Entertainment

Nook Color e-reader Playing Catch AND LeapFrog With Kindle


I was in a Barnes & Noble bookstore today, sipping a wannabe Starbucks drink in their cafe — It’s a Starbucks coffee, but not really. They don’t brew the same coffee as Starbucks stores (no Pike Peak, etc). They don’t take Starbucks cards. They don’t . . . enough of that already.

Well anyway, B&N is now jumping on the eReader bandwagon as they go full-force and push their own device – the Nook. The original Nook was/is horribly S…l……….o………..w. The user experience is dismal. The responsiveness is so slow you might fall asleep, not by reading, but by simply waiting each time you try for any action on the device. This of course is the Kindle-wannabe solution. It’s a little cheaper than the Kindle. And it’s a lot slower than the Kindle. (BTW, the web experience on the Nook is unbearable too).

Now they’ve come out with the NOOKcolor (the official way they are trying brand it — which in itself is lacking. If they have the “Kc” sound in the middle, why don’t they combine it and make it NOOKolor” or NOOColor” or something else. Everyone else calls it the Color Nook. If you’re going to force something unnatural, you might as well go all the way, but that’s a completely different story) to try and leapfrog over the Kindle experience.

Or are they trying to be a big-time iPad wannabe? If so, they’ve failed again. Just look at the browser (based on Android) — You’ll see how this website, www.essistme.com, is rendered completely distorted with menus and other elements overlapping each other – ugly:

And at $249, it about $100 more expensive than a Kindle. That’s expensive for an eReader that doesn’t work as smoothly and perfectly. It’s also too cheap to be anything close to an iPad-type epxerience. If you’re going to want to surf, access email, etc, you might as well invest another $250 and get an iPad or one of the other tab computing devices coming out like the Samsung Galaxy Tab. So we’re confused — Just what are you trying to be Color Nookie?

You’ve Read This Far. . .

If you’re still here reading this post, you must be interested in this “ultimate [wannabe] reading experience”. So here’s an unboxing video for you so you can know exactly what’s in the box:

Read the rest of this entry »

Poor Man’s iTunes: How To Download / Extract mp3 Audio From YouTube Videos


iTunes = Lots Of Choices

There are over 13 million music songs priced at 69, 99, or $1.29 each on the Apple iTunes store as of 2010. That’s a lot of downloadable music content.

YouTube = Even More

But there’s another source of audio content that some people don’t think about — YouTube. I still use iTunes (or the Amazon mp3 store) for regular music downloads. But I also like to listen to other types of audio content to make good use of my time on my commute, waiting in lines, and other periods of downtime.

YouTube actually has tons of video content that is great even for the audio portion alone — I’m talking about lectures, tutorials, podcasts, interviews, sermons, and speeches. But by having them trapped within a video doesn’t make it as useful when you want to listen to it on the run (and sometimes literally!).

Extract Audio From YouTube Videos

The question is how to get the audio out of a video file on YouTube?

A couple of sites lets you download just the audio within a YouTube video. All you have to do is supply the video url and let them know if you want a regular or high quality version of the audio to be extracted.

Free Download Helpers

Two sites that work well (there are a bunch!) are:

  • www.video2mp3.net

  • www.vid2mp3.com

After the site does some quick thinking, it supplies you with a download link or even a direct URL to pass along to someone else so they can grab the audio file as well.

There’s over 150 million videos on YouTube supposedly. That’s a whole universe of potential mp3 files to download for you! Enjoy!

Free Tech Support For Your Christmas Tech Gifts


If you’re like most homes, you’ve probably unwrapped one or two Christmas gifts today that require a battery or outlet to plug it in.

Today’s gadgets are increasingly complex and require more than a QuickStart guide. Sometimes it can be frustrating since you want to get the tech toy up and running asap, right?

Well, BestBuy has opened up the lines to give everyone access to their GeekSquad tech support this week. If you have a computer, HDTV, iPod, smart phone, GPS, DVD player, Wii, etc and you are have some questions on how to set it up, get on the phone or fire up the web browser for a web-based chat with GeekSquad support.

It’s completely free this week until the New Year.

Hey, even if it’s not about a new toy, use GeekSquad this week to troubleshoot that annoying problem you’ve been having with your printer or webcam or media player or Tivo or . . . .

The cool part is that their tech support is available 24/7.

Just call 1-800-GEEK-SQUAD or click over to their TechSupport live chat page

One Man’s Trash Is Another’s Treasure: 10 Websites For Swapping Your Stuff

We learn all about making swaps from our childhood.

Remember when you used to negotiate a trade for baseball cards or any other collector’s items? Heck, we used to swap lunches sometimes — almost nothing was off limits.

But when you grow up, that all changes for some reason. What’s mine is mine, what’s your is yours. We go to great lengths in today’s culture to make sure people know just how much *stuff* we accumulate, unwilling to share it.

Here’s where the Internet is helping to disrupt culture, at least in some corners of the world.

Perhaps it is the economy, perhaps it is the new generation. Perhaps it is the “green” machine that’s making all of notice things like the fact that the average American throws out 68 pounds of clothing each and every year according to Good Housekeeping Magazine. 10 years…that’s 680 lbs of unnecessary death to clothing. 20 years. . . 30 years . . . And it doesn’t apply to just clothes!

The Internet has taken the friction out of making swaps or just plainly giving usable things away for someone else to enjoy it. Here’s a bunch of websites including some Good Housekeeping highlighted in their recent November 2010 issue which you can explore so that those DVDs, you know, the ones you bought in the 90′s…the ones you can admit that you’ll *never* watch again, can be exchanged for a shiny new DVD movie you can watch an upcoming weekend (especially since the Blockbuster store has gone R.I.P.!). Got a book? Exchange it! Got some baby toys or clothes? Swap it!

Here’s a list of 10 websites you can start with to get a (re)newed collection of things. . . Read the rest of this entry »

Technology That’s Fit For A King (Sized Bed)

Technology is a good thing, right?

Hey, I believe that technology should serve the master, not the other way around.

Yes, we all get frustrated when seeing how, say, Microsoft Windows or other really bad examples of technology are launched into the world out there.

But there are times — albeit rare moments in time — when we are simply awed by how technology is put into place.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and respect it for what it is.  I mean, when you just sit back and think, “why didn’t I think of that?!”  or better yet when you instantly just know for sure what you want for Christmas next year.

Case in point — check out the product in this video below where it really takes the title of “KING” (sized bed)…

Yup, that’s a 50″ plasma HDTV lift custom fitted to a king-size bed.

QUESTION: WHAT OTHER EXAMPLES OF TECHNOLOGY CAN YOU THINK OF THAT FUNCTION SOLELY TO SERVE THE OWNER?

How To Download YouTube Videos

Sometimes you need a video clip that’s available online for offline use – like using it as an example for a class or workshop.

Other times, you may want to be able to play it offline for your own review at a later time when it’s more convenient for you, or when you know you won’ t have internet access (like on a plane).

There’s definitely a bunch of sites available now that let you download videos from YouTube and other video sharing sites out there.

Usually all you have to do is copy/paste the video page URL from Youtube, MetaCafe or other video site into the form on the video download site and you’re all set to go.

But once in awhile, your favorite Youtube video grabber site can’t download the video file.  That’s when you have to go looking for other options.

Other than Kisstube and Vixy, I found another favorite that seems to work for me . . .

SaveVid.com works just the same.  This site does give a couple of download options including flv format, mp4 as well as HD video which YouTube presents sometimes.

SaveVid.com also shares some of the videos that others have used the site to download so you can get a sense of what people are watching and downloading.

Do you have any other favorite sites to download videos from online video platforms?  Please add them in the comments below.

Quickest Way To Look Up Movie Listings

School’s out!

Winter break is here for the kids!

A whole week or two off to fill the kids’ schedules with fun stuff to do if you’re not going away on vacation.

A trip to the movie theater is in order since there are a couple of blockbuster movies that just came out and they pass the litmus test for child-appropriate as well.

Here’s a tip to find out which movies are playing now in your area:

Google has a search built just for movie theaters and listings. You can search by zip code, but movie, or by theater. There are links to reviews as well as listings for future dates so you can plan your movie nights out this weekend.

Just go to http://www.google.com/movies and type in your zip code to start your search!