Nook 8GB Tablet – Product Review

I don’t do a lot of product reviews, mainly because I don’t go out of my way to buy a bunch of things. However, I did write one last October when I purchase my Toshiba laptop, which I still love. What I didn’t talk about back then is that days after I bought that I bought my wife a Barnes & Noble Nook 8GB color tablet, which you see in the image there. I’m ready to review it now.

B&N NOOK Tablet™ 8GB

The reason I’ve waited to review it is that it took us a long time to figure it out. Actually, it took my wife a long time to figure it out, and since it was hers I stayed out of the way until she started asking me questions about it. Not that it’s overly complicated but she’s not technologically advanced; hey, she’d tell you that herself! lol

At around 7 ounces, 6 1/2 inches high and 5 inches wide, the Nook Color model is a beautiful thing. The colors are sharp and when you’re reading it’s really clear. Something this particular Nook has that none of the others versions have is its own light, which means you can read it in the dark or in dark places. And you can still read it in sunlight, although at this time of year in the Syracuse area that’s not a problem we have a lot of trouble with.

Just to throw this out there, CNET ranks the Nook higher than the Kindle Fire, mainly because of the screen resolution, the ability to expand storage to 32GB, and some physical controls. Oh yeah, PC World also ranks it higher; go figure!

It took us a bit of time trying to figure out where to add the chip, but we popped a 16GB chip in there instead. The sound quality is pretty good and you don’t need to use the earphones to listen to it. That’s a good thing because my wife loves listening to books on tape but hates wearing those suckers.

It can also access the internet if there’s wireless access, which we have in the house and which every Barnes & Noble store has. That’s a good thing because with the Nook, if you take it with you to their store you can access any music or ebooks on their system for free for up to an hour; I’m not sure if that’s total or each, but it adds a nice touch if you want to sample a lot of different things. My wife loves to sample the audio books sometimes when we go. And something else about the Nook is that the store offers classes that you can take; anyone know which Amazon store you can go to for classes… oh yeah, there are NO Amazon stores! lol

With the extra access, something else we’ve been able to do is load more books onto the Nook. You have to download a program so you can transfer files over, but you can put books on there that you can get from the library, which is pretty cool.

Frankly, my wife has never been a big reader, but suddenly she’s reading more, as well as listening to books, because she says she can read it easily and it doesn’t hurt her eyes, and she can also turn off all the lights and read if she wants to, which I’ll own up to as being rare because she usually immediately falls asleep once she gets too relaxed.

Anyway, I can say without reservation that my wife is glad we spent the extra bit of money on the color Nook, and look at this, now it’s going for $199, as when we bought it the sucker was $249. There are accessories for it, including cases, but they’ll cost you. Oh, one more thing; just like Amazon, Barnes & Noble offers free books you can download, but right now theirs are only on Fridays. Still, if you find what you like it’s not a bad deal.

If you’re thinking about buying one click on the book in this post or the upper link. Come on, you know you want to. 😉

When Blogging Advice Is A Waste Of Your Time

Y’all know that I look at a lot of blogs. I’m always checking out new ones and I have bunch that I like visiting over and over. Something I’ve railed about is seeing a topic that looks pretty good, only to start reading the post and find that it’s a bunch of garbage for one reason or another. I’m going to talk about one of those reasons while pointing out why it’s garbage.

via Flickr

I’m not going to link to the post because, frankly, I don’t think the post deserves it. It’s a guest post on a blog that I like, and I’m glad that the owner didn’t write it, though I’m sad that she posted it. I’m not even giving the exact title, but it gave 7 ways people could fix their blogs so that they’d work better for them.

Why is it useless? It’s useless for two reasons. One, you’ve seen it before, over and over, on other blogs. It has to be close to 100 times that I’ve seen the same advice. Two, because there’s nothing here that will improve your opportunities for more traffic. I’m not even worried that I’m listing the 7 tips because I know you’ve seen them before. You want some useless information? Here we go:

1. Integrate Your Blog into Your Website. This is great advice if the topic was how to raise the ranking of your website but it does nothing for one’s blog unless the website’s getting a lot more traffic. Also, if you move your blog people will need to be redirected to your new location, which means your blog will suffer for awhile, but it won’t ever really improve just because it’s attached to your website.

2. Write Relevant Blog Post Titles. I see this one all the time, and it’s partially garbage. You do want people to know what you’re writing about, but relevancy doesn’t always get the job done. I’ve seen people advocate writing snazzy or tricky titles to lure people in that have nothing to do with relevancy. I don’t support that type of thing, preferring relevant titles when I can. But it does nothing new in bringing you more traffic unless it ties in to things you’ve already been writing about (unless it’s about cleavage; that will always bring more traffic. If some of you don’t know what I’m talking about it’s in a previous post).

3. Integrate Keywords Into Your Blog Posts. Duh! Let me ask all of you a question. If you’re writing a blog post and you have a particular topic you’re writing about, is that a keyword? And if you’re writing about a particular topic, are you probably destined to mention that word, or phrase, more than once in your post? Isn’t this particular point a major waste of your time to read?

4. Improve the Quality of Your Backlinks. Yeah, this will work; if you have an inordinate amount of time to work on backlinks. You do a lot of this type of thing for websites, not blogs. If you want to improve your blog with links, link to previous blog posts where you can, and if your blog is with your business website make sure to link the to each other every once in awhile.

5. Plan for Social Media Sharing. This one’s not total garbage, but we’ve seen it before; heck, I’ve written about it. Most people are already sending out automatic blog links whenever they have a post go live, and if you’re not, you should be. For some sites, you’ll actually have to post the links, but that’s not such a bad thing either if you have enough people following you in those places.

6. Tell Better Stories at Your Blog. Once again a garbage point because without an indication of what a better story is the write has no real idea what it means. What it’s supposed to mean is to be real, put your own natural rhythm into what and how you write, and if it’s compelling people will like it. But will you immediately get more traffic from it?

7. Find Readers for Your Blog. This is garbage mainly because of how it’s stated. Basically, blogging works best if you’re part of a community. You don’t just up and join a community per se. You work the system, such as commenting on other blogs, writing guest posts or asking others to write one for you, sending your blog links to other social media sites, sending some posts to your friends, etc. You don’t write your blog and just expect people to show up; this isn’t Field of Dreams (one day I’m going to watch that movie).

Out of all the points above, the last 3 are probably the only ones that can help. However, I have to say that if you saw the original article (nope, I’m not sharing it), you’d have thought “hey, this doesn’t really say anything”, and it didn’t.

I do have a point here; actually, two points. One, this is an example of using what someone else has written and making it your own. The only thing I’ve borrowed from the other post are the tips, and I didn’t use anything else from the post. When people say to me that they can’t think of anything to write about, I’ll tell them to read something then write their opinion on the topic they just read. Two, originality always wins out. What this guy wrote in his post was a lot of what others have said before. The only originality in his post were a few links to something that others had said. Everything else I’d seen before, which was probably why I was irked. My hope is that everyone reading this could take the 7 tips above and write a completely different post, even if the tips were the same.

That’s it; rant over. Am I being hard or do you agree?

Your Profile Is Missing

Last week I highlighted Wayne Sutton of Social Wayne on that week’s Black Web Friday post. Earlier that week Wayne had put out a shared circle on Google+ of nearly 400 black participants, including me, such that if any of us wanted to hook up with that circle we could, and then if we wanted to hook up with people in that circle individually we could do that as well. I thought it was a great idea and I know it had to take him a long time to put it together.

I hooked up to the circle, then started looking at some of the names and checking out profiles of many of the people. I stopped after about 25 people and was somewhat dismayed. That’s because out of the nearly 25 people, only 4 of them had completed profiles on G+. Some of them had links to their Twitter accounts or Facebook accounts, but no other information about them.

I thought that was a major waste of resources, and I didn’t even consider adding any of those people to my personal stream. I mean, how long can it take to fill in some business information, which I assumed was the reason they signed up for it, or to put a link to a website or blog and get some link love or publicity from it?

I have to admit that I’ve wondered about this sort of thing for awhile; why do people create accounts on social media sites and then never complete any information on them? This isn’t only an issue with G+; there are many people on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter that don’t put any information in either.

Now, Facebook I can kind of understand because people worry about the privacy aspect, and although it can be used for business many people don’t use it for that purpose. Facebook is really more for personal use, and if people just want to connect with their friends and nothing more, so be it.

Twitter and LinkedIn are another matter. Let’s talk LinkedIn first. It’s for business networking; there’s no other reason to sign up for an account. If you don’t want to network with other business people, then why are you there? No one wants to hook up with anyone that hasn’t completed their business profile, and if I don’t know who you are I’m not hooking up with any account that doesn’t have some kind of picture either.

Twitter is a duplicitous animal. I almost never reach out to anyone first on Twitter these days; it’s hard enough trying to get people I am connected with to talk to me. Twitter allows you to put a brief bit of information about yourself in your profile, but it also allows you not to put anything in.

If you’ve created an account only to talk to specific people, and you’re protecting your account, I can understand why you don’t put in any information. But if you write anything that looks like you’re in business, why don’t you have a link of some kind, and a legitimate one at that? What’s the purpose of cloaking your link? I’m not clicking on any cloaked links, and thus I’m not following you. And if you haven’t put any info in except a link, I’m probably not following you either. And sans image; nope, I’m moving on.

Here’s my point; nothing says you have to be on social media to begin with, but if you’re going to participate at least do the bare minimum of participation in whatever platform you’re creating an account on. Just like I say about people who create blogs and then abandon them, you look worse creating a profile and not doing anything with it than not creating one at all.

At least those are my thoughts; am I alone here? Come on, someone try to justify why you think this is a good thing to do.

Black Web Friday – 03/02/12

Yup, time for another episode of Black Web Friday, and I’m starting off today with an interesting history fact. On this day in 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors, the only person in professional basketball history to score triple digits in one game, and my favorite basketball player of all time. Wilt was the man!

Black Web Friday

With no controversy going on that’s enough to cause a riot let’s get right into it today. I’m starting with one of my longest online friends, DeAnna Troupe of Learn Small Business. I met her on Ryze back in 2004 and she’s been a loyal commenter on this blog for many years. She’s done a lot of things concerning small business, affiliate marketing, and writing, and if you’re looking for the antithesis of some of my long posts visit DeAnna’s blog and you’ll find shorter posts that get to the point and then move on. Of course I’m working on her to write longer posts and to get rid of her captcha, but I’m like that. 😉

Kris Cain writes the blog Little Tech Girl, and it’s a wealth of information about technology, blogging, social media and every once in awhile some off-topic stuff; actually, a lot like this blog. It’s a Disqus blog so I’ve never commented on it, but I laughed when I read one of her recent posts, which was short but I felt it, on breaking one’s glasses, something I’ve done a few times in my life but also something I fret about often. There are some sales posts as well, including the glasses post, but come on, some of us should be allowed to try to make money right?

Terrance Gaines writes the blog Brotha Tech, which of course means he talks a lot about technology. Let me say this; he has the coolest header I’ve ever seen and I wish I could find someone to make something like this for me. One of the things I like is that he talks about Android phones and apps, since that’s what I have and haven’t quite been one of those people that searches apps on my own. Traditional blog commenting system with one of those captcha systems that’s at least easier to read, even if I still hate captcha. lol

Finally, let’s meet Arie Rich, whose blog KMP Blog (keep me posted) is about media, fashion, and pretty much what’s going on now. It was on her blog where I learned that the latest Muppet Movie will be coming out on DVD on March 20th, a movie I reviewed back in December. It’s definitely got a younger person’s spin on it, which helps make it fresh and entertaining, and there’s a wide range of topics she covers. It’s an Intense Debate blog, so I’ve never commented on it, but I like how it reads just the same.

There you are, 4 blogs this time around. I’m thinking that I might have to start seeing if I can find Twitter accounts on these sites and if so including them when I post the link on Twitter at least once so people can find themselves here; what do you think? Enjoy your weekend.