Ipad mini vs Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″

With all of the choices available for tablets and e-readers, buyers must consider their options very carefully before making a purchase. We have looked through the many different tablet and e-readers available and chose the Ipad mini and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ as our final two contenders.

size comp
Source: https://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/specs/
Source: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BHJRYYS/ref=fs_ta#tech

 

Specs:

Kindle Fire HDX

Ipad Mini

Battery Life

  • 12 hrs
  •  10 hrs

Resolution

  • 2560 x 1600 (339 ppi)
  • 2048 x 1536 (326 ppi)

Input/Output Port

  • Micro-USB
  •  Lightning port

Retail Store Availability

  • No
  •  Yes

Requirements

  • No software
  •  Itunes installation required

TV Compatibility

  • Yes (second screen and mirroring with Amazon Fire TV, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Samsung TVs)
  •  Yes (Airplay and mirroring available with apple tv)
Camera
  • Front and rear
  • Front and rear

Music

  • Cloud and digital store
  •  Cloud and digital store

 

Price:

For the price comparison I chose the 64GB of storage on both with wifi and cellular capabilities and no lock screen ads on the Kindle Fire HDX to make them comparable.

Kindle Fire HDX8.9″: $554.00

Ipad mini with retina display: $729.00

 

Deciding factors:

The Kindle’s interface is a bit more confusing, especially for first time users, but it also has the mayday button which connects users to technical support 24/7.  This allows users to explore their new tablet but to have a lifeline to a representative if they get a bit lost.

Two other things which are original to the Kindle are the parental controls (freetime) and the test drive option. With freetime users can set limits for their children with the length of time they can use the device and also which apps are available to them. This essentially creates a completely different tablet for children to use. Test drive is also a great option which allows users the opportunity to test apps before they purchase them.

Getting down to the actual e book component of each, the Kindle and Ipad have very similar looks with the readers. On the Ipad users can highlight, make notes, and bookmark pages. With the Kindle, users have all of the capabilities of the Ipad but can also translate large chunks of text (up to the entire book) and have it read back or in print for the entire selection. The Kindle also has a seamless shift from audiobook to print allowing users to read in print, pick up in the same place with the audiobook, and then begin with print again without sifting through the pages to find their spot.

The Kindle syncs content wirelessly to many different devices whereas the Ipad content is only available on apple products.

For the money, the Kindle wins out over the Ipad with a higher resolution and PPI, compatibility across multiple platforms, new features, and battery life.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&docid=szlMD8qcSW19xM&tbnid=oN_w_V40qg2lGM:&ved=0CAUQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.laptopmag.com%2Famazon-kindle-fire-hdx-vs-google-nexus-7&ei=j27JU8n6H86syAThrYDIDg&bvm=bv.71198958,d.aWw&psig=AFQjCNFqLsNYnM8XTRp04zYqUPq_l-1ilQ&ust=1405796354199313
Source: http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&docid=szlMD8qcSW19xM&tbnid=oN_w_V40qg2lGM:&ved=0CAUQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.laptopmag.com%2Famazon-kindle-fire-hdx-vs-google-nexus-7&ei=j27JU8n6H86syAThrYDIDg&bvm=bv.71198958,d.aWw&psig=AFQjCNFqLsNYnM8XTRp04zYqUPq_l-1ilQ&ust=1405796354199313

What are your thoughts on the two finalists? What features do you like or dislike? Share your comments below and subscribe for more product reviews.

 

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Article on SNX Fix I.T. @ vahi.patch.com

Our last blog featured a brief write-up recently posted by Ralph Ellis on our new retail store, SNX Fix I.T., which will be opening this fall. A follow-up article has been written by Laura Haas at the Virginia Highlands Druid Hills Patch newspaper, and was sent out to their subscribers this morning. It is posted below, and can also be found online here.

SNX FIX I.T. Storefront
SNX FIX I.T. Storefront

SNX Fix I.T., Doing Right by Residents of VaHi

The owners of a new high-tech repair shop opening soon in VaHi want to do right for the community.

After decades of working for large firms in the I.T. industry, Jeremy Anderson began to feel uncomfortable with common practices at the IT firm where he worked.

“The morals of the I.T. industry was hard for me,” Anderson said.  “I had been asked before to draw out more time so we could charge more to the customer and a lot of that just didn’t sit well with who I am.”

In 2008 he started up SNX IT with his former colleague Michael Petri.

“I just felt like if we built something from the ground up we could do it the right way the first time,” Anderson said.

SNX IT is an independent IT firm that caters to medium and small businesses.

Now, Anderson and Petri are reaching out to the residential market with their new brick and mortar store SNX Fix I.T., opening in half of the property that used to be Armour & Co. on N. Highland Avenue.

“This neighborhood is us,” Anderson said.  “It allows us to grow in good ways with the neighborhood and us, we probably wouldn’t have done this is any other location in Atlanta.”

The store will offer installation and repair services for technology including computers and mobile devices, sell computers and other computer-related tools and offer advice to consumers about new or unfamiliar products.

”We’re trying to bring the same type of environment and expertise and knowledge to all of the other devices that aren’t handled by Apple,” Petri said.

This is key for SNX Fix I.T. because although they have the knowledge to handle Apple products, they do not yet have the certification required by Apple.  For Apple users, using an uncertified technician will nullify the product warranty.  SNX Fix I.T. is in the process of gaining certification and hopes to have it in a few months.

Also in a few months, SNX Fix I.T. will offer training classes so that customers can better understand technology and can even repair and install things on their own.

“We really want to run this from an education standpoint,” Petri said.

The two are not concerned that if their customers have the knowledge, they might not come back to the store for repairs.

“I’d rather them have the knowledge,” Anderson said, adding that he hopes to empower and educate customers, not take advantage of their lack of expertise.

These tech experts have been working with computers for most of their lives and are eager to give away tips and tricks to help residents of Virginia Highlands who aren’t technologically gifted understand the tools that they use every day.

“My brain works that way. I love puzzles, I like things that aren’t the same all of the time,” Anderson said.  “I’d like to bring people to understand what that actual back-end of the problem could be.”

For SNX Fix I.T. helping others isn’t just good for community relations, it’s their business philosophy.

“You do right for others and the rest of it just falls into place,” Anderson said.

SNX Fix I.T. is still under construction but will be opening later this fall.




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iPhone Users: How to Transfer Needed Voicemails to Your PC

The SNX Professor is happy to share this handy how-to guide for all you iPhone users out there! TGIF!

This is something that I often wondered how to do, but never really got serious about until I realized I needed to retain some voice mails for legal reasons. But how do you get them off your phone before your carrier deletes them? The past year, I’ve had to really stay on top of deleting recent voice mails just so that these old ones would stay on my phone. What a pain!

But after performing the steps below, I am happy to say I no longer have to worry about it! Many thanks to Sharon Vaknin at CNET for the helpful guide. We elaborate on it some below.

(It should also be noted that iPhone voice mails can actually be backed up with iTunes, but the files are stored in awkward, unusable formats that require some techy command line skills to decipher…not for me!)

1) Install the free program “Audacity

Audacity is a free audio recording and editing program that works on both a PC and Mac. Because it’s free, you’ll notice lots of spammy search bar and 3rd party app suggestions as you install, so be careful and make sure you un-check all the necessary boxes so you don’t end up with a bunch of unwanted tool bars in your browser.

If you have an auxiliary cable you want to use (mini to mini), after installing Audacity you’ll want to open it and go to Edit>Preferences>Recording and check the box next to “Software Play through.” If you don’t have a cable, just skip this step and record directly from your speakerphone to your computers external mic. Be sure you turn off anything running in the background (dryer, A/C, dish washer…) in order to get the clearest recording possible.

2) Open Audacity and follow the steps below:

How to save iPhone VMs Step 1 Record

 

(Make sure you have your voice mail open on your phone. After hitting record in Audacity, play the voicemail you want to record on speakerphone. Hold the phone as close to your computer mic as possible.)

How to save iPhone VMs Step 2 Stop when finished

How to save iPhone VMs Step 3 Export

How to save iPhone VMs Step 4 Name and Save

 

And that’s it! Easy as 1, 2, 3. You can now share the files anyway you want, or just keep ’em on your hard drive for safekeeping.

Please comment with any feedback or suggestions. Thanks!

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How to Quickly Tune-up Your Mac

This blog focuses around the same concept in an earlier post, “How to quickly Clean up your PC in less than Hour.” But instead of focusing on the PC side of things, here we will detail a few quick steps that you can take to clean up, organize, and revive your Mac! And while Macs don’t typically need to be tuned up as frequently as a PC does, it never hurts to give your machine some TLC (Many thanks to Jonathan Kern for his input and suggestions on this post.)

1.     Most Macs are WHITE! Clean up the outside before you get to the inside.

Photo by Cheon Fong Liew.
Photo by Cheon Fong Liew.

What better place to start than with the outside of your system? Chances are your keyboard might look a lot like the top image in the above photo. Pretty gross (but this is what mine looked like before this blog was finished.)

Turn off your computer, unplug everything, and move it to a different location, so you can give the area around your system a good cleaning too. Chances are there’s a bit of dust and dirt under and around it, so give the area around your system a good wipe down.

Apple has specific guidelines to cleaning your gear, and they say it’s always the best bet to take a microfiber cloth to the surface of your device. A damp, lint-free cloth will do the job, but even a dry microfiber cloth works. Be especially aware of what you use to wipe down the screen/display, and never use any harsh chemicals.

Also, while it’s not officially recommended by Apple to use compressed air, it will still go a long way towards getting the dust out of all the tiny cracks and crevices. And if you have a Mac Pro, you can actually open the case and get inside with the same cloth and compressed air.

2.     Run the Software Update

The first thing you want to do after you clean the outside of your Mac and get everything plugged back in is to run the Software Update. The apps on your machine are constantly updated, and if you’re not taking the time to update to the newest versions, your machine is definitely not running at 100%. The Software Update looks for the latest patches, application updates, and security updates and should be done no less than once a week or when prompted.

3.     Get Rid of Unnecessary Apps

After running the Software Update, the next thing you want to do is open your Applications folder and uninstall the programs that you no longer use or need. Typically, uninstalling a Mac app is pretty simple (just drag it to the trash), but sometimes doing only that can leave orphaned preferences files from those uninstalled apps on your computer.

So another option is to use an actual uninstaller, like AppCleaner, which is completely free. There are also some prettier programs available if you want to spend money on it, but they all pretty much do the same thing.

After you’ve gotten rid of all the programs you don’t use, do the following to clean out login items for any apps you don’t want to run on start up.

System Preferences> Accounts> Login Items tab> Delete any apps you don’t want run on start up.

4.     Organize Your Hard Drive Space

After doing the above, the last thing you want to do to finish cleaning up your Mac is reclaim the hard drive space that’s being wasted by old images, screenshots, and other assorted files that you didn’t know existed.

Disk Inventory X is what I recommend using; it’s FREE, and an excellent tool that scans your drives and shows you what’s taking up much needed space on your hard drive. If you don’t have it, click on the link above to download it (did I mention? For free.)

NOTE: Be sure you empty your trash when you’re through in order to actually get the space back.

5.     Verify & Repair Disk

After cleaning out all the unneeded files by doing the above steps, the next thing you will want to do is open up Disk Utility and click “Verify Disk”. This shouldn’t take too long, and if you happen to see any errors just wait for it to finish and then click “Repair Disk”.

This should be done every few months to make sure you’re not missing any unnoticeable issues with your hard drive or operating system installation.

6.     Back it up!

The last thing you want to do in order to most effectively keep your Mac running smoothly is back it up. All the time you spent above will be wasted if you’re not backing up your system! If you need help getting started, lifehacker.com suggests using CrashPlan and offers a How To online here.

Another option is to take a disk image of your newly cleaned Mac in case you need to restore it later after an upgrade or replacement to your hard drive. Easy-to-follow instructions on how to do this can be found here.

And that’s it! As I mentioned before, Macs are usually a little less high-maintenance than PCs and don’t require too much in the way of maintenance, but following the above steps and cleaning up your machine from time to time will definitely help it run smoother and faster.

 

Have any additional advice or suggestions? Please feel free to comment below!

 

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What Is Flat Design? | re-blogged from Gizmodo.com

We at Southern NetworX constantly strive to inform our clients and prospects of the latest in technological advancement today. Please enjoy the article below on “Flat Design”, hosted by Gizmodo.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog focusing on how to create a Help Desk ticket through Zendesk!

What Is Flat Design?– re-blogged from Gizmodo

With the release of iOS7 just around the corner, clamor over the changes Jony Ive will institute is growing. The general consensus—on this site and elsewhere—is that Apple is about to get a flat makeover. But for the uninitiated, “flat design” can be a confusing term. So let’s talk it out, shall we?

Flat design is shorthand for a design philosophy…

Think about your computer’s desktop. Or your iPhone’s calculator. Or your iPad’s newstand. Those things are designed to sound, and more importantly look, just like the real-life analogues they’re named after. Do we really need all of those visual cues and extra details? People who advocate for flat design don’t think so.

…that argues for simplicity, clarity, and honesty of materials in user interfaces…

Instead, flat advocates (flatvocates?) argue that GUIs—graphical user interfaces—should eschew style for functionality. That means getting rid of beveled edges, gradients, shadows, and reflections, as well as creating a user experience that plays to the strengths of digital interfaces, rather than limiting the user to the confines of the familiar analog world. In web design as well, “flat” pages rarely introduce dimensionality, shadows, or textures into the equation, relying instead on parallax scrolling and visual clarity to communicate.

Expand

A great example of flat design is Google Now, which uses a card-like system to display information brackets. Rather than ghettoizing information inside of static icons, Now displays data on a standard-sized card that’s easy to read and easy to swipe away. Another example? Windows 8, descended from Microsoft’s Metro design language, which values typography—or the delivery of information—over graphics that help the user understand what type of content they’re reading.

…usually couched as a reaction to the problems of skeuomorphic design…

To understand flat design, you have to understand the thing it’s revolting against: skeuomorphism. Skeuomorphism boils down to visual trickery, or the use of details and ornamentation to make one thing look like another. In architecture, false facades are skeuomorphic. In car design, fake wood panelling is. Skeuomorphism in UI design usually refers to a digital element designed to look like something from the physical world. That can mean anything from Pinterest’s “pin board” to the rich leather stitching that boarders Find My Friends.

Examples of skeuomorphic design.

…which uses gradients, textures, and other details to make digital objects look “real.”

Skeuomorphism in digital space dates back to Apple’s first consumer GUI, from 1984, which introduced the concept of a “desktop” and icons that looked like folders and pieces of paper. Back then computer interfaces were a totally foreign concept to most users, which made skeuomorphism a valuable tool. It let designers create visual metaphors between old, familiar objects (a manilla file folder) and a new, confusing tool (a digital file). Skeuomorphs helped us learn.

An Apple Lisa desktop in 1984, image via.

But as personal computers became ubiquitous, fewer and fewer people needed those visual cues to understand the function of an icon or button. Skeuomorphism became an overwrought style—a kind of digital Potemkin that cluttered screens and overburdened the user with unnecessary details. And so it became a pariah for a new generation of designers—most of whom don’t remember a world without computers.

This should all sound pretty familiar. Modernists have argued these same basic ideas since the turn of the last century: don’t add extraneous details that don’t support functionality. Do be honest about materials and structure. Don’t create a fake front just to make users feel safe. It’s the same basic war cry of every modern designer since Le Corbusier came screaming into the world. In a way, “flat design” isn’t anything new—it’s just the contemporary shorthand for modernism with a capital “M.”

And what’s after flat?

Though the world is definitely going flat, it won’t be flat forever. We can glean where UI and UX are going, after flat design runs its course, by looking at the last century—during which each wave of modernism revolted against the one that had came before. For example, after the strict modernism of the Bauhaus and the International Style took the world by storm in the 1930s, a second generation of designers introduced the concept of Critical Regionalism into the discussion, arguing that one-size-fits-all credo of early modernists was sort of… reductive. It’s likely that the same thing will happen with interface design. After radical flatness, we’ll probably see designers carefully reintroduce dimensionality where it’s really needed.

But that’s all a few years down the line. For now, we’ll wait and see whether Jony Ive takes the flat design bait, or if he revolts—in which case, things are about to get a lot more interesting.

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