Monday, October 29, 2012

Kindle Fire HD vs Nexus 7 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 for an upgrade

So, I'm currently wanting a new tablet.  Not that there is anything wrong with my Kindle Fire, but some of the new tablets look even cooler.  I use my Fire mostly for web, email, and reading.  I do watch an occasional Netflix or Amazon video I have downloaded.  My kids use it mostly for games (educational and not so educational).  I have not seen either of these new tablets in person yet.  My pros and cons below are based only on specs and reviews.  I'm hoping to get over to Best Buy at some point [made it, see update below] and see if they have either the Fire HD or the Nexus 7, so I can see them.

Kindle Fire HD
  • Amazon videos and apps I've paid for
  • parental controls
  • HDMI (probably would never use)
  • better WiFi (maybe)
  • no Google integration (keep have delusions of moving my calendar off the wall and onto Google Calendar)
Nexus 7
  • gps (not sure how useful this is without cellular service)
  • Google integration
  • faster processor
  • no amazon video
  • nicer screen
  • nicer user experience
  • more memory
  • camera
  • more memory (16 g)
  • microphone 
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
  • front and rear camera
  • GPS
  • ice cream sandwich
  • overlays (little pop ups of apps that can go over things)
  • can act as remote control
  • expandable memory
  • Screen resolution (Same as original Kindle Fire)
  • price (sometimes, most places seem to be running this right at $199 which makes it comparable)
  • 8 gigs of memory
  • cameras aren't very good
Token Ipad Mini Comment
Ipad mini looks cool, but it is just so much more expensive.  IOS is a nice user experience, but I hate iTunes. I do have some iTunes videos, so I wouldn't loose those.  I do have an iPod Touch.  My understanding was that iPod apps don't work really on the iPad, so I'd have to rebuy apps.

[updated 10/30/12]
Just found out the nexus 7 is dropping in price to $199.  Now I'm really torn.  I need to decide if I'm keeping the original kindle fire or not.  If I'm not, I would get the kindle fire hd to keep the amazon video and the parental controls.  If I am keeping it, I can just load it with all the apps, movies, books that they use, turn on the limited parental control  and let them have a tablet.

[updated 11-1-12]
Went to Best Buy today and saw the Kindle Fire HD and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.  (Woman there said Nexus 7 is not any brick and mortar stores(She was wrong, I found it at another retailer later)).   I loved the screen and volume on the Fire HD.  But otherwise, it just didn't seem that much different from my current Fire.  (I didn't try out the camera.)  I actually really liked the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.  The interface seemed nice.  The camera had serious problems in best buy's lighting.  If it were just a little more awesome, I'd seriously consider it.

So, what to choose.  I haven't decided yet.  I'm leaning towards not upgrading this year.  My Kindle Fire's screen doesn't bug me and the speed fits my needs.  Although, who knows, I may change my mind :)  The Samsung is on sale right now at Costco for $199.

[update 11-3-12]
Went to a local retailer and saw the Nexus 7.  I really liked this device.  User experience was smooth, and I loved the feel of the screen.  I think it is my favorite of the three.  The Fire HD bothered me a tiny bit with all the adds.

For someone buying their first tablet, any of them will work.  Gamer - Nexus 7, Amazon fan / parent - Kindle Fire HD, likes a lot of media - Samsung Galaxy 2.
[Update 11-29-12] Got a Nexus 7 for my birthday. Love it. It is a fun device.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Owl and dinosaur fleece hats for Halloween

This year my daughters are being an owl and a tyrannosaurus rex.  I made these hats out of felt and fleece to go along with their costumes.
The picture doesn't show it, but the t-rex has spikes going down the back.  I think they came out pretty darn cute.

Making them is easy.

  1. Cut a rectangle of fleece.  The length should be the diameter of your child's head plus the seam allowance.  The height is the distance from the middle of your child's ear to the top of their head plus seam allowance (probably about 1/2"). For my 3 year old I had about 20" X 7" (including seam allowance)
  2. Sew a hem along the bottom of the hat (you can also do this at the end, but I'd rather sew a straight piece of cloth than a circle.
  3. fold the hat like it will be when it's finished.  Then figure out where you want your felt animal parts to go and sew them on.  The seam on these hats is down the middle of the back of the head.  On the owl, I sewed the face parts on after the hat was made, but it is much easier to do it before.
  4. fold the rectangle in half, with right side facing in.  Sew along the edge to make seam up the back of the head.  If you are doing a dinosaur, add in the spikes in the seam. (I can't explain this well, basically fold parallel to the short sides, so when fold, the rectangle will be 10" x 7")
  5. Sew across the top of the hat (the side NOT hemmed).  On the dinosaur, I didn't sew straight across. Using a disappearing marker, I drew a bump on each side for eyes and a bump in the middle for the top of Rexy's "head".  Then I sewed along this line.  On a regular hat, you will probably want to sew a curved line that starts about an inch below the top on the sides and peaks at the top, otherwise the hat will have a square look.
  6. Stick hat on your child's head and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Awesome strawberry varieties for utah county

This year I planted two varieties of strawberries: Sparkle and Tribute.  Both did very well.  Tribute didn't start fruiting until almost July, but after that did incredible.  We'll see how they survive the winter.  They both also produced a ton of runners.  I'm looking forward to tons of fruit next year.