Christmas Gift Ideas

December 15, 2012

imgres-1I always tell my wife I’m a man which has everything he needs, so it’s hard to buy me birthday and Christmas gifts. However, here’s a short list of good products which I recommend you consider if you’re looking for something good for a loved one.

  1. Samsung Chromebook ($249) – The previous posting gave my quick review of this product. For a person that has everything, this would be a nice addition to his or her collection of electronics. Although I haven’t used it much, I do plan to take the Chromebook with me on vacations when I expect to use the keyboard extensively. Definitely with the price.
  2. Google Nexus 7 tablet ($199) – This is my favorite 7″ Android Tablet, and it is well worth the $199 price. Very high quality product, with a metal frame, rubber backing, and high resolution display. It uses a Nivida chip and is darn fast. Personally, I think this is the best 7″ tablet on the market pricing aside. It also runs the latest Android OS (Jelly Bean), so you won’t be disappointed.
  3. Apple iPod Nano ($149) – Although I use my HTC EVO LTE phone for streaming music and podcasts, there are times when I don’t want to carry my phone with me (e.g., when doing hard work or working out at the gym). So that’s why I prefer using the new iPod Nano from Apple. It has bluetooth for use with my bluetooth headset and also with the Ford Sync system in my car. it also has FM Radio which I think is a cool feature (I used the HD FM radio that was built into my old Zune HD).
  4. Doxie Go ($199) – Doxie is a portable scanner which can scan documents and photos, and the best part of it is that you don’t need a computer to use it. All images are stored a internal SD card. The scanner also has the option of being battery-powered, so it’s truly portable. I currently have a 3-in-One HP device for scanning and making copies, but it’s a real pain to use with my iMac. the Doxie will simplify that process. In addition, you can get the optional Eye-Fi WiFi SD card ($30) which will allow you to wirelessly copy the files from the Doxie scanner to your iMac or PC using their supplied software.

My Google Chromebook Review

December 15, 2012

imgresMy Birthday came up (again!) and my wonderful wife asked what I would like as a birthday present. Since I’m a man that already has everything, I couldn’t answer her question. I already have a iMac as my desktop computer, a small Windows 7 laptop, two Android tablets (10″ and 7″), a Android smartphone, etc. I really had all the gadgets that I could want.

That same week, I heard about the impending release of the next version of the Google Chromebook, so I decided to investigate a bit. It was very intriguing to me, so I mentioned to my wife that a Chromebook might be something she could get me as a birthday present. As such, it arrived on my doorstep (albeit, a week after my Birthday) and I had one more new gadget to play with and ultimately write this review.

First of all, I’ve only been using this for a day now, so you’re getting a review from a fresh new user’s perspective. But none the less, I felt compelled to write this review since it would give me the opportunity to test out the Chrombook’s WiFi connection, keyboard, etc.

I’ll start with the positives. First, the Chromebook is well constructed and looks very much like a Macbook Air. The keyboard especially looks and feels very close to an Apple Macbook (which is a good thing). If I covered up the “SAMSUNG” label on the bottom of the screen frame and slapped an Apple icon sticker on the top of this device, you would probably mistake it for a Macbook Air.

When I first started up the device, it immediately wanted to connect to my home WiFi, and then followed by downloading and installing a software update (which took about 15 minutes). After the update, the system came up asking for my Google login name and password (which was my Gmail account). After typing that info in, within a few seconds my Chromebook was up and ready to go! In fact, one of the best features of this device is how fast it boots up. From being completely turned off, the system is up and ready in just 8 seconds. That’s super fast in my book!

The system is basically a very light version of Linux, but the only thing you see is the Chrome web browser. You do everything in the browser, which is probably the biggest limitation you might have if you’re use to running native applications. So if you want to run Microsoft Excel locally on your Chromebook you can’t; you’ll need to use a comparable spreadsheet program that can be run from a web browser in the cloud. Read the rest of this entry »