Is Apple TV Right For You?

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Apple TV is essentially a little black box that you plug into your computer. From here you are instantly connected with hours of entertainment in up to 1080p HD. You can enjoy live sports, the latest TV shows, an endless selection of blockbuster movies, the news, and more, all in high definition on your television set. You can even manage your photos, music, and other content from your Mac or iOS through AirPlay.

You can choose from a range of new releases from iTunes, where you can rent or buy and even go behind the scenes through iTunes Extras. With Apple TV you can go beyond iTunes, however. You can also enjoy the programs from HBO, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. Apple TV gives you a world of entertainment accessible effortlessly through you fingertips. Channel surfing is a thing of the past and you never have to be out of the loop at work or school with the hottest new events and TV shows.apple-tv-itunes-store-access

On Apple TV there is something for everyone. Whether you like reality TV shows, staying up with current events, crime dramas, movies, or cartoons for the kids, everyone in the family will be happy. Most families have at least one sports fan, and he/she will be completely satisfied with Apple TV too. Apple TV has clips and highlights from big names everyone knows like NBA, ESPN, NHL, and MLB. Live games are also available so that you can be on the same page as all of your friends during important sporting events.apple-tv-youtube-app

In this fast pace and changing world, especially with all of the important and historical debates and events taking place this year, having your go-to news is also important for many people. Apple TV enables you to watch CNBC News, Sky News, Bloomberg TV, ABC News, Wall Street Journal Live and of course The Weather Channel. Everyone can get their ideal entertainment needs met with Apple TV.apps-apple-tv-interface

Apple TV also has fun and smart capabilities which allows you to do a lot more than just watch movies, TV, sports or the news. With AirPlay you can wirelessly play videos, pictures, and music from your Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad on your television screen. Guests can also use AirPlay to connect to your Apple TV and with iCloud you can store, watch, and share content with your family.apple-tv-image3

Do people like Apple TV? CNET gives it an editor’s rating of four stars and a user review of three and a half stars. Overall CNET gives it 8.3 out of 10. With all of the Apple TV’s outstanding capabilities it is not the only little black box like it on the market. Roku is reported to have more content sources like Amazon Instant and others. What does make the Apple TV stand out is its AirPlay features. If you own other Apple devices like one or more iPads, iPhones, or a Mac, then Apple TV might be an amazing choice because you have so many other options. You cannot wirelessly connect to devices through Roku.

eBook Options

Sony: just one brand of an eBook

eBooks  have the ability of bringing entire bookstores right into your home. The best part is you get to choose what books and pay cheaper prices for them. Then when you choose what books you can easily take it wherever you want: beach, gym, plane, school, etc. The eBook is a growing far, but which eBook is the one to get? The common known eBooks like the Kindle or Nook or something different like the Alex eReader.  Picking the right eBook is difficult, but looking at the options that you want might help such as: Memory, Battery Life, Screen Type/Touch Screen, Internet Capabilities and Rating. Here is a chart of the top five eBooks that might just help you make that decision.

Kindle 3 Kindle DX BeBook Neo Barnes and Noble Nook Alex eReader
Price $189.00 $339.00 $249.00 $149.00 $399.00
Internal Memory

Removable Memory

4GB

4GB

512MB

16GB

2GB

256MB

2BG

Battery Life Up to 7500 Up to 7000 Up to 5500 Up to 7500
Screen Type. Size

Touch Screen

E-Ink, 6in

No

E-Ink, 9.7in

No

E-Ink, 6

Yes

E-ink, 6

Yes

E-ink, 6.0in & 3.5 in

Yes

Internet Capabilities Wi-Fi 3G, Whispernet Wi-FI 3G, Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
Rating ★★★★ ★★★w ★★★w ★★★w ★★★

Others:

Irex Digital Reader 1000  $859.00

iLiad 2nd Edition  $699.00

Cybook Gen3  $350.00

iliad Book Edition  $599.99

Jetbook  $199.00

Foxit eSlick   $139.00

Now you have learned a bit more about the top 5 eBooks and maybe learned of some brands you didn’t even know exists. Which one to buy, well that choice is up to you.

Presentations: With YouTube, Without Distractions

One of the best additions to the Microsoft brand was Microsoft Office. With every application needed to do anything professional for school or work, it is attempting to fall in line with each generation without a sweat. What is the newest feature behind the Office creation? Powerpoint has now added a “Youtube” button that allows you to immediately insert a video onto the slide to preview without all of the lagging out that comes with trying to insert a link in versions thus far.

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10 Useful Google Chrome extensions for everybody!

For 1 year and five days there is support for extensions in Google Chrome. In all this time, which is not very long quantity wise, Google Chrome extensions have been developed faster than we expected.

Right now, there are around 8000 extensions in the official directory.

In one year, Google Chrome extensions have become more useful and more complex. However not so much. For now, from this point of view, we can’t compare them with Firefox Addons. After all, we are talking about two very different development technologies. Google Chrome extensions are limited by the current web technologies and they will grow along with them.

Even so, we would lie if we were to say that there aren’t any useful extensions for Google Chrome. Actually, this is the criteria we used when we picked the extensions that will be presented below: utility – extensions that are really useful to users.

BitDefender QuickScan

The name is very suggestive and it explains exactly what this extension does, BitDefender  QuickScan doesn’t need so many explications. It is a free file scanning tool.

This extension uses the BitDefender Quick Scan service. It is useful if you want a second opinion, in case you are not very sure with the anti virus solution you have installed on your computer.

Xmarks Bookmark and Password Sync

Xmarks is a known extension for Firefox users. It also works on Firefox and Chrome, but also on Internet Explorer and Safari. Only the Opera support is not there.

With this extension you can synchronize bookmarks, open tabs and passwords. They are encrypted and stored on a server instead of being saved in your web browser. Once the sync is done, you will be able to use the data in any supported browser on any computer. If at some time you are using another computer, all you have to do is to install Xmarks, log in and used the synchronize feature.

Google Quick Scroll

If you are using Google to search the Internet for information, and you probably are, then you might appreciate this extension. Google Quick Scroll answers to a specific scenario, a scenario we go through every day.

The scenario is this: you are searching for something on Google but you can’t find the information you want very fast. Google Quick Scroll will highlight the exact paragraph that contains the searched keywords.

Recent Tabs

Some users, myself included, prefer that the tab switching should be done in the order they were used, not in the order they are displayed on the bar.

Recent Tabs does this, but you have to use another keyboard combination. The user can specify the key combination, other than CTRL+TAB, with the help of which tabs can be changed using the Most Recent Used criteria.

Trash Can

Trash Can is something like Undo Close Tabs for Firefox. The closed tabs can be found in a menu and can easily be reopened.

Apture Highlights

For people that do research for a specific subject, Apture Highlights can be really helpful. When you select a word and click on the displayed search button this extension will provide you with a lot of information under different shapes. Besides the description, for that subject you will also be able to see images but also videos.

InvisibleHand

You shop online and you want to find the best available price ? Then InvisibleHand is for you! InvisibleHand will notify you if a product you are interested in can be found elsewhere at a better price.

This extension works for more than 100 stores in the US, UK and Germany.

Note Anywhere

As the name suggests, Note Anywhere is an extension that allows you to write notes in Google Chrome. We are talking about notes specific to web sites. If you write a note when you are on the X web site, when you revisit that web site that note will be automatically loaded.

SocialPlus!

An extension for people that spend a lot of time on Facebook, SocialPlus! offers a wide range of additional features. Some of them are keyboard browsing, notifications, emoticons, i don’t like button, and so on.

goo.gl URL Shortener

With Goo.gl URL Shortener you can rapidly short links and post them on social networks like Twitter, where you are limited to 140 characters. This extension proves to be very practical, because it not only shortens the link but it also automatically posts it on Twitter, Facebook or any other social network you might use.

Further more, you can configure keyboard shortcuts for each operation. For example, pressing ALT+T the link of the web site you are currently on is automatically shortened, copied to the clipboard and posted on Twitter. Everything is automatic, directly from the keyboard.

It is true that never an extension will please all users, everybody is going to choose exactly what they need.I would be naive to think that the extensions presented above are useful for everybody.

These ten extensions will prove to be very practical under different situations. The large number of users that are using them already represents a proof that these extensions, although they can be improved, already reached their purpose.

Google Chrome Vs. Firefox, who is better in hardware acceleration ?

The newest battle ground  in the web browsers “war” is hardware acceleration. This technology, like most of you are already aware of, allows web browsers to use the processing power of the video card, along with the processor of your computer.

Currently, web browsers are just beginning to show us the potential of hardware acceleration. Tests are being made and they are experimenting all the time. Chrome and Firefox are two of the best web browsers that supports hardware acceleration, acceleration that can be used effectively by all users. Internet Explorer 9 also promises and efficient acceleration, but for the moment, this version is not available yet.

For these reasons, we can test hardware acceleration only by using Chrome or Firefox. You need to have Google Chrome 7 Dev ( or Chromium ) and to activate hardware acceleration. Regarding Firefox, you need to install the latest version, Beta 5 for Firefox 4, which can be downloaded here. In Firefox, hardware acceleration is activated by default.

The Test

Ironically, we have tested the potential of hardware acceleration in Firefox and Google Chrome using the tests  created by Microsoft to show us how good is Internet Explorer 9. As Internet Explorer 9 is not available for the moment, we will test IE9 at a later date.

The test drive created by Microsoft can be accessed here. There are three testing categories: Speed, Html 5 and Graphics. As hardware acceleration has as a purpose the increase of the browser’s speed,we have used a speed test. To be more precise, we have used the FishIE Tank Test.

The Results

The test was conducted with maximized browsers window, with 250 fish. The results are as follows:

– Firefox – ( 1215 x 694 pixels ): 40 FPS ( frames per second ) on average – approximately 27% processor loading percentage.

– Chrome ( 1215 x 739 pixels ) : 5 FPS on average, approximately 50% processor loading percentage.

We can notice that Firefox 4 Beta 5 requires less of the processor’s processing power than Google Chrome 7 Dev, and Firefox got an 8 times better performance. We also have to keep in mind the fact that the Google Chrome resolution was higher.

So, Firefox manages to better use the processing power of the video card. By extension, the processor usage as well as the rendering speed were superior.

As we said, both web browsers are just beginning to “play” with hardware acceleration. There isn’t any test that can provide a clear result. This is just a temporary situation, that can change rapidly. Further more, it remains to be seen how Internet Explorer 9 and Opera are going to come up with when they are going to implement the hardware acceleration feature.