Ask The Nice Guy - Dropbox, E-Readers, and Downloading Free Music

This is the 7th post in a series called Ask The Nice Guy. In this series I will attempt to provide answers to the various questions I get asked throughout the week.

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in this blog post, boiled down to five word (or less) summaries.

  1. Benefits of Dropbox
  2. Best E-Reader
  3. Downloading Free Music

Question 1: Benefits of Dropbox?

My family is asking me what are the benefit of using Dropbox?

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website.

You can learn more about Dropbox by taking this tour on their website.

I make extensive use of Dropbox in my life life. I have all my important files saved in Dropbox which makes them accessible on any device. Having the important files saved in Dropbox gives me some peace of mind knowing that if something happened to my computer I would still be able to access those files by visiting

The real magic with Dropbox in its ability to sync your files across devices. I can make a change to a text document on my MacBook Air and have the file synced to my other devices within seconds.

Question 2: Best Gadget For Reading Books?

I am pondering which gadget would be a good book reader for me. I read mostly non-fiction books, usually from the public library (my impression is that the library doesn’t have a big selection of books for e-reading). Anyway, I read in bright light outdoors and when it’s darker inside. Not knowing any pros, cons, or specs, I am leaning towards the iPad mini as I have an iPhone and MacBook Pro and am a big Apple fan. I assume the iPad mini has much more app capability than the Kindle or Nook?

Based on the fact that you identified yourself as someone who reads in bright light outdoors and when it is darker inside, I would have to recommend the Kindle Paperwhite. It is a dedicated e-reader that you can easily read in the bright sun (I have read numerous books on my Kindle while lying out in the sun on top of a cruise ship) and read in a dark room with the built in light.

The iPad mini has much more app capability than the Kindle Paperwhite but it will not offer a good reading experience in the bright sun. I was out for a walk today and tried to check the temperature on my iPhone and I could not see the screen at all due to all of the glare! On the cruise my wife and I went on, she left her iPad mini at home and just brought her Kindle.

The cost of the Kindle Paperwhite is much lower than the least expensive iPad mini which gives you additional money to buy books!

The public library does have a selection of books to check out, but it is not comprehensive. Many titles are not available and the ones that are available often have a wait list to check them out. There are plenty of free books available on the Kindle Store that are worth checking out. I have found that the price of an e-book is considerably less than a traditional book and the amount of enjoyment gained from a good book is well worth the cost.

Question 3: Using Limewire or Frostwire?

My high school son was telling me the other day that I could download music for free from a program called Frostwire. Is this safe?

I wouldn't recommend it. Frostwire and Limewire are file sharing programs that allow people to "share" music via the internet with other people. There are numerous reasons why this is a bad idea.

The first reason that it is a bad idea is because you aren't quite sure what you are actually downloading. Just because it says that it is the latest single from Bruno Mars does not mean it is even a song. It could be a virus, spyware, or malware. If it is legitimately a song it may not be a very high quality version.

The second reason that it is a bad idea is because if you are caught downloading music, movies, or television shows from a file sharing program, you could be fined or sent to prison.

According to Lisa Vaas:

The first jury trial for a file-sharing suit brought by the major record labels has resulted in a $222,000 fine for a Minnesota woman accused of downloading and distributing more than 1,700 songs on the file-sharing site KaZaA.

I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of cash burning a hole in my pocket to pay a hefty fine for illegally downloading music.

The third reason that it is a bad idea is because the people that make the media that we all enjoy deserve to get paid for their work. If you don't want to pay money for a song, there are numerous ways to listen to it for free that are legal. You can use:

If you appreciate the free content on please support Mike by shopping on Amazon. If you click on the link and buy something, Mike will receive a small percentage of your purchase and it won't cost you any extra! Thanks for your consideration!

5 Things - Week Ending 4/12/13

This is the 42nd post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

Before Heit had a chance to finish typing the text, his car drifted onto the wrong side of the road. Realizing his mistake, he overcorrected, quickly turning the steering wheel in an attempt to move his vehicle back into the right lane. He lost control of the car and it veered off the highway, rolling and flipping until it came to a stop.

This story is really sad. This kid lost his life because he couldn't wait until he arrived at his destination to have the following conversation:

Friend: Hey man I had to run out for like an hour
Heit: Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw

He never finished the text. He looked up, saw his car was in the wrong lane, overcorrected and ended up rolling the vehicle.

If you have young people in your life, please take a few minutes to have a caring conversation with them about texting and driving.

I just talked to my wife's brother Mikkel (senior at Farmington High School) about this article this morning.

Watch Facebook's First Ad for 'Home'

Facebook has announced new software that can be installed on some Android based smart phones. The idea behind the software is that you are connected to your Facebook friends 24/7.

Even if I still used Facebook I would not want Facebook dominating my cell phone.

It will be interesting to see if this takes off or not.

On Teens and iPhones.

Alex Guyot:

Here at CDO High School in Tucson, Arizona, iPhones are everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if iPhones were represented at an even higher percentage than the 48% shown in the study. iPhones are most definitely considered the “cool” option, and I see kids with them from every group of people in the school. Moreover, there is no sign of iPhone growth slowing any time soon, as the social pressures inherent in any high school ecosystem have taken Apple’s side, and iPhones are being pushed on non-iPhone users by other kids all around the school. It hasn’t gotten to the point where not having an iPhone is a black mark upon you, but it certainly seems to be an indicator of status. Kids with iPhones seem to find every excuse to have them in sight at all times. iPhones are constantly laying in the open on desks or being held in hands, even while not in use, yet I notice non-iPhone owners are much less prone to flaunting their devices in a similar manner.

I have been reading some stories suggesting that Apple has lost its cool factor (whatever that is). I read this story written by 17 year old Alex Guyot who shares his observation of the phone culture at a middle class Arizona high school.

One lesson that I wish teens would learn (besides not texting while driving) is that you shouldn't make your purchasing decisions based on what others are doing, but rather make an informed decision on what makes the most sense for you.

I remember that for my first couple years in high school I was under the impression that wearing a certain brand on clothes and having a cell phone (not everyone had one in those days) would help get more people to like me. It didn't make one bit of difference.

Struggle to Ban Smartphone Usage in Gyms

Catherine Saint Louis:

The sheer ubiquity of smartphones adds to privacy risks in locker rooms, where bans were first imposed but are still often ignored.

David W. Marr, 26, a Wal-Mart employee and a massage therapist, recalls letting his towel hang open in a locker-room sauna this year at a 24 Hour Fitness in Glendale, Calif. A teenager nearby appeared to be playing a game on his phone. “I see this kid caught with a deer-in-the-headlight look,” Mr. Marr said. “He looked at me, and shut the phone.”

He said he suspects he was videotaped naked, and he complained to management the next day (the gym’s policy is that taking pictures or videos is forbidden). “Anybody can be pretending to have a conversation and filming at the same time,” he said.

The other weekend I was at my cousin's birthday party and we started talking about technology. Someone mentioned their concern about changing at the gym due to the ubiquity of smartphones. Almost all smartphones have a camera and with just a couple of taps someone could take a photo or video of you and upload it to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or send it via email without you even knowing it.

This raises some major privacy concerns and it sounds like gyms are struggling to regulate smartphone use in their gyms.

Why and when the iPad is the best e-reader

Joel Mathis:

For the first time in history, when we sit down to read a book, we’re faced with more than simply a choice of what to read—we must also decide how to read it. Perhaps you’ve found your favorite reading method, and tend to stick with it. But the truth is that different mediums offer different strengths, which are in turn tuned to different types of reading. Wedging yourself into a corner with just one device for all types of reading can deny you the pleasures and advantages of the other.

I thought that this article did a nice job explaining the pros and cons of reading a book via various methods (iPad, Kindle, and book).

My favorite way to read is on the Kindle. I can't say enough positive things about it!

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5 Things - Week Ending 12/21/12

This is the 32nd post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

Ereaders? They can already store more books than you’ll ever need. Their displays can already refresh as efficiently as you’ll ever hope. New models will come out every year, sure, with minor improvements here and there. But the ereader you buy today will be perfectly good four years from now. There’s not a tablet in the world you can say that about.

When Britta and I were on vacation last week we saw numerous Ereaders on the airplane and on the cruise ship. One thing that stood out was how many of those Ereaders were Kindles that came out two or three years ago.

You can purchase a Kindle for $69 today and be confident that it will still be highly functional five years from now.

Android Malware Creeps Into Cellphone Bills

Brian X. Chen:

The most prevalent form of Android malware scrapes small amounts of money from smartphone owners by making secret charges to their phone bills, according to a report published by Lookout, a mobile security company in San Francisco. This type of malware is called toll fraud, and it has the potential to fool plenty of people who don’t pay close attention to their phone bills every month.

If you have an Android based phone you need to pay close attention to your cell phone bill for suspicious charges and read the full article to become more informed of this threat.

iPhone owners do not need to worry about malware.

Your smartphone is so smart it takes 14 gadgets and $1,200 to match it

Josh Ong:

Ever wondered how much it would cost you to replicate the functionality of today’s smartphones with a collection of standalone gadgets? I picked out the main functions and apps of my iPhone 4S and tried to find approximate replacements for each of them on Amazon. The total bill came to $1,228.11, and the devices collectively weighed more than eight pounds.

My iPhone has replaced some of the following things in my life:

  • Digital Camera
  • GPS
  • Alarm Clock
  • Flashlight
  • Cell Phone
  • iPod
  • Calculator
  • Gaming Device
  • Dictionary

Zero Dark Inbox

Silvia Killingsworth:

I have four e-mails in my inbox right now, but I’m aiming for that number to be zero. Like many practitioners of the “Inbox Zero” system, I treat my inbox like a to-do list, with each e-mail representing a task: complete this assignment, file that banking statement, restart my modem at home for a free Internet speed upgrade from Time Warner Cable (for which I will likely be surreptitiously charged at a later date). Everything else, once it’s been replied to or followed up on, gets archived.

I learned about Inbox Zero a few years ago when I stumbled across this video.

I make it a point to deal with email as it comes in. Sometimes, I get really busy on the weekend so I have created a rule that I deal with any remaining emails in my inbox on Monday morning. As I type this it's 10:34am on Monday morning and I don't have a single email in any of my three inboxes.

I have chosen to follow the philosophy of Inbox Zero becaues I can easily feel overwhelmed when I see a large number of things to deal with (whether it's email in my inbox or dishes piled up next to the sink).

If you struggle with too much email and would like some help gettting things under control please contact me.

Can I Leave My Gadgets In a Cold or Hot Car?

Whitson Gordon:

Cold is a slightly more interesting beast. In general, tech runs much better when it’s cool than when it’s hot, but when you start approaching extreme winter temperatures, the weather can be just as harmful as in the summer. If you leave your device in the cold for too long, its battery will die and its LCD screen will likely start having issues, and possibly die completely. Furthermore, if you leave it in the cold and then bring it into a warm room quickly, you can cause condensation to build up inside the device, which has the potential for more long-term damage.

Now that the temperature in Minnesota has dropped below freezing on a regular basis it is very important not to leave your technology in the vehicle overnight!

5 Things - Week Ending 11/9/12

This is the 29th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

The web is great for volume, but for the deep touch, you still need to act like an actual human being. You need to actually hear someone’s voice—or at least pull a long, private email out of them. We’re all insecure, finite monkeys who don’t want to admit weakness and fragility in a place where thousands of people can read it. That’s normal. It’s not normal to expect someone to put forth their panic, storm anxiety, fear, and general angst on Facebook. We put the people we want to be on Facebook, not the people we are. And sometimes those people are generally terrified of a storm—or something else—and not doing fine. You’ll never know unless you truly ask.

Call someone if you’re worried about them. Write a note. Go visit them if they’re nearby. And please, please—just because your mom is on Facebook and in unrelenting, often irritating virtual contact with you doesn’t mean you can stop calling her.

Even since I stopped using Facebook (blog post coming soon!), I have made a dedicated effort to actually talk to my friends and family. When you see all the stuff that your friends and family post online it's easy to feel "connected". I might miss out on which concert my pals went to last weekend by not using Facebook. I will know how they are actually doing though by picking up the phone and having a conversation.

Normally, I am all for using technology to make our lives better. Sometimes though, an old fashioned phone call or letter is much more effective than "liking" something on a website.

How New Yorkers Adjusted to Sudden Smartphone Withdrawal

Jenna Wortham:

For some, regaining cell service as the power came back on was bittersweet. Although they were relieved to be reconnected with their families and friends and to begin edging toward normalcy, they said that the brief break from their hyperconnected lives turned out to be welcome.

My heart goes out to all the people who have suffered due to Hurricane Sandy. One of my wife's best friends lives in New York City and it took a few days after the storm hit for us to get in touch with him. He was without power, internet access, and cell service.

I would encourage you to not wait for a natural disaster to happen in your city to take a break from our hyperconnected lives. Designate a weekend where you don't use any technology. No cell phones, no iPads, no television, and no internet. You might find that the break turns out to be quite nice.

Britta and I plan on taking an eight day vacation in December where we are going to use very minimal technology during the entire time span. I will let you know my thoughts!

Review: The Kindle Paperwhite (Compared to the Kindle Touch)

Shawn Blanc:

Reading a book on a Kindle truly is a more enjoyable and relaxing experience than reading one on the iPad. There are the obvious, tangible advantages: the Kindle is easily held for long periods of time with one hand and the e-ink display is easier on the eyes. But there are also the less obvious, intangible advantages: when you’re holding a Kindle there are no other apps, no other options of things to do, no distractions sitting impatiently behind the text before you, no notifications, or any of that.

I agree completely with Shawn. A dedicated E-Reader offers a much better reading experience than an iPad could ever offer. I find myself reading much more since I got a Kindle. If you have not jumped on the E-Reader bandwagon yet, you might want to consider doing so this winter.

The basic Kindle (the one that I have) is now only $69. If you read a half dozen books a year you should be able to pay for the Kindle with the money you will save buying the E-books over the physical books.

Target To Match Prices Of Online Retailers During Holiday Shopping Season

Anne D'Innocenzio:

In the latest effort to beat at its game, Target says that for the first time it will match prices that customers find on identical products at select online competitors this holiday season.

I thought this story was particulary relevant for the following reasons:

  • Target is a Minnesota company
  • The holiday shopping season is among us
  • An online retailer (Amazon) has been poaching sales from the traditional retailers (Target & Wal-Mart) for the past few years

A couple random thoughts bouncing around in my head:

  • What kind of impact will online retailers have on traditional retailers in five years?
  • What kind of innovations will tradtional retailers come up with to fight back against online retailers?

The article also notes that Target will be putting free Wi-Fi in their retail stores this holiday season.

How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away

Nicole Perlroth:

Chances are, most people will get hacked at some point in their lifetime. The best they can do is delay the inevitable by avoiding suspicious links, even from friends, and manage their passwords. Unfortunately, good password hygiene is like flossing — you know it’s important, but it takes effort. How do you possibly come up with different, hard-to-crack passwords for every single news, social network, e-commerce, banking, corporate and e-mail account and still remember them all?

It is one of my personal goals to get my friends, family, and clients to use better passwords. I see some pretty bad passwords when I am working with people. Check out this article for some good advice on making yourself more secure.

Check out my blog post titled 30 Second Tips - Strong Passwords for a practical way to make stronger passwords.

If you would like to learn more about Staying Safe In A Digital World check out the Community Ed class that I teach on the subject.

5 Things - Week Ending 10/12/12

This is the 26th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

Best Buy to Match Online Retailers’ Lower Prices

Marcus Wohlsen:

Best Buy is fighting back in a big way this holiday season against “showrooming,” the practice of checking out a product at an offline store and then buying it for less on the internet. The struggling electronics seller says its workers now have the leeway to match online retailers’ lower prices when trying to close a sale. The new policy signals a sharp shift for Best Buy, which hopes to undercut the main reason would-be customers go home empty-handed and order from Amazon instead.

This is probably a smart move for Best Buy. Perhaps more people will actually buy when in the store if they know they can get the same price that they see online.

I don't think Best Buy's willingness to match online prices will be enough to entice me to purchase technology through them again. I have had too many poor experiences in the past year and I would rather shop from the comfort of my own home.

Screens, Phones, Tablets and More: Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age

The Vision Council:

For many americans, digital eye strain is a product of their lifestyle. Thirty-four percent of adults are in professions that require prolonged use of digital devices. and the eyes feel it. digital eye strain is the most common computer-related repetitive strain injury, surpassing carpal tunnel and tendonitis.

Until I saw this report from the The Vision Council I had never considered the impact that laptops, tablets, and smart phones might have on our eyes. This is definitley worth a read for anyone who spends a considerable amount of time looking at a screen.

Offline: email

Paul Miller:

You know what I hate? Email. I hated it before I left the internet, and I hate it now. It’s a cancer on our society. It is all-consuming. Email has absorbed into itself short messages, long messages, cute conversations between two people, futile conversations between a dozen people, calendar invites, Twitter subscription notifications, Facebook friend requests, password recovery, file exchange, file storage, coupons, project management, newsletters, infighting, backbiting, apologies, diatribes, bills, receipts, payments, and the great how-to-stay-organized minds of our generation.

Paul Miller left the internet a few months ago and he has been sharing his thoughts on the experience. This particular piece focuses on his hatred for email.

Email is so frustrating because anyone can send it to you and often you don't want to receive it. You still have to check it and sort through it to find the emails that you do want to receive.

If you don't like email you may enjoy reading this article.

Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite really shines

Melissa J. Perenson:

With the Kindle Paperwhite’s integrated illumination and dramatic software redesign, Amazon has meaningfully improved the everyday experience of using its top-tier Kindle. Though the nontouch Kindle is now available at a bargain price at $69, the $119 Kindle Paperwhite offers greater flexibility and easier navigation—advantages that you’re likely to appreciate in day-to-day use. If you’re already committed to the Kindle ecosystem, this is a worthy upgrade. And if you’re new to e-readers, you’ll find that the Paperwhite offers serious competition to Barnes & Noble’s $119 Simple Touch with Glowlight.

I purchased one of the new nontouch Kindles for $69 and I have a Kindle Paperwhite on the way. I really enjoy reading on the Kindle. After reading the report from The Vision Council I think I will make an attempt to spend more time reading on the Kindle and less time on the iPad and iPhone.

Finding a Good Flashlight App for the iPhone

Ben Brooks:

If you are a person that uses a flashlight app on your iPhone, I have to say: of the 16 flashlight apps I tested, Lighty is the best.

With so many apps in the App Store I often turn to various people that I trust to help me discover quality apps. I was looking for a flashlight app for my iPhone 4S and Ben Brooks thinks that Lighty is the best. For $.99 you get a super simple easy to use app that turns your iPhone into a flashlight. I use it everyday and would highly recommend it.


5 Things - Week Ending 9/21/12

This is the 24th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

The iPhone 5

John Gruber:

Is it worth devoting the first 750 or so words of this piece to the iPhone 5’s surface appeal? I don’t know how else to convey the niceness of this thing. This iPhone 5 review unit is the single nicest object in my possession. I own things that cost and remain worth more (e.g. my car). But I own nothing this nice. It sounds hyperbolic to put it that way, but I offer this observation with no exaggeration.

John Gruber does a great job reviewing the new iPhone. If you want to get the scoop on what the new iPhone 5 is like this is the review that I would recommend. If you don't have the time to read his entire review let me sum it up for you.


iOS 6 and Every-Day Life

Shawn Blanc:

And it seems to me that there are several things in iOS 6 which reveal just that. This version of iOS is not full of any one amazing new jaw-dropping feature that will have our minds spinning. Instead it’s filled with dozens of little things that will get used by real people ever day. And it will make our lives a little bit nicer and a little bit easier.

Shawn makes a great point in this article. In iOS 6 there are no jaw-dropping new features that will blow your mind. With that being said, there are plenty of little features that will make your life a little bit nicer and a little bit easier. Check out the article to see what Shawn thinks those features are.

Hands on with Amazon's new Kindle e-readers

Melissa J. Perenson:

Ultimately, Amazon has solidified its lead in the E Ink e-reader space in several significant ways. With its $10 price reduction, the Kindle remains the least expensive e-reader on the market. And with its integrated illumination, the new Paperwhite Kindle sets a new standard for performance. Even more important, Amazon has improved the everyday usage experience of the Kindles’ interface, while providing useful and thoughtful touches that readers will appreciate over time. The one key place Amazon still stumbles in a big way is in its lack of support for the Epub standard.

Melissa does a great job sharing her thoughts on the new E Ink Kindles that Amazon recently announced. I can't wait to get the new Paperwhite Kindle when it ships in early October!

If you plan on purchasing one of the new Kindles and use one of the links below you will help support my business!

With mobile technology, it’s too easy to get caught up in a pellet mentality – obsessively checking email, pulling out the PDA whenever there’s a spare ten seconds. When we buy into hyperconnectivity, we too often disconnect from the reality in front of us. Even when we put the digital device down, we’re distracted thinking about the status update or gloomy news story we just read. The constant state of interrupted thinking becomes addictive to our vigilant hunter-gatherer brains and can leave us feeling jangled and exhausted for no good reason. When this happens, the digital realm isn’t a convenience to us anymore. It’s a burden. Get back in control of your time and energy. Set practical boundaries for your media usage, and situate your mind in the present concrete reality. You’ll enjoy what you’ve been missing.

This is something that I am constantly struggling with. It is really difficult to set proper boundaries with technology. I am not sure if people older than myself struggle with this as much but I know that people my age and younger certainly do. We are so use to being connected to others through technology that it is difficult to unplug.

It can be hard to take a nap because your phone will buzz and you will wonder if it is an important email or text. That is why I am really glad that Apple added a Do Not Disturb feature in iOS 6.

Sometimes, I feel like the only way to get away from the grips of technology is to take a vacation to a place that you can't really use it. That's what I plan on doing for ten days in December.

If you struggle with this issue I would love to hear your thoughts. It's easy to contact me.


I discovered Twist this past week and I think it's one of the most useful and cool apps that I have downloaded in a long time.

For those of you who didn't take the time to watch the video here is a short description from Twist's website:

Twist is the easiest and most accurate way to let people know when you’re going to arrive. Whether you’re meeting up with friends, or running late to an urgent business appointment, Twist makes life easier by eliminating the stress and headaches caused by uncertain wait times and travel delays.
Twist’s innovative scheduling system accounts for traffic, different modes of transportation and your own habits when estimating your arrival time. Never again will you have to guess when you are going to arrive!
Running late? Twist can automatically send an update to your pre-determined contacts to let them know your current location and ETA in real-time.

I find myself in numerous situations where I want to communicate my arrival status while driving. Siri has made it a bit safer to fire off a text or call someone, but Twist automates the process completely.

Before you leave you input the location of your destination and who you want to notify. When you leave Twist fires off a text message or an email to your chosen receipient that you have left and it gives them an estimated arrival time. If you run into traffic and it appears that it will take longer than anticipated to arrive at your destination Twist will send out an update arrival time on your behalf. When you are a couple minutes away from your destination Twist sends one last message announcing your arrival.

I have been Twist this past week to let my wife know when I am on my way home from a community ed class or an appointment with a client. I have also used it when I leave the house to pick her up from work. She has a basic flip phone and receives text messages that let her know that I am on my way.

Twist is currently only available on the iPhone. Android support appears to be coming in the future.

5 Things - Week Ending 9/7/12

It’s not really about the display and how great it is in the sun, as I rarely find myself reading outdoors. My eyes never had any problem reading for an hour or two at a time on the iPad display, either. For some reason, I never ran into the eye fatigue I get with my laptop’s display. The reason I’m hooked on E Ink displays has to do with battery life and device weight. If I’m reading for more than 20 minutes or so, I’d much rather hold a feather-light E Ink reader than any tablet out there. I also love that I can go weeks without recharging an E Ink device. It seems like my iPad and now my Android tablet’s battery rapidly loses juice when using a reader app on it … much more so than when I’m just watching a video on the device. I end up having to recharge that Android tablet at least every couple of days. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it makes me much more miserly when I’m on a plane for several hours with no power source available.

In the past few years we have gained the option to read books on our computers, smart phones, tablets, and E Ink devices. When it comes to reading for shorter periods of time I use whatever device is most convenient. If you were behind me in line at the grocery store you would likely see me reading an article on my iPhone.

When it comes to reading for an extended period of time nothing beats a dedicated E Ink device. They have fantastic battery life (measured in weeks not hours), are easy on the eyes, and are easy to hold in one hand for long periods of time.

I am very excited about the new Kindle Paperwhite that Amazon announced this past week. I plan on picking one up as soon as they are available.


Press Release:

For the eighth consecutive study, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction. Apple achieves a score of 849 and performs well in all factors, particularly in physical design and ease of operation. HTC (790) follows Apple in smartphone rankings.

This doesn't surprise me one bit. I can count on my hand the amount of people that I have met that were not satisfied with the iPhone. With the iPhone 5 coming in the next few weeks I expect to see Apple to continue to lead customer satisfaction for the forseeable future.

Glassboard: The Anti-Facebook

Gabe Weatherhead:

So now I have a space that only my family can see. It took some encouragement for them to join but they all like it now. They get to see pictures of the family and receive semi-regular updates but no one is selling information about my daughter and they are not being sold to an advertiser.

I have been using Glassboard for a couple months and I really like it. It's like a private Facebook. I just need to get more of my family and close friends on using it and I will delete my Facebook completely. If you are not a fan of the direction Facebook is heading or perhaps never joined Facebook due to privacy concerns I would encourage you to check out Glassboard.

Amazon: We’re No Apple

Peter Kafka:

That is: Amazon is selling Kindles and Kindle Fires so it can sell more stuff to consumers. That could be by selling them more media, like ebooks and videos, or by getting them to buy more physical goods, via Amazon Prime.

There is a big difference between Amazon and Apple when it comes to the devices that they sell you. Apple makes their profit when you purchase the device. The App Store, iTunes Store, and iCloud all exist for you to have a great experience so that you want to continue to purchase other Apple devices in the future. Apple could care less if you only use the iPad to check email and surf the internet. Amazon on the other hand makes very little profit selling you a Kindle or Kindle Fire and makes the majority of their profits by selling you additional stuff via the device. I like to think of the Kindle and Kindle Fire as a vending machine for Amazon products.



A few years ago I read an article about the Seinfeld productivity secret. The main premise is that you don't want to break the chain once you start a new habit.

I discovered the app Lift recently and it is the perfect digital tool to use with the Seinfeld productivity secret. You pick a habit and then press a button when you do that habit for the day. One of the things that I want to do each day is do some pushups. Once you have started a chain there is definitely some motivation to not break it and to continue to grow it. The app is free in the App Store and has helped me build on some habits!