Tablets and e-book Readers
|Index Page||To view the whole site please click on >> SITE MAP||Next Page :Travelogues|
NEW : Hints and Tips on the iPad
Under construction: Social Networking
Tablets are small computers which are normally operated
by touching the screen. The best known of these is the Apple iPad, now in
Version 4, although version 2 is still available. In February 2013 the iPad
can now be bought with up to 128Gb of space. Mind you, all pads contain
initial programs which take space. So you may find that the smallest
memory versions soon run out of room. After all, they mostly have video and
still cameras and players, the ability to access the net and emails and a
dozen other 'apps', in addition to a complex operating system. Some tablets,
like the £145 Samsung Tab 27, get over the initial lack of space
by having a Micro SD slot, allowing you to add 32Gb more space.
In my opinion, people who have never touched a PC will find a touch screen tablet far easier to use.
The "Which" Reports on tablets over the last couple of years have placed the iPad and mini iPad in the top 7 slots, which only the fairly expensive Acer Iconia creeping in at 8th. Then there are a number of Samsung Galaxy models plus an Asus, Google and Microsoft tablets bringing up the rear. But this market is fluid and fashions and prices can change overnight.
One area which is developing rapidly is speech recognition (long been pet idea of mine) The later iPads, including the Mini, include a program called Siri. The enables you to ask questions on any subject and Siri will find the answer either from the iPad of off the net. Saves a lot of typing and searching. Google are now developing the same facility and it will inevitably be applied to all computers.
The Google (Samsung) Chromebook is now available from £229. See http://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/chrome/devices/#utm_campaign=en&utm_source=en-hpp-em-uk&utm_medium=hpp Chromebooks boot in seconds, have apps built-in, and back up your stuff safely on the cloud. With 3G and all-day battery, you can take them anywhere and everywhere. The Samsung 550 model comes with 3G from £379, so you will not be tied to a WiFi connection.
The Apple Ipad 7" mini is also on the shelves from £269. See HERE for Apple's description. But you will have to wait for the 3G model.
The specifications of the main mini pads can be find clicking HERE http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/377710/ipad-mini-vs-kindle-fire-hd-vs-nexus-7-full-specs
Many people don't realise that the quoted hard disk space on the various Pads is not all available for use. The sophisticated operating systems and installed applications take a sizable portion. For instance, if you get a 64Gb Microsoft Surface only 21Gb is available to store you pictures, videos, music and additional apps.
Amazon has been beefing up its Kindle e-book reader. You can still get the basic reader for £69 but with reports of them stopping working after a couple of years maybe they needed to (see the one star comments by users). We now have the colour touch screen Kindle Fire at £129 and the Kindle Fire HD (higher resolution screen) from £159 for the 16gb version. There is now a 3G version at £169 but that has a 'paperwhite' (mono) screen and, although it is touch screen, doing without colour they claim you can get several weeks reading on one charge - if you go easy of the backlighting. But bear in min that you are restricted to Amazon's e-books and several people didn't like that.
The basic Kindle Fire (£129) has a 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB of
storage and a 7" colour touchscreen, with a thin, light and durable body.
Perfect for browsing, watching, playing and reading, the Kindle Fire gives
you instant access via WiFi to over 22 million movies, TV shows, songs,
books, and magazines, plus some of the most popular apps and games. A free
one-month trial of LOVEFiLM lets you stream thousands of movies and TV shows
over an Internet connection. It has fast web browsing and email, as well
as integrated support for Facebook, Twitter and Gmail, Microsoft Exchange
calendar and contacts. It also comes with free unlimited cloud storage for
all your Amazon-purchased content, so you don't have to worry about losing
your favourite media ever again.
The iPad4, which has superceded the ipad2 and 3, has the higher definition screen, is currently priced from £399. You can pay more depending on the size of the memory (up to 128Gb) and whether it connects by Wi-Fi (local wireless connection) or 3G (satellite). It has a bright 14 x 10 glass screen. It is fast, connecting to a wi-fi connection almost instantly when the start button is pressed and it displays a number of standard icons, such as email, browser (Safari).calender, maps, photos, iTunes, camera etc. The normal method of operation is to touch or press and icon to get to the next screen. Its really impressive and intuitive feature (now common on a number of mobile phones) is to swipe the screen from one side to the other or top to bottom, revealing other icons, photographs or emails. Beyond this feature I have found the iPad considerably LESS intuitive, requiring a rethink from PC habits. Returning to the 'home page' requires one to press the Start button or to 'grab' the screen with all fingers. Pressing an icon, rather than tapping it makes all the icons dither around, which gives the opportunity to rearrange icons, move them to another page or delete the 'app' completely. The email button shows the number of unread emails you have. Pressing it shows a split screen with the list of emails on the left and the text on the right. The next hurdle is to print them. iPads do not have USB sockets (surprising), so I had to order a wireless printer, which works fine (and enables me to print from other PCs). Some iPads have mini memory card slots, which would be useful and some have a slot for a phone SIM card. Transferring pictures to it was a mystery. Suddenly all my favourite pictures appeared. Pictures can be downloaded from emails easily enough. But connecting the pad to the PC via its power socket (!) with the charger cable allows you to connect to an iTunes folder on the PC. They hope you will start buying music. Not for nothing Apple is bigger than Microsoft. Synchronising it the name of the game. If you have an iPhone and iPod these can all be synchronised either by cable or wirelessly through "The Cloud"
Surprisingly, connecting The iPad to the PC does not recharge it (a shame), so you have to swap that cable often. The battery is reasonable, just about a full day's use. When the rechargeable battery wears out you have to take it to Apple or throw the thing away (no serviceable parts).
One thing one must become familiar with is the Apple App store. Once there one can search for applications such as a Word Processor. .. unlike Ubuntu it doesn't come with one. But prices are not high. A word processor (called Pages) cost me £6.99, a PDF reader and even a Speech recognition program were both free as are BBC news and catchup apps. I have also become addicted to a Scrabble type game (Words with Friends) which can even be played with friends on PCs. Access Youtube, Facebook and Twitter are all in there when you start.
It is interesting to see starts as to iPad use, especially how many people use them while watching TV and or in bed!
A long demonstration can be seen on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JPTaoDwOz4 It shows the extraordinary versatility of the iPad
There are a number of Pros and Cons with iPads.
In standby mode (press a button on the edge), connection to your WiFi is instantaneous. That is a big plus over starting a PC these days. Even from the OFF mode it is just a mater of seconds. But Standby takes little power so many people will switch to that between uses. In any case it returns to Standby if not used for a while.
The speaker is excellent. I am completely deaf without my cochlear implant but find this speaker better than most radios or TV. Using the BBC iPlayer app I still use subtitles but really could manage without.
The screen is good, even on the iPad2, so displaying photos as stills or as a slideshow, is what you see many people doing to show off their new gadget. The screen size is perfectly adequate for watching a full length video.
All Apple equipment (PC, iPod, iPhone and iPad) can be synchronised, so you can keep them up to date with photos, music, diary etc.
When writing (e.g. email) the iPad tries to anticipate you text and suggest (on screen and audibly) what you might be thinking! Pressing the space bar accepts its suggestion, which could be wrong. So be careful! But this can help speed up your writing. It corrects spelling and. if you write doesn't you don't need to enter the apostrophe. Handy.
Many apps are free or very reasonable. I paid £60 for Dragon Naturally Speaking on the PC and would have to pay more for updates. It is free with frequent updates on the iPad
I still find the operating system confusing after several months and often find I am back at some point I looked at a week before, when really I just wanted to continue emailing.
Having to charge it frequently is a nuisance. Having to keep an eye on the battery level. The average PC USB connection is not man enough for the job (wrong voltage?) so you have to use a mains connection.
Having to go through the synchronisation process with the same, short cable. I have rarely bothered, although synchronising has advantages. But beware of synchronising a folder you have changed on the PC. It is easy to wipe out music, pictures etc on all you Apple gadgets.
Photo manipulation, so far, has been a pain. I still have not manage to attach multiple photos to an email. Oh for a Picasa equivalent!
I haven't yet found a Deleted Mail or Sent Mail area
When replying to mail I like to clear the writer's mail. This can only be done with difficulty. You can backspace/delete it. After a couple of letters it then deletes whole words
Editing text is a pain. Getting back to that mispelt word with fat fingers...Sometimes I make 5 attempts. I need cursor keys or a mouse. If you press and hold on a sentence it magnifies it, which helps But all there is is a deleting backspace.
Selecting text is as bad. You can press on a paragraph and click Select All, then Copy (but not Cut or Delete?). But select all means the whole document. The way to select a section is the equally fiddly stretching of corner markers. Some of this difficult can be overcome using a special stylus. Now where is my stylus ?
Not to be outdone (on price at least) the Disgo 9104 is a new, cheap Android tablet, costs £180. It is a 16Gb machine with SD card expansion and uses the same screen as the iPad2. You get £100 of apps thrown in but not the Google Play set. It has a single core processor but is still very fast.
E-book Readers are the portable devices that have the capacity
to contain hundreds of books which can be found on line. Many of these
are out of copyright and many are free. You can download several books to
a reader and take it with you.
So, what is the point of an e-book? Portability is an obvious advantage especially for avid readers. Delivery is instantaneous. Some books are charged but usually cost a half or a third of buying them in a shop. But since Amazon popularised the Kindle several other reader devices have appeared. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.WHSmith sell some.
The Kindle. This is Amazon's own baby. So, with the 3G model, you could download a book or the latest newspaper while sitting on a beach (even if you were marooned on a desert island !). I was even able to get my Gmail wire-free at no extra cost. With the older model, without a mouse, the little 'pad' made it difficult. It does have an on-screen keyboard but even the Kindle 3 (£89) was not 'touch screen' But the newer Kindle Touch (£109) is. Amazingly the Kindle has a reasonable Text to Speech, so would be usable by the blind and partially sighted. All versions are capable of connecting to your PC either wirelessly or by USB. They can be recharged with the supplied charger or via USB.
October 2011 The new Kindle is smaller and lighter than the first one. It comes in two styles. The basic one is £89 (connects to wi-fi hotspots) and the 3G version (with keyboard) is £149 (connects anywhere). There are no further charges unless you download paid for books from Amazon.
For a video of the new 3G version see HERE
Kindle books are exclusive to Amazon and are not readable by any of the other devices, although you can download Kindle software to your PC, free, so can download books to read there. The Kindle is also able to read PDF files, which extends their range considerably Charges vary according to the book or whether you wish to subscribe to a magazine or newspaper. Although you can download a sample before purchase, Amazon make it (too) easy to accept and pay for a book with your Amazon account. One click too many and you will be emailed as to what you just paid ! It arrives set up for your Amazon account and ready to go. Amazon carries over 500,000 titles in the UK store.
The Kindle is easy to use, with few controls. Just press buttons on either side of the device to turn the pages back or forth. The font can be made larger. The e-ink method used is light on power, so the battery might last you a few days on the desert island. It is a mono screen with grey lettering on a whitish screen. It is capable of mono graphics.
The other contenders for the e-book market are......
Sony Reader £110 Amazon. 2gb memory - no expansion; Aluminium; 5" glare free mono screen; e-ink. and not wireless. Not backlit but people find it satisfactory. Touch screen, so you can turn the page without wetting your finger !
Apple iPad. Wireless facility, some connect to the mobile phone network. Apples iBookstore stocks over 150,000 books
Elonex has brought out one (the 500EB) for £70 which is full colour and, in addition to books can display photographs and videos and even plays music files via headphones. It has 2Gb memory but (unlike the Kindle) this can be increased using an SD card. It does NOT use e-ink, which means it displays more rapidly but takes a great deal more power - lasting around 6 hours, as opposed to the Sony and Kindle readers, which will last for days. Charging and downloading is via a USB cable to your PC. It does not connect wirelessly. A million free books can be downloaded from the Elonex site.
Free books can be downloaded to these devices - or to your PC from Amazon, www.manybooks.net, Elonex.com, Gutenburg, Bookdepository (co.uk). free-ebooks.net and several other places.
You want 'apps' for your iPad, iPhone ? Here are some suiggestions :
Brewster: Instant Rolodex - Between Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - not to mention your email client - you likely have hundreds, if not thousands, of colleagues and customers you interact with. Brewster is a handy mobile app that pulls in contact info and other details from all of those platforms and creates eye-catching, in-depth profiles for each and every person. Using a relationship algorithm, the app automatically sorts contacts into favorites, trending and other lists, and even sends out gentle reminders when youre falling out of touch with someone. Another benefit: Brewster is fully searchable - not just by name, but keyword, location and even photo.
HootSuite: All your social media, an app handling social media on the go; allows for publishing to all of your social networks - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc - from one interface. You can schedule messages for optimum times, attach files and photos and shrink links, all with a few taps. Advanced users can even set up streams for monitoring customer feedback on social networks, track clients and keywords across different platforms and more.
Dropbox: Your hard drive, anywhere - Heres an oldie but goodie, cloud-based system to sync files across all of your devices. Just drag files or folders into the Dropbox folder, and theyll sync across phones, PCs, laptops, tablets, etc., automatically. Edit from anywhere and changes are saved and synced (You can even access older and deleted versions of files). Dropbox gives you 2GB for free (or up to 18GB if you refer friends) and has paid plans for users with bigger needs.
Trello: Beyond to-do lists - Trello takes this concept into the mobile era. Tasks (or Lists, in Trello lingo) are represented as columns on a virtual corkboard. Add as many cards as you want to a List, then customize each card with comments, checklists and attachments. Uniquely flexible and collaborative, Trello is as handy for personal to-do lists as it is for coordinating complex projects among big teams - from managing sales leads to producing films.
Evernote: Another indispensable classic, cloud-based notetaking app You can save anything in it - photos, voice memos, attachments, clips from the Internet, typed and even handwritten notes - and it makes everything searchable, synced and accessible across all of your devices. The uses are really limitless. Record a sound bite at a conference on your phone and listen to it later on your work PC. Jot down some inspiration on your tablet on the bus, then finish the thought later on your home computer. Take a photo of a business card or handwritten Post-it note, then - courtesy of Evernotes OCR handwriting recognition - search its contents at a later time. The free mobile app lets you upload up to 60 megabytes a month.
UberConference: Conference calls on the go - Organizing conference calls is a logistical feat under the best of conditions - emailing colleagues to set a time, sending out access codes, waiting for everyone to call in. Trying to do all that on the go can be nearly impossible. Thats where UberConference comes in, the brainchild of Google Voice guru Craig Walker. You select attendees from your phones contact list and UberConference automatically calls, emails or texts them to join, no PIN required. Once the call is underway, the apps nifty display shows photos and social profiles of all callers and even indicates whos speaking at any given time. Though it lacks the ability to schedule calls in advance, UberConference definitely succeeds in making the conference call experience a bit less painful.
Looking for more time-savers? An unabridged list of 2013s must-have business apps (both mobile and desktop) is available on HootSuites app directory.
Index Page To view the whole site please click on >> SITE MAP Next Page :Travelogues