Google Hangouts easier, faster: no need Google+ or Gmail


I’m a huge fan of Google Hangouts and use them any time I need a video connection. Hangouts are fabulous for holding meetings where you want the face to face connection.  The only problem was that actually starting Hangout required  traversing a labyrinth of clicks.

That’s no longer the case. Now, you just go to and get started. Finally!

The only requirement is that you have a Google Account. You don’t need to have a Gmail address; you can register your existing email address as a Google account.

If you have the webcam hardware and haven’t tried videoconferencing, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you have used Google Hangouts in the past, it’s now easier than ever to start a Hangout.


Do it!

Backblaze publishes hard drive reliability stats

Let’s cut to the chase. Get either the Seagate or HGST 4TB drives.   Personally, I’d go for the 3x more reliable HGST drive that costs 30% more than the Seagate.

The 4TB drives continue to rock, with both Seagate and HGST 4TB drives performing well. The Seagate 4TB drive has a current cumulative failure rate of 3.0% and has a street price of $131.58 each on Amazon. The HGST 4TB drive has a higher street price of $174.99 on Amazon, but a lower cumulative failure rate of 1.18%. Both drives have been in service for over a year and we currently own 17,000+ Seagate and 11,000+ HGST 4TB drives and continue to purchase more.

Source: The Most Reliable Hard Drive 2015

Hold off on buying Apple hardware until after Sept 9, 2015

If you’re considering and iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, hold off until Apple unveils the new versions of them in what looks like will be their special event in early September.

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans tell BuzzFeed News the company intends to hold a special event the week of Sept. 7, with Wednesday the 9th being the most likely date. Sept. 9 is the same day on which Apple held this event last year.

Source: Apple’s Fall iPhone Event To Be Held Sept. 9 – BuzzFeed News

Xbox inches closer being your DVR

As a once-avid user of Windows Media Center to record TV, it was pretty clear to me that the Xbox could make a great DVR.  This latest move is indicative of where they are going.

Microsoft is adding recording and playback capability to live, over-the-air TV. You still have to purchase some hardware and an antenna to receive the broadcasts, but the Xbox provides the program guide and recording software.

Of course the next logical question is, “When will Xbox allow me to record cable TV shows, like a TiVo?”.

One can only speculate. They certainly could have rolled out that feature now, so there is clearly a strategy behind their moves.

Time will tell.

Xbox One owners will soon be able to use their game console to record and play back live television from free, over-the-air broadcasts, Microsoft announced

Source: Microsoft unveils Xbox One DVR features, enabling recording and playback of free over-the-air TV – GeekWire