Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pictures of ViewSonic G-tablet

Google has been sending people to my site who are looking for information on the ViewSonic G-tablet. So I took a few pictures of the device, to better describe the device to people who are looking at purchasing one. The picture below are from some of the most used applications and games. Starting from the top going down we have: A wide screen view of the New York Times, Quake 3 for android, Kindle on Android main menu, Launcher Pro running on 2.2 Froyo, a full screen You-Tube video, a full screen image, A Kindle eBook, New York times running in Firefox, a level of Angry Birds, my app drawer, the Android market, and the load screen for Angry Birds. If anyone is interested in other applications, let me know. I can download them and report back how well they work on the tablet.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cool phone of the month March, Nokia C6-01

This month's phone is from Europe. Last month, we looked at an Android phone, but I want people to know that there are other phone operating systems out there other than the ones developed in North America (Android-USA, iPhone-USA, Windows Phone-USA, Blackberry-Canada, HP WebOS-USA). The phone of the month is the Nokia C6-01. This is a smaller phone, but still a smart phone. It comes with a 640x360 resolution screen, as compared with the typical 840x480 screen you commonly find on other modern smartphones. It comes unlocked from Nokia, and can run the AT&T or T-Mobile network. This phone runs Symbianˆ3, which Nokia developed and has been using for some time. My last phone was a Nokia. It was well built and still looked new even after two years. This phone does have an app store that has a lot of apps from Europe. One note I would like to make is that this phone is not "4G", right now I think "4G" is not a reason to buy a phone. Most people do not live in an area where 4G is available and end up paying for a service they can't receive. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Questions about Netflix?

I had a comment posted from fellow blogger about Netflix and Blockbuster, here is the comment:

I have been thinking lately about if/when Blockbuster will go under because of the serious competition from Netflix. I subscribed to Netflix for about 3 months, however due to my infrequent movie watching, I decided it was a better deal to rent from Blockbuster since I only periodically rent movies. What are your thoughts on this Patrick? Will Blockbuster find a way to stay relevant or will its members continue to remain faithful despite the convenience of Netflix and iTunes selling/renting movies?
Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter! Make sure to check out my blog at

My family has had Netflix for some time. At first, we used the DVD rental service almost exclusively. Over the years, however, Netflix has worked hard to make their "Watch Instantly" service one-of-a-kind. I have not watched a real DVD in about 6 months. Anyone that subscribes to Netflix should consider trying to watch all your favorite movies and shows over the internet instead of waiting for the disc to come in the mail. Netflix allows for a stream only service for a couple dollar savings per month that could make the deal a little sweeter for people that do not watch a lot of movies.

In my opinion, Blockbuster is dead. They cannot compete with Red Box in the local DVD rental market, and they can't compete with Netflix in the Internet streaming market. Their business plan relies on expensive buildings staffed by employees. Red Box allows for the same DVDs through a vending machine, for a much cheaper price. The only advantage Blockbuster has over their competitors is that they carry a wide selection of older movies. Also, Blockbuster has had time to develop a strong customer base. I do not believe this to be a great advantage, however, because most people don't care where the movie comes from, as long as it's the movie they want to watch.

Now, onto iTunes. This is huge rip off. Apple does movie rentals through iTunes for $3 or $4, depending on the movie, while Netflix charges $8 for unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows. The story on the internet is that movie rentals over iTunes is not going so well, which anyone can see why. You can pay $8 for all the movies you want or $4 for every single movie.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Alternative and Augmentative Communication

So in one of my first blog posts (Social Media: Michelle's Take), I discussed how gadgets and emerging technology have changed the way people communicate. I gave the examples of texting rather than calling and not having to know people's phone numbers. But now I'd like to take it a step further and discuss how some gadgets help give a voice to people who would otherwise not have one.

According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association, "Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas (" Although this often involves simple techniques such as using exaggerated facial expressions, symbols, gestures, or written words, it may also involve specialized gadgets. The type of AAC device used depends heavily on the individual using it and what his/her specific needs are. Some people who may choose to use an AAC would be those with autism, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, or those with visual or intellectual impairments, along with a wide variety of people outside those categories with speech or language deficits.

Here are a few of the many options available for alternative augmentative communication devices:

The first picture (from is a series of communication booklets. Each booklet contains images about different topics. Here, topics include food items, clothing items, and feelings. A person would point to different pictures to communicate his/her wants and needs.

This picture (from is of a product called The Ring. This is a set of 20 different phrases held together on a key-chain that a person can use to aid in communication. The key-chain format may be easier for some people to carry around because of its smaller size, but the booklets, although larger, allow for many different types of phrases.

Another AAC device, which is more of a "gadget," is called The Big Talk. This device is a single message communicator that can play a recorded message up to 20 seconds. Often, a person would use more than one of these to be able to communicate basic needs. For example, someone who could communicate no other way may be given two of these. One recorded to say "yes," and the other recorded to say "no." This would allow them to answer yes/no questions, which for some people, is a huge deal. (Picture from

The last device I want to share with you is one of the many computer type devices available, called The Vantage. This is the only AAC I have had personal experience with, and in my opinion, it is one of the best out there. It is a small computer that has multiple pages of icons, each with a different message that can be generic or personalized. I really like this device because you are never limited in your response. If there is no icon for the response you want to give, you can type in your own. The computer reads all the responses aloud as the words appear across
a small screen. (Picture from

There are so many different kinds of AAC devices, but these are the highlights. Despite how simple they may seem, they can make a huge difference in the lives of some people.

Full G-tablet review

As promised (although a little late), here is my final opinion of the Viewsonic G-tablet. By now I've owned this thing for about 2 weeks. As I stated in my "first thought" post, I installed a custom version of Android on the tablet. The version that came with the device was not up to par for what a customer needs. If you are looking at buying a tablet and not willing to install an operating system, then I would say this tablet is not for you.
There are many good reasons to want this tablet. Among them are: it has a good price point, long battery life, powerful hardware and vast developer backing. I purchased my G-tablet from office depot for $380. Although this may sound high, the hardware specs are on par with the Motorola Xoom $800 and the iPad2 $500. The tablet is thicker than both these devices, but that is most likely due to a larger battery. The Viewsonic G-tablet and the Moto Xoom use exactly the same processor, (Nvidia Tegra 2) so similar performance can be expected for half the price. I do have a family member with an iPad, and I have a different family member with an iPad2 on order. Once that device is delivered, I will write a comparison and contrast of the three devices.
Lets talk about look and feel. Android is fast. it feels quicker than my Droid X, which it should because it has twice the processing power. The screen looks good, but not as good as the iPad in the dark color ranges. The buttons are not real buttons, you just touch the surface where they are located, so you can hit them on accident. The tablet was intended to be held in landscape mode, but I have found it much more convenient to hold it in portrait mode. This puts the buttons either at the top or bottom of the screen (personal preference), but they are sideways. One other gripe I have is that the interface buttons are not in the same position as the other Android devices I have come across. Since I have two Android devices with the navigation buttons in a different order, I will never get quick with either device. Kindle, which is the main reason I bought a tablet runs great on the device. Games also run great. All but one of the games installed and worked fine with the native screen resolution. One issue is that the tablet runs a mobile browser but has the resolution of a regular netbook. When you go to a web site and get redirected to a mobile site, it can be annoying to move back to the normal web site. This is not a problem with the device, but the way the browser gives information about the device to a web site. In conclusion I think this is a great tablet.  I can recommend it to anyone with a moderate to high level of computer knowledge.