Category: electronics


When making out your Christmas shopping list, keep in mind what values your dollars support.  If you support processes that cripple the economy, you are creating an economy that will cripple your children.

That said, take a few minutes to research the items on your family’s gift lists.  For instance, much was made during the election of jobs being outsourced to China.  One of China’s biggest manufacturing firms is Foxconn who makes tablets for Apple.  Read More…

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(Credit: Apple)

If the only thing holding you back from buying an iPad was the price or size, the iPad Mini is for you.  All the features and sleekness of an iPad with less price and bulk (7.2mm thick and only .68lb), make this a must-have for you.  Hurry, go get one now.  Read more…

In the ever more crowded tablet market, Samsung has shoved another offering, the Galaxy Note 10.1.  Why, you may ask is this news?  Because they have added a split screen app to view content and take notes at the same time.  It also has an option to watch video and use apps at once.

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Galaxy NoteTechsnoop loves the new Galaxy Note.  The 5.3″ crystal clear screen is a thing of beauty.  While many are split over the size being too large for a phone, I have long become used to using either my bluetooth or speaker so holding the phone to my ear is a thing of the past.

Instead, why not get a gadget that can truly be an all purpose – tablet, pc and phone in one compact device.  And even though the screen is large, the Galaxy Note is slim enough and light enough that it is not cumbersome.

And it has some great apps and features.  The pen gives real usefulness for business functions and it creates handwriting to text and lets you capture screen images and make notes on them to send to friends and business contacts.

Bottom line; the way you use your phone should direct if you will find this device useful.  For those who are “ear chatters”, this will not work out.  But if you use your phone hands-free and need access to productivity apps, this might be your next big thing.

LG-Thin-Skype-TVAndroid powered TVs, wireless streaming of your personal media content and super-cheap tablets for education are some of the big stars at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

TV of the future has arrived (where’s my hovercar?).  The TVs at CES this year were packed with features for connectivity, streaming, 3D and super-thin.  They nearly disappear when viewed from the side.  Clearly these are meant to be wall mounted works of art integrated into your decor.  No longer will the TV be a necessary floor-hogging monster.  These are sleek and beautiful even when off.  They encourage being left on with a screen saver picture.

Save your pennies, the must-have item on this year’s Christmas list will be TV.

If you got an upgraded snazzy new smartphone or tablet for Christmas, here are the next great free apps; Shazam Player, Path and NBA Game.  Path is the new Social Media app that is intended for only those in your closest inner circle.  Path logs where you go, what you do, what you listen to, when you sleep and wake (I hope without pics) and generally can reconstruct your entire life day by day.  Clearly not information you want to share casually.  In fact, if you use this app, be sure to download and use a strong antivirus and wipe/recover software in case you lose your phone or it is stolen.

If you aren’t tech-savvy, make friends with a geek.  Your home is going connected soon.

Christmas TreeA couple of great resources for hyper children waiting for the big day; NORAD Santa Tracker lets them watch Santa make his rounds in real time via Google Earth (thanks again Google).

Reindeer Cam allows you to watch live feed of real reindeer and they get fed twice a day by Santa himself!

Amazon has several copies of children’s Christmas stories for free, including ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and some have tablet/iPad compatibility.

Merry Christmas, Techsnoop

giraffeTech gifts are the most requested on all gift lists from children to seniors. Everyone wants gadgets to communicate, play and be more productive. This means tablets, laptops and smartphones in most cases.

If you are fortunate enough to get one of your prized gadgets, don’t forget to accessorize with virus protection, screen protectors and cases. These seemingly small items can prevent tons of heartache later. A dropped phone can contain your entire life from phone numbers and e-mail addresses to precious pictures of family. Any items not backed up can be lost if the phone is damaged badly enough. A case can insulate your phone against shock in the event of a drop and save your information.

Also, antivirus protection is not just for computers anymore. Now most viruses are being written for smartphones and tablets. These devices are even more likely to have personal information saved and hackers are targeting this information in the quest for identity theft. Download a free antivirus program from your wireless or internet provider as soon as you get your new device.

Back up your information to a cloud service such as Google or iCloud. In the event your device is damaged or stolen, most information can be retrieved and downloaded to your replacement. For information on your SD card, be sure to back it up to your computer at least once a month.

These tips can keep you enjoying your new gadgets longer with no regrets.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Gear from Techsnoop!

Micro CruzOK, so Techsnoop took the plunge and bought a tablet. Being on a budget, I choose the Velocity Micro Cruz 7″ Tablet. It was a great bargain on Black Friday. So, was it worth it?
Portability; the Micro Cruz comes with a cover, adapter and stand. A great set of accessories that make it easy to take around and use. While not the lightest it could be, it is comfortable to carry. After learning to customize it, I like it and will use happily until I can upgrade.

  • Handling; the 7″ size makes it large enough to view comfortably and just small enough to handle with one hand, barely. If I could change one thing, it would be slicing a little thinness down.
  • OS; the Micro Cruz uses modified Android 2.2 which blocks the download of apps from the Android Market. A serious handicap for the average user. However there are workarounds for the advanced tech-geek. I don’t know what caused Velocity to handicap their otherwise nice equipment with this drawback. It seriously detracts from the functionality of the device and nearly caused me to return it.
  • Uses; As an eReader, A++. Text is clear and crisp and it displays pictures well also. Photos; a great photo display, accurate color resolution.
  • Support; customer support is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.
  • Battery life; Absolutely astounding. Had it on for a full day’s use of retrieving e-mail, tweeting and occasional reading and the charge lasted over 9 hours. Streaming from YouTube for over 2 hours with no problem.

Cons: slow processor, limited on-board memory, kind of heavy and thick.  Touch screen is not very responsive, takes multiple taps until you get the pressure correct. Has several glitches that occur when trying to customize.  Manual is not as thorough as it should be, but is well written and easy to follow.

In summary, if you are an advanced Geek on a budget who wants to plunge into the tablet era, go ahead.  Know that you will need to upgrade in the near future, but this is a great device to get started on.  If you are a casual user looking for a beefy eReader, this might suit you.  You’ll probably need some help from customer service to get up to speed.

Novice; unless you have a Geek friend on standby, don’t try this.  You’ll get frustrated and the money saved will not be worth it.
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HTC EVOTechsnoop has been so patient.  Waiting for the EVO to get it’s dual-core upgrade.  It’s all I could think about.  I never considered switching to another brand when I upgrade.  Fortunately, I still have plenty of time before my upgrade since HTC decided for some unfathomable reason to upgrade the EVO but downgrade its camera.  Um, Hello.  HTC redefined the concept of a camera phone.  The 8mp camera in the EVO created camera envy in phones all over the world.  My EVO pics consistently outshine even 12mp digital camera pics.

So why in the world would Sprint and HTC consider offering an EVO with a 5mp camera?  Didn’t they learn from the EVO 3D?  The camera is one of the reasons this phone is not a better seller.  People tell me all the time this is a dealbreaker for them in considering the 3D.  The smartphone market is highly competitive and there are more models out than can realistically be supported.  To be profitable, companies had better begin ditching some models.

HTC, please ditch the EVO 3D and the EVO Design.  They are not worthy of your brand, and a waste of good component materials.  You created the Amaze for T-Mobile with 8mp, the Rezound for Verizon has 8mp and the Vivid for AT&T has 8mp.  Loyal HTC and Sprint customers deserve 8mp and all the features of a dual-core EVO.

Here’s hoping this was just a blip, and HTC and Sprint have a better EVO coming out for us soon.

brainApparently, the speed of our cognitive reasoning and thoughts peaks at age 22. This doesn’t seem fair since no one knows anything of value until after age 30. Why should we be punished with slowness just when we begin to be smart?

The good news is that it has now been scientifically proven that older people are smarter than younger people. Take that, youngsters. People over 40 “have larger vocabularies, are better judges of character, and score higher on tests of social skills“.

This research gives a possible reason for youngsters picking up on technology faster. First, they have less info crowding their brains, secondly, they think faster and so are able to process the steps faster.

Fear not, in compensation, oldsters have way more raw knowledge and talent (take note employers). The trade off for a slightly steeper learning curve is a huge leap in good judgement.

So, now you know, your parents did know best.  Buy them a great Christmas gift to make up for your years of secretly thinking they were senile.

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