PSA: Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 now available for purchase.
If you have been waiting for the next big thing because you are a Verizon customer, check out Verizon's website. You can now buy a Galaxy S4 for Verizon for $199 after a $50 rebate, with a two year contract. If you want a month to month plan, it will set you back $649. In either case, you can get Big Red and the latest Samsung phone. Do not trample each other on the way to the store.
Chrome & Drive for Android updated with interesting new features | AppsZoom Blog.
I am really enjoying the upgrades to Chrome for Android and Google Drive. Google never stops improving its products and services, and the scan feature of Drive is becoming one of my favorites. See something you want saved across all your computers and devices? Just take a photo in Drive, and it is saved to Google Drive. Google Drive is also getting a Google Now card style interface. Want full screen browsing and tabs on your tablet. Just update Google Chrome for Android. Want to voice search on your desktop? You can do that too. Don't worry Apple, you don't really need to innovate these features. Google is adding them to Google for iOS. How do you like them apples?
Acer C7 Chromebook: 4GB RAM, 6 hour battery, and 320GB hard drive (hands on) | ZDNet.
When I bought the Chromebook for $199, I didn't expect a lot. However, this little workhouse surprised me. Once I installed Chrubuntu, I had a travel netbook that can access my heavier notebook remotely, and is light and perfect for accessing Chrome and all my apps. In fact, today's proof of concept is to leave the notebook at home and bring the Chromebook to the office. I will connect it to Office Internet, and my bigger screen and peripherals and see what I can do with Chrubuntu and Chrome. I spent $50 on 8 Gigs of RAM, even though the specs say the unit can't access more than 4 Gigs. I spent another $30 on a spare battery to double the 3 hour battery life, which really isn't enough. I had a spare wireless mouse, which makes navigation easier than the trackpad. Now, for about the same price upgrade, you can get a new Chromebook with a larger battery and 4 Gigs of RAM. Kudos to Acer for fixing the only two things I didn't like about the unit. And, with a spacious, if slow, 320 Gig hard drive, I have plenty of space for my Ubuntu Linux apps. I still have to remotely access a Windows computer to get to my Windows apps; but, for a sub 3 pound, under $300 computer, you can't get better than this.
American Civics | Khan Academy.
I have always loved the idea of Khan Academy, which has become one of the leading educational sites on the Internet. Free, and effective, education about math and science and economics on the Internet, what's not to like? However, math and science have never been strong interests of mine, so I didn't spend a lot of time there. Now, Khan Academy is branching out into the Humanities, which is in my wheelhouse, and it is going to be wonderful. Are you interested in an even handed discussion of Obamacare, the Government's Financial Condition, or Medicare Sustainibility, among other topics? Are you interested in Art? Check out these lessons. This is what the Internet should be all about.
Twitter Adds Verification Feature - WSJ.com. If you use cloud apps like GMail and Twitter (and who doesn't these days?), you absolutely, positively have to enable two step verification as one of your security measures. It is next to impossible (nothing is impossible) to hack cloud services that require a secondary password for access. When I log in to GMail or any Google cloud service, even after I enter my password (which is a strong more than 8 character string that only I know and which I never write down) the services that have two step authentication send a text to my smart phone with another code that must be entered to gain access to the service. It is a royal pain sometimes; however, in these times, security is paramount, especially for lawyers handling sensitive client data. So, if you haven't enable two step authentication for Google, and now Twitter, do it now. You may someday be glad you did.
Star Trek's Tricorder Becomes Reality With Scanadu's Scout.
O.K. This is cool. This little device is like the Star Trek Tricorder, in its medical use. You hold it to your head for ten seconds and it measures and shows vital signs, ECG, heart rate, oximetry and stress. The results go to your smartphone and can be seen with an app designed to receive the data. Of course, this thing will never replace a Doctor or even Doctor McCoy. But, if you are obsessive about your vital signs, and you are a hypochondriac, the normal fluctuations of your body signs will give you plenty of ammunition to convince SWMBO that you need to stay home from work.
Google I/O 2013.
As I posted previously, if you missed Google I/O, you can watch it all at this site. So, instead of watching that marathon of whatever lame TV floats your boat, spend a few hours learning about the future of computing, Google style.
Google Now style voice search now live in Chrome stable channel | Android Central.
While we are on the subject of inexpensive legal dictation systems, you should be aware of the new Chrome upgrades that bring voice search to your notebook or desktop browser. If you use Chrome as a browser, (and you should be), just click Settings, and Help, and you will be updated to the latest stable Chrome iteration. When you relaunch and go to Google.com, you will see a little microphone in the search box. You can now do voice searches on your computer, and full text dictation is on the way. So, you won't need to use the Android phone trick anymore once this functionality is plugged in. Just click, and dictate.
How to: Poor (or Cheap) Attorney%u2019s Dragon Dictation with Android | The Droid Lawyer%u2122.
The Droid Lawyer writes about a trick he was shown by a reader that works very well. Apparently, by opening a document on the laptop or desktop in Google Drive, and then opening the same document on an Android phone, you can dicate on the phone and it is synced instantaneously on the desktop or laptop. Very slick. I prefer to type, as I am faster and more accurate with my fingers. Thank my dear mom, who made me take a typing class during a summer in high school. Who knew that, in addition to being in a class with all girls, that I would use the skill my entire life? I do talk to my phone, and get directions and short texts and memos are done with voice. However, memos and pleadings and such are all done with my fingers. If you aren't a fast typist, however, this frugal lawyer trick can be a godsend.
Google announces Galaxy S 4 with Nexus user experience | Android and Me.
Mobile phone manufacturers are always messing with a good thing. They have to show some differentiation from the competition, so they put front ends on Android to set them apart. Unfortunately, the front ends often are pretty lame; HTC Sense is a perfect example. A great majority of HTC buyers root their phones just to get rid of Sense. So, if you are an AT&T or TMobile customer, (and hopefully Verizon in a month), you may want to get the new Galaxy S4 Nexus, which will be stock Android all the way. No lame front end, just pure Google. The S4 is the most powerful smartphone ever, and, if you are in the market, you really need to try it out before you buy anything. The smart play, however, is to wait a month, and see if the rumors that Verizon is getting the phone are true. Or, you could do what I did, and get the Galaxy Note 2, which is the best phone I have ever owned.