Bougie Tech Review

Bougie Tech Review: Kindles, Nooks & Tablets


I have to admit, when e-readers first came out, I wasn't sure how I felt about them. As a reader, I like the feeling of a book in my hand. I like the smell of old books. I like turning pages. I like cracking the spine and setting the book on the nightstand for the evening. I like hardbacks and paperbacks and glossy magazines. 

As an author, I definitely earn more from a print book than a digital edition. And there were questions about how lending worked and the integrity of the formatting on e-readers. I just wasn't sold on the technology.

Until I picked one up. I'll admit it. I was instantly seduced. I'm a voracious reader. If I have time, I'll squeeze in two - three books a week. The ability to carry twenty books at a time without running to the bookstore - it got me. Reading an author, loving their work and then downloading everything they've ever written sold me. So much so that I had to establish a spending limit for myself. Once I took the dive...

We are an e-reading family. Amongst the BougieExtendedFam we have 3 Kindles, a Kindle Fire, 3 Nooks, a Galaxy Tab and an iPad. David just got the Nook Tablet, I just got the Kindle Fire in addition to my regular Kindle. I have both the Nook app and the Kindle app on my PC as I am equal opportunity. C|Net had a great article comparing what's out there. But here are my thoughts:

If you just like to read without bells and whistles - get a basic Kindle or a Simple Touch Nook. They are easy to use and have super-long battery life. The edge that basic Kindle has over the Nook is the link to Shelfari which gives you all sorts of back info about the book, for instance - if it is number 3 in the middle of a 7-part series. I found this invaluable when trying to catch up on the Alex Cross series. I need to be handheld from book 8 to 9 to 10.

The Nook has the advantage of having a store and associates to go with it. When you walk into a Barnes & Noble with your Nook, it welcomes you home and you have all sorts of specials and freebies gifted to you for coming in. As you know, Amazon is all about the virtual. If you need help with your Kindle you have to call in and play the customer service game.

I think both the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire are fun. They are both interactive and loaded with a ton of stuff that has nothing to do with reading. The Kindle Fire is Android powered which I preferred because it synced with my phone and Google-isms with ease. But the Nook Tablet has better battery life.

If you are Team Amazon you pretty much have to go Kindle. All of my music, movies, tv shows and books loaded onto the Kindle Fire. [If someone ever hacks the Google/Amazon cloud - I'm done for] While I was on vacation, I found that I still preferred my basic Kindle just to read. If I read on the Fire, I'm always distracted by my email, UberTwitter, and Facebook updates not to mention the multiple games and apps I've downloaded.

My sister got the Galaxy Tab for Christmas. She also has a first generation Nook. She downloaded the Nook app onto her tablet but also preferred to take the trusty old Nook to the beach. My older brother has the iPad and uses it for everything.

So what does it all mean? I like them both. The costs are pretty comparable. I lean towards the Kindle because my comfort zone is there but I've got no beef with the Nook. As a writer, I say buy them both and put my books on them. Now. Today. Here you go:

Barnes&Noble.com
What say you BougieLand? Who has an e-reader or a tablet? What flavor? What do you like? What would you change? Do share...

Enough is enough - I've decided to #OccupySprint


Twelve years I have been a Sprint customer. Every eighteen months like clockwork, I bought a new phone and signed up for another twenty-four month contract. From Dallas to Cali to 80% travel and back to Dallas, me and Sprint have been through thick and thin. But things have gotten real darn thin.

It started six months ago, when I changed to the BlackBerry flip phone. All of a sudden, my data plan was no longer available. In fact, I needed to add a special BlackBerry data plan to what I already had. Okay fine. So what if the BlackBerry apps sucked and caused me drama. I had that BBM and that made everything else worth it. Until everybody I knew moved to Android or iPhone. Oh well. That wasn't Sprint's fault so I carried on.

Then there was the glitch of adding the work email to my phone. It required a subscription to BlackBerry Enterprise Solutions and there were strict security protocols from my company automatically installed on my phone. It made me crazy. So I took it off but... the security measures would not go away and my personal email settings were all jumbled. Into the Sprint Store I went. Five times. No one could seem to fix it. Not even when they wiped my phone and lost all my apps and data... three times. These things sometimes happen, right? Strike One.

Then there was the Jamaica trip. I was assured that I could add on an International Voice and Data Plan for a month that would cover calls and data from Jamaica with a flat rate for voice and .02 cents per data whatever. Thus, I felt confident to take hour long conference calls from the beach and to tweet from oceanfront. Until the bill came - $378.00. I called Sprint and was told that I misunderstood how the plan worked but they would credit me $14.99. Strike Two.

Running around to book signings and needing to access websites for payment, I decided to get a USB Mobile Internet device from Sprint. It worked twice. Both times inside Sprint stores. For three months, I wandered about slapping the USB into the side of my laptop hoping against hope. Nope. Finally I told Sprint to take it back and cancel the service. Sure, they said they would do it but would have to charge me an early termination fee. Wait... for a service that never worked? And I'm a long time "Premier" customer? For real though? Yeah, they weren't joking. $200 and they wanted it now. Strike effin' three.

I recently gave Time Warner and DirecTV the boot as well. #NoCountryForOverPricedServices. I switched phone, internet and cable to AT&T Uverse. I've worked at AT&T three times in my life so even though they aren't perfect, I knew what I was getting and who to call if any drama pops off. When my Mom complained that her Senior Plan on Sprint had gone from $27.99 to $50 - that was it. I snapped. We were going all in with AT&T. When AT&T sent over the info that her phone number and mine were moving, Sprint politely deducted $275  from her account and from mine. Uh, she wasn't on a contract and we don't have AutoPay. It was a high tech gank. Sprint apologized and promised to reverse the charges. Uh-huh, let me hold my breath.

AT&T sent us an email today to say our phones are on the way, don't you know Sprint has already cut my service? This will be the first weekend in over 13 years with no cell phone. No mobile tweeting, no foursquare, no "I'm on my way" texting? Whatever shall I do? Oh, I know... start a movement and #OccupySprint. :-[

BougieLand, who do you have cell service with? Are you happy, unhappy? Why? Anyone want to march with me?

The Remix: Dear Microsoft, I wish I knew how to quit you!

OneChele writes an open letter to Microsoft:

Dear Microsoft,

I feel betrayed. I have defended you and stayed with you when time after time you have done me wrong. I stayed when people implored me to leave. I have downloaded upgrade after upgrade of Windows. I left WordPerfect and QuattroPro to embrace MS Office when you guaranteed me no drama. The price of this relationship escalates exponentially, I'm not sure I can afford to be with you anymore.

Speaking of expensive, I flirted with Apple to experience a different way of life but quickly realized that adding anything beyond the basics is too high a price. I had a brief affair with Netscape when your browser demanded update after incessant update. But Netscape couldn't give me what I needed. Just when I thought you and I could co-exist peaceably, you suckered me into Vista. L

There's no easy way to say this… Vista sucks. The amount of memory needed to operate this with any efficiency literally drains me. The constant permission asking and hidden programs running and upgrade/solution/update nonsense are too exhausting. And still I persevered. Then you introduced Office 2007 and rocked my world… not in a good way. All the easy shortcuts and simplistic commands that worked so well in the past have been replaced with slick-looking menus that as might as well be in Greek. What happened to ease of use? Why did it take me DAYS to configure line-spacing in Word? What is all the goobledy-gook in the Table Menu in Excel? Why does Outlook freeze for no reason?

Okay, I learned to work with it. After all, we've been together for so long that I couldn't even imagine being with anybody else. And then you forced me to upgrade to a new Internet Explorer. This was the last straw. My once quick and agile computer slowed to a crawl. Pages that opened in seconds now required me to go get a cup of coffee and then come back. Don't try and blame it on the size of my hard drive, speed or memory. It's not me… it's you!

A few months ago, a dear friend introduced me to Google Chrome. And even though you tried to make it hard for me to leave by declaring that nothing would work as well as you and things would never look the same, I defied you and left anyway. I have no frozen pages, my images load with the greatest of ease. Today, my new love Chrome gifted me with an awesome upgrade that already warms my heart.

Just you wait, Microsoft. If Google hooks up Gmail with more bells and whistles, I'm dropping Outlook. I've already started looking around for an Office Suite replacement and I swear for God my next laptop is going to be XP. You can keep your Vista. [Updated note: My new laptop has Windows 7 and Office 2010 beta - we'll see how it all works out] Let Google (or anyone else) come out with an operating system that doesn't require an update every two days… I'm out!

You have abused my trust for the last time; I'm going to have to go Lauryn Hill on you: I used to love him, now I don't. Yes, it's the break up, Microsoft. Shocking after all my years of loyalty and fealty but it's time. When you miss me I'm gone,

OneChele

P.S. Love to Bill, I'm still down with him if he and Melinda want to fund a black blogger… I'm just saying.

Can you tell I'm having computer drama? How many of you have left Internet Explorer behind?

Dear Microsoft, I wish I knew how to quit you!

OneChele writes an open letter to Microsoft:

Dear Microsoft,

I feel betrayed. I have defended you and stayed with you when time after time you have done me wrong. I stayed when people implored me to leave. I have downloaded upgrade after upgrade of Windows. I left WordPerfect and QuattroPro to embrace MS Office when you guaranteed me no drama. The price of this relationship escalates exponentially, I'm not sure I can afford to be with you anymore.

Speaking of expensive, I flirted with Apple to experience a different way of life but quickly realized that adding anything beyond the basics is too high a price. I had a brief affair with Netscape when your browser demanded update after incessant update. But Netscape couldn't give me what I needed. Just when I thought you and I could co-exist peaceably, you suckered me into Vista. L

There's no easy way to say this… Vista sucks. The amount of memory needed to operate this with any efficiency literally drains me. The constant permission asking and hidden programs running and upgrade/solution/update nonsense are too exhausting. And still I persevered. Then you introduced Office 2007 and rocked my world… not in a good way. All the easy shortcuts and simplistic commands that worked so well in the past have been replaced with slick-looking menus that as might as well be in Greek. What happened to ease of use? Why did it take me DAYS to configure line-spacing in Word? What is all the goobledy-gook in the Table Menu in Excel? Why does Outlook freeze for no reason?

Okay, I learned to work with it. After all, we've been together for so long that I couldn't even imagine being with anybody else. And then you forced me to upgrade to a new Internet Explorer. This was the last straw. My once quick and agile computer slowed to a crawl. Pages that opened in seconds now required me to go get a cup of coffee and then come back. Don't try and blame it on the size of my hard drive, speed or memory. It's not me… it's you!

A few months ago, a dear friend introduced me to Google Chrome. And even though you tried to make it hard for me to leave by declaring that nothing would work as well as you and things would never look the same, I defied you and left anyway. I have no frozen pages, my images load with the greatest of ease. Today, my new love Chrome gifted me with an awesome upgrade that already warms my heart.

Just you wait, Microsoft. If Google hooks up Gmail with more bells and whistles, I'm dropping Outlook. I've already started looking around for an Office Suite replacement and I swear for God my next laptop is going to be XP. You can keep your Vista. Let Google (or anyone else) come out with an operating system that doesn't require an update every two days… I'm out!

You have abused my trust for the last time; I'm going to have to go Lauryn Hill on you: I used to love him, now I don't. Yes, it's the break up, Microsoft. Shocking after all my years of loyalty and fealty but it's time. When you miss me I'm gone,

OneChele

P.S. Love to Bill, I'm still down with him if he and Melinda want to fund a black blogger… I'm just saying.

Can you tell I'm having computer drama? How many of you have left Internet Explorer behind?

Bougie Toy Review – the Wii (my not so secret addiction)


WARNING: If you don't own a Wii and have no desire to part with hundreds of dollars and hours of your time. Read no further. Why do you say that, OneChele? This thing is addictive. If you have the slightest competitive bone in your body stop reading now. Okay, consider yourself duly warned.

I've never been a great video game person. Because I have nieces and nephews who love (love, love!) their Aunt Chele, I own an XBOX 360. I tried to get the hang of Madden and Tiger Woods but alas, I sucked. On a late night QVC whim (whole other post, people), I purchased the Wii with Sports package and EA Active, a personal training module. It arrived five days later in a discreet box looking like innocent fun.

I set it up and then gave it the side eye for a day or so. One fateful evening, I powered it up and prepared to play for a little while before turning in for the night. The beauty of the Wii is that it is easy to learn and fun to play. My 5 year old nephew played baseball with my 77 year old mother this weekend and I did not have to supervise or give lengthy explanations.

I started with something I thought I would do okay with – Wii Tennis. I literally grew up with a racquet in my hand, played Varsity tennis and dabbled with it though out college. Needless to say, I was stunned when I whiffed my way through a three set beat down by the computer. The Wii is intuitive. It knows how and when you swing, where you aim (or don't) as well as the force you put behind each stroke. You have to lean, bend, arch and hit just like a real tennis game. The only thing you don't do is run (thank God!).

Anyway, I went on to baseball (sucked), bowling (just okay), golf (really sucked), and boxing (lucked out) before deciding to take the Wii Fitness Test just to see how bad I was. The system gave me a Wii Fit Age of 67. SIXTY-SEVEN! This was unacceptable. So I started with the training module. Next thing I knew it was 2:00 in the morning and I was drenched in sweat. Defeated and feeling old beyond (well beyond) my years, I gave it up for the night.

The problem is this… OneChele works at home and HATES TO LOSE. This means that when I should be penning the next Great American Novel; I can often be found screaming at the TV – My front court game is tight, son! You are NOT ready for this serve. I mastered bowling, became acceptable at golf, and okay at boxing. Tennis became an addiction and I honed my skills by deciding to forgo sleep in favor of perfecting a backhand slice. Never mind the fact that I channeled my inner Williams Sister to the point that I tripped over the coffee table, banged up an elbow and a knee and was forced to slap on oh-so-sexy Ben-Gay patches to wear to bed. (Thank God there is no S/O in the picture right now; he would NOT be digging the sexy mentholated scent wafting from my person).

Just as I throttled back my Wii Sports addiction, I cracked open the EA Active and purchased Wii Fit with the Wii Fit Board. This is humbling. Even if you are in excellent physical condition (can't claim it) these "games" challenge you. The Wii Fit game has the added bonus of scolding you about a variety of things. "Michele, have you been feeling tired lately? It seems your energy is low!" "Michele, is your posture off today, your balance needs work." "Michele, did you take a day off from training yesterday? I hope you can still meet your fitness goals." Nice. What I do like about Wii Fit is that you have Aerobics, Strength Training, Yoga and Balance Games to work through so you can really work on every single aspect of training. It is deceptive though; giving you 2 – 5 minute exercises to do that seem simple enough. The next morning you wake up with mysterious aches and pains in joints you didn't realize you have.

EA Active is also great, allowing you to train by doing a variety of cardio, aerobic, sports and resistance training exercises. If you are even slightly competitive, you get to a point where you want to see if you can hit every target on CardioBoxing with the same precision and strength. You start telling yourself that hitting the punching bag 1000 times is really not that much. (My arms are still mad). You can literally work out for an hour and a half without realizing it… that has NEVER happened to me at a gym.

This past weekend I added Trivial Pursuit to the Wii library. It's not the kinder, gentler Trivial Pursuit of old. BougieSis and I had to switch to the Movie Questions to come close to answering 50% of the questions correctly. I'm eyeing up Madden next. I'll keep you posted.

So all in all, I give the Wii 4 purple kicks (out of 4). It's easy to set up, easy to play and way too easy to get addicted to. It's the video game for people who are not gamers and aren't trying to be. Just as a workout aide, I've found it highly effective (averaging 1.2 pounds a week of weight loss). As I said, I purchased it through QVC which allowed me to get a ton of extras and a warranty for "five easy payments" (love it!). It's also embedded in the OneChele Amazon Store if you are interested. If you are able, it's great for all ages and hopefully technology that won't be extinct in a year.

Do you own a Wii or have you thought about getting one? Any stories to share?

P.S. BougieSis was in this week, I've sucked her in. As I type, she's out there swearing at the virtual trainer: "No, I do not think my squats need to be any deeper!"