POSTS WITH TAG: ereaders

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    Once upon a time people were allowed to smoke on flights and many dressed up in fancy clothes because being up in the air was very chic. Now we just fear terrorism, get annoyed that we have to remove our shoes going through security, and we can't wait until those approved devices are allowed to be turned on so we can tune the world (and the person sitting next to us) out. And now the FAA is allowing me just that -- even more of that.

    Approved electronic devices can be used through the whole entire flight. No more awkward talking with your neighbor. We now have the ability to watch our own movies and play video games on our very own devices from the minute we plop into our seat until it's time to de-plane. Yet this allowance just furthers the downward spiral of how we don't connect in person anymore. Not even when confined to flying tubes in the sky. Problematic!

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    The kids just hit summer vacation around these parts and we're already hearing it: "Dad, I'm bored. Can I play on the Wii? I didn't hit my sister! Can I play on your iPad?" Luckily, some of the big guys in online media are looking out for you with a few fun techie diversions for kids and families.

    First, Netflix has created a special site for families that shows films that are fun for the kids and their parents. 

    "With the Netflix Families page, we’ve used our proprietary algorithm to create lists we think families will love," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix. "In the 'Are We There Yet?' list we’ve picked TV shows and movies ideal for watching on your tablet in the airport, and the 'TV for Curious Kids' lists have shows that will help keep kids' minds active during the summer months."

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    As a gadget fiend, I love to help folks pick out the best gear. To that end, here's a quick guide to some of the cool things to shop for (and not to shop for) this holiday season.

    Buy - Windows 8 Touchscreen Laptops

    Don't Buy - Windows Desktops

    Windows 8 is here whether we like it or not, and the new OS works best on a brand new touchscreen mobile device rather than a stodgy old desktop. Unless you're looking at an "all-in-one" PC - a PC with a big touchscreen and built-in processor and storage - you're not going to be happy running Windows 8 on a non-touchscreen device. Newer laptops will be a bit more expensive - about $999 for the Yoga pictured above - but it will be worth it if you're planning an upgrade.

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    I've been going through ereaders like a fiend these past few months - it seems that either Amazon or Barnes & Noble release a new one every few weeks - so I think it's time we talked a bit about which one of the latest crop is best for various users.

    First, a little background. Right now there are really only four ereaders you should be thinking about. From the tablet family - meaning devices that are like iPads - Amazon makes the Kindle Fire and B&N makes the Nook HD. In the e-ink camp - the devices with black and white, high-contrast screens - you have the Kindle Paperwhite and the Nook Simple Touch With Glowlight

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    Apple's newest additions, the iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad, are selling like hotcakes. People bought more than 3 million iPads and minis in the first three days they were available. That's a lotta iPads.

    The new gadgets went on sale just last week, and so far only the Wi-Fi versions are available. The 3G and 4G ones will hit the streets soon. The iPad mini sports a 7.9-inch screen, smaller than the regular 9.7-inch iPad. It's thin as a pencil, 7.2mm wide, and weighs .68 lbs. Which is basically like weighing nothing at all.

    It's a great alternative to the bigger iPad for the mom-on-the-go who wants to pretend she's checking her email while really reading Fifty Shades of Grey when waiting to pick up the kids. I think I need one.

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    As if your Christmas list weren't long enough, Apple is rumored to be about to announce a smaller, lighter iPad that may or may not be called the iPad Mini. It's expected to have a little 7-inch screen, making it a sort of entry-level mini tablet in the iPad family.

    According to the rumors - and there are plenty - the new gadget will launch this coming week on the 23rd. While we initially expected to see this unveiled alongside the new iPods and the iPhone 5 earlier this fall, it makes sense that Apple waited on this tablet as the company usually saves these sorts of products for the holidays.

    The question, then, is whether or not you're going to want to pick one of these things up.

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    Love them or hate them, e-books are here to stay, so why not invest in the Cadillac of e-ink readers, the new Kindle Paperwhite. I rarely heap praise on a particular device - I'm far too jaded for that - but the Paperwhite is probably the best e-reader you can buy (if you're an Amazon fan) and it really shows how far things have come since the early days of the first Kindle.

    Why is the Paperwhite so cool? Like the Nook Simple Touch With Glowlight, the Paperwhite has a backlit screen for reading in the dark. The important thing to note is that this device uses e-ink technology to display text and graphics, so not only is it as bright as a tablet computer, it has excellent readability and contrast and can be used in direct sunlight.

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    Our house is strewn with various Leapfrog games of various vintages. The kids have played with almost every one - until the Nintendo DS came along - but they're great fun and a good way to keep the wee ones occupied when they have their eye on your cellphone.

    Two new Leapfrog models add a few interesting features to the already popular (and inexpensive) line of electronics. 

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  • Is There a Good Alternative to the iPad?

    posted by John Biggs January 21, 2012 at 1:29 PM in Technology
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    With the rise of new Android tablets, and the LeapPad for kids, is there any reason to get an iPad anymore? After all, competition is good, and Apple hasn't updated their device for a few years, leaving a chasm of opportunity for better tablets to fill in the gaps.

    Unfortunately, that hasn't happened: Nothing has really appeared that could give the iPad a run for its money. But things could change and, more important, it might be a good idea to shop around if you're thinking about picking up a new tablet or e-reader this year. Here are a few ideas to make your decision easier.

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    The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) -- which is pretty much like Oscars season at the movies or Fashion Week in the world of haute couture -- is going on right now, and one of the coolest items to make its debut there is a solar-powered Kindle cover. And believe me when I say this isn't just some kooky accessory only a techphile geek could love. It's a revolution, baby! Or at least, it should be.  

    Invented by a Taiwan-based company called SolarFocus, the case exclusively fits the fourth-generation Kindle, but it should be available for the Kindle Touch in the spring, they say. But back to the revolution part ... How would you like to never have to tinker around with annoying chargers and USB cords to charge your Kindle again? How about never having to charge any gadget -- smartphone, tablet, GPS, etc. -- again?

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