Category Archives: Say Hello to a Good Buy!

UPDATE: Product recall of a device we reviewed

B&N Nook 7 Tablet
B&N Nook 7 Tablet

Last month we reviewed (and recommended as a “good buy”) the new Barnes & Noble Nook 7 Tablet. We recently received an email from Barnes & Noble informing us of a product recall on the Power Adapter included with the device. It seems that the Power Adapter can break and expose metal parts that could lead to an electrical shock hazard when the device is plugged into the wall.

B&N Nook 7 Tablet Power Adapter
B&N Nook 7 Tablet Power Adapter

If you purchased this device on-line or at a Barnes & Noble store you need to return the Power Adapter using the on-line form at the following web site Nook 7 Tablet Recall Information. Upon receipt, Barnes & Noble will send you a replacement Power Adapter and a $5.00 gift card.

I’m fairly confident that at the original selling price of $49.99 B&N was not making any serious money on the Nook 7 Tablet. This is the only current Nook Tablet device (not counting e-readers) that is NOT manufactured and co-branded with Samsung. I’m also pretty confident that the cost for a replacement Power Adapter, two way shipping and handling, plus the value of the $5.00 gift card makes the recall cost total about $40.00 per return. According to published details the company has sold approximately 140,000 of the affected Nook 7 Tablets. If every person returns the defective Power Adapter the cost to Barnes & Noble would exceed $5,000,000 dollars.

Barnes & Noble can’t seem to catch a break on selling digital devices.  For several years B&N invested many millions of dollars on R&D, custom manufacturing, marketing, special store fixtures and dedicated sales, training and support personnel.  B&N competed during those years with Apple, Samsung, Amazon and others for both the consumer, business and education markets. During that period I personally worked for B&N and helped sell and support Nooks at two retail stores. In the last two-three years B&N has co-branded Nooks that are manufactured by Samsung – a better and more successful approach.

If you purchased the new Nook 7 Tablet for $49.99 during the period of November 2016 through January 2017 you can check your devices serial number against the recall list by clicking this link Nook 7 Tablet Recall Information.  We recommend that you do so – and especially if you purchased the device for a child or grand child. 

“Say Hello to a Good Buy!” Barnes & Noble’s new Nook 7 tablet, just $49.99, Simply AMAZING!

B&N Nook 7 Tablet
B&N Nook 7 Tablet

The new Barnes & Noble Nook 7 Tablet is a great device at an astonishingly low price.

Is it the best tablet? No. Is it a good value? Yes!

Here are 21 reasons why it makes a great stocking stuffer this holiday season:

1. The Nook 7 is perfect for kids under 10 (before they get brand envy) and budget-conscious seniors who want to read books, play Solitaire, receive email, and read about their families and friends on Facebook.

2. Why buy the Nook 7 over an Amazon Fire at the same price with similar features? Two answers: (1) You get Barnes & Noble in-store setup, training, and service help, if needed. (2) The Nook 7 uses the Google Play Store for app purchases; the Amazon Fire does not without modification.

3. The Nook 7 has 8GB of storage memory and can be expanded up to 128GB if you use a type UHS-1 MicroSD card (Class 10) and format it for internal use.

4. The spoken voice feature “OK Google” works great for searching and as an everyday assistant.

5. Video: live, streaming, and downloaded videos run smoothly.

6. The device runs a modern version of Android, 6.0 Marshmallow OS. It’s similar to using an Apple IOS device in look and feel.

7. The Nook 7’s screen is a 7″ IPS display and is very sharp and crisp. It is easy to read books, play games, and watch videos.

8. The Quad-core processor is reasonably fast for day-to-day use and may be the secret behind running videos that don’t stutter.

9. 1GB of RAM is not bad for a $50 device and helps in the overall zippy experience.

10. Wi-Fi 802.1 b/g/n dual-bands are quite good, with easy setup, quick connect, and reasonable range.

11. Up-to-date Bluetooth 4.0 hardware allows you to connect wireless headphones, printers, keyboards, and more.

12. It has a standard 3.5mm audio port for wired headphones and speakers.

13. A built-in microphone for use with applications such as “OK Google” searches. With additional apps you could record notes or use wireless phone services such as Skype.

14. Reset button for screen freezes, reboots, et cetera.

15. A Lithium-Ion battery powers the device for about 7 hours. It can be fully recharged in about 4 hours.

16. B&N thoughtfully included a wall power adapter and micro USB cable in the box.

17. You can project videos to your flat panel TV if you own a Google ChromeCast media streaming stick.

18. The B&N Nook reading software is mature, solid, and full of features. You can change fonts, type sizes, highlighting, notes, bookmarks, and dozens of other features.

19. Use the B&N Nook store for on-line book and magazine ordering and downloads.

20. The Nook 7 comes with a one-year warranty. For an additional $9.99 you can purchase an extended one-year (total of two years) warranty that covers accidental damage against drops, spills and other damage with no deductibles – perfect for the kids and grandkids.

21. Even with a 7” screen the Nook 7 tablet will fit in most classic-cut pant pockets, backpacks, and purses.

Here are a couple of things that are disappointing about the Nook 7:

1. Sound: the volume is way too soft out of the rear mono speaker. Although, music and video sounds great out of a Bluetooth or wired set of headphones.

2. Cameras: the device has front and rear cameras, yet they are too soft-focused and lack the contrast needed for crisp pictures and videos.

Overall, the Barnes & Noble Nook 7 is a triumph for consumers. It’s a wonderful pocket-computing device for just under fifty dollars. It may be the world’s first disposable computer; it would certainly cost more than fifty-dollars to have it repaired.

Inside the box you will find an easy-to-use Quick Start Guide booklet to help with the initial setup and configuration. Besides in-store support, you can find on-line email and chat support at nook.com, and by phone at 1-800-The-Book.

A final note: A few years ago there was a movement to bring the price of a personal computer down to $100 so that young students in third world countries could benefit from computer technology (obviously you would still need electricity to recharge the device and Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet). Now we can answer that call with a $50 B&N Nook 7 tablet. This kind of reminds me of the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” TV commercial from the early 1970’s. (Click here:) YouTube: I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke tv spot

Happy holidays from Tom Gordon, the iTechGeezer

    “Say Hello To A Good Buy!” Definitely My Journal of Choice: DAY ONE Journal 2

      

    I have well over 150 apps on my iPhone and iPad. Although, you may ask, how many do I really use? The answer: about a dozen. I’ve been using apps on Apple IOS devices for about eight years. I consider myself a software explorer and I’ve tried hundreds of different apps – some with the same purpose. For example, to find a solution for the best word processing app on my mobile devices, I’ve tried Apple Pages, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs. After more than a few attempts to find the perfect word processing app (by the way, there is no such thing), I’ve found the one that is “perfect” for me.

    Over my lifetime of computing (since 1978), I’ve tried to find the perfect journaling software application for both “regular” computers (Mac and PC’s – desktops and laptops) and “mobile” communicators (IOS, Droid, and other smartphones and tablets). I love to record day-to-day events, as well as life, and, of course, traveling experiences. Although my diary (i.e., journal) contains my personal thoughts and pictures, I’m not too worried about security; yet I still employ a simple security system.

    Here is what I look for in a journaling software application:

     1. The same basic software features in both versions (traditional computer and mobile computer)

     2. A graphical look and feel to the user interface, as well as what I can record and save on the application. I’m a visual person. I love photos, videos, and a certain look and style to my stuff.

     3. Easy, nearly automatic, journaling. “Click” a button, add some words and photos, save, share, back-up, done.

     4. Security that is safe and reliable, while not requiring a lot of effort to access my stuff.

     5. The ability to share my journal entries with others, (via email, Twitter, Facebook, or messages) or, rather, to keep them entirely private.

    My absolute favorite journaling software program (App) is DAY ONE Journal 2 by Bloom Built, LLC. Here is a link to their website: DAY ONE Journal Web Site Home Page

    Bloom Built, LLC released its latest version, DAY ONE Journal 2, just a few weeks ago and it is a standout! Here’s why:

     • Extremely graphical. You have the ability to associate up to ten photos with any journal entry. You can take photos within the app or add them from your photos library.

     • Excellent entry security. Use a four digit pin, or use the iPhone/iPad fingerprint sensor.

     • Journal entries can be GPS location-based. Use the associated photograph GPS or your physical location at the moment. There is a map icon that shows you where all of your entries have been made. This is incredibly useful if you travel often.

     • Entries can be tagged for easy grouping.

     • Entry dates are automatically added, but can be modified for both date and time.

     • Weather temperatures and conditions are automatically added.

     • You can have multiple journals. Personal, business, projects, organizations, etc.

     • Activity tags like stationary, walking, running, biking, eating, etc.

     • Step count (from iPhones)

     • Music, or rather, what is playing on your Apple Music player (note that this is the only player supported) at the moment you made the entry.

     • Entry URL lets you share this journal entry by providing the user with a link.

     • Standard IOS sharing menu for sharing to Twitter, OneNote, Pocket, Facebook, Apple Notes, and dozens of other sharing apps. You can also save to Dropbox, copy, print, and view as a PDF.

     • Organize entries by map location, date(s), and photos.

     • Entry is synced over iCloud to all devices. Backup is daily and automatic. It is date and time stamped as well.

     • Text styles, as well as, type formatting, lists (bullet and numbered), HTML view, and other styles.

     • The Apple Watch is supported and journal entry is easy by using user defined “stock” entries, or voice dictation into the watch and even photo journal entries can be made using the watch.

     • DAY ONE Journal 2 is available for IOS: $4.99, or the Mac: $29.99 – A reasonable price for pretty much the ultimate in journaling (“Say Hello To A Good Buy!”)

    If you like journaling, this is the app you need. Start a journal entry on any device, and then edit and update the entry from any device, anywhere!

    If you have a question or thought, post it in the comments section . Thanks for reading, come back soon! Best, Tom Gordon

    “Say Hello To A Good Buy!” Is Apple Music right for Seniors?

     

    Apple Music
    Apple Music
     

    What! Seniors spending money on a music subscription?

    No way!  Just a few years ago I worked at Barnes & Noble in what was then called “the music department.”  Seniors would come in and look over the bins of CD’s for the musical genre they liked and then grumble as the paid $14.99 each for the two or three CD’s that they would purchase and take home.  In the three years that I worked in “the music department,” I noticed that the number of bins containing CD’s was dramatically shrinking as more and more people were turning to digital music.

    A lot of seniors love music, but are limited in what available funds they can spend on entertainment like books, magazines, movies – and of course music.  Many times while working at B&N I heard seniors express that they really wanted that new release, or that fourth CD but they “better not.” 

    Along comes iTunes…

    Apple’s iTunes software, which runs on Mac’s and Windows PC’s, has been around for several years.  It’s a great way to organize your digital music and videos.  Of course you could “RIP” the music CD’s you already owned to iTunes – all perfectly legal – and enjoy them on your computer with a good stereo sound system or “SYNC” them to a mobile device.  That is if you understood how to “RIP” and “SYNC.”  A lot of seniors didn’t “get it.”  

    Along comes Pandora….

    For seniors, who really embraced digital e-readers (like the Barnes & Noble “Nook,” or the Amazon “Kindle,” they migrated to more advanced digital devices like iPhones, iPads, Samsung/Nooks, and Kindle Fires that include the ability not only to read digital books, but also to listen to digital music and watch digital movies.  One of the first, and still one of the most successful music apps is Pandora.  It has that magic senior word “FREE!” and gives the listener the ability to pick a performer, song, or album and create a “station.”  For example I could have a Moody Blues “station.”  Pandora will play a Moody Blues track every third or fourth song – plus then fill in artists that are very similiar to the Moody Blues.  All for “FREE!” if you don’t mind an advertisement every quarter-hour or so.  I could have dozens of stations to accomodate my eclectic taste in music!

    The come and they go…

    Over the last five years there have been well over a dozen music services that have come and gone.  Some free, some paid.  All of them trying to find the magic formula that would attract millions of music lovers world wide to come to their mecca of music.  Some of them came from pretty big name brands you know, and some brands you never heard of before – or after.  Undoubtedly the most successful to-date has been an app and music service called Spotify.  There is a free version (ad supported) and a paid version (no ads) of Spotify.

      

    Now comes Apple Music…

    A few months ago Apple introduced a new music subscription called (naturally) Apple Music.  The service provides access to over 43,000,000 music tracks – and also music videos – all for just $14.99 per month. The monthly charge allows you to share the service with up to six family members (spouses, kids and grandkids included!). It’s just $9.99 per month for an individual subscription.

    Here is the good news…

    • Millions of music songs and albums to choose from.  All your favorite artists, and all your loved genres! Easy to create playlists.
    • Music can be streamed over WiFi or cellular and also downloaded for off-line listening.
    • Each family member can have their own music library.
    • Apple Music works on MOST newer iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, Mac’s and Windows PC’s.  It does not currently work on Android devices but Apple has announced that it will with a forthcoming App.
    • It also works (like magic!) on the latest Apple TV streaming devices (version 4).  The advantages of working on Apple TV is that you can watch music videos on that big new 75″ 4K Ultra High Definition flat panel TV that Santa will try to stuff down your chimney. 

    Of course there is a little bad news…

    • If you cancel your subscription all the music goes away (remember you are only renting it).
    • No you cannot “burn” the music to a CD.
    • The Apple Music software is a little clumsy to use for the first few days – until you find your way around the icons.

    But it’s $14.99 per month you say…

    It amazes me how many people (not only seniors) grumble that they don’t want to pay $14.99 per month (or just $9.99 if you don’t want to share) for a music subscription, but they paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the best smartphone, best tablet, best computer or best flat panel TV that money can buy.  They think nothing of spending $7.99 – $14.99 (and up) per month for NetFlix, Hulu or HBO Now.  They will still spend $14.99 each for CD’s – but are reluctant to purchase a music subscription – which can be easily cancelled.

    “Just Do it!”…

    As Nike would say “Just Do It!” – the first 3 – months are FREE (and is easy to cancel).  Learn more by going to CLICK Here…

    A final note…

    As a senior (almost 70) and a tech weenie and geezer I think I speak with authority and experience on personal technology for seniors.  I’ve been messing with personal computers since 1978.  Comments – both pro and con are aways welcome.  Thanks for reading my blog.

    “Say Hello to a Good Buy!” Should Seniors buy the new Apple TV?

      

    The “Buzz”:

    The “buzz” you are hearing over the normal roar of the Internet is all about the NEW 4th generation Apple TV.

    What the heck is an Apple TV?:

    You may be asking “What the heck is an Apple TV?” Well… an Apple TV is a hockey-puck sized box (see the picture above) that you hook up to your digital (flat screen) TV.  It is easy to set up and install with your existing WiFi system and can provide hours of video and audio enjoyment.

    Apple has dozens of both free and subscription channels – everything from NetFlix, Hulu, PBS and many more.  The newest models (the ones with all the “buzz”) even have an App store so that you can download more channels and now even games to play on your TV.

    Can it replace your cable TV service?

    Maybe.  If you live in one of the over 110 lucky CBS affiliate cities (check out this link for a List of CBS All Access affiliate cities) providing the new CBS All Access channel and you like CBS local and national programming, for a whole $5.99 a month you are all set.

    Which model should I buy?

    OK, as a senior, let’s say that you are now sold on the concept of “digital streaming” with an Apple TV, but which one should you buy?  The new one (4th generation) comes in two different media storage sizes for $149.99 or $199.99.  Take my recommendation and stretch for the $199.99.  The old ones (as of last week) are still available as new $69.99 (usually in stock at Best Buy, Staples, Walmart, Target and others), or refurbished $59.99 (directly from Apple) and both come with a one year warranty and free shipping.

    My advice for “Savvy Seniors” that want to get a great value is to buy the Apple 3rd generation Apple TV as refurbished from Apple using this link: http://www.apple.com/shop/browse/home/specialdeals/appletv

    Are there other brands you should consider?

    Other “digital streaming” boxes include Amazon’s Fire, Google’s Chrome Stick, Roku and others. All have plus’ and minus’.  I’ve owned and used Apple, Roku and Google.  My first choice is Apple (now there is a surprise you are probably saying to yourself). Second would be Roku and then Google. 

    I like Apple because of the reliability, ease of hook-up, channel variety, and that I can broadcast any video or audio that is on my Mac, PC, iPhone or iPad directly to the Apple TV wirelessly using Apple’s AirPlay system that is built into almost everything Apple sells.

    Here is to happy channel surfing and maybe cable cord cutting!

    “Say Hello to a Good Buy!” – Jam Transit Bluetooth Headphones. Good Quality, Great Price!

     

    Jam Transit Headphones
    Jam Transit Headphones
     
    Looking for a “good buy” on a pair of studio style headphones that are good sounding – and inexpensive?  Consider the Jam Transit Bluetooth headphones.  

    Here is why we recommend these great value headphones:

    • Good sound quality – not Bose or Beats quality – but then they are not $300-400 – Just $59.99 or less (see below). Surprising amount of bass reflex.
    • Wear while relaxing, biking, walking, treadmill and more.
    • Sturdy construction, comfortable to wear for hours at a time.
    • Retail packaging is also a “carry case” for after purchase use. Easy to use for travel or storage.
    • Perfect for music, audio books, podcasts, movies, Internet radio and more.
    • Up to 6 hours of listening on one charge.
    • Bluetooth range is about 30 feet. 
    • Does NOT shut out outside noises (like the lawn mower).
    • Built-in microphone lets you use for your mobile phone calls.
    • Micro-USB cord for charging (included) can connect to your USB phone charger.
    • Studio style can be worn over in-ear hearing aids – great for seniors (including me!)
    • Easy to set up and “pair” with your Apple or Android device – even works with my new Apple Watch (and iPhone, iPad, Mac – and the list goes on).
    • On-ear control panel for play, pause, volume up, volume down, next track, past track
    • LED lites for charging (glows red), in use (slow flash blue), pairing (fast flash blue)
    • Available in black or red.
    • 1 year manufacturers warranty

     

    Control Panel
    Control Panel
     
    Easy to pick-up at your nearest Kohl’s department store for $49.99.  Amazon web site has them listed for $42.99 (Black) with FREE shipping for Prime members.  Amazon also has them for $40.46 (Red) with FREE shipping for Prime members.

     

    Jam Transit Headphones
    Jam Transit Headphones
     
    Finally…

    “Say Hello To A Good Buy!” is a new style of post that we will publish from time to time when we find a really good value (value = good price, good technology, easy-to-use, good customer service) – especially for our senior readers.  Let us know (please leave a comment) how you like this new section!