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Tech Tip
by Brad Appleby
Appleby Arts

Kindles and NetBooks

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A Kindle is a small digital reading device that can store about 1,500 e-books. It is a wireless device and is capable of downloading a full book in about 60 seconds. Currently, there are over 230,000 e-books available for the Kindle. New York Times bestselling books usually sell for about $9.99 per e-book. You can also receive e-newspapers and e-magazines before the newsstands receive them, and receive blogs and updates during the day.

The Kindle’s screen is easy to read even in bright light, like sunlight. With new batteries, the Kindle will work for 4 days on wireless mode and 2 weeks with the wireless turned off. The charge time is about 4 hours and the Kindle can be charged by USB or power adapter. Once an e-book is downloaded, you can read it on the screen and page through the pages with many book mark options. You can also change the text to speech mode and turn the e-book into an audio book. The Kindle allows you to e-mail your word and PDF files to it to review them away from home.

The Kindle display is 6" diagonal with 16 levels of gray scale. The total size is 8" x 5.3" x 0.36", and the weight is 10.2 ounces. It has 1.4 GB of storage for your favorite e-books. The Kindle is simple to use and you don’t need your computer to download, view or read e-books. Kindle offers an automatic library backup so you can download your e-books anytime. The Kindle 2 is the newest version of this product, and it can be found at for $359.

NetBooks, or mini-laptops, are like very small, light-weight computers. They normally come with 1GB of memory, an 80GB hard drive and a 7", 9" or 10" screen. They are ideal for simple tasks like web browsing and e-mailing. NetBooks come with 2 main operating systems: Windows XP or Linux.

The price for these mini-laptops ranges from $50 - $400, and most brands come with a small keyboard and wireless ability. Most NetBooks don’t have a DVD or CD drive, but you can purchase an external drive to attach to many of them for playing, copying or burning DVDs or CDs.

It’s usually not a good idea to try to run large programs or play graphic-heavy games on these mini-laptops, because they don’t really have the graphics capabilities or processor power to run such programs. Again, these mini-laptops are the perfect e-mail and web browsing machines. You can use some of Google’s web based programs, and they will give you some nice options. If you store word and excel files online, you can work on those files on your mini-laptop through Google’s free access accounts. Just go to and sign up for an e-mail account and while you’re there, check out all the free programs you get to use. Pretty nice.

A NetBook is not as nice as a regular laptop, but it will run for 4 to 8 hours for internet applications, depending on your batteries. These mini-laptops are great for travel so you can keep in touch with family, friends or clients. Keep in mind, the only way to back up your files on these mini-laptop machines is with an external USB drive or an external DVD drive. If you decide to purchase a mini-laptop, I would recommend going with the Windows XP model, unless you are ready to learn Linux.

Now is the time to back up all of your files! Back up your photos, e-mail addresses, web site bookmarks, program files and anything else you can think of. I even save my computer fonts because I have lots of special fonts that do not come with the regular programs I use.

For more information on this and other tech issues, contact Brad at (702) 294-1392 or

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