The Dell Chromebook 11 is an educational Chromebook, although, in my opinion, the Dell Chromebook 11 (11) is a Chromebook suitable for general use as well. At three pounds, its weight is in line with other Chromebooks. The 11 feels solid and good in my hands. It doesn’t feel cheap like some Chromebooks do. It feels more like a regular laptop than an inexpensive Ultraportable computer.
The 11 sports the new 1.4GHz Intel 2995U Celeron Haswell processor (CPU) with 2MB of cache. For you less technical types, that’s all good stuff. Just think speed and low power usage. The memory is 4GB DDR3, which means you have plenty of memory (RAM) to handle a large number of Chrome browser tabs with ease.
The Dell Chromebook 11 Technical Specifications:
- Processor – Intel Haswell 2955U processor 1.4GHz
- Operating System - Chrome OS
- Memory - DDR3 Memory 4GB (internal) Advanced
- Chipset - Intel Integrated
- Video Card – Intel Integrated
- Display - 11.6″ LCD Min 1366×768 HDMI 1080p
- 720p Front-facing Camera
- Audio and Speakers - 4W Internal Stereo Speaker (Min 2W x 2)
- Hard Drive - 16GB SSD storage (SATA)
- Power - Internal 220 Watt Power Supply (PFC. nPFC. EPA)
- Primary Battery - Greater than 8 hrs.
- Warranty - 1 year depot repair/service; 1-4 years warranty extension options
- Security - Browser based security with hardware TPM: Phishing and malware. SSL certificates content settings Kensington Security Lock
- Wireless - Dell DW1901 (Atheros). A/B/G/N 802.11
- Two USB 3.0 ports
- Bluetooth 4.0 support
The two things that the 11 doesn’t have as features are a standard 15 pin video out interface and a standard wired Ethernet interface. They aren’t essential features, but they are nice-to-haves. In their place, the 11 has an HDMI interface and, of course, wireless networking. You could use a USB Ethernet connector in one of the 11′s two USB slots.
Why it’s frugal: For $299, you get a fast, solid computer that will easily last you three to four years and possibly longer. The Dell Chromebook 11 is well-built and features a lot of RAM for a Chromebook at 4GB, a 16GB disk, and a fast CPU. Unless the Chrome OS bloats drastically (not likely at all) within the next 4 years, you’ll have made a very wise computing investment.
Because this model is targeted toward students and education, I should note that the 11 feels sturdy enough to withstand being carried to and from school in a backpack without damage. And the battery has enough life in it to last an entire school day, if plugged in to charge overnight before the school day begins. It’s small enough and lightweight enough to fit into all but the smallest purse, messenger bag, or backpack. Students will love the “instant on” feature that places them at a login prompt upon opening the computer.
Unless you really love trackpads, buy a wireless mouse for your Chromebook. You can buy small ones that are roughly half the size of a regular desktop mouse. The reason for the external mouse is that Chromebooks, including the 11, leave out essential mouse buttons from the trackpad. To right click, you have to press the ALT key while tapping the trackpad. A minor annoyance, but still an annoyance.
The only major drawback to the Chromebook 11 is that it only has two USB slots and they’re both located on the left side of the computer. They’re both next to the HDMI slot, which makes using external HDMI video and two USB devices somewhat cumbersome or impossible, depending on the USB connector widths.
I like the Dell Chromebook 11. What’s not to like? It’s a fast and furious Chromebook with a bright, clear screen that would be perfect for students and just about anyone else regardless of learning status. It’s a good value and you won’t be disappointed with its performance, styling, or durability.
Recommendation: Buy it for a student, for yourself, or for anyone.
Techsmith’s Camtasia is one of those essential programs for anyone who needs to create interactive content by capturing a live computer screen. That’s what Camtasia’s main job is: to capture live screen actions as video. Simply put, it’s a screen recorder. But it’s also much more than that. Camtasia comes bundled with a powerful video editor, sound editor, and picture-in-picture (PIP) capabilities. You can also share your videos to Screencast.com, Google Drive, or to YouTube.
Camtasia is available for both Mac and Windows computers and I have used both with equal success.
Capturing video, video and audio, or audio alone, plus screen capture is very easy to do with Camtasia. The small control panel makes it easy. Here are the ten steps:
- Open Camtasia.
- Select a screen recording area.
- Choose to use your camera or not.
- Select an audio source.
- Press the Record button.
- Wait for the countdown.
- Begin recording.
- Stop recording.
- Edit recording (if needed).
Here’s a short video of Camtasia in action:
The only step in this list that’s more complicated than what I’ve listed here is editing your recording (Step #9). After you stop recording, your recorded footage opens in the Camtasia editor, ready for you to clip, to add effects, to add voiceover, or to do whatever editing you need to do. The editor is very good, but is no match for higher end editing applications.
The Camtasia editor isn’t meant to compete with high-end audio/video (A/V) editors, but it does provide you with the tools you need to produce a very high quality video presentation from your screen captures. Alternatively, the higher end A/V editors are very difficult to master, but Camtasia’s is not. So, it’s really a trade off.
Why it’s frugal: Camtasia for Mac is frugal because there’s no other available professional program of its quality on the market for $99.
The $99 price might seem high for a screen capture program, but Camtasia is much more than simple screen capture. It provides you with a professional quality A/V tool and a professional editor at a fraction of the price of buying the two separately. Camtasia is also very easy to use. That ease of use is worth something because it’s difficult to create an application that is user friendly and powerful. Camtasia is both.
Techsmith has also surpassed every company I’ve ever dealt with for customer service. The only exception is Intuit, whose customer service is perhaps the best of its kind anywhere. Techsmith’s customer service professionals are well-trained, polite, and absolutely knowledgeable about their products and problem resolution. Simply put; they’re impressive.
In my opinion, Techsmith’s Camtasia is the best product of its kind on the market. Coupled with its excellent customer service, it’s a winning combination. It will be the best $99 you’ve ever spent.
Recommendation: Buy it. Rely on it.
ALISO VIEJO, CA – March 4, 2014 – Smith Micro Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMSI) Productivity and Graphics Group today announced the availability of Anime Studio® Pro 10 and Anime Studio Debut® 10, the most intuitive animation software available that allows artists of all ages and skill levels to craft high-quality 2D animations for personal or professional expression. With enhanced features that provide increased bone control, more movement options and new tools, Anime Studio 10 gives artists improved ways to easily and quickly create stunning animated content.
“Anime Studio has evolved with artist needs and its new features are focused on delivering an increasingly comprehensive animation tool,” said Fahim Niaz, senior product manager for Smith Micro Software. “We’ve worked with our expert community to both develop new time-saving features and also enhance existing features to give artisans complete control over their all aspects of their work. Anime Studio 10 keeps animators at the forefront of their craft with its drawing tools, bone technology and rendering processes, to name a few.”
To celebrate the 10th edition of Anime Studio, Smith Micro has teamed up with Wacom Technology, makers of digital interface solutions, for a giveaway with no purchase necessary. From March 4th, 2014 to April 4th, 2014 users can enter for the chance to win a Wacom Cintiq Companion grand prize or a Intuos Pro Medium or Intuos Medium tablet for second and third place prizes. As well, award-winning animator Victor Paredes has created an exclusive animation clip with Anime Studio 10, highlighting the various ways users can utilize preloaded content available immediately in the software.
“Anime Studio 10 interacts seamlessly with Wacom tablets for an intuitive and natural-feeling animation experience,” said Don Varga, professional products brand director for Wacom Technology. “Wacom’s pen and touch tablets work so well with Anime Studio that we wanted to share the experience with Anime Studio fans, commemorating the launch of Anime Studio 10 with a Cintiq Companion, Intuos Pro Medium and Intuos Medium tablet giveaway.”
Anime Studio Pro 10 is the perfect addition to any experienced artist’s repertoire. The latest bone features include rigging options to help set up more complex characters. The independent angle constraints allows bones to keep their global angle and are not affected by inverse kinematics, while the squash and stretch feature allows bones to retain their shape and direction as they move. The new Smart Bone Dials allow users to set up movement templates for characters – simply select the bones, adjust to the desired angle, input the duration and name the movement.
Anime Studio Debut 10 introduces users to the world of 2D animation with useful tools and elements that allow any graphic artist to produce work of the same caliber as experienced animators. New design tools such as the Paint Bucket, Blob Brush, Eraser and Reduce Points make it painless to manipulate objects into desired shapes.
“Anime Studio 10 is among the best animation products on the market as it is both powerful and easy to use with tools that users of all skill levels can harness,” said Victor Paredes, renowned award-winning Anime Studio artist of Fluor Films. “Software features such as the Bone Constraints and Smart Bone Dials allow animators to quickly, efficiently and cost effectively bring their imaginations to life with the utmost control. I was thrilled to work with the new content and characters when creating the Anime Studio 10 animated clip and hope that fellow animators enjoy them as much as I did.”
Anime Studio 10 New Key Features:
- New Bone Constraints and Smart Bone Setup for streamlined character movement
- New Bounce, Elastic and Stagger Interpolation for adding realism to character movements
- Enhanced Drawing Tools that make creating and adjusting animated content faster
- New and improved content library provides pre-loaded characters and material for easy animating
For the full feature and enhancement listing please visit: http://anime.smithmicro.com/as10new/
Pricing and Availability:
Anime Studio Pro 10 is available for $299.99 and Anime Studio Debut 10 is $49.99. More detailed product, pricing and upgrade information is available here.
About Smith Micro Software, Inc. – Productivity and Graphics Group:
Based in Santa Cruz, Calif., the Smith Micro Software Productivity and Graphics Group produces award-winning software that inspires consumer creativity and enables efficiency. The group’s creative suite of programs provides artists of all skill levels – from novice to professional – with the tools to illustrate, animate and create 2D and 3D art. Some of the Productivity and Graphics Group’s award-winning creative and utilities products include Poser, Anime Studio, Manga Studio and StuffIt. For more information, please visit: http://my.smithmicro.com/
Wacom’s vision to bring people and technology closer together through natural interface technologies has made it the world’s leading manufacturer of pen tablets, interactive pen displays and digital interface solutions. The advanced technology of Wacom’s intuitive input devices has been used to create some of the most exciting digital art, films, special effects, fashion and designs around the world. Today, millions of hobbyist, enthusiast and professional customers are using Wacom’s pen and touch technology to express their creativity.
Safe Harbor Statement:
This release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including without limitation, forward-looking statements relating to the company’s financial prospects and other projections of its performance, the existence of new market opportunities and interest in the company’s products and solutions, and the company’s ability to increase its revenue and regain profitability by capitalizing on these new market opportunities and interest and introducing new products and solutions. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements are changes in demand for the company’s products from its customers and their end-users, customer concentration given that the majority of our sales depend on a few large client relationships, including Sprint, new and changing technologies, customer acceptance and timing of deployment of those technologies, new and continuing adverse economic conditions, and the company’s ability to compete effectively with other software companies. These and other factors discussed in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its filings on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this release are made on the basis of the views and assumptions of management regarding future events and business performance as of the date of this release, and the company does not undertake any obligation to update these statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this release.
Smith Micro, the Smith Micro logo, Anime Studio, Anime Studio Debut and Anime Studio Pro are trademarks or registered trademarks of Smith Micro Software, Inc. All other trademarks and product names are the property of their respective companies.
The Jackery Leaf is a case plus an extra life battery charger. The case, as you can see in Figure 1, is an attractive iPhone 5 and 5S case, but it’s also an additional battery life extender/charger.
When you’re not charging your iPhone, you can slip off the charger part of the case and use the regular Jackery Leaf case for protecting your iPhone. The case fits snug and works quite well on its own as a case. And you can use your current case with the Jackery Leaf charger attachment, if it’s relatively open at the bottom so that there are no obstructions around the charger interface.
The case and attachment are well made, sturdy, and durable. Even with the charging attachment connected to the phone case, you can still plug in your earbuds, change sound volume, and perform all phone functions. The charging attachment adds a minimal amount of weight and bulk to your phone. It’s actually a pretty good tradeoff for the extra hours of battery life that you get from the Jackery Leaf.
The Jackery Leaf set includes these features and accessories:
- One 2400mAh premium battery case with built-in Apple Lightning Connector and two premium protective cases for iPhone 5S & iPhone 5; Detachable and easy snap on design.
- Certified by Apple MFI (Made For iPhone); Compatible with All versions of iOS.
- Dual-purpose high speed secured connector for charging and data transfer.
- Three-color LED charging status indicator; Secured battery safety with 4 layers of smart safety protection circuit.
- 1x premium audio extension cable and 1x premium micro-USB charging cable.
The manufacturer claims that the Jackery Leaf can provide up to 110 hours of extra operating time to your device. I have not tested this explicitly or done the math, but I can tell you that with a fully charged case, I get two full charges for my iPhone 5.
The one thing you have to remember when using the Jackery Leaf charger case is that you must press the button on the back of the case to begin charging your phone. The case does not automatically begin charging upon attachment.
You can also attach your “naked” iPhone to the charging attachment but because of the Lightning connector, you have to be a bit careful when doing so. It works, but the attachment is really meant to be used with the Jackery Leaf case.
Why it’s frugal: The Jackery Leaf case is frugal because it extends your phone’s battery life for up to 110 hours. This is frugal because you still have free use of your phone without some tethering to an external wired charger. The convenience of the Jackery Leaf becomes obvious if you’re in a place where handy electric power isn’t available such as a long plane flight, long car ride, or in a public location.
The Jackery Leaf sells online for $59.95. Regular iPhone cases sell for $5.00 to around $30.00 and higher. That’s for just the case–no extra charging capacity. The Jackery Leaf is two protective cases in one plus the added benefit of the extra power. To fully charge the case requires three to four hours and it uses a common mini USB connector interface for charging.
The Jackery Leaf Snap-on Rechargeable Battery Case is a good value and an excellent product. If you need extra battery power, but don’t want wires or tethering of any kind, this is the solution for you.
Recommendation: Buy it to extend your battery life as well as providing protection for your iPhone.
HISY Wireless Smartphone Camera Remote
HISY ( pronounced hīgh-see )
$24.99 Amazon (Prime)
The HISY Wireless Smartphone Camera Remote (HISY) is a remote shutter device for your iPhone and iPad (See Features section below for compatibility). The HISY is a very small (approximately 1″x1″) Bluetooth device that fires your camera shutter or starts a video capture. The HISY is compatible with any iPhone camera app that uses the basic camera app as a base.
In other words, if you use a camera app that adds some effect to your pictures as you take them, the HISY will work with it, if the app is based on the iPhone’s basic camera app.
I suggest that you test it with your favorite camera apps before you do any serious photography with it. You don’t want to set everything up only to find that the HISY isn’t compatible with your camera app.
There’s no associated app that you need to buy or download for the HISY to work. All you have to do to is link the device with your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth, open your camera app and starting taking pictures or starting videos.
- Apple iOS 7.0 or later of iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, iPad 3rd & 4th Generation, iPad Mini & iPad Air iPod, & iPod Touch 5th Generation or later
- Frequency Range: ISM Band 2.4 GHz
- Bluetooth Version: BT 4.0 Low Energy
- Active Range: 30-90ft / 10 to 30m
- 2+ Year Battery Life: (CR2032 x 1 Cell)
- Includes headphone jack attachment to carry with you at all times
One of the coolest applications for a device like this, other than selfies, is as a remote camera that’s inconspicuous to its subjects. Often people don’t enjoy having their pictures taken, but if they’re unaware that you have a camera pointed at them, they’re far more relaxed and unguarded for photographs, interviews, or other forms of subtle photography, such as getting those precious moments snaps of your kids playing or of your husband cheerfully taking out the garbage.
The HISY sells for $24.99 on Amazon and is Prime qualified (free two-day shipping). The HISY also includes a short strap connected to a plastic insert that fits snugly into your earphone port that allows handy access to impromptu photos that you might otherwise miss.
Why it’s frugal: The HISY is frugal because you can take up to 200 photographs with it daily for two years on a single CR2032 ($3.00) battery. It also has a very long range (30 to 90 feet), which puts it in competition with devices costing twice as much or more.
The HISY is small enough to fit comfortably in your hand and has a simple “one touch” operation. It’s simple enough for young children to operate. A single button press fires the camera shutter for a perfect, non-blurry picture.
Recommendation: Buy it and test it with your favorite apps before you do real shooting with it.
“IBM is an industry leader in IT security. IBM and IBM Business Partners offer a complete package to fit the needs of midmarket organizations. From cloud computing and big data management to mobile technology and social networking, IBM security offerings allow midsize companies to assess, plan, deploy, and use effective security solutions for their businesses.According to analysts, no other company has the depth and breadth of IBM’s knowledge and experience for security solutions. Few service providers offer end-to-end identity and access management solutions that can address various requirements with a complete set of solution elements that encompass hardware, software, design and implementation, and management services.”
As someone who needs to protect your midsize business, security is important but often elusive and “black box-like.” Your business needs to find new ways to provide security for data, mobile, and cloud computing environments. For more information on how to acquire the industry’s best and most acclaimed security solutions, connect to: http://ibm.com/midmarket/us/en/it-security.html and download the IBM X-Force 2012 Trend and Risk report.
I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
I didn’t know quite what to think of this product just from its description but once I saw it in action, I decided that I’m a Nyrius convert. I know it might sound funny to say it but I’ve wanted a product like this for a long time–at least for the past five years. The Nyrius ARIES PRO Wireless HDMI Transmitter for Laptops consists of a wireless transmitter that you insert into a laptop (or other computer) via its USB and HDMI interfaces and an HDMI receiver that connects to your TV’s HDMI interface. The receiver also plugs into a power outlet. And as if by magic, the two units connect and your computer’s screen is streamed to your TV. Seriously.
The reason that I’ve waited so long for this can be summed up in a single word: Netflix. Several years ago, we purchased a Netflix subscription from which we ordered physical DVD movies, three at a time, that were delivered to our home. After watching the movies, we returned them.
Well, as you know, Netflix started offering streaming movies via the Internet. We didn’t have a TV capable of receiving Netflix, so we had to opt for one or more of the following as options:
1. The Netflix Channel on our Nintendo Wii.
2. A laptop wired to our TV.
3. DVDs mailed to our house, which we also had to mail back.
None of those options were/are that great.
The Nyrius ARIES PRO Wireless HD Transmitter (ARIES PRO) takes care of that problem. But the service doesn’t just stop at Netflix. I can stream anything to the TV that I have on my laptop, which includes movies, TV shows, computer applications, presentations, and even Skype conversations.
I used to have what was called a “TVator” that consisted of wires and hookups that worked very well back in the 1990s. It was very cool. A wireless setup would have been (And is) much better.
For presentations, I’m not limited to where I am in a room. I don’t have to stand in some cumbersome place and have the people in the room shuffle around to see the screen. I’m totally out of the way. In fact, I don’t even have to be in the room. I could be at my desk giving the presentation to the conference room up to 160 feet away. That’s handy for when I need to record a presentation as well as present one at the same time. Being able to do it remotely cuts down on all of the ambient room noise: coughing, shuffling, random comments, etc.
Now, I understand that this product is meant for streaming TV, movies, and video games from your computer to a TV screen but come on, that’s way too limiting for someone who needs this product for less esoteric use.
What you get for $249.99:
- Digital Wireless HD Transmitter
- Digital Wireless HD Receiver
- Velcro strips
- External IR Receiver
- Velcro Strips
- 100-240V AC Power Adapter
- 5 ft HDMI Cable
- Right Angle HDMI Adapter
- USB Power Cable
- Female USB Adapter
- 1 Year Warranty
- Lifetime Live Customer Support
Why it’s frugal: The ARIES PRO product is frugal because of its flexibility as a streaming device. If you could only use it as a computer to TV connection for games and movies, it wouldn’t be frugal. But its extended use as a professional presentation tool makes it extremely frugal. You don’t have to buy anything else.
My favorite part of the product is that it just worked. I didn’t have to fuss or tweak anything. In fact, it shocked me that it was so easy to setup. Here are the setup steps from unboxing to video streaming:
- Unbox the product
- Plug in the HDMI cable and power connector to the TV receiver box (the larger one) and then connect that box to your TV and power.
- Change your TV channel to use the HDMI port that you plugged the receiver into.
- Connect the USB cable to the transmitter and then plug in the transmitter to your computer’s HDMI interface and into an open USB interface.
- The two units “find” each other and begin transmitting. If this doesn’t happen automatically, press the button on the transmitter once.
Everything that is now on your computer screen is mirrored on your TV. Magic.
There’s no software to install, no messing around in Control Panel, no calling your brother-in-law the computer expert to help you figure it out. It just works.
The downside of a product like this for home use is that now there are Roku boxes, Chromecast devices, and Apple TV, for streaming movies and TV shows that the need for such a device has diminished somewhat. However, the need for this service has exploded in businesses for training, presentations, software demonstrations, and collaboration. No conference room should be without one. And while $250 for a home setup is a little steep, it’s a great deal for businesses. I guess the old adage is true for the ARIES PRO–when one door closes, another one opens.
For quick, easy setup for conference room computer visualization, I haven’t seen anything better since the TVator. It’s a quality product at a great price point for business use.
Recommendation: Buy it for your business but you probably don’t need it at home.