Hi-tech Travel Companions Portable gadgets & accessories you travel with. http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets <![CDATA[Sony Xperia Z Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Sony claims that it's water resistant & dust resistant. Well, I'm not about to take it into the rain since I'm not waterproof nor am I going to text when I go swimming. Still, I guess it's nice to have durability for those who need to travel outdoor a great deal or if you go hiking up the mountains often!

What I love about it is it's 5" size which I now believe to be optimal for a smartphone. Reading magazines on it is still not adequate but I found that I'm more willing to read the texts on the browser as I believe Sony has incorporated a reader (or may be Google did as Chrome is its default browser) into Chrome. (Strange that it's not so on the Nexus 4 though).

I have never had a Sony smartphone but am glad to announce that this is probably it's best so far. Sleek and sharp screen which renders its photos stunning & a pleasure to look at.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Sony_Xperia_Z-317-1857476-234438.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Sony_Xperia_Z-317-1857476-234438.html Sat, 16 Mar 2013 15:26:51 +0000
<![CDATA[ Is Google in the game or intended to be in one?]]>

Main Pros:
  • Latest version of the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. This was available in January when I first got hold of the phone. It's not too difficult to grab one outside the U.S. as retailers were selling it at some $50-100 more than in the U.S.!
  • Sleek design and a good size screen. Not as great as the iPhone as far as my experience goes (not because of its size but rather the brightness and contrast of iPhone's screen) but for this price, it's the best in the market.
  • Micro SIM card. Main reason why I got the phone. Certain countries I visited and am heading do not have a prepaid Nano SIM card which renders my iPhone 5 pretty useless!
  • One of the cheapest Android smartphone in the market. Not to mentioned it's by Google and made by LG. 
  • Value for money.
  • Great as 2nd phone for heavy users.
  • Sleek & professional looking design. Good size and great feel.

Main Cons:
  • Battery life. I simply couldn't get through the entire day with it! Sigh... what a hassle to have to bring an external battery charger!
  • Like the iPhone, the battery cannot be replaced.
  • Reading on the browser is not such a great experience! I still haven't found a screen as good as that of the iPhone when it comes to reading on the net.
  • Camera focusing function is too precise which renders strangers bad photographers!
  • Google only sell it on Google Play in the US and my American friend kept telling me it's out of stock! Apparently Google only manufactured a very small quantity for sale!
  • Which also implies that it's extremely difficult to find a case for it!!!

As far as I'm concerned, iPhone still reigns! I'm waiting "patiently" for a 5" screen!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Nexus_4-317-1857472-234434-Is_Google_in_the_game_or_intended_to_be_in_one_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Nexus_4-317-1857472-234434-Is_Google_in_the_game_or_intended_to_be_in_one_.html Sat, 16 Mar 2013 14:43:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Apple Inc. Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> First of all, I'd like to say that I'm NOT a fanboy for Microsoft and PCs, I just hate Apple.

I don't like Apple for many reasons.  One of them is for the fact that for what you get in the products they sell, you get horribly price-gouged.  I'm not joking, I have an Alienware Aurora gaming desktop with an i7 Quad Core 2.66 gHz processor, dual 1 GB graphics cards, 9 GB DDR3 RAM, a 1 TB hard drive, a 21 inch 1080p monitor, and a keyboard and mouse specially made for gaming for a total of about $2500.  A friend of mine got a Mac Pro that has about 80% of the computing power my Aurora desktop does, yet that Mac Pro cost $3500 (this measurement took place in early 2011).  At least in this respect, you're paying $1000 on a name.

Also, I think from a business point of view, Apple makes a lot of stupid decisions.  This company maintains a totally empty "elite" status symbol with its niche customer base, and they'd sell a hell of a lot more computers if they'd drop the prices to the point of making them competitive with PCs.  They'd make even more money if they'd license their operating systems and exclusive software to people that don't own Apple electronics.

I should also point out that if you're into playing games on your computer, there aren't nearly as many games to choose from on a Mac as there is for computers with Windows on it.

Even if I ever start making over $100K a year, I won't give Apple a penny of my money because they'll still be the same hipsters price-gouging people getting a totally meaningless status symbol in return.

http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/corporation/UserReview-Apple_Inc_-232-1431205-233400.html http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/corporation/UserReview-Apple_Inc_-232-1431205-233400.html Thu, 7 Feb 2013 23:56:26 +0000
<![CDATA[ WD 1 TB External Hard Drive]]>
Recently I had to replace an external drive and I found a Western Digital 1 TB external drive at a (for Brazil) good price.   The external size of hard drives has shrunk amazingly in only a couple of years.  This drive model is called "My Passport" and it is about the size of a cigarette package but thinner.  

Even better, it requires no external power connection but operates entirely from a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port.  It needs no software installation although I did use the Disk Utilities software on my iMac to split it into two drives, both in FAT format.  I use that instead of a Mac format as then I can plug the drive into nearly anything and it will be happy. 

One half of the drive I named "Backup" (clever no?) for my internal drive back ups.  My video editor (Final Cut Express) like a scratch disk that is separate from the main disk so the other half is  named "Scratch" (also clever?)  

The drive performance so far has been flawless.  I can leave it connected all the time and eject it from the finder and remount it from the menu bar.  It's so small. I can leave it tucked out of the way behind the computer and never give it a thought until I need it.  

The read/write speed seems to be a bit slower than the previous drive.  This has not mattered as my back up software (Carbon Copy Cloner) works entirely in the background.  In fact, it's doing a back up as I type this review.  If I had USB 3.0 on my system, it would likely be far faster.

I love the idea that the drive requires nothing but a USB port and can easily fit in a pocket or a laptop bag with no worries. 

My next external purchase will likely be an SSD as, to me, nothing less less wold be worth having.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-WD_1_TB_My_Passport_External_Hard_Drive-317-1842363-229938-WD_1_TB_External_Hard_Drive.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-WD_1_TB_My_Passport_External_Hard_Drive-317-1842363-229938-WD_1_TB_External_Hard_Drive.html Sat, 17 Nov 2012 13:16:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ I am falling in love AGAIN!]]>
Yes, indeed :-)

Steve Jobs will turn in his grave ;-)
A screen size of 7.9", a mere 0.9" more than most of its competitors, Apple is able to steal the limelights from Samsung, Microsoft, Google and whoever chooses to enter the arena.
No, it is not a mini iPad. It is the iPad mini, a new gadget in its own right!

Yes, it has the specs of the iPad 2, only better and more. To me, it embodies the best of both the iPhone 5 & the iPad 2. iPad mini is THE gadget of the future. It is an electronic paperback, a coffee table book, an MP4 player, a game console & even a mobile phone, all in one.
It is not an oversized Galaxy Note neither is it a downsized iPad. Instead, it is THE gadget of my dream. Yes, finally it is here!

So, in essence, what does iPad mini has that the iPad & iPhone don't? You asked.
  • The right screen size, lighter weight, thinner body, sleeker surface makes it a delight to hold for hours; be it on the train, plane or in the bed! 
  • A battery life that rivals those of the iPad 2, a less heated case and a much faster processor. 
  • Improved user interface (such as Reader in the browser Safari) & pleasant touch sensory. It is a delight to hold & to touch.
  • Last but not least, an affordable price (starts from US$329 for 16GB wifi version)!

Oh no, I am happy even if it is 50% more expensive than Nexus 7 & Galaxy Tab 2. It is value for money!
An ecosystem of user friendly Apps with iTunes University where anyone willing is able to get hours of courses from top notch universities and received first class education from anywhere in the world!

I am totally in love & I've good reasons to be!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-IPad_mini-317-1840258-229642-I_am_falling_in_love_AGAIN_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-IPad_mini-317-1840258-229642-I_am_falling_in_love_AGAIN_.html Sun, 4 Nov 2012 14:00:35 +0000
<![CDATA[IPad mini Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Now that I have set up my iPad mini I must admit it has now become my most favorite gadget! For now I am more than 100% happy!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-IPad_mini-317-1840258-229628.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-IPad_mini-317-1840258-229628.html Sat, 3 Nov 2012 07:33:51 +0000
<![CDATA[ A month on & until iPad Mini arrives (in a week!) ...]]> Apple.com HK site as in that country it is using the lottery/ballot system to determine who get to buy them every day. Even today it is still adopting that very strategy. I suppose Apple store didn't want to deal with a load of customers coming to its 2 stores in Hong Kong and not serving the crowd well. It's foregone conclusion that there would be loads of crowd. So, whoever get the lucky draw the day before can then go and collect his/her prize the next day. I tried the first 2 days but wasn't so lucky. Then I had to leave for vacation to Korea and hence ended up not getting it thereafter. I finally got one in Singapore upon my arrival to the country last monday. The craze here is not as bad as that of Hong Kong.

I had skipped 6 iPhone versions before generation 5. The reason I decided to buy now was simply because it is now "sleek, thin & light". 

After almost a week of use, here are my observations and experiences (based on the fact I have iPad 2 and is familiar with Apple iTunes store and its ecosystem):

The Good
  • Weight - It is much much lighter than the iPad and also the other generations of iPhones due to its thinner exterior and also a different casing material. 
  • Look - It looks updated, sleek & futuristic. Not that the other iPhones weren't back then when they were launched. Still, I do like the feel of its case and especially the black matt finish.
  • Speed - With an improved core processor, it runs faster than its predecessor.
  • Camera - I was an Android user before I bought the iPhone 5. Camera function on the iPhone is much superior and gives a more natural rendition in terms of colors than the Samsung phones. The reason why I chose IPhone 5 over those of Samsung's (latest being S3 and Note 2) is because I really hate the (unnatural) color I spotted on Samsung's screen. That alone is enough to turn me away!

The Bad
  • Battery - To someone who had been spoilt with long battery life on the iPad (some 9 or 10 hours), the battery life on the iPhone 5 needs some getting use to. If I spend time working on the phone non-stop, it lasts only some 3+ hours, I reckon. However, if one is not constantly playing games or it or downloading apps, it probably can get by the day without recharging, provided one doesn't spend hours talking on the phone. Otherwise, an external battery charger is essential. In this regard, Apple is not optimizing user experience as far as I'm concerned. If it can provide substantially long battery life in iPad mini, why can't it do so on the iPhone?!
  • Screen size - 4" may be good to hold in the hand but it is a torture when it comes to watching videos. I need at least a 5" so that my eyes won't strain so much! Then again, I guess I'll just have to keep to watching videos on the iPad (or the iPad mini as soon as I get hold of the stock in a week or two)!
  • Cost - For a 5th generation product with 2 versions of generation 3 & 4, this is one expensive gadget!!! Costing almost US$1000 without contract and about half of it with contract. For the Android phones, they are normally bundled in HK with a two year contract for free!!! Although I paid for it thinking that I'm overpaying, I ended up asking more from the product and in that regard, the iPhone 5 is not good value for money!

So there goes the initial thought and feedback about the IPhone 5. I'm not that crazy over it that I'd go queue for it overnight or am I that excited over it after I bought it. I do feel that other than a better camera, it feels like an iPad nano (except that it has better quality camera). Other than that, it is so much more expensive than the iPad although when it comes to weight, it is just about 1/3 of the newly launched iPad mini. Is it worth paying so much more for a better camera? Well, it's up to individual and also how often one use that for social media. That's the main reason why it is getting a +4 and not +5. 

In essence, I feel Apple needs to be more competitive where pricing is concerned and not keeping up with milking its loyal fans and customers years after years. Sure, its shareholders will not agree but after all these years, is Apple only interested in making money? Is that its main motivation? Now that Steve Jobs is no longer around, who is going to keep track of Apple's sense for design and strive for excellence?!

Only time will reveal .........]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPhone_5-317-1837917-229451-A_month_on_until_iPad_Mini_arrives_in_a_week_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPhone_5-317-1837917-229451-A_month_on_until_iPad_Mini_arrives_in_a_week_.html Sat, 27 Oct 2012 15:49:06 +0000
<![CDATA[iPhone 5 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> sleek, light AND thin.

Finally, Apple satisfies my concerns. Still, I think it can be improved further. A 5" screen would be preferable and also may be an overhaul in its design! I personally think Apple can do better with a sweeping change instead of milking its consumers and fans with the many generations of the same product.

Other than that, I'm quite happy with what I got now. It serves its purpose as a phone in its own class.

While I love my iPad more than my iPhone, I'm anxiously looking forward to the launch of iPad mini next month. I'm definitely preordering it this friday!!! As far as the two products are concerned, iPad reigns!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPhone_5-317-1837917-229393.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPhone_5-317-1837917-229393.html Wed, 24 Oct 2012 15:19:31 +0000
<![CDATA[Barnes & Noble Nook Quick Tip by Adrianna]]> I've been very fortunate to have my Barnes and Noble Nook to use for my classes at UCSB. More than half of my required titles were available as ebooks at a drastically discounted rate. Not only that, but I have been able to convert all types of reading files into epub file types that can be read by the Nook. So, I have a lot of class data on the Nook, which is easier to carry around than my laptop. Plus, I can highlight and take notes on it. 

It has been two years since I received the Nook as a birthday gift, and the device is still running strong. I only hope that Barnes and Noble will continue to support this e-reader even with all their new Nook versions that are being released. I don't need something overly fancy and complicated. I want an e-reading device that won't fail me, and the classic Nook performs that feature. 

When I get more free time, I will write a detailed review about the Nook. I'm very happy I have this e-reader. I'm still a little sad that I never got to experience the Sony Reader, but everyday I pull out my Nook I'm constantly reminded that this was and still is the best choice.

The only hiccup that prevents me from giving the reader a +5 is the fact that it can be slow to respond when scrolling through the text for highlighting and notes. I did have an occasion this past August when the Nook went dead--no screen, no battery indication, nothing! We never did find out what happened to it, but luckily the Nook was still under the manufacturer's warranty. The customer service people were very friendly, and I received my new Nook within a few days. It was easy to install all my previous settings and books onto the system, and I haven't had any problems since. ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Barnes_Noble_Nook-74-1455099-213976.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Barnes_Noble_Nook-74-1455099-213976.html Tue, 4 Oct 2011 00:33:41 +0000
<![CDATA[ My new Mobile Entertainment Center]]>
I loved the look of her, that's for sure. Slipping neatly out of her pretty packaging with USB cord furled and charger neatly stowed. Just the right size, too - smaller than an iPad but bigger than a smartphone - and she fit snugly in my hand, easy to hold and to carry.

I got the hang of her quickly - pressing the right buttons and stroking the smooth screen made her come alive. The initial setup connected me almost right away with my email and my social networks online, and I could already see it coming together: the Dell Streak 7 was going to be a serious distraction.

She plays videos or sweet music smoothly, she captures a gorgeous picture, and she can take quality video too. She connects to the cloud and lets you move data back and forth easily, taking advantage of some of the latest features in cloud computing. I use this mainly for music storage and playback, but it works with Google Docs too.

The customizable Dell Stage operating system acts as a simple window dressing for the native Android 2.2 platform. Though she prefers the luxurious widescreen display (and who doesn't?), turning the device orients the screen vertically or horizontally for most applications.

And she plays Angry Birds, and other games, beautifully.

I use the Streak 7 only as a WiFi device, so I can't speak to how well its 4G capabilities work. But its WiFi connects reliably and easily, it remembers previous connections, and it rarely fails to connect when I need it to.

Sure, she can be a little finicky sometimes. Once in a while the interface seizes up and won't orient correctly, and sometimes the camera won't start. Times like these, I just have to start over to get her revved up again, which only takes a minute or two. The volume buttons on top are placed in reverse order to what I would expect, so sometimes she gets louder when I'd rather she be quieter, or vice versa. I never seem to get used to that - habit, I guess.

She's a thirsty one, too. She uses up the juice fast, sometimes faster than I can handle. She'll have a full charge in the morning, but by evening (sometimes even afternoon) of average use she needs more. Push it too hard and she'll just run down and quit on you until you can get more. Frustrating, sometimes, but if you're prepared it's not the end of the world.

Since I've started using the Streak 7 she's become a constant companion. I use her for pictures and video, I've blogged and written reviews with her, I've surfed the net with her, I've grooved out on good tunes and kept up with friends thanks to her. I can log into my bank account or check my email with her. She's come with me on planes, trains, and automobiles - she even helped me check in at the airport.

I knew I was in trouble when my girlfriend found me out. She pointed out how much the Streak 7 has spoiled me. When I forget to take it with me (rarely) or when the battery is dead (often), I get a little frustrated at having to wait a whole five minutes (!) for my laptop to crank up to do what I could have done in a few seconds on the Streak 7.

The Dell Streak 7 may not be the prettiest or the smoothest of the bunch, but she's got some style and for the most part, she fits just fine. She may have her issues, but in the end, she's worth it.

THE DISCLAIMER TO END ALL DISCLAIMERS: I received the Dell Streak 7 as a free offer in exchange for a review of it. Yeah, baby, yeah.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Dell_Streak_7-317-1687557-211591-My_new_Mobile_Entertainment_Center.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Dell_Streak_7-317-1687557-211591-My_new_Mobile_Entertainment_Center.html Wed, 17 Aug 2011 01:35:09 +0000
<![CDATA[ CCleaner Cleans your System]]> The program CCleaner (www.pirifrom.com/ccleaner) has long been a favorite for maintaining the health of Windows systems.  It removes .tmp files, cache files, cookies, has a registry cleaner, and a tool kit for removing old software.  The advantage of this tool is that it not only removes the program file but also any left over files in the registry or elsewhere.

CCleaner is safe and easy to use.  It would be very difficult to do any real damage to your system with it.  You could find you have removed cookies that are temporarily distracting because some web sites may not auto fill blocks for your email, name, or home web site.  This means you may have to do this manually for a short time.  That's a small price to pay for keeping tour system running "mean and lean".

Now Piriform has released in Beta a version for the Macintosh, too.  I have been using the Windows version for years so was eager to try the Mac version.  The interface and performance is nearly identical.  Some features for Windows, such as the software deletion program are not on the Mac side.  Perhaps when the final release version is available this will be corrected.  Until then, there is Appcleaner.app (http://www.freemacsoft.net/). 

Appcleaner removes applications and their associated files very quickly and effectively.  I've also used it for several years and have never had any problem with it.  It not only removes the application software but also any entries in the Library (a bit similar to Windows Registry) to leave your system with not useless files taking up space on your drive. ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-CCleaner-317-1452840-211422-CCleaner_Cleans_your_System.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-CCleaner-317-1452840-211422-CCleaner_Cleans_your_System.html Fri, 12 Aug 2011 22:56:30 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Recessionary Proof Investment! Read to find out why!]]>
Just as the stock markets are being "reinvented", our online and computing experiences are also being transformed by the iPad (currently the iPad 2). I haven't believed our leaders' resolutions to revamp the financial institutions to a large extent for almost 3 years now. There are many reasons but greed is largely one of them. It's just like governments knowing smoking is bad and yet because of the lucrative intakes from cigarettes sales, we still see them selling in many countries and cities. Well, arguments can be made for and against that but that's not the crux of this review. We are not concerned with smokers.

So, the story of the week has to be the crashing of worldwide stock markets. AND, the establishing of new highs in the Gold prices. Have you invested in Gold? If you've, congratulations!

Now, THE next investment. The iPad!
No, I was not one of those who got onto the bandwagon simply because it's cool to own an iPhone or iPad. I still haven't got an iPhone to date considering I'm an early adopter of technology, I've lagged behind. So, you can't fault me for being on the bandwagon. It's not that I don't like Apple either. I had a Macintosh when people didn't and back in the early 90s I paid some US$10000 for those antiques! I also had a Mac Mini and a Macbook Air plus the iPod. 

Why the late adoption of the iPhone and the iPad?
Well, by the time I got all the Apple products, I found that I haven't used as much of them as I'd have had my PC! And, on top of them, for most part, Apple products are proprietary. That gets on my nerves, a great deal! That's also part of the reason why this is a +4 and not a +5. No Flash and a little heavy on the weight which I do think Apple can improve on are the other reasons.

However, after having test-drive it for 3 days or so last week, and considering the investment environment we are currently undergoing, I do believe the iPad 2 will make a worthy investment in the days to come. We are seeing a switch, albeit an unrecognized one and an accidental one, to the tablet world. I even thought to myself that I've bought my last laptop this year! It shall be tablets from now on. And who better than the iPad which had already capture a large and majority chunk of the tablets market share? 

The trend is set, as with the market's! While it's up for the iPad, it's down for the markets. If there is any connection between the two, it's to buy the Apple stocks when the markets hit bottom! When? That's a question you've to answer for yourself! ;-)

IF you're still not convinced, you'd take heart in that it'll be a boon for your eyes reading the updates on Reuters, WSJ, CNN and stock updates! And, if you've to leave your desk your eyes could still be glued to your investments! Should you be trading at this time of the year, watch your investments like a hawk! Do NOT blink!!!

Lastly but not least, the irony?
Creation of Jobs!
And since the iPad is created by Jobs, it will be recessionary proof!!!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-317-1716359-211360-A_Recessionary_Proof_Investment_Read_to_find_out.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-317-1716359-211360-A_Recessionary_Proof_Investment_Read_to_find_out.html Thu, 11 Aug 2011 04:38:27 +0000
<![CDATA[iPad 2 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-132-1716359-211359.html http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-132-1716359-211359.html Thu, 11 Aug 2011 04:06:32 +0000 <![CDATA[iPad 2 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
The 4-letter word is AAPL!!! Certainly sounds like a-p-p-s to me!!! In just a year, it has gone up some 55% while after the 2008 market crash, it's has sprung from around $82 to $400!!!

Apps, baby, apps!!!

Microsoft will be wiped up in no time! Short the stock! It's a replay of Yahoo vs Google!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-132-1716359-211018.html http://www.lunch.com/businessmatters/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-132-1716359-211018.html Tue, 2 Aug 2011 02:16:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Portable Magazine; it's ALL about looks!]]> Warning: Once you held it you won't want to let it go!

For the last 3 days, I've spent a great deal of my time "readying" the iPad for my dad's usage. The old man wanted to buy one for stock trading. So, I got hold of an iPad in Hong Kong, which I was told has the cheapest iPad across the region, if not the world. Yes, indeed, it was at least around 10-12% cheaper than its competing city Singapore. Partly it was due to the weakness in the US$ (HK$ is pegged to the US$) and partly due to the lack of GST in Hong Kong.
When I got to the store, to my surprise, the 3G models are sold out in the first 2 shops I went to. 3G models are selling like hot cakes! My sister who was the early adopter where the iPad is concerned, had gotten it on the day of launch. She bought the wifi models instead.
Now, I know I had to get the 3G+wifi model for my dad. This is through my own personal experience with the Samsung Galaxy Tab. There lies the main observation about tablets, both for the Androids and the Apple's version.
This is something you'd like to remember when considering buying the tablet (be it iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab, etc...). The iPad is a gadget that is only versatile when it's fully connected to the internet. Unlike the netbook and the laptop or even the Kindle, iPad draws resources from the internet connectivity and also its apps. It is more like a phone than a computer. 
Without continuous connectivity, iPad becomes just a Kindle or a simple game console. I do not suggest you to get the iPad if you are simply playing bejeweled or mahjong, which is what I came across the many times when transiting at the airports. My assumption is that these people don't have connectivity and hence are limited to only games that had been downloaded or books and magazines that had been purchased.
Without connectivity, now... imagine your phone where you can't dial out or received calls. You get the drift? (And, I just bought a dual-SIM card phone which is also wifi ready from Samsung for some $150 without a contract! I've many SIM cards, I can't live with no connectivity!)
Ok, enough about connectivity, now on with the hardware, the iPad!

What you need to have in consideration when buying an iPad:

1) Internet connection 
Before you get excited about using your mobile broadband, there is no usb port on this one (unlike the Galaxy Tab). Wifi is available. So, if you are lucky to have one of those mifi like I do, then no added cost is needed since you can just access it from there. You do have to carry it around with you and one big problem with the mifi is that the battery only lasts some 3 hours or so. As with the Galaxy Tab, you cannot draw power from it as compared with the laptop since there are the USB ports on them. The iPad? Well, I haven't figure a way around it. That translates to loss of connectivity after 3 hours or so if I'm hooking up through the mifi. 
That's BAD!!! 
Conclusion: If you intend to use iPad on the road, best to get the 3G model. If you use it only at home, then wifi model will suffice. You will save around $130 between these 2 models (with same capacity). With the 3G model, you also need to apply or change your current SIM card to a Micro SIM card. It was a simple enough process but I don't like it when Apple makes me work. Why is everything Apple proprietory and why can't it just conform to industry standard?! That irks me quite a bit about this brand. I don't believe in having to be different just for different sake! 

As an additional consideration, imagine having to apply for another micro SIM card when you are overseas! As far as I know, the daily or weekly SIM connections are quite readily available. But, micro SIM? I'm not so sure about that! Hence, iPad would prove to be a hassle when it comes to connecting while you're traveling on the road (out of the country). For the Galaxy Tab, at the least, the SIM card slot is one that's of a normal size.
Lesson learned: Connectivity rules in the tablet world! If you roam while traveling in different country, that won't be a cheap option!
2) Capacity
The iPad comes in 3 hard disk sizes: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
One difference between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad is iPad has no micro-SD card slot, that means the size is not expandable on iPad. That's one major misgiving I've with the iPad. Why can't I have as much space as I want? Instead, I've to do a lot of spring cleaning along the way.
Then again, considering the amount of junks I've piled up in my life, spring cleaning can be a blessing in disguise. So, what I need is a change in attitude! :-)
Conclusion: You don't need too much space. For one, cloud computing IS the future and will soon be in fashion. Everything is in the cloud. All you have to do is save as much as you can on the iPad and translates those savings into the cloud! I'd say for most people, 16GB is sufficient. This is also the best selling and most affordable model.
Lesson learned: Keep all your stuff in the cloud. 
3) Apps, Flash & the looks
Lots of apps to download. Without apps, it's like a swimmer without hands.
Many of the useful ones, especially for working adults, can be downloaded for free. I find one app particular useful. It's the app from Reuters. Reuters as we all know it, is a paid service. You need financial information, you go to Reuters. 

However, if you've tried reading news or newspapers online, you know it can be tiring on the eyes. With the iPad apps though, that has made me want to read. That, I feel, is a major feat!
One thing you must do on the tablets (iPad especially) is to get apps like Zinio and PressDisplay where you can download and/or read magazines and newspapers. Reading magazine is one of life's pleasure when it comes to iPad. This is also iPad major advantage over the Galaxy Tab. The 10" screen size is ideal for magazine reading. Not to mention the high resolution "retina" display makes it unbeatable when it comes to sharpness and beauty of the screen display. I love checking out my pictures which I've uploaded onto my website for viewing! I had recently thought of revamping the site but after accessing it on the iPad I've decided against it. It's a real beauty when it appears on iPad! The slideshow function doesn't work though so I've to think of ways of getting around that. NO Flash on iPad, can you believe it?!?!
Conclusion: Crispier images on iPad means that if you do a lot of photo viewing or even YouTube videos which appear like on HD TV (a real pleasure to the senses, I can assure you) then be sure to get the iPad! In fact, don't go anywhere without it! 
I can imagine the amount of sales one can drum up when making a presentation on the iPad! So, yes, it's a must tool for your sales team!
Lesson learned: If you squint your eyes often when reading online materials, do me a favor. Go get an iPad. If you travel mostly by car, get the iPad. If you take subways and walk a lot, get the Galaxy Tab. 1/2 the weight can mean a great deal if you have to hold this thing in your hand and stand on your feet assessing the net! 
The biggest selling point for the iPad is how good it looks! Not just the casing but the display itself. I'm convinced of getting one for myself simply because it's a boon for my eyes! Trust me, I've made a side-by-side comparison when it comes to the LCD display. iPad rules!!!
If you visit YouTube a lot, this will be the turning point for you. It's almost as good as watching TV if not better!
4) Time
Be prepared to spend countless time with this toy. Yes, it is a toy where you will bring into your bed and anywhere that's not wet, I suppose! It's certainly a great one to have when you're doing your hair at the salon! Or waiting for that delayed take-off, etc...
iPad kills time for sure.
Conclusion: My belief is that if iPad and the Android tablets continue to improve on the infrastructure, in no time the desktop & laptop will be obsolete! 
Lesson learned: We are seeing a major shift in consumer behavior. iPad will lead a trend where one day we will no longer visit websites but will instead live in the world of apps! Everything would be simplified. Learning how to use an iPad doesn't take much time or instructions. Most thing are instinctive and that's the beauty of it all. Children, even toddlers, would find it easy to operate an iPad. It's in line with our sense of touch. Not much instructions are needed. All you need is to touch the screen! Be adventurous and be in touch!
That's the beauty of the iPad (not forgetting the other Android tablets and gadgets as well). I do believe we are at the tipping point!

Life will never be the same again!
Oh wait, we have not even gotten to jailbreaking the iPad yet! ;-)

5) iTunes & Apple Apps Store
I've mixed feeling about this one. While on the iPad 2 you don't have to do the sync during start up, one still need to set up an account on iTunes for even free downloading of the apps. For some reason, I feel being tied down by iTunes. Without agreeing to their terms, iPad won't work. So, be prepared to read the terms or if not, signing up blindly is what most people do anyhow! So, know that you're not alone, hehe....

Conclusion: Once you get through with the initial set-up, everything is a breeze. 

Lesson learned: Use a credit card which has the least limit if you're concerned about having it on the file. Otherwise, better still, just buy i-tunes cards which are available in many marts and malls! They can be bought in denomination of $10, $25, $50 and $100.

6) Price
For what it can do for me and the quality of presentation, I found it a steal. Hence, I won't be worried about the next upgrade and waiting for it. By the time the upgrade comes, you'd have used so much of it that an upgrade is worth the price (& the hassle). Not to mention the amount of savings one would have on e-books and magazines!

I recently bought a full year of National Geographic Traveler for some US$3.50 for the entire year. That's 8 issues of crisp looking magazine to be kept all in my Galaxy Tab, laptop and iPad. I can even share with friends if I wish as a subscription gives you some 6 downloads of each copy of the magazine! So, think how much savings (a hard copy of that magazine costs at least some US$8-10 in my part of the world) there are if you read a lot of magazines and also how green this is! Not to mention the reduction in carbon footprint since you don't have to drive to the mall to get them!

Conclusion: Get the lower price models as most people won't need so much disk space if everything is kept in the cloud. That will stop you from having to transfer things over in the next upgrades too! 3G model overrides disk space when it comes to price. 

Lesson learned: If want to be at the forefront of technology, get into the game as soon as possible. This is something that's going to stay and not going away in the future. In fact, you'd probably get rid of the TV too after having an iPad and save lots on cable tv subscription! In fact, the young kids are encouraging me to jail break!!!

Having an iPad or Galaxy Tab is not an outlay. Instead, it is a savings in the physical world where you save on price, space and time!

(A Lunch Featured Review)
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-317-1716359-210949-A_Portable_Magazine_it_s_ALL_about_looks_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-317-1716359-210949-A_Portable_Magazine_it_s_ALL_about_looks_.html Sat, 30 Jul 2011 18:44:15 +0000
<![CDATA[iPad 2 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> 1) No flash, that means a lot of sites are not looking like what they should be, that including my personal site.
2) Proprietary software. I don't like the spirit of it.

As for the unexpected bonuses, may be I'll write a review of it when I can find the time!
In a nutshell, there are still room for improvements where the iPad is concerned but that won't stop me from going to the store to get one for myself though. I've found some great uses of it that's unbeatable ;-)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/iPadfans/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-191-1716359-210829.html http://www.lunch.com/iPadfans/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-191-1716359-210829.html Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:58:52 +0000
<![CDATA[Samsung Galaxy S2 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

Read the review from Engadget if you're planning on buying this one as well!

Did I forget to mention that this one is for free if you sign up a data package from any of Hongkong's major carriers?!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_S2-317-1752471-210706.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_S2-317-1752471-210706.html Mon, 25 Jul 2011 10:30:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ Using LibreOffice]]> LibreOffice

I recently downloaded the free substitute for Microsoft Office named LibreOffice.  This is an open source program from many of the same developers of OpenOffice.  Like OpenOffice, it is available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux platforms.   http://www.libreoffice.org/

It seems to open all MS Office files seamlessly and can create or edit those files with no problems.  Previously, with OpenOffice, I had found problems with positioning graphics when switching between Word and OpenOffice.  This could be a serious problem if you created or edited a file, saved in in the .doc format and another person opened it with Word and found the formatting had become scrambled.

This glitch seems to have disappeared with LibreOffice.  As a test, I opened my fitness book, that has many photos and other graphics in it.  I made a few changes, saved it in the .doc format, then opened it with Word.  Hurray!  No problems, everything was where it belonged, including text boxes, pictures and clip art.  

On the Macintosh, there is a feature in the printing module that permits saving as a.pdf file.  This is handy but the files are often larger than useful for sending via emails.  In LibreOffice, that feature is in the File menu and the resulting .pdf document is of high quality and of a reasonable file size.  Previously, I had to go through extra steps to reduce the file size.  They were not extensive but no steps is better.

I also tried PowerPoint files and they opened and displayed with no problem, as did Excel .xml files.  I didn't create any of these, as I never make PowerPoint presentations now, preferring videos instead.  When I made some changes in the .xml files and then opened them in Excel, there were no problems I could detect.  

In conclusion, LibreOffice seems to be an excellent replacement for MS Office.  It's free, it works, is compatible with those using office, and translates document into other formats with no problems. ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-LibreOffice-317-1706846-208838-Using_LibreOffice.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-LibreOffice-317-1706846-208838-Using_LibreOffice.html Wed, 15 Jun 2011 18:05:52 +0000
<![CDATA[Skype Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
http://www.lunch.com/reviews/product/UserReview-Skype-1262396-207701.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/product/UserReview-Skype-1262396-207701.html Mon, 23 May 2011 02:34:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ Do we really need to be "always connected"?]]>
Prologue: The Room
Part 1 - What Larks? - The Conundrum of the Connected Life: Busy, Very Busy - In a Digital World, Where's the Depth?; Hello, Mother - The Magic of Screens; Gone Overboard - Falling Out with the Connected Life; Solutions That Aren't - The Trouble with Not Really Meaning It
Part 2 - Beyond The Crowd - Teachings of the Seven Philosophers of Screens: Walking to Heaven - Plato Discovers Distance; The Spa of the Mind - Seneca on Inner Space; Little Mirrors - Gutenberg and the Business of Inwardness; Hamlet's Blackberry - Shakespeare on the Beauty of Old Tools; Inventing Your Life - Ben Franklin on Positive Rituals; The Walden Zone - Thoreau on Making the Home a Refuge; A Cooler Self - McLuhan and the Thermostat of Happiness
Part 3 - In Search of Depth - Ideas in Practice: Not So Busy - Practical Philosophies for Every Day; Disconnectopia - The Internet Sabbath
Afterword - Back to the Room; Acknowledgments; Notes; Further Reading

Powers makes the case, through the use of seven philosophers over the years, about how technology often leads us to become more shallow in our thinking and reasoning. We think this is a recent phenomenon, but it was a fear even back in the days of Socrates and Plato. The act of writing down speeches was thought to be the first step towards less thinking. Why work on memorization and deep thought if you can just read something? Shakespeare used a table, an erasable notebook of specially-treated paper or papyrus, that allowed him to write things down during the day and review them at a later time. Again, a use of technology that helped a person take in and deal with more mental stimuli and clutter. And with more input came less time to listen and reflect, more often giving in to the demand to deal with something immediately before the next thing showed up.

While we tend to think that no time in history has ever been as fast-paced as this, the reality is that each time period has had some level of turmoil and change that was significantly greater than the time before it. So our base problem isn't really new... it's just magnified. More things are going on, we have less time to reflect and contemplate matters, and we lose the ability to think deeply about issues that matter. We end up with sound bites and summaries that we buy into without thinking. To reverse this trend, Powers offers up the concept of an Internet "sabbath", or the conscious decision to go "off the grid" for a period of time. Without the constant bombardment of email, instant messages, tweets, etc., you can spend time reading and thinking... spend time talking with others and interacting with *real* people who matter to you. It's not necessarily easy, as it can be hard to make the decision to not try and keep up with everything that happened in the last 24 hours. But will it really matter if you don't see the latest YouTube video or read the latest blog post by a friend? Won't it still be around if it was really important?

I'll admit that I'm still struggling with the concepts in Hamlet's Blackberry. I know I spend far too much time online at the expense of other things that should get greater attention. But part of the solution is knowing you have a problem, and I think Powers at least got my attention. Well worth reading...

Obtained From: Friend
Payment: Free]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/book/UserReview-Hamlet_s_BlackBerry_A_Practical_Philosophy_for_Building_a_Good_Life_in_the_Digital_Age-317-1504285-207210-Do_we_really_need_to_be_always_connected_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/book/UserReview-Hamlet_s_BlackBerry_A_Practical_Philosophy_for_Building_a_Good_Life_in_the_Digital_Age-317-1504285-207210-Do_we_really_need_to_be_always_connected_.html Mon, 9 May 2011 22:00:05 +0000
<![CDATA[Engadget Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
My only complaint?! I don't have enough funds to buy all theses gadgets!!!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Engadget-317-1448658-206659.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Engadget-317-1448658-206659.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:09:19 +0000
<![CDATA[iPad 2 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Instead, the launch of the 1st Sony tablet in the Fall would be something I'm more keen on. I thought I'd support my favorite brand as well as the Japanese :-)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/iPadfans/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-191-1716359-206643.html http://www.lunch.com/iPadfans/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-191-1716359-206643.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 06:44:53 +0000
<![CDATA[ Anything On Your Screen Can Be Captured and Saved]]> iShowU HD Screen Capture

Most Mac users are familiar with the ability of OSX to perform instant screen captures of either the entire screen or a designated portion of it.  I use this so much I have reset the keyboard shortcuts on my desktop to the F14 and F15 keys.  

But have you ever wanted to download a video or music file and been frustrated because the site doesn't support download capabilities?  That problem has been solved by iShowU HD.  (http://www.shinywhitebox.com/ishowuhd/main.html)  This $29.95 program permits you to capture anything that appears on your monitor; video and audio, either full-screen or a user-selected portion of the screen.  

It doesn't matter what the format of the original is, .flv, .mov. a web cam, or anything that displays on your screen, audio or video can be captured. 

You can select audio from the system microphone or the audio from the computer itself, such as on the video or music file.  Before collecting the file, you can select video only, or just the audio portion of a video.  You can also start or stop recoding at any time including restarts while the file is playing.  

Captured files by default are stored on your hard drive under Movies/iShowU HD.  Through the iShowU Preferences users can also choose to store collected files on any storage device attached to your system.  External hard drives, thumb drives, I even stored a short video on my laptop as an experiment via an airport connection.  OK, I was showing off.  :)

After a file is captured, iShowU takes a short time to compile it.  Then you can right-click it to view in QuickTime.  If you are not happy, you can also select to delete it immediately and try again.  

iShowU is totally independent of format, web site, or anything else.  It will hide itself while recording if you choose and be started and stopped via keyboard shortcuts.

As most of you know, after you have the video in QuickTime it can be exported into many different formats such as .wmv. .wma. .aiff, and others.  

Another bit of good news is the developers are very serious about customer support.  They have always been very prompt in responding to questions and, in two times I had a problem, they were able to determine that were both my fault.  In one, I had a setting selected incorrectly.  In the latest, I had upgraded to OSX 10.6.7 without upgrading iShowU to the latest version (2.1.5)  Mea culpa, mea culpa.  :D

So what if you have a windows system?  Is there an iShow U for Windows?  Not at this time, but do not despair.  Growler Software as a program available that will do essentially the same thing for Windows.  (http://www.growlersoftware.com/)

As with iShowU, technical support is prompt, effective and free.  It works very well for Windows systems and it is clearly the best of those I have tried for Windows.  

No matter what your platform, you will be very pleased with either of these fine programs. ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Video_Capture_For_Macintosh_and_Windows-317-1732524-206610-Anything_On_Your_Screen_Can_Be_Captured_and_Saved.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Video_Capture_For_Macintosh_and_Windows-317-1732524-206610-Anything_On_Your_Screen_Can_Be_Captured_and_Saved.html Fri, 29 Apr 2011 18:22:52 +0000
<![CDATA[Apple iPhone 4 White Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Apple_iPhone_4_White-317-1732171-206543.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Apple_iPhone_4_White-317-1732171-206543.html Thu, 28 Apr 2011 11:20:30 +0000
<![CDATA[Samsung Galaxy S II Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_S_II-317-1732170-206542.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_S_II-317-1732170-206542.html Thu, 28 Apr 2011 11:06:17 +0000
<![CDATA[Sony S1 media tablet Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Sony_S1_media_tablet-317-1731874-206477.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Sony_S1_media_tablet-317-1731874-206477.html Tue, 26 Apr 2011 14:33:23 +0000
<![CDATA[Laptop Battery Conditioning Quick Tip by slrman]]> Battery Conditioning

Laptop batteries sometimes start to appear to fail sooner than expected because they need conditioning. This means to completely drain the battery to as low a level as possible, then fully charge it. Often this will restore lost battery capacity to amazing extent. In most cases, conditioning the battery once or twice a year is plenty, so you don’t need to do this often.

Here is how I restored an Apple Powerbook battery and gained almost triple the depleted capacity. This was a bit time-consuming but, considering the price of replacement batteries, the results were well worth the trouble.

First, charge the battery as much as it will accept. Depending on where the charge level is when you start, this may take five or six hours.

1. Start the discharge process. Disconnect the power adapter and set any power-saver programs to all zero. WIth the Macintosh OSX, these settings are found under the Apple menu, System Preferences, Energy Saver. That is, Sleep Never, Display Sleep, Never, and uncheck the box for Put the hard disks to sleep when possible. With Windows systems, similar setting are available from the Control Panel. The idea is to permit the laptop to run on battery as long as possible to drain the battery to the lowest level we can. Depending on the Operating System, there may be a setting to shut down at a certain battery percentage. Set this as low as possible, zero if that’s permitted.

2. Run the laptop until it shuts down from a low battery condition. Something such as playing a movie depletes the battery faster.

3. Remove the battery and allow it to sit overnight or for at least 10 − 12 hours. Even 24 hours is OK. You can use the laptop with the Power Adapter or other battery, of course.

4. Re-install the battery and restart the laptop without the power adapter connected. The battery may have come back enough to permit a few minutes of run time. Allow the laptop to run again until the low-battery condition shuts it down. Remember, if you have set that level as low as possible, That will help. If the low-battery level could not be set or cannot be set below 10%, you should repeat steps 3 and 4. 5. When the laptop will no longer start after Step 3, it is ready for a recharge.

Plug in the power adapter and allow it to charge until it is completely charged. Yes, you can use the laptop during this time if you do not interrupt the charge process. That’s all there is to it. If you use a program such as Coconut Battery (free for Macs) it will give you the condition of the battery, percentage of charge and even the number of charge cycles it has had. Most laptop batteries will accept about 500 charge/discharge cycles so that will give you an idea of the projected life remaining in the battery.

It used to be bad to leave your laptop charging after the battery was 100% full. This is no longer the case because modern batteries are not adversely affected by being on constant charge. In most cases, newer laptops also switch to a "float" charging mode when fully charged.

Extending Battery Life

There are several tricks to make a charge last longer when using your laptop. These can make the difference between it stopping right in the middle of an interesting session and seeing you through until you have a power source available.

First, quit any unneeded programs or processes. If you are not surfing the web, Quit (not just minimize) your web browser and even your Airport (wi-fi) card You can start and stop the card from the icon in the menu bar. Click on the icon and select Turn Airport Off. If you are in a chat or IM program such as Yahoo Messenger, you can Quit the web browser but leave Airport on. If you are only reading an ebook or browsing the laptop itself, be sure to quit any programs you are not actually using. All of them use memory, and the occasional hard drive cycle and those suck the battery down. Also, use the most simple program you can for your needs. If you’re reading a plain text file, for example, you don’t need MS Word or other large text processor. Text Edit or other small program will be fine and require fewer system resources (CPU, Graphics card) and be easier on the battery.

If you are just looking at pictures, (.jpg, .gif or camera input) you won’t need Photoshop or even the GIMP. The Mac OSX Preview program is fine and even includes basic editing features. With Windows, use the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.

Next, if you can, dim the screen a bit. The display is the single biggest drain on the battery and turning it down a little will help a lot. You may find it is even more comfortable viewing a dimmed screen especially in low-light conditions. If you are not going to be using the laptop for hours or days, don’t just put it to sleep, but shut it down completely. Sleep mode stores everything in the memory and has to tap the battery to do that. For a short break, shutting down and restarting requires more battery power than an hour or so of sleep mode, so know your intentions before you choose.

Alternately, if your system has a Hibernate mode, you can use that as it stores the active condition to the hard drive so it will return to its prior state when power is restored.  While Hibernating, no battery power is used unlike Sleep mode.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Laptop_Battery_Conditioning-317-1731834-206472.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Laptop_Battery_Conditioning-317-1731834-206472.html Tue, 26 Apr 2011 12:45:37 +0000
<![CDATA[ You Can Have A Balanced Life, Away from the Crowds]]>
Contents: Prologue; Introduction; Busy, Very Busy: In a Digital World, Where's the Depth?; Hello, Mother: The Magic of Screens; Gone Overboard: Falling Out with the Connected Life; Solutions That Aren't: The Trouble with Not Really Meaning It; Walking to Heaven: Plato Discovers Distance; The Spa of the Mind: Seneca on Inner Space; Little Mirrors: Gutenberg and the Business of Inwardness; Hamlet's BlackBerry: Shakespeare on the Beauty of Old Tools; Inventing Your Life: Ben Franklin on Positive Rituals; The Walden Zone: Thoreau on Making the Home a Refuge; A Cooler Self: McLuhan and the Thermostat of Happiness; Not So Busy: Practical Philosophies for Every Day; Disconnectopia: The Internet Sabbath; Afterword: Back in the Room; Acknowledgements; Notes; Further Reading

As you lament your connectedness, you probably believe that this is a new human condition. Powers goes back through history to show that this is not a unique position. Starting with Plato, and the rise of the written word, in the fifth century B.C., Socrates was lamenting that people would forget what they learned, relying solely on the written word; they would simply look up that which they needed. This would cause people to lose a free flow of ideas, which they had when engaging people in oral arguments.

Or what about one of the prevailing thoughts shortly after Gutenberg developed a printing press using movable type? Books were made more quickly, were priced cheaply, An Italian scholar decided that this was a menace. " . . . Anyone is free to print whatever they wish, they often disregard that which is best and instead write, merely for the sake of entertainment . . . they twist and corrupt it to the point where it would be be much better to do without such books . . . " It's almost laughable to think that there were detractors of this innovation, which democratized reading. Even with the popularity of e-readers, the book will not disappear, for it has continues to allow us to disconnect from a screen, to take our experience inward.

Hamlet's BlackBerry is full of interesting and thought provoking references. While others believe that paper is vanishing, like the author, I jot notes, ideas, in my Moleskin. It's much more personal, easier to use and navigate than a screen. It also allows for a connection that cannot be made when employing a screen. It says, to the people in the meeting, "You idea was important, it needs to be written down." To me, there is a connection between the thought and the physical act of writing. Because it has been written, there is more power attached to the thought. It exists, physically.

William Powers' Hamlet's BlackBerry provides the reader with the methods to achieve a balanced life. Provided you aren't too busy to read it.

Obtained from: Amazon Vine
Payment: Free]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/book/UserReview-Hamlet_s_BlackBerry_A_Practical_Philosophy_for_Building_a_Good_Life_in_the_Digital_Age-317-1504285-206396-You_Can_Have_A_Balanced_Life_Away_from_the_Crowds.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/book/UserReview-Hamlet_s_BlackBerry_A_Practical_Philosophy_for_Building_a_Good_Life_in_the_Digital_Age-317-1504285-206396-You_Can_Have_A_Balanced_Life_Away_from_the_Crowds.html Sun, 24 Apr 2011 16:19:33 +0000
<![CDATA[Top Electronics Brands]]>
Who do you think make the best products and gadgets? ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/Lists-317-2895-Top_Electronics_Brands.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/Lists-317-2895-Top_Electronics_Brands.html Fri, 22 Apr 2011 04:29:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ Glossy, lightweight and definitely good for keeps]]> iPad Buzz community) and/or other tablet (notably Androids) is its lightweight and glossy contents, specifically one that involves more pictures and easy reading. I admit, I did get the tablet more for entertainment than for serious work. Best if they are portable and ultralight.

In other words, this is a gadget for travel. And what do I do most when I travel? I read magazines (and sometimes books) in the airport and while waiting for plane to take off. However, I've often dreaded the weight associated with these materials and many a time I ended up leaving them in hotels during my many trips including "The Memoirs of Geisha" which I specifically remembered leaving it behind in the Sofitel Bora Bora Resort! So, when the iPad and tablets were introduced, I know I'd have a field day going back to reading. In fact, there are so many selections that I've yet had time to read everything I had bought!

Zinio is the apps for digital magazines while Kobo is the one for books which came preloaded with my Samsung Galaxy Tab (from hereon to be refered as Tab). It was easy to set up and before I knew it, I already had some magazines which I've never ever even seen before while browsing at the bookstores downloaded for free into my Tab. Now, that's what I could get used to, I thought!

Having said that, I prefer browsing for magazines on the Zinio website than on the PC. The clicking and typing are more habitually & easily done on the laptop than on my Tab since I don't have an iPhone to practice those texting skills (and for some reasons, 10 fingers are definitely more productive than 2!). In any case, it's just personal preference and I do browse for magazines on my Tab especially during my trips or journeys to and from another city.

For those interested, you can get the Zinio iPad apps from Zinio website or by clicking here if it is not already preloaded into your machine. It is free of charge.

To my pleasure, Zinio has a large selection of magazines covering some 11 broad categories:
  1. art
  2. automative
  3. entertainment
  4. home
  5. lifestyle
  6. men
  7. news
  8. science & tech
  9. sports
  10. travel
  11. women

In each category, there are at least 4 sub-categories. Sports has some 12 sub-categories! So, it takes you quite awhile to go through everyone of them if you simply want to browse and find some free magazines to download. For me, travel it is!

Magazines are mostly in English but other local languages can also be found. It is good to make sure you get the right one before you key in your payment information! Zinio makes it real easy to buy though as those payment info needed to be keyed in only once! I haven't actually try changing my credit card to another one so am not so sure what that entails! I do love to use just one specific credit card for my online payments (that makes it a little safer; best to use one with the lowest credit limit too!). Before you buy the magazine, you can actually browse through it online (not on the tablets but you can try your luck on iPad) and read a max of 3 pages for most magazines. Some, you can even read the entire magazine so it might not make sense for you to buy unless you want to keep a copy of it downloaded and read it offline. Downloading is fast on the PC but slow on my Tab. I do suspect this is because its the different carrier I used.

Now, for the quality of the magazine? Great, even better than the real magazines. Colors are outstanding and stunning. My only complaint is for some magazines, reading it on the Tab is a little straining for the eyes. Not most of them, just a few. That might be due to how the magazine was digitized, I'm not sure. I must say that despite the lightweight nature of the Tab, magazines might be best read on the iPad (with a larger screen) while books are better on the tablets or e-readers. Holding the Tab for hours (even though possibly about 1/2 the weight of the iPad) can be tiring, so let alone the iPad! The 7" screen does mean that you do need to scroll a bit when it comes to magazine though great for the books!

In any case, you don't have to worry about this as Zinio allows you to download one purchase about 6x, if I got it right. I had downloaded the same magazine twice to 2 different PCs and once to my Tab. Good news, isn't it? That possibly mean you can share the cost with friends if you trust your friends with the payment info and him/her that he/she won't splurge on other magazines when you're not around ;-) I think this works especially well for couples and also company accounts. Think news magazines like The Economist, Forbes, etc... Your cost goes down by 6x and the best about Zinio digital magazines? The Cost! 

Cost is a mere fraction of the real magazines. Some, the entire year subscription is the mere cost of a paper magazine!!! That translates to more magazines you can download with the same budget!!! For example, National Geographic Traveler is a mere US$10 for 8 digital issues and Outdoor Photographer is also US$10 for 11 issues! Hurry, go grab them!!! I'm getting all my magazines from different corners of the planet hot off the press!!!

Life is magnifique!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Zinio_Digital_Magazines-317-1455935-205963-Glossy_lightweight_and_definitely_good_for_keeps.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Zinio_Digital_Magazines-317-1455935-205963-Glossy_lightweight_and_definitely_good_for_keeps.html Sat, 16 Apr 2011 06:20:21 +0000
<![CDATA[SixthSense Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

Check out how it works:

http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-SixthSense-317-1728412-205812.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-SixthSense-317-1728412-205812.html Wed, 13 Apr 2011 14:18:26 +0000
<![CDATA[Zinio Digital Magazines Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Kobo Apps, this one came with my Samsung Galaxy Tabs. The apps can be used on iPad too. Buying magazines from Zinio apps or its website is easy as a breeze. Prices for a few of the magazines I bought are a steep discount to its paper counterparts. No problem with downloads and it allows you to download to your PC, iPad, Android tablets, etc... If I'm not mistaken, all in all, 6 downloads are allowed in each magazine one buys. So far, I'm very satisfied with it. 

There is a wide varieties of magazines offered, including those in foreign languages! Now, I can get my magazines from all over the world as soon as they are off the press! Cool!

You can get your zinio iPad Apps here.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/iPadfans/reviews/d/UserReview-Zinio_Digital_Magazines-191-1455935-205809.html http://www.lunch.com/iPadfans/reviews/d/UserReview-Zinio_Digital_Magazines-191-1455935-205809.html Wed, 13 Apr 2011 10:35:06 +0000
<![CDATA[ Fast, Easy Back-ups For the Macintosh]]>
I always back up to an external hard drive.  This way, if the worst should happen, I can quickly grab the external and run.  This has never happened to me, but fires, floods, earthquakes, lightning strikes, and natural disasters do happen.  

I have a very erratic schedule so i rarely back up  at the same time each day.  I also never turn my external hard drive on except for back ups or the occasional recovery of a file when I need the previous version.  This protects me from the rare, but still possible, destructive malware attack.  A powered-off drive is less susceptible to power brown-outs (potentially more damaging than surges) and the lightning strike.

For about three years now, I've been using Carbon Copy Cloner, (CCC) a shareware product from Bombich Software (www.bombich.com).  This nifty program allows you to either schedule back-ups automatically, manually, clone the entire drive or copy selected folders.  It works on all the three Macs I have from a G4 PowerBook running OSX 10.4.n to the latest version of 10.6.n.  With Intel Macs, you can actually boot your system from the cloned USB drive.  Power PC Macs do not support booting from USB drives but will from a Firewire drive.

The first time you clone a large drive, it may take quite a while depending upon your processor speed and how much data is involved.  Subsequent back ups are much faster as CCC only copies changed files by examining the metadata for files.  It also deletes files on the cloned drive no longer found on the main drive.  So, if you have files you want to save that are no longer on your main drive, they should be copied to a different drive or a partition on the external.  As I have a 1.5 TB external divided into three partitions, this isn't a problem.

All back-ups are performed in the background with very minimal effect on system performance.  I was doing a back-up that I began after I started writing this review and it is finished already.  But I have only added a few music videos since yesterday, so it probably took longer to decide what to copy than it did to do it.

CCC has been totally reliable, updates for it are also free and install with the usual Mac "No Muss, No Fuss" method. 

While many people are completely satisfied with Time Machine, for those of us with erratic schedules and a paranoid* approach to protecting the external drive and our data, CCC does a perfect job.

*  Yes, I know I'm paranoid, but I sometimes wonder if I am paranoid enough?  ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Carbon_Copy_Cloner-317-1727821-205378-Fast_Easy_Back_ups_For_the_Macintosh.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Carbon_Copy_Cloner-317-1727821-205378-Fast_Easy_Back_ups_For_the_Macintosh.html Sat, 9 Apr 2011 20:13:43 +0000
<![CDATA[Kobo App for iPad (and website) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Samsung Galaxy Tab since it came preloaded. Kobo is a Canadian based company (headquartered in Toronto) and offers a 35% discount for first e-book. Currently, it has on offer a 20% off selected books until Apr. 10 with the coupon code apr8ww20. So, it's a reasonably good deal. Do take note that some books are not on tablets yet which means you can only download them into your PC or iPad (if available). 

Kobo is relatively easy to use. However, the selection is still very much limited, especially some old books by my favorite authors are not available. I can only find one book by Thomas Friedman! It does have some great classics for free and that's worth looking into. 

All in all, there's still much rooms for improvement, esp. with regards to its searches!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/iPadfans/reviews/d/UserReview-Kobo_App_for_iPad_and_website_-191-1703321-205302.html http://www.lunch.com/iPadfans/reviews/d/UserReview-Kobo_App_for_iPad_and_website_-191-1703321-205302.html Fri, 8 Apr 2011 08:21:31 +0000
<![CDATA[ Sophos Anti-Virus Free Home Edition]]> I have been using the newly-available free Home Edition of Sophos Anti Virus for about two weeks .  While Sophos (www.sophos.com) has concentrated on the business market, they recently have started offering a Home Edition for the Mac. (http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-to...r-mac-home-edition.aspx

Many people assume the Mac is safe from a virus attack.  It's true that they are not common, partly because the base code of the operating system (OSX 10.n.n) is difficult to write a successful virus to attack and partly because the preponderance of Widows systems make it more profitable to attack them instead on Linux or Mac systems.  Also, the well-known vulnerabilities of Internet Explorer and Outlook Express are attractive to malicious hackers.

All of that said, there is still malware in the form of worms, trojans, and actual virus attacks on Macintosh systems.  To operate any system without virus protection will eventually lead to problems, even if they are not destructive.

I had been using ClamXAV as a virus protection and have been happy with it for several years.  When I saw that Sophos, with their excellent reputation in the commercial area, was making a free version for the Macintosh, I decided to give it a try. 

The download and installation was as fast and simple as I expect on the Mac.  I was pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of the program.  Preferences were easily explained and setting things like what to scan and when as well as scheduling updates were intuitive and fast.  I had expected a program based on commercial protection to be a bit more work. 

Sophos has a different approach to detecting malware.  The first time it scans your files, it creates a check sum for each file.  For this reason, the initial scan is rather lengthy.  A hard drive with 202 GB of data took several hours to scan.  As this is done in the background without noticeably slowing the system, I continued my web browsing, IM, and email activity without problems.   On subsequent scans, everything goes much faster because it only compares check sums.  An unchanged file is skipped and only new or altered files are examined for malware activity.  Those scans go much faster and your other work can proceed with no problems.  In fact, Sophos is conducting a scan as I write this review.

Updates can be scheduled automatically in preferences or initiated manually from the Sophos icon in the menu bar.  Daily updates are sufficient and take only a minute or two, depending upon how many new things they have added to detect.  Again, it's all done in the background without creating problems for other activity.

So, is Sophos better than other virus protection?  That's hard to say as I keep my Mac very clean, and avoid suspicious sites.  My email is filtered first by my service provider, then by my email program, and finally by the virus protection software I have loaded.  My service provider does detect malware about once a month in spam email but so far, it seems to be aimed at Windows systems.  That might not affect me, but I could pass something along to someone else with Windows, so the protection isn't just for my iMac or laptops.  I can say that Sophos is unobtrusive, fast, and simple to use.  The reputation of the company is excellent so that inspires a level of trust that I am doing all I can to protect my system and that of others that might link to me or receive my emails.  In today's world of cyber-crime, that's about as good as we're going to get. 

At this time, I am not certain the same protection is available as a free Home Edition for Windows systems.  I think they might offer it with paid upgrades available much as AVG does with their excellent Windows protection.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Sophos_Anti_Virus-317-1727192-205258-Sophos_Anti_Virus_Free_Home_Edition.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Sophos_Anti_Virus-317-1727192-205258-Sophos_Anti_Virus_Free_Home_Edition.html Thu, 7 Apr 2011 00:26:06 +0000
<![CDATA[ LOVE This Purple Kindle Cover!]]>
My Kindle nestles snugly and securely in the four strapped corners and the cover itself adds hardly any weight to the device. The inside of the cover is this plush gray pseudo-suede fabric, so you won't have to worry about it scratching the Kindle's screen.

There's a "belt" from the back that fits within the recessed area on the front, keeping the Kindle safely enclosed.

This purple cushioned cover is actually a tad lighter (and prettier!) in color than what the image shows (a lovely jewel-toned plum color, and it almost looks like a stylish clutch purse.

If you're looking for a stylish, secure Kindle cover--and you love purple--you'll be very happy with the M-Edge Kindle Jacket!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-M_Edge_Executive_Kindle_Jacket_Purple_Fits_6_Display_Latest_Generation_Kindle_-317-1728375-205749-LOVE_This_Purple_Kindle_Cover_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-M_Edge_Executive_Kindle_Jacket_Purple_Fits_6_Display_Latest_Generation_Kindle_-317-1728375-205749-LOVE_This_Purple_Kindle_Cover_.html Thu, 31 Mar 2011 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ The iPad 2 Leaves All Other Tablets in the Dust!]]> Lunch.com member asked me how you can upgrade something that is already so perfect?  I asked myself the same question and then on March 2nd, Steve Jobs shocked the world...again.  Since the release of the original iPad, other developers such as Motorola and Samsung have tried to release a tablet that could strongly compete with Apple's latest endeavor and it looked as if there would truly be some competition, but when Jobs and CO. presented the iPad 2 keynote, the competition sank back down to the depths.  For the same low price as the original, Apple has released an "evolutionary" new product in the iPad 2.


The iPad 2 isn't just a rehash of the original device, it is a brand new device and has been completely re-designed, both inside and out.  The iPad 1 closely resembled a mix of the iPhone 4 and the iPod touch where as the iPad 2 has been thinned out and now resembles more than anything, the 4th generation iPod touches.  Immediately noticeable is how much more user friendly this iPad is.  You can tell that you were meant to hold the device as it feels ten times more natural in your hands than the iPad 1 did.  This also has to do with the weight reduction thinness of the iPad 2.  The tablet has gone from 1.5 pounds down to 1.33 Pounds.  At first, the weight difference wasn't noticeable, but once compared to an original iPad, the difference was quite significant. The only drawback to the new device (which is hard to actually call a drawback) so far is that it is a little awkward to hold while the new Smartcovers are attached.  Most of the time that I use the iPad now, I generally take the cover off and snap it back on when I'm done (more on Smartcovers later).  The iPad 2 is now also equipped, much like the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch, with a front and rear camera, however don't plan on taking high quality pictures with them (more below).


Normally, I don't go into much detail about the inner workings of a device, but an exception must be made for the iPad 2.  Apple debuted its new A5 Dual Core Processor chip along with the iPad 2 on March 2nd and boy is it fast!  If you thought that iPad 1 was fast, think again.  Pretty much anything you do on the iPad 2 is a seamless task.  Whether you're multitasking or playing a game, every process on the iPad 2 is lightning fast. For Example, in Mobile Safari, there is no more page reloading if you have multiple tabs open.  

FaceTime is now one of three new pre-installed apps along with Photobooth and Camera.  Facetime calling hasn't looked better now that it is on the  iPad 2.  The now numerous ways to use Apple's video calling feature really makes it the best option out there right now.  You can call iPad to iPad, iPad to iPhone, iPad to iMac...you get the point.  If you're a Mac user, then you are already familiar with Photobooth, but having the feature on the iPad is loads of fun (A picture of my dog using Photobooth is below).  The Camera app is one of the only downsides of the iPad 2.  The word going around is that the rear camera is less than one mega-pixel, yikes!  Don't even think about using the front camera for anything but Facetime.  The rear camera is redeemed (just a little) by the fact that it takes 720p HD video.  Though in all honesty, the only true advantage of the two cameras is FaceTime.

Not that it is new to the iPad, but on March 2nd, Apple also announced that it finally made a deal with Random House to distribute its entire book collection through the iBookstore, making it a true competitor to the Kindle Store.  For new iPad users, this is great news as you will immediately have access to thousands and thousands of books.  GarageBand and iMovie have also made their way to the iPad 2 and while I haven't been able to try these out first hand yet, I can tell you that GarageBand is awesome after watching an Apple Store employee demo the bass and guitar instruments in the app. 

Finally, onto the Smartcovers.  I am still on the fence about these.  They are incredibly cool and incredibly annoying all at the same time.  What I loved about the iPad 1 case that Apple created was that it acted as sort of an extension of the iPad.  It was easy to hold and you also had the peace of mind to know that the device was safe while inside.  The Smartcovers on the other hand, while they do protect the most important part of your iPad, they don't protect the back.  They are also incredibly slippery and awkward to hold while surfing the web or reading an eBook.  However, the revolutionary magnet system is really cool.  I like knowing that when I put the cover over the screen, it puts the iPad to sleep and vice versa.  The Smartcover is also great to use when typing as well as while watching a movie.  it stands up on its own a lot better than the Apple Case did.  Lastly, taking it on and off is as easy as snapping the magnets on and off.


Some people will say that this isn't a necessary upgrade.  I agree with them...partially.  You don't need to upgrade to an iPad 2 if you already own the original, but the newer version is such a step up from the iPad 1 that it's truly hard not to want to upgrade.  This is especially true for people who truly utilize FaceTime as either a business tool or way to keep in contact with loved ones who live far away.  The speed difference is also such a drastic change that for those who are looking for better functionality, it is really hard to overlook.  I'm thrilled that I upgraded and getting to finally wait in line for an Apple product was a blast!  If you don't own an iPad yet, this is a no brainer.  If you were on the fence about the iPad first gen and love everything about the iPad 2, pick one up, you won't be sorry.  Good luck trying to get your hands on one though as online orders from Apple.com are backed up 4-5 weeks.  If you can't wait for one that long, check with your local Apple Store, they are getting new shipments in everyday.  The basic wifi only iPad 2 model starts at $499.99.  5/5!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-317-1716359-203939-The_iPad_2_Leaves_All_Other_Tablets_in_the_Dust_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPad_2-317-1716359-203939-The_iPad_2_Leaves_All_Other_Tablets_in_the_Dust_.html Tue, 15 Mar 2011 14:15:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ Start backing up your files now BEFORE the horror story of how you lost all your digital photos]]> SuperDuper for the Mac which is still the best local backup solution I've seen, but what if you still something more?

CrashPlan is an online backup service that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and lets you backup your files to other computers and/or their centralized "cloud" storage service.  For several months, I was using the free service which lets you backup your computers to one another so you can distribute the backups among several locations.  Once the software is installed, and the backup destinations are set, CrashPlan just runs in the background, constantly backing up your designated files to the computers you've tagged as destinations.  Once a computer has been backed up, you can also access data from that backup from any other computer that has access to that account.  This was really useful when upgrading the hard drive in @'s computer.  I created a backup from her laptop onto my computer, and then once the new hard drive was installed, I could just copy files back down from the backup.  The best part is that once you've set it up, you really don't have to think about it, and if for some reason a computer hasn't been backed up for a few days, it will even send you an email or twitter alert to notify you of that fact -- all of this as part of the free service.

However, as my storage needs increased (thanks to an adorably photogenic two year old daughter) and "my" computer network became more complex (thanks to me being the resident "Goto Tech guy" for my entire family), I decided it was time to move up to the paid service.  For $12/month, you can backup an UNLIMITED amount of data from 2-10 computers to their servers.  And if you pre-pay for 4 years of service, the price drops down to only $6/month.  For $6 worth of peace of mind, I can now backup my laptop, my desktop, my wif'e's computer, my sister's computer, my parents' computers, my media center and still have 3 slots available for additional computers down the line.  The next time I get a call that "my computer's hard drive is making a clicking noise", rather than waste a weekend trying to recover files off an uncooperative drive, I'll be able to log into my CrashPlan account and download the backups to a new drive.

Don't wait until you've "learned your lesson the hard way".  The price point is low enough and the automation software is advanced enough that there's no reason not have a backup solution in place.
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-CrashPlan-317-1709988-202137-Start_backing_up_your_files_now_BEFORE_the_horror.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-CrashPlan-317-1709988-202137-Start_backing_up_your_files_now_BEFORE_the_horror.html Wed, 23 Feb 2011 07:37:32 +0000
<![CDATA[Western Digital Elements Portable SE Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Western_Digital_Elements_Portable_SE-317-1709209-202071.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Western_Digital_Elements_Portable_SE-317-1709209-202071.html Tue, 22 Feb 2011 15:48:50 +0000 <![CDATA[ Old but a seductress nonetheless!]]>
A radio is a good source of news, music and also gossips! I've fond memories of the radio, even as I now still have it in my bathroom. You know, the very basic, one that tunes in to different channel but with a speaker that blasts as loud as it can, given its limitations. 

Here's what I like about the radio:
  • Wake up call: You can set it to wake you up. I don't but I like waking up and switching it on when I take my morning shower. It gives me the feeling that everyone is up and about in the world. I like waking up to a busy world :-)
  • Weather forecast: That's where one can get up-to-date weather forecast and road traffic. Nowhere else can one find more efficient way of getting news about the weather and traffic!
  • News of the day: Yes, the news of the day. Has North Korea gone mad? New iPhone launched? U know, that kind of stuff. Also, for those who invest in the market, Dow Jones, Nikkei, Hang Seng, etc, etc...
  • Music: Lovely way to find new and sometimes old tunes you've totally forgotten and brought back much memories. Perhaps even dating to your prom night! I just heard a song I've totally forgotten but used to like very much this evening, "A shoulder to cry on" by Tommy Page! Boy, I don't even remember the guy anymore but it was a very familiar tune and I was happy to hear it again (despite it being a "sad" song). It brought back a sense of time, back then. Very interestingly, music is the best way to take one back in time, no matter when that was. The feelings and hopes related to that time of life just rushed back into one's consciousness. It's amazing how it works!!! A song or two later, the radio broadcasted another familiar tune by Oliver Newton John "Hopelessly devoted to  you". I remembered getting so tired of the song back then but listening to it now, it's nice! Ahhh, those were the days!!! :-)
  • Tips about all kind of stuff: Cooking, getting rid of stains, sales, stock picks... highly informative!
  • Chats: People love talking and about anything. When you find something that interest you, it's highly stimulating and exciting to stay by the radio. About movies, about food, about restaurant, about travels... 

So, these are but some of the ways to stay in touch with what's out there. With a radio at home (mine is normally in my bathroom) one will never ever feel lonely! It keeps me occupied and staying in touch with humanity, if nothing else! God forbid if one day we need the radio, for emergencies like earthquakes, tsunamis, wars, etc... but for now though, it is something that I feel every household should have. A small radio is dirt cheap, some $10 or so. But in times of emergencies, esp. when there is no electric power, a radio is one of the few gadgets that will keep you in the know. Unlike the internet or the TV, it doesn't need much power, simply 2 small batteries!

I do love my radio. It gives me more than entertainment almost for free! No subscription fee, no connecting charges and certainly no electricity bills associated with it! In fact, I could be living in China and tune into Hong Kong and further (if I've one that can access the world band!). All in all, the radio can easily be turned on and off without much of a hassle. It can also be taken on camping and any country you travel to. Cool!

http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Radio-317-1706763-201797-Old_but_a_seductress_nonetheless_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Radio-317-1706763-201797-Old_but_a_seductress_nonetheless_.html Sun, 20 Feb 2011 11:36:46 +0000
<![CDATA[LG GD880 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-LG_GD880-317-1704891-201679.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-LG_GD880-317-1704891-201679.html Fri, 18 Feb 2011 06:12:05 +0000 <![CDATA[LG GX500 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-LG_GX500-317-1690446-201678.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-LG_GX500-317-1690446-201678.html Fri, 18 Feb 2011 06:08:08 +0000 <![CDATA[Built Extra Relish Lunch Tote Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-Built_Extra_Relish_Lunch_Tote-317-1433546-201640.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-Built_Extra_Relish_Lunch_Tote-317-1433546-201640.html Thu, 17 Feb 2011 06:00:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Kobo App for iPad (and website) -- when one or two ereaders are just too few]]> This review covers only the Kobo app for the iPad and the Kobo website, not the physical ereader.
The thumbnail recommendation for this app+website is due to how well the ereader is integrated with the website.  The motto is eReading.anywhere.anytime and that is no exaggeration.  Buy a book, begin reading it on your ereader.  Log on to the website and go to your library; select the book you’re currently reading and the site will take you to the last page your read on the ereader (currently the reverse is not true).  We don’t buy ebooks to read on computer screens, but if your ereader is charging or you don’t currently have it with you (a nearly impossible thought for me), you still have access to books you paid for wherever you can access the Internet. 

The app.  It is a free app for the iPad and comes with 5 free books (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Alice in Wonderland, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Dracula, andPride and Prejudice).  The choice is odd and Alice would be the only one “required” because it is illustrated, giving you a sense for illustration and text instead of text alone (iBook uses Winnie-the-Pooh to the same end).  It is easily customizable.  Currently there are 4 fonts and a slider bar for fine-tuning font size and brightness controls.  It allows for page sliding, fading, and animated page flip.  Since Kobo accepts publications that are not the standard left+right justified, it has the option of changing the justification.  I mention that because the default when I opened my first book was left justified, had I not found that option, I was going to delete the app.  As with the other ereaders, you can highlight and make notes.  It also has a solid dictionary and quick access to Google and Wikipedia. 

The major drawback in the current version (4.2) is that the ereader does not contain a search function.  I think this is because, rather than keep the whole book in memory, it loads one chapter at a time.  I’ve sent a recommendation to add a search feature in upcoming releases.  Also, for the iPad, the hyperlinks to endnotes do not work, the notes are obviously links but pressing them does not take you to that part of the book. 

Book and periodical selection. Kobo appears to have more books available than currently available in the iBook store but fewer than Amazon’s for the Kindle.  It also has about a dozen, strangely arcane magazines: American Scholar, Guideposts, China Business instead of Time, Rolling Stone etc.  And it has the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and all major Canadian newspapers (all come with 2 weeks free subscriptions).  The book prices are competitive and I typically get two email coupons weekly, so far.

The main review is over and what follows does not affect my rating, but I cannot leave it uncommented.  Version 4.2 introduced an optional feature called “Reading Life” (with an option to link with Facebook).  It’s a silly train wreck—it is impossible to turn away from train wrecks of any size, the silly ones just allow for guilt-free laughter.  “Achievements” in video games and “badges” on Lunch are now facets of our interactive lives and for adults, the idea seems to be fun and campy.  But being awarded the Knight Rider award for reading through the night is truly silly and something I would be far too embarrassed on Facebook—being awarded anything for insomnia is a very bad idea; that is not a condition anyone would want to encourage.  And given how much I read, if I posted even half of these odd milestones, my wall would bog down and all my friends would block my posts due to frequency as much as silliness.  But there is one handy feature that makes it impossible for me to turn it off.  It keeps a running list of all notes in all texts, so I don’t have to open the book then look for it, I can scroll down through all my notes and link back to the book.

http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Kobo_App_for_iPad_and_website_-317-1703321-201351-Kobo_App_for_iPad_and_website_when_one_or_two.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Kobo_App_for_iPad_and_website_-317-1703321-201351-Kobo_App_for_iPad_and_website_when_one_or_two.html Wed, 16 Feb 2011 16:39:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ TikTok & LunaTik: Crazy Clocks!]]> Kickstarter project:  The TikTok and Lunatik watches.  These watches were designed for the Apple iPod Nano, which allowed iPod enthusiasts to use the 6th generation iPod nano as a timepiece.

Their goal:  to receive $15,000 in backing for production costs.  Each backer would then receive a product closely matching the backing donation.

And in just a few short weeks, TikTok and Lunatik received nearly a million dollars from over 13,000 backers.

The design of the watches are unlike many other watches made for the nano.  

This review is mainly for the full enclosure LunaTik.  But I'll be going over the other models as well.

The TikTok is the base model.  It's a simple silicon based wristband with a plastic snappiece that you can "snap" the nano into.  It's great for those on the go.  

The next model is the LunaTik.  This is a full-enclosure model.  The case is kept together by two screws.

A limited edition LunaTik was also released to a few Kickstarter backers.  This limited edition was an anodized red, matching the Red Campaign.  It also has a unique serial number for authenticity.

All three of the watches are made with precision.  There are no gaps in quality.  

Personally, I use the limited edition LunaTik for working out.  The silicon wristband doesn't absorb any sweat, and having my iPod on my wrist makes it much easier to carry around.

It's also a great conversational piece!  So far, I've been stopped by a dozen strangers asking about the watch.

The watches are currently in shipment for the Kickstarter backers.  The company has just started taking retail orders.  Orders can be placed online at http://lunatik.com/]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-TikTok_LunaTik-317-1700867-201098-TikTok_LunaTik_Crazy_Clocks_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-TikTok_LunaTik-317-1700867-201098-TikTok_LunaTik_Crazy_Clocks_.html Fri, 11 Feb 2011 23:45:50 +0000
<![CDATA[ Greatest phone ever]]> http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPhone_3G-317-1115783-200537-Greatest_phone_ever.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-iPhone_3G-317-1115783-200537-Greatest_phone_ever.html Tue, 1 Feb 2011 14:54:34 +0000 <![CDATA[ Faster, Sleeker, Better!]]>
1. It was heavy
2. The refresh rate was slow
3. I couldn't access New Releases by genre (NOT the same thing as New and Notable)
4. I couldn't get lost in the reading experience

Well, I was in a Staples over the weekend and they had the new generation Kindles on display (immediately, I LOVED the graphite color compared to the dull ecru color).

I couldn't believe how fast the re-fresh rate was compared to the last generation (yes, it was that noticeable). The font was crisper, and it seemed easier to navigate with. I was told that yes, I can now browse by New Releases.

SOLD to the woman with the income tax refund!

I've been playing with my Kindle ever since and I can't believe how immersed I can get with the Kindle (granted, I haven't yet began to read fiction, but am loving reading newspapers, blogs and magazines with it so far...USA Today, Ellery Queen Magazine, NYT Book Review, etc.)

And I love that many classics are completely free, too! For example, I began buying the works of Charles Dickens last year (only two volumes into it) and found I could get his ENTIRE works for free via Kindle!

And I'm noticing that my 12-year old is reading genres with my Kindle that he may not otherwise. For example, I downloaded (again, for FREE) the entire works of Emily Dickinson. Well, I have most of her works already in book form. While my son didn't show interest in the book, he was actually reading poetry via the Kindle! And USA Today, too!

I love that this 3rd generation Kindle is thin and lightweight, too. (One of the reasons I bought the original DX was because of carpal tunnel/tendonitis numbness). With this version, though, I can just prop it on a cushion and hit the next tab!

The only reason I'm giving this Kindle 4 stars instead of 5 is that the Back button is RIGHT under the 5-way square; too many times, I've wanted to hit the down button of the square to scroll lower on a screen, only to have accidentally hit the BACK button below it (which means I have to start over).

Otherwise, this generation of Kindle is sleek, handsome, easy-to-use, easy-on-the-eyes, quick, intuitive, green and well-worth the price (although I'm beginning to doubt whether I need the 3G...the guy at Staples wasn't exactly "in the know"...)

Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-Kindle_3G_Wireless_Reading_Device-317-1675884-200574-Faster_Sleeker_Better_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/product/UserReview-Kindle_3G_Wireless_Reading_Device-317-1675884-200574-Faster_Sleeker_Better_.html Mon, 31 Jan 2011 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ It's not a Pad, it's a TAB! A galaxy of delights!]]> Samsung Galaxy Tab by PCCW (the former Hong Kong Telecoms) early in the week as a free bonus for my subscription of a 2-year contract of Netvigator Everywhere (which essentially is a mobile broadband service, aka pocket wifi or mifi as commonly know) in Hong Kong. The TAB feels right in my hand (and that's just one hand even though mine is not that big to begin with) and a sexy one to hold onto (I also love the white backing it has, smooth and lovely to the touch!). It looks a tad smaller (it is 7" as compared to iPad's 9.7") and MUCH lighter than the iPad. I know, I wanted an iPad but I don't fancy getting a toy that has no flash and also no cameras in it! The Samsung Galaxy Tab is another story all together!

The beauty of Galaxy Tab is that it is small (like a paperback), light and can be hold for an extended period of time with just one hand! It is just like a slightly bigger version of my last MP5, except that the screen is so much more beautiful and the resolution absolutely gorgeous. On top of all that, it is a luxury to listen to music (either with the mic or an earphone, yes, it does have an earphone jack) and read a book from the same gadget at the very same time while your mobile is waiting quietly in the background for the next video calls. Hmm, I haven’t tried it but I’m wondering if I can record these video calls onto the Micro SD cards which is available on this versatile gadget. It does have a slot for 16 GB cards (up to a max of 32 GB or almost infinity if you simply swap cards). The biggest bonus of which is that you don’t need iTune to work!

These are simply some of the best features of the Galaxy Tab which the iPad is lacking.
Don’t get me wrong, I was and to some extent am still a fan of Apple. What I am not is to be compulsive buyer with Apple products. I’ve had my share of flops where Apple is concerned, the main of which is its proprietary softwares (highly expensive and not shareable…). My first Apple computer costs me some US$10,000 (yep, can u believe it! that was in 1993 & if you take into account inflation, it's a lot more!) and then I have had the iMac, the Macbook Air and I had since vowed not to go gaga over the iPhone and iPad. All in all, it’s partly my fault that I didn’t want to spend tons of money on Apple’s softwares and partly Apple’s fault that it is not following industry standards! 

Now, the Galaxy Tab is another story altogether. Not only did I get it for free, it is a Made in Korea product (some of you hate those Made in China stuff... &/or the controversies that Apple has had with a few of the workers committing suicide at Foxxcon, see Review on Apple if you're interested). It can be used as a phone with video calls & the earphone jack guarantees that no one can overhears what the caller is saying. What it has in addition to the iPad is a front-facing 3 MP AF camera with LED flash for taking pictures (& the beauty of it all is that it has a 7" WSVGA (1024x600) 169ppi TFT display as a "viewfinder") & a back camera with 1.3 MP camera for video conference. I haven't taken a picture with such a huge TFT screen & it's certainly a delightful experience! Gosh, a 7" viewfinder!!!

Other than flash capability, Galaxy Tab also has a built in Micro SD card slot (which is essential for all those videos and one can simply swap cards whenever one runs out of space without having to worry about files going corrupted on the machine!). Other than that, you can have a card for yourself, another for the kids and another for business even! That's cool, isn't it?!

In addition, there is a SIM card slot if you so wish to connect directly or using wifi connection with a pocket wifi (or mifi). Multi touch support & capability are inherent in this machine as well.

Unlike the iPad which many complained of as heavy, the Galaxy Tab is a mere 380g (which works out to about 0.84 lb). Many users have observed that it is a better e-reader than the iPad although it might still be lagging slightly behind the iPhone 4. I may just be getting back into the reading habit with this baby! 

The Galaxy Tab uses Android 2.2 (Froyo) as its OS and I'm hoping I'll be able to upgrade it to Honeycomb (Android 3.0) soon enough. That will provide users with lots of Android apps to choose for. So far, I haven't tried downloading but I hope so very soon! Any good suggestion from Lunchers? I'd appreciate it if you could point me to some cool gaming apps or news & magazines apps.

According to Samsung, the battery will enable 7 hours of movie playing, that sounds good to me. Other than that, the charger is quite light so there wouldn't be much concerned about added weight if one wishes to lug it around town. Incidentally, Galaxy Tab not only has camera function but also full HD video player & a video recorder which I believe the iPad lacks.

That about sums up the main functions but I'm sure there are more. Tablets are more apps dependent and with Android as OS, I've confidence there are lots more to learn, play and have fun with. Oh, it does have the navigation function where Google Map comes into play. I'd have to figure how to use that to the fullest!

For more on what you can do and how it enriches your life, read this : Keep up with the Speed of Life with Galaxy Tab

(A Lunch Featured Review)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_Tab-317-1661641-199389-It_s_not_a_Pad_it_s_a_TAB_A_galaxy_of_delights_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_Tab-317-1661641-199389-It_s_not_a_Pad_it_s_a_TAB_A_galaxy_of_delights_.html Sun, 16 Jan 2011 08:00:55 +0000
<![CDATA[Motorola Atrix 4G Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>  x 540), a front-facing VGA camera and 5-megapixel with an LED flash 'round back, a 1930 mAh battery that promises nine hours of talk time, fingerprint login security, and Android 2.2 for an OS". 

Check it out!

http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Motorola_Atrix_4G-317-1687553-199199.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Motorola_Atrix_4G-317-1687553-199199.html Wed, 12 Jan 2011 09:23:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ A big sweep!]]>
As for cameras, I've bought 4 in the last year. Those are all compact cameras and I haven't even started on the digital SLR yet... until Sony releases the next new camera, which I hope to be NEX 7. Yes, I'm waiting "patiently" for that one so that I can begin to use it as a business camera. Right On! I need to make some income this year from these cameras! Trust me, I know what I'm doing.

In the mean time, I had been shopping around. One thing I do admit is I'm partial to some cameras, especially if the brands are SONY, PANASONIC & NIKON. I have good experiences with Olympus in the past too although I haven't bought any in the last few years. I am disappointed with the last Canon that I bought which I had also reviewed here. It's not as great as I thought a CANON would have been!

The reason why I fell in love with this camera on first sight is rather an emotional one; it's the color purple! Other than its color (which also comes in a very tempting green), it's how small and light it is. That's all I need to make the buying decision, something light to carry everywhere I go! The more logical factors?

  • Macro function for those food snapshots I take (which explains why I didn't choose a phone over it).
  • Panoramic sweep function for travel, especially for resorts, hotels and national parks. This one is great, it saves one from stitching!
  • Price is in the right range (US$290 in HK; with a case, tripod, 8G card & a spare original battery from Sony! It is retailing for US$250+tax in the US), although a tad higher than other cameras of the same size.

That's all. Simple enough? 

Here are the surprises:
I never wonder about the quality of the pictures as I've had more than 3 cameras in the past from Sony and I've never actually been disappointed. So, it was not a major concern. What I did not expect from a camera this size is the high quality (it is 14.1 megapixel so it can't be too bad) of images even in the dark. That was what Sony seems to be lacking in the past. This camera corrected those inferiority. We took a few snapshots in the restaurants and they turn out to be great even when viewed at full size on my Sony laptop! It wasn't as grainy as the Canon camera and the lighting was just right. I must qualify that I viewed those images over the Sony laptop which I was told to be the best medium for a Sony camera though. So, I've no idea how that would turn out in another type of screen. Afterall, I've 3 Sony laptops at  home right now while my Apple Macbook Air is at my parents' home! So, I'll have to wait until I get there to test it out.

In the mean time, I am happy shooting away...

(A LUNCH Featured Review)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Sony_DSC_T99-317-1683813-198840-A_big_sweep_.html http://www.lunch.com/travelgadgets/reviews/d/UserReview-Sony_DSC_T99-317-1683813-198840-A_big_sweep_.html Fri, 7 Jan 2011 04:45:13 +0000