Thursday, February 9, 2017

Class Summary 2-9-2017

Almost thirty signed in today. We spend the first hour or more talking about using other methods to get the shows we want to watch on TV rather than subscribing to a cable or provider for hundreds of channels we never look at.

Many of us pay big bucks to watch a few shows on our televisions. We either ahve a satellite or cable connection through some local service that feeds us hundreds of channels. Have we really looked at what we are watching? I will bet you are not looking at most of them and have just a few shows you follow plus local news channels.

If all you need are the local channels, get an antenna and plug it into the back of your TV where the cable from your current carrier plug in and go to Setup on your TV remote. Scan for channels and do not be surprised if you find 20-30 channel available right over the air. No cable connection needed at all.

Now don’t cancel all your services. You still need an internet connection, but that will be a lot lower cost than the bundle you now have. Now speed is nice, but you do not need the high speed line they may try to talk you into. You can stream movies at 6 mbps.

Phones are another topic, but if you have a cell phone why keep the in house phone? If it is part of your cable bundle, if the power goes out so does the phone. You cell phone will still work and you can charge it in you vehicle. I like my number, you say. You can port your existing number to your cell phone. There might be a small charge to do this, but you save that other bill every month.

OK, the cable is cut. How do I get to watch my favorite shows? As long as you have an internet connection you can use one of the popular devices. We are going to look at the Roku ($30+) and FireStick ($40 with Alexa Voice). They allow access to a number of free streaming services and many pay for services as well. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you automatically have access to free movies and TV shows with either of these devices. I have used Netflix for years and can access it using my Roku or FireStick.

Add Kodi to the FireStick and you can watch any movie, TV show, Live TV, Sports, and more. Add you can add it free using one of the many YouTube videos out there that step you through the process. Now you have the best of both--you have local TV for free and all the movies and TV shows you ever want to watch, even live TV all for the cost of the stick.

Kodi can also be installed on your PC and your smartphone. Watch what you want when you want to watch it.

We touched on OneDrive, Google Docs, and Google Photos all of which we have been discussing each week. Look at prior class summaries for detail.

Demonstrated using speech to text while in Google Docs and in the Google search engine.

Was asked how to clean up a cell phone. I use CCleaner on my Android phone. It is not available for an iPhone, so use Battery Doctor on it.

What should I buy when getting a new PC? My suggestion is always to see what is on sale. All the major brands are good in my opinion--Dell, Acer, Asus, HP, and Toshiba. Look for a multi core machine with no less than 4gb for RAM and at least a 500gb hard drive. WiFi is a must. Many laptops do not come with DVD drives today. But don’t let that stop you because you can purchase an external one that plugs into a USB port for $20 or less.

If you are just planning on using it for internet access and email and Facebook, I suggest a Chromebook instead of a Windows 10 laptop. A Chromebook does not need an antivirus or any of the maintenance programs we suggest for a Windows PC.

You can find laptops for under $300 and Chromebooks for under $200. Check the local stores for deals--Staples, Best Buy, Walmart...

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