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PC sticks: Have Windows, will travel


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I really got excited this morning when it finally dawned on me that since there is a TV in every room in our house, besides my office which has a TV Tuner on the Quad HD 27" computer screen anyway, that for the cost of one desktop I could have one of these on each TV with a wireless kb/mouse under each and all connected to my personal cloud network with its 3TB of onboard storage expandable via the USB port and my drive dock.. They could function quite well with their Atom SoCs and just 32GB SSDs with 2GB of RAM and 64-128GB micro SDXC slots. For just about any task the current crop of Atom systems are perfectly capable in the upper end like the Surface 3, not Pro, and my Dell Venue 11, which, with just 2GB of RAM operationally beats a quad core AMD 3.1 Window 7 system with 8 GB of RAM and a fast SSD every month in downloading and installing Windows updates running Windows 8.1. Most who disagree have a minimal Atom tablet or haven't owned one yet. They are impressive in daily use, and some are faster than others that appear at first glance to have much better specs.

 

But check out the newest form factor:

 

Excerpt:

 

"PC sticks are popping up all over. These are tiny devices that are full PCs that can be plugged into any TV or monitor and used securely. We've rounded up a few of the top ones for consideration.

 

PCs have shrunk to a very small size, barely bigger than a USB flash memory drive. They have a CPU, memory, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and secure local storage. Plug them into a TV or monitor with an HDMI port and you have your personal Windows system. Add a wireless keyboard and mouse and it's an instant full service Windows PC with your own apps and files.

 

These are typically cheap, ranging from $100 - $150. They are useful for those who travel a lot for work, and who prefer to keep off the grid to a certain degree for security reasons. When you unplug the stick and walk away there is no trace of your actions on the equipment you leave behind which wouldn't be the case if you borrowed a computer.

 

PC sticks are also an easy way to set up a kiosk at a trade show. Just plug one in to the HDMI port on a TV and you have an instant streaming kiosk display.

 

All of the sticks listed below have an Intel Atom processor, Windows 8.1, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, one or two USB ports, and a memory card slot for adding storage except where noted. They vary in size but all are only slightly bigger than a USB flash memory stick."

 

The reviews and prices for each are on the page here: http://www.zdnet.com/article/pc-sticks-have-windows-will-travel/?tag=nl.e539&s_cid=e539&ttag=e539&ftag=TRE17cfd61

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More technological stuff to blow your mind when it messes up. Look at how hackers can take control of your Chrysler line of vehicles; yeah they have an app for that! LOL! Be careful; the next time you have to be sedated for health reasons; the good ole boys may force your surgeon to chip you and soon the government will program you to behave the way they see fit! And that ain't no damned joke!

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Pieere

 

What flavor of Kool-Aid are we drinking these days?

 

Dennis

 

Well! Dennis I'm glad you can't see that happening! They have GPS on the new phones that even if turned off will track you; your Smart TVS that know what channels your watching; the vehicles that can all be hacked just like our computers! I was only try to be a smart A with the comments. But what if the deceased from 100 yrs. back. came back to life and seen some of the high tech gadgets we have now! Bet they would go back and slam that vault shut. LOL!

 

Guess i just never have lost my imaginary world that I grew up with when I was young. My first car was a cardboard box; my second a "soap box' derby; then a go-cart and then a field car what I learned to drive with. And onlt had one ticket for not stopping at a stop sign hidden behind tree branches. Not bad for 64 Yrs.

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Pieere

 

I would agree not bad for a 64 year old. If we ever see the deceased from a 100 years ago coming back, we have a way bigger problem then a GPS tracking device that was installed for safety reasons on our cell phones. Because I would be betting that they will be accompanied by a very very bright light dressed in white coming on a cloud.

 

Dennis

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Getting back on topic, yes PCs can allow us to inter-connect our entire house. Look at the new higher end coaches. All the electronics controlled from a tablet. Now you can close your garage door from your phone. Many may say this is getting too involved, but many of us welcome some of these advancements.

 

Our kids and grandkids are going to see dramatic advancements over the next few years (perhaps we might even see this). I believe I've read of controlling your appliances from afar.

 

Yes, some of these advancements make it easier for Big Brother to keep watch over you, but these very same advancements have helped to keep us safe from the crazies out there.

 

I burned the Win 10 Tech Preview onto a flash drive because our new PCs do not have built in optical drives. So far I have not found the need to get an external optical drive because I can use flash drives to accomplish what I need. Using an app such as Rufus allows me to burn an ISO file on the flash to use to install major OS upgrades. I will employ this method when I download Win 10 in a few days. And yes, I will upgrade my PC immediately, and when I feel comfortable in showing her, I will upgrade the DWs PC as well. It should not take very long if my experiences with the Win 10 Tech Preview is any indication.

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Hey Medico,

You can use a thin drive from any junk laptop. Just get the Optical drive to USB convertor on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C574Q5G?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00

 

Optical drives have a slightly different SATA connector. I have this exact cable and it works perfectly with my tablets. Yes tablets. They draw minimal power and work on my fully charged tablets and any laptop or desktop. All I look for is the DVD insignia on the door. Tiny enough to tuck away anywhere.

 

But disks are obsolete and I use thumbdrives and micro SDXC cards much more today too. I wish that there were these cables years ago. I have a slimline ASUS or Samsung external optical drive that requires two USB cables. It works fine most of the time on one. I always kept a few optical drives from defunct computers and now use the slimline laptop ones exclusively as externals wit this cheap cable.

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Our PCs have both USB2 and USB3 slots and an SD card slot. I have yet to find a reason why I need an optical drive. Neither of us play CDs or DVDs with our PCs. All our music has been burned to our PCs as .wav files (plenty of storage space so chose .wav over .mp3 or others). So if we really want to play music we can use our PCs for playing our music, or Pandora for streaming music. We also have Sirius/XM in the coach with DISH Network, which also streams music.

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Our PCs have both USB2 and USB3 slots and an SD card slot. I have yet to find a reason why I need an optical drive. Neither of us play CDs or DVDs with our PCs. All our music has been burned to our PCs as .wav files (plenty of storage space so chose .wav over .mpeg or others). So if we really want to play music we can use our PCs for playing our music, or Pandora for streaming music. We also have Sirius/XM in the coach with DISH Network, which also streams music.

My music is all on my laptop as well. Over 60K (yes I said K) songs. It is also in the Googlesphere (don't choke, Derek) so I can stream it from anywhere on all my devices. Well, anywhere there is Internet access. Daniells loads playlists onto her 8.4" Galaxy Pro tablet so that she can stream to her portable min-Bose blutooth speaker that she uses to teach line dancing. Or we can stream to our vehicle radios, etc without Internet.

 

We have come a long way since Pocketmail was the greatest gadget out there for a fulltimer!!

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No choke Jack. I have yet to digitize my last ~300 vinyl albums played once to record with dbx noise reduction on cassettes back in the 70's when I had ~ 500 albums. In 1983 we started DJing for real money and used that to gradually transition in a year fully from tape and CD to all CDs. After traveling all over the world with our 3000 or so CDs, many gold direct to digital recordings from the major jazz and classical houses, I finally ripped them all to the lowest loss (320Kbps) mp3. That took a month of almost all day every day feeding the CDs into the computer disk tray. That was recentlyu in 2010 I think. Now they take up only ~160 GB of space as since then when it was 119GB at first, I have bought 99 cent used CDs and ripped them into my drive. That as well as Amazon music purchases. But all of my original CDs as well as movies in BluRay and DVD that are ripped are in the binders that hold from 220-300 disks each. Each disk is numbered and catalogued as well as having its pocket numbered to access them easily during a DJ show and now at home. Mine Jack are over 30k songs so you have me beat there. But I have the media too. When we fulltimed we had almost as much but carried the 3000 or so CDs with us and played them.

 

Here is another gadget for ya!

 

I just received this and after we move Wednesday and the new place is setup, we will then be able to test out all our toys unless we get cable to the trailer. http://www.gearbest.com/tv-box/pp_142338.html It seems really well built and has everything needed. I have so many external drives and drives to use in the dock it is getting a bit ridiculous. It will, once the move is complete be integrated into the fifth wheel TV and sound systems. Unlike the sticks, I have a full array of inputs and can do standard full size keyboards or my K-400 favorite lap keyboard and touchpad on the side.

 

Tech is zipping along! Gotta run, getting into panic mode now.

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Derek, that is a sweet little PC you linked to. Priced right too....might make for a nice "truck computer". My issue is that I have too much music. It is getting ridiculous....I cannot organize it as well as I want so any tools you know of would be welcome. My Music folder this morning is 295 GB, 64,925 files (but that includes artwork probably, and some duplicates)....Almost all in in the cloud, but I still have to take the new computer to the office and put it on our 100 mbps hardwire to upload the rest. Wifi does not cut it.

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We just never had that much music recorded. When we do listen to music, streaming from Dish Network (Sirius/XM) satisfies us. Plus we have Sirius/XM in our car so are satisfied with that. We have loaded our own music onto an SD card that resides in it's slot in the car in case we wish to listen, and do have a CD player in the car, but have never had a CD in it.

 

I suppose some day I will find a use for an optical drive and get something, but I have not since we purchased the PCs.

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I need a good software program to rip music CD's. I had one, MusicMatch Jukebox I think, years ago that created a folder with each of the songs listed by title as files. Doesn't work with newer OS's. I need to be able to edit each song file to rename it to the title. Have lots of folk music recorded in small shops that don't appear to feed title info to the rip software I have. Recommendations?

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Well, I am downloading the Win 10 ISO file from Softpedia directly to a flash using the Windows Tool to load a bootable copy of Win 10 on the flash drive. Instead of using my MiFi device, I am using my WiFi Ranger Mobile connected to the park WiFi. It's a slower connection, but does not count against my 20 GB data on my Jetpack. I'm at 90 % after about 1 1/2 hours. I have been surfing and doing other PC activities during the download, so did not even notice how fast/slow it was going. I suspect the download server is not being burdened too much yet as this was always a problem in the past.

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Not yet.

 

We moved today into our fiver and the cable company came and ran cable to it next to our workshop. So after a couple days we are back to being connected. We'll be tied up for the next month getting the new house setup, so Win 10 will have to wait until I have my new office and test bench set up.

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Good luck RV. Our home is being built now. Hopefully will be ready to close in Oct. Here is a link to our One Drive to see the photos. They are stored chronologically so keep the link and re-visit to see updates every few days. Our TV/Internet will be through Century Link Prism and is included in our HOA fees. It will include 3 hard wired cables and 3 wireless boxes for TV.

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Thank you for the kind comments. This is not our first from scratch, but it will be our last. Back in the late 80's my DW and I built our own 2 story colonial style in upstate NY. Took us 18 months to complete, nights weekends, holidays. Did about 98% of the work ourselves.

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