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Monthly Archives: June 2014

  • Tablet vs Laptop: Which Makes a Better Graduation Gift?

    Soldier with laptop

    Do you have a child or family member who recently graduated and you’re wondering what type of computer would make a useful gift to prepare them for the future?

    This is a common question many families are facing this time of year. The easy answer is that desktops are no longer a practical option.

    No matter which computer system the graduate needs, they must be mobile. If they’re heading to college, they’ll need to take it to the library, take it to class, take it home for the weekend, and still be able to do their schoolwork. If they’re enlisting in the military, they’ll have limited space to lug their gear around. And for someone entering the workforce, tying yourself down to only use one desk in the home tends to be an impractical decision.

    Computers for College

    For the child going to university in the fall, their top choice will almost always be a laptop. For technical majors like engineering, tablets just aren’t the answer. They aren’t appropriate for someone doing a full scale development effort in say Java or some other programming language. While there are smaller versions, like AutoCAD 360 for the iPad, it seems more useful for viewing drawings than doing sophisticated modeling.

    Now, some of the liberal arts majors like education, psychology, or English may find tablets useful. They are lightweight, offer on-screen keyboards for touch typing, and fulfill typical needs like note taking, web access for research, and email. But, think about those 20 or more page term papers, and consider whether a touch screen is the right choice for creating a large document.

    Tablets to Take to Boot Camp

    Need to pick up a computer system for the future soldier? Their needs are typically straightforward. They want to be able to communicate with friends, family, and loved ones back home. That involves web access for apps like Skype and the ability to surf, access email, and use of a camera.

    Given the space constraints, grab them a tablet, perhaps even one of the miniature ones. The smaller, the better here, with a good battery to boot. Consider purchasing an external battery to give them additional juice when they’re on the move and away from power for extended periods of time. They might not have web access at the time, but could use the device for entertainment.

    Tools For the Workforce

    If your graduate is heading out into the workforce, you have the most flexibility in which system to purchase. You can get a decent laptop or tablet for under five hundred dollars, or under $750 if you prefer more advanced features.

    Budget alone won’t nail down the decision for you. It really comes down to a matter of choice. Tablets give the user a touch screen with a “soft” keyboard with no tactile feedback. Laptops allow use of a full keyboard. You can certainly get a larger screen on the laptop (for more money), but apart from the potential for a larger scale screen on the laptop, there isn’t much difference there. It is almost a matter of choice here and if you can ask the graduate which they would prefer, they’ll be happiest with the choice.

    So, Which to Get For Your Graduate?

    In the end, the tablet vs laptop question boils down to practicality and where the graduate is headed. For the college bound student, grab them a laptop. This also works for the workforce bound, who plan on taking classes on the side. Future soldiers would be happiest to have tablets, or laptops on the smaller side. Lightweight and durability are key here. A tablet skin to give added protection is the perfect addition to go along with your gift.

    For the newly employed graduate, you have more choices. You can almost flip a coin as they’ll welcome having any new way of getting online.

  • Never Recycle Your Cell Phone Without Considering These 4 Things

    recycling symbol

    Recycling your cell phone is a great way to be eco-friendly and get rid of some clutter. If you kept your cell phone in a skin, it is likely in great condition to be reused by someone else. However the process is not as cut and dry as simply dropping off the phone. For your own protection, there are a few steps that should be taken before handing over the goods for proper disposal. Continue reading

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