Review: Kindle Fire – A great tablet for the price!


When I reached out on my social media channels for ideas of what gadgets you'd like to see me take a look at, overwhelmingly the response was "Kindle Fire". People also wanted a comparison of the Kindle Fire and Color Nook. I'll say more on that in a minute. First of all, as many of you already know, this is not a general review site. The guys over at Engadget do a great job of reviewing ALL things tech. My goal has always been to talk about the products I actually use. Luckily I do have a use for the Kindle Fire and it's actually more to do with my day job at Adobe. We are bringing the Kindle Fire into our list of supported devices for the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. With that in mind I figured it would good to have a Kindle Fire to test on and while I've got it, it couldn't hurt to review it.


People really want to compare it to the iPad

While it's easy to want to draw comparisons to the iPad (and I will), I look at the two as aimed at two totally different markets. To keep it simple I would say that if you are primarily looking for a general purpose tablet to run lots of Apps on and possibly use instead of a laptop/desktop computer then the iPad is probably going to suit you better. If you're looking primarily for a digital book/magazine reader that can also run Apps/play content and you don't want to spend a lot of money, then the Kindle Fire is a PERFECT choice!

What about the Nook? I don't have one, have never held one and therefore have no comparison to give you. I have no plans to get one at this time, but if I do then I'l compare it with the Kindle Fire.


How do I like it?

Now that I got the iPad vs. Kindle Fire piece out of the way, let's concentrate on the goodness of the Kindle Fire. It's a 7" color Wi-Fi tablet. The display is very vivid and easy on my eyes. The design is a bit on the thick side (7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45"), but still very comfortable to hold and use (14.6 ounces).

It has 8GB's of storage (not a lot) and only 6GB of that is available to you for content. You can expect to get about 7-8 hours of continuous use out of it. I was impressed with the out of the box experience. What I didn't notice during the ordering process is that Amazon knows me! Therefore when my Kindle Fire arrived it was already configured to my Kindle/Amazon account and all my books were already there. That gave me a definite "aha" moment, because I then realized that since Amazon knows me that my Amazon Cloud music was also there for streaming/download. Don't worry, if you're buying one as a gift then you can specify that it's NOT for you during the ordering process and it will ship unregistered. Navigation seems pretty straight forward and out of the box there really wasn't anything that I struggled with not knowing how to do or having to refer to a manual. It asked me to log on to my WiFi network and I was off and running. The battery had enough charge in it out of the box for me to set it up and play. 

More than books and magazines! While the Kindle line has been traditionally targeted at only those interested in reading, the Kindle Fire breaks away from this mold nicely. It can browse the web, do email, run Apps (yes games too), play music, play movies, and play TV shows. Amazon is giving away free cloud storage for your digital content this helps combat the limited storage on the device. Also Amazon offers up their Kindle Lending Library so that you can actually borrow free books with no due dates.  


What could be better?

The Kindle Fire can run Android Apps and that's a great thing! However, there is one small problem and that is that there is no built-in way to access the Android Market. That's right! No Android Market. If you want to buy or download free Apps you have to do it from the Amazon App Store. To a new Kindle Fire/Android user this won't be a big deal at all, but in my case I have a few Android Apps that I've paid for and unless I do some hacks, I'd have to buy them again from Amazon. It's not the end of the world because I don't have that many, but it kinda blows! While WiFi is great I would have loved to have seen a 3G offering too even if it costs more. 

The built-in stuff – This will likely be another source of disappointment for anyone who has looked at or used an iPad. The quality of the built-in Apps vary. For example, the email App, while not stellar is functional. The web browser is OK too, but when I tapped on the Facebook "app" it merely took me to the Facebook mobile page. In other words what appear to be Apps in some cases are merely bookmarks. 


The Bottom Line

The Kindle Fire is an excellent choice for those of you that kinda want a tablet, but don't want to spend $500 on one. At $199 the Kindle Fire is priced right and will definitely keep the guys in Cupertino on their toes. Best Buy recently announced that the Kindle Fire was the first and only tablet they've sold to outsell the iPad and at that price it's a no brainer. However, for the heavy tablet user you will probably be disappointed in the Kindle Fire App selection at this point. This will hopefully only be a temporary problem. I've already bought a second one as a gift for an immediate family member who has never wanted an iPad and who has an older Kindle. 

You can get the Kindle Fire for $199 here.

Review: iTunes Match Finally Delivers What I’ve Been Wanting

I've been an iTunes user since day one (and even SoundJam before that). I've been an iPod user since day one too. I have a decent sized *music collection (6,649 songs) with a mix of tunes ripped from my CDs, purchased from the iTunes store and purchased/downloaded from other sources such as While Apple has always done a good job in allowing me to sync my music/playlists to any number of iDevices, for some reason the company never saw fit to allow automatic syncing of music between multiple computers. I've complained about this on my blog in the past as well as going with 3rd party work arounds. 


The NEW iTunes Match Solves My Problems

In addition to iOS 5, iCloud and iTunes 10.5, Apple rolled out a new service called iTunes Match. iTunes Match is a paid service ($24.99/Year) and the idea behind it is that once you sign up (via iTunes 5) your music collection will be analyzed and "matched" with the music currently available on the iTunes store, whether you originally bought the music from the store or not. Tracks that are matched are then available to up to 10 of your devices (Macs, PCs, iDevices running iOS 5, or Apple TVs) via the cloud.

This also includes your playlists! Tracks that were not matched (in other words songs you have that aren't on the iTunes store) are then UPLOADED from your library to the iTunes cloud (iCloud). This means that ALL of your music is now available in the cloud no matter where you obtained it originally. 


Problems this solves for me

Once it did the initial "match" on my dedicated iTunes media server (a dedicated iMac running iTunes 24/7). I then went to my MacBook Pro and deleted all the music from that library. Once I deleted all the songs and playlists, I turned on iTunes Match on that computer as well. After a few moments ALL of my Playlists appeared on the MacBook Pro that are on the iMac. Any song/playlist that I want to listen to can now be streamed via the cloud. Also any music/playlists that I actually want to be physically on the drive say for offline listening can be downloaded with a single click. As long as my MacBook Pro has an internet connection I have access to ALL of my music at all times. Those times that I don't have access to the internet I can still enjoy the music that I've downloaded. 

On my iPhone, iPod touch and iPad – we know that these devices have limited storage. Therefore carrying around a large music collection means giving up something else. Once I turned on iTunes Match on these devices the music that was stored on them was immediately wiped and just like on my MacBook Pro, after a few moments I had access to ALL of my Playlists and All of my songs. The difference here is that any song you play is not only streamed initially but also stored so that it won't have to stream a second time. And yes you can proactively download any song(s) playlists that you know you'll want to be stored on the device for offline listening.


The Bottom Line

The benefits of iTunes Match are clear! I have access to ALL of my Music on any of my devices at all times (with an internet connection). I now use less space on my iDevices because I don't have them loaded up with music that "I may want to listen to someday". The other advantage is QUALITY! Some of my original CD Rips were at a lower bitrate. With iTunes Match you get everything at Unprotected AAC, 256Kbps (iTunes Plus) Quality. The other slick feature is that now it doesn't matter where I make organizational changes or new purchases. If I change a playlist on my MacBook Pro it's updated everywhere. If I buy a new song and add it to a playlist on my iPad, it's updated and available everywhere. This is one of those services that's worth every penny to me!

You couple iTunes Match with the new iTunes WiFi Sync for iOS (iPod touch in the car) and I'm completely in music heaven! I pull into my garage and it connects to the WiFi in my home and syncs the iPod with the latest changes. 

Now let's get iTunes Match for video/movies!

*Note: If you have more than 25,000 songs in your library that you did NOT get from the iTunes store then you exceed the limit of iTunes Match. iTunes Match only works for songs, not audiobooks, videos, ringtones, podcasts, etc.

It’s Cyber Monday 2011

If you are like me and stayed at home on Black Friday, you know that there are some great deals online without fighting the crowds in the stores. Cyber Monday is the official day for etailers to lure us in with their online deals. Here are a few noteworthy ones:


As the world's largest etailer, Amazon will not be outdone!


B&H Photo & Video – various deals

Gelaskins (where I get my custom skins for my MacBook Pros, iPad and iPhones) are doing 20% Off

HyperShop (Where I get my backup travel batteries from) is doing up to 75% off

iHome Audio – is doing 25% off 25 Select Items + Free shipping (on orders $60 or more) Use code ALSUP2525

Kelby Training – Their biggest sale of the year!

LCD4Video – Lots of cool photography and video gadgets on sale today!

MacMall – Up to 85% off!

Moo – (where i get my photo business cards) 30% off!

Nikon Cyber Monday Instant Savings

Scottevest (jackets with pockets for your gear – yes I wear one) is doing 30% 9 items


By the way, this is another reason why I don't go out shopping on Black Friday – sad….


Terry’s Black Friday Deal Picks For 2011

Terry found a deal

If you live in the US, then chances are you've heard of Black Friday. It's the day after Thanksgiving that retailers hold special sales to lure you in to get your  holiday shopping dollars. Whether you're shopping for holiday gifts or just looking for deals on stuff, Black Friday and Now Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving) are worth checking out. Sometimes the savings can be substantial and if it saves you a few bucks on something you were going to buy anyway, why not take it?

I'm not one to go out and stand in line to save a few bucks on something, however I will absolutely check out online deals for gear.

As you might imagine I get all kinds of emails advertising Black Friday deals. So I've decided to share some of the ones I've hand picked here based on technology, Adobe, iOS/Apple, Photography and the other things that I'm interested in. So here goes in no particular order: has been running Black Friday deals all week on all kinds of gear:


HOT! Lightroom 3 for only $99.99


B&H Photo and Video Holiday Deals 2011

Canon Double Instant Rebates Savings Up to $500 on DSLR & Lens Bundles Here


Save up to 50% on Adobe Software

Let Adobe help with your holiday shopping and save up to 50% here.



J&R Computer/Music World



Smarthome Black Friday Deals

Smarthome, Inc.


TigerDirect's Pink Friday Sale

TigerDirect Black Friday


LCD4Video Black Friday Deals


Other Deals

iPhone and iPad Apps on Sale Today!

Apple – 10% savings on select Apple gear.

3G Store – up to a $100 eGift Certificate

BlueSLR for Nikon – $45 off!

HyperShop – up to 75% off

Mophie (iPhone external batteries) – 30% off

NIK Software – save up to $200

Nikon, Inc. – Instant Savings

Other World Computing – lots of deals

SanDisk – up to 75% off



Of course don't forget to check out my 2011 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

One of the things that I'm most thankful for is the overwhelming amount of support that I receive from my readers and fans. Enjoy time with your friends and family.

If you get into the whole holiday shopping thing be sure to come back tomorrow to take a peek at some hand picked Black Friday Gadget/Tech Deals.

Otherwise, enjoy! I'm looking forward to the long weekend.

My 2011 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is Here!


That's right it's my guide to help you with you holiday shopping for the gadget lover (freak) on your list. The way this thing started was each year towards the holiday season all my friends started asking me and emailing about what my picks were in various categories and of course the answers were usually the same. So I decided to compile a list and just email it to the folks that asked.

Once again I've put together a Holiday Gadget Gift Guide to help you pick out gifts for the techies and gadget lovers on your gift list. I've chosen simply because they are the one online retailer with not only the largest presence, but also the one that carries 99% of the items I recommend. Another advantage is that I can continue to add things that come up all the way up to the final days of the holiday season. In previous years I would always find some cool gadgets after the static gift guide was published. Now because they don't carry every single item on my recommendation list, you can check for some Extras at the bottom of this post.


How did you pick the items that you recommend?

Simple! If it's in my guide it's because I either use it now, have used it in the past or one of my close friends or colleagues use it and I trust their opinion. Now in some cases there may be an item in the guide that is NEWER than the one I use and I had to list that one because my model is no longer available. Unless I've used it or know someone who has, it doesn't get in PERIOD.


How does the gift guide work?

The guide is broken out by Category so that you can shop accordingly. This way you can pick your gift by the kind of person you're shopping for. I know that sometimes you have to buy a gift based on a certain dollar amount or budget (like gifts for co-workers), so I've given you a couple of dollar amount categories too. Happy shopping and in case I don't see you later, Happy Holidays to you and your family! You can go straight to my 2011 Holiday Gift Guide here.



Continue Reading »

How to Publish Your Photos From Lightroom Directly to Google+



In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast I'll show you How to Publish Your Photos from Lightroom Directly To Google+. Special thanks goes out to Tom Roper for leading me to this tip. 

Get the Lightroom Picasa Plug-in here.

Add me on Google+ Here.

See the resulting Google+ "Recent Work" gallery here.

Also don't forget that Lightroom 3 is currently ON SALE for HALF OFF here.

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

PS. My iOS App just got an update that fixes the iOS 5 video playback problem and adds the following features:

  • Retina Display Graphics
  • A new tab bar interface
  • Swiping to the left and right from the episode detail page will go to the next or previous episode
  • UI enhancements
  • Faster show loading
  • Minor bug fixes


How to Use Lightroom 3’s Smart Collections in Publish Services



In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast I'll show you how to combine the use of Smart Collections and the Publish Services in Lightroom 3 to publish and maintain the same collection of photos on multiple social networking sites such as Flickr, Facebook and Smugmug.

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

PS. My iOS App just got an update that fixes the iOS 5 video playback problem and adds the following features:

  • Retina Display Graphics
  • A new tab bar interface
  • Swiping to the left and right from the episode detail page will go to the next or previous episode
  • UI enhancements
  • Faster show loading
  • Minor bug fixes