Techno Geeks

Here’s Proof Selfies Have Been Popular Since 1839

Source: Readers Digest –

Flip through a brief history of America’s favorite photo trend.


Philadelphia photographer Robert Cornelius takes one of the first photographic self-portraits.

Robert Cornelius/Getty Images

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Categories: Selfies, Techno Geeks | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Tech gear you shouldn’t buy this Christmas

Source: – by Kim Komando


–>”You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”

One of my favorite movies is A Christmas Story. There are so many truly funny scenes.

What would Ralphie want to see under the Christmas tree in 2012 – a new smartphone loaded with a copy of Angry Birds Star Wars? Hard to say. There are so many great games and gadgets out there.

With all that gear, it’s also easy to buy a tech dud. No one wants to waste money or give someone something they don’t really want.

You may recall the bulletin I put out last Christmas about tech gear you shouldn’t buy. It included feature phones, GPS units, netbooks, portable media players and point-and-shoot cameras.

Those are still on the no-buy list, but this year I have a whole new list of things you’ll want to avoid.

Budget Android gadgets While I still prefer my iPhone and iPad, Android gadgets are now a good option for any tech buyer. Of course, not all Android gadgets are created equal.

Older and budget Android gadgets are best to be avoided. And when I say budget, I’m not talking about low-cost, 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire. I mean $100, off-brand tablets and low-powered, free smartphones.

For both phones and tablets, make sure they’re running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. A budget phone that runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), or a budget tablet that runs Android 3.2 (Honeycomb), will stagger when running the latest games and productivity apps.

A $0 to $50 Android phone that was a $200 to $300 dazzler on contract a year ago can be a good value. But a $0 to $50 Android with an outdated processor and last-generation Android version is no bargain.

Plus, manufacturers tend to abandon support for Android duds. Less expensive or older smartphones often don’t get an operating system upgrade more than once, or even at all.

To find out what smartphones and tablets will thrill your family this year, visit my buying guides.

17-inch laptops Apple laid its 17-inch MacBook Pro to rest this year. Users just don’t want to lug those behemoths around airports and corporate campuses anymore. For that matter, a 15-inch laptop makes sense only for gamers or a graphics and video pro.

Most road warriors can work or kill time splendidly on a 10- to 13-inch Ultrabook or MacBook Air. Their solid-state drives and Intel Ivy Bridge chips make them lightning-fast tools, and their thin, lightweight form makes them a joy to use – and carry around.

Learn what goes into a killer laptop with my laptop buying guide. Then get step-by-step directions to set up your new PC or Mac in a flash.

Bridge cameras Designed to fill a niche between high-end DSLRs and budget point-and-shoots, bridge cameras don’t make as much sense as they used to.

Compared to point-and-shoots, bridge cameras give photographers more control over shutter speed and aperture. But they don’t offer much of an improvement in sensor size or quality. You’re also stuck with a permanent zoom lens that usually isn’t a world-beater.

Mirrorless hybrid cameras, on the other hand, are the fastest-growing digital category for good reason. They rival compact cameras in size and DSLRs in sensor and lens quality. They’re systems you can grow with and keep for many years.

Prices range from practical – Nikon 1 V1 ($500, with 10-30mm lens) – to painful – Fujifilm X Pro 1 ($1,700, body only).

Click here for more on buying a hybrid camera. If you’re interested in taking a larger step to a DSLR, I can help with that as well.

Once you have your camera, you need to learn how to use it. I can have you shooting like a pro in no time with my Essential Guides to Digital Photography.

Entry-level e-readers E-readers have really hit their stride this year. Display technology has improved, and so has the library of new and exciting e-books.

Not all e-readers are cutting edge, however. Amazon’s entry-level e-reader, the Kindle ($69), uses buttons for navigation and features a standard E-Ink Pearl display. It’s not a bad unit, but for a bit more you could have something much, much better.

The just-introduced Kindle Paperwhite ($119) offers a touch screen with amazing resolution and contrast. Plus, it has an innovative built-in light that makes nighttime reading very comfortable. See it in action in this video on my site.

The display on the Nook Simple Touch ($99) is touch-capable but otherwise a standard E-Ink Pearl display. Barnes & Noble’s solution to reading in the dark is the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight ($139). The Nook Color ($149) features a nice multi-touch color LCD and runs a customized version of the Android operating system.

I go into more detail on what you need to look for when buying e-readers here.

Budget LCD TVs TV prices continue to drop, and there are bargains everywhere you look! Unfortunately, many of these deals are bargain basement.

Sure, you can buy an off-brand 50-inch LCD TV for less than $500. But you’ll be getting outdated technology and a poor viewing experience.

Budget LCDs have a refresh rate of 60 hertz, which can blur motion when you’re watching the big football game. Refresh rates of 120Hz and 240Hz are standard now. Many bargain-basement TVs also have a resolution of 720p, compared to the 1080p you want.

Bargain LCD TVs are still backlit by fluorescent lights. That looked great four years ago, but it pales in comparison to LCD TVs with an LED backlight.

LED TVs have gotten so good that they’re catching up to plasma screens for blackness level, color and contrast. That could also be a reason why sales of plasma TVs have dwindled to about 13 percent of the market.

For larger TVs, however, plasmas have the edge over LEDs on price. You’ll pay about $1,000 for Samsung’s 60-inch plasma; about $1,500 for its 60-inch LED TV.

If you’re going for a second TV, a bargain unit might be OK. But for your main home theater TV, you want something better.

I’ve got everything you need to know about buying a new HDTV in my HDTV buying guide. Click here to read it. Then learn how to set up your home theater for the best movie-watching experience.

Categories: Kim Komando, Must Read, Tech Savvy Parents, Techno Geeks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The nerdiest Christmas trees ever

For generations, families have been taking trees into their homes at Christmas time to decorate them with lights and ornaments. Doesn’t make much sense really —  but it sure is fun. This is especially true if you decorate your tree with a nerdy theme.

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

Darth Conifer
I know what Darth Conifer is getting me for Christmas. I can feel his … presents. But he can also feel mine. I got him a tie, he got me an Xbox. I’ll be Force choked for sure. Reddit via Fashionably Geek

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

Cthulhu Christmas tree
Dressed with 50 Cthulhu tentacles and one plush Cthulhu, this tree from Archie McPhee is a true Tannenbaum of terror. Geyser of Awesome via Nerd Approved

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

Godzilla tree
This Godzilla tree was once displayed at the Aqua City Odaiba shopping mall in Tokyo, Japan. Not surprisingly, it came to life and tried to destroy Christmas. Buzzfeed via Nerd Approved

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

The IT Christmas tree
This little IT tree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia features RAM sticks atop a Beowulf cluster. That’s really cute actually — not like that circuit board toilet they made us use last year. Talk about a complete disaster. USciences via Nerd Approved

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

Super Mario Christmas tree
As far as nerdy Christmas trees go, this Super Mario Bros. and Zelda version will be hard to 1UP. Buzzfeed via Nerd Approved

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

The Facebook Christmas tree
Do you like Christmas? Well, make it official with some Facebook-inspired ornaments. It’s a good thing there’s no “Dislike” button yet because I got you a portable watermelon coolerand a Justin Bieber CD. Social Meteor

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

Mountain Dew Christmas tree
You’re already binge drinking Mountain Dew during marathon gaming seasons, why not save the cans and string them together to create a classy Christmas tree like this one? Deck the halls with diabeetus!  Fork Party via That’s Nerdalicious

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

The Dalek Christmas tree
This Dalek wasn’t like the others Dr. Who has faced — he didn’t want to exterminate. All he wanted to do was dress up like the satellites Mary Kay uses to spy on people and serve up a little Christmas cheer.  Flickr

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

Tree of books
This is a true Christmas tree for book lovers. See? Paper books still have a purpose in this world. Suck on that, Kindle Fire! Reddit via CubicleBot

Courtesy of Nerd Approved

LEGO Christmas Tree
The world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree was erected in St. Pancras Station in London this year courtesy of the master builders at Bright Bricks. It stands 38-feet tall, consists of 600,000 bricks and is adorned with 1,000 ornaments. Bright Bricks

Source:  By Sean Fallon Nerd Approved  

Categories: Techno Geeks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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