The Bill and Phil Show

Windows 10 – Less “Touchy” Than Windows 8

Post by Phillip Hampton on Sep 8, 2015


It is no secret that Microsoft’s last major operating system upgrade, dubbed Windows 8, was not met with resounding fan support, especially from office denizens. While trying to appeal to tablet users with a touch-friendly “metro” interface and tablet-centric apps, Microsoft lost significant credibility with mainstream users who rarely use touch devices in the office. “Give me back my old Windows 7. Why can’t I keep Win XP?” were some of the comments we heard frequently around the office. “Where did my Start menu go?” was a question that Microsoft apparently heard quite frequently in their offices. When Microsoft released Windows 10 earlier this year, it highlighted the reinstatement of a Start menu loud and clear. Windows 7 refugees can safely cross on over now to the Windows 10 Promised Land.

But the reappearance of the Start menu was just one of the more visible changes to Windows 10. Under the hood, so to speak, Microsoft has crafted a brand new system that cleverly takes advantage of mobile, touch-friendly devices without alienating the masses who still use mouse and keyboard to navigate around their daily work. In other words, Windows 10 is what Windows 8 was supposed to be….an operating system that bridges the gap between the mobile and desktop worlds. The only difference is that now Microsoft at least seems to have it right. If you are working on a traditional desktop PC, Windows 10 will work remarkably like Windows 7, with some extra bells and whistles for fun. However, if you are using a mobile device, or even switch from desktop mode to tablet mode on a convertible device (like a Surface Pro 3), Windows 10 is smart enough to know and will optimize the interface to a touch-friendly mobile style.

Gadget of the Month – Sony Digital Paper

Post by Phillip Hampton on Aug 4, 2015

sony digital paperIf you’re a techie, or ever tried to look like one, you have no doubt toted your laptop or tablet into a high-powered meeting so you can demonstrate how “tech cool” you are by having ready access to a cache of digital documents and by taking digital notes, leaving the old yellow legal pad out of sight. Yes, we have done the same thing. No matter that we love to doodle on our legal pad in between taking serious notes, or draw pictures, diagrams, or just weird geometric shapes; with digital note taking on a laptop, it’s all “business” all the time. However cool it may be to fire up our electronic devices as we go into a meeting; many times there seems to be an invisible barrier erected when the laptop screen goes up, particularly in small meetings such as client interviews or depositions. Tapping away on one’s laptop when carrying on a conversation can be disconcerting to the other party and may even be perceived as rude. Certainly we never picked up that vibe when just jotting notes on a legal pad….somehow, that is socially acceptable.

Gadget of the Month – Beam+ Remote Telepresence Device

Post by Phillip Hampton on Jul 1, 2015

20150623_154127A couple of years ago we were smitten with a robotic “remote presence device” (RPD) that we saw at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. This gadget is made by Suitable Technologies ( and is called the Beam. We thought it was exceptionally cool and futuristic, but not necessarily practical for our own personal use. As is often the case, we began to rethink the practicality of this new technology as we revisited the Suitable Technologies booth at this year’s CES. No longer thinking it was “impractical” and desperately wanting to play with this new tech “toy”, we began to think of reasons (excuses) to buy the Beam. Our “reasoning” won the day and we raided our “gadget fund” to purchase the $1,999 Beam+ (a larger, more expensive model, BeamPro, is also available).

When our Beam+ arrived in a huge box, we anxiously unpacked the 4.5-ft robot, wondering how long it would take to set up our new remote telepresence friend. We were pleasantly surprised to note that hardly any assembly was required (just plug in the charging plate and place the Beam+ on the charger). We were even more pleased that the software setup was almost as easy. We just connected the Beam+ to our high-speed Wi-Fi, downloaded the control software from Suitable Tech and we were ready to roll.

And “roll” is what you do with the Beam+. Using the software app on your computer, you can maneuver the Beam+ robot anywhere you want it to go, as long as it stays within the Wi-Fi coverage area.   The Beam+ has a video screen near the top of the 4.5-ft frame that displays the camera image of the person controlling the robot from their computer. The computer operator can see through the “eyes” of the Beam+ by way of two internal cameras on the Beam+, one near the top to see people in the path of the Beam+ and one near the bottom to see potential obstacles near the floor where the robot is traveling. Using the arrow keys on the keyboard, we were able to roll the Beam+ off the charging pad, swivel it around to the door of the office and then move it down the hallway of our office. We were able to communicate and see people in the office that we met with the Beam+ and they could see and hear us via the built-in video monitor. After folks in the office got over the “creepiness” of us sneaking up on them with our robot, we were able to carry on conversations just as if we were in the room with the person….complete with eye-rolls, smirks, and hand gestures, relayed via the video screen.

Gadget of The Month A Tale of Two Watches

Post by Phillip Hampton on May 27, 2015

This month, we compare the Apple Watch to Android Wear watches. This is really more of a comparison of Android Wear software and Apple Watch software and their respective interaction with a Tethered Smartphone.

There are several Android Wear watch models. Bill has compared his LG G Watch to his Apple Watch. Phillip compared his Moto Smartwatch to Bills’ Apple Watch. Unfortunately, neither of us has the LG Watch Urbane, the only Android Wear Smartwatch that runs the latest version of Android. That watch has features that rival, and sometimes exceed, those of its trendy Apple rival.

android-watch-iwatch Both types of watches have numerous functions that are the same, or very similar. For example, you can answer telephone calls on your Apple Watch. You can answer telephone calls on most Android watches. You can track fitness and health data with both types of watches. You can read and review emails on both types of watches. You can read and review texts on both types of watches. You can listen to voicemails on both types of watches. You can look at your calendar on both types of watches. Both watches provide a plethora of notifications. However, the actual functionality of these features can vary significantly.

Given the functionality of both types of watches, you will immediately be recognized as having the ultimate in “geeky cool” when wearing a smartwatch on your wrist. Your friends will be so jealous….just don’t get a tattoo on the wrist where you sport your Apple Watch. (Apparently, a tattoo interferes with some of the Apple Heath-app functionality. (I guess Bill shouldn’t have gotten the “I <3 Apple” tattoo last year.)

Gadget of the Month – Outlook Mobile App

Post by Phillip Hampton on Feb 26, 2015

A-deeper-look-at-Outlook-for-iOS-Android-1[1]Despite the popularity of other messaging platforms, including Facebook messaging, Twitter, and even plain text messaging; we still are slaves to our old familiar e-mail Inbox. For most professionals working in the legal space, e-mail is the lifeblood of communications, not only with clients but with co-workers and vendors as well. Increasingly we find ourselves drafting and responding more to e-mail messages on our mobile devices than on our office desktop PCs. As such, we are constantly looking for the optimal e-mail app that allows us to master our Inbox on our smartphone rather than scrambling to find an important e-mail buried weeks-deep in our Inbox. Fairly or not, we seem to always judge an e-mail client app based on how it performs compared to Outlook, simply because we are so accustomed to the Microsoft Outlook interface that has ruled our desktop for the past 10-15 years.

So, it is not surprising that our ears perked up recently on the Microsoft announcement that a new, free Outlook mobile app was being rolled out for both iOS and Android platforms. It’s been a long time coming, so we downloaded the new app on our respective smartphones with much anticipation, but also with a little bit of dread for fear that the mobile Outlook would not live up to its hype. Thankfully, our fears were unfounded. Our test drive of the new Outlook mobile app has gone very smoothly and we have taken a strong liking to this new e-mail tool.

First of all, setup was a breeze on the new Outlook app, with smart setup wizards for the major e-mail account options, including Exchange,, Google (Gmail), Yahoo, and, even iCloud (yes, Microsoft plays nice with Apple…take note, Apple developers). Additionally, we were pleasantly surprised to see integrations with cloud storage providers OneDrive (Microsoft’s solution), Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive (more on this later). There were no arcane server names or ports to configure (for those familiar with the old-fashioned e-mail setup). We just entered our login credentials, and voilá, our e-mail started appearing.

Gadget of The Month – CES Report

Post by Phillip Hampton on Feb 17, 2015


Once again, we made our annual trek to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (January 5–9). On the morning of January 6, with our hearts all aflutter, we hopped on a Southwest Airlines jet to view the latest offerings in gadget “geekdom.” We hurried off the plane, grabbed a bite to eat, and headed straight to the Las Vegas Convention Center to fill ourselves with visions of tech toys.

Upon arrival, however, we almost immediately turned into “tech curmudgeons.” It seemed that we had seen everything before: 4K TVs–seen that; Internet of Things–been there, done that; flying drones–already saw it; wireless speakers of every kind–Bill has most of them. At the end of our first day, we were unimpressed.

Phil got a bright idea and decided to study the online materials for the Show. He discovered that the Innovation Awards (and apparently most of the innovative devices) were on display at the Sands Expo, and not at the main Las Vegas Convention Center. We decided to walk to that venue from our hotel, rather than taking the monorail. The “short walk” turned out to be about two miles, but it was well worth it. This is the stuff we came to see! Here are a few examples.

Gadget of the Month – December

Post by Phillip Hampton on Dec 12, 2014

Moto 360

We have been touting “wearable tech” way before “wearable tech” was cool. But, guess what, the coolness factor has finally caught up with our hype. We say that because we recently purchased the long-awaited Moto 360, Motorola’s entry into the Android Wear smartwatch swarm. We were sold on the technology behind smartwatches a couple of years ago, but now our non-tech friends don’t make fun of us when we wear our new Moto 360 to the annual office holiday soiree. The distinguishing characteristic about the Moto 360 is it’s stylish round-face, as opposed to the rectangular, geeky looking watch face of some of the other smartwatches that we have acquired. The black leather band also helps mask the appearance of this smartwatch as just another layman’s watch.

But don’t let the stylish appearance of the Moto 360 trick you into thinking it is just a timepiece. Indeed, you can customize how the current time displays, from a traditional long and short-hand dial to an ultra-sleek, modern numeric readout. But you can do so much more with the Moto. As with all Android Wear-based smartwatches, you can view this watch as an extension of your Android-based cell phone. (Alert: there is no need to get this or any other Android Wear-based smartwatch if you don’t have the requisite Android-based smartphone). You get notifications of texts, e-mails, and phone calls on the watch without pulling your phone out of your pocket or purse. The integrated mic allows you to issue voice commands with the familiar “Ok Google” wake-up call. We have been able to “ask the watch” for navigational directions and then get the turn-by-turn steps on the watch. Of course, this is all powered by the nearby Android phone, but all of the interaction is on the watch. For the health conscious, there is a constant heart-rate monitor along with a step counter app integrated with the phone. There are other environmental monitoring notifications that you can receive on the watch, such as temperature and weather info. Of course, one can download other special apps that are being developed for the Android Wear platform for a myriad of functions.