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Great holiday gift ideas for your techy friends

Tech Talk


Keeping an eye on El Niño

Home weather centers are more capable and at lower price points than ever. The Netatmo isn’t like other weather centers. Made up of two stylish aluminum tubes and no display, the Netatmo uses a smartphone app to display info from its sensors. Install the batteries, place one sensor inside the house and one sensor outside, set up a one-time USB connection to your computer to configure your location and wireless settings and you’re done. The Netatmo reports indoor/outdoor temperature, indoor/outdoor humidity, air pressure, and both indoor and outdoor air quality and indoor noise level. All data is tracked over time and graphed on the Netatmo app. You can add more indoor sensors and also a rain gauge. The Netatmo app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows phones. For a more traditional weather center, the AcuRite 01512 tracks indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, rainfall, wind speed/direction/chill, the weather forecast, heat index, dew point, wind chill, and barometric pressure all on a color display. The all-in-one sensor mounts easily and transmits weather info to the weather center using RF. Both are available on Amazon

What’s a Chromebook?

Students (of all ages) need computers to access the Internet for research, for word processing for writing papers, for getting schedules and posting assignments, etc. Laptops are perfect for students, but they’re expensive.

Q: What to do? A: Check out some Chromebooks. Chromebooks are a different kind of laptop. Instead of running a Windows or Mac OS, Chromebooks run Google's Chrome OS. Chromebooks are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet. Chromebooks are simple from a hardware perspective and this is reflected in the price, generally from $150-$250. You can’t install Windows or Mac programs on a Chromebook, but Chromebooks can run any of the apps in the Chrome App Store. Apps include games, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and many more. Chromebooks are available at computer retailers and, like just about everything else, on Amazon.

I’m on fire

Well, I’m not. But Amazon is. The Amazon Fire tablet is a $50 tablet that would be great for a stocking stuffer, or, you know, just to have. This 7” tablet has WiFi and 8GB of storage. It doesn’t have the fastest processor or the greatest graphics and there are ads on the lock screen, or you can pay $15 more and get rid of the ads when running Amazon’s Fire 5.0 OS on top of Android, this little tablet can do pretty much anything you’d need a tablet to do. Apps are available through Amazon’s own app store instead of the Google Play store but most everything you want or need is there.

I probably don’t need to say this, but it’s available on Amazon.

12 Days of Christmas – tech-hachapi Edition

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me twelve virus warnings, eleven tweets on Twitter, ten Kindle books, nine PUPS and malware, eight different passwords, seven spammers spamming, six bloggers blogging, five YouTube links, four USB ports, three Facebook friends, two iTunes updates, and an on-site visit from tech-hachapi.

With apologies to everyone that has done this before me. Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at


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