Microsoft KIN TWO– The Teen Review July 1, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Cell Phones, First Look/Reviews, Microsoft , 1 comment so far
A few months back Microsoft announced their next generation of Sidekick– the KIN ONE and KIN TWO, two new phones focused on the teenager and what we use our phones for. Did they do a good job? Honestly, yes and no. After using the KIN TWO as my main phone for the last few weeks, there are a lot of things going in the KIN’s favor– a great keyboard and great social networking in particular– but also a lot of bad, like a somewhat slow interface and that required $30 a month data plan.
So if your on Verizon is this the next phone for you? Read on for the full teen take on the KIN TWO.
Intel Core i5: Multitasking Awesomeness June 21, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Computers, First Look/Reviews, Teen Info, Web , add a comment
Intel Core i5. Whoooosh!
OK, let me say this from the beginning – if you are buying a new laptop for school, for anything – get a Core i5.
I’ve had the opportunity to be able to try out a laptop with the new chips, and to sum it up – it’s fast. Really, really fast. Think of things that you do often on your computer – web browsing, gaming, note taking in word, watching videos on Youtube, listening to music on iTunes, chatting with friends in AIM, updating things on Twitter, watching shows on Hulu.
I went through a few days worth of these usual things – and the experience is insane. Load times when opening applications is effectively non-existent. Hulu videos just played, at full resolution, with almost 0 lag. CDs ripped into iTunes in minutes, and huge downloads – including the entire game of Portal on Steam, a task that brought my not underpowered Macbook down for almost a day, finished in under an hour. The game itself ran flawlessly. Flash games ran so fast that a friend of mine had trouble playing, being so used to a slower speed. Youtube videos streamed and loaded in seconds, even in HD. The Zune software, which I had been running at a snails pace on my netbook, was fluid and fast. Word, always a pain to load, taking forever to open, just was there.
Caffeine – MiniReview May 23, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Computers, First Look/Reviews , add a comment
Caffeine. Need. Caffeine.
Another random little Mac application. And yet, so useful. To ask a simple question – ever have to download some really big file (say, Portal) or need to sync, backup or restore your iPod (a task taking slightly less time then the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy). But even more annoying, is when you’re doing this on a laptop. A laptop, which goes to sleep to conserve battery life after around 15 minutes. So, you’re stuck either messing around with your battery settings or waiting at your computer for hours. Enter Caffeine. Caffeine is a little application that sits in your menubar, and has one purpose. Click on the little coffee cup icon, and your computer stays awake – no screensaver, no sleep, nothing. Hence the name, Caffeine.
It works flawlessly though, and is absurdly useful. Streaming an episode of Chuck from Hulu? Caffeine, eat dinner, and enjoy. Converting a movie? Caffeine. It’s singularly purposed, but incredibly useful.
So, go on – download it here. It’s free, so you’ve got no excuse. And next time where you’re trying to process a video for history class at 4 AM – at least you’ll be able to keep the computer awake.
GenUpload: Two weeks with KIN May 21, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Announcements, Cell Phones, First Look/Reviews, Microsoft, Music, Web , add a comment
KIN 2 is the not-square one (click to high-definitionize)
So, I’ve been using the KIN 2 as my only mobile device (no iPod Touch or regular cell) for the last two weeks. Check out my impression of how it held up to the theory of being a phone for teenagers in my guest column over at Slashgear.
First Look: Microsoft Office 2010 May 16, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Computers, First Look/Reviews, Microsoft , 1 comment so far
A lot (if not pretty much all) of us have relied on Microsoft’s Office software for our lives over the years, whether for notes, school papers, or creating fliers. Every couple of years Microsoft introduces a major revision to the Office line, and 2010 is another one of those years. And while the basics of PowerPoint, Word, OneNote and all the other Office programs have stayed the same, there have been some pretty solid improvements that while may not be “must haves,” are without question appreciated and make Office even better and easier to use.
I’ve been testing out the beta (i.e. testing, not final) version of Office 2010 as my main Office suite for the past couple of months– using it to write papers, take notes, manage email, and create presentations; and I got to say– I really like it better than the older Office 2007. I’m not gonna go into a full out review of the new Office yet (partly because not everything is finalized in the beta I’m using), but here are a few thoughts.
KIN Review – a GenUpload Take May 5, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Announcements, Cell Phones, First Look/Reviews, Microsoft, Music, Web , add a comment
KIN – Teenagers dream phone?
I’ve had some time to be able to check out Microsoft’s latest phone offering designed for teens and the way we use phones – for a different take then most tech blogs, be sure to check out my guest column over at Slashgear for my take.
Halo Reach: Multiplayer Beta – Impressions April 30, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : First Look/Reviews, Video Games , add a comment
Master Chief Not Included.
As you may or may not know, the Halo Reach (next Halo game) Multiplayer beta’s going live in a few days for anyone with a copy of Halo 3: ODST. After playing a few rounds of Multiplayer, here’s my impressions:
First off – Jetpacks. Yes, you can get a Jackpack. And it is awesome. Really awesome. Basically – you hold down the Jetpack button. And you fly. You have a certain amount of fuel, that recharges, but it’s pretty awesome. Adds a whole new dimension – personal favorite of mine. But in general, there aren’t only jetpacks, but load-outs of a sort – Bungie (makers of Halo) has several preset load-outs, with Armor Abilities – no more will cloak and overshield be found on the map, instead replaced by coming with a set ability – Sprinting, Evasion, Cloak, Armor Lock (lock down in place, invulnerable, then kinda explode – it’s pretty cool). And my personal favorite, the jetpack, as described above. What you choose can be swapped out at any point when you’re respawning.
The graphics have been completely redone, and look fantastic.
Controls have actually been tweaked from the previous games, and the default control is different from that of Halo 3. Those comfortable with 3′s control would do best with the “Recon” setting, which changes “X” to grenade switch from LB, with LB now being equipment.
Dual wielding is out, and grenades have been trimmed down to just regular and energy (sticky). unfortunately, I was only able to try the Slayer and Cpature the Flag modes (with their new variations, like Headhunter, where you collect skulls for kills and get them to a selected drop point, or Capture the Flag with 3 flags.) Other modes that will be included will be an Invasion mode (which looks incredible – a multiphase gameplay, unlocking better weapons and vehicles as time goes on), and Generator Defense (Hold down 3 generators with a team from a fortified position against an advancing 3).
Of the two new maps so far, Sword Base, a multi-level map, with a bunch of bridges crossing between two sides over a big hall, is pretty fun, as is Powerhouse, which is a bit more open, and bears some similarity to High Ground from Halo 3.
So far, I’m liking Reach’s multiplayer. I’ll update once the new game modes go live.
Doxie – Scanner of Awesomeness? April 14, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Computers, First Look/Reviews , 2comments
Doxie. Saving my back in the near future?
So, this one’s a bit out there for me, but it was too cool not to let you guys know about. Yes, a scanner. But hear me out. Scanning stuff, if you think about it for a student, is a great idea. And I carry around 50 pounds of folders every day to know that I carry around more paper with me then that produced by a court of law. But yesterday, I came across this. Doxie. A small, portable, full color scanner. Easily could fit in a schoolbag or locker – just slide the paper right through. Scans in color and black and white.
And suddenly, a vision came into my head. Of getting a handout from my history teacher – of all the hundreds of handouts I’ve gotten. And just scanning them in on the spot. Never having to carry around asignment sheets for essays, never losing another critical chart – the potential is HUGE, especially for a student. And if all it did was just scan, that’d be great. But Doxie takes it a step further – by having built in integration with a whole bunch of stuff – including Acrobat, Google Docs, Flickr, Evernote, Twitter, iPhoto – just scan and have it automatically imported, or sent out to the internet cloud. And the dream gets better – not just scanning all my school stuff, but having them available for my whole class on our Google Group through Google Docs.
Furthermore, it’s totally portable – just plug it into a laptop – it powers off USB, and you’re all set. It’s also got some slick photo scanning tricks up it’s sleeve – automatically straightening, cropping, and importing to the photo software or site of your choice. So for anyone looking to have a scanner for non-school stuff, it’s not bad.
The clincher though is price – $130. Before you start losing it over a scanner that costs more then a Benjamin, go to Staples or Best Buy and search for scanner. I’ll wait. Most scanners, you might have seen, cost equal or significantly more – arguably, they offer higher resolution, and such, but lack the portability and application support Doxie has. And lets face it, you’re NEVER going to need to do anything beyond basic scanning.
Basically – I seriously want one of these. A portable scanner designed for sharing, uploading, and documents sounds perfect for a teenager – whether you’re looking to go paperless in school, or just manage your old-school pictures.
Check out Doxie here.
(And to the guys out there – it comes with some skins for the device, so you don’t have to carry something around with hearts on it.)
[Photo credit - getdoxie.com]