The iPad is a wonderful product, but when you use it to read books or magazines or to watch videos, you can easily get tired of holding it. that’s when it is time to purchase a stand to hold it for you. Apple sells a stand, but I was pretty unimpressed with it. I like the Griffin stand. As shown below, it is an A-frame type made of heavy aluminum. It holds the iPad in either portrait or landscape position. You can close the legs and have it in a good typing position. The soft silicone keeps the A-frame and the iPad in place. At $49.99 it is not cheap, but it will last as long as your iPad — perhaps even longer.
This week I had the pleasure of setting up a new Gateway One ZX computer….and I was quite impressed! This is an all-in-one computer like an iMac. There is no tower. The entire computer is built into the screen. Still, the screen is sleek and thin. As a matter of fact, this Gateway can give Apple a run for their money on design. It has a shiny black bezel and rests on cool plexiglass feet.
The ZX I worked with was the entry level ZX One that costs about $750. It had a lot for the money….. a crisp and clear 20″ touch screen, 4 GB ram, and a 750 GB hard drive. The touch screen was very responsive.
While I did not have the computer long enough to do a full review, I can tell you that I was impressed by what I saw.
You don’t hear much about Gateway today, but if they keep up this type of innovation, maybe we will hear more about them in the future.
Microsoft has just announced a Windows 7 Upgrade Option program. This allows PC makers and retailers to offer free upgrades to Windows 7 for any PC purchased with Windows Vista Home Premium, Vista Ultimate, or Vista Business. The program starts June 26 and ends January 31, 2010. The upgrade will be provided by Microsoft when Windows 7 is released on October 22, 2009.
This will allow you to buy that new computer now, and still get the newest operating system when it is released. The upgrade should be relatively easy, so I wouldn’t hesitate to get in on this offer. Just be sure that the place you purchase your new computer is offering this option and be sure to inquire about what paperwork you need to keep and/or to process now for your upgrade.
You may have seen it on TV in Internet advertising, it’s called the magicJack, and it promises to give you unlimited long distance telephone calling through your computer for just $19.95 a year.
Last year I had the privilege of meeting Don Borislow, the inventor of this product at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. I tried the magicJack then and was impressed by both the product and the business plan. However, I was reluctant to recommend a product so new and so inexpensive. The magicJack sells for just $39.95 with the first year’s service included. Once you have the small magicJack device, you pay only $19.95 a year for service or five years for $59.95. Could Don keep his price point low? Could he deliver on his plan to give every magicJack a unique telephone to make and receive calls? Could he make this device as easy to use as it needed to be for the average user?
After watching the magicJack for over a year, I found the answer to these questions was a resounding “YES”, and I can now highly recommend the magicJack. It lets you make free local and long distance calls, gives you a distinctive telephone number, and even includes call waiting, voicemail, and caller ID.
The magicJack is a small device, approximately 1 ¼” x 3” x ½”. It has a USB port on one end and a place for a regular telephone cable on the other. To use it you simply turn on your computer, attach any regular telephone with a regular telephone cable, and plug the magicJack into the USB port on your computer. The computer automatically recognizes the magicJack and sets it up for you. You are then asked to fill out a form with your name, address , and email. At that time you also choose the telephone area code you would like and a unique telephone number is generated for you.
magicJack then sends you an email which you respond to in order to activate your magicJack. As soon as that is done you can start making and receiving calls. The entire setup process takes no longer than 20 minutes and the instructions are clear and easy-to-follow.
I tried the magicJack on several computers including Windows XP, Macs, and Windows Vista machines. It worked well on all, even the 64-bit computers. The only caveat is that the magicJack needs a good USB connection. I found that some of the time plugging it into the front USB ports did not work. It needed to be plugged into the back of the computer.
You can place calls through the easy magicJack window that appears on your computer when the magicJack is attached. You can also place and receive calls by simply picking up the handset. I set the magicJack up with my wireless phone system, so I can make and receive calls throughout the house. The calls have all been as clear as when I use a land line. BTY, you don’t need any telephone line for the magicJack. You just need a computer.
You will, however, need to have a high speed Internet connection like broadband, cable, DSL, wireless, Wi-Fi, or FIOS for the magicJack to work. You can only make and receive calls when your computer is on. However, if you turn the computer off, the magicJack voice mail will take a message for you.
If you have a laptop, you can travel with your magicJack and use it for no-cost calls from your hotel room. You can take it to any country in the world and make calls back to the US for free. The address that you give on the registration is used for 911 calls. Obviously, you won’t be able to use the magicJack for accurate 911 location-based calls if you take it on the road.
The magicJack is an amazing little device that can save you a lot of money. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee. You do need to give your credit card information when you order, but they don’t charge your card until the 31st day. So you have plenty of time to cancel without any hassle. I’d say, “Give the magicJack a try!” Click Here To Try a magicJack
In choosing a computer, there are times when you want all the gadgets and gizmos it can have, but there are also times when you just want a simple workhorse. If you are looking for the workhorse, the Toshiba Satellite Pro L500 will be a good choice.
This Satellite comes with a clear and crisp 15.4 inch TruBrite widescreen display that has good viewing angles. The 1280 x 800 screen resolution may not suit those who like to keep many windows on the screen, but it is perfect for the average user. The mat black full-sized keyboard has clearly marked keys and an excellent feel. The black keyboard is surrounded by a mat silver surround that incorporates a responsive touchpad. Multi-tasking is no problem with this laptop’s Intel Centrino processor technology and Core 2 Duo processors. (The L500 can also be purchased in an AMD dual core processor configuration.) It has built-in 802.11 a/b/g wireless support.
Although this laptop doesn’t have a fingerprint reader or bright color exteriors, it does have just about everything that you need for everyday computing. The built-in webcam with 3.0 megapixel resolution and the built-in microphone are useful tools. The Webcam is especially easy to use, just move your cursor to the left side of the screen, and the webcam software pops up allowing you to start the camera, control the settings and add fun effects.
There is a memory card reader for SD cards and Memory Sticks. The 160 GB hard drive (5400rpm) is large enough for most business and/or home use. My test unit came with 2 GB (PC2-5300 DDR2 667MHz SDRAM) memory, which is plenty for the Windows XP Professional operating system that came pre-installed. The L300 is also available with Vista Business with the downgrade media necessary for Windows XP Professional. This is a great feature that gives you the best of both worlds. Try Vista and if [you don’t like it, go back to XP at no additional cost.
This Toshiba L500 comes with a DVD-SuperMulti drive which supported every format I threw at it. It also has a modem, 10/100 Ethernet port, stereo speakers, and a PC ExpressCard slot. It has three USB ports. I really like the fact that it has two USB ports on one side and one on the other. This gives you the choice of using whichever side is more convenient. For instance, if you are left-handed and use a USB mouse, you can attach it to the left side of the computer. If you are right-handed, you can use the ports on the right. This is something that all laptop manufacturers should take note of.
The only useful thing missing was built-in Bluetooth. There is also no S-Video or HDMI port, but this is not surprising. The XP Professional and/or Vista Business operating system is aimed more at business use rather than home entertainment use.
The software that came with the computer included the Toshiba Disc Creator, Google Picasa™, InterVideo® WinDVD®, Toshiba ConfigFree, which is a utility to help you connect to Wi-Fi networks. The Toshiba Recovery Disc Creator is also installed with an icon on the desktop. However, I was never prompted to create the disks, which is a reminder that most users will need to remember to make the recovery disks well before they need them.
There are also two 60-day trial pieces of software, Microsoft Office Professional 2007 and Norton 360™ All-In-One Security.
In normal everyday use, the Toshiba was strong and sturdy. I enjoyed the mat finish which always looked professional and didn’t attract fingerprints. The computer also performed well, even for intensive graphic tasks and multi-tasking. Benchmarks done by others rate the L300 average in performance. At 5.7 lbs. it is a little heavy, but still tote able.
The battery life is adequate. Expect to get 2-4 hours depending on the screen brightness that you prefer and if wireless is enabled or disabled. The L300 is wonderfully quite and doesn’t seem to generate much heat. All-in-all, it is a good, solid performer that is quite and sturdy.
Reviewed: Toshiba Satellite Pro L500 L300-EZ1005X
• Good design
• Full-size keyboard
• Crisp, clear screen
• Easy-to-access ports
• Webcam & microphone
• Somewhat heavy
• No Bluetooth
• Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 2.1GHz processor
• 2GB RAM DDR2
• Intel X3100 Integrated Graphics
• 160GB (5400 rpm) hard drive
• Windows XP Professional
• 15.4″ WXGA 1280×800 screen
• Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG (802.11a/b/g)
• 10/100 Ethernet LAN
• VGA-15 pin
• DVD-SuperMulti drive (+/-R double layer) supporting up to 11 formats
• ExpressCard Slot
• SDCard Slot
• 3x USB 2.0
• Stereo headphone and mono microphone jack
• Integrated Webcam
• Lithium Ion battery
• Weight: 5.7lbs
• Retail Price: $899