Friday, September 27, 2013

First Look: Toshiba U845W Ultrabook

Specs: $675 Sep 2013

14.4" LED widwscreen 1792x768 screen, 3rd Gen Intel® Core™ i5-3337U processor, 6GB ram

500GB Serial ATA hard drive, Intel® Wireless Display, Multiformat media reader, 3 USB 3.0 ports, Weighs 4 lbs. and measures just 0.8" thin, Midnight silver aluminum finish


I love the casing on this laptop, it has a grippy-rubbery bottom and half of the top. This makes it feel very secure in your hand which is optimal for portability. The processing specs of this laptop are great, the ethernet and usb ports are a plus. The thing I don't like is the super widescreen display. While it is about 14" wide, it is only 7.9" tall. This does not make for very much vertical screen space, therefore forcing lots of scrolling. I think the screen is something you'd have to really want if you were considering this purchase, otherwise there are lots of other laptops with similar specs with a more familiar screen size. The screen itself did have very crisp bright color.
At 4lbs, this laptop is very solid feeling, if a little heavy. I carried it around a little and it was just OK.
For usability, this laptop came with Windows 7 and functioned similar to other i5 Windows 7 machines.

Pros:
Processor
Ethernet and usb ports
Thin
Body
Card reader


Cons: 
Screen size
Weight (maybe)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kindle Fire HD 8.9"

The 8.9 Kindle Fire is a huge difference from the 7". The screen makes web browsing and movie watching all that more enjoyable. If you don't think you need the smallness of the 7" then the 8.9" is definitely the better choice.
Web browsing just doesn't seem as easy as when I use Dolphin browser on my Galaxy S4, but it is very doable.
Watching Amazon Prime movies and TV shows is excellent. It can resume watching the media right where you left off, whether it was on the Fire or the computer. The sound quality is good, the screen quality is excellent. Shipping around parts in movie is as fast as your internet can go.
Reading is very comfortable, both landscape and portrait views are convenient. There are multiple color and size settings so you can choose what reading style you prefer.
Games and Skype aren't something I tested heavily enough to have much comment on. I could comfortably some that they are very good.
For the price I would definitely recommend the Kindle Fire HD for books and movies. I couldn't see it replacing my ultrabook but its a great media tablet option. If the Prime books and movies were available on a regular tablet, such as the Nexus 10, I'd probably have that, just for the flexibility of the full android. But obviously that's why Amazon had those features locked to the Kindle Fire.
Overall I'm very happy with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9

Friday, January 4, 2013

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard: A Review

I love this keyboard! I often had to turn a lamp on in the evening to see the keyboard (I don't need to look while I type, its helpful for using arrow and symbol keys).
Pros:
Keys are comfortable and quiet.
Space bar is rounded and nice for thumbs to rest on.
Media keys - play/pause/skip
Turn backlighting on or off with one button
Palm rest is comfortable
Ultra-Thin
SetPoint software allows customization of shortcut keys

Cons:
The only thing so far is the skip ahead media buttons don't work in my Win7 Media Center.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kindle Fire! First Impression

So I just got a Kindle Fire. I have a Motorola Xoom so I didn't need another tablet. I honestly mainly got it because of the Kindle Lending Library. As you know I love reading Kindle books on my phone, and was super excited when Amazon came out with the Lending Library for Prime users (I'm one). I was really disappointed when I found it was just for people with an actual Kindle, not just a reading app. I had been looking at just a cheapo plain Kindle, but when Amazon had a deal last week for a (refurb) Kindle Fire for $139.99, I couldn't resist. For less than one hundred dollars more than a basic Kindle, I could get so much more in a device. The only thing that was swaying me toward a regular Kindle was having one with 3G, but those were still over $100 so I clicked that Add To Cart button and that was it.

The size is nice, I love that it can fit in my purse so I do picture myself taking it everywhere. Although it is a bit heavier than a plain Kindle. The screen is nice, and I love that I can have apps on it and browse the web. I did by a 2nd Kindle Fire for my mom, but I haven't given it to her yet because I can't decide if she'll use it (and I can resell it for more if its unopened - if it comes to that). Also I'm debating about her having a regular Android tablet so it will be more like her phone.

Overall so far the Kindle Fire is great. It is very easy to use and took only a few seconds to set up out of the box. I'll give you an update on it in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Will Video Chat Be The New Phone Call?

Google+ titled their group video chat a "Hangout" to encourage more casual use of video chats, suggesting it's not just for video conferencing or seeing your Nana in Florida. It hasn't taken off in my social group write like Google hoped. I think I would enjoy video chatting more often with my friends and family who live farther away. Recently I facilitated a Skype conference call. we had one person overseas and it was more favorable (and cheaper) to do an online video call than a traditional landline international call. Over eight hours of
It seems like no one calls each other anymore, it's all texting. I was texting with my one friend a long conversation and to make it quicker I thought I'd just call her. She acted like she couldn't get off the phone fast enough. There is something about hearing a persons voice and seeing their face that enhances communication. I am a very sarcastic person and sarcasm often gets lost or misconstrued, which can be toxic. I think one 15 minute phone conversation is better than two hours worth of texting. I attribute the disintegration of our friendship to our lack of in-person contact. It's not just the contact, but knowing the effort they made to spend time with you.
I wonder if the video chat hangout prevalence will increase or remain the same. I certainly hope for an increase because I believe that visual human interaction is substantially more beneficial than non-visual.
On the other hand, I feel that texting has enabled me to communicate more with people. There are circumstances where I wouldn't necessarily take the time to call someone, but I will send them a quick text. Also I have started using texting a lot more at work. Where I work we aren't always in the office so if I have a quick question I can text a coworker and they can respond as able. I also love being able to instantly send photos via text or email. Recently we had a plumbing question and while my boyfriend was on the phone with his dad I took a picture with my phone and emailed it to him.
The next time you hear "See you later!" It just might be through a computer rather than in person.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hoping new friends and devices last

It seems like both new friends and new technology have an exiting beginning phase where you are finding out the cool features (he has a car! Or it has Swype!). Also the limitations (he already has other friends Or it doesn't get signal in the basement). The biggest thing is not to do anything detrimental to them. I'm proud of myself for having my phone for so long without a screen protector and haven't scratched it. And I'm proud that so far in this friendship I think I've done good at not being annoying or bothersome or insulting. When I do say or do something stupid or mean, I usually realize it just after the fact and I'm never sure whether to go back to it and make amends. I usually go with just the resolve to do better next time.

I heard an interesting insight into the Apple vs Android debate: "If you want to be happy with your phone tomorrow get an Apple. If you want to be happy in a month get an Android". I think that friendships aren't just Poof there all of a sudden, they need time to evolve and care to customize, like Android. ;-) I know that when making friends it's not an overnight event. Friendship is a slow-cooking (I know can I use any more metaphors!?) process meant to be savored. Maybe these little bumps in the road are part of building a better foundation for a lifelong friendship.

To go off on the friendship tangent more, I recently read the book "MWF Seeking BFF" by Rachel Bertsche. *Spoiler kinda* Rachel concludes that you may not have one single best friend, and that's ok. She ended up with a handful, bouquet if you will, of friends who fit in different places in her life. This conclusion gave me consolation in my lack-luster friendship area, and also resolve to push on working to cultivate current and future relationships.

Just as friendships are not to sit idle, technological devices consistently require tuning and updates. Just don't only call your best friend on the first Tuesday of the month!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

What's In A Name

Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch. What a name.
Do guys think about what its like for girls to change their name when they get married? Do they realize the attachment someone can have to a name, and how it feels to both let go of a name, and adjust to a new one? I've had my name for over 23 years now. It just rolls off my tongue. Its on my stationary, my email address, drivers license, and a million other places. Then one day I'm expected to identify myself as another name.
Not taking my husbands name isn't something I believe in, nor is the dreadful hyphen. "Steenman-Vanduilen" anyone? I think not. [made up names]
Before I met my current other-half I worried that I would hate the last name of my future spouse. I don't love my future last name but it isn't dreadful and is easy to spell. That's all I can ask for.

On a tech note, there was some anticipation followed by an expected letdown by the non-release of ICS for my Epic Touch. There is much talk that it is for sure coming soon, but we aren't sure when. Speculation now is mid-April. The waiting continues. . .
I did root my xoom and put ICS on that, but I refuse to mess with my in-use phone. My life depends on this phone so I won't risk having it out of commission for amy amount of time.
:-)