I love technology of all kinds, especially gadgets that make the nomadic lifestyle even more streamlined. In fact, this is the one area where I still buy without too much guilt despite my claim to simplicity. Afterall, technology products are usually small and, of course, new technology demands new acquisitions. Those are my excuses, anyway.
I am overdue for a report on my Chromebook computer and it is also time to share my new acquisitions. Maybe they will make your life easier, whether you are on the road or snuggled up in a traditional home. You won’t find any paid affiliate links here and I don’t receive anything other than the fun of sharing what I love.
Remember my Samsung Chromebook, purchased in Pensacola, Florida just over a year ago? I still love it. I found that a small, portable Chromebook simplifies life thanks to the Google Cloud platform and software. I transitioned fully from Microsoft Office to Google Docs, Sheets, etc. This means I can access my documents from any other device, including my phone and Kindle. This is just awesome for a nomad. However, the Chromebook has some quirky limitations. When blogging, I cannot upload my personal pictures to my blog site from Chromebook. That seems to be a security matter imposed by my website provider, Bluehost. The worst limitation, though, was not interfacing with my new Cricut Maker.
Cricut Maker? It is a next generation “cutting machine” that cuts out images and text on all kinds of media. Paper, fabric, vinyl, felt, and so on. Earlier versions of the Cricut used cartridges (dies) to cut images. The divine Cricut Maker is software driven, like a printer. I design stuff online in Cricut Design Space, connect my computer to the Cricut Maker, and send the image to the machine for cutting (fabric in my case). The whole process is just like creating a document then clicking the “print” button. Since the Google or Amazon android operating systems do not play with the Cricut Maker, I had to buy a regular Windows computer: an HP with a big touch screen and 8 GB RAM this time. I still use my Chromebook, though, especially when heading out somewhere, say to a coffee shop to work on paperwork. At home, it is mostly the HP. How savvy of me to use two computers and a Kindle everyday! Below, photos of the Cricut Maker. When not in use, the long doors close up neatly.
Oh, and Alexa. Mom, in a last act before she left this world, got me hooked on the Amazon Echo and all that Alexa has to offer. Alexa is not really a “must have” but the Echo is magnificent for listening to Audible books, finding great music, and receiving daily news briefings. I am also hooked on the daily Jeopardy games. The echo is challenging, though, because I need electricity to run her and I cannot get her to operate off my hotspot; instead I need a regular WiFi connection. Right now I am hunkered down at the RV Ranch so neither is a problem, but in a week I will be wandering again. Back to the Kindle for audio and other books during those times.
I discovered Mom’s vast Kindle and Audible libraries! Mom gave me access to her Amazon account last summer so that I could order things she needed, like hearing aid batteries, and have them sent to her at the nursing home. We still order things for Marvin, my stepdad, so the account is open, and I am working my way through her libraries and will continue to do so as I travel through Alaska this summer. A treasure chest full of fine stuff! Mom was an English teacher, occasional poet, linguist, and extensive reader. What an unexpected yet delightful legacy.
Are sewing machines technology? I returned from saying goodbye to Mom with her sewing machine (and clothes, and car)! That means I had three sewing machines, far too many for my lifestyle. I decided to donate my older Janome to a shelter here and kept my newer Brother computerized machine and mom’s old-school Kenmore. My Brother is lightweight and plastic, which means it jumps around when sewing. Still, it sews gorgeous stitches thanks to the computer. The old Kenmore is metal and extremely heavy. It is mechanical and still sews just fine, although the stitch selection is small. The other day, I set it up and enjoyed the solid, no shimmy experience. I will leave it up until I need buttonholes or other fine stitching, I like having the two options.
My camera situation? I had a decent Sony digital camera that was a few steps up from point and shoot models. The photo quality tanked after a few years, and the cost to repair it was a minimum of $185. So, I started relying on my phone camera, which was just fine until recently (for evidence of that decline see my FB pages – Jane Willis and/or JanesJournals). Who knows what is going on there with the phone camera and the cost of a phone with a super camera is beyond me (especially after the Cricut Maker and HP purchases, which are the first and last major tech purchases for 2018). So, I went backwards! I bought a highly rated little point and shoot (Canon Elp) at Wal-Mart. This will be perfect for stuffing in my pocket or purse while traveling in AK this summer. These little cameras now connect through WiFi to computers, phones, or tablets. That is a great development in my book. No more manual, little memory card uploads.
Moving to the edge of the technology category: my Instant Pot. I wrote a while back about becoming a Pot Head. Well, it is worse than that. I am totally addicted. I placed a large cutting board over my stove top and placed there the Instant Pot and my coffee maker.I crammed my oven with those rolls of foil/plastic wrap and extra dog food. I use the Instant Pot for all my cooking. Seriously. If you don’t have one, grab some cash from the cookie jar and order one.
Of course, the best development in my life is non-technical. A grandson! He is infused with personality and seems to have an inquisitive mind. Dare I say the cutest and smartest grandbaby ever! Such a blessing in an otherwise tough year.