Category Archives: mp3 Player

One Week with the Galaxy Note

Note:  I wrote this post on my Galaxy Note a few weeks ago and saved it as a draft, then forgot to publish it until now.

I’ve been using my new AT&T Galaxy Note for just over a week, and in this post I’ll highlight my likes and dislikes.


If you’ve read many reviews, you’ve probably noticed that people either love or hate the Galaxy Note.  I fall into the LOVE crowd.  The first time I saw the huge, beautiful screen combined with the stylus I knew instantly that I wanted one.  However, I can understand why some people would not be as infatuated with this phone as I am.

First of all, this phone is huge, yet I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did fit into the front pocket of some of my pants.  Now I only wear a fraction of my wardrobe…and it is so worth it!  I’ll just have to make sure that when I’m trying on new clothes, I also have to make sure that the phone fits – no problem.

Data Entry
Typing in portrait mode is uncomfortable for me, but landscape mode is perfect.  I’m typing this post on the Galaxy Note.  The handwriting recognition is nice, but takes practice.  The voice recognition is awesome, but if you have an Android phone, you already knew that.

S Memo
I’ve used this app for short notes in brief meetings and classes, but tomorrow I have a 4 hour meeting.  I’m looking foreward to puting S Memo – especially the voice recorder – to the test.

I never found a calendar app on my iPhone that I liked.  I want lots of information visible in the month view and Samsung nailed it. Good job!

Bottom Line
If you’re not sure if you would like this phone, you probably won’t.
If you can’t sleep at night because you’re up reading reviews, then get one, you’ll love it.


OK, Time to Get a Blackberry Playbook

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I was so excited when I heard that Staples was going to be selling Blackberry Playbooks for $199 on Black Friday. I got a little nervous when I found out that the Playbooks were going to be a door buster…translation…my local Staples may only have two in stock on that day. My local Staples is also in a college town, 60 miles from my home. Now I had to worry about how early I should get there Friday morning…would I have to get there hours early and stand in line out in the cold (I hate the cold)…I would need to be the first or second person in line…what if I got there hours early, was the first person in line, then ended up being the only person in line when the doors opened at 6am…oh, what to do!

I’ve been checking prices at all the places that sell Playbooks: Staples, Best Buy, Walmart – as of yesterday, they were all still selling them for $499. Best Buy in Canada was selling them for $199, but they wouldn’t ship – you had to pick it up at the store. Urg! I checked Ebay and the going price for a new Playbook was around $350…and they were all from sellers in Canada…Hmmmm.

Well, this morning I was wanting to know what kind of charger the Playbook came with. I checked Staples website and they didn’t even mention a charger. Then I checked Walmart, and what do you know…they are selling Playbooks for $198 – online only.

I ordered one, along with the convertible case and the fastest possible shipping (shipping cost $33, but it was going to cost at least $20 in gas to go shopping on Black Friday and I should get it by Wednesday).

Now I can look forward to sleeping in on Friday…and when I do get up, I can sit in the comfort of my good ol’ rocking chair with a cup of hot cocoa and my new Playbook.

This makes me want to take notes.


The Samsung Galaxy Note beside a Galaxy S II.

Samsung has done it again. They have announced the most incredible gadget…the Galaxy Note…but they don’t have any plans to offer it in the US. This is even more disappointing than when they released the original Galaxy Tab in the US with the phone function disabled.

I have an iPhone…and love it (writing this post on it).

I have an iPad…and love it (use it for school work).

However, iPhone 5 news does not excite me at all…absolutely no temptation to get one. But when Samsung announced the Galaxy Note, I instantly started drooling.
-Giant, beautiful display
-Snappy, dual core processor
-Maintains the portability of a phone; fits in a pocket or a purse
-incredible note taking features
-includes self storing stylus

Read this post in Gizmag for more information on the Galaxy Note.

or check out this hands on video:

I think this device has great potential as an educational tool, especially for college students.  And, as I’ve read in several posts, just because Samsung doesn’t have plans to launch the Galaxy Note in the US now, that doesn’t mean they won’t decide to at some future date (like closer to the date that my contract expires on my iPhone 4).  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Tennessee school requires students to carry iPads


Students in grades 4-12 who attend the Webb School of Knoxville, a private boarding school in Tennessee, will be required to carry an iPad to class during the 2012 school year. Students may use an iPad that they already own, purchase an iPad on their own, or lease an iPad through the school. The three year lease will include a 16GB wifi iPad 2 and a 3 year maintenance plan and will cost $230/year. The lease can be paid in a lump sum at the beginning of each year , or in 10 installments per year. At the end of the lease, the iPad belongs to the student.

Webb says that etextbooks will not be available in all classes, but the iPad will be use more as a tool to replace paper and pencil or as a supplement to the traditional text.

I’m looking foreword to following the progress of Webb’s iPad for every student program and Grandview R-2 High School’s Android tablet for every student program.

Here’s how the two program’s compare:
Webb: Private school in Knoxville, TN
Grandview: Public School in Hillsboro, MO

Webb: Adopting 9.7″ Apple iPad
Grandview: Adopting the Coby Kyros 7″ Android tablet (not sure which model)

Webb: Students pay for iPads and apps and the iPad belongs to the student after the 3 year lease
Grandview: The school pays for the Android tablets and apps and the students can purchase their tablet for a discounted price when they graduate

Webb: Not rushing to adopt etextbooks for all classes
Grandview: Appears to be adopting FlexBooks in place of traditional textbooks for core classes

What I like about Webb and Grandview is that they are not only utilizing these tools in the classroom, but giving every student the opportunity to use these tools at home. Webb and Grandview are pioneers with this type of tech in school and I’m anxious to hear about their successes as well as how they deal with problems that arise.

For mor information see:

Webb School of Knoxville iPad Program


Grandview R-2 Android Tablet Program

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook vs iPad 2


Earlier this summer, I was torn between which gadget to replace my netbook with:
•A more powerful ultraportable laptop, like a 13″ MacBook Air or Acer TimelineX
•The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
•The iPad 2

Cost concerns eliminated the ultraportables from consideration, so let’s focus on the Series 5 w/ Wifi & 3G and the 16GB iPad 2 w/ Wifi only.

Now, this may seem like we’re comparing apples to oranges, but both of these system are priced at $499, and were in competition for my money.

Series 5: 4GB, with documents and music stored online and Apps are web based. There is also an SD card slot.
iPad 2: 16GB, with documents, music, and apps stored locally on the device. However, storage is becoming less of a concern for iOS devices with the arrival of services like Dropbox. In addition to that, a new feature of iOS is online backup of iTunes and App Store purchases – so you can download apps and music that you’ve purchased when you need them, delete them when you are done, and re-download as needed.
***In my case, this category was a tie, but I don’t require a lot of local storage.

Design and Portability
***I like the design of both devices – large enough to meet my needs, yet still portable.

Series 5: Google Docs has evolved into a very capable office suite for a math and science teacher (like me). The only strike against Google Docs is that you can’t work off-line (though this may change in the near future).
iPad 2: iWork is a nice, simple office suite for educators. I don’t get bogged down in a bunch of features that I don’t use. The main strike against iWork is that it’s word processor lacks an equation editor – a must have for a math and science teacher.
***I lean toward the iPad 2 in this category because there wasn’t a way to work in Google Docs off-line, but I was able to work around iWorks lack of an equation editor with an app called MathBot.

Battery Life
series 5: 8.5 hrs
iPad 2: 10 hrs
***iPad 2 takes this category.

Series 5: Wifi and 3G, with 100GB of free data per month from Verizon – that’s awesome!
iPad 2: Wifi only
***At the $499 price point, the series 5 wins this category, with the free data making this a very compelling device.

As you know, I chose the 16GB iPad 2 with Wifi because I was concerned about not being able to work on documents off-line. I considered the 3G version of my iPad, but in the end, Wifi connectivity is sufficient for me. On rare occasions that Wifi is not available, I can use iWork on on my iPhone. We will see how well the iPad works as my primary home computer for the 2011-2012 school year.

I’m liking iCloud so far…


I like the Beta features that have been released so far:
•Purchase histories in iTunes and the App Store. This allows music and apps purchased on one device to be downloaded to all other devices without having to sync with your computer.

The features that are coming this fall sound good:
•Automatic backup and restoration.
•Syncing documents wirelessly across all devices.

The calendar and contacts apps will also be able to sync wirelessly across all devices, but I’m curious to see how this will work in my situation. My daughter and I each have an iPhone on the same iTunes account with our own calendars and contacts. We’ll see I guess.

I’m kind of indifferent to the photo stream feature.

For mor information see:  iCloud

The phone companies ruined my dream gadget…


…by disabling the phone feature! Let me explain: I had been using a “dumb” phone for a couple of years, since my daughter broke my Cingular 8125. She felt terrible, and I decided that having all my gadgets consolidated into one device was too risky. My mother-in-law gave me her old Motorola Razor and I bought a Palm T|X, a Kindle 2, an Apple iPod Nano, and a Sony Cyber-Shot T90. It took all these gadgets to replace my smartphone (I accumulated these over time).

Then in the fall of 2010 I read that Samsung was getting ready to release a 7″ Android Tablet in Europe: The Galaxy Tab. I watched a video ad and was hooked. I had always thought the iPad would be too big for my use. This 7″ tablet seemed perfect:
•Nice styling
•Beautiful, durable, responsive screen
•Android OS and market
•Wifi / 3G connectivity
•Integrated speaker phone

I read every article about the Galaxy Tab, watched every video, and memorized every spec. I was getting one of these! As the Tab was released in Europe and Australia, the prices seemed high compared to the iPad, but you could get it cheaper if you purchased a data contract. The rumor was that all three major US carriers would be selling the Tab.

So, here was my plan:
1) Buy a Galaxy Tab along with voice and data contracts from AT&T.
2) Get a Bluetooth headset or earbuds with a microphone since the Tab only had a speaker phone.

Well, the US phone companies blew my plans out of the water when they decided to disable the phone feature.

When I had my first smartphone, you weren’t required to buy a data plan, so I didn’t. The only reason I considered getting the Tab with a data plan is that I would use it as a smartphone.

To this day, I wonder why the US carriers decided to go that route – the phone is still in there, just disabled!

I ended up getting an iPhone 4 instead, and have been very happy with it…and, last month I bought an iPad 2 ( wifi only).