Digital Christmas

 As with many Christmases past, this one came with its share of technology gadgets and upgrades. It seems our kids continually push us to the bleeding edge of technology and while I am keen as to why, I am not always willing to take the leap without their gentle nudging.

For starters, this year my daughter gave us a Chromecast for our TV. While I've known about this technology for a while, we never really had a TV to support it. (That's another technology leap we made a year or two ago.) For those that don't know, Chromecast allows you to project various apps from your phone or computer to your TV. Once you've synced all your apps like YouTube and Netflix to your Chromecast, you can pretty much look up anything on your phone and send it to the TV.

The biggest benefit of this is no more arduous typing using the stupid TV remote to search for something. It is much easier to search on your phone and then casting it. On Christmas Eve before we opened the presents, it was killing Sarah to watch me try and type something using the TV app, knowing full well that she was giving us Chromecast. So far, it works like a dream. My wife, usually slow to accept the technology, has embraced it and seems to like it.

As another upgrade, I added 8 GB of RAM to my HP Envy Laptop. This is the machine I bought from my daughter at least 6 years ago. I would love a new laptop (inbox me if you're getting rid of one) but I am the world's frugalest (read: cheap) writer, so I will stick with the machine from 2013. When I looked into what it would cost to upgrade the RAM, I found that I could essentially double the memory from 6GB to 12GB for only $30. I don't know why I waited so long to look into this. 

Anyway, it came in a week, I installed it on Monday and lo and behold, it worked. (Well, actually, after the second try. The first time it wasn't seated correctly.) I figure it will buy me another year or two, unless something else goes down the toilet with this HP.

And as a final technology update, I researched WiFi repeaters and found good reviews on the TP-Link AC570 Repeater. Again, for those who don't know, this takes your wifi and extends it to give you better coverage across your whole house. We have plaster walls in our old house and have always had sketchy coverage downstairs. Well, again, for $30 this thing made our connection much stronger in the living room. My connection went up by 10 Mbps, which is pretty remarkable. It was (relatively) easy to setup and hopefully will make movies run better, phones faster and everything else that a digital connection requires, smoother.

TP-Link RE220 Extender ($30 on Amazon)

I guess my point is, every once in a while, the technology you hear about is actually easy to setup, relatively affordable and keeps the kids happily connected when they are visiting. After I setup the WiFi extender, my son even said we'd finally come into the 21st century.

And, we get ATT Fiber here (which seems to be taking forever) the 21st century will just have to do.


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