I was able to successfully run it from an open port on my unpowered USB hub so it does not draw much current.

Since I installed a 7200 RPM hard drive, it had been running pretty hot -- as high as 60-70 degrees C. Using the cooling pad, I have been able to reduce my temps by 15-20 degrees. I am very pleased with the performance of the Tecknet laptop cooling pad and highly recommend it to those who need additional cooling.

Buy it at Amazon:

Check out the YouTube video:

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

u-he Repro - A Second Look

I am taking a second look at u-he Repro. It is a great sounding VST but uses a lot of CPU. Don't say I didn't warn you. - Tony Thomas

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sound Forge Audio Studio 12.5 Review

Sound Forge Audio Studio 12.5 Review 

by Tony Thomas

This is a review of Sound Forge Audio Studio 12.5 by Magix for Windows. Thanks to Magix for providing me with a review copy of this program.

More info here: