TechMan: Pros and cons of Chromecast

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A few weeks ago I wrote about ordering a Chromecast, a $35 thumb drive-like device that allows you to "cast" video from the Chrome browser on your computer to your TV screen.

It arrived about a month earlier than expected, and I have been playing with it for a few weeks.

Like most devices, it has its pros and cons. Pros include the price, easy setup (plug it into an HDMI port on your TV and plug in the power, connect it to your Wi-Fi network, then set the input of your TV to the correct HDMI port) and the quality of the picture, which is generally good hi-def.

If you are using a Google product such as YouTube or one that Google has an agreement with, such as Netflix, it is simple. A little TV-screen icon appears at the bottom of the video player on your computer or mobile device. When you click it and select the Chromecast device, the picture on your computer appears on your TV.

You also can "cast" the image on any Chrome tab to your television by clicking the TV screen icon on the browser tab. This is where the cons come in. If you go to a TV network website and play a program and then try to cast that image, it might work. But you might also get a message saying you do not have permission to cast this content or when you switch the image to full screen on your computer, the TV picture disappears.

Inteligente: The port town of Santander, Spain, may be the smartest city in the world. On lampposts, on the sides of buildings, and buried underneath asphalt are 10,000 sensors installed with an $11 million European Union grant, The Christian Science Monitor reports.The sensors can tell drivers if there are available parking spaces or whether to turn left to avoid traffic. It can measure moisture levels of soil and decide when a park needs to be irrigated. And it can regulate street lights from afar, dimming the luminosity if no passersby are near.

Post-PC world: PC World reports that, according to research from IDC, shipments of tablets will surpass those of all personal computers in the fourth quarter of this year. By 2015, IDC says annual shipments of tablets are set to outpace those of all PCs for the full year.

Investors jump the gun: Twitter filed to go public last week with the ticker TWTR. Its shares are expected to start trading before Thanksgiving.

But according to Business Insider, the real winner was a company called Tweeter Home Entertainment, TWTRQ, which many investors apparently thought was Twitter. The stock was up as much as 1,500 percent Friday and ended the day up more than 684 percent.

The terrorists win: The U.S. government has filed its response to a lawsuit by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others asking they be allowed to disclose how many requests they get from the government for user information.

The government brief says, in part, "If our adversaries know which platforms the government does not surveil, they can communicate over those platforms when, for example, planning a terrorist attack or the theft of state secrets."

Keystroke of the week: The keyboard shortcut I use the most on a Windows machine is to hold down the Windows key and the "m" key. It takes you to the desktop. Best way to check for hidden error messages.

Error message of the week: Alert! User Error. Please replace user and press any key to continue.


Send comments, contributions, corrections and condemnations to First Published October 7, 2013 8:00 PM


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