Tablets – Tools or Toys?

TabletsTablets are the topic of the day.

I get paid to stay current with tech “stuff”, but even after some research and observation (co-workers and coffee-shoppers), I was not completely convinced that I would use a tablet; then Santa brought us an iPad last Christmas.  My 12 year old son and I started using it around the house for web searches, games, checking email, FaceBook and now it has completely replaced the laptop! It connects to my wireless network and accesses the internet quickly and the display quality is great.  I was using my Android smartphone to take notes in meetings and read my email at work, so I tried using the tablet instead. When WiFi is available, the tablet has become my preferred way to read and respond to e-mail and web searches.  I use Google Keep (more on that later) to take notes in meetings. One of things I was worried about with a tablet was the ease of typing. I purchased a keyboard to use with the iPad, but once I got used to the touchscreen keyboard, the external keyboard rarely gets used. There are some very nice keyboards that are integrated into cases, making it easier to type for longer periods of time. Still a tablet isn’t going to replace a laptop for typing long documents.

When looking at tablets your major decision is what type of operating system you want. I had no experience on the iOS that runs the iPad and my iPod crazy son had fun showing Mom how to navigate it. The Android OS will look very similar to the Android smartphone. The Windows OS is available on the Surface, the iOS is exclusive to Apple and installed on the iPads and the Galaxy Note, Kindle and Google Nexus come with the Android OS. You will find the greatest variety of tablets available with the Android OS.

The variety of applications available for tablets is exceptional. iTunes, Google Play and Amazon are all very popular. Many of the apps are free and installing them is quick and easy. The battery life on tablets is very good, most tablets can go for almost 8 hours versus most laptops 2.5 to 4 hours.

The technology for tablets has improved dramatically just in the past year and the competition for buyers has brought the prices down and the quality up. Even though the screens are small, the tablet displays are crisp and very good quality. With services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon you don’t even have to fill the memory with video files; instead, you can stream entire libraries of material directly to your tablet. They are being utilized more and more in educational settings. If the books you need are offered digitally, you may save some money, space and weight just by downloading them onto a tablet.

After a year long test drive, the tablet has replaced some of the functions I used on my phone and most of the functions of my home laptop so for me it really isn’t replacing any device completely, but I am definitely not giving it up! I am hoping Santa brings us a 7 inch tablet this Christmas…Hint Hint

Christmas Tablets

3 Things You Should Do to Secure Your Smartphone or Tablet

I have installed and used the Android Device Manager that is mentioned in the following article from    The Android Device Manager allows you to see the location of your phone on a map, send a ringtone to it to help you locate the phone and erase the device. 

3 Things You Should Do to Secure Your Smartphone or Tablet

  By , Guide August 13, 201

Secure Your SmartPhone - Synergy Networks

 You don’t need to be an NSA target to want to keep your personal data secure. Mobile phones and tablets are particularly tricky when it comes to security because they’re so easily lost or stolen. In this age of spying  and hacking, it’s even more critical to reconsider what we’re storing on our devices and what would happen if they got into the wrong hands (or your personal information gets leaked).

  Three things you can do to secure your smartphone or tablet:

  1. Set up the screen lock. (You’ll find it under the security settings of your device.) Like other passwords, you should make the PIN or password for your mobile device as long as possible–without driving              yourself crazy. After all, you do have to enter it each time to unlock the phone.

  2. Encrypt the device. For the utmost assurance hackers can’t use the information on your mobile device even if they get past the lock screen. See how to encrypt your iOS or Android device here.

3. Turn on remote wipe. Google recently added Android Device Manager so you can remotely erase Android devices or find them if they’re lost. iPhone similarly has a “Find My iPhone” feature (which you should lock down further to prevent thieves from turning it off). I have an older article about remote wipe which covers some older/other platforms.

These simple steps will give you peace of mind and protect you in the worst case scenario.

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