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Best Tech Finds For Black Friday 2011

By JoMarr Williams
Tis the season to be thrifty, and Black Friday is a couple of days away. After the turkey is devoured, hundreds of thousands of shoppers will begin to head out to their favorite retailer for incomparable deals and savings. As far as clothing stores for you fashionistas there are a couple great door-busters if your willing to get there early enough. The best deals are for the tech lovers like myself. So i decided to make a list of the best deals for electronics on BF.
Best Buy: Opens at 12am
By far this is the greatest deal this year:
$199.99 42-in Sharp LCD 1080p HDTV. The stores will be passing out tickets for these at 10pm.  There is a minimum of ten per store, so you gotta get there early. I plan on taking advantage of this deal, for the first time in my life I will be camping out. Other deals offered include:
  • $39.99 Toshiba Smart Blu-ray player
  • $249.99 Asus Laptop
  • $299.99 Intel Premium Laptop
  • $179.99 AMD Laptop
  • $24.99 HP Deskjet All-in-One printer
  • And DVDs and video games starting at $.99.
Game Stop: Opens at 12am
  • $149.99 XBox 360
  • $199.97 Playstation 3 with two games included
  • $149.97 Wii
  • And for the kiddies Nintendo 3DS for $169.99
Walmart: Opens Thanksgiving Day at 10pm.
They have various sales starting at the opening of the store and as the day progresses other items will be available for the sale prices. This is great for those that dont want to get up early in the morning.
If you need a television then head to Walmart!
  • $248 40-in Emerson LCD TV
  • $188 32-in Emerson LCD TV
  • $498 51-in Samsung Plasma HDTV
  • $598 46-in Samsung 1080p LCD TV
Along with the televisions at Walmart there are:
  • $198 Compaq Presario Laptop
  • $79 Kindle
  • $195 iPod Touch 8GB
  • $49 Kodak C1450 Digital Camera
  • $99 Sony Cyber-Shot
Amazon.com is having amazing deals on wireless phones in the Android world. For $0.01 you can get HTC Droid Incredible, LG Octane or, Motorola Atrix 4G. The best value in my opinion is the HTC Evo 3D 4G for $49.99.
The key this year is to prioritize whats important to you on your shopping list. Once that is selected,  I recommend browsing stores and physically inspecting the product. Make sure the item is up to your standards especially with electronics. If you like the item in person, then plan to set a time to be at the store, the earlier the better. Remember some deals are offered the whole weekend, so it may not be a rush to get there before the sun comes up.  Overall have fun, save money, and avoid getting trampled.
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4 Million and Counting….

By JoMarr Williams

After the passing of former Apple CEO and Founder Steve Jobs, I was truly worried about the fate of the Apple brand.  But with the release of the iPhone 4s on Friday, my worries have subsided for now, with over 4 million devices being sold in three days. Those numbers include sales in the United States, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, and Australia.

This past Friday iPhone release was somewhat calm compared to previous years. I remember seeing people camped out days prior to be the first to have Apple’s new baby in their hands. I got mine the same day and had no wait. And that was a shocker especially being a Sprint customer. Speaking of Sprint, they announced sales records with the addition of the iPhone to their selection. Many consumers left their current providers for Sprint for better data plans. Sprint includes unlimited data, unlike AT&T and Verizon.

I believe that the sales were directly related to the passing of Jobs. It’s a great thing to say that “I got the last Apple product that Steve worked on.” His ability to change the way we listen to music, check email, or even watch a television show, have been nothing short of genius. Hopefully Tim Cook, the new CEO will take the company to a place we haven’t seen before.

Blackberry Gives Back After Recent Outage

By JoMarr Williams

Many Blackberry users were outraged last week when their RIM powered devices couldn’t access e-mails and data. The outage lasted days leaving many customers helpless until they had access to laptops and home computers. This outage was the company s biggest to date affecting tens of millions of Blackberry users domestically and internationally.

Mike Lazaridis, RIM founder and co-CEO, gave the following statement, “It’s been my goal…to provide reliable real-time communications around the world. We did not deliver on that goal this week. Not even close.” Blackberry enthusiasts pride their devices on being a phone for the professional and not a toy like the iPhone and Androids. So that leads me to believe that though many might accept the apology they won’t forget. Business deals and opportunities could have been missed all for one reason…..a failing RIM network. If I were a Blackberry user I would definitely second guess my selection.

So how does Blackberry try to “fix” this situation? Blackberry will now be giving away $100 in free apps to all its users. At first I thought this was a great gesture. Customers get to choose $100 worth of apps of their choosing. WRONG. Customers have a pre-selected group of apps to choose from. The applications that are available include SIMS 3, Bejeweled, iSpeech Translator Pro, Texas Hold’em Poker 2, and 8 other premium apps. As of now these are the only applications that are available for free with the offer but more will be added in the future. Along with the freebies in the App store, free tech support will be available to Blackberry Enterprise customers. Many aren’t accepting this olive branch just yet, but Blackberry and RIM have a lot more ground to cover if they want to remain in the battle of the smartphones.

Finally The Unveiling Of The iPhone 5……… Ooops I meant iPhone 4s!

By JoMarr Williams

On October 4, Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook performed the product launch of what many of us thought would be the iPhone 5. What was revealed was merely a newly upgraded iPhone 4, now called iPhone4s. While watching the keynote, I have to admit that I was disappointed that America’s favorite smart phone didn’t have any physical changes. But all the notable changes are under the hood.

The iPhone 4s will be running off of a . Many of you might be thinking what does that have in store for you? It will deliver a better gaming experience. Watching the demo during the keynote, I was literally blown away by the graphics, every little detail, so real and vivid. You will still have a great battery life. And browsing the web will also be improved with A5 chip.

With the purchase of the new iPhone 4s, you will also get an assistant named Siri. Siri can aid in replying to text messages, scheduling your calendar, and even finding a great bar. What makes Siri different from other voice recognition apps, is that she understands the context of a question. So instead of just saying “What’s the weather today?”, you can say “Is it going to rain later?”, and Siri will pull up weather results for both. I must admit that I’m not big on voice recognition on phones; I rather type it out or look it up myself. But for those that prefer the hands free lifestyle Siri is the girl for you.

Apple has always created a great camera integrated into a great phone, putting many point-and-shoot cameras out to pasture. Outdoing themselves again, the iPhone 4s now has a 8-megapixel camera lens versus the 5-megapixel of the iPhone 4. The video recording quality is amazing, now with 1080p. Along with face detection, reduced motion blur, and other enhanced features this camera will surely get the job done.

I’m extremely excited about the new iOS 5, operating system. iOS 5 will be available for the iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPod Touch, and iPads. It gives a whole new meaning to an already seamless smart phone experience.

Similar to Android’s notification bar, you will now be alerted of text messages and notifications by a top bar subtly versus the former pop-up notifications. For all you Twitter addicts, the social networking site will now be integrated throughout the entire phone. If you take a picture, it can be “tweeted” instantly. iMessage a new messaging system made exclusively for Apple device users. You can text friends and family for free over Wi-Fi. As much as I used Safari, sometime I loathe it. Apple has finally fixed that issue by adding tabbed browsing. No more “one-at-a-time” page viewing. Also a much-needed feature of iOS 5 is PC Free. Now users with compatible devices will no longer have to sync to a PC or Mac to activate a device, it will be ready for use out the box.

Apple has now welcomed Sprint as one of its carriers along with AT&T and Verizon. The pricing for the smart phone will be $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and for the first time a 64GB is available for $399. Still available in both black and white colors. If you have a iPhone 4, I would just update your software to the iOS 5 platform, the improvement are good but not drastic enough for the iPhone 4s just yet. If you’re a heavy gamer and love taking pictures, then you need to be in line October 14. All I can say is that my Evo will be tossed out the window, and I will be back where I belong.

Bye Bye Netflix?

By JoMarr Williams

Earlier this week Netflix, the number one DVD rental company has announced that it will be separating its services into two entirely different companies. The new mailing DVD Company will be called Qwikster. You can still expect that “red envelope” in your mailbox, but with a new logo and name. The video streaming service will keep its original name, Netflix.

So you may ask how that affects you. By separating the two services customers will now have to use different websites. There will no longer be one central place for all your video needs. You will have separate queues and recommendations on each site. That might be a little troublesome but, the biggest backlash is now you will be billed separately for each respective service. Qwikster will still charge $7.99 for the one-at-a-time DVD by mail. The Netflix streaming option’s price is unknown at this time. Separate billing for the two seems like a bad move which will force customers to leave entirely or make a choice between the two.

In July Netflix, lost many subscribers when they increased their service from $10 a month to almost $17. The CEO, Reed Hastings issued a statement: “We realized that streaming and DVD by mail is becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.”

It seems as though Reed is preparing for the demise of DVDs, as we have seen in the last decade VHS tapes are now obsolete. From Xbox to the iPad, streaming video is the preferred method for many customers. More consumers are buying digital copies of movies and shows from iTunes and Amazon. And DVDs are becoming a thing of the past. Netflix has more customers using the streaming only option, and this separation will enable more content for the consumer.

The transition of Netflix will occur in the coming weeks. For existing customers you will not have to register with either service, an account will automatically be created with your information. With this major move, many customers will flee the company, some will stay loyal, and the rest will be at the mercy of Apple via iTunes. But a little birdie said that Blockbuster will be to snatch its title…

Galaxy Tab 10.1 Vs iPad 2 – Which is the Best tablet for you?

By Jo’Marr Williams

In an age where mobility is of importance, many are trying to decide which tablet is best for them. Tablets are starting to lead the forefront and become the on-the-go device. Emails, Facebook, Twitter, eReaders, Games, are all conveniently housed in tablets. Tablets are becoming a great substitution to laptops. Of the many tablets that are on the market, I have had the opportunity to purchase the top two contenders. In one corner we have Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which was released on June 17, 2011. In the other corner we have Apple’s ipad 2 released on March 11, 2011. 2 go in but only 1 comes out the victor. May the best Tablet win!

Price ($): Winner – ipad 2

Both devices start at $499 for the baseline models which will include Wi-Fi only and have 16GB of storage. To the average consumer this is ample storage for your music and other media needs. You can increase the storage size with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to 32GB for $629.99, which is currently only available to Verizon 4G customers. ipad 2 can opt for different combinations of storage with Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi with 3G capability. If you opt for Wi-Fi only then the cost of 32GB is $599 and the 64GB is $699. The Wi-Fi and 3G units are $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.

Hardware: Winner – ipad 2

Visually the two devices look very similar; at times many people thought my Galaxy Tab 10.1 was an iPad. Once you take a closer look you start to notice the differences. The iPad 2 is constructed out of aluminum and the Galaxy Tab is made out of plastic. The Galaxy Tab measures at 10.10”x 6.90”x 0.34” and the iPad 2 measures at 9.50”x 7.31”x 0.34”. In your hands the Galaxy Tab is a lot lighter, weighing in at 1.25lbs versus the iPad 2 at 1.35lbs. The thinness of the Galaxy Tab also makes it a preferred device. Battery life on the iPad 2 is longer with 10 hours of performance versus the 8 hours I had on the Galaxy Tab. The 1280 x 800 resolution of the Galaxy Tab is far more superior to the iPad 2. Playing games and watching videos is truly a great experience on this device. Galaxy Tab’s power button which is located on the side of the device isn’t ideal. I found myself feeling around for it, especially when it came time to activate it. The iPad’s legendary home button makes turning the device on a breeze.

Operating System: Winner – Galaxy Tab

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is currently being run on the Android’s Honeycomb interface. I was familiar with Honeycomb prior to my purchase so it wasn’t difficult for me to comprehend the concept of the device. For those of you that aren’t, might find it a bit more taxing. The notifications placed at the bottom of the screen are easily accessible and convenient. The great thing about this tablet is that each owner can personalize their experience, whether it’s through widgets, sounds, or background images. iOS 4.3 is the operating system for the iPad 2. It’s simple and easy to use. Simply put, if you know how to use an iPhone you will have no problem using the iPad 2. It does lack the customization of the Galaxy Tab 10. If you are a Mac owner I highly recommend an iPad 2. Just plug your iPad into your Mac and it syncs seamlessly. I wish I could say the same for the Galaxy Tab 10.1, it is not Mac friendly. I had to download numerous programs to transfer my files over to the device, and it still didn’t work. For those with an extensive iTunes collection, Good Luck.

Applications: Winner – ipad 2

Who are we kidding? Hands down the iPad 2 has Apple’s mammoth collection of apps and games readily available in the iTunes store. There are apps that are specifically geared towards the iPad. In the Android’s version called “The Marketplace” finding tablet only driven apps was like finding a needle in a haystack. With the scarcity of apps, I was extremely turned off. What’s a tablet without apps?

Web Experience: Winner – Galaxy Tab

Prior to purchasing I knew the clear difference between the two was the flash capability. On the Galaxy Tab 10.1, I browsed the web as if I were sitting in front of my iMac. I went to web versions of my favorite sites and it didn’t lack content. I didn’t like the mobile versions of the web that the iPad 2 showed. On the iPad 2, I found myself constantly bookmarking sites so that I could view them later at home due to the lack of flash, more of a minor inconvenience than frustration. Safari, the native browser on the iPad 2 flows better when it comes to internet interaction. However I prefer the multiple tabbed windows of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The tabs make it easier to transition from one page to another.

And the Overall Winner by 3-2 is………….. iPad 2!!! It was a very close call but I will say that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 went out swinging. Overall the iPad’s compatibility with my iMac, battery life, and of course Application selection made it the clear choice for me. If you have a PC, then you will love the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The flash capability on the internet will be worth it alone. If you want something different from the rest of the population, grab one. It will definitely start up some conversation at the water cooler.

The New iPhone…

By Colin Alexander Walford

Over the weekend, the interweb has been a buzz with claims of a prototype of Apple’s new 4th generation iPhone being found in a bar near Apple home-base.  Yeah, a bar people!  Some said yay, others said nay but our friends over at Gizmodo have gotten their sticky paws on the thing and after playing with it for a week, have hailed it “Apple’s Next iPhone.”

They snapped a bunch of pictures, made a few videos and tore the thing apart and seem to believe it’s the real deal. While Apple may tinker with the final packaging and design I believe this beauty is our next iPhone.

Whats New:

• Front-facing camera for video chat (FINALLY!!!!)
• Improved regular back-camera 
• Camera flash
• Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
• Improved display
• A secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top, next to the headphone jack
• Split buttons for volume
• Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic

Whats Changed:

• The back is entirely flat, made of either glass (more likely) or ceramic
• An aluminum border going completely around the outside
• Slightly smaller screen than the 3GS (but seemingly higher resolution)
• Everything is more squared off (which I personally like)
• 3 grams heavier
• 16% Larger battery
• Internals components are shrunken and miniaturized to make room for the larger battery

Check out this nice hands-on video from Gizmodo:

Unfortunately we won’t be able to see the thing in action since Apple remotely wiped the device.  Bastards!  But if the thing is real, and I believe it is, we’ll hear from Apple soon and probably see it on shelves sometime in June.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

OK, we’ve done our bit over here.  So head over the Giz  for more pictures videos and a whole lot more.

The “MANX”

By Edingston Alexander

 

Girdles are not only for girls ever since ‘Spanx’ created a male line of its revolutionary under-garment. I never came across any cheaper than $50 bucks until late last night. I stumble upon an infomercial for SlimTs, promising viewers to lookinches slimmer without diet or exercise. It struck my fancy being that I am always struggling with that last 10 pounds of stubborn belly fat but refuse to invest so much in undergarment! Mind you this is no quick fix, so I still push hard at the gym but sometimes I need to smooth out those love handles! I decided to share this with you since we are catering to men of a special caliber and I know some of you can relate!!

Living in an image driven world and with all the body conscious outfits we have two options:

1. “Slim down at all cost.” Which can lead to dangerous habits and I don’t advise! I do agree in exercising and try to lose weight healthy and safely. If you been there and done that but struggling with that belly fat and love handles then I recommend option#2.

2. “Be a slave to fashion and invest in some proper undergarments!” This is where SlimTs come in handy to smooth out those hard to lose love handles.

It has been proven that the gut is always the hardest part on a guy’s body to slim down. It will cause much frustration to squeeze into these streamline cardigans and vest without a little help. I did further research on these ‘manx’ and found they are different versions and price ranges to suit your fancy. The cheapest is SlimTs, which retails for $19.95 at www.buyslimTs.comand credited as the one to inspire me to research and blog about these men undergarments.

I also found RIPT, which is a little steeper and retails for $58 and $62 for big and tall!! RIPT boast to enhance one posture, so for those of you who needs that here is where you can get it www.riptfusion.com. This goes for the same price as the version found on the official Spanx website that offers the crew/v-neck for $58 and the tank for $55. The most expensive I found retails for $78 and it goes under the name of Sculptees T-shirt which you can get at http://www.freshpair.com/.

 I haven’t bought any yet to compare which is better but will leave the feedback to you our readers. If any of you guys have bought or planning to buy let me know what you think! I am gonna hold off on investing in one till fall when I acquire one of those cardigans from Burberry Fall/Winter 2010 men’s collection. Au revoir girls, boyz!!

Apple iPad: What You Need to Know….

By Colin Alexander

The Grammys on Sunday, introduced to most of you what we in the tech world have been literally willing into existence for years now.  On January 27th., yeah that day does go down in history, Apple introduced the much hyped and much anticipated Apple iPad.  When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs  held this “magical” piece of tech gorgeousness in his hand, the Tech blogosphere exploded.  By now you probably know what my angle will be, so yes I love Apple products, yes I know I’ll probably love the iPad when it goes on sale in March, but no I’m not a fanboy.  I promise I’m not!

So what is this thing?

The iPad is Apple’s response to the the ebook, netbook and tablet computing.  A year or two ago these were nacent technologies trying to define themselves in the tech industry but have quickly become popular with a viable presence in the mobile realm.  Steve Jobs saw this coming and decided to develop what he feels is a revolutionary device, the future of tablet computing. It’s a half-inch thick slab of engineering brilliance weighing in at just 1.5 pounds, with a 9.7-inch touchscreen display.  

It does E-mail like no other, surfs the Web with mobile Safari, has Maps with GPS integration (powered by Google), a dedicated YouTube client, iBook (Apple’s eBook reader application with a built-in eBook store), Notes, Contacts and Calender Aps., and even syncs with iTunes so you can have your music, videos and photos everywhere you go.  And these are just the built-in aps!  The iPad will also be able to run 99% to the over 14,000 apps available for the iPhone and iPod Touch and is positioned to receive many more custom apps from enthusiastic iPad developers.  

Specs, Hardware and Software

The iPad, like the iPhone and the iPod before is not the first of its kind but like all Apple’s products, the iPad hopes to define itself as best in class.  The iPad is built like a beast.  Apple is known for its attention to detail and superior engineering and they made no exception with their newest entry into the mobile arena.  Techies at the iPad launch event last Wednesday had a chance to fondle the thing and the reviews seem to be stellar.  They report the device feels pretty sturdy in hand, and the stunning display is unmatched.  The CPU is “something to be marveled” one blogger raves, and Webpages load blazingly fast without a hiccup.  Apps opened and closed with a breeze.  Everything just flew…  The ebook implementation is about as close as you can get to reading without a stack of bound paper in your hand. The visual stuff really helps flesh out the experience. It may be just for show, but it counts.

It’s running a custom 1GHz Apple “A4” chip, with 10-hours battery life and a month of standby. It’ll come in 16, 32, and 64GB sizes, and it’s got the expected connectivity: very little. There’s a 30-pin Dock connector, a speaker, a microphone, Bluetooth, 802.11n WiFi and optional 3G, as well as an accelerometer and a compass. There’s also a keyboard dock, and a camera attachment kit that lets you import photos from your camera over USB or directly through an SD reader. The device is managed by iTunes, just like the iPhone (it runs iPhone OS 3.2) — you sync everything over to your Mac/PC. The 3G version runs (unlocked) on AT&T and comes with new data plans.

Apple Makes it, Not God!

Although the overall engineering and software integration are impressive to say the least, God didn’t make the thing so it does have flaws.  In its current iteration there’s:

  • No multitasking; sucks major…!!
  • No camera (so no video conferencing); sucks..!
  • No Adobe Flash integration (no Hulu or streaming from sites that use Flash); kinda sucks. 

Well that wasn’t too bad right?  And two of the three can be dealt with with a simple software update, although I doubt Apple will add flash anytime soon. Remember people, the thing doesn’t go on sale until March, so who knows what other stunts and shows Apple has up its sleeve.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

Should you buy?

Ha!  That’s like asking me if you should breath air!  Hell yeah you should buy!  On a more serious note, the iPad is definitely a revolutionary device but that doesn’t always translate into success.    It’s success will depend on the developer community and people like us accepting it as a part of our daily lives.  Apple sees this device in every living room, kitchen, bedroom and even bathroom. The key is, will we see it the same way.  Only time will tell.

Here are a few more pics of the thing in action…

Prices starts at $499 for 16GB, 32GB for $599, and $699 64GB. Adding 3G costs a $130 per model, so the most expensive model (64GB / 3G) is $829. The WiFi-only model will ship in 60 days, and the 3G models will come in 90. 

Update: Engadget compiled a cool photo gallery and a quick hands-on (video) for your pleasure.

 For more info on the iPad visit Apple’s Website and for in-dept reviews head over to our friends at Engadget and check out what they have to say…

Apple
Engadget