Friday, February 19, 2016

The Chromebit Saved my Budget!

This is a special little post to tell you about a product I purchased for my home and totally love.

As you know, I have long promoted the importance of contentment, stewardship, and simplicity.

A few weeks ago, my wife and I decided we really had to do something about our computer situation.  Our computers were years and years old, and were not handling updates anymore.  We have traditionally been a mac family, but I couldn't swallow spending over $1000 on a computer at the moment.

I stumbled upon the Asus Chromebit.

You might be familiar with the chromecast, which is a TV accessory that plugs into an HDMI port, turning a dumb TV into a smart one.

The Chromebit is the same concept, but it turns a dumb or smart TV into a computer running the Google Chrome operating system.  The best part is that it costs $85!!!!!  We have an extra TV in storage that has been replaced, but still has HDMI inputs.  I bought a USB Hub for about $7 and a wireless keyboard and mouse combo for about $35.

Note that the Chromebit works with bluetooth or wireless keyboards and mice.  It does recommend purchasing only a self-powered USB hub.  If you follow the links I provided, both products will work very nicely with the Chromebit.  The keyboard I bought is a little nicer, but it is the same brand.  The USB Hub is the actual one I own.

I am very happy with how it all works.  Now, I know this is not a tech review site.  I don't pretend to be savvy enough to give you thorough information about that.  You can look elsewhere for technical specs.

I will tell you how we went from Apple dependent to Google.

1.  We do not have iPhones any longer.  I will post another time about how we escaped the cell service monsters.  Teaser:  My wife and I pay $25 a month for our cell service combined!!

2.  I used the Google Photos uploader app to move our photos from Apple Photos to the Google Cloud.  With a Google account you have up to 15 gigs to store originals for free, but you can store unlimited "high quality" photos for free.  All my photos are in the cloud now, so I don't have to constantly be upgrading my hardware to handle them.  Google Photos has a lot of very cool features on its own too.

3.  I converted my old MacBooks to ChromeBooks.  I simply removed all the gobbledy gook off of them, and started using Chrome rather than Safari.  Chrome runs the Google web app products.  I bookmarked them to the bar, and that carries over across devices.  If you have a gmail account, you have all of these products - they are free.

4.  I use Google Docs instead of word.  Google docs reads and exports .docs, it is web based and free.  After using it for a couple of days, I found it easier to use than Word.  I am writing a novel with it.

5.  I use Google Drive - cloud storage that is available across platforms.  You get up to 100 gigs free when you purchase the Chromebit.  This has a time limit though.

6.  I used my old external hard drive plugged into the USB hub to give me like 300 gigs of storage.  This is a small old one.  Of course you can get multi - TB size drives that would serve the same purchase.

7.  We use streaming music services.  We are off and on with Spotify, but with our Amazon Prime account we get Amazon Music for no additional cost.

I highly recommend this product, and do so knowing that it stands in line with my financial philosophy.  Please check it out!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I'm Better Than You, Oh Wait....

I'm a very competitive person.  I do not know why.  I was born that way, I guess.  Our family lives in an area of Indiana full of very competitive people.

Apparently one cannot be early enough to be first here.  That sounds weird.  Let me explain.  I have driven past my son's preschool thirty minutes before dismissal.  Sure enough, cars are there . . . every . . . single . . . time.  I don't mean to imply that these people sit around and obsess about being first in the preschool pickup lane.  On the other hand, maybe they do.  It drives me freaking nuts!  Maybe it is my competitive nature that causes this simple fact to bother me.  Either way, we've decided as a family to just let it go.  We'll get there when we do and have to wait accordingly.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tag Team Back Again...checkin' reckin' let's begin...

Hello everyone.  After a significant sabbatical, Lead Yo Fam will be back in action.  I will be posting about once a week rather than once a day.

Looking forward to connecting with you... on party people let me hear some noise...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What Is Love? Baby Don't Hurt Me - Part 7

Several years ago, I was involved in a prank that rated 10 out of 10 on the camp prank scale.  Yes I was the youth minister at the time.  Our group was stationed in two different cabins - one for the guys and one for the girls.  One night, the girls made the mistake of leaving all their swim stuff out on the railing in front of their cabin to dry.

I remember laying there in the dark talking with the guys, when I wondered out loud, "wouldn't it be cool if we took the girls' swim stuff, tied it in a long rope, and strung it between the roof of that shelter out there and the light post?"  It wasn't ten seconds before the guys were out the door.

The prank was fantastic.  One of our guys (that I was sure could handle it) climbed on the roof of the shelter and taped the "rope" along the entire length of the roof.  Two of the girls had their own life jackets.  They made up the ends of our "rope".  We sent the tallest guy (happened to be a counselor) up the tallest step ladder we could find positioned on top of a picnic table.  He fastened the life jacket about 17 feet up the light pole.  It looked like this.

I was sure to wake up early.  I crouched behind my car and watched the girls jump to try to reach their stuff.  They weren't within five feet of the lowest point.  That was one of the most joyful small-scale moments of my life.  Kind of sick isn't it?

Getting to the point...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Motivation and Big Decisions

When we face major life changes, decisions, or transitions, it is unrealistic to expect ourselves to stay motivated and have the same willpower that we normally do.  It's important for us to step up and lead our families through these exciting and difficult times.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Desert Week: The Highlight Reel

So this is the end of Desert Week.  Hope you enjoyed it.

This week: