Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Kindle Fire: Fully Loaded If A Little Fuzzy



The Amazon Kindle Fire was released on Nov. 15, and shockedconsumers with its $199 price tag. It seems like most of the rhetoric aroundthe device has been its price, and while that certainly is a huge part of itssuccess, it also has some pretty spiffy features.

I have a Fire and I've compared it to a friend's Barnes andNoble Nook and in just about every unscientific test, the Fire came out ahead.First of all, it feels great in the hand. It's a solid device that doesn't feellike you will break it in half if it gets roughed up a bit. The sleek edgesfeel like they could be an Apple product but they won't cost you an arm and aleg like some of that company's products.

The Fire also has a great app store. The Amazon App Storehas thousands of apps with tons being added daily. The Free App of the Dayfeature is a really great benefit as well. I recently downloaded the My FirstPuzzles app after it came on the App of the Day and my little nephew has probablybeen using the device as much as I have lately. The free app offerings are agreat touch.

In addition to apps, Amazon's Prime service is great forstreaming movies, TV shows and borrowing books for free. The $79 subscriptionfee is a little steep but when you consider that there are more than 10,000movie and television titles to be screened, the price seems almostinsignificant.

The device is not without its drawbacks. There are theobvious points where it doesn't stack up to the iPad, like the lack of a cameraor microphone but the Nook also bests the Fire in a few places. In a recentstudy by DisplayMate, the Fire was found to be twice as reflective as the Nook.The white balance also leaned a little to the yellow side.

I have noticed that the Fire's display doesn't seem quite ascrisp as my friend's Nook, but as long as I am able to see the screen clearly,which I certainly can — probably better than on my laptop — I'm a happy camper.The Fire is a great device if you can get over the relatively poor display andat $199, it won't burn up your savings.

Margot is a technology writer and self-professed expert onhow to get a deal using a Dell coupon
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Monday, January 2, 2012

Send to Your Kindle-Great Utility

Now that the holidays are behind me it is time to share some new ideas and tips and tricks. I have been doing a lot more reading on my Kindle's then ever before and when I came across the Send to Kindle Chrome Extension that would enable me to send web pages to my Kindle I was really excited to test it out. So for those of you who prefer to read web content on your Kindle this could be the perfect solution. I installed the Send to Kindle Extension to my Chrome browser which was very quick. Once installed, I set the Options in the Send to Kindle Extension to send the web page to my Kindle Keyboard. Each Kindle that you own has a unique Kindle email address that you can manage from the Amazon Kindle Web page. For example a typical Kindle email address for a device might look like johnsmith@kindle.com or johnsmith@free.kindle.com. It is important to direct the web pages correctly to Send to Kindle so that you don't get charged for electronic delivery- this is more so for those of you that have a 3G Kindle. It is important to remember that there are no associated fees for delivery of electronic documents over WiFi, however there are charges over 3G. So for those of you who have a Kindle with 3G make sure you send it to a Kindle email address with a free.kindle.com account. The last step in the process is to go to your Manage your  Kindle page on the Web and enter kindle@klip.me to give  the service permission to originate electronic documents from the web to your Kindle. Now when you are browsing the web and want to collect a number of article to read on your Kindle you simply click on the Send to Kindle Extension button in the Toolbar and the next time you are reading your Kindle and are in a WiFi area all of the articles you clipped will show up ready to read. So if you are like me and like to collect some reading material for the evening to read on your Kindle then this is the extension for you. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Five Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Dedicated eReader

I have been using eReaders for some time now and really enjoy the convenience and ease of use of these dedicated devices. In my travels to schools, I am beginning to see more and more schools pilot eReaders in the classroom, especially for students who struggle or who are unmotivated to read. Teachers see the value of students being able to change the size of the font and easy access to the dictionary feature. For many students who struggle in reading many are now more motivated to read on an eReader device as compared to a traditional book. Students can also peruse the Electronic Bookstore and of course with teacher permission download sample chapters from books to see if it will pique their curiosity to engage them in the reading process. But before you go out and purchase an eReader here are some questions you should think about:

1) Do I have access to WiFi in my school or building?

Many of the eReader's support WiFi as well as 3G which will enable you to download books directly to the device without the need to use a computer. If your school has a good WiFi infrastructure then you can save a considerable amount of money by buying the WiFi model of the eReader. For example the  Amazon Kindle Touch with WiFi is $99 dollars compared to the Amazon Touch WiFi/3G model which is $149  dollars. If your schools doesn't support WiFi then you should consider the Kindle Touch WiFi/3G model which would allow you to download books over the air using the 3G network. There is no extra data costs associated with using the Kindle Touch WiFi/3G model for downloading books to the devices.

2) How long can  I expect my dedicated eReader to stay charged?

Many of the dedicated eReaders that utilize E Ink technology can stay charged for long periods of time under normal use. The E Ink technology mirrors that of a traditional page and uses minimal battery life to render the black text on a white background. eReaders like the Kindle Touch and Nook that utilize E Ink technology can stay charged for up to 2 months- which is really incredible if you will be using in a school setting. eReaders that utilize E Ink technology assume that you will be reading the book with a lot of ambient light available.

3) Where can I purchase my books?

All of the major re-sellers of eReaders like Amazon, Bares & Noble, & Kobo provide the user with one stop shopping in their online book store. The online bookstore can be accessed from the devices and books can be quickly downloaded to the devices over WiFi or the 3G network. If you are purchasing books for a school you should investigate getting a corporate or school account with the companies so that you can purchase books with a school Purchase Order

4) Can I read other materials beside books on the dedicated eReader?

In addition to books many of the eReaders also support reading magazines, newspapers, blogs as well as your own personal documents in various formats ie. PDF & Word. When you purchase an Amazon Kindle you are provided with unique email address that you can send Word or PDF documents to, which can be delivered to your Kindle over the WiFi network. This feature is handy for students who want to read their documents on their eReaders

5) How important is having audio and Text to Speech capabilities on my eReader?

While eReaders are great for reading books some eReaders like the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch also support playing audio books from Audible.com as well as reading text on the screen if the Text to Speech capabilities have been enabled by the book publisher. For students with reading disabilities or for those who struggle to read having the text to speech capabilities is a great feature.Likewise, being able to listen to a professionally narrated book from Audible can be very motivating for students who need to reengage with text.

I hope these questions and answers have provided you with some food for thought when you are planning to purchase eReaders. If you have any questions about eReaders, please feel free to email me. If you are interested I am available to run workshops on using eReaders in the classroom.


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting for Kindle Fire to Land

When Amazon announced the Kindle Fire in September, I quickly pre-ordered the device knowing that it would be a big seller. If all goes well I should have the Kindle Fire in had some time tomorrow so that I can share that experience with you. I have been using a Kindle for some time now and really enjoy reading on the device and look forward to experiencing reading on the Kindle Fire. Amazon relying on their Cloud Services has made it really easy to access my ebooks from the many devices that I use. As a company Amazon gets high grades from me for customer support and when my Kindle Reader arrives it will be registered and ready to use with my account. Amazon has done a marvelous job with the integration of their Whispernet network and I cam looking forward to a seamless experience with my Kindle Fire out of the box. More details in the coming days!
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Great Sound from Jawbone Jambox

I ended the weekend at a soiree that my daughter was singing at which was a fund raiser for a local New York City Ballet Company and as luck would have it there was a Silent Auction included in the night's activities. As I scoped out the items, my eyes caught a shiny box with a Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker that I had read about in the tech blogs. The Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker have a retail value of $199 dollars and when the auction opened it started at $125 dollars which was a steal at that price. While I paid a little more for the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speakers when the auction closed- they are well worth it when I'm listening to my music from my iPohne 4S. The Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker includes some really interesting speech technology which lets you know when the speaker is in pairing mode. Pairing the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker with my iPhone was a cinch and the sound is really awesome. The speaker is extremely loud but the driving bass really sounds great listening to the Allman Brothers. The Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker comes with everything you need to use the system including a power adapter to charge the lithium battery, USB charging cable, mini- RCA jack and a carrying case. You can use the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker with any device that has Bluetooth or if you want you can use it as an external speaker with the included RCA jack by plugging it into any audio output. As I sit here writing this blog I'm relishing in the sound of my iPhone and the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speakers.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just Released: IPad™: Enhancing Learning & Communication for Students with Special Needs


I am happy to announce the release of my latest reference guide: 
IPad™: Enhancing Learning & Communication for Students with Special Needs




The reference guide is 6 pages - three hole punched and laminated and is a great resource if you are just getting started or thinking about using the iPad in your classroom. Both authors are special educators as well as assistive technology specialist who designed the card for ease of use. The laminated reference guide is chock full of ideas and tips and tricks on how to best use the iPad in the classroom with recommendations for some of the leading apps for students with special needs.


The iPad™ is a revolutionary technology for use in our 21st century classrooms. It is profoundly changing both the manner in which teachers present instructional content, as well as the way students process and learn new information. The multi-sensory design of the iPad™ makes it an ideal tool for teaching students with special needs. This laminated reference guide provides valuable information on the use of the iPad™ in classroom settings to reach students with diverse learning styles and who have limited functional communication abilities. Proloquo2Go, iCommunicate and other types of applications (Apps) to enhance language development are presented in an easy-to-understand format. An ideal resource for teachers, speech therapists and other educators who work with students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), learning disabilities or other language-related challenges.


If you are interested in purchasing this laminated reference guide please email me for a quote. Volume pricing is available and school purchase orders are accepted.


To purchase:


  


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Free Upcoming eSeminars - Adobe Captivate & eLearning Suite


Adobe’s series of free eSeminars on Adobe Captivate and eLearning Suite continues into November – this month’s featured sessions focus on publishing and packaging. Please note the next eSeminar, covering the Multi-SCO Packager, is tomorrow, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern.
   
Thursday, Nov. 10 – 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET
Join Vish and Dr. Pooja Jaisingh to learn how to combine SWF and PDF from Captivate, Learning interactions SWF from Flash and Course Builder SCOs from Dreamweaver into a single course. You will also learn about using Learning Interactions in Flash and Course Builder in Dreamweaver.

Wednesday, Nov. 16 – 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET
Join RJ Jacquez, Adobe eLearning Senior Product Evangelist, to learn how Adobe is helping advance Mobile Learning (mLearning) through various technologies, including Flash, HTML5 and native mobile apps.
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