Jim’s WebLetter for 7/23/11

Hi-ya friends and techies!

This week, in my email I received a CNET Cheapskate Tech Deal Alert with a downloadable coupon worth $100 off any computer tablet being sold by Staples. Since I have been watching reviews on the Android based tablets, I went to our nearby Staples store and purchased the Acer Iconia tablet (A-500) and spent two days putting it to the test.

It performed well with such things as integrating all my Google email, calendars, documents and Google Plus names. The best features included Dolby Mobile that powered the twin speakers when I played a song from my Google Music list. The sound was pretty amazing. Also, I got up to 8 hours of battery life from the lithium battery that only took about 3 hours to fully charge initially. But that’s where the the positives end … as the processor had trouble keeping up with loading and scrolling through web pages from some websites. The built-in microphone sounded muffled when I used it to make recordings or voice chatting. The layout was a bit confusing too, and trying to install additional applications from Android’s Market required several clicks. As I wanted to use the tablet for downloading and editing video that I would shoot with my camera, I discovered that the upgrade from Android’s Honeycomb 3.1 featured a well featured Movie editor, but the tablet’s processor and one gig of ram that came with the Acer just couldn’t keep up with the size of the HD quality video I attempted to load. Also, when I attempted to watch YouTube videos, I discovered the quality wasn’t as clean and clear as I had hoped, and there was frequent buffering particularly with HD videos from the service.

In short, the negatives outweighed the positives which led me to returning the tablet on Friday for a full refund. Looks like it’s going to take more time and upgrades for some tablet makers to create what can be called a tablet “powerhouse”. Still, I see this as the step between the laptop and the smartphone. Eventually we will be able to perform all the functions we want using a phone. My Droid Incredible 2 already allows for excellent audio and video playback as well as phone, text and video chatting as some of the smart features.

Also this week, Google announced that it now has 20 million users to Google Plus after just three weeks and in the next breath confirmed the upcoming Games Stream, a place where results from what will presumably be social-style gaming on the new network will be pulled together. http://www.slashgear.com/developers-now-working-with-google-social-gaming-team-30162502/

And even though it’s been around a couple of years, everyone seems to be paying attention to an educational website called Khan Academy. Sal Khan, with the help of Microsoft man Bill Gates, has created a website with more than 2400 videos of educational instruction on such subjects as Math and Science that has become so popular that schools are using them to help students excel in their education. Get the story of Sal and his website on Wired Magazine’s website … http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/07/ff_khan/

Finally, if you signed up for Google Plus and are working to make it your own, then you should watch the How-to video from CNET’s Sharon Vaknin showing you how to tweak your profile and make it nicer and more user friendly. Looks like I have some work to do! http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-20080762-285/how-to-tweak-your-google-profile/?tag=rb_content;featuredArea2

Mary was having a tough day and had stretched herself out on the couch to do a bit of what she thought to be well-deserved complaining and self- pitying.
She moaned to her mom and brother, “Nobody loves me … the whole world hates me!”
Her brother, busily occupied playing a game, hardly looked up at her and passed on this encouraging word: “That’s not true, Mary. Some people don’t even know you.”
(thanks, Jeff)
Little Joe walked into his dad’s study while his dad was working on the computer.
“Dad,” said Joe, “Remember when you told me you’d give me twenty dollars if I passed my math test?”
Dad nodded.
“Well, the good news is that I just saved you twenty bucks.”
(thanks, Max)
England’s West Country is known for its charming cottage-like shops. While visiting the area, my friend peered in through one window to see shelf upon shelf of interesting-looking books. So she went inside.
A woman appeared though a beaded curtain and asked, “Can I help you?”
“No, just browsing,” said my friend.
“Fine,” came the reply. “But so you know, around here most people knock before entering someone’s home.”
Have a great weekend and if you’re living in excessive heat as much of our country is right now, stay cool and drink lots of liquids. Until next week, God bless you and keep you safe.

Jim’s WebLetter
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