Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet

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If you enjoy reading as much as I do, chances are you’ve asked yourself this question more than once. Which eBook reader stacks up better? Allow me to offer a streamlined rundown of both tablets, while offering you the need-to-know information!

KINDLE FIRE

It’s the most popular reader on the market, and with good reason. Amazon offers several different versions of the Fire, allowing you to grab one based on your preferences when it comes to memory and display. If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, the Kindle Fire is a no-brainer. It will allow you to stream the free video service that Amazon is already making available to you. The Kindle Fire also offers the most selection when it comes to eBooks, including a vast amount of freebies. Many authors have started publishing to the KDP Select program, which means their digital work is exclusive to the Kindle.

In fact, after using the Kindle Fire, I found the interface to be easy to navigate and had but a single complaint. The construction seemed to be a bit weak as compared to the Nook Tablet. That gripe aside, there is simply no way you can go wrong with the Kindle Fire, though I strongly suggest grabbing a protective case at the time of purchase.

NOOK TABLET

As mentioned before, this tablet feels more sturdy out of the box. The screen seemed to be just a bit better in terms of being glare-free, and though B&N claims their tablet has a longer battery life, it must be so small of a plus that it wasn’t even noticeable. At least not to me. It performed well, and my only gripe with the Nook Tablet(or any Nook for that matter) is that the selection of books is far below what it is on the Kindle Fire. Most of the best-selling books seemed to be here, but a lot of the highly-popular reads were found exclusively on the Kindle.

This may not be a huge deal to most readers, but for those of you that feel selection is king, the Nook Tablet just falls short. I did, however, find the associates in-store(Barnes & Noble) to be very helpful when explaining the Nook Tablet, and the idea of being able to take a Nook to them with technical problems was a plus. You’re also able to connect to their WiFi for free, and even download a free book while in-store, which seemed like a neat incentive.

IN CLOSING

I don’t feel that either tablet would be a bad purchase, but I would recommend the Kindle Fire if being asked directly. Better selection, more free books available and a more popular product in general. Most likely for good reason. If you’re ready to join the eBook reading world, you can click the banner below to find the perfect reader(I personally own one) and grab it at a discounted price! A little thank you for checking out my blog 🙂

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XBOX One vs. Sony PS4

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Everything you need to know.

Today we saw the reveal of the XBOX One, the “next” generation of gaming. Or rather, the next generation of media in our living rooms. Because let’s face it, the XBOX One is designed with that in mind first.

To give you a bit of history, I’ve always been a gamer. I played the classics on cocktail tables, bought the Atari 2600 when it launched, owned a Sega Master System, Turbo Grafx 16, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, Genesis, PS1. I stood in line, only to be denied a reserved Playstation 2 at launch. Bit on the original XBOX(Halo baby!) when it launched and scooped up a Gamecube. Even owned the quirky N-Gage. I’ve owned a Playstation 3 and four XBOX 360’s. Oh, and Wii’s? Three. In other words, I know gaming.

Nothing about the XBOX One speaks of gaming to me. Nothing. It feels like more of the same with more restrictions this time around. Not hating on the company, just expressing my opinion. The new system will play media, just like the one I currently own. The new system isn’t compatible with previous XBOX games, while my XBOX 360 is(though it is like pulling teeth). You don’t need to stay connected to the internet, but you DO need an internet connection somewhere along the way. It works with a newer version of Kinect(which is nice, because nobody over the age of eight really cares about the original Kinect). Oh, and buy pre-owned games and get slapped with a fee before you can actually play them. The more I read up on this “new” system, the more I found myself feeling bad for the people at Microsoft. I truly do. Because this system has so many shades of fail on it that it’s laughable.

We still await Sony’s big announcement next month on the PS4, and I’ll update the blog accordingly as that happens.

As of right now, however, I think history should serve as a reminder. The original XBOX dealt with power issues inside of the unit, and the XBOX 360…well, as I said before, I’ve owned four. Red ring, red ring…red ring. I still remember buying the first installment of Madden Football for the 360, only to discover there was NO franchise mode to be found? What I’ve learned along my decades of gaming is to stay away from new systems, and that goes for ANY brand. Most will deal with bugs, and sometimes even bring the heartache of complete hardware failure. Red ring, red ring…red ring. If you are lucky enough to snatch a properly working system during the launch day frenzy, chances are VERY good that the software will be watered down to the point of no return. The interface is just too new for programmers.

Give it a year. I’m serious here people, a year will deliver the truth. Even though it appears that XBOX has completely abandoned the hardcore gamer(or core customer, as I like to call us), they may shock everyone with a solid lineup of games. Doubtful, seeing that the announcement conference opened with a presentation on the media abilities of the XBOX One…but possible. You’ll avoid the hell of malfunctioning systems, unreal software patch downloads and the Black Friday-like frenzy at your local game store. Give it a year. Sit back and watch both systems in action, then make a calculated decision. One based on facts, not hype. By that time we’ll all know which system will dominate the industry in the year 2015 and beyond. As for 2014, HERE IS YOUR ANSWER(With my personal discount applied! My way of saying thank you for checking out this blog).

Yes You CAN!

Alright, as a fair warning, this blog is a bit personal to me. So I apologize in advance for any and all who may be offended.

Earlier today, I read a very disturbing post(string of posts actually) in a writing group online. I admit, I don’t really care for these groups in general, so it may be my fault in the end. But I am a member of several. I’m like that guy who buys a house in a gated community and then moves goats in to chew the grass. I don’t belong and the neighbors really don’t want me there.

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Today, a struggling self-published author asked for advice. A very popular and well-established author gave her the worst advice I’ve ever heard. We’ll call the established author Jane Doe as I’ve been down this road before and have the retaliation 1* reviews on books to prove it. The reply? – You simply cannot self-publish a good book by yourself without spending money.

Wait, are you kidding me? Am I dreaming? What’s going on here?

It was then furthered by suggesting $1,000+ for editing and $1,000+ for a cover! I’m not standing on my soapbox here people, I’m dancing the jig on this mother f*cker! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Of course, the struggling/new author ate it up, taking the established author at their word. And, sadly, the end result will most likely be an author walking away from the business a couple of grand lighter and full of frustration. So I thought I would respond here, rather than reply in said writing group. Seems each time I knock an established author down a few notches, they get a bit pissed off about it.

First, let me address the(or any) new/struggling authors who are choosing to self-publish. If you are burning up the boards of every writing group in town, seeking advice and, above all, confidence; why are you writing in the first place? Let me be clear about this. The publishing world is filled with troll-sharks(trolls who swim with anticipation) who are waiting to destroy your dreams. Publishing agents(who are comprised of authors who couldn’t cut the mustard themselves), authors filled with envy, and established authors who have a swollen head. People do not care if you fail or succeed in this industry(for the most part). If you don’t have the testicular-fortitude and confidence in your own writing, readers never will. So either grow a set or bow out with some dignity. Don’t become one of the many who wander around seeking validity from others.

Next, I’d like to address the established author who is giving this kind of advice out. You’re an idiot! You may not feel you have the ability to get your work to the finish line without paying for someone’s help…hell, you may just feel it is beneath you. But, just because you can’t(or won’t) do it, doesn’t mean others can’t. I do it every single day. You’ve fired off a couple of Top-100 books in your genre, congrats, but Macy’s hasn’t exactly started planning a second parade in your honor. Any good writer knows they get into the Top-100 because of their readers. Been there, done that. But at no time have I ever discouraged another writer. I do anything and everything to help them, and part of that is explaining to them that yes, you CAN do it by yourself. It is a hell of a lot of work, and it does require you to stop talking about your own accolades for five minutes, but it is possible to self-publish, make a living at it…and do it for free.

Finally, I just wanted to thank all of the others who help. Jason Halstead and Michael Hicks, I’m looking at you. There are others, of course, but the most important thing here is that you are taking away from the stigma “self-published work is garbage” rather than adding to it. I used to think that pompous traditionally-published authors were the worst kind, but I stand corrected. It’s the self-published authors who have forgotten their roots. Forgotten their readers. Those who write for the egotistical pat on the back, rather than the love of writing. Shame on you.

Netflix vs. Hulu Plus

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I thought I’d put up a quick blog about something I know a great deal on. Netflix vs. Hulu Plus. Keep in mind, I’m not some tech corporation. Just a guy who writes books for a living and is prepared to give it to you straight.

We have both in our home, and they both offer a solid service. But each has an upside and a downside, and you should know about them in detail before signing up.

Team Netflix: We’ve had it for nearly two years now, and for the most part have no complaints. It delivers as advertised, doing so without advertisements. The upside to this service by far, is its selection of movies. Granted, most of them are a few years dated, but there is a vast selection to choose from. You can run two devices at once under the basic service, and for many families that’s enough. They also have a pretty decent selection of television shows, though many are simply capped off after only one season. The big names that hit me here are The Walking Dead(first two seasons only), Sons of Anarchy(missing all of the current season) and Hell on Wheels, which had almost the entire first season, though it’s now cut down to just a handful of episodes.

Team Hulu Plus: Let me be clear when I say this, Hulu Plus is NOT a service for movie lovers. Most of the movies included in the “selection” available are very old or obscure. That said, Hulu Plus thumps Netflix in terms of television shows. Though it doesn’t even currently include The Walking Dead or Sons of Anarchy, it does offer up a great selection. A lot of the time, you can find your favorite show included less than 24 hours after it airs. My wife grabbed this service just for Grey’s Anatomy, and I had no complaints as it also includes hundreds(including the latest) episodes of WWE wrestling. I’m a fan, sue me. We also agree that the picture on Hulu Plus seems a bit more crisp. And, though I’ve read you can have up to six devices connected, I’ve only been able to get two going at once, and in most cases only one.

So for us, Hulu Plus remains in the living room, while our kids have Netflix. They’re happy because the Netflix selection of kids programs is much better, while we have more of what we want in the living room. Final thoughts, if you need a fix for children in the home or are looking for a good outlet for movie time, Netflix is for you. If you’re looking to drop the $100 cable bill while keeping most of your favorite shows(with occasional ads), Hulu Plus is your gig.

Or you can do what we did. Drop the $100 Dish Network bill for a total of less than $20 a month, while grabbing both of these amazing services!

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No matter which is a fit for you, I strongly recommend grabbing the above Blu-Ray player, which supports BOTH services and is the same model I currently use. Plus, just for checking out this blog, you can grab it at a discount!