In talking to a friend who uses prepaid phone service recently, it came up that his text messages get used up far too quickly, and then you're stuck without the ability to text until the prepaid term runs out. There are many free messaging services out there, but if you want to be able to receive and send unlimited text messages via phone number, you should check out Google Voice.
This service has many great features, one of which allows you to do free SMS messaging as long as you have a data connection. SMS means that you can send and receive picture and video messages as well as traditional text messages.
If you already have a G-mail address (an account with Google in other words), then you can easily setup a Google Voice phone number and have the benefit of free texting if you don't already pay for unlimited text messaging. You can get started by going to: https://www.google.com/voice. After setting up Google Voice, you'll need to go to the Play Store on your mobile device and install the Google Voice app.
Yes, you will have two phone numbers instead of one after you setup the service: the price to pay for free unlimited texting. When I say price to pay, it's a figure of speech: there is no cost to using Google Voice services. After setting up the service, you will be prompted to allow Google Hangouts to handle SMS messaging. You WILL want to do this if you want to be able to send and receive video and picture messages. Google Voice cannot do SMS, only simple text messages. Google Hangouts also lets you do video chatting, among other things.
Another great feature of Google Voice is that it can manage your voicemail instead of having your carrier take care of it. You don't have to opt into letting Google Voice manage voicemail for you, but I highly recommend it. It's far superior to what any of the carriers offer for voicemail features.
These are just some of the great capabilities of Google Voice. To learn more, visit the Google Voice YouTube Channel. I've been using Google Voice for a couple of years, and have enjoyed the unlimited text messaging feature a lot. In my case, my carrier charges $5/month for not enough messages, and then charges a ridiculous fee if you go over your allotment. Unlimited texting is offered for $20/month. I don't think so!
I'll soon be switching to Republic Wireless who offer unlimited talk and texting plans starting at $10/month +tax. I'm under contract with my current carrier until the Spring. I've been with them for over 10 years, but I'm thrilled to be switching to Republic soon. Consumer Reports recently rated them as the top prepaid wireless carrier.
There are just a few more days to act on this one. You can raise your OneDrive storage from 15GB to 30GB if you download the OneDrive app to your phone and simply enable camera backup. This feature is designed to backup all of your photos and video from your phone to the cloud. What? Backing up all of your photos to the cloud doesn't sound enticing? Don't worry. A few moments after turning it on, Microsoft will give you your 30GB, and then you can turn camera backup off while getting to keep your new storage allotment.
Things to know:
-The OneDrive software can be installed on both Windows computers and Mac computers via this link:
https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/download/ If you have Windows 8.1, OneDrive will already be installed on your system. To access the Camera backup option in Windows 8.1, go to Charms Bar > Settings > Change PC Settings > OneDrive > Camera roll.
-The OneDrive app for phones is available for iPhone, Android, and Windows phones. Visit your app store and look for OneDrive. After installing the app, you'll be prompted to turn on the camera backup feature.
-After the feature is activated, the uploading will begin. At this step, I looked at the OneDrive storage settings, and they had changed from 15GB to 30GB. I then switched off the wi-fi on my phone, went into the OneDrive settings on my phone app, and then disabled camera backup. This all occurred before a single photo got uploaded.
The deadline to act is September 30.
For more information, checkout this article by Brad Chacos at PCworld.com.
Acer C720-2827 Chromebook Intel Celeron 2955U (1.40GHz) 2GB Memory 16GB SSD 11.6" Chrome OS
The C720 is the same model used at NESD, and is normally sold for $199.99.
I received this question via e-mail from a former tech camp high school student just before school started this year:
"Mr. Weikert, my Chromebook stopped connecting to the internet one day. Every network I try to connect to says it's out of range, even when other devices, like my phone, my desktop, my iPad, etc. are connected.
I talked to the computer technician at my dad's work, and he said there was a problem with the radio, and that he couldn't do anything. What should I do?"
With a quick Google search I was able to find this solution which did the trick.
I received a message from a former student yesterday who is beginning her second year of school in computer science. She turned on her computer after settling in, and it would not go past the the Power On Self Test. This is a computer she had built as part of her senior project prior to the beginning of her senior year of high school (two years old now). The system is pretty nice: A core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB RAID 0 storage array, and a 128GB SSD boot drive. I said I would take a look if she could get the machine to me.
That evening, I fired up the computer and it started perfectly. Not sure what the problem might be, I checked hardware settings, and shortly after double-clicking the C: drive, the machine froze with the message of "Not Responding" in the title bar of the C: drive. About 60 seconds later, the blue screen of death appeared, and the computer restarted itself, this time acting as it did for the student: declaring that it could not find a boot drive.
This didn't look good. I removed the side panel which had a fan mounted on it. The fan did not originally come with the case, but was added after the initial build, and utilized a regular sized molex power connector which was daisy chained to the boot drive. I tried bypassing the fan, connecting the power rail directly to the boot drive and turned the power on. The computer started up, and stayed running.
I checked out the pins in the molex connectors of the fan, and they were all pretty loose. The 5V+ pin in particular was pushed way back into the connector.
So it was the decorative fan that was the problem! It's a little funny as I look back now because the fan was purchased after the fact, specifically to help make the computer look cool. It definitely achieved that goal, but two years later ended up being a nuisance. The connection was not great from the start, but it was never noticed, because it wasn't a problem until the computer had to travel a few times in a car for it to become loose enough to cause the boot drive to not be powered correctly.
Looking back, It was probably not the best idea to purchase the least expensive fan that could be found on Amazon.com (this one was about $7.00 if I recall). Thankfully, this ended up being a fairly easy repair.
This article discusses free utilities to test the speed of your drive.