After covering the HP Touch Smart’s talents as a bedroom media center, we next put the capable machine to the test in the center of our home, a.k.a. the kitchen. We know –- having a computer there sounds strange, but as we discovered, having a touch-enabled digital communication center that the entire family can use as a basecamp really changes the way an entire household can go about managing the day.
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As much as technology has changed the way we live, having a physical calendar on the kitchen wall for jotting down quick notes is hard to beat. Having that billboard or marquee especially comes-in handy after a family discussion, delegation of errands, and other household duties. Alas, those were the days of our youth.
That’s why using the TouchSmart Calendar app to quickly create reminders and look at the day’s agenda was a welcome change to our lifestyle —- especially since changes and updates easily sync with our Google calendar both on our phone and laptops. The Notes app provides a similar level of convenience. Typing out quick updates via the touchscreen came in handy enough, but the ability to record audio notes proved to be the time saving gem. Call us lazy, but a quick tap and “pick up more beer” reminder just feels right.
While we’re on the topic of orating, we also put the included Recipe app to good use on more than one occasion —- which can be controlled by voice commands and also features dictation functionality. A quick search for crab cakes was all it took to have our new digital sous chef talking us through the process of pouring out bread crumbs and chopping celery. Much to our OCD side’s relief, the screen proved to be surprisingly smear-resistant despite our greasy mitts.
With Skype running in the background, we took a couple of unexpected calls from distant family members. Video chatting while cooking definitely felt out of the ordinary, if not a tad Star Trek-like, but our inner-multitasker quickly appreciated tackling the older brother check-in while sautéing some veggies.
And finally, the morning coffee took on a greater level of productivity thanks to the Facebook, Twitter and RSS feed apps. Scrolling through the AM reads without using the keyboard (our mantra: no keyboard-like peripherals before 9AM) provided some relief while waiting for the water to boil. Waiting for French Press never felt so productive.