• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Session 46: Gadget-mania

Page history last edited by mary.mcglasson@... 11 years, 9 months ago


Trying to decide what to include in your letter to Santa this year?


  • Maybe you're ready to upgrade to a fancy new smartphone -- but then, should you choose an iPhone, or an Android, or...?


  • What about a tablet? iPad? Samsung? ASUS? Blackberry? Or possibly just an e-reader -- Nook? Kindle?


  • Perhaps something both creative and productive, like a pocket video camera, a digital audio recorder, or a smartpen?


(Retail prices run $300-$400, but with a two-year contract, as of 3rd quarter of 2011, the the average price of a new smartphone is $135.)   


Android, or iPhone?

That is the question...


Excerpt from Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle,

"Android vs, iPhone: Zealotry-free pros and cons," 11/14/11


The pros:

Android phones are like PCs - they are extremely customizable - by carriers, handset makers and owners. Virtual keyboards, phone dialers, wallpaper, home screen widgets and much more can be swapped out at will. The app selection is very good, with 300,000 or so available in the Android Market.

The cons: Android's strengths also are its weaknesses. Yes, there are a lot of apps, but they aren't vetted before they're posted, and there are many of less-than-stellar quality as a result. Some malicious apps have occasionally made their way into the Market... Finally, because each handset maker and carrier can do what it wants with Android, you can't rely on one phone to look and behave like another.



The pros:

There are more than 500,000 apps in the iTunes App Store, giving it the largest selection of the major OSes. The apps must be approved first by Apple, which will reject them if they're too buggy. The approval process also protects users from malicious software. The iPhone also benefits from a seamless integration with the iTunes music/movies/TV store.

The cons: Apple is infamous for being restrictive and controlling. As a result, there are some useful apps on other devices that won't be offered for the iPhone. For example, if you want to turn off WiFi, you have to dive into the Settings app. On Android, a home screen widget gives you quick access... The iPhone also doesn't connect to faster 4G networks, except the 4S version from AT&T, but whether you'll see noticeably faster speeds will likely be hit or miss."



(Retail runs about $400 for an Android tablet, up to $800 for the most expensive iPad)

A tablet is pricier than an eReader, but it is also a much more robust tool -- the tablet can do everything the reader can do, and a lot more.

  • iPad is still king of the tablet market, but there are less expensive alternatives: Appolicious article, "The Best Tablet Alternatives to the iPad2," 11/21/11
  • If you are buying an iPad, or if you already have one, here are some useful accessories you may want to consider:
    • Camera adapter ($29)
    • Keyboard ($70)
    • Stylus ($10-$15)
    • And while it may not be a necessity, an iPad case that suits your personality is always fun ... try http://www.etsy.com!



(Retail at about $100-$200)

The price point on eReaders is lower than on a tablet, but the uses are much narrower - Chris Pirillo makes a very interesting point when he says, "It's made for consumption, not production."


USA Today article, "Should You Ask Santa for a Tablet, or an eReader?", 11/29/11

CNet Article, "Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad", 11/23/11

FoxNews article, "Kindle or Nook? Choose the Best e-Reader," 11/26/11



(Retail $100-$180)


A pen with a computer inside, the smartpen allows you to record meeting minutes, notes, lecture materials, tutorials, etc, as you write, capturing both an audio recording and your writing. With the smartpen, you can go back to any specific point in your written notes and play back the audio, or post the video of your recording (called a "pencast") to share with others.


Recommended accessories:

  • Livescribe dot paper!! Retails approximately $20 for 4 notebooks. (although there is now the option to print your own dot paper for free using the Livescribe Desktop software, as long as you have a Color LaserJet printer that is Adobe PostScript compatible and can print at 600dpi or higher.)
  • Extra ink cartridges (you can even buy red ink!!) About $6 for 4 medium black + 1 fine red cartridges.


Want to really take advantage of your smartpen? Try this -- instead of the usual pencast that just has your notes recorded, include your original handout IN your pencast (NOTE: requires Adobe Acrobat Pro 10)!






(Retail $100-$200, but I've been able to find a FlipVideo camera for as low as $50)

The FlipVideo camera has always been a favorite, but with Cisco taking the product off the market, the Kodak Playsport is gaining popularity.


Recommended accessories:


(Retail $50-$100. You certainly can pay more, but this price range will get you a decent recorder.)

Especially if you purchase a recorder that has a built-in USB,, these devices are very handy for audio-on-the-go.

If you would like to borrow one to try it out, Contact Media Services (x27110).


About.com article, "Top 7 Digital Voice Recorders."


HEADSETS (with built-in microphone)

(You can get a decent set of headphones for under $30. In the workshops, we have been using Cyber Acoustics AC-850 headsets that were provided by CGCC Media services.)

A headset with a built-in microphone is ideal if you record audio only occasionally.

MICROPHONES (stand-alone, with USB plug-in)

(You can get a very nice-quality microphone for $50-$100)

If you only use a microphone occasionally, then purchasing a higher-quality device may not be for you; but if you find yourself creating frequent audio recordings, a good mic is definitely worth the investment.


Recommended models:



Click here to complete the workshop evaluation!



Completed your evaluation? Good!

Now it's time for the LiveScribe smartpen giveaway...

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